Archive for the politics Category

Samantha Power: Committed Advocate for Human Rights vs. Hillary Clinton: Committed Advocate for…Hillary Clinton

Posted in books, politics on 8 March 08 by mikevc

As everyone knows, Samantha Power recently resigned from her role as foreign policy adviser to Obama after calling Hillary a “monster”. What folks may not (but definitely should) know is that Ms. Power is a very well respected expert on human rights and a Pulitzer Prize-winner who wrote one of the most important books of the past decade: A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide.
While she did the noble thing (for the campaign) in resigning, I think–given her intellectual and academic background–it is worthwhile to look at her comment not as an attack but as an honest assessment (read non-political) of the Clinton campaign that slipped out in an unguarded moment. It just really upsets me that most folks will just read her name in passing and not probe deeper to discover the amazing humanitarian work she has done.

Ever since I read her book I have had tremendous respect for Power and how she fearlessly and passionately speaks her mind and argues for what is right. I think this comment, though admittedly ill-advised, speaks to that aspect of her character. It must be hard for someone who feels passionately about what is right to play the political game. Politics requires saying what people want to hear, which quite often is in conflict with what needs to be said. It was not a “personal attack”, it was instead an “off the record?” and honest assessment of a calculating politician who has placed her desire for a political office before all else–and, as Ms. Clinton herself and others have shown, honesty has very little place in a political campaign.

Though this may be a setback in her political career, I am sure Ms. Power will continue to fight and advocate for human rights and will continue to make the world a better place. It is a shame she has left the Obama team, the nation and the world could have used someone with her passion for basic human rights in a high cabinet position. The very fact that someone of her character was a part of the Obama team is just one more reason for me to support Obama.

Oh, and read her new book on Sergio Vierra de Mello . I have it on hold and can’t wait until the library gets it in.

Texas Two-Step: Not Hillary’s Dance?

Posted in politics on 2 March 08 by mikevc

So, by now, everyone knows about Texas’ bizzare two-step primary process. In essence, Texas’s nominating process starts with a primary where 126 delegate votes are at stake, and continues that same day with local caucuses that eventually will allocate an additional 67 delegates. These caucuses convene 15 minutes after the polls close and are open to anyone who voted in the Dem primary. In the past, this system has received little press. Now, however, with our state bound to play an integral role in selecting the Dem candidate, all the news outlets are covering this.

Now the interesting thing about this process is that everyone within politics knows about it. However, the increasingly desperate Clinton campaign is challenging the process. Keep in mind this process was in place in ’92 and ’96 when Bill C. was running. Not only this, apparently Hilary is talking about seeking to seat the delegates from Florida and Michigan; this despite the fact she signed a pledge with the DNC and all Democractic candidates to not campaign there–and as a result her name was the only name on the Michigan ballot. Funny how both of these were non-issues until it looks like she won’t win the nomination.

Don’t even get me started on the superdelegates. If she legitimately wins the nomination because the people of the party select her, I may vote for her. However, if she resorts to underhanded procedures to circumvent the will of the people, I doubt I could bring myself to vote for her. Even these tactics and the challenges in Nevada lead me to believe she and her campaign could give a damn about what the people want–unless it is to elect her.

Never in my life did I think I would say this but it seems that the Republicans have a far  fairer process for selecting their nominee than do the Dems.

One More Reason to Vote for Obama

Posted in politics, rambling on 2 March 08 by mikevc

This pathetic fear-mongering campaign ad is as disgusting as the one the House Republicans did a few weeks back on the Protect America Act. I hardly need to point out the irony of the candidate who voted against the Iraq War is being attacked by the candidate who voted to allow Bush to lead us into the quagmire in Iraq and all the results of that decision.

While not as laughable and embarrassing as the silly “change you can Xerox comment” (btw, I was never so proud of my alma mater as when the entire crowd at UT booed her on this comment) or the recent release of the picture of Obama in African garb released to The Drudge Report by the Clinton campaign (allegedly–but alleged by Matt Drudge), this disgusting ad is further indication that the Clinton team is getting desperate. The fact is that all their plans were based on having the nomination secured after Super Tuesday. The campaign has been flailing since February 5th did not go as planned.

Super Tuesday!!

Posted in politics on 4 February 08 by mikevc

I am so very excited about Super Tuesday.  Though I am following the Democratic side closely and leaning toward Obama, I find myself enthralled by what is happening with the Republicans.  I just love that John McCain, with all his decency, moderation, and reasonableness, is gaining steam over those who appeal to  the alleged “conservatives”.  I cannot tell you the joy it will bring me to listen to Rush and Hannity and their sad ilk react to a big McCain win.  I heard that Anne Coulter has even said she will vote for Hillary if McCain and her are the nominees.  Oh what fun!!!   Can it be that America–and even Republicans–are finally coming to their senses after one of the most embarrassing administrations our country has ever seen?  I do hope so.  I hope that five or ten years from now “conservative” will have all the negative connotations that “liberal” has unfortunately had for too long.

Posted by a proud liberal.

Blogger & Journalist: Is There a Difference?

Posted in blogs, politics on 27 June 07 by mikevc

One of the programs I attended at ALA was on the reliability of blogs as sources, political and otherwise. One of the featured speakers was Jason Zengerle from The New Republic. He pointed out a difference between most bloggers and journalists; his comments focused on liberal bloggers and liberal journalists. He opined that journalists, even those who work for left-leaning publications (print and electronic) remain committed to objectivity and reporting the facts accurately. In comparison, bloggers are not so much about presenting the truth as winning people over to their side of an argument; he compared their goal as similar to a campaign.

As an example, he used the instance of Harry Reid talking on a conference call with liberal bloggers. After the call, The Politico’s John Bresnahan wrote a story that Reid called General Pace incompetent. When called upon to collaborate this comment, all of the liberal bloggers claimed the comment was not made or they did not remember it. Reid himself denied the comment. A few days later a tape of the call was produced proving that Reid did say Pace was incompetent. Here is the quote:

“Well, I guess the President, he’s gotten rid of Pace because he could not get confirmed here in the Senate. Pace is also a yes-man for the President. I told him to his face, I laid it out last time he came in to see me. I told him what an incompetent man I thought he was.”

Slightly different than what was reported as a bold, headline worthy statement but said nonetheless. What is more disturbing is that the blogs, like the Daily Kos, who were so quick to deny the comment ran underwhelming retractions of sorts like this (again from the Daily Kos):

“Well, it seems that Reid did say Pace was incompetent. He said to Pace’s face.”

This was not run as a new post or retraction but an update appended to the bottom of the original post with the word “Update” added to the headline. I agree with many of the politics on Kos’ blog but this is the type of biased reporting (wrong word?) that throws blogs (some, all?) into question as sources.

I don’t meant to focus on this incident but I wonder if folks who read political blogs find this basis difference between bloggers and journalists hold true. I hadn’t really thought about it and had read liberal bloggers with a fairly blind eye and conservative bloggers with doubt. I found this presentation eye-opening. Opinions?

Shift on over to the Left!

Posted in politics, pompousity on my part, rants on 26 April 07 by mikevc

Four years ago at this time, I was mad excited about the upcoming presidential election and extremely interested in the Dems chances for getting rid of W.  Now, I feel an unfortunate apathy toward the candidates. I am not sure why.  I still see the importance of replacing the existing administration.  I guess I am just worried about what comes next.
I worry that the Dems have gone a bit too centrist on us since Bill Clinton’s success.  In the words of Ad-Rock (who I find myself quoting far too often): “We need a little shift on over towards the left.”  I have some hope for John Edwards if his populist, Truman-esque campaigning can be believed.  For those who criticise him for his $400 haircuts, I would say: “You are right, I mean look at FDR.  The only thing he cared about was his wealthy cronies.  And look at the mess he got us in.”  (That is sarcasm by the way).
I am sure when it gets closer to the election, I will be a bit more excited.  Though I am a true political junkie, elections generally depress me.  The main reason for this is the state I live in.  Though I love Texas, I am a bit fed up w/ the conservative political nature of this state.  I often think of relocating to a more liberal state but I love TX and the cost of living in Houston can’t be beat.  I at times think I want a return to the populist, Dem-dominated days in Texas.   I say that, but I don’t really mean it, many of those Dems were mean and bitter racists.  After-all, as soon as LBJ signed the Voting Rights Bill of 1965, he correctly observed: ” I’ve just handed the South to the Republicans for fifty years, certainly for the rest of our life time”.
Oh well,  I will end this rambling by saying  2008 at least provides hope for something better.