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27 August 2008 Charles J. Brown
05:44 pm

DNC: Stop Panicking, Please


So the progosphere, together with many Democrats, appears to be in complete meltdown mode at the moment, anxious that Hillary’s speech last night wasn’t enough, worried that most of the speakers at the DNC have sucked (well, that part is true), and dreading what the Republicans will “do to us” next week in St. Paul.

Four words:  Calm. The. Hell. Down.

Much of what you’re worrying about is the product of the mainstream media’s feeding frenzy over the supposed Hillary-Barack feud.  That was going to happen no matter what, even if Hillary had won the nomination.

In fact, let’s play pretend for a moment.  Let’s go to an alternate universe where Hillary did win the nomination of the Democratic Party of, oh, I don’t know, the country of PUMAstan, and Barack had to give the Tuesday night speech.  Here is an example of what you would see in the media:

Barack Obama delivered a ringing call for Democratic Party unity on Tuesday, promising to work for Hillary Clinton and challenging his supporters to bury their grudges and rally behind her White House bid.

“Whether you voted for me or voted for Hillary, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose,” said Obama in a speech Democrats hope will end a lingering party rift left over from their bitter nominating fight.

Obama an Illinois senator, praised Clinton and said Democrats could not sit on the sidelines and watch Republican presidential candidate John McCain take the White House and “squander the promise of our country.”

“No way, no how, no you can’t, John McCain. Hillary Clinton is my candidate and she must be our president,” Obama told a roaring crowd waving a sea of blue and red “Obama” signs.

Obama used his highly anticipated turn in the spotlight to say Democrats must unite to help the former first lady beat McCain in the Nov. 4 election. A Democrat is needed in the White House to turn around the struggling U.S. economy, he said.

“When Hillary Clinton is in the White House, she’ll revitalize our economy, defend the working people of America, and meet the global challenges of our time,” Obama said.

His wife, Michelle Obama, watched from the balcony, seated next to former President Bill Clinton.  At one point her eyes welled with tears and she mouthed the words “I love you.”

Clinton watched the speech on television in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as she makes her way to Denver to accept the nomination on Thursday night. “That was a strong speech,” she said. “I thought he was brilliant.”

McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said Obama would not convince undecided voters that Clinton was ready to be commander in chief.  “Millions of Barack Obama supporters and millions of Americans remain concerned about whether Hillary Clinton is the right choice for America,” Bounds said.

So let the MSM do that thing that they do.  Calm down.  And remember, we got ground game.  And money.  And a candidate who can clean McCain’s clock.  Dukakis, Gore, and Kerry didn’t have any of those qualities.

And, for the record, neither does John McCain.

| posted in media, politics | 0 Comments

26 August 2008 Charles J. Brown
08:47 pm

Why Hillary is Going to Rock the House Tonight


Earlier today at the Emily’s List event:

Wasn’t Michelle Obama terrific last night? I know a little bit about the way the White House works, and you know if the president is not exactly on your side, call the first lady. And with Michelle Obama we’re going to have somebody who answers that phone.

Especially liked the not-so-subtle 3 am reference.

Hat tip:  American Prospect

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26 August 2008 Charles J. Brown
07:30 pm

Blogger: “Assertive” Condi Paved Way for Michelle


The usually smart and reliable Blake Hounshell over at Passport, Foreign Policy magazine’s blog, appears to have gone completely insane.  Or he’s got such a bad case of Obama fever, he’s hallucinating.

Today, he credited Condoleezza Rice for paving the way for Michelle Obama’s speech last night:

Watching Michelle, I couldn’t help but think that she might also have given a shout-out to Condoleezza Rice. Isn’t it likely that Americans, accustomed to seeing an assertive African-American woman on TV every night for the past seven years, are more comfortable with Michelle Obama as a result? After Michelle’s speech, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann of MSNBC were marveling at the fact that six years ago, it would have been hard to imagine an African-American family up on the stage as a possible first family. For that, the Obamas may have Rice to thank.

This is one of the dumbest things I’ve read all week.  Does Hounshell not realize just how patronizing it sounds to suggest that Americans needed to see an “assertive African-American woman on TV every night” in order to accept Michelle Obama?

Hounshell might want to brush up on his history.  Just off the top of my head, here’s a list of sixteen women who had more to do with Michelle being up that stage than Condoleeza Rice.  All are, to use his lovely turn of phrase, “assertive African-American women.”

Marian Anderson

Maya Angelou

Shirley Chisholm

Marian Wright Edelman

Fannie Lou Hamer

Dorothy Height

Zora Neale Hurston

Barbara Jordan

Coretta Scott King

Toni Morrison

Diane Nash

Rosa Parks

Wilma Rudolph

Mamie Till

Sojourner Truth

Harriet Tubman

Oprah Winfrey

That took me five minutes.  Hounshell may want to take that much time before making a similar suggestion in the future.

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| posted in foreign policy, media, politics, pop culture | 0 Comments

26 August 2008 Charles J. Brown
06:45 pm

Why Michelle Obama’s Speech Matters


For those who don’t remember, and for those who choose to forget:

In 1964, a group calling itself the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party attempted to get seated at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City.  The MFDP delegation sought to be seated in place of the regular delegation, which consisted of racist whites who had benefitted from keeping 93 percent of African Americans disenfranchised.  Five southern delegations threatened to quit the convention if the MFDP delegation was seated.

The Johnson Administration responded by sending then-Senator Hubert H. Humphrey to negotiate a “compromise,” which would have seated the “regulars” and allowed two members of the MFDP to attend as at-large delegates.  The MFDP refused.

The issue went before the credentials committee, where Fannie Lou Hamer, the MFDP vice-chair spoke.

The twentieth of twenty children, Fannie Lou’s grandparents were slaves.  Her parents were sharecroppers, and she started to pick cotton at age six.  When she was twelve, she dropped out of school.  After she married Perry “Pap” Hamer in the early 1940s, she worked as a sharecropper (and later as a timekeeper) on the Marlowe Plantation near Ruleville, Mississippi.

Here is some of what she had to say to the credentials committee:

Mr. Chairman, and to the Credentials Committee, my name is Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer, and I live at 626 East Lafayette Street, Ruleville, Mississippi, Sunflower County, the home of Senator James O. Eastland, and Senator Stennis.

It was the 31st of August in 1962 that eighteen of us traveled twenty-six miles to the county courthouse in Indianola to try to register to become first-class citizens.  We was met in Indianola by policemen, Highway Patrolmen, and they only allowed two of us in to take the literacy test at the time. . . .

[I]n the rural area where I had worked as a timekeeper and sharecropper for eighteen years, I was met there by my children, who told me that the plantation owner was angry because I had gone down to try to register.  After they told me, my husband came, and said the plantation owner was raising Cain because I had tried to register. Before he quit talking the plantation owner came and said, “Fannie Lou, do you know - did Pap tell you what I said?”

And I said, “Yes, sir.”

He said, “Well I mean that.” He said, “If you don’t go down and withdraw your registration, you will have to leave.” Said, “Then if you go down and withdraw,” said, “you still might have to go because we are not ready for that in Mississippi.”  And I addressed him and told him and said, “I didn’t try to register for you. I tried to register for myself.”

I had to leave that same night. . . .

And June the 9th, 1963, I had attended a voter registration workshop; was returning back to Mississippi. Ten of us was traveling by the Continental Trailway bus. When we got to Winona, Mississippi, [I was pulled off the bus and arrested, along with five others]. . . . [I]t wasn’t too long before three white men came to my cell. One of these men was a State Highway Patrolman and he asked me where I was from. I told him Ruleville and he said, “We are going to check this.”

They left my cell and it wasn’t too long before they came back. He said, “You are from Ruleville all right,” and he used a curse word. And he said, “We are going to make you wish you was dead.”  I was carried out of that cell into another cell where they had two Negro prisoners. The State Highway Patrolmen ordered the first Negro to take the blackjack. The first Negro prisoner ordered me, by orders from the State Highway Patrolman, for me to lay down on a bunk bed on my face.

I laid on my face and the first Negro began to beat. I was beat by the first Negro until he was exhausted. I was holding my hands behind me at that time on my left side, because I suffered from polio when I was six years old.  After the first Negro had beat until he was exhausted, the State Highway Patrolman ordered the second Negro to take the blackjack.

The second Negro began to beat and I began to work my feet, and the State Highway Patrolman ordered the first Negro who had beat me to sit on my feet - to keep me from working my feet. I began to scream and one white man got up and began to beat me in my head and tell me to hush. . . .

All of this is on account of we want to register, to become first-class citizens. And if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?

Thank you.

Fearful that southern democrats would defect en masse to the Republicans if he did not seat the white delegation (something that they would do anyway), Johnson got the credentials committee to reject the MFDP’s application and seat the “regulars.”

The events of Atlantic City were not that long ago.  They took place in my lifetime.  In Barack Obama’s lifetime.  And in Michelle Obama’s lifetime.  And now, forty-four years later, a woman not much younger than Fannie Lou Hamer’s own adopted children has headlined the national convention of the very party that once denied Fannie Lou Hamer entry.

Here’s what Fannie Lou said on another occasion:

I do remember, one time, a man came to me after the students began to work in Mississippi, and he said the white people were getting tired and they were getting tense and anything might happen. Well, I asked him, “how long he thinks we had been getting tired?” … All my life I’ve been sick and tired. Now I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I hope you had a good view last night, Fannie Lou.  You don’t have to be sick and tired anymore.

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26 August 2008 Charles J. Brown
03:12 pm

Can’t Have It Both Ways


Lighter blogging today, as I’m taking care of the day job (consulting).

Going into day one of the DNC, most analysts suggested that what the Democrats most desperately needed to do was make Barack Obama more human, more connected, and more like average Americans.  So the Democrats trotted out Ted Kennedy and Michelle Obama, both of whom did that.  Yes, the other speakers were largely zeroes (especially Pelosi and Leach), but nobody really was paying that much attention to them anyway.

So what’s the response fo the media?  The Democrats missed an opportunity to attack, attack, attack.  They should have gone after John McCain, made him look bad, attacked Bush.

But wouldn’t that have gone against the first meme?  Wouldn’t that have led to pundits saying that the tone was too harsh, too negative?

Of course it would have.  We’re talking about the media here.  Consistency is uninteresting.  Criticism is good. Not having to actually think through what you say is even better.

| posted in media, politics | 0 Comments

25 August 2008 Charles J. Brown
10:55 pm

Live Blogging: Michelle Obama


Great introductory video.  Really touching.

And her brother is great.  They should use him more.

Michelle is out-smokin’ Caroline Kennedy.  Looks really good.

Use of the images of veterans’ families really well done.

Mentioned Hillary — 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling.  Very nice touch.

“That’s why I’m proud of my country.”  Excellent — take on the attacks head on.

She is really, really good.  Best speaker of the night. In fact, this is exactly what the Dems needed.  This could be to ‘08 what Barack’s speech was to ‘04.

People in the audience are tearing up.  Wow.

A truly great speech.  Michelle is now a force in her own right.

Yes, it’s clear.  I didn’t just drink the Kool-Aid.  I’ve opened a neighborhood stand.

| posted in none of the above | 2 Comments

14 July 2008 Charles J. Brown
11:23 am

Wallowing in Irrelevance


Let’s review the situation in the world for a moment:

  • The economy is in meltdown, and there’s a real possibility that nobody will be able to get a mortgage anymore.
  • Despite recent improvements in Iraq, we still have no timetable for withdrawal.
  • Things in Afghanistan are getting worse, not better.
  • There seems to be no end in sight to increases in the price of oil.
  • Iran might be building the bomb, and the United States and Israel are thinking about going to war to stop it.
  • America’s infrastructure is collapsing around us.
  • We’re still not doing anything about climate change, and the Arctic icecap is melting faster than we thought.
  • We’re still torturing people.
  • There’s still genocide in Sudan.
  • Mugabe is still in power in Zimbabwe, and South Africa’s Mbeki isn’t helping matters.
  • The thugs in Burma still haven’t provided anything resembling real cyclone relief
  • For that matter, our esteemed leaders in Washington haven’t done much better with New Orleans.
  • China is throwing human rights activists in jail as a warm-up for the Olympics.
  • America’s reputation internationally stands at an all-time low.

So what’s the top story this morning on the teevee and the intertubes?

This.

That’s right.  Link to it yourself.  I’m not going to show it to you.  I’m not going to analyze it.  I’m not going to waste your time debating whether it’s funny or insulting.  Instead, I’ll show you this:

GET SOME PERSPECTIVE PEOPLE.  And please, fellow bloggers, stop the feeding frenzy and shut up already.

| posted in globalization, media, politics, pop culture, war & rumors of war | 0 Comments

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