Campaigns are Presidential Auditions – McCain Struggling

It was an unscheduled quick stop for the Bill Clinton campaign.  Cellphone service was terrible and the quick bathroom break for the bus occupants and the 20 minutes of rapid exchanges on pay phones would suit nicely as the traveling press was otherwise cut-off.  As the traveling team assembled the name Jennifer Flowers began circulating the stale air of the bus.  By the time cell service was available, everyone on the bus knew what everyone else knew and in what appeared to be a riot – reporters fought to get  information to their editors.

Not much time passed before there was a news wave worthy of a surfing competition; and, not long after that Bill Clinton’s denials had won over evidence.  There was no doubt in any ones mind that Clinton had engaged Flowers, but the Flowers promoters were not handling their end very well and the relationship appeared to be more of a professional engagement than it did an affair of the heart.  An apology to Mario Cuomo by Clinton was delivered because of a disparaging remark Clinton made on one of the tapes that Flowers secretly recorded of their phone calls as Rush Limbaugh became a household word badgering Clinton by playing the tapes on a loop.

Why the story?  Simple. This was a Presidential campaign that was led with extraordinary leadership  While the dynamics of the team may have been closer to tobacco auction with James Carville’s Tommy Gun Talking with Bayou Bullets – there is no doubt that Bill Clinton was calm, cool and collected.  He was all that one would expect of a world leader.  Calm, collected, thoughtful and nearly immune to shame.  While Clinton may have misplaced some requisite humility, it was clear to many Americans that anyone who could run a campaign with the hired guns of the media ground force pummeling him, as Limbaugh did daily, he was a natural leader.  His propensity for womanizing seemed to be more palatable to voters than four more years of the testosterone challenged George H. W. Bush, who ultimately managed to lose an election after winning a war, which sent bookies in Ireland reeling.  Perhaps the nation was tired of being talked to as though they were children by someone who they knew couldn’t give rat’s ass about their circumstances, and did it sounding like Mr. Rogers

Now fast forward to end of the Clinton Presidency – George W. Bush is in contention for the Republican Nomination – the Democratic convention is strictly pro forma, Gore is the de  facto nominee.  The neoconservative movement has become emboldened with each failed Clinton scandal.  Flowers, Jones, White-water, Vince Foster’s suicide – while ignoring some important facts – budget balanced, budget surplus (although is a total BS accounting term that means we actually owe less), unemployment down and every military engagement on Clinton’s watch was brief and successful.  The conflict in eight state-nations formerly known as Yugoslavia was brought to the beginning of an end.  Africa is still a distant drum, but even the political parisans are not going to challenge Clinton for limited or non-engagement.  The Clinton score sheet is excellent, NAFTA and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell hadn’t yet been rejected by the body politique as abysmal failures.

George W Bush comes out swinging, in fact, quite impressive.  He mows down his opponents and makes a rag doll out of John McCain.  This same John McCain, hero, maverick, but, there was not enough distance between the Keating 5 scandal and McCain yet.  The accusations of McCain fathering a black child, were merely a warning – the neocons were going to have him for lunch – and they did.  Meanwhile, back at the phony ranch of the Connecticut Prep school and Yale educated Howdy Doody of presidents – it wasn’t George Bush’s impressive leadership that out stepped McCain – it was McCain’s campaign and leadership skills in 2000. The fact that he didn’t actually win the election is another matter.

McCain’s lack of focus wasn’t apparent when he was told his dream of furthering the family legacy of his father and grandfather would not come to pass and that he would not be considered again for Flag rank in the Navy.  Decisively, he rowed the lifeboat to Arizona and immediately cashed in his chips and was all but handed a Congressional seat in the US House.  More public service and a new career.  What could be more admirable.  It was, he was. Irrespective of his politics or changing views he was effective.

But in the campaign against George W. Bush, the neocons were pushing their agenda and McCain was no neocon.  Not that he wouldn’t drink their scotch and smoke their cigars, but he wasn’t going to join their club.  He didn’t see the reason to do it – he had powerful group of supporters, although not any longer the compassionate Goldwater Republicans, they were Republican’s.  The insidious influence of Richard Perle, William Krystol and the “think tanks” they touted hadn’t yet coursed through all the arteries of the Republican Party until George W. Bush, day-dreaming of his legacy, propped the door open for them like an unconscious drunk on a bender.

McCain in 2000 though, brandished his expertise, and no one challenged that; after all, half the people in his gunsights had tickets to Canada ready while he was doing time in the Hanoi Hilton.  But even McCain’s patriotism and prisoner of war scars were no match for the Joe Six-pack crowd and the Bush jingoistic gymnastics.  A most baffling anomaly – John McCain, son of an Admiral, a former prisoner-of-war and decorated Viet Nam Vet, married to the Chairman of the largest Budweiser distributorship in the country – loses the nomination to the son of a President, delinquent Air Guardsman whom red-necks favored 4-1 for best drinking buddy.

They say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, but that may not be true, although they may not learn them well.  John McCain lacks more skill now than when he was thrown out of the ring by Bush.  He adopted new tricks to compensate, hired the a cadre of impressive lobbyists (a force with whom McCain casually cavorts) and by the time the Republican National Committee realized that their own candidate was accidentally going to be McCain – they brought all the fireworks and operatives that created the Bush presidency to McCain, Rove included.  Under McCain’s own leadership, he is essentially no match for the Obama organizational style in a fair fight.  To his detriment he has taken to lying.  Not the political overstatement or understatement that many are comfortable with, but rather, outright lies. More lies (2 videos).

While style is only an element of candidates campaign / leadership skill, it is abundantly clear that John McCain has a propensity for the unusual and that his campaign is more about marketing than governance.  What else could explain the pick of Sarah Palin as VP.  The obvious fact that she is a woman and considerably younger than McCain in order to deflect voter’s fears of McCain’s age were a marketing decision by his campaign seems to be imploding.  With more reversals than a high school foot-ball game, McCain’s weak grasp on economics and cadre of banker-advisers that  are reminiscent of a  Washington Mutual television ad, speaks volumes.   The McCain’s foolish move on Monday of airing a commercial trying to fix blame on the economic leadership of Obama was intolerable and dishonorable, much as we fear the disease inside the McCain campaign has metastasized and the audition is not going very well.

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Clinton and Clinton: Politics of Personal Self-Destruction

– The Almost Daily Binx, San Jose, CA; by Binx101

Night and Day

But the single most damaging elements of the Hillary campaign have been her own – usually unscripted – words.

Cole Porter may have immortalized the tune – singing of undying love; however the night and day of Obama and Clinton politics decry polar opposites with nary a shred of love.  While the differences between the two camps are dramatic – they are nonetheless, predictable.  On this Memorial Day week-end, replete with non-stop broadcasts of WWII themed cinema, one could envision the Clinton battleship intercom summoning damage control and launching countermeasures.  The sad fact, however, is that the damage to the Clinton battleship is directly attributable to poor seamanship and the most damaging blows have come from its own guns.

The Obama camp has issued only one official statement with regards to the latest Clinton gaffe, using June as a political month in which anything can happen, declaring it to have “no place in this race” and “unfortunate.” Of course, the arguably fatal allegory, including  turn-around historical events such as the tragic murder of RFK, has ignited incredible acrimony among mid-grounders and has launched a diving contest of Super-delegates off-the-fence.  The rebuke of Hillary’s incredibly insensitive comment has led many to question her campaign’s rhetoric of her Stately prowess.

Not unlike the Titanic, the Clinton battleship was outfitted with less life-boats than were necessary, because of a false sense of security regarding the ship’s integrity, structural superiority and quality of construction.  There was little consideration of the Captain’s and Crews’ seamanship to plot a course that would safely deliver its payload in an effective and meaningful manner, relying carelessly on outdated maps and retired Admirals to sail uncharted waters.  Many refer to this carelessness as a claim  of ‘entitlement’ that emanates from the bowels of the Democratic Leadership Committee – a modern study in political hubris. But the single most damaging elements of the Hillary campaign have been her own – usually unscripted – words.

Hillary Blames Obama Campaign – Bill Clinton: Plays the Pity Card

What we hear is Bill Clinton complaining that Hillary is paying for his sins

In a widely predicted flourish of countermeasures, Hillary Clinton accused Barack Obama of driving a misunderstanding regarding her latest episode of hoof-in-mouth disease, and the ensuing media melee.  Truth be told – Obama spokespersons were in unison around all media most demonstrably steering clear of the maelstrom created by Clinton’s own words.  Almost like clockwork, the Clinton machine of Democratic Dinosaurs has been reverting to type and offering arguments that the Obama campaign has shaped the media and general public’s perception of her comments.  If this were possible, we suggest that the Clinton campaign would have been over on February 5th, 2008.

Despite numerous comments by Barack Obama, supporting the legitimacy of a protracted primary race, thus offering no support to those demanding she drop out – the Clinton campaign has been relentless in launching ad hominem attacks against Obama and apparently engaging in paranormal mathematics.

Meanwhile, Bill Clinton has engaged in another dimension by declaring that Hillary Clinton is being treated unfairly.  Understandably, one contestant will win and one will lose, but to listen to Bill Clinton – the mixed race, Barack Hussein Obama has had more favorable treatment.  Not unlike his colleague and Clinton operative Gerri Ferraro, who decried that Obama already had an advantage because he was a black male ( a conclusion that may eventually earn Ferraro a well deserved psychological evaluation); Bill Clinton has begun singing a chorus of “Shame on you America for not handing this to Hillary on a silver platter.”

This in itself might be tolerable if not for the fact that Bill Clinton plunged our nation into neocon control of Congress because of his inability to politically manage the Democratic party under his control.  Then, with the judgment of a hormonally dysfunctional high school student, he engaged in sexual dalliances with a young woman, in the White House.  The result of which further unhinged the Democratic party and shifted public opinion to accept that their president was a pathological liar – with a law degree, that might very well hit on ones teenage daughter at a fund-raiser.  What we hear is Bill Clinton complaining that Hillary is paying for his sins – a potential reality that in part, may not be as far-fetched as it appears, but not for the same reasons as he may think.

Campaign Leadership is Prologue

unwavering campaign message, even under severe attack by both McCain and Clinton operatives

Considering the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the startling differences of leadership have been pronounced to the degree that it is reflective not only of their political supporters but an indelible mark of their individual leadership styles and capabilities.  The practices of the Senators have received far more scrutiny than in recent elections, and thus, have been revealing to degree that would have escaped previous presidential races, if not for the unusual nomination contest this year.  Barack Obama, has been the beneficiary of this extended nomination process in our final analysis.

Average Americans that are certain to vote Democratic in the fall have had a glimpse into leadership styles, communication skills and the ability to manage a cohesive message.  Team building, as a very important component of executive leadership skills, have also been Night and Day. The dramatically different leadership styles and subsequent results from a team perspective are evident in the exponential growth of Obama’s supporters from grassroots beginnings – in contrast to Clinton’s campaign that has been borne from party elders in the NY Democratic machine coupled with National party elders that were very comfortable with more-of-the-same.

We respectfully submit that the Hillary Clinton campaign is terminal not because of Team Clinton’s assertions of unfairness, sexism, etc… but rather the fact that Obama’s lack of political ballast of Democratic Dinosaurs, his working knowledge as a Professor of Constitutional law; and, his ability to inspire and deliver an unwavering campaign message, even under severe attack by both McCain and Clinton operatives, has continually propelled Obama.  In addition the youth movement that has gained considerably more momentum will be very important to the future of our Nation’s healing process.

We further submit that the youth of our Nation have every right to be a deciding component in choosing the next president of the United States considering the fact that the current president has squandered our reputation, squandered many American lives and squandered our treasury’s surplus, largely at the expense of the next two generations.  As a Nation we have seen what tenured political leadership has delivered as a largely uninspired electorate stood by idly, addicted to chest pounding and fairy-tales.  Indeed they have every right to weigh in on the change in our political leadership.

Clinton Defeating Clinton

This past week’s Xerox comment, notwithstanding, it seems that Hillary Clinton is not getting the reactions she had hoped for when crying foul. Just days after accusing Obama of plagiarism for using a line offered by his campaign co-chair – Clinton cried foul in Ohio when the Obama campaign used Newsday’s words describing Clinton’s original support of NAFTA, asserting that she felt it was a ‘boon’ to the economy. Ohio, a State particularly hurt by NAFTA, is the scene of this skirmish.

Clinton has been vociferous in pointing out that it was Newsday that used the term ‘boon’ and that she never said it. Newsday has also added that they felt the Obama information suggests that it was Clinton’s choice of words, not Newsday’s. Baseline volleys aside, while claiming foul as to Obama’s tactics – Clinton responded with suggestions that Obama and George W. Bush are very much alike and delivered an ear splitting, grimace producing “Shame-on-you-Barack-Obama!”

Whether, this evoked ‘AttaGirls’ from Clinton campaign elite or not – The Almost Daily Binx feels very strongly that campaign combat is very revealing about the candidates. We also think that by using the obviously canned ‘Xerox’ comment the other night, coupled with this overreaction – many Ohioans sitting the fence are going to be offended by the panicky nature of Clinton’s rebuke and attack. Particularly in the wake of Fox News-Talker – Bill O’Reilly -and his casual and highly insensitive reference to ‘lynch party’ referencing Michelle Obama. O’Reilly may very well be an argument against human cloning, however, his astonishingly glib, dismissively insincere and highly aired apology may have also created a sympathetic electorate. The conditions of which are effortlessly made worse by Clinton’s intoning the dissonance of anger while delivering speeches.

Hillary Clinton closed the debate this past week on a high note -that appeared very sincere – Barack and Hillaryand followed it 2 days later with harsh and not carefully considered words. Perhaps, as many newsies reported, her debate closing comments seemed very much like the missing concession speech after the Wisconsin primary. Perhaps the pressure of coming in second in a 11 straight contests has caused some serious worry in the campaign. Needless to say, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has engineered a series of tactical missteps. If this latest barrage was designed to compensate for appearing too sensitive or conciliatory after the Texas debate – it was a terrible decision. Considering that Clinton has been very aggressive in negative TV ads and suggesting that Obama lacks experience just like GWB did – the “shame-on-you… ” plea could prove to be viewed as insulting to many Democrats.

The Almost Daily Binx predicts that Clinton may have very well defeated herself by pushing many off the fence into the welcoming arms of the Obama campaign because of her personal style and persona. And, Obama will emerge victorious in Ohio and Texas, not only because of the Obama enormous ground game of young volunteers, but because Hillary Clinton is using the tools of the past in a contest of the future. Her refusal to admit mistakes or bad decisions demonstrates a dramatic lack of humility. Her very aggressive tone does not serve her well. She has much more in common with the hubris afflicted POTUS than any innuendo she attempted to deliver regarding Obama.

 

Obama vs. Hillary McCain – How Barack Saved My Gnocchi

Yesterday, I spent the better part of the day preparing a nice dinner for a family birthday gathering. The Osso Buco was led by a modest serving of Gnocchi con Pesto Crema. Now every knowledgeable cook knows that Idaho potatoes are a wonderful ingredient for light and airy Gnocchi, providing a little care is used in the preparation.

Miraculously, I was able to accomplish this task while listening to alternating streams of Hillary and McCain employing sub-sonic technique in order to hammer Barack Obama for being an eloquent purveyor of his vision and hopeful for America’s future. They systematically ignore the fact, that he’s called on American’s as volunteers and as part of a civilian corps in order to accomplish a great deal of the ‘hope’ segment of his wish list. Further to that end, the corporate media has not been very enthusiastic about portraying his call for volunteers, national service and education – and rather, prefer talk about the battles between Hillary vs. McCain, Hillary vs. Barack.  They (Clinton and McCain camps) call on Obama for substantive examples of his plan – yet he delivers them in every speech – and Hillary, McCain and the corporate press ignore the dialog in the manner of strawmanesque politics.

Clinton and McCain have systematically ignored the central point of Obama’s campaign and have been most deceitful and dishonest. I don’t use these words lightly. Along with our current White House – I consider Hillary Clinton to be as accomplished a liar as Bill Clinton and John McCain. Or as I like to think of them – ‘Hillary McCain’. I do not recommend executing delicate maneuvers in the kitchen with very sharp cutting implements or boiling water while listening to the ‘Hillary McCain’ speechify.

Add Chris Matthews to this mix and I’m turning into a screaming lunatic actually jumping off the ground because my hands are full of hot potato, egg and flour, preventing me from slamming them into my butcher block mis en place. Matthews, the gossip lummox of tabloid TV clearly in need of emergency psycho-therapy, begins to talk of sensations up his leg when he hears Obama speak. Dry heaves notwithstanding, his curious comment stirs up more distraction from the central point.

Now I must remove the small bloody potato area from the pile of freshly flaked Idaho, bandage my finger and get back to work before my mixture cools too much. There’s parsley caught on my shoe and I’ve nearly twisted my ankle on the last three-foot leap off the ground. There’s a good chance this is all going to be stored in the garbage pail until trash day. Nonetheless we persevere while the aroma of the braising Osso Buco begins to tamp my Calabrese genetic predisposition for Vendetta.

Hillary McCain is ready on day-one. As crazy Uncle Nunzio always says, “Stockholm syndrome – they love each other”. In fact, if they don’t love each other they should – because they can reinforce each other’s arguments and stir up anti-Obama sentiment by agreeing with each other. Obama has to run against both of them right now (three if you consider Bubba,) which really makes them one. Add a few dashes of Matthews mind-boggling adoration when Hillary McCain, with a back-drop of Octogenarians in order to feel youthful, calmly announces, with the voice of an undertaker – Hope …. is Dead … don’t listen to Obama. Me and even the guys behind me from the Washington Mutual commercial … we know … Hope is Dead. Obama is a dreamer. We know hope is dead … We killed it !

Hillary McCain – Same Ole, Same Ole – the way you like it.

By this point I’ve realized that my fancy Bluetooth set-up, permitting me to select stream audio to tether-free speakers may be more dangerous than I had considered. I’m muttering incessantly like Darren McGavin’s character fixing the coal furnace in ‘A Christmas Story” while negotiating several near misses with a large pot of boiling water. At one point, I’m so distracted that I nearly reach into the oven without oven mitts in order to check on the Veal. I realize I need change, I want change … I must have change.

When I return from my home office, the stream is now Obama. I have set the next 4 pod casts of Obama. I start to get calm. Its hard to not notice how important he believes words are – because he choses them well and speaks them most believably.

Hillary McCain is quietly reduced to a scab  now forming on my thumb and small bit of bloody potato dough in the bin. Even Matthew’s earlier Larry Craig-ish proclamations and those famous south-paw dubs suggesting Obama’s speeches are ‘lofty,’ can’t harden my grip on the gentle touch needed to make those airy pillows of potato pasta. The fork tines have created the perfect sauce catching ridges for the creamy Pesto mixture that will be lightly tossed with the Gnocchi before plating. The atmosphere is calm, the timing is perfect and mood is set.

I’ve decided that I’ll listen to the rest of the Hillary McCain bluster while I split some logs later. At least I can put them to good use.