Monday, January 28, 2008

I hope it works

Via the NYT - Kennedy Chooses Obama, Spurning Plea by Clintons
Senator Edward M. Kennedy, rejecting entreaties from the Clintons and their supporters, is set to endorse Senator Barack Obama’s presidential bid on Monday as part of an effort to lend Kennedy charisma and connections before the 22-state Feb. 5 showdown for the Democratic nomination.

Both the Clintons and their allies had pressed Mr. Kennedy for weeks to remain neutral in the Democratic race, but Mr. Kennedy had become increasingly disenchanted with the tone of the Clinton campaign, aides said. He and former President Bill Clinton had a heated telephone exchange earlier this month over what Mr. Kennedy considered misleading statements by Mr. Clinton about Mr. Obama, as well as his injection of race into the campaign.

Mr. Kennedy called Mr. Clinton Sunday to tell him of his decision.

The endorsement, which followed a public appeal on Mr. Obama’s behalf by Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of President John F. Kennedy, was a blow to the Clinton campaign and pits leading members of the nation’s most prominent Democratic families against one another.
I agree with the sentiment that the Clinton campaign has taken an ugly turn that was totally uncalled for. I've never supported Hillary Clinton in this race and I'm not about to start now. I originally supported Bill Richardson, but since his candidacy never really took off and he has now dropped out of the race, I now have to throw my support behind Barack Obama. And while his inexperience has given me pause in the past, his charisma and the sense of personal convictions he conveys has won me over. I fear that if elected, his attempts to bring unity to Washington will fair about as well as Carter did, and I dearly hope that while he apparently reminds Caroline Kennedy of her father that he will not end his political career in the same tragic way as her father. But I feel that he has more to offer to this country than does Hillary Clinton or any of the Republican candidates. I hope that the endorsement by the Kennedy family and their active support of Obama will be enough to counteract the power of the Clinton political machine.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

I'd like to propose an amendment

I'd like to propose an amendment to the Constitution of the United States. I propose that we should consider banning the immediate members of a former president's family from seeking that same office. I think this should include the children of former presidents, the siblings of former presidents and the spouses of former presidents.

It seem to me that if the fact that FDR managed to get himself elected to 4 consecutive terms as president was potentially threatening enough to democracy to merit a constitutional amendment, then a Bush presidency, followed by a Clinton presidency, followed by another Bush presidency, potentially followed by another Clinton presidency, is even scarier. We have only had one other case of a father and son presidency (John Adams and John Q. Adams) and no other related presidencies that would have been affected by my proposed amendment (although it would have stopped Bobby Kennedy from running), but one event was enough to ban a three term president.

It just seems to me that political families are bad enough as it is. We do not need to develop some kind of dynasty mentality in this country when it comes to electing presidents.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A little levity

One of the quotes on my google homepage today is a quote from Dick Cavett:
If your parents never had children, chances are you won't, either.
It's just a silly quote, but it reminds me of something someone said to me many long years ago when I was a teenager. I forget the girl's name now as she was only a casual acquaintance, but I swear she was absolutely serious when she said this. She told me that she knew that she would never be able to have children. When I asked her why, she said "It runs in my family, but it skips a generation." Hum. . .let's just think about that one for a minute. And she wasn't even blond!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

"The Girl in the Fireplace," Hillary Clinton and feminism

Despite the assumptions of some, due to the name of my blog or from posts I've written here, I have never really considered myself a feminist. I have, however, tended to admire strong, independent women ever since I was a young girl. The two in particular that come to mind are my great-grandmother and Queen Elizabeth I. Queen Elizabeth I because she never married, largely due to the fact that she did not want power to pass to a husband. And my great-grandmother, because even though she did marry (and at a very young age), she lived alone for 31 years after my great-grandfather passed away. She never remarried and lived by herself until her health made it impossible to continue to do so. So, what does this have to do with Hillary Clinton or an episode of Dr. Who? Well, I'll tell you.

A couple of nights ago, I watched the episode of Dr. Who entitled "The Girl in the Fireplace". I thought it was a very good episode and particularly interesting in terms of insight into the character of The Doctor. In fact, I saw it as something of a microcosm of what The Doctor's relationships are like because, in the story, Reinette knows The Doctor for her whole life (practically), but for The Doctor, the events all take place within the span of about one day.

Anyway, since the character in the story, Reinette, was actually an historical figure, Madame de Pompadour of 18th Century France, I decided to look up Madame de Pompadour. I found this site which had some information on her life. It includes two brief articles written by different people about Madame de Pompadour, Louis XV's mistress. The site seemed to be in conjunction with a women's history class. I found it striking how the first of the two articles ended:
The Marquise de Pompadour, who had put all of her energy towards the affairs of the state, was physically fatigued and became quite ill. She died on April 15, 1764. Through her influential twenty years at court, she truly became an example of rising above the traditions given to women.
Why I find this so interesting is because she received this position due to the fact that she was the mistress of a powerful man. That does not mean that she did not have talent and skill that helped her achieve her goals, because certainly she did. But what it boils down to is that her power came from her relationship, and a sexual relationship at that, with a powerful man. And in fact, if you actually read the articles, it would seem that much of how she gained favor with the king was through throwing parties and arranging dinners. If that is stepping out of the traditional roles of women, I'd like for someone to explain to me how.

So anyway, this brings me around to Hillary Clinton. I am not a supporter of Hillary Clinton and I never have been. I would hate to see her win the Democratic Presidential nomination for multiple reasons that I won't get into at the moment. But the thing that strikes me at the moment is the fact that so many people seem to think that a Hillary Clinton victory would be such a great feminist victory, but I disagree. It is certainly true that, if elected, she would be the first female president of the United States and it would be a great accomplishment. But until we can elect a woman who is capable and accomplished in her own right and not mostly known and seen as electable and experienced because of the accomplishment of her powerful husband, I really feel like we, as a country, have not accomplished some great feminist victory. I thought that dynasties were an old idea, not something that we should look to establish in this country.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iowa results

Or at least official projections.

Via CNN - Obama, Huckabee win Iowa caucuses, CNN projects
Barack Obama will win the Iowa Democratic caucus and Mike Huckabee will be the Republican winner, CNN projects.

With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Obama had the support of 37 percent of voters, compared to 30 percent for Edwards and 30 percent for Clinton.

[. . .]

With 78 percent of Republican precincts reporting, Huckabee had the support of 34 percent of voters, compared to 25 percent for Mitt Romney. Fred Thompson had 14 percent, John McCain had 13 percent and Ron Paul had 10 percent.
I have to say that it is nice to see Hillary loses, even if it is only the Iowa caucus. It will be interesting to see how the final numbers rank Hillary and Edwards. It is also interesting that Paul came in ahead of Guiliani.