Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Love wins the day

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Helen Zia, one of my Asian American activist icons, was legally wedded to Lia Shigemura, her longtime partner, in the state of California.

Additionally, George Takei ("sulu" of Star Trek) was in line for an application for marriage in Los Angeles.

Thank god people can finally legally have the same rights as everybody else in one more state in the nation. Now for the 48 other states . . .

(Yes, I know NY Gov. David Patterson has approved allowing same sex married couples who move to NY State be recognized - this is just the first step, not the same thing as equality. But a great first step it is!)

For now, love wins the day.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Post partisanship and the apocalypse?

The National Review's blog the Campaign Spot gets a shout out from dailykos on debunking the vicious and false smear that Michelle Obama's on videotape calling people "whitey" and then asks for help in debunking more rumors about Obama by getting a copy of his birth certificate.

A sign of the apocalypse or of the post partisan politics of the Obama campaign?

Some conservatives like Bruce Bartlett, former Reagan advisor, think that Obama will do more to push certain conservative ideals like school vouchers than any conservative could actually achieve. And of course true conservatives are pissed like hell about the war spending and Dubya's crazy out of control deficit creation.

Here's a snippet from his very interesting and thought-provoking piece in the New Republic:

Milton and Rose Friedman's son, David, is signed up with the cause on the grounds that he sees Obama as the better vessel for his father's cause. Friedman is convinced of Obama's sympathy for school vouchers--a tendency that the Democratic primaries temporarily suppressed. Scott Flanders, the CEO of Freedom Communications--the company that owns The Orange County Register--told a company meeting that he believes Obama will accomplish the paramount libertarian goals of withdrawing from Iraq and scaling back the Patriot Act.

Libertarians (and other varieties of Obamacons, for that matter) frequently find themselves attracted to Obama on stylistic grounds. That is, they believe that he has surrounded himself with pragmatists, some of whom (significantly) come from the University of Chicago. As the blogger Megan McArdle has written, "His goal is not more government so that we can all be caught up in some giant, expressive exercise of collectively enforcing our collective will on all the other people standing around us in the collective; his goal is improving transparency and minimizing government intrusion while rectifying specific outcomes."

In nearly every quarter of the movement, you can find conservatives irate over the Iraq war--a war they believe transgresses core principles. And it's this frustration with the war--and McCain's pronouncements about victory at any cost--that has led many conservatives into Obama's arms. Francis Fukuyama, the neoconservative theorist, recently told an Australian journalist that he would reluctantly vote for Obama to hold the Republican Party accountable "for a big policy failure" in Iraq. And he seems to view Obama as the best means for preserving American power, since Obama "symbolizes the ability of the United States to renew itself in a very unexpected way."

So between this lovefest and the wildfires in California and the floods in the Midwest, is the apocalypse really coming? Cos if someone knows, I'd appreciate a heads up. Bucket list and all, y'knows?

Veepstakes shootout

Ugh, this whole debacle over Jim Johnson being forced to resign as head of Obama's veep search committee is really obnoxious. Just because he was involved with Countrywide.

[Pause. Take a breather.]

I do not love what greedy individuals involved with the mortgage meltdown and now credit crisis have done to this country. How many people have lost their homes and their jobs. But there is a difference between someone representing military juntas and someone doing deals around mortgages.

Now, the question of whether it was smart for the Obama campaign to pick someone who is very DC insider to head up the search committee is a whole different question given his emblematic "DC outsider" brand. But I understand wanting to have someone with a lot of experience at this thing, because it is arguably one of the most important decisions that you make in a presidential campaign.

Cos god willing you win the thing and then they are your partner and deputy in trying to push back all the years of manure that Bush II loaded on this nation.

But here's the other thing: Johnson is not staff. He is a volunteer - ultimately a very high level volunteer, but a volunteer none the less. And one of the crazy things about this campaign is just high high profile it is and high thoroughly people involved with it are scoured compared to the McCain campaign, compared to previous campaigns.

Marc Ambinder, who I deeply respect (and thanks for bringing back comments!) sounds sad that this is a war of attrition. I agree, a lot of it doesn't make sense, but the media are complicit in being the bloodhounds, as are we all. By asking for and demanding transparency in this internet age, there is so much information available about anyone online.

So we become mini oppo researchers sitting at home and we feed the beast. We all want increased transparency, but when does it stop? For those of us involved in campaigns, even as low level volunteers, would we want that harsh a light shined on our activities? Or would we also want some level of privacy?

Consider S. R. Siddarth, a former college student who helped bring down a sitting US Senator. I don't think he thought he would be at the center of a press frenzy, and over being insulted. And gods, he was only a college student! Imagine if you were him and didn't want all the press attention afterwards?

Uncomfortable, no?

At the end of the day, I think we should focus our energies on candidates, and to some degree staff. Unless candidates consort with killers or pedophiles or things of that nature.

My only remaining question is why did the campaign give over Johnson that quickly? The RNC should know that it's not an equivalent scalp, and now they are just thirsting for more blood. Sharks sense blood and weakness and attack. Man or woman up folks, this ain't over yet.


Thursday, June 05, 2008

Dean to stay at head of DNC

Obama is keeping Dean as Chair of the DNC, which is a smart move and a way not to ruffle additional feathers at this time. Sure, Dean isn't well-beloved by the Clintonistas or Rahm Emmanuel, but he has the loyalty of state party chairs and activists who finally for once got some staff on hand.

This arrangement works because Obama is really all about a 30+ state strategy or a strategy where you fight for most of the states and you campaign hard in untraditional areas, and Dean was all about going onto Wisconsin and YEARRRRGH!

I love Dean and Obama together - a priceless combination.

I'm pretty sure Paul Tewes will take over once Obama is elected though.

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