Clinton Challenged by Obama and Richardson

While Hillary Clinton remains a strong front runner, her nomination does not appear to be a sure thing. The Evans-Novak Pollitical Report writes that Obama seems to have Clinton right where he wants her:

Obama-Clinton: Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) seems to have Sen. Hillary Clinton right where he wants her. Her campaign is constantly reacting to what he does.

  1. This includes her recent appearance in Selma, Ala., in which she reinvented her own past. Clinton, speaking at Selma’s First Baptist Church on the 42nd anniversary of the “bloody Sunday” freedom march there, declared: “As a young girl [age 16], I had the great privilege of hearing Dr. King speak in Chicago. The year was 1963. My youth minister from our church took a few of us down on a cold January night to hear [King]. … And he called on us, he challenged us that evening to stay awake during the great revolution that the civil rights pioneers were waging on behalf of a more perfect union.”
  2. That all sounds great, except that the young Hillary went on the following year to become a supporter of Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Clinton’s commencement address, made at Wellesley as a student, did not mention civil rights. She and her handlers are so afraid of Obama that they were implying the existence long ago of a teenager in Chicago’s suburbs who never really existed.
  3. Clinton’s speech in Nashua, N.H., was a clumsy attempt to return the focus to herself as the “barrier-breaking” candidate instead of Obama. It was not exactly the comparison of herself to JFK that it was called in some headlines, but it was definitely a ham-fisted attempt to assert that she was an underdog seeking to overcome a major cultural barrier. The comparison she made, however, only highlights the fact that Obama’s inauguration would break really huge barriers, whereas hers would be what everyone has been expecting anyway — four more years of Clinton.
  4. Obama gave some rare praise to President Bush at a dinner hosted by the National Council of La Raza. Obama praised President Bush for having his heart “in the right place” on immigration reform. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) also addressed attendees. In a minor incident, two guests had their cars stolen during the event at the National Building Museum — the valets were held up at gunpoint.

Bill Richardson is also of concern to Clinton:

Although emissaries of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) are still preaching the inevitability of her nomination, Democrats in general do not want the process closed or the field limited. There is new interest in New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson. As a Westerner and a Mexican-American, Richardson is seen as strong in the newly decisive swing states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and his own New Mexico. His hope is the new Nevada caucuses, which are scheduled between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

They also believe Edwards has been slipping as this has been turning more into a Clinton vs. Obama race, but Ann Coulter’s slur has helped Edwards among Democrats:

Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) had been slipping as the Obama-Hillary contest became a two-way race, but he received help at CPAC when columnist Ann Coulter used the term “faggot” during a reference to Edwards. So hated is Coulter on the left that it was probably the best publicity he’d received in months. His campaign was soliciting donations over the event almost immediately after it occurred, sending e-mails to supporters that included a video clip of Coulter’s insulting him.

New Yorkers Prefer Bloomberg to Giuliani

Before the Republican Party’s move to the extreme right I would often attempt to find primary candidates from each party to root for to win their party’s nomination. Unlike some partisans who hope that the other party picks the weakest candidate, I hope that each party picks the candidate who would make the best President, knowing that either party could win. This year I’m not thrilled with the choices from either major party, and it is especially difficult to find a Republican who would be tolerable. I would love it if I could believe the hype that Rudy Giuliani is a libertarian-leaning social liberal and problem solver who represents competent management. The more I see of him, the less I can see him that way.

I’ve already discussed the non-libertarian leanings of Giuliani, such as here and here. A Quinnipiac Poll released today raises further questions as to how good a mayor he really was. Giuliani might be called “America’s Mayor” but New Yorkers don’t seem to want him. New Yorkers believe that Michael Bloomberg is a better mayor than Giuliani by a 46% to 16% margin. When asked who would make a better President, New Yorkers choose Bloomberg 46% to 31%. With Bloomberg rumored to be considering a third party bid, there could be an interesting race should Giuliani win the GOP nomination. We may even see an all New York race if Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, a prospect which would get me to look very closely at Bloomberg despite the odds against a third party candidate.

In other bad news for Giuliani today, reports that Giuliani’s firm lobbies for Citgo, which is controlled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Emails Show Political Motiviation For Firing Prosecutors

The scandal over the firing of federal prosecutors on political grounds is showing the significance of the Democratic take over of Congress and the value of restoring checks and balances on the Executive branch as envisioned by the founding fathers. The current Congressional investigations would not have taken place if Congress remained under GOP control

For Richard Nixon the smoking gun was the tapes. For George Bush the smoking gun might turn out to be a more modern form of communication–email. McClatchy has posted copies of email communication between the White House and the Justice Department which show the plans for this politicization of the Justice Department:

Internal memos between the Justice Department and the White House show that administration officials were determined to bypass Congress in selecting replacements for eight U.S. attorneys who were forced to resign. The memos include a five-step plan for executing the dismissals and dealing the anticipated political firestorm.

“We’re a go for the US Atty plan,” White House aide William Kelley notified the Justice Department on Dec. 4, three days before seven of the eight U.S. attorneys were told to step down. “WH leg, political, and communications have signed off and acknowledged that we have to be committed to following through once the pressure comes.”

“WH leg” refers to the White House legislative affairs office, which works closely with members of Congress.

Members of Congress have expressed outrage over the dismissals for a variety of reasons. Some suspect that the ousted prosecutors were fired as part of an effort to exert political influence over federal investigators. Others resent the administration’s efforts to install new prosecutors without Senate confirmation hearings.

Still others accuse the Justice Department launching an unseemly smear campaign against the ousted prosecutors.

While U.S. attorneys are political appointees – all of the ousted prosecutors were appointed by Bush – they are supposed to carry out their duties without political interference. White House officials have acknowledged that Karl Rove, Bush’s chief political adviser, served as a conduit for complaints about U.S. attorneys across the country.

“The attorney general has a responsibility to put up a fire wall to keep politics out of the Department of Justice,” said former U.S. Attorney H.E. “Bud” Cummins, who was forced out to make room for a Rove protege. “There are political people in politics who are an inherent part of the process. There is no place for them at the department of justice. When things like this happen it costs the department its credibility.”

The internal administration documents, which were released by the House Judiciary Committee, show that Rove’s office also arranged for two New Mexico Republicans to deliver their complaints about former U.S. Attorney David Iglesias directly to the Justice Department in June 2006

McClatchy has more here, with more at The New York Times and The Washington Post.

While Congressional investigations may be necessary to obtain all the relevant information, it was the liberal blogosphere which kept this story alive. Jay Carney at Time attributes the blogosphere with proving he was intially wrong in underestimating the importance of this story. He wrote, “The blogosphere was the engine on this story, pulling the Hill and the MSM along. As the document dump proves, what happened was much worse than I’d first thought. I was wrong. Very nice work, and thanks for holding my feet to the fire.”

One sign of the lack of a good defense for their actions is that Republicans are falsely claiming that Clinton did this too. The Carpetbagger Report reviews this claim.