A Bombshell: Speechwriter for Obama, Edwards, and Clinton on Why She’s Voting McCain.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Bombshell: Speechwriter for Obama, Edwards, and Clinton on Why She’s Voting McCain.

h/t to HH

A speechwriter for Obama, Edwards, and Clinton on why she’s voting McCain.

Wendy Button is a writer in Washington, DC. She has written for Senators John Edwards, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Barack Obama, and Mayor Tom Menino of Boston as well as other national and international leaders. She received her MFA in writing from Bennington College and is currently writing the CNN Heroes Award Show to air Thanksgiving night.

Since I started writing speeches more than ten years ago, I have always believed in the Democratic Party. Not anymore. Not after the election of 2008. This transformation has been swift and complete and since I’m a woman writing in the election of 2008, “very emotional.”

When I entered this campaign, it was at the 2006 Edwards staff Christmas party. My nametag read “Millie Worker.” When former Senator John Edwards read it, he laughed and said, “That makes you like my parent.” He went on to say, “Would you please come down to Chapel Hill so we can talk about what’s coming up.” I sat in John and Elizabeth’s living room for two and half hours. I left North Carolina, energized about politics for the first time in months.

Not only has this party belittled working people in this campaign, it has also been part of tearing down two female candidates.

I didn’t hear from anyone for three weeks.
When I finally received the official offer, it was the kind of political offer that said, “Go away.” That happens. It’s their campaign and I just assumed that I had been pushed out. The problem was that I had canceled a number of freelance writing jobs because I had assumed that when John said, “Start right away” I would. I needed a job right away and so I took the one in front of me with Senator Barack Obama.
When we first met, Obama and I had a nice conversation about speeches and writing, and at the end of the meeting I handed him a pocket-sized bottle of Grey Poupon mustard so he wouldn’t have to ask staff if it was okay to put it on his hamburger. At the bottom of the bottle was the logo for “The South Beach Diet” and he snapped, “Oh so you read People magazine.” He seemed to think that I was commenting on his bathing suit picture.

I helped with his announcement speech and others. I worked in the Senate when he was in D.C. One day after a hearing on Darfur, we were walking back to the office. I was still hobbling from a very bad ankle injury and in a very kind and gentle way he offered his arm when we approached the stairs. But later in debate preps and phone conversations and meetings, I realized that I had made a mistake. I didn’t belong. No matter how hard I tried, my heart wasn’t in it anymore.

See campaigns get complicated when you’ve written for so many Democrats. Not only had I written for Senator Edwards, but I had also been Senator Hillary Clinton’s speechwriter. Senator Joe Biden is a “good looking” man and his care after my father almost died from an aneurysm is the kind of kindness you never forget. When I saw Edwards at a traffic light in D.C. about a year after our meeting, he asked for help and I did and it was an honor to help him with his concession speech. And when the primary ended, it was a privilege to help Michelle Obama with a stump speech, be considered as a speechwriter for the V.P. nominee again, and send friends in Chicago ideas until the financial crisis hit. This is what the Democratic Party has been for me; it’s family. Now, it doesn’t even feel like a distant cousin.

This drift started on a personal level with the fall of former Senator John Edwards. It got stronger during the Democratic National Convention when I counted the substantive mentions of poverty on one hand and a whole bunch of bad canned partisan lines against Senator John McCain. Some faith was lifted after Senator Hillary Clinton’s grace during a difficult hour. But that faith was dashed when I saw that someone had raided the Caligula set and planted the old columns at Invesco Field.
The final straw came the other week when Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher (a.k.a Joe the Plumber) asked a question about higher taxes for small businesses. Instead of celebrating his aspirations, they were mocked. He wasn’t “a real plumber,” and “They’re fighting for Joe the Hedge-Fund manager,” and the patronizing, “I’ve got nothing but love for Joe the Plumber.”

Having worked in politics, I know that absolutely none of this is on the level. This back and forth is posturing, a charade, and a political game. These lines are what I refer to as “hooker lines”—a sure thing to get applause and the press to scribble as if they’re reporting meaningful news.

As the nation slouches toward disaster, the level of political discourse is unworthy of this moment in history. We have Republicans raising Ayers and Democrats fostering ageism with “erratic” and jokes about Depends. Sexism. Racism. Ageism and maybe some Socialism have all made their ugly cameos in election 2008. It’s not inspiring. Perhaps this is why I found the initial mocking of Joe so offensive and I realized an old line applied: “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left me.”

The party I believed in wouldn’t look down on working people under any circumstance. And Joe the Plumber is right. This is the absolutely worst time to raise taxes on anyone: the rich, the middle class, the poor, small businesses and corporations.
Our economy is in the tank for many complicated reasons, especially because people don’t have enough money. So let them keep it. Let businesses keep it so they can create jobs and stay here and weather this storm. And yet, the Democratic ideology remains the same. Our approach to problems—big government solutions paid for by taxing the rich and big and smaller companies—is just as tired and out of date as trickle down economics. How about a novel approach that simply finds a sane way to stop the bleeding?

That’s not exactly the philosophy of a Democrat. Not only has this party belittled working people in this campaign from Joe the Plumber to the bitter comments, it has also been part of tearing down two female candidates. At first, certain Democrats and the press called Senator Clinton “dishonest.” They went after her cleavage. They said her experience as First Lady consisted of having tea parties. There was no outrage over “Bros before Hoes” or “Iron My Shirt.” Did Senator Clinton make mistakes? Of course. She’s human.

But here we are about a week out and it’s déjà vu all over again. Really, front-page news is how the Republican National Committee paid for Governor Sarah Palin’s wardrobe? Where’s the op-ed about how Obama tucks in his shirt when he plays basketball or how Senator Biden buttons the top button on his golf shirt?

Oh right, this story goes to the sincerity of her Hockey Mom persona. What planet am I living on? Everyone knows that when it comes to appearance, there’s a double standard for women politicians. Remember the speech Speaker Pelosi gave on the floor the day of the bailout vote? Check out how many stories commented on her hair that day and how many mentioned Congressman Barney Frank’s.

Here we are discussing Governor Palin’s clothes—oh wait, now we’re on to the make-up—not what either man is going to do to save our economy. This isn’t an accident. It is part of a manufactured narrative that she is stupid.

Governor Palin and I don’t agree on a lot of things, mostly social issues. But I have grown to appreciate the Governor. I was one of those initial skeptics and would laugh at the pictures. Not anymore. When someone takes on a corrupt political machine and a sitting governor, that is not done by someone with a low I.Q. or a moral core made of tissue paper. When someone fights her way to get scholarships and work her way through college even in a jagged line, that shows determination and humility you can’t learn from reading Reinhold Niebuhr. When a mother brings her son with special needs onto the national stage with love, honesty, and pride, that gives hope to families like mine as my older brother lives with a mental disability. And when someone can sit on a stage during the Sarah Palin rap on Saturday Night Live, put her hands in the air and watch someone in a moose costume get shot—that’s a sign of both humor and humanity.

Has she made mistakes? Of course, she’s human too. But the attention paid to her mistakes has been unprecedented compared to Senator Obama’s “57 states” remarks or Senator Biden using a version of the Samuel Johnson quote, “There’s nothing like a hanging in the morning to focus a man’s thoughts.”

But thank God for election 2008. We can talk about the wardrobe and make-up even though most people don’t understand the details about Senator Obama’s plan with Iraq. When he says, “all combat troops,” he’s not talking about all troops—it leaves a residual force of as large as 55,000 indefinitely. That’s not ending the war; that’s half a war.

I was dead wrong about the surge and thought it would be a disaster. Senator John McCain led when many of us were ready to quit. Yet we march on as if nothing has changed, wedded to an old plan, and that too is a long way from the Democratic Party.
I can no longer justify what this party has done and can’t dismiss the treatment of women and working people as just part of the new kind of politics. It’s wrong and someone has to say that. And also say that the Democratic Party’s talking points—that Senator John McCain is just four more years of the same and that he’s President Bush—are now just hooker lines that fit a very effective and perhaps wave-winning political argument…doesn’t mean they’re true. After all, he is the only one who’s worked in a bipartisan way on big challenges.

Before I cast my vote, I will correct my party affiliation and change it to No Party or Independent. Then, in the spirit of election 2008, I’ll get a manicure, pedicure, and my hair done. Might as well look pretty when I am unemployed in a city swimming with “D’s.”

Whatever inspiration I had in Chapel Hill two years ago is gone. When people say how excited they are about this election, I can now say, “Maybe for you. But I lost my home.”

Wendy Button (Obama staffer who’s voting McCain) inspired by Joe the Plumber

Wendy Button (Obama staffer who’s voting McCain) inspired by Joe the Plumber
Posted: October 29, 2008, 3:38 PM by Shane Dingman

Former Obama campaign speechwriter Wendy Button has made herself a cause célèbre in the Republican party with an op-ed on Tina Brown’s Daily Beast in which she announces that she’s voting for John McCain.

(BTW Tina, nice work on the launch-month buzz. She seems to have figured this interweb thing out.)

Not for nothing, but the inspiration for this Dem turncoat? Joe the Plumber! (And all those pernicious isms.)

The final straw came the other week when Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher (a.k.a Joe the Plumber) asked a question about higher taxes for small businesses. Instead of celebrating his aspirations, they were mocked. He wasn’t “a real plumber,” and “They’re fighting for Joe the Hedge-Fund manager,” and the patronizing, “I’ve got nothing but love for Joe the Plumber.”

As the nation slouches toward disaster, the level of political discourse is unworthy of this moment in history. We have Republicans raising Ayers and Democrats fostering ageism with “erratic” and jokes about Depends. Sexism. Racism. Ageism and maybe some Socialism have all made their ugly cameos in election 2008. It’s not inspiring. Perhaps this is why I found the initial mocking of Joe so offensive and I realized an old line applied: “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left me.”

I can no longer justify what this party has done and can’t dismiss the treatment of women and working people as just part of the new kind of politics. It’s wrong and someone has to say that.

As side note, in the middle section of this opus there was here’s some strange praise of Sarah Palin, strange emphasis anyway:

When someone can sit on a stage during the Sarah Palin rap on Saturday Night Live, put her hands in the air and watch someone in a moose costume get shot—that’s a sign of both humor and humanity.

Overall, the piece moans about her treatment at the hands of once-inspiring pols, it dwells on her career for far too long, and leaves the impression of someone who realized there was no job for her in an Obama administration, so she might as well step outside the tent and lob some bombs.

Still, enjoy your 15 Wendy Button… if you start working for the GOP you could stretch it to 20.

As a Conservative, I Must Say I Do Quite Like the Cut of this Obama Fellow’s Jib

Obama Forgot to Spread His Own Wealth

Obama Forgot to Spread His Own Wealth

Patrick Poole
Even when making more than $250,000, he gave away less than 1 percent to charity until he became a millionaire.

Thinking about Barack Obama’s impromptu lecture to Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher about his plans to “spread the wealth”, I wondered whether Obama was a practitioner of his own “spread the wealth” principles when he had the opportunity to do so, or whether he was the cheap political opportunist and redistributor of the wealth of others that he appeared to be.

 

Looking at Obama’s charitable giving in since 2000 based on his tax returns, we find that Obama consistently refused to follow his own advice to “spread the wealth” when he had the opportunity to do so. This is especially true in years when he made nearly $250,000 or more. Their contributions didn’t increase until Barack Obama’s extraordinary book deal helped make him a millionaire and Michelle Obama received nearly $200,000 raise in May 2005 when she assumed a new position with her employer as vice president of “community and external affairs”.

 

As the chart below shows (HT: TaxProf Blog), from 2000-2004, Obama’s charitable giving was less than 1 percent:

In fact, Obama gave substantially less than the average family making more than $150,000, which averages giving of 2.2 percent of total income according to University of George Professor Russell James.

 

By comparison, John McCain gave more than one-quarter of his income in 2006 and 2007 (28.6 and 27.3 percent respectively). And according to the New York Observer, since 1998, he has donated royalties on his books totaling more than $1.8 million.

 

When Barack and Michelle Obama could voluntarily give more of their own income and had the means well beyond most Americans to do so, they refused. In the event that Barack Obama is elected President, however, he and his Democrat allies in Congress intend to force others to do what he couldn’t do on his own.

 

Vote accordingly.

Obama to Press: Welcome to the “new” America

Obama to Press: Welcome to the “new” America

Rick Moran
The Obama campaign has booted three right-leaning newspapers off their plane. All three endorsed John McCain for president.

Welcome to Obama’s American, gents: From Drudge:

The Obama campaign has decided to heave out three newspapers from its plane for the final days of its blitz across battleground states — and all three endorsed Sen. John McCain for president!

The NY POST, WASHINGTON TIMES and DALLAS MORNING NEWS have all been told to move out by Sunday to make room for network bigwigs — and possibly for the inclusion of reporters from two black magazines, ESSENCE and JET, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned.

Despite pleas from top editors of the three newspapers that have covered the campaign for months at extraordinary cost, the Obama campaign says their reporters — and possibly others — will have to vacate their coveted seats so more power players can document the final days of Sen. Barack Obama’s historic campaign to become the first black American president.

MORE

Some told the DRUDGE REPORT that the reporters are being ousted to bring on documentary film-makers to record the final days; others expect to see on board more sympathetic members of the media, including the NY TIMES’ Maureen Dowd, who once complained that she was barred from McCain’s Straight Talk Express airplane.

After a week of quiet but desperate behind-the-scenes negotiations, the reporters of the three papers heard last night that they were definitely off for the final swing. They are already planning how to cover the final days by flying commercial or driving from event to event.

Developing…

Do you also feel the hairs on the back of your head pricking up in reaction to this move? A portend of what’s to come in Obama’s America?

Of course, we’re being silly our liberal betters tell us. No doubt the New York Times and Washington Post will have examples in their columns tomorrow of previous candidates who booted newspapers off their plane. It will be sold as just something that everyone does and there’s nothing to get alarmed about America. Just go back to sleep and don’t forget to wake up long enough to go to the polls on Tuesday and elect our Messiah.

Except this isn’t the Podunk Tribune we’re talking about here. These are three respected newspapers who happen to have critical coverage of a candidate who now deems it necessary to toss them off his campaign plane. No connection?

A sizable number of residents in Virginia buy and subscribe to the Washington Times. Obama is limiting a point of view that residents in perhaps the most vital swing state in America will be getting. Are we to believe that this is an accident? Are we to seriously consider that Obama isn’t trying to affect how reporters cover his campaign?

I would say to the Washington Post and New York Times there will come a day when you too will feel this rope around your neck and your freedom is affected because you are not behind The One 100%. Your cries of outrage at that point will be ignored by a public who will wonder where were you when it started?

Adding Up Obama + Pelosi + Reid + Frank

Adding Up Obama + Pelosi + Reid + Frank

By CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER | Posted Thursday, October 30, 2008 4:30 PM PT

Last week I made the open-and-shut case for John McCain: In a dangerous world entering an era of uncontrolled nuclear proliferation, the choice between the most prepared foreign policy candidate in memory vs. a novice with zero experience and the wobbliest one-world instincts is not a close call.

But it’s all about economics and kitchen-table issues, we are told. OK. Start with economics.

Neither candidate has particularly deep economic knowledge or finely honed economic instincts. Neither has any clear idea exactly what to do in the current financial meltdown.

Hell, neither does anyone else, including the best economic minds in the world, from Henry Paulson to the head of the European Central Bank. Yet they have muddled through with some success.

Both McCain and Barack Obama have assembled fine economic teams that may differ on the details of their plans but have reasonable approaches to managing the crisis. So forget the hype. Neither candidate has an advantage on this issue.

On other domestic issues, McCain is just the kind of moderate conservative that the Washington/media establishment once loved — the champion of myriad conservative heresies that made him a burr in the side of congressional Republicans and George W. Bush.

But now that he is standing in the way of an audacity-of-hope Democratic restoration, erstwhile friends recoil from McCain on the pretense that he has suddenly become right wing.

Self-serving rubbish. McCain is who he always was. Generally speaking, he sees government as a Rooseveltian counterweight (Teddy with a touch of Franklin) to the various malefactors of wealth and power.

He wants government to tackle large looming liabilities such as Social Security and Medicare. He wants to free up health insurance by beginning to sever its debilitating connection to employment — a ruinous accident of history (arising from World War II wage and price controls) that increases the terror of job loss, inhibits labor mobility and saddles American industry with costs that are driving it (see: Detroit) into insolvency. And he supports lower corporate and marginal tax rates to encourage entrepreneurship and job creation.

An eclectic, moderate, generally centrist agenda in a guy almost congenitally given to bipartisanship.

Obama, on the other hand, talks less and less about bipartisanship, his calling card during his earlier messianic stage. He does not need to. If he wins, he will have large Democratic majorities in both houses. And unlike 1992, Obama is no Clinton centrist.

What will you get?

(1) Card check, meaning the abolition of the secret ballot in the certification of unions in the workplace. Large men will come to your house at night and ask you to sign a card supporting a union. You will sign.

(2) The so-called Fairness Doctrine — a project of Nancy Pelosi and leading Democratic senators — a Hugo Chavez-style travesty designed to abolish conservative talk radio.

(3) Judges who go beyond even the constitutional creativity we expect from Democratic appointees. Judges chosen according to Obama’s publicly declared criterion: “empathy” for the “poor or African-American or gay or disabled or old” — in a legal system historically predicated on the idea of justice entirely blind to one’s station in life.

(4) An unprecedented expansion of government power. Yes, I know. It has already happened. A conservative government has already partially nationalized the mortgage industry, the insurance industry and nine of the largest U.S. banks.

This is all generally swallowed because everyone understands that the current crisis demands extraordinary measures. The difference is that conservatives are instinctively inclined to make such measures temporary.

Whereas an Obama-Pelosi-Reid-Barney Frank administration will find irresistible the temptation to use the tools inherited — $700 billion of largely uncontrolled spending — as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to radically remake the American economy and social compact.

This is not socialism. This is not the end of the world. It would, however, be a decidedly leftward move on the order of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.

The alternative is a McCain administration with a moderate conservative presiding over a divided government and generally inclined to resist a European social-democratic model of economic and social regulation featuring, for example, wealth-distributing, growth-killing marginal tax rates.

The national security choice in this election is no contest. The domestic policy choice is more equivocal because it is ideological. McCain is the quintessential center-right candidate. Yet the quintessential center-right country is poised to reject him. The hunger for anti-Republican catharsis and the blinding promise of Obamian hope are simply too strong. The reckoning comes in the morning.

© 2008 Washington Post Writers Group

All Charisma, No Heart

All Charisma, No Heart

By INVESTOR’S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, October 30, 2008 4:20 PM PT

Character: Barack Obama would “spread the wealth” as president, but until lately the Obamas were giving less than 1% of their own high incomes to the needy and neglecting even poverty-stricken blood relatives.


Read More: Election 2008


 

Sen. Barack Obama is apparently quite a cheapskate when it comes to giving to charity. From 2001 to 2004, the tax returns for Mr. and Mrs. Ebenezer Obama show less than $8,500 in donations out of the nearly $1 million they made.

In 2005 and 2006, with book royalties making them millionaires, their charitable contributions rose to about 5% of income. But how “charitable” are some of the causes Obama supports? In 2006, for instance, he gave more than $20,000 to the notorious Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

Imagine that. Giving tens of thousands of dollars to someone who preaches “not God Bless America; God damn America!” from the pulpit. It remains incomprehensible that John McCain chose not to hammer home Obama’s close association with Wright. The Wright issue has nothing to do with race, and everything to do with radical ideology.

Another supposed charitable donation was the more than $13,000 Obama gave to the Congressional Black Caucus. The CBC last year confirmed that it is a hard-core segregationist organization. When white liberal Democrat Steve Cohen ran in a majority-black House district in Memphis in 2006, he pledged to become the first white CBC member. But once he won, caucus members told him that whites need not apply.

Juxtapose that with the South Carolina state Republican Party chairman feeling compelled last month to resign his 12-year membership in an exclusive whites-only country club. Imagine the uproar if McCain, like Obama, had given a $13,000 “charitable donation” to a group that restricts membership based on race.

How can Obama spare thousands for Chicago’s Muntu Theater of African dance, while allowing his 56-year-old Aunt Zeituni, about whom he reminisces fondly in his best-selling “Dreams From My Father,” to live in a South Boston slum, as exposed by the Times of London this week? While Obama was swimming in well over $600 million in cash contributions, his underprivileged Kenyan-born auntie actually sent his campaign a modest donation.

A 2003 Associated Press story profiling poor people who buy lottery tickets at check-cashing stores apparently quotes Obama’s Aunt Zeituni, describing her as unemployed and cash-strapped.

Obama’s Uncle Omar, also described affectionately in his book, was apparently evicted from his Boston home in 2000 after losing his job. Then there is Obama’s 26-year-old half brother, George Hussein Onyango Obama, discovered by the Italian edition of Vanity Fair to be living in a hovel near Nairobi, claiming to earn “less than a dollar a month.”

It’s funny how Obama can sell his memoir exploiting his relatives and humanize himself for voters, yet be too busy getting ready to change the world to be there for them when they need a hand.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 55 other followers