Presidential Campaign

Presidential Campaign

Vintage Rudy Showing His Stripes

If Rudy Giuliani has to hide out in New York City, how is his presidential campaign going to make it through the long haul? According to the New York Daily News Rudy gets followed to every campaign stop there by parents and widows of 9/11 firefighters, who hold signs that say things like "Rudy for President? Not in My Son's Name!" and "America's Night Mayor." The group, including union members and FDNY veterans, claim Giuliani failed for years to provide adequate radios to fire departments and that it cost many of their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. As Rudy slips in the back door of the events it can't look good to attendees who walk in the front.

But Rudy snapped at a voter in a New Hampshire town hall meeting this week as well. When one questioner suggested that the war on terror had led to an erosion of civil rights, Giuliani told him he had "an extremely exaggerated presentation of things and you didn't point out the other fact — and that is that we haven't been attacked, and that we've been safe." Marty Capodice, 64, said in reply, "So no rights?" And according to the Daily News, "That's hardly no rights!" was Giuliani's loud response.

The Democratic Presidential Minstrel Show

Watching the unusual and strange early Democratic presidential debate last night at my alma mater, South Carolina State University, where I was student body president for two consecutive years, it seems that MSNBC would have us believe that in 90 minutes eight candidates could tell us everything we need to know about the issues of foreign policy, domestic policy, moral striving and civility. With a few more debates to be televised, the network implies that we can find comfort in which candidate we will support.

Let me get this straight: eight candidates and hour and a half … that’s just over 10 minutes each! Obviously the questioner there was somewhat intimidated by frontrunners Clinton and Obama and allowed them to repeatedly exceed their time limits while the others were kept in check. What kind of nation are we when we base our decisions about a presidential
candidate on theater at its best and worst? Television debates are just Hollywood-style productions that showcase only personality, charisma and whatever other shallowness to which this country is endeared.

Rudy Is Right

Rudy Giuliani hit the nail on the head with his comment that if the Democrats win in 2008, we will be running up the white flag and going over to defense in the war on terror. The prompt and acerbic replies from the usually well-mannered Democratic field of candidates shows how close to the mark his barb was.

The fact is that the Democrats, led by former president Bill Clinton, have always seen terrorism as a criminal justice problem rather than a war. Unwilling to commit troops except at 35,000 feet in jet aircraft (preferably stealth), the Clinton administration and National Security Advisor Sandy Berger illustrated how risk-averse and conflict-avoiding an administration could become.

Picking Winners and Losers Tonight

Tonight America will get its first real look at the major contenders for the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. Far from being too early or irrelevant, I believe the stakes tonight are high for those at the top and bottom of the draw.

For starters, both Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) have the most to gain and the most to lose. For Clinton, long dogged by high disapproval ratings, she can utilize her time on the stage tonight to present a more likable and personable candidate than many have seen thus far. A likable Clinton will help put distance between herself and Obama as the frontrunner at this stage. Yet Clinton also runs the risk of being attacked by some of the lesser-known and lower-polling candidates — attacks that she should be careful not to respond to in a shrill manner that could reinforce negative impressions held about her. She’ll have a delicate tightrope to walk, indeed.

No Momentum for Mitt

With all his money, good looks, high-ranking Republican friends like the Bushes, and even a seemingly storybook marriage to a popular and well-liked beauty, it is still hard for Mitt Romney to stand out from — let alone pull ahead of — the bizarre 2008 GOP presidential field. It's not that everybody loves Rudy Giuliani, Sen. John McCain or any of the others. At this point there is just no momentum for Mitt.

One of the problems is Romney's lack of identity with any signature issue. He could have made it healthcare, after helping usher in a groundbreaking, bipartisan healthcare reform in Massachusetts, but he chose not to. He can't make abortion his thing, or opposing gay marriage for that matter; there are only a few primary voters who truly believe his precarious, even
if religious, conversions on both of these thorny social issues.

Dick Morris Is Wrong. Rudy Strikes Out.

A little fear-politics, a little 9/11 exploitation, from the guy whose best-bud choice for Homeland Security boss is rushing out of town, one step ahead of the sheriff, with Rudy's letter of recommendation in hand.

Sound familiar? Fear-politics? Exploitation of 9/11? A whiff of scandal? Will Rudy change his middle initial to W?

McCain has already locked up the Bush 43.5 mantle. Lot of good it's doing him. So Rudy plays the Bush 43.75 card. They never learn.

There are glorious temptations to return the low blow in kind to Rudy. But the game is early and our standards are higher than his. We will stick to the knitting.

Rudy is the guy who before 9/11 allowed the New York City communications system to fall so far behind it was a disaster on 9/11.

The Rap on Hillary Clinton

If you haven’t seen it already, I urge you to look at Washington Post columnist Colby King’s column on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s (D-N.Y.) hypocritical stance regarding the firing of shock-jock Don Imus.

Clinton, you’ll recall, helped lead the charge against Don Imus for his deplorable and now-infamous remarks regarding the Rutgers women’s basketball team. I didn’t like Imus’s comments and I thought they were racist and indefensible. What I didn’t realize, as Mr. King points out, is that Mrs. Clinton raised more than $800,000 at the home of a rapper called Timbaland — a fellow who makes Imus’s comments look like child’s play.

As I read Mr. King’s column I realized that Timbaland’s vile lyrics are just the type of negative and destructive words that perpetuate an image of African-Americans as violent, poor drug dealers who regard human life and the status of women in low regard. Consider the following that Timbaland has to offer — I’m quoting directly from King’s column from the Post this past Saturday:

A Tale of Three Polls

I am not making this up.

On April 18, Dick Morris and other Hillary critics played up the results of the Gallup Poll (conducted April 13-15), which showed Hillary Clinton's margin over Barack Obama reduced significantly from February to mid-April (from 19 percent to 5 percent).

Then just a day later, on April 19, two additional credible national polls of Democrats and independent–leaning Democrats were conducted — by the Washington Post/ABC and Fox News (the latter certainly not a hotbed of liberal, pro-Hillary bias). The results were the reverse of Gallup's — Sen. Clinton showing some gains or at least holding her own since February and Sen. Obama appearing to plateau, despite a great two months with the successful trip to Selma and the impressive fundraising results in the first quarter. (Interestingly, the Post/ABC poll also showed Sen. Clinton once again ahead of Sen. Obama among African-Americans, by a margin of 43 percent to 34 percent, a reversal of Obama's lead in some polls shortly after the Selma trip.)

The Straight Talk Express — Back on Track?

Yesterday the ghost of Sen. John McCain's 2000 presidential campaign stopped by for a visit at the 2008 candidate's speech to the Memphis Economic Club. He sounded the theme of reform that brought McCain national prominence, as he criticized the Republicans who ran the Congress for spending too much and took a slap at the administration for failing  the victims of Hurricane Katrina. "My goodness, when disaster strikes, the government isn't even ready to deliver drinking water to dehydrated babies or rescue the aged and infirm trapped in a hospital wth no electricity," he said.

The Big Three

Will someone tell me what in the heck the top three Republican presidential candidates are up to? They look like the Three Stooges.

Mitt Romney's issue positions have melted away faster that a popsicle on a hot summer sidewalk. He has done 180s on a woman's right to choose, gay rights, gun control and now his signature legislation in Massachusetts, healthcare. His latest issue-melt was to say he had really very little to do with the legislation. Please. This isn't just about flip-flopping — it's about whether he actually believes in anything at all. By the time this campaign is over, will he have any integrity left?