Mojo - February 2008

Cindy for Speaker?

| Fri Feb. 1, 2008 2:15 PM EST

A new, quasi-political party is aiming to form a "national coalition of peace candidates for U.S. House of Representatives" who will boot out Democrats and Republicans and then elect anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan as Speaker. Sound implausible? It is. But with Ralph Nader unveiling an exploratory website for yet another presidential bid this week, it's clear that third parties on the left see an opening: popular discontent with the inability of the Democratic Congress to end the war in Iraq. Don't expect many of these candidates to pull down more than a percent or two. Still, you have to wonder whether Nader or his acolytes would fare slightly better at the polls if Hillary Clinton--the Democratic bete noir of the radical anti-war movement--is the party's nominee for President. For more on this year's third party dynamic, check out my story on Sheehan's congressional race against Speaker Pelosi.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Ann Coulter Is Insane Over McCain, Supporting Hillary

| Fri Feb. 1, 2008 1:39 PM EST

Conservative elites are having their world turned upside down. They hate John McCain with a passion and yet he's their best chance to keep the White House. What do they do?

The clip below is illustrative. Sean Hannity appears ready to swallow his long-time criticisms of McCain and vote for him in order to keep a Democrat out of the White House. Ann Coulter (I know, I know, we're not supposed to pay attention to Ann Coulter) appears ready to... vote for Hillary?

So Clinton is more conservative than McCain, lies less than McCain, and is smarter than McCain? Is this some calculated Coulterian plot to undercut Clinton's support? Whatever. I'm just interested in Ann Coulter's head exploding on national television. Give it a month and it may actually happen.

Update: Dennis Hastert is joining the chorus of conservative voices against McCain.

Who Is the Real Most Liberal Senator?

| Fri Feb. 1, 2008 1:17 PM EST

So the National Journal's contention that Obama is most liberal member of the Senate has been pretty widely discredited across the internet. So who is the most liberal? A much more trustworthy rating system provides some answers here.

Something Strange Happened When Manila Banned Publicly Funded Contraception

| Fri Feb. 1, 2008 12:59 PM EST

From Salon:

...choosing between contraception and food for their children, multiple pregnancies after being told it would be dangerous for them to have more children, unwanted pregnancies forcing families into extreme poverty, abstinence leading to troubled marriages and divorces, backroom abortions, maternal deaths from multiple pregnancies, abortion deaths... you name it.

And, by the way, a violation of the Philippine constitution and a coupla international treaties, since Manila's ultra-religious mayor has right to issue such a decree. While the lawsuit aimed to end the ban winds its way through the legal system, poor women, poor families, will just go paying the price for other's opinions and religious beliefs.

U.S. National Guard and Reserves Face "Appalling" Shortfalls, Study Finds

| Fri Feb. 1, 2008 12:36 PM EST

CGItemp20515120188137368.239.83.80-68.jpeg

The war in Afghanistan was the subject of three independent reports, all released yesterday. Buried by the resulting coverage, a fourth report by the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves, also published Thursday, warns that our non-professional soldiers—the ones shouldering much of the burden in Iraq and Afghanistan—are stretched to the breaking point.

Until Iraq, the Guard and Reserves were long considered a "backup" force, a sort of safety valve that could be pulled in the event of an emergency. But the occupation of Iraq (not to mention the hot-cold Afghan conflict), have fundamentally challenged the nature of what is expected from America's citizen soldiers. It's no longer the one weekend a month sort of deal it used to be. Rather, Guard and Reserve units have quickly evolved into crucial operational components of how the U.S. military projects power around the world. Trouble is, investment of personnel and resources remains stuck in an earlier time, and it's a disconnect that threatens the viability of the current U.S. force structure.

Dem Debate: A Cordial Twosome in Hollywood

| Fri Feb. 1, 2008 1:05 AM EST

obama-clinton-happy250.jpg Tonight in Hollywood, with celebrities packing the seats of the historic Kodak Theater, anyone expecting a blockbuster debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama was sorely disappointed. Neither made a bold play for the other's supporters. Neither took any chances. In general, both were civil, composed, and very impressive. One could argue that Obama won as a result, because he showed a national audience of newly attentive February 5 voters that he could match Hillary Clinton point for point. One could also argue that the calmness of the debate favored Clinton, who, as the frontrunner, avoided any incidents that could jeopardize her supremacy.

One could also argue the campaigns decided that, because the delegate count will be relatively close after February 5, they had no reason to go for broke and were content to leave the night as a wash.

There were moments, however, that rewarded close attention. Early in the debate, the candidates were asked a question about whether illegal immigrants take African American jobs. Obama, responding first, argued that there are systemic problems in the American economy that steal opportunities from minorities and the poor. To point to illegal immigrants is to make them a scapegoat. Clinton responded by pandering to downscale voters.