Today is primary day and 3.5 million Flori

Monday, March 31, 2008


  • The fastest-growing political party around is no party at all. (Daytona Beach News Journal)
  • North Carolina Repubs want independent voters (LETTER to BlueRidgeNow)
  • Say It Ain't So, Joe (Time/Swampland) Lieberman goes Repub
  • The Bee’s Weintraub Fronts Latest G.O.P. Redistricting Plan (By Bill Cavala-California Progress Report)
  • Let the parties party (LA Times)
  • The Body Politic-From finger pointing to fist pumps, how nonverbal cues brand the candidates (AdWeek)

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Saturday, March 29, 2008


  • Colorado: Shooting from the political wings-Bill Hammons talks up his third-party candidacy for the 2nd CD (Boulder Daily Camera)
  • 2 bills seek to change how Colorado's electoral districts are drawn (THE GAZETTE) would force parties to appeal to unaffiliated voters
  • Official predicts Connecticut voter registration could reach 2 million (Newsday) 8000 new unaffiliated voters
  • North Carolina is shaping up as vital for Clinton, Obama (Times-News) During January and February, 42,791 people statewide registered to vote as Democrats, compared to 30,681 who registered as unaffiliated voters and 26,873 people who registered as Republicans.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Iraq Death Toll: It's a Partisan War. And - War is not the answer....

Fortunately or unfortunately we have a good 5 or 6 weeks until the next party primary (Pennslyvania is a closed primary state. Independent voters have to do as best as they can. For example, folks in Ambler protested the US Iraq war as noted here in the Ambler Gazette.... Rain was "pouring down" March 19, 2003, as Mike Corrie of Glenside stood on Route 611 in Jenkintown with a sign that said, "War is not the answer.") Of note: Sen. Obama leads Sen. Clinton 1,621 to 1,499 in the overall delegate tally, according to the Associated Press; 2,024 are needed to win the nomination. (Wall Street Journal)

The key factor is where independent voters stand. Pew found that almost half of them now favor keeping U.S. troops in Iraq, versus a rapid withdrawal). (US News & World Report)

And so that goes a long ways in explaining why PA Gov Casey endoresed Barack Obama today, as reported in Forbes, and forcast in the New York Times: Obama Picks Up Key Pennsylvania Endorsement from Sen. Casey Senator Bob Casey Jr., the junior senator from Pennsylvania, endorsed Barack Obama today in Pittsburgh. Casey, who defeated Republican incumbent Rick Santorum in 2006, is the son of former governor Bob Casey Sr., who served as Pennsylvania’s top executive from 1987 to 1995. Like his father, Casey is liberal on economic issues but socially conservative. His pro-life stance differs notably from Senator Obama’s pro-choice position.


  • Florida Republicans can't stand the weather in this presidential election year (Southern Political Report) The question isn't as much whether Democrats will switch to the Republican side as it is how independent voters will end up voting.
  • State GOP heals rift, gets behind McCain (The Denver Post) "That's why he's the GOP's ace in the hole when it comes to getting independents — he's more to the center," said Whit Ayres, a national Republican pollster who said his surveys show McCain leading 2 to 1 with unaffiliated voters over either Democratic candidate.
  • McCain returns to Colo. (Rocky Mountain News) McCain, flanked by a host of former Romney supporters including Sen Wayne Allard and former U.S. Congressman Bob Beauprez, said he also believes that he might fare well in a state such as Colorado because of the rise of independent voters who are dissatisfied with both parties.
  • Minor parties, nonaffiliated voters to play larger role in future elections -Nonaffiliated and minor party voters may determine who wins in Oregon (The Register-Guard)
  • Poll: Obama on top with state voters (Connecticut Post) "Barack Obama has made the argument that he is more electable than Hillary Clinton because of his appeal to independents," said Douglas Schwartz, director of the Q Poll.
  • New InsiderAdvantage Poll - Obama Leads Big In North Carolina (Compiled from InsiderAdvantage and Southern Political Report)
  • Clinton's Tactics Backfiring? (The Plank/The New Republic) But Obama is still much more competitive with independent voters when matched up against John McCain than Hillary Clinton is.
  • McCain trails Obama, Clinton in California (San Diego Union Tribune) From the Public Policy Institute poll: Who wins the popularity contest among independent voters? More independents have a favorable view of Obama (57%) than of McCain (47%) or Clinton (35%).
  • DNC: McCain Myth Buster: John McCain and the West (By Democratic National Committee, Press Release in Sun Herald) It doesn't help that McCain and the GOP have alienated Hispanic and Independent voters, two key constituencies in Western states, over key issues like the war in Iraq and immigration.
  • Obama stronger than Clinton in California, top-prize (The Swamp/Baltimore Sun)
  • Clinton sees North Carolina as 'uphill battle' (CNN Political Ticker) Independent voters can participate in the Democratic primary, but Republicans cannot.
  • PPIC Poll Shows Barack Obama Much Stronger in California Against McCain Than Clinton (California Progress Report)
  • Poll: Obama has wide lead over McCain in Conn. (NY Newsday)

  • Bills shelved after Otter rejects transportation package (Magic Valley Times-News) Meanwhile, killing transportation might not translate into adjournment. GOP Lawmakers say a number of issues could force the session into next week, including two proposed constitutional amendments; a bill to reform medical benefits for retired state workers; a plan to create a modified open primary system; and overriding Otter's veto of $16.8 million for substance abuse treatment.
  • Texas Double-voters should be asked to explain (The Facts) With a so-called open primary system, Texans don’t have to declare allegiance to a party to vote in that party’s primary.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Top 5 Hankster cities today

Top 5 Hankster cities today:

New York



Terre Haute

Cedar Crest

Conversations on Polls and Independent Voters

There a lot of talk in the media about independent voters going for McCain and/or Obama but I notice that the statements have become very generalized. From my perspective there are real independent voters out here who have real attitudes towards all the candidates AND who are also anti-party. I think some of the analysis misses this element, namely, that independents are making decisions about who they might support based on how independent of either party or the collective partisan system they think the candidate might be.

But on the other hand, be afraid if they get more specific: Today Pew Research released a poll that had asked pollees "If Obama is the Nominee, Will the Fact that He is African American: 1) Help him, 2) Hurt him, 3) no effect." The poll shows some detail in terms of partisan, race and gender breakdown.

Under the heading "Obama Viewed More Positively Among Democratic Voters" Pew says: "Fully 82% of black Democratic and Democratic-leaning independent voters say Obama has made them feel proud, but just over half of white Democrats (53%) express this view."

Huh? Is this apples and oranges, or is it butter?

Here's a list of the terms the pollee is asked to respond to, presumably the pollee is being asked how they respond to the candidate. Are they:


Could we add the word "Independent" to that list?

Or, better yet, ask the pollee "How independent do you feel the candidate is? 1) Will do whatever the Party says to do, 2) Will try to do what the American people want to do, 3) No clue


  • Independent attraction (Washington Times) A recent Pew poll finds the percentage of self-identified independents has increased five points since 2004. And given these new winds, it's interesting that both parties — perhaps not by accident are poised to nominate candidates well suited to win this pivotal segment of the electorate.
  • NBC-WSJ poll: New Clinton lows (From NBC's Chuck Todd) Obama still much more competitive with independent voters when matched up against John McCain than Hillary Clinton is.

  • Don’t Criminalize Party Switching (Wheeling News Register)
  • It's their party, they can cry if they want to-Washington state's parties are looking for the silver lining in the top two primary system, but they're not going to find it. (Crosscut Seattle)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Win or Lose: What Obama Needs to Do Right Now

Obama himself seems to recognize, at times, that what really counts is not the horse race or even who wins the presidency, but the creation of an ongoing movement that will last. Unfortunately, he does not take the next, absolutely necessary step of telling his supporters what they can do to keep the movement going right now and endow it with the energy to last beyond the November elections. So, for example, the people in New York, California, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire and all the other states that have voted are implicitly being given the message that there is nothing for them to do right now except to donate more money to the campaigns of their candidates. (From The Obama Phenomenon, by Michael Lerner, Tikkun)



Bush-haters won't stop McCain (Politico) In Ohio, 72 percent of independents who said they wouldn't vote for McCain identified as Dem leaners, 9% as independents....

OBAMA SPEECH: A Bridge Between Blacks and Whites: Obama Provides America With ‘a Teaching Moment’ About Racism (Amsterdam News)


NEW YORK: Will Paterson Effect Future of State Senate? (WXXI News Room - Public Broadcasting) 56% of independent voters, not aligned with any party, said the Republicans should stay in control of the Senate.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Talk/Talk: Obama, Clinton and the "Deep Down"

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Below are excerpts from this week's Talk Talk, Obama, Clinton and the "Deep Down". Every Sunday CUIP's president Jacqueline Salit and strategist and philosopher Fred Newman watch the political talk shows and discuss them. Here are excerpts from their dialogue on Sunday, March 23, 2008 after watching "The Chris Matthews Show" and "This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

Salit: But there are numbers of people who say, on the one hand, it was great, it was a wonderful speech, it was an historic speech, etc. and so forth, but did it put these things to rest?

Newman: If the speech did "put it to rest" then he would have been wrong in what he said in his speech. I don't think he was wrong. I think he was quite right. He was opening things up and that's why the speech is, generally speaking, well regarded. He didn't try to put it to rest. That would have been both ineloquent and stupid.

Read Talk Talk in its entirety here.


  • Are GOP voters turning out for Clinton? (Seattle Times)
  • Richardson gives support for Obama- independent voters important (Daily Vidette)
  • Reuters/Zogby Poll: Obama Barely Retains Lead Over Clinton (Israel News) segments independents
  • Democrats Making Big Inroads In Party Identification (CQ Politics)

Voters make last-minute switch (Chambersburg Public Opinion)

  • State voters back New York City traffic fee 2-1 if funds go to transit, college poll finds (Empire State News) -- BIG NEWS! Quinnipiac interviews independent voters in New York!
  • Poll Shows Voters Rate David Paterson Favorably So Far (North Country Gazette) with Siena poll that interviews New York independents!
  • Siena Poll: Confidence In Paterson, Plurality Of Support For Keeping Senate GOP (Daily News Daily Politics)


Election 08, Blogging For Voter Justice, Concede Now Hillary ( Black Political Slugfest)

Monday, March 24, 2008


INDEPENDENT VOTERS: Democrats Making Big Inroads In Party Identification (CQ Politics)

OPEN PRIMARIES: Ohio crossover voters not at fault; fix rules (Columbus Dispatch) **** Phil Keisling's 'Blanket' primary bid in Oregon (Statesman Journal)

ALASKA INDEPENDENCE PARTY: Alaskan Independence Party Will Choose a Presidential Nominee (Ballot Access News)

Weekend News Headlines for Independent Voters

  • Pew: Most Americans Identify As Independents (By Justin Gardner, Donklephant)
  • Voter registration up in Mohave County AZ (Lake Havasu News Herald)
  • More people are listening to preachers (John Laird, The Columbian)

OPEN PRIMARIES: State has second chance at open primary system (By DAN WALTERS, Sac Bee)

  • Obama invites Pennsylvanians to join the party-In an effort to dent Clinton's lead, his campaign is asking Republican and independent voters to register as Democrats. (Los Angeles Times)
  • A Democratic contest worth their effort-looking at independents (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • In Pa., Obama focuses on popular vote totals-looking for new and indie voters (Boston Globe)
  • Democrats increase their numbers as primary deadline nears (Beaver County & Allegheny Times)

DELAWARE: Party loyalty proves weak-Democratic race for governor one reason for switch (The News Journal)

SOUTH DAKOTA: Primary closed - for now (Argus Leader)

ARIZONA: Political notebook: Democrats gaining, Republicans losing voters in state (East Valley Tribune)

ZOGBY POLL: Yepsen: Democrats self-destructing as primary fight drags on (Des Moines Register)

INDEPENDENTS AND REV WRIGHT: Understanding Your World: Obama's Speech Has Power to Unite (The Santa Fe New Mexican/Reprinted in Black Enterprise)

Friday, March 21, 2008


  • Fewer Voters Identify as Republicans-Democrats Now Have the Advantage in "Swing" States (Pew Research Center) the percentage of independents has grown substantially, from 32% in 2004 to 37% today.
  • Breaking Free: The Politics of the Hip-Hop Generation (Center for American Progress)
  • New InsiderAdvantage Poll-Obama’s speech meets unsympathetic ears with Americans (Florida Insider/Southern Political Report)
  • FOX News Poll: More Than Half Believe Obama Doesn't Share Views of Pastor Wright (Fox News)




Thursday, March 20, 2008

Hankster Top 5 Cities - March 20, 2008

Top 5 towns incoming to The Hankster yesterday: New York; Cuthbert
Cleveland; Toronto; Flushing

Washington: The "Top Two" Primary is On

My friend and state party primary expert Steve Rankin points out that in the matter of the recent US Supreme Court decision to uphold a voter-approved "Top-Two" Washington state primary (Ballot Access News), that the Washington Libertarian Party (as well as the Dems, and not just the Repubs) had also brought a lawsuit against the voter initiative that created an open "top two" primary."

From Peter Callaghan's column in The News Tribune on Thursday:
Don’t blame the Washington State Grange for changing that. Don’t blame the voters, either. We have the top two primary because it was the best we could do given the court rulings that resulted from lawsuits brought by the parties. It took a ballot initiative to break the hold the two parties had over the Legislature and then-Gov. Gary Locke.
That said, the new system may actually be better for politics in Washington than the pick-a-party or the blanket primary system. That’s because party-driven redistricting has created mostly safe districts.

And from Tracy Warner of the Wenatchee World, a bit of history:
They scoffed in 2004 when the state Grange, the prairie populists, floated an initiative to create a new primary system, so similar to the beloved blanket primary that the ballots would be indistinguishable. This primary, however, would not choose a party nominee. On this ballot, party affiliation would be reduced to a generic label vaguely indicating political leanings. This would be a runoff. The two most popular candidates advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation or preference.
The initiative was wildly popular, of course, and of course the parties immediately filed suit to crush it, won an injunction to prevent it from being tried, and prevailed in early court rulings. They scoffed all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which Tuesday handed them their reward. It was a surprising 7-2 vote, not even close. The voters, not the political parties, won the day, and will have their way. The top-two primary is on....

Two cheers for the independence of Washington state voters!


INDEPENDENT VOTERS: True Enough (Slate-the book club) There's voluminous poli-sci research on the recent rise of independent voters, and the picture isn't as clear-cut as you say.

BARACK OBAMA: (National Review Online/The Campaign Spot) Will Wright Cost Obama The Independent Vote?

  • No to open primaries (LETTER to Belleville News Democrat)
  • Welcome Back, Open Primaries (Kitsap Sun)
  • Registration Shifts and Washington State Blanket Primary Decision Spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E for State GOP, Hope for the Future (California Majority Report)
  • State's Democratic tilt-Turnout in state primary indicates new reality (By Timm Herdt-Ventura County Star) Some of California's new Dems are actually independents...
  • State's 'Top Two' primary upheld by U.S. justices (Seattle Post Intelligencer)
  • Democratic Party Says Revote in Michigan Meets Rules (Bloomberg)
  • Cities preparing for Hillary Clinton visit (WTHR) Indiana holds open primaries
  • Supreme Court restores state's primary tradition (The Daily News - WA)

PENNSYLVANIA: Democratic Registration Brisk in PA (AP)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Hankster Top 5 Cities

Top Hankster cities for today: London, Albany, Westport, Augusta, Ann Arbor

Iraq: Obama's 5 year speech

Obama's Iraq strategy: rigid ideology vs. principle and pragmatism

"We are at a defining moment in our history.

We can choose the path of unending war and unilateral action, and sap our strength and standing. We can choose the path of disengagement, and cede our leadership. Or, we can meet fear and danger head-on with hope and strength; with common purpose as a united America; and with common cause with old allies and new partners....." (transcript from

America's New Song

From Barack Obama's speech March 18 from Philadelphia:

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton’s Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I’ve gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world’s poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.....

From Otto Rene Castillo's poem Apolitical Intellectuals

....."What did you do when the poor suffered,

when tenderness and life burned out of them?"....

[UPDATED: Thanks to Crispus Attucks for including this one:]
I, Too, Sing America

by Langston Hughes
I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.
They send me to eat in the kitchen
When company comes,
But I laugh,
And eat well,
And grow strong.

I'll be at the table
When company comes.
Nobody'll dare
Say to me,
"Eat in the kitchen,"

They'll see how beautiful I am
And be ashamed--
I, too, am America.

From Walt Whitman's 1855 poem I Hear America Singing:

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,

Those of mechanics--each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong,

The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam,

The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,

The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,

The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands;

The wood-cutter's song, the ploughboy's, on his way in the morning, or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;

The delicious singing of the mother--or of the young wife at work--or of the girl sewing or washing, each singing what belongs to her, and to none else;

The day what belongs to the day--at night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,

Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.

America's got a developmental song -- that's good. We're going somewhere else....

Talk/Talk: Obama, Contexts, and Bailouts

Sunday, March 16, 2008
Below are excerpts from this week's Talk Talk, Obama, Contexts, and Bailouts. Every Sunday CUIP's president Jacqueline Salit and strategist and philosopher Fred Newman watch the political talk shows and discuss them. Here are excerpts from their dialogue on Sunday, March 16, 2008 after watching "The Chris Matthews Show" and "This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

Salit: Still, the critics are asking, "Does he support these remarks or does he not support these remarks? That's what he has to account for."

Newman: And the answer is he aims to change the political and social climate in this country which produced those remarks. That's his position. And he's asking: Do you want to support that or not? A lot of the people who are creating the brouhaha, if you look carefully at who they are and what they're saying, don't want to change that climate.

Read Talk Talk in its entirety here.


  • Primary elections should allow more choices between candidates (Cincinnati Enquirer LETTER)
  • Superdelegates: Whiners or Deciders? (By Bob Beckel, RealClearPolitics) Beckel thinks independent voters who have been with Obama in the primaries will likely go to McCain, given Clinton's high negatives, should Clinton win the Dem nomination
  • Hagel says America needs new direction (Bellevue Leader NE)

CBS Poll: Pastor's Remarks Hurt Obama-While Most Are Unaffected By Controversy, A Third Of Those Who Have Heard About It View Obama Less Favorably (CBS) Independent support for Obama remains the same

The US Supreme Court ruled yesterday in favor of voters in the state of Washington. In 2004, voters created an open primary where voters can participate regardless of party registration or "allegiance" and where the top two vote-getters would participate in a run-off election to determine the winner. The Republican Party had tried to stop the ballot initiative, saying it violated their right of association.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"New Politics": Pundit Hell...

Rock Hackshaw has a post up on Room 8 which I recommend. You can see that the MSM, the networks, the national pundits, they like to throw sh*t at the fan... Chris Matthews has just concluded a really hard ball session where he's asking if Barack is sincere or if there's a political agenda here.... Whatever, Chris. Got 'nything else?...

Read Left in Alabama... Freak Politics....

I must say my take-away from today's excitment, Barack Obama delivered a major talk to the nation. The "media" of course plays this as a soundbite political play.... a "tactic" in the partisan presidential election.... Hmmmm.... Is it? Or is something going on in the country???

Barack: A More Perfect Union

Here's a link to the transcript of Barack Obama's speech today from Philadelphia.... You can also click here or at the top of The Hankster to watch the video...


  • Stevenson campaigns had parallels to Obama-Clinton race (Pantagraph)
  • Analysts: Iraq Could Be Key Factor In Presidential Race (WMUR)
  • North Carolina in spotlight of presidential politics (FayObserver)
  • Nader calls rules for ballot in Ariz. a civil-rights issue (The Arizona Republic)
  • Liberals take back their swagger (Politico) at Take Back America conference
  • Activist To Lead Anti-War Campaign (Hartford Courant)
  • A new national party (LA Times)
  • Pennsylvania primary lures new Democrats-Election official: 'Never seen an influx of party switches like this.' (Star-Gazette)

Monday, March 17, 2008

This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land...

This land was made for you and me... Here's a tribute to some old farts, and some creative youngsters....!

Tune in to some great videos here:

Woodie Guthrie
Arlo Guthrie and Pete Seeger
Bruce Springsteen
Bob Dylan
in honor of St. Patrick's Day....
a regular guy singing for us....
Austin singing for us
Australia's Sharon Jones in Brisbane -- funky -- are we home yet???
a somewhat out-there sister...
in India....
Bob Dylan and Joan Baez....
Woody singing So Long, It's been good to know you....
Have a good evenin' .... See you on the round-about.....


  • Opening Up the Primary Gates (The Century Foundation)
  • State GOP vulnerable to Obama effect (The Southtown Star) SurveyUSA: Obama stomps McCain with independent voters 60 to 29, while Clinton has a slight lead, 39-36.
  • Tripartisanship: Independent voters surge in state (The Oklahoman Editorial)
  • Editorial: Keep party primary private-Let Democrats decide who runs for White House (Editorial Board • Argus Leader)
  • The primary party switch-March 24 deadline looms for voter registration, re-registration (The Sentinel)
  • Views on Pa. primary race continue to evolve-The latest: State is important but not the clincher. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Conversations on Suffrage in 2008

In honor of "International Women's Month", when there's somewhat of a heightened interest in the history of women's suffrage, here's a link to a Timeline of Women's Suffrage in the United States. It took the "ladies" 50 years to get the vote. Notable are the losses before the win....

1776: Abigail Adams writes to her husband, John Adams, asking him to "remember the ladies" in the new code of laws. Adams replies the men will fight the "despotism of the petticoat."

1777: Women lose the right to vote in New York.
1780: Women lose the right to vote in Massachusetts.
1784: Women lose the right to vote in New Hampshire.
1787: US Constitutional Convention places voting qualifications in the hands of the states. Women in all states except New Jersey lose the right to vote.
1792: Mary Wollstonecraft publishes Vindication of the Rights of Women in England.
1807: Women lose the right to vote in New Jersey, the last state to revoke the right........

Report Of The Woman's Rights Convention Held At Senecca Falls, N.Y., July 19-20, 1848
The Declaration of Sentiments

What was the conflict between women's suffrage and African-American issues?
Sojourner Truth worked with Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906) and Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902), the most prominent leaders in the suffrage movement, but broke away from them when Stanton stated that she refused to support black suffrage unless women were guaranteed the right to vote first....
We may never truly resolve America's compromised and painful history of black slavery, or the history of betrayals between the early women suffragists and abolitionists within the context of a vicious Democratic Party divide-and-conquor political environment that still lingers today.

But we the American people have developed; we have moved on. Hats off to the women and men who fought this fight. Women now have the right to vote for a progressive, "new politics" candidate for president -- a Black man.

Unless of course we're registered independents in a closed primary state..... (What the Congress giveth, the Parties taketh away....) Today's suffrage movement is the right of independents to vote in crucial primaries that determine our choices for president. Join the movement!

For information on black independents click here or here...
And be sure to vote here for The Hankster as your favorite blogger!

Weekend News Headlines for Independent Voters

INDEPENDENT VOTERS: The specter of McCain Democrats (Pittsburgh Tribune Review)

  • State rules sideline a million voters (The Morning Call)
  • Democrats are swinging for suburban Phila. votes-Obama is seen as a lock to win the city, but not necessarily the region. The surrounding counties could lean more toward Clinton. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Voters switch for primaries (Chester Daily Local) Of them, five said they planned to vote for Obama and one said he planned to vote for Clinton. One was an Independent, three were Republicans and two were new registrants.
  • Local Obama supporters push voter registration as deadline nears (Pocono Record) “If you’re registered as an Independent voter in northeast Pa., you really don’t have a voice in elections..."

WEST VIRGINIA: Heated race has W.Va. Democrats in rare position (Bluefield Daily Telegraph) Independents can vote in either party primary for first time on May 13

NADER IN ZOGBY POLL: Zogby Poll: McCain Bests Both Obama, Clinton (

ALASKA INDEPENDENCE PARTY: Alaska Ballot Access Reform Bill Has Hearing (Ballot Access News)

FLORIDA: Independents Voting In Party Primaries? (The Ledger blog)

SOUTH DAKOTA: Daschle helping state party recruiting (Rapid City Journal)

IDAHO: Legislation would change Idaho's primary system (Times-News)

OREGON: Let's replace the primary (Albany Democrat Herald)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Other things to think about while you're waiting for Pennsylvanians to vote....

So, there are some other things happening in the world besides the endless punditry going on:

Beijing 2008 International Olympics
Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah is speaking at Seaton Hall, NJ April 24
There's a big Hullabaloo about Horton and Who?...

Other things to do:
Central Park
St. Louis Zoo

Let's do something else!

A Political Junkie's Confession: Cat/Rooster/Dog Fight Obsessions of a Lesser God

Ok, I admit it. I'm a political junkie. I'd rather talk politics than almost anything else. I confess that for the past number of weeks, I spent my days planning my evening rendevoux with CNN and MSNBC.

Sure, I'd go to work. I'd answer some emails, return a few phone calls, write a few memos... But I was always plotting: If it's 7pm, It's Anderson Cooper 350. Or do I check in with Wolf Blitzer in the Situation Corner. A bite to eat, a cup of tea, and I fall asleep after a lighter and much needed dose of Jon Stewart and the Daily Shore..... But I have to say, the current level of punditry is a bit much!

Anderson Cooper seems to be particularly upset tonight that we have black people in America, that African Americans have cultural institutions beyond his control who speak to historical issues in historical language that he hasn't heard and doesn't understand. Anderson Cooper, a white male paid presumably by CNN, takes it upon himself to interpret historical statements he knows nothing about. He doesn't seem to have any understanding of our history as a nation or our developing multi-racial culture. Likewise for Morning Joe, which I have recently been watching. Love the show, getting a little iffy on the "coverage".....

It's hurtful to America to see intelligent people sit in a tv studio, bringing on more and more pundits, who have less and less to say about what's really going on in this country.

Again, Anderson Cooper, Joe Scarborough, Jessica Yellin, Wolf Blitzer, et al, should get off their duffs and get out there and see what's happening in America! Talk to people!

The Hankster received an email from a reader who was really upset about the level of attacks in the campaign, particularly directed at Barack Obama. The lies and rumors. I advised him to go out and do some grassroots organizing.

CNN and MSNBC CHOOSE not to go out and talk to voters. They would rather talk to themselves. They insist on running "stories" among each other about such things as:

Geraldine Ferraro talking about Barack Obama being lucky to be black (or whatever she said) and Jeremiah A. Wright, pastor of Barack Obama's church in Chicago, sermonizing about racism in America...

And who cares what's what and who's who because the real issue is to set up some kind of cat/rooster/dog fight among the American people who have worked so hard to overcome these divisions....

Below is a sample of some of the inflamatory articles:
Democrats Do Not Agree With Ferraro that Race was a Factor in ...PR Newswire (press release), NY ....... Geraldine Ferraro's comment was racist? ... A Ferraro Postscript [Ramesh Ponnuru]National Review Online Blogs, NY - It is also true, for example, that Obama wouldn't be in this position if Clinton were a more inspiring figure, compelling speaker, or talented campaigner. ... I'm Not Racist. Some of my Best Friends Are Black.Yahoo! News - But when they feel challenged by blacks, as the Clinton campaign does by the Obama campaign, we're not so fresh after all. In essence, what Ferraro is ... Obama Denounces His Pastor’s Statements New York Times Obama repudiates ex-pastor's remarks Boston Globe Sen. Obama condemns his pastor's comments Detroit Free Press WSJ: Obama's church may be breaking IRS rulesChicago Tribune, United States ...... Barack Obama's home church, Trinity United Church of Christ on Chicago's South Side, activities that may violate IRS rules against churches advocating for ... Clinton As Racist Machiavellian Black Star News, NY - Former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro is the latest foot soldier to make a fool of herself in the Clinton cause, this by speculating, “If Obama was a white ... Obama blames '60s for pastor's comments Chicago Tribune, United States - Ferraro recently stepped down from Clinton's campaign after saying that Obama enjoyed an electoral advantage over Clinton in the Democratic presidential ...)

We the people, however, CAN CHOOSE to do something about the dismal state of politics in this country. If you thought politicians would help, think again. If you thought the MSM would pick up our statement, think again....

It's up to us. Do something positive!

Daschle: South Dakota's independent voters should be included in the primary Jun 3rd

South Dakota's Democratic Party is considering opening its June 3rd primary to independent voters and former Senator Tom Daschle says it sounds like a good idea. (KXMC - Sioux Falls)


INDEPENDENT VOTERS: McCaskill: ‘Big state’ argument is bogus (Columbia Tribune Politics Blog)
FLORIDA: Counting every vote (Tampa Bays 10) **** Primary Independents (WMBB TV-Gulf Coast West Florida)
VERMONT: VT House approves instant runoff voting (VPR)
ALASKA: AIP preps for national election (News Miner)
WASHINGTON: A political convention that actually decides? (The News Tribune - Tacoma)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Arizona independents score big for open primaries

Round Two of a proposal to allow independents to cast a ballot in the presidential preference elections - Arizona's equivalent to a presidential primary - went to supporters. And they scored big. The amendment that would open up presidential primaries to independents was successfully tacked onto two bills. The amendment also would give political parties the option to exclude independents from voting in their presidential primary......The Senate passed S1510, which now carries the provision on independent voters, on third reading on March 12; the Senate passed S1405 the day after....... (Double-barreled approach for independent voters, Arizona Capitol Times)


INDEPENDENT VOTERS: Measure of a Nation: We are the change (Kansas City Star) "My daddy and daddy's daddy were Democrats," Youngblood says, "but I wouldn't claim either party right now."

INDEPENDENTS AND THE IRAQ WAR: Support for war effort highest since 2006 (Politico) Half of self-identified independents polled now believe the United States should “keep troops in Iraq until the situation has stabilized,” according to polling data assembled by Pew at Politico’s request. **** Adoration, Protesters Greet McCain on N.H. Return (The Trail/Washington Post)

PENNSYLVANIA: Poll: Hillary’s negative rating rivals Santorum’s (Times Tribune) Swing voters, especially, can be crucial to winning national elections in Pennsylvania.

TENNESSEE: Switch in party leads to runoffs - If you changed for primary, can't cross back for revote (Commercial Appeal)

NORTH CAROLINA: Not Registered to Vote? Please DO IT TODAY! (News At Norman) **** Clinton accused of writing off North Carolina- At issue: Whether N.C. should be labeled a red or a swing state (Raleigh News & Observer)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

New York's dysfunctional and secretive state government

True enough, New York's dysfunctional and secretive state government desperately needs fumigation, with both political parties sharing in the blame. But Mr. Spitzer's head-butting approach to redemption -- involving the arbitrary use of power and bully-boy tactics -- was no improvement. As for reform, his first budget grew state spending at three times the rate of inflation, and is a major reason the state now faces a $4.5 billion deficit. When the governor tried to reform the state's bloated Medicaid program, the health-care workers' union ran a TV campaign against him, and he quickly caved..... ("Eliot the 'Enforcer'", Wall Street Journal)


  • INDEPENDENT VOTERS: Looming Threat for Dems: People Against the War Prefer McCain as President (Alternet) Among the crucial independent voters, McCain gets 62% confidence, while Obama gets only 54% and Clinton 51%.
  • MISSISSIPPI Obama, Clinton Battle in Mississippi (AP Google) Nearly one in five Democratic primary voters called himself an independent.
  • FLORIDA: Count 'em, Forget about a do-over primary (Tallahassee Democrat) The cry is "Every person's vote must count." Not exactly.... Independents never get to vote in a primary.
  • ARIZONA: Senate backs letting independents vote in presidential primary (Arizona Central)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mississippi moves Obama

CNN has called Mississippi for Barack Obama.

Blacks, who have supported Obama in overwhelming numbers in earlier primaries, accounted for roughly half the ballots cast in Mississippi, according to interviews with voters leaving polling places. Nearly one in five Democratic primary voters called himself an independent. About one in 10 was Republican. (Associated Press)

Mississippi has no registration by party so voters can choose which primary to vote in. Not surprisingly, the exit poll found turnout was more than twice as high in the competitive Democratic primary between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama than in the Republican primary, where John McCain has clinched the nomination. Nearly one in five Democratic primary voters called themselves independent and about one in 10 were Republican. Democrats and independents combined were about 10 percent of voters in the GOP contest. (Associated Press)

Turnout so-so as Miss. voters pull levers: A close race between Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama will draw more voters to the polls today than the last presidential primary, state officials predict.... "We shouldn't be fooling in (the Democrats') business ... because we've got enough to deal with," said Herring, adding that crossover voting also would hinder a two-party system that political leaders have tried to foster.
A federal judge ruled last year that Mississippians re-register to vote by party affiliation. Or, he said voters could register as unaffiliated with any party. His decision came after Mississippi Democrats filed a lawsuit seeking to bar Republicans from voting in Democratic primaries. The 5th U.S. Circuit of Appeals is reviewing the decision. (Clarion Ledger)

The Republican/Independent/White Vote: There's another reason to doubt that Obama could put Mississippi, which voted for Bush 60-40 over Kerry in 2004, into play this November: racial polarization. "Anything in Mississippi that would so animate black voters would probably have the effect of animating white voters in the opposite direction," Bositis told me back in November. The pre-primary polls suggest that he's right. Obama typically loses white voters to Clinton by five to 20 points; in the latest InsiderAdvantage survey, he loses by 53. Similarly, Obama's traditional edge among Republicans and Independents--often two- or three-to-one--is reduced in the poll to deficits of 68-29 percent and 53-23, respectively. And this is among likely Democratic primary voters. Needless to say, such "Deep South" margins don't bode well for Obama's chances with the general electorate, which was 47 percent Republican and 63 percent white in 2004. It'll be interesting to see if they hold up tonight--and possibly help Clinton finish stronger than expected. (Newsweek)

Mississippi votes

Black vote 91% going for Sen. Obama as of 7:50pm....

White independents 46% for Obama as of 7:50pm....

Obama leads in Mississippi. Stay tuned.

Talk/Talk: THE STARTER ISN'T ALWAYS THE CLOSER (and a few notes on ethics)

Every Sunday CUIP's president Jacqueline Salit and strategist and philosopher Fred Newman watch the political talk shows and discuss them. Here are excerpts from their dialogue on Sunday, March 9, 2008 after watching "The Chris Matthews Show" and "This Week with George Stephanopoulos." Excerpt below:

Newman: Obama's not claiming to be the unifier of the Democratic Party. He's claiming to be the unifier of the American people. They mean two different things by unify, don't they?

Salit: That's an important distinction. If you look at the coalition Obama's created, you see the difference.

Newman: Clinton's notion of what needs to be unified is the Democratic Party. [Hillary's] message to Obama is 'You can't do it. You just got here.' He's saying to her 'You can't do it. You've been here too long. You're the same old stuff. That's not going to unify the American people.' read more at


  • NORTH CAROLINA: Superdelegates and the will of voters (News & Observer)
  • MISSISSIPPI: Clinton or Obama? Mississippi's time (Clarion Ledger) *** Can Clinton Make Mississippi a Race? (Time)
  • PENNSYLVANIA: Clinton, Obama Campaigns Gear Up For Pa.(PITTSBURGH-KDKA)
  • TEXAS: Bill Clinton Went On Rush Limbaugh’s Show Day Of Texas Primary (JOE GANDELMAN, The Moderate Voice)
  • DELAWARE: Closed primary leaves some voters with no choice (Cape Gazette)
  • WYOMING: Obama wins caucus in nation's least populous state (Tufts Daily)
  • NEW YORK POLITICS: Calls For Spitzer's Resignation Begin (Elizabeth Benjamin, Daily Politics/Daily News)

Women For President: Media Bias in Eight Campaigns, By Erika Falk, University of Illinois Press (Feminist Review)

CLINTON/OBAMA: Over the Top (Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Live-blogging Declaring Independence by Doug Schoen: Proudly Defying Traditional Political Labels

I've recently been reading a book called Declaring Independence: The Beginning of the End of the Two-Pary System by Douglas E. Schoen.

I am mostly reading this book on the subway to and from work, and although I haven't "finished" it (are these things ever "finished"?), I must say it's a real delight so far. It's a little like what it might be like to read a biography of my political self.
In fact, I actually feel a little subversive every morning on the E train -- if I get a seat and can read for a few minutes -- when I submit to some unadulterated independent-talk!
If for no other reason, I recommend this book and in fact, I like this book so much I posted a video at the top of The Hankster.
The jacket cover says "America is at a political crossroads."
Not everyone sees that.
Doug Schoen does. Doug Schoen has really paid his dues as a campaign consultant for more than 30 years. But more importantly, he has recognized the importance of the independent voter. I particulary like Chapter 6, "How Campaign Organizing Has Changed".
Although Schoen didn't interview The Hankster, I think he got the picture: "A number of websites seek to lure the independent voters who are looking for alternatives to the two-pary system. These voters aren't "swing voters" who exist to be wooed and swayed by one or the other major parties. These are people who have stongly held beliefs about how partisanship and ideological labeling are corruption and constraining progress. They proudly defy traditional political labels; what they share is a genuine concern that we need major reforms of the electoral process." (page 108)
Schoen did, however, interview Jackie Salit of, who is a premier spokesperson for the now prominent independent movement. He also spoke with a number of local independent activists around the country, like Betty Ward of New Hampshire Committee for an Independent Voice, a critical voice in the New Hampshire Democratic primary. Salit and Ward are leaders in a national movement of independent voters who are asserting an independent voice into our sadly partisan and divisive political culture.
Declaring Independents: The Beginning of the End of the Two-Party System is a real good read.
Get it. Do it. It's the beginning of a beautiful end!
I'll keep you posted. And let me know what you think.

Obama: Coversations on Doing the Math and Reintroducing the Magic

I'm glad the Obama campaign is doing the math. I think that's important. It gives me confidence in the ability of ordinary people to have a say, to have an impact, to the extent that Obama is paying attention to this, which I think basically he is. Keep up the great work! The delegates are rolling in and I think that's smart and I think that's a good thing for the people of our country.


I also think there's another element to consider: The Magic.

What is The Magic?

I think the magic here consists in the qualitative development of the American people and our collective willingness (or what might turn out to be our collective UNwillingness) to make a statement of who WE are -- as distinct from who our government is and what our government is doing and who (or what) our politicians are willing to sell us out to.

Personally speaking, I'd love to see Barack talk about the qualitative development of his campaign. I see Barack on tv and I see that he has developed during this short effort to go up against the Clinton machine. I'm sure other lots of other people see that. Barack should share his journey of development in this campaign. Tell us how you're doing, Barack!

What's it like to plow a new field?

What's a New Field? Is it process? Is it issues?

It could be an important cultural element in mobilizing ordinary people for change. Americans like success.

Ain't I a woman?
And haven't you developed?

Independently yours, The Hankster


  • Clinton Stakes Claim To 'Electability' (Forbes) The party has a self-sabotaging affinity for "identity politics," which is anathema to U.S. moderate and independent voters.
  • Crist: DNC should accept Florida delegates (Tallahassee Democrat) advocates for quick "do-over" mailed balloting — or risk losing independent swing voters in November.
  • Counties see spike in party registration before primary (Standard Speaker - Hazelton PA) “It’s akin to taxation without representation,” Stephen Bouikidis, chairman of Independent Pennsylvanians
  • Independent vote might benefit Barack Obama (Rapid City Journal - ND)
  • Did Republicans give Hillary her victory in Ohio? (The Free Press) Likely shift of independents to Democratic candidate in general election
  • Obama wins in Wyoming, adds 7 delegates (Kansas City Star) Plouffe cites independents

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Live-blogging MSNBC coverage March 8

8:00pm: From what I could gather from this giggly segment, Chris Matthews (who I like and think has been more than fair so far) and MSNBC think this primary 2008 election is a fight over rhetoric and campaign slag -- same shit different day.

If the MSM can't understand the move that the American people are making, they should go back on the street and talk to regular folks. This is a moment for Americans to stand up and say what we think needs to happen. We're taking our shot.

Given the fact that 5,000 homeless youth die on the street every year in America, given that there are millions of people in the "richest country in the world" who go to work every day and don't have health insurance, given the fact that the US has been involved for 5 years in war that the American people don't support that has killed thousands of American soldiers and maimed tens of thousands more, I'd like to suggest that MSNBC appologize to the American people for being part of the problem.

Some of us are doing something about that.

And personally speaking, I somehow just don't trust Mrs. Clinton to get us out of Iraq.

6:00pm: Here's a wild discussion between Chris Matthews and some commentators over the assignment of delegates. This election makes no sense to these folks in terms of getting votes and getting delegates.... They don't understand the election. Obama should be going for votes, not trying to lead a movement... etc.

Eugene Robinson -- Change message is the issue for Obama.

Tucker Carlson -- Says Hillary's message of being tough is right on for the country...

Rachel Maddow seems to be a shill for Hillary's campaign but postures as a journalist paid for by MSNBC, but whatever.....

Matthews is talking about how other campaigns have handled this or that attack....

Wyoming goes for Obama

According to CNN (Jessica Yellin reporting from Cheyenne) -- Obama has 4,138 caucus votes representing 58% of the vote with 91% of the polls reporting. (Live-blogging CNN's coverage at 6:00pm EST)

10% of Wyoming voters are independent....



  • OH: Democrats came out in droves on Tuesday (The Chronicle-Telegram)
  • The Two-Party Mass O’ Junk: My Hope! (The Moderate Voice by T-Steel) Independent voter T-Steel wants Obama to run independent -- he's probably not the only voter who does!
  • McCain Must Attract Independents to Beat Clinton or Obama (By Liz Halloran, US News & World Report)



TEXAS: Footnotes From the Texas Primary - One gay voter's change of heart leads him to a change of party. (Advocate)

WYOMING: STAT OF THE DAY (AP) Unaffiliated voters = 10% of electorate

NORTH CAROLINA: We’re in play (Blue Ridge Now)


  • Downside of Obama Strategy - Losses in Big States Spur General-Election Fears (Washington Post) NOTE: Spur General Election fears among WHOM?
  • Playing by Clinton Rules (David Brooks, New York Times) "A candidate should never betray the core theory of his campaign, or head down a road that leads to that betrayal. Barack Obama doesn’t have an impressive record of experience or a unique policy profile. New politics is all he’s got. He loses that, and he loses everything. Every day that he looks conventional is a bad day for him."

HANKSTER two cents: David Brooks' point is well made. If you play by Clinton rules, Clinton rules. The ability to set the agenda is critical to any political campaign. If Barack Obama goes back to the issue of the war, he has a better shot at winning the Dem nomination. Forget her experience. Forget national security. Forget the economy (and apparently the establishment has forgotten about the economy in any serious way.... This is a political football now.)

This is a partisan election about the war in Iraq. The American people have turned against the war. Independent voters lead the charge in 2006. We are anti-war. This is the deciding factor of the election.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Ready for Another War between the Generations?

Let's end the generational war -- yet another relic of the traditional partisan political culture that many Americans are trying to relegate to the trash heap!______________________________________________________________

By Jean Johnson and Scott Bittle
Authors of Where Does All the Money Go? Your Guided Tour of the Federal Budget

In primary after primary this year, journalists have remarked on the tendency of older voters to support Senator Clinton while younger voters flock to Barack Obama. On the face of it, this suggests that older and younger Americans have different ways of thinking about the country’s problems. Fair enough – the two groups are at different life stages. It’s reasonable enough that they’d be focused on different issues and concerns.

Meanwhile, the DC speechifying set is pointing out how much of the federal budget is spent on programs for older Americans compared to how little goes to benefit the young. At $586 billion in 2007, Social Security now takes up the largest slice of the federal budget. We spend more on Social Security than we spend on defense – and that’s with two wars going on. And Social Security dwarfs the $24.6 billion the federal government spent on higher education.

With 78 million boomers starting to receive benefits beginning this year, there’s no question that Social Security and Medicare costs present a major financial challenge for the country. To headline writers and the chattering classes, who often confuse conflict with genuine policy debate, this new “war between the generations” colors everything from the 2008 elections to how to tame entitlement spending.

The country went through a generation war back in the sixties and seventies, and a lot of boomers are probably surprised to find themselves painted by some as a bunch of greedy has-beens soon to be a millstone around the neck of the young. But leaving aside the feelings of the boomers themselves, we can’t help thinking that revving up a new war between the generations is such a patently bad idea. If younger people and older people begin to see each other as automatic political adversaries, it could well derail a lot productive ideas for solving our problems.

For one thing, the two putative “sides” in the supposed generational war actually have a lot in common, especially when it comes to their initiation into national politics. Both entered adulthood in the wake of shocking national tragedy – for one generation, the assassination of JFK (and Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy not too long after); for another, September 11. Both have had to contend with a deeply unpopular, costly, mismanaged war (feel free to insert the adjectives you prefer). This time around at least, we’ve avoided blaming the soldiers for the errors of their elders. Some members of boomer generation were stupider and crueler back in the day. Even so, can we really say that the two generations are such political opposites?

But beyond this, setting up political discussions as a war between the generations seems a bit odd. Nearly all members of both generations have someone they dearly love in the other camp. Based on the opinion research we’ve seen, most parents recoil at the idea of saddling their children with humongous Social Security and Medicare debt. Most young people don’t want to see their parents anxiously scraping by in old age and failing health.

We suppose families view these things differently, but most probably want a choice about whether 30-something junior lives upstairs or whether to renovate the garage so grandma can move in. Having to make these choices because younger workers can’t make ends meet or because widespread elderly poverty has once again spread across the land isn’t what most of us are aiming for. A wealthy country like this one can avoid these scenarios if we just stop procrastinating and start working on this problem now. And not every solution needs to be either-or. For example, controlling rising health care costs is vital for dealing with Medicare, but it’d be good for everyone.

So let’s stop the generation war hyper-ventilating. The boomers and the “next’ generation live together in the same country, and as individuals, we mostly care a lot about each other. Realistically, both groups are going to have to do a little adjusting and rethinking to reach any kind of consensus on what to do. There are a lot of ways to talk about what our options really are, but this war between the generations thing isn’t a very good one. It’s so been there, done that.

Crisis and editors of
Copyright © 2007 Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson, Authors
Jean Johnson and Scott Bittle are authors of Where Does the Money Go? Your Guided Tour of the Federal Budget. For more information, please visit