Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Throw the Reverend from the Train

Barack Obama speaking about Rev. Jeremiah Wright in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on 4/29/2008:

"I am outraged by the comments that were made and saddened over the spectacle that we saw yesterday. What became clear to me is that he was presenting a world view that contradicts who I am and what I stand for. And what I think particularly angered me was his suggestion somehow that my previous denunciation of his remarks were somehow political posturing. Anybody who knows me and anybody who knows what I'm about knows that I am about trying to bridge gaps and I see the commonality in all people.

I have been a member of Trinity United Church of Christ since 1992, and have known Reverend Wright for 20 years. The person I saw yesterday was not the person that I met 20 years ago. All it was was a bunch of rants that aren't grounded in truth. Obviously, whatever relationship I had with Reverend Wright has changed. I don't think he showed much concern for me, more importantly I don't think he showed much concern for what we're trying to do in this campaign."

Throw Obama from the Train

Reverend Jeremiah Wright on 4/28/2008:

"I said to Barack Obama last year, 'If you get elected November the 5th, I'm coming after you, because you'll be representing a government whose policies grind under people.'"

Monday, April 28, 2008

Re: Tiebreakers

Reply: Give me a break. Her "winning" anything is stretch. Barack is ahead by pretty much any measure.

Answer: Then he better hurry up and win so it doesn’t go to the tiebreakers.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Barack Obama seems to be giving Hillary Clinton a run for her money in Indiana, one of her must-win states. Even so, we are going to finish the primary season with a tie. Neither Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton is on track to win the 2025 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. So it may be time to review the tie-breaking rules:

(1) Number of delegates – Barack winning 1724 to 1589
(2) Number of states won – Barack winning 28 to 16
(3) Money in the bank – Barack has more in campaign account, Hillary more in personal and Clinton Foundation. Tied.
(4) Number of primary elections won (excludes caucus states) – Tied 16 to 16
(5) Number of primary votes – Hillary winning 14,573,074 to 14,285,012
(6) Electoral College votes of states won – Hillary winning 231 to 196
(7) Number of superdelegates signed – Hillary winning 256 to 233
(8) Union rules – seniority trumps – Barack has been in the U.S. Senate since 2004, Hillary since 2000 – Hillary wins.
(9) Yield rules – car on the left must yield to car on the right, and on the issues Obama is slightly left of Hillary – Hillary wins.
(10) Boxing rules – contender has to beat the champ – Barack is the challenger, Hillary is the champ – Hillary wins.
(11) Social etiquette rules – “age before beauty” as my grandfather always said – Hillary wins.
(12) Rock, paper, scissors – it usually comes down to this - more later…

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Throw McCain from the Train

First daughter Jenna Bush, appearing on Larry King 4/23/2008, was asked if she will back McCain in November:

"I don't know. Of course I am open. I mean, who isn't open to learning about the candidates and I'm sure that everybody's like that. I've been too busy with books to really pay that much attention."

Jenna is planning a May wedding to Henry Hager, a former White House aide to Karl Rove. Hager's father is a former Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, a former Assistant Secretary of Education, and the current Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia.

Re: Bitter victory in Pennsylvania

From one of our correspondents in Massachusetts:

Love it. If Hillary wins the nomination, which I think she will, I'll vote for her in November. Otherwise, I'll vote for McCain. My best guess is that most of America, including me, couldn't care less who's the VP nominee.

Re: Bitter victory in Pennsylvania

Here's what the McCain campaign is saying about Pennsylvania:
  • Barack Obama is seen as the front runner among Pennsylvania Democrats and is perceived to be the candidate most likely to win the Democratic Party's nomination.
  • Hillary Clinton still has more than an uphill battle to become the nominee.
  • Clinton voters don't automatically become Obama voters after he becomes the nominee.
  • Clinton cleaned up with Union households - like she did in Ohio.
  • Clinton did better than Obama with lower income voters.
  • Clinton won Catholic voters.
  • Clinton won Jewish voters.
  • Clinton increased her margins in suburban and rural areas - without losing ground in urban areas.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bitter victory in Pennsylvania

Hillary Clinton has won the battle of Bittertown, Pennsylvania.

Barack won Philadelphia and Harrisburg, the two big cities with black majorities, the rich liberal white suburbs along the Philadelphia Main Line, a couple of college towns, and Amish country. Hillary won the white working class counties containing Pittsburgh, Allentown, Scranton, and everywhere else. Hillary’s 55/45 win was California 52/43, Massachusetts 55/38, New Jersey 54/44, New York 57/40 and Ohio 54/44 all over again. And let’s not forget Florida 50/33/14 and Michigan 55/40 undecided.

Barack now leads Hillary by 133 delegates, 1719 to 1586. Hillary will have to win 60% of the remaining uncommitted delegates and superdelegates to catch up. But if Florida and Michigan are counted, Barack’s lead is only 5 delegates. So now it seems that Clinton and Obama are on a course for mutually assured destruction. Where does this madness end?

Endgame for Hillary Clinton

(1) Win Indiana on May 6, West Virginia on May 13, Kentucky on May 20, and Montana or South Dakota on June 3.
(2) Continue pressure to count Florida and Michigan.
(3) You don’t have to quit as long as you are still winning primaries.
(4) Be ready to take the VP slot if it is offered. Everyone loves a June bride.

Endgame for Barack Obama

(1) Win North Carolina on May 6, Oregon on May 20, and try to pick up some of the other states along the way.
(2) Hire some speech writers who can relate to middle America.
(3) Don’t settle for VP as long as you stay ahead in the official delegate count, and drag your feet on Florida and Michigan.
(4) Remember that if you walk out, and Hillary goes down in the fall, this gets blamed on you.

Endgame for John McCain

(1) Joe Lieberman is dangling the possibility of speaking at the Republican Convention. (Senator Lieberman was Al Gore’s running mate in 2000; anti-war Democrats tried and failed to purge him from the Senate in 2006.)
(2) Is the next step to dangle Lieberman as McCain’s VP pick? You read it here first.
(3) Unity tickets have been common in other democracies during time of war.
(4) Sit back, watch, and rest up. It will be a long summer, followed by a short fall.

Endgame for the Republican National Committee

(1) Is McCain/Lieberman your best chance against Obama/Clinton? Would that put blue states like Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and California in play?
(2) A Democratic Party split two ways could just as easily be split three ways. And you could always marry the jilted bride.
(3) Rupert Murdoch, also owner of Fox News, is picking a new managing editor for the Wall Street Journal. Who does he like for VP?
(4) Keep quiet, no one’s watching you.

Endgame for the Democratic National Committee

Chairman Howard Dean: Is there really a chance for McCain to get through?

James Carville: Mr. Chairman, if I may speak freely, the Republican talks big, but frankly, we think he's short of know-how. I mean, you just can't expect a bunch of ignorant peons to understand a political machine like some of our boys. And that's not meant as an insult, Mr. Obama. I mean, you, you take your average Republican, we all know how much guts he's got. Hell, look, look at all them Republicans Nancy Pelosi killed off in 2006 and they still wouldn't quit. But if the pilot's good, see, I mean, if he's really sharp, he can barrel that baby in so low [he spreads his arms like wings and laughs], you oughtta see it sometime, it's a sight. A big plane like a '52 Eisenhower. VRROOM! There's jet exhaust, fryin' chickens in the barnyard. Them chickens ain’t never coming home to roost.

Howard Dean: Yeah, but has he got a chance?

James Carville: Has he got a chance? Hell, Ye...ye...

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Throw Obama from the Train

Michael Moore on 4/21/2008:

"My endorsement is more for Obama The Movement than it is for Obama the candidate."

Throw Daddy from the Train

Chelsea Clinton at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina on 4/22/2008:

"I think that she'll be a better president because she'll be more progressive and she's more prepared. She'll just hit the ground running from Day One in a way that my father was not as equipped to do."

I'm not bitter #18 - Peggy Noonan

Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal on April 19-20, 2008:

Sen. Obama seems honestly surprised by the furor his the-poor-cling-to-God-and-guns remarks elicited, and if one considers his background - intense marginalization followed by the establishment's embrace - this is understandable. He was only caught speaking the secret langauge of America's elite, and what he said was not meant as a putdown. It was an explanation aimed at ameliorating the elites' anger toward and impatience with ordinary people. It's a way of explaining them, of saying, "You have to remember that they're not comfortable and educated like us, they're vulnerable and so we must try to understand them and feel sympathy and solidarity with them." You could say this at any high-class dinner party in America and not cause a ruffle. But America is not a high-class dinner party.

Re: taxes, taxes

Reply: Dad and I kind of like getting social security and it keeps us away from overdraft protection notices so we would rather you not revisit that.

LBOTC: Well, we should revisit it for baby boomers born between 1946 and 1960. Those of us born after 1960 can’t retire at full benefits until age 67, and have had to pay the higher taxes imposed to pay for the baby boomers in 1983 for our entire working lives. And the social security trust fund is on track to run out of money in 2041 when those of us born in the 1960s and early 1970s will be in mid-retirement.

Re: taxes, taxes

John McCain finally released his tax returns for 2006 and 2007. John filed a separate return from his wife Cindy, so his total family income has not been fully disclosed. Arizona is a community property state where each spouse has a half-interest in salaries earned during marriage, so that part of Cindy’s income was disclosed.

John is drawing both social security ($23,157 in 2007) and a tax-free pension from the Navy ($58,358 in 2007). McCain certainly earned his Navy pension. But one can wonder why we let sitting Congressmen and Senators draw social security, particularly with the system headed towards deficits as the baby boomers retire. I guess it’s the old labor union principle of full pay to the last day. Paying social security and other public pensions to people who are still working and earning full salaries is one of the legal innovations of the late 1970s and early 1980s that we should perhaps revisit.

On the domestic front, John and Cindy paid out $183,554 for household help in 2006 and $273,144 in 2007.And John paid $17,700 annually in alimony to his first wife. John and Cindy donated $129,390 to charity in 2006 and $210,934 in 2007. Most of this went to the John and Cindy McCain Foundation. The three largest donations from the foundation in 2007:

$25,000 to The Halo Trust (clearing of mines)
$25,000 to Operation Smile (craniofacial abnormalities)
$10,000 to Craniofacial Foundation (craniofacial abnormalities)

So how do our candidates compare?








*AGI for McCain does not include dividend or other income from separate property owned by Cindy McCain. Cindy’s net worth, largely from a family-owned beer distributorship in Arizona, has been estimated at between $25 million and $45 million. If that generates no more than 5% income, the McCain’s would still likely have the least joint income of the three candidates. The McCains would likely be second in net worth to the Clintons, but ahead of the Obamas. The Obamas do have 25 years to catch up.

Total book royalties for 2006 and 2007:

$256,898 from Random House to John McCain: Faith of My Fathers, Worth the Fighting For, Why Courage Matters, Character is Destiny, and Hard Call.
$583,393 from Simon & Schuster to Hillary Clinton: Living History; It Takes a Village; Dear Socks, Dear Buddy: Kids' Letters to the First Pets; and An Invitation To The White House: At Home With History.
$4,449,996 from Random House to Barack Obama: The Audacity of Hope and Dreams from My Father.
$7,274,132 from Random House to Bill Clinton: My Life and Giving.

Random House is a division of Bertelsmann AG, which is based in Germany and is controlled by German billionaire Reinhold Mohn and his family. Simon & Schuster is a division of CBS Corporation and is controlled by American billionaire Sumner Redstone.

There have been ethics questions about whether political figures get better book deals than other authors can get, even other celebrities can get, and whether marketing and advertising expenditures to promote a book also can be designed to help advance a politician’s career. But not every politician is capable of writing or having ghost-written a book that the public wants to buy.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Re: Taxes, taxes

Barack Obama wrote a $1 million check to the IRS on April 15.

Today he released his 2007 joint tax return. He and his wife Michelle earned $4,139,965 in 2007 and paid 1,396,772 in federal taxes, with $1,059,826 in the “Amount You Owe” box. That has got to be just a little bittersweet.

On the strength of almost $4 million in net royalties from the sale of Barack’s books, their income for 2007 exceeds the $3,857,564 total they earned for the previous seven years combined. They gave $240,370 in total charitable contributions to 33 charities. Highlights:

$50,000 to United Negro College Fund
$35,000 to CARE
$26,270 to Trinity United Church of Christ

Note: Reverend Jeremiah Wright at Trinity United Church of Christ did all right but not the 10% tithe he might have been hoping.

RE: Weekend in Bittertown

Reply: While the guns and religion comment hurts, the good news is that the people Barack is talking about don't know what xenophobia means and they are too lazy to look it up.

Answer: Xenophobia was my word. What he said was “antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment”. (So I guess that makes you the person to lazy to look it up ;). And the people smacking Barack about seem to be smart enough to leave that part of the quotation out.

RE: Weekend in Bittertown

From one of our correspondents:

My 2 cents: If Obama wins the nomination, which he probably will, John McCain will win the general election. This means two things.

1. The dems would have been better off with Hills, who could actually beat McCain, so the dems will have no one to blame but their idiot selves.

2. If the dems can't easily take control of the White House after 8 years of George W. Bush, then they deserve to implode as a party.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Weekend in Bittertown

Back on March 12 after the Mississippi primary, Barack Obama was leading Hillary Clinton by 1611 delegates to 1480. Today, a month and no primaries or caucuses later, CNN puts his lead at 1631 to 1488, a net gain of 12 delegates for Barack. The primaries resume next week in Pennsylvania on April 22, followed by Indiana and North Carolina on May 6.

All Barack had left to do was show up for his campaign rallies and secretly revel in the media sniper fire Hillary was taking on Bosnia, trade deals, and $109 million tax returns. But then Barack got caught on tape at a private campaign fundraiser in San Francisco portraying small town Americans in Pennsylvania and across the Midwest as bitter and clinging in frustration to guns, religion, and various xenophobias.

Barack’s supporters will forgive these remarks and many will even agree with him. But as far as large portions of middle America is concerned, strike one was Michelle Obama never being never been proud of America, strike two was Reverend Wright, and Bittertown is strike three. While Barack may still win the Democratic nomination, the real problem will come against John McCain in the fall.

The Democratic Party’s blue state base is very strong, 18 states plus DC worth 248 of the 270 electoral votes needed to elect the next President. They have won these states in all four of the last elections (1992, 1996, 2000, and 2004).

Here are the states the Democrats have the best chance to pick up: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Ohio. They also have a fair chance to pick up Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Montana, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. That’s a lot of chances to win.

But what do all of these states have in common? Most all are places with lots of small towns where people like to hunt and attend church and don’t like to be called xenophobes. And John McCain will be a very appealing candidate in all these places. So the Bittertown blunder could close off all Barack’s chances to win in November.

It gets worse. Bittertown could cost Barack some of the blue state base, such as Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin. There’s talk McCain could be competitive in New York and Massachusetts. Pretty soon Barack Obama is getting only the 111 electoral votes Michael Dukakis got in 1998, the 49 electoral votes Jimmy Carter got in 1980, the 17 electoral votes George McGovern got in 1972, or the 13 electoral votes Walter Mondale got in 1984.

On the other hand, if this gaffe forces Barack to get out into these states, he might learn how to talk to small town America. And if he crafts a message to appeal to some of these states, that message would do well in all these states.

I'm not bitter #17 - Barack Obama in 2004

Here's what Barack Obama had to say in an interview with Charlie Rose after his speech to the Democratic National Convention back in 2004:

There’s a town that I spoke about in my speech actually in Illinois that I think is representative of many towns in the Midwest: Galesburg, Illinois. They’ve got 36,000 people; they’ve lost 4,000 jobs in the last 2 years - 20% of their employment base collapses because companies move out to Mexico. So you sit down and talk to union workers, 50, 55 year old guys, who the best that’s being offered to them is retraining to be nurse’s assistants - these guys with beards, you know tough guys used to handling heavy machinery. They’re not optimistic about the prospects for them to be able to attain to the kind of economic security they had under the old system.

So they’ve got insecurity in their economic life. They don’t know where their health care is. They don’t know what is happening with their pension. What they do know is that they can go out with their friends and hunt and feel a sense of camaraderie. And there’s a connection between hunting and them going out with their father to hunt, just as there is a connection maybe for their wives to going to church and going with their grandmother to church. And if we don’t have plausible answers on the economic front and we appear to be condescending towards those traditions that are giving their lives some stability, then they’re going to opt for at least that Party that seems to be speaking to the things that still provide them something solid to stand on.

I'm not bitter #16 - John McCain

John McCain on April 14, 2008:

During the Great Depression, with many millions of Americans out of work and the country suffering the worst economic crisis in our history, there rose from small towns, rural communities, inner cities, a generation of Americans who fought to save the world from despotism and mass murder, and came home to build the wealthiest, strongest and most generous nation on earth.

They suffered the worst during the Depression, but it did not shake their faith in, and fidelity to, America. They did not turn to their religious faith and cultural traditions out of resentment and a feeling of powerlessness to affect the course of government or pursue prosperity. On the contrary, their faith had given generations of their families' purpose and meaning, as it does today.

Monday, April 14, 2008

I'm not bitter #15 - Barack Obama

Barack Obama in Steeltown, Pennsylvania on April 13:

A visibly agitated Barack Obama accused Hillary Clinton Sunday of acting like "Annie Oakley …packin’ a six shooter” in her attempts to connect with gun owners, and used some of his most heated language to date to attack her and her campaign for their reaction to his comments from a now infamous California fundraiser.

Shame on her. I expected this out of John McCain," Obama said in a decibel higher than the his every day stump tone. But I've gotta say, I'm a little disappointed when I start hearing the exact same talking points coming out of my Democratic colleague Hillary Clinton. She knows better. Shame on her.

She's running around talking about how this is an insult to sportsmen, how she values the Second Amendment. She's talking like she's Annie Oakley! Hillary Clinton's out there like she's on the duck blind every Sunday, like she's packin' a six shooter! C'mon! She knows better.

That's some politics being played by Hillary Clinton. When Hillary Clinton says I'm out of touch I just have to remind people of the track record." He then went on to attack her for "campaigning for NAFTA" for "a decade" during her husband's administration.

This is the same person who says she's voting for the Colombia trade deal. Turns out that her top adviser, her top strategist was working for the Colombian government to get the bill passed!

Who do you think is out of touch?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I'm not bitter #14 - Phil Singer

Phil Singer, a spokesman for Hillary Clinton:

Instead of apologizing for offending small town America, Senator Obama chose to repeat and embrace the comments he made earlier this week. Americans are tired of a President who looks down on them, they want a President who will stand up for them for a change.

I'm not bitter #13 - Barack Obama

Barack Obama in an in an interview with the Winston-Salem Journal on April 12:

Obviously, if I worded things in a way that made people offended, I deeply regret that. The underlying truth of what I said remains, which is simply that people who have seen their way of life upended because of economic distress are frustrated and rightfully so. And I hear it all the time when I visit these communities.

I'm not bitter #12 - Steve Schmidt

Steve Schmidt, a senior adviser to John McCain

It shows an elitism and condescension toward hard-working Americans that is nothing short of breathtaking. It is hard to imagine someone running for president who is more out of touch with average Americans.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I'm not bitter #11 - Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton in Indianapolis on April 12:

I grew up in the Midwest. Born in Chicago, raised outside of that great city. I was raised with Midwestern values and an unshakeable faith in America and its promise.

Now, like some of you may have been, I was taken aback by the demeaning remarks Sen. Obama made about people in small town America. Sen. Obama's remarks are elitist and they are out of touch. They are not reflective of the values and beliefs of Americans. Certainly not the Americans that I know - not the Americans I grew up with, not the Americans I lived with in Arkansas or represent in New York.

You know, Americans who believe in the Second Amendment believe it’s a matter of Constitutional rights. Americans who believe in God believe it is a matter of personal faith. Americans who believe in protecting good American jobs believe it is a matter of the American Dream.

When my dad grew up it was in a working class family in Scranton. I grew up in a church-going family, a family that believed in the importance of living out and expressing our faith.

The people of faith I know don't "cling to" religion because they're bitter. People embrace faith not because they are materially poor, but because they are spiritually rich. Our faith is the faith of our parents and our grandparents. It is a fundamental expression of who we are and what we believe.

I also disagree with Sen. Obama's assertion that people in this country "cling to guns" and have certain attitudes about immigration or trade simply out of frustration. People of all walks of life hunt - and they enjoy doing so because it's an important part of their life, not because they are bitter.

And as I’ve traveled across Indiana and I¹ve talked to a lot of people, what I hear are real concerns about unfair trade practices that cost people jobs.

I think hardworking Americans are right to want to see changes in our trade laws. That’s what I have said. That¹s what I have fought for.

I would also point out that the vast majority of working Americans reject anti-immigration rhetoric. They want reform so that we remain a nation of immigrants, but also a nation of laws that we enforce and we enforce fairly.

Americans are fair-minded and good-hearted people. We have ups and downs. We face challenges and problems. But our views are rooted in real values, and they should be respected.

Americans out across our country have borne the brunt of the Bush administration¹s assault on the middle class. Contrary to what Senator Obama says, most Americans did much better during the Clinton years than they have done during the Bush years.

If we are striving to bring people together - and I believe we should be – I don't think it helps to divide our country into one America that is enlightened and one that is not.

We know there is an unacceptable economic divide in America today, but that is certainly not the way to bridge it. The way to do that is to roll up our sleeves and get to work and make sure we provide, once again, economic opportunity and shared prosperity for all Americans.

People don't need a president who looks down on them; they need a president who stands up for them. And that is exactly what I will do as your president.

Because I believe if you want to be the president of all Americans, you need to respect all Americans. And that starts with respecting our hard working Americans, and what we need to do here is to take a lesson from Allison transmission.

I'm not bitter #10 - Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton in Valparaiso, Indiana on April 12:

I disagree with Sen. Obama’s assertion that people in our country cling to guns and have certain attitudes about trade and immigration simply out of frustration. You know, my dad took me out behind the cottage that my grandfather built on a little lake called Lake Winola outside of Scranton and taught be how to shoot when I was a little girl. You know, some people now continue to teach their children and their grandchildren. It’s part of culture. It’s part of a way of life. People enjoy hunting and shooting because it’s an important part of who they are. Not because they are bitter.... I am not a hunter. But I have gone hunting.

I'm not bitter #9 - Tucker Bounds

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds on April 12:

Barack Obama's elitism allows him to believe that the American traditions that have contributed to the identity and greatness of this country are actually just frustrations and bitterness.

Instead of apologizing to small town Americans for dismissing their values, Barack Obama arrogantly tried to spin his way out of his outrageous San Francisco remarks. You can’t be more out of touch than that.

I'm not bitter #8 - Barack Obama

Barack Obama on April 12:

Lately there has been a little typical sort of political flare up because I said something that everybody knows is true, which is that there are a whole bunch of folks in small towns in Pennsylvania, in towns right here in Indiana, in my hometown in Illinois who are bitter. They are angry. They feel like they have been left behind. They feel like nobody is paying attention to what they're going through.

So I said, well you know, when you're bitter you turn to what you can count on. So people, they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community. And they get mad about illegal immigrants who are coming over to this country.

I didn't say it as well as I should have. But what is absolutely true is that people don't feel like they are being listened to. And so they pray and they count on each other and they count on their families.

When you're bitter you turn to what you can count on. So people -- they vote about guns, or they take comfort from their faith and their family and their community. The truth is that these traditions that are passed on from generation to generation, those are important. That's what sustains us. But what is absolutely true is that people don't feel like they are being listened to.

And so they pray and they count on each other and they count on their families. You know this in your own lives, and what we need is a government that is actually paying attention. Government that is fighting for working people day in and day out making sure that we are trying to allow them to live out the American dream.

I'm not bitter #7 - Evan Bayh

Democratic Senator Evan Bayh from Indiana on April 12:

We do have economic hard times, and that does lead to a frustration and some justifiable anger, it's true. But I think you're on dangerous ground when you morph that into suggesting that people's cultural values whether it's religion or hunting and fishing or concern about trade are premised solely upon those kinds of anxieties and don't have a legitimate foundation independent of that.

I'm not bitter #6 - Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton on April 12:

I was raised with Midwestern values and an unshakable faith in America and its policies. Now, Americans who believe in the Second Amendment believe it's a matter of constitutional right. Americans who believe in God believe it's a matter of personal faith.

I grew up in a church-going family, a family that believed in the importance of living out and expressing our faith. The people of faith I know don't 'cling' to religion because they're bitter. People embrace faith not because they are materially poor, but because they are spiritually rich.

Our faith is the faith of our parents and our grandparents. It is a fundamental expression of who we are and what we believe."

People don't need a president who looks down on them. They need a president who stands up for them.

I'm not bitter #5 - Barack Obama

Barack Obama responding to attacks at a town meeting in Terre Haute, Indiana on April 11:

When I go around and I talk to people there is frustration and there is anger and there is bitterness. And what’s worse is when people are expressing their anger then politicians try to say what are you angry about? This just happened – I want to make a point here today.

I was in San Francisco talking to a group at a fundraiser and somebody asked how’re you going to get votes in Pennsylvania? What’s going on there? We hear that’s its hard for some working class people to get behind you’re campaign. I said, "Well look, they’re frustrated and for good reason. Because for the last 25 years they’ve seen jobs shipped overseas. They’ve seen their economies collapse. They have lost their jobs. They have lost their pensions. They have lost their healthcare."

And for 25, 30 years Democrats and Republicans have come before them and said we’re going to make your community better. We’re going to make it right and nothing ever happens. And of course they’re bitter. Of course they’re frustrated. You would be too. In fact many of you are. Because the same thing has happened here in Indiana. The same thing happened across the border in Decatur. The same thing has happened all across the country. Nobody is looking out for you. Nobody is thinking about you. And so people end up- they don’t vote on economic issues because they don’t expect anybody’s going to help them. So people end up, you know, voting on issues like guns, and are they going to have the right to bear arms. They vote on issues like gay marriage. And they take refuge in their faith and their community and their families and things they can count on. But they don’t believe they can count on Washington. So I made this statement-- so, here’s what rich. Senator Clinton says ‘No, I don’t think that people are bitter in Pennsylvania. You know, I think Barack’s being condescending.’ John McCain says, ‘Oh, how could he say that? How could he say people are bitter? You know, he’s obviously out of touch with people.’

Out of touch? Out of touch? I mean, John McCain—it took him three tries to finally figure out that the home foreclosure crisis was a problem and to come up with a plan for it, and he’s saying I’m out of touch? Senator Clinton voted for a credit card-sponsored bankruptcy bill that made it harder for people to get out of debt after taking money from the financial services companies, and she says I’m out of touch? No, I’m in touch. I know exactly what’s going on. I know what’s going on in Pennsylvania. I know what’s going on in Indiana. I know what’s going on in Illinois. People are fed-up. They’re angry and they’re frustrated and they’re bitter. And they want to see a change in Washington and that’s why I’m running for President of the United States of America.

I'm not bitter #4 - John McCain

John McCain on April 11:

"Barack Obama's elitism allows him to believe that the American traditions that have contributed to the identity and greatness of this country are actually just frustrations and bitterness."

I'm not bitter #3 - Evan Bayh

Democratic Senator Evan Bayh from Indiana on April 11:

I think it's a real potential political problem and it's something for superdelegates and voters to think about. We have to win the election in November and the far right wing has a real good track record of using things like this against our candidates.

I'm not bitter #2 - Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton in Indianapolis on April 11:

Senator Obama's remarks were elitist and out of touch. They are not reflective of the values and beliefs of Americans." in Indianapolis.

I don't think it helps to divide our country into one America that is enlightened and one that is not. If you want to be the president of all Americans, you need to respect all Americans. Americans who believe in God believe it's a matter of personal faith. The people of faith I know don't cling to religion because they are bitter. People embrace faith not because they are materially poor but because they are spiritually rich.

I'm not bitter #1 - Barack Obama

Barack Obama at a fundraiser in San Francisco on Sunday, April 6:

So, it depends on where you are, but I think it’s fair to say that the places where we are going to have to do the most work are the places where people are most cynical about government. The people are mis-appre…they’re misunderstanding why the demographics in our, in this contest have broken out as they are. Because everybody just ascribes it to ‘white working-class don’t wanna work — don’t wanna vote for the black guy.’ That’s…there were intimations of that in an article in the Sunday New York Times today - kind of implies that it’s sort of a race thing.

Here’s how it is: in a lot of these communities in big industrial states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, people have been beaten down so long. They feel so betrayed by government that when they hear a pitch that is premised on not being cynical about government, then a part of them just doesn’t buy it. And when it’s delivered by — it’s true that when it’s delivered by a 46-year-old black man named Barack Obama, then that adds another layer of skepticism.

But — so the questions you’re most likely to get about me, ‘Well, what is this guy going to do for me? What is the concrete thing?’ What they wanna hear is so we’ll give you talking points about what we’re proposing — to close tax loopholes, uh you know uh roll back the tax cuts for the top 1%, Obama’s gonna give tax breaks to uh middle-class folks and we’re gonna provide healthcare for every American.

But the truth is, is that, our challenge is to get people persuaded that we can make progress when there’s not evidence of that in their daily lives. You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing’s replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

Um, now these are in some communities, you know. I think what you’ll find is, is that people of every background — there are gonna be a mix of people, you can go in the toughest neighborhoods, you know working-class lunch-pail folks, you’ll find Obama enthusiasts. And you can go into places where you think I’d be very strong and people will just be skeptical. The important thing is that you show up and you’re doing what you’re doing.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Taxes, taxes

So I finished my taxes early this year for a change, and it looked like I might not even have to look at a tax form in April. Then last week Hillary and Bill Clinton released their joint returns since 2000 with estimates for 2007. Barack and Michelle Obama had previously released their joint returns for 2000-2006. What better way to spend the weekend then going over someone else, all 188 pages for the Clintons and 103 pages for the Obamas.

Income (AGI):


The book royalties and speaking fees for the Clintons dwarfs what Barack earned for Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope. Indeed, assuming the Clintons have to give some or all of that up for Hillary to serve as President, this campaign could cost them $160 million. Maybe that’s why Hillary seems to get happier and happier on the campaign trail as Barack gets closer and closer to beating her. She’s the one who always cared about money.

Charitable contributions:

YearClinton% of AGIObama% of AGI

Clearly the Clintons are a little more generous than the Obamas. However, it’s not clear how much of the $10 million went to the William Jefferson Clinton Foundation or the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library. On the other side, it appears that after Obama hit the big time in 2004, David Axelrod took him aside and said, “Dude, we’re going to run you for President so you can at least make some gifts to charity.” It does seem that the Obamas’ gifts to Reverend’s Wright’s church were relatively modest.

Hillary claimed a home office deduction for 454 of 4,718 square feet in the $2,888,465 house they purchased in Washington, DC. Bill claimed a home office deduction for 575 of 5,300 square feet in the house they bought for $1,740,706 in Chappaqua, New York. Some would say these houses are mansions, but I would say you need 6,000 square feet to be considered that. In 2005, they stopped taking these deductions so I guess that means they stopped bringing work home. The Clintons also bought a condo unit in Chappaqua NY in 8/5/2003 for $505,346 and sold it on $3/16/2004 for $509,000. I know what you’re thinking but suspect that was for Hillary’s mother Dorothy Rodham.

The Obamas hired household help to take care of their two daughters, spending around $23,000 a year in 2002, 2003, and 2004 with the amounts dropping off after the youngest reached school age. Names of the nannies: Sonja Hawes, Marlease Bushnell, and Rosa Gutierrez. 2002 was last year the Clintons claimed Chelsea as dependent. After college and graduate school, Chelsea worked in management consulting and then went to work at a hedge fund, so it would be fun to see her tax return too. The Clintons also made some below market loans to one or more family members. It could have been Chelsea Clinton, but I’m guessing Roger Clinton. These seem to have been paid back or forgiven.

If you like the Clintons, Citibank is the place to bank. If you like the Obamas, it is JP Morgan Chase or Northern Trust Bank.

We'll see what happens after the Pennsylvania primary in two weeks.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

RE: McCain in left field

Question: I wonder who put her up to that? Sounds like a ploy from the left to take away some of the blue collar, middle class and military vote from McCain. “If she’s voting for him I must be missing something.”

I don’t know how the voting is done in Pennsylvania but this is supposed to help someone in PA. Maybe Hillary? “If Fonda loves McCain and Obama hates America than lets give Hill a shot, besides, her husband did ok when he was President.” Low risk Centrist.

Reply: I'm suspicious about the date of this Fonda announcement.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

McCain in left field

Liberal icon Jane Fonda has announced that she will be campaigning for John McCain. “Two things made the difference. First is the enormous personal regard I have for this American hero. Second is that he would be the first candidate from my silent generation to win the Presidency - realistically this is our last chance.” Fonda was born in 1937, McCain in 1936. Jane says that she first met McCain during her 1972 trip to Hanoi, where McCain was being held prisoner by the North Vietnamese. McCain credited Jane’s controversial visit with bettering conditions for prisoners. “It was after my friend Jane’s visit that we started calling our improved accommodations the Hanoi Hilton.”

It turns out there is a family connection. Jane’s father, Henry Fonda, served 3 years in the Navy during World War II and was awarded the Bronze Star. Fonda served as quartermaster on a destroyer in a carrier group commanded by McCain’s grandfather, Admiral John McCain, Sr. Later Fonda was promoted to Lieutenant J.G. in air combat intelligence and was transported to his new posting on a submarine commanded by McCain’s father, John McCain, Jr.

The media and politicos are having a field day. Here’s a summary of reactions:

Larry King – Says this might in part be a reaction to Reverend Jeremiah Wright. “I interviewed Jane in 2005 for her book My Life So Far. Religion has become an increasingly important part of her life since coming out as a Christian in 2001. She expressed a strong opposition to bigotry, discrimination, and dogma, which she believes are promoted by only a small minority of Christians.”

Keith Olbermann – Cites unnamed source suggesting endorsement has nothing to do with Obama and that Fonda was just trying to get back at ex-husband Ted Turner, founder of CNN, who has said he will support either Democratic candidate.

Anderson Cooper – Noted that Hillary’s father was also a Navy man, while Obama’s grandfather was an Army man.

Bill O’Reilly – “Usually Jane is a pinhead, but today she is a patriot.”

Sean Hannity – “This just goes to prove what I have been saying that John McCain is not a real conservative.”

Rush Limbaugh – “First Jane says the C-word on The Today Show back on Valentine’s Day, we can’t say the word here because we’re on AM radio, and now she says McCain. Well, it's Jane Fonda. Why are you looking for a point? Why are you trying to make sense of this? It's Jane Fonda.”

Ann Coulter – “So J. Sidney McCain has the endorsement of Hanoi Jane. Give me a choice between a pretend woman and a real woman, and I’ll vote for the real woman every time.”

James Carville – “Judas don’t even begin to cover it.”

McCain campaign – “This illustrates our ability to attract democrats as well as independents.”

Clinton campaign – Off-the-record campaign deputy quoted as saying “With Obama as the putative frontrunner, we are afraid we will see more and more defections to McCain.”

Obama campaign – “Just for the record, Jane Fonda had been selected as a super delegate from Georgia and had previously pledged to Hillary Clinton. We won that state and look forward to picking up that vote.”

John Kerry – “You know, they called me a Jane Fonda Democrat, so now I’ll be calling my friend John a Jane Fonda Republican.”

George W. Bush – “Jane Fonda quit the Democrat Party? My father must be rolling over in his grave.”