Thursday, August 18, 2011

Draft Dr. Christina Romer for Obama's 2012 Campaign

Hi Newshackers,

I don't know how to email or call President Obama's campaign brain trust directly, so I'm publishing this inspiration here hoping they will hear about it.

TO: Messrs. Jim Messina and David Plouffe,

I’m writing you today to say that I hope this idea will have already occurred to you, but in case it hasn’t, or hasn’t yet, I highly recommend that you approach Prof. Christina Romer, the former Chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, about taking a leave of absence from her teaching duties at Berkley to campaign for the President full time.

Yesterday, I watched Dr. Romer on CNN in a long and detailed discussion with Wolf Blitzer about the administration’s economic plans, the coming jobs initiative, the Republican obstructions in Congress, and a number of other financial/political issues. Wolf pressed her about many of the right wing’s erroneous assertions and outright mis-representations, and I was struck by how pleasantly and clearly she made her points and defeated the misrepresentations of the right wing. Her facility with the facts and with the realities of the national economy made her totally comfortable fielding extremist viewpoints and combating economic misrepresentations. While smiling!! Beaming, in fact. I also saw her recent appearance on Real Time With Bill Maher and she was great there too. Poised and humorous. The camera loves her!

This woman is the spokesperson the President needs on the campaign trail combating the extreme economic views espoused by the right wing. Her voice and persona will insure that her message will get heard and considered by the mostly white independents and conservatives the President is targeting. People who immediately stop listening to most well-known Democratic politicians, liberal pundits, or spokespeople for liberal organizations, as soon as they started talking.

Try to get her seen on Fox News and on other conservative outlets like Bill O’Reilly. She’ll be so different than most of the Democratic party and liberal/progressive faces they see that they’ll be fascinated. They’ll watch her and think, “She’s a lady. She’s really well-spoken. She’s a real expert. Hmmm. She makes a lot of sense.” What they will also be thinking, even if they wouldn’t admit it to themselves is, “She’s white like me. She’s sincere. She believes Obama’s strategy is the right one. I need to think about this some more.”

Some may say I’m “playing a race card” or being a racist in suggesting this strategy. I don’t think so. I’m simply pointing out that these particular targets need a soft touch from someone they feel is like them to win them over. Stridency will drive them away. I think the President understands this.

I would suggest that she start in this role immediately. I think her presence and good sense will need some time to break through to these people, but I’m confident she can.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

President Obama Sets The Trap - "Public Amnesia" no longer works

Hi Newshackers,

I'm back!! Explaining my absence from the blogosphere since the Presidential election would be boring and off-topic. Suffice it to say a death in the family over the holidays. But, I'm back.

It seems like everywhere I turn the past week news reporters and commentators are asking if Barack Obama is being too bi-partisan, too conciliatory to the Republican Senators and Representatives he has been courting on Capitol Hill. "What's he waiting for? Why doesn't he just ram his programs through?" The conventional wisdom seems to be he's just following his bi-partisan rhetoric now and will abandon it in the Senate fight. This idea seems to make many on the left hopeful. I don't think he will get tough yet.

I haven't seen one report or comment that discusses what I think he's doing, and I wonder why I'm alone.

As I see it, though Mr. Obama is now President, he has not stopped campaigning. He is campaigning in the media to further increase Democratic majorities in the 2010 elections. Obama thinks strategically, not just tactically. Successful leadership of the Democratic Party requires that he constantly think about how to increase the Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress. To do this, he's offering the Republicans all the rope they will take to enable them to hang themselves individually, and their party as a whole, in the public mind. By very visibly demonstrating bi-partisanship and inviting Republicans to cooperate, he has baited a political trap for them and they are swallowing the bait whole.

Obama knew their election losses would tempt them into the public backlash we are seeing against his programs. Programs the large majority of Americans support. The Republican leadership's current attempts to minimize or prevent passage of the financial stimulus package demonstrates further, as though their crushing election losses in November weren't enough, how politically tone-deaf the party is in the face of our dire financial problems and the general mood of the country.

Campaigning or filibustering against a large and effective economic stimulus program at this dark time is something akin to political suicide, but that's exactly what Republicans are doing. It appears they desperately need to show their remaining base that they are hanging tough on principle. It may also help them cope psychologically with their relative powerlessness in the new Congress, after years of Republican domination.

Their reactions so far are very short-sighted politically, and media culture ignorant. They take their huff and puff conservative stands today presuming that if these stands prove unpopular later, they can count on "public amnesia" about their positions taken today to enable them to move to the correct side of those issues in other ways later, when and if it should it become necessary.

However, the "public amnesia" phenomenon on which they continue to depend no longer exists. If it still did exist, John McCain might have won the election.

It was once the rule, but no more. Now, the Internet and search engines and the 24 hour news cycle have vaporized this concept. Every political word uttered in public today is recorded, often in video, and commented upon. All the news reports, articles, blog posts, etc., about most public people and topics are available instantaneously. The net means voters can find out quickly and easily if your political pronouncements and voting record are consistent or if they change over time. New young voters and reformed cynics, energized by Mr. Obama's election, will stay interested in, informed about, and engaged in political life.

In the campaigns leading to the 2010 elections, sixteen months from now, the voters won't care why they did these things, but the Democrats will be sure that John and Jane Q will remember that the Republican Party, and the Republican incumbent in their district, obstructed hope and recovery resources at a time when these are desperately needed and in short supply. Regardless of the country's economic condition in 2010, many who are being, and still will be, hurt by the depression will remember, and Republicans will be blamed for obstructing the path back to prosperity.

And the public will punish the Republicans further. Political suicide, anyone?


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hallelujah: Obama wins Presidency

Hi Newshackers,

As you probably know, I'm thrilled with the result!! The original plan was that I party the evening away with friends. Instead, I'm stuck at home with a cold that I don't want to give to anyone. So, here's my virtual celebration of a historic election!


Update at 12:45 AM: I was thrilled, but I had no one to cheer with. My wife had been skeptical. She had been bracing for disappointment all night, and already in her nightgown. I wanted to cheer, she was just relieved.

Our dear neighbors, Cindy and Holden, ran our bell at 11:00 PM EST with a bottle of champagne right after I sent the message above. They didn't care that I was sick, they wanted to celebrate and they just didn't kiss me. We celebrated the win, the joy and hope it represents, and the future. We could hear cries of joy and support coming from apartments all around us. It was amazing.


Friday, October 24, 2008

From HuffPo: Jim Wallis: My Personal 'Faith Priorities' for this Election

Hi Newshackers,

Today's sermon comes from the book of Huffington. You can read Jim Wallis' post today, My Personal 'Faith Priorities' for this Election, there and I have included the entire text below. I sent the entire text to my mailing list to forward around, and I think Jim and Ariana will forgive the breach of property rights in this case.

Wallis' book "God's Politics" has become a classic of political thought in the years since its release in 2005. I believe his book has re-awakened the moral thinking of millions of Christians and Jews, and Muslims and followers of other faiths, as well. Succinctly, it calls on all people of faith to vote for all the Biblical moral values, not just those that politicians can twist for their own purposes.

If you know any independent or conservative people of faith, send them this post and ask them to really read it once before they vote. At worst, they won't. But, they probably will because people of faith are inherently curious about religious viewpoints. Imagine what may happen...


Jim Wallis: My Personal 'Faith Priorities' for this Election

In 2004, several conservative Catholic Bishops and a few megachurch pastors like Rick Warren issued their list of "non-negotiables," which were intended to be a voter guide for their followers. All of them were relatively the same list of issues: abortion, gay marriage, stem cell research, etc. None of them even included the word "poverty," only one example of the missing issues which are found quite clearly in the Bible. All of them were also relatively the same as official Republican Party Web sites of "non-negotiables." The political connections and commitments of the religious non-negotiable writers were quite clear.
I want to suggest a different approach this year and share my personal list of "faith priorities" that will guide me in making the imperfect choices that always confront us in any election year -- and suggest that each of you come up with your own list of "faith" or "moral" priorities for this election year and take them into the polling place with you.
After the last election, I wrote a book titled God's Politics. I was criticized by some for presuming to speak for God, but that wasn't the point. I was trying to explore what issues might be closest to the heart of God and how they may be quite different from what many strident religious voices were then saying. I was also saying that "God's Politics" will often turn our partisan politics upside down, transcend our ideological categories of Left and Right, and challenge the core values and priorities of our political culture. I was also trying to say that there is certainly no easy jump from God's politics to either the Republicans or Democrats. God is neither. In any election, we face imperfect choices, but our choices should reflect the things we believe God cares about if we are people of faith, and our own moral sensibilities if we are not people of faith. Therefore, people of faith, and all of us, should be "values voters" but vote all our values, not just a few that can be easily manipulated for the benefit of one party or another.
In 2008, the kingdom of God is not on the ballot in any of the 50 states as far as I can see. So we can't vote for that this year. But there are important choices in this year's election -- very important choices -- which will dramatically impact what many in the religious community and outside of it call "the common good," and the outcome could be very important, perhaps even more so than in many recent electoral contests.
I am in no position to tell anyone what is "non-negotiable," and neither is any Bishop or megachurch pastor, but let me tell you the "faith priorities" and values I will be voting on this year:

With more than 2,000 verses in the Bible about how we treat the poor and oppressed, I will examine the record, plans, policies, and promises made by the candidates on what they will do to overcome the scandal of extreme global poverty and the shame of such unnecessary domestic poverty in the richest nation in the world. Such a central theme of the Bible simply cannot be ignored at election time, as too many Christians have done for years. And any solution to the economic crisis that simply bails out the rich, and even the middle class, but ignores those at the bottom should simply be unacceptable to people of faith.

From the biblical prophets to Jesus, there is, at least, a biblical presumption against war and the hope of beating our swords into instruments of peace. So I will choose the candidates who will be least likely to lead us into more disastrous wars and find better ways to resolve the inevitable conflicts in the world and make us all safer. I will choose the candidates who seem to best understand that our security depends upon other people's security (everyone having "their own vine and fig tree, so no one can make them afraid," as the prophets say) more than upon how high we can build walls or a stockpile of weapons. Christians should never expect a pacifist president, but we can insist on one who views military force only as a very last resort, when all other diplomatic and economic measures have failed, and never as a preferred or habitual response to conflict.

"Choosing life" is a constant biblical theme, so I will choose candidates who have the most consistent ethic of life, addressing all the threats to human life and dignity that we face -- not just one. 30,000 children dying globally each day of preventable hunger and disease is a life issue. The genocide in Darfur is a life issue. Health care is a life issue. War is a life issue. The death penalty is a life issue. And on abortion, I will choose candidates who have the best chance to pursue the practical and proven policies which could dramatically reduce the number of abortions in America and therefore save precious unborn lives, rather than those who simply repeat the polarized legal debates and "pro-choice" and "pro-life" mantras from either side.
God's fragile creation is clearly under assault, and I will choose the candidates who will likely be most faithful in our care of the environment. In particular, I will choose the candidates who will most clearly take on the growing threat of climate change, and who have the strongest commitment to the conversion of our economy and way of life to a cleaner, safer, and more renewable energy future. And that choice could accomplish other key moral priorities like the redemption of a dangerous foreign policy built on Middle East oil dependence, and the great prospects of job creation and economic renewal from a new "green" economy built on more spiritual values of conservation, stewardship, sustainability, respect, responsibility, co-dependence, modesty, and even humility.

Every human being is made in the image of God, so I will choose the candidates who are most likely to protect human rights and human dignity. Sexual and economic slavery is on the rise around the world, and an end to human trafficking must become a top priority. As many religious leaders have now said, torture is completely morally unacceptable, under any circumstances, and I will choose the candidates who are most committed to reversing American policy on the treatment of prisoners. And I will choose the candidates who understand that the immigration system is totally broken and needs comprehensive reform, but must be changed in ways that are compassionate, fair, just, and consistent with the biblical command to "welcome the stranger."

Healthy families are the foundation of our community life, and nothing is more important than how we are raising up the next generation. As the father of two young boys, I am deeply concerned about the values our leaders model in the midst of the cultural degeneracy assaulting our children. Which candidates will best exemplify and articulate strong family values, using the White House and other offices as bully pulpits to speak of sexual restraint and integrity, marital fidelity, strong parenting, and putting family values over economic values? And I will choose the candidates who promise to really deal with the enormous economic and cultural pressures that have made parenting such a "countercultural activity" in America today, rather than those who merely scapegoat gay people for the serious problems of heterosexual family breakdown.

That is my list of personal "faith priorities" for the election year of 2008, but they are not "non-negotiables" for anyone else. It's time for each of us to make up our own list in these next 12 days. Make your list and send this on to your friends and family members, inviting them to do the same thing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Best Recent Political Comment: Governor Mike Easley of North Carolina

Hi Newshackers,

The most powerful TV political quote I've heard recently came from Governor Mike Easley (D) of North Carolina, in his appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show last night.

The Obama campaign should leap on this line, and Governor Easley's smooth delivery of it, and run it to death. It could trigger the Obama landslide for which many of us are hoping. It crystallizes the economic imperative for Obama and embraces conservative voters, who like McCain as a person, but can't accept what he has become politically.

Responding to Rachel's question about whether he was worried about a Bradley Effect on voters in his state, where people will say they are for Obama but then won't pull the lever for him because of his race, Governor Easley gave a great answer. Instead, he saw a high likelihood of a Reverse Bradley Effect.

"I was Down East in my state the other day and I saw a big pickup truck with shotgun in the gun rack, and two big Obama stickers in the windows. I think the message here is, 'I like McCain, but I love my job!'"

Rachel's interview with Governor Easley is about half way through this video

It's worth watching.


Monday, September 22, 2008

Candor About McCain and Conservatism: "A Conservative For Obama", by Wick Allison

Hi Newshackers,

All the uproar over our failing financial markets, and the political posturing and sloganeering from both parties about it, have focused the mainstream media on "the emerging crisis." I suppose this is to be expected. However, this seems to have obscured coverage of what I think may be the most important political news item I saw in the past week.

Thanks, Ann, for sending me this. Ann doesn't know any Republicans or conservatives, but was struck by the idea of a conservative supporting Obama for President. I was further struck that Wick Allison, the author, is a well-known, dyed-in-the-wool political conservative, a former Publisher of William F. Buckley's National Review, among other conservative bona fides.

I have heard and read occasional news reports speculating that Obama was gaining support among Independents, true pragmatic conservatives, and Libertarians, but until now I have dismissed these reports as just wishful thinking. However, after reading Mr. Allison's post, I'm wondering whether there is more to this trend than meets the eye?

Once you read this posting, you'll see why you should try to get the Independents, Conservatives, and Libertarians you know to read it. Allison reminds us what conservatism really is, and what it isn't. I know a number of people who say they are conservatives and I'm going to try to get them to read this article.



A Conservative For Obama
by Wick Allison

Mr. Allison is Publisher of D magazine in Dallas, Texas, and is a former Publisher of the National Review.

Quotes from Mr. Allison's post:

"But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don’t work. The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt. Facing this, John McCain pumps his “conservative” credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask."

"...Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history. I disagree with him on many issues. But those don’t matter as much as what Obama offers, which is a deeply conservative view of the world. Nobody can read Obama’s books (which, it is worth noting, he wrote himself) or listen to him speak without realizing that this is a thoughtful, pragmatic, and prudent man. It gives me comfort just to think that after eight years of George W. Bush we will have a president who has actually read The Federalist Papers."