The dust-up is about a letter sent by Judge Mike Gableman that references a vote cast by Justice Louis Butler to free a convicted sex offender. Butler claims the charge is unfair, since the individual was never freed. Gableman counters that the fact the offender was never released had nothing to do with Butler’s vote – in fact, the sex offender was retained in spite of Butler’s vote, not because of it.
Either way, it’s pretty clear what the State Journal thinks about the dispute. Naturally, it’s incumbent on Gableman to “retract” the letters, since the paper likely thinks they’re so unfair. The presumption of wrongdoing is always with the conservative candidate, who then must “retract” whatever point they were trying to make. The headline could have easily been written thusly:
“Butler Defends Vote to Release Sex Offender”
Fat chance of that. Anyway, lest this become just another conservative sour-grapes screed about the “liberal media,” (too late, I know), there is a broader point to all this.
The State Journal has been breathlessly editorializing about how Wisconsin should do away with elected judges, and go to a “merit based” system, with judges being picked by some “impartial” board. (Perhaps as “impartial” as the State Bar.) They believe that the political process is clearly much too crude to pick “qualified” judges, despite not being able to offer a single example of how any sitting justice isn’t “qualified.” Say what you will about the jurisprudence of Louis Butler and Annette Ziegler, but they are both most certainly qualified to be on the high court.
The irony here is, when given a chance to actually cover a Supreme Court race, the State Journal does nothing but cover the most political of issues in the campaign. In a sense, they are themselves contributing to the disinformation that they so fervently decry. We can’t elect judges because they get such bad information during a campaign, but they get such bad information during a campaign because that’s all they’re willing to cover.
Where are the stories analyzing Mike Gableman’s philosophy as a judge? Where are the stories analyzing Louis Butler’s reasoning in lead paint lawsuits? It’s not like there’s not an extensive paper trail on both these guys that might serve as a blueprint for their future jurisprudence. Instead, it’s easier to sit back and wait for their press releases to hit your inbox.
In a sense, the State Journal is right – the public does get slanted, ill-informed facts during a judicial campaign. Only it’s not the candidates and interest groups that are spreading the misinformation.
It wasn’t until Saturday that I realized there was a newspaper sitting in my driveway. This concerned me, since I do not subscribe to a newspaper. It turned out that it was Friday’s Wisconsin State Journal.
This has happened before – a paper just shows up in my driveway, unsolicited. I asked my wife how that is any different than littering. If I didn’t ask for it, how can paper companies just show up and throw stuff at my house? Maybe I should show up at the State Journal offices and dump off an old couch I’ve been trying to get rid of. My wife said it’s not any different than getting junk mail, but I objected to that comparison. For one, the postman doesn’t show up and throw your junk mail all over your front yard.
As I opened this interloping newspaper, I noticed a big headline on the front page:
“Gableman’s Appointment Questioned”
Wow, that must be pretty big news with a headline that prominent. I wonder what neutral, independent, well-respected third party is questioning Judge Mike Gableman’s appointment to the Burnett County Circuit Court?
In fairness, the article does point out that it is the “left-leaning” Greater Wisconsin Committee that has made this accusation. (To say the GWC “leans” liberal is like saying Richard Nixon “leans” dead.)
But the damage is done with the headline alone. The chances of this headline ending up in a television ad down the road now stands at 95 percent. The only thing that would prevent this headline from showing up on your TV screen at home would be if a picture surfaced of Gableman dressed in traditional Somali garb.
This is one of the reasons nobody should really be all that choked up about the Capital Times newspaper ostensibly going under. The only purpose that paper served was as a headline factory for left-wing campaigns. Of course, nobody in Milwaukee or Amery or Wausau knows what the Capital Times is, so when a clipping of one of their headlines showed up in a TV ad, people statewide falsely assumed it had a modicum of credibility. Wisconsinites may recall Governor Jim Doyle’s bogus ad accusing Mark Green of “corruption.” One of the headlines featured was one from the Capital Times that read “Mark Green’s Lawlessness.”
The true irony of the article lies with the Wisconsin State Journal’s breathless cheerleading for campaign finance reform. In editorial after editorial, the State Journal urges limits on what outside groups can spend on campaigns. Yet, the only thing that really makes this story newsworthy is the amount of money the GWC is spending on spreading it around. Thus, by reporting this story, the State Journal is carrying water for an evil third party, who it believes shouldn’t otherwise be able to speak during a campaign. If the Wisconsin Restaurant Workers Association were to issue a statement that accused Justice Louis Butler of being a bad tipper, it probably wouldn’t be covered. However, if they spent $200,000 on an ad buy saying the same thing, it may sneak its way into the paper. (It would also mean that we’re all probably tipping too much.) And thus, the cycle is complete.
So congratulations to the Greater Wisconsin Committee on this big victory. You paid a lot of money for that headline, make sure you enjoy it.
Filed under: Elections — Christian Schneider @ 2:45 pm
Now that the New York Times has supposedly uncovered John McCain’s declaration that he’s down with OPP, I have some thoughts:
In a subconscious way, I kind of saw this coming. In McCain’s Wisconsin victory speech Tuesday, he slid this line in near the end:
“I have been an imperfect servant of my country for many years.”
When he said that, my ears perked up a little. Generally, politicians don’t readily concede their faults unless they’re trying to beat someone else to it. So while he wasn’t specific about allegations that he was a “booty enthusiast,” it did seem like he was paving the way for something. I’m sure he knew this story was coming.
Of course, one of the rules of trying to look smart is to actually point this stuff out before it happens. Mental note for next time.
As everyone else seems to have pointed out, the evidence that McCain actually had an improper relationship with this other woman seems pretty thin. Now, if stories begin to leak that McCain also spent a lot of time with the lobbyist for Viagra, then the puzzle pieces may start to come together.
As for the Times story, it shows how desperate things are for the Gray Lady when they’re spooked into running a semi-story just because The New Republic was going to run with it first – and these are the two entities fingered for horrific plagiarism scandals; now it’s seemingly a race to see which one can examine their own rectums, head-first.
After hearing the news, I flipped to CNN, only to hear Bay Buchanan savaging McCain for being such an alleged dirtbag. Of course, she didn’t have any more information than the New York Times did – but had no problem ripping McCain a new one for not being “straight” with GOP primary voters (she had worked for the Romney campaign.) I honestly have no idea why any members of the Buchanan family are allowed on television. Plus, the sight of Bay Buchanan in high definition scared me to death. If you’re a wife trying to dissuade your husband from dropping $2K on a new HDTV, just use Bay Buchanan as an example. It should send him sprinting out of Best Buy.
I’ve heard some people speculate as to whether we’ll be hearing more from the mainstream media about Barack Obama’s Tony Rezko problem. I’ve been pretty consistent on this – I have a pretty high bar for proving “corruption” by elected officials. There are a lot of sleazeballs from both parties that contribute heavily to campaigns, which is their right. And certainly people have a right to criticize it if they don’t like it. But until that elected official takes some government action to pay back those favors, I think we have to hold our nose and take it. Unless, of course, the money sitting in their campaign account was raised illegally, as may be the case with Rezko. But Obama’s plans to socialize health care in the U.S. scare me enough – I still have an open mind on the “corruption” charges.
So, as it turns out, this presidential campaign will likely boil down to “cocaine vs. ho’s.” We should just elect Tony Montana and be done with it.
Filed under: Elections — Christian Schneider @ 11:40 am
…The Badger Herald, for printing an editorial written by Chelsea Clinton’s “friends” from childhood. It is entitled “Make Chelsea’s Mom President,” and includes profundities like this:
Growing up with Hillary in our lives taught us the value and necessity of public service and the power of government to make a positive difference in peopleâ€™s lives. Because of what she has fought for and accomplished at home and around the world, we have grown up believing that we too could set bold goals and survive personal storms. The broken glass around her feet from the countless ceilings she has shattered has inspired us to believe that we can succeed at home and in the workplace. She has inspired us to believe that we will have the chance to cast our votes for the first woman president.
I’m sold. This has inspired me to go out an marry someone who might be president someday.
Filed under: Elections — Christian Schneider @ 2:33 pm
Political ads can sometimes be pretty entertaining if you look for the right things.
Barack Obama is currently running an ad in Wisconsin that seeks to answer Hillary Clinton’s charge that he has refused to debate her. In the ad, he takes some policy shots at Clinton:
Generally, claims made in an ad are backed up by a citation. There doesn’t have to be one, but most campaigns add one to look official. Rarely does anyone look up the sources of these citations – and some tend to be quite a stretch.
Obama has pretty much dropped all pretense that he’s citing anything. In the ad, he claims his health care plan saves $2500 for a typical family. The source of this figure? BarackObama.com. And how do we know his housing plan cracks down on crooked lenders? Once again, it says so at his website, BarackObama.com. Certainly, a rock-solid source.
To see how noted independent health care expert Barack Obama comes to this $2,500 figure, his plan can be read here.Â The plan includes groundbreaking initiatives such as:
Affordable premiums, co-pays and deductibles. Participants will be charged fair premiums and minimal co-pays for deductibles for preventive services.
Yep, that should about do it.
Now if only I could get BarackObama.com to tell me that I needed a new flat screen TV. Then I could cite it when I make my pitch to my wife.
Filed under: Elections — Christian Schneider @ 7:42 pm
After seeing Mike Huckabee this morning, I was fired up to go see the First Black President (Bill Clinton), whose wife might actually lose the the presidency to the Second Black President (Barack Obama). Sure, Huckabee is a great speaker, but Bill Clinton is Bill Clinton. If you saw Mike Huckabee in a Denny’s, you’d say to yourself “hey, there’s Mike Huckabee,” and go on eating your huevos rancheros. Bill Clinton is the former leader of the free world – for 8 years, from what I understand.
I was interested in seeing how rough Clinton would get with Obama. In Wisconsin, Obama isn’t a candidate – Obama is a way of life. It’s clear Wisconsin is getting the South Carolina treatment from the Clintons – Hillary looks ahead to more favorable states, while Bill stays behind and takes shots at The Chosen One.
This morning, I told my 4-year old daughter (who first endorsed Obama, then Clinton, now McCain) that I was going to see Hillary’s husband. I then threw in, as an afterthought, “oh yeah, he used to be president, too.” Then I realized how crazy that must sound to a 4-year old. She probably thinks there’s a pool of, like, three people that are allowed to run for president. It doesn’t help that Hillary’s husband was sandwiched by a father and son. Nuts.
Clinton’s speech was held in a barn. Literally. The Stock Pavilion on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison is a campus building where livestock shows are held. When I showed up at 12:30 (show time was 1:30, so I thought I’d get there early so I didn’t get Obama’d), there were probably 50 to 100 people in line. It became clear to me, however, that the wait to get in was going to be outside in the 25 degree weather. I thought I’d tough it out, just to get a real sense of what attending one of these events is for the regular folk. I mean, any press person can hop from event to event – it takes determination to stick it out in freezing cold weather.
In front of me in line was a group of giggling college girls, not all of them Clinton supporters. One of them actually had a Barack Obama ringtone on her phone. When she got a call, her phone boomed, “YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!” The girls struck up an interesting political conversation. One said she thought McCain was creepy, and didn’t like him “because he’d probably die.” She said she might vote for him if he picked Condoleezza Rice as his running mate. Another girl, excited to see Bill Clinton, said “what if I get to touch him?” No joke really necessary there.
The wait went on and on, as did the freezing cold. After about 45 minutes, I felt like the muscles in my legs had the texture of beef jerky. The line grew to about 100 yards long, although dozens of people cut in line right up to the front. These people were easy to spot – they’d start out in the street, sizing up the line. They would then flip open their cell phone and pretend to call someone at the front of the line. Finally, they would start waving to their supposed “friend,” and begin working their way through the crowd. At least 20 people pulled the same maneuver, causing a bit of friction among the people who had been freezing there for an hour.
As we waited in line outside, several Hillary volunteers began canvassing the crowd with clipboards to get people to “sign in.” They implied that you had to sign up to get in to the event, which I knew was complete nonsense. Yet it seemed that hundreds of people complied, so best of luck to them getting off that mailing list.
Finally, the Clinton campaign provided some much-needed hope. A front door flew open, and with it the smell of cow manure from the pavilion. This was the most welcome cow manure smell ever – but also likely served as a harbinger for the speech we were about to hear inside. (I’ll be here all week, folks.)
As I walked in the door and got patted down, I noticed that the sign up tables were being staffed primarily by attractive, thin, well-dressed young women. I felt ashamed of myself for immediately assuming they were from out of town. One of them slapped a Hillary sticker on my chest, which I didn’t necessarily mind. I’m probably third in line to being the next Hillary Clinton campaign manager, anyway. When in the Stock Pavilion, do as the cows do, as they say…
Once inside, I got a good look at the almost-empty pavilion. I was told it seats about 2,000 people. The gray, concrete seats form a disinviting bowl around the livestock area. I guess if your clientele is mainly livestock, there’s really no need to go for aesthetic charm in a barn. The floor, naturally, is all dirt. The aluminum ceiling is painted black, with large metal beams holding it up. The press area is roped off in the middle of the dirt area, and ten cameras are already set up on a large platform.
As the people file in, it is clear that one of the most important jobs for Hillary’s staff is to get the right people behind the podium, in camera range. It appears that one of the best strategies for placement behind Clinton is to be in a group wearing similarly-colored t-shirts. AFSCME union workers wearing their signature green shirts were all herded up to the front. The red t-shirt wearing “non-partisan” AARP of Wisconsin members were seated to the lower right behind the podium. I’m 100% sure I could start a group demanding thicker and fuller mustaches, get some friends to wear the same purple t-shirt, and we’d be plopped right behind the podium at the next Hillary event. Viva la Mustache!
Aside from the t-shirt wearers, there appears to be a hierarchy of who gets to be human wallpaper at these events. The pecking order of who gets to sit up front behind the podium for Democratic events seems to be: 1. Veteran wearing a hat; 2. Anyone in a wheelchair; 3. People wearing similarly-colored t-shirts; 4. Anyone wearing some kind of ethnic clothing.
With regard to #4: A young man wearing a Puerto Rico shirt was shuffled up to the front by one of Hillary’s staffers. As a test, I think people should start showing up to these events in over-the-top ethnic attire. You’d watch one of Bill Clinton’s speeches and see an Italian guy with a big curly mustache flipping a pizza, some people wearing lederhosen gulping beer, and some samurai warriors eating egg rolls.
Up in the crowd, a cute girl wearing a tight t-shirt is holding a heart-shaped sign that says “BILL, WILL YOU BE MY VALENTINE?” This is EXACTLY what Clinton needs at one of his rallies. This would be like an Obama supporter showing up at an Obama rally with a sign that said “Hey, Barack – WANNA DO SOME BLOW?”
Some of the young crowd members around me start to chatter about politics. One Hillary supporter actually says he doesn’t mind McCain because he thinks given McCain’s POW experience, that he won’t rush the U.S. into war – since he knows first-hand the toll it takes on soldiers. I almost had to pinch myself to see if I actually was at a political rally. Certainly the last place you expected to hear a level-headed comment. It’s like seeing the Pope in a strip club.
The girl behind me said she was going to call her sister and brag, because her sister is a huge Bill Clinton fan. In fact, she’s such a fan, her sister named her cat “Clinton.” Again, the jokes write themselves.
Finally, some unidentified woman got up on stage to remind us that in addition to today being Valentine’s Day, tomorrow is a day that’s equally as important – Susan B. Anthony’s birthday! If I now have to go buy my wife some Susan B. Anthony candy and flowers, me and that broad are going to fight.
She went on to say how much Hillary had fought for “kids’ issues.” I started wondering what these “kids’ issues” might be. The biggest issue my son seems to have is not being able to get Mr. Potato Head’s nose on straight. If Hillary can come over and do that for him, she might get his vote. She also remarked how successful Hillary has been at “strengthening women.” Presumably, this was in Hillary’s brief career as a personal trainer.
This woman, whose name I will likely never know, said that while George W. Bush had promised to “invest” in renewable fuels, Hillary had promised to “re-invest” in renewable fuels. So for those of you at home who need to update your liberal language dictionaries, the order of commitment to expanded government programs is now:
On came Congresswoman Hilda Solis of California, who was supposed to impress us because… she came all the way from California! This point is made about five times during the speeches. But I can guarantee no part of Hilda Solis’ trip to Wisconsin was as unpleasant as the time I just spent waiting outside the pavilion. The crowd remains unimpressed, and provides milquetoast applause.
Solis recalled a time long ago in 1992, when Hillary Clinton came to her Congressional district to help her win her first election. “I said to myself then,” said Solis, “that this woman was going somewhere.” Of course, Hillary was about to become the first lady, as her husband was running for President. Thanks, Nostradamus.
Solis pushed the fact that Hillary is going to fight “climate change.” It was wise of her not to say Hillary’s going to fight “global warming” to a crowd that had just spent freezing their asses off for more than an hour outside. “Climate change” lets Democrats claim that any time the needle moves, something’s wrong.
Finally, Solis took a shot at “Milwaukee right wing radio,” saying that “some host” told people the Clinton event in Waukesha was postponed. Without knowing what had happened, I immediately knew who she was talking about, and how likely her charge was to be completely made up. As it turns out, it was.
Before Solis exited, she demanded a “big round of applause for Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk!” The crowd immediately groaned, and Falk, over on the side of the podium, cracked a big smile. “…and President Bill Clinton!” added Solis. The crowd stood and cheered their rock star.
Falk approached the podium, and began talking about Hillary. She said Hillary Clinton was the “first presidential candidate to have a plan for the economy,” which made me chuckle. As if Barack Obama was sitting around a month ago, turned to his advisors and said “Hillary keeps talking about ‘the economy.’ What’s all that ‘economy’ talk about?”
Falk introduces Bill Clinton, who cuts a radiant figure on stage. He is thin, tan, and appears energetic. He launches into a criticism of Republicans’ health care policies. “Raise your hand if you know someone who doesn’t have health care,” he implores the crowd. Nearly everyone does. He reiterates his support for universal health care. Later, he will likely be surprised to realize that he was actually President for 8 years, and never enacted universal health care. No need to point that out now, though – he’s on a roll.
Knowing he has to be extremely subtle in his attacks against Obama, Clinton gingerly rolls out the newest talking point. “Solutions are better than speeches,” he says, intimating that while Obama is a great speaker, he’s short on accomplishments. Much of his talk focuses on this point. (The full speech will likely be available on the internet soon, so there’s no need to go into great detail about its content.)
Clinton’s speech rambles on for a while, and the crowd begins to lose a little air. The guy behind the podium who was inexplicably waving a copy of Clinton’s autobiography in the air for the first 20 minutes of the speech has ceased. Clinton says Hillary is going to help the “victims” of the subprime lending crisis. He says one of his wife’s basic tenets is that we should make the world better “for our grandchildren.” Finally, someone has the guts to look out for the grandkids. He tries to peddle the line that New York State is actually very Republican, and Hillary helps those people anyway. He says the way to turn the economy around is through a better environment. (On the way out of the speech, I ask a squirrel for a job, and he hands me a business card and tells me he’ll get back to me.)
At one point, Clinton looks like he’s going to make a personal concession. “Full disclosure…” he says. Now when someone says “full disclosure,” they’re generally about to tell you something that conflicts with their eventual point. Something like “full disclosure – I have bought several Michael Bolton albums, but I think he doesn’t have any talent.” Something like that. Instead, Clinton’s point is something like, “full disclosure – Hillary thinks we should take care of veterans.” And that’s it. Somewhere, the devious anti-veteran interest groups are shaking their fists.
Clinton closed his speech out by bragging about the $13 million Hillary has raised since Super Tuesday two weeks ago. Obama has raised $32 million in the last month. He said that was enough “to make this a contest.” Obviously, Clinton is pitching his wife as a large underdog – a claim the polls tend to bear out. He ends his speech by saying Hillary is “a problem solver.” I’ll be sure to call her with questions about my Algebra homework.
At this point, I had been standing for four hours. Clinton descended on my side of the barrier, where I was only about three people deep. He reached into the crowd, which surged forward to meet him. His hand actually swung right by my head. I reached up, shook his hand, and bolted.
I walked 20 minutes in the snow back to my car, only to find that I had become the “victim” of a parking ticket. Time to call Hillary Clinton for help.
Filed under: Elections — Christian Schneider @ 7:39 pm
As I approached the Concourse Hotel in Madison this morning, I noticed something strange. Parking spots. A major presidential candidate was speaking here this morning, and there were empty parking spots right across the street. There may have been even more had the Huckabus not been taking up three of them.
Huckabee faces an impossible road in the Republican primary. John McCain will be the GOP nominee, yet Huckabee soldiers on with little money and no chance. As the Robbie Fulks song says, he’s “forgotten but not gone.”
Yet one of the reasons Huckabee is still standing is his preternatural speaking ability – which is why I was excited to go see him. The hotel banquet room at the Concourse is about half full when I roll in. I eyeball the crowd and put it between 150 and 200 people. (Later, Wispolitics.com would estimate the crowd at 500, which I think is wildly overstated.)
A couple of Huckabee’s campaign workers circle the room. Having worked dozens of campaigns myself, it’s easy to spot a campaign worker. They always have an ill-fitting suit that probably actually looked good when the campaign started – yet months of late nights and junk food have shrunk it two sizes. They have sunken eyes, the complexion of chalk, and no will to live.
Some unidentifiable country music begins to play in the background. Country music and Republican politics now, unfortunately, go hand-in-hand like cheese curds and ranch dressing. After about two songs, I call my sister to make sure we’re actually not married.
I ran into Steve Eggleston, who got some much-deserved national publicity for his post pointing out that McCain only needed 24 percent of the vote from here on out to win the nomination.Â National Review was all over it.Â Well done.
One of the things I notice about the event is the lack of security. There are a couple guys talking into their sleeves, but no pat downs or coat checks on the way in. I chat with a reporter and we agree that we shouldn’t check the polls to see who’s winning the race, we just need to figure out how many secret service people are assigned to each campaign. Huckabee’s lack of security detail befitted his long-shot status.
One of the down sides of the New York Giants beating the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl is that it allows Huckabee to stand up and compare his situation to that of the underdog Giants. Apparently, Huckabee used this talking point in a Wisconsin speech yesterday, and it went over like a lead balloon. He had likely forgotten that the Giants had beaten the Packers in the NFC Championship game, which is still a sore subject in the Dairy State. He should have focused on a more pleasant topic, like incest.
Huckabee hits the stage, introduced by Tim Michels – who reportedly ran for something once. Apparently, there’s evidence on the internet of this. Michels says that while talk radio has gone after Huckabee for not being conservative, Huckabee has been endorsed by the Minutemen. Well, that settles it.
Huckabee starts his speech with a smart move – by appealing to Wisconsin’s desire for national press. He says that if McCain wins, Wisconsin will be forgotten – yet if Wisconsin goes to Huckabee, the national press will blather on about the Badger State ad nauseam. There’s nothing Wisconsin residents crave more than positive press about their state. There seems to be a burning desire to be nationally relevant – and for reasons other than people having sex with corpses.
Huckabee went on to tell a story about singing the National Anthem at Lambeau Field during the 2004 Bush campaign. I stood near the back of the room, which made me feel suspiciously like Travis Bickle at a Palantine rally. Fortunately, my mohawk has grown back in.
He uses his big applause line about how he wants to get rid of the IRS (it might actually be easier to pass a bill through Congress that eliminates the letters “I,” “R,” and “S” from the English language). He indicates his support for a constitutional amendment to protect the unborn. When making a point about protecting life, he begins to cite the Declaration of Independence – obviously about to reference the guarantee of “life.” On the way to that point, he says “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” and some woman begins clapping wildly by herself. Apparently, she was a big fan of Self-Evidence. Woo! Huckabee ignored her and made his way to the intended applause line.
When discussing valuing human life, Huckabee used an example that I thought was really good. He pointed out that in the field of battle, our soldiers go out of their way to save their wounded comrades, because we do value life so much. That contrasted nicely with his portrayal of militant Islam, who sends children out to die for the cause. I hadn’t heard the whole sanctity of life argument posed that way before, and thought it was a nice touch.
Huckabee pointed out that he was the first male in his bloodline to graduate from high school. I never understood how this was an effective talking point. Should be give politicians credit for the fact that their family members are uneducated? Should I be ashamed that my father is a lawyer? Wait – don’t answer that.
The applause dies down as Huckabee goes on, until he gets to immigration, which perks the crowd up. He then introduces a 14-year old kid who claims to have made 1,000 calls on Huckabee’s behalf. The crowd oohs and ahhhs, while I cringe. How does this kid not have time to do regular 14-year old kid stuff? Buy that kid a Playstation. Obviously, his family didn’t get the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition this week – that little guy would have spent more time in the bathroom than on the phone.
The single most asked question of Huckabee these days is “why are you still in the race?” But when you see the flood of press that still follows him around, you can understand why. When is Mike Huckabee going to ever have a national stage like this again? Politicians like to be heard – why wouldn’t Huckabee keep talking as long as the media are paying attention?
In closing, Huckabee has said he’s staying around until the convention. Someone call Mitt Romney and ask how that promise went.
Filed under: Elections — Christian Schneider @ 8:25 am
In a sea of fascinating storylines having to do with the 2008 presidential race, I think Barack Obama’s troubles with Latino voters has to be among the most interesting. According to some reports, Obama lost the Hispanic vote in places like California and Arizona by nearly 40 percent. Yet nobody has really provided a decent explanation as to why that might be the case. Most media reports gloss over any real reasons, because they may be afraid at what they find. In fact, by reporting that “Hispanic voters won’t vote for Obama” without providing a rationale, it really stains the reputation of Latinos and brands them as bigots.
New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, himself of Hispanic origin, took a weak stab at it by saying Latino voters appreciated the fact that the Clintons appointed Hispanics to cabinet positions. This, of course, is complete nonsense – if there’s one trait that brings Americans of all nationalities together, it is a complete lack of knowledge of anything regarding cabinet appointees.
Last night, after my Obama moment, my buddy and I went to have a few beers. As is our custom, we left the bar at about 11:00 and headed to our favorite Mexican restaurant on Madison’s west side. (Here’s a hint – you are able to obtain a burrito as big as your head there – provided your head isn’t freakishly large.) As we sat down to inhale our steak burritos, I happened to catch a glimpse of a “Voz Latina” newspaper. On the front page, there was a huge picture of Barack Obama, accompanied by this story:
Obama: Indocumentados no son responsables de problemas economicos
“Atributir esos problemas a los inmigrantes es buscar un chivo expiatorio”
LOS ANGELES – El precandidato democrata Barack Obama sostuvo el jueves que la desocupacion y la inseguridad economica no son generados por la presencia de indocumentadoes en el pais.
I took three years of Spanish in high school, so I can pretty much get what that is saying – Obama is reaching out to Hispanic voters by telling them illegal immigrants aren’t the cause of America’s economic problems. But it was bugging me that I couldn’t understand exactly what it was saying. For all I knew, Obama made this statement about illegal immigrants, then started juggling flaming meatballs. So to figure out what the article said, I asked for help.
I walked up to the two young men at the front of the store – one was working the grill and one was working the register. I asked the guy at the register if he could read the first part of it for me “en ingles.” He chuckled a little, then looked at the front page of the paper that I handed him. It was clear he didn’t speak much ingles himself. He started out, “uhhhhhh…. inmigracion…,” and then he stopped. He started pointing to the picture of Obama and saying “NO, NO, NO!” I asked him if he liked Obama, and he again said “NO, NO, NO!” (Of course, he may have been doing an Amy Winehouse impersonation.)
He repeatedly pointed to Obama’s picture, and started saying “No inmigracion.” His buddy cooking the burritos agreed with him. He then pointed to a picture of George W. Bush on the page, and said “Yes.”
It didn’t take too long to decipher what he was saying. He didn’t like Obama because he thought Obama was too weak on immigration. These guys (who essentially admitted to us that their legal status was, um…. questionable) had come to this country and made a decent living for themselves. Now, they are all for shutting the borders down, knowing there’s always going to be a poor Mexican worker willing to do their job for less money. And they really don’t want the competition. That’s why they both had such a favorable opinion of George W. Bush – his plan let them stay here, and eliminated the competition from the South.
I asked one of the guys (in my broken Spanglish) if he had any familia back in Mexico that he wants to come to the U.S. He said he did, but they can stay there as long as he sends them money. Basically, he doesn’t want to upset the system he has going for him right now. He also said that Mexico is on the rise, and that soon all the white Americans will want to live there. He mentioned that all the Americans that do live there have really big houses, and that he doesn’t like that.
All in all, those guys were really honest and forthright about their views on inmigracion. And they seemed ecstatic that someone would actually care what they thought. But our discussion was fascinating, in that it started to explain some of the Hispanic dislike of Obama – something the media might pick up if they would just go ask regular Latinos what they think.Â
Filed under: Elections — Christian Schneider @ 12:19 am
Tonight, I stood face to face with Barack Obama.Â
My lefty buddies implored me to head down to the Obama rally at the Kohl Center here in Madison.Â Me being the political enthusiast I am, I agreed – thinking, at the very least, I’d get some good fodder for a blog post.
I met my buddy Barrett and his wife JJ at the coffee shop they own on Regent Street.Â The plan was to walk down to the Kohl Center from there.Â We had heard the line to get in was enormous, so we thought we’d wait as long as possible to head down.Â Rumor had it that speakers would begin at 8:00, so we decided to walk down at 7:30.
As we approached the corner of Park and Regent (right next to the Kohl Center), we were met by some people who said that they weren’t letting anyone else in to the rally.Â I couldn’t believe my ears – the Kohl Center seats nearly 20,000 people.Â But they said they were turned away.Â One guy said he had talked to a cop who said Obama’s caravan would be driving by that very corner soon.Â The fact that the police had blocked this area off gave this guy’s story some credibility.
Suddenly, down Regent Street, someone saw some cop cars and buses coming.Â One could only guess that this was Obama’s entourage.Â I figured there would be a bunch of cars, then Obama’s limo, with tinted windows, and the whole thing would be a lost cause.Â But we waited.
A police car drove by us and took a right.Â Then a large black SUV took the same right.Â I looked in the passenger side back seat, and saw Obama smiling and waving.Â He was ten feet from me.Â He waved at me.Â I waved back.
The women in our little group shrieked with delight.Â Barrett’s wife almost melted at the sight of the now-presidential frontrunner.Â Previous to tonight, she had fed us a line about how she was undecided in the Democratic primary.Â But it’s pretty clear that Obama smiling at her sealed the deal.Â Apparently, the leader of the free world will be chosen based not on any of his actual plans, but on the fact that he drove within ten feet of some adoring female fans.
As a counter, Barrett and I decided that we will fawn in a similar way over Hillary Clinton whenever she makes an appearance in Madison.Â Imagine how ridiculous that would be – Hillary waves at me and suddenly I become putty in her hands.Â Certainly the best way to pick a president.
Having been turned away from the Kohl Center, we decided to watch the speech downtown at the Old Fashioned restaurant.Â It was eerie how the whole bar stopped to watch the speech – unlike anything I had seen.Â I couldn’t believe, based on the video from the speech, how many people were actually there.Â I had read a press report about Obama’s popularity that cited an attendance of 6,000 at a speech he had given in Missouri.Â If he truly did fill up the Kohl Center, this speech had to triple that.Â Absolutely amazing.
Barrett joked that Mike Huckabee will probably hold his first Madison campaign rally atÂ the Old Country Buffet on East Washington.Â I couldn’t disagree.