Strength? What Strength? Experience? What Experience?

Every day some Hillary spokesperson puts out a rebuttal for whatever is going on that day. "Hillary has the strength and experience" is the rejoinder. Just like Bush never saw a problem whose solution did not lie in tax cuts, Hillary 2008 never saw a problem whose solution did not lie in Hillary's "strength and experience." It is getting repetitive and boring.

What strength? What experience?

If watching Michael Jordan makes you Michael Jordan, I am Michael Jordan. I have watched a few of his games. Hillary is running to be an elected official. Only her experiences as an elected official count. And Obama has been an elected official almost twice as long as Hillary.

Hillary did not have the strength to ask the questions that would have prevented her and others from casting the utterly wrong vote on the Iraq War. Need I say more? She was as subject to groupthink as anyone else. She cowered to the prevailing Washington "wisdom." That was an enormously serious lapse of judgment, and I see no sign Hillary has learned from that mistake. She parrots the Bush line on much everything else foreign. She will not talk to adversaries just like Bush. She will stand by Musharraf just like Bush. That is not strength, that is kowtowing.

Hillary is smart, and I realize the symbolism of a woman in the White House. But then what and how much did she do for women specifically the last time she was in the White House?

Hillary is cautious, she is not strong. Hillary is not experienced, she is tired. She has fought some fights, many of them unfair to her and her family, but she has tired of them. She is not ready for more.

Dynasty Politics

A Bush or a Clinton has been running at the national level since 1976. It is like after 200 years of being a republic America tired and became a monarchy again.

This country is too big, its democracy too vibrant to put up with dynasty politics.


America already knows everything there is to know about the two Clintons. Part of the excitement of electing a president is getting to know their life story. You need to turn the page on the 1990s to get that fresh feeling.

Life Experiences

Obama is the only candidate running in either party who can take America into a globalized 21st century. He has the right life experiences.


He opposed the Iraq War when the rest of the country was feeling the other day. And he did that when it looked like he was about to wage a tough bid for the US Senate running in a crowded primary field, with at least one billionaire opponent, and this was before he was "born" at the Democratic convention in Boston.

That makes him strong.

But he is not strong in a stupid way. As in, facts be damned, I am ploughing through. His primary strength is that he can build coalitions and seek and find common ground. He has the strength to bring America together.

Strength And Experience

Barack Obama has the strength to bring America together and the experience to lead that America in a globalized world.

Let the 21st century begin. Let go the holdup.

In The News

Why Gonzales Bailed Newsweek four candidates: former deputy attorney general Larry Thompson (who would be the first African-American A.G.), former solicitor general Ted Olson, former deputy A.G. George Terwilliger, and current Solicitor General Paul Clement (the acting A.G. once Gonzales leaves).
Rising Pressure From GOP Led Senator to Quit New York Times
Barack Obama, Drawing the Big Crowds
Washington Post
For Democrats, Primary Field Gives Confidence
New York Times confident of victory in 2008. ..... “But I think Obama is good, too. It’s a flip at this point.” .... “I love the field of Democrats. This is going to be hard.” ..... a party better known for quadrennial rites of grumbling .... Again and again, voters — often unprompted — said they were concerned that Mr. Obama did not have enough experience. ...... “Hillary has the baggage from the Bill years ...... this is a confident party this fall .... a marked shift in mood for Democrats over the past year ..... Democratic voters appear as energized about this election as Republican voters are subdued, though that could change once the Republicans rally around a candidate and if Mrs. Clinton is nominated and turns out to be as polarizing a candidate as Republicans are hoping. ...... “She’s not really warm and fuzzy, so some people are put off by that and threatened by her brilliance.” ...... appears not to have erased the concern — fanned by Mrs. Clinton’s campaign with its emphasis on experience — that he might not be ready to be president.
Bill Clinton turns back clock, Hillary winds it forward
AFP Bill Clinton had a weekend campaign party like it was 1992 .... "I love not running for anything, I can say everything I want and nobody cares any more," Clinton said ...... a four-month sprint .... a folksy, self-mocking tone ...... Clinton marvelled at a 1,000 pound pumpkin ..... Casually dressed Clinton, now looking robust three years after heart surgery, serves as an unofficial chief strategist for his wife, and velvet hammer against her rivals. ........ "If you want me to say something bad about them, you might as well leave right now," he scolds, before proceeding to argue, without mentioning names that nobody but his wife is fit for the Oval Office. ....... he and his wife were forged in humble origins, in Arkansas and Illinois, and won't forget ordinary people ...... He jokes how "cool" it is being president, with a great plane, the "best public housing in America," and hearing a "song played every time you walk in a room," but warns such treatment can make a leader isolated. ........ "I would do anything in my power to make her the next president, and you should too," Clinton says, whipping crowds into applause for his wife's entrance.
The political machine vs. the grass roots Los Angeles Times In California, a test of Democratic campaign tactics: Clinton chases big-name endorsements; Obama zeroes in on the little guy ..... unlike the Clinton gathering, led by a paid staffer delivering the campaign line, the Obama meeting was run by a volunteer participating in his first presidential campaign. ...... Clinton has been wrapping up the high-profile endorsements -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa -- and building a traditional, centralized campaign organization. Obama has been trying to harness the energy that has brought thousands of people to his campaign rallies. ....... The Clinton campaign has established two state headquarters, one in San Francisco and the other in L.A., and has hired seven full-time staffers. Obama has an L.A. office and four paid staffers, with another likely to be added soon. Both have fleshed out the staffs at their headquarters with a raft of volunteers. ....... The Clinton campaign has focused on high-density Democratic regions such as L.A. and the Bay Area. The Obama campaign is trying to build networks in each congressional district; most state Democratic delegates are awarded to candidates based on how well they do in each district, not statewide. So far Obama has committees in 40 of the 53 districts. ...... "Obama couldn't rack up the endorsements that Hillary can after her years in the White House or in the Senate." ..... grass-roots programs have some of the same goals as big-time endorsements." ..... two-thirds of likely Democratic voters supporting either Clinton or Obama. Clinton enjoys the clear advantage, with 49% support in an early-August Field Poll, compared with 19% for Obama ....... train 1,000 unpaid leaders statewide to oversee groups of 20 local volunteers -- the "Hillary Corps" -- to use their personal networks of relatives, friends and co-workers to identify Clinton supporters. ...... Using a software program called Voter Activation Network, the campaign plans to build a database from the information gathered by the Hillary Corps to target voters for early absentee voting -- which begins Jan. 7 -- and for follow-up efforts on primary day, Trujillo said. They hope to contact 2 million potential voters by primary day. ....... piggyback the Clinton organization on supporters' families and friendships. ..... "Most of our supporters have these big social networks," he said. "Why build something? Why not take advantage of something that exists already?" ...... grass-roots structure .... organizations that report to, but are not controlled by, Obama staffers. ...... In Palo Alto, one of the trained volunteers' first tasks is to contact the more than 400 people in the district who have told the campaign they want to help. They, in turn, will be the core of the volunteer group to contact 180,000 voters in hopes of finding more volunteers and cementing 45,000 votes for Obama -- which the congressional district committee independently set as its goal. ........ the strategy will return a sense of social movement to campaigns, offsetting the modern-marketing approach ...... Fewer than a third of those at the Clinton meeting were men; at the Obama session, men accounted for just over half. ...... "I didn't think ever in my life I would see a viable female candidate for president," said Judy Sweeney, 62 ..... Most Clinton volunteers cited specific issues -- healthcare, abortion, the Iraq war, a woman in the Oval Office -- as reasons they supported her. At the Obama session, the talk was more ethereal, about the desire to effect changes in policy and political engagement. Several cited Obama's 2004 Democratic National Convention speech.
POLL: Clinton vs. Giuliani on the Long Drive ABC News
Nepal's Tricky Transition
Wall Street Journal the friction between Nepal's political parties is also heating up. ...... tensions are rising between the Maoists and the democratic Seven Party Alliance, and within the Maoist party itself. ..... it has been a tricky transition for the battle-hardened former guerrillas ...... For the first time in Nepal's history, the elections will be on a mixed-proportional system, so traditionally marginalized ethnic groups and castes will have some representation. That all this has been achieved with little bloodshed is remarkable. ...... There has been an eruption of demands for political representation from a whole section of Nepalis who have historically been left out of the governance structure: indigenous groups, underprivileged castes and the Madhesi people of the Terai Plains along the Indian border ...... the violence in the plains could easily spiral out of control, even forcing a cancellation of elections and taking the country back to war. ....... Internal divisions within the Maoist camp are also deepening. ..... Prachanda, faces mounting pressure from radicals who blame him for "abandoning the revolution." ..... Critics say the Maoists are nervous that they will lose badly in elections, and are using these unrealistic demands to either scuttle or postpone polls. They have threatened to launch a nationwide street-based uprising starting this month unless these demands are met. The Maoists are also using their affiliated trade unions and student organizations to pressure foreign investors, local companies and media. Businessmen complain that extortion and threats are worse now than during the conflict years. ........ The prospect of unrest in the run-up to the election has everybody worried. ..... it would be easy for those who don't want elections (royalists, Madhesi militants and even Maoist hardliners) to foment trouble in the next two months. Except for the moderate leftist communists, the Unified Marxist-Leninist party, no other party has bothered to start campaigning yet. Mainstream parties are behaving as fecklessly as they always did ...... these elections are the only way Nepal can emerge from a messy transition and build on the dramatic and peaceful state transformation of the past year. A new constitution would restore democratic legitimacy and bring forth a new set of young leaders.
Iraq Tops Agenda As Congress Returns The Associated Press
Obama Proposes Ethics Reform Plan Guardian Unlimited centralizing and expanding the regulation of lobbyists to reduce the influence of special interest money in Washington. .... The change Americans crave - universal health care, new energy solutions and better economic policies for regular people - can't happen unless the system for making deals in Washington is fundamentally changed ..... I know some will say that we can't make this change, that the culture of corrosive influence in politics is too sprawling to spotlight or that the lobbyists writing our laws represent real Americans. ... That's not how I see it.'' ..... create a central database giving the public access to lobbying reports, ethics records and campaign finance filings. It would also expand lobbying disclosure rules to include lobbyists seeking government contracts and presidential pardons, and enforce congressional lobbying laws and ethics rules through an independent entity. Government contractors would be required to report money spent on lobbying and campaign contributions. ...... we will close the revolving door between public service and lobbying, ban all gifts from registered lobbyists, and end the abuse of no-bid contracts and the appointment of political cronies .... A task force on energy policy made up of big oil companies. Health care and prescription drug legislation written by industry lobbyists. No-bid contracts for Katrina recovery lobbied for by the firm that bears the name of the governor of Mississippi. No-bid contracts in Iraq for Halliburton, a company that the vice president used to run ... Obama previously vowed to prohibit political appointees who left posts in his administration from lobbying the executive branch for the remainder of his time in office. Members of an Obama administration also would not be able to work on regulations or contracts directly related to their former employers for two years..... In the Senate, Obama has supported legislation that would impose additional restrictions on lawmakers becoming lobbyists and establishes new disclosure rules for lobbyists.
Obama to reignite fireside chats
Boston Globe make the federal government more transparent, including national broadband town hall meetings -- he's calling them "21st Century Fireside Chats" -- that he says his Cabinet will hold with the American people. ..... a new centralized database of lobbying reports, congressional ethics records, and campaign finance filings available on the internet; more sunlight on lobbyists seeking government contracts and presidential pardons; and establishing a "contracts and influence" database showing what federal contractors spend on lobbying, contract details, and contractor performance. ..... "The American people want to trust in our government again -- we just need a government that will trust in us," Obama said
Oh-eight (D): Biden: Iowa or bust MSNBC how little has changed since the summer began… Despite her high unfavorable ratings, Clinton remains the Democratic front-runner, with a growing number of Democrats and pundits now convinced that she can win the whole enchilada ...... Despite his stagnant national poll numbers, Obama has the money and the excitement to give Clinton a run for her money in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. ...... Biden said. “My expectation is that I come in first, second or an indistinguishable third. To tell you the truth, if I don't, then this has been a nice exercise and I'll see you again when you come to visit Washington." ...... the financial woes of major fundraiser Sant Chatwal, an Indian American businessman who has been fighting the IRS over unpaid business taxes. Who is vetting Clinton bundlers faster: the campaign or the media? ...... Richardson wants to forgive college loans with a year of national service. "As part of your college loan structure -- in other words we'll pay them off, if you give your country one year of national service: work in a forest, clean up a forest ... work in a hospital, go in the military, go in the Peace Corps, go in Vista .... "Iowa, for good reason, for constitutional reasons, for reasons related to the Lord, should be the first caucus and primary,” Richardson said.
More oh-eight: The battle for CA MSNBC Did the DNC inadvertently help the GOP in its general election efforts to hold Florida in '08 and pick off Michigan? ..... Clinton is the political machine, and Obama is the grassroots. The Democratic machine is AWFULLY powerful in California.
The Primary Mess
Michigan will go to an open primary on January 15. South Carolina follows the 19th and New Hampshire and Iowa may slide further back ...... the DNC stripped Florida, which moved its primary to January 29, of all its delegates ..... 4 states with moderate media costs and limited size ...... If the Democratic Florida primary is boycotted or delayed for fear no one will show up, do independents decide to register and show up in the Republican primary? The threat is even more real in Michigan where voters can show up on Election Day and decide to vote in the primary of their choosing. If this happens, the voters who turn out in two key and highly competitive GOP primary elections may have a significant component of independent voters. ...... All of this primary shuffling and Howard Dean’s handiwork have once again made clear that the GOP primary winner will likely be someone with broad geographic appeal, a solid organization and plenty of money to put down multiple “bets” on states which may or may not fall his way. If you must worry about Iowa and Michigan while New Hampshire and Florida still loom large, you need a sizable war chest, large media buys and plenty of bodies on the ground. Given the possible influx of independent voters, the candidate with a sophisticated ground operation in New Hampshire and Michigan which can target voters who are registered Republican and those who are not will be in strong shape. ....... the wild world of primary leapfrog.