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

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.


December 26, 2007

The Candidates’ views on Executive Power

The Boston Globe has an interesting article on the candidates’ views on executive power. LithiumCola, on Tue Dec 25, 2007 at 07:46:13 PM PST, wrote an article on DailyKos that he began with this introduction:

The Boston Globe sent a questionnaire out to (nearly) all of the Presidential candidates in the Democratic and Republican parties, asking them their views on the power of the Presidency. Without specifically using the phrase “unitary executive”, the 12 questions were nevertheless clearly designed to test each candidate’s willingness to roll back Presidential powers accumulated under George W. Bush.

A December 22 article on the results can be found here, along with a menu for viewing the questionnaire itself and the full responses, sorted by candidate or question number.

This is among the most important issues, if not the most important issue, in the current election cycle. The candidates’ responses to this questionnaire deserve scrutiny.

The article, by Charles Savage of the Boston Globe, was based on a survey of the candidates’ responses to a series of questions, and provides the best information to date on this important subject. Blogger LithiumCola is not completely satisfied with the leading candidate’s responses (“None of the front-runners are 100% reassuring.”) Candidates of both parties participated. LithiumCola summarizes,

When it comes to the Democrats, whether a reader finds Clinton’s, Obama’s, or Edward’s responses most reassuring, is partly a matter of interpretation . . . perhaps a matter of how charitably one is willing to read.

Therefore, rather than trying to summarize for you, I recommend that you read LithiumCola’s summary, and Charlie Savage’s original article, yourself, to form your own opinion.


November 23, 2007

Paul Krugman gets John Edwards

There’s a long post over at DailyKos today by JedReport, summarizing many columns by Paul Krugman about John Edwards. It makes for a handy summary of the highlights of the Edwards campaign:

Paul Krugman gets John Edwards Hotlist

by JedReport , Fri Nov 23, 2007 at 03:20:28 AM PST

Paul Krugman gets John Edwards, perhaps better than any other American journalist.

The more votes Edwards gets in the primaries, the more his positions will become reflected in the Democratic Party platform, regardless of who actually wins the primaries.

Of course, one could say the same for any of the candidates. But Krugman provides a lot of reasons to vote for Edwards. For the full story, follow the link.

November 9, 2007

John Edwards’ best speech?

Filed under: 08 Presidential Hopefuls,John Edwards — BobSchacht @ 7:31 pm

Today, Eli wrote on Firedoglake,

Finally, a comment on populism’s upside that I couldn’t integrate gracefully into the rest of the post: When done right, like in John Edwards’ great New Hampshire speech, it reminds people who are struggling of why they’re struggling. They’re not struggling because of the blacks or the gays or the immigrants or the women’s lib, they’re struggling because the rich and powerful have rigged the system for their own benefit. This would be a very powerful message for the Democratic party, if they cared to use it.

The website itself linked in this quote provides the transcript of Edwards’ speech. Take a look, and see what you think. If you know of a better speech, let me know!


August 3, 2007

Edwards, Obama, Richardson and Clinton on Energy

Today on DailyKos:

Edwards, Obama, Richardson and Clinton on Energy

by apsmith, Fri Aug 03, 2007 at 12:04:13 PM PDT

This diary presents an extensive comparison table on these 4 candidates, followed by an opinion poll on which candidate’s position is favored. With more than 5,000 votes tabulated so far, you may be surprised to learn that Sen. Richardson (385) enjoys a narrow lead over Sen. Edwards (37%), with Obama and Clinton trailing in the dust. Clinton’s position are least favored (5%), drawing only half as much interest as Sen. Dodd (“Hey, what about Sen.Dodd?”)

What this suggests is that if Edwards and Richardson can find effective ways of getting their message across, Obama and Clinton might lose ground later this year.

Bob Schacht

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