March 12, 2008

Eruptions of the day

Elliott Mess...

Elliott Spitzer has got to be the dumbest person on eart... no wait. He looks like Einstein compared to Bush.

But it's literally mind-boggling that someone in his position, who had fought his way to the top in the intense knife-fight of New York politics, that was sitting in one of the most presigious political platforms in the country, one which is often a springboard for presidential runs, could be so reckless and stupid.

It defies all logic that he'd do something like he did, and apparently has been doing for some time.

It begs the question of why politicians seem to almost have a death wish when it comes to enjoying sexual pleasures.

In his defense, and in contrast to many fundementalist Republicans, at least he's accused of having consentual sex with an actual woman.

All one can assume in this bizarre episode is that the women he was paying huge amounts of money to be with must have been REALLY exceptional at her job for Spitzer to essentially risk his entire life's work to get another shot at it. (not to mention that he was allegedly paying almost four grand for the pleasure.)


And then there's Geraldine Ferraro.

Her comments were stupid, though nothing approaching the metaphysical stupidity involved in Spitzer's case.

Her initial comments sounded weird, dumb, and potentially offensive.

Her subsequent explanation and clarification of her remarks on the "Today" show made much more sense. She's also said that if she weren't a woman, she never would have been on the Mondale ticket. She also makes a valid point that often-times political types and media tend to see racism in even completely benign and innocent comments.


What do you think? What makes a person in Spitzer's position throw it all away for some mind-scorching sex?

Was Ferraro's comments racist or offensively dismissive of Obama's accomplishments? Was Clinton wrong to initially refuse to boot her off her finance committee?

And for that matter, was it necessary for Obama to give the boot to his foreign policy adviser when she used the word "monster" in describing Clinton's clear willingness to do or say nearly anything to win? Should he have had a stronger attitude and demonstrated that he would stand by those loyal to him by disaproving of her comments but keeping her as an advisor?

Any thoughts on the most recent dust-ups and tempests in teapots?


And what are your views on the state of the Dem election contest?

Has Hillary gone too far in trying to attack Obama?

Was it even sane for her to suggest that maybe she'd make Obama her V.P. when SHE'S the one in second place?

If he's prepared and qualified to be vice president, a heartbeat away from the presidency, then why is she arguing that he's not qualified to be president?

Is she approaching the duplicitous and craven "say anything" status of a Rove or Bush?

22 Comments:

At 3/12/2008 10:24 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Imagine this: If Obama looked like Phil Hare... would Blacks and young Whites being supporting him so strongly?? Would he be where he is today?

I think Hillary should have said what we all know: that what Geraldine Ferraro said is TRUE. Why are we even debating it? I mean look: Obama minus his color =a white guy who gives good speeches and has 2 years in the US Senate.

Gimme a break. How is that being highly qualified to be Commander in Chief? What else does he bring to the table? His stellar record in the state legislature? All his many accomplishments in the US Senate? A deep voice? Speeches that are in favor of things like "unity" "hope" and "change" that any dimestore Rotary member could give??
Yes, take away the novelty act of race and I think that his candidacy would have a much more narrow appeal.

 
At 3/12/2008 10:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, a pretty tame reporting of the incident. Do you think that you'd write in the same manner if Spitzer had an 'R' after his name?

 
At 3/12/2008 11:54 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Nico,
I deeply disagree with your assessment. Aside from the fact that folks that look like Phil Hare stood a much better chance of being elected back in the days of radio, I don't think it's in any way fair or even accurate to try to suggest that Obama is only in the position he's in due to the color of his skin.

Blacks were decidedly luke warm in their support of him until recently, and he even caught flack for not being "black enough".

The guy would be a star politician, a phenomena, and just as renowned and popular, if he happened to be an Eskimo/Laotian dwarf.

To suggest he's nothing more than some sort of affirmative action hire is almost as sad as it is unsupportable.

And in that respect, attempting to dismiss his many talents and vast appeal, and having run a brilliant campaign so far, as if he got a pass because he's black is, in fact, a bit racist.

Why? Because it falls back into the trap of trying to suggest that anyone with African American blood who strives and succeeds must have gotten ahead because of some sort of undeserved preference.

Without any proof whatsoever, and evidence that would suggest the contrary, that's racism.

If you actually believe that being part African American, part white guy with the name Barack Obama would give someone an advantage in politics in America, you've got a lot to learn.

 
At 3/13/2008 6:52 AM, Blogger nicodemus said...

Well I am waiting to hear: just what are Obama's "many talents" and impressive qualifications that give him the vast star appeal that he has enjoyed ?? If he were White, what is it then that would separate him from the other White guys who have run?? (Joe Biden, for example, who is a great speaker and has a Senate record and a biography that far surpasses Obama. He got one percent)

Face it, candidates have certain advantages, including race and gender, that set them apart from the pack and make voters take notice. For Barack Obama, it is race. Another example: George W. Bush never would be where he is if he were not the son of George H.W. Bush. He obviously didn't get there on his sheer talent and the strength of his speeches. He got there because of whose son he was and because the media handled him with soft gloves in 2000.

 
At 3/13/2008 12:39 PM, Anonymous yinn said...

If Barack Obama were white, yeah, I do think it'd be different. He'd be the nominee by now.

 
At 3/13/2008 6:59 PM, Blogger Craig said...

Hey! Don't be makin fun of the Philibuster... (As a future big guy, I gotta look out)

We had a great discussion of this in my last semester's political philosophy class. The general agreement we could all come to was that if Barack Obama was white and named Bob Smith, we would have already sworn him in. The fact of the matter is this, the reason he is where he is today is charisma. Also, it is looking for something new, something to get excited about. I think any educated person would agree that policy making has a lot to do with the people around the President, and the party platform. On this point, Barack and Hillary would govern much of the same way. That is why electablilty and charisma are playing a huge role. Barack can get people like me, and my friends, who never would have dreamed of participating to go to the polls.

The fact that he is black has nothing to do with him being in the lead. He won states like Iowa, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming last time I checked there isn’t many minorities of any sort in those states. As far as the black vote, regardless of race the group as a bloc would have found someone to support, maybe not 9 out of 10 but a majority none-the-less. Barack’s message of “If you work in this country, you shouldn’t be poor” resonates with a lot of people. Plus, I am pretty sure a VERY white guy was able to befriend the African American vote back in 1992, it is just too bad that he is destroying that relationship now.

I wasn’t alive when Ferraro ran as Mondale’s VP, but I am glad she did not get elected. Her ignorance astounds me. I would also point out that Obama has already done something she has failed to do twice… become a United States Senator.

 
At 3/13/2008 8:45 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Nico, I'm not here to provide you with Obama's complete biography and resume. You can find that yourself.

But why do you insist on utterly dismissing his views? Why do you utterly reject the fact that his message is what has drawn millions to his cause?

To suggest that any white guy like Biden or Dodd wouldn't be as popular simply because they're white is a true insult to people's intelligence.

IF Biden or Dodd or any other politician, white, black, red, or purple, was the same age, had the same attractive qualities, spoke as well, and were able to articulate the same message as Obama, then THEY'D be where Obama is.

To try to say he's only on top because of his race, what you're really saying is that anyone who happens to be black could never achieve Obama's status on their own merit.

It insults all African Americans.

Obama's biography is full from beginning to end with achievements beyond stellar, going to Harvard and becoming the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review, then going back to inner city Chicago rather than to Wall Street or anywhere else where he could have written his own ticket.

He ran for and lost a race for state senate, then began a string of electoral victories.

Again, I shouldn't have to give you his life story. And you should certainly have known it yourself before making the foolish judgement that he's only where he is due to his race.

Is Hillary only there because she's a woman? Is George Bush only there because he's a rich white guy who is a former president's son and could be relied upon to do whatever the ultra-wealthy wanted him to do?

Of course the fact that Obama happens to be African-American is just an added bonus, given the history of racism in the country.

But the reason he's where he is is precisely because he's NOT "black" in so many ways. He's black in a way that allows whites and blacks both to be comfortabe with him.

Why? Because he doesn't run on his race. He doesn't try to demand that people vote for him because of his race. He leaves race completely out of everything.

So efforts to inject it where it has no place is truly unfortunate.

And again, if you're trying to argue that being black is an ADVANTAGE in presidential politics, I think you're off your rocker.

 
At 3/13/2008 8:46 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Yinn,

Ba-boom!! Well said.

 
At 3/13/2008 8:56 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Nico,
To change the topic. I was watching a show about the battle of Antietam and they mentioned a location involved in the battle named Nicodemus Heights.

More here: http://48thpennsylvania.blogspot.com/2008/01/view-from-nicodemus-heights.html

In googling Nicodemus, I found that he was some figure from the bible as well. But in light of your comments regarding Obama's race, I also found it interesting that Nicodemus is also the name of and all black town settled by former slaves fleeing the south in 1877 after the Reconstruction Period had ended.

Nicodemus is located in the northwest corner of Kansas and is the only remaining all black town settled west of the Mississippi by former slaves.

It's even a National Park Service site.

More here: http://www.nps.gov/nico/

and here: http://www.geocities.com/rainforest/vines/5320/nicodemus/nicodemus.html

 
At 3/13/2008 9:10 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 10:27

I simply can't keep up with all the Republicans being caught soliciting undercover agents for gay sex, trying to rape another male while they're passed out, getting caught with pedophile porn, or being found dead dressed head to foot in latex, buying meth and having sex with gay prostitutes, not to mention consorting with prostitutes or women other than their wives.

I know you think that Al Gore's son being caught for a DUI or Spitzer's bust is going to convince people that the Dems are just as yypocritical, perverse, and immoral as Republican moralists, but obviously you're delusional.

Even Spitzer's collossal downfall only goes to show that when you start going on a holier-than-thou campaign against other's imperfect moral behavior, you're likely as phoney as a $3 1/3 dollar bill.

Spitzer went after headlines by railing against and prosecuting those who patronized prostitutes. When you make it a practice to pretend you're somehow morally superior to others, you're very likely to be revealed as a disgusting hypocrite.

And Republicans do that better than anyone.

The only sad part is that millions actually fall for it and think Republicans are somehow more moral than Dems. Recent history has shown clearly that the opposite is true.

 
At 3/13/2008 10:14 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

I know Obama is intelligent and gives good speeches. I do not dispute that. Nobody does. But his being Black adds to his novelty and sets him apart from the pack. He is light enough and he is not "ghetto" so he makes Whites feel better about supporting him and alleviate their white guilt. (by contrast, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton scared the crap out of mainstream voters) And because Obama is 50% Negro, the Blacks are proud as ever to support him. They would not be flocking to the polls in the same fashion to support Joe Biden or Chris Dodd; I think Biden and Dodd probably had LESS luck getting their foot in the door with Black voters than Obama. Gee why is that?

If Geraldine Ferraro were male, she would have been just another back-bencher in Congress, and I doubt if Fritz Mondale would have picked her for Vice-President. But he knew it was time to shatter the glass ceiling and he wanted to try something different. She was a tough old gal from New York and I admire her for speaking her mind. But oh how the media worked her over, and they're still at it today.

About 10 years ago, I met and listened to a speech from a Black man who was very charismatic and well spoken and Harvard educated. He had an impressive resume and when he spoke, he really connected with the audience, especially White people... "Geez, if more people meet him", I thought, "he will catch on like wild fire and maybe he has a shot at national office". His name was Alan Keyes. And the rest is history!

 
At 3/14/2008 4:23 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Yeah, Keyes connected alright, if you could just get past the obvious madness that radiated from him.

If I had no idea who Alan Keyes was, and he sat next to me on a city bus, I'd probably try to move away.

Keyes is whacko, and that's apparent to nearly everyone. Obama is not, is calm, balanced, and rational.

There's a big difference.

Secondly, the "novelty" factor that you mention is only a small part of Obama's appeal, in my opinion. It's just gravy.

I heard Bill Moyer's interview Shelby Steele, another black academic who had written a book called, "BOUND MAN: WHY WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT OBAMA AND WHY HE CAN'T WIN", about the Obama phenomena and the role of race in all of it.

Though I didn't agree with all he said, he managed to explain the difference between the Sharpton/Jackson type and Obama in a way that makes sense to me.

The old school Jackson/Sharpton model he called "Challengers".

Steele describes "Challengers" as those who, "look at white America and say we're going to presume that you're a racist until you prove otherwise. The whole concept is you keep whites on the hook. You keep the leverage. You keep the pressure."

Obama on the other hand he describes as a "bargainer", who starts out instead by giving whites the benefit of the doubt."

That is a good insight into why whites seem much more comfortable with Obama.

It's certainly not, as you presume, due to the fact his skin tone may be lighter than others.
I truly think most Americans are past that.

Rather, I think it's as Steele describes... Obama doesn't come at whites with an attitude that they're racist until proven innocent, but has an attitude that they're not racist until proven to be so.

Steele defines the "challenger/bargainer" model further saying,

"A bargainer is a black who enters the American, the white American mainstream by saying to whites in effect, in some code form, I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I'm not going to rub the shame of American history in your face if you will not hold my race against me. Whites then respond with enormous gratitude. And bargainers are usually extremely popular people. Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Sidney Poitier back in the Sixties and so forth. Because they give whites this benefit of the doubt. That you can be with these people and not feel that you're going to be charged with racism at any instant. And so they tend to be very successful, very popular.

Challengers on the other hand say, I presume that you, this institution, this society, is racist until it proves otherwise by giving me some concrete form of racial preference. (such as affirmative action, etc.)

I think Steele's observation about the two styles of black approaches to dealing with white society is largely true.

 
At 3/14/2008 1:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dope, I have not read every comment - I am short on time.

However, what Ferraro said seems very accurate. Of course Obama would not be in the position he is if he were not black. A white man that was in a statehouse three years ago would get laughed out of the room if he were to run for POTUS!

Of course, Obama has more 'pzazz' than most - but POTUS with no record...of course it's a color issue.

 
At 3/15/2008 7:45 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 1:42

I find it amazing that people seem to be so willing to overlook history in their rush to dismiss Obama's obvious skills and talents and appeal as being simply because of the color of his skin.

Was Bush experienced? Not hardly. Governor of Texas is almost a ceremonial position. The leautenant governor actually does the governing.

And Kennedy? Was he that much more experienced? If I recall, he was white and quite popular. Was that because of his race too?

 
At 3/15/2008 9:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are correct that the Lt. Governor has more power than the Governor in the State of Texas. However, Bush still had great experience with the operation of a very large State/ economy from an executive branch perspective.

As far as JFK - you are very wrong. While Obama has been a US Senator since 2005, JFK was elected to the House in 1946 and served there until being elected to the Senate in 1952 and served there until being elected POTUS.

Where Obama has 3-years in DC, JFK had 14-years before being elected POTUS.

 
At 3/16/2008 5:21 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

If you think a guy like Bush was anything but barely involved in the day to day administration of the state, you've got to be joking.

The only think Bush learned in office was to do what Rove told him to do and how to make sure his wealthy supporters got what they wanted.

But the larger point is this: Just how much does experience as governor or senator or whatever translate into being an effective and successful president?

I'd suggest history can't show any real correlation at all. Some of the best presidents have been light on experience, and some of the worst had been politicians all their lives.

There's a lot of sense to the argument that NOT having been a politician striving for power and constantly grubbing for money, being compromised and becoming cynical and jaded about the entire system is actually a strong point FOR a candidate.

 
At 3/16/2008 8:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you digress...

Of the last POTUS,
Bush - Governor
Clinton - Governor
Bush Sr. - VP
Reagan - Governor
Carter - Governor

Governor is indeed a historical path to the White House.

But you suggested that the race issue for Obama is not a factor, because 'Kennedy's experience is not much greater - and he was young and white.'

Your point was soundly pounded. JFK had -14- years in DC (not -3-) before becoming POTUS.

It certainly appears as though Obama is where Obama is - because of his skin color. Even you are unable to counter this statement with a reasonable explanation.

He might do a fine job if elected, I do not want to argue this. However, he is where he is because of skin color.

 
At 3/16/2008 4:51 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Flatly stating that Obama is where he is because of his skin color is as rational as saying it's a fact that your mental capacity is due to being dropped on your head as an infant.

Do you have a clue as to how truly disgustion that suggestion is? You're saying that a black man simply couldn't possibly achieve what Obama has achieved solely on merit alone.

That, my friend, is racist.

You think you've proved your point by pointing out that other candidates have spent more time in the legislature? That proves exactly nothing.

What proof do you have that he's achieved what he has soley due to the color of his skin?

Produce that evidence and then your racist views might be considered something other than the mutterings of someone who hatese the idea of a black person as president.

 
At 3/16/2008 7:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'll say that this is 'racist' but you are affraid to say anything about Pastor Wright - are you kidding?!

I would suggest that it is racist to always through the call of 'racism' out every time someone questions Obama.

I made a valid point - that no one in recent history has ever run on such a skinny resume.

You countered with 'JFK' - I suggested that JFK had 14-years of DC experience to Obama's 3-years.

Your response is,
"you are a racist!"

Well, touche - you got me.

 
At 3/16/2008 8:59 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

I do agree that the "bargainer" message as characterized by Obama sells better to middle America than the "poverty pimps" and haters. And that is precisely the reason why Obama's preacher and spiritual advisor will be made an issue in the General Election. I am going to step back and leave the experience thing alone because it has been said so many times. Dope has a point about experience not always being an indicator of presidential success. In the past, we have had candidates with impressive resumes- men like Herbert Hoover, James Buchanan and Martin Van Buren. All went on to be weak presidents.
Now, could Obama have had his meteoric rise to fame, in such a short period of time if not for the novelty of his race? No matter how smart he is, no matter what a good speaker he is, the answer is "of course not". You can say "well Obama's message connects with people". But his message is not so different from that of John Edwards. And that dog didn't hunt so well! Do you think that young people and 90% of Blacks would be out there so strongly if it were Mike Boland or Phil Hare running for President? Would Oprah and all the celebrities be raising money for him?

 
At 3/17/2008 12:34 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Listen Putz...

Your contention IS racist.

First of all, you're not arguing that Obama isn't qualified because of lack of experience in elective office.

NO. You're arguing that he wouldn't be where he is today if he weren't a black man. OK... don't try to weasel around like usual.

Your argument is stating that Obama is not qualified because he's black.

By saying he wouldn't be where he is unless he was black, you're asserting that a black man couldn't possibly get to be a presidential nominee if it weren't that he was given some sort of mythical "pass" due to his race.

And yes, Chester, that's racist, in the veiled, coded, and convoluted way people go about it these days.

Well Skippy, ya got me. Kennedy had more time on Capitol Hill than Obama. Wow, you must be busting with glee. You go ahead and enjoy scoring such a pathetically trivial point. Maybe you can milk it for a year or two?

I see you're very proud of comparing experience in office. You've trotted it out what, 3 times now? But again, that doesn't have ANYTHING to do with your argument that Obama would have never made it if he hadn't gotten some sort of free pass because he's black.

So why do you keep trotting it out? It's meaningless and it's not even what we're arguing.

If you want to make a case that Obama's not experienced enough, then fine.

But that has absolutely NOTHING to do with suggesting he's only achieved so much because of his race.

Why are you so willfully stupid? Ever wondered yourself?

This is why you get ignored.

You're desperate to try to get one over on me, you try and try and try and obsessively try. You're a damned stalker by this point.

And when you can't win using logic of facts, you simply declare victory even when you've been shown to be a cretin.

I guess to you, this is a real victory. I said JFK didn't have much experience either. You respond by saying he had more than Obama... declare that because you found that out, it proves that you're not a racist and you've won the argument.

OK... whatever.

What a pathetic loser.

 
At 3/17/2008 12:40 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Nico,

I'd never say that the fact Obama is part black plays NO role whatsoever in his appeal to some people.

But what I do maintain is that for every person who may be enamored of him because of the idea of finally having a black president, there's probably a solid 5 that hate him and the thought of a black man being president absolutely drives them insane.

It's not an advantage in the end, is what I'm suggesting.

And you simply can't honestly say that the only reason he's been phenomenally popular and created this movement behind him is simply because he's black.

That's just ridiculous on it's face.

I'd suggest that any white candidate of Obama's age, with his grace and bearing, and who spoke as well and delivered a message that inspired and connected with so many people would absolutely be where Obama is today. Period.

Robert Kennedy did it. How did he create such fervor and excitement without being black? What a mystery, eh?

No, Obama would be where he is no matter what. He might have had a tougher time getting exposure, and he doubtless would have had a tougher time getting positive attention from the press.

He may have even drawn slightly smaller crowds, but not much smaller.

Again, take all of Obama's gifts and wrap them in a white person's skin, and he's still a phenomena.

 

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