Political MoJo

Scandal in Obama's Past Finally Revealed

| Thu Mar. 8, 2007 4:02 PM EST

obama.jpgSpotted in Salon's War Room, the Boston Globe is reporting today that Barack Obama paid $375 in late fees and fines for parking tickets racked up while he was at Harvard just two weeks before announcing his presidential bid. The man is clearly not presidential material: He should have had his daddy intervene on his behalf with the Traffic, Parking & Transportation Department. (Although I've heard it's more intractable than the draft board ever was.)

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Slick Willie Version 2.0?

| Thu Mar. 8, 2007 2:33 PM EST

If you want to know why New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson's presidential campaign is having trouble getting off the ground, check out this Politico article on Richardson's "excessively personal" campaign style.

MoJoBlog on Richardson's expertise on nukes here and his all-around qualification for the country's highest office here.

Estonian Election Goes Digital

| Thu Mar. 8, 2007 1:29 PM EST

In random, but interesting news, Estonia recently completed its national parliamentary election, and with it, the largest scale non-Simon-Cowell-related online voting experiment in history. 30,000 citizens (about 1 in 30 voters), used their national ID cards and PINs to cast their ballots on a government website. Apparently, no security breaches occurred, and voter turnout was an all time high of 61%. The BBC points out that online voting will need to flush out all security concerns before gaining mass popularity, but still...in the future, imagine casting your vote to reelect President Jenna Bush from the comfort of your moon-beer-drenched LazyBoy...ah technology.

Mother Jones Nominated for WPA Magazine Awards

| Thu Mar. 8, 2007 11:11 AM EST

The Western Publications Association has announced this year's finalists for its annual Maggie Awards and Mother Jones has nabbed two. Chuck Bowden's tour de force, Exodus, which takes the reader deep inside the immigration debate in a way only Bowden, who has lived and worked on both sides of the line for decades, can, is up for Best Feature Article. And our entire September/October issue, featuring our Lie by Lie timeline, is a nominee in the Politics & Social Issues category. Winners of the 56th annual awards will be announced April 27th.

Newsweek Feeds My Huckabee Love Affair

| Thu Mar. 8, 2007 10:44 AM EST

If you read the blog yesterday, you know that I'm pushing for a Hagel-Huckabee Republican ticket. I think it makes a ton of sense for the conservative base, but it also sounds awesome and has a great odd couple feel to it. But these two have a lot of work to do if they're going make my wishes come true. Huckabee's working on it; he's got an interview in Newsweek that should increase his name recognition a little bit.

Here's a tidbit that should be familiar to regular MoJoBlog readers:

Q: What do you make of candidates like Giuliani, Romney and McCain — all of whom have moved to the right on social issues?
A: The first thing is: imitation is the most serious form of flattery. Some are having a late adult moment to come to a position I've held since I've been a teenager. Voters will have to determine if they're seeing the politics of conviction or convenience.

ZING! Huckabee comes out swinging!

He's going to have to work on his global warming talking points, though. First of all, he's got to do some research. You'll see what I mean below. Second of all, he's got to respond to questions like this with a little more clarity.

Q: But do you believe there's a human role in climate change?
A: There may be. But whether there is or there isn't, it doesn't release us from the responsibility to be good stewards of the environment. It's the old boy scout rule: you leave your campsite in as good or better shape than how you found it. It's a spiritual issue. [The earth] belongs to God. I have no right to destroy it. I think we work toward alternative energy sources. [We need to make it] like the Manhattan Project or going to the moon. We need to accelerate our energy independence.

Maybe this response is about Huckabee having his cake and eating it too. He wants to appeal to the (crazy and uninformed) portion of the Republican base that still doesn't believe global warming exists and resents the growing Al Gore-led environmentalist crowd that screams bloody murder over the issue (and demands lifestyle changes from them). At the same time, he also wants to appeal to the new and growing green evangelical movement. Whatever the case may be, as the campaign goes along Huckabee's going to have to make that response a more elegant one.

There's also a moment in the interview when Huckabee won't say whether or not he supports letting women preach in Christian churches and a heartfelt plea about retaining music and art programs in schools. And a series of questions about how fat he used to be. So, uh, yeah, there's lots of work to be done on Huckabee '08. How about some vision, buddy? And how can you go through a five-page interview and not mention your life story, or anything about who you are as a person? C'mon, Huckabee! Don't let me down!

Update on U.S. Attorneys Probe: DOJ Officials May Be Subpoenaed

| Thu Mar. 8, 2007 8:55 AM EST

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which is heading an investigation into the recent quick and dirty cleansing of 8 -- and maybe 9 -- U.S. Attorneys, will vote today on whether to subpoena five DOJ officials if they fail to appear. Those officials include the chiefs of staff for both U.S. Attornery General Alberto Gonzales and Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty (Kyle Sampson and Mike Elston, respectively), acting Associate Attorney General William Mercer, Director of the Executive Office of the United States Attorney Michael Battle (who has just resigned), and the Justice Department's White House liaison, Monica Goodling. During a marathon of hearings before the House and Senate this past Tuesday, the testimony by six of the U.S. Attorneys incriminated these officials. TPMmuckraker has a good rundown on their alleged involvement in the firings. For Mojo coverage of the senate hearing on Tuesday and further developments, click here, here and here.

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No Child Left Behind? Iraqi Edition

| Wed Mar. 7, 2007 6:56 PM EST

Yesterday's Jordan Times adds another whopper to the myriad of bad news coming out of Iraq. Apparently, few of the estimated 172,000 to 230,000 school-aged Iraq War refugees living Jordan are enrolled in school. Those children, many of whom are from middle class Iraqi families, lack the proper residency status to qualify for public school, and their families lack the finances to enroll their children in private institutions. As a result, over a hundred thousand Iraqi children have been out of school for as many as 4 years now--and that's just counting those in Jordan. Musa Shteiwi, a sociology professor at the University of Jordan notes:

"Violating children's rights to an education can have short- and long-term effects on their chances in life. They could turn to other things like begging, illegal employment and leading delinquent lives," Shteiwi told The Jordan Times.

The sociologist, who is director of the Jordan Centre for Social Research, added that the long term impact on Jordanian society may not be significant if the Iraqis are no longer here in a few years, but a short term impact is imminent and would add to social problems in the Kingdom.

What about the impact on Iraqi society? An estimated 40% of educated middle class Iraqis have fled since the invasion. Who will replace them in a future (free?) Iraq?

An Online Forum for Sexual Harrassment

| Wed Mar. 7, 2007 6:43 PM EST

UPenn law student Anthony Ciolli and insurance agent Jarret Cohen run a forum that promotes sexual harassment of law students. Women's pictures are posted without their consent, and they refuse to censor anonymous slander and hate speech. The defamation probably cost one woman a job. So if you have personal information about these two, post it right here. Personality quirks, sexual issues, insecurities large and small—get creative. Doesn't have to be true. Hey—It's freedom of speech! Because of the First Amendment, no one has any moral accountability for anything said.

Dear GOP, You are Not the Party of Lincoln

| Wed Mar. 7, 2007 5:33 PM EST

Excellent work from Eric Foner of the Nation (via Alternet) in which Foner smacks down the GOP's recent use of Lincoln quotes on the subject of treason. (Lincoln thought those who don't support the military should be "exiled or hanged," the Right claims, incorrectly.) I've always thought that any invocation of Lincoln by the Republicans was disingenuous history-twisting at its worst. After all, we're talking about the man who perhaps did more for African-Americans than any other American being used as a talking point by a party that viciously fought the civil rights movement and to this day uses minority vote-suppression to win elections in close races. "Party of Lincoln," my rear end. Lincoln technically belonged to the same party as these guys, but that's where the similarities end.

Anyway, Foner looks at Lincoln's congressional record pre-presidency and it turns out he was strongly anti-war. He led Congress in protest of James Polk's war with Mexico, which was sold on false pretenses and was largely "pre-emptive." There is no doubt that Lincoln would have fought harder than most against the war in Iraq.

Raise Your Hand if You Hate Maureen Dowd!

| Wed Mar. 7, 2007 5:28 PM EST

no_dowd.gifEvery once in a while, I find Maureen Dowd funny, but ever since her Britney Spears train wreck in slow motion of a book, I've been seriously turned off.

Now this. Today's Daily Howler compares the Don't-Call-Me-Dowdy one to Ann Coulter. That's right. Coulter outright calls Dems "faggots," but Maureen Dowd almost compulsively describes them with belittling feminizing images. (It should be said that she adds -ie to the names of most Republicans.) Her last column about Gore before the 2000 election was a conversation between him and his bald spot called "I feel pretty…." Dowd's insults are every bit as pointed, but come in "simpering" sheep's clothing. And so, the Daily Howler concludes, Dowd does Dems more damage than the despicable Coulter.