Sunday, January 21, 2007

More Democratic Candidates

Hillary Rodham ClintonThe Democratic field grows larger by the day. As has been widely predicted for several years, New York's junior Senator and the first First lady ever to serve in Congress, Hillary Rodham Clinton, has launched an exploratory committee to run for the presidency. As she states it, she "in it to win it," but then anything less would be out of character. Democratic hack Terry McAuliffe--who as head of the DNC presided over years of electoral losses before ceding the post to Howard Dean, who helped to engineer this past fall's electoral comeback--has already begun suggesting that her campaign will be Thatcherian in nature--Lord help us! Nevertheless, I'm excited by the possibility of her history-making run and possible win, because by every conceivable measure Hillary Clinton and the constellation of politicians, policy makers and administrators around her would leave a positive legacy, even with the (remnants?) of the Iraq War overshadowing at least her first few years. Yet I'm also concerned that were she to win, we'd experience a return domestically of the previous Clinton administration's DLC-tinged rhetoric, small-bore policies and triage politics that effectively constituted one of the more successful moderate conservative administrations in the last 50 years. After 8 years of Bushism, a more radical course of action is necessary. Overall, I find the prospect of a forthcoming Clinton campaign very exciting, and am eager to hear her goals for getting out of Iraq and for her governance, and witness how she deals with the expected attacks and outrageousness coming from the media, the right, and even some in her party. Whitewater, for which she and her husband were fully exonerated was, I'll never forget, a creature nurtured and propelled primarily--at least in its early stages--by the "mainstream media."

Bill RicharsonIn addition, today New Mexico's governor and former Congressperson, Clinton administration Energy Secretary and US Ambassador to the UN Bill Richardson announced he'll run for president as well. I view Richardson, who'd become the first Latino president of the US, as one of the less likely primary winners, but given the crowded field and his moderate-to-progressive stances, his victory in the primaries isn't inconceivable. Two landslide gubernatorial wins in 2002 and 2006 point to a strong, effective and popular campaigner, his successful infrastructure initiatives show that he can push through efficacious policies, and his brokering of the cease-fire in Darfur indicate that even as a governor, he not only has an interest in international affairs, but hasn't lost his diplomatic skills. I'm particularly interested to hear his views on how to extricate ourselves from the debacle in Iraq (and the unfolding, preventable one in Afghanistan) and rebuild our ties to allies, as well as improve our international standing, especially in the Muslim world. As with Clinton and Obama, I'm excited that he's in the race, and can't wait to see how it all unfolds over the next two years.

Speaking of Democratic candidates and the expected media attacks (that keep coming), Fox News has launched its own, ignorance-laden smear against Barack Obama. As I said a few posts ago, it'll only get worse.

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The other day, Raw Story provided a link to one of the strangest and most disturbing stories in recent memory; yet I could also see this as a Todd Solondz movie. (Just so long as Bruce LaBruce or Gaspar Noe doesn't get ahold of it first.)

On a different continent, extremists in Nigeria, who seem to be endlessly focused on everything but the real problems facing that country, are agitating to ban anything and everything gay....

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Two coaches made NFL and US sports history today: Lovie Smith led the Chicago Bears to the NFC Championship over the New Orleans Saints, while Tony Dungy coached the Indianapolis Colts to the AFC Championship over the New England Patriots, thus each becoming the first African-American coaches ever to take teams to the Super Bowl, and just as historically, at the same time!

The Bears defeated the league's Cinderella team on a superb ground game by running back Thomas Jones and their game-transforming defensive unit, to finish 39-14, while the Colts roared back from a 21-6 deficit under the steady arm of star quarterback Peyton Manning, and sent the Patriots packing 38-34.

The wins are a great vindication for both Smith and Dungy; the soft-spoken Smith is the lowest-paid head coach in the NFL and is in the final year of a 4-year contract, while Dungy, who weathered the suicide of his son last year, was fired from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers despite leading them to the conference championship in 1999, and nearly won the conference championship in 2003 with Indianapolis.

Congratulations to both teams, and, pace St. Louis Rams, GO CHICAGO BEARS!

3 comments:

  1. I sometimes wish pundits were not quite so predictable. Although I have been expecting it for months, Debra Dickerson's "Obama isn't black" article is still a huge disappointment. http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2007/01/22/obama/index.html

    Fascinating to read, though, in terms of the discussion on blackness in Brazil and generally.

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  2. I share your feelings about Hillary. The historic implications of her run are breathtaking. It's like we all saw it coming, even as far back as 1992, and now it's actually here.

    Hillary as Thatcher? That would be interesting. She will have quite a time trying to appear both warm and approachable enough to appease the soccer moms, and tough and aggressive enough to convince people she can run the military. I see that more for Condi, the Thatcher persona.

    I wonder if the Clintons will keep Howard Dean up at the DNC? The reports I have read seem to suggest they are unhappy with him. And I know I'm bad for thinking this, but I'm really intrigued with the prospect of Harold Ford being in line to run the DLC. I know he's kind of conservative, or more centrist than I would like, but he appears to be a shrewd politician and Clintonesque. Can you imagine if he had won TN? I was thinking that if Hillary won, or even Obama for that matter, Ford could possibly get a Cabinet position. But it seems as if he will take on the DLC.

    And who will replace Hillary in the Senate? I think it was in the Times I read that there would be a lot of pressure on Spitzer to appoint an African-American for her seat if she were to resign after winning the Presidency.

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  3. Keguro, the Washington Post had previously published a piece along the same lines about Obama's lack of racial and ethnic (since that's really what's at stake as well, not only his Blackness in general, but his African-Americanness) authenticity, so I'm actually surprised it took Dickerson so long. Given her politics and ideology, her comments don't surprise me at all, though I do see she's initiated a firestorm of responses. Good. Let people continue this line of rhetoric; I don't think Obama will have much probably attracting African-American voters in the long run, as his races in Illinois showed. (And Chicago's 37% Black population primarily consists of descendants of up-South [Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana] Black folks, as well as immigrants from East (Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, etc.) and West Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, etc.)

    Charles, going backwards first, I'd imagine the leading candidate to replace Hillary Clinton in the Senate would either be a Kennedy or a Cuomo. Since Andrew Cuomo just took office with Eliot Spitzer, I imagine RFK Jr. would be the prime choice. Spitzer would probably have to negotiate something with him if he were to appoint either a Black or Latino candidate, but I imagine he'd figure out a way to placate the Democratic constituencies. Corzine's move with Menendez was brilliant, because it's clear Frank Lautenberg is not going to be hanging around the Senate much longer despite his seniority; his approval is abysmal (although I'm not sure why--poor constituent services?), and if he were to step down sooner rather than later, Corzine could then appoint Nia Gill, allowing him to yet again make state history. Don't think he's not considering it.

    Harold Ford Jr. is now running the DLC, and I'm sure he's more palatable to the Clinton(ista)s than Dean, despite the fact that he, far more than Emanuel, presided over the Democrats' electoral success in November. Ideologically Dean was much closer to the two Clintons, but he's moved farther left over the last four years, and I imagine that HRC is still convinced that the country's ideological mood is closer to what it was in 1992 than what it really is today. I'd think it'd be clear that when states like Montana, Missouri, and Virginia elect Democrats to the Senate and Kentucky seats a determined progressive like John Yarmuth HRC would realize the shift that's occurred, but it appears she's so cautious and convinced that her constituencies in NY State are skewed to the left that she can't see the forest for the trees.

    I primarily supported Ford Jr. because despite some of his really right-wing rhetoric ("I love George Bush"!) I thought he'd be a better replacement than Corker, but he is far to the right of nearly every other Black candidate who's run for a Southern Senate seat. I'm thinking primarily of Harvey Gantt and Ron Kirk, but also of Erik Fleming, the LaRouchite Democrat who faced Trent Lott this past election. Perhaps he is about as progressive as a statewide Tennessee candidate can get, but I'm not convinced. If HRC wins, he'll very likely get some high-profile position, as you suggest, and the media will engage in a lovefest.

    HRC has the Thatcher woman's self-control, that's clear. Whether she can, as you mention, convince the soccer moms is another issue. The interesting thing is that single women, especially single White women, tend to vote overwhelming (I think Kerry had a +25% margin) for Democratic candidates, and their numbers are increasing, but I wonder how well HRC will appeal to this voting bloc. I think she and Obama also need to start speaking some Spanish, and quickly. Porque sin el voto latino, no lo consiguen nada.

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