Thursday, May 08, 2008

Very Little Happens in Indiana...

5/6/2008, 9:48 PM

Came in a few minutes ago and, to my surprise, found that Indiana is still too close to call. Not what I expected.

While I won't get this posted until tomorrow, I thought I might scribble a little bit as I watch this.

Ack, the talking heads are talking about "Operation Chaos" from Limbaugh... The talking heads are saying that Obama's strength in Indiana tonight, whether or not he wins this one in the end, may be enough to tip this thing…

Really? Really? Are they watching the same primaries that I have been? Are they watching the same campaign?

Carl Bernstein is now saying that sources in the campaign are saying that Hillary will be looking for the vice-presidency. One source, according to Bernstein, said that she would demand it. He is saying that she really is not looking to return to the Senate.

Interesting. I thought she would be the one of the two to say no if it was offered. I thought I could see Obama on her ticket, but not Hillary on the bottom of an Obama ticket. Of course, others are saying that she wouldn't take it, and still others are saying that he wouldn't offer it.

What does this mean? Nothing, probably.

Twenty minutes until more numbers from Lake County, a voice on the phone is telling John King.

Another question: Is this interesting, or is this, like the Daily Show graphics suggested the other day, the Bataan Death March to the Nomination?

Are there shenanigans in Lake County? Is CNN trying to make news out of nothing? The mayor of Hammond, Indiana is on saying that "something corrupt may be happening." He is a Clinton supporter. "I'm not saying that anything improper is happening, but it looks like something improper is happening," he says.

Spin. This supports my view, that while Clinton may take a VP role when all is said and done, she will do anything it takes first to get the top spot. She may go legal, she may tear up the convention… I would guess the idea is, get the spot, at what ever cost, then heal the party later.

Most of the votes just came in. It's looking like she will put this off, at 10:09 PDT.

Anyway, the earliest I'd expect Clinton to drop out would only be after the Minnesota and Florida issues are definitively settled. And those states, depending on how they are handled, while maybe not securing the nomination for her outright, may give her the fuel she needs to keep her hopes alive.

So, really, tonight is mildly interesting, but it probably will not settle anything.

10:13, and CNN just called it for Hillary. Closer, by far, than expected, but tonight, as they say, met expectations on both sides.

And, most likely, nothing changes...

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Still Napping...

Okay, are the primaries over yet? Do we have a candidate? No? Okay, back to sleep…

Sure, Guam, seven votes? Two delegates each. Sure, Indiana and North Carolina on Tuesday? Will these settle anything?

Is this damaging the party? Maybe. That will be impossible to tell until November. I do, however think, if this thing gets ugly in the backrooms, then it will. I've seen some numbers where it looks like supporters of one candidate are starting to get too bitter about the other candidate to support them in the general, but I think these wounds, at this point, can heal when faced with the possibility of a John McCain, Skippy II, administration.

Is this making the eventual nominee stronger? Well, perhaps if it is Obama, but if it is Hillary, I think she already has the political machine necessary for success, so in her case, it is really only a matter of not pissing too many Democrats off before the general.

Okay, so there are rabid preachers and there was something about McCain hanging out in strip joints when he was younger. There are too many talking heads getting paid for too little real news on the television.

In Portland, it is a spectacular day. I am heading back into a book on Stalinism for one of my history classes, soaking up the sun, and hiding from this damn election some more.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Primary Season Nap Time...

I am doing it again. Nice book on the table in front of me on the history of America's relationship with the Middle East, mandatory reading that I am now weeks behind on for class, and I am putzing around doing everything but my homework.

Anyway, I do remember that there is an election campaign going on, sort of…

It's just that, well, absolutely nothing of value is going on at the moment. Sure, all the talking heads are trying to create news, but there is no real news going on right now involving the election.

The ratings must have been huge for the news networks there for a while. When this current lull started, they really tried their hardest to keep the coverage going, but with six weeks between meaningful primary votes, there really is nothing going on.

These little flutters of punditry are just that, and they are probably fairly meaningless. Did Barak offend people who are not going to be pulling the Donkey lever in November anyway? Probably. His pastor (er, former…)? Okay, so for two weeks we had it pounded into our heads that whatever Obama is, he is not a Muslim. This doesn't hurt him.

And Hillary is out their squawking away about this and that, and Bill's out there looking, quite frankly, senile, and Chelsea thinks that Mom's neater than Dad… And still no real news.

So, yes. I have been busy. I haven't been paying that much attention. But there has been nothing worth paying attention to.

Wake me when this thing starts up again.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

To live and die in Texas and Ohio…

So… I haven't seen it yet, I am sure it will be said. I am sure I will groan and roll my eyes whenever I see it, so I will strike first… Huckabeen.

So long. For now. Anyone notice some slight echoes between McCain 2000 and Huckabee 2008? See ya' next time.

As someone wrote eariler on Wonkette, it is too early to call the Democratic races (that matter, sorry Vermont and Rhode Island) RESPONSIBLY: but, also quoting them, "Fuck, i'll (sic) call them. Ohio, RI -> Clinton, Texas -> Obama. Ok, let's all go home."

Yep. Except that means that no one is going home. How long until Pennsylvania? Good or bad for the party, I am tired.

CNN earlier was gushing over how tonight changes everything for McCain. Bull. That's just filling time until they can talk about the real news tonight. McCain clinching the nomination tonight was about as surprising as the sun coming up this morning and changes nothing, really. He's been campaigning as the nominee for weeks, so what is he going to change now?

I am coming to agree with the Stupid Tuesday label that a lot of people have been using for tonight. My guess, lots of hype, little news. However, tie goes to the runner, and Hillary's been crawling back into this race slowly, which is surprising to me in some ways. I will say that the two weeks since the last votes have actually helped her in the short term, but I think the way she is conducting the campaign in the long run will hurt her in the remaining primaries and, if she actually gets the nomination, could hang her in the general.

For christsakes, she's running ads for McCain, essentially. At least a few people have been calling her on the damn phone ad. For Hillary, you lose on experience. For Obama, you win on judgment. It's what I said during the Texas debate, and dang it, I am sticking to it.

All right. I am sliding off into my two day internet blackout. I might hijack the work intertubes, though. I'll see what happens.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Post-Debate Blog

Originally posted elsewhere Feb. 21, 08

Now for a little anal... I mean analysis.

I think Hillary really snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory tonight.

Overall, she rocked Obama, but that little 30 second bit where she got nasty was this debate's media moment, I suspect. This will be what is played over and over again through the coming days, and this is what will define the debate for her. This is bad for her, it was not a good moment for her.

Since most people who vote will not have watched the whole thing, this is really terrible for her. Already CNN is zooming into it on line.
"Not change you can believe in, change you can xerox..." that was the line.
After this, in the debate, her approval line dropped almost every time she started talking. Only towards the end did the effect of this small moment fade enough for her to regain her previous momentum. For most people, they'll see the highlights on TV, see this moment, and not see how well she was doing before this, they won't have the chance for her to recover later, like the people watching the debate did, they'll just be left with the strong negative reaction from this moment.

If this is how it goes down, I suspect that she has lost the nomination. It is insane in close elections how such minutae can have such an effect, and it will be interesting to see if this becomes one of the defining moments of the primary season, the final nail in her coffin, so to speak.
I am looking for some talking heads to see what people are being fed about the debate, but I cannot find much.

Got to run for now, anyway. I'll check back later.

Pasted from <>

Live blogging the Texas Debate...

Originally posted elsewhere, Feb 21, 08

Okay, so I've got the CNN up on the computer. I've got the peppermint mocha ready for consumption.I am ready to fill up the screen with a hundred typos and dangling participles...

The word is the Hillary is going to go hard and ugly on Obama. The sense is that this could backfire, that she should leave this to McCain, who seems more than willing to blast away at him, and to primarily focus on being likable, on being competent, and on fleshing out her policy issues.

Obama really just needs to hang in there. He needs to look presidential and not look like an idiot. This is his to lose. This is not the time for him to try and focus on policy and to try to look like a hard core policy wonk, Hillary will crush him if he tries this.

Instead, he needs to look pretty, have a couple sharp comebacks ready to fire of if needed, and just look confident.

This one should be a beauty contest, and if it is, it will be boring. They both need boring here. If it is interesting, someone is in trouble. Probably both of them dragging each other down.

My two-cents.

Hil. Talking. Talking. Sometimes when she talks, I feel like I am one if the kids in a Peanuts cartoon listening to a grown-up…

At least she did not talk about the three months she lived in Austin. Yesterday she said that, it sounded weak, desperate and awful. She did point out the work she was doing here at the time, which is much better.

Obama throws out the real life stories, showing that he is in touch with the common folks problems. I hate this tactic. Bill Clinton was the master at this. Everyone since looks like they are trying to be Bill Clinton.

Obama - "Washington is a place where good ideas go to die" because of the lobbyists. Take that McCain.

Clinton will "stand ready to work with" with the new president of Cuba, if they refocus on democracy... Kind of dodged the sit down with the new president question. Well, on challenge, she said no, not right away.

Obama would meet "without preconditions," but there must be "preparation," including the release of political prisoners. So, is this really... Well, Hillary is "No, until..." Obama is "Yes, but..." They are really pretty much trying to tow a similar line but trying to sound a little different as they outline it.

Hillary agrees absolutely with negotiations with anyone, but she is pointing out that she differs with Obama on when presidential level meetings should happen, especially with nations we do not currently have diplomatic relations with.

She actually is clarifying Obama's words for him. Nice touch, Hil. And throwing in some nice bashing of Bush foreign policy too. I've got the "real-time reaction" graph running and she was up in the 80s for this, the highest so far of the evening.

Let's talk about the "recession..."

Obama- the economy is in trouble. People know this, he says. Restore fairness and balance to the economy, stop the tax breaks for companies outsourcing American jobs, and killing the Bush tax cuts. Killing the Bush tax cuts got him up into the 80s for the first time tonight.

Notice how to get the positive reaction? Don't talk about yourself. Bash Bush.

He's talking about economic hope, staying in the 70s.

Clinton- Agrees alot with what Obama just said. Get the tax code adjusted to be fair for middle class. Bash Bush. 80s, briefly.

We need to enforce trade agreements. Enfoce safety standards. Foreclosures: crack down on abusive practices of lenders. Throwing statistics and real life stories around fast and furious. 90 day moratorium on foreclosures. Five year freeze on interest rates. 70s. Clean green jobs. Invest in infrastructure. rebuild america and put people to work. End Bush's war on science. Spike into 80s. We need to be the innovation Nation. That was a great School House Rock song, wasn't it?

Immigration Issues:
Clinton- Deportation is against American values and an admission of defeat of current policies. Hovering just below 70. Need to help Mexico create more jobs. Would introduce path to legalization in first 100 days.

Obama- Has worked on this in the past, but it was "used as a political football" and "died in the house." Agrees with Clinton, but adds that "we need to tone down the rhetoric." Calls for comprehensive reform, cracking down on abusive employers without discriminating against legal citizens. Pay back taxes, pay fine on the way to legalization. Need to fix legal immigration as well as work on illegal immigration, making it easier to immigrate legally. I like. Hovering around 70, just like Hillary. Need to work with Mexico, echoing Hil, calling for investment in Mexican economy, creating jobs there. Bashing Bush policies, calling Iraq the distraction, but he didn't break 70 here.

Finishing the border fence:

Clinton- "there is a smart way to protect our borders and there is a dumb way to protect our borders," examples of absurd actions of current administration. Wants to review the need for physical barrier and where they are appropriate, saying that the Bush administration has "gone off the deep end" on this issure. Near 80.

Technology and "smart fencing"? "Deploying more technology and personel" Clinton won't defend her past voting on this issue.

Obama- Says that he "almost entirely agrees" with Hillary. Echo. Echo. "people want fairness, want justice..." Deporting everyone is "ridiculous..." we need "order in the process" Getting people out of shadows. He is trying to say the same thing, but trying to use pretty words.

5:45 - What I am noticing here, it is not good when he follows Hillary for him. He does sound like he is saying me to with prettier words. It's also not great when she follows him, she crams 14 policy points in per breath and doesn't even break a sweat. He needs to stay out of these debates with this woman.

He does come across as the pretty talker, but it almost feels like he is struggling to make his pretty words fit the situation where Hillary has, like I said, 14 policy points to match each situation.

I need a smoke. BRB (How modern of me!)

I came back in and the screen was dark? Did Hil jump up and chair Obama? No. Just a commercial. I guess I didn't miss much.

Its being pointed out that they are being much more polite together than when they are talking about each other seperately. They have been very polite. John King is trying to get them going.

Hillary is not taking the bait, and turning it against Bush, pointing out they her and Obama both have a lot in common. Exactly. She is trying to find differences, but honestly, very few are coming out tonight. She is talking about offering soultions, but if Obama is not offering solutions, but is essentially offering the same ideas as she is, does this mean that she is not offering solutions either?

She is saying it really is about experience and record and resume. Small spike around 65.

Obama - Pointing out some of his record, some his work in the Senate. He's "engaged not just in talk, but in action." Fundamental difference between them in how they want to bring change about. Pretty flat, no spikes. Pointing out that he has been endorsed by every major paper in Texas. He's going for the idea that his approach will be less confrontational and will be more likely to actually bring about change. Flat. Flat. Hillary is smirking. Can she see the line too? Small bump up to 70 at the end.

Campbell Brown is bringing up the Obama plagairism accusations.

Pointing out that the line was given to him. This is an example of "the silly season in politics." People want issues, not distractions, he is saying. Patting himself on the back for making good speeches, people like the joke.

I still say it was a silly mistake on his part that he didn't throw a few sylables into that speech attributing the line, no biggie. Either way. He is turning away from the question and throwing out a few policy points.

Clinton - "If your campaign is going to be about words then they should be your own words." A good line about Xeroxing... Plunging approval, down towards 30. Boos in the live audience. Turns towards health care, and attacking him on the gaps in his plan, not covering everyone. She is saying that he, essentially, does not have the imagination to go the distance with his plans to do what really needs to be done. She even threw in a bit where she claimed that even Bush could see what he couldn't see.

These are the lines we'll be seeing for a week. Hillary looked like a bitch and may have gone a bit too far on the attack. You know she has been dying to say it. She shouldn't have, at least not like this. She was pulling it off. She may have just lost it. Everything. Those 30 seconds may have just cost her the presidency.

Obama is talking- I agree. Health care stuff I was writing about. People do not have insurance because they do not want it, but because they cannot afford it. Trying to point out that he is more in tune with the people than she is. Patting her on the back for her old plan as first lady in 93. Saying she went about it in the wrong way, behind closed doors, and alienated her party, congress, and everyone. Really, that old debacle is one of her weak points, and I am surprised that it does not come up among the Democrats more often, though the Republicans act as though it is the only thing she has ever done. Probably why.

Back from commercial. Back from my smoke...
Univision guy bringing up Hil's comments that Obama is not ready for CinC job, she drags it back to health care, upset that she did not have a chance to respond. She feels that there are substatitive differences in their plans. Swinging John Edwards words at him, saying that they have real differences. Pretty flat. Campbell Brown trying to move it on, Hil's breaking the rules, so is Obama in responding. He's pointing out that she is going to force people to buy insurance, comparing it to Mass. where people are fined, so they not only lack health insurance, but also are saddled with fines. An evil plan. I do not know if she has the same details in her plan. Hil won't let go, small bumps over 50 when Obama was talking, long droop down into the 40s when Hil started. Pointing out that she wants real Universal Health Care, up into the mid-50s.

That was a bad sign for her. When she started talking, the approval line dropped. When she said the magic words that all of us liberal types love, the words got the approval, not her.

Again, back to Obama not being ready to lead the country in the world, lacking the foreign policy experience.

Hillary is rattling off her experience and a couple of the current foreign policy issues (Cuba, Kosovo, Embassy riot in Serbia, etc...) Rapid fire of points showing her ease with and grasp of the issues, line hovering a little over 50. Drops a little when she is talking about being ready for the job.

Obama starts talking, it rises before he says anything real. Up near 70. Dropping back down a bit. Talking about overextension of US forces. Hitting Hillary on the old war vote. Afghanastan versus Iraq. I like him here, he is right. One is the war we need to win, the other is the war we never needed to fight. "Who is going to show the judgment to lead?" Awsome way for him to rephrase this debate, being the least experienced in the ring. Judgment versus experience.

John King is taking us on a little tour of Iraq- "Is Iraq today better off ... because of the surge?"

Interesting, it used to be if America was better off today than we were four years ago, not it is if Iraq is better off than it was four years ago.

Hillary- Formulate plan to start drawing down troops within 60 day, one to two brigades a month, probably. Approval up near 70.

Obama- Violence has been reduced in Iraq, and this is due to the efforts of our soldier and "we honor their service" Pointing out the surge is a fix to "a huge strategic blunder." Saying that we'll pound McCain on the war. Approval hovering up near 70. He is moving on into the economic cost of the war, and pointing out that Iran has benefitted from the war more than any other nation. Again, "the incredible burden placed on the American people," not doing right by our veterans , over 70 on the line.

Point to Obama. He is getting the better response on the war, because he is making it an issue about American, not about Iraq. Remember this.

Commercial break. Smoke break... Strange sounds coming out of the dark and into my earphones... Back in a moment.

More coffee, no smoke, Obama is talking about "Google for Government" to help track government budgets, etc. Arguing for more transperancy, more disclosure. Projects funded through earmarks are not inherantly bad, but that there needs to be transparancy.

I was distracted by email. Hil was saying something that got her spiked up to 70, staying pretty high. Tax cuts for the middle class. Ah. It's a good thing. Some Bush bashing too. Give people money, bash Bush, that approval line stays high.

I love it, she is ready to fight McCain on "the fisical irresponsibility of the Republican Party." I love it.

Talk about super delegates. Approval for unified party moving into the general. Hillary threw out some pretty words and got the approval spike, Obama is over talking this and hovering around 60, significantly lower than Hillary here.

Final question-
Describe when your judgment was tested under the pressure of a crisis?

Obama- My personal life was a trainwreck in my youth. Learning responsibility for his actions and how to work with others. Choosing to work for principles over cash in law. Giving the people "a government worthy of their decency and generosity."

Hil - Veiled nod towards her past public turmoils (spike in approval). Her challenges have been nothing compared to the challenges faced by so many regular American folk these days... Good. Nicely done. But it does kind of indicate that Obama remembers what it was like out there, she may not. But I like her humility here. This is one of the area she needed to work on tonight, humility, and this is a great moment for her here, and her approval line is way up towards 80. She is "absolutely honored to be here with Barak Obama... What ever happens we'll be fine." Big hand shake for Obama. Standing ovation.

She closed huge, if this is it. Thanks, thanks, standing clapping... I am smoking.

Stick a fork in it, it's done.

Pasted from <>

McCain! On the Airplane! With the Lobbyist!

Originally posted elsewhere, Feb. 21, 08-

Alright. I am still sick. I slept for 14-hours, and I am moving, barely… Last night, this morning, I heard some bits and pieces potentially involving McCain's bits and pieces…

I have not read the article yet. I will comment on the "media analysis" of the article…

This smells like one of those, well, my sister's brother's cousin was on the airplane, and it was a rockin'. But the reporters could never find the actual witness, only the sister's brother, not the cousin. What they could find is a few staffers telling the two that it looked bad and to stay the hell away from each other.

The issues here are less about McCain's sex life than about his relationship with lobbyists.

Neither potential scandal will amount to much of anything, particularly because of the timing. It is too late for innuendo and rumor to effect the primaries, it is too early for it to effect the general.

My call?

I doubt that he was getting any hot lobby action.

I do think that he is a little less squeaky clean when it comes to influence peddling than he would like the country to believe. Check out his record with ear marks and budgetary transparency. Check out his actual congressional record on campaign finance reform (and compare it to Obama's).

Finally, I think that the New York Times does feel that there was something here worth reporting, and I suspect that the reporters themselves would be the first to admit that this article was not quite ready for publication yet. However, I suspect that the McCain ship is pretty tight, so it might also be as close as it will ever get.

Ten minutes to the debate. I am going to try and live blog this bitch if I can pick up the live feed on If not, I'll watch one of the endless replays of it that CNN will be airing over the next week. Anyway, because of that, I am not feeling up to diving any deeper into Winkiegate at this point.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Congress and the presidency since 1900

Things to do when you are sick and taking the morning off of work... The moral is, unless it is 2008 or your initials are JFK, the Senate or House are not resume items you want when running for president. And trust me, you do not want what Warren Harding had.

2008 - Senator beats senator
2004 - President beats senator
2000 - Governor beats sitting VP/former senator
1996 - President beats senator
1992 - Governor beats president
1988 - Sitting VP beats governor
1984 - President beats former VP/former senator
1980 - Governor beats president
1976 - Governor beats president
1972 - President beats senator
1968 - Former VP/former senator beats sitting VP/former Senator
1964 - President beats senator
1960 - Senator beats sitting VP/former senator
1956 - President beats governor
1952 - General beats governor
1948 - President beats governor
1944 - President beats governor
1940 - President beats corporate lawyer
1936 - President beats governor
1932 - Governor beats President
1928 - Sec. of Commerce beats governor
1924 - President beats solicitor general/ambassador/representative
1920 - Senator beats representative/governor
1916 - President beats Supreme Court Justice/Governor
1912 - Governor beats president and former president
1908 - Secretary of War/Provisional Governor of Cuba
beats representative
1904 - President beats judge
1900 - President beats representative

It's all over... Is it all over? Who knows... (Post-Wisconsin Blues)

So, about a week and a half ago I sketched out my Huckabee theory, which was vaguely...

McCain really isn't able to coalesce the party right now, so Huckabee is keeping the debate on the soul of the GOP open even though the candidate has been decided. Until this housekeeping is completed, they cannot turn their attention to the Democrats. Huckabee's involvement also keeps the hard core social conservatives involved with the GOP. They won't bail on the party or look for 3rd party option as long as he is involved. Perhaps, he is doing a good thing for the GOP, in the long run, though it may damage them in this general election. It may also help them in the general this year in the long run by not allowing McCain to abandon and lose the far right.

I am not sure where I stand with this now. Things are gelling up for McCain, and Huckabee appears to have lost his momentum. I suppose he'll hang out until March 4 and then quietly slip away.

On the Democrat side, yesterday appeared to be the end for Hillary. It's all over but for the all over. I actually thought that the media would wait until Texas and Ohio before sticking their forks in her, and maybe not even then, but last night, all the talking heads on CNN, at least, were convinced, she is done.

Of course, McCain stepped up and is now declaring himself the Republican nominee. He was being polite about this until last night, but now he is starting in on the Democrats, namely Obama. Now, I believe that this is less because he believes that Obama is going to be the Democratic nominee, but almost more to help Hillary. All along, the Republicans have seen her as the candidate they would most like to take on in the General (I'd say the fall, but this is going to be a long general election campaign and it will start no later than the first week in March, if it hasn't already).

Hillary is not technically out. If anything, they are tied. And, except for last night, she was ready to give up nine of the last ten contests and then bounce back on top with Wisconsin, Ohio, and Texas, so she is not even that far off of her game plan. Unfortunately, there is something that her and Rudy missed about momentum and perception. Also, I do not think that she was expecting to lose those nine by such large margins. People are noticing, she is in trouble. She is starting to stink of defeat.

But she could get back into this, and if McCain goes hard negative against Obama, and she can pick up her own end of things, there is a chance that she can revive her campaign. Let McCain do the dirty work, refocus her campaign on substance and likeability issues, and forge on ahead.

For McCain, this is a win-win. If Obama doesn't mess this up, and it is his to lose right now, McCain gets an early start on taking on his opponent. If McCain can damage Obama enough to give Clinton a shot, then he gains an opponent that the GOP feels more confident in beating (and if it is Hillary, the dirt they throw at her will probably make Kerry's swift boating look like amateur hour ).

But my call is that this is too late. I am looking less at Obama's winning streak than I am at the percentages in those victories. His campaign has done some remarkable work here. And, bottom line, listening to his long speech last night, boy, there is someone who sounds like a president to me. More so than the other two left standing at this moment.

It's been a long time since we've had a decent orator in the presidency, and the last one? Well, after eight years of Skippy, I actually miss Reagan. The GOP is disappointed because they could not find a modern version of the Gipper. The Democrats found one, and they, it seems, are going to do anything it takes to get him through into November.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

So, we are electing a president, aren't we?

Yes, I've noticed, but I have been very busy. I want to dive in, I want to follow this thing. I've watched a lot of CNN, I've, well, just really been strangely uninspired to write about this. Probably too much bitching and moaning about life over on my other blogs.

But, it's down- baring a near Biblical miracle for Huckabee- to McCain, Obama, and Hillary.

A couple of quick takes:

Clinton. First of all, having only two last names in the white house for twenty-four to twenty-eight years makes me very nervous. Is it Jeb's turn next? His brother kind of stepped out of turn and grabbed it away from the Jebster prematurely and then, like, totally fucked the thing up, damn little brothers…

But, Hillary... Really, the problem here is that the differences between Hillary and Obama are pretty subtle, leaving this in the eyes of many to be a choice between which first the Democrats are in the mood for this year. Still, there are differences, beyond the experience question, which, honestly, McCain will slay both of them on.

Health care is where I've managed to notice a little variety. I am not a fan of the government telling me to write checks to insurance companies. I would if I could, but I can't. I haven't taken the time to dig into the details, but I think mandatory car insurance is probably one of the worst scams pulled on America in a very long time, and I do not want to see this door even opened a crack on health insurance.

Frankly, there is one fatal problem with most of the health plans out there. Modern medical miracles are damned expensive. More expensive that 99% of the people in America can afford. If it was just a question of throwing a doctor a bill every year or two for a check-up, then this is fine, but it really isn't that simple. People cannot afford to pay for health care no matter how many medical spending accounts we set up. Only big government or big corporations can afford it.

So who do we sell our soul to? Which evil? All the talk about consumers and capitalism and market forces driving medical costs are bull shit. There is no free market in health care. There is no comparison shopping for emergency surgery, and sure we can choose between generic or name brand drugs, sometimes, but quite often even the simplest prescriptions can be budget killers for many Americans.

So in the end, any talk of reforming health care is almost a joke to me. Putting a band-aid on the beast. Until someone is really ready to get in and do some serious theoretical economic work on this issue, there is really no solution that will really fix it. In the end, I suppose, it comes down to- do I want to trust my health to corporations or to the government? Greed versus bureaucracy? Well, I think I'll take an inefficient, drooling bureaucratic hell that probably at least means well over a system that surely would consider a few extra deaths a fine trade-off if it helped raise the bottom line for the stockholder's annual report.

So, why the ill informed rant on health care? This alone pretty much throws me over into the Obama camp. Hillary has a little bit in there about requiring certain people, like semi-self-employed contractor types in fields like technical writing to buy their own insurance. Plus, if Obama doesn't try for it too hard (and he has been recently, or at least his people and everyone in the media have been), he does have a real JFK vibe to him.

And it is a beauty contest, and at the end of the day, after spending the last eight years listening to Stuttering George butcher the English language, I'd like an eloquent president the next time around.

McCain. Would I vote for McCain over Hillary?

If this is the match up, something interesting might happen. A lot of Conservatives might jump over and vote for Obama, and a lot of centrist Dems might jump over and vote for McCain. McCain does not scare me. Neither does Hillary, for that matter, and Bill will always be my boy… So, we might have an election here where I feel that no matter who wins, the country is going to have a pretty decent president. This sort of happened back in 1996, too. Dole would have done a fine job.

Probably what both Dole and McCain have in common is that they are very experienced politicians, and very competent public officials. This means that they should spend more time focusing on actual important issues and less time chasing after social issues that the government has no business being involved with in the first place.

Still, they'll get to nominate some judges, and this is where they'll, in the first term, especially, be paying back any social conservatives who do show up in November to vote for them, so I do stick, so far, to yanking the Donkey lever in November.

So who will it be?

Assuming McCain doesn't get caught in bed with two 19 year old dead male junkie prostitutes and a sexually excited Doberman, obviously he's got the GOP nod. This is no more true this afternoon than it was when I went to bed on Tuesday night.

But Barak and Hillary are neck and neck. So, one of two things will happen. The media will start talking about their stance on the issues, or they'll keep playing the popularity contest angle. If the issues rise to the top, people will make their choice based on these issues and it is really tough to call the results. If not, people are going to get sick of one or both of them. This is where Obama's likability comes into play. The more people get to know him, the more votes he picks up. So, unless the Clintons' can really turn this into a debate on the issues, and they are trying, they are probably in trouble.

My gut tells me it is probably going to be Obama. But I wouldn't bet my lunch money on it at this point. Hell, not even my milk money.

Finally, if it stays civil, whoever does win the Democratic nomination will probably have a pretty decent shot in November. McCain will be killed by his association with Skippy Bush. The Democrats will beat us over the head with every nice thing the guy ever said about the Disaster in Chief. Which really isn't fair, because McCain spent a lot more time beating the shit out of Junior than he ever did kissing his ass, but when he puckered up, he smiled big and made sure a lot of cameras were around.

However, if Clinton and Obama go all monkey cage on each other and the feces starts hitting the walls, they could take each other out of the general election. I think they do know this, and so far they have been pretty careful to stay civil, despite the media trying its damnedest to pull them into a twelve round monkey-poo wrestling match.

If they have the guts to know that November is bigger than either of them individually, who ever gets it should win the White House. And if they can get along, we all know that if they can grit their teeth, shrink the egos, and share a ticket, well… It would be such an unbearably goddamn sexy ticket that it could really be an unstoppable landslide for them - if we can manage to pull ourselves out of the cold shower long enough to actually go and vote.