FOR OPENNESS IN OREGONOklahoma and Oregon have something in common. Both states have closed primary races that keep independent voters out of the mix until a general election, assuming there are candidates from both major parties. The Oregonian is lobbying for more open primaries, and voters will get their say next month. "Oregon remains stubbornly closed — not because voters want it that way, but because the parties like it that way,” the newspaper said in an editorial. "This closed system means that more than one out of five registered voters is frozen out of partisan primary races. The only way these 400,000-plus independent voters can participate is to join a party. In other words, there’s a litmus test. In order to help winnow the candidates who will run the state, voters must make a forced association with a political club — and get stuck on that party’s mailing lists and call lists.”
EYE ON BIN LADENWriting for Commentary magazine’s blog (commentarymagazine.com), Abe Greenwald takes issue with a recent analysis in the Financial Times suggesting Osama bin Laden fears a Barack Obama presidency and might launch an attack on the U.S. to tip things in John McCain’s favor. Contrary to the Times’ formulation, Greenwald argues Obama’s commitment to "soft power” is nothing bin Laden fears. "Couple Obama’s eagerness to exit Iraq with his blanket promise to chat up enemies, and bin Laden could hardly hope for a more accommodating American administration,” Greenwald writes.
WAITING FOR SAFE RETURNMore than one candidate for political office has noted that the economic crisis is at least one explanation for why the war in Iraq has taken a tumble on voters’ priority lists. Yet Americans are reminded of it every time a hometown soldier is killed or injured, or in the more joyful news that soldiers have returned home safely. "While Barack Obama and John McCain debate the reasons for going to war and who might end it best, soldiers continue to die there and their families bear the ultimate burden for a conflict that has diminished U.S. standing in the world, depleted the country’s finances and killed or maimed thousands of young men and women,” the Baltimore Sun reminded readers recently. For family members of service members, the newspaper said, "there is only one way for this war to end — with the safe return of their loved ones.”
CURDLE YOUR YERDLEThe Left Wing is playing for keeps this election cycle. The king of liberal/progressive blogging, Markos Moulitsas rallies the troops at dailykos.com with his own adaptation of Knute Rockne. Libs must "do everything necessary allowable under the law to win because elections have consequences,” he writes. "This isn’t about who is most pure, but about taking the fight to the enemy ... and fighting fire with fire.” Later Kos writes about having the "killer instinct,” rubbing salt in conservatives’ wounds and forcing them to go into debt. What’s next, burning their villages?
THE UNFAIRNESS DOCTRINESyndicated columnist Paul Greenberg wrote recently about efforts by left-leaning voices to restore the Fairness Doctrine, the old rule that required opinions voiced on radio and TV to be balanced with equal time given to an opposite opinion. Greenberg notes that on his Web site, Barack Obama says our country needs to "clarify the public interest obligation of broadcasters who occupy the nation’s spectrum.” To which Greenberg replies: "I’m not sure what that means, but I have an idea. The senator can put all the lipstick he wants to on the Fairness Doctrine, but it’d still be unfair.” Those who pine for the good old days, Greenberg said, puzzle him. "I’d much prefer to win a fair fight, or even lose one, rather than tie the other guy’s hands. For the best response to an idea one detests is not to suppress it, but to offer a better idea. It’s only fair.”
CHILDREN, PLEASE!No two primary colors have ever been pitted against each other quite like red and blue. Recent controversy in Virginia is case in point. The Virginia Education Association encouraged some of its members to wear blue in support of Barack Obama and that no one would figure out why blue was the color of the day. Of course, the state’s Republican Party shot back. The Virginian Pilot called out the union for putting politicking ahead of educating, Republicans for their "reflexive” reaction. "When people began arguing that primary colors are proof of political bias,” the paper wrote, "the whole incident went from ridiculous to sublime.”
LIVE, FROM NEW YORK ...News flash: John McCain and Barack Obama both have a sense of humor. Marc Ambinder at marcambinder.theatlantic.com shares some of the one-liners from their remarks at the annual Al Smith Dinner in New York. McCain: Says he fired all of his campaign staff: "All of their positions will now be held by a man named Joe The Plumber.” Obama: "People tell me I share the politics of Alfred E. Smith and the ears of Alfred E. Neumann.” McCain: "We know the press is really an independent-minded, civic-minded, nonpartisan group, like ACORN.” Obama: "I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on krypton ...”
Nationally syndicated columnist