Commentary Magazine


Topic: Donna Brazile

Flotsam and Jetsam

“Refudiate” is the word of the year? You betcha.

Word has it they are rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic advisers at the White House. “Call it a shakeup or call it a natural turnover halfway through the term, but the White House is preparing for significant change throughout its top ranks. Much of the movement, though, will involve new posts for longtime aides to President Barack Obama.”

Words, words. You didn’t really take the State Department seriously, did you? “Mideast peace talks may not reach fruition before their initial September 2011 deadline, a U.S. State Department official said on Monday, citing recent negotiations deadlock over Israel’s refusal to extend its moratorium on settlement building as one reason for the delay. Speaking prior to September’s relaunch of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley said that the administration thought it could negotiate an agreement ‘within a one-year time frame.'”

“Fortunate” is not the word most of us have in mind. Donna Brazile waxes lyrical: “This week, visitors entering Washington’s Union Station are greeted by a work of art — a two-story, red open-toed lady’s dress shoe. It reminds me of Cinderella’s lost glass slipper. I thought to myself, if someone is looking for the woman big enough to fill this, they need look no further than Nancy Pelosi. The nation is fortunate, not to mention the Democratic Party and the president, that Ms. Pelosi will be re-elected Democratic leader for the next Congress, because we are surely entering one of the nation’s most difficult eras.”

Rep. Paul Ryan doesn’t mince words: “Congress should act now to prevent across-the-board tax increases from hitting nearly all Americans on Jan. 1. Sustained job creation and economic growth are urgently needed — higher tax rates are not. The failure to take decisive action on this issue further heightens the uncertainty holding our economy back.” Is there any Republican better able to explain conservative economic positions better than he? I haven’t found him/her yet.

Words of advice for Sen. Joe Lieberman. “‘He’d probably be best off running as a Republican as far as getting re-elected,’ said [John] Droney [a Lieberman ally and former chairman of the Connecticut Democratic Party], who stays in regular contact with Lieberman and encouraged him to run as an Independent in 2006. ‘I’d recommend him doing it now.”

You have to love the word choice. A “giveaway” is when people get to keep their own money. “Reps. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.) and Lynn Woolsey (Calif.), co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said extending the tax breaks for those earning more than $250,000 a year represents ‘a giveaway’ to wealthy Americans that would saddle the country in unnecessary debt.”

“Refudiate” is the word of the year? You betcha.

Word has it they are rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic advisers at the White House. “Call it a shakeup or call it a natural turnover halfway through the term, but the White House is preparing for significant change throughout its top ranks. Much of the movement, though, will involve new posts for longtime aides to President Barack Obama.”

Words, words. You didn’t really take the State Department seriously, did you? “Mideast peace talks may not reach fruition before their initial September 2011 deadline, a U.S. State Department official said on Monday, citing recent negotiations deadlock over Israel’s refusal to extend its moratorium on settlement building as one reason for the delay. Speaking prior to September’s relaunch of direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, State Department spokesman P. J. Crowley said that the administration thought it could negotiate an agreement ‘within a one-year time frame.'”

“Fortunate” is not the word most of us have in mind. Donna Brazile waxes lyrical: “This week, visitors entering Washington’s Union Station are greeted by a work of art — a two-story, red open-toed lady’s dress shoe. It reminds me of Cinderella’s lost glass slipper. I thought to myself, if someone is looking for the woman big enough to fill this, they need look no further than Nancy Pelosi. The nation is fortunate, not to mention the Democratic Party and the president, that Ms. Pelosi will be re-elected Democratic leader for the next Congress, because we are surely entering one of the nation’s most difficult eras.”

Rep. Paul Ryan doesn’t mince words: “Congress should act now to prevent across-the-board tax increases from hitting nearly all Americans on Jan. 1. Sustained job creation and economic growth are urgently needed — higher tax rates are not. The failure to take decisive action on this issue further heightens the uncertainty holding our economy back.” Is there any Republican better able to explain conservative economic positions better than he? I haven’t found him/her yet.

Words of advice for Sen. Joe Lieberman. “‘He’d probably be best off running as a Republican as far as getting re-elected,’ said [John] Droney [a Lieberman ally and former chairman of the Connecticut Democratic Party], who stays in regular contact with Lieberman and encouraged him to run as an Independent in 2006. ‘I’d recommend him doing it now.”

You have to love the word choice. A “giveaway” is when people get to keep their own money. “Reps. Raúl Grijalva (Ariz.) and Lynn Woolsey (Calif.), co-chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said extending the tax breaks for those earning more than $250,000 a year represents ‘a giveaway’ to wealthy Americans that would saddle the country in unnecessary debt.”

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Dems in Fantasyland

In a Washington Post symposium on the Tea Party, Bob Shrum (who never figured out how to win a presidential race), Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (who lost a gubernatorial race in Maryland), and Donna Brazile (who vouched for Obamanomics) — what, Michael Dukasis wasn’t available to share his political genius? — are in agreement: the Tea Party is great news for Obama. Seriously. Well, are they?

When Shrum writes this sort of hooey, you wonder if he believes it or if he is desperately trying to pep up the disillusioned liberal base:

The Tea Party will prove to be the best thing that’s happened to Barack Obama and the Democrats since, well, Sarah Palin, the media-hyped 2008 vice presidential nominee who turned out to be a bursting bubble, not a lasting bounce, for the McCain campaign.

Raising the bogeywoman of the left, I suppose, suggests he’s in the base-boosting business.

Townsend is practically unintelligible:

So the Tea Party may help the president not only in this election but, most interestingly, with policy. By constantly raising the issue of the long-term deficit, it is forcing a discussion on how we pay for programs such as Social Security and Medicare, which take up a large part of the federal budget. During the Bush years, these questions went unanswered. A drug benefit was given without paying for it. In fact, taxes were cut, creating a $1.3 trillion hole.

Of course, Bush was an amateur on spending compared to Obama; but more to the point, how does focusing on spending help Obama?

Weighing in on the side of sanity, Ed Rogers explains:

The Democrats and some of their media elite allies seem to believe that the Tea Party’s rise has diminished Republican prospects in the midterm elections this fall. In fact, the Tea Party is a big problem for President Obama and his party this year and probably through 2012.

Think of the Tea Partyers as the tip of an iceberg. The visible part. … The much larger, submerged part is the roughly two-thirds of the electorate who think America is headed in the wrong direction, disapprove of Congress and believe the president is handling the economy poorly. The Democrats are about to hit the whole iceberg.

I wonder what Shrum, Brazile, and Townsend will have to say on election day. When the results come in, how will they explain that the Tea Party was really good news for Obama? They’ll no doubt move on to another explanation. Americans are crazy. Or Obama wasn’t liberal enough. It’s always something — except a repudiation of liberalism.

In a Washington Post symposium on the Tea Party, Bob Shrum (who never figured out how to win a presidential race), Kathleen Kennedy Townsend (who lost a gubernatorial race in Maryland), and Donna Brazile (who vouched for Obamanomics) — what, Michael Dukasis wasn’t available to share his political genius? — are in agreement: the Tea Party is great news for Obama. Seriously. Well, are they?

When Shrum writes this sort of hooey, you wonder if he believes it or if he is desperately trying to pep up the disillusioned liberal base:

The Tea Party will prove to be the best thing that’s happened to Barack Obama and the Democrats since, well, Sarah Palin, the media-hyped 2008 vice presidential nominee who turned out to be a bursting bubble, not a lasting bounce, for the McCain campaign.

Raising the bogeywoman of the left, I suppose, suggests he’s in the base-boosting business.

Townsend is practically unintelligible:

So the Tea Party may help the president not only in this election but, most interestingly, with policy. By constantly raising the issue of the long-term deficit, it is forcing a discussion on how we pay for programs such as Social Security and Medicare, which take up a large part of the federal budget. During the Bush years, these questions went unanswered. A drug benefit was given without paying for it. In fact, taxes were cut, creating a $1.3 trillion hole.

Of course, Bush was an amateur on spending compared to Obama; but more to the point, how does focusing on spending help Obama?

Weighing in on the side of sanity, Ed Rogers explains:

The Democrats and some of their media elite allies seem to believe that the Tea Party’s rise has diminished Republican prospects in the midterm elections this fall. In fact, the Tea Party is a big problem for President Obama and his party this year and probably through 2012.

Think of the Tea Partyers as the tip of an iceberg. The visible part. … The much larger, submerged part is the roughly two-thirds of the electorate who think America is headed in the wrong direction, disapprove of Congress and believe the president is handling the economy poorly. The Democrats are about to hit the whole iceberg.

I wonder what Shrum, Brazile, and Townsend will have to say on election day. When the results come in, how will they explain that the Tea Party was really good news for Obama? They’ll no doubt move on to another explanation. Americans are crazy. Or Obama wasn’t liberal enough. It’s always something — except a repudiation of liberalism.

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Get Ready for the Deluge, Democrats

The Washington Post hosts a forum on what Democrats can do about the bad economic news. Matthew Dowd gets points for realism:

With the 60-day sprint to Election Day fast approaching, perceptions of the economy are basically locked in. It is bad. And since Democrats hold all levers of power in Washington, they own this dismal situation. Democrats should say an early goodbye to some of their colleagues — and begin praying that the economy recovers in 2011, or they may be seeing a one-term president.

Donna Brazile decides it’s her job to prevent panic in the Democratic ranks:

Where the economy is in August is no guarantee of where the economy will be in November. So this spate of bad economic news isn’t as damning for Democrats as many naysayers would like to predict. Democrats have plenty of time to get the ball turned around and rolling in the right direction before voters head to the polls. It is less important where the economy is than where it’s heading, so if Democrats can sow seeds of economic optimism over the next two months, they may reap rewards come November.

No, I don’t think even she believes that. (Some of what she writes is plain silly: “Democrats should remind voters that the economic benefits of health-care reform will kick in soon, eliminating or reducing the cause of untold numbers of bankruptcies and foreclosures.” I’m thinking that’s not going to be too successful, especially since Democratic candidates are afraid to bring up ObamaCare.)

The diverse group of participants nevertheless show remarkable agreement in their assessments. The economy is in bad shape (no summer of recovery, dear Democrats), the Democrats are going to get blamed for it, and there are big losses ahead for the party controlling all the levers of power. Only Robert Shrum plays the Paul Krugman card (the stimulus was too small!) and urges Democrats to engage in good old fashioned class warfare. He, however, also seems rather half-hearted. (You can tell because he waxes lyrical about Ronald Reagan.)

We are in the home stretch leading up to the election. Individual races may be determined, as they always are, by the performance of specific candidates. But the trajectory of the election is pretty much in place. And both sides know it.

The Washington Post hosts a forum on what Democrats can do about the bad economic news. Matthew Dowd gets points for realism:

With the 60-day sprint to Election Day fast approaching, perceptions of the economy are basically locked in. It is bad. And since Democrats hold all levers of power in Washington, they own this dismal situation. Democrats should say an early goodbye to some of their colleagues — and begin praying that the economy recovers in 2011, or they may be seeing a one-term president.

Donna Brazile decides it’s her job to prevent panic in the Democratic ranks:

Where the economy is in August is no guarantee of where the economy will be in November. So this spate of bad economic news isn’t as damning for Democrats as many naysayers would like to predict. Democrats have plenty of time to get the ball turned around and rolling in the right direction before voters head to the polls. It is less important where the economy is than where it’s heading, so if Democrats can sow seeds of economic optimism over the next two months, they may reap rewards come November.

No, I don’t think even she believes that. (Some of what she writes is plain silly: “Democrats should remind voters that the economic benefits of health-care reform will kick in soon, eliminating or reducing the cause of untold numbers of bankruptcies and foreclosures.” I’m thinking that’s not going to be too successful, especially since Democratic candidates are afraid to bring up ObamaCare.)

The diverse group of participants nevertheless show remarkable agreement in their assessments. The economy is in bad shape (no summer of recovery, dear Democrats), the Democrats are going to get blamed for it, and there are big losses ahead for the party controlling all the levers of power. Only Robert Shrum plays the Paul Krugman card (the stimulus was too small!) and urges Democrats to engage in good old fashioned class warfare. He, however, also seems rather half-hearted. (You can tell because he waxes lyrical about Ronald Reagan.)

We are in the home stretch leading up to the election. Individual races may be determined, as they always are, by the performance of specific candidates. But the trajectory of the election is pretty much in place. And both sides know it.

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Bring Back Jake!

Tom Shales suffered through the debut of Christiane Amanpour as host for This Week:

It’s not that Amanpour seemed personally uncomfortable or constrained in her weekend debut — opening night was Sunday morning — but rather that she proved that she’s miscast for the role, her highly touted global orientation coming across as inappropriate and contrived on a broadcast that for three decades has dealt primarily with domestic politics, policies and culture.

So what was wrong with interim host Jake Tapper — too unbiased? Too prepared? Too knowledgeable about U.S. politics? You got me. While screaming poverty and laying off more employees, ABC News shelled out a reported $2M on a woman whom conservatives revile for her anti-U.S. and anti-Israel bias and record of playing fast and loose with the facts.

But even liberals have to shudder over this:

Amanpour didn’t stick to discussing news of the week with the show’s estimable, exceptional panelists — among them George F. Will and Donna Brazile — but instead brought in a foreign journalist seen earlier in the program, Ahmed Rashid (momentarily stationed in Madrid), for his views via satellite. It was awkward in form and proved negligible in content. In fact, it became ludicrous when, near the end of the segment, the U.S. economy was discussed and Amanpour called upon Rashid, the Taliban expert, again even though he seemed of dubious relevance and authority to the topic at hand.

Sometimes (OK, a lot of the time) network execs blow it. (Think the Jay Leno–Conan O’Brien debacle.) The trick is to cut your losses. Tapper, I’m certain, is a good sport and would be happy to take over the gig when and if ABC comes to its senses.

Tom Shales suffered through the debut of Christiane Amanpour as host for This Week:

It’s not that Amanpour seemed personally uncomfortable or constrained in her weekend debut — opening night was Sunday morning — but rather that she proved that she’s miscast for the role, her highly touted global orientation coming across as inappropriate and contrived on a broadcast that for three decades has dealt primarily with domestic politics, policies and culture.

So what was wrong with interim host Jake Tapper — too unbiased? Too prepared? Too knowledgeable about U.S. politics? You got me. While screaming poverty and laying off more employees, ABC News shelled out a reported $2M on a woman whom conservatives revile for her anti-U.S. and anti-Israel bias and record of playing fast and loose with the facts.

But even liberals have to shudder over this:

Amanpour didn’t stick to discussing news of the week with the show’s estimable, exceptional panelists — among them George F. Will and Donna Brazile — but instead brought in a foreign journalist seen earlier in the program, Ahmed Rashid (momentarily stationed in Madrid), for his views via satellite. It was awkward in form and proved negligible in content. In fact, it became ludicrous when, near the end of the segment, the U.S. economy was discussed and Amanpour called upon Rashid, the Taliban expert, again even though he seemed of dubious relevance and authority to the topic at hand.

Sometimes (OK, a lot of the time) network execs blow it. (Think the Jay Leno–Conan O’Brien debacle.) The trick is to cut your losses. Tapper, I’m certain, is a good sport and would be happy to take over the gig when and if ABC comes to its senses.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

Sigh: “The heads of the Democratic and Republican parties on Sunday criticized controversial comments made by two Senate hopefuls in their own parties, but each stood behind their candidacies [Rand Paul and Richard Blumenthal].” Well, party chairmen are paid to defend the indefensible, I suppose. And really, does any ordinary voter care what Michael Steele and Tim Kaine say?

Aaargh! “‘I was offered a job, and I answered that,’ [Joe] Sestak said. ‘Anything that goes beyond that is for others to talk about.'” He was bribed by the White House to get out of the Senate primary race and isn’t going to talk about it? I think an ethics probe and a special prosecutor are in order. It is a crime, after all, to bribe a candidate.

What??! Marc Ambinder, who, as Mickey Kaus once put it, spins more furiously for Obama than a dreidel, has this to say about the alleged White House offer to Sestak: “In essence, if this White House ascribes to a higher ethical standard, then it might want to agree to some investigation even if it believes there is no legal merit.” Because after all, the administration’s own conclusion about its wrongdoing is basically conclusive, right?

Whoopee! (for Republicans): “Republican Charles Djou won a special congressional election in Hawaii Saturday night, giving the GOP a boost as it attempts to retake the U.S. House in the November elections. … Mr. Djou will become the first Republican to represent Hawaii in 20 years. Hawaii is a traditionally Democratic stronghold that is President Barack Obama’s native state.” Democrats say this doesn’t really matter because the votes were divided by two feuding Democratic candidates. Besides, only special elections that Democrats win are bellwethers.

Yikes! John Kerry is back in Syria sucking up to Bashar al-Assad. And this is no comfort: “Senator Kerry has emerged as one of the primary American interlocutors with the Syrian government.” Yes, that’s part of the problem.

Oooh: “Iran’s parliament speaker earlier Sunday repeated threats that Iran would abandon a nuclear fuel swap plan brokered by Brazil and Turkey if the United States imposes new sanctions on the Islamic state.” So don’t be passing any useless sanctions or the mullahs will reject the meaningless Brazil-Turkey deal. The only thing more absurd (and more dangerous) is Obama’s Iran policy. (Come to think of it, it’s not clear he has one.)

Ouch: “‘The oil is gushing and we’re being lied to by how much oil is gushing … and the administration has now named a commission,’ Cokie Roberts said derisively. ‘Now this is what you do when you really don’t have anything else to do: you name a commission,’ she said. ‘That’s not going to stop the oil.'” Donna Brazile had harsh criticism as well, and when Obama loses Donna Brazile, you know he’s hitting rock bottom.

Awww (subscription required): “The muted conservative response is in marked contrast to the unease among some liberal activists toward [the nomination of Elena] Kagan. Obama, they say, made a ‘safe choice’ that was more appropriate for a Senate with a 52-seat Democratic majority rather than the 59-seat advantage (counting independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont) that the party holds. These disappointed liberals say that Obama, once again, has turned his back on them.”

Thunk! Maureen Dowd writes a column on Richard Blumenthal that’s daft even for her: “‘I think that lies are like wishes,’ said Bella DePaulo, a psychology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara. … But chronic puffer-uppers can have impressive public service careers.” I don’t have a degree in psychology, but I think lies are like lies.

Sigh: “The heads of the Democratic and Republican parties on Sunday criticized controversial comments made by two Senate hopefuls in their own parties, but each stood behind their candidacies [Rand Paul and Richard Blumenthal].” Well, party chairmen are paid to defend the indefensible, I suppose. And really, does any ordinary voter care what Michael Steele and Tim Kaine say?

Aaargh! “‘I was offered a job, and I answered that,’ [Joe] Sestak said. ‘Anything that goes beyond that is for others to talk about.'” He was bribed by the White House to get out of the Senate primary race and isn’t going to talk about it? I think an ethics probe and a special prosecutor are in order. It is a crime, after all, to bribe a candidate.

What??! Marc Ambinder, who, as Mickey Kaus once put it, spins more furiously for Obama than a dreidel, has this to say about the alleged White House offer to Sestak: “In essence, if this White House ascribes to a higher ethical standard, then it might want to agree to some investigation even if it believes there is no legal merit.” Because after all, the administration’s own conclusion about its wrongdoing is basically conclusive, right?

Whoopee! (for Republicans): “Republican Charles Djou won a special congressional election in Hawaii Saturday night, giving the GOP a boost as it attempts to retake the U.S. House in the November elections. … Mr. Djou will become the first Republican to represent Hawaii in 20 years. Hawaii is a traditionally Democratic stronghold that is President Barack Obama’s native state.” Democrats say this doesn’t really matter because the votes were divided by two feuding Democratic candidates. Besides, only special elections that Democrats win are bellwethers.

Yikes! John Kerry is back in Syria sucking up to Bashar al-Assad. And this is no comfort: “Senator Kerry has emerged as one of the primary American interlocutors with the Syrian government.” Yes, that’s part of the problem.

Oooh: “Iran’s parliament speaker earlier Sunday repeated threats that Iran would abandon a nuclear fuel swap plan brokered by Brazil and Turkey if the United States imposes new sanctions on the Islamic state.” So don’t be passing any useless sanctions or the mullahs will reject the meaningless Brazil-Turkey deal. The only thing more absurd (and more dangerous) is Obama’s Iran policy. (Come to think of it, it’s not clear he has one.)

Ouch: “‘The oil is gushing and we’re being lied to by how much oil is gushing … and the administration has now named a commission,’ Cokie Roberts said derisively. ‘Now this is what you do when you really don’t have anything else to do: you name a commission,’ she said. ‘That’s not going to stop the oil.'” Donna Brazile had harsh criticism as well, and when Obama loses Donna Brazile, you know he’s hitting rock bottom.

Awww (subscription required): “The muted conservative response is in marked contrast to the unease among some liberal activists toward [the nomination of Elena] Kagan. Obama, they say, made a ‘safe choice’ that was more appropriate for a Senate with a 52-seat Democratic majority rather than the 59-seat advantage (counting independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont) that the party holds. These disappointed liberals say that Obama, once again, has turned his back on them.”

Thunk! Maureen Dowd writes a column on Richard Blumenthal that’s daft even for her: “‘I think that lies are like wishes,’ said Bella DePaulo, a psychology professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara. … But chronic puffer-uppers can have impressive public service careers.” I don’t have a degree in psychology, but I think lies are like lies.

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The Gray Lady Is Stunned: Black Republicans!

The New York Times is caught by surprise. “Unanticipated,” (by whom? liberal reporters?) the Gray Lady calls the discovery that “at least 32 African-Americans are running for Congress this year as Republicans, the biggest surge since Reconstruction, according to party officials.” The Times hastens to assure us that this is Obama’s doing — inspiring and trailblazing for Republicans — but hastens to cast gloom and doom on their prospects:

But Democrats and other political experts express skepticism about black Republicans’ chances in November. “In 1994 and 2000, there were 24 black G.O.P. nominees,” said Donna Brazile, a Democratic political strategist who ran Al Gore’s presidential campaign and who is black. “And you didn’t see many of them win their elections.”

Tavis Smiley, a prominent black talk show host who has repeatedly criticized Republicans for not doing more to court black voters, said, “It’s worth remembering that the last time it was declared the ‘Year of the Black Republican,’ it fizzled out.”

Well,  far down in the report, the Times lets on that these candidates actually like the Tea Parties and are getting support from supposedly racist, know-nothings (oh, oops, now the media meme tells us they are upscale, over-educated and mainstream Republicans):

The black candidates interviewed overwhelmingly called the racist narrative a news media fiction. “I have been to these rallies, and there are hot dogs and banjos,” said Mr. West, the candidate in Florida, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army. “There is no violence or racism there.”

And what’s more, African Americans, the Times discovers, are attracted to conservative social positions. (“There is also some evidence that black voters rally around specific conservative causes. A case in point was a 2008 ballot initiative in California outlawing same-sex marriage that passed in large part because of support from black voters in Southern California.”)

If a batch of these candidates wins — with support from the Tea Parties, no less — what will the liberal chattering class do then? (Cognitive dissonance alert!) You can anticipate the spin. These are not “authentic” African-American leaders, they will say. Harry Reid may point out that they don’t sound Black. And the Congressional Black Caucus will be properly recast as the Liberal Congressional Black Caucus (unless the newcomers want to join, which will bring howls of protest from the liberals, who wouldn’t want their leftism to be diluted). But the “Republicans don’t like Blacks” meme (propounded by none other than the hapless Michael Steele) will take a bruising. After all, they can’t all be “inauthentic,” can they?

The New York Times is caught by surprise. “Unanticipated,” (by whom? liberal reporters?) the Gray Lady calls the discovery that “at least 32 African-Americans are running for Congress this year as Republicans, the biggest surge since Reconstruction, according to party officials.” The Times hastens to assure us that this is Obama’s doing — inspiring and trailblazing for Republicans — but hastens to cast gloom and doom on their prospects:

But Democrats and other political experts express skepticism about black Republicans’ chances in November. “In 1994 and 2000, there were 24 black G.O.P. nominees,” said Donna Brazile, a Democratic political strategist who ran Al Gore’s presidential campaign and who is black. “And you didn’t see many of them win their elections.”

Tavis Smiley, a prominent black talk show host who has repeatedly criticized Republicans for not doing more to court black voters, said, “It’s worth remembering that the last time it was declared the ‘Year of the Black Republican,’ it fizzled out.”

Well,  far down in the report, the Times lets on that these candidates actually like the Tea Parties and are getting support from supposedly racist, know-nothings (oh, oops, now the media meme tells us they are upscale, over-educated and mainstream Republicans):

The black candidates interviewed overwhelmingly called the racist narrative a news media fiction. “I have been to these rallies, and there are hot dogs and banjos,” said Mr. West, the candidate in Florida, a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army. “There is no violence or racism there.”

And what’s more, African Americans, the Times discovers, are attracted to conservative social positions. (“There is also some evidence that black voters rally around specific conservative causes. A case in point was a 2008 ballot initiative in California outlawing same-sex marriage that passed in large part because of support from black voters in Southern California.”)

If a batch of these candidates wins — with support from the Tea Parties, no less — what will the liberal chattering class do then? (Cognitive dissonance alert!) You can anticipate the spin. These are not “authentic” African-American leaders, they will say. Harry Reid may point out that they don’t sound Black. And the Congressional Black Caucus will be properly recast as the Liberal Congressional Black Caucus (unless the newcomers want to join, which will bring howls of protest from the liberals, who wouldn’t want their leftism to be diluted). But the “Republicans don’t like Blacks” meme (propounded by none other than the hapless Michael Steele) will take a bruising. After all, they can’t all be “inauthentic,” can they?

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Whatever Happened to Donna Brazile?

The wackiest political development this past weekend was the arbitrary division of the Michigan and Florida Democratic Convention delegates. Final result: The delegates will be seated at the convention in August, but each vote will count only half. For one member of the Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee, Donna Brazile, this decision should have provoked a lot of ire.

As Al Gore’s presidential campaign manager, Brazile published an op-ed in the Washington Post on December 25, 2000. By then, Gore had conceded the election, but Brazile was still worried enough about alleged voting suppression in Florida to write the following, an attempt to de-legitimize the election results:

I hope the civil rights community will start the healing process by holding town meetings and vigils on Jan. 15, the birthday of Martin Luther King and a federal holiday.

As for me, this was supposed to be my last campaign—my exit from grass-roots politics and moving on to other things to enjoy—such as teaching, cooking and gardening. But how can anyone move on with so many angry voices and so much bitterness? With all the progress made over the past eight years under the leadership of President Clinton and Vice President Gore, we must still fight on and work with Congress and the new administration on fixing what ails some of us at the ballot box.

The question must now be posed to Brazile: how does eliminating half the voting power of the Michigan and Florida voters rectify of ballot-box ailments? Moreover, why should an “uncommitted” vote be automatically awarded to Barack Obama, as it now is resolved to be for 45% of the Democratic voters in Michigan? Brazile’s outlook seems to have changed, without explanation or qualification. According to the Los Angeles Times,

Brazile described herself as wanting to give the two states a voice at the convention, but “I also want to put on the record, because this goes to what my mama taught me . . . that when you decide to change the rules, especially [in the] middle of the game, end of the game, that is referred to as cheating.”

Cheers, boos and applause followed.

Brazile urged the panel to craft a compromise that would “pay tribute” to voters who wrote in candidates or did not go to the polls.

So, since the state parties “cheated,” as Brazile calls it, the voters of each state lose their voting power. Sounds like voter suppression to me! What about the will of the people?

In her 2000 Op-Ed, Brazile ends by suggesting that she will take a much-needed break from politics and take time to turn in upon herself:

But as most Americans prepare for a new political season in Washington, I look forward to cooking and stirring my creole gumbo. After I open my gifts, I will go down to my basement and play favorite songs from my youth—songs that will remind me that the struggle for civil rights in America will never die unless we let it.

What say you now, Donna? Perhaps the time has come for yet another self-indulging trip to the basement.

The wackiest political development this past weekend was the arbitrary division of the Michigan and Florida Democratic Convention delegates. Final result: The delegates will be seated at the convention in August, but each vote will count only half. For one member of the Democratic Rules and Bylaws Committee, Donna Brazile, this decision should have provoked a lot of ire.

As Al Gore’s presidential campaign manager, Brazile published an op-ed in the Washington Post on December 25, 2000. By then, Gore had conceded the election, but Brazile was still worried enough about alleged voting suppression in Florida to write the following, an attempt to de-legitimize the election results:

I hope the civil rights community will start the healing process by holding town meetings and vigils on Jan. 15, the birthday of Martin Luther King and a federal holiday.

As for me, this was supposed to be my last campaign—my exit from grass-roots politics and moving on to other things to enjoy—such as teaching, cooking and gardening. But how can anyone move on with so many angry voices and so much bitterness? With all the progress made over the past eight years under the leadership of President Clinton and Vice President Gore, we must still fight on and work with Congress and the new administration on fixing what ails some of us at the ballot box.

The question must now be posed to Brazile: how does eliminating half the voting power of the Michigan and Florida voters rectify of ballot-box ailments? Moreover, why should an “uncommitted” vote be automatically awarded to Barack Obama, as it now is resolved to be for 45% of the Democratic voters in Michigan? Brazile’s outlook seems to have changed, without explanation or qualification. According to the Los Angeles Times,

Brazile described herself as wanting to give the two states a voice at the convention, but “I also want to put on the record, because this goes to what my mama taught me . . . that when you decide to change the rules, especially [in the] middle of the game, end of the game, that is referred to as cheating.”

Cheers, boos and applause followed.

Brazile urged the panel to craft a compromise that would “pay tribute” to voters who wrote in candidates or did not go to the polls.

So, since the state parties “cheated,” as Brazile calls it, the voters of each state lose their voting power. Sounds like voter suppression to me! What about the will of the people?

In her 2000 Op-Ed, Brazile ends by suggesting that she will take a much-needed break from politics and take time to turn in upon herself:

But as most Americans prepare for a new political season in Washington, I look forward to cooking and stirring my creole gumbo. After I open my gifts, I will go down to my basement and play favorite songs from my youth—songs that will remind me that the struggle for civil rights in America will never die unless we let it.

What say you now, Donna? Perhaps the time has come for yet another self-indulging trip to the basement.

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Preview

If you want to know what Hillary’s strategist, Harold Ickes, might whisper in the ears of superdelegates if she decides to stay in and fight, here is a good taste. Nothing quite beats Paul Begala lecturing Donna Brazile that Democrats can’t win with a coalition of “eggheads and African Americans.” After that exchange, you can probably add one more superdelegate (Brazile) to the Obama column. Gotta love that Clinton light touch.

But before Republicans get excited about the possibilty of vicious infighting that will torment Democrats, those Republicans should keep in mind two things. First, eventually there will be a nominee (whether May or June or August) and a final night of the convention where everyone will raise hands together and declare undying loyalty. Most of those Clinton supporters, especially ones committed enough to vote in a primary, will vote Democratic in November. And there are a lot more registered Democrats than there used to be.

Second, Obama is a fast learner. His speech last night included a heavy dose of heartfelt appreciation for America, reverence for the land of opportunity and lots of empathy for working class voters. Like a vacuum cleaner, he is sucking up the Clintonian message to blue collar voters and absorbing the rhetoric which has successfully lured a coalition of working class whites, seniors and women. Don’t expect any more Snobgate slip-ups.

In short, the fun for conservatives is at an end.

If you want to know what Hillary’s strategist, Harold Ickes, might whisper in the ears of superdelegates if she decides to stay in and fight, here is a good taste. Nothing quite beats Paul Begala lecturing Donna Brazile that Democrats can’t win with a coalition of “eggheads and African Americans.” After that exchange, you can probably add one more superdelegate (Brazile) to the Obama column. Gotta love that Clinton light touch.

But before Republicans get excited about the possibilty of vicious infighting that will torment Democrats, those Republicans should keep in mind two things. First, eventually there will be a nominee (whether May or June or August) and a final night of the convention where everyone will raise hands together and declare undying loyalty. Most of those Clinton supporters, especially ones committed enough to vote in a primary, will vote Democratic in November. And there are a lot more registered Democrats than there used to be.

Second, Obama is a fast learner. His speech last night included a heavy dose of heartfelt appreciation for America, reverence for the land of opportunity and lots of empathy for working class voters. Like a vacuum cleaner, he is sucking up the Clintonian message to blue collar voters and absorbing the rhetoric which has successfully lured a coalition of working class whites, seniors and women. Don’t expect any more Snobgate slip-ups.

In short, the fun for conservatives is at an end.

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That’s It?

Just before the Monday evening news, Barack Obama issued the meekest possible comment on Reverend Wright, saying the man doesn’t speak for him and that Obama understands how folks might be offended. (He spoke for only six minutes and took three questions, five less than he permitted at his “you had eight questions” Rezko presser earlier in the year.) Weak tea of this kind seems to be the campaign’s chosen approach, not merely a filler to get through the first news cycle.

There is evidently nothing Wright can say that would cause Obama to break, once and for all, with him. And no explanation comes to mind to help us understand how Wright concealed his world view from Obama for so long.

But the dilemma is not one easily resolved. If Obama took advice from an unlikely source and denounced Wright, what would be the explanation for the delay? What did he learn since the Philadelphia speech that changed his mind? And all those folks who demanded that Obama stand up to the trouble-making media and Vast Right Wing Conspiracy would be none too pleased.

Indeed, this is a problem entirely of Obama’s own making. By sticking with Wright and declining the first opportunity, which is always the best opportunity, to reject the hate-mongering preacher, he placed his bet that voters could be wowed and cowed by a high-minded speech on racial unity. That speech garnered some gushing reviews. But it may have turned out to be a fatally flawed strategy.

Even liberal pundits recognize the impact:

For Senator Obama, the re-emergence of Rev. Wright has been devastating. The senator has been trying desperately to bolster his standing with skeptical and even hostile white working-class voters. When the story line of the campaign shifts almost entirely to the race-in-your-face antics of someone like Mr. Wright, Mr. Obama’s chances can only suffer.Beyond that, the apparent helplessness of the Obama campaign in the face of the Wright onslaught contributes to the growing perception of the candidate as weak, as someone who is unwilling or unable to fight aggressively on his own behalf.

Who could have possibly guessed that that in the age of digital media everyone would be able to put all the pieces together and conclude that Obama’s post-racial rhetoric is utterly at odds with his experience in Wright’s church? Looks like the “21st century candidate” (Donna Brazile’s term) is turning out to be hopelessly 20th century.

Just before the Monday evening news, Barack Obama issued the meekest possible comment on Reverend Wright, saying the man doesn’t speak for him and that Obama understands how folks might be offended. (He spoke for only six minutes and took three questions, five less than he permitted at his “you had eight questions” Rezko presser earlier in the year.) Weak tea of this kind seems to be the campaign’s chosen approach, not merely a filler to get through the first news cycle.

There is evidently nothing Wright can say that would cause Obama to break, once and for all, with him. And no explanation comes to mind to help us understand how Wright concealed his world view from Obama for so long.

But the dilemma is not one easily resolved. If Obama took advice from an unlikely source and denounced Wright, what would be the explanation for the delay? What did he learn since the Philadelphia speech that changed his mind? And all those folks who demanded that Obama stand up to the trouble-making media and Vast Right Wing Conspiracy would be none too pleased.

Indeed, this is a problem entirely of Obama’s own making. By sticking with Wright and declining the first opportunity, which is always the best opportunity, to reject the hate-mongering preacher, he placed his bet that voters could be wowed and cowed by a high-minded speech on racial unity. That speech garnered some gushing reviews. But it may have turned out to be a fatally flawed strategy.

Even liberal pundits recognize the impact:

For Senator Obama, the re-emergence of Rev. Wright has been devastating. The senator has been trying desperately to bolster his standing with skeptical and even hostile white working-class voters. When the story line of the campaign shifts almost entirely to the race-in-your-face antics of someone like Mr. Wright, Mr. Obama’s chances can only suffer.Beyond that, the apparent helplessness of the Obama campaign in the face of the Wright onslaught contributes to the growing perception of the candidate as weak, as someone who is unwilling or unable to fight aggressively on his own behalf.

Who could have possibly guessed that that in the age of digital media everyone would be able to put all the pieces together and conclude that Obama’s post-racial rhetoric is utterly at odds with his experience in Wright’s church? Looks like the “21st century candidate” (Donna Brazile’s term) is turning out to be hopelessly 20th century.

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They All Have Baggage, But His Tips The Scales

Until recently it was thought Hillary Clinton toted the heaviest human baggage in the Democratic campaign. Bill Clinton is a walking, talking psychology study in narcissism, spouting unhelpful explanations for his wife’s gaffes, tangling with the press, and always off message. (Imagine the poor communications aide tasked with trying to corral him.)

Enter Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Wright seems to be on a speaking tour designed to test the endurance of Democratic primary voters for deeply offensive rhetoric about America, whites, Israel, Italians, and numerous other topics. Yesterday, on This Week, Donna Brazile postulated that he was on some mission to clear the good name of black churches. But Barack Obama’s good name is of greater interest to the voting public. And this isn’t going to burnish it.

Wright is now on a veritable insult tour which continues with no let up in sight. Others have commented that there simply is no positive message that can come out of this. Every day that goes by is another where voters stare in slack-jawed amazement that this is the man considered “brilliant” and a “mentor” by the potential presidential nominee. Obama’s association with Wright and continued refusal to make a clean break with him, do raise issues of character and judgment. And it appears we will have plenty more Wright quotes to ponder.

So Bill–although he won’t like slipping to second place in anything–will now have to take second prize in the “most harmful to someone you should be helping” category. But then Bill and Wright’s principal concern, we learn from their actions, is for themselves.

Until recently it was thought Hillary Clinton toted the heaviest human baggage in the Democratic campaign. Bill Clinton is a walking, talking psychology study in narcissism, spouting unhelpful explanations for his wife’s gaffes, tangling with the press, and always off message. (Imagine the poor communications aide tasked with trying to corral him.)

Enter Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Wright seems to be on a speaking tour designed to test the endurance of Democratic primary voters for deeply offensive rhetoric about America, whites, Israel, Italians, and numerous other topics. Yesterday, on This Week, Donna Brazile postulated that he was on some mission to clear the good name of black churches. But Barack Obama’s good name is of greater interest to the voting public. And this isn’t going to burnish it.

Wright is now on a veritable insult tour which continues with no let up in sight. Others have commented that there simply is no positive message that can come out of this. Every day that goes by is another where voters stare in slack-jawed amazement that this is the man considered “brilliant” and a “mentor” by the potential presidential nominee. Obama’s association with Wright and continued refusal to make a clean break with him, do raise issues of character and judgment. And it appears we will have plenty more Wright quotes to ponder.

So Bill–although he won’t like slipping to second place in anything–will now have to take second prize in the “most harmful to someone you should be helping” category. But then Bill and Wright’s principal concern, we learn from their actions, is for themselves.

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Beyond Spin

The ABC This Week’s roundtable (running the political gamut from George Will to Donna Brazile) was unanimous on several points: Reverend Wright is a significant problem for Barack Obama, the Democrats are in a bloody war (Brazile says so bloody not even “bleach” can remove it) and Hillary Clinton’s chances for the nomination rest on her ability to demonstrate that Obama is unelectable in the general election. All of this is complicated, they reminded us, by rules crafted so oddly as to prevent a decisive winner. As George Will put it, the Democrats have gone from “an embarrassment of riches to an embarrassment.”

Many conservatives may be concerned that somehow the liberal media will sweep the last couple of days’ events under the rug and Obama will sail on. As exemplified by the ABC panel, I see no substantial risk of this happening. Once Americans saw and heard Wright’s remarks, we went beyond the ability of even the most dogged partisans in the media to spin it in a way that would extract their favored candidate from the predicament he is in.

This is not an extraneous point of policy or something beyond the ability of average people to assess. Millions of voters go to church and synagogue and don’t hear this sort of venomous talk, and would leave if they did. Everyone can ask themselves: If he went to Wright’s church for 20 years, how likely is it that he heard this stuff, and what does his continued attendance say about him? It simply isn’t possible to wish it all away and hope voters don’t notice.

The ABC This Week’s roundtable (running the political gamut from George Will to Donna Brazile) was unanimous on several points: Reverend Wright is a significant problem for Barack Obama, the Democrats are in a bloody war (Brazile says so bloody not even “bleach” can remove it) and Hillary Clinton’s chances for the nomination rest on her ability to demonstrate that Obama is unelectable in the general election. All of this is complicated, they reminded us, by rules crafted so oddly as to prevent a decisive winner. As George Will put it, the Democrats have gone from “an embarrassment of riches to an embarrassment.”

Many conservatives may be concerned that somehow the liberal media will sweep the last couple of days’ events under the rug and Obama will sail on. As exemplified by the ABC panel, I see no substantial risk of this happening. Once Americans saw and heard Wright’s remarks, we went beyond the ability of even the most dogged partisans in the media to spin it in a way that would extract their favored candidate from the predicament he is in.

This is not an extraneous point of policy or something beyond the ability of average people to assess. Millions of voters go to church and synagogue and don’t hear this sort of venomous talk, and would leave if they did. Everyone can ask themselves: If he went to Wright’s church for 20 years, how likely is it that he heard this stuff, and what does his continued attendance say about him? It simply isn’t possible to wish it all away and hope voters don’t notice.

Read Less




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