An Obama/Kennedy Ticket?

Back in 2000 George Bush had Dick Cheney conduct a search for a running mate. Dick Cheney looked far and wide for possible choices, and picked himself. This year Caroline Kennedy is helping Obama look at potential running mates. In light of the example from Dick Cheney, I have joked elsewhere that perhaps Kennedy would recommend herself and run with Obama.

While I certainly do not mean to compare Caroline Kennedy to Dick Cheney in any meaningful respect, maybe this scenario isn’t totally far fetched. A blogger at has actually proposed that Kennedy be Obama’s running mate.

So here’s my question. How about Caroline Kennedy for Vice President?? She’s as knowledgeable as the others. Couldn’t this be “her time” too? She’s worked her entire life on behalf of those less fortunate, as Hillary claims to have done. She’s certainly weathered difficulty, as Hillary claims to have done. And she’s a woman!!

For months I’ve been hearing Hillary call herself a victim. I’ve heard her mantra that bouncing back from adversity is “the story of her life.” Each time I hear it, I wonder just what her misfortunes have been. From my perspective, Hillary’s life seems pretty damn good. She grew up in a toney neighborhood in Chicago. She went to excellent schools. She attended Ivy League Universities. She married the man of her dreams and “chose” to stay with him. She did lose her father, but thankfully her mother and brothers are alive. She has a wonderful daughter, legions of fans, enormous intelligence and apparent good health. She also has great power – which she has not been wont to use – in any way that suits her. So why is she complaining??

Let’s contrast Hillary and Caroline:

Unlike Hillary, Caroline lost her father when she was only five. Less than five years later she lost her surrogate father, Bobby Kennedy, too. She grew up in the lens of the camera, which she never sought. And she never misused her celebrity. She had the freedom of wealth – but it never lessened the tragedies Caroline publicly had to endure.

Caroline lost her mother to cancer and her brother and sister-in-law in a plane. It’s still extraordinary to recall the strength and dignity Caroline showed when she lost her brother, John. Like millions of Americans, and others around the world, I, too, suffered over the loss of John. And like millions of others, I was buoyed by the Kennedys – especially by Caroline and Ted. While the rest of us wallowed in the loss of our Prince, Caroline rode her bike and showed us the way to move on. We needed her then. We need her again.

Some readers may doubt that Caroline Kennedy has the credentials to lead. But I believe she has always led – just more quietly than most. She’s learned from the best. Her uncle is the Lion of the Senate. Her Aunt Eunice began the Special Olympics. Her Uncle Sarge created the Peace Corps. She’s steeped in a legacy of public service. She has power and doesn’t abuse it. She serves on foundations and boards – all for the public good. She’s on the Commission on Presidential Debates and on the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and she’s a founder of the Profiles In Courage Award. She’s traveled globally and lived abroad. She’s an adviser to the Harvard Institute of Politics, and though she doesn’t hold political office, she’s worked with and for those who have, and for those who still do. She’s brilliant and universally respected. There is little negative to be said about Caroline.

I don’t care at all about the race or gender of the candidates, but I do care about their ideology and would prefer a strong civil libertarian. Even before reaching the conclusion of her post, one thought I had on the subject was that I do happen to own two books written by Caroline Kennedy–both on civil liberties issues. While I don’t know anything about the full range of Kennedy’s beliefs, my immediate reaction is certainly to prefer someone who has written books on the Bill of Rights and the right to privacy, as opposed to a woman more interested in expanding the nanny state while showing too little regard for civil liberties.

I’m not ready to endorse Caroline Kennedy to be vice president, but I would certainly consider the idea.

Bush Lied, People Died

After a long delay the the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the run up to the war was finally released. The full reports (pdf) are available here:

Report on Whether Public Statements Regarding Iraq by U.S. Government officials Were Substantiated by Intelligence Information

Report on Intelligence Activities Relating to Iraq Conducted by the Policy Counterterrorism Evaluation Group and the Office of Special Plans Within the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy

Talking Points Memo has listed these key points from a press release from Senator Jay Rockefeller’s office:

–Statements and implications by the President and Secretary of State suggesting that Iraq and al-Qa’ida had a partnership, or that Iraq had provided al-Qa’ida with weapons training, were not substantiated by the intelligence.

–Statements by the President and the Vice President indicating that Saddam Hussein was prepared to give weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups for attacks against the United States were contradicted by available intelligence information.

–Statements by President Bush and Vice President Cheney regarding the postwar situation in Iraq, in terms of the political, security, and economic, did not reflect the concerns and uncertainties expressed in the intelligence products.

–Statements by the President and Vice President prior to the October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate regarding Iraq’s chemical weapons production capability and activities did not reflect the intelligence community’s uncertainties as to whether such production was ongoing.

–The Secretary of Defense’s statement that the Iraqi government operated underground WMD facilities that were not vulnerable to conventional airstrikes because they were underground and deeply buried was not substantiated by available intelligence information.

–The Intelligence Community did not confirm that Muhammad Atta met an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in 2001 as the Vice President repeatedly claimed.

Preparing For The Rapture

Wired reports on how the internet helps true believers prepare for the rapture. One offer sounds a bit silly but harmless to those willing to throw away $40 per year:

For just $40 a year, believers can arrange for up to 62 people to get a final message exactly six days after the Rapture, that day when — according to Christian end times dogma — Christians will be swept up to heaven, while doubters are left behind to suffer seven years of Tribulation under a global government headed by the Antichrist.

“You’ve Been Left Behind gives you one last opportunity to reach your lost family and friends for Christ,” reads the website, which is purportedly run “by Christians, for Christians.” The domain name is registered through an anonymous proxy service, presumably to protect the proprietors from the Forces of Darkness, and not because they’re up to anything shady.

The e-mails will be triggered when three of the site’s five Christian staffers “scattered around the U.S.” fail to log in for six days in a row — a system that incorporates a nice margin of safety, should two of the proprietors turn out to be unrepentant sinners or atheists.

The next offer sounds more alarming:

Users can also upload up to 150 megabytes of documents, which will be protected by an unidentified encryption algorithm until the Rapture, then released to up to 12 nonbelievers of your choice. The site recommends that you use that storage to house sensitive financial information.

“In the encrypted portion of your account you can give them access to your banking, brokerage, hidden valuables, and powers of attorneys,” the site says. “There won’t be any bodies, so probate court will take seven years to clear your assets to your next of kin. Seven years, of course, is all the time that will be left. So, basically the Government of the Antichrist gets your stuff, unless you make it available in another way.”

It sounds really bright to upload a road map to all your financial assets, along with powers of attorneys, to a web site, especially one that “hides behind an anonymous domain registration service, and doesn’t list a single corporate officer or employee by name on its website.”

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McCain Trails Obama as Bush Falls to New Low

The latest CBS News poll has bad news both for the current Republican president and the Republican who seeks to replace him. Obama leads McCain 48 percent to 42 percent. We can’t count on this holding as polls this far out have not had very good predictive value in the past. Look at George H. W. Bush, Michael Dukakis, and John Kerry’s early numbers. Fortunately there are many factors at work this year which give Obama the edge and which will make it hard for McCain to come back from behind.

One of the factors making it difficult for McCain is the unpopularity of George Bush. He has fallen to a new all time low in this polls at 25 percent. If compared with Gallup’s historical findings, he is barely ahead of the low points for Richard Nixon (24 percent) and Harry Truman (22 percent). He has fallen below Jimmy Carter’s all time low of 26 percent.

One possibly surprising number in the polls is that McCain leads Obama by eight percent among registered independents. This is probably due to many independents registering as Democrats in recent years. This occurred both as part of the general move from the Republican to the Democratic party, along with many independents registering as Democrats to vote for Obama in states where independents could not vote in primaries.