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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

February 7, 2008


What Romney's Departure Brings

Mitt Romney's Gone. Yeah, I know it isn't exactly news, but I didn't want to ignore it. He's gone and, like the Democratic primary, there are only two candidates left running to be continue the policies of George W. Bush. It's now up to John McCain, the (really-out-in-) front-runner for the GOP nomination, to gather the support of those who don't consider him to be a real conservative to get out their vote.

So far, the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and a host of other NeoCon lovers, have bee blasting McCain on the airwaves in an effort to get another of their ilk - another George W. Bush - into the Oval Office. Their last hope was Romney.

After Romney's Super Tuesday debacle, which saw the former Massachusetts Governor drop to third place on the GOP delegate list (behind McCain and Mike Huckabee), the man most similar to the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue had no choice but to call it quits. Much in the same way that that former front-runner Rudy Giuliani had no choice but to drop out of the race or face ridicule, Romney faced the music and did as well.

Sure, Mike Huckabee is still in the race, but he doesn't stand a chance at beating McCain. If there is another GOP debate with McCain and Huckabee standing next to each other, it will surely be a love-fest, with the former Arkansas Governor playing the Vice President card. And don't bother looking for Ron Paul to make his move to the top - he won't even be invited to that "never-gonna-happen" debate.

McCain has been attempting to move to the Right after being considered "The Maverick" for such a long time. And he has moved in that direction due to his perception that he needed to in order to secure the GOP nomination. McCain has hitched his wagon to the Bush administration after shunning them previously. Even now he has said that he wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent after voting against them twice before. And this from a man who admittedly states that the economy isn't his strong point.

NeoCons aren't pleased with McCain because they feel that they won't be able to control him the way they did President Bush. But McCain has been moving so far to the Bush position on everything, from the war in Iraq to the Bush tax give-backs to the wealthiest among us, that they don't have to worry. You would think that McCain's own self-respect would have kept him independent of his party's ultra-right side, but, in the end, he just wants to be President.

In order to appeal to those on the Religious Right, look for McCain to pick Huckabee for his running mate. The Republican Party has two bases - one that is real and one that is perceived. Today's GOP boasts that their real base is the "Haves" and "Have Mores". That "base" includes those pushing to have the inheritance tax eliminated because that tax only applies to fortunes left behind in excess of $7.8 million. Most of those fortunes had been "earned" through the lower taxable income of the Capital Gains tax (they pay about half of what us nine-to-fivers pay in taxes). And McCain would want to remove that tax as well.

McCain boasts of his foreign policy experience and will surely play to what he will term the inexperience of his Democratic opponent. Bu somewhere along the line, he lost the ability to see the plain fact that the war in Iraq was, and is still, a mistake. His answer to a questioner who had asked about Bush's "advice" to stay in Iraq for fifty years was answered with, "Maybe a hundred," and followed up with, "and that would be fine with me."

And if McCain's remarks about having our great-great-great grandchildren fighting George Bush's wars weren't bad enough, his "parody" of Barbara-Ann was, at the very least, troubling. In response to another questioner who asked, "When do we send them (Iran) an air mail message," McCain offered up this:

"You remember the old Beach Boys song, don't you? Bomb, bomb, bomb - bomb, bomb Iran."

It was followed by laughter and guffaws from a crowd that, much to my surprise, weren't all clad in white sheets and hoods. And this from the candidate who claims that he is the candidate of international diplomacy.

Looking on the bright side of the Democratic fight for the nomination, we have two candidates which over seventy percent of those in the party say that they would have "no problem" supporting should they gain the nod to run against McCain. However, with the possibility of knowing their opponent, and the remaining debates in which to point out their differences to, and "define" McCain, there is an advantage to be had here.

Let's hope they take that opportunity and run with it.

-Noah Greenberg

Bush Backwards

Noah: Like you, I am having a difficult time waiting for Jan 20, '09. But we have to. One thing that helps me is a card-sized gadget I have on my key chain for frequent checking. It tells me how many days are left until Bush is out of office. At this moment it reads: 347 days, 23 hours, 43 minutes and 19.3 seconds.
I got it at www.backwardsbush.com.

-Carroll S. Rankin

In response to, "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," Robert Scardapane writes:

Mandates are being touted as if they will significantly reduce cost. I just don't see it and neither does many economists (all due respect to Krugman). People don't have insurance because they elect not to buy it'; they don't have it because it costs too much. Emergency room care for the uninsured does not show up in premiums; it shows up in state taxes. I think we should spend less time worrying about mandates and more time on the real key

Will the Federal Employee Health Care plan be open to everyone?

If either candidate comes out for this, we have the foundation of a regulated multi-payer system. This question plagued John Kerry in 2004 and the Democrats better be prepared to answer it.

While it's true that mandates alone won't help with reducing the price to those of us who already have health insurance, we need to start someplace and sometime. I the possibility of health care for all, for now, is the right start, and this comes from a man who pays nearly $10,000 per year for his family's own health care insurance. (That's in addition to my employer's contribution.) There is no one who knows that health care needs to be made much more affordable for those of us who are already paying way too much. But I'm willing to take this baby step. As the saying (by Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu) has been translated by some, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step."

In response to, "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," Victoria Brownworth responds:

Well, in the primaries, perhaps, but NOT in the general election. This issue is not just what Democrats voted for Clinton or Obama. The issue is between McCain and Clinton or Obama, who would win. And THAT is what people need to be considering as they vote the primaries, because one of them will be the winner, even if it goes all the way to the convention.

What's more, ALL the Republicans will vote for McCain. Not all the Democrats will vote for Obama. I've interviewed enough people to recognize that. Your math doesn't hold up because it dis-includes the votes for Romney, Huckabee and Paul.

And there you have to look at the larger picture and that will include ability to stand up to the heat, among other things.

Obama, alas, has the worst voting record for abstentions in the Senate. This WILL come up if he's nominee. As will his comments about bombing Pakistan and other pro-war sentiments that his cultish followers have yet to actually hear as they do the wave at every rally. And the pesky Resko issue will come back. And someone will finally ask, "Where's all the money coming from?"

There is no Democrat on the planet who has been vetted more than Sen. Clinton. She not only identified the vast right wing conspiracy we have been dealing with for over a decade, but she's stood up to it--as well as to the vituperation of the media.

And she has a record to stand on. Which when put up against a senior member of the Congress who is also a bona fide war hero, will be important. Some of you might have noticed that Obama gets a little testy if he's called to account for anything. That won't wash in the final debates.

I think it's a spectacular point in Democratic history that we have an African American and a woman running as the top tier candidates. The Republicans could never be there.

But the reality is, as with all campaigns, there IS a better candidate. That candidate--Sen. Clinton--has both a confluent platform and electability. Those who have yet to vote need to consider that.

And in response to, "Whether it is Obama or Clinton I donít see their votes crossing over to McCain especially if he selects a very conservative, evangelical-type VP like a Huckabee," Victoria Brownworth responds:

In New Hampshire, Independents--who were "promised" to Obama--went to McCain. That WILL figure in a general election.

In response to, "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?" Dorothy Schwartz writes:

Hmmm ... I was sort of under the impression that Hillary rose to the national stage because her husband was governor and then president. But I could be mistaken.

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-Noah Greenberg