Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
People who complain that Barack Obama lacks experience must be unaware of his legislative achievements. One reason these accomplishments are unfamiliar is that the media have not devoted enough attention to Obama’s bills and the effort required to pass them, ignoring impressive, hard evidence of his character and ability.
Since most of Obama’s legislation was enacted in Illinois, most of the evidence is found there — and it has been largely ignored by the media in a kind of Washington snobbery that assumes state legislatures are not to be taken seriously. (Another factor is reporters’ fascination with the horse race at the expense of substance that they assume is boring, a fascination that despite being ridiculed for years continues to dominate political journalism.)
SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. — Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s greatest gift may be her ability to remain upright and smiling as chaos and chagrin surround her.
On what was probably one of the toughest days of her campaign so far, with pundits and analysts of all stripes declaring her presidential candidacy finished, Mrs. Clinton put on her battle face Wednesday and confronted what was at times a hostile crowd at a hastily arranged speech here at Shepherd University.
The scientific study of evolution is filled with controversies. That was one of the messages coming out of a two-day symposium on the latest in research from the field that was hosted by Rockefeller University last week. I’ll discuss the scientific details of some of the talks separately, but it’s worth analyzing these controversies in light of the “academic freedom” bills that are being considered by a number of states, which purport to protect teachers who discuss controversies regarding evolution.
Nationwide, nearly half a dozen states are considering variants of such bills, some of which throw in the origin of life and climate change for good measure. Legislators in Florida recently introduced such a bill in response to new educational standards that were the first to formalize the teaching of evolution. Althought two incompatible bills passed the state House and Senate, they died when the legislature went out of session; similar measures are still pending in other states. These bills appear to have originated at the pro-Intelligent Design thinktank the Discovery Institute, and constitute part of its latest effort towards reducing the teaching of evolution in public schools.
So, might Discovery actually be on to something here? It’s worth doing a comparison of the controversies they’d like to see taught with the topics that are considered controversial within the actual scientific community. It’s pretty easy to get a sense for what Discovery thinks is a controversy by looking at Explore Evolution, the textbook they have created in the hope of encouraging schools to teach it. Those ostensible controversies fall into three major groups: existence of common descent, power of natural selection, and the existence of proteinaceous machines.
Barack Obama pocketed the support of at least four Democratic convention superdelegates on Wednesday, building on the momentum from a convincing North Carolina primary victory. Rival Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed to remain in the race “until there’s a nominee.”
The former first lady declined to say whether that meant through the roll call of the states at the Democratic National Convention this summer.
Clinton also disclosed that she had loaned her campaign an additional $6.4 million in recent weeks, evidence that her once front-runner campaign was in deep trouble.
She told reporters the loans were a sign of her commitment to her quest for the White House. She earlier loaned herself $5 million as she struggled to keep up with a better-financed Obama campaign.
Barack had the voters at his back against all the forces trying to bring him down. He held his lead in North Carolina, and only the Rush Limbaugh Republican vote stands between Barack and victory in Indiana.
Hillary needed two wins. She failed utterly. But she will not stop, not on her own.
The superdelegates should intervene and send Hillary a message. Out now.
If they don’t, the supporters of Obama should step up their persuasion on those still-undeclared superdelegates to recognize the inevitable and bring this campaign to an end.
Supporters of John Edwards should push their former candidate to release his pledged delegates now, a move that might make the difference as early as this week.
Progressives should intensify the counterattack against Clinton’s smear campaign against Barack’s character and bogus arguments for recognizing Michigan and Florida, sending the message that her campaign tactics risk a massive defection of the disillusioned in November.
It must be understood that at least not on their own. Left to their own repetitive patterns, they will step up the attempt to damage Barack Obama so that he is rendered unelectable in the minds of the superdelegates. At the very least, beginning this week, this may mean an assault on Bill Ayers, the Weather Underground, and a twisted depiction of Obama’s history of statements on the Palestinians. (On this latter point, they can run commercials of Clinton kissing Yasser Arafat’s wife, perhaps coupled with footage of her landing under “sniper fire” in Bosnia. Bloggers may have to carry these messages, since Obama won’t.)
The Obama forces cannot (and will not) coast to victory. In terms of issues, they should intensify the focus on the Clinton proposal for “massive retaliation” and “obliteration” against Iran on behalf of Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. That was front-page news in Toronto yesterday while receiving zero attention in the New York Times and CNN. Barack should take up Robert Kennedy’s 1968 anti-poverty mission in West Virginia. Finally, his campaign needs to build firewalls in Oregon, Montana and South Dakota to maintain his lead.
Hey, look, Matt Drudge did something nice for the entire country: He ended the Democratic primary, even though it was supposed to continue until eternity. See the picture and headline at left, which ran atop Drudge Report tonight. Drudge’s link went to a video of Meet The Press anchor Tim Russert calmly explaining to America that “we now know who the Democratic nominee is going to be” and that Hillary Clinton is probably about to quit (she cancelled her TV appearances and everything!). Then David Gergen, the Bill Clinton aide turned talking head, said on CNN the election is over, partly because Chelsea looked sad during Hillary’s last speech. “You could see the anguish on her face,” Gergen said. “I think the Clinton people know the game is almost up.” Remaining voters, politely thank your media overlords for deciding the election on your behalf. Clips of Russert and Gergen, and a bigger pic of the Drudge page, after the jump.
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