On One Hand

June 26, 2008

Which is Scarier – Gays or Guns?

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 2:39 pm
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Todays Supreme Court decision overturning a Washington D.C. handgun ban may cut in John McCain’s direction, taking off the table, at least for now, a goal of many on the left to ban handguns nationwide.

But in 2003, gay marriage cut in John Kerry’s direction, when the Supreme Judicial Court in his home state of Massachusetts demanded that gay marriage be legal for the first time in American history. And while John Kerry himself did not claim to support gay marriage, the electorate knew full well that Democrats are more favorable to the issue than Republicans. After John Kerry’s candidacy ended by a close loss in Ohio, a working-class state where a ballot initiative banning recognition of same-sex relationships passed by a landslide in the same vote, many murmured that the gay-marriage backlash is what tipped the entire election in the favor of George W. Bush. Ironically, a court ruling favoring liberals turned into a huge win for Republicans in an election.

Democratic candidates are recognized as having a tough time on “culture” issues like gun control. Rural Democrats like their guns, and a candidate’s position on gun control is often what paints him or her as an elitist urban “liberal” who those Democrats wouldn’t want to vote for. While most Americans nationwide do not own guns and support bans on concealed weapons in public, the ones most likely to switch sides over the issue seem to be this group of Democrats who cross over to vote Republican.

But this ruling helps take that issue off the table to gun-owning Democrats. Meanwhile, it frightens another segment of the elctorate that Barack Obama needs to win by large margins for a victory this fall – suburban women. These are the Independent voters who may have picked Hillary Clinton over John McCain, but still like McCain – and feel financially secure enough to resist Barack Obama’s positions on helping the working class.

Single women already favor Democrats by large margins, but married women with children, particularly those living in the suburbs, are swing voters who tend to favor Republicans on things like terrorism and crime. Married women also worry their kids in school, and strongly favor gun control. The composition of the Supreme Court suddenly becomes an important issue for them – the NRA has already announced it will launch challenges to gun bans in Chicago, San Francisco, and New York City, which will no doubt get into the news and be there until election time. They’ve even said they’ll look into challenging background check laws, which is something an overwhelming majority of Americans support. The composition of the Supreme Court will be important to them, which now has 7 members appointed by Republicans and 2 members appointed by Democrats, and upcoming retirements may tip that even farther. The decision may leave these women wondering what gun laws are going to be repealed next.

If these women end up voting on gun control, they’re going to vote for Barack Obama. They’re also going to vote for downticket Democrats who can fine-tune their gun control message to exactly the issues their voters are concerned about, or more delicately campaign to save current gun control laws without scaring pro-gun Democrats about the passage of new ones.

Current polls show Obama losing suburban women voters, but if he picks them up he’ll surge ahead in overall polls. Obama will have the coalition Bill Clinton (soccer moms and traditional Democrats) had and Ross Perot’s independent-thinking reformers (who like Obama’s change message) as well.

It begs the question; which is scarier, gays or guns? Gay marriage is an issue again since the state of California just legalized it, and New York and New Jersey may follow. If gay marriage can terrorize an electorate enough to surge George W. Bush into a second term, it may help John McCain as well. Democrats can hope that the repeal of gun control laws can surge Barack Obama – and local Democrats – into office instead.

June 21, 2008

Protected: The Gay Physique

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June 20, 2008

What Hillary can Say to Help the Dems

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 10:41 am
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Hillary Clinton is going to start campaigning side-by-side with Barack Obama next Friday. The goal is to continue to unite the party, bringing Clinton’s anti-Obama supporters around so that they don’t defect to John McCain.

Clinton has already said that the differences between herself and Barack Obama pale in comparison to their differences with John McCain. But Obama still faces the anger of Clinton supporters who call him sexist or say he “stole” the election from Hillary Clinton. They’d rather undermine their own interests and support the Republican than support they guy who is most responsible for preventing their candidate from becoming president. But Obama, the Dems, and even Clinton herself need to see Barack Obama elected if her direction for the country is to be fulfilled; that means universal healthcare, ending the war, saving Roe v. Wade and rolling back the Bush tax cuts. They won’t get every Clinton supporter back, but they can get a few more and offer Obama a 2-point bump, which makes a big difference when he’s already ahead. Here’s what Clinton can and should say to bring her angry supporters around:

Obama won the primary fair and square. It’s one thing to see the candidate you love lose the nomination, and be forced to turn your support to the party’s other candidate. It’s quite another if you think your candidate won the nomination and the nomination was given to someone else anyway – the latter scenario makes you much more likely to defect from the party as a whole.

But there’s little merit to claims that Obama “stole” the nomination, especially given that Clinton herself said that the superdelegates can support whomever they like – regardless of the public will – and they clearly favored Obama. Obama got the most delegates, and that’s why he’s the Democratic nominee. He got those delegates because they chose him or were elected to choose him, not because he coerced them or that they felt obligated to favor him because he is Black. Obama won a pledged delegate majority, a superdelegate majority, and the majority of the popular vote not counting Michigan where Obama wasn’t on the ballot. If Hillary Clinton can help her supporters face those facts, it will lesson the sting of turning shifting support to Barack Obama.

Even if Michigan and Florida had been counted in full, Obama would have had more delegates than Clinton. The Michigan-Florida debate was eventually most heated dispute between the two campaigns, and later it was the heated dispute between the Clinton campaign and the Democratic party as a whole when the Rules Committee stuck to its own pre-primary decision to punish states who held their primaries too soon. But the dispute over Michigan and Florida were about Democratic principles, not about choosing the nominee; Obama was ahead of Clinton by delegate gap big enough that those states would not have made the difference for Clinton. Had they been counted in full, Barack Obama still would have won, albeit by a slimmer margin.

Barack Obama supports womens’ rights and gay rights and opposes sexism. Many of Clinton’s supporters, be they gay men or second-wave feminist women, have suggested that Clinton lost the nomination because she was a woman and because the media attacked her for being a woman. Sexist language was certainly there, and it may or may not be why she lost the nomination, but Clinton could help Obama by pointing out that the sexist language came from pundits or ordinary people and not Barack Obama himself. Furthermore, Barack Obama is pro-choice while John McCain is not, Barack Obama is pro-gay while John McCain is not, and Barack Obama supports a liberal Supreme Court while John McCain does not. Barack Obama is as much of a feminist as Hillary Clinton is, and his victory over John McCain can represent a victory for women’s interests in November.

The Republicans are attacking Michelle Obama in the same way they once attacked Hillary Clinton. It was during Bill Clinton’s presidency that Hillary Clinton first became a hero to some feminists, and to those who would whisper – someday, she’ll be the first woman president. But it was Conservative attacks on Hillary Clinton that crystalized that defensive support, and sealed her reputation as a fighter who has taken more heat than most men in politics ever do. If Hillary Clinton was the first First Lady presented as an outspoken and involved woman with her own opinions, Michelle Obama would be the second. Now Michelle Obama’s comment about being “really proud” of America for the “first time” in her adult life is lampooned in the same way that Clinton’s comments about stay-at-home moms were lampooned in 1992. Pundits are calling Michelle a “black separatist” though they have no supporting evidence, while the wider rhetoric suggests that she’s “really bitter” or an “angry woman” who actually wears the pants in the relationship – sound familiar? If Clinton can make the case that Michelle Obama is facing the same kind of sexist and racist attacks that she herself once faced as First Lady, she could coalesce the same kind of support among feminist women and ensure that they will campaign and vote for Barack Obama.

June 19, 2008

Protected: Unemployment

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June 16, 2008

“Vegetarian Myths, Debunked”

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 5:34 pm

I don’t think I could have said it better myself:

Meatless Like Me
I may be a vegetarian, but I still love the smell of bacon.
By Taylor Clark, Slate.com.

Every vegetarian remembers his first time. Not the unremarkable event of his first meal without meat, mind you. No, I mean the first time he casually lets slip that he’s turned herbivore, prompting everyone in earshot to stare at him as if he just revealed plans to sail his carrot-powered plasma yacht to Neptune. continued…

June 12, 2008

Protected: Charlie Bit Me

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June 9, 2008


Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 10:22 pm

I decided on a whim to hike up the Chataqua trail until it ended. The base of the trail is only a little over a mile from the house, so I set out walking with a backpack and water bottle. As it turns out, the trail ends on the first (or third, depending on whose count you use) flatiron. It’s about an hour and a half hike from where I live, rising a couple thousand feet into the air.

I can’t beleive I’ve lived here two years and never climbed the mountain before. I’ve wanted to, but it seems so daunting from far away.

On a clear day you can see all the way to Wyoming from on top of the flatiron, and today I got a clear view of Rocky Flats, downtown Denver, Boulder, Longmont, a vague view of Fort Collins and the Indian Peaks Wilderness visible from the backside of the ridge.

I wasn’t planning on such a long hike and all I had with me was a cell phone camera.

Douglas Fir growing from a rock in an avalanche chute.

Boulder from near the top of the first flatiron.

If you take Baseline Ave. far enough West it winds up a mountain called Flagstaff where all the high school and college kids drive to make out on one of the scenic overlooks. This town is quite a sight late at night from hundreds of feet above, but from the top of the flatirons even Flagstaff Mountain looks like a molehill in the distance:

Flagstaff from the Flatirons.

The Flatiron from the trail.

I got to the top of the mountain at sunset. I met up with some people there who showed me a hard-to-find trail from the ridge to the very top of the rocks. It was getting cold and I was wearing a sleeveless shirt and had no flashlight and not much water, so I didn’t stay long. But it was pretty amazing to suddenly break over the top of the ridge and see an expanse of mountains on the other side; it’s hard to beleive I can get there from my house (which is technically in the plains) to a point that seems well into the Front Range.

Indian Peaks Wilderness area; the ridge of mountains is the Continental Divide from the top of Flagstaff.

June 5, 2008

On the Mountain

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 8:39 pm

I just said fuck the shin splints and ran from my house to Chataqua and up the trail there till the trees start.

It had been raining all day and it was chilly, but wow, I never realized how far you can see from up on that mountain.

Man cannot conquer the wilderness – we are the wilderness, and above it is no triumph, only freedom.

The garden of eden is a palm-sized plot inside my belly. It whispers, swish, swish, swish.

Oh god oh god my calves hurt.

That was just the most pleasurable glass of water I’ve tasted in my life.

June 3, 2008

Hillary Clinton’s June 3 Victory Speech

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 9:53 pm
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Bloggers and pundits have lamented Hillary Clinton’s victory speech that she gave in New York after news stations called the South Dakota primary for her. The point of contention was Clinton’s failure to to concede the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama, and that she said she wouldn’t announce the future of her campaign that evening.

I would argue that Hillary Clinton’s speech was as close to a concession as anyone could expect, and was as graceful and eloquent as anyone could have asked. She started out by praising Barack Obama and his campaign, then went over the strengths and merits of her own candidacy. Then she gave a heartfelt overview of the issues that she and the Democratic Party are supporting this fall, explaining that it is for these reasons that she ran for office, and also making a compelling issues-based case, though indirectly, that her supporters should turn to favor Barack Obama who has nearly the same platform as she.

It’s rare for candidates to drop out the night of a losing primary, let alone a primary that the candidate won. A dropout is especially unlikely when someone has fought as long and hard as Hillary Clinton did this year. Edwards waited untill the morning after his final primary to withdraw, and it’s the normal thing to do for presidential candidates in a primary election when there are more contests to come. Though some of the merits of her continued contention are absurd – like the argument that Michigan’s votes should count towards the popular vote total even though Barack Obama wasn’t on the ballot – the race still ended up strikingly close, and of late her argument has been less about becoming the Democratic nominee and more about a sentimental insistence that losing candidates should not drop out until the final vote has been cast. Right now a few superdelegates remain, and Hillary Clinton will have fulfilled her rhetorical commitment to outlast the entire contest by waiting until all of them have declared their support for a candidate.

Hating Hillary Clinton can’t possibly restore party unity and won’t help Barack Obama in any way. Since it is already obvious that Obama is the nominee, Hillary Clinton is no longer a threat, so Obama supporters gain nothing by criticizing her. A few more news cycles will see her exit the race. The best thing to happen now is a steady transition toward unity between the two campaigns, which can happen over a number of days rather than hours. It’s already June, and those who say Clinton hung on too long (and kept a negative tone toward Obama for far longer than she should have) are correct in saying so, but a couple more days of indecision, assuming Clinton says nothing negative about Barack Obama, aren’t going to hurt anything, and could possibly help bring her supporters around more smoothly. Barack Obama has clearly decided that the best thing for him is to praise Hillary Clinton and welcome her supporters into his camp in a friendly and open way. That case is helped if Obama’s supporters do the same thing.

Clinton’s scorned supporters are immediately settling for the less-appealing option of asking their girl to be picked as Barack Obama’s vice-presidential nominee. While this is probably not going to happen, it’s a temporary false hope that will ease the pain of the transition for Clinton supporters, and can’t hurt. She and Obama are going to meet and talk about what to do next, and there is talk that she doesn’t even want the VP spot but will allow Obama to stage an invitation as a gesture of unity. I think there’s reason for optimism that Clinton’s next actions will be well-coordinated with the strategy of the Obama campaign and will be helpful to electing Obama as president.

The Lights

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 7:10 pm

Richard Milhous Nixon.

Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr.

James Earl Carter Jr.

Ronald Wilson Reagan.

George Herbert Walker Bush.

William Jefferson Clinton.

George Walker Bush.


America has split open its crusty, decrepit shell of old white male presidents with egg breath. It’s cracking through, it’s singing low, it’s calling out a w.h.i.s.p.e.r (yes).

On the horizon – not a guarantee – just a promise, a glimmer of hope, and we know that even when we lose we are soon to win because these things are just inevitable.

Barack. Hussein. Obama.

Can you taste it?
Can you taste it?

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