Politics

William F. Buckley made this a better world

I don’t write much about politics anymore. Having four young kids has changed my focus a good bit.

But there are times that, well, politics is personal, and so it was when I heard Wednesday about William F. Buckley’s death. I was quite stunned and sad, realizing that someone who had shaped my worldview, and because of that impacts my family’s life to this day, is gone.

I grew up reading Bill Buckley’s magazine, National Review. (I am not making this up.)

A war of words over the war in Iraq

Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama faced off on Wednesday in a possible prelude to a U.S. presidential election battle, tangling over whether Iraq would be prey for al Qaeda if U.S. troops are withdrawn.

Democrat Hillary Clinton, who needs big wins in Texas and Ohio next Tuesday to salvage her struggling candidacy, declared herself optimistic about her chances following her final debate with Obama on Tuesday night in Cleveland.

“What keeps me optimistic is the success I’ve had thus far and what I think the prospects are for Tuesday. People have just been really rallying to my candidacy,” she said on her campaign plane before an event in Zanesville, Ohio.

She received a new blow, however, when U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a leader of the American civil rights movement, switched his support from Clinton to Obama for his party’s presidential nomination.

Clinton tries focus on economy

Hillary Rodham Clinton spent almost three hours Wednesday trying to persuade a college gym full of Ohioans that her detailed plans to revive the failing economy can also resuscitate her dwindling campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

“Obviously, the economy is the No. 1 issue in the country, and it’s unbelievably important here in Ohio,” said Clinton. “I think, absent any intervening circumstances, the economy will be the domestic driver with all the related issues like health care and energy costs and home foreclosures.”

Obama fights false links to Islam

For Barack Obama, it is an ember that he has doused time and again, only to see it flicker anew: links to Islam fanned by false rumors, innuendo and association. Obama and his campaign reacted strongly this week when a photo of him in Kenyan tribal garb began spreading on the Internet.

And the praise he received Sunday from Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan prompted pointed questions — during Tuesday night’s presidential debate and also in a private meeting over the weekend with Jewish leaders in Cleveland.

Bloomberg not running for President

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has squashed the notion of running for president this year, declaring that he will not seek the White House but might put his support behind another candidate who embraces bipartisan governing.

Is the media biased against Hillary Clinton?

Are media outlets biased against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton due to her gender? It’s an open question and one I’m not prepared to answer. But Tuesday night’s debate in Cleveland certainly blew open some angles for examination.

First, there’s the time question: Who got more of it? According to The New York Times Web site’s Democratic debate analysis page, Clinton spoke for 30:43 while Sen. Barack Obama spoke for 38:17 (the moderators spoke for 16 minutes). So Obama was allowed some 25 percent more critical time on-camera.

Nader has every right to run for President

Bloggers already are deriding him as the second coming of Harold Stassen. Democrats, who accused him of swinging the 2000 election to the Republicans, now dismiss him as a crank.

Isn’t it interesting how many political pundits presume to tell Ralph Nader he shouldn’t run for president? I don’t recall anyone proffering such sage advice to candidates from either of the “major” parties.

Who will win the race to the bottom?

Because you can’t keep a good democracy down — and it hasn’t been for want of official effort the past seven years — the presidential election campaign has generated extraordinary excitement. But some Americans feel slighted as they sit in the heartland with steam issuing from their ears while listening to their favorite cranks on TV and radio.

I speak, of course, of America’s moron community, that large group of dyspeptics who include dopes, mopes and the chronically befuddled. This uncomprehending crew are always the happiest when made the angriest by some ridiculous issue.

Civil rights leader dumps Clinton

Civil rights leader John Lewis has dropped his support for Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential bid in favor of Barack Obama.

Lewis, a Democratic congressman from Atlanta, is the most prominent black leader to defect from Clinton’s campaign in the face of near-majority black support for Obama in recent voting. He also is a superdelegate who gets a vote at this summer’s national convention in Denver.

Clinton backtracks on tax returns

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton says she won’t release her tax returns until she has the Democratic presidential nomination in hand, and not before tax filing time comes in mid-April.

Clinton argued for openness Tuesday night during her latest debate with Democratic rival Barack Obama.

“I will release my tax returns,” Clinton said during the debate. “I have consistently said I will do that once I become the nominee, or even earlier.”