McCain Wins Giuliani’s Mantle

Will he absorb any of his policies?

John McCain won yet another primary, placing him in a solid lead and granting the Republicans something they’ve lacked this entire campaign.  A front runner.  Mitt Romney has been, effectively, blasted as inauthentic.  He’s done the best in a state where his father built a reputation, and one with a large Mormon constituency.  How likely is he to see a repeat?

Rudy is planning on dropping out and endorsing McCainThis is not a star endorsement.  McCain and Giuliani align the closest on national security.  Will McCain pick up any of Rudy’s habits?  Has he already?

Democrats United: Pre-Existing Conditions

Right now, you can be as hard working as you like. Got a pre-existing condition? Health Care denied.

One thing all of the Democrats share in common, from Obama to Clinton to Edwards, is the desire to pass a law outlawing discrimination based on previous conditions. (Edwards is the only candidate to support universal health care coverage).

Neither McCain, Romney, Ron Paul, Giuliani or Huckabee have a plan to deal with this. The Republicans as a whole are loathe to regulate the insurance industry on this vital matter.

This is a practical issue that effects many of us. It is an issue on which the Democrats present a united front, and stand firmly on the side of ethics.

Risk vs The Fear Vote

Republican candidates, especially Rudy Giuliani and John McCain, have followed in George Bush’s bloody oratorical footsteps. They craft their messages using fear in the same way cigarette companies used free cigarettes. Instead of hook ’em while they’re young, its hook ’em while they’re old and afraid of damn near everything.  Fear campaigns target everyone, but they are  especially targeted towards taking advantage of the elderly.

From insistence on Americans being more target than citizen, to subtle attacks like emphasizing the importance of experience, its all about appealing to a sense of security. You see, Republicans (and Republican minded strategists) do have a lock on security. Not national security. Iraq is proving that. No, on the feeling of security.

But what America needs right now is not a feeling of security. It is actual security. And we are making a very direct trade. When we take the message of McCain and Clinton over more promising candidates like Obama or Edwards, we are opting for comforting gloss over substance. We are taking the nervous and exploited rheumy eyed views of the fearful old over the hunger for meaningful change hopeful youth bring to the table.

As a country we need risk. We need to take a sharp look at our very system of government and shake things up. And we are walking straight away from change into a cycle in which right wing extremists exchange rule with status quo centrists over the decades. And that dance only leads one way: away from progress and into a restrictive and bigoted past.

If we want to overcome our problems as a nation, we must overcome our fear.

The Iowa Primary Reader

Kos sums it all up perfectly with a post titled The Triumph of our Democratic Field:

Ezra:

Barack Obama won tonight, but, in a sense, John Edwards’ campaign also triumphed. The progressivism of the race, the focus on ideas, the courage of the Democrats — all were products of his early example. He began the campaign by talking about poverty, announced his candidacy in the mud of New Orleans, set the agenda with the first universal health care bill, and closed Iowa speaking of the uninsured. This is Barack Obama’s victory, and it’s richly deserved. But Edwards, running as a full-throated populist, set the agenda and finished second, ahead of the Clinton juggernaut. He said his role was to speak for the voiceless. He now barrels towards New Hampshire with ever more volume. And while his shot at the nomination is long at best, his candidacy, even if it fails, will have been far more successful than most.

I have to admit a bit of sentimentality. I loved all the speeches tonight — from Edwards’, to Clintons’, to Obama’s. I’m proud of my party. I’m hopeful for the future.

Melissa (Shakes) has hilariously telling pictures of the winners.  And also a line we might see again come the general:

Well, I think between this good Southern Baptist Preacher,
and this Muslim terrorist, the choice for America is clear.

Obama’s win, specifically, is a call for change and represents a real beacon of hope for the Democrats.  Not because of his policies,  but because even more than Edwards Obama has the ability to get out the vote.  Obama on the ticket means new and excited voters in the booth.

On the Republican side the results are dire.  The head far and away is religious nut Huckabee, and there’s a palpable sense of discomfort and itching coming from the conservative camp.  Tristero at Hullabaloo has some sobering thoughts:

Which brings us to the genuinely repellent topic of Michael Huckabee. The fact that he won the Iowa caucus chills me to the bone. This is a ruthless, ignorant, and dangerously opportunistic fanatic who is so unqualified for the presidency that no one in the media should have returned his calls. And they still shouldn’t.

His decisive victory is a bitter pill,  a two edged sword.  He’ll brings a few great weaknesses to the general.  From the right his spending and record on crime.  From the left his theocratic tendencies.  But at the same time it is frightening to see someone like that do so well.  It says a lot about far too many Americans.

The picture gets clearer when we look at the rest of the candidates.  A second place finish for Edwards means he is now a contender, and will head into NH with some serious momentum.  Hillary is running in deflated, facing numerous independents and Republicans who will cross party lines to vote against her.  The months of being propped up by the media as the front runner have met with a brick wall of a reality check, and rather than her last hope, NH is going to be a crushing defeat.  Frankly, whether Obama or Edwards take NH, they ought to get together and have that VP conversation.  An Obama Edwards ticket would present a strong and unified Democratic choice in 2008.

Republicans have a more complicated picture.  Romney’s finish at second is confusing.  He’s a compromise candidate, and his inability to pull in first in Iowa is going to hurt in NH, where familiarity is breeding some powerful contempt.  McCain came in third, but he didn’t even break 20 percent.  He isn’t really going into NH with momentum so much as positioning, but it might be enough.  Huckabee is in the opposite position, lacking in positioning, but bringing in some serious momentum.

The only candidate who did horribly who still has a shot at staying in the game isn’t even focusing on NH.  He’s aiming for Florida.  We can’t count out everyone’s favorite fascist, Rudy Giuliani.  But if he loses Florida in the face of a consensus candidate, he’s out.

All in all, the Republican are in for a rough  and divided ride.  While the Democrats are enjoying the rising winds of change.  I’d like to close with these words from Kos:

But tonight, seeing what transpired in Iowa, I can’t help but be hopeful for our party’s long-term future. The youth vote is turning out big, and turning out for us. Independents have had enough of Republicans and are trending our way. The center is moving leftward for the first time in a generation.

Tonight’s message was one of hope.

J Edgar Hoover and Giuliani

Via NewsCat, this set off some alarms:

Over the holidays there was a little noticed story published about recently declassified papers showing that in July 1950, only a few days after the beginning of the Korean War, J. Edgar Hoover wanted President Truman to round up and detain 12,000 American citizens.

Who was he targeting?  Does anyone want to be it was suspected communists?  Think of how close we came in recent history to the mass arrest of American citizens on the basis of political beliefs.

Now, couple that with two particular notes about Rudy Giuliani:

If elected Giuliani would extend the already power mad style of the Bush administration to new levels. Glenn Greenwald has the scoop:

Over the weekend, it was revealed by National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru that Rudy Giuliani believes that, as President, he would have the power to imprison American citizens without any sort of review of any kind, and Giuliani stated he hoped to exercise that power only “infrequently”

NYTimes:

Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

Some say history repeats itself.  Combine a Giuliani Presidency with that history and the rising tide in eliminationist rhetoric, and we have an instant recipe for an oppressive tyranny on a massively tragic scale.  This time there would be no President to turn down J Edgar Giuliani’s request.  Giuliani would be the President.  A President who’s view of executive power extends ever further than George W Bush.

Republicans: Eliminating Muslims

Its always startling when a nasty bout of hate breaks out close to home. There’s a lot of nastiness in Herndon, VA. I was living in Reston when this joyful little gathering took place. So again I was startled when I came across this item over at Feministe (Jill):

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That’s a short metro ride away. The post itself is about the comments by Rudy’s Aide, suggesting we need to “get rid of” Muslims. Jill goes into a bit more depth:

Deady later clarified:

“When I say get rid of them, I wasn’t necessarily referring to genocide. What I was referring to is, stand up to them every time they stick up their heads and attack us. We can’t afford to say, `We’ll try diplomacy.’ They don’t respond to it. If you look into Islamic tradition, a treaty is only good for five years. We’re not dealing with a rational mindset here. We’re dealing with madmen.”

“I wasn’t necessarily referring to genocide?” That may be more telling than the original comment.

Indeed. I hadn’t caught the clarification. It is worse than the original comment, all the more so in that its unfolding in a responsibility vacuum on the part of Giuliani.

Via Jill, Ali continues:

I will leave it to each individual to determine whether the GOP’s “gaffes” are just that, or that they are part of a sustained campaign to not only lose as many American-Muslim votes as possible (you guys are succeeding!), but to further demonize Islam in order to perpetuate some kind of religious standoff consistent with Tim Lahaye’s vision.

I think we have two things going on here. The first is that the Republican field is rife with riffs on the original Southern Strategy. We see it with Huckabee’s winks and nods to hardline evangelical Christians and anti-immigrant rants, Ron Paul’s winks to the white supremacist set, and Rudy’s Islamophobe nods.

The second is a rising tide of eliminationist rhetoric on the right, targeting Women, Muslims, Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, Homosexuals, and of course, Liberals. Sometimes this speech is hidden, as in the references to “New York/Hollywood liberals” (Jews) or “San Francisco liberals” (Homosexuals). And sometimes it is right out in the open, as is the case with the Georgetown poster up above targeting Muslims. In each case, the right wing in the country is working its base into a violent frenzy. All of this virulent hate seeping into and around the mainstream is normalizing notions of inferiority and “otherness”, as well as the appropriateness of violent reactions.

We cannot stand silently by while this tide of hatred and violence rises.

UPDATE: Just a note, the poster is satirical (the actual poster, which you can see here, is arguably worse than the satire (which adheres nicely to Tom Tomorrow’s rule of right wing reality).)

Eliminationist Rudy Aide On the Rise of the Muslims

Greg Sargent puts it best:

This has already gotten some attention, but it deserves a lot more.

So what happened?  (Emphasis mine)

The Guardian of London is conducting video documentaries up in New Hampshire. And they did a segment on Rudy in which they got a very off-kilter quote about Muslims from a Rudy campaign official in the state. The Guardian identifies him as John Deady, the co-chair of state Veterans for Rudy.

Deady — and the key here is that he is a Rudy campaign official — says that Rudy should be our President because he has what it takes to tackle one of our “most difficult problems,” which he identifies as the “rise of the Muslims.” Deady adds that we need to “chase them back to their caves” or otherwise “get rid of them.”

At the moment, there is silence from the Giuliani campaign and the mass media.

Any chance the national press will see this as newsworthy?

The Rudy campaign didn’t immediately return a request for comment. You can watch the whole video from The Guardian here.

In addition to the media question, what I want to know is:  Will the Giuliani campaign condemn this, or will they let it quietly form a new southern strategy?