Monday, April 28, 2008

Hillary Can’t Steal the Nomination with Super Delegates, But Obama Could Lose Because of Them

Super Delegates have been part of the Democrats’ system for choosing their presidential nominee since 1980! But, by judging from the media’s tone, you’d think that it was all dreamed up by Clinton, Inc., last summer. Here’s some examples:

"How could the Democratic Party be so, well, undemocratic? Backroom double-dealing; Suppressing the will of the voters; Super Delegates will likely decide the Democratic presidential nominee at this year's convention in Denver; Will Super Delegates decide Democrat Nomination? For the first time, Super Delegates may decide their party's nominee."

Doesn’t this coverage pass on a seedy, underhanded and scheming feel to the whole Democrat nomination process?

This is not to say that Democrats are not as Machiavellian as quasi-humanly possible. But the point here is that the rules regarding Super Delegates have been around for 28 years. It is not like the Clintonistas have the list but the Obamamamas don’t. They both do. The fact is that its a fair playing field for both Barack and Hill.

Here’s what’s going on. The media jumped ship with Clinton, just like Barack dumped his grandma, and supported Obama. Unfortunately, Obama has not won, while Clinton has not lost. Now the liberal media is in a quandary. Being liberals, they are as equally sly as politicians. Therefore, they have decided to attack the delegate selection process to push their guy forward, and have begun to predict rioting in the streets and a Chicago-style convention in Denver if the Super Delegates don’t do what the media wants them to do and support Obama.

Here’s the count after Pennsylvania. Obama has won 1,489 delegates to Clinton’s 1,333, while there are only 408 delegates left to win in the nine remaining contests. A quick calculation shows that if either Obama or Clinton wins them all they will both be short of the 2,024 needed to win.

Meanwhile, on the Super Delegate front, Obama has 238, while Clinton has 259. Added to their current totals this puts Obama at 1,727 and Clinton at 1,592. If Obama wins all the 408 delegates up for grabs, which is a practical impossibility, as none of the remaining states are winner take all, he goes over the top and reaches the magic 2,025 mark with 2,135, while if Clinton wins them all she is still short at 2,000.

So, if neither can win, how does someone win? In addition to everything else described there are 298 more Super Delegates that are uncommitted at this point. Depending on how they go, they could push either candidate into the victory circle.

Here’s the interesting thing about Democrats and their process. None of the delegates that have been selected so far, whether regular or Super are bound to vote for any particular candidate. True, regular delegates are more likely to vote for whom they worked for, but that is beside the point. The point is that they are not bound. Super Delegates meanwhile are also not bound. They can vote however they want. . . and, just like regular delegates, they can change their mind. This reality is not indicative of a gamed system, rather it is simply the way the rules work, which is fair to both sides.

In 2004, as an example, Howard Dean was doing great with his Super Delegate count, but after he crashed and burned in the Iowa Caucuses, they all switched to John Kerry. Super Delegate independence happened in 1984 as well. Gary Hart came on strong against Walter Mondale and won 16 states to Mondale’s 10, but Mondale sewed up almost all the Super Delegates. Were those years examples of subverting the will of rank-and-file Democrats? No, they were merely representations of how the system works.

Not everyone agrees though, especially if they are reporters or Obama supporters. U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, in an interview with, sanctimoniously said, "I'm confident that in my party, which prides itself as being a party of the people, Super Delegates will be nominating the one with the most pledged delegates."

The one with the most pledged delegates? Hardly. Rather, Super Delegates will support the candidate most likely to win in 2008, which seemed like Obama all the way up to the point where his spiritual mentor, Jeremiah Wright, took center stage.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Shepard’s Crook of Christianity

Ebola is to humans what Black Liberation Theology is to the church.

Ebola was popularized in the movie “Outbreak” and the book, “Hot Zone.” The virus is what they call a Level 4 pathogen that causes severe hemorrhaging and rapid death through the massive destruction of the liver. But, unfortunately, for those in favor of reducing the number of people on the planet, it also kills animals. The strains of the virus have eerie sounding names – Ebola Zaire, Ebola Sudan, Ebola Reston, Ebola Tai and Marburg.

Amazingly, the Ebola virus under an electron microscope looks a little like a sheep herder’s staff, hence the name, “Shepard’s Crook.” If it happens to show up in your blood, or in that of your pet monkey, there is a nine out of 10 chance of death.

Black Liberation Theology (BLT) is the Shepard’s Crook of Christianity and one of its prophets is Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Without one of his flock running for President of the United States, Wright’s message would probably not have hit front page news. But since Obama, unifying-man-for-all-seasons and candidate-for-Hope-and-Change, is running for the top job it only makes sense that all of his background examined. Ooops. Bad timing for him, Wright, and BLT.

Obama is now in triage, a political casualty of Wright’s BLT-inspired raving rants.

Glenn Beck interviewed former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell on March 20, 2008. Blackwell, a black man, said, “The proponents of liberation theology like Reverend Wright say that God commands us to form government that will supervise our economy to create government subsidized jobs under central government planning, guaranteed healthcare and education by having government control both.”

In other words, liberation theology is socialism wrapped in Christianity. BLT’s contribution to the gift is a racial ribbon and bow.

BLT consists of 12 primary points and a few sub-points. They are available for review on the Trinity United Church of Christ (Chicago) website. According to TUCC, “These Black Ethics must be taught and exemplified in homes, churches, nurseries and schools, wherever Blacks are gathered.”

Most have explanations following them and, unfortunately, the explanation sometimes makes the palatable much less, and the less than palatable much worse. An example is the first one, “Commitment to God.” Normally, I would applaud anyone urging this affirmation. But, when the explanation includes racially charged words like, “Black Christian Activists,” and “soldiers for Black freedom,” I am less inclined.

1. Commitment to God.
2. Commitment to the Black Community.
3. Commitment to the Black Family.
4. Dedication to the Pursuit of Education.
5. Dedication to the Pursuit of Excellence.
6. Adherence to the Black Work Ethic.
7. Commitment to Self-Discipline and Self-Respect.
8. Disavowal of the Pursuit of “Middleclassness.”
9. Pledge to Make the Fruits of All Developing and Acquired Skills Available to the Black Community.
10. Pledge to Allocate Regularly, a Portion of Personal Resources for Strengthening and Supporting Black Institutions.
11. Pledge Allegiance to All Black Leadership Who Espouse and Embrace the Black Value System.
12. Personal Commitment to Embracement of the Black Value System.

A Find and Replace of “Black” for “White” illustrates how abhorrent the principals actually are – Imagine if your local AG, Presbyterian or Baptist church had a value system kicking off with Commitment to God and the White Community. Meanwhile, a Find and Delete of “Black,” with some minor grammatical edits, illustrates how noble they could be. (The exception that you can’t put a positive spin on is the disavowal of “Middleclassness,” which is a tone ringing similar to, “Revolution of the Proletariat.”)

With this as a value system, it is no wonder Wright has said the things he has, while what is to be wondered is how much Obama actually believes.

There is some good news though. Blackwell, in the same interview with Glenn Beck, also observed that Obama’s home church does not express the “dominant view” of the African-American Christian community.

For Obama it isn’t so much that he attended Wright’s church, but that he remained there for so long. He was recruited there, indoctrinated there, got married there, saw his children baptized there, has stayed there for 20 years, and apparently is planning on staying for that much longer. The disconcerting explanations for his sojourn might be that either Obama had BLT before he arrived, or that Wright’s message was the means for infection. In either case not many incubators could culture BLT better than TUCC.

There is another possibility. Senator Barack Hussein Obama, Jr., may be the one in 10 that is immune. If he ends up as President let’s hope so.

Four Speeches - Two Good, Two Bad

March 28, 2008 - Lead balloons don’t fly just because reporters say they do. In this presidential cycle we have now witnessed two such spectacles – Mitt Romney and Barack Obama. Both gave speeches at critical campaign junctures, both were met with enraptured media applause, both patterned their deliveries after historical precedents, and both failed.

For Mitt it was JFK, and for Barack , MLK. Their three-lettered mentors probably feel let down, because neither protégé rose to the occasion. If Willard Mitt Romney and Barack Hussein Obama’s clutch-play opportunities connected, they may have become exalted and joined the ranks of those known merely by initials. But alas, it is not to be WMR or BHO.

The short and sweet of it is that neither Mitt nor Barack answered the question being asked. In Mitt’s case it was, “Why is Mormonism not a cult?” and, for Barack, “Do you support Jeremiah Wright’s hate-mongering?” If they had, things would look a lot different today. Mitt would be the Republican nominee, and Barack would have buried Hillary. But no, Mitt’s failure paved the path for Mac, and Barack may have handed it to Hill.

The reason that JFK’s “Don’t worry about my Catholicism,” and MLK’s “I have a Dream” speeches were so successful, is that they directly addressed the concerns of the day along with rising to rhetorical excellence.

With JFK the nation needed to be reassured that he would not be a pawn of the Vatican. For MLK the challenge was for Americans to be told that there was something more important than the color of a person’s skin.

On September 12, 1960, John F. Kennedy made the following points:

“I believe in an America where. . . no Catholic prelate would tell the president . . . how to act. . . I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.”

Kennedy took the issue on directly, answered the question and put it to rest. That is why he succeeded. Concerns about Romney had nothing to do with the Mormon Church directing the presidency. No one was concerned about Romney’s patriotism, divided loyalties, or that he would be directed by Salt Lake City, rather they were concerned that his church was a cult.

Romney gave his speech on December 6, 2007, kicking it off with a memorable line, "Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom.”

Compared his situation to Kennedy’s, "Almost 50 years ago another candidate from Massachusetts. . . ”

Played a straw man gambit, "Let me assure you that no authorities of my church. . . will ever exert influence on presidential decisions.”

Laid the groundwork for addressing the big concern, “. . . I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of mankind. My church's beliefs about Christ may not all be the same as those of other faiths.”

Then dodged the question in an indignant manner, "There are some who would have a presidential candidate describe and explain his church's distinctive doctrines. To do so would enable the very religious test the founders prohibited in the Constitution.”

And finally wrapped things up with some trademark pandering, "I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God. And in every faith I have come to know, there are features I wish were in my own: I love the profound ceremony of the Catholic Mass, the approachability of God in the prayers of the Evangelicals, the tenderness of spirit among the Pentecostals, the confident independence of the Lutherans, the ancient traditions of the Jews, unchanged through the ages, and the commitment to frequent prayer of the Muslims.”

No wonder he failed.

On August 28, 1963 Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his most memorable address. His appeal was for equality and it was delivered in a day when that commodity was sadly lacking. Everyone at the time needed to be reminded of what our country stood for, and MLK rose to the occasion magnificently.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

If he had lived he probably would have seen it all come true. Unfortunately he was murdered and his torch passed to less reputable clergymen, such as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and Jeremiah Wright.

Since Obama sat under Wright’s tutelage for 20 years it made perfect sense to ask the question, “Do you support your pastors’ hate-mongering?” And so on March 18, 2008 Barack Obama responded.

He started off on the right track. “I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy.”

If he would have stopped there and offered some tangible solutions the day would have been won. Instead he refused to do what wasn’t being asked, and threw in a false moral equivalency just for fun. . . “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother.”

Which laid the groundwork for justifying the Reverend’s remarks. . . “For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years.”

And finally shifted the blame in vintage liberal fashion. . . “Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed. . .”

It is too bad that MLK was not around to advise Barack, and JFK not available for Mitt. If they had, or if Obama and Romney gave more than lip service to their mentors’ speeches, the playing field would look a lot different today.