Friday, March 28, 2008

The Al Gore Option

DKos diary, 3/28/08

Time this week presents a perspective from Joe Klein titled Is Al Gore the Answer. Three things: A. It looks today like Obama has it; B. It looks like Elvis will not (cannot) leave the building so maybe Obama doesn’t have it; C. It looks like one of those times in history when the Trickster is at hand and anything can (will) happen. In this environment Klein brings in a more or less classic scenario: A brokered convention in which a third individual appealing to all to some degree is bought in and in this case that could be (should be) Al Gore.

Klein writes:

Let's say the elders of the Democratic Party decide, when the primaries end, that neither Obama nor Clinton is viable. ... All they'd have to do would be to convince a significant fraction of their super delegate friends, maybe fewer than 100, to announce that they were taking a pass on the first ballot at the Denver convention, which would deny the 2,025 votes necessary to Obama or Clinton. What if they then approached Gore and asked him to be the nominee, for the good of the party-and suggested that he take Obama as his running mate? ... A prominent fund raiser told me, 'Gore-Obama is the ticket a lot of people wanted in the first place.

I think it was Emerson (or maybe Kerouac) who said that people don’t make history; historic events make people. The question we might ask ourselves at this moment is: What is the critical issue of our time? The war in Iraq? Oil? The declining dollar and the failing economy? China and India rising? Unification of the country and the crisis of authority in Washington, D.C.? Russian bombers circling Alaska? In that regard Gore might be considered. His name is singularly attached to the issue of global warming and if this becomes the paramount issue, he comes to the fore with it.

What is interesting about Gore in the current political climate is that as a Clinton Administration guy, he, almost alone among the rising fourth generation, has cache. His popularity transcends his own generation. His ratings at Daily Kos last year were sky high – somewhere in the 80% approval if I recall, while Senator Clinton’s hovered around zero. So he could, as Klein says, appeal to the broad spectrum.

But the issues should (and will) bring forth the best candidate to solve that particular problem. And one more fire season across the Southwest may bring us to the issue of supreme importance, global warming.

I feel that we are still in denial on this issue. We bring forth simple or inappropriate solutions like the "caretaker of the earth" one based on a Bible teaching (which is actually about investing money). But we are symbiotes with the earth and the earth cares for us. Or we rush into wrong directions like biofuel which makes things worse.

It is still snowing this morning outside my window here in the north country of New Hampshire and we tend to think about it more when it is hot. Perhaps we will need a Pearl Harbor to finally face up to this issue. Mark Lynas’s new book, Six Degrees, Our Future on Hotter Planet, presents a picture that is now not unlikely. It brings a vision of danger that sends all of history’s villains into shadow. But here there is not Hitler, no Stalin. Here it is Pogo’s maxim: We have found the villain and he is us.

As The Guardian’s review, titled Six Steps to Hell puts it:

By the end of the century, the Earth could be more than 6C hotter than it is today, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. We know that would be bad news - but just how bad? How big a rise will it take for the Alps to melt, the oceans to die and desert to conquer Europe and the Americas?

I am one of the people who thought that Gore was not always a great Vice President. The Clinton foreign policy initiatives which he fully endorsed and advanced were dangerous and naïve. He tended to listen to novelty perspectives and pop culture mavens. But I also believe that he has grown and improved as a man and as a public figure in the last ten years and that is a remarkable and rare transition for someone his (and my) age. He has earned the title of Elder as many who claim it now have not.

I hope for an Obama Presidency. My best scenario would be a post-partisan commission to face and manage global warming chaired by Mike Bloomberg, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jodi Rell, Governor of Connecticut, who have already made major strides on this issue which have left the federal government in the dark. And a hundred years from now I’d hope the names of those commissioners be remembered as the names Eisenhower and Marshall and Roosevelt are recalled from the Second World War and its aftermath.

But a commission like this would work just as well with Al Gore at the helm as a transcendent leader.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Bill Clinton: Man Without a Country

By Bernie Quigley for The Free Market News Network on 3/22/08

From Sam Stein at The Huffington Post:

MSNBC is reporting that on the campaign trail today in Charlotte, North Carolina, the former president said a general election matchup between his wife, Sen. Clinton, and Sen. John McCain would be between "two people who love this country" without "all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics."

Former Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton has applied propaganda strategies like we have not seen since the Jim Crow days, implying that Obama would be unfit to be President of the United States through innuendo, mnemonic slander and word and theme association, because he is black.

Understandably, it has been a bad week for the Clintons. The country as a whole has been through a major cultural turning due to a speech given by Barack Obama that will be remembered through the ages. Until now Obama was compared to Jack Kennedy. Now he is being compared to Lincoln. Can’t be good when the comments coming out of the mouths of Clinton apparatchiks call to mind Paulie Walnuts.

The implication now, of course, of the current slander, is that Barack Obama is not a patriot. This is Scorched Earth policy coming from the Few and the Brave: Ferraro, Ellen, Penn, James Carville and The Clinton Cult. There are three parties now: The Democrats, the Republicans and the Clintons; two parties and a personality cult.

Clinton calling on patriotism to soldiers in North Carolina is astonishing. I am a veteran and lived in the hills of North Carolina during the Clinton Presidency. If any veteran in those parts was Fond of Bill it escaped my attention. Many started carrying Glocks publicly, raising Rottweilers and joining local militia groups in direct response to Clinton's amateurish and irresponsible tenure, considering it a failure of federalism and a complete abdication of moral character.

Indeed, veterans and soldiers I knew in North Carolina hated Clinton. Many veterans considered him a coward and an expedient. During the Clinton Presidency two secession groups started; The League of the South and The New England Confederation. Both of these groups - which have now morphed into several - considered the Clinton Administration to be a complete failure of American character and decided it was time to move on. The red state/blue state division - civil war by other means - also directly returns to the character of Bill Clinton and his tenure as President.

To dig back: Here in New England we tend to not be flag wavers, but there are stern standards of the traditions of duty and service which we tend to teach through the most dour of moral parables. Edward Everett Hale's Man Without a Country pushed upon us round the seventh grade in rural Rhode Island public school comes to mind. It is the moral lesson of a man who was less than patriotic and responsive to duty as the elders determined, and who was, like Bush, Cheney and Clinton, condemned to a life of constant overcompensating or under compensating. That is, when he was asked to cross the first river as his life opened he did not. And was condemned subsequently to wander as if in a fog in his elder years and remain there throughout, exiled and alone as a ship at sea, an aging Child of God lost in his own head.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Is Hillary Running for Vice President?: Orlando Patterson - Black man on the phone

by Bernie Quigley for The Free Market News Network

Bill Clinton and his Decepticons are now actually running plaintiff wife Hillary for Vice President on an Obama ticket. They can feel it is up for them and Obama will eventually take it. So the chant this week of Unstoppable is to pitch them – Hillary and Obama - as an undeniable unit; bringing them together and bringing Hillary (and Bill, don’t cha know) on a new last chance strategy; a graded 12 year ride – Hillary as VP in ’08, and President in ’12 and ‘16.

It is, of course, absurd that Hillary, running second, would actually call on Obama for VP as she has been saying she would recently. The Clintons have been claiming all these weeks before that Obama is inadequate and suggesting through nuance, as Harvard’s Orlando Patterson says on the op-ed pages of the NYTs this morning, that he is inadequate because he is black. These mnemonic devises amplify and fix in the press as they are inherently propaganda stratigies and are devised and intended to. Clinton here gives the impression that she would without a doubt now select Obama for VP just as she is failing, so that when the tide changes – and it already has – they will still have survivable options: under these radically new, undesirable and unanticipated circumstances Obama should certainly take her as VP as she certainly would undoubtedly have taken him. As a last resort they – Bill, Penn, the Carville Cartel - will send Hillary aboard as VP. As a propaganda strategy it is less slick, less subtle than what usually comes out of Madison Avenue, say, during Super Bowl. It is more akin to what came out of the Soviet Union during the 1950s.

The Clintons are now holding on with their fingernails. Their shills have descended to a quite course application of propaganda; coercing, intimating and intimidating. There are now three parties: The Republicans, the Democrats and the Clintons. Client 9 will again cast the Clintons in shadow and what Spitzer does will reflect on the Democrats as a whole and our country as a whole. And it will contrast with the Clintons in the White House and where they brought us in that ignominious time when Bill was unapologetically tapping the undergraduates. Client 9 further unravels the Clinton Party as its generational apologists who have again and again supported Clinton as Avatar and made the Democratic Party defenders of the indefensible (did somebody say Marc Rich?) are fast coming out of denial.

But this is the Elvis curse. Elvis refuses to leave the building and is an embarrassment to himself and to all of us late in his life. I expect to see Bill in the god suit next; fat, sweating like a pig and drugged, crooning sadly to dead enders in a Las Vegas casino.

Professor Patterson’s perceptive and thoughtful op-ed in today’s NYTs, Red Phone in Black and White, makes the point that Clinton insinuates in the 3 am TV ad, which shows a little white girl frightened in the night, that the girl is afraid because a black man would be answering the phone. He writes:

I have spent my life studying the pictures and symbols of racism and slavery, and when I saw the Clinton ad’s central image — innocent sleeping children and a mother in the middle of the night at risk of mortal danger — it brought to my mind scenes from the past. I couldn’t help but think of D. W. Griffith’s "Birth of a Nation," the racist movie epic that helped revive the Ku Klux Klan, with its portrayal of black men lurking in the bushes around white society. The danger implicit in the phone ad — as I see it — is that the person answering the phone might be a black man, someone who could not be trusted to protect us from this threat.

It is interesting that in the comment section of that article several people referred to a "Bogie Man" which, where I grew up in Rhode Island in the 50s, meant a black man. Another commentator suggested that Bill Clinton suggesting someone coming "in the night" to take the election from Hillary was a draw on racist attitudes in a racially polarized state.

Good points. There was indeed something sick and twisted in the clip – an insidious threat; Red Threat or Yellow Peril or H. Rap Brown threatening to burn down the neighborhood: We built it and we're gonna burn it down. Honkies and all.

But for some reason I started thinking about the Odessa Steps sequence in Sergei Eisenstein's Battleship Potemkin, a classic propaganda film from the 1930s. It was suggested by the tightness of the close up and the coarseness of the heavy-handed telling and the overt propaganda in these early silent films.

Clinton & Co. have adopted language and strategy reminiscent of Soviet-era propaganda: Deceive forcefully and the faithful will reinforce. Her claim last week that her time as First Lady gave her experience in foreign policy was in itself enough to gag a horse, but making such an absurd statement with a bunch of Admirals and army guys at her side was reminiscent of the old Politburo propaganda forums which always had puffy-chested Generals standing by with long faces and long rows of medals to accompany Khrushchev's ridiculous pronouncements.

All I could think about was Mrs. Khrushchev. It sounded ridiculous to anyone not in the cult.