John McCain clumsy attempt to defend Iraq War position

John McCain skewered Barack Obama over Iraq in a pre-election skirmish, in another clumsy attempt to defend his Iraq War vote,

McCain, 71, on Wednesday issued a toughly worded statement accusing Obama of replacing his signature appeal for “the audacity of hope” with “the timidity of despair” when it comes to Iraq.

McCain has steadfastly defended the Bush Administration war agenda. The “Straight Talker” has been fairly consistent on his pro-Iraq War position, although he has occasionally critisized Bush’s handling of the Iraq War. But now he has criticized Obama’s recent statements about the Iraq War situation. Read the rest of this entry »

New York Times explains Hillary Clinton’s unraveling

I want to thank lapis who posted on the Daily Kos and alerted me to this Frank Rich piece in the NYT called “The Audacity of Hopelessness.” Rich blames much of the campaign failures on chief strategist, Mark Penn.

That’s why she has been losing battle after battle by double digits in every corner of the country ever since. And no matter how much bad stuff happened, she kept to the Bush playbook, stubbornly clinging to her own Rumsfeld, her chief strategist, Mark Penn. Like his prototype, Mr. Penn is bigger on loyalty and arrogance than strategic brilliance. But he’s actually not even all that loyal. Mr. Penn, whose operation has billed several million dollars in fees to the Clinton campaign so far, has never given up his day job as chief executive of the public relations behemoth Burson-Marsteller. His top client there, Microsoft, is simultaneously engaged in a demanding campaign of its own to acquire Yahoo.

There was a huge gap between the campaigns, explains Rich, in their work ethic.

The gap in hard work between the two campaigns was clear well before Feb. 5. Mrs. Clinton threw as much as $25 million at the Iowa caucuses without ever matching Mr. Obama’s organizational strength. In South Carolina, where last fall she was up 20 percentage points in the polls, she relied on top-down endorsements and the patina of inevitability, while the Obama campaign built a landslide-winning organization from scratch at the grass roots. In Kansas, three paid Obama organizers had the field to themselves for three months; ultimately Obama staff members outnumbered Clinton staff members there 18 to 3.

He even questions Clinton’s competency as a leader, citing a “disheveled campaign” and comparing it to her “botched” healthcare task force.

This is the candidate who keeps telling us she’s so competent that she’ll be ready to govern from Day 1. Mrs. Clinton may be right that Mr. Obama has a thin résumé, but her disheveled campaign keeps reminding us that the biggest item on her thicker résumé is the health care task force that was as botched as her presidential bid.

In summary, Frank Rich’s piece simply states in graphic fashion that Barack Obama ran a better campaign than Hillary Clinton.

Barack Obama’s remarkable rise comes as no surprise to me, having watched this brilliant politician rise from the ashes of a crushing defeat in a Congressional race in 2000, where he couldn’t do anything right. Since that time, has done nothing wrong. And that success is not accidental. Reading on Walden Bookstore

Barack Obama defends "liberal" label in Texas

I have never been prouder of Barack Obama than today when Barack Obama defended being a “liberal.” In Texas of all places. You go Barack.

AUSTIN, Texas — In the shadow of the state capitol that provided the United States with one of the most conservative presidents in recent history, Obama last night railed against the charge that being “liberal” was a bad thing.

“Oh, he’s liberal,” he said. “He’s liberal. Let me tell you something. There’s nothing liberal about wanting to reduce money in politics that is common sense. There’s nothing liberal about wanting to make sure [our soldiers] are treated properly when they come home.”

Continuing on his riff: “There’s nothing liberal about wanting to make sure that everybody has healthcare, but we are spending more on healthcare in this country than any other advanced country. We got more uninsured. There’s nothing liberal about saying that doesn’t make sense, and we should so something smarter with our health care system. Don’t let them run that okie doke on you!”

It is time the word “liberal” became a positive force in politics. Reading on Walden Bookstore.

Robert Bennett: In the Ring: The Trials of a Washington Lawyer

Order this book now and enjoy a 20% discount. Robert Bennett has represented Washington power brokers, heads of state, and even a sitting president. Now one of the most well-known Beltway lawyers talks about the law, his life, and the cases he has won.

Publishers Comments:
Robert S. Bennett has been a lawyer for more than forty years. In that time, he’s taken on dozens of high-profile and groundbreaking cases and emerged as the go-to guy for the nation’s elite. Bob Bennett gained international recognition as one of America’s best lawyers for leading the defense of President Bill Clinton in the Paula Jones case. But long before, and ever since, representing a sitting president, he has fought for justice for many famous (and some now infamous) clients. This is his story.

Born in Brooklyn and an amateur boxer in his youth, Bennett has always brought his street fighter’s mentality to the courtroom. His case history is a who’s who of figures who have dominated legal headlines: super lobbyist Tommy Corcoran, former Secretaries of Defense Clark Clifford and Caspar Weinberger, Marge Schott, and, most recently, New York Times reporter Judith Miller and former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz.

Bennett also served as special counsel to the Senate during the ABSCAM and Keating Five scandals and was a leading member of the National Review Board for the Protection of Children & Young People, created by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in response to the sex abuse allegations.

Taking the reader deep within his most intriguing and difficult cases, “In the Ring” shows how Bennett has argued for what’s right, won for his clients, and effected his share of change on the system. This is an intimate and compelling memoir of one lawyer’s attempt to fight hard and fair.

McCain Tied to Lobbyist

I won’t comment on the McCain/lobbyist thing because the stories speak for themselves. I take no joy in these situations. I would rather candidates I support defeat their opponents on issues and on the merits, and not some avoidable scandal. But I know many are interested in the story. If so, check out the New York Times piece and then the follow-up in the Washington Post piece. Reading on Walden Bookstore.Link

Obama picks up key endorsements

Presidential candidate Barack Obama picked up the endorsement of two key newspapers, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin’s largest daily newspaper and the Houston Chronicle, the biggest daily publication in Texas. Momentum continues to carry Barack Obama toward the Democratic Presidential nomination.

By Kim Chipman – Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) — Barack Obama picked up key newspaper endorsements in Wisconsin and Texas today as he and Hillary Clinton compete for delegates in states that may help determine which candidate wins the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin’s largest daily newspaper, said it recommends that voters support Obama in the state’s Feb. 19 primary because “change and experience are crucial to moving this country forward” and the Illinois senator is the “best-equipped to deliver that change.”

The Houston Chronicle, the biggest daily publication in Texas, gave similar reasons for endorsing Obama, 46, over Clinton. He’s “the best-qualified by life experience, skill and temperament to be the standard bearer for his party,” the newspaper said in an editorial today. Texas will hold its primary on March 4.

Reading on Walden Bookstore.

The time for Single Payer Health Insurance has arrived, says PNHP, a doctors group

The time for adopting “single payer health insurance” has arrived.

If I have one disappointment in the Presidential candidates that remain, it is that none of them are advocates for “single payer.” The only legitimate candidate running for President that was a true advocate of “single payer” was Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D – OH), who represents parts of the Cleveland area. To read more about his health plan, visit his website at www.dennis4President.

One consistent argument against “single payer” is that doctors oppose it. Not true. There is a group called Physicians for a National Health Program.

PNHP defines “single payer” quite simply:

Single-payer national health insurance is a system in which a single public or quasi-public agency organizes health financing, but delivery of care remains largely private.

Let me repeat an important line in their definition of single payer:

“delivery of care remains largely private.”

It is not the same as national health, as is practiced in Canada and England. Not that there is anything wrong with how they practice in those countries.

Another way to explain “single payer” is “Medicare for All.” PNHP makes some valid arguments related to cost.

The U.S. spends twice as much as other industrialized nations on health care, $7,129 per capita. Yet our system performs poorly in comparison and still leaves 47 million without health coverage and millions more inadequately covered.

This is because private insurance bureaucracy and paperwork consume one-third (31 percent) of every health care dollar. Streamlining payment through a single nonprofit payer would save more than $350 billion per year, enough to provide comprehensive, high-quality coverage for all Americans.

The savings alone from adopting this plan will be enough to insure all uninsured Americans. It is a travesty that any Americans must live without adequate health coverage. Even worse, too many Americans have to live with “zero” health coverage. We all pay for “inadequate health coverage.”

It is better we get out front on this issue now. It is our obligation to do so. Reading on Walden Bookstore.