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I was agnostic on the matter of Hillary Clinton’s possible appointment as secretary of state–until last night.

If Barack Obama, the president-elect, wanted to pull a Team of Rivals play, that had seemed fine to me. And placing Clinton in Foggy Bottom would remove her from the dicey business of passing health care reform. Would it unite the party? Well, judging from the election results, the party is pretty darn united already. Despite the griping of a few Hillaryites at the Democratic convention, her voters certainly swung behind Obama in the general election (see Pennsylvania), after HRC and WJC campaigned for BHO in the fall. Unless an explicit deal was made between Obama and Hillary Clinton, it did not seem that Obama, after bypassing her for veep, had to appoint her anything for the party’s sake. Still, if Obama and his savvy band of advisers thought that handing her one of the best jobs in the Cabinet would generate political benefits they could use to advance their agenda, I, as a non-fan of Hillary Clinton, was willing to say, okay–for what that was worth.

But then this happened: the presidential transition of no-drama Obama became infected by the never-ending soap opera of the Clintons. And it really is time to turn that program off. There are plenty of policy and political reasons for a progressive not to fancy Hillary. She served on the Wal-Mart board when the mega-firm was fighting unions; she screwed up health care reform for almost a generation; she voted wrong on the Iraq war and then refused to acknowledge she had erred. But, worst of all, as the cliché goes, with the Clintons, it always does seem to be about the Clintons.

So we’ve had a week of will-she-or-won’t-she and what-about-him. Couldn’t this have been handled with a little more grace? Maybe not, since it involves the Clintons.

I don’t know how the Obama camp approached the issue. But before Obama met last week with Hillary to talk about this, his team should have done a pre-vetting of Bill. And then Obama, at this meeting, ought to have said something like this to her:

    If you might be interested in the State position, there are a few issues that would come up concerning Bill. Let me run through a few. Would he be willing to release the names of his foundation’s donors, as well as those who contribute to his presidential library? Would he be willing to forego contributions and speaking fees from foreign governments, foreign heads of states, and major foreign companies that would have an interest in US foreign policy decisions? Would he be willing to discuss with my national security adviser his foreign travel plans and his foundation’s projects before they are announced and undertaken–and would he be willing to defer to us if we believe they are not appropriate or helpful at the time? I know that these are big things to ask. But given his global activity and standing, there’s not much choice. And if it’s a deal-breaker, I certainly would understand. But before you and I go down this road, we should make sure there are no major obstacles. Can you talk to him and get back to me in a day or two? And, to be helpful, Rahm has come up with a list….

Hillary’s answer would have to have been either (a) of course, or (b) thank you for considering me, but I don’t believe this would be a good fit. Two days would pass, and then the drama–or at least this part of it–could be over.

Today the news is that Bill will do what he can. AP is reporting:

    Former President Bill Clinton has offered several concessions to help Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, his wife, become secretary of state, people familiar with President-elect Barack Obama’s transition vetting process said Wednesday.
    Clinton has agreed to release the names of several major donors to his charitable foundation and will submit future foundation activities and paid speeches to a strict ethics review, said Democrats knowledgeable about the discussions.
    They also said that Clinton would step away from day-to-day responsibility for his foundation while his wife serves and would alert the State Department to his speaking schedule and any new sources of income.

Does that take care of it? Note the use of the word “several.” It’s hard not to see some sticking points arising about what is disclosed and when. The negotiations between the Obama camp and the Clinton team are supposedly proceeding smoothly. But why should there be negotiations? And could it end up with news reports saying Bill Clinton is willing to reveal X, but the Obama side wants him to release X plus Y? That is, more drama. According to AP, “One Clinton adviser noted that former President George H.W. Bush has given paid speeches and participated in international business ventures since his son, George W. Bush, has been president–without stirring public complaints or controversy about a possible conflict of interest.” This does raise the suspicion that the Clintonites might not agree to all the necessary limitations. And don’t they–or at least, this aide–understand there’s something of a difference between their case and that of the Bushes (though it was probably not appropriate for Daddy Bush to engage in that activity).

Bottom-line: if HRC came fuss-free, then maybe there’d be no reason to kick up a fuss about her appointment. Yet that doesn’t seem to be what’s happening.

But there’s another issue to consider, one that has been overshadowed by the drama: if she runs the State Department in a fashion similar to how she managed her campaign, then the country will be in trouble. Her spinners went beyond the boundaries of fair and reasonable spinning. Her team was a snake pit of competitive aides. She did not master the art of refereeing internal disputes. She signed off on strategic blunders. Hers was not a steady hand.

Perhaps that’s the better argument against her. Being secretary of state isn’t just about giving speeches and touring the world as a celebrity, it’s about managing (and now reviving) the creaky and beleaguered foreign policy apparatus of the United States. And Clinton’s résumé is not strong on that front.

Source: Mother Jones

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Palin told Alaska reporters the Republican ticket could not overcome the headwinds.

Palin told Alaska reporters the Republican ticket could not overcome the headwinds.

(CNN) – Sarah Palin told local reporters in Alaska that unhappiness with the Bush administration’s Iraq war policy and spending record were responsible for the GOP ticket’s defeat this year.

“I think the Republican ticket represented too much of the status quo, too much of what had gone on in these last eight years, that Americans were kind of shaking their heads like going, wait a minute, how did we run up a $10 trillion debt in a Republican administration?” Palin told the Anchorage Daily News and Alaska’s KTUU Channel 2.

“How have there been blunders with war strategy under a Republican administration? If we’re talking change, we want to get far away from what it was that the present administration represented and that is to a great degree what the Republican Party at the time had been representing. So people desiring change I think went as far from the administration that is presently seated as they could. It’s amazing that we did as well as we did.”

Palin returned to Alaska last week amid growing speculation about her political future. The Alaska governor is slated to attend the Republican Governors Association’s meeting in Miami this week.

Source: CNN

If it was up to some of these Evangelicals in the past – we might not have television – can you image television without the tele-evangelist? Television as late as the late 1970’s was seen by many as being of the devil. We can go through a whole list of things which they have been fearful of and once these things have been introduced, have not come to past as they have predicted. So we can assume – that anything new or different – like a man who has brown skin and will likely be the next US president – naturally they will fall back on their fear mongering anti-Christ God versus the devil scenarios – for comfort.

Reading/skimming through their manifesto – see below – on one side when it comes to threats to homeschooling and what they can teach – it is like they feel that others are encroaching on their religious freedoms – but when it comes to issues like abortion – it seems that they believe that others should be subjected to their religious beliefs.

And on security Obama who talks more about peace at a time of war and not more war and less about peace as McCain has – leads them to conclude that Obama would be unwilling to defend the US security if it came under threat. But sometimes the best security is the promotion of peace – no one fires a shot and the country security is not breached.

Of course there’s the old he’s going to take away our guns – but then this was not meant to real – it was an exercise in predicting how an Obama presidency might turn out for the worst for Christian – could it be that they are saying that Obama isn’t one.

When you’ve lost your home – or feel that your livelihood is under threat – it is pretty difficult to think about what the other guy might be doing in the house over the way or down the street – as now don’t have a house.

Terrorist strikes on four American cities. Russia rolling into Eastern Europe. Israel hit by a nuclear bomb. Gay marriage in every state. The end of the Boy Scouts. All are plausible scenarios if Democrat Barack Obama is elected president, according to a new addition to the campaign conversation called “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America,” produced by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family Action.

The imagined look into the future is part of an escalation in rhetoric from Christian right activists who are trying to paint Obama in the worst possible terms as the campaign heads into the final stretch and polls show the Democrat ahead.

Although hard-edge attacks are common late in campaigns, the tenor of the strikes against Obama illustrate just how worried conservative Christian activists are about what should happen to their causes and influence if Democrats seize control of both Congress and the White House.

“Everyone uses fear in the last part of a campaign, but evangelicals are especially theologically prone to those sorts of arguments,” said Clyde Wilcox, a Georgetown University political scientist. “There’s a long tradition of predicting doom and gloom.”

“It looks like, walks like, talks like and smells like desperation to me,” said the Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell of Houston, an Obama supporter who backed President Bush in the past two elections. The Methodist pastor called the 2012 letter “false and ridiculous.” He said it showed that some Christian conservative leaders fear that Obama’s faith-based appeals to voters are working.

Like other political advocacy groups, Christian right groups often raise worries about an election’s consequences to mobilize voters. In the early 1980s, for example, direct mail from the Moral Majority warned that Congress would turn a blind eye to “smut peddlers” dangling pornography to children.

“Everyone uses fear in the last part of a campaign, but evangelicals are especially theologically prone to those sorts of arguments,” said Clyde Wilcox, a Georgetown University political scientist. “There’s a long tradition of predicting doom and gloom.”

But the tone this election year is sharper than usual and the volume has turned up as Nov. 4 nears.

Steve Strang, publisher of Charisma magazine, a Pentecostal publication, titled one of his recent weekly e-mails to readers, “Life As We Know It Will End If Obama is Elected.”

Strang said gay rights and abortion rights would be strengthened in an Obama administration, taxes would rise and “people who hate Christianity will be emboldened to attack our freedoms.”

But Margaret Feinberg, a Denver-area evangelical author, predicted failure,

Young evangelicals are tired and rhetoric which is fear-based, strong-arms the listener, and states opinion as fact will only polarize rather than further the informed, balanced discussion that younger voters are hungry for.” 

Separately, a group called the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission has posted a series of videos on its site and on YouTube called “7 Reasons Barack Obama is not a Christian.”

The commission accuses Obama of “subtle diabolical deceit” in saying he is Christian, while he believes that people can be saved through other faiths.

But among the strongest pieces this year is Focus on the Family Action’s letter which has been posted on the group’s Web site and making the e-mail rounds. Signed by “A Christian from 2012,” it claims a series of events could logically happen based on the group’s interpretation of Obama’s record, Democratic Party positions, recent court rulings and other trends.

Among the claims:

    _ A 6-3 liberal majority Supreme Court that results in rulings like one making gay marriage the law of the land and another forcing the Boy Scouts to “hire homosexual scoutmasters and allow them to sleep in tents with young boys.” (In the imagined scenario, The Boy Scouts choose to disband rather than obey).
    _ A series of domestic and international disasters based on Obama’s “reluctance to send troops overseas.” That includes terrorist attacks on U.S. soil that kill hundreds, Russia occupying the Baltic states and Eastern European countries including Poland and the Czech Republic, and al-Qaida overwhelming Iraq.
    _ Nationalized health care with long lines for surgery and no access to hospitals for people over 80.

The goal was to “articulate the big picture,” said Carrie Gordon Earll, senior director of public policy for Focus on the Family Action. “If it is a doomsday picture, then it’s a realistic picture,” she said.

One of the clear targets is younger evangelicals who might be considering Obama. The letter posits that young evangelicals provide the margin that let Obama defeat John McCain. But Margaret Feinberg, a Denver-area evangelical author, predicted failure.

“Young evangelicals are tired — like most people at this point in the election — and rhetoric which is fear-based, strong-arms the listener, and states opinion as fact will only polarize rather than further the informed, balanced discussion that younger voters are hungry for,” she said.

Phil Burress, head of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values, said the dynamics were quite different in 2004, when conservative Christians spent some energy calling Democrat John Kerry a flip-flopper but were mostly motivated by enthusiasm for George W. Bush.

Now, there is less excitement about McCain than fear of an Obama presidency, Burress said.

In an interview, Strang said there are fewer state ballot measures to motivate conservative voters this election year and that the financial meltdown is distracting some voters from the abortion issue. But he said a last-minute push by conservative Christians in 2004 was key to Bush’s re-election and predicted they could play the same role in 2008.

Kim Conger, a political scientist at Iowa State University, said a late push for evangelical voters did help Bush in 2004, “but it is a very different thing than getting people excited about John McCain,” even with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential pick.

Phil Burress, head of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values, said the dynamics were quite different in 2004, when conservative Christians spent some energy calling Democrat John Kerry a flip-flopper but were mostly motivated by enthusiasm for George W. Bush.

Now, there is less excitement about McCain than fear of an Obama presidency, Burress said.

“This reminds me of when I was a school kid, when I had to go out in the hall and bury my head in my hands because of the atom bomb,” he said.

God’s on our side says Lieberman ~ not on theirs!
If he wants a Jihad ~ struggle — bring it on!

You can take so many things away from a person – but I’m not sure God (the Great All) is one.

Via CNN streaming video, I watched Sarah Palin’s event in Clearwater, Florida, this morning. She was heartily introduced there by John McCain’s pal Joe Lieberman. The former Democrat is a very strange figure these days, far from his moorings in the Democratic Party. But you can see how his personal friendship with McCain, and his genuine support for the Iraq war, might cause him to help out his buddy on the stump.

It was jarring, however, to hear Lieberman’s full-throated endorsement of Sarah Palin, a woman with whom he has no prior relationship, and whose policy credentials you have to think the wonky 20-year Senator would find suspect in any other context.

“She’s so strong, she’s so capable, she’s so competent,” Lieberman told the cheering crowd. Emphasizing her “faith,” he added that she is someone who “with your help–and God’s help–will be the next vice president of the United States.” More big cheers.

The religiousity continued when Palin bounded onstage. She commented right away on the number of American flags in the crowd, declaring: “God bless America–you guys get it!”

And then it was on with the attacks on Obama: “There are some candidates who use change to promote their careers. And then there are some candidates, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change,” Palin said. She went on to reiterate charges that Obama is friendly with terrorists (Bill Ayers), wants America to lose in Iraq, and smears US troops in Afghanistan.

More: For this heavily churchgoing GOP crowd, Palin is showing a side we haven’t seen in her TV interviews and at the debate. Mentioning the potential for wind and solar power in Florida she exclaims: “God has so richly blessed you here!” Between her and Lieberman, that makes four references to faith and God in about five minutes.

Source: NR

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