2007-02-23

Influence…

Posted in politics at 7:07 am by cori

This:

The message from the Clinton campaign, particularly its chairman, Terry McAuliffe, has been blunt, the strategist said, “that you’re with us or against us. This isn’t one of those races that you can max out (in contributions) to all the candidates. The message from Team Hillary is: We’re ahead, we’re going to be the nominee — and we will remember who our friends are.” [emphasis mine]

smacks of influence peddling to me.  And of all that’s wrong with campaign finance, only from the other side of the fence.  I’m so used to thinking of the corporate money and big corporations’ attempts to curry favor as being the greatest evil of mixing money and politics, but here’s a candidate’s campaign essentially threatening past donors. 

Lucky for me I don’t contribute to any of them, I guess.

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Currently listening to Senator Clinton Addresses the New America Foundation’s 10 Big Ideas Conference from Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Podcast.

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2007-02-20

No, Hilary, we don’t want "a firmness"

Posted in politics at 4:30 pm by cori

This is going to be an interesting election cycle in our house I think.  I don’t think I’d be overstepping my bounds to say that my wife is leaning towards supporting Hilary Clinton in the Democratic primary race.  For my part I am undecided, but decidedly less enthusiastic about Senator Clinton, though I remain willing to be convinced.  I’d like to see a woman in the White House, but I remain unconvinced that Senator Clinton is the right person for that role.

Recent discussions regarding Clinton’s position on the Iraq war in 2002 and her current explanations of her original vote have left me cold.  Sunday’s New York Times article about Clinton’s recent reiteration of her position (ironically forwarded to me by my wife) leave me less than cold; Clinton’s position as portrayed in that article have convinced me more than ever that she’s the wrong candidate for the next Democratic presidency.  Some choice bits, all quoted from the NYT article:

“She wants to maintain a firmness, and I think a lot of people around her hope she maintains a firmness. That’s what people will want in 2008.”

This is a statement of one “advisor,” one who falls on the non-apology side of the discussion that apparently recently took place within Clinton’s circle of advisors.  Personally, I’m not sure a “firmness” is the only thing “people” will want from the next president.

As a candidate, Mrs. Clinton likes to think and formulate ideas as if she were president — her “responsibility gene,” she has called it. In that vein, she believes that a president usually deserves the benefit of the doubt from Congress on matters of executive authority.

This particular statement actually worries me even more than the overly simple “firmness.”  My feeling, one I think shared by many Democrats, is that Congress has given the current house-sitter in the White House too much “benefit of the doubt.”  Far more than he deserved.

“She thinks she will be president and will have to negotiate on the nation’s behalf with world leaders,” said one Clinton adviser. “She thinks we’re likely to still be in this mess in 2009, and coming onto the campaign trail and groveling and saying at every opportunity that you made a mistake doesn’t actually help you solve the problem.”

Um, no, it doesn’t help you solve the problem, but a certain amount of humility can go a long way in working with others, at least in kindergarten, and I imagine also on the world stage.

I know that Senator Clinton is targeting her election machine on November 2008 and as such is thinking not only about primary issues, but also about the issues she would face in the general election.  However, it seems to me that she’s misreading the single greatest lesson of the last 6 years under George W. Bush and his cronies.  That lesson is not that the war in Iraq was/is wrong, or that lying your way into war isn’t a reliable strategy for victory.  The most important lesson to be learned here isn’t the Iraq debacle; its that overbearing arrogance and an unwillingness to admit your mistakes is not only unworthy of the leader of our country, but also dangerous, not just for America, but for the world at large.  I can think of no way that any of us, men or women, Americans or Africans, Arabs or Jews are safer now than we were before the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, and I would argue that we’re, most of us, demonstrably less safe. 

Instead of acknowledging that a presidency gone wild has put us in greater danger, and that a stronger balance between the Executive and Legislative branches would be better for us all than the run away arrogance of the current administration, instead of showing herself able to take responsibility for blindly and mistakenly following what seemed, even at the time, to be trumped-up evidence, Senator Clinton seems to be telling us that she’d act in much the same vein if she were president.  If she found herself on the wrong side of a mistake while she’s in the White House, will she wield her executive authority to change course, to acknowledge the mistake and learn from it, or will she continue on, unable to admit her own fallibility?  And if the latter, as she seems to be indicating, I want even less for someone with her apparently expansive opinion on executive authority to be president.  While she might wield her power in much more benevolent ways than the current president, she might well plod blindly on long after it’s become clear to others that the path itself is wrong.  No, for my vote, a candidate’s ability to say “I was wrong” is more important than almost anything else.

2007-02-09

“Free” blogging tools on display at John Edwards’s site

Posted in blogging, politics at 4:11 pm by cori

John Edwards’s candidacy interests me – I think he’s right on a lot of the issues and has a good opportunity to be a serious contender for the Democratic nomination. I’ve been subscribed to some of the feeds his site’s producing for a while, and the other day I took a look at their efforts to involve bloggers and to encourage folks to blog.

The site makes on-site blogs available for interested bloggers; simply sign up for an and they’ll provide you with a blog or “Diary” within their community. Sensible enough, as far as it goes. I also came across this information regarding starting your own blog on their “For Blogger’s” page” regarding ways to start you own blog :

Perhaps you are already a blogger on the John Edwards Blog. Maybe you already have your own diary on our site. That’s fantastic. But we encourage you to do more. You should start your own independent blog.Check it out; it’s easy and free.

Here’s what you do (remember – it’s all free):

  1. Go to a free blogging site. A few examples: www.blogger.com, www.typepad.com, www.wordpress.org, and follow the given instructions. It only takes a few minutes. Again, it is easy and free.

(From: For Bloggers / John Edwards ’08 Blog)

I think it’s great that they’re encouraging folks to start their own blogs and put their own voice on the web, out from under the umbrella of the John Edwards site. But right away I noticed some errors and misleading info there, so I sent them an email:

Hey all;

I noticed a few things that could bear a little attention on the site with respect to growing a blogging community. On the for bloggers (http://blog.johnedwards.com/bloggers) page there is an error and an “opportunity for improvement”

  • Contrary to the claim that “it’s all free,” TypePad accounts are not free. The lowest cost plan is $4.95/month. Not a lot of money, I agree. But not free.
  • While the WordPress.org blogging software is technically free, it requires a hosting account to host the software so that the blog is available on the web. Again, the lowest commonly available cost for hosting that I’ve seen is $4.95/month. Alternately, a WordPress.com blog is free, and requires nothing but to sign up.
-- 
Yours; 
...

The next day I got a response from David Pierucci:

Hi Cori,   

Thanks for writing in and thanks for the info. We are working 
on adding message boards to the chapter pages. Please 
feel free to write back with any questions or ideas that 
you may have. Thanks for your time.   

David

Nice enough, I suppose, but woefully inadequate. In fact, I get the feeling that not only do they not care that the information’s inaccurate or misleading, but that David doesn’t even understand what’s at issue. Several days later neither of those bits have been corrected. Not an outstanding way to attract bloggers to your cause, if you ask me; I had better hopes for Edwards’s “netroots” organization than that.

2007-02-08

Set a Deadline

Posted in politics at 2:40 pm by cori

setadeadline.com

I was against the war to start with, but it seems to me that having, as a nation, followed George Bush to war we have a responsibility to the people of Iraq and while I want to see our troops home as soon as possible, pulling out precipitously seems to have a reasonable chance at creating an even worse situation that what we’ve created already.

That said, if the Iraqi administration is unwilling or unable to step up to the plate to ensure the success of their own government and the safety of their own people, staying even an additional day is just a matter of throwing good lives away for nothing.  A firm timeline that holds the Iraqis to some meaningful benchmarks for progress in their own efforts to take over responsibility for their own security and safety seems a reasonable alternative to abrupt withdrawal.

Please, Mr. Bush.  Set a deadline.

<aside>It would be nice if the Set A Deadline campaign would provide a badge of some kind that included a counter of signatories.</aside>