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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

February 5, 2008


Flowers and Daffodils

If I were standing in front of you all as a lecturer addressing a crowd today, I might as for you to venture a guess as to what the lead story is on www.whitehouse.gov, the official website of the executive branch of our federal government. Now don't you all turn on your computers and sneak-a-peek - just guess.

In a time when American soldiers are still dieing in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the American dollar falling like a stone and 47 million Americans are left without health care coverage this was the leading story on our President's website:

"President Bush Meets with 2007 NASCAR Nextel Cup Champion"
-from Whitehouse.gov

That's right boys and girls, the big story our President wants you to concentrate on Jimmy Johnson and NASCAR's Nextel Cup. As a matter of fact, the only mention of the war in Iraq on the home page of Whitehouse.gov is in tiny letters on the left hand side menu (the "In Focus" menu), and it simply says "Iraq".

So I clicked it (*Click!*).

What I got in return for the "hard work" of using my right-hand index finger in an up and down movement was a photo-op of President Photo-Op himself signing the "U.S.-Iraq Declaration of Principles for Friendship and Cooperation". In the background of this picture was a television screen with three of the Iraqi brain trust sitting at a table and the President, all alone in the foreground, signing that piece of, what the Bushies no doubt will call, "ground-breaking legislation."

"The declaration is a shared statement of intent that establishes common principles to frame the future relationship between the two countries."
-the Picture from Whitehouse.gov

What's odd about this photo-op, however, is the date it was taken - November 26, 2007. Has nothing happened in Iraq that the White House considers newsworthy in the past two-plus months? Is the "Surge" working so well that there have been no attacks on US troops causing no US military deaths there in that time? Has peace arrived for the Iraqi people? Is there now, finally, an infrastructure which keeps their air conditioning on during hot days and their lights on in their hospitals?

And if all of the above were true, has our President gone all modest on us and decided to not even say a word about it; not toot his own horn?

As the song by George strait goes:

And there's roses blooming in the Arctic Circle
Icebergs in the Gulf of Mexico
And there's not one star in Heaven
Or a sunrise every morning
I'd believe it, if she told me so

Thinking about Iraq, I've began looking at Iraq as that game I used to play as a child, Ker-Plunk, There was this foot-high clear plastic tube with little holes all around it that you put sticks through. Then you loaded up a bunch of marbles on top of the sticks (which made a barrier). You and a friend would then take turns removing the sticks, one by one, and the one with the least amount of marbles that dropped on their turns would win.

President Bush removed all of the wrong sticks in Iraq and, somehow, we got stuck with the marbles.

There was no mention of the primaries on Whitehouse.gov; nothing about Super Tuesday either. All that was there on the President's website was fluff. And this is no time for "Fluff".

I really can't wait for January 20, 2009.

-Noah Greenberg

(Follow-up: Checking the White House website tonight showed President Bush greeting the mostly Canadian- or European-born Anaheim Ducks visiting the White House some eight months after they won last year's Stanley cup. It's good to see that The President is consistent. -NG)

It Depends on What "Win" Means

It seemed a win might be a “win” within a party, but how would it stack up against the voters in the opposing party. To get a sense of this I compiled the numbers for states that have voted for both parties. I always love to find the real story in the numbers!


Democrats Republicans (Dem Winner. GOP Winner)
Alabama 530,000 550,000 (Obama/Huckabee)
Alaska 500 11,500 (Obama/Romney)
Arizona 370,000 430,000 (Clinton/McCain)
Arkansas 280,000 200,000 (Clinton/Huckabee)
California* 3,920,000 2,190,000 (Clinton/McCain)
Colorado* 119,000 56,000 (Obama/Romney)
Connecticut* 350,000 151,000 (Obama/McCain)
Delaware* 96,000 50,000 (Obama/McCain)
Georgia 1,041,000 951,000 (Obama/Huckabee)
Illinois* 1,938,000 873,000 (Obama/McCain)
Massachusetts* 1,245,000 496,000 (Clinton/Romney)
Minnesota* 202,000 61,000 (Obama/Romney)
Missouri* 820,000 585,000 (Obama/McCain)
New Jersey* 1,104,000 556,000 (Clinton/McCain)
New York* 1,717,000 601,000 (Clinton/McCain)
North Dakota* 19,000 9,000 (Obama/Romney)
Oklahoma* 401,000 329,000 (Clinton/McCain)
Tennessee* 613,000 599,000 (Clinton/Huckabee)
Utah 123,000 283,000 (Obama/Romney)
(compiled from CNN.com

To put in perspective:

Obama came in 2nd in Calif with 42% which was 1,686,517 votes whereas McCain came in 1st with 42% and 952,409 votes. What this translates into for Calif is that if McCain received 100% of the republican vote (2,190,000), any democratic contender only has to get about 67% of democratic vote (67% of 3,920,000) to win the state assuming the same voting numbers and proportions.

In NY state Obama came in 2nd for dems with 40% and 696,896 votes and McCain won 51% of rep votes with 310,084. In Illinois where Obama won big, Clinton came in 2nd with 33% or 643,352 votes and McCain in 1st with 47% and 418,005 votes. In many cases, whoever came in second on the democratic side received substantially more votes than the winner on the republican side – see starred (*) states for where this is true.

In the scheme of a general election it seems that coming in 2nd as a democrat is far better than coming in 1st as a republican. I think this proves that either Obama or Clinton can win and there is no such thing as a wasted vote in the democratic party for either of these candidates.

This tells me a lot about the potential for a dem in the White House. Only Utah, Arizona, Alaska, and Alabama had more republican votes – smaller electoral states. I don’t see how the republican party can find so many more people to vote unless there is something big I am overlooking. Whether it is Obama or Clinton I don’t see their votes crossing over to McCain especially if he selects a very conservative, evangelical-type VP like a Huckabee. And the democrats don’t appear to need any new voters to cross over.

Promises to be interesting.

-Casey Sweet

In response to "Pre-Super Tuesday", Victoria Brownworth writes:

I was saddened, but not surprised, that there was not one positive word about Hillary Clinton in your piece on Super Tuesday. It was all Obama, Obama, Obama. Any chance you would EVER address his flaws? Or are you simply incapable of seeing anything through the stars in your eyes when it comes to Obama? Not bothered by his voting record--or lack of same? Not bothered by his inability to come up with a good health care plan? Not bothered by the fact that the right loves him because they know no one has vetted him and therefore they would be wiping the floor with him if he were the nominee. The right has always feared Hillary Clinton because she's always known who they are and she doesn't back down from their assaults.

It has been shocking to me how appallingly misogynist the reporting on Hillary Clinton has been. I expect more from Madman, however.

In Florida, Clinton won by a half million votes. A half million. Without even being allowed to campaign. She came in ahead of everyone in both parties. Yet is she allowed bragging rights for that? Of course not.

The meme that Obama is bringing something "new" to politics is really pretty tired and also a bit absurd. As someone who has covered politics for major newspapers for 25 years, I have to tell you---in my reporting years Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Ross Perot (yes, Ross Perot) and Ronald Reagan all had the same impact on voters. This ain't some new phenom, kids. Howard Dean did exactly the same thing in 2004, but the DNC decided that John Kerry was a more traditional and thus "electable" candidate. John, Give 'em snores, Kerry.

Well that went well, didn't it?

Unlike so many Americans, I remember the past. And having spent most of my life as a grassroots activist, I am more compelled by people who have a history of actually doing the work, rather than saying that they will in the future. Like everyone else, I love hearing Obama speak. He's a mesmerizing speaker. But how has he spent his time in the Senate? Running for president and not voting when it counted.

My vote is for Hillary Clinton because she is the best of all the candidates running. And when you say that it isn't about gender, then ask yourself this: Could a WOMAN with the credentials of Barack Obama have risen to the national stage, even if she had the same push from Oprah and Hollywood?

Of course not. Only a man could.

Hillary Clinton has weathered a nightmarish year of assaults by the press. And she's not only survived it, but pushed forward. I'd like to see a male candidate do the same.

And Madman replies:

In previous articles I explained my displeasure with Barack Obama, even insisting that his candidacy took from John Edwards, the person I felt had the best chance of beating whichever man won the Republican nomination.

In those same articles, I explained that I could never vote for any candidate whose health care plan didn't make health care for all a mandate when another candidate's plan did. It's the main reason that my vote, my support and my endorsement has now shifted from Senator Edwards to senator Clinton.

Much like almost three-quarters of all Democrats questioned (in exit polls), I too would have no problem voting for either candidate. My preference, however, is Senator Clinton.

My work at a large Union Local in New York City has given me opportunity to speak with many supporters of Barack Obama, and they are quite vociferous in their support. My previous articles and sentiments, although fair and accurate, in my own opinion, went over like a lead balloon with these people and they had no problem telling me as much.
So, I guess if I'm angering everybody equally, I must be doing something right.

In response to, "If Hillary Clinton were to win the Democratic nomination for President this year, she would have no choice but to choose Barack Obama as her running mate, Victoria Brownworth writes:

She would have no choice? Why, because she's a woman? Because she's held to a different standard? (Oh wait--she is!) Because you said so?

It's pretty absurd to think that the millions of people who have voted for Hillary Clinton would automatically vote for Obama as if Clinton weren't their first choice. What do you base that judgment on?

Why is a losing Obama not damaged goods and Clinton is? Other than you hate her, of course? Careful, but your sexism is showing. Dramatically.

Did it occur to you that Clinton brings out the female vote and the Hispanic vote and the vote of the poor and working class and single mothers and educated women of all races? These are the millions voting for her, and guess what--they matter! And guess what? They don't give a hoot about Wesley Clark--another white guy. They are voting to get away from the white guys. Especially the military white guys. Perhaps you forgot that we lost in 2000 and 2004 with military white guys.
Wesley Clark was the Bill Clinton-supported choice in 2004. He got fewer votes than Dennis Kucinich.

Stop planning the disenfranchisement of American voters just because you hate one of the two leading candidates. Clinton captured the votes of millions because they believe she has more to offer them. Even the Obama-can-do-no-wrong pundits admit he has an empathy problem. Edwards was your candidate. If he had captured the imaginations of American voters, he'd still be in the race. Since he campaigned for the entire time between 2004 and now, it wasn't that he didn't spread his message enough. It was that people were not moved by it.

Your suggestion that half the electorate will just bow out, would imply that you also have an empathy problem. Try and remember women are 54 percent of America. African Americans are eleven percent. Do the math. Obama needs Clinton. Oprah and Caroline and Maria couldn't win him California. Maybe because many voters--two million in this case--want a woman, not women campaigning for a man.

And Madman answers:

So, let me get this straight, if I don't vote for Obama, I'm a racist. And if I don't vote for Hillary Clinton, I'm a sexist. Too bad that Joe Lieberman isn't running so I could be a self-hating Jew when I don't support him!

Set aside that Mrs. Clinton is now my first choice, I stand behind my opinion about her not be chosen by Obama for the number two seat if he wins the Democratic nomination. I feel that I explained myself on that day., but, please, feel free to re-read that article. (http://www.nationalview.org/Newsletter08/newsletter_013108.htm)

In response to, "West was permanently traumatized as well as physically scarred by the event and she is not alone. Although the attack on her was particularly extreme, the affect is the same whenever girls attack other girls. These attacks shatter the sense of comradery and safety girls generally feel with each other. Fear and mistrust can lead to other violent behaviors which potential victims might view as proactive, but which are really reactive–and dangerous, because they threaten to perpetuate a cycle of violence among girls, the trend we are beginning to see in Philadelphia and elsewhere," Rhian writes:
Girls almost never experience camaraderie, normally, the way guys experience it.

There are 'friendships' but even the closest of these will be cast away instantly over a boy, clothing selection, or betrayal by speaking to someone not approved, or any other of dozens of youngish behaviors normally seen in public education hallways and cafeterias.

Of the two genders, girls are the most violent innately. They are equipped with that to protect young by instinct. Physiologically, as a girl fights, her pulse rate and level of adrenalin increases. Minutely, levels of testosterone go up.

In the male, all the same levels go down as a fight progresses, and they tire easily.

Females, equipped for childbearing, a long, painful, exhaustive piece of work, do not tire at the same rate as males, during physical activity, when unequal sizes of the two genders are factored into an assessment based on strength per amount of activity done.

For example, a woman can lift 40 lbs and a male can lift 200 lbs with the same effort, but the woman can lift 40 lbs more times than the male can lift 200 lbs, in repetition.

Girls in our society are marginalized into sexual fantasy, induced to participate in porn (naturally uncomfortable and distasteful to females) paid less where employed (who decided that a secretary should make $10 per hour while a carpenter is paid $25??? Who decided that the job of secretary is worth so much less than the job of carpenter, when a house requires the services of both to get built?) Girls in our society are traumatized and belittled for their natural reproductive function of childbirth and the million tasks that require her time for raising the child she bears. Girls in our society are beggars in the face of acquiring a husband, where only the male may properly pursue and 'pop' the question. Girls in our society are encouraged to starve to please the eye of the male, sit in classrooms trying to learn while both male and female teachers teach to the males in the class, are cheated out of child support while errant former husbands create second families, and become more and more invisible as they age past 50.

We have it better than Arab women. We have it better than African women.

We have it better than Hispanic women, but are we to rejoice because we are not shot for leaving our headscarves home, are not victims of FGM or traded for goats, and not subjected to the notion that we are married to husbands but they are not married to us as wives, that everything is ok?

Men, territorial by nature, are terrified that the addition of females to any environment somehow takes something away from them, when in reality, the addition of females to any environment adds to the environment exponentially both in 'turf' and complexity, when female specific qualities are incorporated into the environment.

As I personally have spent my life, invading male territory to make the money I needed to support kids, after the failure of husbands to provide adequately, I have become, through adaptation to male working environment, another breed of female, based on experience. More and more I see this same thing happening to more and more women, and when the environment is violent, the adaptation of females to it, will be violent. The environment that women will adapt to, is primarily the choice of the male.

How scary females will become and in what numbers, in response to war, to domestic violence, to marginalization remains to be seen.

The shocking thing about this report, is that most females are still able to handle reasonable lives, while male priorities become by an ever increasing majority, pursuit of everything except families who live in love and happiness.

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-Noah Greenberg