Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Irony is a bitter pill

John McCain has based his entire campaign for the White House on his honor, character and personal integrity.

He's accused Barack Obama of running a campaign based on empty rhetoric and platitudes.

Am I the only one who sees the irony here?

If John McCain was being accused of having a romantic relationship with a waitress, this would blow over.

But his own former staff alleges he was having a romantic relationship with a lobbyist whose clients were regulated by the Senate Committee he chaired.

The FCC has documented that he intervened with federal regulators on her client's behalf. If this was a constituent in his home state of Arizona, that would be one thing. But this was in Pittsburgh.

And it just so happens that client donated tens of thousands of dollars to his campaign.

Pundits offer various opinions, but I don't think this one is going away in the minds of voters. For one thing, Republican voters demonstrated in 2006 that they're just not going to tolerate this anymore. I also think that the mood of the entire country has shifted, and voters on whole take notice of this kind of thing. That's why Obama's campaign to "turn the page" has such strong appeal.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Hillary Clinton: She's in the Glass Business

After Clinton accused Obama of plagiarism, I couldn't resist:

From 1999 by Environmental Technology Ltd:

"We're in the Solutions Business."


"We're in the solutions business."

- Mike Overly, Hewlett-Packard, The CRM Handbook

"We're in the Solutions business."

- Giant Step Communications

Googling "We're in the solutions business" sans Clinton returns 398 citations.


Grand Old Partisan: Setting the Obama Record Straight

Earlier this week, Grand Old Partisan issued what I'm sure is to be a continued party of the Clinton-McCain attacks on Barack Obama: "Where's the beef?"

GOP charged that Obama was all talk, no action on education, health care, transportation and government reform.

Before I respond, let me offer a counter challenge to GOP: What have Hillary Clinton and John McCain ACCOMPLISHED to improve education, health care, transportation and government ethics?


- SB 19 (LAW) enacted school reforms backed by Mayor Daley

- SB 533 (law) expanded teacher training;

- SB 903 (LAW) expanded early childhood education;

- SB 1369 (LAW) created Illinois' first statewide capital needs assessment for schools;


- HB 2268 (LAW) Created the Health Care Justice Act, creating a bipartisan committee of experts to develop a universal health care plan for Illinois;

- SB 59 (LAW) created safety report cards for hospitals;

- SB 130 (LAW) Extended the children's health insurance program;

- SB 263 (LAW) HIV counselling and testing for pregnant women;

- SB 989 (LAW) expand health coverage for the developmentally disabled;

- SB 1417 (LAW) require insurance companies to cover colorectal cancer;

- SB 1418 (LAW) banned the sale of diet pill ephedra, linked to deaths in IL;

- HB 6 (LAW) expanded disaster preparedness programs to include hospitals and first responders;


- SB 1408 (LAW) Bipartisan measure to expand tranportation programs in Illinois;

- SB 46 (LAW) Extended tax credits for bio-fuels;


- SB 15 (LAW) Required videotaping of homocide interrogations;

- SB 30 (LAW) Cracked down on racial profiling by police;

- SB 1586 (LAW) Strengthened IL Open Meetings Act;

- SB 702 (LAW) Banned solicitation of state employees for campaign contributions, created the IL Inspector General's Office, and made other sweeping changes;

- SB 706 (LAW) Creates an Inspector General's office for the IL SOS to investigate corruption;

GOP uses the same-old attacks that have always been used against advocates of campaign finance reform. George Ryan used them very effectively against Glenn Poshard.

The argument goes something like this: Barack Obama says that Hillary Clinton has raised more money from lobbyists and PACs than any candidate, Democrat or Republican. But Barack Obama used to take money from lobbyists and PACs, so if Hillary Clinton is doing something wrong now, Barack Obama must have been doing something wrong then.

Well, as a State Senator, Obama did raise $93,000 in contributions of more than $1,000. The largest was $10,000 from Gold Coast philanthropist Abby O'Neil.

But he raised $379,000 from donors giving $150 to $1,000 (77%).

Given Illinois "Wild West" campaign finance laws, that's not too shabby.

Compare that to Illinois House GOP Leader Tom Cross:

Contributions of more than $1,000: $5.5 million (66%)

Contributions of $150 to $1,000: $2.2 million (33%)

Or Tom Cross' #2 man, Brent Hassert:

More than $1000: $806,000 (45%)

$150 to $1,000: $1 million (55%)

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Hillary: WELCOME to "The Solutions" Business

After having lost her voice in New Hampshire and then found it, and changing her campaign's central message about a dozen times, Hillary Clinton now claims she's in "the solutions business."

I find that a little ironic, because when it comes to public policy, Hillary Clinton is best known for two "solutions" failures: her failed health care plan from 1994 and more recently, her support for invading Iraq.

The Clintons' Presidency

In fact, the Clinton's track record on health care is pretty abysmal. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, when the Clinton's presidency began in 1993, 19.4 million Americans lacked health care coverage. By the time the Clinton presidency ended in 2000, the number of uninsured Americans had exploded to 38.7 million, nearly doubling.

On education, 1 in 4 adult Americans were functionally illiterate when the Clinton's took power, and 1 in 4 were still illiterate when they left.

On jobs, the Clinton's rammed NAFTA through Congress with the help of Republicans, costing America more than 800,000 jobs, including 25,000 jobs in Wisconsin, 45,000 jobs in Pennsylvania, 50,000 jobs in Ohio, and 72,000 jobs in Texas.

Clinton's Senate record

Clinton's record in the U.S. Senate is just as damning. On the war, she made the wrong choice, at a time when not only Barack Obama and Ted Kennedy were opposing the war, but roughly 20 million Americans. Perhaps worse, she still refuses to admit that she was wrong, continuing to blame George W. Bush and accepting no responsibility herself.

On education, Hillary Clinton supported No Child Left Behind in 2001, calling it "landmark legislation."

Overall, my chief problem is that for the past seven years, Hillary Clinton has been one of the most powerful Democrats in Washington, but she's just now getting into "the solutions business." She's had ample time to introduce and pass solutions to many of the pressing issues in this campaign. Instead, here's the most recent compilation of Hillary Clinton's legislative accomplishments I can find:

  1. Establish the Kate Mullany National Historic Site
  2. Support the goals and ideals of Better Hearing and Speech Month
  3. Recognize the Ellis Island Medal of Honor
  4. Name courthouse after Thurgood Marshall
  5. Name courthouse after James L. Watson
  6. Name post office after John A. O'Shea
  7. Designate August 7, 2003, as National Purple Heart Recognition Day
  8. Support the goals and ideals of National Purple Heart Recognition Day
  9. Honor the life and legacy of Alexander Hamilton on the bicentennial of his death
  10. Congratulate the Syracuse University Orange Men's Lacrosse Team on winning the championship.
  11. Congratulate the Le Moyne College Dolphins Men's Lacrosse Team on winning the championship
  12. Establish the 225th Anniversary of the American Revolution Commemorative Program
  13. Name post office after Sergeant Riayan A. Tejeda
  14. Honor Shirley Chisholm for her service to the nation and express condolences on her death
  15. Honor John J. Downing, Brian Fahey, and Harry Ford, firefighters who lost their lives on duty.
  16. Extend period of unemployment assistance to victims of 9/11
  17. Pay for city projects in response to 9/11
  18. Assist landmine victims in other countries
  19. Assist family caregivers in accessing affordable respite care
  20. Designate part of the National Forest System in Puerto Rico as protected in the Wilderness Preservation System
Hillary Clinton "solutions" 1-15 speak for themselves. 9/11 related measures #16 & #17 probably could have passed by themselves. That leaves Hillary Clinton having pressed for and achieved three solutions in seven years.

Again, Senator Clinton, welcome to the "solutions" business.

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

New Mexico: Results are In, Mixed Bag for Clinton

Results are in, and while Clinton edged out Obama by 2,000 votes, picking up one more delegate, there's good news for Obama.

According to CNN exit polls, Obama picked up 41% of the Latino vote under 60.

Clinton maintained a 70% to 28% lead among Latinos 60 and over.

Obama also won White voters overwhelmingly, scoring big among white voters under 45 AND over 60, while maintaining a slight edge among white voters 45-59.

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Clinton Debate Doublespeak

It's typical Clinton doublespeak for Hillary to demand a debate in Wisconsin so that voters can find out where they stand on the issues...


Sen. Clinton, if you want voters in Wisconsin to know where you stand on the issues, try campaigning there.

You can see Obama's response to Clinton's ad here.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Obama's Coattails Benefit Democrats in U.S. Senate

Congressional Quarterly identifies 24 "battleground states" in the U.S. Senate this year. Six currently held by Democrats and 18 currently held by Republicans.

The Presidential primaries have sucked so much air out of news coverage, no one is talking about the second most important political battle. At stake is whether Democrats can gain a working majority in the Senate, or whether Republicans will still have the power to play obstructionists to a Democratic president.

What really interests me is that Barack Obama has faired much better than Hillary Clinton in the 17 battleground states that have had primaries so far. Obama has won 11 of those contests, and his combined margin of victory/loss in all 17 states is + 13 percent.

Moreover, if you look at how Democrats are casting their votes in the 11 true primary states, Obama beat Clinton by more than 532,000 votes.

In those same states, there have been 1.5 million more ballots cast for Obama than McCain.

If super-delegates are trying to figure out what's best for them, what's best for the party, what's best for the causes that they believe in -- no matter what state they live in -- they need to think about what candidate is going to help them overcome the GOP filibuster in the Senate. Because if Republicans still have the filibuster in the Senate, John McCain might as well be President.

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