Jan 242008

The editorial board of The New York Times, the newspaper the wingers love to hate, has decided to endorse Hillary Clinton as its choice for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination…

Primary Choices: Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton

This generally is the stage of a campaign when Democrats have to work hard to get excited about whichever candidate seems most likely to outlast an uninspiring pack. That is not remotely the case this year.

The early primaries produced two powerful main contenders: Hillary Clinton, the brilliant if at times harsh-sounding senator from New York; and Barack Obama, the incandescent if still undefined senator from Illinois. The remaining long shot, John Edwards, has enlivened the race with his own brand of raw populism.

As Democrats look ahead to the primaries in the biggest states on Feb. 5, The Times’s editorial board strongly recommends that they select Hillary Clinton as their nominee for the 2008 presidential election.

We have enjoyed hearing Mr. Edwards’s fiery oratory, but we cannot support his candidacy. The former senator from North Carolina has repudiated so many of his earlier positions, so many of his Senate votes, that we’re not sure where he stands. We certainly don’t buy the notion that he can hold back the tide of globalization.

By choosing Mrs. Clinton, we are not denying Mr. Obama’s appeal or his gifts. The idea of the first African-American nominee of a major party also is exhilarating, and so is the prospect of the first woman nominee. “Firstness” is not a reason to choose. The times that false choice has been raised, more often by Mrs. Clinton, have tarnished the campaign.

Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton would both help restore America’s global image, to which President Bush has done so much grievous harm. They are committed to changing America’s role in the world, not just its image. On the major issues, there is no real gulf separating the two. They promise an end to the war in Iraq, more equitable taxation, more effective government spending, more concern for social issues, a restoration of civil liberties and an end to the politics of division of George W. Bush and Karl Rove.[..]

When we endorsed Mrs. Clinton in 2006, we were certain she would continue to be a great senator, but since her higher ambitions were evident, we wondered if she could present herself as a leader to the nation.

Her ideas, her comeback in New Hampshire and strong showing in Nevada, her new openness to explaining herself and not just her programs, and her abiding, powerful intellect show she is fully capable of doing just that. She is the best choice for the Democratic Party as it tries to regain the White House.

On the Republican side, since they had to go with somebody, the editors selected John McCain…

Primary Choices: John McCain

John McCain
John McCain

We have strong disagreements with all the Republicans running for president. The leading candidates have no plan for getting American troops out of Iraq. They are too wedded to discredited economic theories and unwilling even now to break with the legacy of President Bush. We disagree with them strongly on what makes a good Supreme Court justice.

Still, there is a choice to be made, and it is an easy one. Senator John McCain of Arizona is the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe. With a record of working across the aisle to develop sound bipartisan legislation, he would offer a choice to a broader range of Americans than the rest of the Republican field.

We have shuddered at Mr. McCain’s occasional, tactical pander to the right because he has demonstrated that he has the character to stand on principle. He was an early advocate for battling global warming and risked his presidential bid to uphold fundamental American values in the immigration debate. A genuine war hero among Republicans who proclaim their zeal to be commander in chief, Mr. McCain argues passionately that a country’s treatment of prisoners in the worst of times says a great deal about its character.[..]

Mr. McCain was one of the first prominent Republicans to point out how badly the war in Iraq was being managed. We wish he could now see as clearly past the temporary victories produced by Mr. Bush’s unsustainable escalation, which have not led to any change in Iraq’s murderous political calculus. At the least, he owes Americans a real idea of how he would win this war, which he says he can do. We disagree on issues like reproductive rights and gay marriage.

In 2006, however, Mr. McCain stood up for the humane treatment of prisoners and for a ban on torture. We said then that he was being conned by Mr. Bush, who had no intention of following the rules. But Mr. McCain took a stand, just as he did in recognizing the threat of global warming early. He has been a staunch advocate of campaign finance reform, working with Senator Russ Feingold, among the most liberal of Democrats, on groundbreaking legislation, just as he worked with Senator Edward Kennedy on immigration reform.

That doesn’t make him a moderate, but it makes him the best choice for the party’s presidential nomination.

How appropriate that the newspaper the wingers love to hate would choose to endorse two candidates the wingers love to hate.

I’m loving it.

‘Stimulus’ deal announced

 Posted by at 16:41  Politics
Jan 242008


Tentative Deal Reached on Stimulus Plan

WASHINGTON — House leaders and the White House on Thursday announced a tentative agreement on an economic stimulus package of roughly $150 billion that would pay stipends of $300 to $1,200 per family, and more for families with children, plus provide tax incentives for businesses to encourage spending.

The accord was announced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, the Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, and Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. at a Capitol news conference and hailed minutes afterward by President Bush as the fruit of “patience, determination and good will” in both parties.[..]

As it was presented on Thursday afternoon, the package calls for workers who paid income taxes to receive $300 to $600, and couples to receive up to $1,200 — plus $300 more for each child. The stipend, which some lawmakers were calling a “tax rebate,” would be subject to income limits so that the wealthiest taxpayers would not receive it. Payments would go to individuals earning up to $75,000 and couples earning up to $150,000. He said roughly two-thirds of the overall package would be aimed at individual taxpayers and one-third at businesses.

That last paragraph is not quite correct. $300 would go to workers who earned at least $3,000 last year but not enough to pay federal income taxes. $600 would go to individuals who did pay federal income taxes, with couples who filed jointly receiving $1,200 plus $300 for each kid they have produced.

The rebates would phase out gradually for individuals whose income exceeds $75,000 and couples with incomes above $150,000. Individuals with incomes up to $87,000 and couples up to $174,000 would get partial rebates. The caps are higher for those with children.

The idea of the stimulus package is, after all, to “stimulate” the economy. It is meant to get expendable income into the hands of people who have no expendable income and then hope upon hope that they “expend” it. Why give additional expendable income to those who already have it? Doing that would stimulate nothing beyond that which is already stimulated which defeats the whole purpose of the stimulus.

Got it? Good.

It will likely be June or July (or perhaps later) before you receive your check, but have no fear. You’ll get it before election time.

Update: The wingers are, of course, whining. As per usual, they’re the victims

The White House and Congressional leaders have reached an outrageous agreement to increase the deficit to pay for rebates that discriminate against married people, reward out-of-wedlock births, and give out welfare to non-taxpayers — all in the name of fighting a recession.

They’re giving out rebates, but if you are a middle-class taxpaying family in a high-living cost region, you’re out of luck. The rebates only go to single people making less than $75,000 per year or married couples making less than $150,000.

For the crime of being married to me, my wife, who made less than $75,000 last year (she recently quit her job to take care of our new baby daughter), will be denied her refund, because our combined household income is just a hair over $150,000. If we lived together “in sin,” she’d get a rebate, but because we’re married, she won’t.

If she weren’t married to me, she’d receive a rebate for our daughter, too! Too bad our daughter wasn’t born out of wedlock. Then we’d qualify.

By contrast, non-taxpayers — people who currently pay no federal income taxes and actually get an earned income tax credit back — will be eligible.

So you’re a single-income family making “just a hair over $150,000.” You are comfortable enough that your wife can stay home and take care of your baby. Cry me a river.

Let me see if I can explain this so even you can understand it. You don’t need a stimulus. You’re already stimulated. You’re already out there spending. Giving you more money to spend would not stimulate the economy because you would just keep on doing what you’re already doing. This is a stimulus package, not a gift package. If you were to receive a check, chances are you would just hand it over to your stock broker.

Help me out here, please. What part of stimulus do you not understand?

Just enjoy the tax cuts this administration has already given to upper class folks like yourself and quit bitching. Please. It’s starting to grate more than just a little.

Jan 242008

Dennis Kucinich will announce tomorrow that he is no longer seeking the Democratic nomination for the presidency of the United States.

Kucinich drops presidential bid

Dennis Kucinich
Dennis Kucinich

Cleveland Congressman Dennis Kucinich is dropping out of the Democratic race for president.

Kucinich will make the announcement Friday at a news conference in Cleveland. In an exclusive interview with Plain Dealer editors and reporters, Kucinich said he will explain his “transition” tomorrow.

“I want to continue to serve in Congress,” he said.

Kucinich said he will not endorse another Democrat in the primary.

Watch it:

See you again in 2012, Dennis.

Jan 242008

The right wing of the Republican party is in disarray. They’ve lost their savior, Fred Thompson, and are now running around like chickens without heads. The cockles of my heart have seldom seen better times.

Let’s let John Hawkins kick things off:

With Fred Thompson out of the race, there are probably a lot of Fredheads wondering who to back now. The good news is that there are still 5 candidates left in the race. The bad news is that all of the candidates are extremely flawed and have more weaknesses than strengths.

How sweet it is!

Now that John has the ball rolling, we’ll let Rick Moran take it to the goal:

By the time the convention rolls around, McCain will be seen as a savior, just the right man to defeat Hillary Clinton. We can then be further amused as McCain loses handily to Clinton, admittedly as a result of factors largely beyond his control but which could have been mitigated by nominating someone who didn’t deliberately (and with apparent relish) piss off conservatives for much of his career.[..]

Or let’s say the unexpected happens and Daddy Warbucks [a.k.a. Mitt Flipper Romney] outlasts McCain and buys his way to victory. Here’s a guy who wouldn’t be able to remember what he said previously about an issue, the end result being he would end up flipping and flopping so much the media would have to keep a scorecard as to where he stood on an issue on any given day. This is a man who, in his only spin at elective office, governed as a center-left politician. And now we’re supposed to take his word for it that he had, as John Hawkins calls it, a “road to Damascus conversion to conservatism?”[..]

And then there’s Rudy. Suppose lightening strikes in Florida and Rudy wins while McCain is outed as a transvestite and Romney’s stock portfolio is drained by his 5 sons who take a weekend trip to Aruba to have a good time – a REALLY good time. Rudy sweeps to victory and is crowned at the GOP convention.

Aside from giving James Dobson apoplexy, the prospect of pro-gun control, pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, and a great big flip flopper on immigration Rudy Giuliani being the standard bearer sends our southern brethren shrieking for the exits in St. Paul, swearing they’ll never vote for that Yankee in a million years.[..]

Finally, there is just one scenario where Mike Huckabee can win the nomination and it has to do with his buddy Jesus coming down from heaven and campaigning for him.

We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Take it on home, Rick:

I would say quite honestly there is something to hate in each of the remaining candidates for the nomination. You don’t even have to try very hard to find it either.[..]

I will pick my own loser in my own time, thank you.

The next ten and a half months, my friends, are going to be a lot of fun. I hate to see our Republican friends in such misery. Yep, for sure I do.