Sunday, February 17, 2008

My 1/4 Cent

Ryan has put forth a very even-handed analysis of the remaining presidential candidates. I agree with almost everything he says. From Huckabee to McCain to Obama, he's dead on. However, I think he has not done justice to the shit that the Clinton Campaign is pulling right now. Let me caveat this post by saying I am extremely angry right now, so if the grammar and/or logic is lacking, I apologize.

First, this bullshit with Florida's and Michigan's delegate is completely disingenuous. The states' delegates were barred from voting at the convention because they broke party rules. The party determined this, and none of the candidates complained about it at the time. But now that Clinton is behind, and it looks like she might lose the election, she is suddenly pushing that those delegates, who overwhelmingly voted for her because OBAMA DID NOT CAMPAIGN THERE, AND WASN'T EVEN ON THE BALLOT IN MICHIGAN, be counted. This is exactly the reason that people dislike her so much. She is a blatant opportunist, and will do whatever it takes to win, even if it is borderline cheating.

Second, this superdelegate nonsense is getting out of hand. Clinton stated recently that superdelegates should vote for whomever they want, regardless of whether that person won the popular vote. If Obama were to win the most pledged delegates and Clinton won the election with more superdelegates, we can never complain again about Gore losing in 2000. The people, not "party leaders," should elect our candidate. If more people vote for Obama, he should be our candidate. End of story.

Third, Clinton wants to debate every fricking week. I am going to paraphrase Obama here, who says "we've had 18 debates! 18!" She wants to do this because Obama has more money and debates are essentially free advertising. All of this maneuvering is exactly why Obama is gaining so much support. We are all tired of this political bullshit. That's not to say he won't be sucked into it if he becomes president, but at least he's not making an ass of himself now.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thoughts on the Candidates

My 2 cents is free...

Mitt Romney. Thank god this guy won't be president. If the presidency were automatically awarded to the smarmiest, phoniest candidate, he'd be president for life. I mean, they'd have to repeal the 22nd Amendment. Is there an issue he hasn't reversed himself on to pander to the right wing? The most telling moment of the campaign, for me, was when Mike Huckabee said that President Bush had a "go-it-alone" foreign policy, and Romney went nuts. Now, saying that Bush has a "go-it-alone" foreign policy is a simple, plainly obvious, noncontroversial descriptive statement akin to "the sky is blue," that people in both parties agree with. Romney, in a transparent attempt to appeal to the GOP base, pretended that it was treason and actually demanded that Huckabee apologize to the president. It was phony and cloying and sycophantic, all rolled into one, and that about sums up Mitt Romney. And don't get me started on candidates who promise to run government "like a business": it's either stupidity or disingenuousness, and the fact that, with Romney, it's clearly the latter doesn't help him.

Mike Huckabee. How could you not like him? Maybe because he's an evangelical nutjob who doesn't believe in evolution, and whose success is based on the support of other nutjobs? Hmmm ... No, I still like him. He's just likable! Of course, if he actually became president, we'd all be in huge trouble (until the rapture comes, anyway). But, what is it about Hope, Arkansas that produces politicians that can screw you over and leave you smiling afterwards?

John McCain. He's, by far, the Republicans' best candidate this year, but that's sort of like saying that the construction worker was, by far, the most heterosexual of the Village People. For those of you who are worried that McCain is going to win the general election, let me point out a few things about him:

1. He's old.
2. Really old.
3. The two biggest issues of the election are likely to be the economy and Iraq, and he's hugely vulnerable on both.
4. Republicans' feelings about him range between dislike and loathing.
5. To unite the party, he's going to have to pick some lunatic as his running mate, a choice that I suspect just may be abnormally solvent as an issue this year (see: points 1 and 2).

HRC. Man, if you just watched TV, you'd think that nobody likes this woman. Certainly the news media are almost unanimously against her. After she lost Iowa, the major networks hit her in the head with a shovel and had her buried under three feet of dirt before she won New Hampshire, climbing out of the grave, either Lazarus-like or zombie-like, depending on your point of view, and has walked among us ever since. Now that she's teetering on the edge again, they're poised to bury her for good. Except that she's still up by 20 in Ohio. Oops.

Barack Obama. I've got to admit, I'm on this bandwagon. What a phenomenon this guy as been. He captured lightning in a bottle at the 2004 Democratic convention, and has managed to keep the lid on. People love him. It's actually trendy to volunteer for his campaign (and, talk about a generational divide, nearly everyone I know is backing him). My sister canvassed for him, and I went with her to the campaign election night party in Hollywood. Normally, political activists appear -- how can I put this gently -- sort of nerdy and weird-looking, and they're old. This group looked like the cast of, I don't know, The OC, except more diverse and less out-of-date. But he seems to really bring a lot of traditionally excluded people, young people and others, into the process. It bothers me some that he's so inexperienced, and that his church is on friendly terms with noted bigot Louis Farrakhan. But, in his brief time in office, he's been right about just about everything, and the idea that he's an anti-semite doesn't ring true. This almost feels like a campaign of destiny, but there's also an Icarus-type feel about it: What will happen if and when the news media fall out of love with him and start shining bright light on him?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Summary of Recent Sports-related Issues- or a treatise on not getting what you want

Several months ago, at the end of baseball season, I remarked on the incredible strides the Washington Nationals had made over the course of their season, ending with a record certainly not "historically bad", if not reaching "good".

Well this weekend DC's other storied sports franchise, the Washington Redskins, hired an unknown coach to take over the head coaching duties from the immortal Joe Gibbs. Gibbs resigned a month ago, leaving the owner, Mr. Daniel Synder (henceforth referred to as "The Danny," "Snyderman," or "Napoleon") without a coach. Now, Napoleon tends to get all sorts of weird personnel ideas in his head, and usually throws money at whoever he wants until the player or coach succumbs to the power of his own greed. By such processes have arrived numerous over-the-hill players (particularly quaterbacks), a horrendously awful college coach whose main motivational technique was throwing his visor, and Deion Sanders, in a category all his own.

So all expected that The Danny, when searching for a new coach, would hire as big a name as was available, regardless of whether any of the players or existing coaches wanted to play or work for him. Fortunately for all of us, the big names wanted nothing to do with the Redskins. Bill Cowher, despite certainly being offered a pile of money as huge as Snyderman's ego, claimed that he was happy working in TV and wasn't ready to return to coaching. Pete "Southern California is my Xanadu" Carroll didn't want to leave the fawning legions of USC. And Jim Mora just had too much sense. So Napoleon finally had to check his ego at the door and hire as his head coach a guy he had hired to be an assistant two weeks before.

Now to bring this post full circle, despite the fact that this wasn't what he wanted, Snyder has almost perfectly replicated the circumstances that allowed the Nationals to exceed all expectations last year. The Nats decided that instead of going out and getting someone flashy, they would find a young, smart baseball man that the team could build an identity around. Coincidentally, that man, Manny Acta, also happened to be a great teacher with an ability to connect with his players. Jim Zorn, the new Skins coach, fits that same model.

The Nats did it intentionally, and the Skins as a last resort, but maybe The Danny has learned something from not getting what he wanted. Of course, nobody knows how Coach Zorn will eventually perform, but if the example of the Nationals is any indication, good times for the Skins may still be ahead.