Mitt, My Good Man





Romney: Rivals’ attacks a ‘good warm-up’

copyright © 2012 Betsy L. Angert.  Empathy And Education; BeThink or  BeThink.org

Dearest Mitt . . .

I am unsure if we have had the pleasure of an in-person exchange.  I too travel in political circles.  However, I do not recall.  Perhaps we met in the past.  I trust I have done business with you and your firm, Bain Capital.  Bravo on your successes.

Please allow me to introduce myself by way of this letter.  This morning, I caught a glimpse of your Today Show interview with Matt Lauer.  I heard you speak of the exaggerated envy now heard on the campaign trail.  Oh, my friend Mitt, how I relate. If I might; well stated my man. People do want what they do not have. First Bain, then the White House.  Indeed, one Chief Executive position ensured that you were a world power.  The other is but a natural transition. Instead of having a seat at the table of global influence, as President of the United States, you, old man, will own the table.

I concur with the thought expressed in the title of a Wall Street Journal Mitt.  The Bain Capital Bonfire. Romney has a good story to tell, if he’s willing to tell it. Might you have read the account my friend?  The treatise speaks of the gains and losses, signature events in our glorious Capitalist system.  You know the tale dear Mitt and I trust you will articulate it well. I look forward to the day when you share it with me personally; perhaps, over dinner.  Until then, may I offer my own anecdote.  It speaks of why I do not envy you.

Mitt, my man, I am an extremely wealthy individual.  Granted, financially, I have had my share of ups and downs.  At birth, I was born into money.  My father, Michael, had been a very poor young man.  One of thirteen children, the son of first generation Americans, Michael had to work his way to the top.  

Michael enrolled in University. He may have been the first in his family.  He completed his degree in Accounting.  Michael sought and realized Certification.  Then, “visionary” that he was Michael opened his own business. The man was an expert at making money.  He made millions for his client and much for himself.  Ultimately, his firm grew and grew.  

At the time of my birth, my parents lived in a large house on a hill.  The estate was built only a year before.  “Mother” designed the private residence herself.  She chose the neighbor and the acreage.  It was a beautiful plot of land, rolling hills, a deep forest to roam through.  I used to  wander the woods for hours on end.

As a seedling, conceived in a Waldorf Astoria Hotel suite, you might correctly imagine that, as  a child, my clothes were all New York designer collections.  My backyard playground was furnished with the finest swing sets.  We had two.  Sliding boards, climbing bars, and seesaws as well.  Among my favorite toys was not a plaything at all.  Made of wood, large and spacious, a cabin graced the grounds.  Outside of my little log home was a sandbox.  The container for tiny grains did not sit on a lawn. No. the box was built deep into the soil. When I sat within, a portion of my body might appear buried below the surface of the land.  Did I mention the whirly-bird? Oh, Mitt, my life was a child’s delight . . . or so it might have appeared.

I trust any child would have been envious of me, all that I had, and did daily. We vacationed often. A skating weekend here, days away at a resort . . . Sun and fun. Snow and frolic.  ate at the best restaurants regularly. My “father” owned one, that is, in name only.  The Penthouse was an investment made on a client’s behalf.   Taxes, title exchanges. . . shelters and such.   I am sure you understand old man.

My Mom too lived a lovely life. She had no need to work.  Philanthropic endeavors were her want.  Dressed to the nines, she volunteered hither and yon.  At times, the women would play. Bowling. Cards. Shopping.  Mommy was active in many an organization.  Religious affiliations were a wondrous source of shared pleasure.  Father’s career was furthered through the associations.  Mother made friends with the women during daylight hours.  In the evening, the men would join their wives at a club.  On countless occasions, a bigger bash was planned.  

Often, my parents hosted these.  The best china, the finest crystal, and oh the food.  Catered gourmet delicacies filled every room.  As a tot, I would sneak out of my room and “steal” a snack. Sure to be noticed, I was met with a smile and “Is she not so cute?”

Cute? Charming? Endearing? So it might seem. Reason for envy? Absolutely!  That is, if it were true.  Yes, the tale is accurate.  The account is my life.  However, as blissful as it might sound, as beautiful as it might be or have been, it was not.  There were hidden hurts.  

I was a spoiled child. Not spoiled, overindulged or a tike with too much.  I had nothing! There was no love. My parents had no time for me. The two hired a woman to raise me before I was born.  I was given everything, anything my little heart desired, except a connection.  Try as I might, I could not bond with my parents.  I had elder sisters. However, they too abandoned me prior to my first appearance in their home.  

The pair was forever busy.  Each had friends who were surely more fun than a baby sibling.   Fine fabrics hung in their closets and were worn on their backs.  Their bedrooms were as full as their lives without me.  While it may seem that only I was unhappy in this home, in this family, at the age of eight and one half, I discovered the truth.

Ten days after my parents wedding anniversary, my Mom walked out!  I was eight.  My sisters were much older.  It was a Sunday. The five of us were it the same eatery we dined at each Sunday, just as we had for years.  We just ordered dinner when my eldest sibling asked for her allowance.  Mother said she could not have it until she cleaned her room.  Father, on the other hand, assured her she would never need to clean.  He would forever furnish her with a Maid and of course, her pocket money  

I will not bore you with the details or the drama, my friend.  Suffice to say, my mother looked across the table at her selfish children, her moneyed husband whose sincerest interest was to have more, and decided she wanted none of it.  Mommy rose from the table.  Walked towards the door and then, through it.  She left!  Stunned, the rest of us sat there for a minute.  I wonder; was my father thinking of the food that had yet to arrive, or . . .

I will never know. He never spoke to me much.  The next day he did tell us to clean our rooms. We did, but it was too late.  Mother was determined to make a life for herself and any of us who wished to join her.  For a time, there were two of us children.  My eldest sister and I elected to be with our Mom and her new husband, the man I finally felt I could call Dad.

While Mommy was awarded child support and alimony, she refused each.  Barbara wanted none of Michael’s “Dirty Money!” She had had enough of what she characterized as “ill gotten gains.”  That was the reason she chose to give it all up.  We moved to another State and to other than a wealthy suburb.  Our family of four lived a far different life than the one we had always known.  We were poor, dirt poor.

Living on $1500 a year . . . Yes, you read that right. Fifteen-hundred a year for a family of four.  Welfare knocked on our door and said, “You need to apply for financial assistance.  You are eligible.” However, my parents refused.  Mommy wanted no handouts.  Daddy yearned to make it on his, our own.  Mommy gardened.  Daddy did all our household repairs.  Logan returned to school and also worked for meager wages.  Mother too secured a position.  You might recall the once vibrant five and dime, W.T. Grant and Company. Mommy’s employee  discount helped.  The woman who for a score purchased her lingerie at Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord and Taylor, Bonwit Teller’s and other  exclusive establishments bought my first brassiere at Grant’s.

As a child in this newer reality, I was allowed one new outfit in the Fall of the year, for the first day of school and one in the Spring.  Chic, expensive, exceptional and elegant designs? Not anymore.  There were no dollars for such fabulous duds.  Next to nothing at little cost would have to do.  This was true in every aspect of life.

Mommy grew vegetables. Daddy helped.  All our produce was fresh grown.  Breads, pies, cakes and cookies all came out of the family oven.  Store bought goodies were a luxury we could not afford.  Later, Daddy took up fishing.  Even before that, all our entrees were prepared from scratch. Meals were a time for conversation and connections. At last, I was connected!!!!!  That is rich; a richness I envied whenever and wherever I saw it.  Ultimately, I had it! With not a dime to my name, I had love!  I was loved!!!!!!  Mitt, I trust you likely think you have love as well, and money, and that is the reason others feel envious.  Again, I relate to your reality my friend Mitt.

Over the years, wealth once again became part of my life, or perhaps more accurately, in my Mom’s life, by extension, I too had enough. The family moved to another magnificent house.  A panoramic window looked out onto the ocean. The neighbors were highly educated, esteemed, experts in their respective fields.  You know Mitt; they were our kind of people.

While our life was similar to what it was in earlier, years it was not as it had ever been. The difference; this time was our greenbacks were clean!  We laughed often at our lot in life as we do now upon reflection.  So my friend, I do not envy you.  I have and want not.  Oh certainly Mitt, I, as most humans might, enjoy nice “things.”  I acknowledge that is far easier when earnings are great.  However; while I never expected to quote Governor Rick Perry, in this moment I will.  “There is a real difference between Venture Capitalism and Vulture Capitalism.”  My personal experience Mitt is: A vulture capitalist eats children and families.  A venture capitalist feeds people so that they might prosper.  A free market Entrepreneur wishes to ensure that every person, one and all, have the earnings necessary to live well.

References and Resources . . .

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Election ’08: Whatever happened to Iraq?


To view the original art, please travel to Election ’08: Whatever happened to Iraq?

copyright © 2007.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

[Posted 02/06/08]

Super Tuesday lived up to its hype, giving us political-junkie types plenty to digest.

On the Democratic side, voters continue to be torn between two historic contenders: The first woman, a wonkish machine of a candidate who brings back memories of a better time; and the first black, an inspirational orator, a bit light on substance, who promises a brighter tomorrow. Yesterday’s split decision means this thing could go on all the way until the convention in August. Barak Obama looks to have an edge in almost all of the remaining February contests (including my home state of Washington, which caucuses Saturday), and maintains a major fundraising advantage. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, maintains double-digit leads in the three remaining big states: Ohio and Texas (both March 4), and Pennsylvania (April 22).

Because of the winner-take-all nature of several of the Republican primaries, Super Tuesday all but anointed John McCain as their nominee. The exit polls reveal serious weakness in support from the conservative base of the party, but who else can the GOP rally around? Few seem impressed by the clone-meat artificiality of Mitt Romney, while Mike Huckabee seems stuck in the South. The rank and file appear ready to hold their noses and move on.

Finally, the thing that really stood out to me yesterday is how far Iraq has fallen off the map as a campaign issue. Except for Obama’s occasional poke at Hillary’s authorization vote, the Dems have lost their way on this issue. Where’s the outrage over McCain’s talk of staying in Iraq for 100 years? It appears the war is “The Forgotten Issue” of this election year – and the topic of this week’s cartoon.

Could You Vote For a Guy Named ‘Mitt’?

After a primary victory in Michigan, Andrew Wahl asked if we, the people, could vote for a guy named “Mitt.”  The answer came today.  It seems in Nevada, many voters could, and perhaps, did consider Mitt Romney their candidate of choice.  If the electorate continues to do as residents in these two States did, Andrew may have to pen this face again and again.  Sigh.

To view the original art, please travel to New Toons Return.

copyright © 2007.  Andrew Wahl.  Off The Wahl Perspective.

[Original Posted January 16, 2008]

People in Michigan can, apparently.  In celebration of Romney’s big primary win, the lucky fellow gets to be the target of this week’s toon, “Mitt on Change.”  I was pretty happy with my caricature of this flip-flopping fool, especially for an initial effort.  (With any luck, I won’t have to draw him for much longer!)

Alert; 10,000 Apply For Wal-Mart Jobs!

copyright © Judith Moriarty

Candidates having been raising millions of dollars  and traveling (or private jets) around the country in luxury buses,  arguing over who has the most ‘experience’ – who is a Mormon (therefore disqualified) – who’s not a true Republican (Ron Paul) who’s picking on Hillary (Edwards) – who can grab the Evangelical vote – who is totally ignored (Kucinich) – who claims 911 makes him the protector of us all  etc; the real story of what is happening in America (evictions – foreclosures – unemployment) is being totally ignored!

This EXPERIENCE from those who’ve been in Foggy Bottom so long that they’re mildewed  –  has resulted in the rusting and disappearance of the American dream.


10,000 hopefuls…keep eyes open for job at Wal-Mart

By Helena Oliviero

Atlantic Journal Constitution

January 11, 2008

10,000 keep eyes open for job at Wal-Mart. “For the fourth consecutive day people waited in long lines for a shot at a new Wal-Mart in Dekalb County, pushing the total number of applicants beyond 10,000!

Beginning Monday, after no advertising or any signs, the throngs of hopeful applicants continued to pour into a church converted into a job-processing center –all vying for only 350 available jobs.  The job seeking FRENZY may be a peek into a larger economic picture. Wal-Mart has long declined to reveal starting salaries at the store, but reports that the average hourly wage for full time  associates is $10.65 an hour.”

Note: Wal-Mart hires people on at mostly part time positions.  Most alarming  is that Wal-Mart is our nation’s largest employer .  We no longer mfg the quality goods that America was known for. Now Wal-Mart is filled with Chinese goods of inferior quality !  Ten dollars an hour  is not a livable wage in these economic times of escalating prices!

JM

  • 10,000 hopefuls…keep eyes open for job at Wal-Mart, By Helena Oliviero.  Atlantic Journal Constitution. January 11, 2008

  • Presidential Candidates and the People; Politics is Personal

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    A tired and emotionally torn Hillary Clinton trembled slightly as she voiced her concern for the country and her campaign.  A somewhat shaken Senator said, “You know, this is very personal for me. It’s not just political.  It’s not just public.  I see what’s happening . . . It’s really about all of us together.”  Indeed, Senator Clinton, it is.

    For months, former Senator John Edwards has shared a similar sentiment.   Once more, in an interview with ABC News George Stephanopoulos, Presidential hopeful Edwards emphatically declared, “I want to be the president who fights for the middle class, fights for working people. The kind of people I grew up with, George. I said this last night. This is not abstract or academic for me. It is personal.”

    Republican hopeful, Mitt Romney also embraced the phraseology a month earlier.  In a campaign advertisement released in his home state of Michigan, Mitt reminded the voters, “For me, Michigan is personal.” The place of our birth, the era in which we evolved, the circumstances of our lives are all personal, as are our reactions to these. When we cast a ballot in favor of a policy or a Presidential aspirant, as profound as we wish the decision would appear to be, essentially it is personal.

    Each and every individual is influenced by what occurs in the privacy of his or her home.  Our hearts speak more loudly than our minds.  However, reluctant we are to admit this, humans are emotional beings, who rationalize their resolutions, often after the fact.  

    The New Hampshire primary elections, as well as the Iowa caucuses were stark reminders of the fact, we cannot predict what people will do.  However, if we understand what truly motivates us, we may better understand the incomprehensible.  From the moment we enter this Earthly existence, we learn what is Right, Left, Middle, or ‘just wrong.’  

    Mommy exclaimed, “Do not do that; it is inappropriate.”  Daddy declared, “No more.  What will the neighbors think?”  Grandpa gave the evil eye when he thought some word or deed not becoming of a little lady.  Grandma gently tapped young Sammy’s small hand when the lass reached for what the older woman thought unacceptable.  Brother James also guided the girl’s decisions.  “What are you; crazy?” he would say.  James’s manner was never gentle.  Sammy’s nursery school teacher was far kinder, although equally critical.  “Young women do not do that.”  “We do not speak that way in class, on the playground, in the cloak room.”  “I hope you do not do that at home!”

    What Sammy did at home was never correct.  She wanted so much to be appreciated, especially by her elders.  Even among her peers, Sammy felt it vital to feel needed, wanted, valued, and cherished.  She realized at a tender age, that if she was to be happy, she must obey the rules.  Sammy learned to be a good girl.  Today, she still is.  When voting in the Presidential primaries and in the General election, Sammy will cast a ballot for the candidate her friends’ vote for.  Conventional wisdom is always best.  

    There is a certain contentment you feel when others concur with your opinion.  Life is calm  Sammy, prefers agreement; she wants no arguments.  Perhaps, that is why she struggled to decide, whom would she vote for.

    Sammy remained undecided up until she spoke with acquaintances of the Clinton cry.  Although Sammy and her friends were not Clinton constituents, indeed, they feared she might be soulless, ultimately; each plans to cast a ballot for the candidate.  Just as women in New Hampshire expressed, it would feel good to possibly place a woman in the White House.  The tears Hillary shed resonated within many of the “gentler sex.”  They thought the candidate’s cry was a show of strength.  Throughout America, and New Hampshire women [and men alike] personally identified with the pain Senator Clinton expressed.

    Some New Hampshire women admitted they were touched by Clinton’s display of vulnerability at a local cafe, when a voter asked her how she remained so upbeat and Clinton’s eyes, in turn, became misty.

    “When I saw the tear-up replayed on the news, it looked like Clinton was truly moved.  It proved she had soul,” said Carol Brownwood, a New Hampshire voter and Clinton supporter.

    New Hampshire women voted for Clinton by a margin of 13 percentage points over Obama, according to exit polls.

    James, Sammy’s sibling, was never much for conventions.  He was a rebel.  For him every issue was a cause.  As an adult, James will likely not vote for the most popular candidate.  He plans to weigh every angle, assess each agenda.  James will do his own research before he decides whom to support in the Presidential Election of 2008.

    Even as a youngster, James had a mind of his own.  He knew what was truly important and what was trivial.  It did not much matter to James what his Mom or Dad might think.  This chap was certain when he thought a particular point of view right or wrong.  While James valued his parents’ opinions, and he did, he was his own person.

    When James screamed “No,” at the age of two, it was not a phase; this tot could be authentically defiant.  No matter his age, James was never afraid to speak up.  “You are just wrong,” he would tell his mother or father.  In truth, James often took what his parents thought to heart.  However, he would never give Mom, Dad, or most anyone else, the satisfaction of knowing that he thought their opinion wiser than his own.

    In his youth, James was independent and strong.  Competitions were his pleasure.  Enrolled in Little League, Soccer, and Football at an early age, James learned to be a sportsman.  He understood how important it was to win.  He still does.  

    Throughout his life, James has been a fighter.  In college, the young man was considered a radical.  He protested for peace.  The little guy was his friend.  An underdog could soar when in the company of James.  He cared for his fellow man deeply.  This chap worked on a political campaign.  He was an activist, and he was motivated to make more of his life.  James studied as hard as he played.

    Later, as an attorney, James did not shy away from a fight.  In his professional career, he retains his principles.  While James could make scads more money as a corporate lawyer, he serves the downtrodden.  James is known as an aggressive trial lawyer.  He fights for what is right.  John Edwards is his candidate of choice.  As he ponders the tales the populace aspirant tells, James relates. For James, just as for John Edwards, the battle for change is personal.

    One Edwards supporter, departing after a big rally in Des Moines on Saturday night, said he hasn’t heard a message as passionate or strong since Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 presidential campaign.

    Nice clothes aside, Edwards has turned street-fighter for the final stretch run.  His message can be boiled down to a single word — “Fight!” — which he repeats over and over and over and over again: Fight.  Fight.  Fight.  Fight.

    Edwards has rolled out anecdotes he never used in the past to make it all the more personal.  They conjure up images that hardly square with his slight frame and good looks.  He was, as he now explains, a brawler as a kid, taking on bullies the way he later took on corporations and insurance companies as a trail lawyer.

    “Like many of you, I had to fight to survive,” he told an audience of nearly a thousand people on Saturday night.  “I mean really.  Literally.”

    He describes the southern mill town where he grew up as a tough little place and tells the story of getting into a fight one day with an older boy.  “Got my butt kicked,” he says.  When he got home, his father offered a stern lesson in life.

    “I don’t ever want to hear, son, about you starting a fight,” he says his father told him.  “But you listen to me and listen to me clearly.  I don’t want to ever hear that you walked away from one.  Because if you’re not willing to stand up for yourself and if you’re not willing to fight, no one will stand up for you.”

    Emma, James closest friend is not a fighter.  She is a woman, yet, not one who sees herself as a warrior. While Emma might love to have a woman in the Oval Office, she does not want Hillary Clinton to be her President.  John Edwards does not move this passionate person.  Too often Edwards goes negative.  Emma experienced enough combativeness in her life.  She is turned off by the fervor she experienced in her family home.  

    Emma grew up in a good home.  Her parents are well-educated.  Each, is a professional in his or her own right.  Economically, her family is considered Upper Middle Class.  By all appearances, this young woman has had a good life.  She and her folks are healthy, slightly wealthy, and definitely wise.   However, when Emma was young, she realized, for her Mom and her Dad, every event was a drama, a trauma, a crisis, or a catastrophe.

    Emma often hid under the bed, went to another room, spent time at a neighbor’s home, just to avoid the chaos she experienced when with her relatives.  As the little girl blossomed, she realized there was fun to be had.  “You cannot choose your family, but fortunately, you can choose your friends.”  A cheerleader, a “Journalist” on the school newspaper, active in a school leadership program, Emma was quite popular.

    Academically, Emma had been and continues to be a serious student.  She is enrolled in graduate school, and is doing very well.  She is enthusiastic and energetic; however, she has never been energized by politics . . . that is until now.  Although, in the past, Emma defined herself as apathetic, now she sees herself as an activist.   Emma intends to vote for Barack Obama.  She feels as many throughout the country do.  Individuals, particularly those in her age are excited.  This may be the first time Emma will vote in an election.  She is stoked and not alone in her excitement.  Since hearing Obama speak, for Emma, this election is now personal.

    “I just started hearing a lot about him last year, so I started doing my own research,” says Kinkead. “I wanted to know who this guy was that everyone was talking about. I know he has a liberal voting record in the Senate, but he just seems so open-minded to me. He’ll be able to work with Republicans and get stuff accomplished. Hillary Clinton has too much baggage.”

    Young voters helped propel Obama’s win in Iowa and McCain’s in New Hampshire. Exit polls in New Hampshire indicated that 31 percent of the youngest GOP voting group went for McCain, with 23 percent voting for Romney; 51 percent of young Democrats supported Obama, while 28 percent supported Clinton.

    In Iowa, Obama won 57 percent of the youth vote, compared to 11 percent for Clinton.

    The social networking site Facebook has been a huge hub of political interest, with students flocking to Obama on the Democratic side  . . .

    Others in the cyberspace community may be connected however, the do not wish to join the rally for Ron Paul nor do the oratory skills of Barack Obama sway them.  Beth is among those who walks to the beat of a different drummer.  This woman is not old or young; however, just as the candidates and constituents she too is deeply affected by her history.  Beth’s parents were and are scholars.  Amidst her earliest memories, Beth recalls research.  Daddy would ask her of newspaper articles she read.  The discussions were deep.  He was not only interested in her superficial comprehension skills he wanted to be certain his daughter became a critical thinker.

    Mommy’s style differed; however, the intent, and results were similar.  Beth’s Mom, a brilliant woman, read endlessly.  She spoke of all the information she devoured.  This highly erudite parent encouraged her daughter to be herself, not part of a group, not identified by her gender, not even rigidly tied to which hand she preferred to write with.  Beth, just as her mother, never fit in, and she was fine with that.  Mommy and Daddy were principled people, not influenced by peers or popularity, and so too is Beth.  Perchance that is why she supports Dennis Kucinich.  She feels personally obligated to her country and all the people.  For Beth ethics matters more than an election win.  

    I think the question isn’t whether I have a chance. The question is whether peace, health care, jobs for all have a chance. Everyone participating in this chat, everyone reading it, needs to ask what this election means for them. If it means not staying in Iraq until 2013, then perhaps people should consider my plan to leave Iraq immediately and employ an international peacekeeping force. If you want peace in the world, consider that I’m the only candidate who rejects war as an instrument of foreign policy.

    This isn’t just about Iraq or Iran, this is about a president wise enough to work with leaders in the world to avoid conflict.  While I wouldn’t hesitate to defend our country, I’ve shown more than any other candidate that I understand the difference between defense and offense. . . .  I’m the only candidate running who voted against the war and against funding for the war. To me it’s inconceivable to say you oppose a war you’ve given hundreds of billions of dollars to.

    If people are participating in this and are concerned that they have an outcome in this election that relates to their needs, they should know that I’m the only candidate who would create a not-for-profit health care system that would cover everyone.

    No other candidate is saying they would cancel NAFTA and the WTO — I’ve seen the devastation wrought by these agreements. I’ve stood in front of the locked plant gates, with grass growing in the parking lots. I’ve seen the boarded-up nearby business communities, the neighborhoods where people had to leave because they couldn’t pay their mortgages.

    I’m the only candidate talking about a profoundly different energy policy, moving aggressively toward wind, solar, and investing heavily in green energy, reorganizing the government along principles of sustainability. We have to challenge these oil companies — we’re in a war in Iraq because of oil, one of the principle reasons we’d attack Iran is because of oil, we continue to destabilize our relations with Russia because of oil.

    It’s time for Washington to get control of our energy polices, and the only way we may be able to do that is to take control of the oil companies. We cannot sacrifice our young men and women on the altar of oil. We must regain control in the nation, of our ability to truly be a government of the people, by the people and for the people. That’s why I’m running for president, and in the end if I win, the people of the United States will win.

    For a time, people, from various backgrounds, also endorsed Dennis J. Kucinich.  Beth met declared Democrats, Independent minded Greens, Libertarians, and even Republicans who thought the Congressman from Ohio was the only one who could and would turn this country around in a way that gratified them personally.  

    A wide breadth of the population thought the Presidential hopeful would be the best for the country as a whole.  However, as is oft occurs, personal perceptions became the reality. The true Progressive, Congressman Kucinich was haunted by a claim continually, reiterated by Americans, “Kucinich is not electable.”  This statement was frequently preceded by the phrase, “Kucinich is great, but . . .”   Group think set in.

    Intellectuals, pundits, so called professional political analysts, and regular persons would  say this is not so; however, as we assess human behavior, it is a challenge to think otherwise.

    A public less aware of the dynamics of a caucus, or familiar with a seventy-two page rulebook, concludes a decision to influence a voter’s second-choice in Iowa might be thought a sign of weakness; perhaps a concession, or even an endorsement.  Some avid Kucinich supporters began to question the candidate’s faith in his campaign.  More importantly, many Kucinich backers felt personally abandoned.  The slogan “Strength through peace,” was less forceful than this allowance.  To suggest an alternative commitment may be less strong than the sweet smell of freshly baked bread or a promise to stroke your back if you rub mine

    Intimidation is not unknown. Also, it is possible for a leading candidate to help a weaker rival against a stronger one.

    More often, though, the gaming of the caucus and the wooing of supporters is subtler.

    In a training video prepared by the Edwards campaign, for example, a cartoon precinct campaign named Joe leaves for the caucus with a calculator, Edwards signs, and fresh bread. The narrator explains: “His homemade bread is perfectly positioned. Everyone can see it and smell it, especially the undecideds.”

    Then, too, “there are always stories of ‘I’ll shovel your walk the next time it snows,’ ” said Norm Sterzenbach, Iowa Democratic Party political director.

    While these tactics are troublesome, perhaps what worries supporters of any candidate is their own “personal” standing . . . in the community, in a crowd, in the cavern known as their rational mind.

    Might we speculate as to why a presumed front-runner receives more funds in support?  After a primary win, contributions come in.  Every person in the electorate scrutinizes a candidate and the company he or she keeps.  The assumed quality of a spouse can be an asset or a deterrent to the campaign.  If nothing else, when humans are involved, whom a Presidential hopeful weds, why, or when, will certainly be a distraction.  Americans, humans are invested in the personal.  People ponder their lives and wish to know what occurs in the lives of others.

    Politics is personal.  Running Mates, and these are not possible Vice Presidential choices, warrant an in-depth and detailed article in the Washington Post.  These individual have greater access to the future President than any other person might.  If Americans elect x, y will have the President’s ear, heart, body, and soul in their hands.  The electorate believes spouses are significant.  The personal permeates the political, or at least, Newsweek Magazine thought so.  This periodical devoted a full spread to the Bill factor.

    His New Role

    By Jonathan Darman

    Newsweek

    August 21, 2007

    “Man, I like that stuff,” Bill Clinton said. “I shouldn’t eat it, but I like it.” It was Sunday, March 4. On a private plane headed south from New York, the former leader of the free world was staring hard at a fully stocked bowl of food. A recovering snack-addict since his quadruple-bypass surgery in 2004, Clinton was thinking about falling off the wagon with a few bags of Fritos and some granola bars. No one on the plane was going to stop him-certainly not Malcolm Smith. The Democratic minority leader of New York’s state Senate, Smith was just happy to be along for the ride. “He sat right in front of me,” Smith later gushed to a Newsweek reporter. “We shared the food.” . . .

    For Hillary’s campaign, “The Bill Factor” is a complex one. To some he’s a shrewd politician, a clear thinker, a brilliant explicator who was president during an era of relative peace and indisputable prosperity. To others he’s “Slick Willie,” an undisciplined man who let his private appetites, and his addiction to risk, blur his focus, distracting the country for much of his second term.

    Nonetheless, a polished President offers the public a sense of personal security.  The Clintons are a known entity.  They have a traditional marriage, and they have proven themselves in many arenas.  Regardless of whether or not  you agree with their positions, the two are accomplished; certainly not on the fringe.  

    Barack Obama is also quite an achiever.  Born to parents who separated when the future Harvard scholar, United States Senator, and front-running Presidential aspirant was but two years of age, Barack  Obama went on to create a stunning and successful Christian family of his own.

    When wife Michelle Robinson Obama is by the candidate’s side, audiences marvel.  The couple is physically beautiful.  The two are statuesque and poised.  Each is extremely accomplished.  Michelle Obama is the a vice president at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Initially she was criticized for retaining this position during the campaign.  However, since she agreed to reduce her workload and currently works far fewer hours than she had, the public, many of whom took her to task for her “personal” life, are now content.  People specifically enjoy how real this spouse is.

    [Michelle] She has revealed that the man who may become the world’s most powerful politician is sometimes banished to the spare room for being “kind of snory and stinky.” He also admits obeying her instructions to give up smoking before the campaign.

    [Michelle] Obama got off to a rocky start in her early speeches when she talked about her husband’s dirty socks and how he was “stinky” in the morning, an image people perhaps might have found a little too human. Those references have since been dropped from her stump speech, and she’s not giving many interviews these days.

    On the other hand, Elizabeth Edwards volunteers to speak to anyone, everyone.  Wife of John Edwards, Elizabeth, is equally at ease in most any situation.  She does not hesitate to speak her mind.  

    Elizabeth Edwards will say in one breath that her job is made easier by the fact there are now “so many more female role models in careers like entertainment, the media and politics.”  But she will also say she’s not about to make the same mistakes Clinton did.

    “Hillary Clinton in 1992 is a lesson in what not to do,” offers Edwards, also a lawyer by training, whose husband is one of Clinton’s opponents in the presidential race. “She was dismissive of the range of options women had chosen, declaring, ‘I don’t bake cookies. . . . I don’t stand by my man.’ That turned off some people.”

    Elizabeth Edwards has been startlingly outspoken during this campaign, calling in to a live news-talk program to take on right-wing pundit Ann Coulter on national television and saying there was too much “hatred” of Hillary Clinton for her to win the general election. She maintains she’s not behaving much differently from 2004, when her husband was the Democratic vice presidential nominee. “There’s just a lot more coverage,” says Edwards, who has received additional attention since revealing she is battling incurable cancer.

    In a campaign where every issue is personal, even illness can be the cause for insults.  John was judged harshly as he continued to campaign.  Some said he was consumed with ambition.  Many mused, why did Elizabeth not take it easy.  The drive to the White House is long and hard.

    Nonetheless, many men, women, and spouses seem up to the challenge.  As we learned in what many thought to be a “personal” attack, some aspirants thought to seek the presidency when they were in kindergarten.  Others decided later in life.  Each has a history of profound accomplishments achieved at an early age.  As Americans, we appreciate a good wunderkind tale.  

    In this country, the legendary captivates our attention.  After all, we all wish to aspire to excellence.  The excellence achieved by another gives us reason to believe, and we do have personal stake in a candidate’s story.  

    Another aspirant also has a tale to tell.  At an early age, Dennis Kucinich was also considered a genius.  He had dreams and accomplished more than most thirty-one year olds.  Dennis Kucinich was elected Mayor of a major city, Cleveland, Ohio.  The young public official stood on principle against a corporate giant and saved the city and the community millions.  While the yarn is legendary, it is not as distinguished or as frequently discussed as wife, Elizabeth Kucinich is.

    True, English born Elizabeth Kucinich is not close in age to her husband, as are the wives of numerous other candidates.  Conservatives John McCain, Rudy Giuliani, and Fred Thompson married women much younger than they.  However, that is but a minor source of intrigue.  What mesmerizes America and is among the stories supporters felt a need to stave off is the metal in the exquisite woman’s mouth.

    O’Donnell: I have to ask you about two very interesting things. Because America has had a traditional of having traditional first ladies, if you will. You would be the youngest first lady ever if your husband were elected president. You have a tongue ring. What about that?

    E. Kucinich: What about that?

    O’Donnell: Well, it’s very unusual. I don’t know that there are many political spouses who have tongue rings.

    E. Kucinich: I’m 30 years old. I’ve had it for 10 years. I don’t see it as being a problem. I do still wear pearls.

    The English Elizabeth Kucinich hints at the truth the American electorate is embarrassed to avow.  In this country, politics, policy, and proposals do not garner support.  A president is not placed into the Oval Office when the constituents prefer his or her plan.  Appearances matter more than the issues or a solid, substantive agenda.  

    Each ballot is a personal endorsement for a look, a life style, a gesture, a posture, and on rare occasions, a principle.  A vote for a candidate is an endorsement for the values of friends, family, business associates, and anyone who might judge an individual.  Americans want to elect a winner, someone whose rise, will add to a voters personal sense of worth.  

    Principally, what most Americans wonder about as they assess the Presidential contenders, what causes citizens of the States to worry, and weep is as a questioner in a recent debate inquired.  “Do you prefer diamonds or pearls?”  If a constituent thinks, he or she can “personally” relate to the answer a candidate delivers or the manner in which they reply, then that candidate can pack their bags and move into the White House on January 20th. In Election year 2008, Hillary, John, and Mitt are correct; for them, you, and me this process is personal.

    Personal, Personalities, Preferences . . .

    Benazir Bhutto Rests In Peace. Will We?

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    Millions of Americans awoke to the news; Benazir Bhutto was killed in an attack.  The daughter of a former Prime Minister, and twice Prime Minister herself, Bhutto, months ago returned to her homeland, after a self-imposed eight  year exile.

    The Harvard graduate ventured forth with a hope and a dream that she might unite her mother country.  The scion and scholar arrived in Pakistan amidst much fanfare and furor.

    Benazir Bhutto was a deeply controversial figure.

    Western-educated and charismatic, she presented herself as a moderate, democratic force. As such she was widely courted in the West. The United States hoped she could restore popular legitimacy to President Musharraf’s failing war against Islamist militants.

    But she was widely seen as having misused her office for her own financial gain and faced a number of court cases, both inside Pakistan and outside the country. Islamist militants hated her for her pro-American views.

    Earlier this year, Ms Bhutto and Mr Musharraf had been working on a power-sharing agreement. The talks failed, leaving Ms Bhutto as the biggest political threat to President Musharraf, rather than an ally.

    Therein lies the question many citizens of the United States ask.  Who, among the leaders in Pakistan is a friend to America and who is the foe.  Benazir Bhutto was our lover, devotee, and we her enthusiast.  Yet, for years the White House has happily courted the current President of Pakistan.

    Despite talk of terrorist encampments and anti-American sentiment within Pakistan, the Bush Administration spoke of General Musharraf as a friend of the States.  Oh, the President of the United States and President, General Pervez Musharraf had their differences.  There was a time when the leaders aired their angst aloud.  However, ultimately, the two kissed and made-up as couples often do.  The world powers then walked off into the sunset, hand-in-hand.  Each, revels in the joint venture to fight against Islamic insurgents.

    Granted, there were other rifts.  Commander-In-Chief, the American military commandant demanded that the General take off his uniform.  After Pakistani President, General Pervez Musharraf imposed martial law and suspended that nation’s Constitution, there was fear within the White House.  Federal officials stated our ally had gone too far. His decision to wear military garb exacerbated the situation.  An elected official cannot be considered militaristic.  During a telephone conference with the Middle Eastern Head of State, President and Commander George W. Bush expressed his distress with the man who supported the United States in its endeavor to spread democracy.

    “You can’t be the president and the head of the military at the same time,” Bush said. “I had a very frank discussion with him.” . . .

    “My message was that we believe strongly in elections, and that you ought to have elections soon, and you need to take off your uniform,” Bush said.

    Perhaps this derision was the last straw.  It was time to move on, move forward, or stay the course with a new face at the helm.  Certainly, there is no need to imagine; were Benazir Bhutto Prime Minister of Pakistan, she too would have joined US in combat against “terrorists.”

    The U.S. has long supported a return to power by Bhutto, who was perceived to be a moderate willing to work with Washington on the war on terror. She was also seen as a democratic leader who would serve as a counter to the plummeting popularity of Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 military coup. It was thought that a power-sharing deal between the two, in which Musharraf stayed on as president while Bhutto lead as prime minister, would promote stability in this nuclear armed nation of 165 million. But from the day of her arrival in Pakistan after eight years in exile, Bhutto’s return has been marred by violence.

    We can only surmise that the hostile environment did not worry the Americans, the Bush Administration much.  After all, aggression is the way of this White House.  It matters not who leads or lends a hand as we go into battle.  As long as the war continues, a surge strategy is maintained, and fear is sustained.  Then, the hawks win.  All must inquire; is that not the most important aspect of this New World Strategy.

    We can peruse the Pakistani papers.  We can read the rhetoric of the Right and the Left in America.  Candidates can recount their experience of Benazir Bhutto.  Still, there is reason to believe we know nothing of what really happened and why.  The common folk are not even certain they understand how to care for a tragic event that has now become a campaign battle cry.  Americans listen to the words of woe, and the warnings.  Again we are told, in the name of democracy, we are at war . . . and do not forget it!

    “The United States strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy,” Bush said. “Those who committed this crime must be brought to justice.” . . .

    With the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses just a week away, U.S. presidential candidates also swiftly condemned the killing and stressed the need to fight terrorism.

    The assassins who killed Bhutto “must be brought to justice,” Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said Thursday.

    “Her death is a tragedy for her country and a terrible reminder of the work that remains to bring peace, stability and hope to regions of the globe too often paralyzed by fear, hatred and violence,” said Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

    New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, who is trailing fellow Democrats Clinton and Barack Obama in polls, said a leader has died in Pakistan “but democracy must live.”

    “It is in the interests of the U.S. that there be a democratic Pakistan that relentlessly hunts down terrorists,” Richardson said in a statement.

    Campaigning in Florida, current Iowa-caucus Republican frontrunner Mike Huckabee said he is “deeply troubled” by the news of Bhutto’s killing. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, said the U.S. must stand with moderate forces across the Islamic world “and together face the defining challenge of our generation — the struggle against violent, radical jihadists.”

    “For those who think Iraq is the sole front in the war on terror, one must look no further than what has happened today,” said Romney, a Republican. . . .

    Giuliani, who was mayor of New York City during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack that brought down the World Trade Center, said Bhutto’s death is a reminder that terrorism anywhere “is an enemy of freedom.”

    “We must redouble our efforts to win the terrorists’ war on us,” Giuliani said in a statement.

    “This is devastating news for the people of Pakistan, and my prayers go out to them as we follow developments regarding this dire situation,” Huckabee said in a statement.

    Once again, Americans must acknowledge that purposely, we are not fully informed.  As long as war remains in the wind, we cannot and will not speak of peace.  In an era where faux-Progressives stress the need for global tranquility, as they plan to wage war for at least another term, we must remember that when conflict is the cause of strife, it will also be the effect.

    Americans and citizen worldwide can only hope that we, as  a world will decide not to focus on assignations and the aggressive demeanors that lead to these.  We might dream of the impossible, harmony, and create it.  

    Together let us take a moment and rest in peace.  Perchance, we might listen to the words of the one Presidential hopeful from either nation, Pakistan or the United states, who wishes only for serenity planet-wide.  The aspirant that believes we can achieve the impossible, what same think absurd offers his words of wisdom.

    U.S. Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) issued the following statement after learning of the death of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto was killed in Rawalpindi, Pakistan in a suicide attack following a campaign rally.

    “This is a very dangerous moment for the world,” Kucinich said. . . .

    “The United States must change its policy direction in the region. It must stop adding fuel to the fire.”

    If we truly wish to establish world unity, Americans and Pakistanis alike cannot condone combat, in any form, on foreign or domestic shores.  If we are to authentically invite and work for peace, we, as a nation, as individual people must live  our lives in harmony.  We must be calm when in the company of our neighbors, strangers and genuinely care for our selves.

    Peace, Pax. Hasiti. Amniat.

    Source of Serenity or Strife . . .

    Larry Craig; Gay Issues, Hypocrisy, Out of the Closet, Into Romney Campaign


    Barney and Bill on Larry Craig and Gay Republicans

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    Tonight, word leaks out Senator Larry Craig was arrested in June 2007.  Today, this married man pled guilty to crimes unthinkable to such a staunch Conservative.  Tales of duplicity abound.  In this moment, we are focused more on this man and his drama than we are on the many deceitful accounts that fill the halls of Congress. I question why.  Is being Gay a crime.  “Solicitation” may be considered illegal.  However, when two consenting adults seek sexual gratification for love or money is that truly immoral?  Might we ponder what unethical, extraordinary, and cruel actions we accept into our lives each and every day, particularly from those that supposedly represent us?

    During an eventful afternoon, a report was released.  Craig Arrested, Pleads Guilty Following Incident in Airport Restroom.  Stories were spun, and explanations mounted.  Just as he had in October 2006, Idaho Senator Larry Craig Denies Allegations of Same-Sex Affairs. 

    Talk of the how members of Congress ignore the doings in the Justice Department for so long faded.  Conversation about how Congress allowed for the resignation of the embattled Attorney General Gonzales rather than impeach the man of questionable ethics subsided.  Spy stories may be sensational.  However, they are nothing in contrast to sex. 

    As this scandal unfolded, few contemplated the irony in Iowa.  Presidential candidates, fully insured, spoke of their health care proposals and avoided mention of the Pharmaceutical companies that back their campaign.

    Words of war moved off the stage temporarily.  No matter.  Even when we chat about this dynamic, Americans do not struggle with what might be considered immoral.  The Representatives that say they want an end to combat, were placed in their Congressional offices after they promised to end the conflict, continue to fund the war efforts.

    Tête-à-tête as it pertains to the tiniest among us was hushed even before it began.  It is of no consequence that millions of children will go without health insurance coverage with thanks to the White House.  The Administration quietly imposed stipulations on the State Children’s’ Health Insurance Program [SCHIP]  that severely restrict eligibility; yet, few speak of this.  Why should they?  Tens of millions more adults have been without the benefits of health care for, oh, so very long.  Americans have been without adequate care since before their babies were born.

    Chatter of all these concerns fell silent.  In cyberspace, throughout the airwaves, and on street corners was America  discussed, and likely will continue to discuss days from now, sex.  The flame of flirtation fills the every avenue today as it did in October 2006.  It is hot, happening, and when mixed with politics, a hazard.

    Then, the Mark Foley scandal brought the issue of Gay Republicans to the forefront.  Bill Maher and Senator Barney Frank discussed the disclosure; Senator Larry Craig was among those thought to be Gay.  The possibility was raised often and for years.  However, each time, Conservative Idaho Senator Craig denied the “accusation.”  For Craig the idea was considered an indictment.  He had long advocated against Gay rights and Gay marriage.  In 2004, and 2006, amendments to make Gay marriage legal were introduced on the senate floor.  Craig voted against these.  Nonetheless, suspicions remain.

    Months ago, Senator Frank indignantly spoke of this possibility.  For Barney Frank, Mark Foley, perhaps, Larry Craig, and all other Gay “Conservatives” that rail against homosexual rights are hypocrites.  The proud-to-be Gay Senator from Massachusetts discussed the depth of this issue.  The Massachusetts Senator noted, Republicans that would wish to ban Gay intercourse, at times, are closet Gays.  “Conservative” homosexuals that are out of the closet of confinement, Senator Frank believes, are truly charlatans.  He inquires how can you support a Party that is opposed to your lifestyle.

    Tonight, after Americans learned the Idaho Conservative was caught with his pants down, the titillating topic ignited again.  Sex sizzles, especially when people are caught in compromising entanglements.

    Once more we witness, no matter how many stories of import occur during the day, if we can be distracted by the dim lights of “doing it,” then we will be.  Larry Craig could have walked into a court room and plead guilty to another crime.  He might have lied about his finances.  He may have told tall tales regarding his voting record, and granted, these might have been mentioned on the Nightly News; however,  neither would have diverted attention as this yarn did. 

    Sex, with a touch of homosexuality, and a hint of controversy, a Conservative claims guilt, and innocence simultaneously . . . now that is a story.  That is entertainment!  An escapade, an escape, whatever it is this anecdote for much of the populace is better than the real news, which they think is often so depressing.

    Discussions of the Larry Craig crisis were visible in our living rooms.  Televisions broadcast the report and journalists offered commentary.  As we reflect we might consider, talk of homosexuality is omnipresent in most American homes daily.  Much of the population is Gay, or has a family member that declares him or herself homosexual.  In Seattle, 12.9 percent of the population is Gay or Bisexual.  In San Francisco, the numbers are higher.  The numbers vary as does conventional wisdom; nevertheless . . .

    9% of men between 18-59 in LA, NYC, Chicago and San Francisco self-identified as Gay or bisexual.  (Random study in The Social Organization of Sexuality, 1994)

    Other estimates: 10% of population (Kinsey, 1948); 2.8% of men, 1.4% of women.  (Univ. of Chicago survey, 1994, and national random surveys in England and France)

    An estimated 6-14 million children in the U.S. live in Gay or lesbian headed households.  (Harvard Law Review, 1990)

    3-10% of teens in America are Gay or lesbian.  (TIME Magazine, December 8, 1997)

    Senator Larry Craig does and does not deny to state he is a homosexual; it depends on the day, the time, and circumstances.

    Craig Arrested, Pleads Guilty Following Incident in Airport Restroom. 

    By John McArdle,
    Roll Call
    Monday, August 27, 2007; 4:48 pm

    Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested in June at a Minnesota airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public restroom, according to an arrest report obtained by Roll Call Monday afternoon.

    Craig’s arrest occurred just after noon on June 11 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.  On Aug. 8, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct in the Hennepin County District Court.  He paid more than $500 in fines and fees, and a 10-day jail sentence was stayed.  He also was given one year of probation with the court that began on Aug. 8.

    A spokesman for Craig described the incident as a “he said/he said misunderstanding,” and said the office would release a fuller statement later Monday afternoon.

    After he was arrested, Craig, who is married, was taken to the Airport Police Operations Center to be interviewed about the lewd conduct incident, according to the police report.  At one point during the interview, Craig handed the plainclothes sergeant who arrested him a business card that identified him as a U.S. Senator and said, “What do you think about that?” the report states.

    Craig was detained for approximately 45 minutes, interviewed, photographed, fingerprinted and released, and police prepared a formal complaint for interference with privacy and disorderly conduct.

    Tonight, as reports are being broadcast throughout America, the earlier dialogue between Bill Maher and Senator Barney Franks seems more apt. 

    As the evening wears on, we hear Senator Craig now vacillates.  The public ponders.  Senator Craig proclaims either he or the officer misunderstood.  The Idaho representative returns to a stance he embraced earlier, and for more than a score, denial.  As we read, listen, and consider all the angles, we might realize, perhaps, the point is moot.  Hypocrisy may be the more viable issue.

    Senator Craig withdraws from Romney campaign role
    Political Intelligence
    The Boston Globe
    August 27, 2007

    US Senator Larry Craig resigned tonight as Senate co-chairman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, within hours after news broke of Craig’s guilty plea to disorderly conduct after an incident in a men’s bathroom.

    “Senator Craig has stepped down from his role with the campaign.  He did not want to be a distraction and we accept his decision,” Romney’s campaign said in a statement.

    The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported today that Craig pleaded guilty earlier this month to a charge of disorderly conduct after he was arrested in June at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport by a plainclothes police officer investigating lewd conduct complaints in a men’s public bathroom.

    Craig denied any “inappropriate conduct” and said his actions had been misconstrued.

    Senator Craig, prior to today’s revelation played a prominent role in the campaign of Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney.  Romney, arguably, the most traditional of the Republican candidates recognized the threat of this situation.  The candidate known for his pious pronouncements reacted quickly.  Romney recognized his choice of Craig as credible representative might damage his image among those that think homosexuality immoral.  The outspoken former Massachusetts Governor fears memories may be long.  His own words might haunt him.

    In February, Romney announced that Craig of Idaho and Robert Bennett of Utah would serve as co-Senate liaisons.

    “Both men have a unique perspective of the new generation of challenges confronting our nation,” Romney said in the statement announcing their roles.  “I look forward to working with them to find the solutions needed to ensure that our country remains a strong world leader.”

    In May, Romney’s campaign announced that Craig would be co-chairman of the Romney for President Idaho Leadership Team.

    “Our government is in need of a proven leader like Governor Romney, who will put in place benchmarks and streamline our government using proven conservative principles,” Craig said in the Romney campaign’s statement.  “His message is resonating with voters and I’m looking forward to helping him on his way to winning the Republican nomination.”

    Perchance, Craig thought his restroom entanglement might benefit the Romney crusade.  It certainly will advance discussion, one that for too long has been hidden, even by Larry Craig himself.


    1982 Larry Craig denial, 1982

    Today, might we consider there are other duplicitous dynamics amongst Senators, Congressmen and women, and Presidential hopefuls that affect us all.  Health care is an interesting subject.  What Senator or Congressperson has been without health insurance as 44 million Americans are?  How many work for minimum wage or think they could survive on such a stipend?  Are any of our representatives going off to fight on the frontlines; yet, they continue to sponsor the combat that kills thousands of average Americans, and innocent Iraqis.  Let us truly talk of treacherous trickery, dishonesty, and deceit.  We need not go to the bedroom or bathroom to find fraud and deception.

    Sex, The Scandal, Substance, and Sources . . .

  • Idaho Senator Larry Craig Denies Allegations of Same-Sex Affairs. By Jill Kuraitis.  NewWest, Boise. October 17, 2006
  • Administration Paper Defends Spy Program, Detailed Argument Cites War Powers.  By Carol D. Leonnig.  Washington Post. Friday, January 20, 2006; Page A01
  • pdf Administration Paper Defends Spy Program, Detailed Argument Cites War Powers.  By Carol D. Leonnig.  Washington Post. Friday, January 20, 2006; Page A01
  • New Bush Policies Limit Reach of Child Insurance Plan, By Christopher Lee.  Washington Post. Tuesday, August 21, 2007; Page A04
  • pdf New Bush Policies Limit Reach of Child Insurance Plan, By Christopher Lee.  Washington Post. Tuesday, August 21, 2007; Page A04
  • Edwards knocks Clinton for taking money from health care lobby. Cable News Network. August 27, 2007
  • Northwest senators divided on Gay marriage, By Matthew Daly.  The Associated Press.  Seattle Times. June 7, 2006
  • Senator Craig withdraws from Romney campaign role.  Political Intelligence.  The Boston Globe.  August 27, 2007
  • 12.9% in Seattle are Gay or bisexual, second only to S.F., study says, By Lornet Turnbull.  Seattle Times.  November 16, 2006
  • Costly Happy Meals; Hillary and Mitt. Healthy Menu; Kucinich Plan


    Dennis Kucinich *I Am Mainstream.* MSNBC. August 7, 2007

    copyright © 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    I am obsessed with weight, as are we all.  My physical bulk or yours do not concern me.  Money tips the scale.  In America, financial wherewithal is the food of choice.  Much of what we crave and consume is flavored with dough.  We savor what dollars deliver.

    During the dinner hours last evening, three supposedly unrelated bits of information filled my plate.  I was flooded with much food for thought.  First the appetizer appeared, The Real Price of a Big Mac.  Then the main course came, Kucinich Calls Out Clinton’s Nuclear Blunder.  Finally, after a full meal, dessert was served.  Stuffed, I could not fully digest this delicious delicacy until the morning.  Romney Wins Iowa Straw Poll by a Sizable Margin.  The taste of money melted in my mouth.  I was satiated with an overwhelming feeling, nausea.

    The illness began as I prepared my repast.  I gathered the vegetables together.  I chopped fresh garlic, then the ginger.  I took dry spices off the cupboard shelf, one by one, and sprinkled them into a wok.  Olive oil was added to the mix, as were mushrooms.  As the spices seared, tomatoes went into the pan.  I sliced and diced more greens, red and orange produce.  The steam rose and my appetite sank. 

    The entrée, one that I eat each evening would be scrumptious; it always is; however, on this occasion my eyes and mind were filled with fast food.  As I cooked, I watched a film I always meant to view, Super Size Me. 

    Super Size Me documents the effect processed food products have on the human body.  As someone that has had infinite reason, and a reality that inspired much research into the study of food, I was not surprised by the results of this experiment.  I can attest to the validity of the Morgan Spurlock’s experience.  I understand to my core what occurs when sugar and simple carbohydrates fill our stomach, travel through our blood stream, and are absorbed by our cells. 

    The body’s reaction to large quantities of sweet and fatty foods is infinitely interesting to me.  I am intimately familiar with what occurs when one, such as the filmmaker Spurlock, who is unaccustomed to such fare, eats fast food.  The involuntary need to purge is as expected.

    What astounded me, although I knew this in abstract, were the dollars devoted to promote poor health.  Chow, cheap and low in quality, is a cash cow.  Junk food junkies are persuaded to dine as they do; dollars deliver a message that mesmerizes.  Store shelves are stocked with victuals that adversely effect our physiology.  Subliminally sent memorandums fill our screens, radios, and periodicals.  We are well trained.  Our habits are established at birth, and reinforced throughout our lives.

    In “Out of Balance,” released on the eve of the summit, Consumers Union and CPEHN use just-released data from Advertising Age to analyze the amount of money spent on the unending barrage of food brand advertising.  The groups found that food, beverage, candy and restaurant advertising hit $11.26 billion in 2004, compared to a mere $9.55 million to advertise the Five A Day campaign, which promotes eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily.  The ad budget for the top-spending fast food restaurants alone came in at $2.3 billion, roughly 240 times greater than the communications budget for the 5 A Day campaigns combined.  The advertising budget for Snickers, a single brand of candy, is nearly eight times greater than the advertising budget for the entire 5 A Day California and federal programs.

    The $11.26 billion total does not include any expenditures for less traditional marketing such as product placements in television and movie content; brand internet environments; special promotions; word of mouth marketing; and cell phone and text messaging ads.  Therefore, the $11.26 billion overall advertising figure highlighted, thus, vastly understates the true extent of marketing expenditures by these companies.

    The “5 A Day” program started in California in 1988 as a pilot funded by the National Cancer Institute.  The California pilot became a federal public-private partnership program in 1991, with the National Cancer Institute joining forces with a new “Produce for Better Health Foundation.”  The program aims to promote healthful eating, prevent cancer and other chronic diseases, and curb weight gain by increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables.  Public awareness of the program’s dietary recommendation has grown from 8 to 36 percent since the federal program began in 1991.  Produce for Better Health has declared September 10-17, 2005 “National Five a Day Week”.

    “The 5 A Day program has demonstrated success, even with an extremely limited communications budget, but 64% of Americans are still unaware of the importance of eating five or more servings of fruit and vegetables every day,” noted Betsy Imholz of Consumers Union.  “What can we expect?  The 5 A Day message is at best a hushed whisper compared to the persistent din of unhealthful foods advertising.”

    “The epidemic of obesity tracks the `epidemic’ of junk food advertising,” said Ellen Wu, Executive Director of California Pan-Ethnic Health Network [CPEHN.]  “The imbalance in advertising between healthful and unhealthful messages must be addressed if we hope to stem the obesity epidemic hitting communities of color with particular force.”

    Indeed, the imbalance of information overwhelms Americans.  Vigorous communication that would advance the wellbeing of the world is thwarted by the unhealthy habitual rhetoric.  Consider the Presidential campaigns and the coverage.  Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards to a lesser degree receive much media attention, and perhaps, deservedly so.  These contenders bring in the big bucks! 

    The Senator from New York, Hillary Rodham Clinton as of June 30, 2007 has raised $63.1 million dollars in campaign donations.  The junior Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama garnered a mere $58.9 million buckaroos.  Former Senator and Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards collected only $23.1 million greenbacks.  Then there is the congressman from Ohio, Dennis Kucinich.  Shorter in stature, and less sensational in the minds of many has little cash to speak of.  Kucinich, a man with a brain bigger than all outdoors, and plans more profound than the other Presidential hopefuls has only $1.1 million George Washington’s in his pocket. 

    Hence, we might expect just as is evident in the food industry, Congressman Kucinich , the man with the healthier plan is passed over.  What Dennis declares is not seen as sexy, strong, or endearing.  Kucinich is frequently the fruit or the vegetable left off the menu.  The nutritional value of his words may be high.  The substance of a meal with Dennis may be divine and it would definitely sustain a peaceful planet.  However, information as it relates to the recommended daily allowance of such sustenance is void. 

    Just as film Director Spurlock could not easily locate the mandatory dietary charts at McDonalds, a citizen cannot effortlessly retrieve much of the wisdom that flows from Presidential aspirant, Dennis Kucinich. 

    After my evening “feast,” the festivities began.  I discussed the political campaigns with a friend.  We spoke of events we attended during the day and organizations we are familiar with.  We navigated the World Wide Web and stumbled on news not heard on any channel.  Periodicals did not widely print, radios and televisions did not broadcast what we each thought important.  In an interview with Congressman Kucinich, Journalist Kasia Anderson realized what we may know, and yet ignore.  More accurately, assessments are muted, muffled by promoters and those that understand power. 

    Such a “conversation” would not serve the Clinton campaign well.  Thus, it was not placed on the media menu.  Marketers and media moguls know which side of their bread is buttered.  Senator Clinton has been decidedly inconsistent during the course of this campaign.  What she once thought a wise statement she now determines detrimental. 

    What was Hillary’s Happy Meal becomes a Mac attack.  Might we consider even salads served by the those that market well, such as the bountifully funded McDonalds, are filled with sweeteners.

    A year ago, Hillary Clinton said she “would certainly take nuclear weapons off the table.”  She spoke these words as she discussed the need to confront Iran and its possible expansion of a nuclear program. 

    That comment is contrary to the recent and conspicuous statement offered on August 2, 2007.  Illinois Senator and Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama strongly suggested in response to a hypothetical query pertaining to terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan, for him, nuclear weapons were “not on the table.” 

    Hillary Clinton, possibly in a desire to exploit the belief Obama is inexperienced, lashed out in retort, “Presidents should be careful at all times in discussing the use and nonuse of nuclear weapons.” The well-funded and abundantly followed Clinton continued, “Presidents since the Cold War have used nuclear deterrents to keep the peace, and I don’t believe any president should make blanket statements with the regard to use or nonuse of nuclear weapons.”

    Conventional wisdom dictates the Commander-In-Chief must be strong.  Senator Clinton knows this and appeals to this notion.  She capitalizes on the notion, ‘silence is golden,’ while she complains of secrecy within the current Administration.  More and more, this money magnet gives the people, particularly, politically connected cash donors, exactly what they want.  She presents an image of power.  Her message sells, even to a self-proclaimed Progressive populace.  Perhaps, money matters. 

    If a candidate wishes to be considered, they need the green that does not grow on trees.  The price of attendance for this Presidential banquet is astronomical.  Condiments may enhance the flavor; nevertheless, how often is relish served with caviar? 

    Dennis Kucinich, the salt and pepper that brings out the taste, has a plan that compliments what the people say they crave.  The Congressman is ready to carry out his program.  He can and will deliver a swift exit from Iraq.  The prospect of peace permeates the Kucinich menu.  Yet, this tidbit is not on the proverbial table.

    During debates, Kucinich is placed at the children’s’ table. This Presidential contender is seen; however, he is barely heard.  Without the dollars to deliver his message, the Kucinich challenge remains hushed.  Yet, just as mustard left in the kitchen, or sauce still simmering on the stove, if we choose to, we can smell the scent of success.  Truth Dig brings the fare for us to savor.

    Kucinich Calls Out Clinton’s Nuclear Blunder,
    Posted on Aug 11, 2007
    By Kasia Anderson

    Kasia Anderson: What’s your reaction to Sen. Clinton’s comeback to Sen. Obama about the possibility of using nuclear weapons against terrorists in Pakistan or Afghanistan?

    Dennis Kucinich:  I think that that single comment by Sen.  Clinton raises questions about her fitness for the presidency.  In a week in which we observe the [anniversaries of the] tragedies of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, any American presidential candidate who rattles the nuclear saber must be viewed with the greatest amount of skepticism.  Given Sen. Clinton’s commitment to the neocon doctrines of pre-emption, unilateralism, and first strike, all Americans should be very concerned about how she would use the power of the presidency.

    There’s another question here, and that is: Is she unaware of the fragility of conditions on the Asian subcontinent with respect to nuclear parity and first-strike concerns?  Does she really mean what she says, and is she ready to take responsibility for potentially catalyzing a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan?  Has she really thought this through?  This really raises questions about whether she has the thoughtfulness to be able to lead the nation.  Given her willingness to attack Iraq without any evidence whatsoever, without having read any of the documents, without having done any of the research-is she that susceptible that she’s willing to reach for the nuclear football?

    Anderson:  Can you say more about first-use doctrine in this context?

    Kucinich:  There’s a doctrine of first use, which really is a violation of international law.  The first-use doctrine is the prelude to Armageddon.  We live in a time where the entire world understands the imperative of getting rid of nuclear weapons, and Sen. Clinton’s lack of awareness of the danger of that kind of rhetoric legitimates the first-strike doctrine among all nations.  And so, in some ways, her comments necessitate a deep discussion within the Democratic Party about what we stand for.

    I believe in strength through peace, through enforcing the [Nuclear] Non-Proliferation Treaty, which at its heart calls for nuclear abolition.  We should be talking about nuclear abolition, not about first strike.  This desire for aggressiveness with nuclear weapons is chilling and requires the most intense scrutiny of someone’s position on the most basic issue of survival of the planet.  Jonathan Schell was writing about these things decades ago-about the effects of the use of nuclear weapons.  I don’t understand why [Clinton] feels this need to look tough with respect to weapons.  What kind of calculations could she possibly be making?

    Everyone knows that there is no survivability from a nuclear attack, and that the use of nuclear weapons brings about ecocide.  At a time when we’re worried about the health of the planet, that someone would talk about using nuclear weapons shows a willingness to misuse power that could lead to the destruction of the planet itself.  We can all have these discussions about global climate change, and we all want to work together to improve the quality of life on the planet.  But the first-strike doctrine changes everything, because it invites the use of nuclear weapons, which destroy not only the target nation but the nation that uses them.

    I think that what we’ve seen in the past is a real weakness that comes from a willingness to use deadly force without regard to the facts.  This is not only a political question; this is a question of character.

    Perchance character is the greatest question.  As we watch each of the Presidential hopefuls posture, we must realize that much of what we see and hear is personality.  The pretty or seemingly powerful prosper more than most.  In the Republican Party, this too is evident.  Mitt Romney, who some say comes with much baggage has done well financially.  This former Governor from Massachusetts, and multimillionaire, entrepreneurial investor raised an awesome, $44.4 million dollars.  This amount far exceeds what other contenders have gathered. 

    Romney is said to “look Presidential.”  He has the smile and charm of a President.  Notwithstanding, many verbal faux pas’ the campaigner has a lasting charisma.  Wherever, Mitt Romney goes, people follow.  Tens of thousands are paid to join the Romney train, the campaign. Nearly one hundred family members were deployed to demonstrate their support.

    Romney’s Cash Beckons Iowans To Straw Poll
    By Michael D. Shear and Alec MacGillis?
    Washington Post
      Friday, August 10, 2007; A01

    DES MOINES, Aug. 9 — As thousands of Republican activists prepare to descend on Ames, Iowa, tomorrow for the straw poll meant to gauge support for the GOP’s presidential contenders, the event has all the markings of a historic mismatch.

    One candidate, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, has assembled an unrivaled operation for the event: a statewide corps of 60 “super-volunteers,” who have been paid between $500 and $1,000 per month to talk him up; a fleet of buses; more than $2 million in television ads in Iowa; a sleek direct-mail campaign; and a consultant who has been paid nearly $200,000 to direct Romney’s straw poll production, which will include barbecue billed as the best in the state.

    Facing off against this are a half-dozen candidates whose combined Iowa expenditures through the end of June did not match the $1 million Romney had spent by that point, not including his many TV ads.  Tommy Thompson, the former Wisconsin governor, advertised in the Denison Bulletin & Review at a cost of $297.  Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback has been luring voters to Ames by sending out “brown bracelets” to wear around town (“a great conversation starter with friends and neighbors”).  Rep. Tom Tancredo (Colo.) is offering a tour of Washington — dinner included — to anyone who brings 25 friends to Ames.

    It was not supposed to play out this way.  Romney’s vast investment in the straw poll was designed to outmuscle former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) in the GOP’s first real contest of the election, and to give Romney a needed early boost as he works to build national recognition. But his preparation may have been too impressive for his own good.  Watching Romney spend so much, Giuliani and McCain dropped out of the straw poll in June.  Romney plunged ahead anyway, setting up a mismatch of almost Gulliverian proportions . . .

    Romney, a former venture capitalist and multimillionaire who has lent his campaign $9 million of his own money, has hired buses to travel the state, picking up supporters.  It will cost his campaign hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay the entry fee when they arrive.  Romney snared the prime spot for his tent — space at the event is auctioned off by the state GOP — reportedly by bidding $10,000 more than rivals.

    Aides will not reveal details about his spending, including how many of the tickets Romney will purchase.  (Every Iowan with a ticket can vote, though historically not everyone does. President Bush bought 11,000 tickets for his supporters in 1999.  About 7,400 of them voted for him.)

    But rival campaigns report-seeing multiple, glossy — and expensive — mailings during recent weeks.  “Glossy, big, die-cuts,” one staffer said.  “Autopen stuff.  Really high-quality, high-class mail.  They are filling Iowans’ mailboxes.” . . .

    A Democratic source who has tracked Romney’s ad buys said Romney had spent about $2.4 million on TV ads in Iowa, beginning in February and running consistently since May.  The source estimated Romney had spent an additional $2.5 million on campaign materials other than television in the state.

    Romney’s latest ad went up on Wednesday.  “Washington politicians in both parties have proven they can’t control spending, and they won’t control our borders,” he says in the ad, which flashes a toll-free number for free straw poll tickets.  “I will, but I need your help to do it.  So, come on to Ames.  After all, changing America always starts in Iowa.”

    There was little change jingling in Iowa.  The sound of crisp bills passed from hand to hand.  Transformation was not apparent.  Indeed the status quo dominated the scene.  The person [or product] that received the most attention was the one prominently placed in every market.  Advertisements moved the masses.

    The Big Mac, the Happy Meal, the Super Sized Venture Capitalist Mitt Romney used his money and magnetism to sway the crowds.  He invested in self-promotion and ultimately successfully sold himself.  When Romney won the vote in the Hawkeye State, he reminded America of its long-standing tradition.  Marketing matters more than quality or substance. 

    Advertisements influence what we accept as edible, attractive, electable, and essential in our lives. 

    Others might muse name recognition has a greater effect on the electorate than mailers or precinct walkers do.  The tried and true can be counted on.  Senator, and former Vietnam prisoner of war, John McCain and Mayor Rudolf Giuliani of September 11, 2001 fame had hoped so.  However, they had their doubts.  Neither chose to participate in the Iowa straw poll. 

    Perhaps they recognized as entrepreneur Romney understands.  The “image” of a bigger and better candidate can be beneficial for a Presidential hopeful.  One that reminds us “Change Begins” with him or her can be persuasive.  Romney strives to be the more “right” Republican.  Hillary intends to be the “new and improved” Clinton.  The Senator suggests citizens could “double their pleasure; double the fun” with two Clintons in the White House.

    Each is able to be omnipresent with thanks to ample funds.  Iowans witnessed Romney at work in recent weeks.  I experience Hillary Clinton each day.  The Senator sends her supporters, former followers, and donors, electronic mail daily.  I know.  I continue to receive communiqués years after I relinquished my endorsement.  The frequency of snail mail correspondence is less, although still abundant.  These formidable well-funded front-runners are as McDonalds.  The restaurant has “31,000 of the best locations on the planet.” None may be the healthy choice; however, each has money enough to ensure they are viable.

    Perhaps it is just I.  My preference is for meals that are nutritious.  Candidates that I trust will create and sustain the peace, for me, are more appealing fare than those that think nuclear warfare is an option.  When I cast a ballot for President, I will consider far more than familiarity.  I will read the menu carefully.  Those that advocate recipes for a shared prosperity will receive my vote.  I will feast with aspirants that return power to the people.  Lobbyist pork will not be my meal of choice.

    A Super Size snack may be  inexpensive.  A Happy Meal is perhaps, downright cheap.  However, the cost of saturated fat is high.  Sugary words may taste sweet; nevertheless, they are without substance weakens the system.  I will take a healthy and wise Dennis Kucinich anytime, and you?  Bon appetite.  I will see you at the polls.

    A Happy Meal. A Healthy Menu.  Does Money or the Message Matter Most?

  • The Real Price of a Big Mac.  Newsweek. By Brian Braiker.  Newsweek. January 29, 2004
  • Super Size Me.  By Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock.  2003
  • Food Industry Advertising Overwhelms Government’s “5 A Day” Campaign to Fight Obesity and Promote Healthy Eating.  Consumers Union. Tuesday, September 13, 2005
  • Out of Balance. Marketing of Soda, Candy, Snacks and Fast Foods Drowns Out Healthful Messages.  Consumers Union.  California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN)
  • Clinton Discussed Use of Nukes Last Year, By Beth Fouhy. ?The Associated Press.  Washington Post.  Thursday, August 9, 2007; 6:42 PM
  • pdf Clinton Discussed Use of Nukes Last Year, By Beth Fouhy. ?The Associated Press.  Washington Post.  Thursday, August 9, 2007; 6:42 PM
  • Kucinich Calls Out Clinton’s Nuclear Blunder, By Kasia Anderson.  Truth Dig. August 11, 2007
  • Romney Wins Iowa Straw Poll by a Sizable Margin, By Adam Nagourey and Jeff Zeleny.  The New York Times. August 12, 2007
  • pdf Romney Wins Iowa Straw Poll by a Sizable Margin, By Adam Nagourey and Jeff Zeleny.  The New York Times. August 12, 2007
  • Romney Wins Iowa’s GOP Poll, Victory Highlights Strategy Difference With Giuliani.  By Dan Balz and Michael D. Shear.  Washington Post. Sunday, August 12, 2007; Page A01
  • Romney’s Cash Beckons Iowans To Straw Poll, By Michael D. Shear and Alec MacGillis.  Washington Post. Friday, August 10, 2007; Page A01
  • pdf Romney’s Cash Beckons Iowans To Straw Poll, By Michael D. Shear and Alec MacGillis.  Washington Post. Friday, August 10, 2007; Page A01
  • Russert cited “business and CEO experience” in claiming Romney “looks presidential” Media Matters. May 30, 2007
  • Romney, Winner in Iowa, `Misspoke’ About Sons’ Military Choice, By Avram Goldstein.  Bloomberg. August 12, 2007
  • Mitt Romney; Money, Media, Majesty, a French Connection. Democrats?


    Rachel Maddow’s Campaign Asylum – Romney’s French Connection

    © copyright 2007 Betsy L. Angert

    The people love him; he is pretty and quite persuasive.  The money follows this Republican leader.  He grins and the public says ‘He is gorgeous.’  In recent years this term equates to “electable.”  Early on, concerns were expressed.  Mitt Romney is not the “right” religion.  However, these were dashed after his television appearance a week ago.  As Republicans gathered together to “debate” the issues, there was no escaping the fact that this man “looks Presidential.”  That counts.  He spoke eloquently.  That matters.  After all, in America we have no time or interest in deliberation.  What is real is what we think we see, or hear.  It is the impression that is important.

    The notion that this man can move mountains is good enough for the electorate.  Thirty and sixty-second spots litter the airwaves.  We are a society on the run.  The only way to catch the attention and inform our citizens is to broadcast the candidates’ message.  Conversation and campaigns need to be short and sweet.  Of course, we can expect mud slinging, but hey, that is politics, or so says the cynical.

    “Let us just get it over with; what are we waiting for.”  There is no reason to hesitate or delay.  America is impatient.  We want what we want, and we crave it now!  States are not willing to postpone stating their primary position.  They want the candidates to come to their region immediately.  Meeting the contenders personally is no longer a critical concern.  America is anxious for the general election. 

    The public need not invest in solid rumination.  Reasoning and rationale are ridiculous.  Ready, set, go!  “Just cut to the chase.” 

    Party platforms established over time and with much effort are not a priority in recent decades.  Watch the commercials.  Determine who can raise the most cash, and vote.  What we want is a pretty girl or boy.  Thus, we have it; the good-looking gain prominence and ultimately, possibly power.

    I offer the evidence, not that it will sway those certain, electability is the essential consideration.

    Money Lead Gives Romney A Needed Jolt
    As He Campaigns in N.H., Question Is How to Spend It
    By Michael D. Shear?
    Washington Post. 
    Wednesday, April 4, 2007; A04

    DERRY, N.H., April 3 — Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney found it difficult to suppress a grin as he campaigned across New Hampshire on Tuesday, savoring the accolades for having bested the Republican fundraising field in one of the first key tests of the 2008 campaign for president.

    The day after announcing that he had raised $21 million in the first three months of the year, his organization has already turned to the next important task: how to best make use of the money he raised to transform a still-unknown candidate stuck in the single digits in national polls into a household name that can compete with his better-known rivals in both parties.

    “I have the support I need to run a campaign through the primaries,” he said in an interview between stops here.  “I can be competitive with Hillary Clinton.  I can be competitive with someone in my own party.  Money is not going to be our issue.  Message is not our issue.

    Money makes a difference.  Magnetism means more.  The seas are parting and yes, it is election season.

    Time Magazine.
    Friday, May04, 2007

    Mitt Romney
    Grade: A-

    Passed his first high-profile test with aplomb.  Showed the sunny-side-up optimism, smoothly relaxed demeanor, and mechanically thorough preparation that have won over donors and talk show hosts alike.  Never rushed his answers or got flustered.  Deftly told a Ted Kennedy joke and closed with a stone cold hit on Hillary Clinton/Harry Reid/Nancy Pelosi.  Voters getting their first real look at Romney probably liked what they saw.  Still has to explain his shifted positions and return harder foreign policy volleys.
    – Mark Halperin

    Shifts can be easily explained when you smile and speak as smoothly as Mitt does.

    Romney’s journey to the right
    Social issue stands hardened since ’02
    By Scott Helman
    Boston Globe.
    December 17, 2006

    In Governor Mitt Romney’s metamorphosis from social moderate to self-styled conservative presidential candidate, Nov. 9, 2004 , stands out as a seminal date.

    On that day, Romney and two aides met in his State House office with renowned Harvard University stem cell researcher Douglas A. Melton.  In Romney’s retelling, Melton coolly explained how his work relied on cloning human embryos.

    ” I sat down with a researcher.  And he said, ‘Look, you don’t have to think about this stem cell research as a moral issue, because we kill the embryos after 14 days,’ ” Romney recalled on ” The Charlie Rose Show ” last June, characterizing the meeting as a watershed moment for him. ”  That struck me as he said that.”

    Melton remembers the session differently.

    “Governor Romney has mischaracterized my position; we didn’t discuss killing or anything related to it,” he said in a statement last week.  “I explained my work to him, told him about my deeply held respect for life, and explained that my work focuses on improving the lives of those suffering from debilitating diseases.”

    In the years since that meeting, Romney has cast his education on stem cells as his awakening on “life” issues, triggering, for example, his change to a vocal anti abortion stance after years of supporting abortion rights.  More broadly, the stem cell debate became a catalyst for Romney to methodically redefine himself as a conservative for 2008.

    Romney attacked Harvard and the controversial cloning technique in interviews with prominent conservative journalists.  He told Republicans in Spartanburg, S.C., that “science must respect the sanctity of human life.”  He sent out a political fund-raising letter touting his valiant fight against the liberal establishment over what he called “human cloning.”

    Even the ridiculous raises few eyebrows.  Mitt has been speaking for quite some time, declaring France our enemy.  In an era when America declares, “Might makes right,” and we are the [al]mighty, when the leader of the superpower, the United States of America proclaims, “You are with us or against us,” and France dared to disagree, it is obvious that claiming France a foe might be a popular position.  When a nation no longer honors anything French and re-names ‘French fries’ ‘freedom fries’ fighting against European elitism might be a winning stance. 

    Document shows Romney’s strategies
    Plan addresses faith, rivals, shift on issues
    By Scott Helman.
    The Boston Globe.
    February 27, 2007

    Here are some views of Mitt Romney causing concern inside his campaign: His hair looks too perfect, he’s not a tough war time leader, and he has earned a reputation as “Slick Dancing Mitt” or “Flip-Flop Mitt.”

    Romney and his advisers have identified those perceptions as threats to his bid for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, according to an exhaustive internal campaign document obtained by the Globe.

    The 77-slide PowerPoint presentation offers a revealing look at Romney’s pursuit of the White House, outlining a plan for branding himself, framing his competitors, and allaying voter concerns about his record, his Mormon faith, and his shifts on key issues like abortion.

    Dated Dec. 11, the blueprint is wide-ranging and analyzes in detail the strengths and weaknesses of Romney and his two main Republican rivals, Senator John McCain of Arizona and Rudolph W. Giuliani, former mayor of New York.  The plan, which top Romney strategist Alex Castellanos helped to draft, charts a course for Romney to emerge as the nominee, but acknowledges that the “electorate is not where it needs to be for us to succeed.”

    It is unclear how the campaign is using the document.  However, its expansiveness, level of detail and the involvement of Castellanos suggest that it is a significant strategic blueprint.  On the campaign trail, Romney is sounding some of the themes outlined in it.

    Romney spokesman Kevin Madden would not confirm or deny the plan’s authenticity, saying only that the former governor has received an “overly abundant” amount of input on how to run his campaign.  Asked specifically about the contents, Madden said: “If anything, it’s a compilation of political conventional wisdom.”

    “We’re obviously very, very focused on introducing Mitt Romney and his vision for leading the country into the future,” Madden said.  “And everybody recognizes that he’s somebody with a lot of energy and a lot of ideas.”

    Campaign blueprints analyzing a candidate and the competition are not unusual; earlier this year, the New York Daily News obtained and wrote about a similar dossier from Giuliani’s campaign.  And the Romney presentation lacks any big bombshells.  Still, it provides a window into the challenges and opportunities Romney and his advisors envision as he tries to win the Republican primary.

    The plan, for instance, indicates that Romney will define himself in part by focusing on and highlighting enemies and adversaries, such common political targets as “jihadism,” the “Washington establishment,” and taxes, but also Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, “European-style socialism,” and, specifically, France.  Even Massachusetts, where Romney has lived for almost 40 years, is listed as one of those “bogeymen,” alongside liberalism and Hollywood values.

    The Romney strategy was disclosed months ago; yet, this document was not thought truly newsworthy.  It may have appeared in print; however, no worries.  Presidential candidates make a lot of silly statements in their endeavor to be elected.  The public frequently excuses such assertions.  Then, elects the ludicrous laborer and wonders why.

    This frightening folly is not seen solely among the Republicans.  The Democrats do essentially the same.  Good looks and eloquent speeches can influence even intellectuals.  Media, money, and majesty correlate to mass appeal.  These characteristics deliver.  The populace gravitates towards a popular candidate.  Electability has an huge effect on the left-leaning electorate. 

    Some say Hillary is a woman; thus, she has my support.  Perhaps, putting Bill back in the white House is alluring. 

    Barack Obama tells his tale beautifully.  Each time I hear him, I literally cry.  This tall and dark man speaks and I believe he is no stranger to the strife in America.  However, during quiet times, I reflect.  I cannot say as many might, “Never mind . . .”

    Never mind, for example, that Obama was recently hailed as a “Hamiltonian” believer in “limited government” and “free trade” by Republican New York Times columnist David Brooks, who praises Obama for having “a mentality formed by globalization, not the SDS.”  Or that he had to be shamed off the “New Democrat Directory” of the corporate-right Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) by the popular left black Internet magazine Black Commentator (Bruce Dixon, “Obama to Have Name Removed From DLC List,” Black Commentator, June 26, 2003).

    Never mind that Obama (consistent with Brooks’s description of him) has lent his support to the aptly named Hamilton Project, formed by corporate-neoliberal Citigroup chair Robert Rubin and “other Wall Street Democrats” to counter populist rebellion against corporatist tendencies within the Democratic Party (David Sirota, “Mr. Obama Goes to Washington,” the Nation, June 26).  Or that he lent his politically influential and financially rewarding assistance to neoconservative pro-war Senator Joe Lieberman’s (“D”-CT) struggle against the Democratic antiwar insurgent Ned Lamont.  Or that Obama has supported other “mainstream Democrats” fighting antiwar progressives in primary races (see Alexander Cockburn, “Obama’s Game,” the Nation, April 24, 2006).  Or that he criticized efforts to enact filibuster proceedings against reactionary Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito.

    Never mind that Obama “dismissively” referred-in a “tone laced with contempt”-to the late progressive and populist U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone as “something of a gadfly.”  Or that he chose the neoconservative Lieberman to be his “assigned” mentor in the U.S. Senate.  Or that “he posted a long article on the liberal blog Daily Kos criticizing attacks against lawmakers who voted for right-wing Supreme Court nominee John Roberts.”  Or that he opposed an amendment to the Bankruptcy Act that would have capped credit card interest rates at 30 percent.  Or that he told Time magazine’s Joe Klein last year that he’d never given any thought to Al Gore’s widely discussed proposal to link a “carbon tax” on fossil fuels to targeted tax relief for the nation’s millions of working poor (Joe Klein, “The Fresh Face,” Time, October 17, 2006).

    Never mind that Obama voted for a business-friendly “tort reform” bill that rolls back working peoples’ ability to obtain reasonable redress and compensation from misbehaving corporations (Cockburn; Sirota).  Or that Obama claims to oppose the introduction of single-payer national health insurance on the grounds that such a widely supported social-democratic change would lead to employment difficulties for workers in the private insurance industry-at places like Kaiser and Blue Cross Blue Shield (Sirota).

    Does Obama support the American scourge of racially disparate mass incarceration on the grounds that it provides work for tens of thousands of prison guards?  Should the U.S. maintain the illegal operation of Iraq and pour half its federal budget into “defense” because of all the soldiers and other workers that find employment in imperial wars and the military-industrial complex?  Does the “progressive” senator really need to be reminded of the large number of socially useful and healthy alternatives that exist for the investment of human labor power at home and abroad-wetlands preservation, urban ecological retrofitting, drug counseling, teaching, infrastructure building and repair, safe and affordable housing construction, the building of windmills and solar power facilities, etc.?

    For me, there is too much that distracts us.  It is easy to intellectualize as we let our emotions be our guide.  Attractiveness, exquisiteness, splendor, and grandeur are appealing.  These frequently equate to electabilty.  However, a person with these qualities will not necessarily be a great President.

    One would think that the American public would tire of pretty girls and boys winning popularity contests; yet, I fear they have not.  The habits we learned in grade school still govern our decisions.  I sigh as I ask people to register and vote.  I believe in the process wholeheartedly.  Yet, as I consider the Making of a President, I take no pleasure in what this practice frequently produces.

    The Pretty.  The Problem.  The Profound . . .

  • Money Lead Gives Romney A Needed Jolt, As He Campaigns in N.H., Question Is How to Spend It.  By Michael D. Shear.  ?Washington Post. Wednesday, April 4, 2007; A04
  • pdf Money Lead Gives Romney A Needed Jolt, As He Campaigns in N.H., Question Is How to Spend It.  By Michael D. Shear.  ?Washington Post. Wednesday, April 4, 2007; A04
  • The Republican Candidates.  Mitt Romney. By Mark Halperin.  Time Magazine. May 4, 2007
  • Changing views.  The Boston Globe. December 17, 2006
  • Romney’s journey to the right, Social issue stands hardened since ’02.  By Scott Holman.  The Boston Globe. December 17, 2006
  • pdf Romney’s journey to the right, Social issue stands hardened since ’02.  By Scott Helman.  The Boston Globe. December 17, 2006
  • Document shows Romney’s strategies. Plan addresses faith, rivals, shift on issues.  By Scott Helman.  The Boston Globe. February 27, 2007
  • pdf Document shows Romney’s strategies. Plan addresses faith, rivals, shift on issues.  By Scott Helman.  The Boston Globe. February 27, 2007
  • Obama vs. Clinton and Edwards, By Mark Halperin.  The World Newer.  ABC News.
  • How Americans View Hillary: Popular but Polarizing, By Ana Marie Cox.  Time Magazine. August 19, 2006
  • The Obama Illusion.  Presidential ambitions from the start.  By Paul Street.  Z Magazine.
  • Rachel Maddow’s Campaign Asylum – Romney’s French Connection.  YouTube.
  • Phony Romney Plays the French Card [VIDEO] By Rachel Maddow.  Layer Cake Productions.  AlterNet. May 10, 2007.
  • Obama vs. Clinton and Edwards, By Mark Halperin.  The World Newer.  ABC News.
  • How Americans View Hillary: Popular but Polarizing, By Ana Marie Cox.  Time Magazine. August 19, 2006
  • Making of a President, 1960 By Theodore Harold White