Unleashing the Genie

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The day before the Democratic National Convention and then today when it convened, unity is not a word you can use to describe Democrats.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders campaigned for the past year talking about starting a political revolution. His fans took his message to heart. Those who felt  the Bern are far from ready to cede the battlefield and admit defeat.

Hundreds marched on Sunday through the streets of Philadelphia chanting, “We won’t vote for Hillary.” Those protests continued in the streets today.

This morning while speaking to supporters, Uncle Bernie was heckled and booed every time he mentioned the name of the soon-to-be-anointed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and running mate, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine.

The ire of Sanders’ supporters was enough to push Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz out of any role at the convention and resignation effective Friday as the party chair.

We are talking a small number either. Sanders garnered the support of 43% of the vote during the primary season.

As soon as the convention was gaveled in this afternoon, the chants on the floor began with the delegation from California in support of Uncle Bernie. This even though Sanders has asked the delegates to accept that Clinton will be the nominee and to show respect and not stage floor demonstrations.

Each time anyone mentions Clinton’s or Kaine’s name the rallying cries around the Sanders campaign go from a low growl to loud howl. Uncle

Bernie let the genie out of the bottle. Now the age old question returns: How do you get the genie back in the bottle?

Although Sanders ceded and has endorsed Clinton, technically if enough SuperDelegates change positions and vote for Uncle Bernie, he could be the nominee instead of Clinton.

When Sanders and Massachusetts Senator and liberal darling Elizabeth Warren address the convention tonight, can either of them qualm the savages on the floor and soothe the beast ready to rumble?

With respected and trusted Democratic strategist Donna Brazile assuming the Chair in place of Wasserman Schultz, the DNC released an apology to Uncle Bernie within the hour of the start of the convention, hoping to quell the uproar on the floor.

But – will it silence the vocal opposition from the floor during prime time?

From the Cornfield, like it or not, want it or not, Uncle Bernie may get his revolution after all.

Once released, you can’t just put the genie back in the bottle with a twitch of the nose.

Hoosiers, Time to Roar

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Indiana may be one of the smaller states in the Union in geographic size and population, but Hoosiers have much of which to be proud.

We have our share of Vice Presidents: Schuyler Colfax, Thomas Hendricks, Charles Fairbanks, Thomas Marshall and Dan Quayle.

Ties to Presidents: General William Henry Harrison, whose Grouseland is located in Vincennes and his grandson Benjamin Harrison, born here as well as being Abraham Lincoln’s boyhood home. 

Celebrities: James Dean, Anne Baxter, Carole Lombard, Karl Malden, Steve McQueen, Sydney Pollack, Clifton Webb, The Jacksons, Florence Henderson, Phil Harris, Red Skelton, Axl Rose, CNN’s Kate Bolduan, Joyce DeWitt, David Letterman, to name a few.

Sports Figures: Larry Bird, Don Mattingly, John Wooden, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, to name a few.

Authors and More: James Whitcomb Riley, General Lew Wallace, Jim Davis, Theodore Dreiser, Phil Dresser, Ernie Pyle, T.C. Steele, Kurt Vonnegut, to name a few.

  Universities: IU, Notre Dame, Purdue, ISU, Ball State, to name a few.

Supreme Court Justices: Chief Justice John Roberts was born and raised here.

Astronauts & Aviators: Amelia Earhart, Gus Grissom, Joseph P. Allen, Frank Borman, to name a few. And of course some we are not so proud of such as John Dillinger, Jimmy Hoffa, Sam Bass and Johnny Ringo.

But this year, the voters in the Cornfield and coal mines of Indiana will have a chance to do something which has never happened in my lifetime – determine who will be a presidential nominee and impact the other party’s selection.

Traditionally, the state’s late-to-the-game May 3 vote is merely lip service to the process. The decision has long been made as to who the presumptive nominees will be for the two major parties.

Not this year.

If all goes as expected tonight in the Atlantic Seaboard Primary of Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware, Hoosier voters may well determine whether Donald Trump becomes the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

At the same time, Cornfield ballot-casters could seal the fate of Bernie Sanders and push Hillary Clinton to the presumption for the Democrats.

Never has there been such an important primary season for Hoosiers. We have the power. It is time for Hoosiers to roar.

A week out and Donald Trump leads on the GOP side. Clinton is ahead, but Sanders is closing.

Ted Cruz and John Kasich, Governor of neighbor Ohio, struck a deal to target resources which would be of the most benefit. At the same time, both are calling on supporters to continue to vote for them.

Hoosiers hold in their hands the ability to either confirm or stop Trump’s Sherman’s March to the Sea.

Which way will Hoosier vote?

Indiana is more conservative state – both with Republicans and Democrats. I have often claimed that our Democrats would be Republicans in other states and vice versa.

Hoosiers are rather independent in that we go our own way.

Look at one of our longest serving and most powerful Senators, Dick Lugar. Lugar was the consummate moderate, which is where despite some socially conservative veins, most Hoosiers will identify as being.

It is, therefore, surprising that our next door neighbor’s Governor is not doing so well in the polls. Kasich not committing resources to the state does not serve him well. He could upset the general consensus if only tried.

From the Cornfield, next Tuesday I will be walking across the street to the Ruritan Building and casting my vote.

When I sign in I will declare as either a Republican or Democrat and receive the appropriate ballot. How I will vote I am keeping quiet at this time.

Now is the time for Hoosiers to let the nation hear our voice. This is the primary of our lifetimes.

Come on Hoosiers, let our roar match that of our most famous sporting event – the Indy 500!

More on influential Hoosiers: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_from_Indiana

 

Danger, Hillary, Danger

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The people of New Hampshire have spoken.

Donald Trump was the choice by more than a third of Republicans.

Nearly two-thirds of Democrats chose Bernie Sanders.

While the GOP continues to thrash around figuring out whether to coalesce behind one so-called “Establishment” candidate to go up against The Donald and untrustworthy Ted Cruz, the real news may be on the Democratic side of the race.

And that news is not good for Hillary Clinton. Last night’s exit polls showed that 66% of men preferred Bernie over Hillary. That is not surprising. Men have always eschewed a Hillary run.

What is a clear danger sign is the way the female vote went.

According to the exit polls, 53% of women voters felt the Bern.

So much for Gloria Steinem’s and Madeleine Albright’s comments to younger women pressing it was a woman’s duty to vote for another woman.

If the vote of women continues to break toward Bernie in Nevada and South Carolina, this will not bode well for the woman who hopes to be the first US female president.

Another danger signal was the way the 18-29-year-old vote broke. Bernie garnered 85% of that vote, which is more than that of President Barack Obama back in 2008.

Perhaps former Obama campaign manager, David Axelrod, got it right in his tweet the other day about the problem not being with the campaign staff – but – the candidate.

From the Cornfield, will Hillary listen to the sirens going off or will she ignore?

Will the coronation of Queen Hillary be usurped by the court jester?

Maybe we will get answers on Thursday night when Bernie and Hillary once more debate on PBS and simulcast on CNN.

Dems Debate: Obama’s 3rd Term

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Democrats Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley (yes, he is still running) met in Charleston, South Carolina Sunday night in a forum hosted by NBC, Facebook and the Congressional Black Caucus.

What became apparent almost immediately is that front runner Clinton was determined to preside over what Republicans have long-feared – a third term for President Barack Obama.

Over and over again, Clinton touted the successes and legacy of the President who must leave the White House next year. Time and again she spoke of expanding and building on what Obama has started.

Whether talking healthcare, gun control or the war on drugs and changing the legal system which seems weighted against African Americans, Clinton referred to the President.

Sanders got the most speaking time, but it was the President who clearly was the top subject of the night.

O’Malley tried to get a word in here and there, but was mostly a cricket chirping in the distance.

When Clinton was not singing Obama’s praises, she was doing her best to blast Sanders and his positions – especially on gun rights.

Sanders most of the time deftly swatted away the attacks returning to his main theme – the economy and reining in Wall Street. Sanders also scored points when hitting Clinton on her ties with Goldman-Sachs and other Wall Street bankers.

Nationwide polls may be saying that Americans are wanting change and think the country is headed the wrong direction, Clinton kept making the case for continuity and staying the course. Sanders kept calling for expanding and going even farther down the current path.

Are Democrats paying attention to the mood of the electorate? In this, the fourth and final debate before voters vote, Sanders clearly won.

Clinton lost.

O’Malley showed.

From the Cornfield, history may very well remain in tact if Democrats continue down this path.

That history is that the party in power almost always loses the White House after two terms.

The pendulum swings the opposite direction.

Dems Face-Off Tonight

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The three candidates seeking to be the Democratic presidential nominee will face-off in Charleston, South Carolina tonight on NBC at 9 p.m.

But will anyone be watching?

This is only the fourth debate compared to six for the Republicans. There will be no more meetings before Iowa and New Hampshire voters cast ballots.

Martin O’Malley barely made it onto the stage with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Why O’Malley keeps on is a mystery to almost everyone, but O’Malley.

Never a fan of Democratic Chairwoman and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, I listened as she spoke today to CNN’s Reliable Sources host Brian Stelter trying to defend the decision to limit the number of debates and when the debates occur.

Her reasoning did not match the reality as I see it. Both Sanders and O’Malley have been pushing more debates. Clinton has been tepid.

There have been accusations that the Democratic Central Committee has been staving off the requests to benefit Clinton getting the nomination.

Wasserman Schultz said today that she did not want to pull the candidates off the campaign trail even though the candidates, except Clinton, have been begging her to do just that so their message can get in front of more voters.

Tonight’s debate, on a Sunday, will go head-to-head with football – a ratings loser for sure. It also happens to be a three-day weekend with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday tomorrow – again dissipating the viewership.

I am wondering whether to tune in to the debate or stay to my normal Sunday viewing of Madame Secretary, The Good Wife and Cyber CSI. Stelter brought up these shows and football in asking why the committee chose tonight to debate.

Wasserman Schultz kept talking about the “record numbers” who have tuned in to watch the debates, which pale compared to the Republican viewer numbers.

Her argument does not ring true.

So will anyone be watching?

From the Cornfield, if the purpose is to get the message out before the voters, I believe, the Democratic National Committee is failing miserably.

Cha-Ching! Dems Debate

cornfieldlogoI noted Wednesday following the Tuesday Republican debates: human nature is such that each of us hears what we want to hear and see what we want to see in most situations. This is definitely true when it comes to the realm of politics and political debates. Often our mindset and preconceived notions determine what we perceive.

This is particularly true of Saturday night’s Democratic presidential candidates’ debate. From the punditry, the analysis, snippets from supporters and opponents, everyone saw and heard differing debate results.

For me one hyphenated word stood out – cha-ching! Yes, there were other moments and some substantial differences between Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley.

Yet, my head was resounding with the sound of money clinking as the Democratic contenders talked about how they want to expand the government’s involvement in our every day lives, the offers of “free education”, revamping healthcare and defeating the Islamic State.

Even when the three tangled over gun control, I could hear a tinkling of coins in the background. None were specific in numbers and details of how much their ideas were going to cost us – but – cost us it would. All three held their own with supporters being able to claim victory for each one with reasons to back up the claim.

To me Hillary won the day by not losing.

Others saw other things.

Good Morning America found nine moments that mattered:

  • Sanders Says He Is Sorry
  • Clinton Calls Trump ISIS Best Recruiter
  • Sanders’ Moment of Zen
  • No Fly, No Problem?
  • Sanders Gets Challenged “to Join the Democrats”
  • Hillary Goes Missing — Briefly
  • Everybody Loves Hillary?
  • Of “Lust” and Libya
  • Presidential Spouses Take Center Stage

Read the reasoning: https://gma.yahoo.com/third-democratic-presidential-debate-9-moments-mattered-042523396–abc-news-topstories.html

From the Cornfield, there will be two more Republican debates before the next Democratic debate. Then Iowa and New Hampshire vote.

By the way, the numbers were not good for last night’s showing.

Debate Eve – Does Anyone Care?

cornfieldlogoTomorrow night in Manchester, New Hampshire for the third time Democratic presidential wannabes will square off. Once more the debate is scheduled on a Saturday guaranteed to get a minimal amount of viewers.

Contrast this to the Republican debates which have occurred during prime time in the middle of the work week which are smashing viewership records. The GOP has also had five debates today (10 if you figure there are always two debates – top tier and bottom tier) while this only the third for Democrats. 

Democrats will have one more debate on January 17 before Iowans and New Hampshire voters hit the ballot box. Republicans will conduct two more debates on January 14 and 28.

Question is does anyone care about Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley debating?

Apparently the Democratic National Committee who scheduled and sanctions the debates does not. Then again if Sanders and O’Malley are to be believed, Clinton has the DNC in her pocketbook.

The DNC has resisted calls from Sanders and O’Malley for more debates. This in spite of Clinton publicly stating she has no objection to adding debates to the few scheduled. What she has said in private is debatable.

Most presume that Clinton is already being fitted for her coronation gown and even fitting the Oval Office for new curtains.

It is understandable why, Sanders is still in the race. He is still drawing large crowds. He is getting big union endorsements. He is showing a lead in New Hampshire.

But can anyone explain to me O’Malley’s rationale for continuing to tilt against windmills?

Or could it be he is hoping the Federal Bureau of Investigation will conclude its look at Clinton’s email server and see the US Attorney indicting her?

This would leave him as a clear Democratic choice, being the only life-long Democrat in the race against the independent, Democratic Socialist Sanders.

Is O’Malley hoping to be there to grasp the crown if it falls off Clinton’s head if she is indicted?

What can we expect tomorrow night?

Most likely trying to stay awake and a lot of what we heard during the last debate. For Democratic voters the economy remains the number one issue unlike Republicans where it is national security.

From the Cornfield, with nothing better to watch on a Saturday night, I will tune in and write my take of the Saturday night slumber party.

Presidential Wannabes on Islamic State

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

National Public Radio (NPR) has put out an excellent chart to help American voters to understand where the major parties’ candidates for president stand on dealing with the Islamic State.

Naturally what is in the chart could change depending on how the winds blow for a particular candidate at any time.

isisstandNotes
1. Bush and Paul both favor declaring war, while Clinton, Cruz, Graham and O’Malley favor or have favored passing a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force, which has in recent decades supplanted formal war declarations.
2. Christie was in favor of ground troops prior to the Paris attacks, saying they should be an option if arming U.S. allies doesn’t work.
3. On all answers marked “unclear,” unless linked/footnoted otherwise, NPR reached out to campaigns but either has not yet received answers or has received unclear answers.
4. Cruz spokesman Rick Tyler declined to answer questions on the “unclear” responses, writing in an email, “I think it too simplistic to reduce the ongoing ever-changing real-time dynamic situation in Syria in the wake of the Paris attack to yes or no answers.”
5. In September 2014, Cruz said he wanted a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force for fighting ISIS.
6. Fiorina told Fox Business that she doesn’t want to send in U.S. ground forces “yet.”
7. Statement from campaign
8. Huckabee told Breitbart News that a coalition of countries (one that includes the U.S.) should bomb ISIS, then send in troops.
9. Pataki was in favor of ground troops earlier this year, but he has not been clear on his strategy ideas since the Paris attacks.
10. Paul told CNN that he’s not in favor of more troops. However, he also added, “If we went to war and there was a declaration of war, I would put overwhelming force. I wouldn’t mess around.”
11. In an email to NPR, Paul’s campaign said, “If France asks to invoke NATO’s Article 5, President Obama should convene a NATO Summit but even if Article V is invoked, Congress must still authorize any military involvement.”
12. Rubio told ABC and O’Malley’s campaign told NPR that they are in favor of sending special operations troops. However, O’Malley and Rubio draw a distinction between those troops and larger waves of combat troops (Rubio did not respond directly to ABC as to whether he’d send in more combat troops). Similarly, Clinton said there should be more special ops troops, and that the U.S. should “support and equip” local forces.
13. A spokesman from the O’Malley campaign said that if France were to invoke NATO Article 5, then the U.S. would be bound by the treaty and would participate in accordance with NATO’s decision.
Source: Various
Credit: Danielle Kurtzleben/NPR, with research from Barbara Sprunt

From the Cornfield, in light of threat from terrorism becoming more and more reality and not just threat, it will be interesting to see the impact this may have on the 2016 Presidential Election.

For more information: http://www.npr.org/2015/11/20/456633512/what-the-2016-candidates-would-do-about-isis-in-one-chart

Pluck the Political Tares

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

How appropriate that the number of people seeking to be President of the United States continues to shrink this October night.

It is fall when the wind begins to winnow the chaff.

Earlier this week, Jim Webb pulled out of the Democratic race. Today, it was Lincoln Chafee.

A couple of weeks ago it was Scott Walker pulling out of Republican consideration after Rick Perry led the way a couple of weeks before that.

Growing in the field along with the sturdy, maturing crops are weeds and tares as of tonight which need to be pulled up and cast on the burn pile.

Last evening it was reported that one-time presumed Republican shoo-in, Jeb Bush, has begun to cut staff pay. Rather than sprouting, Bush has become a tumbleweed unable to get root.

Time for this Bush to be mowed down.

The field is quickly being pruned for the final four. This year, on the GOP side, it will be the last man standing.

Sorry, but Carly Fiorina has seen her time come and go. She did strong in the debates. She got a short-lived bump.

Then she did a Michelle Bachman with her grasping hold and not letting go of an abortion video. Turned out, she was in error about that video.

Her numbers are now sinking like a concrete block.

I cannot see her recovering. Time for the pruning shears.

The bottom five: Jim Gilmore, Rick Santorum, George Pataki, Linsey Graham and Bobby Jindal; are blowing in the wind. Time to become riders on the storm into the sunset.

This brings us to Rand Paul and Chris Christie, who like seed planted in stony, shallow dirt sprouted quickly. They both are now withering in the autumn sun.

Time to dig up and replant in the next growing season.

Mike Huckabee, who has managed to stay in the middle of the tilled ground, has been revealed to be more of a mutant grain, leaving a bitter taste. Like a crab apple, except to bake in pie, he has no wide appeal.

Huckabee fell from the tree never to rise again. Time to turn to mash before the rot begins to stink.

Finally we come to the four, I believe, will be the contenders for the Republican top spot: Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.

Even with these four, we are starting to see blemishes marring the fruit. The occasional bug is burrowing in the pulp.

The two most palpable to the general public are Carson and Rubio.

Trump and Cruz both appeal to more selective palates.

Over at the Democratic farm, Martin O’Malley needs pulled up by the roots. Clinton and Bernie Sanders are the crops getting voters hungry and licking their lips.

From the Cornfield, we are near the 100-day mark before Iowans gather in groups in barns, farmhouses, churches and halls to make their voice heard.

Both parties and the candidates need to reassess the field.

Time to harvest the best to feed to voters starting in February.

Iron Cage Free-for-All – Dems Debate

From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield
From the Desert with feet planted firmly in the Cornfield

The expected yawn turned out to be more like a mixed martial arts iron cage free-for-all as the five presidential wannabes took to the stage for the first Democratic presidential debate.

Right from the start Lincoln Chafee came out swinging with a sly insinuation about front runner Hillary Clinton noting that he had been around in politics for over 30 years without any hint or accusation of scandal.

From there the fists and the kicks kept coming.

Most of the punches thrown were at Clinton, who kept trying to deflect by swinging at her long-time foil, the Republican Party.

All five, Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, Webb and Lincoln Chafee all acquitted themselves well.

The weakest of the lot, to me, was Chafee. He also, I believe, had the least amount of speaking time. But when he spoke, he did not inspire any desire to follow him down the yellow brick road.

Clinton time and again seemed to base her right to be the next president because she is a woman. In fact that was what she noted would make sure if she won it would not be a third term for President Barack Obama.

Sanders was Sanders, He came across knowledgeable of the issues and attempted to lessen people’s concern about him being a democratic socialist. Sanders even came to the aid of Clinton saying that the American people are tired of hearing about the email server which has the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigating her and the use of the private server.

O’Malley tried, but failed in my opinion, to jump the questions raised about his term as mayor of Baltimore. He did his best to justify his policy of no-tolerance on criminals and jailing 100,000 people in one year. O’Malley denied his policies were to blame for the riots and unrest that erupted following the death of Freddie Gray.

To me, Webb was the most centrist and moderate of those on the stage. He seemed to have a better grip on foreign policy and the dangers America is facing around the world. However, Webb seemed out of step with the Democrats in the hall and the other candidates on the stage.

Except for Webb, there seemed to be a jockeying going on to see who could be the most liberal and the farthest to the left.

Who won?

Personally, I was more enamored with Webb’s responses.

But for the room, I would say a toss-up between Sanders and O’Malley. Yet for the pundits and media, Hillary is still the darling.

The clear loser was Chafee. Do not expect him to be around for the next debate November 4 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Due to his more moderate positions, Webb may not be there as well. He is not where the Democratic Party is at now.

The differences between the candidates, except Webb, were paper thin.

Except that both Sanders and especially O’Malley are very much for a return to the Glass-Steagall Act which would separate commercial banks from the more free-willing, more risky investment banking. Clinton, on the other hand, is not for a return to the bill that was rescinded and allowed to expire in 1999.

The biggest refrain at the debate was on income inequality. Over and over the wannabes talked of taxing the rich more and spreading the wealth around through profit sharing, higher wages with a minimum of $15 per hour, free college, lower student loan debt.

Neither Sanders nor O’Malley wanted to repeat the mistakes on the campaign trail when asked if black lives matter or do all lives matter. Both focused on the lives of blacks and ignored the last part of the question. If you recall O’Malley had to apologize for saying all lives matter earlier this year.

But don’t think because Sanders was nice enough to say no one wanted to hear any more about Clinton’s email scandal, the gloves were off. Several times punches landed on Clinton, who smiled, ignored and shook it off as if saying, “You can’t touch this.”

From the Cornfield, while I did not hear much I can agree with on the way the Democratic candidates want to take the country, the discussion was lively and informative.

Of the five, I could vote for Webb, but he will never make it to the convention and maybe not even to Iowa or New Hampshire.

Clinton in her responses actually answered the question posed by moderator Anderson Cooper, which she deftly batted away, on whether she changed her responses and stands on issues for political expediency.

The revelation – yes, she does.

What I will say about Sanders is you know what you are getting and where you stand with him. That is a plus.