Friday, January 04, 2008

Elizabeth Edwards: taken by Time magazine 07

Why I think Elizabeth Edwards is an Amazing Person

Elizabeth Edwards is amazing. She is going through chemotherapy and yet at the same time seems to be the unofficial chief strategist and spokesperson for her husband, the former Democratc Senator John Edward's campaign for President. He came in second in Iowa, close in percentage points to Hillary Clinton who came in a close third to Edwards. Although Obama's clear win in Iowa was significant, the race for the primary winners is just beginning. Edwards and Clinton have a way to go. I am impressed with Elizabeth Edwards skills answering questions from news people i.e. Chris Matthews who tried to back her into a corner about trial lawyers organizations having sent Edwards money. Her response was that being a trial lawyer was her husband's profession and he had a right to get their support just the same as if he had been a teacher getting money from a teacher's union. Then Chris Matthews went on to say trial lawyers were ruining Doctor's ability to practice their profession. He mentioned the State of New Hampshire as an example. Elizabeth deftly answered the problem was the insurance companies charging too much for their coverage not the fault of trial lawyers. No one ever says this and I think trial lawyers have become the bad guys so that big business including the pharmaceutical companies can be taken off the hook. I hope the public gets it. Elizabeth Edwards should be running for President. Perhaps, some day she will run for President or for an important office in government that is if she can just beat the breast cancer which I am sure she will.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Obama and Huckabee Win In Iowa. Barack makes history.

Barack Obama is clear winner in Iowa with 37% to 30.2% for Edwards (2nd place) and 30% for Clinton (3rd place) in the Iowa Caucus race. Edwards and Clinton appear to be in a tie for 2nd. Mike Huckabee has big victory over the other Republcan candidates. Mitt Romney, the businessman and former Governor, loses big to Huckabee. McCain seen gaining over Romney for the New Hampshire race because of the Huckabee win in Iowa .

Do not count Hillary out yet according to Rachel Maddow speaking on MSNBC from Air America. Hillary gives an upbeat concession speech supporting a Democrat for President, making the point that she is the best Democrat for the job at the same time giving her salute to the Dems for having such good candidates and for bringing in so many participants to the Dem caucuses. Edwards makes a rousing speech attacking the corporate interests and only referring at the very end to the fact he came in second.

Obama comes in after the Biden concession speech and gives an inspirational oration that was really quite impressive with overtones of the spirit of Martin Luther King and The Kennedy's. The Obama speech stresses unity and hope for a different kind of world. He takes a page from Shakespeare when he talks ( I am paraphrasing) about how all of us will look back on this moment and remember Iowa as being the great turning point reminding me of the St. Crispian Day Victory speech of yore fictionally given by Henry V and written by the great master playwright of all times. Something about the cadence of Obama's speech was mesmerizing and noticeably unusual. One can only hope that Obama's words and his future deeds if he wins the Presidency will become one.

It is interesting to note that Obama received more of the women's vote than Hillary partly because he received more support from both younger women and many votes from women of all ages than did Hillary.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Who Will Win in Iowa? Do the Issues Still Count?

Who will win in Iowa tomorrow? Both the Dems and Republicans face a balancing act between personality and issues. When voting for a Presidential candidate stands on issues is supposed to count; however, it has been long known that what kind of persona and/or image is projected by the candidate may count more. Both issues and image often affect each other or coincide. Trustworthiness, self confidence, and how the candidate is projected in terms of image is important too. Huckabee went a long way in his race for the Republican Primary by projecting an image of strong self confidence and ease with an audience. His image may have been tarnished recently though when he admitted he had not read an intelligence report about Iran which made and in his response to the Bhutto assassinaton* which made him look not too sharp on the international front; Instead McCain seems to have picked up the slack as he appears more engaged and experienced in the arena of foreign affairs. Romney has also benfited as he appears more sohisticated and knowledgeable about foreign affairs. Huckabee's image was suddenly tarnished because he did not pay enough attention to an important international issue.

Hillary Clinton has had an image problem since the Bill Clinton years; yet in my estimation she is probably more intelligent than any of the other candidates. That was true of Bill Clinton too. Her image problem is kind of a damned if you do and damned if you don't kind of dilemma. As a woman Clinton can not appear to be "too smart for her own good". Smarts without heart is something no candidate can be without, although Richard Nixon did very well without projecting much in the compassion category. Ronald Reagan did not represent a compassionate conservative either. Remember Ed Meese, Reagan's Attorney General, who said "reports of widespread hunger were merely anecdotal". Perhaps, have a heart factor has to do with the context of the times and it seemed that during Nixon and Reagan era there was a backlash against compassion for the downtrodden which has persisted to the present. Notice only those in the middle class are important; the poor are never mentioned, only this nebulous public called the middle class can be addressed. This in itself is a travesty given that every Den candidates has been doing outreach to labor unions and their consitutuents who identify as blue collar or working people not middle class. It was the Clintons who started this "never mention the poor strategy". This strategy may come back to haunt them both and may already be having its effect morally if not politically yet. I think only Edwards and Kucinich have really addressed the poor in a direct heads on way.

Hillary has softened her image. It is my understanding that her new image corresponds with who she really is, a self effacing person who does care very much about people and helping them. It is fairly clear when it comes to politics Clinton is a realist and is unwilling to make only the promises about helping people she thinks she can keep. Edwards appears or says he is ready to fight for the "little guy" and to stand up to corporate interests. Obama seems to project a nice guy image of someone who is not out for blood and who can bring everyone together.

Image and Issues are a balancing act that may or may not coalesce by the end of the caucuses in Iowa tomorrow. There is also the game of strategy that the caucuses require when the candidates who do not have strong showings have to decide whether to send their votes to another stronger candidate. At that point, image and issue may continue to play a part in the outcome. For instance, supporters of Huckabee may look for the candidate who they see as the next most sincere and staunch in their religious take on society. I have no idea who that might be though as none of the other Republicans seem to fit that bill except maybe Fred Thompson who is a weak contender. On the Dem side, Obama seems to be getting a lot of support from those who just do not trust Hillary because of her historical stand on Iraq and I am sure "the woman factor" fear that she has to play the hawk to counter an image that might appear too soft, what a contradiction. This thinking exists in my opinion, in spite of the fact that Hillary seems the most qualified by experience and just the way she has shown she can deal with pressures demonstrates she can lead. Edwards is a benefactor of those who do not see Obama as anti establishment enough.

In the end, the winner will also reflect the highest number of persons they can get out to participate in the Iowa Caucuses. Image and Issues only go so far. It may boil down to how many old people, women, and younger voters of Iiowa and in what proportions these folks go to the caucuses and which campaign does the best getting their people to caucus. Obama campaign people seem very organized. But I am sure the the Hillary camps is also. I think the younger folks would tend to be more for Obama and Edwards, and the older folk might lean more toward Clinton, Biden, and the old familiar faces. People expressed concern older folks might not go out in a blizzard or deep snow; however the younger are often more fickle than passionate about their politics so it might be a wash or in my opinion, the middle aged and older will make the effort which could help Hillary. I am sure all three top contenders have all this figured out and have an idea who they need to help get to the polls. Now not much left to do for us in the rest of the country but to sit and wait for the results unless you happen to know someone in Iowa you can yet persuade for your candidate whoever that is. Or are you waiting for a winner to emerge. Some say this will not happen that quickly. Perhaps, a solid image and issues have not really come together yet for most of the candidates. Merging image with issues is essential to becoming a truly successful candidate.

* After Bhutto's assassination Huckabee talked about immigration and creating more barriers to keep immigrants out. It was quite simply a weird response and the media was puzzled by Huckabee's lack of being on target when it came to an important international incident.

British PM Calls For Kenya Talks, End Of Violence

Wednesday, 2 January 2008, 9:15 am
Press Release: UK Government
Gordon Brown Calls For Kenya Talks, End Violence
PM calls for Kenya talks1 January 2008

Gordon Brown has called upon political leaders in Kenya to settle their differences over the country's election result and help quell the violence of recent days.

Speaking to reporters on a visit to a Berkshire hospital, the PM said that rival leaders Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga should look at ways of sharing power and that "the violence must be brought to an end" on Kenya's streets. As many as 200 people are reported to have died in clashes, feared to be taking on an ethnic dimension, since results were announced on Sunday.

President Kibaki was declared the winner only after unusual delyas and apparent irregularities in the counting process. The EU, which has election monitors in Kenya, has said that the vote was "marred by a lack of transparency" while chief monitor Alexander Graf Lambsdorff said the count "lacked credibility".

Reuters News Service on Kenyan Chaos

Africa dismayed, resigned as Kenya slips into chaos
Tue 1 Jan 2008, 8:34 GMT for full report go to
[-] Text [+]

By Kari Barber

KINSHASA (Reuters) - Africans watched with dismay and bitter resignation on Monday as Kenya slipped into post-election bloodletting.

Tuning pocket radios to the BBC or Radio France Internationale, people across the continent have followed mounting opposition protests in Kenya's slums with mixed emotions.

Some offered encouragement to the protesters, others urged caution, but overwhelmingly they were angry and disappointed at the latest setback to democracy and peace in Africa.

"It never stops to baffle me how African leaders will do just anything to stay in power, even when those they are leading ... do not want them anymore," R. Ine, of Aba, Nigeria, said on a BBC Internet chat site.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Google News

Boston Globe
Riots erupt after Kenya's president re-elected
CNN International - 2 hours ago
NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) -- Kenya's government has suspended all live television broadcasts as violence engulfed Nairobi following the re-election of incumbent president Mwai Kibaki.
Kenyan president declared winner Los Angeles Times
Tribal Rivalry Boils Over After Kenyan Election New York Times
Forbes - Guardian Unlimited - Washington Post - Voice of America
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