Thursday, July 24, 2008


Hillary Clinton and her supporting cast, The Denver Group, aren’t the only ones who understand the rules. Republicans too know their party doesn’t really have a Presidential nominee – not yet anyway. It’s not official until the states are called, the votes cast and counted and the winner steps to the podium declaring: “I accept the nomination of my Party for the office of President of the United States of America.”

Those who continue to hold out hope that magic will somehow strike the Convention hall in Denver and Mrs. Clinton will – after everything! – still win the nomination away from Barack Obama… they need professional help. They are so far removed from political reality they may not be able to adjust even after the nominating process concludes, Obama has won and the Convention disbands. Who knows, those diehards may protest the Inauguration.

But there are others in America, far more realistic, fully savvy and perhaps far more motivated than any disgruntled Clinton supporters. They also know the rules and may begin working within them soon – if they haven’t already begun, in secret. Are they Democrats? No. They are Republicans. They are the sane ones, who see the McCain candidacy as potentially the most catastrophic political movement ever to ride the coattails of a major American political party. Not only is the McCain campaign doing everything wrong – yes, everything! – It is heading full-speed toward an electoral debacle which will not only end the GOP tenure in the White House, but may deliver a Democratic House and Senate that looks more like a FDR Congress than any Congress since the four-term Democrat.

There are Republicans who see Barack Obama, handsome, young, slim, smiling, self-confident, drawing overflow crowds wherever he goes – even 200,000 Germans! – while they painfully watch an old, pale, often confused John McCain struggle to get a small hall half-filled in what ought to be his conservative stronghold, white, working-class, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. If they won’t show up for him there, then where? Is McCain worried? He sure doesn’t look like he is.

Who are the worried Republicans? They are Republican powerhouses, the Grandees of American corporate culture and they cannot help but be scared by what they see. The 2008 Campaign must seem like a trailer for the latest Hollywood horror flick. “Be afraid! Be very afraid!” This fear only feeds on itself. Perhaps, that explains why Barack Obama raised more money in one day in June than John McCain raised in the entire month. The GOP fat cats are not only keeping their wallets closed; they’re sitting on them. Are you surprised? Does John McCain inspire you – does he inspire anyone – to take your own money and say, “Here, John, please take this. Go out and become President!”

What can save the Grand Old Party? The very rules Hillary Clinton counted on to save her, in vain. Both parties nominate – officially - at the Convention, not before. John McCain doesn’t become the Presidential nominee of the Republican Party until the first week in September. There’s a lot of time between now and then. The smart money in the Republican Party – and here, we’re talking about an amount of money you can’t begin to imagine – is on John McCain’s withdrawal from this race. Yes, that’s right. You heard me. The only sensible thing for the Republicans to do is nominate somebody who at least stands a chance of winning, and won’t bring down the party with him. That’s not John McCain.

How will this occur? What needs to happen? John McCain is no Tom Eagleton. There are no hidden secrets which, upon disclosure, will disqualify him. No, nothing like that. And you can be sure he won’t just… resign. Of course not.

What could happen to John McCain, between now and September 1st, that would be perfectly normal, absolutely acceptable to his supporters and all the American people and completely understandable? Watch for the signs of a “withdrawal for medical reasons.” The first such sign – “feeling under the weather,” one day, missing a campaign event, the cancellation of a trip here or a visit there, perhaps a long planned meeting that doesn’t come off. Watch for it. It could happen.

It’s the only thing left for the Republican Party – John McCain’s withdrawal and the nomination of a “competitive” candidate. Who could that be? The Republicans have many prospects, but it is unlikely to be someone who has already tried for the nomination this year. It won’t be somebody with a recent record of losing. The list of possibilities is longer than you think, at first. Keep watching.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Our government, together with a compliant, complicit media, presents us with the terrible vision of a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East – a vision of Israel literally up in smoke, obliterated by a mushroom cloud of Iranian origin. Of course, nobody wants to see that. But, is the only alternative a “preemptive strike” against Iran and its so-called WMD program facilities? Why do we accept these visions unquestioningly?

In fact, why doesn’t anyone ask: Is a nuclear attack upon Israel strategically feasible? Is there really a threat to the Jewish state from a Persian bomb?

The answers are: No and No.

The “war mongers” are at it full blast again. The Op-Ed page of The New York Times is just the latest to tell us how scared Israel is of an impending Iranian nuclear attack. Of course, Iran has no nuclear weapons and couldn’t have any – even if they tried as hard as they could – for many years to come. But that hardly seems worth mentioning. Just as we tremble at the thought of the bogy-man in the closet and the monsters under the bed, we are afraid of what we “think” about Iran without making the effort to actually think.

The President of the United States, and his party’s presumptive nominee to be the Next President, itch for a fight. Iran cannot be “allowed” to have nuclear weapons, they proclaim, speaking as if they have not only God’s ear, but His mouth too. The assumption goes unchallenged: the United States of America “allows” or “disallows” the possession of weapons by other countries. It’s our way, or the highway! Accordingly, it’s okay for Israel to have not only a nuclear weapon, but an entire nuclear arsenal – however, it’s not okay for Iran (or Iraq, remember them?) to even have “the knowledge” needed to make these weapons. President Bush says as much, although “the knowledge” is spread quite openly worldwide, available on the Internet, and not subject to the approval of any nation or any leader. The money and materials needed to build nuclear weapons may not be as easily accessible, but “the knowledge?” Have we forgotten: “you can’t put the toothpaste…”

No military planner would ever suggest that a nuclear strike against Israel could work. The strategic consequences would be disastrous. Any nuclear attack upon Israel is the same as a nuclear attack upon The West Bank and Gaza, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and even Egypt. All you need to do is look at a map. The State of Israel is SMALLER THAN THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY! Ask yourself: could New Jersey be hit by a military style fusillade of nuclear weapons and not have both New York City and Philadelphia severely damaged as well? Could Washington, D. C. avoid the fallout? Not to mention everything from, say Newark, New Jersey south to Wilmington, Delaware and on to Baltimore, Maryland? And how would Boston and the rest of New England fare under such an assault? How much of America’s East Coast would burn or sizzle in a toxic stew of radioactivity? Where would it end? Depends on how the wind blows.

Simply put, if Iran attacked Israel with nuclear weapons, the successors in interest to The Persian Empire (no Arabs themselves, remember) would be responsible for killing most or many of the 2.6 million Palestinians on The West Bank and 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza – all of them, Arabs, not Jews. This would be some 4 million dead, mostly children. The Palestinian population is the youngest in the world, their median age being 18.7 years-old on The West Bank and only 16.2 years-old in Gaza. Are the Iranians ready to incinerate millions of Arab children – a whole Muslim generation eliminated in an instant? Can any reasonable person believe that could be so?

Can Iran hit Israel without “collateral damage?” Tel Aviv is 9 miles from The West Bank. NINE MILES! Can your nuke blow up Minneapolis without destroying St. Paul?

How many of Jordan’s 5 million residents would perish in an Iranian attack on Israel? Go ahead, check your map. Jordan’s capital, Amman is closer to Jerusalem than Galveston is to Houston. Consider the 20 million people living in Syria especially the 6 million in Damascus. And wither Lebanon in such an extremity? What happens to the more than 3 million Lebanese, most of whom believe Iran to be their dearest friend and ally, their protector - and nearly a-third of whom are Christian? All this death and destruction, in the Arab world, from an Iranian attack against Israel. It’s not a pretty picture.

Yet we are told to fear the Iranian threat to Israel’s very existence. We are told that a nuclear Persia will mean the end of some 7 million plus Israelis. And we never ask: would Israel “go quietly?” We know the opposite is true. If Israel were attacked, they would strike back with the full force of their already practiced and powerful nuclear force, an “unspoken” arsenal estimated at between 200 and 500 nuclear bombs and warheads. Such retaliation would surely turn Iran and possibly most of the Middle East into little more than blazing ruins. Hundreds of millions would die. Oh, and as a side-effect, the world’s oil supplies would be “taken off-line,” more likely than not damaged beyond any reasonable hope of repair.

So, ask yourself, finally: Is Israel really threatened by or scared of Iran? And, just why are we – here in the United States of America – ginning up to go to war with the Persians? If “saving Israel” ain’t the real reason, what is? Hey, do you think oil might have something to do with it?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Both the Democratic and Republican Parties have a discernable history when it comes to selecting their nominees for Vice President. If those histories hold up this time around, the most likely nominees will be Senator Joseph Biden or Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democrats and former Representative Rob Portman for the GOP.

Look at the past Democratic nominees. First, they have nominated Senators for President in 7 of the last 12 elections, since 1960, and they are about to nominate their eighth Senator, Barack Obama in 2008. In eight of those elections, the Democratic ticket has included a Senator as Vice President. In fact, since 1960 – almost 50 years ago – Sargent Shriver, in 1972 and Geraldine Ferraro, in 1988 are the only Democratic Vice Presidential nominees who were not members of the US Senate. Shriver, of course, was the replacement for Senator Eagleton of Missouri who was poorly vetted in 1972 and had to drop out of the race when his history of psychiatric shock treatments came to public light. So, Shriver’s non-Senate credentials hardly count. The same can be said for Ms. Ferraro who was obviously and openly chosen because she was a woman. In 1988 it would have been slim pickings had the Democrats been looking for a VP nominee among female Senators.

For nearly 50 years the Democratic Party has looked to the US Senate for its Vice Presidents. And it has especially sought out well-known, popular and active Senators, politicians with their own constituencies, many with personal histories of seeking the Presidency themselves. Examine the list: Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Walter Mondale, Lloyd Bentson, Al Gore, Joseph Lieberman and John Edwards – all national figures with Presidential ambitions.

The current pundits make a big deal of the party’s interest in Governors as potential VP nominees. They stress the administrative experience Governors have that other legislators lack. And they talk about bringing “swing states” into the Electoral fold. But the history of who actually gets nominated doesn’t jibe with that analysis. In the last 100 years, the Democrats have nominated only 5 Governors for Vice President: John Kerr of Indiana in 1908, Thomas Marshall, also of Indiana in 1912, FDR of New York in 1920, Charles Byron of Nebraska in 1924 and Joseph Robinson from Arkansas in 1928. Well, what’s that mean? It’s been 80 years – 80 years! – since the Democratic Party selected a state Governor to be its Vice Presidential nominee.

The historical odds heavily favor a US Senator in 2008 to be Barack Obama's running mate. If Hillary Clinton brings too much baggage to the table, Joseph Biden fits the historical mold perfectly.

The Republican Party has its own historical trends when it comes to choosing VP nominees. Among them is the “lesser known” quality of the nominee. Put simply, the GOP has a history picking Vice Presidents with slender resumes and little widespread, popular political support. In the last 100 years – since the election of 1908 – the closest the GOP has come to picking a household name for its VP spot was Bob Dole in 1976. And there are those who would say that isn’t very close at all. Earl Warren went on to become the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, but – in 1948, before the TV age - he was a relatively unknown California Governor when Thomas Dewey chose him as his VP. Richard Nixon, was likewise a newcomer to national politics in 1952 when Ike was pretty much forced to swallow him on the ticket.

Like the Democrats, the Republicans give more lip service to Governors than actual votes. In the last 88 years – since 1920 – the GOP has nominated only 4 Governors as Vice President and no one since Spiro Agnew in 1972/1976. They did nominate Calvin Coolidge from Massachusetts in 1920, John Bricker of Ohio in 1944 plus the aforementioned Warren of California and Agnew from Maryland. Perhaps, Agnew’s unseemly end, buried beneath a pile of corruption, some so petty in nature it defies description, is partially responsible for the Republicans looking elsewhere away from the state houses in recent elections.

Unlike the Democrats, who haven’t nominated a member of the House of Representatives for Vice President since John Sparkman of Alabama in 1952 – 56 years ago! – the Republicans seem to like their Congressmen when looking to fill-out the Party’s national ticket. Since choosing Rep. William Miller of New York in 1964, the GOP has elevated George H. W. Bush of Texas, Jack Kemp of New York and Dick Cheney from Wyoming – all of whom served in the Congress – to be their VP nominee.

Those same historical odds that lean toward a Senator for the Democrats, pitch in the direction of the House for the Republican’s running mate, making former Ohio Congressman Rod Portman a likely choice for John McCain in 2008. Given the propensity the Republicans have shown for picking “lesser-lights,” there may someone else in the House, even less well known than Portman, who may soon be the VP choice.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Barack Obama will win a landslide victory in the Electoral College as the result of the votes cast in 50 states and the District of Columbia in November 2008. Our Electoral History says as much.

Despite the dual victories of George W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, and the 62 million votes he received in 2004 (the most ever, for any Presidential candidate), there were 19 states that voted for Al Gore in 2000 and then in 2004 voted for John Kerry. Since these states also voted for Bill Clinton in the 1990s, clearly they are 19 solid Democratic states. There is no reason to believe they will not vote for the Democratic candidate in 2008. They will and they represent 248 votes in Electoral College. Obama begins needing only 22 more Electoral College votes to be the next President. These 19 states with their Electoral College votes are as follows:

California 55; New York 31; Illinois 21; Pennsylvania 21; Michigan 17; New Jersey 15; Mass. 12; Washington 11; Wisconsin 10; Minnesota 10; Maryland 10; Oregon 9; Conn. 7; Hawaii 4; Rhode Island 4; Maine 4; Delaware 3; Wash DC 3; Vermont 3; TOTAL= 248.

There were two other states Al Gore carried, but John Kerry lost: Iowa with 7 Electoral votes and New Mexico with 5. Obama could easily win either or both of these states.

Bill Clinton carried all these states plus 10 0thers in his winning campaigns. Yes, some of the original Clinton states are in what has been called “The Race Belt” and are unlikely to vote for Obama. They are Tennessee, West Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Arkansas. It’s a fair guess Obama will not carry any of these states.

But, 4 other Bill Clinton states are possibilities for an Obama victory. They are: Florida 27; Ohio 20; Missouri 11; and Nevada 5. These 4 have a combined Electoral College vote of 63.

While there appears to be no reasonable chance for John McCain to break into any of the 19 Gore/Kerry states with 248 Electoral votes, there are 4 Bush red-states that are vulnerable to an Obama campaign. They are: North Carolina 15; Virginia 13; Colorado 9; and New Hampshire 4. The total number of Electoral votes for these states is 41.

Two additional red-states, not normally susceptible to a Democratic victory are in-play this time around because of the effect of a third-party candidate. The Libertarian Party is running former Georgia Congressman Bob Barr as its Presidential candidate. He has enormous popularity in his home state and also in the heavily Libertarian state of Alaska. Although these states are normally solid Republican, with Barr on the ballot taking as much as 6 to 10 percent of the vote, Obama may beat McCain in both Georgia and possibly Alaska too. Georgia has 15 Electoral votes; Alaska has 3. Georgia may prove to be the Florida of 2008, and Bob Barr the Ralph Nader of this election.

So, how will all this come out? If Barack Obama is assured of carrying 19 states with 248 Electoral votes, he will have at least a dozen opportunities to get the remaining 22 votes he needs for victory. In his best-case scenario, Obama wins 30 states plus the District of Columbia for a total of 382 Electoral votes. McCain would win only 156. In perhaps a more likely scenario, Obama carries the 18 Gore/Kerry states plus Washington DC and he manages a win in Iowa (7), New Mexico (5), Nevada (5), Virginia (13), Colorado (9), New Hampshire (4), and Georgia (15). This would give Obama 306 Electoral votes to McCain’s 232.

The 2008 Presidential election(s) will not be close. As the polls close in the Eastern Time Zone, state after state will be “called” for Obama by the eager beavers who chew the wood in the network studios. An hour later, when the polls in the Central Time Zone states close, Obama will be hailed as the President-Elect of the United States. John McCain will be left to go the way of Bob Dole and so many others.


US Presidential elections have not usually been closely contested. The talking heads on the TV would have you believe otherwise, but they have 168 hours to fill, each week, for more than a year leading up to the election. How can they do that if they don’t “pretend” it’s a tight race? Still. History shows us, it rarely is. Why should 2008 be any different? It won’t be. It won’t be a close election. It isn’t close now; and the result won’t be either. And remember, it’s not the popular vote that matters. It’s the Electoral College vote that counts.

You might say the Electoral College has been screwed up since the beginning. In 1800, the Electors, in a fit of constitutional illiteracy, cast the same number of votes – 73 – for both Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. The idea of political parties – and thus party tickets, with one candidate slated for the Presidency and the other for the Vice-Presidency – was new. Party politics failed its first test, although the error was soon corrected and Jefferson did indeed become our third President, not the ill-fated Burr who had to make do, in historical terms, with a novel titled in his name, written by Gore Vidal. While most would argue Jefferson got the better of the deal, who among us would not like to have Gore Vidal write a novel with our name on it?

Despite the recent spate of talking heads on cable TV analyzing possible electoral outcomes, and making pronouncements about the “closeness” of the upcoming race between Barack Obama and John McCain (and Ralph Nader and Bob Barr as well), we really have no history of close Presidential elections. A tight election in the Electoral College is a rarity.

The first consideration is - we do not have a national Presidential election. Yes, we all vote on the same day. But no, we do not all vote in the same election. While we are subjected to endless national poll figures – running averages; daily and weekly changes – they mean nothing, absolutely nothing. The winner is not the candidate who gets the most votes across the nation. The winner is the candidate who garners a majority of the Electoral College votes. What we really have is 51 elections, all contested at the same time. Every state, plus the District of Columbia, votes – and the winner of each election gets the Electoral College votes designated for that state or for Washington D.C.

The combined number of Electoral College votes is 538. The candidate who gets 270 of them becomes the next President of The United States. We’ve had only a few very close election results. In 1796, John Adams beat Thomas Jefferson 71 to 68. In 1876, Rutherford Hayes defeated Samuel Tilden by a single vote – 185 to 184. In many ways, the “closest” election ever was in 1824 when Andrew Jackson won 99 Electoral votes and John Quincy Adams won only 84. Yet, Adams became President anyway because two other candidates – William Crawford and Henry Clay won 41 and 37 Electoral votes, thus pushing the final selection into The House of Representatives. You can’t any closer than “winning” while losing. Of course, we all remember 2000.

Some Presidential elections which popular culture has declared as “close” actually weren’t. “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN” was the headline in the Chicago Tribune in 1948, but the Electoral College vote was: Harry Truman 303 – Thomas Dewey 189. The famous election of 1912, the only one in which three Presidents ran against each other, was really a runaway landslide. Woodrow Wilson got 435 Electoral votes; Teddy Roosevelt got only 88; and William Howard Taft got a paltry 8 Electoral votes.

The narrowest margin in the popular vote was in the 1968 election between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey, but in the Electoral College, Nixon swamped his opponent 301 to 191.

The most dominant candidate to ever run for President was Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He ran, and won, four times and none of his opponents ever managed to get 100 votes in the Electoral College – not one of them.

Three times a losing candidate has managed only two wins out of all the states voting. Alf Landon won Vermont and Maine for only 8 Electoral votes in 1936; Walter Mondale could win only his home state of Minnesota and the District of Columbia, for a total of 13 Electoral votes, in 1984; and George McGovern, running against Nixon in 1972, was victorious only in what Nixon called “The People’s Republic of Massachusetts” and Washington DC for a total of 17 Electoral votes. Modern Presidential losers generally get beaten up pretty badly in the Electoral College.

Stevenson got only 73 Electoral votes against Ike in 1956. Barry Goldwater scored only 52 votes in 1964 against LBJ; Dukakis managed 111 against Bush the Elder. More recent losers like Bush the Elder got only 168 Electoral votes against Clinton in 1992 while Bob Dole got even less, 159 as Clinton’s 1996 opponent. It has only been the last two Presidential elections where the Electoral College vote has been hotly contested. In 2000, Al Gore won 266 votes and in 2004 John Kerry won 251 votes in the Electoral College. In each of these elections, the switch of a single state would have made the other candidate the winner. And in each of these elections corruption boils barely beneath the surface. How close is close?

What will happen in 2008? Why will history reassert itself and make this election as clearly decisive in its Electoral College result as most past elections?