Thursday, February 28, 2008

William F. Buckley Jr.

Weird week. Two annoying conservatives expired (Mecham and Buckley). While sympathetic to their families, it's not necessarily a time to sugercoat their influence.

William F. Buckley Jr. as a Progressive Role Model by Matt Zeitlin
William F. Buckley Jr, who died today, was mostly known for founding and editing National Review and being a leading conservative intellectual, journalist and thinker for more than 5 decades. But before founding National Review, he wrote God and Man at Yale. He was in many ways the original conservative critic of the academy. God and Man was a polemic against the liberal atheism, or at least agnoisticism, among Yale faculty. Buckley anticipated those right wing critics who today think that college campuses are much too liberal, except he was doing it 50 years ago.

But more importantly, Buckley should be a model to all of us young writers looking to influence the political scene. Buckley wrote God and Man when he was 25, and founded the most influential political magazine of the last half-century when he was 29. And even though he was a conservatives’ conservative, he still appreciated youthful vigor and energy in his movement that he did some much to shape. He was an enthusiastic Goldwater supporter and helped found Young Americans for Freedom in 1960 so as to channel youthful energy into movement conservatism. In modern liberal blog terms, he was some freaky combination of Matt Yglesias, Markos Moulistas and Rick Perlstein – except conservative.

There's a whole lot anyone can learn from Buckley the man - he was kind, urbane, sensitive, intelligent and an amazing stylist. But we liberals and progressives rightly are repulsed by his politics. But there's also Buckley the institution builder. And he was greatly responsible for turning conservatism into the institutional force it is. And he was able to do it by providing ideological coherence and also by energizing and deploying young people to be proud, excited conservatives. But he also viewed conservatism as distinct from the Republican party and was ready to abandon the party when he thought it wasn't conservative enough. He should be the model for what we self-styled progressives are doing today - building a set of institutions to make progressivism a lasting force in American politics. And while many of us are supporters of the Democratic party, we recognize that our movement has to be more than a partisan one. In short, we need to be like Buckley to reverse the gains him and his movement have chalked up in the last 50 years.

I wouldn't quite go as far as Zeitlin to compliment Buckley. Buckley wasn't quite as kind as he makes out. Bill was even known to have lit into Gore Vidal and Noam Chomsky pretty good on occasion. But Zeitlin does show some of the areas where Buckley can give us a lesson:

- the need to build permanent institutions and publications that further the progressive movement

- the need to remember that erudition and activism are not the sole territory of the left

- the need to not necessarily tie your idealogy to a certain political party

- the need to be a good writer and intelligent advocate for your cause

The passing of Buckley reminds me of the importance of not only reading people you agree with but also those you disagree with. I've read books by Limbaugh, O'Reilly, Coulter, Hannity, Buchanan, Ralph Reed, Goldwater, etc. ... and Buckley. Besides being amazed that the first four I listed were even capable of reading, let alone writing a book, it gives one a sense of what you are up against. A little Sun Tzu-ish, I grant you ("Know thy self, know thy enemy"). But smart.

And lastly, it's comforting to know that not all effete Ivy League snobs are liberals.

Friday, February 22, 2008

By the Time I Get to Arizona

It might be tactless to speak ill of the recently deceased, but I couldn't just let the passing of former Arizona Governor Evan Mecham yesterday go by without comment.

After all, Mecham is another in a long line of corrupt and pathetic Republican governors in Arizona. Two of the last three GOP governors here have had to be forcibly removed from office (Fife Symington being the other).

Mecham had a lot to be proud of:
"As governor, Mecham was plagued by controversy and became the first U.S. governor to simultaneously face removal from office through impeachment, a scheduled recall election, and a felony indictment ...

While governor, Mecham became known for statements and actions that were widely perceived as insensitive to minorities. Among these actions were the cancellation of the state's Martin Luther King Day, attributing high divorce rates to working women, and his defense of the word "pickaninny." In reaction to these events, a boycott of Arizona was organized, damaging the state's tourism industry by the cancellation of multiple conventions." (from Evan Mecham on wikipedia)

At least he got a song written about him:

Public Enemy - By the Time I Get to Arizona

I'm countin' down to the day deservin'
Fittin' for a king
I'm waitin' for the time when I can
Get to Arizona
'Cause my money's spent on
The goddamn rent
Neither party is mine not the
Jackass or the elephant
20.000 nig niggy nigas in the corner
Of the cell block but they come
From California
Population none in the desert and sun
Wit' a gun cracker
Runnin' things under his thumb

Starin' hard at the postcards
Isn't it odd and unique?
Seein' people smile wild in the heat
120 degree
'Cause I wanna be free
What's a smilin' fact
When the whole state's racist
Why want a holiday F--k it 'cause I wanna
So what if I celebrate it standin' on a corner
I ain't drinkin' no 40
I B thinkin' time wit' a nine
Until we get some land
Call me the trigger man
Looki lookin' for the governor
Huh he ain't lovin' ya
But here to trouble ya
He's rubbin' ya wrong
Get the point come along
An he can get to the joint
I urinated on the state
While I was kickin' this song
Yeah, he appear to be fair
The cracker over there
He try to keep it yesteryear

The good ol' days
The same ol' ways
That kept us dyin'
Yes, you me myself and I'ndeed
What he need is a nosebleed
Read between the lines
Then you see the lie
Politically planned
But understand that's all she wrote
When we see the real side
That hide behind the vote
They can't understand why he the man
I'm singin' 'bout a king
They don't like it
When I decide to mike it
Wait I'm waitin' for the date
For the man who demands respect
'Cause he was great c'mon
I'm on the one mission
To get a politician
To honor or he's a gonner
By the time I get to Arizona

I got 25 days to do it
If a wall in the sky
Just watch me go thru it
'Cause I gotta do what I gotta do
PE number one
Gets the job done
When it's done and over
Was because I drove'er
Thru all the static
Not stick but automatic
That's the way it is
He gotta get his
Talin' MLK
Gonna find a way
Make the state pay
Lookin' for the day
Hard as it seems
This ain't no damn dream
Gotta know what I mean
It's team against team
Catch the light beam
So I pray
I pray everyday
I do and praise jah the maker
Lookin' for culture
I got but not here
From jah maker
Pushin' and shakin' the structure
Bringin' down the babylon
Hearin' the sucker
That make it hard for the brown
The hard Boulova
I need now
More than ever now
Who's sittin' on my freedah'
Opressor people beater
Piece of the pick
We picked a piece
Of land that we deservin' now
Reparation a piece of the nation
And damn he got the nerve
Another niga they say and classify
We want too much
My peep plus the whole nine is mine
Don't think I even double dutch
Here's a brother my attitude hit 'em
Hang 'em high
Blowin' up the 90s started tickin' 86
When the blind get a mind
Better start and earn while we sing it
There will be the day we know those down and who will go

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Tropic Thunder

I had an interesting experience Tuesday night. The last time Michelle and I went to a movie, a couple of theater personnel came in handing out passes for a free movie. The free movie was an advanced screening for the Ben Stiller directed film, Tropic Thunder. I'd always wanted to be part of a test audience but had not idea how you got into these things. Now, I knew.

So stoked to be part of a test screening, I feared that I might lose my objectivity. Would my brush with fame cloud my vision? I needn't have worried. Tropic Thunder is a turd ... albeit an ambitious one. We were asked to fill out surveys before and after and our every guffaw was dutifully noted by studio types. A bit about the movie:

Ben Stiller says "Tropic Thunder" is a "a comedy about five actors who go on location and find themselves relying on their boot camp experiences when they get stuck in a real war-like situation." Black will play Jeff "Fats" Portnoy, an overweight gross-out comedian, who's forced to kick his drug addiction while filming on location in the jungle. Downey Jr. will play Kirk Lazarus, the greatest actor of his generation and a four-time Oscar winner ... and Stiller plays Speedman.

The movie-within-a-movie turned real premise has been done before (and better) but in a different setting, Galaxy Quest.

This was first experience with an advanced screening. This was actually the first audience viewing of this movie anywhere. Lucky us. At this rate, we'll be the last.

It's trying to be too much. Is it a comedy? Is it a satire? Is it a spoof? Is it an action movie? Is it a drama? It has no idea what it wants to be. It makes fun of movies like Apocalypse Now, Rambo and Platoon and in the same breath celebrates them with vulgar language, violence and gore. All that it manages to do is show why those movies are better than Tropic Thunder. There are as many F-bombs in this movie as any Judd Apatow movie (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up). But there the similarity ends. Apatow is good at the laughs and heart coming organically out of a natural scene. Every attempt at a laugh or profanity in Tropic Thunder seems forced.

The movie also mocks the insecurities and foibles of Hollywood actors (which is not a bad idea for a premise) ... but then those very same actors are in the movie - Tom Cruise, Matthew McConaughey, etc. Is that supposed to be ironic? If it was a better made movie, that would seem clever. But instead, it seems like Stiller is trying to have it both ways. There's a point past which you can't go and still claim any kind of artistic high ground. For example, clips of a movie made by Stiller's character seek to show how he chose to play a mentally handicapped person so he'd be nominated for an Oscar (like Forrest Gump or I am Sam). That would certainly be a valid criticism of a lot of real actors. But then Tropic Thunder milks those same scenes for laughs.

Or another instance is Downey's character who is acting in the movie within a movie in blackface. Wow. That sure was hilarious for C. Thomas Howell in Soul Man ... not. Somehow I can't see Spike Lee being happy about this role.

Again, I understand the point that Stiller is trying to make - that a lot of actors go through ridiculous physical transformations just so that they will be viewed favorably come Oscar time. But I really feel that this film goes too far and celebrates those actual things that it is trying to mock.

There are a lot of cameos in the movie (Nolte, Jon Voight,etc.), most notably Cruise - bald, hairy and in a fat-suit. And played way over-the-top. Think of his master-of-the-muffin character in Magnolia if the guy was 20 years older and had let himself go a bit. It's funny for a minute or two but then you start to get the feeling that this character is really just a part of Cruise's real personality.

Stiller's brand of humor just seems to be dated and tied to the era from which he was first popular - the early 90's. He's obviously got a lot of high-profile friends, but even they can't save this.

I know this movie will probably be edited and tightened up and tweaked before release (Aug 11 last I heard), but I don't think there is anything that they could do that would make me change my view of it. I'm not saying there are not laughs. I think Downey and Black are pretty funny a lot of the time. Just not enough. The movie has already had it's share of troubles - Owen Wilson was originally slated for the McConaughey role. And the movie has been bumped from it's original July release date.

I'm sure I'm violating some kind of protocol reviewing a movie that hasn't came out. But I'll forget about this film if I don't commit my thoughts to digital paper now. As far as I can tell, my review is the first review of this movie anywhere. Though, you will certainly find plenty of self-congratulatory blurbs like this from dubious sources (MTV):

With a cast including Ben Stiller, Robert Downey Jr., Jack Black, and Matthew McConaughey (subbing in for Owen Wilson), it certainly has the pedigree to become a thunderous success. And if a rumored cameo comes together, the film could just cruise to classic status.

"... It’s about a bunch of movies stars, and a rapper/actor, who get cast in this Vietnam War movie and get sent over to Vietnam to make this film," grinned box-office heavyweight Ben Stiller, who directs and stars in the flick.

"Thunderous success", "classic status" ... yeaahhhhhh. Not a whole lot of objectivity there for a film the writer had not even seen. I noticed a couple of commenters on IMDb's page that had saw the same screening as I did ... and loved the movie. Obviously they went drinking before seeing the movie.

If you go see Tropic Thunder in August and hate it, you can't say that I didn't warn you.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Charles Barkley

You gotta love Chuck. He might say some dumb things sometimes, but he's always brutally honest. The contrast between Barkley and a wet noodle like Wolf Blitzer is painfully obvious here:

I absolutely detest people like Wolf Blitzer. In their futile attempts to look impartial and play it safe, they manage to stand for absolutely nothing.

Barkley, however, as a prominent black man living in a largely conservative state, is not afraid to say he's for gay marriage and is pro-choice. Good for you Charles.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Going Green - Update

I haven't updated you lately on our attempts to reduce our ecological footprint, but it's been going well. We've always watched the electricity we used - setting the thermostat lower in winter, higher in summer; having high-efficiency appliances, using CFL's, etc. - so it was a big surprise when we received our year-end electrical usage statement for '07:

For 11 out of 12 months, we had reduced usage from the year before despite the fact that we were already well below the average usage for a house of our size going in. It goes to show you that if you think you are already conserving enough, there is always more room for improvement.

We're in month 3 of having just one car and we are settling into a groove with it. It has us seriously debating whether we need to replace the 2nd car at all. Our fuel costs have went down by about $50 a month, and our car insurance costs by the same amount. And there's been no harmful effect on either of our jobs, or Alex's school. But it's still up in the air. We'll probably give it about another month and will decide for good what we'll do.

Just around the house, our use of cloth napkins and the purchase of bulk, concentrated and good for the environment products has progressed to the point that when we set out our garbage and recycle bins for pick-up each week, the garbage is about a fifth full and the recycle bin is overflowing. Two of our favorite products -- Mrs. Meyer's Dish Soap and Shaklee Get Clean Fresh Laundry.

Alex's fragile little mind has been so warped by our treehugger ways that he is quick to call us on any of our missteps and encourage us back on to the path. It would have been ironic if we had spawned a miniature Republican (a la Family Ties and a different Alex), but it looks like we are safe.

Next up is probably exterior solar screens before the heat of summer. Hopefully, we'll reduce our costs even more in the next year.

Doing what's right doesn't have to be expensive. It can and should be the opposite. Those people that waste and pollute and proudly drive around their huge SUV's because they think it makes them look "American" and "free" will go the way of the dinosaur. They don't want to be perceived as weak or environmental or European. But society will eventually weed out their kind of stupidity.

The Police - Walking In Your Footsteps

Fifty million years ago
You walked upon the planet so,
Lord of all that you could see
Just a little bit like me,

Walking in your footsteps ...

Hey Mr. Dinosaur
You really couldn't ask for more.
You were God's favorite creature,
But you didn't have a future,

Walking in your footsteps ...

Hey there mighty brontosaurus
Don't you have a message for us.
You thought your rule would always last
There were no lessons in your past.
You were built three stories high
They say you would not hurt a fly
If we explode the atom bomb,
Would they say that we were dumb.

Walking in your footsteps ...

Fifty million years ago
They walked upon the planet so
They live in a museum
It's the only place you'll see 'em.

Walking in your footsteps

They say the meek shall inherit the earth....

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Scalia -- Worst Person in the World

With a complimentary nod to one of my heroes, Keith Olbermann, I give you my nomination for Worst Person in the World, Antonin Scalia. (ed. note -- after completing my blog entry, I noticed that Keith actually did choose Scalia as his worst person in the world today. Great minds think alike.)

In a recent interview with the BBC, Scalia gives us the specious ticking time bomb argument. This is a classic straw man argument. He's setting up an unrealistic situation that would never happen just so that he can justify torture. And he knows this. It's a high school rhetorical device that will convince a moron -- by moron, I mean any conservative that actually buys this bull. His words:

"Is it really so easy to determine that smacking someone in the face to find out where he has hidden the bomb that is about to blow up Los Angeles is prohibited under the Constitution? Because smacking someone in the face would violate the 8th amendment in a prison context. You can’t go around smacking people about.

Is it obvious that what can’t be done for punishment can’t be done to exact information that is crucial to this society? It’s not at all an easy question, to tell you the truth.

... Seems to me you have to say, as unlikely as that is, it would be absurd to say that you can’t stick something under the fingernails, smack them in the face. It would be absurd to say that."

I'll tell you what my definition of torture is -- having to listen to people who try to use this tired argument. Stop watching 24 and wake up to the real world.

It's odd that the right seems to rail against "judicial activism" by liberal judges, yet Scalia is the very definintion of judicial activism. His rulings are driven by his idealogy, not the constitution as he purports. If he was just some regular joe or some pundit that had these crazy ideas, I wouldn't care much. But he's on the frickin' Supreme Court!! Scalia and Clarence Thomas are right of Attila the Hun. And Roberts and Alito are barely better. This court was stacked by Republican presidents and will curse this country for the next 20 years. yay.

"The healthy man does not torture others - generally it is the tortured who turn into torturers." -- Carl Jung

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Child of Watergate

Now, I'm reluctant to discuss directly who some of my clients are. I don't think it's really because of some lofty or noble client privilege garbage - I'm a frickin' computer tech after all, not a doctor or lawyer - but rather I feel that my clients didn't necessarily sign on for me using their lives as blogger fodder when they hired me.

But I write what I know. I'm not afraid to jeopardize my trained-monkey nerd status in the interest of a story. I'd gladly sacrifice the former for the latter. A new client this week had an interesting enough background that I felt I had to write about it.

Upon reading the invoice that I had written up for her, my client commented that she was surprised that I had spelled her last name correctly. She said that I must be German. I replied in the affirmative and left it at that, thinking it was some ancestral intuition that guided me. There was a familiarity in her name that was eluding me, but I couldn't quite place it.

After I got home, I googled her name and found the following article and it became obvious to me why I knew the name:

Watergate Kids

Anne is another honest-to-goodness child of Watergate, the daughter of _____, who had the bad luck of taking a job as Nixon's attorney general five days before the bungled Watergate break-in. ... the younger _______ (she's practiced corporate law in Phoenix for years) was deeply affected by Watergate. She was in college at the time, old enough to really see her father suffer, even though he was never charged with a crime.

... To this day, people still hear her name and ask about her relationship to Watergate. She doesn't like it, but it's a part of life. She's 46, happily married and involved in local Republican politics, although she says she'd never run for office. Years ago, someone asked her to consider it, and she did, but ultimately decided against it.

"I felt that I had already sacrificed enough of my personal life and I didn't want to take any chances that I would sacrifice any more."

You can read the article if you want to know her name. I'd rather not have her do a google vanity search for her name and end up here, so I'm not going to name her in my post.

Watergate was a formative experience for me. Not when it actually happened, mind you, as I was only 4 or 5 years. But later in high school when I discovered All the President's Men (I actually remember arguing with my government teacher about the identity of Deep Throat). This was my introduction into the world of politics and journalism. The curtain was pulled back and a world was revealed to me that showed that not all those who go into public service do so for the noblest of reasons - which I had been naive enough before to not fully realize. It was probably because I didn't really think about politics up till that point. My parents weren't really the type to discuss world affairs at the dinner table and small-town Iowa was not exactly the hotbed of political activism. the President's Men led to me purchasing just about every book written about Watergate and devouring them. Like a lot of people who read these books and saw the movie of the same name, it made investigative journalism into a sexy profession and I'm sure it encouraged a lot of young people to pursue those careers. I had certainly entertained the idea at the time. Sadly, journalists have fallen from the lofty perch, perhaps through no fault of their own, because of the pressures of corporate America. But that's a subject for a different time.

So, while I consider myself a "child of Watergate" for the feelings and thoughts that it provoked in me, my client is literally a child of Watergate. Just one of those odd convergences that happen from time to time in my life. In hindsight, I'm glad that I didn't recall at the time why I knew how to spell her name. I can see it now -- me, in all my liberal political glory, blurting out something like, "I knew how to spell your name because it's exactly like that loser Attorney General under Nixon." That would have been awkward. But it certainly wouldn't have been the first time I'd put my foot in my mouth.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Atheists on MySpace

Personally, I don't use MySpace and think it is the refuge of teenage skidmarks and twentyish people who are trying to be teenage skidmarks. Most of the posters are morons that don't know anything about computers and infect their sites with spyware and in turn infect all of their moron friends. Whatever. It keeps me in business.

Maybe I'm being snobby. Maybe the same criticisms could be lobbed at

But as a social networking site, I understand MySpace's scope and usefullness. And to limit who can participate seems wrong and against the whole concept:

It isn't easy being godless online.

For the third time in three years, what may be the largest group of organized atheists in the world is struggling to stay on MySpace, said a Cleveland State University assistant professor who founded the site for nonbelievers.

MySpace deleted the 35,000-member "Atheist and Agnostic Group" on Jan. 1, a little more than a month after hackers broke in and renamed the group's site "Jesus Is Love," Bryan Pesta said Wednesday.

MySpace has ignored repeated requests to restore the group's site, including an online petition with more than 500 signatures, said Pesta, who was the group's moderator.

"These actions send a clear message to the 30 million godless people in America that we are not welcome on MySpace," Pesta said.

A MySpace spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.

Pesta started the group in 2004 as a social networking site "specifically for godless people." Atheists are more likely to be geographically spread out, and the online group provided a sense of community, he said.

"We're regular people, just like Christians, Muslims and Jews," he said. "We like to network."

The site grew by about 10,000 people a year to just under 35,000 members by the end of 2007, Pesta said.

But it was never without controversy. Two years ago, Pesta said, MySpace deleted the group after an organized campaign from Christians opposing the site. MySpace restored it and promised it would be protected, Pesta said.

Last Thanksgiving, hackers broke into the group's site, deleting material and renaming it "Jesus Is Love." MySpace restored the site three weeks later but then shut it down this year, Pesta said.

The group was an important resource for nonbelievers, supporters said.

Hollis Geary, a group member from Lyndhurst, said she appreciated having a site where nonbelievers could meet and bounce ideas off each other amid the freedom and anonymity of the Web.

"We're a pretty quiet minority," she said. "There's just a lot of people that are atheist, agnostic or curious" who don't come out publicly.

Hackers for God ... that's admittedly pretty funny. But I digress. I don't know if there is anything insidious or if there is some great conspiracy to keep atheists off of MySpace. But it is worth noting who owns MySpace - News Corp and Rupert Murdoch. That's not exactly "fair and balanced".

Dr. Strangelove

To all those who think a McCain presidency would be a good thing:

McCain's the general, but he's also the Slim Pickens character, the gung-ho military type that doesn't know quit. Being a hero in a long line of military heroes is an admirable thing. But it has also imbued him with a sense that war is always justified, that all sacrifices are worth it, and that America always needs to be in a war.

Do yourself a favor and watch the best political satire ever, Dr. Strangelove, by the best director ever (IMHO).


I don't like talking too much about who I intend(ed) to vote for in the Super Tuesday primary in Arizona. It doesn't really matter what I think about a candidate. It matters what you think when you are choosing. And if we get beholden too much to one candidate, we have a tendency to see all the faults in the other candidates and none in our own. And that's not an objective way to decide who'll be your president.

Since the candidate I was leaning toward just dropped out, I figure it's safe to talk about him a bit. Marc Cooper on the Huffington Post sums up my feelings pretty good:

John Edwards exits the presidential race having done the right thing -- the right thing in having run the way he did and the right thing in leaving when he does.

The Democratic race has been, for better or for worse, a two candidate race since New Hampshire primarily because the voters so deemed it. As we go into Tsunami Tuesday, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are locked in a death struggle to redefine the past and the future, respectively, of American politics and the debilitated Edwards would enter the fray only as unpredictable wild card -- if not a spoiler.

His decision to exit comes, therefore, at the precise moment that demands absolute clarity among Democratic voters. The stakes are stark and so must be the choices. Kudos to Edwards for getting out of the way as that moment arrives.

Kudos also to Jon Edwards for the worthy campaign he ran and for the positive effect it had on all the other campaigns. We can speculate all we want -- and really to no end -- how and why the multi-millionaire one-time moderate Southern Democrat somehow transformed himself into a firebrand populist. But examining motivation in politics is usually a pretty worthless exercise.

More importantly, Edwards' boldly stated and sharply argued positions helped drive and shape the entire Democratic presidential race, exercising a significant gravitational pull on all of the campaigns. It was crucial that for a solid year Edwards was up there unabashedly apologizing for his vote to authorize the war in Iraq, that he was the first -- and very early -- to put forward a comprehensive health care program, that from the presidential stump he raised the profile and celebrated the role of organized labor, that he fearlessly and more relentlessly than any other major presidential candidate in recent history denounced the corporate stranglehold on both our economic and political life. Most importantly, Edwards showed no hesitation in highlighting the otherwise unspeakable in American politics -- the forgotten poor.

The positions taken by Edwards forced all of the candidates to at least recognize these issues and better address them and for that he deserves a special place in the history of the already remarkable Campaign 08.

As to what effect his exit will have is anybody's guess -- at least until next Tuesday. The Conventional Wisdom is that Edwards staying in would have siphoned off white voters from Clinton and would have helped Obama -- that dropping out now indirectly aids Hilary.

This could be the case, but frankly I doubt it. The pollsters have gotten much of this contest wrong and this perhaps is one more stumble. I have no numbers, no surveys no stats to prove my hunch. I only have my experience as a reporter attending myriad Edwards rallies and events starting back more than a year again. And all I can say is that I don't have the impression that these voters somehow belong to Clinton as a second choice. The message of promise change, of a change-over of a historic transition in American politics as now embodied in Obama resonates much deeper among them then the conventional frame of the Clinton campaign.

Nor do I believe that there is much goodwill inside the Edwards campaign to give any support to Clinton. As I write this, I hear Edwards' top rural advisor, Dave "Mudcat" Saunders saying on MSNBC: "I will do everything in my power so he doesn't endorse Hillary Clinton."

John Edwards leave the race in the same noble posture with which he entered it thirteen months ago.

I was an Edwards guy. As a CNN commentator indecorously mentioned, he was the adult in the race. That's a bit harsh, but Edwards did bring some civility. But with him gone, I believe we still have two candidates that would both bring America to a better place.

So, where does that leave me? I'm not the Hillary-hater that an alarming amount of Dem bloggers seem to be. The virtriole aimed at her by those in her own party is approaching Bush level. It's actually funny to me that the apparent leading Democrat is not supported by the Democratic establishment and the apparent leading Republican (McCain) is not supported by his establishment either. Maybe that's a good thing. The days of king-making by the outgoing administrations may be over.

That being said, pollsters and pundits that think the majority of Edwards voters have Hillary as their 2nd choice are also off the mark. Those that have supported Edwards are generally looking for some kind of change. And Hillary doesn't exactly represent that. It's sad, but I'm sure most of the pollsters think what they do because they are assuming racist tendencies for southern democrats. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'm a little more optimistic about most democrats. Iowa is nothing but church-going, whitebread America (I should know) and they voted for Obama.

I've pretty much made my decision for Tuesday and I won't bore you with it. But if you vote on Tuesday, objectively look at the candidates (Dem or Repub) regardless of who you have been supporting before and then make your decision.