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Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Krugman Speaketh

Is this guy good, or what?

...know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.”

Or, as we Iraq War protesters said in 2003, "Yee-HAW! is not a foreign policy." (And neither is "Bring It On," as our troops in Iraq found out to their great sorrow.)

In the case of oil, this takes the form of pretending that more drilling would produce fast relief at the gas pump. In fact, earlier this week Republicans in Congress actually claimed credit for the recent fall in oil prices: “The market is responding to the fact that we are here talking,” said Representative John Shadegg.

What about the experts at the Department of Energy who say that it would take years before offshore drilling would yield any oil at all, and that even then the effect on prices at the pump would be “insignificant”? Presumably they’re just a bunch of wimps, probably Democrats. And the Democrats, as Representative Michele Bachmann assures us, “want Americans to move to the urban core, live in tenements, take light rail to their government jobs.”

Is this political pitch too dumb to succeed? Don’t count on it.

Indeed, don't count on it. Black-and-white solutions are very appealing to Americans who are working 80 hours a week just to make ends meet. They don't have time or energy to sift through the nuances of energy policy, which will get lost or twisted by the corporate media in translation.

Once again, I point to the superior issue-framing skills of Republicans. They know that people need immediate relief from high gas prices, but they have no intention of doing anything that would work in the long run. (John McCain's gas tax holiday idea would have done nothing but give the oil companies more profits, whereas Hillary's would have at least made the oil companies pay the difference.)

So, how to make it seem like they are better on energy than Democrats? Take an idea that will make their buddies a lot of short-term money, and tie it to a populist agenda. Note: If you want to do this, it helps to be a shameless, sociopathic corporate shill, because no public servant with a shred of conscience would dupe the American people in such a destructive manner.

The truth is, off-shore drilling is completely, utterly pointless. It will OF COURSE not decrease gas prices in any way. The amount of oil gained thereby will be negligible, and will take ten years to extract.

Yes, I said TEN YEARS.

Do you know what's going to happen in ten years if we are still depending on oil for our energy? No one knows for sure, but why in God's name would we want to find out? The signs of climate change are all around us, and getting worse every year. Oil is a non-renewable resource that is getting scarcer and scarcer. Even worse, we invade countries and occupy them in order to get it.

For Christ's sake, can't we just say "Enough already, we get it, it's time to move on, oil is so 20th Century, and we're tired of fighting wars and killing and maiming hundreds of thousands of people to obtain it." Or is that just too much honesty for Democrats?

The answer is no, not for all of them. Hillary Clinton laid out a detailed, inclusive energy plan in April of 2006. Here is what she had to say about continuing to rely on oil for our energy needs.

Now, energy is at the heart of the three great challenges we face as a nation: How do we keep our economy strong in a more competitive world? How do we keep our communities safe in a more dangerous world? And how do we protect our values in a rapidly changing world?

Our present system of energy is weakening our national security, hurting our pocketbooks, violating our common values and threatening our children's future.

Right now, instead of national security dictating our energy policy, our failed energy policy dictates our national security.

Could that be more clear? I don't think so.

More recently, on July 23rd of this year, she had this to say about offshore drilling:

Senator Clinton criticized the idea that additional off-shore drilling would provide any substantive solutions for America’s short or long term energy challenges.

“Drilling is the wrong answer. It will do nothing right now. It is literally a Shell game, or an Exxon Mobile game. It's designed to serve the political interests of vulnerable Republicans and the financial interests of profit-rich oil companies. Average Americans will not see a dime,” Senator Clinton said. “The oil companies say, ‘Drill,’ and the President and the Vice President say, ‘How deep?’ I don't think that's the smartest, most effective answer.”

You see how she did that? She tied offshore drilling to the two least popular politicians in America right now and explained quite clearly that it is the WRONG ANSWER. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The Senator from New York is a master of framing. She gets people to agree with her, but doesn't compromise her principles in order to do so. Too bad she's only a girl, or who knows, someone that smart, savvy and progressive might be a good candidate for President someday. Oh, if only she had that scrap of flesh hanging off her pelvis!

Krugman hits hardest in his final paragraph.

In any case, remember this the next time someone calls for an end to partisanship, for working together to solve the country’s problems. It’s not going to happen — not as long as one of America’s two great parties believes that when it comes to politics, stupidity is the best policy.

I think Senator Obama has a red imprint of Krugman's palm on his cheek right about now. That smackdown reached all the way to Hawaii, where our presumptuous nominee is now vacationing. Faux-Presidenting is Hard Work (TM).

Let's hope the PUMA Conference in DC is coming up with all kinds of creative, wonderful ideas for keeping the pressure on the SuperDelegates, Howard Dean and the DNC to give Hillary a fair shot at the Convention. Because as we know, Obama is far too willing to allow Republicans to frame the debate on almost every issue, including the economy and Iraq (on which he is now falling behind John McCain in terms of trust).

To paraphrase the war protesters mentioned earlier, "Kumbaya is not a governing strategy."

Friday, August 8, 2008

Those People, or Some People?

When I read about how Barack Obama had referred to Hillary Clinton's supporters as "those people," with trademark dismissal and contempt, I was reminded of two things:

1) It's On Purpose.

2) Mama Rose.

For those that are unfamiliar with the musical "Gypsy," it is based on the true story of the stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. Her mother, Mama Rose, was the classic narcissistic stage mother, whose insistence on making it in show business (despite her lack of talent) ruined her family and drove her crazy. Mama Rose didn't care about anyone but herself, and forced her children to live a life of lies in order to further her personal ambitions and delusions of grandeur.

Eventually, Mama Rose is finally forced to face the reality that she is washed up, never had it, never will, and that her dreams will never come true. But this reality is too much, and she soon sinks back into her dreamworld.

Sound familiar?

In any rational universe, Barack Obama would not be considered qualified for the office of the Presidency. He has a resume that would shame another State Senator - a record of non-accomplishment that had to be puffed up by his mentor, Emil Jones, at the very end of his undistinguished tenure. As for his current record, it's decent but scanty, since he began running for President the moment his rear end hit that chair.

Obama has never won a strongly contested election - his successful state senate run, thanks to his underhanded tactics, had no opposition, and he won his current seat against that electoral juggernaut, Republican wackadoodle Alan Keyes. Yes, yes, he "won" the primary election, if you weigh votes from red-state caucuses as heavily as you do primary votes from blue states and swing states. But only the Democrats would be moronic enough to do so, since the entire nominating process is meant to select a General Election winner. As we know, but Obamans do not seem to realize, the General Election is not a caucus, and Idaho, Utah and Kansas will not be going Democratic this year. In order to feed Obama's delusions, the DNC enabled him by kneecapping Hillary's strongest, most delegate-rich states in the primaries. Had Michigan and Florida "counted," Hillary would be the nominee right now.

So, why would Obama Rose think he has what it takes to be President? On what basis did he decide that he deserved his shot at the big time? A non-existent resume. A thin voting record. A couple of good speeches. Seemingly-sound policies and positions that he changes or discards at a moment's notice.

Does he really think he's got the right stuff?

The American people don't think so. He didn't win the popular vote. He didn't win any of the big swing states in the primaries, and now the polls show he's losing them to John McCain, or is winning them, but within the margin of error. Moreover, he is massively underperforming generic Democrats on a whole range of issues, including the war in Iraq and the economy. Sorry, folks, that's the electoral kiss of death.

But Obama Rose shoulders on, insisting it's his turn no matter what. He pooh-poohs "those people" who don't understand His Greatness. They don't deserve him. They don't listen to him. They don't understand him. His fingers are in his ears and he's singing as loudly as he can.

Unfortunately, Senator Obama's fate is in our hands. Somewhere, somehow, I believe he knows it, and that we, the "some people," have rejected him as soundly as Mama Rose was rejected by Broadway. Down deep in his narcissistic soul, Obama Rose knows he is going to lose this election. Due to his overweening, unreasonable desire to be President, we are now going to be stuck with four more years of Republican ownership of the Executive Branch. His grasping ambition has ruined his family (the American People) and himself.

But it's not his fault. It's all because of "those people." Right, Obama Rose?

Cross-posted at The Confluence

Thursday, August 7, 2008

It's The Economy

And now, we take a short break from discussing the election to talk about the economy.

As "The Critic" used to say, "It STINKS."

In an eerie echo of President Herbert Hoover in 1930, during a Presidential campaign against Roosevelt, following the stock market crash and collapse of numerous smaller banks, Paulson recently appeared on national TV to declare “our banking system is a safe and sound one.” He added that the list of “troubled” banks “is a very manageable situation.” In fact what he did not say was that the US bank deposit insurance fund, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) has a list of problem banks that numbers 90. Not included on that list are banks such as Citigroup, until recently the largest bank in the world.

The statement is hardly reassuring. The California savings bank, IndyMac Bank which was declared insolvent a month ago was not on the FDIC list a week before it collapsed. The reality is the crisis created by “securitizing” millions of home mortgages into new financial instruments and selling the packages to pension funds and investors is unfolding like a snowball rolling down the Swiss Alps.

Indication of the lack of control is the statement just weeks ago by Paulson that “financial institutions must be allowed to fail.” That was two weeks before Paulson went to Congress to ask for “Congressional authority to buy unlimited stakes in and lend to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.” As I noted in my recent piece, Financial Tsunami: The Next Big Wave is Breaking: Fannie Mae Freddie Mac and US Mortgage Debt , those two private companies insured some $6 trillion worth of home mortgages, half the entire US mortgage debt. Paulson defended the request by calling Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae “the only functioning part of the home loan market.”

That comes back to the statement about a “sound banking system”. Can we have a sound banking system where the only functioning part is literally insolvent—its debts greater than its assets?

As we say in the banking biz, YIKES. Isn't it amazing how no one in the corporate media is talking about how serious this situation is? Guess they don't want a run on the banks on top of everything else. You know, high gas prices, high food prices, lack of jobs, adjustable rate mortgages coming due, retail store chains closing all over America...

What? You haven't heard about these closings? Well, here's a partial list from the same article. By the way, 70% of the U.S. GDP is now based on consumer spending.

Ann Taylor closing 117 stores nationwide.
Eddie Bauer to close more stores after closing 27 stores in the first quarter.
Cache, a women’s retailer is closing 20 to 23 stores this year.
Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug, Catherines closing 150 stores nationwide
Talbots, J. Jill closing stores. Talbots will close all 78 of its kids and men's stores plus another 22 underperforming stores. The 22 stores will be a mix of Talbots women's and J. Jill.
Gap Inc. closing 85 stores
Foot Locker to close 140 stores
Wickes Furniture is going out of business and closing all of its stores. The 37-year-old retailer that targets middle-income customers, filed for bankruptcy protection last month.
Levitz - the furniture retailer, announced it was going out of business and closing all 76 of its stores in December. The retailer dates back to 1910.
Zales, Piercing Pagoda plans to close 82 stores by July 31 followed by closing another 23 underperforming stores.
Disney Store owner has the right to close 98 stores.
Home Depot store closings 15 of them amid a slumping US economy and housing market. The move will affect 1,300 employees. It is the first time the world's largest home improvement store chain has ever closed a flagship store.
Macy's - 9 stores closed
Movie Gallery – video rental company plans to close 400 of 3,500 Movie Gallery
and Hollywood Video stores in addition to the 520 locations the video rental
chain closed last fall as part of bankruptcy.
Pacific Sunwear - 153 Demo stores closing
Pep Boys - 33 stores of auto parts supplier closing
Sprint Nextel - 125 retail locations to close with 4,000 employees following 5,000 layoffs last year.
J. C. Penney, Lowe's and Office Depot are all scaling back
Ethan Allen Interiors: plans to close 12 of 300 stores to cut costs.
Wilsons the Leather Experts – closing 158 stores
Bombay Company: to close all 384 U.S.-based Bombay Company stores.
KB Toys closing 356 stores around the United States as part of its bankruptcy reorganization.
Dillard's Inc. will close another six stores this year.

One would think that both presumptive presidential nominees would be talking about how we can resolve these matters. Well, at least one would expect Senator Obama to do so, since Democrats have a natural advantage on that issue.

One would be wrong about that.

In a sobering aside, readers should not expect any serious economic remedies for the crisis from a President Barack Obama. Obama’s National Campaign Finance Chairman is Chicago real estate billionaire, Penny Pritzker, who is heir to among other things the Hyatt Hotels. It was Pritzker together with Merrill Lynch ten years ago who first developed the model for securitizing “sub-prime” real estate, the trigger for the current Financial Tsunami crisis.

So, Obama is getting his financial advice from the person who helped create this disaster in the first place.


Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton's shadow is growing. Yesterday, she penned a remarkable Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal, which made clear to the Republicans that she understands their policy of Disaster Capitalism all too well - and that she will dedicate the rest of her political career to fighting it.

Who would you trust with the economy the most - John McCain, Barack Obama, or Hillary Clinton?

I'd like to see some polling on THAT issue.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Paris Hilton for President!

Okay, maybe not. But man, I wish Barack Obama could borrow her sense of humor - and her ad shop.

As you may or may not know, John McCain put out an ad comparing Obama to empty-headed celebrities like Paris Hilton and Britney Spears. Senator Obama, the hysterions in the Obamasphere, and many opinionators in the corporate media immediately screamed, "RACISM!" because Britney and Paris are white and of course, McCain implied that Obama wanted to have sex with them. (insert eyeroll here) This tactic backfired completely, and allowed McCain's true narrative of Obama as young, vapid and unready to lead to infect the public's brains, completely unchallenged by the Senator from Illinois.

If only Obama had the first fucking clue about how to fight the Republicans, I might feel a little better about him. Indeed, when I first picked Hillary as my favorite waaaaaaaayyyyyy back when (second favorite, since Al Gore wasn't running), it was her experience standing up to the right wing noise machine that attracted me to her. And my first reservations about Obama came when I saw how his vaunted "post-partisan" approach was unlikely to achieve any results. As The Great Krugman said,

As health care goes, so goes the rest of the progressive agenda. Anyone who thinks that the next president can achieve real change without bitter confrontation is living in a fantasy world.

Confrontation is not the same as whining that McCain is being mean to you because you're black. You need to take on the Republics on the issues, and make them back down. Up the ante. No matter what they do, laugh it off and refocus the debate.

Which brings me to President Paris Hilton. Here is her hilarious and pointed rebuttal to McCain's charges that she is a dumb blonde who contributes nothing to society. (Yes, Paris Hilton got the point of the ad and Barack Obama and his supporters didn't. Things that make you go "Hmmmmmmmm.")

"Hey America, I'm Paris Hilton and I'm a celebrity, too. Only I'm not from the olden days and I'm not promising change like that other guy. I'm just hot," Hilton said, speaking as she reclined in a pool chair in a revealing bathing suit and a pair of pumps. "But then that wrinkly, white-haired guy used me in his campaign ad, which I guess means I'm running for president. So thanks for the endorsement white-haired dude."

"I want America to know that I'm, like, totally ready to lead," she said.

She then discusses energy policy, and suggests a hybrid of McCain's offshore oil drilling plan and Obama's incentives for new energy technology.

"Energy crisis solved! I'll see you at the debates," she said,
Senator Obama, do you see what she did there? She made fun of herself and of McCain, and then focused on the issues!

And do you know how McCain's people responded?

McCain campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds said Hilton appears to support his candidate's "all of the above" energy solution.

"Paris Hilton might not be as big a celebrity as Barack Obama, but she obviously has a better energy plan," Bounds said.
BAM! Wow. Suddenly, we're back to talking about the issues.

If only Barack Obama, instead of screaming "OMG TEH RACISM!!111!!!" had put out an ad that went a little something like this:

"Hi, I'm Barack Obama. Of course, you know that. Maybe John McCain's right, and I AM the biggest celebrity in the world. But that doesn't mean I don't have a plan for a better America.

John McCain wants to stick to outdated technologies like coal, nuclear power and offshore drilling, which would continue to harm our environment and keep us stuck in the 20th Century. My plan emphasizes renewable resources, existing, effective technology like wind and solar power, and will have us completely independent from foreign oil by the year 2018.

Hmmmm. Maybe they like me...for a reason."
This is so simple, Paris Hilton can do it; but apparently, Barack Obama can't. And now, he has been forced to admit that he WAS race-baiting when he talked about not looking like Presidents from the past, and has had to publicly state that John McCain's campaign is cynical, not racist. Now McCain can use that soundbyte against Obama if they do decide to go all Harold Ford on him.

If this is how Obama is going to run the GE, I see a McGovern-like defeat for the Democrats - and possible down-ticket issues in the House and Senate as well.

I sure hope the SuperDelegates have the courage to do their jobs, because it looks like, despite the best efforts of the DNC to prevent any choice at the Convention, Hillary WILL be in nomination and on the ballot.

It's simple, SuperDelegates - do you want to win in November, or do you want to lose?

I'll bet even Paris Hilton could answer that question correctly.
Cross-posted at The Confluence

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Our Post-Racial Paradise: A Play in One Dreamy Act.

(H/T to Garychapelhill for the title)

THE SCENE: President Barack Obama's Oval Office. A wall with a computerized panel and a door occupies center stage left, and the office occupies the remainder of the stage.

The decor of the office has totally changed. The drapes around the room are now printed with the Obama faux-presidential seal. Everywhere are pictures of President Obama, looking saintly and generous. There is also a picture of Michelle and the kids, but it is much smaller and less prominently placed. The American Flag has been redesigned; in the center of the field where the stars were is now a picture of Our Dear Leader.

The man himself sits behind the desk in the Oval Office, garbed in spotless white robes. Above his head, a sign reads "President Barack Obama" in large, elegant letters. He is in deep meditation, or perhaps, is sleeping off the effects of too much "holy water" the night before.

BILL BURTON, Barack Obama's now Chief of Staff, appears at the door. The door speaks in a pleasant, female, robotic voice.

DOOR: Please enter your permanent password.

(BURTON enters a few numbers on the keypad.)

DOOR: Please speak your name.

BURTON: William Burton.

DOOR: Voiceprint authorized. Please state today's password.

BURTON: Ummmmm...Obama is the greatest president that was, is, and ever shall be, world without end, Amen?

DOOR: Password expired. Please state today's password.

BURTON: Ummmmm...(pulls out an iPhone, checks it, smiles) All hail Barack Obama, President Extraordinaire and really awesomely cool dude?

DOOR: Password accepted. (BURTON enters the Oval Office. OBAMA opens his eyes calmly.)

OBAMA: Good morning, Bill.

BURTON: Morning, Mr. President!

OBAMA: Please, sit down. (BURTON does so.) Now, what's on your mind, Bill?

BURTON: Well, it's this "New Racism Handbook" we published last week. Even though our NBC affiliates are over the moon about it, I've been hearing a lot of complaints in the (using air quotes) "blogosphere."

OBAMA (frowning): Really? I thought those guys loved me.

BURTON: Oh, most of them do, sir! But some of them are saying that 10,000 forbidden words are too hard to remember. Words like "arrogant" and "presumptuous" are easy, but some of the scientists are protesting about changing the term "black hole" to "lightwardly challenged hole." And making public racism a crime! They are really not on board with that one.

OBAMA (smiling): Oh, that's okay, Bill. Let me tell you a bit more about my master plan. (getting up and striding commandingly around the room) You see, I wanted to take the troops out of Iraq and transfer them directly to Afghanistan to continue fighting there. But, it turns out, they're already so exhausted from their fourth and fifth tours, they were useless to us. Our mission in Afghanistan, whatever it is, cannot succeed this way. We need more bodies, but Blackwater keeps raising its prices. It's a tough situation.

BURTON: Sounds tough, Mr. President!

OBAMA: So, here's what I'm thinking: No one can possibly remember all 10,000 words. We'll use the warrantless wiretapping George and Dick set up to spy on people and catch them for the crime of public racism. Then, I'll offer them a choice: do prison time, or join the Army. We'll be up to quota in no time, and we can keep sending soldiers over to Afghanistan for 8-10 years, or whenever our mission is completed, whichever comes first! And best of all, no draft! (OBAMA smiles triumphantly, waiting for BURTON's praise)

BURTON (a little late): That's brilliant, Mr. President!

OBAMA: Isn't it? It was all my idea, of course. Now, why don't you go work with Axelrod and Plouffe today. They're hiring a bunch of racism-spotters, and they could use some help.

BURTON: Yessir, Mr. President! (bustles off importantly)

(From behind a curtain, NANCY PELOSI, HOWARD DEAN and DONNA BRAZILE step forward.)

PELOSI: Oh, Barack. You told him this was your idea?

(OBAMA sits down, a bit petulantly.)

OBAMA: Well, shit, Nancy, I can't let my people know you guys are telling me what to do. They believe in me! I am The One!

BRAZILE (soothingly): Of course you are, Barack honey. You just keep doing what you're doing.

DEAN: That's right, Barack. Everything's going exactly the way we planned it.

(Suddenly, the scene dissolves. We see HILLARY and BILL CLINTON in their bedroom in New York. It's decorated in traditional American style, with rich colors and fabrics. HILLARY is sitting up in bed, terrified and breathing hard. She is wearing silk pajamas. BILL is wearing a matching pair of pajamas. He stirs awake.)

BILL: Hillary - what's the matter?

HILLARY: Oh, Bill - I had the most awful dream!

BILL (sighing): President Obama again?

HILLARY: Bill, this one was really terrible. It was about -

BILL (impatiently): Honey, if you're ever going to get a good night's sleep again, you know what you have to do.

HILLARY (coming to a decision): Dammit Bill, you're right. I'm putting my name in nomination at the Convention. Screw the Party and screw their staged withdrawal. I'm in it to win it!

BILL: Attagirl! (They hug.) Now, about my Supreme Court nomination...

(HILLARY laughs her trademark belly laugh.


Cross-posted at The Confluence

Monday, August 4, 2008

It's On Purpose.

Ahhh! I took a weekend away from the news and the primary race, and look what goodies I missed! Wow, it's just so much fun to watch the Obama for America Party keep destroying any small vestige of hope I had that they might ever do the right thing and nominate Hillary Clinton, or at least honor her enormous delegate count and popular vote victory at the Convention.

Here are some little newsbites that should make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Barack Obama now proclaims that he wants Michigan and Florida seated in full.

Now that The One is the presumptuous nominee, he is doing exactly what Democratic insiders thought would be done in January - pretending that it's important to him that the Michigan and Florida Delegates have their voices heard at the Convention. Of course, if Hillary is not listed as a nominee on the ballot, their voices will not be heard, because they won't be able to cast their votes for Hillary Clinton.

No one in the Obama/DNC Conglomerate thinks for one minute that this one-fingered salute will bring Party Unity (TM). Obviously, the New Democratic Party (AKA Obama for America) is proud to telegraph their complete and total disdain for people who voted for the Senator from New York.

It's on purpose.

In other news, Obama is now okay with off-shore drilling, taking a position similar to "gasp" John McCain's. Surprise, surprise, he sells out his previous, more liberal (and more sensible) position in order to gain political points. Gosh, it almost seems like he would do and say anything to win! I sure hope the "progressive" media, like The Nation, doesn't find out!

Oops. Too late.

It's on purpose.

Look, my fellow PUMAs, we need to wrap our minds around the fact that Barack Obama does not want our votes. He does not want Party Unity (TM). He wants either excision, or submission. Either you're with him (willingly or forcibly), or against him.

We need to stop thinking about this election as if it were business as usual. That is what Hillary did, and look where it got her. This campaign, the toxic creation of Axelrove and the Chicago Machine, is a nuclear missile aimed at the Democratic Party. The entire purpose of this weapon is to remove the Clintons and their voters from the Party. It is to be destroyed in order to be "saved." And if some collateral damage happens in the meantime, well, that's what happens in a war, isn't it? Better luck...never.

We need to understand that they do not care about us. We need to stop writing Howard Dean and the Obama delegates. They're all on board with Obama for America, and have been for years. We need to go to Hillary herself, and her delegates. They are the only ones who can save the Party from destruction.

We don't have much time to maximize our effectiveness, but if I were in charge of the PUMA conference in DC, I would say that we need to break Hillary out of her Party Loyalty frame of mind. We need to let her know that Barack Obama is not a Democrat, and will not govern as such. We need to explain to her that we need her leadership NOW. The economy is in a shambles and more adjustable rate mortgages are coming due soon. Major financial institutions are failing. Meanwhile, Obama and McCain play footsie with American lives and livelihoods, trying to outdo each other in their attempts to prove that they can best continue the policies of the Worst President Ever.

Some say that we can survive four years of McCain as President (Obama is unelectable, as has been quite obvious for some time now), then wait for Hillary to run in 2012. I disagree with this strategy. After the new Democrats have taken over the Party (which will happen, with Obama as nominee, whether or not Obama wins in November), who knows if they will even let her run for President again?

From now on, I say we contact Hillary every single day and tell her that she must be the nominee. This movement is not about Hillary per se, and yet, she has now become a symbol of the FDR wing of the Democratic Party. If we don't get her elected now, our century's FDR may never get a chance to put a New New Deal in place that will revitalize the country we love so much.

And it's on purpose.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The Double Agent: A Play in One Twisted Act.

THE SCENE: Two offices, one belonging to KKKARL ROVE and the other belonging to DONNA BRAZILE. Each office takes up half of the stage, with ROVE's office stage right, and BRAZILE's, stage left.

ROVE's office is furnished in traditional Republican style, with dark wood, leather chairs, stuffed animal heads on the walls, and a fireplace with Nixon's portrait over the mantle. The desk, which sits against the backstage wall, is large and covered with papers, a multi-line phone, and a small laptop. A framed poster of the movie "1984" hangs over it, behind ROVE's head. The man himself sits hunched at the desk, working furiously on many things at once.

BRAZILE's office is full of bright colors and abstract art. Her taste is more Danish modern than Rove's, with a focus on light woods and steel accents. She's also sitting behind a desk against the backstage wall, but unlike Bush's Brain, she is busy taking turns staring off into space, and staring at the phone. Clearly, she is waiting for a call that just isn't coming.

Finally, BRAZILE makes a decision. She picks up the phone and hits a Speed Dial button.

BRAZILE (into the phone): Hello? Helga, is that you? (smiling) Hi there darlin', it's Donna. (Her smile disappears after hearing what Helga has to say.) Now don't you play that little game with me, Helga. I know he's screening. I've been trying to get him for a week. You just go ahead and put me on with him, or I'll just keep calling every three minutes until you do. (slight pause while Helga gives in) That's what I thought. I'll hold, but not for long!

(In ROVE's office, the phone buzzes.)

ROVE (hitting the speaker setting on the phone): Yes, Helga?

HELGA: Karl, it's that Donna Brazile again. She says she's going to call every three minutes until you talk to her!

ROVE (frustrated): That woman just cannot take a hint! (sighs forebearingly) Okay, Helga, I might as well get this over with. Put her through. (A fake joviality enters his manner.) Hello, Donna!

BRAZILE (hitting the speaker setting on her phone): Well, FINALLY. Why have you been avoiding my calls, Karl? This had better be good. Things are starting to go really badly for President Obama. His bump in the polls from that trip he took last week has totally disappeared, and the media is starting to turn against him. They’re calling him the “presumptuous” nominee now, just like those PUMAs have been doing for the last few months! What are we going to do?

(ROVE is gleefully silent.)

BRAZILE: Hello? Are you there? Dammit, you helped me get the ball rolling with President Obama. Without your money and connections, he never would have gotten this far. But now our plan seems to be falling apart. You've gotta help me, Karl!

ROVE (allowing his full evil to show through): Well, Donna, I must say, you're a lot stupider than I thought you were. You still haven't figured it out? Good lord, woman, why don't you buy a clue?

BRAZILE (shocked): What the hell are you talking about, Karl?

ROVE (with malicious satisfaction): Oh, Donna, Donna, Donna. Didn't you ever wonder why I was so willing to be your friend? Why I was so happy to fund Obama's campaign in the start-up phase? Why I was so thrilled to send all those Republicans to the caucuses to help him get the delegates he needed to win the nomination? You're a gay black Democratic woman, and I'm Bush's Brain. Did you really think you and I were a natural fit?

BRAZILE (faintly): I thought it was because you wanted to be on the winning side. I thought you hated John McCain.

ROVE (leaning back in the chair, hands behind head): Oh, I did, Donna, I did. But that was before I realized that the winning side…is John McCain's side. With your help, John and I were able to knock out the strongest Democratic candidate and replace her with the weakest Democratic candidate. In a year where we thought all was lost, we Republicans are now poised and ready to take over the White House once again. Can you say, President McCain? I'm getting quite used to the sound of that myself.

BRAZILE: But Karl, you said Barack could win by expanding the electoral map. You said we didn't need the Democratic base, that we could win the West and South, and forget about those bitter hillbillies in Appalachia. You said -

ROVE (scornfully): And you believed me, didn't you? Good God, no wonder you've lost so many elections, Donna. What kind of an idiotic strategy is that? You've let your most reliable voters become completely disenchanted with their Party. That's something we Republicans would never do. We're smart enough to disrespect our voters behind their backs, so they won't find out how much we despise them! Election 101, Donna. When will you liberal elitists ever learn?

BRAZILE (dazed): I, uh, don't know what to say.

ROVE: How about "good-bye?" Because I hope this is the last time I have to talk to you. You make me sick to my stomach!

(BRAZILE and ROVE both disconnect from their speaker phones at the same time. ROVE, satisfied, sits back down at his desk and goes back to work. The lights slowly fade on his side of the stage.)

BRAZILE (standing up and pacing): Oh my God. Oh my God. I'm toast! I never told Barack where all that money was coming from. He thought he was getting Republican votes because they wanted to knock out Hillary, not him! What if he finds out that I was working with Karl? What if Howard Dean finds out? What am I going to do?!

(BRAZILE's phone rings.)

BRAZILE (hitting the speaker): H-h-h-hello?

HOWARD DEAN (menacingly): Hello, Donna.

BRAZILE (rallying a bit): Oh! Howard! How are you? What's new?

DEAN: Glad you asked. I want you to join me on my bus tour of the South. We think you can really help us reach out to African-American voters in the area. Plus, maybe you can scare some of the PUMAs away from me. They seem to show up everywhere I go, and I'm tired of answering their questions alone.

BRAZILE (relieved): Why, Howard, I'd be thrilled to come with you.

DEAN: Great, great! Your ride is just outside. Go ahead and pack. I'll see you soon!

(They both hang up.)

BRAZILE: Whew! I guess everything’s all right then. I’d better make sure all my tracks are covered before I get on that bus. (BRAZILE exits through a side door.)

(The lights come up in ROVE’s office. Standing next to the desk is HOWARD DEAN.)

DEAN: Hey, Karl, thanks for the tip about Donna being a double agent. I can’t believe she’s been trying to sabotage Barack this whole time!

ROVE (secretly amused): Yes, it is hard to believe.

DEAN: I wonder how long it will take her to realize that she’s not going on the bus, but under it?

(ROVE and DEAN share a manly laugh at BRAZILE’s folly.)

ROVE (reaches into a desk drawer, pulls out a humidor): May I offer you a cigar, Howard?

DEAN: Why, thank you, Karl. (ROVE does so.) I’m so looking forward to working with you. Now, what’s the next step for President Obama?

ROVE: Have you ever heard of Diebold, Howard?

Cross-posted at The Confluence