PDHblog This is a place for members of Progressive Democrats of Hawai‘i to express their thoughts, hopes and exasperations about political happenings.

January 30, 2008


Glenn Greenwald wrote an important blog today on the subject of bipartisanship, which seems so earnestly desired by many. Here is what he found:

“bipartisanship” is already rampant in Washington, not rare. And, in almost every significant case, what “bipartisanship” means in Washington is that enough Democrats join with all of the Republicans to endorse and enact into law Republican policies, with which most Democratic voters disagree. That’s how so-called “bipartisanship” manifests in almost every case.

So no matter what Obama and Clinton say, “bipartisanship” does not look appealing from a progressive point of view. (more…)

Kucinich Out, Edwards Out: What Next?

The withdrawal of Dennis Kucinich, followed by today’s announcement of Edwards’ “suspension” of his campaign, forces progressives to assess our diminishing options in the Democratic presidential race. We have choices to make as individuals, and PDH has a choice to make as an organization. And the imperatives may not be the same.

So let me talk about the options facing PDH. Given my sense of opinion within our group, I can see 3 possible options: (more…)

January 28, 2008

Edwards, Obama support Dodd on FISA

Filed under: Barack Obama,John Edwards,National Politics — Tags: , , , — BobSchacht @ 10:27 pm

In the wake of Monday’s votes on cloture of several bills to revise the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), it was heartening to see both senatorial presidential candidates, Obama and Clinton, vote “no” on the first cloture vote with Sen. Dodd and almost all other Democrats.

Of the remaining presidential candidates, Edwards, with some encouragement from the netroots, got it first. In a letter sent out on January 24, customized for each state, he wrote, (more…)

January 27, 2008

Identity Politics

Barack Obama’s overwhelming victory in South Carolina today was, of course, important. What does it mean?

I don’t often agree with Pat Buchanan, but he’s been making an interesting point lately that a lot of the Mainstream Media (MSM) are suppressing, even on the air to Buchanan’s face. (I saw him attempt to explain his thesis on air recently and the other panelists didn’t even give him a chance to explain– they just shouted him down, focusing exclusively on the magnitude of Obama’s win in South Carolina, and ignoring the consequences for subsequent primaries.)  Buchanan’s thesis, IIRC, is that the Clintons knew they weren’t going to win in South Carolina, so they laid a trap for him there. Let him win in SC, with a lopsided Black vote, and paint him as The Black Candidate. Hillary, of course, has been painted as The Women’s Candidate. There are more women than Blacks. Therefore, if they can convince America that this an Identity Politics campaign, Hillary wins.

But Obama, of course, has been trying to run a post-identity politics campaign. Apart from his memorable MLK-day speech at Ebenezer Baptist church, he has not been running as a Black American, as Jesse Jackson (the last Black candidate who ran for president and actually won several primaries.) The Clintons are trying to pull him off-message.

I think the Clintons are trying to sell the media on the Identity Politics meme. If they can get the media talking about Obama as the Black Candidate, and Hillary as the Woman’s candidate, and Edwards as the White Male candidate, I think they figure that they can win. In so doing, of course, they’ll also paint Edwards into a corner.

Obama needs to stay on message as a post-Identity Politics candidate. But can he do it, against the framing of the Clintons and the MSM?


January 20, 2008

Detailed comparison of Obama & Edwards

Filed under: 08 Presidential Hopefuls,Barack Obama,John Edwards — Tags: , , , — BobSchacht @ 10:48 pm

Kossak RenaRF, who supports Obama, wrote a long post over on dKos dated Sun Jan 20, 2008 at 02:26:23 PM PST, which begins,

I am sick to DEATH of seeing people – individuals who I would have otherwise said I found intelligent, well-read, and thoughtful – knocking Barack Obama for being all hope without substance behind the oratory. Have you finally sunk so low in your blind advocacy of not-Obama that you can’t simply go out and read and recognize that Obama HAS positions on the issues, positions which you can actually read?? Shame on all of you for picking up a Rovian smear and propagating it into this forum.

So I’m going to give you a summary of Obama’s POSITIONS vis-a-vis Edwards’ POSITIONS so that you can no longer say that you weren’t made aware that each actually HAVE THEM. I’m sorry to leave out Senator Clinton, but this is addressed primarily to the Edwards supporters, since they are so quick to spout the “hope isn’t a policy!!” smear.

For the full analysis, see the link.

I’d be interested in seeing how many of these positions Obama has announced as his own were developed before John Edwards published his positions. We’re at the stage of the primaries where the candidates are freely stealing from each other, just like Kerry did in 2004. It is part of the normal process of seeing your opponent’s best talking points, and coming around to the same positions. Edwards has already had an enormous impact on the positions of both Obama and Clinton.

Obama is talking a lot, as Clinton is, about “reaching across the aisle,” to work with Republicans. So far, that hasn’t worked very well. Obama is running a “post-identity politics” campaign– an interesting effort. I would just like to know who he is actually proposing to work with.


January 11, 2008

More on the “Closed Primary” Debate

Filed under: HI Politics — Tags: , , — Bart @ 3:21 pm

Note: This post started as a reply to frosty’s post, but it got too long.

A wise poet once wrote: “First, there is a mountain. Then there is no mountain. Then there is.” I think it was Heraclitus. Or Rumi. Basho? OK, maybe it was Donovan.

My views have been evolving during the course of the debate within the Party over the wisdom of filing a lawsuit to force a change from our current “open primary” system to a “semi-closed” primary. I had been a strong supporter of both a “closed primary” and of the lawsuit as a means to get there. As the debate went on, I began to have doubts about the wisdom of filing a lawsuit AT THIS TIME, because the lawsuit advocates had done a very poor job, in my mind, of building support for the lawsuit among Democratic elected officials and among our strategic allies in the trade unions and broader community. (more…)

Peeling Republicans?

Filed under: HI Politics — BobSchacht @ 7:01 am

Normally what happens with a lame duck president is that his interests, and those of his party, begin to diverge during his last session of Congress, because he’s not running for office again, and they are. Democratic strategy for the current session of congress counted on this phenomenon, and the leadership has expressed frustration that it has not been happening to the degree that they expected. Well, I will present data to show that it is happening, although whether the shift has been less than normal I am not in a position to assess.

An index on what is happening is conveniently provided by Progressive Punch (PP). I will focus on their ratings of Senators, where the current fable is that in order to get anything done, one needs 60 votes. PP not only provides a progressive ranking of each member for the current congress [PROGRESSIVE ’07-’08 SCORES(%)], but also their PROGRESSIVE LIFETIME SCORES(%). Consequently, the difference between these two scores provides an index of a “progressive shift.” In Congress as a whole, the shift has been about 4%– perhaps not as much as many might have expected as the result of the Democrats gaining control of the Senate. It may reflect the slimness of the Democratic control.

However, the Progressive Shift of 11 Republicans may be remarkable. These 11 shifted more than 14%. The shift was perhaps most remarkable with three of the 11, Senators Snowe, Specter, and Collins, whose shift has pushed their PP rating over 50%. These may be the Republican senators who constitute the most likely swing votes.





Progressive Shift


Smith, Gordon H.





Snowe, Olympia J.





Lugar, Richard G.





Collins, Susan M.





Voinovich, George V.





Coleman, Norm





Hagel, Chuck





Specter, Arlen





Domenici, Pete V.





Murkowski, Lisa





Stevens, Ted





This analysis also revealed an entirely unexpected result: South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson, who spent much of the year recovering from a stroke, turned from a mildly progressive rating of 78% to a Republican-like rating of 28.81! Who’s been registering Sen. Johnson’s votes? Or is this a database error?


Bob in HI

January 10, 2008

Who is the most progressive presidential candidate?

OK, here’s this to ponder, from Progressive Punch, listed in descending order by their Progressive Score:

Senator Clinton    91.29    16/100
Senator Obama      88.76    24/100
Rep. Kucinich      87.42   121/432
Senator Dodd       86.57    28/100
Senator Biden      84.26    31/100

Ha! You didn’t know that both Obama and Clinton were more progressive than Kooch? Of course, the mix of House data is different from Senate issues, but I think these ratings will surprise many.

The big problem with Clinton’s score, for me, is in the categories of

War & Peace (17 subcategories)                                    80.30      39/100(T), and
Human Rights & Civil Liberties (9 subcategories)      82.22      30/ 99(T)

Those two scores really bug me, and are not at all in progressive territory.


January 8, 2008

08 Presidential Candidate Comparisons

Filed under: 08 Presidential Hopefuls — rachel @ 1:24 pm

PDH & the Hawaii Chapter of ADA will be hosting a Presidential Candidates Forum

Hear from Hawai‘i campaign representatives and ask them your questions!

January 17, 6:30-8:30pm
Harris United Methodist Church
20 S. Vineyard Boulevard


  1. Introductory Remarks
  2. Explanation of Hawaii’s Caucus System: How YOU can participate.
  3. Statements by Candidate Representatives
  4. Questions from Audience
  5. Informational booths & opportunity to participate in a “straw poll” to gauge presidential preference of audience in attendance.

We have asked each campaign to be prepared to answer questions similar to those posted here. We won’t be asking these questions directly, so have purposely kept them general in nature in order to provide campaigns with an outline of issues that they should be prepared to answer questions on. Audience members are welcome to ask more pointed questions as they see fit.

As time allows, we will add additional posts outlining sources where these questions have already been answered for each campaign. If you know of good sources, feel free to leave a comment.

Powered by WordPress