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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Preface to Top 25 Greatest Americans

If you haven't checked out The Culture King's Top 25 Greatest Americans post, here's the link. I've decided to rebut, and I'll do him one better - I'll make remarks about each of my choices. Next week, I'll be throwing together five straight days of posts. That's right, five straight days, reminiscent of the nine-day stretch of previewing possible general elections.

The Culture King offered some caveats while making his list, so check them out over at his website if you care. I've kept them in mind when assembling my list. Ultimately, here's what HIS Top 25 ended up looking like:

25. Woody Guthrie
24. Shirley Chisholm
23. Lamar Hunt
22. Jane Addams
21. Muhammad Ali
20. Alexander Hamilton
19. W.E.B. Du Bois
18. William Randolph Hearst
17. John F. Kennedy
16. Caesar Chavez
15. John Adams
14. Bill Gates
13. Hugh Hefner
12. James Madison
11. Noam Chomsky
10. Jackie Robinson
9. Mark Twain
8. Thomas Jefferson
7. Abraham Lincoln
6. Fredrick Douglas
5. Jonas Salk
4. FDR
3. George Washington
2. Benjamin Franklin
1. Martin Luther King Jr.

While I admired The Culture King's effort, I cannot help but be seriously critical of some of the names on the list, not to mention several greater Americans either not on this list or ranked entirely too low (one name in particular is about fifteen spots too low). Of course, definitions of great differ from person to person, or in this case, blogger to blogger. My definition of great, at least when it comes to these sorts of rankings, is who played the most significant roles in the development of the country. Simply, who influenced America and the world the most?

So, Monday through Friday I will be counting down the Top 25 Greatest Americans in History. Tomorrow is dedicated to me actually making and refining the list. I will then reveal five a day off my list, beginning Monday with numbers 25-21. Friday will be the culminating post, with numbers 5-1 being revealed. And number one, folks, The Culture King and I do not agree on. I hope that doesn't make me racist.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Top 25 Greatest Americans

If you've been reading his blog, and since this man is not an elected official yet I assume you haven't, The Culture King has made a controlled splash in the blogging pool. I strongly recommend bookmarking the site and checking in at least weekly for some insightful cynicism.

This week, the author took a stab at a list of the 25 Greatest Americans ever. Despite week after week of agreeing with him, this is not one of those times. Needless to say, he's getting a rebuttal, and he'll get it on this blog.

Sure, maybe this is only a presidential politics blog, but hey, there's going to be a lot of presidents on the list. How's that for a languorous tie-in?

Check back Monday.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

John McCain's Hell Week '07

(Editor's Note: This was my guest blog today over at 1% More Conscious)

John McCain's Hell Week '07 began on Monday morning when it was learned that second-tier-at-best candidate Ron Paul had more cash on hand than the senior Senator from Arizona. This was followed by Monday afternoon and Tuesday's overreactions of what this meant, but the overreactions themselves had ramifications, dragging down the McCain campaign further. (Nothing hurts a candidate like pessimism. Except maybe bullets.)

Then of course came yesterday's news that two of McCain's top advisors, and soon lesser advisors, were acrimoniously departing the sinking ship.

This week, I have received no less than a half dozen emails asking me my thoughts on these developments. After all, I predicted John McCain as the eventual Republican nominee. So here's the question that must be asked: What the hell has happened to the John McCain campaign?

Well, where to begin? The top five reasons the McCain candidacy is underperforming:

1. There is never any good news out of Iraq to which he can attach himself. This kills him in a general election.

No news here. He's been President Bush's greatest ally in the war in Iraq, with the possible exception of Dick Cheney and Laura Bush. And while this stance was never popular, it has never been MORE unpopular than it is now. The Iraq War grows more unpopular by the month. Even key Republicans (see: Luger, Dick) are deserting the President. At one point, unequivocal support of the war in Iraq was not political suicide. Now, it just might be.

2. His stance on immigration greatly alienated the Republican base. This kills him in a primary election.

John McCain's immigration stance is an example of him legislating his beliefs instead of what is popular with his party, similar to the famous McCain-Feingold bill. Note to McCain: Teaming up with Russ Feingold or, in the case of the Immigration Bill, Ted Kennedy, on any bipartisan bill will not be looked on kindly by the Republican Party.

3. His strategy of being openly honest and straight-forward, hoping his dedication to unpopular issues because he believed in them would resonate with the voters.

Numbers one and two play a role here. His principled positions on issues he cares about are admirable only in the regard that they are, in fact, principled. He passionately believes in them, and hoped that eventually this facet of his character, seemingly incongruous with his fellow politicians, would set him apart from the pack. Of course, the problem is, voters disagree with these key issues, and because they know he means what he says, they cannot vote for him. Do'h!

4. Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney.

These two men have run terrific campaigns. Rudy Giuliani is on top of most polls despite being out of step with social conservatives. Frankly, it's been a brilliant campaign to date, though this blogger still questions his potential to win the nomination when Republican voters further educate themselves on the issues, especially in Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina. Mitt Romney has taken single-digit polling numbers last year and turned them into strong favorable numbers, and many call him the odds on favorite to win the Republican nomination. In comparison, McCain has ran a very weak campaign. Last year, he was polling ahead of both of these other frontrunners. It was McCain's nomination to lose and he lost it. Can he get it back?

5. A combination of the above has led to an enormous shortfall in fundraising.

No one wants to throw money onto a sinking ship. This perpetuates the mediocrity of the campaign. Without proper funds, John McCain will have a very difficult time pulling himself out of this rut. Indeed, one of the reasons McCain parted ways with two of his top advisors was because McCain expected to have and be raising a LOT more money at this stage of the campaign.

Undeniably, the John McCain campaign is underperforming, and without a John Kerry-like resurgence, he might not make it to Iowa.

Monday, July 09, 2007

John McCain has less money than... Ron Paul?!

On This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Mr. Stephanopoulos broke the story that, after second quarter fiscal numbers were revealed, we now know that the anemic John McCain campaign is poorer than the overachieving Ron Paul campaign. Currently, Paul's war chest is at 2.4 million to McCain's inferior 2 million.

While many conclusions can be drawn from this, some other conclusions are jumping the gun. Let's take a look.

What this does mean:

1. The McCain campaign is running on fumes.
2. The Paul campaign is resonating with many voters.
3. I was wrong about McCain. He should not be considered the favorite for the nomination anymore. (The Line has been altered accordingly. A new favorite is anointed!)

What this doesn't mean:

1. Ron Paul has a better chance to win the nomination than John McCain.
2. Ron Paul is raising more money than John McCain.
3. John McCain's campaign is over.

Listen, here's the deal. McCain is struggling. He has been unpopularly attached to the two biggest political issues in America: Iraq and immigration.

But to suggest that Ron Paul is the stronger candidate is a pipe dream. The reason McCain has less cash on hand is because he spends so much of it. In the second quarter, McCain spent 11 million dollars to Paul's 2 million. He's actually running a national campaign.

Paul's campaign staff has 11 people. He doesn't do a lot of traveling. Basically, he's an online candidate (Youtube, Myspace, Facebook) who just shows up to take some swings at the debates. Liberals love him because he criticizes fellow Republicans (liberals conveniently ignore that he'd probably cut Social Security, Medicare, etc.) and select conservatives love him because he touts fiscal responsibility. He's also a special candidate because he's the only Republican in a field of 10-12 that is vehemently against the war in Iraq.

So what he lacks in funds and name-recognition (Two of the most important facets of a national campaign) he tries to make up in moxie. He's a fascinating political specimen. But that's all he is - a specimen. He's not a lion like John McCain.

The concern for John McCain is that he may have peaked in 2000. He's never been able to recapture the straight shootin' moniker that catapulted him into the hearts of the media and voters. His greatest strength is still that he doesn't seem to care what political ramifications occur when he opens his mouth and speaks his feelings... it's just that his feelings are not in tune with the rest of America. That means his greatest strength is currently his greatest weakness.

Maybe, just maybe, the GOP will gradually distrust Giuliani's social liberalism and Romney's Mormonism, leaving them with only their old, honest, tried and true John McCain.

But probably not.
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