Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?

Tonight on WTTW

“Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?” (10:30 p.m. Tuesday, WTTW-Ch. 11) has not only a catchy title but an intriguing concept at its core. In these days of megabucks candidates raising millions of dollars for statewide and even local races, let alone national contests, it is worth examining whether a grassroots politician with little dough and few connections can win a seat in Congress.

In 2004, then-29-year-old novice Jeff Smith — yes, he’s named Smith, just like the candidate in the Jimmy Stewart movie — decided to try just that. With no money, no political support from established party types and with an army of young volunteers, the educator mounted a race in the Democratic primary for a St. Louis-area congressional seat.

Russ Carnahan, scion of a Missouri political dynasty, was also in the race, and it’s a measure of Carnahan’s apparent lack of sizzle and Smith’s indefatigable energy that Smith, who was initially dismissed by other candidates and by the press, ended up being a credible candidate. Even if you’re not a political junkie, this documentary offers a sliver of hope that a candidate with no money for negative TV ads but lots of energy, yard signs and caffeinated volunteers can accomplish something in politics.

On the downside, “Mr. Smith” is far too long and doesn’t do a good job of tracking Smith’s progress to the front rank of candidates or putting the race in a local or national context.

The Facebook Group for the movie is here There are a bunch of still shots there as well–fortunately, Matt left out my brief shot in the movie.  I didn’t look good.  David Loebsack is in a couple scenes, as are several folks from the Chicago area.
MySpace here 

Perhaps if he claimed to be the father of Anna Nicole’s Daughter

Obama on the news media:

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While Obama is certainly getting a fair amount of press even if much of it is half-assed coverage, this reminds me of 2000 when Bill Bradley suggested to the press that he rob a bank to get some coverage.

The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American DreamThe Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream

Who Can Mutter More to Themselves

Me or Rich:

Next, you “experts” assume that just because viable, credible black candidates end up winning overwhelming majorities of black votes that polls currently showing Hillary Clinton leading Obama among African Americans are somehow important.

Wrong again.

In Illinois, at least, large numbers of black voters tend to take their time making up their minds. In political parlance, they ”break late.”

Ten months before the March 2004 U.S. Senate primary (about where we are now before the Iowa caucuses), Obama’s own polls showed him winning just 34 percent of the black vote. About a month before the primary, African-American voters began ”breaking” in large numbers to his candidacy. As they began focusing on the campaign, black voters saw he was viable, liked his message and a significant percentage finally realized he was African American. He ended up winning just about all their votes.

This same pattern has been repeated time and time again during the past 25 years here. Harold Washington didn’t start off his campaign with the majority of black support against a white female with a huge war chest and the powers of patronage and incumbency, but he certainly ended that way.

Like Byrne, Hillary Clinton is almost universally known and has a strong record of backing issues important to many Democratic African-American voters. Obama is far less known. It’s perfectly natural that, right now, many black voters are siding with Clinton. But, if Obama’s candidacy remains viable through early next year, I’d bet that the vast majority of African-American voters will end up with him.

To recap, because I know you’re all very busy: Black leadership endorsements of white candidates over black opponents are not necessarily important because they don’t automatically translate into black votes; and black voters take their time deciding whether to vote for a fellow African American, but if that candidate looks like a potential winner, they usually end up voting for him or her.

I hope this helps.

And I mean this as a compliment to Rich, none of this is new and anyone who knows the first thing about African-American voting patterns understands the above.  The amazing thing is that Rich had to write it.
Hence, your national press corps is filled with morons.   Seriously, the national press works on nothing except gossip and conventional wisdom that has no historical basis.  It would be malpractice in most fields.

Keyes’ Company: IR Version for the day

John Ruskin, he of Barack Obama really must of have gone to a madrassa regardless of evidence and the historical impossibility fame, attacks Democrats supporting Halvorson and Jakobbsen’s bills to mandate the HPV vaccine.

The arguments about like one might find in a Junior High term paper, but let’s look at his charges.

First he claims the mandate is anti-choice and here he could be correct if the bills didn’t include a simple opt out procedure of writing the school to say the parent or guardian chooses not to have their child vaccinated. As I’ve said, I think mandating insurance coverage of the vaccine would probably be adequate, but it’s hardly a high burden to opt out of the vaccine.

In terms of corporate welfare, does anyone think that Halvorson isn’t doing this because she believes it? Seriously–one can disagree with her on many grounds, but her interest in the subject is personal, not because she got a donation.

But here’s the gem:

Democrats are anti-science: Democrats refuse to accept the overwhelming scientific evidence that the HPV vaccination is not ready for market. Both the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) have publicly come out against this vaccine. AAFP said it was “premature” to consider HPV mandates because “long-term safety with widespread use” needs to be clarified. AAFP President Rick Kellerman, MD, said problems can crop up with a vaccine after it goes to market. He cited as an example Rotashield, which was FDA approved in 1998 to immunize against rotavirus but withdrawn from the market a year later after 76 cases of intussusception were reported. And Dr. Joseph A. Bocchini, MD, chair of the AAP’s Committee on Infectious Diseases, agreed that “it’s too early to consider mandates. There are other priorities that are more important right now.”

This is where it’s hard to tell if Ruskin is lying, stupid, or both:

American Academy of Family Physicians

“The AAFP feels it is premature to consider school entry mandates for human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) vaccine until such time as the long term safety with widespread use, stability of supply, and economic issues have been clarified.”

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), have recommendations for the use of human papillomavirus vaccine (HPV) which calls for routine vaccination with three doses of HPV for females 11-12 years of age. The vaccination series can be started in females as young as 9 years of age. Catch-up vaccination is recommended for females 13-26 years of age who have not been vaccinated previously or who have not completed the full vaccine series. These recommendations can be accessed on the Recommended Adolescent Immunization Schedule (PDF file: 1 page/89KB; More information on PDF files) and the Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule.

Recently, there has been increasing state level action considering mandating HPV vaccination with proof of vaccination required for school attendance. Several issues should be considered regarding a mandated school attendance requirement. These include that HPV does not adhere to the public health model for control of infectious disease in a school setting. (e.g. measles, chicken pox); a universal school attendance requirement would come as a sudden significant cost that may not be able to be paid for by patients, state public health departments, and the healthcare system; and assurance of an adequate HPV supply for such a sudden increased demand and ability to administer it.

CDC, AAFP, and AAP all recommend the vaccine for girls age 11 and 12.  They do feel it is ready for market. The distinction is that they don’t think it should be mandated yet which is prudent for several reasons as they mention.

The next nugget Ruskin tries to throw out there is that HPV is simply the result if irresponsible actions so we shouldn’t be rewarding irresponsible actions by protecting against them and by doing so one is hurting freedom.  That’s such a mess it’s hard to know where to start.  This is akin to saying we shouldn’t offer bypass surgery to those who eat poorly.


Democrats are obsessed with sex: When it comes to the issue of government mandated HPV vaccine, all the Democrats can focus on is sex. Unable to argue their pro-mandate position on merit, they’ve been forced to throw up a smoke screen that attempts to focus debate solely on the erotic aspect of their proposed legislation. They introduce the issue via Sen. Halverson’s public discussion of private behavior; then take umbrage when the anti-mandate side engages in the debate. They accuse detractors of being obsessed with sex. But the Democrats single-minded focus – to the exclusion of all other debate (e.g. choice, rights, science, profits, etc.) – is an obsession with sex akin to that of a teenager.

What is the erotic part of the legislation?  Halvorson didn’t have a public discussion of private behavior, she had a public discussion of a private medical condition.  Attacking her for that and suggesting she’s a slut would seem to be where the obsession with sex lies.

Keyes’ Company: The Stupid Pool

It’s really hard to choose between all of the morons

David Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, disagreed.

“I don’t think it’s going to fly. I think the people of Illinois made it clear during the petition drive,” Smith said.

The Illinois Family Institute spearheaded an effort last year to place a referendum on the November ballot asking voters if they wanted the state Constitution amended to ban gay marriage. Although well over 300,000 signatures were gathered, state elections officials determined that not enough of them were valid to allow the measure on the ballot.

A poll last summer showed that 40 percent of Illinoisans supported the proposed constitutional amendment. The same poll indicated 51 percent were opposed to gay marriages.

“There’s enough interest in not having marriage devolve into something other than one man and one woman,” Smith said. “I don’t think there is that much interest in the gay community for marriage. They don’t want to be like everyone else.”

I’m glad David is so in touch with the GLBT community.

Today’s Tosser

Tucker Carlson

On the February 19 edition of MSNBC’s Tucker, host Tucker Carlson claimed that Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) faith has become “suddenly conspicuous” — suggesting that Obama has only recently begun addressing his religious background as part of “a very calculated plan on the part of the Democratic Party to win” religious voters in the 2008 presidential race. Later in the program, Jim Wallis, president and executive director of Sojourners/Call to Renewal, stated that he has known Obama for 10 years, saying that Obama is “not new to” speaking publicly about his faith and has “been doing it for a long time.” Carlson did not challenge Wallis’ statement.

As Media Matters for America noted, on the February 7 edition of Tucker, Carlson criticized Obama for belonging to a church Carlson claimed “sounds separatist to me” and “contradicts the basic tenets of Christianity,” a subject Carlson said he was “actually qualified to discuss.”

Obama has been speaking and writing about his faith for years. On Page 294 of his memoir Dreams From My Father (Three Rivers Press, 1995), Obama wrote:

And in that single note — hope! — I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion’s den, Ezekiel’s field of dry bones. Those stories — of survival, and freedom, and hope — became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn’t need to feel shamed about, memories more accessible than those of ancient Egypt, memories that all people might study and cherish — and with which we could start to rebuild. And if part of me continued to feel that this Sunday communion sometimes simplified our condition, that it could sometimes disguise or suppress the very real conflicts among us and would fulfill its promise only through action, I also felt for the first time how that spirit carried within it, nascent, incomplete, the possibility of moving beyond our narrow dreams.

Tucker Carlson is a tool.

Daily Dolt

Whomever let this article through the Sun-Times. 

$100 is about the going rate. While grassroots campaigns tend to rely upon volunteers, it’s very common for campaigns to pay people–it’s a burgeoning business for some political consultants.
Who else gets paid $100 a day for election work?  Election judges in the City of Chicago

Mayor Daley’s campaign is paying college students $100 apiece to get out the vote for the mayor on Election Day — and replace an army of precinct workers diminished by the City Hall hiring scandal.

Mayoral challenger Bill Walls accused the mayor of “buying” student support. He likened the $100 stipends to employment promises made to members of the Hispanic Democratic Organization and other pro-Daley armies at the center of the scandal. The mayor’s former patronage chief and three others were convicted last summer of rigging city hiring.

Look, you are asking people to give up part of their day. Many work for 10-12 hours making the going rate around $10 hour.  It’s great that there are volunteers to do this in some campaigns, but in municipal elections it’s especially tough to find as many as the Mayor is going to want.

It should be taken as a good sign that the Mayor can no longer call upon the patronage machine.   If anything the quotes by Walls and Brown show how bad of candidates they really are.