Today is primary day and 3.5 million Flori

Friday, November 30, 2007

Conversations on the Behind-the-Scenes Presidential Campaign

While the official presidential campaigns continue to escape or bore or be shunned by most independent voters around the country, there are some interesting things happening at the grassroots and in the blogosphere.

Azi Paybarah at The Politicker (New York Observer) posted a great picture (and comments) last night after the Obama fundraiser at the Apollo of the less-than-famous Committee for a Harlem Debate between Clinton and Obama t-shirt "Who Decided Hillary is best for the Black Community?" (back) "Let the People Decide!" (front)... For video of the September Harlem African American Day Parade... And at the Trinity Church, people are trying to set up a debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama in Harlem.... Azi didn't credit The Hankster, but -- hey, that's ok! On behalf of Keith McHenry (Coalition of Outsiders), and Lonnie Shockley (Trinity Church) and the 100+ community activists who attended at the invitation of Lenora Fulani and friends, thanks! See also Does Dr. Lenora Fulani Have a Point Here? by Rock Hackshaw on Room 8 linked to The Hankster here... For links to the September Trinity Church community meeting on the subject, click here.... and for more click here on New York City 2007 Obama Blackout...

Michele Norris of NPR's All Things Considered, who will moderate Saturday's Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum, will be on Meet the Press with Tim Russert on Sunday. Watch, and check in on Talk/Talk on Tuesday -- compare your notes with Jackie Salit and Fred Newman....

Chase Martin at Iowa Independent objects to the Clinton bias coming from the organizers of the Brown and Black Presidential Forum, a 501(c)(3) organization and the oldest minority-focused presidential debate in the country, resulting in questions on ticket distribution, and says that "concerns exist because of the uncharacteristic exclusivity of the planning for this year's forum...." Organizers, who deny the bias, will endorse a candidate afterwards.... The fight is taken up here by Taylor Marsh on Huffington Post... Hmmm... I guess the Clinton/Obama debate is gaining some ground.... New York isn't the only state experiencing the Clinton Slam Dunk!

To be continued....


Court Of Appeals To Hear Independence Party Case

Key Ruling On Local Control Expected
November 30, 2007

New York, NY—The Court of Appeals has agreed to hear a case in the ongoing fight between the New York City organizations of the Independence Party and state party Chairman Frank MacKay over who will have the right to determine candidates for the party. This latest turn of events halts MacKay’s drive to wrest control of the local party from its duly-elected leadership.

The current controversy began in June when the state party adopted a rule giving itself decision-making authority over candidate selection in New York City, overriding the mechanisms of local control guaranteed by state election law. City-based county leaders immediately took the state party to court, where Supreme Court Judge Joseph Levine vacated the MacKay rules. In September, the state party appealed Judge Levine’s ruling to the Appellate Division, which issued a decision upholding the New York City IP organizations’ control of the nomination process for citywide elections, but granted the state party and state Chairman Frank MacKay control over local races.

In response, attorneys for the duly-elected New York City county organizations applied to the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, for permission to appeal. Under New York procedure, the right to an appeal is not automatic. They contended that the Appellate Division ruling could cause “fragmentation of New York City’s municipal government” and was in conflict with the home rule provisions of the New York State constitution. On Wednesday, November 28th, the Court of Appeals granted the attorneys’ request.

Harry Kresky, attorney for the plaintiffs stated, “We welcome review of these important issues by the State of New York’s highest court, and hope the rights of New York City voters to control their political destiny will be fully restored.” Michael A. Hardy, counsel to the National Action Network*, and Mark A. Picard of Heller Ehrman LLP join Kresky as co-counsels for the city organizations on the appeal.

*For identification purposes only.


Obama-Clinton Debate in Harlem?

Azi Paybarah got a great shot of the Committee for a Harlem Debate between Clinton and Obama t-shirt! Good to see some coverage in The Politicker (In Search of an Obama-Clinton Debate in Harlem) of the "behind-the-scenes" effort to create some dialogue in our city about this campaign. (The article quotes Lenora Fulani.) Let the people decide!



Everything Obama in Harlem:

  • Obama’s Color Line (By Juan Williams-NY Times)

  • Bloomberg, Obama set to chat over breakfast Following Sen. Obama's successful night of fundraising at the Apollo (WABC)

  • Obama brings his message to Harlem (Chicago Tribune)

  • Campaign splits Jacksons-Jacqueline for Hillary, Jesse for Barack (Chicago Sun Times)

  • Reverend Al Sharpton is undecided about backing Barack Obama (NY Daily News)

  • Obama Plays the Apollo (NY Post)

  • Obama Targets Harlem Audience at the Apollo (Columbia Spectator)

  • Obama Takes His Campaign to Harlem (NY Times)

  • Obama Gets His Morning Coffee With Bloomberg (The Atlantic-Marc Ambinder)

CNN/YouTube Debate:

  • CNN Debate Winner-CNN Polls Show Ron Paul Winner of Debate (Black Hills SD News)

Open primaries: The Parties vs. The People:

  • Idaho: Closed primaries thrown out-Judge dismisses lawsuit from 71 GOP members-link to ruling (Magic Valley Times-News)

  • Virginia: Pledge of Allegiance (By Tobin Harshaw-NY Times Opinionator)


Thursday, November 29, 2007


With so many voters protesting the exclusionary two-party system by becoming independents, the Parties get more desperate. Here's the latest on Virginia and Idaho open primaries:

  • Virginia GOP Gets Strict on Voting-Demand for Loyalty Pledge at Primary Targets Crossovers, Independents (Washington Post)
  • Bar at the ballot-Court closes voters out of candidate selection (Daily Press - VA)
  • Judge rejects lawsuit seeking to close Idaho primary (The Oregonian)
  • Loyalty Oaths? (Rocktown Weekly VA)
  • Loyal sheep ( - VA)
  • Federal judge chucks lawsuit seeking to close Idaho GOP primary (Montana's News Station-KPAX)
  • Editorial: The GOP accepts no presidential dissent-where's a third party when you need one? (Roanoke Times)

Race and gender in 2007:


Wednesday, November 28, 2007


  • Michigan non-affiliated voters can choose their ballots (D or R that is), parties will decide if they can vote in primary (Roseville Press Tribune)
  • N.H. Libertarian Party Wins Lawsuit Over Voter List (Ballot Access News)
  • In Florida, Dems may risk losing some of their support from independent voters because of the primary controversy. (Miami Herald Tribune)
  • Arizona's new breed of independent voters is strongly against the war in Iraq and is breaking for Democrats (arizona daily star)
  • Democrats See Health Care as Top Issues; Republicans Say National Security-Independent voters said the government corruption were their big priorities. (Associated Content) * Independent Iowa Letters in Play for Ron Paul (FreeMarketNews)
  • Michigan Primary set; key Dems off ballot-Clinton is the only top-tier candidate on the Democratic ballot. The other Democrats on the ballot are Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd and former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel. All Repubs will be on the ballot (The Detroit News)
  • Black voters focus on Clinton, Obama (Chicago Tribune)
  • On Oprah and our votes (Clarence Page - Chicago Tribune)
  • Iowa win vital for Obama, poll says, It could be proof for black voters (Detroit Free Press)
  • Clinton tops Obama among African-Americans (Politico)
  • Black voters tilt toward Clinton: study (Boston Globe)
  • Oprah and Babs are OK; Gore is the rock star (Chicago Sun Times)
  • Obama’s Night at the Apollo (New York Press)


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Conversations on Political Zeitgeists, Pendulums, Polarization and Independents

Interesting post at South by Southwest: Zeitgeist and the Pendulum... asking the question "Will the political pendulum swing with next year's elections? For those of us who occasionally border on "desperate" in our wish for significant political change, the current reality is of more than passing interest. Which way do you think the pendulum is swinging as we head into 2008?" In my personal opinion, the pendulum swings as ordinary people make some "other" decisions. As they (we) see other possibilities?

And also from last Sunday's Talk/Talk with Jackie Salit and Fred Newman:
Are The Times They Are A-Changin'?

Newman: It makes no sense to say the extremes are responsible for polarization. It's the center that's responsible for polarization. The extremes are the polarization.

The extremes are the poles.

Right, so they're not responsible for it. Actually, the extremes tend to push towards the center to make themselves more acceptable. They go towards each other. But I would say the center is most responsible for what we call polarization in the United States of America today.

How does that work?

If you look at what polarization is, it seems to me, it's not about there being two opposing positions which put you at the extremes. It's about accommodating everything so as to win by one vote. That's wherein the polarization lies. If you're doing politics that way, which is how it's been done in recent years, it becomes exceedingly polarizing. Why? Because you don't get an honest look at the different positions people are taking. It's dishonest and antithetical to what Thomas Jefferson, for example, understood as a precondition for real working democracy, which is that people honestly state and openly vote for the positions they authentically adhere to, and then you develop ways to mix those things together. But now, at the center, there's an entirely different phenomena going on, one of "win at any cost." That's the source of polarization...

You can get a ticket for Barack Obama's Harlem appearence at the Apollo Theater here:
Barack Obama at The Apollo Theater Thursday, November 29th Doors open 7:00 p.m.The Apollo Theater 253 W. 125th Street New York, New York 10027

And I hope you'll enjoy the new Hankster swicki widget "News for Independent Voters" on the sidebar: click on "independent thinkers" and you will find Rob Redding's new site -- a think tank, educational and advocacy group founded to foment sweeping nonpartisan philosophical thought: Independent Thinkers.... and click on "grassroots independent" you'll find Oklahoma Grassroots Campaign (Oklahoma Progressive Activists who "Never Underestimate the Power of the Grassroots") or speaking of OK -- Kim Wright, founder of an independent voter group in the state, can be found here by clicking on "independent voters".... VERY INTERESTING!!! Try it, you'll like it!



  • Michigan voters prefer open primaries with no party declaration, but the parties want names and addresses (Battle Creek Enquirer)

  • Without term limits in California, there'd be no competition at all -- but not without nonpartisan redistricting.... (Daniel Weintraub in Sacramento Bee)

  • Who's standing for Perot Voters? Not Lou Dobbs.... (Ben Smith, Politico, in CBS News)

  • New Hampshire Adwatch: McCain--too little too late--Courts Independents (AP Google)

  • Virginia voters will have to sign loyalty oath to vote in Repub presidential primary (WVEC Hampton Roads)

  • Oklahoma pols seem worried: For I&R issue, collect 160,000 signatures in 90 days, and make sure your petitioners reside in the state -- and there's no residency requirement for orgs that oppose the issue (National Review)

  • Bloomberg appeals, but won't run the race (Huffington Post)

  • Barack Obama: Live at the Apollo!! (Amsterdam News), Obama speaks with the Amsterdam News and November 29th Community Board meeting conflicts with Obama Apollo appearance (UPTOWNflavor)


Monday, November 26, 2007


  • Initiative and Referendum calls up Constitutional questions about 601 (Seattle Times)
  • Vilifying, worshipping candidates unhealthy for democracy (Ithaca Journal)
  • It’s time to end the war in Iraq-vote 3rd party (LETTER to La Crosse Tribune)
  • Barack Obama Plans Fund-Raising Sweep in City (NY Sun)

EXCERPT from NY Sun article: Trailing Senator Clinton in the race for campaign cash, Senator Obama is sweeping through New York City for a flurry of fundraising events on Thursday, one of which will be hosted by a Republican-turned-Democrat and another by a couple hosting their first political fund-raiser.

Mr. Obama will top off his fundraising frenzy with his first campaign visit to Harlem, where he will deliver a speech at the Apollo Theater, where the doors will open at 7:00 p.m. The Obama campaign is aiming to sell out the 1,500-seat landmark, where tickets are $50 each, and send a message that Mr. Obama is intent on running a competitive race in Mrs. Clinton's home state.


Sunday, November 25, 2007



  • The People vs. the Parties: Washington case will help weigh party power vs. public interest (by Harry Kresky - Tacoma News Tribune)

  • Arizona independents would rather skip the party primary game (East Valley Tribune)

  • Arizona black Repubs worried about term limits (East Valley Tribune)

  • Will independent voters in South Carolina lead? (Times and Democrat)

  • Independent Mary MacElveen talks about Mike Gravel's unfortunate exclusion from the Dem debates (by Mary MacElveen - OpEdNews)



  • Giuliani campaigns in New Hampshire, raps Romney (Newsday)

  • State of the States: Campaign '08 title fight heats up (By: Politico Partners)

Barack Obama is holding a fundraiser at the Apollo on Thursday, Nov. 29:


  • Volunteers scramble to get pols on primary ballot (Newsday)


  • Virginia: Independent candidate hopes to replace Davis-28 year old Lucky Narain for 1st CD in Hampton/Newport News (Daily Press)

  • Delaware: Independent Party Chairman Says No More Fusion Candidates (WBOC-TV 16 Delmarvas News Leader Fox 21)


Saturday, November 24, 2007


  • California early voting: 42% voted by mail in 2006 (San Diego Union Tribune)
  • Hillary Clinton's downfall? ( blog)
  • Will 2008’s Choice Be Between “Fear And Loathing?” (By Joe Gandelman - The Moderate Voice) Andrew Sullivan's article here in The Atlantic)
  • Paul Expects to Raise More Than $12 Million in Fourth Quarter (
  • In the Frontrunner Game, is it good to be Second? (The Caucus/New York Times)
  • Was Ross Perot Right about NAFTA? (By David Sirota - TruthDig)
  • lib*er*tar*ian (Washington Post by those guys at reason magazine)
  • Obama vs. the Icon (By David S. Broder - Washington Post)
  • Minnesota: Ritchie dispute cloaks a deeper partisan enmity-"I found him to be very supportive of nonpartisan stuff. I just feel like he's done a very good job of reaching out to all the parties," said Craig Swaggert, head of the Independence Party of Minnesota. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
  • Virginia Independent to Run for Congress (ABC 7 News - Fredericksburg Free Lance Star)
  • A nonpartisan political race for Lance Armstrong? (The Dallas Morning News)


Friday, November 23, 2007


  • New N.H. residents tend to be Dems or independents (Boston Globe)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


  • Those who don't usually vote can make a big difference in 2008 (Fond du Lac Reporter)

  • The Swing Voters Who Count First (CBS News - reprinted from CSM yesterday)

  • A third-party candidate still a wild card? (Ashville Citizen Times)

  • Independent voters give Obama hope in 2008 race (Reuters)

  • Wonder why the Dems aren't getting us out of Iraq? Six of the top 10 senators in defense campaign contributions in the 2006 election cycle were Democrats (Seattle Post Intelligencer)

  • FEC OKs Naming Candidate Names in Pre-Election Issue Ads (CQ Politics)

  • The Buzz: More Iowans also say “new direction and new ideas” are more important to them than “strength and experience.” (Kansas City Star blog)

  • Arizona: 3rd District independent Annie Loyd [Photo above] says “From the two-party system, the political spin has been independents don’t care, that they’re not active, that they’re not affiliated because they don’t want to make a commitment. That’s not what they’re saying at all. They’re saying, ‘Neither party represents fully what I believe.’” (East Valley Tribune Phoenix)

  • Florida: Former Orange County Undersheriff Malone Stewart will seek to replace independent Beary in election for sheriff - Beary left the Republican Party last fall, saying he was tired of partisan politics.(Orlando Sentinel)

  • Barnum & Bailey & CNN (Los Angeles Times)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Conversations on Conversations about Politics

Just as The Hankster readership is on vacation, so are we! Which allow the additional posts....

Today's Talk/Talk with Fred Newman and Jacqueline Salit (which comes out usually on Tuesdays and you can subscribe like I do to the email by signing up on the Analysis tab at on the upper right corner... I've also linked Talk/Talk to The Hankster blog roll) is entitled "It's Not About Me".

I love this weekly column, not only because Newman and Salit have some very cutting-edge things to say about the whole two-party system thing that rules American politics, but also I just really appreciate the free-wheeling and intimate dialogue. Here are two people who have a lot to say about politics in America. Newman, somewhat of an "elder" in progressive independent politics in the US, having spent the past 40 years trying to create some alternatives to the current political alignment, and Salit, who has built an activist base of hundreds of top-notch indepenendent activists across the country, speak their hearts and minds.

Some of their dialogue from last Sunday:
Newman: ...But the issue is not me. The issue is the American people. If [Hillary] can make that stick, she wins the argument. But can she pull that off when a lot of other people are persisting in saying 'The issue is Hillary, the issue is Hillary?' I don't know. That's the opening for her. But, it's also a trap for her if she doesn't succeed in going through that opening.

Salit: And how does Obama handle this?

Newman: He could say: The issue isn't Hillary Clinton. The issue is the failure of Washington to impact positively on the people of America. Now, that's a little hard for him to say since he's participating in the process of making Hillary Clinton the issue.

Salit: I was struck by Gwen Ifill on the "Meet the Press" panel when she summarized the Democratic race as being about "what do you think about Hillary?" When she first said that, I thought 'What happened to the issues?' But then I realized it was a fairly accurate description. I'm not looking to create an evenly balanced template here, but to what extent do you think that's operative for Rudy Giuliani? .......

Newman: But it is about issues, because [Giuliani's] personal projection translates into a position on national security. Those are the Republican issues. In fact, the Democrats, as some commentators now say, don't even talk about these issues very much anymore. Today's Daily News featured an Op Ed arguing that the Democrats have stopped talking about security and about terrorism. Meanwhile, Giuliani can only talk about that. He doesn't talk about any other issues. He says: I stop crime. I react to terrorism. That's my record. That's what I do. Those are the issues that Americans really care about. Now, that's a pretty big gamble because it's not at all clear that those are the issues that a majority of Americans care most about. The huge drop in Bush's popularity would seem to suggest otherwise.

Salit: Then, what's driving the race on the Democratic side? On "Meet the Press" E.J. Dionne talked about the trade issue. Russert played a clip of the exchange between himself and Hillary on the NAFTA question and his effort to get her to admit that NAFTA was a mistake.

Newman: Wait a second. They don't talk about the trade issue. What you're reporting on is the talk about who was right on NAFTA and who was wrong on NAFTA. That has nothing to do with the trade issue. The trade issue is a totally separate matter. The issue that they're discussing was who was right and who was wrong. .....

Salit: I see what you're saying. But, putting the campaigns aside for the moment, Dionne gave a fairly detailed description of the split within the Democratic Party on the trade question, the split between the old liberal union-based coalition which is anti-NAFTA and anti-free trade and the more middle class, white collar, Information Age base which is pro-free trade.

Newman: ....Wait a second. They don't talk about the trade issue. What you're reporting on is the talk about who was right on NAFTA and who was wrong on NAFTA. That has nothing to do with the trade issue.....

Eventually, the people will vote.... We will vote in an election where we're not happy with the choices. We'll do the best we can.....

New Hampshire Independent voters count

The Christian Science Monitor today invites us to: Meet some of New Hampshire's freethinking and increasingly dissatisfied independents [Donna Richards, Andre Gibeau, Betty Ward, Russ Ouellette], who quite possibly hold the key to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary. They dwarf the ranks of registered Democrats or Republicans in this state. What they're thinking may well signal which themes will strike a chord with the roughly 20 percent of voters nationwide who consider themselves independents....


  • Alabama poll: 34 percent of likely voters say they are Democrats, 33 percent say they are Republicans, and 31 percent identify themselves as independents. (Tuscaloosa News)
  • Romney's chances: Should he be found to have drifted too far to the right, he runs the risk of losing the GOP center and — if nominated — the growing bloc of independent voters, the majority of whom will be vital to win the 2008 general election. (Laconia Citizen)
  • Can Bloomberg Fill JFK-Sized Hole in American Politics? (By Mort Kondracke, RealClearPolitics)
  • Debates: Hofstra hosting presidential debate next fall-A third-party candidate would need to have a 15 percent support level in national polls at the time of the debate to be included, according to the commission's rules. (NY Newsday) and U.S. commission schedules 2008 presidential debates (Reuters - Washington Post)
  • Political Realignment in 2008? (Zogby)

Monday, November 19, 2007

11/19 Elizabeth Kucinich at the Mercury Café

Elizabeth Kucinich talks about democracy... and the courage to talk to each other.

The Hankster welcomes Political Realm!

Please welcome Political Realm to The Hankster blog roll -- take a few minutes to enjoy a refreshing minty blog!


  • The failure of the Clinton administration and the Democratic Congress to pass a major health care bill in the early 1990s left politicians on both sides wary of the issue. (Washington Post)
  • The New York candidates -The name of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg keeps showing up as a possible independent candidate. (Chicago Tribune)
  • How would an endorsement from Gov. Schwarzenegger affect '08 race? (Sac Bee)
  • Launches Survey to Gauge Views on Issues in ’08 Presidential Race (
  • Obama: Don't 'swift boat' me (By: Mike Allen and Ben Smith, Politico)
  • North Carolina: Instant runoff proves a good idea (Blue Ridge Times News) and Exit poll: Hendersonville voters understood ballot (Ashville Citizen Times)
  • Illinois: Green Party spreads wings (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH)
  • ELIZABETH KUCINICH: Essex girl on the road to the White House - Elizabeth Harper was an idealistic, tongue-pierced 27-year-old when she moved to the US in 2005. Now married to a top Democrat politician, she aims to become First Lady. (The Independent - UK)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Conversations on Being Angry, Ordinary and Organized

Angry Independent on Mirror On America (a 30 something man from the Midwest and one of my absolute favorite blogs on the political scene and one that I continue to feel politically challenged by...) has a wonderful post today called Whither Third Party? outlining the recent history of independent presidential candidates.

Glad to see this opening for dialogue! Angry Independent concludes the article with: "One thing is clear, however, independents are a rising force in US politics and both major parties would be wise to appeal to them or they risk becoming an afterthought."

The Hankster couldn't agree more! BUT, are the parties "wise"?

This is a moment (thanks to Amercian voters themselves) where the driving force isn't so much ideology or specific positions on particular social issues, but rather a structural issue: partisanship itself. This presents a not uninteresting problem for the parties because in order to co-opt the issue that regular people are increasingly interested in, they have to wrangle with an electorate that is turned off by their very "Modus Operandi"... People just don't like the exclusive, dismissive, mercernary conduct of political parties, including the quickly failed effort of the Reform Party coming out of the Perot movement.

A big reason the Reform Party failed is that it refused to include people of color. To put it another way, the Reform Party decided to die rather than turn black. (And BTW, is this a new issue in the continuing uncompleted American Revolution?)

Will we see the rise of a "third" party along with the rise of voters choosing the status of "independent"? Who knows?

But I don't think we can count on a hot shot. Mayor Bloomberg, with all due respect to his personal persuasions, was able to "convert" to independent within the historical context in NYC of a re-alignment of traditional Democratic party forces: a Black and independent alliance that was speaking out for nonpartisanship and progress for all people.

In the words of Mother Jones, "Don't mourn, organize!" In the words of Jackie Salit "Even a billionaire has to prove himself [sic] to independents... For the short term independents have to put pressure on would-be independent presidential candidates." [See Jackie Salit's paper on called The Bloomberg Story.]

And might I add, independents have to be organized to have a voice. And that's a philosophical point that goes beyond partisanship, parties and our way of thinking about these issues.


Friday, November 16, 2007

Conversations on America and Debates

Checking in on my blogger friends, Existentialist Cowboy has a great post called America begins slide into third world status... This caught my eye after a conversation I had last night with an international procurement professional based in Atlanta who told me that he "used to be a conservative Republican" but is so PO'd about how politics is conducted now that he's becoming independent. EC remarks that "The unkindest cut of all is the Democratic sell out to the GOP! The result is the GOP has now "auctioned off" the office of President of the United States, an eventuality embodied in Mussolini's term: corporatism...."

In yesterday's Amsterdam News, Councilmember Charles Barron, who is one of the few black elected officials in New York City to go against the tide (or would that be "tsunami"?) to endorse Sen. Barack Obama, adds his voice to the call for a Harlem Debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in his article entitled, "My brother, Barack Obama: A winning stategy for NYC". [You'll have to pick up a print copy, it doesn't seem to be published online...] Here is what the Councilman had to say, "...Challenge Hillary Clinton to a debate at the Apollo Theater. I agree with Dr. Fulani, whose idea it was to have this debate. This will force Hillary Clinton to show up for a serious discourse of our issues as opposed to a coronation of her at Black churches...." [See Hankstertube for video of the Committee for a Harlem Debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama at the African American Day Parade in September, and the series of videos on the Trinity Church community meeting to discuss same...]


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Conversations on the Debates

Yeah, I know the presidential candidates are playing game theory with the future of our country and the world.... Yeah, the debates are totally controlled by the media... Yeah, Obama isn't going for the jugular... Yeah, Hillary's a bitch... [Personally I thought the moderators tonight helped set up Hillary for some "good ones", but hey, that's part the game... ]

However, one thing I continued to be astonished by in the current primary season is that Dennis Kucinich is holding on to his debate nitch. Hmmmm..... John Edwards talking about neocons? Obama using the "I" (independent) word AGAIN? Vigor and vim from Joe Biden and Bill Richardson... Could the democratic process still be alive in America?

Gail Collins of the New York Times (who seems to be a Hillary card) wins the headline contest for tonight's Dem debate in Las Vegas: What Happens in Vegas ... starts her piece with "I’m sure you are excited about the big presidential candidate debate tonight." [Sorry, no, that's not clever ironic punitry...!] She goes on: "Nothing in the previous 25 dramatic clashes of the political titans this season can come close to it. Although we did like that moment when Dennis Kucinich revealed that he had spied a U.F.O. at Shirley MacLaine’s house.... Everybody is talking about how, as Bill Clinton himself said last week: “Those boys have been getting tough on her lately.” Two thoughts on that matter. 1) Who do you expect them to pile on? Mike Gravel? [Remember the days when Gail and other journalists were actually defending progressive folks???]

And speaking of the absence of Mike Gravel from tonight's debate, I hear that CNN created a criteria for their "innocent" homespun chat with "the Democratic candidates" designed to exclude Mike Gravel by requiring any participant to have raised $1 million for their campaign [nevermind Greg Chase's challenge grant last month.... guess that's not real money?] I sympathize with Marvin Kitman's outrage on his Huffington Post post: "The same sword of Demosthenes is hanging over Kucinich as the field tightens and the bosses in the smoke-filled rooms begin dumping the also-rans after Iowa...." Mr. Kitman offers some alternative debate structures and seems to have a particular problem with Wolf Blitzer and maybe other media stars, but the structural problem, it seems to me, lies with the exclusive nature of the party system that relies on a good-ol-boys (and gals) club. BTW, the League of Women Voters gave over their authority to run real nonpartisan debates back in 1988.

Do the parties and the media think this kind of elitism and exclusiveness is lost on the American people? Or worse, do they really not care about democracy? Well, maybe. But if Marvin Kitman is the only voice of outrage, we're in trouble!

"I have unresolved faith in the American people," Gravel said in the Nashua Telegraph this week. From Albert McKeon's article here: "Gravel earned recognition in 1971 for single-handedly blocking legislation that would have renewed the military draft during the Vietnam War until the Senate and President Nixon turned his way. He also played a large role in securing the release of the Pentagon Papers – a collection of secret government documents about the war – by reading them into the Congressional record...."

And David Shribman wrote in the Toledo Blade: "Mr. Gravel may be a peripheral presidential candidate but his role in American history can more nearly be described as heroic than peripheral...."

The American people, not just Mike Gravel, are peripheral to the process, and that's the real issue here in America in 2007. We need a national re-org. Heroic? Maybe, maybe not. When our forefathers (and mothers, and sisters and brothers) answered the call in the 1770s, they didn't know if they would be heros or hanged. We're a proud people. Who's speaking for us now?

People will vote soon. Given the choices....


  • Invitation Only-Waiting for the verdict on primaries in Idaho (Boise Weekly)
  • If you're not a Dem or Repub in Iowa, you're "no party" -- until now....Iowans can soon register as Greens or Libertarians (Des Moines Register)

  • Change of direction seen in 2008 vote-pollster predicts 3rd party run winning 10% (NewsOK The Oklahoman)
  • Bloomberg: Man of the people-Yes, he’s a long shot, but no other independent “candidate” has Lou Dobbs’s potential, platform, or populist appeal... If Virginia was once the mother of presidents, CNN is now the mother of populist presidential candidacies. (The Phoenix)

  • Neuropundits Gone Wild! Befuddling brain science on the opinion pages of the New York Times -- getting inside the heads of "swing voters" -- literally (Slate)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Conversations on Talking and Debates

Stop Talking, the title of this week's Talk/Talk with Jackie Salit and Fred Newman, about the end of the pre-primary season....

Renewing Political Debate has some interesting viewpoints: “You’re weird!” said Rick Tyler (currently the press spokesman for former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich) to 30 Washington DC American University students who claimed they watched Sunday morning talk shows, rather than sleep, watch football, or play golf like “normal people.”

Nancy (Pelosi), Harry (Reid) and John (Conyers) Are You Awake Out There... posted on Idealthoughts--Ideas, opinions,views, humor,and analysis. There are no sacred cows except the Constitution. (worth a visit if only for the absolutely gorgeous picture) by Constitutionalist has a debate question: ..."when you took your respective oaths of office, where did it say in your oath your allegiance to the Democratic Party or your vision of that party, superseded your allegiance to the Constitution?" Idealthoughts has endorsed John Edwards.

I recommend a visit to Rock the Debates, which shows progress in their "pop quiz" to the presidential candidates: Would you be willing to debate independent candidates in the general election? Positive answers from Ron Paul, Tommy Thompson, Steve Adams, Mike Huckabee and Bill Richardson. "No" from Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama, and Sam Brownback. And (of course) a generous "Ambigous" from Hillary Clinton. Please see the video responses at Rock the Debates!

In Beyond The Curtains (advertised as: Here at Beyond The Curtains we take reporting entertainment news to a new level. We are the first site that brings views unique to both sexes. Basically we bring the talk men love to hear and the exclusive news ladies love to read.... I'm already intrigued! -- I give them a "A" for originality and irony!), Why Are They So Afraid of Ron Paul? Quincy Morgan has some choice words: "As I predicted last month, the only consistently antiwar candidate on the Republican side of the aisle is breaking through – but in a spectacular manner that I certainly did not foresee. Suddenly, Paul is everywhere, from the Sunday morning talk shows to the length and breadth of the blogosphere.... All this buzz, however, has generated a counter-buzz, a sinister stream of smears and jeers coming from both Right and Left. What's instructive is how similar these attacks are in their viciousness, and, in the case of the "serious" mainstream critics, their juvenility...." Oh, but there's more! See this article for a very thoughtful and thorough history of libertarianism including the unfortunate left attack.... The official left (which is really irrelevant at this point but still has an impact in the way a revered dead aunt does on the children...) has come of age in its role as as attack dogs facing anything remotely left of the Dem Party. Their MO is to cry "facist" while the country dies...


  • Editorial: Dems have momentum now, but Ohio's presidential outlook is far from decided-independents key (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • N.H. poll: GOP primary stirring independents (Boston Globe)
  • Our Precious Liberties, Endangered - Dems should not count on independents (New York Times LETTER)
  • Presidential candidate Ron Paul hauls in more than $3.5 million from the web (Midland Reporter-Telegram)
  • Michelle Obama issues call to black America (New York Daily News)
  • Battle for black voters - Michelle Obama says they will 'wake up and get it' (Chicago Sun Times)
  • Kentucky: Doctor from Prospect to seek McConnell's seat in U.S. Senate - Michael Cassaro to run as independent (The Courier-Journal)
  • Ohio: In Lorain, six-term Councilman David Wargo, D-1st Ward, lost to independent candidate Melanie Szabo by a vote of 670 to 581. (The Chronicle-Telegram)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


  • Independent voters gain in Surry County North Carolina (Mt Airy News)
  • Primary Mayhem-The New Republic: Attempts To Reform Presidential Nominating Process Are Ultimately Doomed (The New Republic)
  • Hillary Clinton's commanding lead starts to slip (AP-Google)
  • Bloomberg: a Reasonable Alternative? (US News & World Report)
  • Indiana: Ballard's surprise win leaves Indianapolis city hall bracing for shake-up (Reporter Times) and Pollster nearly nails it-independent voters may have been the edge for Ballard (Indianapolis Star)
  • New Jersey: Carmine Inteso, Jr., former Republican councilman, split from the GOP in June to declare himself an Independent candidate for mayor (Toms River Times)

Monday, November 12, 2007


  • Ohio's Lake County independent-minded voters have history of picking the president (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
  • William Weld pitches for Unity 08 (NY Sun)
  • Pat Robertson's endorsement of Rudy Giuliani heads off Christian Right independent run for president (Lawrence Kudlow-Washington Times)
  • Ron Paul supporters independent of the campaign raised $4 million online and $200,000 over the phone in one day (Star Telegram)
  • New York: The view from the pundit's desk "Obama dangerous because he threatens Clinton's grip on the black vote" (Buffalo News editorial) The view from the ground "The growth of the Independence Pary and its role in cultivating political mobility among black and other traditional Democratic constituencies is key." (Jacqueline Salit's The Black and Independent Alliance, 2006)
  • Ron Walters: The challenge facing black candidates like Sen. Obama who have national ambitions "isn't whether they're black enough. It's whether they're white enough." (Jonathan Kaplan-Wall Street Journal)
  • Obama goes for the capillaries-Barack Obama delivers a rousing speech in Iowa on Saturday night, all but calling out Hillary Clinton, and then gets weak-kneed on Sunday morning. (By Walter Shapiro-Salon)
  • Obama Shines in Iowa (The New Republic blog)

Conversations on Independence

Check out Transpartisan Times, now on The Hankster sidebar!

Tom Hayden has a message for Barack Obama: "What I cannot understand is your apparent attempt to sever, or at least distance yourself, from the Sixties generation, though we remain your single greatest supporting constituency. ..."

How to defeat the two political parties by ReasonableCitizen....

Time for a third political party on

Sunday, November 11, 2007


  • Frustrated Ohioans haven't given up on GOP, but 33% are independents (The Plain Dealer)
  • Unity08 Joins COFOE Board for fair ballot access (Ballot Access News)
  • Edwards, Obama in Iowa (Sioux City Journal)
  • Instant Runoff Voting a Winner on Election Day 2007 (California Progress Report)
  • OH: Youngstown's Jay Williams first black to be elected mayor of Youngstown, also first independent candidate to win in more than 80 years (Youngstown Vindicator)
  • NH: When, oh, when will we vote? So far, more confusion - Also a muddle: SEA's primary endorsement (Concord Monitor)
  • Goodbye Cruel World-On the way out of the polling place I will change my registration to Undeclared. (BlueHampshire)
  • COVERING THE HORSE RACE (By Deborah Howell-Washington Post)
  • Lou Dobbs: The November surprise - Arrogance of our political leaders threatens the future of our nation, Americans should not be taken for fools by Republicans and Democrats (CNN)

Conversations on an Independent Presidential Candidate in 2008

  • Sure, Lou Dobbs has a book to sell (Independents Day: Awakening the American Spirit), but he does have a message in his CNN column this week that will resonate with the American people. "More Americans than ever before are now identifying themselves as independents, and I hope millions of Americans in the day and weeks ahead will drop their party affiliation and become independents, refusing to be taken for granted by these two political parties and refusing to be taken for fools by the candidates they're putting forward."

  • I just heard Eleanor Clift of Newsweek on the McLaughlin Group's Sunday talk show predict that there will be a "serious independent run" for the White House in 2008, most likely headed by Ron Paul. Apparently this was a follow-up to an Oct. 29th broadcast prediction....

  • Newsweek did a poll last week showing that if independent New York mayor Michael Bloomberg were to run as an independent for president in 2008, in a three-way race against Clinton and Giuliani, Clinton leads with 44 percent to Giuliani's 38 percent and Bloomberg's 11 percent. Which might be why Mayor Bloomberg isn't running..... [For a review of Bloomberg's road to independence, see Jacqueline Salit's Unpopular Partnerships in the Neo Independent and the Hankster post The Bloomberg Model: independent voters make the difference, from December 2006, just after Bloomberg won re-election with a new alliance between independents and black voters in NYC]

People power, not Party power

Godless Liberal Homo (now linked on The Hankster sidebar) has an interesting post about The Growing Chasm Between Liberal Democrats and Party Power Brokers. I agree that the Democratic Party should be worried. There are many grassroots Dems throughout the country who remain registered in the party so they can vote in the primary (in states where independents are excluded from voting in the primaries) but who are far from being party loyalists. And let's not forget that some 80% of the Dem convention delegates voted against the war. We are looking at a much stronger split between the entrenched clubhouse structured leadership of the party and the base. I see a growing important relationship between independents and progressives who see the Dems failing them. That's a good start towards People Power instead of Party Power.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Is Hillary Clinton a slam dunk in New York City?

More video from the Trinity Church meeting of the Committee for a Harlem Debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Charles Billups of the Grand Council of Guardians and a founding member of the Coalition of Outsiders introduces Brooklyn Council member Darlene Mealy....

Friday, November 09, 2007


  • Protest 2-party dominance (Robert B. Winn, Maricopa, Ariz., LETTER to Concord Monitor)
  • Politics of doubt gnaw at black voters in S.C.- Many feel whites won't back Obama (Boston Globe)
  • Speculation bubbles over Bloomberg White House bid (ABC News)
  • Nader appeals '04 Pa. judgment (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW)
  • Nader accuses law firm of hiding ties to Supreme Court justices (KDKA Pennsylvania Wire)
  • Voters approve instant runoff voting (Aspen Times)
  • Pierce County, Washington Voters Reject Anti-IRV Ballot Measures (Ballot Access News)
  • Oklahoma Ballot Access Initiative Is in Jeopardy (Ballot Access News)

Thursday, November 08, 2007


  • Lou Dobbs: Independent Presidential Candidate Will Win in Nov. (Newsmax)
  • New Jersey: GOP incumbents win--independent Joseph DePasquale gets 12% (Asbury Park Press)
  • Connecticut: Additional candidate confuses voters-trouble with cross-endorsed WFP candidate (New Britain Herald)
  • Ohio: Elyria mayoral independent Timothy Quinn runs strong challenge (Morning Journal)
  • Mississippi: Constitution Party Sets Record-highest independent vote count in 100 years (Ballot Access News)
  • Virginia: Floyd Independent candidate Jerry Boothe gets 22 percent of the county vote and over 30 percent in his home district. (Floyd Press Southwest Virginia Today)
  • New Hampshire: Surprise school board winner-23 year old independent Obama supporter Jennifer Peabody (New Hampshire Union Leader)

Conversations on Being Ordinary

An Ordinary Person has a new look! Look in on his thoughtful post The Working Class Vote, about what's the matter with what's the matter with What's the Matter with Kansas (which he correctly says is 'a potent critique of the ideological and policy thrust of the Democratic Party in the 1990s under Bill Clinton.') : "...the best advocates working class people are going to have are themselves exercising their political rights and empowering themselves by advocating for their own interests...."

Fred Newman in conversation with Jackie Salit for Talk/Talk had this to say last Sunday in 1968 Redux: "You always have to engage the relationships that make up the political totality. Liberalism's compromises of its own ideas opens the door to the American people saying Well, if we're going to have Big Business government, why not have Big Business people do it? Why have these people who are Johnny-come-lately's to the whole thing, why keep them in charge? I think Bush succeeds Clinton not only literally but, in some sense, conceptually...."

Steve Rankin at Free Citizen offers some comments on the litigation involving party rights vs. voter rights in A Dispatch From Puget Sound: "...In the last 35 years or so, the federal courts have been moving toward greater autonomy for political parties, so the party rules have almost always prevailed...."

Think On These Things has a pointed rebuke of a New York Times defense of their irresponsible horse-race mentality....

We Could Be Famous is angry. In The Rockets' Red Glare and Bursting Bombs, a basketball game turns into a demonstration....

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


  • Partisan politics take a back seat to a move for change (Star-Telegram)
  • Ventura County's increase in independent voters in sync with the nation (Ventura County Star)
  • Kucinich not stopping with Cheney, plans Bush impeachment resolution too (Raw Story)
  • New Hampshire Independents Moving to Democrats (AP-Google)
  • FL: Joe Rosier's independent candidacy (Orlando Sentinel)
  • OH: Voters headed to polls-50% independent in Sandusky Co. (Central Ohio)
  • IL: End of an era-Rostenkowski organization's ties to 32nd Ward severed after ex-alderman Terry Gabinski declines to run-moving the primary to secure party candidates.... (Chicago Sun Times)
  • OH: In somewhat of a surprise, independent Timothy D. Sicafuse wins Poland mayoral race(VINDICATOR)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

A message from Frank McEnulty, independent candidate for president

The Hankster received this email and thought it was worth passing along to you:

My name is Frank McEnulty and I am running as an independent candidate for President of the United States in 2008. Crazy right? Well maybe, but I am just way too fed up with how the two major parties are running (or should I say ruining) politics in this country and I feel the need to try and do something about it.

Please visit my website at

I’ve noticed over the past several years that most of the political ads are pushing a party, rather than ideas or an individual. “Vote for me, I’m a Republican” or “Vote for me, I’m a Democrat” is all one seems to hear any more. What do these people stand for? Nothing until the party tells them to or else they get cut off from the fountain of money.

Do these candidates have independent thoughts? Maybe, but they never voice them in public because it might not be in line with party doctrine.

Do they ever vote for a bill, law or policy because it is the right thing to do for the country? Only if the party tells them it is okay to do so.

Usually, if a Republican introduces a piece of legislation it must be wrong per the Democrats because the Democrats didn’t come up with it.

Usually, if a Democrat introduces a piece of legislation it must be wrong per the Republicans because the Republicans didn’t come up with it.

What’s wrong with just working together to do what is right for the country regardless of what party you are affiliated with?

If you’re as disillusioned with how the political process seems to be working as I am let’s get together and make them see how upset we are. None of us can do it by ourselves, but if enough of us band together we can and will make them sit up and take notice.

Please visit my website to see where I stand on a lot of today’s important issues and pass this email along to all your family members and friends, co-workers and everyone else you know.

Together we will make a difference because:



Frank McEnulty
Presidential Candidate


  • NY1 Poll Shows Clinton "Has No Challenge At This Point" For The Empire State. Rock Hackshaw writes in Room 8: "This time around Fulani’s beef seems to be flavored with a little race-consciousness. She believes that Hilary Clinton is currently being rammed down the throats of blacks and people of color in New York again (my words here), just as it was done in 2000 when they imported her to be the senator."
  • Obama thrills crowd - 'LET'S GO CHANGE THE WORLD'- Speech at historic S. Carolina courthouse recalls 2004 Democratic Convention address (Chicago Sun Times)
  • South Carolina primary tests parties' core backers-Black Democrats enthusiastic; white evangelicals tepid over the GOP field (Houston Chronicle)
  • Ralph Nader sues Democratic Party (KLAS-TV Las Vegas)
  • Bloomberg The Revolutionary: He has the money and the message to upend 2008. Michael Bloomberg's American odyssey. (By Jon Meacham NEWSWEEK)
  • All Eyes Look to Michigan: A Report From the Presidential Hustings-open primary (Human Events)
  • Clackamas County is big enough to expand size of commission- vote yes on 3-272 for expanded commission and nonpartisan election (The Lake Oswego Review)
  • Judge won't close election-law loophole on write-ins that close party primaries (St. Petersburg Times)

Monday, November 05, 2007


I was out of town this past weekend, visiting my daughter Lucy in Pittsburgh (if you dare, you can see a video of our trip to the Andy Warhol Museum there....)

Rich Winger, Ballot Access News, notes that On November 1, the Federal Election Commission certified John Edwards’ eligibility for primary season matching funds. The FEC had already certified John McCain and Tom Tancredo. In recent past presidential election years, various minor party candidates were among to first to qualify for primary season matching funds. For example, in the presidential election of 1992, Lenora Fulani was the first person certified for primary season matching funds. Minor party members who received primary season matching funds in the past, in addition to Fulani, have been Sonia Johnson, John Hagelin, Ralph Nader, and Pat Buchanan. This year, no minor party member likely to have the capacity and the willingness to qualify for primary season matching funds has even announced for president.

Rock Hackshaw thinks Dr. Lenora Fulani may have a point here regarding the shutdown by the Dems of debate between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in New York City.... (Room 8 )

While independents in New Hampshire are noted here in "Kucinich At 7% In New Hampshire!!!" Quotes Jacqueline Salit, CUIP(by parmenides08 - MyDD) * ABOVE ARTICLE ALSO LINKED HERE-Kucinich at 7% in New Hampshire - Daily Kos (ProgressNowAction)

Other articles of interest here:
  • Clinton doesn't appeal to independent voters (Des Moines Register Story Chat)
  • Hate-free election is unfolding-Voters become more powerful (By John Laird, Columbian)
  • Wooing the ‘indies’ (Town Hall)
  • Bloomberg Presidential Speculation Gets a Boost (NY Sun)
  • Voters irked by candidate's 2 a.m. call (Albany Times Union)

Also, I hear there was an interview on NY1 of New York City Independence Party leader Dr. Fred Newman and postmodern psychologist Ken Gergen from Swarthmore by Dominic Carter and Rita Nissan, which NY1 (owned and operated by Time Warner -- it's a local news channel on cable in New York City) seems to have exercised their better judgement by not posting.... Apparently Dominic screamed in a froth "Answer the question! Answer the question! Yes or no!" when Newman said that therapy patients should be allowed their constitutional right to participate in policial campaigns. Dominic wanted to know who Dr. Newman sleeps with... Here for a rendition of Sex and Politics...

Well, we could guess who Dominic is sleeping with -- the Dems..... Yuck.....

135 Years Ago Today

November 5, 1872, Suffragist Susan B. Anthony is fined $100 for attempting to vote in a U.S. presidential election.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


  • Donna Richards, Nashua, says "Independents are NOT 'trending'!" ( Letter to editor Concord Monitor)
  • Indies don't like DNC moves in FL (Lawrence Journal World)
  • Mass alienation with politics as usual -- a morphed incarnation of Perotism -- is returning in force. (RealClearPolitics)
  • John Georges "made signigicant inroads as an independent" in Louisiana gov race (The Advocate)
  • Independent candidate not even interviewed by Teachers (Stamford Times)
  • Candidate Paul May Be Nader With a Twist (NY Sun)
  • Kucinich’s Challenge-after the rank-and-file cheering died down at Chicago's Soldiers Field, the union leadership went back to politics as usual.... (By John Nichols November 2007 Issue Progressive Magazine)