Obama and Clinton Tied in Poll


Barack Obama at ASUHillary Clinton in Berlin Feb 10, 2007 4

HAT TIP: Rassumssen Reports

For the fourth straight week, Illinois Senator Barack Obama (D) has gained ground and he has finally caught New York Senator Hillary Clinton in the race for the Democratic Presidential nomination. It’s now Obama 32% Clinton 32% and former North Carolina Senator John Edwards holding steady at 17%.  New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is a distant fourth at 3%. Senators Chris Dodd and Joe Biden each attract 1% support. So does General Wesley Clark.

Obama has been steadily gaining ground during April. Last week, Clinton had a two-point lead. Two weeks ago, it was Clinton by five. The week before that, the former First Lady was up by seven. Our last release in March found Clinton enjoying a double digit lead.  Clinton now holds a narrow edge among white voters while Obama leads by 16% among African-Americans.

A separate survey showed that Obama has the highest level of core support among all Presidential candidates—33% of voters say they’d definitely vote for him if he’s on the ballot in November 2008.

Rasmussen Reports releases national polling data on the Democratic nomination process every Monday and on the Republican race each Tuesday. The current survey of 782 Likely Democratic Primary Voters was conducted April 16-19, 2007. The margin of sampling error is +/-4 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.

Among all voters, Clinton is viewed favorably by 50% and unfavorably by 49%. Obama’s numbers are a bit stronger—59% favorable and 34% unfavorable. The two candidates are essentially even among Democrats—Clinton is viewed favorably by 74% in her party while Obama is viewed favorably by 72%. Among unaffiliated voters, Clinton is viewed favorably by 50%, Obama by 67%.

All Democratic candidates issued statements last week opposing the Supreme Court ruling on partial-birth abortion. That ruling was little noticed due to the tragedy at Virginia Tech. Just 40% of Americans knew how the Court ruled on the issue. Most who knew agreed with the ruling.

The Democrats were cautious in their statements about gun control following the Virginia Tech shootings. While there has been an increase in support for stricter gun control laws in the aftermath of that horrific event, less than half of Americans want stricter gun control laws.

Iraq remains the Democrats most potent issue—just 33% of voters now believe history will judge the U.S. mission in Iraq a success.

Yesterday was Earth Day and 45% of American voters see Global Warming as a Very Serious problem. Another 28% say it is Somewhat Serious. There is a significant divide over whether the human activity is the cause or if the Warming is simply part of a long-term planetary trend.

Televised Salons



Sunday morning talk shows are nothing more than televised salons constructed to seduce the viewer into watching and receiving the conventional wisdom that is at its core a pernicious form of corporate propaganda. Once entangled in the web of deceit, the viewer’s mind is paralyzed and sucked dry like a dangerous spider that devours its prey. The viewer, now intellectually anesthetized is no longer a threat to the white power structure that rules this country.


Salons, from their inception, were meant to be social devices where the elite could gather in the drawing rooms of their aristocratic peers to discuss the various issues important to their class in a less formal atmosphere more conducive to free flowing dialog.  It is customary for the host to lead off the discussion and insure that everyone has a crack at the question at hand.  Good hosts always assemble a diverse guest list with people of various opinions and stations well represented, along with a few decorous women thrown in to keep it lively for good measure.


Nobody was better at assembling the power salon than former Ambassador to France, and Democratic Party doyenne, Pamela Harriman. A British born daughter of aristocratic privilege, Mrs. Harriman made her mark in Washington and Europe as a courtesan of power. 


Courtesan, a French term which essentially means socialite whore, is an appellation used frequently by biographers of Mrs. Harriman.  She learned her skills at the feet of her idol, the Duchess of Windsor, the former Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee’ who met and married the King of England, Edward VIII, in a salacious scandal which led to his abdication of the throne in 1936 to wed the woman he loved.


The Duchess imparted to her pupil the art of the salon and her unmatched ability to cocoon and control powerful men. Mrs. Harriman used her skills to land a wealthy third husband, former Ambassador to Russia and New York Governor Averell Harriman, with whom she had an elicit affair during World War II.  After the death of their respective spouses, they hooked up in 1971.


The marriage led Mrs. Harriman on a grueling quest for power and recognition in Washington power circles.  She resurrected and honed the gimmick of the salon to ensnare official Washington into her drawing room to raise money for Democratic Senators.  She was rewarded for her dutiful service to the white neo-liberal power structure with an ambassadorship to France in the Clinton Administration.


Like the late Pamela Harriman, Tim Russert is a courtesan of Washington power. His televised salon, Meet the Press, is a seductive forum of corporate propaganda.  Like a good socialite whore, he knows how to run a salon, cocoon powerful men, and wield their power as his own. He reigns supreme among his fellow television brethren for his singular ability to use his program to confer the imprimatur of power on those fortunate enough to be tapped by his fraudulent benevolence for a coveted cameo appearance.


Frequent appearances on Meet the Press are status symbols of cachet, relevance, and prestige among the Washington power elite. They are the hottest tickets in town and analogous to seats at a Washington National Cathedral Presidential Funeral. The appearances signal to anybody observant enough to keep score that the recipient has arrived.


In keeping with the ethos of privilege and exclusivity, Tim would have you to believe that his choice of important topics and important newsmakers represents the cream of the crop. Like cream, Tim’s idea of cream is almost all-white. This past Sunday was the last straw. We were treated to an all white parade that is so commonplace among the Washington Sunday Talk Shows. We heard absolutely nothing from those people that was insightful or even remotely newsworthy. 


We heard from the same Bush Administration hacks that gave us No Child Left Behind and the Medicare Prescription Drug benefit. Neither Secretary Spellings or Secretary Leavitt have the capacity to think their way out of a paper bag much less come up with policy recommendations likely to avert another tragedy like Virginia Tech. They had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO SAY.  


We shoulda heard from the Surgeon General, or a Mental Health expert or somebody, anybody with some muthafreakin’ expertise. All we got was the same beltway B.S. we always hear. In the past 18 months, Meet the Press has had 19 non-white guests which represent an eclectic mix of diplomats, heads of state, the same two reporters, and a few stray uncle toms like John McWhorter an Michael Steele. When we do hear from a big cheese, it is a Republican with a disappointing perm like Condi. 


Apparently, Meet the Press has only three black people on speed dial: Gwen Ifill, Eugene Robinson, and Barack Obama. It was no surprise then that Gwen Ifill handed Tim his ass last week for coddling Don Imus or that this week’s talking head roundtable guests were all Imus alums gathered together in silent protest and all spouting conventional wisdom.


My favorite moment this Sunday was the irony of a roundtable of whitefolks celebrating diversity.  Jon Meachum of Newsweek made the following observation of the Virginia Tech victims “One, one of the things I found so striking was the diversity of the victims. As you mentioned, the Holocaust survivor, professor who tried to—tried help and save people, the, the number of international students there in the middle of Virginia. It’s, it’s a snapshot of what the country is. And it’s, it’s a diverse country and it’s a good country.” 


To bring this post full circle, the true test of a salon is its diversity and its ability to both inform and enlighten.  On this score, Meet the Press fails as do the rest of Tim Russert’s white brethren. Hey, Tim, how bout a new closing?  How bout, “ If it’s Sunday, It’s Meet the White Press.”






Rep. Juanita Millender McDonald D-CA 1938-2007


Juanita Millender-McDonald

Congresswoman Juanita Millender McDonald of Carson California has died of colon and liver cancer.   Mrs. Millender McDonald, a former Carson City Councilwoman, California Assemblywoman, and teacher represented California’ s racially diverse 37th Congressional District for 10 years beginning in 1997 after defeating the wife of former Congressman Tucker who went down in a public corruption probe earlier that year.

Mrs. Millender McDonald had a reputation as politically progressive and forward thinking.   Unafraid to lead, she was the first member of the Congressional Black Caucus to endorse John Kerry in 2004 and she led a sit in the offices of Former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms, an unapoligetic reationary hostile to African Americans who attempted to block the nomination of former Illinois Senator Carol Moseley Braun to an Ambassadorship in New Zealand.  

The Congresswoman also had another side.  She was a very high strung and abusive boss who, according to The Washington Post, “Several former staffers — some who quit and some who were fired over the past few years — report that the congresswoman is difficult to work for because she demeans staff and rarely seems pleased with their work. All asked for anonymity for fear of reprisals.

She once fired an aide for — among other issues — leaving a box of candy on her chair, said a source. Her No. 1 rule, the ex-aides say, is that aides can never walk in front of her. The sources also say she is unusually egotistical — even for a politician — and insists that staffers tout her accomplishments in news releases and other materials.”

Mrs. Millender McDonald’s diverse congressional district may change hands and the Congressional Black Caucus might lose a member.   Mrs. Millender McDonald’s congressional district is only 25% African American according to the last census and more than 43% Latino.    Latina State Senator Jenny Oropeza, has been identified by the Los Angeles Times as the leading contender in the special election.  All of the usual African American suspects are all politicians over 72.  State Senator Ed Vincent is 73, Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Burke, a former Congresswoman is 75, and Assemblyman Mervyn Dymally, also a former Congressman is 81.  In short, ain’t none of them likely to run.

African Americans likely to take a serious look at running for this seat include  Compton Mayor Eric PerrodinLos Angeles Councilmembers Jan Perry, and Bernard Parks and state Assemblywoman Laura Richardson.    Whatever happens, this district will be represented by a good progressive democrat and the people will lose nothing.  Expect the winner of Nancy Pelosi’s endorsement to be the odds on favorite in this district.

Obama kisses Sharpton’s ring




NEW YORK (AP) – Wooing black voters while tackling questions about his experience, Democrat Barack Obama said Saturday that his years as a community organizer and accomplishments in the Illinois state Senate have prepared him well for the presidency.  

Addressing the National Action Network, a civil rights group founded by Rev. Al Sharpton, Obama touted his successes as an Illinois lawmaker in providing health insurance to children and reducing the price of prescription drugs for senior citizens. He also told of passing legislation to monitor racial profiling and to require that police interrogations of suspects in capital cases be videotaped.“I haven’t just talked about these things, I’ve actually done them,” he said, adding that he’d worked well with the Republicans who controlled the state Senate for most of his tenure there.

With just over two years in the U.S. Senate, Obama has faced questions over whether he has sufficient experience to be president.

On the campaign trail, front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton stresses her long career in public life and often warns voters that the next president will need to “hit the ground running.”

Sharpton, who ran for the Democratic nomination in 2004, has also openly questioned Obama’s credentials for the job. Obama, running to be the first black president, acknowledged those concerns. He also assured the largely black audience he did not believe he was automatically entitled to their support.

“I’ve said to Rev. Sharpton and I’ll say it today, if there is somebody – I don’t care whether they are white or black or they are male or female – if there is somebody who has been more on the forefront on behalf of the issues you care about and has more concrete accomplishments on behalf of the things you’re concerned about, I’m happy to see you endorse them. But I am absolutely confident you will not find that,” he said.

With black voters a key part of the Democratic party base, the four-day NAN convention has attracted nearly all the 2008 Democratic contenders, as well as former President Bill Clinton and DNC Chairman Howard Dean. Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd had been expected to speak but scheduling problems forced him to cancel.

A spokeswoman said Sharpton was not expected to endorse a candidate soon.

Hillary Clinton, who spoke Friday, won several standing ovations from the audience.