Today is primary day and 3.5 million Flori

Sunday, November 30, 2008

E = mc


  • Liberals to keep pressure on Obama for results (Associated Press) Obama adviser David Axelrod said the new president will not renege on winding down the conflict in Iraq. Obama says the challenges are simply too huge for the politics of labels; Democrats and Republicans must work together. Pragmatism rules. "I think what the American people want more than anything is just common sense, smart government," he said. "They don't want ideology."
  • Battle Royale: Center-Right Versus Center-Left In the Democratic Party (Thomas B. Edsall, Huffington Post) The center-right vs. center-left conflict is now a dispute over the range of politically tenable policy options open to Democrats -- whether party leaders are significantly constrained by a pull to the right, or whether Obama and Congressional Democrats are free to enact aggressively progressive programs and legislation.

In open contests, voters beat politicians (by Paul Jacob, Town Hall) Term limits serve to shorten the time elected citizens must endure near the sulphurous pits of power, allowing a citizen to stay “citizen legislator” and not morph into a professional politician.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Obama's Mirror is enthusastic!

Please have a look at Mirror on America's wonderful video of P-E Barack Obama at a southside Chicago school, with Obama's "pre-Thanksgiving" "message".... Whatever holiday and whatever message, it's very hopeful!

Cudos to rikyrah at Mirror on America for capturing this beautiful moment!. Great work! - NH


  • Swing voters give Obama flexibility to solve US economic crisis (Christian Science Monitor) The focus group results also give some insight into Obama’s wins in other red states such as Indiana, Colorado, Nevada, and North Carolina. Keeping the support of those swing voters will be crucial if Obama wants to govern effectively.
  • Malcolm X, Obama, Powell, Rice and ‘House Negroes’ (Tri-State Defender) Malcolm X: “The organization of Afro-American Unity will organize the Afro-American community block by block to make the community aware of its power and potential; we will start immediately a voter-registration drive to make every unregistered voter in the Afro-American community an independent voter; we propose to support and/or organize political clubs, to run independent candidates for office, and to support any Afro-American already in office who answers to and is responsible to the Afro-American community…"
  • State's independents gain a foothold (The Durham News) unaffiliated voters surpassed both parties in their rate of growth, increasing by about 220,000 -- or 18 percent. These gains were made primarily among voters ages 18-24, meaning an increasing number of voters -- especially young voters -- refuse to identify with any party at all.
  • Time to target gerrymandering (LETTER Lebanon Daily News) Redistricting reform is not a partisan matter. Redistricting reform in Pennsylvania should be attractive to voters in both political parties as well as independent voters.
  • Old Issue, New Twist (NY Daily News/Daily Politics) The New York County Lawyers' Association's Election Law Committee will hold a public forum next week on the question of open primaries, and the line-up - from Independence Party attorney Harry Kresky to Post City Hall Bureau Chief David Seifman (acting as the moderator - is sure to make for a lively discussion.
  • Chris Matthews Senate Run? Report Says He's Staffing Up... UPDATE: Matthews Denies (The Huffington Post) yes he is, no he's not, yes he is, no he's not....
  • Baseball's postseason needs to capture the 'independents' (USA TODAY) If we compare postseason television broadcasting to the recent election, television has the votes of fans whose teams are playing locked up, but it needs to capture the independent voters.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving! -- Give More!

Happy Thanksgiving, Hanksteristas!

We have a lot to give thanks to -- and even more to give to! Congrats on a spectacular independent year!

On this American tradition, be an independent leader. Organize the unorganized. And, as we used to say in the old days, fight the powers that be!

Cheers! -NH

Talk Talk: Team of Obamaists

Newman: I don't think Obama's going to fall into that trap. He's looking to do things that the American people think are working. He's considering some different kinds of things, and that's fine, because he just got elected president.

Salit: As you said, George Bush and the neo-cons were highly ideological. They developed policy approaches that reflected an ideology, not a pragmatic framework for dealing with the situation in the Middle East, responding to terrorism, etc. So, the American people say Well, we reject ideology in favor of pragmatism. We think Obama can deliver that. And, we'd like to see pragmatism delivered by somebody with a progressive world view.

Newman: Well, I don't know if I agree with that formulation. I don't know that the American people are making that kind of inference.

Salit: OK.

Newman: I think they're saying something closer to wanting the American Idea to be more palatable. They'd rather we're not just the place where all the troops come from. We'd be better off having other ways to assert our leadership internationally.....


Sunday, November 23, 2008

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, November 23, 2008 after watching "The Chris Matthews Show" and "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."


Obama calls on his Internet campaign army to march again (Bradenton Herald) His four-page questionnaire also asks respondents to name their top-priority issues out of 27 listed. The options included environment and global warming, civil rights and voting rights, war in Iraq, jobs and trade, or divisive politics and partisanship.

  • "Obama's building a political machine," said Stephen Hess, a presidential scholar at the Brookings Institution, a center-left Washington research group. "These people have just opened up a new world for politics," added Hess, the author of "What Do We Do Now?: A Workbook for the President-Elect." Pre-Internet presidents, he said, lacked the ability to communicate in real time with masses of their volunteers. In addition, the social networks such as MySpace and Facebook that link Obama's army together didn't exist.
Gee, you gotta wonder how the pre-internet American revolutionaries of 1776 ever beat the British, or how pre-MySpace Abraham Lincoln was able to unite a divided country attempting to deal with its first critical constitutional--and moral--crisis! Thomas Paine would be rolling in his grave if he had one..... -NH

Kristol: Admit we don't know what will fix fiscal dilemma (William Kristol, The Saratogian) I've worked in government. It's hard to do much thinking there at all, let alone thinking anew. But Obama and his team will have to think anew, and those on the outside who wish to help will have to think anew too, if we're to have a chance of rising to this daunting occasion.

Nick Coleman: Elections with less acrimony? That's the true beauty of IRV (Minneapolis Star Tribune) NOTE: We might wish that Mr. Coleman was talking about the value of Instant Runoff Voting being one of more democracy. It's PARTISANSHIP we could do with less of. -NH

Judging Obama By The Company He Keeps (National Journal/Blogometer) HINT: It's the left bloggers who are upset by Obama's inclusion of Clinton administation advisors, and it's the right-roots who are worried about a new center-left country...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the youth vote



  • Election flaws (LETTER Stamford Advocate) If the legislature is serious about inviting competition, then it may want to start by creating an open primary system, which treats incumbents and competitors as equals.
  • Election 2008: Why North Carolina will continue to be a battleground (Southern Studies)


  • Republicans Seek to Fix Short-Sitedness (Washington Post) The right owns talk radio; the left owns the Internet. For years, that's been the simplest way to explain the online gap between the two parties.
  • A Diverse Young Coalition Behind Obama (The Nation)
  • Turnout by Education, Race and Gender and Other 2008 Youth Voting Statistics (Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service) One of the most striking characteristics of this election was young people’s united support for Barack Obama, regardless of their political affiliations. Thirty-three percent of young white voters self-identified as “Democrat,” and yet, 54 percent voted for the Democratic candidate. NOTE: THIS SURVEY DID NOT ASK RESPONDANTS TO IDENTIFY AS INDEPENDENTS
  • The Impact of The Hip-Hop Vote (Jeff Chang, Vibe/zentronix d+h) In this election, 43% of young voters were first-time voters, including 45% of African Americans and 61% of Latinos.


Noam Chomsky: “What Next? The Elections, the Economy, and the World” (Transcript - Democracy Now)

Monday, November 24, 2008

lurking in the shadows



  • Precinct data reveals nuanced view of Shelby County’s voting patterns (Memphis Commercial Appeal)
  • The dust settles-“The basic maxim of democracy should always be: turn the rascals out. When people are entrusted with power and make a botch of it, their options should be dropped.” — Arthur Schlesinger on the 1980 election (Buffalo News)
  • Hope springs eternal for Obama presidency (Ventura County Star) Because millions of Americans ignored party affiliation as well as race, and voted with their wallets as well as their ballots, Obama is less beholden to party than most presidents have been. He could be the most independent president since Theodore Roosevelt, and like Roosevelt, unshackled from party politics, he could instigate reasonable political and economic reforms that benefit the nation, not just segments of it.
  • Rural voters pull to the right (Tulsa World) Nowhere is the Democrat resurgence in metropolitan areas more visible than in precinct 103 in Tulsa County. The four-square mile precinct, bounded by 41st Street, 61st Street, Mingo and South 129th East Avenue, saw 51 percent of voters go for Bush in 2004. In 2008, 59 percent of voters in the precinct backed Obama.
  • Where 'Bama is really No. 1 (Arkansas News Bureau) And we (Arkansas) don't have as large a black population as some of the Deep South states, like Alabama and Mississippi. In those states, an unprecedented turnout of higher concentrations of black voters was the only thing that drove Obama's percentage higher than Kerry's.
  • Black Republicans Ponder Their Future (Afro American) Leading the way is former Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele who has decided to run for chairman of the Republican National Committee which provides national leadership for the Republican Party. The committee is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. It is also responsible for organizing and running the Republican National Convention.


  • Popularity wanes for embattled Bloomberg (Crain's New York) “The term-limits fight did significant damage to his image as someone who was above the normal political fray,”
  • Bill Thompson's turning up heat on Mayor Bloomberg (Daily News) Thompson's backers also point to the thousands of newly registered - and newly energized - African-American voters who came out for Barack Obama and might vote for Thompson.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Jackie Salit on Tactics for Building an Independent Movement

If you haven't yet listened to Jackie Salit's post-election commentary, you're only a click away! CLICK HERE!

"a liberal is a man who...

...leaves the room when a fight starts." - Dorothy Parker

Believe me, nobody's leaving this room! - The Hankster


  • Pollsters Debate America's Political Realignment (Washington Post) Yet realignments are often predicted and rarely occur. One reason is that they can occur only if the least political Americans, the swing voters who consider themselves independents (though they often lean toward one party), have to participate.
  • Obama Should Govern from the Left--Center--Right--All of the Above (Commentary By Lee Russ, Watching the Watchers) I'd venture that most of us who voted for Obama did so at least partly because he appears to have the character and temperament to make wise choices, to listen to many opinions, to be persuaded by external facts that a change in course might be needed, and to see beyond rigid, divisive labels that constrict rather than further debate.
  • Obama's identity crisis - Pundits can't decide who they want him to be (By Michael Mccord, Virtually ignoring that an election just took place, Newsweek sets its ideological boundary by claiming yet again that the country remains "right of center" politically (even before the election, Newsweek offered a take-your-cod-liver-oil cover story, assuming Obama's victory and warning him not to forget it's a center-right country).

Comptroller Gives Mayor Low Marks on Schools (by Vladic Ravich, Queens Chronicle) The conference featured a wide variety of speakers, such as develpmental psychologist Lenora Fulani, who advocated “play, curiosity and exploration” as crucial factors for lifting young people out of neighborhoods filled with crime and poverty. h/t to David M. Quintana at Lost in the Ozone

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Reform Institute Applauds Historic Redistricting Reform Victory in California (The Reform Institute PRESS RELEASE)

  • Dems seek to centralize elections (THE COLORADO STATESMAN) Some Republicans think it’s more than a coincidence that statehouse Democrats are preparing legislation for the upcoming session designed to take key electoral duties away from county clerks and put them under the control of the yet-to-be-named secretary of state.
  • Republicans look to pass election reform (The Vindicator - Youngstown OH) legislation was introduced in the Ohio Senate to prohibit same-day voter registration and absentee voting.

Obama calls on his Internet campaign army to march again (Idaho Statesman) Campaign manager David Plouffe, in a mass e-mail sent Wednesday to former workers, asked how much time they can spare for four missions integral to Obama's effort to transform his victory into a broader political movement.

  • The Inappropriateness of Using a Left-Right Spectrum on Foreign Policy (Democracy Arsenal/NY) I think the last 8 years would indicate that hawks have made us weaker, while doves would have made us stronger.
  • techPresident's Daily Digest But as Politico's Ben Smith points out, that's really nothing new: "[I]f there was ever a campaign that took the complaints of liberal bloggers seriously, it was ... well, not Obama's." So where does that leave the netroots? With the right roots, likely, attempting to navigate this new political landscape.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Independent Voters of Iowa

check out Independent Voters of Iowa

Declare Yourself An Independent Voter Today!

Video from independent Scott Williams in Eustis FL.

i have a secret...

6% of black voters are independent


  • The 2008 election in perspective (New Hampshire Business Review) there are now more registered Democrats than Republicans in New Hampshire, although unaffiliated (independent) voters are the largest single voting bloc.
  • Voters show their independent streak (Morgan Messenger - WV) While Democrats used to account for the other 40% of the vote, the proportion of Democrats has actually dropped to 32% locally. The real boom has come in the number of people who don’t identify with either political party.

  • Is it OK to be liberal again, instead of progressive? Come out of the closet, liberals. Stop using the fashionable euphemism "progressive" and relaunch the old, tarnished L-word. (Salon)
  • Lyons: Should Obama lean now to right? (Courier Express/Tri County - PA) Arguing over meaningless phrases like "center-right" versus "center-left" would be a foolish. Because while much of the electorate may be uneasy about what they've been taught liberals think about symbolic social issues like abortion, guns and "gay marriage," strong majorities agree with Democratic approaches on more concrete matters.

  • California initiatives: A fighting tradition (Oakland Tribune/Wenatchee World Online) If California voters always had their way, illegal immigrants wouldn’t get public education and health care; the state would have “open” primary elections; landlords could practice racial discrimination; and cable television would be either free or illegal. All these stances have been approved as ballot initiatives, and all were later struck down by the courts.
  • EDITORIAL: Still battling term limits - Many sitting politicians aren't about to go quietly (Las Vegas Review Journal)
  • EDITORIAL ; So This is `Reform'? (iStock Analyst) A hastily arranged package of reforms from politically ambitious lawmakers will do little to inspire public confidence in state government.

The end of the Sixties - In Chico as in the rest of America, voters tired of polarization and the culture wars are looking to liberals to solve problems (Chico News Review)

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Peace pushes for vote on open primary in 2010 ( Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has raised open primaries as a government reform he's hoping to enact, and Peace said he'd welcome the governor's support as part of a bipartisan group backing the measure.

  • GOP voters were apathetic (Gary Andres, Washington Times) Mr. McCain received 299,650 fewer votes in Ohio than did Mr. Bush four years earlier. So Mr. McCain "lost" more votes than Mr. Obama "gained." These vanishing Republicans led to the loss of one GOP incumbent and at least another open seat (another remains in a recount) in this key Midwestern battleground.
  • Obama ‘Network’ Developing a Rift - #6. (News Max - Campaign manager David Plouffe indicated which side of the developing rift he was on when he recently used Obama’s e-mail list to ask for donations to help the DNC repay its debt. But Steve Hildebrand, Obama’s deputy campaign manager, cautioned that Obama got elected with a significant number of independent voters and a fair number of Republicans.
  • Charlotte's changing power base (Creative Loafing - Charlotte NC) to get from 34 percent to the 50.1 percent you need to win citywide if you are an African-American Democrat candidate in Charlotte. You merely need to capture the black vote, an easy assignment, half the white Democrat vote and a third of the unaffiliated vote.
  • Will Obama be the First "Freedom" Democrat? (CounterPunch) or will he prove to be just another Democratic President who happens to be black?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

the fly bottle

Talk/Talk: The Fly Bottle

Sunday, November 16, 2008
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, November 16, 2008 The Fly Bottle after watching "The McLaughlin Group," "The Chris Matthews Show" and "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

Salit: Yikes, what a mess. There are a lot of things that aren't working...... Do you think the American people voted for change with a capital "C"?

Newman: You might say that or you might say they voted, at least in substantial measure, to get rid of the people and/or the approach which got us into this disaster. Which is not necessarily the same thing as voting for change with a capital "C."

Salit: OK.

Newman: The American people are saying, if you listen to them carefully: We've gotten into this trouble before. And we've gotten out of it.

Salit: Yes.

Newman: After all, there's something potentially conservative in the vote for Obama. It could be interpreted to mean that many Americans think we've been excessive in the way we have characteristically dealt with economic crises, as in extreme deregulation vs. dramatic welfare statism, and that what we really have to do is something more ordinary, rather than excessive. Some people might argue there's a third camp.

Salit: A third camp?

Newman: The third camp being to find a clear workable, pragmatic distinction between a conservative and a much more liberal approach. Is there one? It's not clear that there is....

Read more of Talk Talk here.

Also read Jacqueline Salit's Barack Obama: The Real Deal, or Just Another Democrat? in the Neo-Independent Magazine


and the people


  • Obama tries to pick GOP leader (Paradise Post) McCain generally hovered abound 35 percent - meaning most of the GOP voters had someone else in mind. Unfortunately, those who allege themselves to be moderate, voted in open primaries for McCain in numbers enough to defeat Romney who was also dealing with Mike Hucka-bee.
  • In region, voting ‘blue’ is about economy (Business North - Duluth & Superior - MN, WI) Iron Range historian and instructor at Vermilion Community College, traces the ties of the Iron Range and the DFL to the turn of the last century. Reforms had given mining workers greater rights — the adoption of the secret ballot and an open primary system.
  • Nader questions media coverage (LETTER by Ralph Nader, Frost Illustrated) We asked one top editor of a major daily why his paper was not covering us at all and he said, “Because you can’t win.”
  • Age a big factor in voting (John Sowell, News Review) The older Douglas County voters were on Election Day, the more likely they were to vote. And members of one of the two major political parties were more likely to fill out and turn in ballots than those registered as independents or as members of the smaller political parties.
  • Commentary: 2008 election marked fall of far-right wing (The Advertiser) As a registered independent, I find it seems strange to watch these political parties fall from grace.
  • CQ Transcript: House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer Speaks at National Press Club on 2008 Election and Agenda for Congress (CQ Transcriptswire) We did not just make a full-blown ideological conversion of the other half of the country. What we did do -- and this in and of itself was a huge accomplishment -- was convince majority-making independents, whether they be Democrats, Republicans, or actual independents, or declines, that we will govern responsibly and effectively at this time of national crisis.
  • Shrill Partisanship Not Embraced By Some New Lawmakers (By JOE GANDELMAN, The Moderate Voice) The tug against politics aimed at seeking broad coalition building, consensus and defusing partisan anger will continue to be independent political groups plus talk radio, which gets and maintains audiences by pushing emotional hot-button issues and polarization.
  • Winning in a new South (Charlotte News Observer) "It isn't so much that Obama changed things, but that he built on the changes that already existed," says Guillory.

  • The Transformation of Mike Bloomberg-How the benevolent billionaire with no political debts ended up owning us all (By Wayne Barrett, Village Voice) Last month's 29-to-22 council vote to do Bloomberg's bidding was the most tawdry moment in city politics I've ever seen.
  • Union Endorses Gioia for Public Advocate (NY Times) In what seems to be the first major endorsement in next year’s race for public advocate, City Councilman Eric N. Gioia is being endorsed by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The union will make the endorsement official at a press conference on Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Black Independent: A new political category (and a cultural revolution)

One of the more positive things that's been going on in the past 20 years in America is the development of a new constituency: the Black Independent.

Six percent of black voters in 2008 were independent. Even the MSM noticed (they invented the category). Why is this significant? Because black voters traditionally, at least since somewhat after the New Deal, are Democrats. In fact, that's been a complaint of some black leftists for the 80 years since the Great Depression.

For those of us on the left--white and black, including the progressive independent activists of the CUIP networks, who have been slogging and blogging for the past 20 years plus, this is a special moment where the independent movement and black voters have come together. We have just witnessed a cultural revolution in the country. (And for the MSM pundits who think that Joe Lieberman is a spokesman for independent voters, pay attention!)

Let's take a look at some factoids:
  • Barack Obama polled the majority of the independent vote: 52% (compared to about 44% for John McCain). That's an 8 point margin.
  • Four years earlier, in 2004, independents split evenly between John Kerry and George Bush
  • 29% of voters on November 4th were independents, that's up 3 points since 2004, while the Dems took 2% more of the total, and the Repubs lost 5 points
  • The 2008 election was the first time since 1972 that a majority of independent voters cast ballots for a Democrat
  • Third-party candidates polled about 1% of the total vote nationally, Nader (independent) and McKinney (Green) garnering about 200,000 more votes than Barr (Libertarian) and Baldwin (Constitution) -- again, a shift left
More details will be unveiled over the next period, of course. Keep an eye out for Jackie Salit's election analysis in the upcoming Neo Independent magazine.

In the meantime, keep slogging and blogging.


Variables Working Against a Republican Revival (By PETE ABEL, The Moderate Voice) Continued expansion of unaffiliated or independent voters would spell grief for both parties

  • Newsweek asserted as fact that America "remains right of center," but a former Wash. Times editor disagrees (Media Matters)
  • Outlook: The Electorate's Left Turn (Tod Lindberg, Washington Post) 'The decline of Republican strength occurs by having strong Republicans become weak Republicans, weak Republicans becoming independents, and independents leaning more Democratic or even becoming Democrats.' This is a portrait of an electorate moving from center-right to center-left."

Monday, November 17, 2008





  • Licking wounds, GOP determined to heal (Philadelphia Inquirer) Some say the party has drifted from its fiscally conservative, small-government principles. Others say too much emphasis on issues such as opposition to abortion and gay rights, important to the party's dominant social conservatives, created an image of intolerance that repels large numbers of moderate and independent voters.

  • FOLLOW THE LEADER: ADVICE FOR REBUILDING THE GOP (NY Post) Dem activists busied themselves trying to create a carbon copy of this infrastructure of think tanks, sophisticated voter lists, media watchdog groups and talk radio outlets.... History shows that while ideas matter, personality trumps all.

Be sure to check out independent strategist Jackie Salit's new November video 18 Million Independents Vote for Barack Obama... "The independent movement in America has become a center-left movement." You can read more of Salit's salient points at

Sunday, November 16, 2008



  • GOP must reinvent itself after trouncing (Hendersonville Times News/BlueRidgeNow - NC) So what is to be done? Lenin said, “in order to make an omelet you have to break eggs.”
  • The Christian Party (by Jeffrey Hart, The Daily Beast) George W. Bush transformed the center-right party of Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and his father, George H.W. Bush, into the political instrument of the religious right, tying the party to the evangelical protestants and to such Catholics as made the culture war central to their politics.
  • AT LARGE: Hume says U.S. is still ‘center right country’ (Tuscaloosa News) In his jumbled syntax, Hume, the most pontifical of the television pundits, was trying to advance some sort of theory about how despite the election of Barack Obama, who you will remember was branded as the “most liberal senator in Congress” by the Republicans, we are still a “center right country.”
  • A Shift In Direction (The Tampa Tribune) Nonetheless, many people are now advising Barack Obama to "govern from the center."
  • Mark Green: 7 Days: FDR = Obama? Alter, Huffington, vanden Heuvel & Green Discuss and Compare Their Transitions (Huffington Post) Jonathan Alter: It's a bit of an oversimplification to think that we're going to move left in lock step across the board, but as a general proposition there's no question that the country is moving left, the last line of my piece was "leftward ho".
  • Can Obama Truly Deliver? (CBS News) "The country must be governed from the middle," Pelosi told reporters on November 5. One reason, Democratic advisers say, is that so many new members of Congress are centrists that the party won't be able to hold its majority in 2010 if it lurches left with meddlesome social programs and vast new spending schemes.
  • Obama's community-organizing skills valuable in presidency (The Morning Sentinel) The CEO says, "Hire me and I will fix this company." The community organizer says, "Let me help you fix this community."

POLITICAL THEATER Bread and Puppet livens gathering of pro-secession advocates at Statehouse (Burlington Free Press) "We think the empire is going down," Naylor said. "Everyday it gets worse and worse and the leaders are clueless."

Saturday, November 15, 2008



  • Democrats weigh how hard to hit agenda (Chicago Tribune) The coalition that put Obama in office depends on support he secured from independent voters.
  • What I've Been Saying for Weeks (American Spectator) if you incorrectly assume that the independent voter is a "centrist," you're going to miss the chance to make the libertarian populist argument.
  • Former GOP Sen. Chafee relishes Obama’s victory (The Providence Journal) In early September, Chafee campaigned in Florida as part of “Republicans and independents for Obama.”
  • The Center-Right Nation Exits Stage Left (Washington Post) And so far, center-left government is largely an abstraction for the country. People like the sound of it, especially against the backdrop of a financial crisis and recession. In these center-left times, voters are receptive -- or rather, it is their receptiveness that makes these times center-left.
  • Democrats' victories portend a new political era (By David S. Broder, Seattle Times) there are signs in this year's returns of voter shifts that could herald a new political era — and which certainly define the challenge facing the Republican Party.

Friday, November 14, 2008

President Obama: Towards Nonpartisanship! Small "d" democracy!

Good evening, Hanksteristas!

Many things are being discussed by the punditistas within the current black hole of political commentary!

The American people have voted. We now have a new President-Elect Barack Obama. Many McCain supporters are lending their energy to a "new day". Obviously many independents and unaffilialated voters cast deciding votes for Barack Obama.

I join my independent colleagues across the country who I have been speaking with over the past few weeks, in saying, "I am happy with the outcome of the election."

That said, "Where do we go from here?"

Here's a thought: Towards Nonpartisanship! (NOT party politics!!)

In spite of my differences with President-Elect Obama (he's a Democrat from Kansas/Hawaii/Harvard, I'm an independent from Arkansas/Japan/VCU), I am thrilled at the prospect of independents partnering with his administration over the next 4 years.

I am very very proud of us folks. As a southern "baby-boomer" born in the state of Arkansas in 1952, to a "Kennedy Democrat" family, I grew up under segregation and never thought I would see this day in my lifetime. I'm personally gratified to deliver this moment to my mama and daddy, to all my folks, and to the country. We did good!

We the American people have done something to change the country in a way we never thought possible. YES WE CAN do something DIFFERENT! YES we can be democratic with a small "d"!

And independents MUST lead the way on election reform: inclusion of EVERYONE -- left, center, right; young and old; women and men; gay and straight; smart and dumb; Democrat and Republican; Left of the Moon, etc...

It is independents who will lead our country forward.

good morning!


  • Vast Obama network becomes a political football-Some Obama advisors want to blend his campaign operation with the Democratic National Committee. Others worry that such a move could cause the grass-roots organization to unravel. (LA Times) "A lot of these warriors on the ground are not Democrats, and that's by choice," Figueroa said.
  • Obama carries precincts in traditionally Republican Inland region by substantial margins (Press Enterprise - southern CA) The results suggest that many of the region's increasing number of independent voters -- those who decline to state a party affiliation -- went for Obama.
  • America Throws Long - If Obama doesn't connect, more than the game is lost. (By PEGGY NOONAN, Wall Street Journal) Does it mark the beginning of a center-left era? That's the kind of thing you know in retrospect. The vote will prove to be a realigning one if Mr. Obama does well enough over a long enough period that people come to see themselves not as voters who picked him but as people who are his followers. If they choose to follow him, their self-identification as Democrats will sink in and formalize, and the vote they cast in 2008 will come to seem not a decision but an affiliation. Without affiliation, everything remains in play and will be in play in the coming years. If Mr. Obama doesn't catch the pass and cross the goal line, it will mean this election marked a moment, not a movement.
  • Lurching center-left (Washington Times) It is now abundantly clear that America is a center-left nation, and healthy majorities of the American people agree with Mr. Obama's liberal economic policies.
  • OR: A blue election tide -- or a white one? (The Oregonian/The Stump) While the rest of the nation celebrates a transformational election that couldn't have taken place without minorities in general and Barack Obama in particular gaining access to political power, the Oregon Legislature will convene in 2009 as the least diverse it's been in decades.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

IDEA's Dan Baron Cohen declares Nov. 27th International Drama/Theatre and Education Day

My friend Dan Baron Cohen (one of my co-participants last month at Performing the World 08) has sent an email to The Hankster that I thought you might be interested in:

IDEA friends, amigos, amis!

As the President of IDEA, I’m delighted to declare November 27th International Drama/Theatre and Education Day. We now have a specific date to celebrate our rich and distinctive contribution to the global project of cultivating a human education, human rights and peace for all, in particular for young people, children, and excluded communities that are threatened by violence...

Cómo Presidente de IDEA, estoy encantado de declarar el día 27 de Noviembre como el Día Internacional del Drama/Teatro y Educación. Ahora tenemos un día especifico para celebrar nuestra rica y distintiva contribución al proyecto global que busca cultivar una educación humana, los derechos humanos y la paz para todos, en particular para los jóvenes, los niños y las comunidades excluidas amenazadas por la violencia...

En tant que Président d’IDEA, j’ai l’honneur de déclarer le 27 novembre Journée Internationale de l’Education Artistique en Théâtre. Nous avons désormais une date spécifique pour célébrer notre riche et singulière contribution au projet global de développement de l’éducation des hommes, des droits de l’homme et de la paix pour tous, et tout particulièrement pour les jeunes, les enfants et les exclus menacés par la violence...

Dan Baron Cohen
IDEA President 2007-2010
Chair of the World Alliance for Arts Education

Talk/Talk: No Drama Obama

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Below are excerpts from this week's Talk Talk, No Drama Obama. 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, November 9, 2008 after watching "The McLaughlin Group", "The Chris Matthews Show" and "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

Newman: If I'm going to try to take that question seriously, I'd have to say that the American people weren't "saying" anything.

Salit: They weren't saying anything. What were they doing?

Newman: They were voting for Barack Obama, very passionately, and in such a way that translated into an electoral college victory. That's what the American people do in any presidential election. That will have to be enough.

Read Talk Talk in its entirety here.


  • Open primary sytem is a good idea (Contra Costa Times) Passage of Proposition 11, creating a bipartisan panel to draw legislative districts, is a step in the right direction.
  • Prop. 11 support signals voters' mood for reforms (LA Times)
  • Daniel Weintraub: Prop. 11 paves the way for more reform (Sac Bee)
  • New California political landscape comes into focus ( "The Democrats allow independents to participate in their primaries and the Republicans don't," Gerston said. "An open primary might be a way for Republicans to draw more independents back into their fold."
  • Some surprises on election day (Southside Pride - MN) One way to avoid electing people to office with less than a majority of votes would be to have open primaries with the top two going to the general election.
  • Backers see more competitive state Senate, Assembly races (San Diego Union Tribune) Maybe California voters finally figured it out, the purported wisdom of having someone other than legislators draw the districts in which they run for office.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Open primaries another path to moderation? (Contra Costa Times) "The next thing is open primaries," Schwarzenegger told a crowd during a late October rally in San Diego. "That's how we have to walk down that road and create the real change."

  • Analysis: What does NM's Democrat shift mean? (Silver City Sun News) Nearly three-fifths of independent voters backed Obama in the presidential race and Democrat Tom Udall for the U.S. Senate.
  • Prop 8 Myths ( At the end of the day, Prop 8's passage was more a generational matter than a racial one. If nobody over the age of 65 had voted, Prop 8 would have failed by a point or two.
  • Obama The Uniter - Three ways Barack Obama can quickly prove his bipartisanship. (Forbes)
  • Don’t Exaggerate Election Impact in Dixie -- "The Deep South white vote for Obama was generally not too different than that in Alabama, where nearly nine out of ten whites turned out for McCain." (A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford)
  • Editorial: A generations influence can be felt through votes (Baylor University/The Lariat Online) An analysis from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press reported, "Without a doubt, the overwhelming backing of younger voters was a critical factor in Obama's victory."
  • Have We Witnessed a Revolution? (RealClearPolitics) The electoral evidence at least suggests that something big is happening to America's ideological moorings

The Long View On Term Limits: Not About Bloomberg (Daily News/Daily Politics) Sources close to the mayor have suggested that he will run as an independent. But there has also been speculation he will seek another line - the most likely candidates, of course, being the GOP and the Independence Party, but both might present problems to him this time around.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Sorting out an elusive constituency: independent voters (MinnPost) The emergence of a sizable independent voting bloc has often foreshadowed a paradigm shift in national politics, and has occasionally signaled the demise of a major party.

Exit Stage Center-Right (Washington Post LETTER) In fact, the election showed that America is a center-left country. But more important, the clear message sent to Congress by Americans across the country was that the partisan fighting must stop and that collaborative efforts must be made to move the country forward.

  • Looking Back at the Senate Race (The Oregonian LETTER) Has anyone noticed that Gordon Smith would have won this last election if Measure 65 had been in place?
  • Oregon initiative campaigns hit $20 million (The Oregonian)
  • In our view Nov. 8: Cheers & Jeers (The Columbian) Voters wisdom questioned on Measure 65


Monday, November 10, 2008

Reviewing Naomi Wolf's "Give Me Liberty"

By Jeffrey M. Freeman

In her first political commentary, The End of America:  Letters to a Young Patriot, (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2007) Naomi Wolf described ten steps to creating a fascist state.  She then cited example after example from the George W. Bush administrations supporting her argument that the United States has moved, hopefully not irreversibly, towards fascism.  She built her case by examining only public sources, without access to classified material.  Before writing her book, like any prudent author in this age of the Patriot Act, she asked experts to comb her own records for anything that could be used by the state to discredit her, or worse.  While her pronouncements were dire, her attitude was optimistic.  She called upon all citizens of this noble country to “stand our ground and fight for our nation, and take up the banner our Founders asked us to carry.”  A documentary DVD of The End of America was recently released.


In her latest book, Give Me Liberty:  A Handbook for American Revolutionaries, (Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2008) Ms. Wolf asks and answers how can an individual or small group affect the political process in America.  The answer she arrives at is that it is not easy or simple, that many walls have been erected to deter unsettling the status quo.  She argues, however, that the Declaration of Independence requires all citizens to continually rebel against any government that seeks to infringe on “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

She contends that rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution, specifically freedom of speech and freedom to peacefully assemble, have been eroded by local laws and regulations.  She cites as one example the case of two groups of demonstrators trying to protest at the Chinese consulate in New York City.  One group was advocating for Korean refugees, the other for a free Tibet.  The groups were forced to share a permit, limited to four hours during which they had to equally share a bullhorn, were separated from each other, and cordoned off by steel barriers and police far from the consulate.  In essence, bureaucracy diluted their protests to the point of insignificance.

As a neophyte to the Independent political movement, I found “Part III:  America:  The User’s Guide,” particularly interesting.  It contains practical guidelines for pulling American politics back into the hands of average citizens.  Using actual experiences, she details processes for eliciting change.  Some of those guidelines address:

·      how to successfully petition local, state, and federal governments

·      how to write a press release

·      how to drive a boycott

·      how to stage a protest, and what to do and not do if you are arrested

·      how to start your own political movement

·      how to fund raise.

Ms. Wolf’s most radical suggestion is that we amend the Constitution to permit referendums on a national level, just as is done in many communities, states, and other nations.  As she points out, democracies are a messy business because everyone is supposed to be able to voice his or her own opinions, not just echo the refrains of one political party or another.  She asserts that amending our prime law to allow referendums would give power to the people nearly equal to that of the lobbyists and campaign donors.

She concludes the book with a twelve-step proposal to save our democracy and an eleven-item wish list of additional proposed changes.

Readers should find Give Me Liberty,  an interesting intellectual discourse as well as a practical handbook for influencing our democracy.

Jeff Freeman is a retired Army colonel, registered Independent, and regular contributor to "The Hankster."


  • Presidential election highlights growing gap between generations - Young voters, universities buck trend, back Obama (Citizen Times Asheville NC) At Western Carolina University in Jackson County, the student body is actually split evenly among Democrats, Republicans and unaffiliated voters, said Gibbs Knotts, head of the political science department.
  • Analysis: Results show Kansas red, not purple (Joplin Globe) The number of registered Democrats was nearly 7 percent higher than it was in 2004, and the number of unaffiliated voters had climbed nearly 9 percent. Meanwhile, the number of registered Republicans slipped 1.5 percent.
  • A Progressive Congress Under President Obama (Beyond Chron - San Francisco's Alternative Online Daily News) But the country’s leftward shift that gave Obama a landslide victory also produced a new crop of Democratic legislators – making waves that bode well for the future. This should embolden progressives to demand more from Washington – not less – as a new Congress and President get sworn in.
  • End Game for Ideology (North Star Writers Group) Brit Hume, longtime Washington editor for Fox and a man who learned his trade as a reporter rather than a pundit, declared that America, which had been a center-right country, was now, on new evidence, a center-left country. Shock! Horror! Creeping socialism!
  • A 'Center-Right' Country? We Shall See. (By Steven M. Warshawsky, American Thinker) Douglas Schoen, who was Bill Clinton's pollster in 1996, similarly argues that Barack Obama "owes his victory not to the left, but to the middle." Huh??
  • Dear Obama: Don’t go right; get it right (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) Americans are fed up with government by slogans. They hunger for workable solutions to their pressing problems.
  • G.O.P. Dog Days? (By William Kristol, NY Times) What’s more, this year’s exit polls suggested a partisan shift but no ideological realignment.

The vote last Tuesday suggests that the country has shifted center-left. This is the debate now happening among the pundits and political class.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

grant park

election night 2008


  • Race didn't decide the election (LA Times) "Economic issues trumped race." That doesn't mean white voters in Ohio harbored no racial prejudice; it means they put their feelings aside, or subordinated them, in deciding to vote for Obama over McCain. That's a psychological process that is common in many of the decisions we make. We do or decide something in spite of feelings to the contrary.
  • State GOP got outworked, outspent (Detroit News) Saul Anuzis is a good state chairman who understands the need to woo independent voters. But he is always fending off challenges from the party's ideologues. He can't be effective if his own team is trying to stick a shiv in him.
  • Stronghold shows cracks (Lancaster Online) "The difference in totals could therefore be attributed to the Democrats coming out while the Republicans stayed home. It also shows that Obama received twice as many of the independent voters than did McCain."
  • An Obama Tilt in Campaign Coverage (Washington Post) The Post's polling was on the mark, and in some cases ahead of the curve, in focusing on independent voters, racial attitudes, low-wage voters, the shift of African Americans' support from Clinton to Obama and the rising importance of economic issues.
  • Oregon Exits (Blue Oregon) But his most important demographic wins--and probably the reason he won the election--came among moderate and independent voters. Merkley won self-identified independents 48%-43%; among self-identified independents
  • Obama's victory in Florida represents many firsts (Tallahassee Democrat) Obama won counties in the famed I-4 corridor, which cuts from Tampa through Daytona Beach, and includes a slice of independent voters who practically decided if Florida will be a red or blue state. In Orange County, for example, Obama beat McCain by 85,000 votes.

  • Role of race in the race (The Item - South Carolina) Lenora Fulani ran as an Independent in 1988 and again in 1992. She was the first black woman to appear on the presidential ballot in all 50 states.
  • With Obama's win, our nation has overcome (The Courier Journal - KY)

1960s Radicals Predict Rebirth of Social Activism (NY Times) Mr. Fenton, 56, had dropped out of the Bronx High School of Science in 1968 to pursue photojournalism. “There were demonstrations every week,” Mr. Fenton said. “I don’t know if that will ever happen again. I hope it doesn’t have to.”

Saturday, November 08, 2008



MINNESOTA INDEPENDENCE PARTY Is the Independence Party ready to move beyond Ventura and Barkley? (MinnPost)

Friday, November 07, 2008


  • Where party still counts (Albany Democrat Herald) The initiative would have done away with partisan primaries, but Democrats and Republicans in Linn County say they like the present system just fine, a system in which the taxpayers foot the bill for the selection of party candidates while excluding people who refuse to identify themselves as either an R or a D.
  • Making more sense of our elections (The Oregonian) Unlike Measure 65, the "top two" election system that Oregonians overwhelmingly rejected at the polls this week, instant-runoff voting has a track record of success and was used most recently in Pierce County (Tacoma) in Washington to elect the county executive and other officeholders.

  • GOP stalwarts shun tradition, switch votes; "With neighbor-to-neighbor grass roots organizing, we made inroads into smaller, more conservative counties across the state," he said. "We just felt we could make significant ground there, turning out new voters in record numbers and making a strong push for independent voters who had been turned off by the Bush economy for the last eight years." (Toledo Blade)
  • Nevada Voter Turnout Near 1 Million (Las Vegas Now KLAS) Obama also captured a majority of independent voters in Nevada or those not affiliated with the two major parties. 54-percent of them went for Obama, compared to 41-percent for John McCain.
  • Obama Victory Good for America (HULIQ) Barack Obama did the same thing as Reagan. He ran as a leftist. Instead of trying to grab the independent voters he just offered change.
  • Costa Mesans vote for Obama (Daily Pilot) Baugh thinks Obama is clever enough to know that if he yanks the country too far to the left he will hurt himself with independent voters and could get punished in the mid-term elections.
  • WAS THE "MAVERICK" TOO MODERATE TO WIN? (Town Hall) This logic suggests that candidates fare better when they display ideological rigor and consistency, and that Republicans can never succeed by going after moderate and independent votes.
  • Electoral Consequences Big & Small (America/The National Catholic Weekly) Obama won the presidency by winning among Independent voters, voters who by definition resist partisan labels. Having to cross with 60-vote threshold with centrist Republican votes will help him beat back political pressures on the far left of the Democratic Party.


Thursday, November 06, 2008


Electoral Reform on the Ballot: Wins for instant runoff voting and more (Huffington Post) A round of electoral reform victories in key ballot measures suggest that Americans have had enough of antiquated electoral laws.

  • Minnick edges Sali in upset (Idaho Press-Tribune) He said he won because Idahoans are independent voters. “I would like to thank the thousands of Idaho Republicans and independents who chose to look at the race in terms of who could do the best for Idaho,” Minnick said.
  • Colorado Democrats ride Obama's coattails - after a fashion - Democrats split on how Obama affected contests (Rocky Mountain News) Udall's statewide margin of victory was wider than Obama's, and a pre-election Rocky Mountain News poll suggested he drew more support from men and independent voters than Obama did.
  • Minnesota Senate race heads into automatic recount (Associated Press) An analysis of exit poll data showed Franken wasn't able to win over independent voters at the same rate as fellow Democrat Barack Obama, providing a clue as to why his race ended with such a tight margin.
  • NYC mayor, NY governor hail Obama election (Newsday) As Obama and Republican John McCain began to emerge as front-runners earlier this year, Bloomberg ultimately concluded he could not win because they both appealed to independent voters that he would have sought to attract.
  • What about Bob? Michele Bachmann owes re-election to third-party unknown (MinnPost) when the IPs endorsed Tinklenberg, Anderson grabbed a golden opportunity. He ran, unopposed, in the primary as the IP representative. He won the IP spot on Tuesday's ballot and, coupled with that comfortable Minnesota name, managed to win thousands of independent votes.
  • Evans-Novak Political Report (Human Events) Some exit poll data suggest this was a base election rather than a swing-voter election.

  • Obama Wins Florida's Hispanic Vote (Hispanic Business)
  • The Obama Realignment - This could be the start of a lasting Democratic majority like that created by FDR. (Wall Street Journal) In fact, President-elect Obama presents an ideological mix of social liberalism, fiscal conservatism and cultural moderation that attracted a 20-point margin Tuesday among self-described "moderates" -- including crucial crossover moderate Republicans from suburban and exurban areas previously considered safely part of the Republican/Reagan conservative base -- as well as a majority of self-described independent voters.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Hankster: Let the People Decide!

The Hankster: Let the People Decide!

Election Night: Barack, No Clubhouse Politics Here!

From Harlem.

We've just started.

Independently yours, New York.

The Democrats are not for reform, they're for themselves. - Jackie Salit

I'm here to speak out continuously and to build a movement that doesn't allow the Mayor to get away with violating our democracy and our rights. - Lenora Fulani

we did it!


  • Oregon is not Washington (Jeff Mapes, The Oregonian) Oregon voters just slam-dunked a measure that would adopt a "top two" primary like the one that Washington voters eagerly embraced and that finally went into effect this year.
  • Poor timing for open primaries (by The Oregonian Editorial Board) Second, it failed because of dirty union politics. The unions did their best to kill this measure and retain their grip on Democratic candidates. The Oregon Education Association, for example, sent out a false and misleading mailer smearing Measure 65 as a Bill Sizemore initiative.

  • State's 11 electoral votes go to McCain (The Leaf Chronicle - Clarksville TN) Exit polls showed that McCain's victory hinged on carrying two out of three independent voters. Independents make up about a third of voters in the state.
  • Analysts say it's premature to paint state map blue or red for one big reason: independent voters (Rocky Mountain News) "This still remains a tentative and conditional grant of power by at least a third of the electorate," said political analyst Floyd Ciruli, pointing to the dominant force in Colorado politics: independent voters.
  • State Gives Hawaii-Born Obama Overwhelming Vote (KITV Honolulu) Obama easily held his Democratic base, while taking about seven in 10 independent voters, who made up a third of the electorate.
  • Across Florida, presidential voters make a shift to the blue (Southwest FL Herald Tribune) Obama scored votes in the important Interstate 4 corridor, an area known for large numbers of independent voters.
  • Independents tip the scales for Obama win in New Hampshire (Union Leader) As they did nationally, Democrats in New Hampshire coalesced behind Obama not long after the bitter primary battle. As independent voters flocked to his corner, McCain was left primarily with the hard-core Republican faithful.
  • Volunteers help Obama carry Virginia - Network of poll workers, door knockers descends on exurbs (Baltimore Sun)

Here's one for Adam Clayton Powell Jr.

Yes We Can!

Harlem on Election Night 2008

Harlem on Election Night 2008

Obama! Obama! Obama!

By the time I got home to Sunnyside at 11pm when the tv annouced Obama the winner, kids were in the streets yelling Obama!

New York City salutes Barack Obama!!

Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building, 125th St., NYC

From Harlem With Love