Glad to have you here at the Richardson Campus! Over the next few months, we'll be uploading videos, posts and podcasts from contributors around the country. This is a blog for supporters of Bill Richardson to discuss his stance on issues, the presidential race, and politics in general. Anything in the political arena is in play here--while Governor Richardson is the center of this site, we want to hear from you on any relevant topic.

So, if you're a student that wants to add to this site, feel free to e-mail us at makowsky@stanford.edu or steina@stanford.edu. We'll get back to you within the day.

Of course, we welcome all comments on our content as well. If you agree or disagree with what someone posts, please don't hold back!

Here's a quick video introduction of ourselves and the site. After you watch it, scroll down for all of the content The Richardson Campus has to offer.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Richardson's Choice

The Governor has yet to give his endorsement, but he's being courted by all the major powers that be, according to this Washington Post blog entry:

Gov. Bill Richardson's phone has been ringing off the hook. Sen. Hillary Clinton called Sunday night. That was followed by a call from former president Bill Clinton, then a call from Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who's supporting Clinton. Sen. Barack Obama called twice Monday morning.

And, at around 4 p.m. Monday, as we entered Richardson's office on the fourth floor of the state Capitol here, Richardson was finishing up a 15-minute phone conversation.

"That was Teddy," Richardson told The Trail. Sen. Ted Kennedy, who alongside his niece Caroline and son Patrick endorsed Obama at a packed rally at American University just hours before, is scheduled to stump for the Illinois senator in northern New Mexico Wednesday night. Kennedy is urging Richardson to support Obama. "Teddy's argument is that Obama can bring people together," Richardson said. "That's his rationale."

As the highest-ranking Hispanic in the Democratic Party, Richardson's endorsement is being aggressively sought by the Clinton and Obama campaigns. California, Colorado, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico are among the 22 states voting next week, and each have sizable Hispanic electorates. Richardson, who cruised to re-election as New Mexico governor in 2006, is a popular figure in the Hispanic community.

Richardson's torn. He served in the Clinton White House, first as ambassador to the United Nations, then as Clinton's Secretary of Energy. "I have a history with the Clintons," Richardson said. "And I've always liked her. She always seems very genuine." But Richardson considers Kennedy, who's long been respected by Hispanics, as "a mentor." In 1982, when Richardson ran for Congress for the second time -- he lost two years before -- Kennedy flew to Santa Fe and campaigned for him. "That might have been the reason I was elected," Richardson said. And he said he likes Obama, telling a story about how Obama saved him during one of last year's Democratic debates:

"I had just been asked a question -- I don't remember which one -- and Obama was sitting right next to me. Then the moderator went across the room, I think to Chris Dodd, so I thought I was home free for a while. I wasn't going to listen to the next question. I was about to say something to Obama when the moderator turned to me and said, 'So, Gov. Richardson, what do you think of that?' But I wasn't paying any attention! I was about to say, 'Could you repeat the question? I wasn't listening.' But I wasn't about to say I wasn't listening. I looked at Obama. I was just horrified. And Obama whispered, 'Katrina. Katrina.' The question was on Katrina! So I said, 'On Katrina, my policy . . .' Obama could have just thrown me under the bus. So I said, 'Obama, that was good of you to do that.'"

Richardson, like Clinton and Obama, waged a historic campaign. He was the first Hispanic -- he's half Mexican -- to run for president, yet his candidacy was overshadowed by Clinton and Obama. He finished fourth in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire and dropped out of the Democratic race on Jan. 10, citing a lack of funds. Some political observers here are surprised that he's waited this long to endorse a candidate, though they wonder if he's negotiating a vice presidential spot in the Democratic ticket, or perhaps a place in the cabinet.

If Richardson is to endorse either Clinton or Obama -- "I might, I might not, how's that for an answer?" -- he said he'll do so by the end of the week.

"If I do endorse, it's going to be a gut feeling. It's not going to be about statistics, about past ties," Richardson said. "I've been on the campaign trail with both of them. I feel that I know them. I feel I know the issues. I feel I know what makes them both tick."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bill O'Reilly's naivety

John Edwards claims there are 200,000 homeless veterans. Bill O'Reilly, to put it nicely, disagrees. O'Reilly never disagrees nicely, so not only did he insult Edwards for his claim, but said that there are not many homeless vets. Well, let's go to the tape:


Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Richardson Campus featured in Santa Fe Reporter article

Dave Maass of the Santa Fe Reporter wrapped up Governor Richardson's campaign in an article published today. His question is this: how could Governor Richardson have run a more effective campaign? I'm both the lede of this story, and one of the pundits quoted. Pretty cool. Check it out:

Wyndam Makowsky was a true Bill Believer. The floppy-haired freshman at Stanford University had been video blogging his support since December at Richardsoncampus.blogspot.com. In an interview on Jan. 16, Makowsky told SFR he’d be voting for Bill on Super Duper Tuesday, no matter how far the candidate was behind in the polls.

Ten minutes later, The Associated Press broke the news that Bill was bowing out. What could Bill have done to attract more Wyndams? Not much, according to SFR’s pundits.

“We had this candidate in this race we nicknamed ‘Bidoddson.’ You had these three veterans with incredible resumes, but running in the primary with the first serious woman candidate and the first African American candidate, Bidoddson got left in the dust. For Richardson, himself, a more consistent performance would’ve helped. He had some good debates and some truly bad ones and voters were looking for something more than the up and down.”
—Jennifer Duffy, senior editor, Cook
Political Report

“I think he ran a pretty good campaign, actually. I mean, strategically, he seemed to do a lot of the right things. His message was pretty good, his ads were pretty good, but he did get boxed out by the two main personalities and all the money pouring into the race. I think if the financial playing field had been more even, it could have been closer.”
—Josh Kurtz, politics editor, Roll Call

“If we just look at the numbers game, Richardson, by any definition, was raising really good money for this contest. But it wasn’t good enough compared to the front runners, Obama and Clinton and, in the end, the organization you can have because of that money. And they had so much more money. We’re talking hundreds of millions as opposed to $12 million. Twelve million is great—normally awesome—but in this particular contest it’s not enough to see you through.”
—Lonna Atkeson, political science
professor, University of New Mexico

“There were a few notable mistakes on Gov. Richardson’s part, like the Meet the Press interview, which was basically his introduction to the mainstream, and it really didn’t go that well. But other than that, I really don’t think there was much he could have done better. He was competing with three main candidates who had enormous name recognition. To a certain extent the presidential election is a bit of popularity contest and he just wasn’t a known figure nationwide.”
—Wyndam Makowsky, video blogger,


Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Future of the Richardson Campus

We'll have some updates for you over the coming week, but we'll be updating the blog pretty infrequently from now on because Governor Richardson has dropped out. If he reemerges as a Vice Presidential candidate, we might be back in business. But for right now, we'll only be posting every now and then.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Will Bill still end up in Washington?

Interesting and thorough article by Phill Casaus on whether or not Governor Richardson will seek the Vice Presidency or a cabinet position with a Democratic president.

Bill's Big Adventure came to an end in the disconcerting echo chamber that is the Roundhouse Rotunda, a place that turns even the most declarative sentences into acoustic soup.

It must be the Rotunda's fault, because for a moment there I could've sworn I heard Gov. Bill Richardson tell his audience, "I am back," after a year in the electoral wilds of Iowa and New Hampshire.

And yet, that couldn't possibly be right, because almost as soon as the words escaped his mouth and Richardson's rabid faithful supporters shot out of their chairs in wild applause Thursday afternoon, the governor repaired to a small room in the Roundhouse for some incisive interviews with . . . CNN and Fox News.

The local media? The local customers they serve? Sorry, no time today.

Those few illustrative minutes bring us to this place in the strange relationship between the governor and his state: Richardson says being New Mexico's chief executive is the finest job he's ever had in three decades of politics. It's a line that plays in the Rotunda. It kills in the Rotunda.

But think about it: If "Governor, New Mexico" was the best item on his Things To Do In This Lifetime checklist, Richardson never would have run for president in the first place. He'd have been here all along, doing what governors do — arm-wrestling with a balky state Senate, kissin' babies, instructing local reporters to kiss . . . well, you know.

As much as anything, Richardson's announcement that he's departing the presidential race felt more like a statement that he's getting in — if not into the White House, then someplace very close.

My guess: Richardson will mark time for the next few months, be ever-present at the Democratic Party's national convention in Denver in August, and stay very close to his telephone for a call that might keep him in Washington for the next several years.

None of us would be surprised, would we?

Regardless of what you might think of Richardson and his flaws, let's agree that he never sets his sights on a level horizon. His eyes are up, always up, forever hunting a major policy issue, always tracking the big game of challenge. And let's face facts: Washington, D.C., is a much bigger safari than Santa Fe.

Propelled by a gale-force personality, outsized ambition and humongous work ethic, the governor is now one of the best-known Democrats in the country. He's a player, a major player, in his party; a must-get for CNN and the New York Times; a guy whose name portends horsepower.

You can argue Richardson's long list of work experience — former congressman, U.N. ambassador and secretary of energy — might offer up those treats naturally, and all I can do is ask: Can you name a former ambassador to anywhere or a former secretary of anything?

Somehow, Bill Richardson gave résumé cachet.

Unfortunately for him, it wasn't enough to overcome Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, or even John Edwards. In the New Hampshire primary and Iowa circuses, he wasn't even close.

"He was everybody's second candidate," U.S. Rep. Tom Udall raved, apparently forgetting that nobody really wants to be Miss Congeniality in politics. "And that's a big accomplishment."

Not big enough, evidently. But there are some charms to what Richardson has done in the past year. His name now registers nationally — a plus, because Richardson works in a business where a big Q rating gives opportunities to those who possess it.

At a relatively youthful 60, who's to say Richardson can't try for president again someday? And in the meantime, there's no reason — providing the Democrats win in November — that he won't have a monster-sized business card come January 2009.

New Mexico is beautiful, wonderful, cool — a place where a governor can wear blue jeans to a news conference and get huge cheers for running hard but finishing fourth. I believe Richardson when he says he loves this state. But it ain't D.C., and it never will be.

Bill Richardson's back?

Yes, for now. But only for now.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Governor's Farewell

All class, as always. It was a great run, Governor Richardson.

It is with great pride, understanding and acceptance that I am ending my campaign for President of the United States. It was my hope that all of you would first hear this news from me and not a news organization. But unfortunately, as with too many things in our world today, it's the ending of something that garners the most intense interest and speculation.

I knew from the beginning that this would be an uphill climb. When I entered the campaign, it was clear that we, as Democrats, had the most talented field of candidates in my lifetime running to change the direction of our country. And in the end, one of them will.

Despite overwhelming financial and political odds, I am proud of the campaign we waged and the influence we had on the issues that matter most to the future of this country.

A year ago, we were the only major campaign calling for the removal of all of our troops within a year's time from Iraq. We were the only campaign calling for a complete reform of education in this country, including the scrapping of No Child Left Behind. And we were the campaign with the most aggressive clean energy plan and the most ambitious standards for reducing global warming.

Now, all of the remaining candidates are coming to our point of view. I am confident that the next President of the United States will implement much of what we've been urging for the last twelve months, and our nation and world will be the better for it.

There are so many of you who gave so much to this campaign. For that, I will be forever grateful. Running for president has been, at times, humbling and at other times, exhilarating. I have grown and learned a great deal from the experience, and I am a better person for it.

Also, because of your close friendship and support throughout the ups and downs of what is a very grueling and demanding process, I have never felt alone.

Running for president brings out the best in everyone who graces the stage, and I have learned much from the other candidates running. They have all brought great talents and abilities to the campaign.

Senator Biden's passion and intellect are remarkable.

Senator Dodd is the epitome of selfless dedication to public service and the Democratic Party.

Senator Edwards is a singular voice for the most downtrodden and forgotten among us.

Senator Obama is a bright light of hope and optimism at a time of great national unease, yet he is also
grounded in thoughtful wisdom beyond his years.

Senator Clinton's poise in the face of adversity is matched only by her lifetime of achievement and deep understanding of the challenges we face.

Representative Kucinich is a man of great decency and dedication who will faithfully soldier on no matter how great the odds.

And all of us in the Democratic Party owe Senator Mike Gravel our appreciation for his leadership during the national turmoil of Vietnam.

I am honored to have shared the stage with each of these Democrats. And I am enormously grateful to all of my supporters who chose to stand with me despite so many other candidates of accomplishment and potential.

Now that my time in this national campaign has come to an end, I would urge those who supported my candidacy to take a long and thoughtful look at the remaining Democrats. They are all strong contenders who each, in their own way, would bring desperately needed change to our country. All I ask is that you make your own independent choice with the same care and dedication to this country that you honored me with during this campaign. At this time, I will not endorse any candidate.

Now I am returning to a job that I love, serving a state that I cherish and doing the work of the people I was elected to serve. As I have always said, I am the luckiest man I know. I am married to my high school sweetheart. I live in a place called the Land of Enchantment. I have the best job in the world. And I just got to run for president of the United States.

It doesn't get any better than that.

With my deepest appreciation for all that you have done,


Governor Bill Richardson
The Governor's Mansion
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Just watched an episode of the West Wing

I feel better about politics. Oh, what's that you say? Jed Bartlet isn't our president, and Bill Richardson isn't running to succeed him?

Well, darn. Nice while it lasted. Only one solution: watch more West Wing.

Back in 44 minutes.


It's Over

Bill Richardson has dropped out of the presidential race.


Last night was not an example of the Bradley Effect!

The talk of the day is how Barack Obama was a victim of the Bradley Effect last night, meaning that his poll numbers were inflated because he was black (people tend to say they'll vote for a black candidate because they feel guilty otherwise, but then when they actually vote, they go with the white candidate).

Here's the thing: his poll numbers were not inflated. He got 37% of the vote in New Hampshire. He was projected to get 38.3% of the vote, based on the RCP average. A 1.3% decrease isn't indicative of the Bradley Effect: if anything, the discrepancy is due to the massive--and frankly, unrealistic--surge he got after Iowa.

Hillary Clinton led in the state up until Iowa. This isn't a major upset, and this isn't indicative of the Bradley Effect. This is the country righting itself after fueling Obama's hype for the past week. Clinton was expected to win New Hampshire.

Ponder this, though: Maybe Iowa was the reverse of the Bradley Effect. Undecided voters supporters of second-tier candidates had to publicly choose who they'd caucus with. Did white guilt play a role? If Iowa was a normal primary, would Obama have won by such a wide margin?

Food for thought.


Bill Clinton rips Barack Obama

At a townhall meeting of sorts, President Clinton goes after Barack Obama.

His major point is this: Obama claims he is the only candidate who opposed the War in Iraq from the get-go, but this is factually incorrect. Hillary Clinton and many others voted for a resolution granting President Bush the power to go to war if and only if Iraq didn't cooperate with weapons inspectors. Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican who has been a vocal opponent of the war from the start, authored the resolution and was assured by the president and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that the U.S. would not do to war if Iraq cooperated. Iraq, in the end, did cooperate with weapons inspectors... but we went to war anyway. So Hillary Clinton's support of the resolution, Bill claims, is not the same as her supporting the war.

But the Obama campaign spun it so that it seemed like Hillary supported the war at its start, and thus Obama was the only candidate who was opposed from the beginning. Bill takes exception not only with that, but with the media giving Obama a so-called free pass during the debates: Bill claims that no moderator of any debate asked Obama about, for example, the time in 2004 when he said he was unsure about whether or not he would have voted for the resolution; the other time in 2004 Obama said there was no difference between him and President Bush on the war; and that no one has pointed out that since his time in the senate, he and Hillary have nearly identical voting records.

Bill goes onto lay into the questioner for attacking Mark Penn, Hillary's top campaign strategist, in light of Obama's attacks on the Clintons.

He finishes with this: People criticize the Clintons for running a negative campaign and applaud Obama for running a positive one, when in fact it's the opposite.

Say what you want about the former president, but he remains one of the best public speakers in this country.


Richardson proposes New Mexico budget

The governor detailed his proposed six billion dollar budget for New Mexico yesterday. It is heavily focused on education and health care. Among the highlights:

$119 million increase for "public schools, the Department of Education and other education programs." Included is a 3% pay raise for teachers. An additional $9.3 million was set aside to "expand pre-kindergarten programs across the state."

$110 million increase in Medicaid aimed at providing "medical services for children in lower income families." $9 million of this appropriation will go toward providing "health care coverage for an addition 9,000 children."

"2% pay raises for state employees."

$39 million increase for "the state's higher education network." This includes a 2% pay increase for "faculty and staff at [state] colleges and universities."


"On to the West"

Bill Richardson finished a predictable fourth in New Hampshire and, with 96% of precincts reporting, had garnered 5% of the vote.

But that doesn't faze the governor: he has pledged to stay in the presidential race through Super Tuesday (February 5th), when many western primaries will be held. The first will be Nevada, on January 19, but most will be on February 5. The governor is more well-known on the west coast, and is the front runner in New Mexico. He'll have the opportunity to place in the top 3 and perhaps higher in other western Super Tuesday states, such as Idaho, Colorado, Arizona and Utah.

It's good to see the governor in high spirits--it certainly trickles down to his supporters.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Report reveals Gulf of Tonkin incident never occurred

The 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, in which two American destroyers were attacked by North Vietnamese forces, was the catalyst for the United States' invasion of Vietnam. President Lyndon Johnson used the attack to convince Congress to give him approval for the war. For years, people have speculated that the incident never occurred. Turns out, they were right: in a report released by the NSA, it is revealed that "no attack happened that night."

The "most historically significant feature" of the declassified report was the retelling of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident.

That was a reported North Vietnamese attack on American destroyers that helped lead to president Lyndon Johnson's sharp escalation of American forces in Vietnam.

The author of the report "demonstrates that not only is it not true, as (then US) secretary of defense Robert McNamara told Congress, that the evidence of an attack was 'unimpeachable,' but that to the contrary, a review of the classified signals intelligence proves that 'no attack happened that night,'" FAS said in a statement.

"What this study demonstrated is that the available intelligence shows that there was no attack. It's a dramatic reversal of the historical record," Aftergood said.

It's troubling that our most damaging war was fought under completely false pretenses. The Christian Science Monitor doesn't blame LBJ, though: They say that the president was misled by their intelligence agencies.


Hillary Clinton wins New Hampshire

In what seemed like an impossibility a few days ago, when Barack Obama had a double digit lead in the state, Hillary Clinton has won a very close race in New Hampshire. The media will bill this as a massive upset, although they shouldn't: until Iowa, Clinton led in the state.

Seems she had the strong backing of women, and the independents decided to vote in the Republican primary as opposed to the Democratic one; independents helped Obama in Iowa.


John McCain wins New Hampshire

Both CNN and FoxNews are calling the state for the senator from Arizona. Only 12% of precincts reporting, but he has a nine point lead over Mitt Romney. This isn't much of a surprise: after Iowa, the discrepancy between McCain and Romney grew. Still, if he can push his win into double-digits, this will be a commanding victory.


President of Harvard Democrats Endorses Richardson

Compared to Martin Sheen, politicians and activists, this endorsement is relatively minor. However, it is notable for two reason:

1) Many, if not most college students back Barack Obama or Ron Paul. Yet here is the leader of a major Democratic organization at one of America's top universities endorsing Governor Richardson. It is the exception to the rule, unfortunately, and should be recognized.

2) It is one of the best endorsement editorials out there, certainly on par or better than some of the local newspaper endorsements the governor has received over the past few weeks.

Flashy rhetoric isn’t going to solve these issues. Neither will divisive partisanship and political jockeying. 2008 is a landmark election, and we need a candidate with a proven record of success. I have nothing bad to say about Senators Obama, Clinton, and Edwards, but I do believe Gov. Bill Richardson stands above the rest in his ability to recognize the challenges we face and deal with them honestly, thoroughly, and courageously.


Clintons Endorse Richardson

Paul Abrams has an article in yesterday's Huffington Post that if the voters took Hillary's advice an elected "a doer, not a talker," they would choose not her, but Bill Richardson.

Here is Bill Clinton, campaigning in North Conway, N.H., sticking to the key word "change."

"There's a difference between talk and action. It makes a big difference if you've actually changed people's lives, if it's the work of your life," the former president said.

And Hillary: voters should elect "a doer, not a talker."

Assessing the "Final Four" candidates for President, to whom can the Clintons be referring? The only person that truly fits THAT description is Bill Richardson, New Mexico Governor, former UN Ambassador, former Energy Secretary, and negotiator extraordinaire.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Hillary cries on camera; will she drop out?

As I'm sure everyone has heard, Hillary Clinton teared up during an interview with ABC. Some say it's contrived; others say it's a sign of the toll the campaign can take. Matt Drudge even went so far as to say that she may drop out of the race soon, due to her dropping poll numbers and ever-evaporating war chest.

Most candidates have refrained from commenting on the affair, but John Edwards decided to say the following: "I think what we need in a commander-in-chief is strength and resolve, and presidential campaigns are tough business, but being president of the United States is also tough business."

This has drawn the ire of the blogsphere, as people see his comments as a cheap shot at Clinton. Indeed, if there were one candidate who could benefit from Clinton's collapse, it would be Edwards. And he knows it: when he wasn't talking about his father working in a mill, Edwards spent the majority of the debate on Saturday lashing out at Clinton.

But this seems like a cheap shot from a candidate whose campaign is in far worse shape than Clinton's.


Eagle Times endorses Richardson

Governor Richardson picked up the backing of another key newspaper in New Hampshire as the Claremont Eagle Times endorsed him for the Democratic nomination. The Eagle Times endorsed John McCain for the Republican nomination. Here is the full editorial:

Every new president has some degree of on-the-job training but the more experience they bring to the job in important areas such as international diplomacy and national security, the shorter the learning curve and the more effective the policy.

In Tuesday's presidential primary, Republican John McCain and Democrat Bill Richardson are the most qualified candidates in the areas that will matter the most to our country over the next four years.

McCain will bring the sort of experience and integrity to the White House that can re-establish our international standing and repair the polarization in Congress that has come to define the effects of the current administration.

Americans are, of course, tired of the war in Iraq and the easiest campaign promise is to bring the troops home now, regardless of the long-term consequences such an ill-advised move would bring. McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam, understands better than any candidate the need for victory in Iraq. Had the calls been heeded to leave when it appeared that no progress was being made on the ground, McCain has correctly stated that al-Qaida would have been announcing that it defeated America. That would embolden our enemies and make our friends less inclined to ever depend on us again. When many were saying leave Iraq, McCain pushed for an alternative strategy that would increase our military commitment and that strategy, commonly referred to as the "surge," has had outstanding results. It is that sort of leadership and understanding of how to win a conflict that our nation will desperately need.

Domestically, McCain's call for smaller government, fewer taxes, secure borders and market-oriented approaches to solving the problem of health care costs represent the positions that reject more government spending as a solution to a sluggish economy.

Voters looking for sound judgment, experience, courage and integrity should cast their vote for John McCain on Tuesday.

Democrats have a variety of choices before them Tuesday. None can match Richardson's experience.

He has served as a congressman where he was known for his ability to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans who respected him - though they often disagreed with his policies. He served as the United Nations ambassador and was secretary of energy in the Clinton administration, where he worked on policies aimed at reducing our dependence on foreign oil.

And he has for six years been governor of New Mexico where he has increased health care opportunities for children while balancing the budget every year.

Presidents of both political parties have called on him to negotiate with foreign leaders in tense times. He has worked with dignitaries in countries ranging from Great Britain to North Korea. On Day 1 of his presidency, he would be able to handle any crisis that comes before the administration.

In his trips to Claremont, he has impressed crowds with his knowledge of all kinds of domestic and foreign issues. He may lack the charisma of other candidates but none can top him in substance.

Voters will be lucky indeed if in November they have a choice between two intellectually honest, experienced men such as John McCain and Bill Richardson.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

McCain lays the smackdown on Hillary

From Lexington's column in this week's Economist:

"John McCain, who spent that late 1960s as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, has chided Hillary Clinton for earmarking one million dollars for a Woodstock concert museum ("I wasn't there...I was tied up at the time")."

I don't know how we missed it, but that's just about one of the greatest political put-downs I've heard in my lifetime, and certainly on par with the wit of many of Winston Churchill's digs. How do you come back from that?

Thanks to Mike for the heads up.


Mitt Romney and his staff need to grow up

Mitt Romney has run perhaps the most negative presidential campaign of my lifetime, and we're not even to New Hampshire yet. He has attacked his Republican foes, from Mike Huckabee. to John McCain. Those are just a few of many ads--he also trashes his opponents every chance he gets. He even went after Barack Obama here, here and here--taunting of candidates in other parties is usually served for the general election, unless they are an incumbent for which the primary is nearly meaningless.

This is all fine. I don't approve of it because I think negative advertising brings down the country's political debate, but to each his own. But if you insist on defaming your opponents, you can't cry and claim the victim when they throw it back to you.

Apparently, there was a confrontation between John McCain and Mitt Romney's staffs after yesterday's debate.

...members of the Romney and McCain camps said the things their bosses might have been thinking but did not dare utter onstage.

McCain delivered “cheap shots,” said one Romney adviser. Another called McCain’s criticisms of Romney “snide remarks” and “name calling.” Yet another said they were “unbecoming.”

Again: this from the staff of the guy running the most negative campaign of the year. The hypocrisy is through the roof. This isn't terrible scientific, but look at Romney's YouTube page: he prominently features his latest attack ad, and the others permeate the rest of his videos. Anyway, at least someone called him out on his double standard:

All of which caused Mark Salter, McCain’s closest aide, to go off.

“Come on, Mitt, tighten up your chin strap,” Salter, standing just a few feet away from the Romney team, told reporters. “Of all the ludicrous suggestions – Mitt Romney whining about being attacked, when he has predicated an entire campaign plan on whoever serially looks like the biggest challenger gets, whatever, $20 million dropped on his head and gets his positions distorted. Give me a break. It’s nothing more than a guy who dishes it out from 30,000 feet altitude and then gets down in the arena and somebody says, O.K. Mitt, gives him a little pop back, and he starts whining. That’s unbecoming.”

And what, you might ask, was the reason for the staffs' confrontation? Negative campaigning...by Mitt Romney!

What had McCain aides particularly heated was Romney’s exchange with McCain on the issue of McCain’s immigration proposals and the question of amnesty. “The fact is, it’s not amnesty,” McCain said during the debate. “And for you to describe it as you do in the attack ads, my friend, you can spend your whole fortune on these attack ads, but it still won’t be true.”

“I don’t describe your plan as amnesty in my ad,” Romney answered. “I don’t call it amnesty.”

With that, the issue became not whether McCain’s plan was or was not amnesty but whether Romney had or had not called it amnesty. And jaws dropped at McCain headquarters.

“What got us all going was when Governor Romney said, ‘We never called what you did amnesty,’“ said McCain confidante Sen. Lindsey Graham said. “Look on TV. Look in your mailbox in New Hampshire. John’s been pounded by Governor Romney with that charge. I was just dumbstruck.”

Indeed, after the debate, McCain aides produced a Romney mailing which said “John McCain: Supports Amnesty.” An e-mail from the Romney campaign earlier in the day referred to McCain’s “amnesty plan.” And a new Romney TV ad featured Romney supporters saying McCain “supported amnesty for illegal immigrants” and “wrote the amnesty bill.” In light of that, it is hard to see how Romney was being straight when he said he didn’t “describe [McCain’s] plan as amnesty.” After the debate, Romney’s spokesman, Kevin Madden, choosing his words carefully, said McCain favored “an amnesty-like approach.”

Add "liar" to "hypocrite." There's a reason you're dropping in the polls, Mitt.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Thoughts on the ABC New Hampshire debate

Just some random points from the Democratic debate tonight. For some reason, my bullet-points aren't working, so here they are in paragraph form:

John Edwards is becoming a single issue candidate--lobbyists are bad, lobbyists are bad! He also can't go five minutes without an anecdote about the middle class. Most come back to his father. It makes me sick. He may be from a middle class family, but he's worth millions now. Doesn't mean he can't be the champion of the average American, but stop acting like you're some impoverished kid working 18 hours at a mill.

Hillary Clinton is trying to become a candidate of change because of the Iowa results, but her entire campaign is based on her being the experience candidate. Now that it's known that people want change over experience, she's trying to alter her image. She's actually been very articulate tonight, but I don't think anyone is blinded by this new persona she's taken on.

Bill Richardson looks very tired. The campaign is taking its toll. And while he's making fine points, he's not as inspiring as he has been in the past. I like that he's staying on message, but he's described as an emotional and charismatic guy--and in most cases, he is--but on the biggest stage yet, I'm afraid that he's squandering his chance to make a real change in the voters' minds. He's subdued and while his points are substantive, he is, frankly, quite boring right now.

Barack Obama doesn't seem as slick as he was a few days ago. He's avoiding questions left and right. The questions, for once, are tough, and he's not responding well.

I liked the final question ("You've done a number of debates. What do you wish you could take back?"). But I'm surprised that anyone answered it--why bring a dead issue back to the forefront? Richardson talked about Byron White being his favorite justice, and Edwards said how sorry he was that he mentioned Clinton's attire. Obama and Clinton avoided the question.

There are two ways to judge the debate: substance and style. In terms of what was actually said, I think Richardson won. He stayed on point and raised a number of issues (energy dependence, budget balancing, education) that will take center stage over the next four years and beyond. No one else said...anything. Obama side-stepped every question to talk about change, hope and bipartisanship. Clinton spend the entire debate remodeling herself as the candidate of change, and Edwards spoke more about his father than he did American politics.

However, Richardson seemed close to sleep for most of the debate. Obama, who seemed to be playing defense for much of the contest, was good, but nowhere near the inspiring figure he was Thursday night, when he gave one of the most impassioned political speeches of the decade. Clinton and Edwards were what they were: politicians who speak well and look good. They were fine.

All the candidates disappointed me, though. This was their biggest debate yet, and some of the questions were pretty good. But they either avoided them or answered them with responses that put you to sleep.

Let's hope for more positive showings in the future.


Mitt Romney wins Wyoming

Unbeknownst to many, the Wyoming Republican primary was today. The state moved up its election day up in an effort to make it more relevant in the primary process. Unfortunately for them, it backfired: the RNC cut Wyoming's number's of delegates to the Republican Convention in half from 28 to 14. By contrast, Iowa had 37 delegates. With so few positions up for grabs, the primary was largely ignored by candidates (only a few campaigned there) and the mainstream media.

Mitt Romney won the state with eight delegates. Fred Thompson received 2; Duncan Hunter got 1. Two more are still up for grabs today, and the final two will be selected at a Wyoming GOP convention in May.

This bring Romney's total delegates to 20. Mike Huckabee, who won Iowa, has 17.


A soldier writes of his death

I wanted to share a magnificent piece by Andrew Olmsted, a soldier who was killed a few days ago in Iraq. It is his last piece before his death, and it reflects on his time as a soldier, writer, family man and more. He felt that he was about to be in severe danger, and asked that this piece be posted in case he died. It is touching, tear-jerking and enlightening. Take a few minutes and give it a look.

Here is the piece, and the introduction by Obsidian Wings:

Andrew Olmsted... was killed yesterday in Iraq. Andy gave me a post to publish in the event of his death; the last revisions to it were made in July.

Andy was a wonderful person: decent, honorable, generous, principled, courageous, sweet, and very funny. The world has a horrible hole in it that nothing can fill. I'm glad Andy -- generous as always -- wrote something for me to publish now, since I have no words at all. Beyond: Andy, I will miss you.

My thoughts are with his wife, his parents, and his brother and sister.

And a similar introduction by the NRO Corner:

Andrew Olmsted. I doubt most readers of The Corner—and indeed most writers here as well—were regular readers of his blog, but he was one of the best. Careful, reliable, passionate. He left a "last blog" in the event he was killed—in an ambush, it seems, not one of the two ways he expected (sniper or IED)—and it's got a lot of good thinking in it. Take a few minutes off and read it, you'll learn a lot about the way our soldiers face life and death.


Friday, January 4, 2008

Richardson on Pakistan

Governor Richardson spoke at length with the Pakistani opposition leader today, after writing a piece for yesterday's Boston Globe calling for Pervez Musharraf's resignation.

The article is an excellent read, but it will certainly get him into trouble, as Musharraf is ostensibly an ally of the United States. But as both Governor Richardson and Barack Obama have repeated, we can no longer support dictators just because they act within our interests. We must dispose of them.


Just so we're clear

According to his campaign, Governor Richardson finished with about 7% of the vote in Iowa during the first round of voting. However, because he failed to reach the 15% viability mark, many of his supporters had to re-vote, and his final tally dropped to 2%.

While the 7% finish is still significantly less than the governor had hoped for, it's in line with the most recent Iowa poll numbers, and still much better than the paltry 2% everyone is reporting.


Thursday, January 3, 2008

Final Iowa results

With 100% of precincts reporting...

Barack Obama 38%
John Edwards 30%
Hillary Clinton 29%
Bill Richardson 2%
Joe Biden 1%

Mike Huckabee 34%
Mitt Romney 25%
Fred Thompson 13%
John McCain 13%
Ron Paul 10%
Rudy Giuliani 4%
Duncan Hunter 1%

Biden, Dodd drop out

After poor showings in Iowa, Senators Joe Biden and Chris Dodd have dropped out of the presidential race.

I wonder if this will help Bill Richardson--there are no longer other second-tier candidates to split the vote with, which the LA Times said hurt him in Iowa.


Barack Obama wins Iowa

...according to CNN and MSNBC.

72% of precincts reporting, and he has a 4% lead over Clinton and Edwards.

Seems very close, but I'll trust the experts.

Edit: 91% of precincts reporting, and Obama has a 7% lead over Clinton and Edwards. I have to believe he was the "second-choice" of many Biden, Richardson and Dodd supporters.

Mike Huckabee wins Iowa

...according to both CNN and FoxNews.

Only 15% of precincts are reporting, but both organizations are very confident in their projection.


With 17% of precincts reporting...

Edwards 34%
Clinton 32%
Obama 31%
Richardson 2%

Still very early, we have a lot more to go.

Also, the Obama camp is predicting a turnout of 207,000 people. Most were predicting a turnout of 160,000-180,000. This is very good for Clinton and Obama, and not so good for Edwards, because most of his support is in rural counties, which are less populated than the urban areas where Clinton and Obama are popular.

So expect Edwards to drop off as the night goes on.


Interesting strategy notes from inside the caucuses

Two quick tidbits from CNN:

1. In one precinct, the Edwards camp has set up next to Joe Biden's supporters. The Edwards people are counting on Biden not reaching the 15% threshold, which would mean his supporters would need to re-vote. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's people are on the other side of the room, which is a long walk through the Edwards supporters, who will undoubtedly be trying to swing them their way. If for no other reason than Biden's people get fed up with the walk, and thus stay close and caucus with Edwards, then Edwards benefits. It seems so basic and, to a point, primitive, but a candidate can use all the help he can get, no matter how he gets it.

2. Some precinct captains for the second-tier candidates who receive 10-15% of the vote are urging the captains of the winners of the first vote of their precinct to send them voters to reach the 15% benchmark. The front runner would still win the precinct, but the second-tier candidate would be able to have their votes counted. If the winner of the precinct does not give them their extra people, then the second-tier candidate's captain will send his people to another front runner, which would almost ensure that the winner of the first vote would lose on the re-vote.


Entrance Polls

CNN is reporting that the earliest entrance polls (tallied as people walk into their precincts to caucus) have Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama neck-and-neck in the Democratic primary, with John Edwards a bit behind. No mention of Bill Richardson's status. In the Republican field, Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are leading the pack.


Richardson denies that he will direct supporters to Obama

The governor was just on CNN's "The Situation Room," and declared that "people can make up their own minds" about who to support if he doesn't reach the 15% viability mark in a precinct. He does not have any arrangements with other campaigns, and will not tell his supporters who to re-vote for. Previous reports said that he had reached a deal with Barack Obama's campaign to send supporters his way.


Sometimes, I lose faith in humanity

You can disagree with Governor Richardson on a number of issues. But his political experience is unparalleled. Hell, you can even believe that experience is a non-issue in the election. But the fact remains: Richardson has the most, and few others come close.That's why I was stunned when I saw the results of this CNN opinion poll from early December.

When asked who has the right experience to be president, respondents said:

Clinton 55%
Obama 13%
Edwards 11%
Biden 6%
Richardson 5%
Dodd 2%

I will generally refrain from cursing on this site, but are you fucking kidding me?

Let's go to the tape:

Clinton: First Lady of the United States (8 years), junior Senator from New York (6 years)
Obama: Illinois State Senator (a part-time job for 8 years), junior Senator from Illinois (3 years)
Edwards: Senator from North Carolina (6 years)
Biden: Senior Senator from Delaware (33 years, current chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee)
Dodd: Congressman from Connecticut (6 years), Senator from Connecticut (26 years)

And finally...

Richardson: State Department aide (2 years), Congressman from New Mexico (14 years), U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (1 year), U.S. Secretary of Energy (2 years), Governor of New Mexico (5 years).

Joe Biden, Chris Dodd and Bill Richardson have the more experience than any of the other candidates yet the public believes that, combined, their experience matches that of Obama, who four years ago, was a professor!

This is infuriating.


Richardson to send supporters to Obama?

The Huffington Post and New York Times are reporting that, in the event that he doesn't receive 15% of the vote in a precinct, Governor Richardson will direct his people to re-vote for Barack Obama. A candidate must reach the 15% mark in order to have their votes counted. Iowa has 1,784 precincts up for grabs. According to the Times, "In return, the Obama adviser said, Obama forces will lend support to Mr. Richardson at caucuses where Mr. Obama turns out more backers than he needs to win any additional delegates."

Both campaigns have denied the reports. The story originated from a leak in the Obama camp.

Why would Richardson choose Obama? Strategy for the long-run. While Richardson is a long-time political ally of the Clintons, and support for Hillary Clinton would go a long way toward ensuring a nomination for Vice President (he is rumored to be Clinton's top choice), Richardson and the senator have opposite views on Iraq, which is the governor's main issue. John Edwards aligns most closely with Richardson on Iraq, but it's possible that the governor does not see Edwards as a viable long-term candidate--Edwards is far behind Obama and Clinton in most other state polls. By supporting Obama, whose views on Iraq resemble Richardson's, the governor could be establishing some good will for the future, if Obama is indeed the nominee. It's unlikely that he'd be Obama's VP choice (two minorities on one ticket could not fly), but he could ensure a high level cabinet position: State, Defense, etc.

Dennis Kucinich has already directed his voters to the Obama camp. In 2004, Kucinich's support of Edwards went a long way toward ensuring the senator's second place finish. With two candidates backing--and possibly a third's, depending on which way Joe Biden swings--and a lead in the poll, Obama has a very good chance of winning Iowa and gaining serious momentum for the later states.


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Thankfully, the media has already cast your vote for you

The supporters of second-tier candidates (God, do I hate that phrase. Can we get the ball moving on a new way to say "non-front runner"? Thanks) have long claimed that they are ignored by the mainstream media, and as a result, their campaigns suffer--we did so just a few days ago. Whether we like it or not (we don't), the media plays an enormous role in getting candidates' messages, platforms and ideas out to the public. Without coverage for all, there is no level playing field--all the people hear are the names of a few front runners. And the media goes a long way toward making your decision for you, as the only names you recognize on the ballot are the ones they have circulated.

Proving this point with substantial evidence, though, would take months of research into all coverage of the election--right now, we go with what we know to be true. But the media has now gone and proved our point for us: in the debates immediately preceding the New Hampshire caucus, only candidates who are polling at 5% or higher in the Granite State, or placed fourth or higher in the Iowa caucus will be allowed to participate.

Bill Richardson will be allowed to debate: not only is he polling at above 5% in New Hampshire, but he is widely expected to place fourth (or, hopefully, higher) in Iowa. He will join Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. However, the rest of the Democratic field is left on the outside looking in. Joe Biden, despite his recent small surge in the poll, has no guarantee that he'll be invited. Neither do Chris Dodd or Dennis Kucinich. Mike Huckabee, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson have all be invited to the Republican debate, but Ron Paul (whose supporters are making a big stink out of this, and rightfully so, especially because Paul leads Thompson in many polls) and Duncan Hunter will likely be left out.

To their credit, Clinton and Obama have spoken out against this policy, saying that the people of New Hampshire/U.S.A. should be allowed to hear all views, and not just those of a select group. Edwards has decided to effectively not comment on the matter, which has drawn the ire of some.

This directive is of course troublesome. By constricting the number of people allowed to debate, ABC and Fox News (the debates' sponsors) are ostensibly censoring the lesser known candidates and, in the process, infringing upon and limiting the national debate. This is especially troublesome when these media companies, which are "unbiased," may be making these decisions for their own political reasons.

Fortunately, some are fighting back, and for once, the ferocity of Paul's supporters is an asset to all: supporters are engineering a sell-off of NewsCorp's (Fox News's parent company) stock.

Good for them--hopefully, this is resolved so that all can speak in this forum. All candidates should be allowed to participate. It shouldn't be a debate.


Fourteen Important 2008 Senate Races

Here's an interesting article by John J. Miller of the National Review Online. He breaks down 14 of the most important senate races this year, for positions that are currently held by four Democrats and 10 Republicans. The result?

Three likely Republican retentions (AK, MS, KY)
Two leaning Republican retentions (OR, ME)
Two likely Democratic retention (AR, NJ)
One leaning Democratic retention (SD)
One leaning Democratic takeover (VA)
Five tossups (NM, NH, MN, LA, CO)

Before the tossups, this would equate to the Democrats picking up one seat out of nine. In the tossup states, the Democrats have the best shots to win in Colorado, New Hampshire (very close) and New Mexico (stronger possibility of Democratic takeover than CO or NH). This would mean that the Democrats would pick up four seats, retain three and lose one (Louisiana)--all told, that's a three seat Democratic shift after only 14 of 35 races have been decided.


Mike made calls for Richardson. Will you?

Michael Lipkin here again with a piece on rallying support for Richardson via phone banking.


I hope you all had a fun New Year’s. But now we’re officially in 2008, which means it’s finally an election year. Iowans are just itching to vote with their primary only two days away. All the articles I’ve read recently stress how on edge everyone is, the flurry if emails being sent this way and that and the last minute campaign ploys.

Bill Richardson is no exception. I’ve gotten no less than three messages in the past two days about how much my money is needed more than ever. But the ever-strapped-for-cash student I am, I honestly don’t have the $50, 100 or 200 they constantly ask for. But what I do have is time.

Bored just rattling around this break, I decided to take the Richardson campaign up on an offer they proposed a week ago. I called voters. Anyone can go to the Richardson website, register and be provided with a list of 30 or so registered voters in Iowa and convenient summaries of the governor’s stances on important issues.

At first I was a little nervous. I generally dislike people calling with a pitch, regardless of the “product” as a rule of thumb, and I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. So the prospect of me calling people of the blue made me a little uneasy.

But once I sucked it up, it wasn’t that bad. Well, after the first couple rejections at least—the mid-West politeness helped. For every six people that hung up almost immediately, there were two who patiently listened and one who actually responded with questions and comments.

Some people were already pro-Richardson, in which case I suggested they might want to call some people. Others were die-hard Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama supporters, who quickly thanked me for my time and hung up. But there were one or two that were genuinely undecided. These were the guys who listened without interruption to my short spiel and asked something at the end, like why I supported Richardson in particular, or what the details of his Iraq policy are. Not to sound cliché, but for a those calls, I actually felt like I had in some small way helped the governor’s campaign. I sincerely thank all those that accepted my brief commentary on my candidate and hope they spread the word.

So I encourage anyone with a few minutes to spare to go to the campaign website and call a few people up. It could make all the difference.

Oh and by the way, the New York Times had an article today about the impact bloggers make on campaigns. Here’s to the Richardson Campus!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Richardson picks up 65 New Hampshire Endorsements

The campaign just issued a press release: 65 prominent residents of the Granite State have endorsed Governor Richardson for president. Eight state senators, five Democratic town chairs, 11 business leaders, 32 local activists and nine educators have pledged their support for the governor.


The role of Bill Richardson in Iowa

Believe it: Bill Richardson can, and probably will, decide who wins Iowa.

It is unlikely, at this stage, that Richardson will win the state--while that's obviously his goal, I think the campaign would be ecstatic with a third or second place finish. There may be just a candidate or two too many to leap to claim victory.

However, that doesn't mean he can't have a profound impact on who wins the state. Iowa has an unusual caucus system: in order to have their votes counted in one of Iowa's 1784 districts, a candidate must receive 15% or more of the vote. If a candidate does not get 15% of the vote, then his supporters are free to vote again for someone who does reach the 15% threshold.

This where the second-tier candidates can decide who wins each district--they can direct their voters to some other candidate. Voters, of course, are not obligated to follow such orders, but in the past, they have generally complied with their candidate's wishes. And, all of a sudden, a district can swing from one front runner to another.

Hypothetical example: Hillary Clinton received 31% of the vote in District A. Barack Obama got 35%. John Edwards has 18%. Obama has seemingly eeked out a close victory, but wait! Joe Biden, who received 11% of the vote, instructs his supporters to vote for Clinton. Some do, and Clinton ends up edging Obama by a few points.

Bill Richardson will receive 15% + of the vote in many districts, but certainly not all of them. As the leading second-tier candidate, he'll likely have the most voters to give in the districts where he doesn't reach the 15% margin. So, who will he direct his people to vote for?

Dennis Kucinich has already told his supporters to support Obama in the districts where Kucinich doesn't qualify. But Kucinich is a third-tier candidate, and unless the race is exceptionally tight, he doesn't figure to make much of a difference. The people who can change the tide of the election are Biden, Richardson and maybe Chris Dodd. Of that group, Richardson will have the most to give.

So what does he do? He's been a long political ally of the Clintons, despite his recent negative comments on Hillary, so does he send his people her way? It's also been rumored that Richardson is Clinton's top choice for Vice-President--would he give her his people as an act of good will to secure that nomination? Or, will he concentrate on becoming president, and thus send his voters toward Obama/Edwards in attempt to stop Clinton from winning Iowa and thus halt her momentum going into New Hampshire, Michigan and Nevada, where she is leading? By doing the latter, he can create more parity at the top of the Democratic race, which leaves the door open to more high-finishes for Richardson.

No matter what he chooses, the Markos Zuniga, the founder of the Daily Kos, feels that "Richardson will get to play kingmaker."

Iraq is Richardson's main issue, and Edwards's views on the conflict come closest to matching Richardson's--Clinton's are far off. It'll be interesting to see what happens.


EDIT: The Daily Kos (different writer this time) agrees again re: Richardson's "kingmaker" status.

The RIAA crosses the line

The Recording Industry Association of America, the lobbying arm of the music business, is filing a suit against against a man who imported a CD he bought to his computer. I could see the RIAA's argument against free music downloading, but now it's illegal for me to add my latest Red Hot Chili Peppers's album to my iTunes collection? Come on...

EDIT: Thanks to Mike for pointing this clarification out: apparently, the RIAA isn't suing this guy for downloading a CD to his computer--they're suing him for moving the audio files to a shared music folder. However, the still condemn importing music to computers, they just realize that they can't do anything about it. That's still wrong.

Compare the Candidates!

I'm asked this frequently: "Where can I find a good comparison of all the candidates on the issues?"

Good question! Here's the answer:

I generally use Vote Gopher for these purposes. You can compare candidates by issue, and they give you quotes to back it up. Issues 2000 (a.k.a. On The Issues) does the same (yes, it's updated to 2008) and is more extensive, but for the major issues, I find Vote Gopher more user-friendly.

My favorite site, though, is Open Secrets, which logs all monetary transactions made by the candidates (from the initial donation to where the money is spent). A great insight into the world of political fund raising, and where the money goes.

But if you want to compare the candidates side-by-side on one sheet of paper, I suggest getting a back issue of the New York Times from December 30. On pages 16-17 of the National Section (the A section, in this case), there is a full, broadsheet chart that includes the positions of all the major candidates from both parties (that means no Duncan Hunter, Dennis Kucinich, and certainly no Mike Gravel) on some of the main issues--Iraq, Health Care, Taxes, Detainees, Interrogation, Immigration, Energy and Climate Change. It's not perfect, but it's the easiest way to compare the candidates. And if you can't get a hold of that, the Times has a nice section with the candidates' biographies, web sites and relevant articles.


Ron Paul the racist

How this man has any supporters is beyond me. Here are two posts, from both sides of the aisle, on Paul's racism.

As the liberal site Daily Kos shows, Paul would vote against the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which fully enforced the Equal Protection Clause and in essence granted equal rights to people of all races (full voting rights came the next year, in the Voting Rights Act of 1965). Paul's justification for this stance is nothing more than perceived semantics about property rights. And, if he were Abraham Lincoln, he would not fight the Civil War. While Paul is correct in saying that the Civil War did not start as an effort to free slaves, it did become that. Paul--are you sitting down?--recognizes this, and says that slavery would have phased out over time. I'm at a loss for words. Let's move on.

Captain's Quarters, a conservative blog, furthers this argument. Paul blames blacks for crime, and Jews for being power-usurping leeches. It includes several Paul quotes from various sources. Read them all. The last quote on blacks is particularly disgusting and stereotypical--it sounds like something straight out of Jim Crow south, KKK propaganda.

On blacks

"Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty and the end of welfare and affirmative action,"Paul wrote [in 1992].

Paul continued that politically sensible blacks are outnumbered "as decent people."

Paul also wrote that although "we are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers."

"We don't think a child of 13 should be held responsible as a man of 23. That's true for most people, but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult and should be treated as such."

On Jews

Stating that lobbying groups who seek special favors and handouts are evil, Paul wrote, "By far the most powerful lobby in Washington of the bad sort is the Israeli government" and that the goal of the Zionist movement is to stifle criticism.

I'll let Captain's Quarters sum all this up: "Anyone who thinks that a man with this in his past can get elected President... is as deluded as Ron Paul. Anyone defending these statements marginalizes himself."

Yup. None of this is new, but it bears mentioning time and time again.

Oh, and Happy New Year!