Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

The Problem With Being Married to Bill

So far, it’s all been good for Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) in her race for the White House — or the Restoration, as it has been called. She leads in every poll and it’s due primarily to her service as first lady in the White House of her husband, the 42nd president, Bill Clinton. He has bequeathed to her his popularity in the Democratic Party, visibility, experience with national issues, gobs of money and endorsements and a team of experienced operatives who know how to run presidential campaigns.

But for the first time this week, we have seen the potential downside of this alliance. At a time when all Democrats are either outraged over or chortling about the Libby pardon, Mrs. Clinton has found out all too well about the less desirable aspects of being inextricably tied to her husband. 

Gingrich’s ideas bold and refreshing — perhaps too much so to get implemented

I want to issue a warning in case Newt Gingrich gets in the race for president: I find the guy infinitely fascinating. As you all know, the Newtster is gearing up for some big September announcement about running or not running, but he is currently paying scientific attention to the Fred factor and just how much the Thompson candidacy is shaking up the race. More on that later. ...

In today’s Washington Post Gingrich penned an editorial that distinguishes him from the rest of the field with the exception, perhaps, of Sen. John McCain. In it he argues that his party must ask more of itself and more of voters, and that the next president must truly dismantle the dominance of interest groups strangling our government. In his piece Gingrich refers to the success of his latest hero, Nicolas Sarkozy, president of France. The truth is so much better than fiction — after France became a Republican punching bag Gingrich is now preoccupied with a new French president. If this is the third time I have seen him talking about Sarkozy he must speak of him often. Gingrich says, “Sarkozy had the courage to campaign on the theme that the French will have to work harder.” Gingrich criticizes American politicians for losing the will to change or at best being “hostage to advisors who don’t have the will to change.”

Mom, Pop and Apple Pieowa

Hillary and Bill and Mitt and Ann. Omigod: Talk about a meeting of the platitudinous TITANS! There they were, "Spouse of" Bill Clinton, showing he still has that ability to talk while biting his lower lip, and Mitt Romney, with wife, showing he can move his lips and say very little. Meanwhile, candidate Hillary as usual was no slouch either with the cliches, both in the chance encounter with the Romneys and everywhere else.

Oh yeah, she has a new slogan: "Ready for change, ready to lead." I think that replaces "More taste, less filling."

For the most part, the candidates were serving up that native dish in Iowa: white bread. It was almost refreshing to hear also-running Joe Biden show his dark side by calling the president of the United States "brain dead." 

McCain's Sad Decline

Folks, I hate to say it, because I like him personally, but John McCain is close to being toast. His campaign has underperformed on the fundraising front and overspent beyond the level of incompetence. Excuse me, but spending $22,000,000 of $24,000,000 in the
first six months before a vote has been cast, a TV ad aired, or a straw poll taken? Absurd.

His only chance is to totally retool, fire his financial managers, and go back to the "Straight Talk Express." He will have to barnstorm Iowa and New Hampshire and get back to a grassroots campaign. Leave the Senate behind and REALLY run for President.

He now has a scarlet letter I tattooed on his forehead, standing, of course, for "Immigration." The right wing of the Republican Party won't let him forget it from now until January 2008. Can he turn that into a "Profile of Courage," or will it be a profile of disaster in this Republican Party?

Right now, unless there is radical surgery to the McCain campaign, I would doubt he makes it until the fall. Sad. We probably could use his voice speaking out to add some sanity to this crowd of off-the-wall, pandering Republican candidates.

Obama, Gore and More: The Progressive Grass Roots Are Exploding With People and Cash!

The great class of Washington insiders, pundits and commentators are shocked! Predicting yesterday's news as usual, they are astounded and amazed by Obama's cash hoard and the people power behind his campaign.

The new power players in American politics are "we the people." In Frank Capra's great film they were the John Does and Jane Does. Among the intelligensia of the pundit class they are maligned as "lefty bloggers," "the anti-war left" or "the rage vote."

What total baloney. They are, we are, "we the people."

Obama's Clean Cash, Hillary's Dirty Dollars

Obama did not take PAC money. Hillary did. Obama had 250,000 donors. Hillary had 60,000. We had the ideal test of a candidate drawing on a smaller number of donors and relying more heavily on special interest PACs and one who drew from a larger number and refused special interest PAC money. The candidate who financed his campaign with lots of smaller donors raised $10 million more for the primary! A show of force that should do more for campaign finance reform than any piece of legislation ever could.

Obama's Struggles

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has surpassed Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) at fundraising, raking in an astounding $32.5 million-plus. Just amazing!

As last week’s third Democratic debate once again revealed, Barack Obama’s attempt to avoid sounding divisive and "politics as usual" has mostly backfired. While Obama often sounds like a college philosophy professor during these debates, Hillary and others have excelled by making their viewpoints short, to the point, and with emphasis.

With last week’s third debate at Howard University, the focus was upon issues particularly important to minority communities. As the first black American with a realistic chance of winning the presidency, Obama should have taken the opportunity to dominate the debate. But the loud applause he received when first appearing on stage was by far the loudest ovation he would get the whole night. 

Seamus (That's the Dog)

Thank goodness there’s no YouTube video of Mitt Romney’s dog strapped to the car, or his candidacy might be over.

Under the title “Things I Shouldn’t Admit Publicly” is the fact that when I first heard the story about the Romney family dog taking a road trip on the roof of the family station wagon, I was amused. It sounds like something that might have happened in the small rural town where I grew up — a town I’m sure Bill Press, who expressed his outrage at Romney’s animal recklessness in an earlier post, would never set foot in.

Adding to the hype, PETA — that obnoxiously self-righteous, militant animal rights group that goes around harassing school children by telling them, “Eat veggies, not your friends” — has weighed in with their response to the Clark Griswold-like story of one Massachusetts family’s vacation in 1983. There is probably no organization more out of the mainstream than PETA. 

Mitt Romney’s Cruelty to His Dog

OK, it may not be the biggest story of the day. But it’s the biggest story to me.

And it may not decide the 2008 election. But it should.

I’m talking about Mitt Romney’s unbelievable cruelty to his dog, as reported by the Boston Globe.

Back in 1983, going off on a family vacation, Mitt loaded his wife and kids in the car, then put the family dog — an Irish setter named Seamus — in a dog carrier on top of the car, and drove from Boston to Ontario, a 12-hour drive, with the dog on top of the car, whipped by the wind and noise, scared to death and crapping all over the place.

What the hell was he thinking? And what were his kids thinking?

In Praise of the Hard Road

If we all had to wager, success in Iraq and passage of immigration reform are unlikely, and so is the nomination of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who has staked his political career on both. In the past few months McCain has been practically left for dead by political observers for his disappointing poll numbers, disappointing fundraising in the first quarter and the expectation that his disappointing numbers in the second quarter will depress his remaining supporters and doom his chances for good in this race.

McCain is getting pummeled on immigration, but refuses to back down, and the Washington Post reports he has even canceled fundraisers to vote on immigration when politically he undoubtedly needs those dollars more than his legislative integrity. McCain has not said anything different on Iraq than his rivals in the primary contest — they all supported the surge and opposed withdrawal, and none have parted ways with President Bush yet on the war. Yes, McCain invited ridicule by spooking himself into saying he was safe in Baghdad, but he has sat where he stood on the hot-button issues: immigration reform, campaign finance reform and abortion. Rudy Giuliani, Fred Thompson and Mitt Romney will continue to have some fudging to explain.