Mojo - January 2008

The Unresolved Questions of the Florida Primary

| Wed Jan. 30, 2008 9:21 AM EST

giuliani-mccain-florida.jpg

There are so many story lines in the presidential races coming out of Florida and heading into February 5. Here are four key ones.

1. Can John McCain be beat? If John McCain gets Rudy Giuliani's endorsement today, as expected, he will be an incredibly formidable force on February 5. He'll likely gobble up Giuliani's donors and key staffers (meaning additional money and organization), and build on his already impressive lead among moderate Republicans.

Exit polls showed yesterday that Mitt Romney beat John McCain among voters who identified as "conservative," and beat him badly among voters who identified as "very conservative." That spells out Romney's strategy from here on out: move to the right, and target states with conservative electorates (Georgia), and not moderate ones (California). The problem for Romney is that the conservative states on the Feb. 5 map are mostly southern, meaning that Mike Huckabee, who is staying in the race, will likely soak up a lot of votes, putting Romney in a real bind. Huckabee has a lot of personal affection for John McCain (and reportedly hates Romney), which makes one wonder if he is deliberately staying in a race he knows he cannot win in order to help facilitate McCain's triumph over Romney.

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McCain Is Walking on Sunshine, Wins Florida; Giuliani's a Goner

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 10:21 PM EST

John McCain edged out Mitt Romney in Florida's GOP presidential primary on Tuesday, with Rudy Giuliani placing a distant third in what was an up-or-out race for him. The bottom-line: McCain and Romney are now essentially in a head-to-head, find-those-delegates face-off. It could be decided next week on Supersaturated Tuesday; it could go to the Republican convention at summer's end. Questions to consider: will the GOP establishment sue for peace with McCain? Will social cons be pushed by anti-McCain conservatives (paging, Rush Limbaugh!) to drop Mike Huckabee, who placed fourth in Florida, and swing behind Romney to stop McCain?

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama in a primary not recognized by the Democratic National Committee, which has declared it will not award any delegates to the victor in Florida. We'll just see about that, the Clinton campaign has said. Nevertheless, the Florida primary, as of now, is mostly about the GOPers--especially Giuliani. The deli vote just wasn't enough for him.

We'll have more on the Florida primary in a while....

When and Where We Enter, Male Chauvinist Pigs Follow: Is 'Purdah' the Answer to Male Privilege?

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 7:11 PM EST

Or does it simply justify assaulting any woman who rejects seclusion?

If you're a woman and have spent any time in urban centers (i.e. lots of walking and public transportation) you know whereof you speak when it comes to street harassment. It is a measure of how entrenched male privilege is that men can sit down to dinner with a house full of female loved ones without having to know that someone masturbated onto her coat that day or whispered disgusting things in her ear. It's so pervasive, so dismissed—boys will be boys, heh, heh—it goes unmentioned and unredressed.

This explains why nearly naked, hysterical women got turned away by uniformed cops during the 2000 Central Park wilding and why the police will do little about street harassment that stays this side of bloodshed. I shudder for the day my 4 year old baby has to walk the streets alone. She happens to be gorgeous, much better looking than your daughters, but all that matters is that she's female. In fact, God help the ugly, fat or disfigured ones; they catch pure, unadulterated hell for daring to walk around being unasthetically pleasing to Joe Bob with his beer belly and no job or Joe Corporate with his comb-over and pointless Dunder Mifflin gig. I once spent four months profiling a prison inmate and being escorted to and from, like all visitors, by trustees at the minimum security facility. I swear to God, those guys spent the entire time (profil-ee included) hitting on me speed-date-from-hell style, with all the finesse of Lothar of The Hill People. THEY WERE IN PRISON but still felt totally free to harass me. Think I'm overreacting to the supposed prevelance of male privilege? Check this lede for the piece linked to (below) on female-only trains in Japan:

Is This Old Dog Learning New Tricks Just a Tad Too Late? Bill Campaigns, Quietly, in Jersey

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 4:40 PM EST

From the NY Times:

Mr. Clinton made no specific references to his wife's main rival for the Democratic nomination, Barack Obama. Nor did any of his comments seem likely to provoke the criticism the former president generated during the South Carolina primary, when some Democrats accused him of being racially divisive in an attempt to weaken support for Mr. Obama, who is biracial.

Too little, too late?

I truly believed that neither of them could admit their mistakes and retool. Or if it would do them any good at this late date. Or if we could forgive them if they somehow managed to swallow their Big Gulp-sized pride. I'm thinking that I'll need to see an actual acknowledgment of race-baiting and an apology (a quick "my bad" would suffice), however weasel-worded. Do they have it in them? We'll see.

"Yomama bin Barack"?: Leave the Satire to the Professionals, Racists

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 4:20 PM EST

Check out what the troglodyte white racism Billary have been trying to tap into looks like in the light of day. It's from an local Long Island paper. Enjoy?

(Note: no excerpt because the publishers took it down with a quickness once they realized that the world is less full of racists than they thought. Alec Baldwin had one of his minions scan it in for him. For once, I'm glad someone has minions.)

When the dust settles, it will probably be the case that the Clintons helped quite a few folks realize that racism remains (you'd be surprised how many whites didn't) and that it affects everyone.

First Kennedy, Now Kerry Blasts the Clinton Campaign

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 3:24 PM EST

First it was Teddy Kennedy; then came John Kerry.

On Monday, Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama and wagged a finger at the Clintons. On Tuesday, Kerry accused the Clintonites of engaging in a "spin war" and practicing "the type of politics...a lot of us are trying to reject."

Kerry was talking to reporters on a conference call arranged by the Obama campaign. Minutes earlier, Clinton's top campaign aides had been on their own conference call with the media and had argued that the Democratic presidential delegates being selected in Florida during Tuesday's election ought to be counted by the Democratic Party. The problem: after Florida defied the Democratic National Committee and moved its primary to an early position, the party stripped the state of its delegates. All the major candidates, out of respect to the party and fearful of offending voters in the traditional early states, pledged not to campaign in Florida. But now that it seems that Hillary Clinton might do well in the Florida election (and now that Iowa and New Hampshire are done), her campaign is proclaiming, Honor the Florida voter.

Reporters on the Clinton call asked if the Clinton crew was trying to have it both ways: not campaigning in Florida (when doing so could have hurt her elsewhere) but now claiming its delegates should be recognized. Not at all, said Mark Penn, her chief strategist, and Howard Wolfson, her communications director. Should you be "seen as desperate"? one reporter asked. "Something unexpected happened," Penn explained, referring to the reported large turn-out in Florida.

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I'm Black and a Woman: Let Me Know When You Decide Which Knee I'm Supposed to Jerk, OK?

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 3:19 PM EST

San Francisco Chronicle:

It's just strange to watch some of the nation's pioneering elected black leaders - civil rights heroes who raised our self-awareness, our political power and who helped define our self-determination - withholding their support for the most legitimate black presidential candidate in the nation's history.

So, blacks are supposed to vote for any "legitimate" black presidential candidate, all other considerations aside. Also, I'm to believe that the undeniable misogyny Clinton has faced amounts to a left-wing "psychological gang bang". Ted Kennedy's endorsement of Obama is:

"...the greatest betrayal! We are repaid with his abandonment! He's picked the new guy over us. He's joined the list of progressive white men who can't or won't handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton (they will of course say they support a woman president, just not "this" one). 'They' are Howard Dean and Jim Dean (Yup! That's Howard's brother) who run DFA (that's the group and list from the Dean campaign that we women helped start and grow). They are Alternet, Progressive Democrats of America, democrats.com, Kucinich lovers and all the other groups that take women's money, say they'll do feminist and women's rights issues one of these days, and conveniently forget to mention women and children when they talk about poverty or human needs or America's future or whatever.

Negroes, sisters: if you can't think in more than one dimension, speak for your own damn selves! Especially if you're going to be hysterical. No wonder young blacks support Obama and young (ignorant, ungrateful) women think feminism is passe.

Fascinating Anecdote About Richardson and Obama

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 2:33 PM EST

This is interesting, though it probably says more about Richardson than it does about Obama.

"I had just been asked a question — I don't remember which one — and Obama was sitting right next to me. Then the moderator went across the room, I think to Chris Dodd, so I thought I was home free for a while. I wasn't going to listen to the next question. I was about to say something to Obama when the moderator turned to me and said, 'So, Gov. Richardson, what do you think of that?' But I wasn't paying any attention!
I was about to say, 'Could you repeat the question? I wasn't listening.' But I wasn't about to say I wasn't listening. I looked at Obama. I was just horrified. And Obama whispered, 'Katrina. Katrina.' The question was on Katrina! So I said, 'On Katrina, my policy...' Obama could have just thrown me under the bus. So I said, 'Obama, that was good of you to do that.'"

From WaPo via Andrew Sullivan.

My Only Comment on Handshake-gate

| Tue Jan. 29, 2008 2:21 PM EST

This guy says it all.

Actually, I think it would be cool if we had a nationwide election to choose the perfect spouse for Flava Flav. We could have caucuses and primaries across the land to choose the two top contenders, and then have a nationwide popular vote via text message to select the winner. That's how we're going to select presidents in 2020 anyway.

Or, if you are a brown person, the chip installed in your brain by President Giuliani will automatically know who you want to vote for.

Bring Back Jim Webb!

| Mon Jan. 28, 2008 11:11 PM EST

It's hard to be a worse speaker than George W. Bush. But Kathleen Sebelius, the Democratic governor of Kansas, gave it a shot. Sebelius gave the Democratic response to the State of the Union. She's not a good speaker—she's obviously glued to the teleprompter, and the speech itself is awful. It's really too bad, because this could have been a great moment for the Democrats. Bush's speech is already being dismissed as a lame duck's list of unfulfilled plans and missed opportunities. Democrats could have capitalized on that. But instead of trying to draw a clear election-year contrast between her party and the huge numbers of congressional Republicans who are still loyal to Bush, Sebelius mailed it in.