JFK knocks Reagan out of the top spot

by lestro

Since we already know why the various candidates are fighting to claim the legacies of former presidents, there’s probably no need to go through that again.

But yesterday’s annual Presidents Day poll may give a little indication of a change on the horizon and good news for the Obama campaign. Last year, the top four most popular presidents were, in order, Lincoln, Reagan, Kennedy and Clinton.

With Lincoln a mythic figure, each of the candidates hitched themselves to a wagon, Clinton stuck with No. 4 whether she likes it or not, every Republican cozied up to Reagan’s mantle as much as he could and then, in a stunning shot to leapfrog the Clintons, the Kennedys themselves bestowed the mantle onto Obama.

While the top four have not changed in this year’s “greatest president” poll, a second poll released yesterday asked Americans which president, living or dead, they would most like to bring back as president to lead the country today.

In that poll, John F. Kennedy came out on top, besting Reagan 23 percent to 22 percent (though technically a dead heat). Clinton comes in third at 13 percent.

The fact that Americans seem to recognize that it is once again time for the sort of change those two president brought can only bode well for the Obama Campaign…

There’s no Clinton in baseball?

by lestro

As part of a promo set for their 2008 series of baseball cards, the Upper Deck card company has released a series of caricatures of the presidential candidates put into famous baseball settings from history.

But after an “informal focus group” rightfully complained about the card portraying Hillary Clinton as Morganna, the kissing bandit, the company thankfully pulled the card from packs.

And rightfully so. It is a bit distasteful.

Here’s the explanation linking the two from the back of the card:

“Hillary Rodham Clinton and Morganna Roberts, baseball’s infamous ‘Kissing Bandit,’ share a similar life strategy: go after what you want and get it!” the card reads. But unlike Roberts, who would dash onto ballfields and kiss players during games, it credits Clinton for generating headlines with “her reforms, initiatives and current bid for the 2008 Democratic Presidential nomination.”

The company plans to re-release in May a new Hillary card (as well as Huckabee, who didn’t expect to be called up to The Show this season), but is certainly backtracking just as pitchers and catchers are reporting for Spring Training.

From the Philadelphia Daily News:

“We wanted this set to be light and humorous and chronicle presidential history,” explained Terry Melia, Upper Deck’s public relations manager. “We married each candidate to a character or moment in baseball history.”

The cards (sprinkled through the regular baseball card set at a ratio of one per every eight packs) feature a caricature of each presidential candidate in a baseball role. Mitt Romney, for example, is seen as Carlton Fisk, waving his famous home run just past the foul pole in the 1975 World Series.

“The others were all male,” Melia said. “Hillary, being the only female in the lineup, we were reaching for comparisons to make.”

Well, they could’ve made her one of the professional women ballplayers honored in the movie, “A League of Their Own.”

Instead they made her Morganna, “The Kissing Bandit.”

For a look at the whole series of “Presidential Predictors” (Including a guest appearance by President Bush), but for some reason missing the Hillary card, click here…

Hillary may be a top-of-the-line VCR, but Obama is a DVD player

A letter to a Hillary Clinton supporter

by lestro

Recently I discovered that a friend of mine is a supporter of Hillary Clinton and what follows is my response, with links added for reference purposes:

Well, thankfully your reasons for Hillary are actual reasons and not just ‘it’s a woman’s time.’ I hate that shit. It’s so anti-feminist. I am all for a woman President. But not Hillary Clinton. and I voted for her for Senator.

Which is where she belongs, working on the legislation, fighting over the details, making the sausage.

Presidents, however, are about vision, leadership and direction. The policy will follow.

Presidents do not write laws, Congress does. The President sets the vision. Think of your city councils. The mayor doesn’t have a vote. The federal government is supposed to function in the same way on a larger scale.

Presidents provide vision and direction by rallying the country around a set of ideas and a series of goals. Congress then responds to that by writing those laws.

And Hillary has no vision. Obama has vision. He’s the first candidate since Reagan to have vision. Don’t get me wrong, I am not a fan of Reagan’s but he definitely changed the entire political culture of the country. We are still living in Reagan’s America. And I, for one, am done with it.

It is time for something different.

Hillary Clinton will lose to John McCain (you asked who needs Reagan? really? He’s the second most popular president ever. Clinton is fourth. Kennedy is third) because the change she offers is essentially the same he offers. There would be changes in policy, sure, but the time of the baby boomers is over. They are all VCRs and Hillary may be a top-of-the-line VCR, but Obama is a DVD player.

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Once you vote black you’ll never go back?

by lestro

With two pretty evenly-matched candidates, the Democratic race seems to hinge, for a lot of people, on the idea of “electability,” the mirage that even though you like one candidate, you can’t vote for them because the other candidate is more likely to win.

It’s what killed the spark and energy of Howard Dean, favoring the middle-of-the-road blandness of John Kerry. And now it has many voters picking Clinton over Obama.

There are many ways electabilty is measured, but one of the most fun ways is money and if that is any indication, the most electable candidate, by a long shot, is Obama.

This is from today’s NYT piece about Washington being the “contest du jour”:

“On Friday morning, Mrs. Clinton’s advisers fought back against impressions that the campaign was short on cash…”

That’s a pretty Clintonian spin on things and not entirely accurate.

I mean, it’s not the impression that the campaign is short of cash. It WAS short of cash, which is why the candidate had to loan herself $5 MILLION.

Campaigns that are not short of cash do not have to take out loans. and even if they did collect $10 million so far in February, that’s really only $5 million because they have to payback the Clintons, right?

Beyond that, $5 million is more than half as much as the Huckabee campaign has spent in total. Hillary has spent more than $100 million to try and convince us she’s the candidate, and the only people who are listening seem to be the same Democratic Party Establishment Elites and Old Guard that make up the 49 percent of democratic primary voters.

And if that’s a problem now, it’s going to be a real bitch in the general election.

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A Reminder for Democrats on Super Tuesday

by lestro

Well it is Super Tuesday, and while we will still probably not have a Democratic Nomination at day’s end, we should be a lot closer to knowing who will be riding the Donkey in November.

The choice seems to come down to this: Hillary wants to talk about policy detail and legislation. Obama wants to talk about larger concepts of vision and hope.

A quick review of the past shows that while Americans tend to favor Democratic policy – and, for the record, most of them seem to work better in the long run than Republican legislation – we still tend to elect Republicans as President.

Why? Because they apparently understand the electorate better, as well as the way the system is set up: policy and legislation are for Congress. Presidents are about vision and leadership.

Presidents, despite what they may say during the campaigns, do NOT write legislation, Congress does. The President should set the tone and the agenda, but not write laws.

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I see your Kennedy and raise you a Reagan

by lestro

There is no bigger indication of the failure of the Bush Administration than the fact that not a single candidate is trying to claim the Bush mantle and legacy. He’s a pariah right now with approval numbers hovering at 30 percent.

And rightfully so.

But that is not stopping the candidates from trying to assume the legacies and mantles of presidents past.

As I struggle with watching the Republican candidates genuflect at the temple of Reagan, I recognize the necessity.

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