And perhaps you might remember our review of the Todd Rundgren/Joe Jackson/Ethel concert at the Beacon in April of 2005. Ethel is a string quartet that, for lack of a better term, rocks.
Well then, this past December Jill and Ethel collaborated for a show at Joe's Pub. Around that time they did some in-studio recordings at Fordham University's WFUV-FM.. This one is Jill's "Mexican Wrestler." Its the SOD.
Labels: The tunes
The day after the 2006 mid-term elections, the race to ’08 began, kicking off what has become a 2-year campaign season. The presidential campaign has never been nearly this long; Bill Clinton announced his candidacy on October 3, 1991; Mario Cuomo, a potential frontrunner, announced he would not run two months later. So at this point in the 1992 presidential election, Dem frontrunners probably looked like: Cuomo, Bradley, Jesse Jackson (!), Jay Rockefeller, Al Gore (who decided not to run), and Dick Gephardt. Most Americans had not heard of Bill Clinton. And wouldn’t for another 8 months.
Two years before he was president of the
What are the odds that the next president of the United States is a relative unknown who has not yet announced his intent to explore the feasibility of considering an announcement that he formally plans to decide whether to run or not? Slim, right?
About all this, 2 things:
1. If history tells us anything, it is that the polls and pundit opinions this far out mean absolutely nothing. It is foolish to conclude that the race comes down to Obama or Hillary versus McCain or Rudy, just because they are the frontrunners 21 months before the election. Right now we are measuring something far closer to name recognition than actual likelihood of vote.
2. I think we can say with certainty that the 2-year campaign cycle is here to stay. Some have speculated that the race has started so early because a sweeping disillusionment with Bush has made Americans yearn for the next administration. And too, the new laws that require you to announce you might announce in order to start raising money have lengthened the cycle. Whatever. The point is, this isn’t the kind of thing that is likely to get undone. I mean, I remember when Christmas started the day after Thanksgiving. Now it starts the day after Halloween. I’m sure we’re moving toward a Christmas season that kicks off on Labor Day.
For those of us who follow politics like its sports, this is great news. It’s like when they made the baseball playoffs longer by adding a round. More news to follow, more games to watch. Is it good for the country? Who cares? It guarantees there’s always something to watch on cable!
But it also means that, as Tom Vilsack found out, raising money is even more important now. In fact, to some extent the campaign is to see who can raise money, not to see who can win the hearts and minds of Americans. Obama just made a bigger splash raising money in
Herewith, APW’s first quadrennial presidential run-down.
Hillary Clinton: The frontrunner. She wins all the polls, she has the money, and she has the organization. She has everything a candidate needs on paper. Very soon though, we are going to find out that you don’t win elections on paper, that polls this early are measuring name recognition and nothing else. She does not come off as an expert on the issues, she doesn’t stand for anything in particular, she doesn’t instill a warm feeling of confidence, she doesn’t win over converts when she speaks, she comes off abrasive, she has never debated a meaningful opponent in a major forum, she has yet to engage in the retail politics of baby kissing and rib eating. Very soon—like after the CNN debates in
Barack Hussein Obama: He’s SO articulate and clean! Seriously, here’s what I think Biden meant to say about him: that Obama is the first African-American candidate for president who isn’t “the black candidate;” he’s a candidate who happens to be black. His race is a descriptive demographic trait, not the defining characteristic of his appeal. He’s the guy with the ‘zazz, the one
John Edwards: He’s
Dennis Kucinich: Bill Maher made the point recently that there is no such thing as the American left. There seems to be no view that is too far right to be considered mainstream in American politics—including the belief that evolution should be replaced by creationism in our schools-- but we seem to think a left-centrist like Nancy Pelosi is two clicks from Che Guevara (because, you know, she’s from “San Francisco!” Nudge nudge wink wink.) Well, outside of Ralph Nader, there is an American left. And his name is Dennis Kucinich. He’s a decent, earnest guy who voted against the war, and whose ideas deserve a fair hearing. But here’s the thing Dennis: you have to be THIS tall to run.
Al Gore: This is easy. If he runs, he wins. Consider that since 2000, he’s only improved his standing; he turned out to be right on the war (while Bush was drawing a line is the sand on Iraq and WMD, Gore was warning that a war would have lingering consequences and result in a quagmire; it was portrayed in the press as sour grapes, but turns out he was spot on). He was right about the environment (and now there is an actual consensus among the world’s scientists that global warming exists, and that it is 90% likely that man is exacerbating the problem.) He might win both a Nobel Prize and an Oscar this year; he’s a stone cold lock for the Oscar. And oh yeah, all this after actually WINNING the popular vote in 2000, so it isn’t as if his starting position is too shabby. He says he isn’t planning to run, but he can get in late, and within days raise a ton of cash, suck all the air out of the room, and catapult to the pole position. Many are speculating about him using his Oscar acceptance speech tonight to announce. It is sort of a fantasy, but listen to the ovation he gets; if he did announce then, it would be Coolest. Announcement. Ever. Again: if he runs, he’s the next president.
Bill Richardson: I have a friend who says
Joe Biden: Our guy here at APW. He has the tremendous asset of looking like a president, and he has a great command of the issues. And he has an ability, as my wife points out, to speak about the issues in a simple, compelling fashion that makes them understandable and makes him sound smart yet not patronizing. That’s three powerful assets I like in a leader, and Hillary for example doesn’t have any of them. He also has this going for him: he’s right on
John McCain: This guy has a problem. He was well-liked in 2000 with his Straight Talk Express, and he was—and is—a true crossover candidate, a Republican who Democrats could like. He even disavowed Falwell and Robertson. And therein lies the problem. Because the core of the party’s right wing doesn’t like him, doesn’t trust him, doesn’t see him as a true conservative. So he has to court them. And the more he does—speaking, for example, at Fallwell’s Liberty College—the more he loses his standing with centrists and Dems, the people he will have to appeal to in the general election. I tend to think he, and not Giuliani, is the guy to beat on the Rep side, but like all Rep candidates, he’s going to have a tough time in the general election.
Rudy Giuliani: As a New Yorker, I know just how unlikable and abrasive this guy is. He gets points for losing the comb-over, but the better
Sam Brownback: Credit for his opposition to the surge. He is the social conservative that the conservatives seem to want, and I don’t understand why he doesn’t have more traction. I actually think this guy is a sleeper, and I expect him to have legs if he can raise the dough. He’s one of the guys who will gain ground when the leaders hit the inevitable wall of “we’re sick of these guys” that a 2-year race will inevitably breed. But this is a guy who is in too deep with the zealots, and in a general election he will play like a religious nut.
Mike Huckabee: His faith has a soft edge, he comes off as reasonable, and a lot of Rep pundits like the guy. He'll wear well, and he'll play well. I think he’d be a strong candidate. But let’s face it, no way this country ever sends a guy from
Mitt Romney: Good bloodlines, looks like a president. But there’s the Mormon thing. The religious nuts won’t vote for a different kind of religious nut. And too, he has a problem like Rudy; Giuliani as mayor of NYC, and Romney as governor of
Newt Gingrich: Not running. If he runs, he mat become the candidate with conservative street cred that the party ideologues crave. But I still think he comes off as a guy named Newt.
1. The book on Biden is that he likes to hear himself talk. A LOT. One of the problems with that is that in American politics, if you talk enough (and with a 22-month presidential campaign, you get ample opportunity for talking) you will, invariably, say something stupid that will bite you on the ass. But don't take our word for it, ask John Kerry.
2. Biden referred to Barak Obama as "clean" and "articulate." Ouch. Apparently the implication is that you wouldn't describe, say, Tom Vilsack as clean, because Vilsack is a white guy. And the New York Times ran an article in this past Sunday's Week in Review section about how "articulate" was one of those damning-with-faint-praise words that is, according to D.L. Hughley, more insidious than the "N word," which is now such an important word that we can't say it under any circumstances, not unless we spell it "niggaz" and use it in the context of a hip hop song. (Remember John Lennon's "Woman is the Nigger of the World"? Now "nigger" has become the "cunt" of the 21st century; a word we have imbued with power by making it taboo.)
Sure, Biden messed up. But lost in all of this was the fact that he totally forgot to make another point about Obama, one that speaks to the merits of the charismatic Barak as a presidential candidate, that underscores what a "phenomenon" Obama really is. Biden could have easily mentioned how great it is that Obama can serve in the senate, alongside white women, without incident.
Labels: The politics