Category Archives: Democratic Party

2008: The Unbroken Glass Ceiling

hillary_and_sarah1

by Diego Del Campo

Women in positions of power in the public sphere is still a relatively new, if slowly progressing sight. It’s become now conventional wisdom that 2008 was a year when women broke barriers in politics. Hillary Clinton was a serious contender to win her party’s nomination, and Sarah Palin became the first woman to be nominated as vice presidential candidate by the Republican Party. Yet, despite this progress, and the fact that Nancy Pelosi became the first female Speaker of the House in 2007, the percentage of female representation in Washington D.C continues to grow at a glacial pace—increasing just 1 percent over 2006, to a total of 17 percent. Washington isn’t the only place where equal representation is at a stalemate.

By the end of 2008, 12 women will have worked as CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. In Hollywood in 2007, women made up only 6 percent of directors and together “comprised 15 percent of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films” (Lauzen 1). Taking all this into consideration it is important to analyze the role the media plays in reinforcing prevalent prejudices against women, important to ask why women is find it difficult to break through to top spots in government and elsewhere, and to what extent do our biases, acquired by us by our socialization (like watching or reading the news), contribute to the problem.  In June 2008, after Hillary Clinton lost the nomination, Katie Couric of CBS News made the following statement at the end of one of her shows:

“But like her or not, one of the great lessons of that campaign is the continued and accepted role of sexism in American life, particularly in the media. Many women have made the point that if Senator Obama had to confront the racist equivalent of an ‘Iron my shirt’ poster at campaign rallies or a Hillary nutcracker sold at airports or mainstream pundits saying they instinctively cross their legs at the mention of her name, the outrage would not be a footnote, it would be front page news. It isn’t just Hillary Clinton who needs to learn a lesson from this primary season; it’s all the people who cross the line and all the women and men who let them get away with it.”

Soon after the general election ended, and Barack Obama was elected president, an article published in New York magazine argued that the past election had actually reinforced prevalent gender stereotypes: the proverbial dichotomy of the “bitch” and the “ditz”–a dichotomy arguably codified in the media’s coverage of these two women, is prime example of what Couric described as “acceptable” sexism in the media.

Note and disclosure

There are numerous caveats to my analysis. One, it would be impossible to separate Hillary Clinton’s gender from the fact that she’s one-half of the Clintons, a political family that’s been on the media’s radar for nearly two decades. Similarly, separating Sarah Palin’s gender from the fact that she’s a conservative Republican would be problematic and somewhat of a distortion. Rather, I will try to focus more on the media’s coverage of these two women candidates and how the way they were covered contributes to the problem. Nonetheless, I neither make no insinuation that the media is solely responsible for each woman’s failure to win their respective elections, or that ALL of their media coverage was sexist—but rather a contributing factor. The “media” is a collective term for cable-new channels who generate 24-hour news cycles, to respected newspapers and blogs that bounce narratives off each other. The fact that I only focus on Sarah Palin in the general election isn’t an implication that Barack Obama or John McCain didn’t encounter discrimination because of race or age respectively.
Finally, in the Democratic primaries, I was a supporter of Hillary Clinton.

Part one: Hillary Clinton

“That I am a national figure because I was the first person in 192 years to be at once a congressman, black and a woman proves, I think, that our society is not yet either just or free.” – Shirley Chisholm, first black woman elected to Congress in 1968

From the moment Hillary Clinton announced on her website that she was forming a committee to run for president, her prominent status among the other presidential contenders meant that in the media, she had a target painted on her back. Out of all the candidates that would eventually announce their respective campaigns, among them John Edwards who had been the vice presidential nominee the previous presidential election, Hillary was the one “dubbed” a front-runner based on the national polling the media conducted. The coverage Hillary Clinton received as “front-runner” in the year between making her candidacy official in January 2007 and the Iowa caucus on January 3, 2008 and the one she received once the primaries actually started was different outwardly in tone but nevertheless had the same effect of being dismissive at best, and seriously offensive at worst. In fact, by March 2007, barely two months into the campaign and with the first primary election still some nine months away, the bias in the media had reached a point where the National Organization for Women released an article detailing some of the instances they found offensive. Chris Matthews of MSNBC, who would become a repeat offender to the point of issuing an on-air apology, was a large part of the article:

“Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s talk show Hardball, has become notorious for his sexist remarks about Clinton. On Dec. 19, 2006, he charged that she was being coy about her political ambitions, comparing her to ‘a stripteaser saying she’s flattered by the attention,’ and on two separate occasions—Jan. 25 and 26, 2007, he referred to her as an ‘uppity woman.’ In the aftermath of the Congressional election on Nov. 8, 2006, he discussed her delivery of a ‘campaign barn burner speech,’ which, he suggested was ‘harder to give for a woman,’ because it can ‘grate on some men when they listen to it, [like] fingers on a blackboard.’ Not content to level his sexist criticism on Clinton alone, he continued his rant, wondering how newly elected Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi could ‘do the good fight against the president…without screaming? How does she do it without becoming grating?’ “

Other media narratives that stand out was coverage of Hillary’s appearance—namely a column by the Washington Post that reported on her showing cleavage in a speech she made in the Senate floor. Attention was also paid to Hillary’s laugh, or “cackle” as some of her detractors put it. But it was in the immediate run-up to and aftermath of the Iowa caucus (but before the New Hampshire primary), where Hillary finished in third place that some of the language became more nakedly biased to the point where it became a media frenzy when seemingly teared up when answering a New Hampshire voter’s question. Rebecca Traister of Salon opined “For many of these pundits, especially those who pander to a mostly white male audience, a nearly pornographic investment in Clinton’s demise is nothing new.”

By the time Hillary delivered her concession speech on June 7, 2008, some of the media’s coverage had turned from silly and sexist to borderline violent and misogynistic. Some cartoonists took to drawing Hillary as a slain beast or other variations. Worse, various commentators like NPR’s political editor Ken Rudin and even elected officials like Tennessee congressman Rep. Steve Cohen (D) likened her to the psychotic villain of the film Fatal Attraction. Though both men later issued apologies, the comparison was an especially stinging one since Fatal Attraction is considered by many feminists to be an explicitly anti-feminist film. The media’s tone had been so noxious that the Gloria Steinem-founded Women’s Media Center created a video (above) called “Sexism sells—but we’re not buying it” which compiled some of the highlights of sexism in the media coverage of Hillary Clinton. Steinem also appeared on CNN and echoed what she had said about women candidates at the beginning of the primary in a New York Times op-ed saying, “This country can no longer afford to choose our leaders from a talent pool limited by sex, race, money, powerful fathers and paper degrees. It’s time to take equal pride in breaking all the barriers.”

On CNN she pointed out:

“Clearly part of the problem is the misogyny in the culture at large and especially in the media. I mean, you know, no candidate in history has been asked to step down by the media. She was. The average time that it takes for a loser to endorse a winner in this situation is four months. Four months. She did it in four days, and look how she was criticized, you know, for not doing it the very same night. It’s outrageous.”

Steinem was referencing articles like Jonathan Alter’s of Newsweek, who in late February wrote a column arguing that it would be best for Hillary if she stepped out of the race then. (Hillary went on to win nine out of the next 16 contests.) Steinem also seemed to be referencing the uproar in the media when Hillary didn’t endorse Obama on June 3, the night most media organizations reported that Obama had amassed the amount of delegates needed to secure the nomination.

Part two: Sarah Palin

I say this with all due respect to Hillary Clinton…but when I hear a statement like that coming from a woman candidate with any kind of perceived whine about that excess criticism or you know maybe a sharper microscope put on her, I think you know that doesn’t do us any good—women in politics, women in general wanting to progress this country. -Governor Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) in March 2008

Seemingly out of nowhere, Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin to be his vice presidential nominee. Sarah Palin bursting onto the political scene was arguably a chance for the media to report fairly and accurately on virtually unknown candidate turned vice presidential nominee. Instead, like Steinem argued, sexist narratives seemed to spread virally from within the media. Within days of her announcement, liberal talk show host Ed Schutlz commented to his listeners that Palin had set off a “bimbo alert” and blogs like Daily Kos circulated rumors that Palin’s newborn son Trig, born with Down syndrome, was allegedly her daughter Bristol’s son, while blogs like the Huffington Post took to publicizing images of Palin (under the headline “Former Beauty Queen, Future VP?”) in a swim suit that alluded to her background as a participant in beauty pageants to make the suggestion that she wasn’t qualified to be vice president—a variation of Ed Schultz’s “bimbo alert” crack. Even people who were outwardly supportive of Palin, like CNBC’s Donny Deutsch, were so obssesive over her looks, that they came across as sexist, ignorant, and patronizing all at the same time:

Complicating matters, women organizations who had stood up for Hillary Clinton during the primaries, including Gloria Steinem herself, now for the most part disavowed Palin. The National Organization for Women (NOW) put out a statement that read in part, “Gov. Palin may be the second woman vice-presidential candidate on a major party ticket, but she is not the right woman. Sadly, she is a woman who opposes women’s rights, just like John McCain.” WomenCount was seemingly the only organization to defend Palin against the sexist media treatment Palin was receiving. WomenCount, a politcal organization formed by Hillary Clinton supporters in the waning days primaries to at first to advocate for Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and later to promote and support Democratic women candidates across the country, sent an email to supporters that questioned the media’s immediate criticism of Palin’s nomination, among them John Roberts of CNN who said, “Palin would not be able to focus on her job given her family distractions,” and columnist Sally Quinn of the Washington Post who wrote, “Of course, women can be good mothers and have careers at the same time. I’ve done both. Other women in public office have children…but…a mother’s role is different from a father’s,” which implies that unlike fathers, mothers ought to have more of a responsibility as a parent and by accepting the vice presidential nomination, Palin was being an irresponsible mother by placing her career ahead of her child.
WomenCount’s email statement read in part:

“The question came not just from members of the media but also from voters around the country who wrote in to news organizations and on blogs. The obvious retort is whether anyone would ask the same question of the father of a four-month-old with Down Syndrome and a pregnant teenager. We think not.”

Unlike Gloria Steinem, who would by and large sidestep the issue of the biased media coverage against Palin in a Los Angeles Times op-ed, WomenCount addressed the seeming paradox of progressive feminists standing up for Palin:

“Throughout the weekend, we have been asked about WomenCount’s views on Sarah Palin as the Republican nominee. It is important to distinguish between the broader issue of sexism and the ideology of an individual. WomenCount was born of the passion its founders had for Hillary Clinton’s clear view of social issues and progressive values. We cannot pretend that Governor Palin meets any standard of progressive politics or social values.
But regardless of the candidates’ ideology, we will work to stamp out sexism when we see it on the campaign trail. To paraphrase the words of one blogger who said it best over the weekend: We will defend Sarah Palin against misogynist smears not because we like her or support her, but because that’s how feminism works.”

Needless to say, even though Palin slammed the media in her acceptance speech at the GOP convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul, her subsequent stumbles in the media may have had the effect of silencing any or all allies she may have had across the aisle. Ironically, it was Palin’s interview with Katie Couric, who earlier in the year had criticized sexism in the media, that may have been the most damaging to Palin and her public image. Maybe because of the fact that she had spoken out against sexism in the media, Couric was the right person with the right sensibilities to interview Palin: Couric strayed from the superficial questions that plagued Hillary, like questions about her image or “likability,” instead Couric asked sensible questions like, “When it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?“ or “What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?”—Arguably easy questions that utterly stumped Palin as shown by her cringe-worthy responses and showed her to be, perhaps not the candidate best suited to be the next vice president. Unfortunately, like New York magazine’s Amanda Fortini said, Palin’s apparent lack of intellectual curiosity reinforced a stereotype as women as a “ditz.” Even in our own class, Palin was dismissed with terms such as “VPILF,” which reduced and belittled Palin to her looks.

The “Palin is a ditz” media narrative continued, unfortunately, all the way from shortly before the election, when news broke that the Republican National Committee had spent $150,000 on Palin’s make-up and wardrobe to after the election was over, when anonymous McCain staffers told the media that in her debate prep against Joe Biden, Palin had allegedly claimed to not know that Africa was a continent and not a country, and also that she reportedly didn’t know the signing members of NAFTA. Geraldine Ferraro, who was the first woman to be nominated for vice president in 1984, appeared on Fox News shortly before the election to talk about the similarities (and differences) between how she was treated and how Palin was being treated by the media:

Said and Done

In the end, I don’t think, like I said before, that the media was the only reason Hillary and Sarah lost in their elections. But, as some of the clips show, there is an accepted and pervasive bias against women that slows the progress of women everywhere. Even today, I’m still not sure why Sarah Palin’s preparedness was questioned from day one on the basis that she had barely served two years in her term as governor, in way that Barack Obama’s preparedness arguably wasn’t questioned when he announced his candidacy, since at that time he had also barely served two years in his term as senator. As it turned out, there was a mountain of difference between Obama and Palin’s preparedness, as shown by their respective bodies of knowledge, but still, I would have liked for the media to have made more of an issue of Obama’s experience, if indeed experience was a litmus test of sorts against which Palin did not measure up.


I would also hope that in the future, women candidates are respected more and held to the same standard that every other candidate is—a woman shouldn’t have to sound tougher just because she’s a woman. Additionally, we shouldn’t be too dismissive of women who point out the problems the media sometimes has in reporting about women. As the clip above shows, an observation Katie Couric made both in her CBS newscast and in her acceptance of an award at a journalist’s association, earned her the top spot on Keith Olbermann’s “Worst Persons in the World.” It troubles me that even within the ideological circles we sometimes wrap ourselves in, there’s still an outward prejudice against women—Olbermann’s show is praised by liberal blogs like Daily Kos, where he is a contributor, and Huffington Post. Even with all the progress Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin have made toward the acceptance in the public sphere of a woman running for the top positions in government, that “highest and hardest glass ceiling” remainsl unbroken. As we continue to progress, hopefully we’ll have learned lessons from what each woman’s campaign and not allow sexism to control–in any way–media coverage of other women candidates.

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Filed under American Electorate, Democratic Party, Media, Palin, Republican, Vice-President, Women Voters

Obama Can Keep the 60’s from Coming Back

By Stephen Noriega

I believe that Barack Obama can avert another 60’s. Perhaps this sounds counterintuitive or even pessimistic. It is not meant to be either. The election of Barack Obama brings on another possibility. It is the possibility of breaking unfortunate repetitions of human behavior. Barack Obama may be able to circumvent a simmering resentment of our government that made so much in the 1960’s necessary and so painful to many.

People often look back on the 60’s and early 70’s with a definite degree of romanticism. People with long hair, making love in the forest and singing beautiful music can warm the hearts of aging accountants with revisionist personal histories. The 60’s make people think of the Age of Aquarius, a time when so many things were possible and the only limitations existed in the mind and the quality of the mushrooms. The ‘60’s is thought of as a time of social revolution tied with the embrace of the wretched, two concepts rarely seen together in political history.

hair-theatreaddictcom72007TheatreAddicts.com 7/2007

However, the 60’s also meant the burning of American cities, the murder of ideological activists and the beginning of American adventurism in the form of spreading terror as well as democracy in the world. A few people during this time recorded great accomplishments, often at the cost of their own lives. The 60’s brought into the public consciousness the images of dogs attacking black people, naked girls running from napalm and dead students at formerly quiet universities.

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kent-state-1970john-paul-filo1John Paul Filo, 1970

Others simply rode the wave of this time for their own amusement. Tim Leary might have had great progressive ideas, but he really just wanted to get high. Leary became psychologically addicted to LSD and tried to get as many bright minds to follow him into his own Wonderland. I know he talked about things much deeper, but he will never be known for anything more. He went on tour with G. Gordon Liddy twenty years later.


Jerry Rubin ran wild in the 1960’s, generating counter-culture sloganism and culminating his urination on conservative society with activities in the 1968 Democratic National Convention that resulted in the Chicago 8 / Chicago 7 Trial. When the bills didn’t get paid with political petulance, Rubin became a business investor. He went on tour with Abbie Hoffman for a fee in the 1980’s. When Abbie Hoffman died, he and David Dellinger were the only ones out of the Chicago 8 / Chicago 7 at his funeral. Rubin was killed by a car with a significant stock holding in Apple Corporation.

Martin Luther King, Jr. brought the concept of Satyagraha to North America and proved that racial oppression could be fought without a single gun or bomb. He insisted that his protesters dressed formally so they would not look like hippies and thugs. He insisted that people did not fight the authorities even when the authorities injured them. He gained wonderful momentum, bringing the Kennedy family into the fight, Robert much more willingly than John. Even Malcolm X, changed by his hajj to Mecca (yes, that’s right, Mecca in the 60’s was an origin of racial harmony) and influenced by King, Jr., changed his tune to one of more peaceful resolution. The 60’s also brought the assassins that killed Martin Luther King, Jr. Malcolm X, Robert Kennedy and John F. Kennedy. After that, racial progress fell into inconsistency, self-service and sublime discrimination.


The 60’s had the Great Society, a well-intended but mishandled attempt to keep the cities from burning and to bring the poor out of the ashes. Lyndon Johnson tried to keep a war going while redistributing wealth at the same time. Eventually something had to break and the Great Society fell first. Then Vietnam fell into the hands of the communists and the American spirit slowly fell into a “malaise”.

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Time Magazine, 2007

These times have many similarities to the negative side of the 60’s, only without a decent drug to escape it all. Instead of pot and LSD to deny our problems, we have crack and meth, drugs that destroy instead of simply cover. We have unpopular military actions, this time in two countries and possibly three. Even as we boast about our progress in Iraq, we see Afghanistan fall into chaos and Iran apparently asking to be attacked by our impatient and reactionary leadership. Immigrants make up a new class of people to be hated and persecuted. Notice how the word for undocumented people went from “immigrant workers” to “illegal immigrants” to the objects, “illegals”. Minorities and young Americans openly question the veracity of governing institutions, although their numbers in protest are miniscule compared with yesteryear.

convention2bthecloudcrimethinccom2008Crimethinc.com, 2008

Barack Obama does not represent merely a revolt from the diseased status quo, in spite of what Rush Limbaugh might say. Barack Obama is part of both the old guard and needed revolution. Obama is an Ivy League educated, well-connected part of the political culture. He is also an African American with ideas of community organization, social justice and strong international negotiation. Barack Obama is quite capable of shifting paradigms from existing paradigms at the same time. Obama can push for economic justice while railing against deadbeat fathers that won’t pay for their children. Barack Obama can speak of talking with our enemies while promising to throw bombs into Pakistan if it means killing Osama bin Laden.

obamahopeprogressneublack022008Neublack.com, 2008

Barack Obama has many problems to face but much credit to take if things even go from terrible to bad. He can refresh our view of government while not feeling stripped of its protective duties. Barack Obama can encourage us to think beyond our present position while remaining responsible to ourselves and society. The time of the Great Society brought just as much violence and self service as historical progress. Barack Obama can usher some more, much needed, change while keeping us on task socially, personally and morally.

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Filed under American Electorate, Democratic Party, Media, Obama, Protest

No way. No how. No SecState.

By Diego Del Campo

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It’s now officially been a week since word leaked from the less-than leak-proof Obama transition team that Sen. Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner for the Secretary of State position in the Obama administration. The flurry of media reports since have been spotty, at best—some alleging she’s already accepted and others hinting she may actually decline. Whatever the truth may actually be—I was, like probably everybody else, surprised by this move by Obama—I really think that regardless of his “change” message during the past two years of his campaign, he’s now as president-elect moving on to put together the most competent administration in ages, certainly the best in the last decade.

Hillary as secretary of state? I have two positions:

First, and foremost, naturally, I think Hillary would an extraordinary Secretary of State, and because of her stature coming off the primaries, where she campaigned on her preparedness and knowledge of international affairs, she would be in a better position than all of the other names floating around to fill the shoes of the nation’s top diplomat, to negotiate—play hard ball—and go toe-to-toe with the world’s leaders; and stepping in, she’d have more clout on the international stage as a recognized world leader than Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, or Condoleezza Rice had when they were appointed. Plus, she’s already had years of diplomatic experience as a backdoor diplomat as First Lady and in diplomatic missions as a U.S. Senator. Also, Hillary’s ascension to the top post in the Obama cabinet would be the just deserts to all the Obama-supporting Hillary-bashers who publicly trashed Hillary and her supporters during the primaries. People like Chris Matthews (who’s still trashing her). People like Keith Olbermann. People like all the left-wingers at blogs like the Daily Kos, who during the primaries, were the most toxic, cannibalistic progressives around. Now, these people have to either defend Hillary or question the infallible judgment of their chosen one. (I love it.) Roil, roil, roil indeed.

But, alas, as much as I think Hillary would be a great addition to the Obama administration, personally, I don’t want her to accept the job. I think she’s a national leader in her own right—one with 18 million votes behind her—with a platform for healthcare, children, women, the working class, and minorities; I think she would be giving up too much. Yet, it saddens and disappoints me to hear that she’s being road-blocked in the Senate and not being allowed to so much as share credit with Ted Kennedy (although that may be changing). A post in the Obama administration would instantly elevate her national stature, but at the cost of giving up a lot of the issues that are near and dear to her heart, not to mention her secure Senate seat, and potential future in the Democratic party and governing majority Democratic-controlled Senate. Finally, to put it bluntly, I don’t want her to be reduced to an Obama minion—one with symbolic, rock star wattage, but no real voice. I don’t want her to get blamed for any faux pas, or false starts of the Obama administration or to become a scapegoat for the activist left when or if the Obama administration loses its luster. I think she should stay in the Senate, and, in time, carve her own piece of history there—she’s already deeply admired by her colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, she doesn’t need this job, frankly. I hope Hillary says, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

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Filed under Democratic Party, Obama

Change

As Barack Obama was elected on November 4th, one could not escape the excitement in the air. Horns, screams, cheers, and clapping could be heard all around downtown Denver. On T.V. people were crying tears of joy at Obama‘s acceptance speech. Even I, Elizabeth Woods, the conservative from this elections course, felt proud to be an American as we progressed even further on our journey for equality. This election was arguably one of the most exciting we have ever had. People from all across the world celebrated with America as Barack Obama was elected. During the election, the results spoke to the fact that American’s are just ready for change. Even those who will be taxed more as a result of Obama’s reform, are joining the “spread the wealth” mentality of the Democratic party. The consensus is that Republicans need to get out and Democrats need to get in. The GOP is definitely not popular these days, and the Dems are clearly gaining the public’s approval. For this blog I thought it would be interesting to do a little research on how people voted this year as opposed to the 2006 election.

This year people voted Democrat more across all age groups except 65 and older. This especially pertained to people in our age group with 66% of 18-29 year old Democrats voting compared to 32% of 18-29 year old Republicans. In 2006, 18-29 year olds voted 60% Democrat. I wonder if this reflects that our generations values coincide more with Democratic values, because as the age group increases the gap gets narrower, and Republicans vote 53% to 45% in the 65 and older age group. More so, as new voters are concerned, 69% are Democrats and only 30% were Republicans this year.

Of other interest, is how people voted according to their income. As discussed in class, people who earned an income of under $50,000 voted for Obama. However, once the income bracket reaches middle class earnings (50,000-75,000) people voted for McCain. Then surprisingly, those who earned an income of $200,000 or more voted for Obama. This is contrary to how people voted in 2006. People in the income bracket of $50,000- 75,000 voted 48% Republican and 50% Democrat, and those in the income bracket of $200,000 or more voted 53% Republican versus 45% Democrat. Those with a college education are also increasingly voting Democrat. In 2006, people with a higher education voted equally Republican and Democrat, but this year it increased to more people voting Democrat. This election, even those without a high school diploma voted Obama 63% to 35%, also suggesting a new set of values in the younger generation that align more with the Democratic party. I got all of these statistics from http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2008/results/polls/#val=USP00p7 for 2008 and http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2006/pages/results/states/US/H/00/epolls.0.html for 2006. I tried to put some charts in the blog itself, but it didn’t work out, so sorry if it’s a bit overwhelming to read them. There are many other statistics you might find interesting in these exit polls.

I think it’s clear that this year people voted for “different,” and as we have discussed, our country may be heading in a new direction that puts the Democratic party at an advantage. I think it’s interesting that people voted differently than they have in previous years. Looking at these statistics, you can see that voters who used to vote Republican on certain issues are now voting Democrat. Either people are really sick of the way our country has been ran the past eight years, or there really is a new shift in generational values. As we all know the Republican parties unpopularity is a result of a variety of problems, and the GOP may have to change it’s tactics in gaining back its approval, especially with young voters.  With the millennia’s showing up to vote, and independents voting Democrat, plus the minority vote, it’s no surprise that Obama is the new president-elect. You never know, maybe Obama will be the next Abraham Lincoln…

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Filed under Democratic Party, Obama, Republican, Uncategorized, Voter Demographics

Obama’s Cabinet

By Lance Thibert

 

Week by week, new Obama cabinet appointments continue to make the news, with the biggest one being Rahm Emmanuel as White House Chief of staff. The dilemma Obama faces is to stock his cabinet with Democratic loyalists and reward those who made his victory possible, or take on a bipartisan cabinet in keeping with his rhetoric. A stock cabinet would be more stable, and public disagreements would be possible with a bipartisan one.

As for the other major posts, there are several candidates:

Secretary of State

Candidates:

Hillary Clinton: Would bring strength and a world profile to the job. Would also possibly revive Clinton style foreign policy, as well as a possible “rival power bloc” within the White House.

John Kerry: Strong foreign policy credentials, as well as being an early backer of Obama. A relatively safe pick.

Bill Richardson: Former UN ambassador and Energy Secretary. Richardson has a solid resume, but lacks real dynamism and any real diplomatic breakthrough accomplishments. He is however, one of the only people North Korea will take seriously.

Secretary of Defense:

Candidates:

Bob Gates: Current Defense Secretary with a largely CIA background. Might remain as SecDef in the spirit of Bipartisanship, as he has not been on the job that long, and thus not tied to the Bush failures. Keeping a republican among the Top jobs however, would anger some of the Democratic base that wants nothing to do with anything Bush.

Jack Reed: Democratic Senator from RI, Ex-Army Ranger and a longtime member of the Armed Services Committee. Would be a stock Democratic choice and a safe pick.

National Security Advisor

Candidates:

General Anthony Zinni: CENTCOM commander under Clinton, would be an overall good choice due to experience in dealing with Iraq.

General Wesley Clark: Former NATO supreme commander and an undisputed foreign policy expert. Was an ’04 contender for the Dem nomination. Also, looks like Anderson Cooper.

Attorney General

Candidates:

John Edwards: A longshot considering his scandal, however, if he makes a comeback he could be a good pick.

Tim Kaine: Was on the VP shortlist, as VA governors can only serve one term, his job prospects are wide open after he leaves office.

(If anyone else has any other serious candidates, post them in a comment and i’ll update this post with them)

In other news, Joe Lieberman is likely to keep his chairmanship of the Homeland Security committe, that is, until he is up for reelection and the Democrats make a serious effort to unseat him.

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Filed under Democratic Party, Iraq and Foreign Policy, Obama

Lieberman keeps his chairmanship

by Alicia Long

As ABC News put it – Today was D-day for Senator Joe Lieberman.

The Democratic caucus voted today to keep Senator Joe Lieberman chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.  As punishment, however, the dems stripped him of his chairmanship of a minor Senate subcommittee.  Lieberman talks with reporters after the 43-13 vote:

Via Daily Kos:  Governor Dean commented on Lieberman during a conference call this afternoon:

John Aravosis: (In re: the Lieberman vote) what do recommend that we tell our readers . . . when so many issues that come up that Democrats cave time after time? They keep feeling like we’re getting more Democrats and we’re going to have even more Democrats to cave next time.

Dean: You know, we’re going to find that out. This is the big test for us. Now we have a president. There’s no excuse for voting for stuff that you don’t think is in the best interest of the country anymore, for not standing up for what you believe. We have a president who is going to lead us and you all get to judge whether we’re leading you in the right direction or not. I think for the most part we will….

One of the things that happens when you have a party that takes over the government after it’s been out of power for a while is you cannot satisfy everybody at your end of the political spectrum all of the time…. And this is where I was talking about the restraint, is making the decision about what’s really worth fighting for and having the big fight inside the party and what’s not worth fighting for and you have to decide what that is. One of the things that will come up early inside the blogosphere is the issue of when to get out of Iraq…. Now we have, when Barack Obama takes office, are we going to get out in July of 2010, which is 18 months, or are we going to get out at the end of 2011 which is what Bush and the Iraqis have already agreed to.

I don’t know what the right answer is. Do we want to go to the mat over an additional 18 months in Iraq? I don’t know that either, but I do know that we want a strong president to deliver health care and renewable energy and i”m not sure we want to attack the president if that becomes and issue. SO you see what I was saying about tradeoffs. You have to make the decisions. We’re never going to get anybody who is a hundred percent with us on every issue…. But the question is what are willing to go to war on with each other over and what are we going to say, ok, this is an important issue there’s some disagreement, but we can’t let this distract us from climate change or health insurance or whatever other issues are….

What I’m saying here is  along comes Lieberman. He behaved very badly during the campaign and did some things that inside the club are unforgivable. So if you run and get a mandate for reconciliation is your first act to kick this guy out of the party? Well, people of my generation think yeah, damn right we should. But in this new spirit of reconciliation, which is why I think Barack Obama got elected by 66 percent of the under 35 vote, maybe if not (unintelligible) I’m very willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the Senators and to Barack Obama on that one. Do we want to have a big fight over what happens to Joe Lieberman? I don’t think so. I think we want to have a big fight about whether we have a decent health insurance program or a renewable energy program.

Jane Hamsher: With all due respect Governor Dean, we were just told to go screw ourselves, that our concerns for Barack Obama and our concern about the war and everything else that we fought so hard for within the Democratic party is meaningless and that Joe being happy and giving in to his threats–and he did threaten Democrats in his press conference–is more important than we are. And so I don’t think it was a matter of reconciliation. I think we were told to go Cheney ourselves.

Dean: I haven’t seen the blogs about this because this just happened but I’m sure the sentiment online is one of outrage. But I would line up with Barack. I don’t think you were told to go screw yourselves at all. I think he has got to now practice what he preaches during two years of campaigns if he wants to bring America together and as objectionable as Joe’s behavior was, and frankly unprincipled, I don’t think that this is the thing that should divide us. And I don’t think it’s about his votes for FISA or anything else. I think it’s about what kind of a tone do we want to send. Do we want a purge as the first thing we do? I don’t think so.

One thing is for sure.  The Democrats really seem to be sucking up to Lieberman.  But at the same time, why should petty party politics be a reason for giving a senior senator the boot?  Don’t get me wrong… I don’t like Joe Lieberman.  I think he is a backstabbing hypocrite.  But at the same time, Dean is right.  If the Democrats are going to put the right foot in front of the left, let’s leave old resentments at the door.  If Lieberman doesn’t straighten up, they can give him the boot later.  Give him a chance to be the good Democrat we all know he can be (or will be).

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Another prediction

On Monday I posted a number of predictions. One of them was Robert F Kennedy Jr. to the post of secretary of the interior. I would like to slightly amend that. I heard some rumors on tuesday night while I was at the sheridan hotel. These have been confirmed. I would like to predict the secretary of the interior position will go to our very own Ken Salazar. The new information I have is closer than third person but I am hesitant to post exactly who I got the information from. An analogy of how I got this new info would be the way that Bernstein confirmed one of the people involved in watergate, hang up if I am wrong. Now that is not exactly how it happened but it was done in a sort of similar way. The second part to this, is that when Salazar is named, Andrew Romanoff will be named by Ritter to fill the senate vacancy. Now I won’t claim either of these as fact but I will take any and all bets that if Salazar is named, Romanoff WILL be the replacement.

Sorry for the lack of links but this is still pretty far off the radar. Remember You heard it here first. (and if you didn’t hear it here first, who else is talking about this because I can find no info about this online)

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Filed under Colorado, Democratic Party, Obama, Uncategorized