Currently viewing the tag: "2008 Elections"

Lots of good progressive organizations are making endorsements for the upcoming August 19, 2008 Primary in Washington state. Here are links to some of them:

Washington State Conservation VotersStatewide Races

Washington State Conservation Voters -Legislative Races

Washington State Conservation VotersLocal races

Cascade Chapter Sierra ClubPolitical Endorsements

Progressive MajorityWashington candidates

Washington State Labor CouncilEndorsements

Washington State Democrats - Statewide candidates

Washington State DemocratsCongressional candidates

Washington State DemocratsLegislative candidates

King County DemocratsEndorsements

Snohomish County DemocratsEndorsements

Spokane County DemocratsEndorsements

NARAL Pro choice WashingtonEndorsements

I will add more to this list as they become avaialable.

John McCain continues to get the soft touch by the media. As Frank Rich points out his Sunday New York Times piece entitled “The Republican Resurrection

… As if to emulate Dick Cheney, who arrived in Baghdad a day behind him, he (McCain) embraced the vice president’s habit of manufacturing false links in the war on terror: Mr. McCain told reporters that Iran is training Al Qaeda operatives and sending them into Iraq.
His Sancho Panza, Joe Lieberman,
whispered in his ear that a correction was in order. But this wasn’t a one-time slip, like Gerald Ford’s debate gaffe about Poland in 1976. Mr. McCain has said this repeatedly. Troubling as it is that he conflates Shiite Iran with Sunni terrorists, it’s even more bizarre that he doesn’t acknowledge the identity of Iran’s actual ally in Iraq — the American-sponsored Shiite government led by Nuri al-Maliki. Only two weeks before the Iraqi prime minister welcomed Mr. McCain to Baghdad, he played host to a bubbly state visit by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Whatever Mrs. Clinton’s or Mr. Obama’s inconsistencies about how to wind down the war, they are both models of coherence next to Mr. McCain. He keeps saying the surge is a “success,” but he can’t explain why that success keeps us trapped in Iraq indefinitely. He never says precisely what constitutes that “victory” he keeps seeing around the corner. His repeated declaration that he will only bring home the troops “with honor” is a Vietnam acid flashback recycled as a non sequitur. Our troops have already piled up more than enough honor in their five years of service under horrific circumstances. Meanwhile, as Al Qaeda proliferates in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a
survey by Foreign Policy magazine of 3,400 active and retired American officers finds that 88 percent believe that the Iraq war has “stretched the U.S. military dangerously thin.”

So what’s the deal with the rest of the media? Not much was said critically of McCain. McCain doesn’t deserve special treatment – either he knows what he’s talking about or he doesn’t. And it appears he doesn’t. McCain is a recipe for disaster. We can’t afford a Bush clone in the White House after 8 years of Bush/Cheney.

So who’s responsible for Congressional Gridlock? Most Americans have a very low opinion of Congress right now and both parties are blaming the other for preventing action being taken on major issues like health care, immigration, education, transportation, energy independence, and global warming.

In the Presidential race Barack Obama is suggesting that progress will be made by everyone working together while Hillary Clinton is noting the partisan nature of American politics and suggesting that it more complicated than that. John McCain wants to continue the Bush agenda.

I think we are facing a watershed election. The problem is not partisan politics per se but the fact that we are facing a significant and defining difference in political philosophy and goals being expressed by the two major parties that signify a major change in the future direction this country is going to take. And I do not believe that the problem is as simple as merely wishing that we all be nice and work together and we will have a great country.

We are facing a major choice in the fundamental principles and philosophy that govern our country – whether the public interest or private corporate interests will be our guiding principle.Voting Republican or Democrat this November will take our country down completely different paths.

I believe that the Republicans have lost touch with the average citizens in America and under Bush/Cheney/Rove have aligned themselves with the corporate world and special financial interests over that of the public interest. Democrats meanwhile are aligning themselves with the public interest and individual rights and protections over corporate interests.

And I think the Democrats are going to increase significantly their numbers in Congress as well as win the Presidency because the American people are ready for change. They have seen the consequences of putting special interests and corporations in charge of running the country. They are ready to put the public interest back into our government goals and agenda rather than the profit motive of individual and corporate greed.

The March 2008 AARP Bulletin gives some historical perspective and some of the factors contributing to the current gridlock in Congress.

“Many political analysts trace the polarization to the 1980s presidency of Ronald Reagan and his bitter tug of war with a Democratic Congress. Reagan moved the Republican Party to the right, shunning liberal or even moderate Republicans…..

Consolidated around conservatives, the GOP grew stronger and, in the 1994 elections during President Clinton’s first term, took control of both the House and Senate, though by margins too slim to exert unrivaled power. In the House, leaders such as Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, who were very conservative, gave no quarter to those who disagreed with them, even in their own party. They took hard-line positions and refused to compromise….

Democrats, crushed under Republican power, moved left and in 2006 returned to power in the House under liberal Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. But they, too, found their majority too slim to govern efficiently. Neither party has the numbers to impose its will nor the inclination to make the kinds of compromises that lead to landmark legislation.”

The main reason stalemate remains is because of the filibuster. Because Democrats control the Senate by only a 51 to 49 margin, Republicans despite being the minority, are refusing to compromise on most issues, thus preventing most legislation from passing.

As AARP notes:

“Senate rules provide for filibuster, a procedure that can prolong debate and requires 60 votes to stop. Historically it was rarely used—fewer than seven times a session in the 1960s. Now virtually any vote of consequence requires a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority to close off debate. Last year, minority Republicans used filibusters a record 78 times, nearly 50 percent more than the previous high of 42 in 2002, when Democrats were in the minority.”

So what’s the answer. AARP goes on to say:

Even the most inspirational presidential vision, oratory and leadership are unlikely to move major legislation. [Emory University Professor Meade]Black says it takes one party or the other accumulating enough seats in both houses of Congress to ram bills through on its own. Gridlock in the early 20th century ended in 1932 when Franklin D. Roosevelt and Democrats seized lopsided control of Congress (a 60-35 margin in the Senate and a 310-117 margin in the House).”It’s not the parties coming together, it’s one party moving into the position of being a governing majority,” Black says.

 

AARP goes on to quote former Senator Bob Graham as saying that “History tells us that bipartisanship is possible.” but I believe that the burden is on the Republicans to prove that point. I don’t agree with Graham’s optimism based on the recent Republican history. When they most recently controlled Congress they acted as bullies. I have heard both Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott and Jay Inslee repeat how under Republican leadership Democrats were excluded from helping to write legislation and they literally only saw bills right before they were to vote on them.

Bipartisan works only if you agree to share power and Republicans have done their damnest to ignore Democrats and legislate unilaterally when they were in power. And they are continuing to do all they can to obstruct Congressional action by increased use of the filibuster and the continued threat and use of a Bush veto. The only way to stop Republican obstructionism is to vote them out of office. And I think that is what the public is going to do come November.

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Obama gained 67.5% of the delegate vote in the Washington State caucuses on Saturday to Clinton’s 31.2% and 1.2% uncommitted. Individual delegate counts by county can be seen on the Washington State Democratic website. The caucus system will ultimately select 78 delegates to the national convention with an additional 19 Super Delegates of party officials and elected Democrats.

Obama also won 67.5% of the delegates in Nebraska’s caucuses to Clinton’s 32.2%. Nebraska will select 24 pledged delegates from the caucus system plus 7 Super Delegates will also go to the National Convention.

Obama won the Louisiana Presidential Primary with 57% of the vote to Clinton’s 36%. Louisiana has 56 pledged delegates and 10 Super Delegates.

Obama received 90% of the vote in the Virgin Islands. The Virgin Islands have 3 pledged delegates and 6 Super Delegates.

It had the feel and passion of a real campaign. And the crowd sensed it and picked up on it. More than 5000 people packed into the Pier 30 warehouse and adjoining room. Many were not able to get in the main room. Cars were bumper to bumper along the waterfront and and parked everywhere. And people streamed along the sidewalk. Many parked over a mile away.

The event was in an out of the way place with no bus connection but people still found their way. I asked a number of people around me if they were just curious or undecided or committed and most were strong Clinton backers and said they were definitely attending the caucuses on Saturday at 1 PM.

Hillary flew in from Virginia and roused the crowd which had patiently waited about an hour for her arrival. Former Governor Gary Locke and King County Executive Ron Sims and Congressman Jay inslee gave brief comments but the main event was Hillary and she did not disappoint.

Clinton started about by noting that Congressman Norm Dicks is now supporting her, joining Inslee, Sims, Locke, Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, Lt Governor Brad Owen and Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon.

Clinton said this election is about the future of our country – we can either have more of the same with John McCain or we can go in a new direction with the Democrats. It is not an ordinary time. She said we can become an innovation nation pushing for clean energy and combating global warming like Washington State is taking the lead on.

“We need a President ready on Day One, a President with ideas and know how … a commander in chief and a hands on manager” because there is “so much damage to repair” from the Bush Presidency.

She made a strong plug for a new energy future based on green jobs because we need “to transform how we use energy” describing it as “one of the most important challenges facing us.” She asked people to join with her in pushing for clean energy “to transform America and the world so that the future is there for our children and grandchildren and the next generation.”

Clinton said as President she would make sure the American government is on the side of all Americans, not just the wealthy; calling it “unfair that a $50 million/yr investment banker” pays a lower percentage of their income in taxes “than a $50,000/ year teacher.”

“It’s not right to give tax aid” to companies “moving jobs out of America”. Stressing the need to create new jobs and be responsible, Clinton said Bush squandered it all on war in Iraq. “George Bush left us so deep in debt, we borrow money from China, to pay for oil we buy from Saudi Arabia.” The crowd roared.

“Our greatest hope is clean renewable energy” stressed Clinton. She detailed her proposals for green jobs, praising the work of Senator Cantwell and Congressman Jay Inslee pushing for more renewable energy and touting the potential for green jobs and exportable technology.

Included was a proposal to create a Strategic Energy Fund out of money received by ending the excess profits given to oil companies like Exxon Mobil that received special tax breaks that have contributed to their record profits at the expense of American consumers.

Saying she would work for a new agreement on greenhouse gases within a year of her becoming President, she emphasized it would include China and India. But she noted “We can’t do it until the two oilmen leave the White House.” Again the crowd cheered.

On other issues she said she would “end the Bush War on Science.” She will ask Congress to send her the stem cell research bill and she would sign it.

She detailed her proposal on universal health care and called it the “public passion of her life”.
Everyone would be covered. It would include prevention and ending the stigma of mental illness. She said she would “open up the Congressional Health Care System to the public” and make it available to every American.

Clinton said we needed to stop home foreclosures by setting up a moratorium on them , freezing interest rates to stop excessive rate jumps and allowing homeowners the ability to renegotiate their mortgages.

On education she will work for universal preschool kindergarten, ending the unfunded mandate of Bush’s leave no child behind and making college affordable again. She talked about ending the private loan business for colleges and putting the public back in charge by offering government loans at low rates and giving graduates options to have their loans forgiven for doing public service, like teaching, calling it an investment in our country.

On Bush’s cronyism in appointing his friends and business associates to positions of public trust, Clinton roused the crowd by saying “We need to clean house from top to bottom” and “appoint qualified people to government” in order “to restore leadership and moral authority.”

She said it was time to bring the troops home, noting her inquires to date have found no credible plan by the Bush Administration as to how to do that. Starting to bring the troops home will “tell Iraq that Bush’s blank check is no longer valid” and that the Iraqis “have to start making their own decisions” for their people.

Saying Bush “has emboldened our enemies and endangered our allies” Clinton stressed that “the era of cowboy diplomacy is over.” and it is time to lead with our values again. Force should be “a last resort, not a first resort.”

Clinton ended her impassioned speech by urging the audience to help elect a President who is a fighter and who champions the American people and finds common ground and acts on it. She said America needs to be infused with a common purpose – to make America better for our kids and the middle class. “We need a President who gets it”, who will roll up the sleeves and make it happen said Clinton.

Several hundred people milled around the front of the room for the next half hour, holding their cameras and cell phones above their heads, snapping pictures, pressing to shake her hand, say a word or get a poster signed. Campaign workers collected contact information as people exited.

For more on the Clinton campaign in Washington go to HillaryClinton.com.

Click here for information on where your Democratic caucus is on Saturday, Feb 9, 2008.

More stories:
Seattle Times “In Seattle, Clinton vows “new direction” for U.S.”
Seattle PIJoin Me to Change the World – Clinton Touts Experience to 5000 on Waterfront

The phone rang. It was one of those automated calls – from the John McCain campaign saying he’s going to come visit the State of Washington tomorrow. It was a “chance for Republicans to meet McCain before the Saturday caucuses.”

I hope he’s making calls to others like me, because I’m a Democrat and he’s wasting his time and money on me if he thinks I’m going to vote for him. But I’m a blogger and I might go to see him after I’ve seen Hillary tonight at Pier 30, 2431 E Marginal Way S on the Seattle Waterfront -South of Pioneer Square at 8:00 PM and Barack tomorrow at 11:00 AM at the Seattle Key Arena, 305 Harrison St.

I wonder if George is coming with John to the “Meet and Greet” as the McCain website calls the event. By the way McCain will be at the Westin Hotel, 1900 5th Ave in Seattle at 6 P.M. Friday Feb 8, 2007 in case anyone wants to see the Republican that Democrats are going to trounce in November.

CNN reports that three separate Republican sources say that Mitt Romney will announce this afternoon that he is suspending his campaign for President. Despite protests from some conservatives that McCain is no conservative, he has just received a giant boost in his bid to be the Republican nominee for President.

What some of these conservatives don’t seem to realize is that the county and many voters have moved beyond the divisive and self righteous conservatism of Bush and Rove that emphasized issues like abortion, religion and morality while taking us to war in Iraq, putting the economy in a tailspin and producing a divided America that isn’t solving its problems.

Unfortunately McCain sees us in Iraq for the next 100 years and now says that he wants to make the Bush temporary “tax cuts” permanent so that the more wealthy in our country can continue to not pay their fair share. Obviously many Republicans see McCain as conservative enough and have more faith in him than people like Huckabee or Romney.

Poor Rush Limbaugh and James Dobson and others on the ultra right fringe are losing some of their clout and some of their credibility as they are crying over losing their so called influence over Republican voters. To me it seems fairly ludricious, since McCain’s positions on most issues are very conservative.

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama split the spoils of Super Tuesday down the middle. Out of some 11 million votes cast and reported as of 10 PM Pacific Time they were only 5000 votes apart.

In projected delegate count they also split, 451 for Clinton to 438 for Obama. These are not the final counts and are only projected totals for the day. Missouri is still too close to call as is New Mexico.

A good place to go to see the final results are posted at the Seattle Times and the New York Times elections pages.

Clinton has won the states of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. These are all primary states.

Obama won primaries in Alabama , Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, and Illinois. He won all of the caucus states – Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota and Utah and is leading in Alaska. This makes sense in that caucuses work well for a candidate with a dedicated, passonate and committed grassroots presence.

The problem remains that a caucus vote, while winning delegates, does not accurately reflect the actual vote total because the Democrats are only reporting delegates selected. This is misleading in determining the actual voting strength of a candidate and also does not reflect the candidates actual appeal among the broader voting population that will be voting in November. The delegate count is more accurately a reflection of grassroots organization strength than it is of voter appeal. And caucus rules vary from state to state.

We have written previously about how reporting delegates selected in a caucus and actual vote counts are different and that we believe the Democrats should report both numbers. The New York Times for example in their reporting of percentage of vote for each state on Feb 5th do not make a distinction in their reporting of caucus delegate votes and primary voter counts.

After I wrote about how the Democrats are not releasing actual voter sign in numbers for caucus attendees but only number of delegates chosen for each candidate I came across an op ed written in Dec 2007 for the New York Times entitled Iowa’s Undemocratic Caucuses.

The piece notes that “Iowa Democrats shun public disclosure of voter preferences at their caucuses — something not generally reported by the press or understood by the public.”

In a separate post I found by The Next Harrah posted on Jan 13, 2008 and entitled “New found Transparency in Iowa [..someday]” there is a link to vote totals after people made their final choice in the caucus. It was posted by the gazetteonline but sometime after the election and not widely known.

As The Next Harrah notes we urge all caucus states to release vote totals for both the initial sign-in and after caucuses make any final vote changes before delegates are selected, so the public can better understand what is happening and how the delegate number is arrived at.

The Democratic Party should select delegates by a transparent process and not keep secret preliminary votes and final votes.

The next states up for a vote are on Saturday Feb 9, 2007 when Louisiana (67 delegates), Nebraska (caucus)(31 delegates), Virgin Islands (9 delegates) and Washington State (caucus) (97 delegates)vote. Maine (34 delegates) holds a caucus on Feb 10, 2008. Obama has an advantage, based on past results, in the three upcoming caucus states.

Senator Maria Cantwell , Congressman Jay Inslee and King County Executive Ron Sims were busy Saturday urging Washington voters to support Senator Hillary Clinton for President in the precinct caucuses next Saturday, February 9, 2008. They spoke to Clinton supporters at a rally at the Machinists Hall in South Seattle after speaking in Tacoma and Everett earlier in the day.

Congressman Inslee has become a major force in Congress for renewable energy pushing the new Apollo Energy Project. Inslee called Senator Clinton a change agent who understood the energy issues and who would provide the leadership to “kick our addiction to Middle East Oil” and move us to a clean energy future and green jobs.

Programs needed include 55 miles per gallon cars by 2030, getting 25% of our energy from renewables, 70% more efficient lighting, and 20 million low income homes weatherized. Clinton stood for action, not talk said Inslee.

Senator Cantwell noted that she came to the US Senate the same year as Clinton did and that in the seven years she has worked with Clinton, Clinton gets things done. She said Clinton as President would be ready from Day 1 to to work for new green jobs and clean energy.

Cantwell say Clinton working across the aisle getting things done, even when the Republicans were in control. One example of this was Clinton working for lifetime health benefits for the National Guard and Reserve.

She saw this same dedication on Clinton’s part with her plan for a clean energy economy creating new jobs. Clinton will be ready from day 1 to change history and to get our country on the right course, economically and internationally.

Ron Sims said he saw Clinton having the intuitive instinct and preparation to make the changes that people in this coutry are ready for. He said we’ve been in the wasteland too long but that Clinton, like FDR and TR, knows how to get things done – that she is the right person with the right intuition at the right time to be elected President.

Cantwell noted that Clinton is leading the fight in the Senate opposing any Bush proposal to lock the US into a long term agreement with Iraq. Clinton said any such proposal is basically a treaty and as such treaties must be approved by the Senate.

Cantwell also mentioned efforts being made in the Senate trying to add green energy proposals now to the stimulus package. Sims noted that China is spending $35 billion a year on new energy production and that if the US could take the lead in developing green energy sources, this could help in bringing money into this country and help reduce our trade deficit.

Suddenly there were only two. John Edwards is ending his long campaign to be President. This heightens the suspense as Super Tuesday next week becomes a head to head match of Hillary Clinton versus Barack Obama.

Some 40% of the delegates will be decided next week as 20 states hold primaries and caucuses. Some states will be pivotal – like California and New York which have large numbers of delegates at stake.

John Edwards brought a strong voice to his campaign to speak for ending poverty in America and getting public control back from corporate America’s domination of our government under the Bush Republicans.

Edwards called both Obama and Clinton to tell them of his decision and to urge that they include adressing poverty in their campaigns.

Edwards is flying to New Orleans where he will be making a major speech later today. He is not going to endorse another candidate at this point.

Who benefits most by Edwards leaving the race. The Fix notes that polling in Florida leave the issue a tossup:

Exit polling conducted yesterday in Florida suggests that Edwards supporters are equally inclined to back Obama and Clinton. Forty seven percent of Edwards backers in Florida said they would be “satisfied” with Clinton as the nominee
with 13 percent saying they would be “very satisfied”. A similar 47 percent said they would be “satisfied” with Obama as the party’s standard bearer with 19 percent saying they would be “very satisfied”. Those trends were affirmed by exit poll data from South Carolina’s primary on Jan. 26 as more than six in 10 Edwards supporters said they would be satisfied with either Clinton or Obama as the nominee.”

see also Washington Post -”John Edwards to Quit Presidential Race

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