Category Archives: Campaigns

Why I’m not fully feeling the Bern

Here are several of the items that have been passed around in recent days by friends of mine.

I suppose these won’t make my other friends who are Bernie believers very happy.

Don’t get me wrong. If Bernie Sanders gets the nomination, he’s my guy. In the meantime, forgive me for not fully feeling the Bern.

Tom Hayden writing in The Nation, “I Used to Support Bernie, but Then I Changed My Mind.”

Avery Bauer, “Rhetoric and the Bernie Sanders Revolution,” from the Daily News Bin.

Zachary Levin, “The Case for Hillary,”

Gabbard selects new Maui field representative

Katie McMillan, who spent several months as an organizer for the Bernie Sanders campaign in Hawaii prior to the Democratic Party caucuses, is joining the staff of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard as Maui constituent services representative, according to the Congressional tracking service,

According to her LinkedIn profile, McMillan founded her own public relations company on Maui, Katie McMillan Communications, in 2010.

Services include: public relations, marketing, copywriting, editing, social media training, and event production. Working primarily with small to mid-size organizations, former clients include The Aging with Aloha Coalition, Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers, Marshall Design Studio, The Arts Education for Children Group, the University of Hawai’i, The Sustainable Living Institute of Maui, and many more.

She also describes herself as founder and executive director of TEDxMaui.

I turned, what started out as just an idea, into Maui’s largest education conference. Now, with hundreds of volunteers, paid staff, and generous donors, we have been able to produce three extremely successful events and inspire millions of people.

McMillan apparently replaces Karey Oura Kapoi, who had served in the part-time position since January 2013.

I’m not saying Trump sounds like a snake oil salesman

I’m reading Michael Lewis’ best selling book, The Big Short, on which the movie of the same name is based. I just read through a section that sounded very familiar! And I think you’ll agree.

In this section, Lewis is introducing former Deutsche Bank trader Greg Lippmann, who was played by Ryan Gosling in the movie.

Lippmann was apparently one of the first folks on Wall Street to figure out that there was a disaster approaching in the crazy, derivative-driven market in mortgage-backed bonds.

Here are two passages, just a few pages apart, where Lewis is describing Lippmann’s pitch to a group of Wall Street types. As I was reading these passages, it was, “aha, that’s where Trump’s whole sales style comes from!”

People on Wall Street had long ago learned that their bonuses were the last thing they should talk about with people off Wall Street. “Let’s say they paid me six million last year,” Lippmann would say. “I’m not saying they did. It was less than that. I’m not saying how much less.” Before you could protest— But I never asked!— he’d say, “The kind of year I had, no way they pay me less than four million.” Now he had you thinking about it: So the number is between $ 4 million and $ 6 million. You could have started out talking about New York City Ballet, and you wound up playing Battleship. Lippmann kept giving you these coordinates, until you were almost forced to identify the location of the ship— exactly what just about everyone else on Wall Street hoped you’d never do.

Lewis, Michael (2015-11-16). The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (movie tie-in) (Movie Tie-in Editions) (p. 63). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

Then, a few pages later:

Lippmann brimmed, also, with Lippmann. He hinted Eisman might get so rich from the trade he could buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. (“ I’m not saying you’re going to be able to buy the Dodgers.”) Eisman might become so rich that movie stars would crave his body. (“ I’m not saying you’re going to date Jessica Simpson.”) With one hand Lippmann presented the facts of the trade; with the other he tap-tap-tapped away, like a dowser probing for a well hidden deep in Eisman’s character.

Lewis, Michael (2015-11-16). The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine (movie tie-in) (Movie Tie-in Editions) (p. 67). W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.

Do you see it?

Trump has the same style of making a pitch as this Wall Street wizard.

I’m not saying that Trump is just a gussied up pitch man for his favorite product, himself, or saying that he learned the way to take an audience where he wants through this shape-shifting rhetorical style modeled on a Wall Street style.

But I would like to trace where this linguistic style has its roots.

I never thought I would see: Al Franken for VP?

Politico ran a somewhat provocative story this week by Bill Scher, “The Case for Vice President Al Franken/
This is not a joke: Hillary needs someone like Franken if she’s going to beat Trump

Here’s the pitch.

With Hillary Clinton’s grip on the Democratic nomination firm, and Trump on track to insult his way to the Republican nomination, Democrats will want their vice presidential choice to accomplish the following:

1. Prevent Bernie Sanders’ energized left-wing youth from snubbing Clinton and flocking to the Green Party;

2. Protect the Rust Belt from Trump’s blustery charms; and

3. Navigate an unprecedented media circus dominated by Trump’s barrage of taunts.

That set of criteria marks a shift from what Democrats were initially expecting.

Steer then goes through a process of elimination, considering various VP contenders among Democratic governors, and members of Congress before arriving at Franken.

What most unnerves Democrats about facing Trump is the sheer unpredictability of a candidate who gleefully breaks all rules of decency and decorum. He laid waste to Bush and Rubio, getting in their heads and taking them off their game. Clinton would certainly do her best to avoid their plight and remain above the fray, but Trump’s capacity to turn every news cycle into a smoldering train wreck would test any campaign’s ability to remain on-message.

Franken has worked hard to prove he is a detail-oriented, issues-driven senator, not a political novelty act. But he has decades of experience skewering factually challenged conservatives.

Political junkies will want to read this piece.

Or you can listen to Scher discuss his article in this segment from Minnesota Public Radio (“Is Sen. Al Franken the logical choice for vice president?“).

Hawaii’s Democratic Party caucus: “…a surreal homespun event”

Congratulations to the Bernie Sanders campaign for its sweeping win in Hawaii’s Democratic presidential preference poll yesterday.

Today’s news put the vote at about 70% for Sanders, 30% for Clinton.

There were 33,716 votes counted in yesterday’s Democratic Party polling. That compared to 13,370 who cast ballots in the Republican balloting earlier this month.

We arrived at Wilson School, where District 19 Dems were gathering, at about 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. The large auditorium was already full, and excitement very high. As people arrived, those who weren’t registered to vote or were not already Democratic Party members were given the paperwork to get themselves properly papered (and there seemed to be a lot of newbies). The rest of us were directed to tables for the precinct in which we reside. We happen to be Precinct 19-01, which was in the front on the far side.

It was a great place to meet friends who we hadn’t seen since moving back into town.

But confusion was the order of the day. There seemed to be a few precinct officers who had a general idea of how to proceed, but the noise made it hard for any one to hear directions that were being given, and the crowd made it hard for people to get in close enough to sign-in on the party’s membership list.

When it came to actually getting, filling out, and turning in ballots, it was even more chaotic. We managed to get ballots without waiting too long, and then found who was collecting them and made the connection.

And then we were out the door. No, we didn’t stay for the precinct organizing meeting and election of delegates to the state convention.

Here’s a photo of one part of the room. The rest was just as crowded.

Saturday, March 26

Below, former Gov. John Waihee (on the left, in red shirt), now living somewhere nearby in Kahala, prepares to meet a Bernie-backing cheesehead.

Artist and UH professor Gaye Chan posted a description of her district caucus on Facebook.

“What a surreal homespun event. Disorganized, confusing and weird.”

I think that was probably true across the state!

Saturday, March 26