Berlusconi had said on Thursday that Obama, who will be the first African-American US president, was "handsome, young and also suntanned". Italy's left-wing opposition parties accused Berlusconi of bringing discredit on the nation with the quip. "He forgets that his statements cast doubt on the image of our country in the world," said Dario Franceschini, member of parliament for the center-left Democratic Party. Berlusconi responded by calling them "imbeciles" with no sense of humor. Meanwhile French politicians and celebrities had published a petition calling for positive discrimination in favour of people from ethnic minorities. The program "Oui, nous pouvons!" ("Yes, we can!") demands concrete political change to make the French ideal of equality reality for the millions of immigrants living in France. Bruni-Sarkozy did not sign the petition because of her status as wife of the president but she said she supported it in every respect.
Over the past few weeks, the Republican National Committee has made it a point of pride to send out memos portraying a great fissure between the respective camps of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Last Thursday, for instance, saw an email with the subject line "The Healing Process Was Far From Over." Earlier the party blasted out stories showing Clinton supporters demanding a vote at the Democratic Convention. Then, when that vote was granted on Thursday, the RNC sent out a clip from Michael Goodwin of the New York Daily News, titled "Barack Obama blinks in Hillary face-off." It's enough to give the impression (certainly, it's designed to give the impression) that chaos is ripping apart the Democratic Party, leading waves of Clinton backers to the precipice of defecting to John McCain. It is almost completely untrue. In actuality, as Marc Ambinder noted on Friday and as several Clinton confidantes have told the Huffington Post, the two Democrats are far closer towards political unity than imagined when their primary fight ended. "This is all a tempest in a teapot driven by a whole lot of media sources and the RNC looking to make trouble," said Mike Berman, a longtime Democratic hand and friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Moreover, Thursday's announcement that Clinton would get a roll call vote at the convention -- in the process placating her supporters and providing her with the chance to state her support for Obama -- is seen even by the most hardened Clinton fanatics as an important step towards reconciliation. "I was on record saying I didn't think this was a good idea, because I was worried about the PUMA [Party Unity My Ass] supporters, people who are indifferent to a McCain presidency and are only driven by anger, which is not to criticize them, that is a genuine emotion," Lanny Davis, one of Clinton's more vocal supporters, told the Huffington Post. "That is reality and I thought that giving her a roll call vote would be destructive and counterproductive at the convention, because it is impossible to control the way the media would cover it. The most vocal Obama critics would be surround by 50 television cameras and be given their 50 seconds of fame." It turned out, Davis went on, "that I had less faith than my candidate and Sen. Obama... The compromise they have just announced pulls off the exact solution that allows people to cast their votes and allows people like me to separate ourselves from the five percent of folks who weren't going to support Obama no matter what."
Reading this thread and watching Obama's rise brought to my mind Spiro Theodore Agnew, the 39th Vice President of the United States (and the first Greek American in that capacity) serving under Nixon. He is noted for his quick rise in politics -- going in 6 years from County Executive to Vice President of the United States.
As a result, Frum and other Republicans are urging party officials to shift the emphasis off the presidential race and on to preserving as many Senate seats as possible. Democrats, while being careful not to count their electoral chickens before they're hatched, are privately worried about winning without enough of a majority in the Senate to really change things.The enduring theme of Obama's campaign has been fundamental change. But, with victory within sight, the question becomes: how much change can he deliver if Democrats don't reach a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate? If the recent past is prologue, the answer is: not nearly enough. In the just-ended 110th Congress, obstructionist Senate Republicans, led by human roadblock Mitch McConnell, mounted a record 104 filibusters (and that was with Bush in the White House; imagine how much more intransigent they would be with Obama). To put that number in context, in the previous Congress, the 109th, in which Democrats were in the minority, there were just 54 filibusters.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has called the GOP tactic "obstruction on steroids." McConnell countered by deeming the filibuster flood an "ordinary procedure." And he makes it clear it's going to become even more "ordinary" if he's allowed to wield it in the 111th Congress: "I think the Senate works best when it makes things happen in the middle and that happens when you have 41 or more people who resist an idea to the point where you can compromise." In other words, to the point where you can derail, shut down, and gridlock real change. The specter of Democrats controlling both the executive and the legislative branches of government has become a useful late-campaign boogeyman for Republicans. In John McCain's version, voters need to elect him president to balance out a Congress led by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.Senate Republicans, facing potential losses in New Hampshire, Oregon, Minnesota, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Kentucky and Georgia, are making the pitch as if an Obama White House is a foregone conclusion. Elizabeth Dole, in a neck and neck fight with challenger Kay Hagan, has a new TV ad warning that if she loses, it will hand Democrats "a blank check." Norm Coleman, currently running behind Al Franken in Minnesota, ominously told voters: "If I lose this seat and one party has control across the board, then you'll see changes." Coleman's quote should go right into a Franken commercial, and commercials for every other Democratic Senate candidate. "Want real change? Put Democrats in control." Republicans aren't the only ones warning about one party rule. On Sunday, the New York Times, falling into be-careful-what-you-wish-for mode, warned that gaining a 60 seat majority would put Democrats "at risk of overreaching." For the sake of the country, that's a risk Obama and Senate Democrats need to take. As Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse puts it: "I think we are in enough trouble in enough areas, that I would rather own it and then have to perform than continue with this back and forth, back and forth with Republicans, particularly while they are engaged in this absolute determined policy of obstruct, obstruct, obstruct."
[...] and automaker private jet rides threatened another one of those stupid "Death Of Irony" moments [...]
So sad her grandma did not actually see him win and become Prez... I'm pretty sure this event deeply touched the hearts and souls of all his fans...
The case against Blagojevich just gives a glimpse of the gangsterism and money-grubbing that characterize official politics in the U.S., involving both big business parties. Democratic and Republican officeholders routinely trade government favors for cash, whether in the form of campaign contributions or outright bribes. While it appears that the governor of Illinois is a particularly crude, foul-mouthed and stupid practitioner of capitalist politics, he is not an aberration. Conversations similar in substance, if not style, to those made public in the Blagojevich probe will be taking place today in government offices and political headquarters in every state and throughout Washington DC.The scandal is clearly only in its early stages, however. The affidavit itself bears the signs of having been written in haste, and the decision to use that procedure rather than present an indictment to a grand jury suggests that Fitzgerald made a last-minute decision to have Blagojevich arrested, perhaps to forestall the governor appointing himself as a successor to Obama. He now must hold a preliminary hearing or formally indict Blagojevich within 20 days.
[...][...] In a tough fight, Rush claimed Obama was not 'black enough' and defended his turf. Obama's career looked to be becalmed. But then Obama proved he has something that all politicians envy: good luck. He had met and married a young lawyer, Michelle Robinson, and they had two young daughters. [...]