Mojo - May 2008

GOP to Minority Candidates: Thanks, We're Not Interested

| Tue May 20, 2008 12:18 PM EDT

Respecting our gay brothers and sisters means you have "San Francisco values." I wonder what kind of values you have when you don't respect blacks, Hispanics, or Asians. Politico:

Just a few years after the Republican Party launched a highly publicized diversity effort, the GOP is heading into the 2008 election without a single minority candidate with a plausible chance of winning a campaign for the House, the Senate or governor....
At the start of the Bush years, the Republican National Committee — in tandem with the White House — vowed to usher in a new era of GOP minority outreach. As George W. Bush winds down his presidency, Republicans are now on the verge of going six — and probably more — years without an African-American governor, senator or House member.
That's the longest such streak since the 1980s.
Republicans will have only one minority governor, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, an Indian-American, when the dust settles on the '08 elections. Democrats have three minority governors and 43 African-American members of Congress, including one — Illinois Sen. Barack Obama — who is their likely presidential nominee. Democrats also have several challengers in winnable House races who are either black or Hispanic.

Only four black Republicans have been elected to Congress since Reconstruction. Sounds like they'll be on the wrong side of history in a few decades.

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"San Francisco Values" Makes Another Appearance

| Tue May 20, 2008 12:06 PM EDT

Run for your lives, there are ethnic men in cowboy hats dancing with two women at the same time! You know what that means!

Kay Barnes may look like a perfectly nice woman (and an effective mayor of Kansas City to boot!), but don't be fooled. Sam Graves knows she loves teh gay.

Update: Does anyone else feel like they found these dancers by putting out a casting call for Black Eyed Peas look-a-likes?

Operation Get a Grip

| Tue May 20, 2008 11:53 AM EDT

OK, I've gotten another cup of coffee, and almost feel the strength to deconstruct this piece of lousy journalism.

1) This is the Jerusalem Post quoting Israel Army Radio, e.g. they didn't even report it themselves.

2) It's not only second hand in terms of one media outlet citing another; it's third hand in terms of sourcing, and all anonymous at that. The Jerusalem Post is citing Israel Army Radio which is quoting an unnamed Israeli official quoting an -- again unnamed -- "senior member of Bush's entourage" which includes a universe of people that could be say the spouse of a businessperson who was part of the delegation. Almost certainly not a government official and almost certainly not someone informed about policy deliberations. Something in the realm of idle gossip.

3) If all that didn't, this line should give you pause: "However, the official continued, 'the hesitancy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice' was preventing the administration from deciding to launch such an attack on the Islamic Republic, for the time being." In other words, while according to fourth hand anonymous sources Bush and Cheney believe force may be necessary, they are prevented from acting by the Secretaries of Defense and State. To begin with, Bush gets to override his cabinet heads when he wants to. Secondly, this is a line that essentially negates the first part of the story.

Lobbying Problems Force McCain to Put Straight Talk on Hold

| Tue May 20, 2008 11:08 AM EDT

In light of the continued pressure John McCain is facing to rid his staff of lobbyists and former lobbyists, the normally gregarious candidate is experiencing a fresh conversion to message discipline. From a press conference he held with reporters yesterday:

Question: What was the impetus for the new lobbying policy?

Clinton Camp Flaming Her Supporter's Sense that Obama's Win Is Unfair?

| Mon May 19, 2008 4:47 PM EDT

Even though Hillary Clinton is campaigning onward, a key question for her is how gracious a loser she can be. How she handles what seems to be her pending defeat could affect Barack Obama's prospects in the fall and her own future political career, especially if Obama is defeated by John McCain in the fall. Regarding the former, much media attention has been showered on the possibility that many Clinton voters are so mad-as-hell that they won't vote for Obama in November. On Monday, The Washington Post front-paged a piece on PO'ed women who support Clinton and suggested that some of these voters will choose John McCain rather than vote for the guy who dashed Clinton's glass-ceiling-breaking dreams.

For Clinton, a test will be what she does to mitigate the anger of her followers and lead them into Obama-land. Right now, she appears to be putting off this challenge until after the primaries end of June 3. Which is fine. But her campaign does seems content until then to flame her voters' sense of being aggrieved.

Declaring Victory? Bad Idea, Obama

| Mon May 19, 2008 4:43 PM EDT

Barack Obama reportedly is not heading to Des Moines tomorrow to declare victory in his race against Hillary Clinton. After the North Carolina and Indiana primaries on May 6, an unnamed Obama staffer pointed to the Kentucky and Oregon primaries slated for tomorrow night. "On May 20," he said, "we're going to declare victory." Now, the Obama camp is taking a milder approach.

That said, Obama doesn't have to actually declare victory for the impression to be delivered. After all, he's speaking in Des Moines, site of his victory in the Iowa caucuses four and a half months ago. The campaign has come full circle, is the obvious suggestion. The campaign started here and it ends here.

It's too late for the site of the event to be changed, but there's still time for me to insist, in agreement with Dana Goldstein, that this is a bad idea. The Clinton campaign has legions of supporters who feel their candidate is being unfairly pushed out of the race by the media and, to a lesser extent, the Obama campaign. Why lend (even more?) credence to their complaints? These are Democrats that Obama will need in the fall. He should avoid alienating them at all costs.

Montana and South Dakota, the final primaries, are June 3. Obama can't wait 15 days?

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How Female Military Pilots Spell Relief

| Mon May 19, 2008 3:46 PM EDT

As an armchair historian, I'm always scouring for info on how chicks in the Old West etc. went to the bathroom and dealt with their periods in all that long sleeved, flowing train, Texas-heat get-up. As a sci-fi geek, I'm always frustrated not to know how the Star Trekkers went (will go?) potty in the 24th century and whether periods were ever conquered before the Cylons invaded Earth. Well, I still don't know the answer to these questions (though I can't wait for you commenters to tell me how stupid I am) but I know how US military pilots did until recently. (With great difficulty, especially chicks). CNN:

"Piddle packs"—heavy-duty bags containing absorbent sponges—have been blamed for at least two crashes over the years, and they're not always tidy.
...When nature's call becomes too pressing to ignore, a pilot has to fly and unbuckle the harness at the same time—while using both hands to maneuver around in a seat to which he or she is virtually molded.
The aerobatic maneuver is even harder for female pilots.

The Wisdom of Crows

| Mon May 19, 2008 3:15 PM EDT

I'm fascinated by crows and the fact that they are always left off the list of super smart animals (dogs, dolphins, chimps). In fact, crows use and even create tools in impressive ways, and adapt to their environments so quickly it may shock you. Here's an interesting video on this subject from TED.com, where you can find a wealth of videos on perhaps more serious topics like how the news is geographically distorted and why we eat all wrong.

Naughty GOPers Won't Go Quietly

| Mon May 19, 2008 1:22 PM EDT

It's every ethically troubled man for himself in today's GOP. MSNBC nails it:

How about things you missed in politics because they had nothing to do with the presidential primaries... Start with Vito Fossella and lump him in with Larry Craig and Ted Stevens. The three, if the full barrage of the national political press corps had focused on their issues, all three would likely have made different decisions. Craig and Fossella probably would have resigned; Stevens probably would have retired, saving, potentially three seats that shouldn't be in play -- two in the Senate and one in the House. But all three are in play now. Now, scandal alone isn't the reason why the GOP is on the brink of another disastrous downballot election cycle, but the decisions by these three lawmakers haven't helped things. That Idaho Senate seat should have an appointed incumbent Risch running for a full term; the GOP should be dealing with a fascinating primary to replace Stevens in Alaska; and if Susan Molinari's offspring were old enough to run for Congress, then Fossella might have already been forced out. Seriously, Alaska, Idaho, and Staten Island shouldn't be where the GOP is playing this fall.

I would add Rep. Don Young (also of Alaska) to that terrible trio. Republicans are dying to unseat him in the primary. Young (who shares responsibility with Stevens for the Bridge to Nowhere, is awash in Abramoff money, and is under criminal investigation because of his links to an oil company) has won reelection with over 70 percent of the vote in the past; Charlie Cook currently has his race rated as a toss up.

McCain-Huckabee: Dream Team?

| Mon May 19, 2008 12:45 PM EDT

Every time one of my more moderate Democratic friends mentions that they could probably vote for John McCain because they think he's a moderate, I jokingly remind them that a vote for McCain could also be a vote for former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee. He's a longshot, but it's clear that Huckabee is stumping for the VP slot.

Yesterday on Meet the Press, Huckabee said,

"There's no one I would rather be on a ticket with than John McCain...All during the campaign when I was his rival, not a running mate, there was no one who was more complimentary of him publicly and privately. ... I still wanted to win, but if I couldn't, John McCain was always the guy I would have supported and have now supported. But whether or not I do the best for him, that's something that only he can decide."

While McCain's best hope, of course, is to ignore the Christian Right and run as a centerist, if he does at some point decide he needs someone on the ticket to mobilize evangelicals in November, there's nobody better out there right now than Huckabee. The Baptist minister won the Iowa caucuses and seven other states before dropping out of the presidential race. As someone who can't get enough of the squirrel-in-the-popcorn-popper story, I'm rooting for him. The only thing better for political reporting this fall than a McCain/Huckabee ticket would be if McCain picked Ron Paul as his running mate.