Friday Talking Points [25] -- Place Your Bets On The Democratic Race!

Friday Talking Points [25] -- Place Your Bets On The Democratic Race!
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We haven't done a contest here in a while, so I'm going to open the betting window today on the outcome of the Democratic race. To play, just post a comment with the date and the outcome you predict will happen.

As an example, here is my entry: Hillary Clinton does great in Pennsylvania, but loses both North Carolina and Indiana, and drops out the next day.

A few rules: You can't just say "the convention," you have to pick a specific day during the convention. You have to say who wins the nomination, but you don't necessarily have to give details of how they manage to do so if you don't want to, that part is just for fun. All betting will be in quatloos, this column's favorite standard fictional currency. Ties will be broken by a battle to the death in the Triskelion arena... um... or maybe I'll just flip a coin.

Here are some key dates to remember (number of delegates in parentheses):

  • April 22 -- Pennsylvania (188) votes

  • May 3 -- Guam (9) votes
  • May 6 -- North Carolina (134) and Indiana (84) vote
  • May 13 -- West Virginia (39) votes
  • May 20 -- Kentucky (60) and Oregon (65) vote
  • June 1 -- Puerto Rico (63) votes
  • June 3 -- Montana (24) and South Dakota (23) vote
  • August 25, 26, 27, 28 -- Democratic National Convention in Denver
  • So, step right up and place your bets! I will open the bidding with 100 quatloos on "Barack wins it through default, when Hillary bows out on May 7."

    I'll announce the winner after it happens (if nobody gets it dead-on, whoever's closest will win), right here in this column.

    Step right up! Lay your money down!!

    For her response to China's recent actions in Tibet, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi wins this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week award. China cracks down on Tibet, but George Bush doesn't want anything to spoil his fun at the Olympics? Pelsoi's answer was perfect -- fly over and make an appearance in support of the Dalai Lama. Remind everyone that China's going to put on a spectacle for the world this summer, but that there is a deeply dark side to the country as well. For her courage in doing so, she wins this week's MIDOTW.

    Well done, Speaker Pelosi!

    [Congratulate Nancy Pelosi on her Speaker of the House contact page to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]

    This being election season, it was a tough choice this week. Sigh.

    James Carville almost won, for escalating Bill Richardson's endorsement of Barack Obama to (literally) Biblical proportions. But Barack's supporter General McPeak went a little over the top this week, too, when he tried to paint Bill Clinton with the brush of Joe McCarthy. So those kind of cancelled each other out, sad to say.

    But the big Democratic donors who sent Nancy Pelosi a letter all but threatening to stop donating to the House Democratic reelection committee if she didn't change her tune on how the superdelegates should vote earn this week's Most Disappointing Democrats Of The Week in a group award. Granted, it's their money, but the whole "If I don't get my way, I'm taking my bat and ball and going home" flavor to it left a bad taste in the mouth. After all, their point was that superdelegates (such as Pelosi) should be free to make up their own minds, which means they're allowed to say whatever they feel like about the race in an effort to influence other delegates. Which they're berating her for doing.

    Getting Democrats a bigger majority in the House is an important goal for the party as a whole, no matter who gets nominated for the main race. And we're supposed to be on the same team here, folks.

    For such tactics, the whole bunch gets the MDDOTW award.

    OK, onward to this week's talking points, made available (as always) to Democrats everywhere who might be interviewed by the media this weekend. So without further ado....

    Volume 25 (3/28/08)

    Passenger's Bill of Rights

    The Supreme Court just gave Democrats a gigantic present, wrapped in a bow. All Democrats have to do is realize it, and open it up -- but they've got to do it quickly. The Court ruled that New York state can't have a "Passenger's Bill of Rights" law different from federal aviation laws, because it's interstate commerce (and therefore the federal government's problem).

    This means that Democrats in Congress need to get a bill out right away to change the FAA laws to include the Passenger's Bill of Rights.

    Because everybody who flies -- Republican and Democrat -- will support it overwhelmingly, which will conveniently paint the Republicans into a corner. They will have a choice: support it, or face it on the campaign trail this year.

    "Democrats believe the flying public should not have to check all their rights with their baggage when they fly. We strongly support the federal Passenger's Bill of Rights, and challenge our opponents to do the same -- or explain why to their voters this fall."

    Outsourcing passports?

    The Bush administration is spinning hard to explain why it is necessary to have the key component to the new United States passports (computer chips) made outside the U.S.

    This one is just teed up and waiting to be smacked down the fairway.

    "Apparently the Bush administration feels that it's OK to outsource the creation of American passports. I guess Bush feels that there aren't any Americans who could be doing this work. But it really isn't that surprising, when you consider how many American companies have moved their jobs overseas during the Bush years. To say nothing of the security implications of having foreign companies making supposedly secure passport components."

    Bush's "normalcy" in Iraq

    President Bush recently, about the situation this week in Iraq: "Normalcy is returning back to Iraq." Bush's complete denial of reality needs to be pointed out as often as possible in the next week, since Petraeus and Crocker are due to give their six-month report to Congress early next month. Call it a pre-emptive strike.

    "If President Bush can watch the scenes we are seeing on our television screens nightly and say that quote normalcy is returning unquote to the country, then why should any American believe anything he says about Iraq at all? His viewpoint is so divorced from reality it's an embarrassment for this country."

    Are we helping Maliki win Iraq's election?

    Reliable reports from Basra are sketchy (at best) at the present time, but one rumor seems to be persisting in both Iraq and in the American media: that weeks after Dick Cheney visited Maliki and pressured him to get their local elections law passed (what I'm predicting will wind up as this year's GOP "October Surprise" in our own elections), Maliki is using the American military to help him squash his own political rivals in Basra. Now that we've started dropping bombs on Basra from American planes, this issue really needs to be addressed. From McClatchy:

    A law covering provincial elections went into effect last week after U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney strong-armed the presidency council into allowing it to pass. While the Islamic Supreme Council is more powerful than Sadr is in much of the country, Sadr is much more popular among poor Shiites. Provincial elections could undercut the Supreme Council's influence in the south, and many see the government offensive as a move to thwart Sadr's political ambitions.

    Great. That's just great. I would laugh if this all weren't so deadly serious.

    "Is President Bush making deals with Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki to use the American military in an internal Iraqi political struggle? I don't think this is what America signed up for in Iraq. The White House needs to provide some answers about our involvement in Basra, and whether it is truly targeting only one Shi'ite militia -- at Maliki's request -- while giving others a free hand."

    We just won't tell you

    Here is the entire text of this cheerful Associated Press story:

    The Agriculture Department is thinking about holding back the names of retailers where tainted meat went for sale if there is no extreme health risk involved.

    That means the requirement that retailers be made public wouldn't apply in recalls deemed less dangerous -- like the 143 million pounds of meat recalled from a Southern California slaughterhouse last month.

    The potential change comes as the Agriculture Department works to finalize a two-year-old proposed rule that, as originally drafted, would have made retailers' names public during all meat recalls.

    The agency is under pressure from the food industry, which opposes naming retailers during recalls.

    Once again, this just writes itself:

    "Bush's Department of Agriculture has come up with a novel way of keeping the public safe from tainted meat -- don't let them know about it. Boy, that'll really help solve the problem and let consumers feel good about the meat they buy! Is this where FEMA director Michael Brown wound up working, or what?"

    I guess baseball fans are ready for a new president

    The Washington Nationals will open their new season (and their new ballpark) Sunday night at 6:00 P.M., and President Bush will be throwing out the first pitch. The big question for political observers -- will he be cheered, or will boos be audible?

    This one is admittedly a cheap shot, and will only work if the cameras actually pick up any booing, but I just couldn't resist.

    "Baseball fans have rendered their verdict on Bush's legacy when he threw out the first pitch. The country as a whole obviously wants to move on from the Bush years."

    A cross-shaped hole in the ground

    The Chronicle of Higher Education ran their own amusing contest recently, for people to write in their ideas for the design of Bush's Presidential Library, on the back of an envelope. Some of these are serious attempts at architecture, and some are just hilarious. The winning entry was one of the amusing ones.

    "A man in Texas was just awarded a prize for the best design of the Bush Library in a contest the Chronicle of Higher Education ran. The winning entry was a cross-shaped hole in the ground, which the public cannot enter, with a White House facade to lend it credibility. I can't think of anything more appropriate, myself."

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