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Guest Commentary (4126)


You have to give George W. Bush credit, in a “My, that leech certainly sucks blood well,” sort of way. Just when you think he can’t get any lower, he proves you wrong.

Thursday, 15 May 2008 01:36

Obama Checks McCain in Michigan

by Susan J. Demas

WARREN [MI]- John McCain left the door ajar in Michigan last week with a lackluster town hall - and Obama busted right through it with his own here on Wednesday.

Fresh off a walloping in West Virginia on Tuesday, Obama hit Macomb County to talk trade and jobs with those elusive Reagan Democrats. He'd obviously had a heart-to-heart with former U.S. Rep. David Bonior, the patron saint of organized labor who endorsed him last week and started a stampede of superdelegates.

by Michael Winship

Hell hath no fury like a convert. Or so it seemed back in the early 90s, when the political career of Senator John McCain almost went down in flames during the savings-and-loan scandal.

Senator McCain, you'll recall, was one of the notorious Keating Five, a group of U.S. senators accused of using their clout to help bail out Charles Keating, chairman of the failed Lincoln Savings and Loan. All had received campaign contributions and other perks from Keating.

The collapse of Lincoln Savings cost the American taxpayer $3.4 billion. Charles Keating went to prison. Mr. McCain got off with a mild rebuke for "questionable conduct" from the Senate Ethics Committee, but so embarrassed was he, the senator vowed that from then on, he would be above reproach, the Caesar's wife of Capitol Hill. A changed man, he would fight for truth, justice, and the American way; battling special interests, crusading for ethics and leading the way for campaign finance reform with the evangelistic zeal of the born again.

by Jeff Fleischer

With Tuesday's result in Indiana going Hillary Clinton's way by an ultra-narrow margin and her resultant decision to stay in the race, the Democratic primary contest is going to continue for at least another week. And with only six primaries to go, there will inevitably be another round of hysterical stories about how the ongoing process will doom the party's eventual choice come November.

That's possible, but not nearly as likely as the 24-hour news channels would suggest. In reality, the November electoral math still looks quite good for Barack Obama. As long as he emerges as the nominee (and the numbers say this primary is now even more over than it already was), the scars of this primary season will almost certainly heal about as well as they do every four years and give him enviable odds of putting the White House back in Democratic hands.

by Michael Winship

As the candidates engage in an ultimately pointless, fruitless debate over whether or not to give the gasoline tax a summer holiday, the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney secretly has been developing a quaintly 19th century solution to the energy crisis.


At least, that's one possible conclusion you might draw from last week's report out of Congressman Henry Waxman's (D-CA) House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

According to documents leaked to and released by the committee, for more than a year Cheney's office and the White House Council of Economic Advisors, coordinating with the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, have been holding up a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rule that would protect the North American right whale, one of the most endangered animals in the world.

by Larry Beinhart

Did you know there is an "official arbiter of when recessions begin"? It's called the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), a "private, non-profit, non-partisan," organization. It boasts that 16 of the 31 American Nobel Prize winners have been researchers there.

The president of NBER announced on March 15 that we are now officially in recession. "It will last longer and be deeper than the last two recessions, which lasted only 8 months from peak to trough. It could well be longer and deeper than the recession in the early 1980s that lasted 16 months."

The reality - for ordinary people - is that the economy has actually been in recession since 2001. It began with an official recession. Which officially lasted but eight months. Then there was a "recovery."

by Stephen Crockett

The idea being promoted by both John McCain and Hillary Clinton of canceling the federal gasoline tax for the summer is a terrible idea. It fails to address the real issue of runaway fuel prices. It has negative consequences for the safety of our roads and bridges. It is essentially a campaign stunt and distraction. The oil profiteers have already gobbled up any benefit consumers might gain from the cut far in advance of the proposed summer suspension.

Runaway fuel prices are largely the result of market manipulation by speculators and oil companies combined with a "nod and wink" approach to government regulation and law enforcement from the Bush Administration. We need serious government intervention instead of cosmetic window dressing.

by Michael Winship

A recent "Saturday Night Live" skit featured an ersatz Larry King (redundant, I know) interviewing former President Jimmy Carter and chastising him for writing too many books that no one ever reads, a charge with which a reluctant Carter finally agrees. Unkind, but funny.

Just in time for Mom's Day, the latest oeuvre from the compulsively prolific ex-president is "A Remarkable Mother," the story of his mother Lillian, or "Miz Lillian," as just about everyone whose path she crossed called her.

A lovely book and, as Carolyn See wrote in a Washington Post review, "far from the sentimental tribute one might expect... [It's] the story of how one woman grew up and married in backward rural Georgia and how, even before her son became president, she learned to think globally, to take her own place on the public stage."

by Susan J. Demas

If you voted "uncommitted" in the Michigan primary to support Barack Obama, your vote might have essentially gone to Hillary Clinton anyway.

The Michigan Information & Research Service (MIRS) has learned that some of the 36 uncommitted delegates chosen at Saturday's district conventions say they're staying uncommitted and not backing Obama. That seems curious, because there are only two candidates left in the race and those backing Clinton could have caucused for her.

Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Chair Mark Brewer gave those exact instructions to those attending the 15 sites. But Obama supporters say they might not have been heeded to give Clinton even more than the 55 percent of delegates she won on January 15.

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