Tuesday, August 28, 2007

On The Left

I was wondering when another Clinton fundraising scandal would surface. I just never figured it would surface this soon:

Six members of the Paw family, each listing the house at 41 Shelbourne Avenue as their residence, have donated a combined $45,000 to the Democratic senator from New York since 2005, for her presidential campaign, her Senate re-election last year and her political action committee. In all, the six Paws have donated a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates since 2005, election records show...

It isn't obvious how the Paw family is able to afford such political largess. Records show they own a gift shop and live in a 1,280-square-foot house that they recently refinanced for $270,000. William Paw, the 64-year-old head of the household, is a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service who earns about $49,000 a year, according to a union representative. Alice Paw, also 64, is a homemaker. The couple's grown children have jobs ranging from account manager at a software company to "attendance liaison" at a local public high school. One is listed on campaign records as an executive at a mutual fund.

The Paws' political donations closely track donations made by Norman Hsu, a wealthy New York businessman in the apparel industry who once listed the Paw home as his address, according to public records. Mr. Hsu is one of the top fund-raisers for Mrs. Clinton's presidential campaign. He has hosted or co-hosted some of her most prominent money-raising events.
Another Clinton running for president, raising illegal campaign cash through Asian front men. I'd wager if you dig deep enough, you'll get right back to James Riyadi, the Indonesian Lippo Group, and even our old friends, the ChiComms.

I tell you, it's like the last six and a half years never happened.

UPDATE: Would you believe that "Mr. Hsu" is a convicted felon and fugitive from justice as well?

Gotta love Ed Morrissey's punchline:
[Hsu] garnered over a million dollars in capital to buy latex gloves for resale, supposedly to waiting clients. Hsu got arrested when investors found no gloves, no clients, and nothing but a scam. Hsu fled after his plea agreement on the grand theft, and turned into a major Democratic fundraiser.

A natural career path, is it not?

~ ~ ~

Well, now, the Left's brownshirts aren't letting any moss grow under their feet, are they? (via the Admiral):

A group of activists who describe themselves as "anarchists and anti-authoritarians" will hold a private strategy session over the Labor Day weekend to discuss plans to protest at the Republican National Convention to be held in St. Paul September 1-4, 2008.

The group, called the RNC Welcoming Committee, held a news conference on Monday at the Jack Pine Community Center on Lake Street in Minneapolis, where Bea Bridges, speaking for the commitee, showed a video that hinted at confrontational tactics, read a statement and walked out, taking no questions.
Just in case you were in any doubt about the ideological orientation of these people, they left no room for it:

Bridges said the group favors "ending capitalism, imperialism, patriarchy and all other forms of hierarchy" to be replaced with "direct, participatory democracy."
In other words, the "direct, participatory democracy" that is theoretically supposed to emerge after the attainment of a global communist state, after which the "state" part is supposed to "wither away".

Time was when "Days of Rage" radical rioting at political conventions were spontaneous outbursts. Today's "revolutionary" rabble is evidently as buttoned-down and corporate as they perceive those whose convention they fully intend to shut down, by any means necessary.

~ ~ ~

You wouldn't think - or, rather, I wouldn't think - that I'd find anything interesting in an intra-Donk scrum over the nuts & bolts of its primary scheduling. Not that I don't enjoy watching Dems tear into each other for a change, but the subject matter is so dry.

But you - or I - would be wrong:

Florida will lose all its delegates to the Democratic National Convention unless the state moves its primary from January 29 to February 5, the Democratic Party decided Saturday.

While the one-week change may seem trivial to outsiders, the decision by the party's powerful Rules and Bylaws Committee was seen as a crucial test of party power and discipline.

As several states continue to elbow each other to go earlier and earlier in the 2008 presidential calendar, the Democratic National Committee decided to draw a line in the sand and say "enough."
There are a number of interesting nuggets embedded in this story. One is the laughable irony of Howard Dean being on the establishment side of this equation:

On January 13, 2004, Washington, D.C. held a nonbinding Democratic presidential primary. Its outcome made no difference to anyone, but I remember it anyway because it was the day that perennial Democratic candidate Lyndon LaRouche was supposed to make his big stand....

Democrats had already excluded LaRouche from their debates, and that meant he had absolutely nothing to lose by playing and playing big in a blacklisted primary like the one held in Washington that year. Yes, that’s right: The Democratic party had frowned upon the D.C. primary and its early date. They worked to deprive it of any significance it might have held, forcing party officials to make it nonbinding and threatening to pull D.C.’s delegates as well. This prompted five of the most important candidates to withdraw their names from the ballot.

Despite the advantage this situation conferred upon him, LaRouche received just 498 votes, coming in fifth behind Al Sharpton, Dennis Kucinich, and Carol Moseley-Braun. The winner of that illicit primary was the one serious candidate who had defied the party by remaining on the ballot — namely, former Vermont Governor Howard Dean, who was still perceived as the frontrunner for the nomination at that time. As the one guy willing to risk upsetting the party elders, Dean won 43% of the vote and enjoyed the only victory he would have that year aside from his home state of Vermont.
An even better howler is that Florida Dems are pissed at the DNC for - get this - "disenfranchising" them:

In a conference call with reporters [Fri]day, Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) said the DNC "is poised to assault the basic right of a person to vote at its meeting tomorrow." He threatened to sue the national party to prevent the sanctions from being imposed.
Democrats trying to surpress democracy in the Sunshine state. Boy, some things NEVER change.

Or at least surpressing Donk political prospects there. Given Hillary's inevitability, it's a highly dubious argument to say that the DNC stripping Florida of its representation at the Dem convention will play any role in the eventual winner of that party's presidential nomination. But what it WOULD do is prevent Democrats from campaigning in Florida during the primaries, which some observers appear to believe would be detrimental to Mrs. Clinton next fall. Personally I think the former negates the latter.

In isolation, that is. Were the DNC to impose this penalty on other big states in the ongoing, inexplicable stampede to play "kingmaker," thus effectively whittling down Hillary's campaigning options, it could indeed raise general election alarms. On the other hand, if her negatives are as intractibly high as advertised, limiting her public exposure, not unlike President Nixon's was in 1968, might not be such a bad idea after all.

There are other potential hazards. Federalization of the primary process, for one, which the Admiral worries would shaft small states in favor of large ones, as well as being grossly anti-federalist. Another....well, not hazard, but certainly irony, perhaps the biggest one of all - is that this confrontation between national and state parties could produce the very thing the front-loaded primary process is designed to avoid:

Too many pundits wrongly assume that both nominations will be decided by the results of February 5th. I think that is underdetermined. I think there is a fair chance that February 5th will produce a "split decision" - with major candidates from both parties surviving the day with strong bases of support. This could yield contested nominations at one or both conventions. Simply because this has not happened in the last few cycles does not mean that it couldn't happen this cycle.

I think that such an occurrence - a contested convention - is more likely to occur this cycle than in any cycle in recent memory.

First, there are so many states that are voting on February 5th that momentum may not be as influential this year as it has been in the past. If those February 5th primaries were to be spread out over the course of two weeks, the later states could use the earlier states as a cue to who is "electable," and therefore converge around a single frontrunner. This will not happen to the same extent this cycle. The states of February 5th can only use Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, and South Carolina as their cues. If these five states split their support between several candidates, then there will be no real momentum for anybody - and those February 5th states will vote their first choices. This, in turn, might yield more than one candidate per party with enough delegates to keep on fighting after the fifth.

Second, both parties are offering candidates with real policy differences between them. So, not only might candidates have earned enough delegates to keep on fighting after February 5th, they will also have issue-related reasons to do so. And, since half of the states will have voted by February 5th, a fight that goes past February 5th might be the type of fight that is only settled at the convention.

The prospect of a messy "floor battle not fought simply over who is the better person to represent the party in the general election, but also over who has been treated fairly" would indeed be delightful to watch - if it took place at the Donk convention. But as mentioned above, it is well nigh inconceivable that Mrs. Clinton's coronational processional will be even distracted, much less hampered, by the likes of Barackalacka Ding Dong Obamarama and Hair Boy. And, correspondingly, it is far more likely that a convention split would take place in Minneapolis, where pitched battles would be running inside the Target Center as well as outside.

So all this is most likely, after all, much ado about nothing. If Chairman How is bluffing, nothing will change; if he isn't, he and the DNC will be ignored. As the aforelinked Jay Cost points out, the national parties are gutted shells anyway, with little or no power over their own nominating processes. The probable "reforms" that Admiral Morrissey fears will likely come anyway in 2009, passed by a Donk Congress and signed into law by the Chief Executrix who benefitted most from the old system in getting (re)elected and will benefit most from the new in the absolute control it will give her over her own party.

Now I realize why this wasn't interesting at first glance; it's because any glance past the first is pre-empted by my inate pessimistic cynicism.

Maybe next time I'll trust my instincts.

C'mon, you're not buying that, are you?

UPDATE: With much less fanfare, the RNC has joined the, um, "party".