Saturday, February 23, 2008

Random Sign on the F Train

This is an advertisement for Homeboy Sandman, which was placed over other ads on the F Train:
I got more bars than granola promoters
I caught Ebola and didn't notice

Homeboy Sandman (

Friday, February 22, 2008

Is it Gossip or is it Politics?

I've recently been turned on to The Reliable Source, the Washington Post's gossip column written by Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts. While there is a smattering of Britney news, the majority of the gossip is what's going on behind the scenes within the beltway. Pretty fun stuff and no paparrazi photos to speak of, so I feel pretty good about reading it.

It's not half as fun and scandalous, though, as TMZ.

A Fun Headline

Perhaps megsg-h will be willing to lift her self-imposed moratorium on gawking at the gliteratti, given the looseness with which "gliteratti" designates the players at stake. Indeed, given all the Rhetorical absurdities evoked by this Headline: Pauly Shore Countersues Wes Craven.

A Word on Last Night's Debate: And the Rhetorical Swipe at JFK That Harrogate Always Wanted to Take

Harrogate does disagree with solon's suggestion that the final moments were unimportant. That handshake between the two of them may have seemed cheesy to some, but for Harrogate it was a Great moment. Perhaps they didn't mean it when each of them said they were honored to share the stage and the Primary race with the Other. But Harrogate would like to believe that they did mean it, because they should.

And, Clinton's final speech was very effective on an Epideictic level. It was likely by no means enough to get her any votes she wasn't going to get by now--in fact, it's pretty clear that no debate between the two of them is going to effect that, at this point. She is going to lose this Primary, it seems clear to Harrogate now.

But her closing words were effective, as was the standing ovation that they elicited. Effective because they expressed a very true thing: she made a clarion call for Perspective--something very much needed in the face of the Hyperbole being thrown around. She reminded voters of the ridiculousness of lamenting what these very privileged Politicos "go through" at the highest level of politics.

She reminded everyone, without saying it, likely without even thinking it, that the sainted JFK was in fact wrong. To wit: it isn't about what average citizens can do for those in power. It is what those in power can do for the average citizens, that will determine the government's Decency Barometer.

Political Markets...Why vote when you can bet...

I have been following the political markets. Here is an updated list on the presidential race.

Can you say, snow day?

Universal Health Care

During last night's debate, one of Senator Clinton's strengths was a discussion of Health Care in Act III, as well as her passion and knowledge through Act I on a variety of issues. Yet, what this suggests is the need for Senator Clinton in the Senate and not the Presidency.

Universal Health Care would be a task for the legislative, not executive branch. If the President were to submit a plan, it would go to Congress where the Democrats would need to develop the plan. Once the Democrats discern what will pass, it will go to committee, where most legislation goes to die. At this point, a strong Senator will need to get the plan through committee (and make compromises, which is why I think the mandates won't stand unless there are overwhelming majorities in the House to make them stand). If it passes in committee, then a Senator will need to get it to pass in the House, which would most likely be assured.

The President's role in this would be to speak to the people and to persuade the people that Universal Health Care needs support, which is not Senator Clinton's strong suit (this is not a pant suit reference either. The President will need to use bully pulpit to engage the people to act and force the other party to concede.

A strong Senator would be better on this task in Congress. A rhetorically aware president will help move the people.

****By the way, I have a snow day.

A Theory of Composition

Here it is, maybe: a theory of composition from Senators Clinton and Obama. From The New Republic.

This is the most I have found on the subject.

Also, for my Texas friends, while you may be enjoying your temperate weather right now, I am enjoying my first snow day in over 15 years.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

RNC attacks Obama

According to Chuck Todd at MSNBC, the Republican National Committee is attack Senator Obama and only Senator Obama.

Democratic Debate: Act III & IV

Act III: The Return of Iraq

Senator Clinton attacked Senator Obama that he would not be ready on Day One to be Commander-In-Chief; Senator Obama countered id he didn't think that was true, he would not have run.

Senator Obama attacked Senator Clinton about having poor political judgment on Iraq. She cannot respond to this...

This whole section focused on Iraq, which may be unfair to Senator Clinton because I do not think she can win this conversation. Health Care maybe; Iraq no.

Act IV: Please, let this be over... and cancel the next one too!

After Act II, they should have canceled this. They have a moment of unity at the end, the crowd cheers when then shake hands... both look good... and the Texas Democrats are happy...

Texas is a statistical tie right now between the candidates...

Thoughts on Debate 19

I guess this is debate 19, not 20. Oh Well. Twenty will be next weak in Cleveland.

Act One: The Passion of Senator Clinton
Hillary did an excellent job in the first part, (before the first commercial). The first part exemplified her knowledge on and passion for policy, as well as her desire to be a fighter and continue partisanship.

Obama, while providing good answers, did not provide inspiring answers. He displayed his knowledge but seemed flat.

The difference between the candidates: style. Their plans are very similar, with only small differences that most people do not care about. But, what matters is how it will be done and what type of presidential style you desire: partisanship or consensus.

Act Two: The Problems for Senator Clinton
The second part of the debate focused on the criticism they had of each other: style v. substance, words v. actions, partisanship v. consensus. Did Obama plagiarize... etc. Senator Clinton mentioned Texas State Senator Kirk Watson, who could not name a legislative achievement.

Senator Obama did very well, much better than Senator Clinton. Obams mentioned that the attacks against him occurred during the "silly season of politics" when we needed to stand above the small differences to get people involved. Senator Obama attacked Senator Clinton on her "Get Real Remarks" that she used today (over ten times) in one speech. His remarks (from Politico):
"The implication has been that the people who have been voting for me or involved in my campaign are somehow delusional," he says, as Clinton laughs, and he cites the voters who support him and the editorial boards — including, he says, all the major ones in Texas — that have endorsed him.

"The thinking is that somehow they're being duped, ... and that eventually they're going to see the reality of things," he says. "I think they perceive the reality of what's going on in Washington very clearly."

At one point, when she attempted to achieve a zinger on Obama about plagiarism, saying "It's not change you can believe in, it's change you can xerox," the audience slightly booed her, the first time this occurred for either candidate.

Two important things to take away: First, at one point, Hillary agreed on the substance of Obama. All of her recent criticisms are now off the table... If she uses these arguments again, this will be a problem for her credibility. With her criticisms no longer available and her attacks not working, how will she gain an advantage?

Second, many commentators, some of this site, state the Obama is not a fighter. Again, its the style. He has been fighting Senator Clinton quite well since the second part of the debate. Yet, most of the time when he attacks, it is subtle. Reread his South Carolina speech for an argument against Senator Clinton and the Clinton style.

I originally titled Act II: The Demise of Senator Clinton. As her attacks failed, her grin concealed considerable pain. At this point, I thought that she knew she would not be able to gain on Senator Obama enough to reach a decided win in Texas to claim over 65% of the delegates she needs to catch up. The advantage she gained in the ACT I part disappeared in the second because her arguments are no longer usable. Of course, she does better on Health Care but this advantage falls when they discuss Iraq. While there is another debate in Cleveland next Thursday, I do not think she can go negative again. Hence, the demise. It is certainly premature though and that is why I changed the title.

This quote by Senator Obama summarizes their campaigns: partisanship v. consensus:

"We can have great plans but if we do not change how the politics is working in Washington, then neither of our plans are going to happen and four years from now we will be debating, once again, how we will bring universal health care to Washington."

The Need for Transformational Politics

From The Nation, who has ads running on its site for Senator Obama, on the need that Progressives adopt Transformational Politics:
Transformational politics is the work we do today to ensure that the deal we can get on gun control or immigration reform in a year--or five years, or twenty years--will be better than the deal we can get today. Transformational politics requires us to challenge the way people think about issues, opening their minds to better possibilities. It requires us to root out the assumptions about politics or economics or human nature that prevent us from embracing policies that will make our lives better. Transformational politics has been a critical element of American political life since Lincoln was advocating his "oft expressed belief that a leader should endeavor to transform, yet heed, public opinion."

The need for a renewed focus on transformational politics is obvious when we compare the success of the conservative movement over the past thirty years with the collapse of the American progressive coalition. The important thing about contemporary conservatives is not just that they won elections--it's how they won. They didn't win by changing their positions or rhetoric to move toward the voters--or where polls told them the voters were. They won by moving the voters closer to them, paving the way for the last decade of conservative hegemony.

Hillary Speaks for Me

From Hillary Speaks for Me: A pro-Hillary Website from younger people who want to attempt to attack the notion that (1) Obama is inevitable and (2) only Obama speaks for the young (well, Duh!).

It is an interesting site though. It may be effective for her as she tries to reach out to a younger audience.

It does nothing to combat my idea that one of the problem's with the Clinton campaign is that it seeks to take away voice, not give it back to the undefined people. But I do not think her campaign is trying to refute my posts.

From Politico.

Boxing versus Chess

From Politico: an analysis of the Clinton (Boxing) and Obama (Chess) campaigns.

Bill Clinton and Straight Talk

Hat tip to the bloggers over at Feministing.

Harrogate also follows Feministing's Lead in pasting the comments, as they make for a compelling Read. Rightly Sayeth Bill Clinton:

We disagree with you. You want to criminalize women and their doctors and we disagree. I reduced abortion. Tell the truth! Tell the truth! If you were really pro-life, if you were really pro-life, you would want to put every doctor and every mother, as an accessory to murder, in prison, and you won't say you wanna do that, because you know that you wouldn't have a lick of political support. Now, the issue is, you can't name me anybody presently in politics that did more to introduce policies that reduce the number of real abortions, instead of the hot air putting out to tear people up and make votes by dividing America. This is not your rally.

With ads like these,,,

Senator Obama does not need to run negative ads. From a guest blogger over atAndrew Sullivan:

Andrew Sullivan is currently on vacation. This post is not his.

If running a campaign...

is anything like running a country. Sigh. This would not look good in the General Election. The details from The New York Times is worse.

SNL Casting Calls

Saturday Night Live has been hosting casting calls to find someone to impersonate Senator Barack Obama. The only skit involving Senator Obama featured Senator Obama. Here is the clip, which is from October of 2007.

It is funny, brutal, and awkward.

Democratic Debate Tonight

The twentieth Democratic Debate will occur tonight in Austin, TX between Senator Hillary Clinton and Senator Barack Obama. This will be their second debate without other candidates.

If you were a candidate's manager, how would you advise your candidate to act tonight?

Second, what topics do you think will be addressed tonight?

John McCain, The New York Times, and The New Republic

Last night, The New York Times ran a story that John McCain had an improper affair with a lobbyist. The story itself does not provide enough evidence to be persuasive, though it does imply that during the 2000 Republican Presidential Campaign, John McCain had a relationship with a lobbyist that got too "close and personal," which may have altered legislation in some way. As MSNBC reported, the lobbyist in question stated that she had "influence with John McCain." Because of these comments and the close relationship between the lobbyist and McCain, the McCain campaign conversed with the lobbyist and told her to but out of the campaign.

The source for the story seems to be insiders to the McCain campaign in 2000. Whether or not they are disgruntled is another question.

It seems that The New York Times had the information and planned on running the story in December, before the primaries and caucuses began, but decided to wait. The New York Times ran the story this week because The New Republic will publish a story on why The New York Times dragged its feet on the story.

During a 9am news conference, McCain denounced the story and denied all aspects (no relationship, no influence, or no conversation between the McCain campaign and the lobbyist) of the report.

This brings up a whole set of questions:
(1) If the story is about an affair, should this be a front page story?
(2) If this is about ethics, with a hint of the affair, should this be a front page story?
(3) If it about ethics, why did The New York Times wait,
(4)Why would The New York Times wait until after McCain "won" the nomination?
(5) Is this a political "hit job"?
(6) Would the Times have waited until after the convention in Minnesota?
(7) Since McCain denounced the story, is it up to The New York Times to defend its story.
(8) Did The New York Times run the story knowing that other papers, such as The New York Daily News (tabloid cover photo, story here and editorial here) and The Washington Post (who has a better story here and here) would run with this?
(9) How will the conservatives respond- attack McCain or rally around him?

Personally, I care little about the content of the affair. The ethics angle may be important, especially since McCain is a "maverick" who isn't influenced by lobbyists. The timing of the piece interests me most since it helped McCain survive the primaries but may hurt him in the general. Of course, the timing of the piece now, especially is this is just a "hit job" means that The New York Times will have helped McCain rally the base.

It is up to The New York Times to provide solid evidence now or we have another CBS/ President Bush story that will help conservatives.

One More Word (Unless the Need for Another Presents Itself) On The Despicable Tim Gunn

Tim Gunn's blightful Rhetoric with regards to (shocker) Hillary Clinton didn't start with Conan and Larry the Cable Guy. Here's a Newsweek Online piece dated February 5.

Gunn: I'm deeply respectful of gender and of gender differences, and I like someone who acknowledges what his or her gender happens to be. I mean, are we ready for a male cross-dresser in the White House? No. But frankly speaking, there are times when I wonder about Hillary.

To which the interviewer could have responded, what a nasty thing to say, are you really this small, and by the way, let's save us both a little dignity and not print what you just said. Instead, she learnedly responds:

Ha! Is there any female who pulls it off well?

A bit later:
[Interviewer]I hate to keep focusing on Hillary [heh], but is there anything she's doing right?

Tim Gunn: [Pauses] You can say I responded with utter silence. [Laughs] But let me put it this way: her clothes fit her, she does have a polish, and she's well groomed. Those things are all good. But it's like she's wearing a whole body of Kevlar and she wants to make certain as much of her is protected as possible. I just want to say to her, "Hillary, don't be afraid to wear a dress!"

Ranging from the most to the least "reputable" sources, the level of sheer discursive scummery that this Primary has unearthed retains the capacity for surprise, even among the least "Hopeful" of us.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Harrogate at Home

An exclusive inside look at Harrogate's homelife......

Thanks Xkcd for the image

President vs. Senator

Because Solon has made the statement several times that Hillary Clinton would make a better Senator than she would a President, I've been wondering what are the qualities that we value in a President versus the one in a Senator. I freely admit that I haven't given this a lot of thought myself, and I daresay that most people don't entertain what it means to be a Senator rather than President. Following are a list of qualities I would like to see in a Senator and a President. I'm interested to see what those in the blogosphere think about this issue. Please note, however, I do not intend this to be an analysis of Hillary Clinton per se (although I know it will end up there) but rather a consideration of what it means to be a Senator vs. President. Also note that I tend to use feminine pronouns in my writing and that my use of them doesn't reflect anything other than a personal preference for feminine pronouns.

1. Thoughtful, tolerant, well-spoken, intelligent human being
2. Aware of national and international issues
3. Able to surround herself with equally thoughtful, tolerant, well-spoken, intelligent human beings
4. Able to know when she needs to listen to the advice of someone smarter than her
5. Creative, innovative, and open to change
6. Able to define what that change is rather than simply saying we need to change
7. Willing to challenge the status quo when it is necessary to do so
8. Willing to maintain the status quo when it is to the advantage of the country to do so
9. Able to admit a mistake without seeming to admit weakness to the rest of the world
10. Willing to use any diplomatic means to avoid any type of military conflict

1. Thoughtful, tolerant, well-spoken, intelligent human being
2. Aware of national and international issues
3. Able to surround herself with equally thoughtful, tolerant, well-spoken, intelligent human beings
4. Able to know when she needs to listen to the advice of someone smarter than her
5. Creative, innovative, and open to change
6. Able to define what that change is rather than simply saying we need to change
7. Willing to challenge the status quo when it is necessary to do so
8. Willing to maintain the status quo when it is to the advantage of the country to do so
9. Able to admit a mistake without seeming to admit weakness to the rest of the world
10. Willing to use any diplomatic means to avoid any type of military conflict

35 Years of Experience...

This is a serious question asked in good faith for Senator Clinton supporters:

If, as she does on the campaign trail, states that she has 35 years of experience, why did she not run in 2004 when the Democratic Party needed her?

The new line of attack for Senator Clinton, which will play a prominent role in Thursday's CNN debate, is that Senator Obama is not qualified for the position of Commander-in-Chief...

The Delegate Hub

The Clinton Campaign opened a new site, The Delegate Hub, to argue that all Delegates should be counted. The Five Facts from the Cite:
FACT: Pledged delegates and automatic delegates are the same - they each count for ONE vote.

FACT: Neither candidate can secure the nomination without automatic delegates.

FACT: Automatic delegates are expected to exercise their best judgment in the interests of the nation and the Democratic Party.

FACT: Florida and Michigan should count, both in the interest of fundamental fairness and honoring the spirit of the Democrats' 50-state strategy.

FACT: There is a clear path to an overall delegate majority (pledged + automatic) for Hillary Clinton after all states have voted -- with or without Florida and Michigan.

If you go to the link, the campaign explains each fact in more detail.

This is an interesting means of persuasion, though some of the "facts" seem odd. For example, the web site argues that the Obama campaign should not be able to persuade the automatic delegates to support its cause, though the Clinton campaign is doing the exact same thing there.

Any thoughts?

Senator Clinton Supportere, Rhetorically Unaware

Politico has the new pro-Clinton 527 ad to run in favor of Senator Clinton. The opening: "If words could create jobs, we wouldn't be in a recession."

Like her campaign, the website for the 527 in the ad is under construction. Seriously.

The words of Senator Obama played a role in creating the recession? Or was it the rhetorical style of the Bush administration?

"The only thing we have to fear is..." Yet, the Solution to the recession is that Hillary will solve it for us with her experience (and 99 other members of the Senate plus the Reps. in Congress who also worked on the plans she cites since she was not an Executive)

And I thought Senator Obama was the Savior...

Not So Much Fun With Obamamania Part I: The Lies He Tells

Steve Soto's piece in response to Obama's 44 Minute Performance of last night, published yesterday, entitled "Still Awaiting The Democratic Call To Arms". There is a big ole thread about this on Talk Left. But it is a thing Harrogate has been talking about a lot, on and offline, for quite a while now.

Obama's diss of the Democratic Party even as he stands on the verge of carrying its banner. A surrender of the idea that the Party had principles worth fighting for. Furthering the Naderesque illusions: oh, they're all culpable. It upsets Harrogate a great deal, as lies writ large are wont to do.

What is interesting about this is, Obama supporters on this blog and elsewhere rarely quibble with the following:

what exactly are the Democratic Party getting with Obama as their presumptive nominee? They will not be getting a nominee who can define differences between the parties. Obama seemingly only mentioned “Republicans” in the context of reaching out to them, while letting their leaders off the hook, as if the last seven years of graft, corruption, and circumvention of the Constitution were bipartisan in origin. Obama aimed his attack not against the party which controlled Washington for the better part of this decade and which controlled Congress for the better part of the 1990’s. Rather, he aimed his critique against both parties and Washington as a whole, as if Democrats are equally culpable for the country’s problems. If tonight is any guide, Democrats will be getting a nominee who runs just as often against them as Republicans. They will be getting a nominee who shows little stomach for holding the Republican Party in general and John McCain particularly accountable for what they have done to this country. His campaign seemingly has an easier time carving up a female Democratic opponent than they do a Republican standard-bearer who represents Bush’s third term, and who questions Obama’s fitness for office.

This nonpolitical message may be the message that Obama’s Millions want to hear, and we can all pray that they show up and vote for him and the Democratic Party in November to offset the wave of motivated far right forces aligned against him, as well as the Indies and Latinos that McCain will pull from him.

My main question Senator Obama is this: with the nomination almost in hand now, when does your message shift from being all about you and the movement towards a call for a Democratic government to right the wrongs from years of GOP harm?

The answer is, of course, the message does not shift. If it was going to, it would have during the Primary. But his strategy was always about getting Republicans to cross over and vote for him in the Primaries, and it worked beautifully. Even if he were interested, he could not become a fighter for Democratic principles now.

Obama and the Rhetoric of Change

Robert J. Samuelson of Newsweek offers an interesting examination of Barack Obama's rhetoric of change.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Harrogate Bets Michelle Obama's Even More Proud of America, Tonight

For the first time in her adult life, Michelle Obama, aspiring first lady, felt pride in her country--and lo, this was even before Wisconsin!!!!!

Because until this moment in time, until this generation came along, until this glorious Leader emerged, there was only darkness and meaningless Party affiliations.

MSNBC "adores" Obama

Except when then don't. Chris Matthews, otherwise referred to as Tweety on some progressive sites, interviewed State Sen. Kirk Watson (an Obama supporter) and Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (a Clinton Supporter). Matthews let Rep. Jones attack Senator Obama with the usual talking points about expereience, hope, etc. and without challenge. Matthews then asked Sen. Watson to name one legislative achievement by Senator Obama and Watson could not and said he could not at this time. Matthews then asked him three more times. When Watson tried to change the subject, neither Matthews or Jones would let him.

Chris Matthews then asked, "Name one achievement...Now." Sen. Watson could not. After this last question, you could here laughing in the background from their panel...

Of course, Kieth Olbermann then asked Matthews to name one accomplishment of the US Senate in the last year, an easier question, and Matthews could not.

Congratulations, Obama. Fuck you, Tim Gunn et al

No matter how you look at it, it is pretty clearly over now, Obama has pulled this off barring some total collapse at the end. Congratulations to him, if this be so.

And, fuck you, Tim Gunn. And, fuck you, Conan O'Brien, and your studio audience too. And Larry the Cable Guy, who damn sure aint no "girly man" (now if we could teach him to read he'd be perfect).

What is the matter with you, Wisconsin....

Do you not like solutions?

And what about you Virginia, Maryland, D.C., Nebraska, Maine, Louisiana, Kansas, Washington, and Hawaii?

Do you hate solutions?

Texas' Favorite Democrat

Chet Edwards, the lone Democrat to survive Tom Delay's redistricting in 2004, endorsed Senator Barack Obama.

That is on top of Senator Obama's endorsements from the Mexican American Democrats.

Senator Clinton received endorsements from former Texas Attorney General Jim Mattox, former Texas Supreme Court justice Bob Gammage, state Rep. Valinda Bolton of Austin and Cathy Bonner, a former aide to the late Gov. Ann Richards and a leader of a major cancer research proposition Texas voters approved in November.

That's a lot of "formers" for Clinton.

"Papa Bear" O'Reilly's Defense of Barack Obama: Strange Bedfellows, or a Match Made in Rhetorical Heaven?

"Papa Bear" (Harrogate doesn't plagiarize) holding forth on charges that the Obama camp is staging faintings at events:

The Obama campaign says none of that was staged, and we're giving them the benefit of the doubt. Again, we have no evidence to the contrary and there's no question Barack Obama is a rock star. Some people are getting overheated.

And, on the Deval Patrick flap, O'Reilly joins other Intellectuals in invoking Topoi:

No question those two sentiments are almost exactly the same. But people often borrow thoughts when speaking. It happens all the time. If Barack Obama had written an article and not credited Governor Patrick, that would have been plagiarism. Just talking off the cuff like that, I think you've got to cut him some slack.

Finally, O'Reilly proffering his "Wag of the Finger" to Brooke Shields, who has the temerity to question why people are making a big deal, in this year 2008, out of Jane Fonda saying Cunt on network television:

BROOKE SHIELDS, ACTRESS: Again, you know, bleep me out. I just don't think [EXPLETIVE DELETED] is a controversial word. I find it frighteningly sad that there was an, you know, there was an outrage that, we all, gasped, you know, when Jane Fonda said it. It's just sort of — it's disturbing to me that today, in this day and age, after all that's been done, after everything that's happened, we still have standard and practices doing this. And it is just a word.


I'm not exactly sure why Ms. Shields is taking this stand, but I am sure in this case she is a pinhead.

In Celebration of the Choice Before Wisconsin This Fine Tuesday: Thom Yorke's "Analyse"

"Analyse", from the virtuosic Eraser. This performance will roll the eyes back in your head and curl your toes. Just Mr. Yorke, a piano, and a little something Harrogate likes to call music.

A self-fulfilling prophecy of endless possibilty
You roll in reams across the street
In algebra, in algebra

The fences that you cannot climb
The sentences that do not rhyme
In all that you can ever change
The one you're looking for

It gets you down
It gets you down

There's no spark
No light in the dark

It gets you down
It gets you down
You traveled far
What have you found
That there's no time
There's no time
To analyse
To think things through
To make sense

Like cows in the city, they never looked so pretty
By power carts and blackouts
Sleeping like babies

It gets you down
It gets you down
You're just playing a part
You're just playing a part

You're playing a part
Playing a part
And there's no time
There's no time
To analyse

Obama and Charges of Plagiarism

What is plagiarism, in the world of stump speeches? How seriously should we be taking the issue of plagiarism that has recently emerged regarding one of Obama's stump speeches?

To paraphrase Alanis Morisette, it's ironic that the speech in question is about the power of words. In response to Clinton's disparagement of Obama's Rhetoric, Obama gives speeches about Rhetoric, asserting its primary value. But then the authenticity of Obama's words becomes a question.

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said yesterday that plagiarism is particularly troubling because rhetorical skills are a key factor in Obama's appeal.

"It raises questions about the premise of his candidacy," Wolfson told reporters in a conference call

Verily, as they say in the hood where Harrogate used to roll, that there Howard Wolfson is Harrogate's Dawg. Highlighting Rhetorical Skills and Appeals and Premises and such.

What say you all?

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Demographics of Congress

Solon and I are watching a back episode of Real Time with Bill Mahr and one of the guests, ABC Analyst Matthew Dowd, just suggested that our country is more sexist than racist. (He didn't give any support for this claim and no one really challenged it.)

I have to admit, I'm curious. How does one prove or disprove this statement? This prompted me to check out the demographic makeup of Congress. Not that what I found supports or disproves the claim, but it is interesting.

Currently, in the Senate, there are 16 white women (five Republican, 11 Democrat) and one African American man (Democrat). There are 70 female (20 Republican and 50 Democratic) and 39 African American (all Democrats) members in the House. (There are nine Democratic African American women in the House, who count in both categories.)

The thing I know for sure is that the nine black women in Congress are superstars!

I have no idea what these statistics may or may not mean in terms of racism and sexism, but they speak pretty clearly to the issue of electability. I have to admit that I'm surprised, although I'm not exactly sure why. We can probably rationalize the numbers in terms of class. It's easier to have enough money to run for even low level political office if you're middle class or higher, which white women have the opportunity to be more often than black men or women. I'm not sure if that tells the whole story, though.


A Glossery for Campaigns

From the Onion

The Commodification of Barack Obama

You can read about it here.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Word, and a Hillary Clinton Open Thread

As Faithful Readers pour into this site in unprecedented numbers, thanks in part to Solon and Harrogate's flaming-sword hellraising on TalkLeft as well as on this Site, and taken in tandem with the erudite and spirited posts by our new Board Members M and megsg-h: And Yea and Verily, perhaps inspired most of all by the vaunted resurgence of Oxymoron--Harrogate has taken a break from actual posts for these past few days.

In the spaces between Fun With Obamamania Part II (Strawberry Shortcake Got What Was Coming To Her) and this Post, veritable spates of pro-Obama Rhetoric (Harrogate almost said propaganda) have filled this Blog, leading to perhaps the misunderstanding that The Rhetorical Situation uniformly endorses Barack Obama, which it most decidedly does not.

Harrogate will continue making his complex, impassioned, and airtight case for Clinton as the primary season wears on. But for now, here is an Open Thread for all readers wishing to discuss reasons why Hillary Clinton would make a terrific President of the United States.

Note: As this should be a bumper crop of a thread, we may have to cut it off after hitting 200 comments.

Super Delegates

The New York Times has another article on Super Delegates. This one is interesting for the "themes" of the campaign: Old versus New Democrats; success in Red v. Blue States; Loyalty versus Opportunity or Loyalty versus Judgment.

Here is something else the delegates will need to examine, the pledged delegates. There are 1075 pledges delegates remaining. Here is the current count:

CNN (including Super Delegates):
Senator Obama 1,262
Senator Clinton 1,213.

New York Times: (Pledged Delegates)
Senator Obama 934
Senator Clinton 892.

AP (w/ Super Delegates)
Senator Obama: 1,275
Senator Clinton: 1,220

Senator Obama: 1,116
Senator Clinton: 985

If Senator Obama receives a 60% - 40% split that could be a decisive advantage and a strong argument that the remaining Super Delegates should support him (it would give him over 1,900 hundred delegates according to the AP and CNN estimates and leaving Senator Clinton with approximately 1,700.)

If Senator Clinton receives a 60% to 40% split, she will (according to the MSNBC) take a slim lead, making the involvement of the Super Delegates more controversial. There will be no clear winner and no clear argument as to who the Super Delegate will support.

Well Texas, what will you do?