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The [Wednesday] Papers

Okay, this is getting way beyond creepy.

"Another wave of mega-airline mergers is ready for take-off. But will Uncle Sam just go along for the ride? Let's hope not," Bob Reed writes.

"A proposed deal is in the works between Delta and Northwest. So is a similar link-up between United and Continental. And don't rule out American finding a partner, too.

"Going forward, however, events are less certain and more dodgy. Indeed, there are enough serious questions and concerns dogging airline combines that it would not be a surprise if a new Administration - whether it was headed by John McCain, Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton - sought to kill these agreements as they seek federal regulatory approval."

Like Beer
"Internet Saves Energy."

Is there anything the Internet can't do?

"Folks, you've been played like a fiddle by people in the media who just plain hate the Clintons," Paul Krugman wrote in The New York Times on Monday. "They tried to take Hillary down over her clothes, her voice, her tears. When none of that worked, they invented a race war.

"There are some perfectly good arguments against Hillary - Iraq, the presence of people like Mark Penn, the big-money Dems in her circle. But this really is Al-Gore-says-he-invented-the-Internet stuff. And it's deeply depressing to see so many progressives fall for it."


Somerby weighs in: "As Krugman notes, this has nothing to do with who you think should win the Democratic nomination. (Our reaction to the last Dem debate: It's a shame that one of these two has to lose.) This isn't about Obama or Clinton - this is about the "butcher of Broadway" [Frank Rich] and his loathsome media pals. For twenty straight months during Campaign 2000, these people "played" you about Al Gore - and Rich kept it up for years after that. But then, Rich has always been a butcher - and butchers play by bloody rules. Just ask the dead of Iraq! The butcher sent them their current war when he pimped, so hard and so dumbly, against vile Candidate Gore."

Speaking of pimping, the usually astute Zay Smith wrote this item for his QT column today:

"So you'd call it . . . ?
"News Item: Hillary Clinton says 'no temporary suspension or half-hearted apology is sufficient' punishment for MSNBC correspondent David Shuster, who remarked that it seemed as if Chelsea was 'sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way" by the campaign.'

"Chelsea couldn't be reached for comment, as she was being made available for a lunch date with a 21-year-old superdelegate in Milwaukee."

Mildly amusing, yes, but I'm trying to remember how Mitt Romney's five sons were described when they hit the trail for their dad.

READER COMMENT: Nick Jarmusz writes: "Allow me to refresh your memory on the treatment Mitt Romney s sons received from the media. Last May, while appearing on 60 Minutes, they were asked by Mike Wallace why none of them ever decided to put on a uniform and go to war. Considering that Sen. Clinton actually had an official role in authorizing the war in question, I m surprised that no one has ever asked Chelsea the same question. Actually, on second thought, I m not surprised. Why? Because no one has been able to ask Chelsea ANY questions. Unlike the Romney boys, who made themselves widely available to the media while campaigning for their father, Ms. Clinton is (in her own words) off-limits to the media."

The Tribune editorializes this morning against superdelegates and it's hard to disagree. I'm against them too. But I find all this sudden sanctimony a bit too precious; after all, you can't change the rules in midstream. They shouldn't exist, but then neither should the Electoral College, or the bizarre and undemocratic way delegates are awarded, or just about every way in which caucuses are structured, or manipulating the election calendar like Illinois did to give Obama a timely boost. So it's a bit disingenuous for Obama supporters to whine now, even if they're right on the merits. The situation was reversed in Nevada and so was the Obama campaign. (And don't forget, Obama might end up with more delegates out of Nevada than Clinton despite losing the popular vote to her; I don't hear the Obama campaign offering to give them back.)

The larger lesson is that private political parties can set up their nominating structures any way they like; they do so strategically for their own reasons that have little to do with serving the broader public interest. This is just the latest example of the way the two major parties have an unholy stranglehold on our democracy.


My instinct on Michigan and Florida is also on the Obama side. But the issue is also more complex than it is being portrayed. In Florida, for example, it was a Republican legislature and governor who moved up the primary date; now Democrats there will suffer. And at the time, both the Obama and Clinton campaigns said they would still compete there anyway. (Neither candidate ended up campaigning in Florida, but both had organizations at work there nonetheless.)

Obama has also made several statements along the way that presaged what Clinton is now arguing, the least of which is this one:

"Barack Obama hinted during a Tampa fundraiser Sunday that if he's the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, he'll seat a Florida delegation at the party's national convention, despite national party sanctions prohibiting it," the Tampa Tribune reported last September.

"Obama also appeared to violate a pledge he and the other leading candidates took by holding a brief news conference outside the fundraiser. That was less than a day after the pledge took effect Saturday, and Obama is the first Democratic presidential candidate to visit Florida since then."

The Tampa paper later noted that "Obama was asked during the event about making sure Floridians have a role in the nomination, despite the DNC sanctions and the pledge. Obama responded that he'll 'do what's right by Florida voters.'"


In Michigan, Obama voluntarily removed his name from the ballot in a move every bit as political as Clinton's decision to stay on the ballot (Dennis Kucinich, Christopher Dodd and Mike Gravel also stayed on the ballot).

"Five individuals connected to five different campaigns have confirmed - but only under condition of anonymity - that the situation that developed in connection with the Michigan ballot is not at all as it appears on the surface," the Iowa Independent reported. "The campaign for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, arguably fearing a poor showing in Michigan, reached out to the others with a desire of leaving New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton as the only candidate on the ballot. The hope was that such a move would provide one more political obstacle for the Clinton campaign to overcome in Iowa."

So let's understand that this is all about the audacity of politics, not democracy or hope or change we can believe in.

Trash Receptacle
This time it's the Tribune that sees fit to publish a press release written by City Hall advisors with the mayor's name plopped on top on its Op-Ed page.

At least next time negotiate for something in return, like a straight answer to a single question of the paper's choosing.

The Beachwood Tip Line: Believe.


Posted on February 13, 2008

MUSIC - Britney's IUD.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - Locked Out And Loaded.

BOOKS - Foxconned.


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