Category Archives: media

How “undocumented immigration” has destroyed Obama’s America

Immigration Reform may or may not end up being the hot button issue for 2010, but as the end of year reviews and one-year assessments of the Obama Administration hit the press, one thing is certain: Barack Obama’s presidency owes a good deal to the undocumented immigration meme.

Looking back at the October 2007 democratic party debate as a turning point in Obama’s journey to the nomination, it is quite possible that had Hillary Clinton not stumbled on the question about Real ID and drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants, Obama would not have reversed the polls of that month which showed Clinton with a double digit lead.

During the waning days of the 2008 campaign, as Obama looked nearly invincible against the aging and incredibly lackluster John McCain, McCain’s veep candidate Sarah Palin started questioning   where Barack Obama was born. The blatant subtext was that barack Obama was an undocumented immigrant and had no legitimate claim on the presidency. The trope of being undocumented connoted illigitimacy and danger.  Obama was too different, too foreign, too black, too “muslim”, too threatening to ever be president.

Such “know-nothing” attempts to discredit the legitimacy of Obama presidency didn’t cease when he took office. Quite the contrary: It spread virulent attacks against Obama which have made fiction of the democratic process.

During Obama’s address to both chambers of congress, Joe Wilson shouted “you lie”  when the President declared that HCR would not cover undocumented immigrants.

The breech of decorum aside, Wilson’s outburst was an exclamation mark framing the idea that deliberative democracy in America is gone. It has been sabotaged by Obama’s right wing opposition which is now favored to have a resurgence in 2010.

So, here’s the bigger question, what is it about the “undocumented immigration” meme that permits its use as a cudgel on democracy?

Undocumented immigration hay have destroyed America, but not the way political conservatives would have us believe.


Debate Question for Palin

Of the many questions Gwen Ifill could ask Sarah Palin, the one I would like to hear has to do with reconciling her Couric interview response that here is an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution, with her opposition to a woman’s right to choose (Roe v Wade) 1973 and a couple’s right to contraceptives (Griswald v Connecticut, 1965, which recognized a penumbra right to privacy protecting Planned Parenthood in giving info about contraception to married couples).

This is what she said during the interview:

Couric: Do you think there is an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?

Palin: I do. Yeah. I do

It would be a novel constitutional move indeed, to defend supporting an inherent right to privacy that resulted from Griswald and Roe, without supporting these two cases, and actively opposing the myriad of public policies spawned since 1965 and 1973 respectively.

The obvious answer is she cannot defend her statement, which leads to plenty other questions.

Gwen Ifill vs Sarah Palin

I think the real person on the hotseat this evening is going to be Gwen Ifill, steady and able PBS broadcaster, who has been roughed up by the McCain campaign during the past several days. In fact they have gone after Ifill more than they have gone after Biden, her opponent.

If it is true, as I believe it is, that the rules and reffing (enforcement of the rules) of a contest can and often do determine the winner, then all eyes should be on Ifill.   As moderator, she is the procedure-person in chief.  In addition to the strain of a broken ankle, she will walk into the hall with Paliniacs saying she has secretly written a book favorable about obama. Well she didn’t the book wil be published this january but there is no secret. It was announced and Ifill talked about it in July and August. As we learned in the Palin-Couric interviews, the problem here is that Paliniacs don;t read or watch the news all that much.

Assuming Ifill has let all this run off her like water off a duck’s back, then the key will be in the follo-up questions, or whether Biden has the opportunity or takes it, to challenge her on the snappy bromides she is sure to offer. The tapes from Alaska 06 show that Palin could be quite formidible in this seting. She has camera experience as a sportscaster, and knows ow to “seduce” an audience. This is the Palin that Shoeneman and Schmidt have been recreating the last two days; the former beauty pageant winner who, as SNL’s Couric suggests, gets more “adorable” with every cornering question. 

Hopefully Ifill will not tolerate such nonsense. It’s not Palin’s politics that should piss her off; rather its the sophmoric cutsy/dumb stuff that hopefully will claw at her broken ankle and force her to blow Palin’s seductions off like McCain did to Obama last night when Obama went over to shake his hand.

A Leader You Can Count On?

John McCain is in charge of what exactly? Not the Republican National Committee. Not Republicans in the House of Representatives, Not Republicans in Arizona.  Not right wing commentators and journalists. Not even of his own campaign. Never has there been such fractured leadership in a Republican Party on the eve of an election.  McCain himself has taken credit for the bailout, although it failed, and he failed to bring along his own state delegation in the House vote yesterday. They voted against the bailout.

As my two year old says, “scared.”  That’s how republicans ought to feel this week, with 35 days to go, losing by about 5% in the tracking polls, that is, unless they have already thrown in the towel this election year and are now looking forwarding to rebuilding during the next 4-8 years. 

Ask David Frum and George Will who are saying publicly that the repub ticket is unfit for office. They seem to be saying they wish the election were over already, so they could begin again. Look at it this way. Given the trainwreck that is McCain-Palin,  Frum and Will seem flat out embarassed by the sort of leadership being offered by the two heads of their Party.  

In addition to leading a failure of a campaign, Mccain-Palin also highlight the death of an ideology, which presents is greater challenge to the likes of Frum, Will, Brooks, and others, than merely casting about post election for a better candidate and campaign organization.  The credit crisis is providing more evidence than a rational voter ever needs that the republican party’s anachronistic deregulatory neo-liberalism is flat out responsible for the mess we are in.


McCain may not be the leader you can count on,  but he is the man who is likely to seal the demise of the Reagan Revolution. Not a bad tribute to his mentor in chief?

Suspend Campaign? Postpone Debate? Dog Eats McCain’s Homework

John McCain has not suspended his campaign despite what his campaign says. It’s another ridiculous ploy that makes little sense.  As for his noncampaign, he will be interviewed by the 3 major networks this evening. As for the non-campaign, his campaign headquarters around the country report no cessation of activity. As for for speechifying, McCain made several partisan jabs while at the Clinton summit today.

So, it stretches the imagination to see how McCain has suspended his campaign. 

Postpone the debate? why? It boggles the mind to accept the McCain bromide of country first (which is a political slogan) over a political debate that would explain to the public what he would do as president to lead the country out of the current economic tumult.  Since McCain will probably spend the time tomorrow night giving interviews, or napping, I do not understand what patriotic act he will participate in that is more important than democratic discourse and political debate on highly complicated economic issues.

Aha, That’s the key.

McCain is chicken shit, or some such equivalent. He never even read the 3 page Paulson plan before suspending his campaign and calling Obama to postpone the debate, and on the bigger plane, he knows he cannot respond coherently to questions about a 26 year career of pro market deregulation and his overnight calls for regulation, bailouts and oversight.  He knows that even tho the theme tomorrow night is foreign policy that the meltdown will indeed be the agenda. And he cannot speak to it.

McCain is doing the equivalent of faking an illness so as to be excused from the exam that his staff fears will cement the demise of his presidential ambitions.   When my students’ “dog eats their homework,” they get an “F.” In a democracy the equivalent is the candidate loses my vote.

McCain should lose yours.

McCain was 4 Reagan B4 he was Against Him

The McCain campaign is flailing. It is because he is running as the pro-new deal ronald reagan of the 1940s AND the “government is evil” reagan of 1980 and 84.  

Makes no sense. And this is the problem for McCain.  The rationale for his campaign no longer makes sense. A deregulator decrying the absence of regulation and beseeching andrew cuomo to come save the SEC. huh?  

What possible rationale encompasses a career of procapitalist deregulation including of the banking investment houses and regulation? the only one is that of the amoral, survivalist mea culpa McCain. Remember the McCain mea culpa after he was busted partying with the Keating Five.  And following that “forgive me lord for i have sinned” jimmy swaggart moment,  McCain he went on to surround himself with the same deregulatory lobbyists he had just begged forgiveness for being in bed with.

More the same McCain.

Quite recently McSame said he wanted to open up and deregulate/privatize social security and the health care industry and model them on the successes of the post 1999 deregulated banking industry.

Yesterday on 60 minutes he said degregulation in 1999 was good for the economy

Only three weeks ago, mitt wendell romney spoke before the RNC promising that McCain would take a weed wacker to government regulation.  Now the candidate has put himself under his own wacker.  

John McCain is now wacking himself.  Ugly image indeed.

Whiners and the Banking Crisis: Bad Day for McCain

Another bad day for McCain.

Could it be the walls are closing in just a little bit more on John McCain?  The polls hint at it. The national polls show Obama once again barely taking a lead while the state polls lag a little.

First, the ready-to-be-commander-in-chief-on-day-one guy doesn’t know who the prime minister of spain is. Bad enough, but McCain hears the name Zapatero and thinks Emiliano Zapata, or else he imagines it’s some left wing latin american dictator and we are still in the 80s or something.  Anyway, he says he is not sure this Zapatero fella would be welcome in a McCain White House.

Next, is a video interview floating around the web with McCain being asked questions about the economy and looking scared and dumbfounded before pleading near absolute ignorance on the issues.  All the more reason to fear a McCain presidency during economic crises, and all the more reason to talk more about Phil Gramm, the guy lurking behind the candidate and likely his most trusted economic advisor and future secretary of treasury.

The key here is that Gramm is the one person, if ever there could be just one, who is responsible for this week’s banking crisis.  It was Gramm’s bill in 1999 that repealed the depression era banking regulation law that would have prevented this collapse.  Gramm wanted and got deregulation, deregulation and more deregulation and along with that, more mergers among the nation’s top investment houses.

anyone who didn’t like this was a whiner. 

Interesting point here is that the “whiner” narrative is tied to 1990s tort reform which prevented mainstream americans from filing grievances against banks and investment houses that lost their life savings.  McCain/Gramm thinking: regulation is bad and  lawyers who defend people screwed by the deregulated market are bad.

BTW, lawyers are good when they defend right wing neoliberal/ deregulator coups against democratic governance (such as elections in 2000 and sunshine laws in Alaska right now).

Bottom Line: McCain wants the rich and wealthy to have complete access to courts to defend their dishonest holds on power while denying ordinary americans a chance to recoup losses caused by the actions of McCain crony Gramm.  

Gramm’s nation of whiners today were the anti tort reformers of the 90’s, the same folks who will be denied their day in court when they endeavor to recover losses caused by the evil doing of the McCain economic team.

All this goes to make John McCain Wednesday a bad day for John McCain.