This page shows all the posts for the "2008 Election" Category from E Pluribus Unum
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November 19, 2007

Flip This, Russert

by shep

Here you can watch one of the cranky white guys from CNN explaining how Hillary Clinton refused to give straight answers on driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, Social Security and the release of presidential records in that now infamous Democratic debate.

Besides being completely full of it himself when Jack Cafferty calls it “baloney” that Clinton herself can’t release presidential records and asking what “fiscal responsibility” means, the greatest stupidity and moral crime committed by our entire idiot press corps about that debate has to be the one that Clinton “flip-flopped” on the driver’s license issue.

Here’s Russert’s original “gotcha” question:

Russert: Senator Clinton, Governor of New York Eliot Spitzer has proposed giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. He told the Nashua, New Hampshire, Editorial Board it makes a lot of sense.

Why does it make a lot of sense to give an illegal immigrant a driver's license?

And here’s Clinton’s answer as to why it makes sense:

Clinton: Well, what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is fill the vacuum left by the failure of this administration to bring about comprehensive immigration reform. We know in New York we have several million at any one time who are in New York illegally. They are undocumented workers. They are driving on our roads. The possibility of them having an accident that harms themselves or others is just a matter of the odds. It's probability.

So what Governor Spitzer is trying to do is to fill the vacuum. I believe we need to get back to comprehensive immigration reform because no state, no matter how well intentioned, can fill this gap. There needs to be federal action on immigration reform.

And here’s Russert’s flip-flop:

Russert: Does anyone here believe an illegal immigrant should not have a driver's license?

(Unknown): Believe what?

Russert: An illegal immigrant should not have a driver's license.

Now Russert’s question isn’t why Spitzer’s plan “makes sense,” it is now, one Clinton answer later, who thinks illegal immigrants should not be given a driver’s license.

So Chris Dodd answers that question in the negative and Clinton attempts to answer the new question thusly:

Clinton: Well, I just want to add, I did not say that it should be done, but I certainly recognize why Governor Spitzer is trying to do...

Edwards then opportunistically claims that Clinton said two different things – which she did in response to Russert’s two different questions – and the rest is beltway journalistic malpractice.

(The gotcha nature of the original question is obvious to anyone who’s ever taken a first-year philosophy class: “tell me why it might make sense to kill a criminal” or “write an essay on why it might make sense to start a war with a militarily inferior, resource-rich country.” And Punkin' Head is apparently somewhat ashamed of it since he edited it out of this week’s MTP review of Clinton’s “straight answer(s)” to two different questions).

The Village lurves its empty political narratives – i.e., “the calculating politician” (no, seriously) – because 1) college students who choose journalism aren’t usually the brightest crayons in the box and 2) our beltway press are really a bunch of lazy, pampered know-nothings who, if they couldn’t constantly lean on these mindless narratives, would actually have think of something clever to say or report, you know, the news (as our idiot-in-chief might say: that journalism stuff is hard work). Most maddeningly, they continue to pretend that they themselves aren’t affecting and corrupting the process by creating these narratives and with their laziness, inanity and adolescent-style assaults on politicians, particularly Democrats.

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]

November 14, 2007

Dear Spineless Democrats

by shep

Listen very carefully to what this woman is saying.

Or get punked by Lou Dobbs and Pat Buchanan, I’m not really sure I give a shit anymore.

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]

November 09, 2007

Effective Disorder

by shep

Eugene Robinson:

"It's official: Bush Derangement Syndrome is now a full-blown epidemic. George W. Bush apparently has reduced more of his fellow citizens to frustrated, sputtering rage than any president since opinion polling began, with the possible exception of Richard Nixon. . .”

Mitch McConnell:

"The war is winding down. Next year's election is going to be about this Congress and what it failed to do"

Michael Crowley:

"I wonder whether the Democrats have been preparing for that possibility -- and what their contingency plans are if the Iraq debate tacks substantially back the GOP's way."

Karl Rove:

"The Democratic victory in 2006 was narrow. They won the House by 85,961 votes out of over 80 million cast and the Senate by a mere 3,562 out of over 62 million cast. A party that wins control by that narrow margin can quickly see its fortunes reversed when it fails to act responsibly, fails to fulfill its promises, and fails to lead.”

"People in the past who have been on the nutty fringe of political life, who were more or less voiceless, have now been given an inexpensive and easily accessible soapbox, a blog.”

And that’s one reason you’re out of the White House and forced to peddle your delusions on the permanently deranged pages of the Wall Street Journal’s op-ed. That is, after helping to create a permanent Republican minority.

Lets’ all pray for a slow and painful recovery.

H/T Dan Froomkin

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]

November 05, 2007

The People's Choice

by shep

I’m convinced that the only way anyone is going to beat Hillary to the Democratic nomination and lock up the general election is through a real-deal, fire-breathing appeal to populism. John Edwards has the closest thing going but, so far, he lacks a cohesive frame and focus (besides being too young and pretty for the current state of nervousness in the electorate).

The trouble is, the only true populist message is an anti-corporate one (why Lou Dobbs comes off as a racist xenophobe rather than a true populist) and no one in the rarified world of national politics would ever consider such a thing. The idea is so antithetical to corporate media, corporate lobbyists, corporate political consultants and corporate-financed politicians that they simply can’t see the utility, even the necessity, of it.

Nevertheless, on every major domestic crisis from healthcare to energy policy, it is the parochial (and, in many cases, short-term and ultimately unwise) desires of corporations and the outsized influence they have on US policy that stands directly in the path of progress. And anti-corporatism is the only way I can see for Democrats to get out in front of the immigration debate (without pandering to racists themselves), which will be the key to the ever-critical independent voter in ‘08.

Simply put, on every issue that Americans care about, there is a corporate interest that can be shown to be part of the problem. An anti-corporatism message would immediately rally the Democratic base, which is deeply suspicious of Clinton’s corporatist bona fides. And used to frame Iraq (Haliburton and Blackwater), illegal immigration (Tyson and Tropicana), healthcare (Blue Cross), Katrina (Bechtel) global warming (Exxon and Conoco), there is position to be taken on the side of the interests of middle and working class people against unsympathetic, predatory corporate entities.

It really is a big part of the Great Village Disconnect that none can utter the truth that almost everyone understands: our world is being raped and pillaged by corporate greed and the past Republican-run government (aided and abetted by corporatist Democrats) has all but held the down victims (think bankruptcy bill) while industry applied the lube (consumption on credit). But there is simply no way to really run against Republican corruption and malfeasance without pointing to the fact that they are doing the exact bidding of their corporate masters (the fact that Democrats share some of those same bosses partly explains their resistance to do so).

But it really shouldn’t be so hard. The argument can be made in the framework of reinvigorating government’s role as protector of the public interest without bashing business generally, just corporate excess and corruption of government. Corporations are good for the world; they are the engine of technical and economic progress, but they should not be writing the public policy of the United States of America. Dick Cheney’s “Energy Task Force” could be the poster child for the problem, if the people are ever allowed to see what their elected Vice President did in their name.

Public-interest vs. corporate-interest populism opens the door to every key Democratic policy approach to restore this country: healthcare reform, economic reform, energy policy, campaign finance reform, media ownership, even war policy (and it moves Democrats outside the simple Republicans vs. Democrats kabuki dance that people have long-since tuned out).

The people are angry at the fact that these problems grow, unaddressed, even as they try to change the political leadership of the country. And they have a good sense of why. I suspect that many of them, maybe without even knowing it, are just waiting for someone in the political and media establishment to simply say out loud who and what is to blame.

The fact that this cannot happen in American politics shows exactly why it needs to.

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]

August 22, 2007

Poll: Congress Gets Historically Low Approval Rating

Yep: 18% approve of the job Congress is doing. That's as low as it's been for a generation -- and much lower than the approval ratings for the president. Does this mean that the people are somehow siding with the president? Or, more to the point, does it mean that the Republicans will have an advantage in the next election because people think the Democrats are jerks? The answer, below.


Glenn Greenwald
, as usual, gets to the heart of it:

Congress is so unpopular, particularly among Democrats, because of their ongoing capitulations to the Bush administration, their failure to place any limits on his Iraq policy, and their general inability/refusal to serve as a meaningful check on the administration. Democrats and independents overwhelmingly dislike the President. Thus, the weaker Congress is in defying the President, the more unpopular Congress becomes.

Contrary to the general impression created by the media when discussing this polling data, Congress' extremely low standing does not undermine or dilute the intense unpopularity of Bush and his party among Americans. To the contrary, it bolsters it and arises from it.

This is both good news and bad news for the Democrats. The good news is that the country wants more from them. The bad news is that they're afraid to provide it.

So as long as the likes of Senator Leahy talk tough but fail to follow through, the Dems will continue to disappoint and anger the electorate.

P.S. As long as we're on the subject of polls, here's a figure for you: 64% of Republicans approve of the job Bush is doing. Remember that the next time you watch any part of a Republican debate. All of those guys are ready and willing to bring us Bush's Third Term.

August 06, 2007

Still Not Getting It - Joe Klein Edition Part III

by shep

“The fixation that Democrats, far more than Republicans, have on heresy is one of the weirder, crippling aspects of the party.”

Dear Joe,

The important difference you missed (one more thing you just don’t get) is not that Democrats are more fixated on party orthodoxy than Republicans, it is that to have heresy you must have religion. Or, in the case of Democrats vs. Republicans, you have to believe in something.

One thing that the Bush presidency should have taught you is that Republicans can’t have heresy because they don’t hold any beliefs sacred enough to rebel against - as long as they’re beating Democrats. They didn’t care about trampling on constitutional rights of American citizens, monarchical power, war profiteering, fear-mongering, the health of the military or our troops, fiscal irresponsibility, religion in public policy or corrupt government from the Abramoff congress to the Gonzales Justice Department to the Pat Tillman/Abu Ghraib/Haditha wing of the Pentagon to outright treason in the Vice President’s Office.

They. Just. Don’t. Care. As long as the miscreant with the R next to his name defeats the guy with the D next to his and the brown people and the homosexuals are kept in their places.

On the other hand, real liberals actually believe in some things. Perhaps first among equals, liberals believe in the truth (you can probably already sense why this isn’t going to turn out well for you). They believe that politicians and media stars should be scrupulously careful with it (in particular, they should never, never, never reproduce falsehood without serious criticism or, at least, disclaimer).

And that brings us to what you believe in Joe. Sadly, by all appearance, the truth doesn’t even enter into it.

The importance of the source, relationship or event, yes that matters. The cleverness of the politics, yes that matters. Even the political effectiveness of the lie, that actually matters more than the truth and the motives behind lie, doesn’t it Joe?

You see, you and your DLC pals have telegraphed, promulgated, catapulted and been had by right-wing anti-liberal, anti-Democratic lies over the last twenty years and this past six years is what it got us.

So it isn’t about heresy at all, it’s about basic morality and the evil that happens when people with power fail to act honorably. Still think it’s “weird” that liberals feel perfectly OK telling you and your ilk to go Cheney yourselves?

Well, don’t fret, Joe. The Democratic Party will have healed itself once it has redeemed or purged Blue Dog Democrats, DLC consultants and faux MSM liberals like you. Good luck in your next vocation.

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]

July 24, 2007

Did She Really Say That?

by shep

So Barack Obama says, if president, he’d meet with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.

And in a conference call with reporters set up by the Clinton campaign, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said, "I would think that without having done the diplomatic spadework, it would not really prove anything".

Badly coded offer of the Secretary of State job?

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]

July 14, 2007

Prime Mover: Will Ohio Become THE Play-ah?

by Mark Adams

If this happens -- and I've really no idea whether it will or won't, life could become something completely different -- I know mine will. I hope it does, only because, well ... it should.

BSB: Kearny Looks to Move Ohio Primary to January

(Columbus) — State Senator Eric Kearney, with the support of Ohio Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Tom Roberts of Dayton and State Senator Shirley Smith of Cleveland, announced the introduction of legislation to change the date of Ohio’s presidential primary to the last Tuesday in January. The bill would move Ohio’s presidential primary from March 4, 2008 to January 29, 2008, increasing Ohio’s impact on the primary process.

‘I believe it is critical that Ohioans have a voice in who the presidential nominees are before it is a foregone conclusion. The current primary date is so late, Ohio voters, including our substantial minority communities, will be disenfranchised if the date is not changed,’ Kearney stated.

Current Ohio law requires the presidential primary to be scheduled for the Tuesday after the first Monday in March, and was set years ago when the Super Tuesday primaries occurred in March of the presidential election year. With the advance of so many primaries to January and February, a March date is no longer timely for Ohio voters. The interests of cities, minority communities and organized labor suffer if the early nominating process is dominated by small, rural, right-to-work states.

‘Ohioans want the presidential candidates from both parties to come to our state, listen to our voices, and propose real solutions to our most pressing needs,’ said Senator Roberts.

‘The move of Florida to the last Tuesday of January opens the calendar for primaries to January 29, 2008, and the industrial Midwest should be represented along with the South on what could be a crucial primary election day,’ Senator Kearney noted.

‘As the key battleground state that decided the 2004 election, it just makes sense for Ohio to be a part of the process alongside Florida, which decided the 2000 election,’ said Senator Smith.
Greg Palast and the other folks who've been documenting the stolen elections in FloriDUH and Ohio since 2000 might want to buy some extra duck tape, because their heads could easily explode with both of these States voting the same day.

I'm all for it. This thing will be long over (as it usually is) by March. You don't win the general election without winning Ohio. The primaries should reflect who really can do it in the fall. This move will leave no doubt.

Besides the reports BSB acknowledged from the Cincinatti Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal, and, the Plain Dealer moved the story from it's blog to the paper itself -- where we learn that Senator Kearney's wife hosted a fundraiser for Obama earlier this year, but denies it's a move to help his chances. Also two updated Enquirer articles have weighed in along with the Ravenna Record Courier and Dayton's WHIOtv and WCPO in Columbus

(Via Buckeye State Blog - Pamphleteers of the Revolution.)

July 13, 2007

Don't Get Mad -- Get Even

(click for larger image)

If things continue the way they're going, Mr. 27% is going to drag the entire Republican Party down the memory hole by the time he leaves office.

If the Dems' lead in fundraising and infrastructure continues, it is hard to imagine any Demcratic Senate or House seat being vulnerable, and it is within the realm of possibility that the Dems could take up to 8, even 10 Senate seats (AK, CO, ME, MN, NC, NH, NM, OR, TX, VA , maybe even, with the right candidate, if there is one, KS, KY, or OK). And another 20 plus House seats--from AZ, CA, FL, IL, NM, NY, OH, PA, and other states that are in the 35 and below zone, and even some from the blue areas of NC and VA.
Just so you know, 8-10 Senate seats would put the Dems in control of a nearly filibuster-proof majority. Besides which, the Congressional GOP would be crippled for a generation or more. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys.

P.S. Judging by the color of the states bordering on the Mississippi River, the Dems chances for the White House are looking pretty good.

July 11, 2007

Evil Has a Name

by shep

Its name is ”conservatism”. As the Queen of All Evil states succinctly: “Conservatism is an ideology, Republicanism is the political vehicle of conservatism.”

Conservatism is an ideology – “visionary theorizing,” or “a systematic body of concepts,” i.e., a set of unproven (or disproved) beliefs.

This, as apposed to political liberalism, which is a philosophy or methodology that emphasizes “the autonomy of the individual…the protection of political and civil liberties,” and human “progress.”

So what are core American “conservative” beliefs?

1) That government is more the problem than the solution to social progress.

2) That taxes and regulation of business are generally bad for society.

3) That (mostly) unregulated private markets will solve social problems more effectively that government (no word about the social problems private markets create).

4) That corporations and other business entities should enjoy all of the liberty rights guaranteed by the US Constitution to individual persons.

5) That those guaranteed liberty rights may be held secondary to the government’s interest in providing national security, or preventing citizens from possessing government-proscribed drugs, or protecting unborn children.

6) That the Executive branch of government ought to be able to operate in secret and without oversight or accountability to the people’s representatives in Congress.

7) That international relations should emphasize military strength and that negotiating with adversaries connotes weakness.

8) That the United States should not be bound by international laws and treaties when they are not in the perceived interests of conservative ideology and/or goals.

9) That common scientific consensus should be ignored in public policy matters when it conflicts with conservative ideology and/or goals.

10) That liberalism itself is inimical to American democratic society.

(Disclosure: I’m a liberal Democrat so, conservatives, feel free to correct any fundamental misconceptions in the list above.)

So my question is why Americans should want to choose government leaders based upon their adherence to such a belief system. Belief #1, by itself should pretty much disqualify someone for such a job, as has been shown by the performance of the all-Republican government of 2000-2006.

Like hiring a Jehova's Witness to find a cure for cancer, governing effectively is hard it shouldn’t be entrusted to people who believe it can’t be effective because they will undoubtedly prove themselves right by failing to govern effectively.

Let’s get conservatism (and I include Blue-Dog Democrats and any other Democrats beholden the above ideology) out of government where it can only do harm. If conservatives really believe that private markets are the solution to all our ills, let them put their ideology where their mouths are or vice versa.

[Cross-posted at Dispassionate Liberal]

July 05, 2007

Oblivious to Obstruction

by shep

Dear Norman Ornstein,

I’m writing you as the e-mailer Diane Rehm referred to this morning when she asked whether you thought that the motive and timing of President Bush’s commutation of Scooter Libby's jail sentence might revolve around the threat he could pose to the Vice President (and, perhaps, the President himself) as his avenues for avoiding prison had just been exhausted. You dismissed the idea out-of-hand, without offering the slightest reason for why that couldn't be the case.

I may be no resident political scholar but my take is, the politics of satisfying the base aside, there is no other reasonable explanation for the timing of the commutation since it would have been weeks before Mr. Libby likely would have had to start serving his sentence. In the interim, however, Mr. Libby would have had significant motivation to offer testimony against the Vice President and, possibly, Mr. Bush himself.

Don’t take my word for it, here is what other commentators have had to say as reported by The Washington Post’s Dan Froomkin:

The New York Times: "Presidents have the power to grant clemency and pardons. But in this case, Mr. Bush did not sound like a leader making tough decisions about justice. He sounded like a man worried about what a former loyalist might say when actually staring into a prison cell."

Los Angeles Times: "The larger problem in commuting Libby's sentence is the message it sends to his unfortunately unindicted co-conspirator, Cheney.

Sidney Blumenthal writes in Salon: "Bush's commutation of Libby's 30-month prison sentence for four counts of perjury and obstruction of justice was as politically necessary to hold his remaining hardcore base for the rest of his 18 months in office as it was politically damaging to his legacy and to the possibility of a Republican succession. It was also essential in order to sustain Libby's cover-up protecting Cheney and perhaps Bush himself."

Norman Pearlstine writes on "Bush's rationale might have had some merit had Libby been convicted solely of perjury. If that were the case, one might argue that he was convicted of a 'process crime'. . .

"But that isn't what happened. In addition to perjury, Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice. That was the most important charge against him. Patrick Fitzgerald's summation to the jury and his sentencing recommendation made it clear that Libby's obstruction precluded him from ever determining whether his boss, Vice President Dick Cheney had broken the law and what role the White House had played in outing Plame. . . .

"[T]he commutation of Libby's sentence is a cover-up, pure and simple."

Marcy Wheeler blogs for the Guardian: "[T]he real effect of Bush's actions is to prevent Libby from revealing the truth about Bush's -- and vice president Cheney's -- own actions in the leak. By commuting Libby's sentence, Bush protected himself and his vice president from potential criminal exposure for their actions in the CIA Leak. As such, Libby's commutation is nothing short of another obstruction of justice.

Josh Marshall blogs: "The real offense here is not so much or not simply that the president has spared Scooter Libby the punishment that anyone else would have gotten for this crime (for what it's worth, I actually find the commutation more outrageous than a full pardon). The deeper offense is that the president has used his pardon power to shortcircuit the investigation of a crime to which he himself was quite likely a party, and to which, his vice president, who controls him, certainly was.

Joe Wilson on NPR: "Congress ought to conduct an investigation of whether or not the president himself is a participant in the obstruction of justice."

With all due respect, considering what Charles O. Jones wrote in your recent book about Mr. Bush’s governing style, the use of executive authority to cover-up and obstruct finding of wrongdoing is such a consistent and predictable facet of the modern CEO, it seems incredibly naïve to dismiss it without argument. Especially when considering the timing and the political danger of exposing everyone involved in the underlying crime – a White House conspiracy that exposed and destroyed an entire covert counter-proliferation operation in the CIA.


June 28, 2007

Never Trust a Republican – Part III

by shep

"… there’s nothing in my personal views based on faith or other sources that would prevent me from applying the precedents of the Court faithfully under principles of stare decisis."

--Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.

"In this and other ways, The Chief Justice rewrites the history of one of this Court's most important decisions....

The Court has changed significantly since it decided School Comm. of Boston in 1968. It was then more faithful to Brown and more respectful of our precedent than it is today. It is my firm conviction that no Member of the Court that I joined in 1975 would have agreed with today's decision."

--Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

June 26, 2007

Breaking It Down For Libertarians

by shep

It has always struck me as odd when libertarians express their hostility toward Democrats for their approach to regulatory government. Beside the obvious fact that it has consistently proved essential for the health and safety of individual Americans and the reliable functioning of markets, what would so aggravate liberty rights advocates about regulation of industry? It took me a while to realize – H/T to Trey and Matt – that they have been completely indoctrinated with belief in “corporate personhood.”

Yesterday’s Supreme Court action points up the inevitable conflict libertarians face if they continue to fail to recognize the inherent differences and conflict between the constitutional rights of individual persons and the supposed rights of corporations. These rights were conflated in the late 19th century by corporate lawyers and judges representing railroad interests but have no basis in the US Constitution. Simply put, corporations aren’t “persons,” in whom all constitutional rights are vested.

For liberals, nothing could be more obvious than the intrinsic conflict between the rights of the individual and the rights of corporate entities. Mainly, this comes in the form of the complete indifference of the corporation to the rights of the individual – ironically, the opposite of the libertarian – and the circumstantial conflicts that occur when amoral corporations seek to use people to make things and sell them to other people, irrespective of the benefit of the making or the selling to people.

Liberal Democrats understand that not only is corporate power the real threat to individual rights, the critical political and public policy issues essentially revolve around the question of whether government winds up being an instrument of industry, often working against the interests of the individual, or a bulwark against the abuse of the rights of individuals by industry.

So now libertarians know. Republicans are finally making it clear what they successfully obscured with their silly “free-market” ideology and rhetoric these many years. They don’t give a rat’s ass about the constitutionally guaranteed liberty rights of individuals, relative to the corporate-created liberty rights of industry.

I wonder if libertarians will finally see how they’ve been fooled and used in time to stop this Republican-led, anti-individual-rights cultural revolution before it’s too late. If they do, there’s a political party that already shares their conviction about individual liberty rights.

May 02, 2007

Veto's In: What The Dems Should Do Next

(cross posted at Daily Kos -- with poll)

OK, first things first: I was wrong.

Moving on...Chris Weigant wrote an open letter to Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi detailing what the Dems should do now that Bush has vetoed the bill. In brief, here's what he says:

  1. Lose the pork.
    Any Dem who bolts will be known to have only been for the pork in the first place -- not a great position to take right now.

  2. Leave in the money for veterans' benefits.
    Let Bush complain about that all he wants -- this is our way of respecting the troops.

  3. Lose the timetable.
    Sorry -- if he didn't OK it this time (when he could have easily issued a signing statement taking the money and ignoring the deadlines), he'll never go for it. Besides, the American people will be the final judge of when it's time to come out (see below). I don't think they'll blame the Dems for not trying.

  4. Leave in the benchmarks -- but take out the consequences.
    You don't need any consequences written into the bill -- because the American people will provide all the consequences the Dems want or need.

    Check it out: Bush said, "When the Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down." Well, it's clear now (and the American people know it too) that the Iraqis aren't going to stand up anytime soon; they're too busy killing each other (or letting the government go on a two-month vacation). So leave in the benchmarks and let the electorate provide the only consequence that matters -- a massive electoral defeat for the Republican party in '08. By this time next year, the Republicans will be facing an exile from power that will last for a generation or more. What better consequence could the Dems ask for?

  5. Leave in the standards for troop-readiness.
    Again: this is how we respect the troops. And the Republicans? I'll leave it to sell the idea that, "you go with the Army you have, not the Army you'd like to have."
I'm sure this will infuriate those Dems who want to withhold all funding immediately -- after all, that is strongest position they can take. But here's the thing: it isn't the position that will get the most votes. In fact, it isn't even the position favored by the American electorate. So Dems have to look at what is possible. Remember, they passed the vetoed bill with 10 votes to spare in the House and 5 in the Senate. A stronger bill isn't going to pass.

Nor is a weaker one.

The scenario Weigant talks about is the most realistic one I've seen yet that stands a chance of passage -- while putting the Dems on the right side of the issue morally and politically.

You have to move the ball forward, even if it is just by inches at a time.

April 22, 2007

Blogging Locally

by Mark Adams

Lisa Renee, of Glass City Jungle and Liberal Common Sense, had done a few of these things before, talking about how candidates could use blogs, different kinds of bloggers and promoted the free aspects of the medium. John Spalding of Make a Difference was also on the panel and gave a very professional presentation on a new project of his, a steaming TV station, and talked about the cutting edge of technological developments in the Intertoobz.

I totally winged it. But I'm told I didn't make a complete fool of myself talking about using the medium to present your views and persuade people through discussions, influencing lurkers, and exploiting the fundraising and recruitment possibilities blogs can provide for zero cost (except time).

Anyway, I think that's what I talked about. Things get blurry when I have to wear real clothes.

It's one thing to relax when you do public speaking by imagining the audience in their underwear. Right now, the thought of giving a speech in MY underwear is decidedly disturbing.


Next time, I think I'll leave the tie at home and actually jot down some notes and prepare something in advance.

I did learn something there. There's a tremendous need to educate the uninitiated candidate about what possibilities exist in cyberspace, and how easy it is to create and maintain an effective web presence for their campaign through blogs.

I sat through about an hour and a half of a presentation on fundraising and voter outreach, and the only thing they discussed that is remotely related to what we do in Blogtopia was sending e-mails out to prospective donors -- and that was at the bottom of the list.

When I see the volume of cash donated to political campaigns on the web, and nobody even mentions the idea of including a simple fundraising badge on a local candidate's web page, I realize there's still a huge vacuum and plenty of room for the Toobz to grow into the town square.

Bringing in money gets any politician's attention. But the real power of blogs is publishing and shaping the message. More, much more could be done at a local level. The gap between how the national candidates exploit their web presence and what the candidates are doing at the local level, many of whom don't even have a web page, is astromomical.

I'm probably spoiled. When I do a post about John Edwards, I can go to his web page and not simply find a bullet-point list of his positions on the issues, but links to press releases, full articles from the media on everything he's done or doing, text of speeches and fully downloadable white papers detailing his plans for America's future -- plus one of the most sophisticated interactive blogs out there.

I don't expect everyone running for city council to have something nearly as elaborate, but geez, at least get a blog!

Thanks Lisa, for getting me involved.

My neglected tie collection thanks you too.

(Also I'd like to thank fellow Edwards supporter Ben, and Brian for putting it all together -- and a special shout out to City Council Candidate Karen Shanahan, who "gets" it.)

April 20, 2007

Iraq War Funding Bill: With or Without Deadlines?

Looks like the House will compromise with the Senate by making the deadlines non-binding:

Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia, a freshman Democrat who represents a district strongly opposed to the war, said lending his support to a bill that funds the war without setting a firm end date will be difficult. On the other hand, he added, Democrats might be in a tougher spot if they can't pull the caucus together long enough to act against Bush.

"We have to look at the political realities of being the party that's in control, and prove to the American people we can govern," he said.

Forward movement toward a worthy goal. That's what I would call success, albeit modest.
With Senate leaders nervous the final bill would fail if it included a firm deadline, aides said Democrats were leaning toward accepting the Senate's nonbinding goal. The compromise bill also is expected to retain House provisions preventing military units from being worn out by excessive combat deployments; however, the president could waive these standards if he states so publicly.

On Thursday, Pelosi, D-Calif., summoned Woolsey, Lee, Waters and several other of the party's more liberals members to her office to discuss the issue. According to aides and members, concerns were expressed but there were no loud objections to a conference bill that would adopt the Senate's nonbinding goal.

Watson said she would personally oppose the final bill, as she did last month, but would not stand in Pelosi's way if the speaker agrees to the Senate version.

"It's still a timeline," she said. "We're not backing down from that."

I'm sticking with my original assessment that (regardless of what he says now) Bush will sign the bill that Congress puts on his desk. I had said that he'd take the money and ignore the deadlines (via a signing statement). Now that the deadlines look more and more like they'll be non-binding...well, you do the math.

April 18, 2007

Never Trust A Republican

by shep

Because, even their best, brightest, men of integrity are little more than mendacious, double-dealing hacks. If Bush v. Gore, authored by state’s rights stalwart Antonin Scalia, didn’t teach you that there isn’t an honest principle to be found among them, I hope this helps you pull your heads out of your asses and take a look around (you might want to wipe that off your face first).

“Judges have to have the humility to recognize that they operate within a system of precedent, shaped by other judges equally striving to live up to the judicial oath. And judges have to have the modesty to be open in the decisional process to the considered views of their colleagues on the bench.”

“If I am confirmed, I will be vigilant to protect the independence and integrity of the Supreme Court, and I will work to ensure that it upholds the rule of law and safeguards those liberties that make this land one of endless possibilities for all Americans."

“I think people’s personal views on this issue [abortion] derive from a number of sources, and there’s nothing in my personal views based on faith or other sources that would prevent me from applying the precedents of the Court faithfully under principles of stare decisis.”

--Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts

So the next time some Republican, Federalist f*ck even utters the phrase Stare Decisis – and I mean you, Russ Feingold, Herb Kohl and Pat Leahy - you tell him to go Cheney himself. He’s lying to your face, you idiot. They have no integrity and no shame.

Speaking of shame, here’s the rest of the wall:

Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman, Robert Byrd, Kent Conrad, Tom Carper, Christopher Dodd, Byron Dorgan, Tim Johnson, Mary Landrieu, Carl Levin, Joe Lieberman, Blanche Lincoln, Patty Murray Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Mark Pryor, Ken Salazar, Roy Wyden, Jeff Jeffords.

You were had by a Republican lawyer in a cheap suit. Morons.

April 15, 2007

McCain Declares Defeat

by shep

From every public rationale: the UN resolution upon which our entire Iraq policy is predicated, the congressional authorization which provides all legal justification under US law, and the rationale upon which all original public support for invading Iraq was established, our mission in Iraq is complete. And it has been completely successful relative to those goals:

1) elimination of Iraq’s WMD program and any threat thereof,

2) punishment and/or removal of the Hussein regime as a consequence of its lawlessness,

3) and institution of a democratic constitution and institutions for the Iraqi state.

By what legal or moral justification does John McCain declare that our victorious exit from Iraq constitutes defeat?

Why does John McCain hate America?

April 12, 2007

MoveOn Members Lift Obama Into First Place (Updated)

Here are the full results from MoveOn's Virtual Town Hall vote (remember, this does not imply a MoveOn endorsement):

Sen. Barack Obama 28%
Sen. John Edwards 25%
Rep. Dennis Kucinich 17%
Gov. Bill Richardson 12%
Sen. Hillary Clinton 11%
Sen. Joe Biden 6%
Sen. Chris Dodd 1%

I would have thought John Edwards would be stronger than this. Well like they said, this isn't equivalent to an endorsement from MoveOn.

UPDATE: But wait -- there's more! MoveOn members who watched the Town Hall at one of the parties voted differently from those who did not. Here are how the folks who attended the event ranked their choices:

Sen. John Edwards 25%
Gov. Bill Richardson 21%
Sen. Barack Obama 19%
Rep. Dennis Kucinich 15%
Sen. Joe Biden 10%
Sen. Hillary Clinton 7%
Sen. Chris Dodd 4%

Good news for Edwards, Richardson, Biden and Dodd. Not so good for Obama and Clinton -- the two front runners.

April 04, 2007

Obama outraises Clinton in Q1 (in primary cash)

Obama's campaign finally released their numbers:

  • Over 100 thousand donors.
  • Over $25 million raised.
  • Over $23 million can be used for the primary season.
  • Over 50 thousand online donors.
  • Over $6.9 million raised online.
  • Over 60 thousand groups, blogs and members online.

Putting it in perspective:

Obama (D-Ill.) appears to have surpassed Clinton in several ways: He raised $6.9 million through donations over the Internet, more than the $4.2 million than Clinton (N.Y.) raised online. He reported donations from 100,000 people, double the 50,000 people who gave to Clinton.

And of Obama's overall receipts, $23.5 million is eligible for use in the primary contests. Clinton officials have declined to disclose how much of her cash is available for the primaries -- rather than designated for the general election and therefore blocked off unless she wins the nomination -- raising suspicions that she raised less for the primaries than Obama did.

Kos adds more perspective:
[T]he larger small dollar donor base of Obama means he has much more room to grow in the coming quarters. The average donation to Obama was $250, while the average donation to Hillary was $520. Remember, Q1 is the low-hanging fruit. Q2 is a better indicator of which candidates are building a movement, and which ones are merely squeezing cash from their rolodexes.
Now look: there is no statistical correlation between how much money you raise and whether or not you get the nomination. Don't believe me? Just ask President Dean. That said, I'd rather have more (not less) money than my rivals.

P.S. And how does all of this compare to everyone else?

Democrats = $78 million

  • Clinton $26
  • Obama $25
  • Edwards $14
  • Richardson $6
  • Dodd $4
  • Biden $3

Republicans = $51 million

  • Romney $23
  • Giuliani $15
  • McCain $12.5
  • Huckabee $0.5

April 02, 2007

The Evolution Will Be Televised

by shep

After reading David Broder’s piece on Sunday (I know), coming off of reading Matt Stoller on Hillary Clinton’s relationship with Fox News, I got to wondering why Rupert Murdoch and David Broder, ostensibly representing different center-right to right-wing perspectives, both seemed at least amenable to Clinton’s frontrunner status. Actually, no I didn’t. I know they both want the most establishment (read: corporatist) candidate from either party.

But I did start to wonder why so many Democrats were so wary of Clinton (Republicans are easy, they hate whomever they are told to hate). Her negatives, even among progressives, now seem fundamental. Yet overall, Democrats like the Clintons. They have both charmed us with activist rhetoric and framed many Democratic successes against Republicanism since the Reagan era.

A Hillary Clinton presidency would certainly be an agent for evolutionary change. She’d make a fine president, no doubt, in the context of the previous Clinton administration and, obviously, in stark contrast to the criminal enterprise now ensconced in the executive.

Yet, so far, Hillary is offering only incremental changes in policy: fewer troops in Iraq, corporate-run healthcare that is universally available (eventually) and, shockingly, not much at all about reducing fossil fuel consumption, rolling back the Republicans’ treasonous assault on the Bill of Rights and the rule of law, or the outrageous unfairness of income distribution and tax policy in America.

The trouble is, we may no longer have the luxury of incremental change. We’ve blown the last thirty years of opportunity to do something about fossil fuel consumption leading to climate change and now it may be too late to prevent utter catastrophe. We may have already traded our children’s future for a 3,000 sq. ft. builder’s special in the ex-urbs and driving around alone in a 3/4-ton truck.

Our healthcare system is killing us and that is not hyperbole. It directly kills 100,000 people a year just from mistakes in hospital care, many more from prescribed drugs, with a widely reviled tort system as its ultimate remedy. It is unaffordable for both individuals and employers, further undermining our competitiveness in world markets. It does little to help prevent disease. It is barely accessible to 46 million Americans, yet it is expected to collapse under the weight of the baby boomers (we are many and we are huge).

Meanwhile, the Bush Administration, aided and abetted by the most partisan and corrupt congress in generations (no small feat), have functionally gutted the Bill of Rights and the rule of law: the preeminent centuries-old law to protect citizens from tyranny – habeas corpus – gone in the blink of Alberto Gonzales’ eye, government torture, for god f*cking’s sake, unprovoked war and foreign occupation, the politicization of our justice system from top to bottom and corruption of our electoral system from coast to coast.

Finally, Republicans have so successfully deployed authoritarianism to demonize liberals and Democrats and otherwise corrupt the thinking of their followers; America is now so politically polarized we can no longer agree on the observable reality before us.

I am not overstating when I say: these things require immediate and radical change.

The non-authoritarian-following public, amazingly even the mainstream press, are awakening from the narcotic effects of 9/11 and WOT fear-mongering and seeing what the Republican movement is doing to wreck the government, the people’s instrument of power against industry-generated threats. They are anywhere from anxious to angry at what they see. Democrats may be selling everyone short if we fail to offer them a revolutionary, rather than evolutionary, opportunity for change.

Note to Obama: We're Playing Poker, Not Chicken (Updated)

(Cross posted at Daily Kos)

Obama fumbled the ball, seeming to say that if Bush vetoes the Iraq spending bill, the Senate will respond by passing an alternate bill with no timelines because (as he said) no lawmaker "wants to play chicken with our troops."

I'm disappointed that he didn't instinctively understand that this is poker we're playing and not chicken. In poker, you keep your cards "close to your vest" and put on your "poker face," because if your cards suck, you can still win if you scare the other guy into "folding." So whether or not Congress holds better cards here (I think they do), you never "tip your hand."

That said, I guess is that it'll get buried in the buzz about how much money he raised in the first quarter (the answer: "approximately a lot.")

Also, I'll look for the follow-up from Obama's campaign. Perhaps they'll expand on this comment, from the same piece:

"My expectation is that we will continue to try to ratchet up the pressure on the president to change course," the Democratic presidential candidate said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I don't think that we will see a majority of the Senate vote to cut off funding at this stage."
Ratchet up the pressure? More analogies! Hmmm [racking brain] what activity in real-life includes "ratcheting up the pressure?" Clamping a piece of wood to your workbench? So you can drill a deeper hole? Tell us, sensei!
"If the president vetoes this, the American people have to continue to put pressure on their representatives so that at some point we may be able to get a veto-proof majority for moving this war in a different direction," the senator said.
This is the school of thought that says Bush will own this war until the very end -- and/or until a Democrat (him?) wins the White House. This is smart politics, but lacks a certain passion and empathy for the suffering endured by military families around this country. It's not the kind of statement you'd hear from a Russ Feingold, for example. But, fact is, if Russ Feingold wrote the bill it would get all of about 25 votes in Congress (instead of 270+) -- and a sea of dreadful headlines. This is primarily what infuriates so many progressive bloggers to begin with.

It's also why Senators and Congressmen rarely win the White House. But maybe this time it'll be different. Heaven knows the system is under a lot of stress and tension; anything might happen.

UPDATE: Looks like Feingold wrote the next bill after all (cosponsored by Reid) -- and we're going to have a chance to see how many votes it'll get.

That's how you play poker -- Reid just pushed a pretty big pile of chips into the middle of the table. Now it's up to Bush to see Reid's bet and raise it -- or fold his cards (and sign the original bill).

If I was having more fun, I'd have to be twins!

March 30, 2007

Fred Thompson: “You Trust Him -- Does It Matter Why?”

Slate Magazine has produced the first "Thompson For President" video ad:

March 29, 2007

Fred Thompson: Grumpy Old Dog

I was going to post this a while back but Mark posted that hilarious bit about how tough Fred Thompson is and, well, the urge passed -- because I was laughing so hard.

But rumors persist about Ol' Fred running for president so I'll haul this out for your enjoyment.

James Wolcott:

God what a grumpy old dog farting on the front porch [Thompson] was yesterday, parked across the table from Chris Wallace. I so hope he runs. He has all the sparkle, verve, charisma, and inspirational lift of Lawrence Eagleburger acting as if it's some great imposition on him to discuss foreign policy and explain subtleties to idiots.

Despite being a two-time Senator, Thompson acts as if he didn't cotton the way they do things in Washington and shouldn't be confused with the rest of those deal-cutting politicians. Put his gruff ego on the debate stage and the energy level will drop five octaves and take everybody else down with it.

My TV isn't equipped with the special high-frequency decoder that enables me to understand Republican dog whistling, but none of Thompson's political positions--opposed to Roe v. Wade? check against gun control? check--struck me as any different than what Duncan Hunter or Sam Brownback or John McCain or the newly reconstituted Mitt Romney espouses. Yet he's labeled a "true conservative," and somehow the rest of the field is somehow considered suspect, vaguely inadequate.

March 26, 2007

My Hillary Post, Wherein I Say: WTF?

Mark details Wolcott's post on Hillary below; but something else struck me from his (Wolcott's) words:

Just this morning Chris Matthews compared [Clinton] to Madame DeFarge, and she's been pelted so frequently with the words "cold" and "frigid" that it's a wonder she hasn't developed snowburn.
What is it with Chris Matthews and Hillary Clinton? My guess is that his wife (writer Maureen Orth) really hates Hillary. I say that because I personally don't know any women who are backing Hillary during the primaries. None. Not one.


And not only that: they are actively against the idea of her running. Oh, they'll all vote for her if she gets the nomination, but they've all gone Kerry-like with her. You know -- holding their noses and pulling the lever.

Here's the thing: I am not a real blogger -- I just play one on the Internet. And my friends are not bloggers either. They (and I) are just simply long-time, yellow-dog Democrats. These women do not fault her for being a DLC corporate shill. No one slams her for sucking up to Joe Lieberman. No one picks apart her Iraq vote. No one even holds her "controversial" abortion statements against her. None of that enters into it.


It makes me think of Chris Rock's hilarious rant on SNL, comparing the plight of white women candidates versus black candidates:

Everybody loves white women -- except white women. White women are the majority of the country and they've had the right to vote for almost a hundred years and still they've never elected a white woman president. What are you bitches waiting for?
I guess I can see them figuring that she'll automatically lose; but I get the feeling that maybe -- just maybe -- they are also concerned with her hurting the chances of future women candidates for president. Well, snap out of it! Quitters don't win.

And while we're on the topic -- what's up with questo scandalo ridiculous del YouTube? Is this more of the same over-protectionism? What exactly is the harm done by this ad? Let's assume the worst and say that Obama signed the check paying the guy who made it (which he didn't). So what? Politics ain't beanbag.

Oh, wait, excuuuuse me: Obama said he wanted [airquotes] a new kind of politics.

Well, guess what: he still wants to win. So that makes him old-school to me. And I mean that in a nice way.

March 20, 2007

Odds & Sods #31: Muckraking Edition

  • TPMmuckrakers have swarmed the 3,000 page DoJ document dump like a bunch of hungry ants and dismantled it tout de suite. The result? Oh, baby -- lots of juicy tidbits for sure.

  • Gonzalez cancels a Thursday meeting with a House committee. Will he really still be here by then...or not?

  • Enough already with Web 2.0.

  • Mitt's Macaca Moment? Poor baby. Let Ann kiss it and make it better.

  • Obama says it wasn't anyone in his campaign that did the now ubiquitous Mac-1984/Hillary mash-up. Whoever it was, it's done pretty well -- check out the Obama logo on the girl's tank-top. Cool.

  • M.J. Rosenberg cries foul when Hamas gunmen kill an Israeli electrician -- but only because he was attacked inside the pre-1967 borders of Israel. This is exactly the kind of pointy-headed intellectual drivel I so hate from otherwise sensible liberals.

  • Ditto Kristof.

  • Holy crap! Even more juicy tidbits from the DoJ document dump.

  • Anybody here hang out at Flixster?

  • Apparently Heather Mills made quite an impression last night. Anyone see it?

  • That new glass-bottom observation deck at the Grand Canyon gives me vertigo just reading about it: it projects 70 feet out beyond the cliff's edge and you can see 4,000 feet straight down to the bottom of the Canyon.

  • Despite what Tony Snow says, there is apparently no precedent barring White House staff from testifying in front of Congress.

  • While they were rationalizing about dumping selected US attorneys, insiders at the DoJ were ready to rank Patrick Fitzgerald as "not distinguished." If any of the ones that they DID fire were half as professional as Fitz, then for sure these hacks at Justice (and the WH) were out of control.

  • This is weird: among 454 likely Democratic primary voters in Michigan, Sen. Hillary Clinton leads Sen. Barack Obama 45%-29% in a statewide primary. It's weird because I know lots of people in Michigan and I haven't met anyone yet that admits to wanting Hillary to get the nomination. Ditto Louisiana.

March 09, 2007

The '08 Money Chase; An (Updated!) Update

The Hotline has the latest buzz on the other public opinion poll -- the one where one dollar equals one vote:

  1. We're fairly certain that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) raised $12 million through the first of March. Banked means banked; pledges don't qualify. If that figure is correct, and we have reason to believe that it is, Obama will probably amass northwards of $18 million this quarter, and we'll bet that he banks a little more than $13 million. Can Obama build a mid-to-small donor base in time to reap its rewards by the end of the 2nd quarter? Unclear.

  2. Expect Sen. Hillary Clinton to transfer $11 million from her Senate campaign account into her presidential account. Informed donor-types believe that she's be able to raise more than $20 million in "new money," giving her a grand total of more than $32 million. One caveat: a not-small percentage of the new money has been shunted to Clinton's general election account and can't be used for the primaries. So expect Clinton to have roughly $16-20M cash on hand when she reports. How much Clinton raises in the second quarter will determine how large her fundraising network really is. Plenty of donors are hedging their bets.

  3. Equivocal signs from Sen. John Edwards's camp. But a $12-15M quarter is reasonable. His second quarter matters more than his first quarter. He probably needs to raise just as much. His fundraising drop-off from Q1 to Q2 in 2003 hurt his campaign more than some of his advisers care to admit.
Note all the caveats about 2007 Q2 -- all of that is being floated by the rival campaigns about each other. So it's clear that most of this is just so much smoke and spin -- not to mention that the quarter doesn't end for another 3+ weeks.

Bottom line: there is no correlation between raising the most money and actually getting the nomination -- wiki Howard Dean. But if I had a choice, I'd want more money, not less.

Update: The Note includes the Republicans and has it like this:

Clinton, Obama, McCain, Edwards, Romney, Giuliani. Or — Clinton, McCain, Obama, Edwards, Giuliani, Romney. Or — Clinton, McCain, Romney, Obama, Edwards, Giuliani. Or — something else, as long as you've got Clinton first.

Our point: It is all about the fundraising, and yet not even Susan Page knows how it's all going to turn out. Our second point: Clinton, McCain, and Romney will have the highest burn rate of spending money this quarter, and their disbursement records are going to be required reading.

Update: From Kos:

There are a couple of things I'll be looking at when these numbers will be reported. First of all, how many donors will each campaign have? A campaign heavy on $2,300 contributions may look good in Q1, but like Edwards learned in 2003, it leaves little for subsequent quarters. A campaign with lots of small dollar donors can continue hitting up those donors and build exponentially in further quarters. I suspect all three of the top-tier candidates -- Clinton, Edwards, and Obama will be heavy on the small dollar donors. Those candidates with the most will be in better shape (and if Obama clears $6 million online for the quarter, those are shockingly high numbers).

March 08, 2007

Firefighters Union Letter On Rudy Giuliani

Rudy.bmpIn an earlier post, I excerpted a a section from a longer article by Wayne Barret and Dan Collins that detailed Rudy Giuliani's shameful conduct on 9/11; conduct that directly resluted in the deaths of dozens of New York City firefighters. Now it looks like his conduct in the days after 9/11was so bad that the firefighters' union doesn't want to touch Giuliani with a ten-foot barge pole:

On March 14, 2007, the International Association of Firefighers (IAFF) will host the first bi-partisan Presidential Forum of the 2008 election cycle...

John Edwards, John McCain, Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, Duncan Hunter and seven other candidates will make their case before the 1,000 delegates who will be attending the Forum and to our entire membership via same-day broadcast on our web site.

Early on, the IAFF made a decision to invite all serious candidates from both political parties — except one: former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani...

In November 2001, our members were continuing the painful, but necessary, task of searching Ground Zero for the remains of our fallen brothers and the thousands of innocent citizens that were killed...

Giuliani, with the full support of his Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen, decided on November 2, 2001, to sharply reduce the number of those who could search for remains at any one time...

In conjunction with the cut in fire fighters allowed to search, Giuliani also made a conscious decision to institute a "scoop-and-dump" operation to expedite the clean-up of Ground Zero...

Mayor Giuliani's actions meant that fire fighters and citizens who perished would either remain buried at Ground Zero forever, with no closure for families, or be removed like garbage...

There's more, much more.

Giuliani, today, enjoys a substantial lead in the polling for the Republican nomination. But I think that once his true personal history catches up with his press clippings, that will begin to change.

March 07, 2007

Welcome To My Nightmare

I really believe that the US attorney story has nothing to do with the tamping-down of investigations into Republican corruption.

I think Cheney is moving the chess pieces into place to cancel the election of 2008.

There. I said it. Think I'm paranoid? It would be a piece of cake: "The war on terror makes it unwise to change horses in mid-stream. The election of a new president is too risky at this time. If you don't like it, sue me. Go ahead -- try it and see how far you get."

Hell, Giuliani almost got away with it in NYC in the aftermath of 9/11, remember? And he's the presumptive nominee right now. If he gets the nomination, he'd go along with it in a heartbeat. That would leave the Democratic nominee to scream bloody murder all the way up to the Supreme Court -- and you know how far that went the LAST time. Besides, everyone knows Democrats are terrorist sympathisers anyway. You can freaking quote me on that.

Outrageous? No more so than anything that's already happened during the past 6+ years.

Remember -- you heard it hear first.

March 05, 2007

Barack Obama's speech at Selma

Senator Obama speaks at Selma and galvanizes the crowd:

What happened in Selma, Alabama and Birmingham...stirred the conscience of the nation. It worried folks in the White House who said, "You know, we're battling Communism. How are we going to win hearts and minds all across the world, if right here in our own country...we're not observing the ideals set fort in our Constitution? We might be accused of being hypocrites."

So the Kennedys decided we're going to do an airlift. We're going to go to Africa and start bringing young Africans over to this country and give them scholarships to study so they can learn what a wonderful country America is.

This young man named Barack Obama got one of those tickets and came over to this country. He met this woman whose great great-great-great-grandfather had owned slaves; but she had a good idea there was some craziness going on because they looked at each other and they decided that we know that the world as it has been it might not be possible for us to get together and have a child.

There was something stirring across the country because of what happened in Selma, Alabama, because some folks are willing to march across a bridge. So they got together and Barack Obama Jr. was born.

So don't tell me I don't have a claim on Selma, Alabama. Don't tell me I'm not coming home to Selma, Alabama. I'm here because somebody marched. I'm here because you all sacrificed for me.

I stand on the shoulders of giants.

From that moment onward, they were eating out of his hand. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that this was probably the tipping point for the Senator from Illinois. Yes, Bill (and Hillary) Clinton are loved by the black community; but after hearing Obama speak, how can you resist him?

P.S. Now many have pointed out that, technically, the Selma march did not have anything to do with Obama being born. He was born in 1961 and the Selma march occured in 1965. But if you watch the video of his speech, you'll see that he paints a picture that puts Selma in the foreground but also frames scenes from the Montgomery bus boycott. Seen in that context, his own family history fits neatly into the narrative -- and captures the imagination.

And what a refreshing and inspirational contrast to the dark, gloomy, and homophobic rants at the Conservative Political Action Conference this past weekend.

March 04, 2007

Here's Why George W. Bush Ran As A “Compassionate Conservative” (Updated)


"How can you have the mess we have in New Orleans, and not have had deep investigations of the federal government, the state government, the city government, and the failure of citizenship in the Ninth Ward, where 22,000 people were so uneducated and so unprepared, they literally couldn't get out of the way of a hurricane."

--- Newt Gingrich, at last weekend's Conservative Political Action Conference

And/But of course, as Harry Shearer points out, the folks in the Ninth Ward weren't caught by a hurricane. They were surprised (at 5:30 in the morning) by an eighteen-foot-high wall of water caused by the collapse of their federally-built, flood-protection levee.

UPDATE: And, although I've resisted writing about her, let's not forget that the other really great ovation at CPAC was reserved for that other party favorite, Ann Coulter.

(HT to Hullabaloo)

February 22, 2007

It's time to take on Fox

Somehow, Fox News convinced the Democratic Party to let Fox host a nationally-televised Democratic presidential primary debate this summer in Nevada.

This is a bad, bad, bad idea because, let's face it: Fox isn't a legitimate news channel! It's a right-wing mouthpiece like Rush Limbaugh—dedicated to smearing Democrats. For example, Fox falsely claimed Sen. Barack Obama attended a terrorist school.

There's a growing backlash of people demanding that Democrats drop Fox and you can help make it happen. Here's how:

Sign the petition to the Democratic Party of Nevada.

Don't wait -- do it now before you move to the next blog or open your email. It'll take just a minute and will make a difference.

Tell the Dems in Nevada to wake up and smell the coffee. Sign the petition now. Thanks.

February 19, 2007

How would you feel about Senator (Bill) Clinton?

Hillary's gang is talking up the benefits of responds to a hypothetical question about Gov. Sptizer appointing Bill Clinton to the US Senate should Hillary be elected to the Oval Office.

I can see it now: "My fellow Senators -- those of you, that is, that did not vote to convict me. Hey -- McCain! Sit down and shut your f@#%*ing piehole. And you, Lott. I cannot believe anyone takes you seriously."

Personally, I think it would be a better idea to share the wealth and strengthen the party by appointing someone else if she wins.

In fact, I'd sooner see another strategy emerge if a non-Hillary Democrat wins in '08. I'd sooner see Hillary appointed to the Supreme Court.

February 14, 2007

Campaigning on Iraq: 3 Strategies

OK, let's say you've got three major Democratic candidates running for their party's nomination for president.

  1. The first one says s/he was mislead by Bush about the war and that while voted to give him the authority to use force, s/he didn't necessarily give him permission to invade Iraq.
  2. The second candidate now says s/he flat-out made a mistake in voting to give the president the authority to use force.
  3. The third candidate says that s/he was against the war from the very start and said so to whomever would listen.
Given that the Iraq war will be the most important issue of the campaign, who are you supporting: Candidate #1, #2, or #3? And why?

February 13, 2007

Colbert dismantles Debra Dickerson

Debra Dickerson has taken a lot of heat (at least from me) for her controversial article entitled Obama Isn't Black:

"Black," in our political and social reality, means those descended from West African slaves. Voluntary immigrants of African descent (even those descended from West Indian slaves) are just that, voluntary immigrants of African descent with markedly different outlooks on the role of race in their lives and in politics. At a minimum, it can't be assumed that a Nigerian cabdriver and a third-generation Harlemite have more in common than the fact a cop won't bother to make the distinction. They're both "black" as a matter of skin color and DNA, but only the Harlemite, for better or worse, is politically and culturally black, as we use the term.
Given all that, you knew it was going to be good when Colbert had her on The Report.

He set the stage immediately when he plugged her book:

Colbert: Your book is called The End of Blackness and I want to come out right here and say I'm against ending blackness. I believe that everyone has a right to be black. It's a choice and I support that. Now settle something for me. Is Barack Obama black?

Dickerson: No, he's not...(see above).

Colbert: OK, so if he's not black, why doesn't he just run as a white guy? Because we know that black people will vote for white people and white people will vote for white people, but we're not sure that white people will vote for black people....

Dickerson: Well, he's not white either. He is an African African-American....

Colbert: Should we make up a new name for what he is?

Dickerson: Yes, we should.

Colbert: What about nouveau-black?

It spirals quickly into the loony-sphere after that. Watch it. It made my day.

February 09, 2007

Obama To Formally Announce Candidacy (Updated)

Senator Barack Obama (D- IL) will formally announce Saturday that he's running for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008.

As for those who think his resume is a bit thin, the candidate turns that around:

[T]he brevity of his political résumé is his "greatest strength."

His work as a community organizer, civil rights attorney, constitutional law professor and state legislator "provides me with insights into solving problems at the federal level and at the local level and at the neighborhood level," Obama said in an interview with USA TODAY. That experience "is what's needed right now," he said.

Obama, 45, has been in the U.S. Senate for two years and served seven years in the Illinois Senate.

Clinton, Edwards, Richardson -- they're all excellent candidates and I'd be thrilled to see any of them get the nomination. I feel the same thing about Obama -- with one difference: with the other candidates, I get the general feeling that perhaps their best days are behind them. Not so with Obama.

In a related story, Obama has contacted the FEC with a question about campaign finance procedures:

Obama is asking whether he can take money from donors who want him to be president, then give it back later. The Federal Election Commission said Wednesday that it will look into the novel question.
There's something you don't see every day: someone asking to give money back.

Read more about other novel campaign finance ideas.

UPDATE: Obama will be making his announcement in Springfield, Illinois and Jim Rasenberger wonders if Obama will mention the race riot that occured there 100 years ago:

[T]here is a message in the shameful history of the 1908 riot that is every bit as stirring as memories of Lincoln. The riot reminds us, for one thing, that as far as we still have to go in race relations, we have come a very long way. More broadly, it reminds us that even when things seem to be beyond hope, as they do now in Iraq, for instance, and in New Orleans -- and as they did for African-Americans in the early part of the last century -- they do sometimes, in some ways, get better.

If Obama can make Americans believe that, he really may be our next president.

February 07, 2007

Not One Dime: How To Abramoff-Proof Politics

Adam B's excellent diary looks at a an intriguing solution to campaign finance reform: vouchers + anonymous contributions. There are pro's and con's to the idea, of course.

Here's another idea from Carville & Begala:

As any average person will tell you, the heart of the problem [of corruption in politics] is that elected officials take money from interested parties.

Whether it's technically legal or not, accepting money as a public servant is a form of bribery, and it serves to fundamentally corrupt democracy.

We don't let cops, customs agents, or federal judges take money from the people they're serving. We should hold elected officials to the same standards. They should be out of the fundraising business altogether.

And, with that, the bad boys from Texas and Louisiana lay out a sweeping, radical plan to remove the corrosive effects of money from politics.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking -- we tried it before. It doesn't work.

But listen up: if nothing else, you should read their piece because you might learn something about how the system really works, not how the civics books explain it.

Here's the basic outline of their plan. Check it out -- because it's much, much bolder than anything else you've seen or heard about on the topic of campaign finance reform:

Continue reading "Not One Dime: How To Abramoff-Proof Politics" »

February 05, 2007

For Obama, what does leadership mean?

It's the eternal rallying cry of any political candidate:"Follow me!"

Of course, any and all potential supporters come back with the eternal response: "Why?"

If you're Barack Obama, what you say next could make or break the rest of your political career:

Obama gave a glimpse of how his campaign will look and feel on Friday, when he delivered somber remarks at the Democratic National Committee meeting that left the audience hushed at points.
"There are those who don't believe in talking about hope," Obama told the crowd. "They say, 'Well, we want specifics, we want details, and we want white papers, and we want plans.' We've had a lot of plans, Democrats. What we've had is a shortage of hope. And over the next year, over the next two years, that will be my call to you."
Is this enough to set him apart from his rivals? Clearly, Obama is the candidate of generational change. He's all about moving beyond the politics of the 1960's and the boomer cohort that still nurtures that paradigm. It's his unique offer to the voters and one that would seem to be aimed at those who are the newest among them. Can it work? Are there signs that it might find support?
From Washington, Obama headed to Fairfax for an event that his advisers said illustrated his campaign strategy even more directly: a student rally organized through the online networking site Thousands of students attended the Web-driven event at George Mason University -- evidence, the Obama campaign said, that the popularity of its candidate will spread virally through the electorate rather than as a result of paid television ads or campaign mailings.
Well, I'll say this: at least he didn't set it up on MySpace, which is so over it's ridiculous. Can you see Obama setting up shop on Murdoch's new toy? Not so much.

What else sets him apart?

"Our campaign will never be the most rigid, structured, top-down, corporate-type campaign in this nomination battle," said senior Obama adviser Robert Gibbs. "There are plenty of other people that can do 'politics as usual' far better than we can. But I hope we have a campaign whose support continues to expand even faster than you can put a fence around it."
Sounds familiar -- remember Howard Dean?

Now before you check to see if I've marked the previous sentence with my snark tags, remember this: The Democratic party has come around to where Howard Dean was 4 years ago. Progressive activists have directed the party to a successful 50-state strategy, they dominate the online space for fundraising and community development, and their pugnacious attitude is really pretty infectious. But the downside is that there are no guarantees that lots of Facebook members will translate into lots of primary election (let alone general election) votes:

Matt Bennett, a senior adviser to the Clark campaign in 2004, described the phenomenon as trying to "ride a tiger."

"It's the toughest thing to do in presidential politics, which is to walk the line between maintaining your genuine attractiveness to the grass roots and becoming a credible national candidate, because often those things are in direct conflict," he said. "He is the candidate that is exciting this huge mass of people, and he cannot let them down in a fundamental way. But he has also got to do the blocking and tackling that candidates do."

What exactly are we talking about here? If you're still unsure, just follow the money:
"Given the need to build a fundraising infrastructure and the fact that we do not accept contributions from federal lobbyists and political action committees, raising $8 to $10 million in the first quarter would be great news," spokesman Dan Pfeiffer said.
Well, one thing is for sure -- they seem to understand that they've got to manage expections in a very traditional concrete way because if they don't, God knows Obama's opponents stand ready to do it for him.

Rivals in the Democratic contest contend that he could raise as much as $40 million, potentially raking in $1 million in a single Hollywood fundraiser, and will all but fail an early test of his viability if he comes up with less than former North Carolina senator John Edwards before April. Edwards is expected to raise as much as $15 million in the first quarter, and Clinton is expected to raise as much as $30 million, though both of those campaigns, like Obama's, insist they could take in less.

"By all accounts, Obama is poised for a huge fundraising quarter," said Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson, predicting that Obama will raise $25 million or more. Wolfson played down the notion that Obama's campaign needs time to get up to speed. "You can build an operation fairly quickly if you know what you're doing, and I suspect they know what they're doing," he said.

Translation: "Or not."

And here's the thing: Whether or not Obama raises $8 million or $40 million, can he maintain his appeal with his core supporters? In a way, that's harder to do than just raising the money. Howard Dean did both, whereas John Kerry did not.

"If he tries to run a traditional campaign -- that is run, staffed, managed and operated in a traditional way -- he is playing to his opponents' strengths, both in terms of going head-to-head where they're going to be really strong, but also in terms of undermining a good chunk of his message," said Chris Lehane, a former spokesman for Al Gore who is not currently on the payroll of any presidential campaign.
Now I'd be the last person to buy everything Chris Lehane says, but the point is well-taken.
"I think he is very focused on the fact that he doesn't want to lose his essential self in this process, and if he does -- and if what he projects and delivers is just more of the kind of politics people have become accustomed to -- it would be a disappointment to him, and to them," [David] Axelrod said [Obama's chief media strategist].
"If this campaign is what it should be, this is not going to be the hoisting of an icon. It's going to be the movement of millions of people."
And, if Obama is going to win, that is how he is going to do it -- not from the top down, not with overwhelming firepower from establishment types, not with overwhelming name-recognition, not with decades of political tradition behind him, but because his vision and hope for the future was so compelling.

January 31, 2007

If Not U, Who?

Welcome to

[This] website that lets you run a simulated campaign for president of the United States! These pages will help you to create a winning strategy for your campaign.


The goal is to get rated highest. To do that you'll need to take a stand on controversial issues in order to energize a base. Then you can add more issues and diversify your campaign to broaden your base.

(HT to Bruce Reed)

January 30, 2007

All major Dem candidates are electable -- even in Ohio

McCain and Giuliani? Bring em on:

In general election matchups, the independent Quinnipiac University poll [in Ohio] finds:
  • Sen. Clinton squeaks by Arizona Sen. John McCain 46 - 42 percent;
  • Clinton inches by former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani 46 - 43 percent;
  • Clinton tops former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney 52 - 31 percent;
  • McCain edges Illinois Sen. Barack Obama 41 - 38 percent;
  • Former Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards edges McCain 44 - 41 percent.
So if you're getting the vapors imagining, say, Hillary getting the nomination, think again.

January 29, 2007

Newsweek: “Will pro-war stances hurt the GOP hopefuls for '08?”

Hey, Newsweek -- what took you so long?


Better late than never, eh?:

Matt Dowd knows more about the politics of war than almost anyone who has worked inside Bush's inner circle. The president's long-time pollster was the chief strategist for the Bush-Cheney campaign three years ago, when he helped frame the conflict in Iraq as a winning issue for his boss. But as Dowd surveys the field of 2008 presidential candidates, he's puzzled. "The American people have decided what they think about the war and are ready to look to the next stage," he says. "What I don't understand is why the big three GOP candidates have all chosen to follow the president's approach rather than offer up their own alternative."
Exactly! "What's their plaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan?"

January 26, 2007

Rasmussen: McCain Losing Ground, Trailing Obama and Edwards

McCain's heart isn't in it -- not in the necessary task of pandering to the Republican base. He's not good at it and they don't trust him.

Furthermore, the McCain Doctrine is dead on arrival -- the majority of Americans don't believe we should be sending more troops to Iraq -- and his close association with Bush is a major turn-off.

All of this is beginning to weaken McCain's support...

John McCain (R) 44%
Barack Obama (D) 47%

John McCain (R) 43%
John Edwards (D) 46%

As soon as Giuliani takes a higher profile in the campaign, you'll probably begin to see the same erosion of support for him as well.

January 25, 2007

Obama takes a punch -- and punches back

I've often wondered if Barack Obama might not have a glass jaw; and technically the smear from the Fox Noise Channel didn't really test him because they threw the punch below the belt. But I think we know now that the Senator can fight back in style:

Continue reading "Obama takes a punch -- and punches back" »

January 24, 2007

Did we just get a glimpse of the 2008 ticket...

...during last night's SOTU speech?


And if so, how'd you feel about it?

January 22, 2007

Dickerson: “Obama isn't black”

Say what?
"Black," in our political and social reality, means those descended from West African slaves. Voluntary immigrants of African descent (even those descended from West Indian slaves) are just that, voluntary immigrants of African descent with markedly different outlooks on the role of race in their lives and in politics. At a minimum, it can't be assumed that a Nigerian cabdriver and a third-generation Harlemite have more in common than the fact a cop won't bother to make the distinction. They're both "black" as a matter of skin color and DNA, but only the Harlemite, for better or worse, is politically and culturally black, as we use the term.

Continue reading "Dickerson: “Obama isn't black”" »

January 19, 2007

They want to know about Obama

Recently, a good friend of mine asked me what I thought of Barack Obama. This is a gentleman (my friend, not Obama) with whom I manned the barricades in the early 70's. But now he's become quite the middle-aged conservative. In any case, he's curious about Obama and asked me what I thought.

What follows is my reply.

You know the campaign will be brutal, almost (dare I say it) savage. I'm already hearing words like "Halfrican." And today I heard that the young Obama attended a Muslim madrassa and learned how to make suicide bomber belts in summer camp in Indonesia. Just goes to show you never can tell.

Seriously, can Obama take a punch? Or does he have a glass jaw? Is he another Bill Clinton or (shudder) another Bill Bradley? Too soon to tell.

In the end it may not matter so much: the Republicans will face a bloody turkey shoot in '08. You liked '06? You'll love the sequel!! If I'm a Congressional Democrat, I'll pass all the non-binding Iraq resolutions I want -- but I'll resist doing anything that gives my party ownership of the war. Instead, I'll hang it around Bush/McCain's neck (Edwards said it best: "McCain Escalation Plan.")

Yeah, the Dems may be luckiest in the choice of their opponent.

  1. McCain? First of all, he may not even be a serious contender a year from now. I have the feeling his heart isn't in the whole "Republican base voter pander" thing. It's almost like he's making a hostage video.

  2. Giuliani? He is SOOOOOO not going to be viable. The base will cough him up like a hairball. And his "leadership" on 9/11 was abysmal -- c'mon you put the NYC Emergency Operations Center in the WTC?? Freaking idiot -- they bombed it once already! What was he thinking? And please, Rudy, tell us who's on your client list. That'll be worth weeks of entertainment. And lastly, two words: "Bernard Kerik." I rest my case.

  3. Mitt Romney? I remember George Romney. I lived in Michigan under George Romney. And Governor...yadda yadda yadda. Also, I'd like to hear him explain that underwear thing that Mormons wear. I'm just saying.

  4. Sam Brownback? Please.

  5. Mike Huckabee? The best of the lot. Hope he gets the nomination.
So there you have it. Of course these are just my opinions. I could be wrong.

But I doubt it.

January 16, 2007

Obama's In

frombarack_play_200.jpgAs many of you know, over the last few months I have been thinking hard about my plans for 2008. Running for the presidency is a profound decision - a decision no one should make on the basis of media hype or personal ambition alone - and so before I committed myself and my family to this race, I wanted to be sure that this was right for us and, more importantly, right for the country.

I certainly didn't expect to find myself in this position a year ago. But as I've spoken to many of you in my travels across the states these past months; as I've read your emails and read your letters; I've been struck by how hungry we all are for a different kind of politics.

So I've spent some time thinking about how I could best advance the cause of change and progress that we so desperately need.

The decisions that have been made in Washington these past six years, and the problems that have been ignored, have put our country in a precarious place. Our economy is changing rapidly, and that means profound changes for working people. Many of you have shared with me your stories about skyrocketing health care bills, the pensions you've lost and your struggles to pay for college for your kids. Our continued dependence on oil has put our security and our very planet at risk. And we're still mired in a tragic and costly war that should have never been waged.

But challenging as they are, it's not the magnitude of our problems that concerns me the most. It's the smallness of our politics. America's faced big problems before. But today, our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, common sense way. Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions.

And that's what we have to change first.

We have to change our politics, and come together around our common interests and concerns as Americans.

This won't happen by itself. A change in our politics can only come from you; from people across our country who believe there's a better way and are willing to work for it.

Years ago, as a community organizer in Chicago, I learned that meaningful change always begins at the grassroots, and that engaged citizens working together can accomplish extraordinary things.

So even in the midst of the enormous challenges we face today, I have great faith and hope about the future - because I believe in you.

And that's why I wanted to tell you first that I'll be filing papers today to create a presidential exploratory committee. For the next several weeks, I am going to talk with people from around the country, listening and learning more about the challenges we face as a nation, the opportunities that lie before us, and the role that a presidential campaign might play in bringing our country together. And on February 10th, at the end of these decisions and in my home state of Illinois, I'll share my plans with my friends, neighbors and fellow Americans.

In the meantime, I want to thank all of you for your time, your suggestions, your encouragement and your prayers. And I look forward to continuing our conversation in the weeks and months to come.

U.S. Senator Barack Obama

January 15, 2007

Untwist Yer Knickers

by Mark Adams

Al ain't out and Hillary ain't pissed, despite what otherwise sober voices think.

My advice, consistent with the five basic principles of the Progressive Netroots, is not to play Hillary's game. Don't be defensive and apologetic, insisting that no offense was intended, but ask rather what size shoe the former First Lady wears, because her lack of an affirmative, absolute rejection of the escalation of the war seems like a perfect fit to John Edwards' call to stop the madness.

Any apologetic response, a "hey, I didn't mean you personally," defense, will come off weak and mitigate the importance of Edward's message.

Continue reading "Untwist Yer Knickers" »

January 11, 2007

Obama is one letter away from Osama

Assif Mandvi: "Obama is young and handsome and charismatic. But you cannot deny that his last name is only one tiny consonant away from the first name of one of our sworn enemies. In this age of terror, can we really afford to take that chance?"

The Shared National Sacrifice Act of 2007

(Cross posted at Daily Kos)

Bush speaks! And there you have it: The Iraq war is "the decisive ideological struggle of our time."

Well. That's pretty serious talk. And I'll take it at face value.

That said, if I'm a Congressional Democrat, here's what I would do:

I would immediately draft a package of three related bills that accomplish the following:

  1. End all off-budget funding of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
  2. Roll back all existing tax cuts for people making, say, over $200 thousand in wages and passive income, and
  3. Renew (or not) the original Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF).
The first two bills should be designed to be "revenue neutral," i.e., the $100 billion Bush wants for this next round of war-funding should come out of the budget to be funded by increased revenues from rolling back the tax cuts. You could make the rollback cut-off point slide from the top-down as far as you need to raise the necessary funds. You'd try to preserve middle class tax cuts as much as possible, but -- hey -- it's not like we got so much in the first place, you know?

You could call the package of three bills by some exotic name like The Shared National Sacrifice Act of 2007, or The Protection of Future Generations' Prosperity & Security Act.

I should think all Democrats (including the Blue Dogs) would vote for these bills as would all non-Southern Republicans. You might even get up to a veto-proof majority. Not that Bush cares of course.

But heading into 2008, this would have the effect of showing that Democrats can show some leadership, some "bipartisanship," some vision, some responsibility, some sensitivity. It would show that Democrats are not just going to sit around and be blamed for losing the war.

Do it now and ram it through. Let's have a debate, baby. Congress controls the purse-strings. So let's talk about funding this war in the real world.

January 10, 2007

Bush Speaks

Not sure I'm going to watch Bush tonight. I mean, I'm mildly curious in the same way you might be if you're surfing channels and you come upon a scene of a chimpanzee from Animal Planet jumping up and down and flinging feces around his cage. You might stop for a moment. But other than that? Enh.

Hunter put it best:

And so here's the problem with blogging, in '07. It's going to take a superhuman effort to even take any of this nonsense seriously. It's not a question of "rebutting", or "disagreeing", or God forbid "contradicting". It's not a matter of "pointing out inconsistencies of" or "offering contrary evidence to". It's not mere disagreement, anymore.

It's more of a question of even being able to take any of these political voices seriously at all -- even seriously enough to mock.

Only 741 days to go.

P.S. Speaking of 2007: This month marks the beginning of my sixth year of blogging. I've kept at it this long because I've never been at a loss for words and I have a pretty high opinion of my, well, opinions. The fact that I've attracted a small audience along the way is amazing. But more than that: the fact that I've made friends with many of you is really pretty gratifying.

So if you've come this far with me, I want to say this: I hope you get one-tenth the satisfaction reading this as I do in writing it. Thanks again and I hope to talk to you soon.

Tuck This One Away

by Mark Adams

Depending on how the GOP field shakes out, this description of Governor Mitt Romney's various stances on abortion could come in handy.

He had moved back and forth on the choice issue. I said he isn't pro-choice or anti-choice. He's multiple choice. ~~Ted Kennedy
What a nasty thing to say about a Mormon.

January 09, 2007

How Democrats Should React To The Denial Of Habeas Corpus

by Mark Adams
"That's Bullshit!"
John Edwards, never afraid to speak his mind, or truth to power.

UPDATE (from Ara): Here is the Olbermann video Edwards G.A. Roach is referring to: "The Beginning of the End of America."

OLBERMANN: Habeas corpus? Gone. The Geneva Conventions? Optional. The moral force we shined outwards to the world as an eternal beacon, and inwards at ourselves as an eternal protection? Snuffed out. These things you have done, Mr. Bush, they would be "the beginning of the end of America."

January 07, 2007

Hillary's Friends Playing Dirty Tricks

by Mark Adams

In the sphere of juvenile internet tricks, this one ranks near the bottom. It's silly, transparent, and of course . . . THIS MEANS WAR!

Huff Post: Click On And You Go To

John Edwards' '08 website is But the campaign didn't buy Hillary Clinton did. Click on and you end with Hillary Clinton.

Ok folks, we need a mature, non-whiney, appropriate response to this outrage. Might I humbly suggest we sign her up for free samples of male enhancement products, or a subscription to FHM?

UPDATE: They changed it to re-direct you to the Democratic Party.

I guess she couldn't take the heat.....she never was good in the kitchen. Her cookie recipe blew.
(HT: Joe4Gov at Digg.) and LisaRenee at AOG.)

Maybe I should send her some flowers, or a nice fruit basket....or some anti-aging cream.

Sidestepping the Surge Escalation

Howard Fineman:
Democratic strategists say it would be politically foolish to help Bush by crafting a bipartisan war policy. "Why should we try to come up with a compromise policy with him?" asks Mike Ward, a former congressman who was back at the Capitol for opening-day festivities. "If we do that, we take ownership of the war. Why would we want to do that?" Only one reason I could think of: to end the war faster so that the troops could come home.
Normally I'd be all for doing the right thing and devil take the hindmost. But the fact is, the Dems cannot end this war in any meaningful sense of the phrase. The president is the commander in chief and, shy of cutting off funding, the legislative branch cannot prevent him from having his war.

The best thing is for the Dems to hold all the hearings and investigations; insist that war funding be a part of the normal budget process; and pass bills like Leahy's War Profiteering Prevention Act. In other words, hang the war around Bush's (and McCain's) neck and make it THE issue in the '08 elections.

UPDATE: Joe Biden weighs in:

Sen. Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said it would be a "tragic mistake" if Bush chooses to increase troops. But Biden, D-Del., said cutting off funds was not an option.

"As a practical matter there is no way to say this is going to be stopped," Biden said regarding a troop increase, unless enough congressional Republicans join Democrats in convincing Bush the strategy is wrong.

Biden added that it probably would be an unconstitutional violation of separation of powers if Democrats were to block Bush's efforts as commander in chief after Congress had voted to authorize going to war.

"It's unconstitutional to say, you can go, but we're going to micromanage," Biden said.

Unconstitutional? No. Bad politics? Perhaps. Micromanaging? Yes.

UPDATE 2: Josh Marshall (using more than my seven words) agrees:

Biden here is his reliably muddle-headed self. Congress can declare war (or, in this case, resolve to authorize the use of force) but not reverse itself later? Congress cannot redline certain defense expenditures?

Giving Biden the benefit of the doubt, what I think he is trying to say is that it would be utterly unproductive for Democrats in Congress to get bogged down in the tactical minutia of our Iraq policy. I completely agree. To surge or not to surge is really not the issue. But it would be nice to see a Democratic presidential contender better able to articulate that notion.

UPDATE 3: Murtha weighs in, taking a harder line than me, and basically telling Chris Matthews that Biden et. al. are full of it:

December 28, 2006

Edwards to announce candidacy Thursday in New Orleans


Thursday morning from this place [Upper Ninth Ward, New Orleans], I will announce that I am a candidate for the president of the United States. What I will do is ask millions of Americans, including you, to join me in taking action and taking responsibility, not sitting around and waiting for somebody else to do it, but actually going out and doing it ourselves, from the ground up and taking action now and not in the future. We're not waiting for election day. These kids are here working today. We're going to ask you to do things today...
You can find out more by visiting Edwards' website.

December 27, 2006

E Pluribus Unum, Baby: Is Obama The One?

(Cross posted at Daily Kos)

Douglas Burns in the [Caroll, Iowa] Daily Times Herald:
[W]hen you listen to Obama, the substance of thinking, the cadence of his reasoning, his unassuming acceptance of people, you hear a Midwesterner.
I would agree that Obama's "groundedness" -- as well as his charisma and poise -- is his strong suit. And as for his lack of experience and/or accomplishments -- it means almost nothing. After all, we elected George W. Bush. The End.

No, we don't necessarily want an accomplished statesman or a practiced executive. And we're skeptical of role models -- we knock people off their pedestals as fast as we can set them up there. Hero-presidents? Not gonna happen -- just ask President Bob Dole. Rather, we want someone who wants to be like us. And who among the likely candidates would that be?

"As the child of a black man and a white woman, someone who was born in the racial melting pot of Hawaii, with a sister who's half Indonesian but who's usually mistaken for Mexican or Puerto Rican, and a brother-in-law and niece of Chinese descent, with some blood relatives who resemble Margaret Thatcher and others who could pass for Bernie Mac, so that family get-togethers over Christmas take on the appearance of a U.N. General Assembly meeting, I've never had the option of restricting my loyalties on the basis of race, or measuring my worth on the basis of tribe," Obama writes in "The Audacity of Hope."
E Pluribus Unum, baby.

But let's dig a bit deeper and ask the more crucial and practical follow-up question: Is Obama the guy who stands a chance at winning the majority of the following states in the general election?

  • Minnesota
  • Wisconsin
  • Iowa (Burns thinks he has a shot)
  • Illinois (he'd better carry his own state)
  • Missouri
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee (the state that rejected Harold Ford)
  • Arkansas
  • Mississippi
  • Louisiana
Fact is, for the last 100 years, the candidate of either party who won at least a plurality of these states (bordering on the Mississippi River) got elected president.

Is Obama the guy who does that in 2008? Remember he (or anyone else) does not have to win all of them. Just more them than his opponent.

Is Obama the one?

And if it isn't Obama, can Hillary do that? Edwards? How about McCain? Giuliani? Romney?

Doug Burns again:

Obama connects with others for the simple reason that he knows himself and is confident in his strengths and comfortable with his flaws.
Is that enough to get him elected?

December 22, 2006

Here is (possibly) the single best reason to pull for Hillary

Becase, if she is elected, the long national nightmare will finally be over.

December 21, 2006

Hillary Who?

by Mark Adams

(Via Taegan Goddard's Political Wire.)

Edwards and Obama Tied in Iowa: "A new Research 2000 poll in Iowa shows John Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama tied among likely Democratic caucus voters with 22% each. Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack trails with 12%, followed by Sen. Hillary Clinton at just 10%. All other potential candidates are in the single digits.

Ms. Moneybags can't even get above the embarrassing favorite son, Vilsack's dismal numbers. I know, I know, it's way early. That, and who really is going to take those good looking metrosexual populist frontrunners seriously down the stretch.... but I can dream, can't I?

Dare I say it, after reading favorable comparisons of Bobby Kennedy to both Obama and Edwards recently, as well as riffs on JFK himself: these guys are the 21st century embodiment of those "little children" judged by the "content of their character" Martin Luther King spoke of so long ago.

Are they really the men we progressives have been dreaming of? Can we really become the nation we always thought we could be?

December 17, 2006

Edwards Gets It: We're All Residents of Louisiana

John Edwards is set to announce his run for the presidency ... and word is that he'll do it from the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans.

The stagecraft of his announcement meshes with his message of One America -- and contrasts with the shameful record of the present administration in rebuilding a major American city hit by disaster: New Orleans.

Edwards' announcement will remind us all again that government can be a place where people come together and where no one gets left behind. Ours is a government of the people, by the people and for all the people -- an instrument of good.

Republicans like to promote "The Ownership Society." But that's just another way of saying you're on your own. "Every man for himself...and devil take the hindmost." That's not what made us a great nation.

Video by Instant Video Generator

Michael Tisserand reminds Democrats what is at stake in Louisiana:

For New Orleans, the most dangerous outcome of the midterms would be if voters receive the message that Katrina was a terrible thing, a Republican blunder, but it's now over. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The mental health infrastructure in New Orleans remains shattered, depression is a local epidemic and the suicide rate has officially tripled. Incredibly, some residents of public housing are still unable to enter their own homes, while the Department of Housing and Urban Development moves to demolish more than 5,000 public housing units. Unchecked insurance costs are preventing others from selling, buying or repairing property. Federal dollars are flowing to corporate bailouts and disaster profiteers, not to affected citizens, revealed an August analysis by CorpWatch, a San Francisco-based organization that previously investigated profiteering in Iraq and Afghanistan.


More than anything, Democrats must set themselves apart by keeping their promises to Katrina survivors. At an August press conference in New Orleans, party leaders pledged that the first 100 hours of the new Congress would include bills to assist New Orleans by streamlining insurance, creating more affordable housing options and restoring the coast.

But Pelosi's recently released "New Direction for America" didn't include one mention of post-Katrina needs. Such omissions offer cold comfort to New Orleanians who wonder if some leaders have stopped thinking of their home as an American city at all.

Is John Edwards the candidate who can turn this around? I don't know, but I give him high marks for focusing our attention on one of the crucial issues of our time.

December 14, 2006

Odds & Sods #28: The Contest Edition

  • Enter the contest to make Christopher Hitchens laugh!

  • Enter another contest to guess the father of Mary Cheney's baby.

  • OK, this isn't a contest, per se, but here goes...Attention Rosemary Esmay, Mark Adams and Double-Plus-Ungood:
    1. Grab the book closest to you.
    2. Open to page 123, go down to the 4th sentence.
    3. Post the text of the following 3 sentences on your blog.
    4. Name of the book and the author.
    5. Tag three people of your own.

    Here's my entry from page 123 of Robert Kennedy: His Life by Evan Thomas:
    The Bay of Pigs was a severe lesson. It taught the president, Bobby Kennedy later said, "that he could not substitute anybody else's judgement for his own." Lacerating himself for blindly following the CIA, the president repeatedly asked, "How could I have been so stupid?" (And, more wryly and ruefully, "Why couldn't this have happened to James Bond?")

  • U.S. uses Google for Iran intel? WTF?

  • Beware: A devil food is turning our kids into homosexuals!

  • Imagine a plane is sitting on a massive conveyor belt, as wide and as long as a runway. The conveyer belt is designed to exactly match the speed of the wheels, moving in the opposite direction. Will you miss your connecting flight in Memphis or not?

  • President Bush is on a listening tour about Iraq? Why didn't he do this 4 years ago?

  • Speaking of Iraq, Simon Rosenberg makes a decent point:
    While so much of our discussion now is about the Iraqis taking more responsibility for their country, in practical terms turning over the reigns of power to the Iraqis means turning over the reigns of power to the region's Shiites. It also almost certainly means the strengthening of Iran, the revival of Al-Qaeda, a potential regional war and oil soaring way beyong $100 a barrel. If this is where we are headed our government better start having a big conversation with its people about the consequences of so many bad and niave decisions by the Republicans in charge of our government these past six years.
    Bush has pushed his latest Iraq address to the American people past Christmas and into 2007. What about the State of the Union? Shouldn't he just address it all then?

  • Barack Obama's middle name is (wait for it) Hussein. Will this be a factor in his (projected) candidacy for president?

  • Andrew Sullivan placed first in Right Wing News' competition for "Most Annoying Right-of-Center Blog" and second in the competition for "Most Annoying Left-of-Center Blog." Yeah, yeah, we know: he swings both ways. Ha.

  • Shouldn't Jack Black and Jack White do a remake of Ebony and Ivory?

(HT to Miss Julie)

December 08, 2006

ISG Report Aftermath: Where Are The Dems?

(Cross posted at Daily Kos)

It is a real tragedy that no Democrat can/will lead on the issue of the Iraq war for at least another 12-18 months.

Here's why...

First of all, I understand that the Dems canNOT, should NOT, embrace/implement the ISG report. It is just a bag that they don't want to be left holding, you know?

I agree that the ISG report vindicates Jack Murtha. That said, the Dems have to brush off the ISG Report as redundant or even ridiculous. Seventy-nine recommendations? When you recommend that many things, you are essentially recommending nothing. It really is a CYA Report.

They'd be better off going back to Murtha and ignoring the ISG altogether. At least Murtha's declaration had the benefit of clarity.

And I also agree that the report is the "starting gun on the 2008 Presidential Race, where the best positioned candidate will probably be the one who comes up with the best solution to Iraq," but I don't agree that it is a good thing.

For example, have we got a clue yet who that is and what their solution is? Is it Clinton? Obama? Kerry? Biden? I'm not exactly inspired by any of them right now. Yes, Feingold puts his finger on the problem, but he's not running. And besides, I'm not hearing his solution.

Who will come up with the solution? And can we afford to wait for this candidate move into position at "the right time," i.e., during the '08 primaries?

Here's the thing: It seems like we are we going to have to wait until then before we get an inkling about how to get out of Iraq -- because we have ONE MORE ELECTION to conduct before the issue can "safely" be settled. Bush has no incentive to lead; and the Democrats are afraid of being blamed for whatever happens if they are the leaders.

I just don't see anyone, before then, who has the incentive, and/or the power and/or the cojones to stand up and lead the way out.

And if that is true, the most important question left, the only question left, is this one:

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

Odds & Sods #27: The Hollywood Edition

December 07, 2006

I'd pay money to see this

Bill Maher:

And while we're at it, let's get rid of the 22nd Amendment that says you can't run for president more than twice? Because that's just hatin'. If a guy can win the popular vote, he should be able to run, or that's not a democracy. Bill Clinton should be able to run for president in 2008, period. It would be worth it just to see him debate Hillary.

December 01, 2006

Odds & Sods #21: The Bigfoot Edition

  • I was in Chicago Tues-Thurs and flew out yesterday morning just ahead of that monster storm. I understand 265 flights were canceled at O'Hare alone. It was cold in Baton Rouge last night too -- we got hit by the same cold front and the temp this morning just after sun-up was 40 degrees.

  • There are a few speakers who I always want to listen to if I have the chance, e.g., Robert Reich, Mario Cuomo, Arianna Huffington, Christopher Hitchens, Bill Clinton, Camille Paglia, Newt Gingrich and Kristina Vanden Heuvel are a just a few off the top of my head. I don't always agree with them and often I am diametrically opposed to their positions; but they are always interesting, articulate and challenging. David Gergen is also in that group.

  • Speaking of a collection of "Bigfoots," the Baker Commission's recommendations are due out next week and can I tell you that I have SO moved on in my mind to other stuff. To be blunt, it sounds like they've come up with a solution that is designed to please everyone but will, in fact, piss everyone off to one degree or another. Besides which, Maliki has already said that he wants the US to begin pulling out of Iraq by next summer -- and "don't let the door hit you in the butt yadda yadda yadda."

  • Speaking of Maliki, you had to laugh reading the Hadley Memo's description of the Iraqi leader as someone who is the captive of "a small circle" of advisors who are "coloring his actions and his interpretations of reality." Ouch!

  • Speaking of hypocritical bigfoots, it seems that Gov. Mitt Romney hired illegal immigrants to do landscaping at his private home.
    Asked by a reporter yesterday about his use of Community Lawn Service with a Heart, Romney, who was hosting the Republican Governors Association conference in Miami, said, "Aw, geez," and walked away.
    Brilliant comeback, Governor!

  • At least Romney's lame comment was brief, unlike the logorrhea that Dennis Prager, et. al, suffer from. It seems that they're upset that -- wait for it -- Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) wants to be sworn into office using a copy of the Koran and not the Bible!. Prager & Co. remind me of what Lincoln said about an acquaintance: "He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know." [P.S. Did you know that Congressmen are routinely sworn in without resting their left hand on any book at all?]

  • Crikey -- first we hear that two British Airways planes showed traces of radioactivity and now ABC News is reporting that an Italian security expert who met that Russian ex-spy has tested positive for a radioactive substance. Quick! Turn out the lights! You know you're going to have a bad day if you glow in the dark.

  • Speaking of medical tests for bigfoots, I hear that Sen. Obama will publicly be tested for AIDS. Let's see Hillary top that!

  • Speaking of bigfoots running for president, Kerry wants everyone to forget the botched joke and focus on serious stuff. Good luck on that, Senator. Maybe you should call Howard Dean for advice on just exactly how that works.

November 28, 2006

Odds & Sods #20

  • Newt Gingrich has a new theme for Iraq: "Victory or Death." Jaysus, that sounds like something out of a gladiator movie. Nonetheless, he invokes George Washington at Valley Forge with it. A bit of advice: if he wants to refer to the Founders, why not quote Patrick Henry instead -- "Give me liberty or give me death." No, wait, can't have that -- warrantless wiretapping and the rest of the president's agenda would be flushed down the toilet.

  • Is there anything more totally pointless than NBC's self-aggrandizing announcement that Iraq is now in the midst of a "civil war?" I guess if your memory is long enough, you can remember when the Vietnam war was described that way -- the conclusion being that we had no business getting in the middle of their argument. So maybe that's the import of this declaration. That said, aren't Matt Lauer and Brian Williams showing up kind of late to the party? In reality this just emphasizes what most of us already know: that the words "NBC News" have now officially become an oxymoron.

  • It's official: the Iraq war has now gone on longer than WWII. That war, of course, was fought by draftees, this one by volunteers. In our history, are there any other wars, fought by an all-volunteer army, that lasted this long? Could you count the Revolution in that select group? Correct me if I'm wrong.

November 21, 2006

Odds & Sods #17

Bush 43 now even less popular than his pop, an Iraqi comedian is among the latest casualties, a cartoon that will make you wince, Robert Reich takes a flyer at deciphering McCain, and a plea for better blog headlines.

  • Poll: "More Americans prefer Bush's father." Jaysus -- how bad do you have to be to rank below Bush 41? And, in a related note, what on earth was Jeb Bush thinking?

  • Walid Hassan was a rare individual. He was an Iraqi comedian and broadcaster in a country where speaking out can get you in trouble. He made fun of the fallout from the war -- the lack of safety and security, the blackouts, the gas lines, the corrupt politicians. People would stop him on the street and tell him their stories; Walid would then work them into his act. He was beloved. Now he's dead, his bullet-riddled body found on the street.

  • You might have to be "of a certain age" to get this cartoon, but here it is anyway. Click to see a larger version.

  • Robert Reich thinks he's figured out John McCain's real plan for Iraq. In brief: stand for something that NO ONE wants or thinks can happen, e.g., more troops, then when Iraq collapses simply say, "if you'd listened to me we wouldn't be in this fix." Then he (and he alone -- no Dems, please) can remain clean in 2008. Does this mean the Dems have to be for more troops? No. But it does mean that they should be careful not to buy into the Baker Commission's solution -- simply because then THEY'LL be left holding the bag. They'll own it going into 2008.

  • I wish more bloggers (starting with me) would take the time to learn how to write great headlines. It would make reading blogs more rewarding because you could zero in on the articles that had information in them that was of interest to you and leave the rest unread.

November 15, 2006

The Seat of Heat (with John Edwards)

Jon Stewart: "Senator Edwards, if you had been fortunate enough to be elected Vice President in 2004, who would YOU have accidently shot in the face?"

(Crowd erupts)

John Edwards: (feigning shock then delight then confidence) "Um, Dick Cheney."

November 14, 2006

Rudy Giuliani: Who are we kidding?

Josh Marshall:

...[D]o we really have to pretend that Rudy Giuliani has more than a snowball's chance in hell of getting the Republican presidential nomination?

Or can we all just stipulate that a multiple adulterer, who supports gay civil rights and choice, has deep and on-going ties to mobbed-up and now-disgraced Police boss Bernie Kerik, has a largely unscrutinized (outside of New York) resume, and had the bright idea of locating the NYC disaster center in the already-once-bombed World Trade Center probably will have some rough sledding in Republican primaries?

Don't Get Me Wrong, I Love Her

by Mark Adams

Hillary Clinton is a GREAT lady. I believe her importance to history is secure, and she still has a long and impressive career ahead of her. I don't think that will change when and if she runs for president, and she has a decent chance of winning. I think any contender who has her support, including herself, has a decent chance of winning and she would make an extraordinary president. I think it would be absolutely horrible for her to run, at least this time. I know, she's not getting any younger -- but neither is John McCain. She's got great health coverage, right?

Continue reading "Don't Get Me Wrong, I Love Her" »

November 13, 2006

Monday Must-Reads: "If you want a friend in Washington, get a douchebag."

Robert Novak, The Prince of Darkness, predicts that the Republicans in the House will vote to return their present leadership to power:
In private conversation, Republican members blame Majority Leader John Boehner and Majority Whip Roy Blunt in no small part for their mid-term election debacle. Yet, either Boehner, Blunt or both are expected to be returned to their leadership posts Friday. For good reason, the GOP often is called "the stupid party."
I think it was Novak who once said, famously, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a douchebag."

Naftali Bendavid profiles Rahm Emmanuel who is about as subtle as a three-pound sledge hammer -- and just as effective:

In a world where congressmen refer to each other as "my distinguished colleague," Emanuel, 46, is sometimes unable to get through a single sentence without several obscenities. His politics are centrist, but his style is extremist. The top of his right middle finger was severed when he was a teenager, adding to his aura of toughness--especially when he extends that middle finger, which he does with some regularity.
Don't miss how Rahm handles James Carville, who seems to get under everyone's nerves these days.

The Associated Press says Joe Lieberman won't rule out caucausing with the Republicans if his precious undies get twisted into a knot:

"I believe that the American people are considering both major political parties to be in a kind of probation, because they're understandably angry that Washington is dominated too much by partisan political games, and not enough by problem-solving and patriotism, which means put the country and your state first," Lieberman said.
...first after Joe Lieberman, that is. [P.S. Can you imagine any Republican talking like this after they took over Congress in 1994?]

Republican strategist Ed Rogers sizes up both sides of the field for 2008, crying bitter tears for George Allen (who he says is "dead"):

Apparently, Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and the Rev. Jesse Jackson are the only ones who can say racist things, receive forgiveness and redemption and have their records expunged. For Republicans, it stays with them forever. Allen is probably now serving a political life sentence with no time off for good behavior.
Poor baby.

November 12, 2006

Biden In, Richardson A Definite Maybe

by Mark Adams

Biden In:

"Senator Joseph R. Biden (D-DE) said this morning on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos that he planned to seek the Democratic nomination for President in 2008."

Richardson?  He'll get back to us:

Democrat Richardson tells us he's mulling over a January announcement and says, "I've got something to offer."

Feingold Bows Out

by Mark Adams

Russ Feingold will Not be running for president.

In a letter on his Progressive Patriots Fund website, launched last June to "to explore the possibility of running for president in 2008," Russ has disappointed his supporters by formally withdrawing his quest for higher office.

Via Yahoo News:

MILWAUKEE - U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold (news, bio, voting record) has decided against seeking the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination, saying he wanted to focus on his work in the Senate.

In a letter posted on his political action committee's Web site, Feingold said he was excited that Tuesday's elections gave Democrats control of both chambers of Congress, giving them the chance to "undo much of the damage that one-party rule has done to America."

"We can actually advance progressive solutions to such major issues as guaranteed health care, dependence on oil and our unbalanced trade policies," he wrote.

Feingold, 53, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he realized he would be a long-shot candidate in a bid for the presidency.

He said running as an underdog appealed to him, but not the way it would "dismantle" his work in the Senate and his personal life.

You can read Feingold's letter here.

This is a gut-check to progressive liberals everywhere, but coming off a terrific election last week, the sting isn't as bad as it could be.

If you haven't figured it out yet, this means you really ought to consider joining Ohio For Edwards. The Ohio For Edwards Blog is open for comments, but under construction -- stay tuned, .

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