S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Reflections on an emerging election process

The 2008 election process reflects good news and bad news, depending on where one stands. Reading about or watching what has happened during recent weeks would leave anyone with the distinct impression that the United States is in a huge transition. Jim VandeHei and David Paul Kuhn at (9/2/08), assert that "Palin reignites culture wars." The salient fact here is that the next president will undoubtedly make a number of appointments to the Supreme Court, potentially one of the main battle grounds in the culture wars. To quote:

The culture wars are making a sudden and unexpected encore in American politics, turning more ferocious virtually by the hour as activists on both sides of the ideological divide react to the addition of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to the Republican ticket.

The campaign of Democrat Barack Obama put up an ad in at least seven key states Tuesday lambasting GOP nominee-to-be John McCain as an enemy of abortion rights.

At the Republican convention here, former Tenn. Sen. Fred Thompson took a shot at Obama’s stand in favor of legal abortion.

The Palin choice was disturbing for a very large number of people. "Sometimes the truth hurts; McCain chose a mate with a lot of baggage#." This "Top Ten Most Disturbing Facts and Impressions of Sarah Palin#" is from AlterNet, 9/1/08. Regarding the Palin premise -- that McCain's choice for Vice-President will be divisive, many believe there is too much polarization already. Rather than uniting, either within or without the Republican party, people have split apart along ideological lines, even if many of them will not say so publicly. And it has disturbed Senator McCain as those of us who know him could have predicted:"McCain Turns Sour on His Onetime Media `Base' as Election Nears#" (via bloomberg at Yahoo! - 9/2/08). And Jonathan Martin writes illustratively at (9/3/08). It headlined: "McCain lashes out at press over Palin." To quote:

Faced with tough questions about Sarah Palin, John McCain's campaign and other Republicans are responding with a defensive crouch — lashing out at the media to deflect Palin from scrutiny and to rally a party base that has fallen hard for the conservative Alaska governor.

McCain aides, responding to questions about Palin’s qualifications to be vice president as well as her family life — including her pregnant and unwed teenage daughter — have aggressively turned the tables on the media by questioning reporters' motives and suggesting a sexist double-standard.

Turning the Palin premise to the advantage of Democrats is the thought of Ed Kilgore at The Democratic Strategist 9/2/08. He offers these resources:

  1. A strategy memo by Ed Kilgore suggesting the best way to challenge Sarah Palin.
  2. A series of six targeted messages to important voter groups regarding the selection of Palin.

Things were not looking so bad before the Republican convention started, according to's Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei in their 8/31/08 piece, "GOP sees potential redemption in Gustav" To quote:

Republican officials say their radically curtailed convention offers a big political opportunity for the party to redeem itself on the competence issue — and for John McCain to step out of President Bush’s shadow once and for all.

There's no doubt it's a bit morbid to think about (and write about) the politics of a potential natural disaster, and the thoughts — and prayers — of those gathering here are keenly focused on the Americans who face potential peril in Gustav’s path. That’s true for Republicans, Democrats and members of the media alike.

But this is a national political convention, and the potential political fallout of Gustav is a topic that was consuming Republican Party and McCain campaign officials on Sunday — one day before the official start of what had been planned as four days of festivities here.


Hurricane Gustav to the rescue#" has more on this idea. My blog friend "betmo" linked on 9/1/08 to this from AlterNet, and wrote this no-nonsense summary of the whole bizarre Republican Convention situation:

"they are praying thanks to their god" --bush and cheney skipped the convention- i think that the whole thing would have collapsed- the rnc- anyway after mccain picking palin. there were already untold numbers of important gop vips not going. these people disgust me. they jump ship when they know that they are going to lose- and they attempt to capitalize on the sufferings of others. the sad part is- they have followers who will still vote for them.

Was the USA founded as a Christian Nation? HT to contributor Jon for this very pertinent reference from bmccreations-One nation with quotes from Jefferson, Adams, and Washington. The author's argument that it was not begins, "The statement that is commonly made is that 'the United States was founded as a Christian Nation'. To examine this statement we will look at the founding documents: the Declaration of independence and the Constitution. As well as the Treaty of Tripoli and The beliefs of the Founding Fathers."

Regarding protest and the police state in Minnesota, the news about the health of the U.S. Constitution is not good. Professor Marjorie Cohn, President of the National Lawyers Guild, posted this full analysis today at Dandelion Salad: "Police State Methods: Preemptive Strikes Against Protest at the Republican National Convention." It is not clear that the Constitution is even on life support, according to Glenn Greenwald's full and updated expose of the government's involvement at Pam's House Blend (9/2/08) reported, "Donna Brazile pepper sprayed,*" and Greg Palast (on 9/1/08) headlined, "Amy Goodman arrested.*" Lindsay Beyerstein reported today at firedoglake/CampaignSilo that, "Police Gas Docile Crowd Outside the RNC." The ACLU reports, "More from the RNC."

Minneapolis and Denver -- Dr. Bruce Weinstein's e-mail asked the basic question, "Is Protest unpatriotic?" in promoting his Business Week column. Denver evidently decided that protest was a basic right during the Democratic convention. Mainstream media, however, all but ignored it."huh?" from betmo at the (8/27/08) Rocky Mountain News: by Patti Thorn. "3,000 march in largest demonstration of DNC." To quote:

Marching behind a police vehicle that flashed the words "Follow Us. Welcome to Denver." on an electronic sign, at least 3,000 Iraq war veterans and anti-war protesters made their way through downtown Denver on Wednesday during the largest demonstration of the Democratic National Convention to date.

Though the event, co-sponsored by the anti-war group Tent State University and Iraq Veterans Against the War, was unpermitted, the parade proceeded peacefully.

Regarding the election itself , a story by Paul Kiel at ProPublica (on 8/18/08), headlined "States Still Struggling With Voting Machines." Some states want to go back to more reliable methods, but may not be able to do so this year. That is bad news for everyone. To quote:

Ohio's secretary of state recently sued to recover the $83 million in state funds spent on touch-screen machines, yet the machines will nevertheless be used in November.

In 2002, Congress passed the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which allocated nearly $3 billion to the states for election administration. But eight years later, with an election fast approaching, the system is still characterized by the same panicked improvisation.

Reference: ProPublica : Decoder -- What Rules Govern Spending by Big Biz and Lobbyists at the Conventions?

The 2008 convention process reflects differently on each political party. In my very biased opinion the Democrats' convention was well run, peaceful, for the most part and served the nominees well. On the other hand, also in my biased opinion, the Republican convention is not looking successful. And Hurricane Gustav is not the main reason. That is good news for Democrats and bad news for the opposition, from where I stand. The United States is in a huge transition; dare we hope it is going to get better? It just must!

Contributor credit goes to #Jon and to *"betmo."

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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pdsa said...

In Re Gustav: Mike Pence (R-IN 6th) was hoping for big damage from Gustav so he could press for more offshore drilling. Check out this press release.

Carol Gee said...

Hi pdsa -- good to see you.
Thanks for this heads up.
When I think about all the Republican effort put into the so-called "protest," I suspect that there is a pot full of lobby money that is at stake here. But they were successful in getting Pelosi to, at least, talk about the subject. I think that is, however, probably due to Obama's flexibility, rather than her own.
"Drill, drill, drill" = the big 2008 myth, that is dangerously short-sighted. So what else is new, huh?