POLITICAL WIRE’S HEADLINES – 8/11

Clinton’s Daughter Will Introduce Her at Convention

Sen. Hillary Clinton “wants to be introduced by her daughter Chelsea at the Democratic National Convention, and party insiders say Barack Obama has signed off on the idea,” the New York Daily News has learned.

“The New York senator will deliver the Denver convention’s keynote address in primetime Aug. 26, a plum speaking slot that indicates just how much Obama wants to keep his vanquished primary opponent happy.”

Crisis in Georgia

The following guest post is from Dan Conley, a former speechwriter for Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder and Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley.

While most of America is distracted with the Olympics and the Edwards scandal, the world is inching closer to a massive, destructive war between Russia and Georgia, one that could possibly draw in Ukraine as well.  So far, the domestic political implications of this conflict have been minimal, but the actions of both campaigns raise troubling questions about how either Senator would perform as Commander in Chief.

For Barack Obama, the problem is foreign policy incoherence.  Obama has become a willing pawn of foreign policy experts — to the point that he’s embraced Georgia’s entry into NATO without understanding the full implications of that strategy.  As we now see, embracing Georgia in NATO means a willingness to defend that country in a war against Russia.  Yet Obama’s response has been all over the map, matching consensus global opinion. At first, he blamed both Georgia and Russia, then called for Russia to withdraw, now he’s demanding an immediate cease fire.  Events are in the saddle and Obama is going along for the ride — this matches President Bush’s approach to the crisis, and that’s not a good thing.

For John McCain, the problem isn’t coherence, it’s bellicosity.  McCain has been the strongest global voice behind Georgia since the shooting began. The problem is, when does the McCain tough rhetoric end and World War III begin?  The McCain team will argue that the only way to deter Russia, Iran and other global aggressors from taking actions like this is to stand up to them forcefully, with credibility.  The problem is the second half of that equation — with U.S. troops in Iraq and even Georgia unsure how to get their 2,000 Iraqi troops back home in time to make a difference, how exactly would the U.S. help Georgia in this conflict, short of starting an all-out war with the second biggest nuclear power?  At this moment, the U.S. has no credible way to threaten Russia.  So unless McCain is willing to get the U.S. in the middle of every armed conflict on earth — giving new definition to his promise of “more wars” — a McCain Presidency would mean that we’re at least going to enter a new age of foreign policy brinkmanship that will demand a military sufficient to fight these battles.  That means either getting out of Iraq or reinstating a draft, because the military today is incapable of matching McCain’s rhetoric.

One final point: yesterday, one Georgia official claimed that Russian jets targeted the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, which carries roughly one percent of the world’s oil to Turkey, bypassing Russian ports.  The strike, if it actually happened, was unsuccessful.  There has been no independent confirmation of the attack and considering how easy it’s been for Iraqi insurgents to knock out pipelines over the last five years, one would assume that if Russia really wanted this pipeline out of service, it would be blown to bits by now.  Yet despite the dubious nature of these reports, the Drudge Report threw up a headline this morning entitled The Pipeline War and now every American news source has followed their lead.  All based on one man’s unconfirmed report.  Such is the ridiculous state of American news coverage in 2008 and another reason why the oil futures markets have become completely insane this year.

Hot, Flat and Crowded

Here’s one to add to your Fall reading list: Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution — and How It Can Renew America by Thomas Friedman.

“Friedman takes a fresh and provocative look at two of the biggest challenges we face today: America’s surprising loss of focus and national purpose since 9/11; and the global environmental crisis, which is affecting everything from food to fuel to forests. In this groundbreaking account of where we stand now, he shows us how the solutions to these two big problems are linked — how we can restore the world and revive America at the same time.”

“Friedman makes it clear that the green revolution we need is like no revolution the world has seen. It will be the biggest innovation project in American history; it will be hard, not easy; and it will change everything from what you put into your car to what you see on your electric bill. But the payoff for America will be more than just cleaner air. It will inspire Americans to something we haven’t seen in a long time — nation-building in America — by summoning the intelligence, creativity, boldness, and concern for the common good that are our nation’s greatest natural resources.”

McCain Considers Lieberman for Veep

Sen. Joe Lieberman, “the former Democratic vice-presidential nominee who has endorsed John McCain, is being vetted as a potential running mate for the Republican presidential hopeful,” according to the Financial Times.

“Mr Lieberman, who has campaigned for the Arizona senator, has long been ­considered an unconventional but plausible choice for Mr McCain.”

National Security May Still Be Top Issue

The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America's Finest HourThe following guest post is from Andrei Cherny, a former speechwriter for Vice President Al Gore and Sen. John Kerry, and the author of The Candy Bombers

One of the great misconceptions of political junkies and historians alike is that Harry Truman won reelection in 1948 with a “Give ‘Em Hell” campaign of populist economics and paeans to the New Deal. Or that he won because of the farm crisis or by appealing to labor voters. Or that he won because, in the famous quote, Thomas Dewey looked like the little man on the wedding cake. All these, it is true, played a part. But, as I write in The Candy Bombers: The Untold Story of the Berlin Airlift and America’s Finest Hour, it turns out that Harry Truman won in 1948 on the issue of national security — by exploiting a very real fear of war.

The 1948 campaign was the first modern campaign in so many ways and some of the ways in which national security was used in 1948 could be ripped from the political noise of our post-9/11 campaigns. Today it is jihadism, then it was communism. The RNC chair at the time said Americans had a choice “basically between Communism and Republicanism” and that the Democratic Party’s heart had been captured by “a radical group devoted to Sovietizing the United States.” Republican campaign pamphlets showed the Democratic donkey wearing a turban decorated with a hammer and sickle. Harry Truman got in on the act and continually castigated Dewey and the Republicans as tools of the Communist Party.

Even with the current economic difficulties, Americans look to the President first and foremost as the Commander-in-Chief. Democrats have to be able to show their bona fides on national security in 2008, just as they did in 1948.

McCain Limits Media Access

“There’s no question that John McCain has made a major change in his media strategy. The candidate that once spent hours cracking jokes with reporters, now significantly limits access for the national press corps,” according to Michael Calderone.

“The presumptive Republican nominee spent a total of 38 minutes talking to print, television, magazine, and radio reporters from national publications over the past week, according to the count on my recorder.”

Quote of the Day

“I always wondered whether sometime a political protester would hit me with a pie in the face. I never thought a friendly birthday cake would attack me from the rear.”

— Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), quoted by the St. Petersburg Times, on the fallout from the crash of the Straight Talk Express. 

Timing Suggests Conventional Veep Picks

A great point by Walter Shapiro: “Deciding when you pick a vice president shapes whom you pick. By waiting until the eve of their conventions, both Obama and McCain will face nearly irresistible pressures to pick nominees who are safe, secure and a trifle soporific. There is nothing like the onset of a convention to create a groundswell for a conventional vice president.”

Cheney Will Attend Republican Convention

Despite reports claiming that Vice President Dick Cheney would not attend the Republican convention in September, Cheney’s office just confirmed to NBC Newsthat he will in fact attend and will speak to the delegates.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Candidates, National, Politics

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