Bloggers respond to Howard Dean's call to superdelegates to make up their minds. They are underwhelmed by a Dutch politician's much-hyped anti-Islamist video but overwhelmed by Carla Bruni's visit to Britain.
Dean screams: Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean is urging neutral superdelegates to choose a candidate so that the nomination could be settled by July 1 at the latest.
"[Dean] is blocking Clinton's NDonly remaining path to the nomination, which is to wait for Obama to self-destruct," explains DHinMi, a DailyKos diarist. "This is leadership from Howard Dean. I wish he had demonstrated more on Florida and Michigan, but his leadership on this is welcome," writes Big Tent Democrat on TalkLeft.
"I'm thinking more and more to sit this one out...at this point I don't think my vote will count. This is being decided by the leaders of the party NOT the voters," fumes commenter "lochnessmonster" on the Swamp, the blog of the Tribune Co.'s Washington bureau.And Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall underscores the "trickle of comments -- often only noted in local papers -- from Clinton super-delegates who are maintaining their support for Hillary but also saying that that support either may or will change if Obama wins the majority of the pledged delegates."
Is the deadline too early or too late? "July 1???? Why is there a need to wait until then? The absolute latest date for the superdelegates to decide should be June 4, the day after the final primaries in SD and MT. But even that isn't necessary. The last 'super Tuesday' is May 6 (IN and NC). By May 7, everyone should be able to put this thing to rest," comments Dan on Marc Ambinder's blog. Irish Trojan in Tennessee Brendan Loy downplays the date and supports a superdelegate superconvention: "[I]f Hillary publicly buys into the concept (even if kicking and screaming), then it will have the potential of producing some actual closure to the race, as opposed to the anticlimactic June trickle of superdelegate endorsements that Dean seems to envision."
Read more about Dean's deadline.
Fit for Fitna: On Thursday, nativist Dutch politician Geert Wilders launched his 15 minute anti-Quran film Fitna, which juxtaposes verses from the Quran with images of recent violence, on Live Leak. This aftertoon, Live Leak took the video down, citing "threats to our staff of a very serious nature."
Many in the conservative blogosphere are happily embedding the video. "Apparently Google still had it up and I was able to get an English Copy. This video needs to go viral…which it has. But we all need to post it. A point is being made that the Muslims who get upset need to understand. Freedom of speech is paramount to freedom itself," pontificatesPierre Legrand's Pink Flamingo Bar. "Wilders also deserves a lot of credit for focussing heavily on gays, and the fate that would be theirs if Islam ever took over the Netherlands. If this movie manages to win over Leftists in Europe, it would have done a great deal," comments InfidelPride on JihadWatch.
But critics of Wilders' approach abound. "While Michelle [Malkin] and Co. are all up in arms supporting Geert's freedom of speech, he is there asking for the Koran to be banned, therefore stifling everybody's freedom of speech," reflects the liberal law student behind Cowardly Political Musings.
"[W]ilders isn't actually serious about challenging Islamism," yawnsAli Eteraz, an American Muslim writer. "If Wilders really wanted to expose Islamism — the entire legacy of 20th century ideological Islam — he would start with how the French Suez Canal Company funded the Muslim Brotherhood's first mosque….Or Wilders could have expressed some outrage over the drafters of the new Iraqi constitution — drafted in consultation with Western lawyers — which makes Sharia the law of the land (a fact bemoaned by Iraqi feminists)."
Wilders' production values are also being scrutinized. "[I]f I'm going to get a death sentence on my head, I at least want to be able to hold that head high for a job well done. This film was not well done, it's standard youtube fare," scoffsA Dime a Dozen Blog's graphic designer Robert Jago. Lebanon Update's Riemer Brouwer, an expat in Beirut, makes another pointed critique: "A Muslim expert made an interesting comment yesterday on Dutch TV by saying that Wilders has copied the exact style of the Al Quaeda recruiting tapes, as these tapes have a similar mix of violent images and references to the Koran."
Read more about Fitna.
Carla conquers Britain: This week, Carla Bruni accompanied French President Nicholas Sarkozy to Britain on her first state visit as first lady. The British press gushed over Bruni's style, comparing her to Jackie Onassis and Princess Diana.
"The tone for the coverage was set early when, the day before France's first couple's visit, Christie's announced it was putting nude photos of Ms. Bruni up for auction. The tabloid Daily Mail and even the ostensibly more respectable Telegraph wasted no time in serving the public interest by publishing one of the photos (find them yourself, folks). " assert the editors of Foreign Policy on their blog Passport.
Never mind the nude photos. Allsteim, who provides a detailed wardrobe analysis, salutes Bruni's decision to wear Dior: "It was a diplomatic fashion choice since Dior is a revered French couture house, which is designed by the legendary Englishman John Galliano."
"[P]eople forget she is posh totty if ever there was. The daughter of a wealthy Italian industrialist, she's hobnobbed with high-rollers her whole life," observesSecond Cherry, an 'over-40s babe.' "She's also fulfilling a media role that's been left vacant a long time. The world has been looking for a style icon since Diana snuffed it and maybe they've found it in Bruni."
Read more about Bruni.