Tuesday, November 25, 2003
Setting Democrats straight on Dean's version of Iraq
I’m so glad the candidates in the debate last night stood up and corrected Dean’s version of the war. Clark was right that Dean has made supporting the resolution a litmus test for the other candidates on whether they “supported” the war. The problem with Dean is that he said at the time he supported the Biden-Lugar amendment.
This presents a real problem for him. The Biden-Lugar authorized the use of force after a new UN resolution requiring Iraqi disarmament and compliance with past resolutions. Well guess what, the actual resolution which 99% of Dean supporters have never read is almost identical to the Biden-Lugar amendment. By the way, Bush used the actual resolution to get a 15-0 vote in the Security Council which he then leveraged to get the inspectors back in. Well, even if Biden-Lugar had passed that new resolution would have been enough for this administration to go to war. In other words, Dean is misstating his stance of the Iraq war and misstating his opponent’s stances in a flagrant and disgusting attempt to win the nomination. There is nothing more disgusting than a candidate like Bush or Dean misusing matters of life and death to their advantage.
Both Bush and Dean preach a simplified version of the facts that leaves no room for the actual complexities of the situation. How can criticize George Bush for simplistic foreign policy of good versus evil and then nominee a candidate to represent our party with a different direction, but equally as simplistic. While Dean misuse of the war is certainly much less frightening and milder than Bush’s misuse, both show a certain level of opportunism and an unrelenting willingness to win power even at the cost of destroying their opponents through distortion.
Only Kucinich to my knowledge argued that Congress had to officially declare war. While I personally think there can be other alternatives like congressional resolutions under international authority, Kucinich’s position is perfectly consistent. Dean’s position is a sham.
Yes, I also was angry how Bush rushed to war and I too protested in February since we had already leveraged the resolution to get the inspectors back in to Iraq. Saddam was in full containment at that point. Yes, Bush should be held accountable for rushing to war, for not getting international support, for not letting the inspectors work, for not having a plan for the peace and for intentional overstating American intelligence reports. Unfortunately, the angry little demagogue has told the American people that Congress gave the President a blank check in the form of the Resolution and in effect will let him off the hook. By Dean intentionally misconstruing the Resolution, it has severely damaged the Democrats chances of holding this President responsible for his lies.
A Dean versus Bush match-up in 2004 will polarize our nation like never before. Both sides will have no reservations about attacking, distorting, destroying or lying about the other side. The ultimate contest of leadership will be translated into a clash between the shrillest voices in society. Democrats need to step back and decide to give the voters of this country a leader to fill the void currently in the White House, or try to fill it with their own hack.
Iraq War Heroes
Monday, November 24, 2003
The Drudge Report Better be Wrong or We are in Trouble
1) Stop trying to defend his Iraq vote and develop how Kerry's the real anti-war protester, not Dean… Bull-crap. This will blow up on you! I defend Sen. Kerry vote on the resolution every time I talk to voters using his own language. Most of them say to me, wow, “if he only explained it that way.” Sadly, I’m using his own words to talk to people. The issue is WE NEVER RESPONDED HARD AND FAST TO DEAN’S CHARGES instead we danced around the issue and gave people a perception Dean was right. Read my previous blogs, Dean has multiple answers he can’t answer about the vote. Don’t want to believe me, read the Thomas Oliphant article that I linked to below. Due to blood sucking resume seekers around him, JK has allowed Dean to spread lies about him throughout the whole summer without responding. We need to hit him and hit him hard on his inconsistent positions, but for God’s sake don’t paint JK as a flaming anti-war advocate. His position has always been when rightly been one of nuance, not sound bite. Dean still can’t answer how he would have gotten the inspectors back into the Iraq. Please don’t abandon the middle ground!
2) Statements on how he could have served in the military, but decided not to. You don’t need to attack Dean for getting a medical exemption. Attack Dean because he is no different than Bush in his attempts to use the “War on Terror” or “9/11” to his advantage by simplifying it either good or evil and then distorting his opponents’ records.
3) Use a motorcycle more for campaigning, said it would help with Kerry's "aloof" image problem… This one is preposterous. You don't need to keep playing this card more and more. Sure he like motorcycles, but he isn't running for President of the local Hog Club. I have heard more than six times this weekend how undecided voters thought the motorcycle stunt on Leno was to over the top to be Presidential. While this is irrating, what really bugs me is that everyone is trying to "fix" a mythical problem. You know what, I have yet to hear any voter referring to Kerry as aloof (only other wanna be pundits like myself). In this environment, people want to see a man who is serious and intense, not trying to be everyman. Remember JK is naturally a leader people will follow, so please take your bloody political operative hands off him and let him be himself.
JK should be doing three things right now to win. First, attack Dean’s inconsistency on the war and how his foreign policy positions are out of touch with the American people. Second, talk about his 100 days vision and optimism (domestic). Third, he should work harder to personally talk to more people in IA and NH than Dean. He needs to show he can outwork Dean right now.
Sunday, November 23, 2003
Dean using Iraq War to his Advantage - Distorts other candidates' views, Lies about his own
Dean is now the front-runner because he got away with distorting other candidates' positions and flip-flop on his own record. In fact, he spent the entire summer distorting Kerry’s record and molding his own war position after-the-fact. If we don’t start to refute his distortions now, don't for one minute believe Bush/Rove and their willing lap dogs in the media will allow his distortions to pass in November 2004. And the result, disaster for the Democratic Party...
We have the opportunity to elect the Real Deal, John Kerry. He actually has a plan for governing America.
"I believe in a Democratic Party of real solutions, of real leaders, that offers a real deal to the American people. I’m running to replace George Bush's Raw Deal with a Real Deal that stands up to the powerful interests. That’s built on people and products not privileges and perks. And that stands on the side of those who are standing up for what’s right," said John Kerry.
"It’s a President we’re choosing here. That's why today I want to lay out some of what I’ll do in the first hundred days of a Kerry Administration to make the Real Deal a reality. In the weeks ahead, I'm going to lay out an Action Plan for the First 100 Days. The specific steps we will take to change America – the steps I will fight for in the early days of a Kerry Presidency."
Dean using War on Terror to his advantage - Distorts other candidates' views
Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean has rarely missed a chance — in debates and smaller forums, as well as on his website — to hammer the Bush administration's handling of civil liberties since the 2001 terrorist attacks. He's even taken other Democrats to task: "Too many in my party voted for the Patriot Act," he said last June in a not-so-veiled jab at some of his opponents in the presidential race. "They believed that it was more important to show bipartisan support for President Bush during a moment of crisis than to stand up for the basic values of our constitution."
But on Sept. 12, 2001, Dean had quite a different reaction. He told the Vermont press corps he believed the terrorist hijackings would "require a re-evaluation of the importance of some of our specific civil liberties. I think there are going to be debates about what can be said where, what can be printed where, what kind of freedom of movement people have and whether it's OK for a policeman to ask for your ID just because you're walking down the street…I think that's a debate that we will have."
Ambivalence, War and Middle America
When asked in a recent interview, about whether he could have served had he not mentioned the condition, Dean was quoted as saying, "I guess that's probably true," he said. "I mean, I was in no hurry to get into the military." How is this different than the ambivalent comments from Bush on his lack of service?
The majority of Americans do not trust Democrats on military or national security issues. Democrats wake up! Bush and the Republicans have handed us a golden opportunity. If we nominate a Democrat who is a decorated veteran with extensive foreign policy experience, we can neutralize this issue and repair our image long-term. If we put another candidate who is perceived as an anti-war liberal, not only do we miss an opportunity, but we re-enforce Democrat's image as weak on the military for generations to come. A Dean nomination gives the Republicans middle-America for the next twenty years.
Some of my more urban friends have a hard time reconciling how I (from a historical perspective) could be against the Vietnam, but have an intense dislike those who took such a lackadaisical attitude toward serving. Growing up in a military town in the South, you would have never questioned going to a war if your country asked you to do so. Whether or not it is right, it was expected.
If Vietnam occurred in my generation, I would have to choose either to dodge the draft or go to war. Lower middle-class Southern kids white or black (especially in that era) didn’t get opportunities handed to them on silver platters to hide out in the national guard, get medical exemptions, or even college deferments. We become cannon fodder in disproportionate numbers.
Why does Middle America respect veterans? They know if a candidate served in war, the candidate will not take lightly the responsibility of sending boys to die in foreign wars, but will not hesitate if the need is weighty enough or the cause just.
In my own generation, if I had not been able to bounce a basketball consequentially getting a scholarship to university, the military would have been the only viable option for me to get out and ahead in life.
I believe one of the old proverbs say (highly paraphrased) to “either be hot or cold, not lukewarm or you will be regurgitated.” In other words, whether you went like Kerry or protested like Clinton at least you took a stand. Kerry came back a changed soul and was one of the most effective voices against the war. I’d have more respect for Dean (if like Clinton) he hadn’t been skiing, but was out protesting a war he so easily got out of having to serve in... How could anyone of substance intentional miss the most polarizing issue of your generation?
Friday, November 21, 2003
Rove says to IA and NH, serve me up your weakest candidate!
Right now, I can only think of two ways to interpret this new Bush ad campaign.
1) Helps Dean /Hurts Gep-Kerry: The White House is watching Dean’s numbers slide in Iowa to their dismay. By refocusing the mainly anti-war Democratic voter base on the resolution and doctrine of preemption, Dean stands to stabilize and increase his numbers. This ad will make the party base go CRAZY with anger at Bush’s presumptiveness/arrogance and drive them back into Dean’s arms. This argument is supported by the fact that the majority of Americans support preemptive strikes, in contrast to the majority of Democratic primary voters that do not support preemptive strikes.
Gephardt and Kerry who both supported preemptive action (if sanctioned through an international body or imminent threat) have been trying relentlessly to change the subject to “who is best to lead the country now.” Rove’s brilliance is Exhibit A here. If Rove has his way, any Democratic candidate who wants to get elected in Iowa will have to adhere to an anti-preemption “under any circumstances” doctrine. This allows Bush to run his campaign on a forceful American foreign policy platform endorsing a doctrine that most Americans instinctively believe to be correct.
2) Hurts Dean /Hurts Gep-Kerry: Bush’s smiling face in the commercials is going to convince Democratic voters (who hate him) that Bush was right on the war. Democrats are especially going to come to their senses after hearing, “Some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists” and immediately warm to Bush’s position. Therefore, they will line up to support Dick Gephardt given his tough stance against the “War on Rogue Nations.”
If you're tough on President Bush, you're soft on terrorism. Denounce the Iraq war, and you're retreating from terrorists.
That's the message the White House and its political allies want Americans to get from a new ad airing in early voting states, the Republican Party's first television commercial of the 2004 campaign. The spot sets the tone for what is certain to be a bitter, divisive debate over the war on terror.
The commercial shows Bush during the last State of the Union address warning of continued threats. ``Our war against terror is a contest of will in which perseverance is power,'' Bush said after the screen flashes the words, ``Some are now attacking the president for attacking the terrorists.''
Michael Dimmock, research director for the Pew Research Center, said Bush is playing to his strength with an ad about preemptive attacks. Even as doubts rise about Iraq, nearly two-thirds of voters express support for using military force against countries that pose a threat but don't attack.
The Republican National Committee is airing ads in the early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire that says, "some call for us to retreat, putting our national security in the hands of others.'' The ad highlights a division within the Democratic Party between those who opposed the war, led by front-runner Howard Dean, and those who are struggling to explain their support to a skeptical, largely anti-war base.
Republican Party chairman Ed Gillespie said the retreating charge is aimed partly at Dean, who once suggested that U.S. troops need to be pulled out of Iraq. Dean's campaign, while critical of Bush, said the ad may actually help his campaign, which is fueled by anti-war, anti-establishment sentiments.
Update: Anti-war movement takes the Bait
Just got an action alert from MoveOn.org. They have taken the bait, looks like they are going to raise money to take Bush on over the doctrine of pre-emptive self-defense. Rove is licking his chops right now. Unfortunately, this is not where Bush is vulnerable. He is vulnerable for the following: inadequate planning for long-term success in Iraq, declaring victory early in dramatic fashion, overextending the military and not getting international support for his “Crusading” endeavor. I’ll say it again, the American people will not vote Bush out over the “principle” of preemption. Most Americans believe force is necessary sometimes before “they” attack us (whoever they is at the moment).
From MoveOn.org Action Alert:
“The Democratic candidates are attacking Bush's Iraq policy precisely because it has nothing to do with the war on terror. It's now clear that Iraq posed little threat to the United States, and the situation there today is giving us good reason to question the policy of "pre-emptive self defense." But unless we can answer Bush's ads with ads that get out the truth, these messages may not get across to swing-state voters.”
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Hey, hey, hey... The media is catching on. Yup, we rocked J&J
Last week, I made fun of Kerry's campaign shakeup and his promises of a new theme. Saturday night, he unveiled that theme, and you know what? It's terrific. On a series of issues, Kerry contrasted President Bush's promises with what Bush has delivered, leading the crowd in a refrain against each "raw deal." With a nod to FDR, Kerry promised a "real deal, where we stand up and fight for working people … where we make our economy an economy that's based on people and products."
The word "real" was explicitly aimed at Bush, whom Kerry accused of playing "dress-up" in his famous celebration of victory in Iraq. "I know something about aircraft carriers for real," said Kerry. "If George Bush wants to make national security the issue of this campaign, then I have three words for him that I know he understands: Bring it on!" Kerry's supporters took up the chant, but Kerry made clear that his message also targeted Dean: "We are a Democratic Party that offers real solutions, real leaders—the party of Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John Kennedy, and Bill Clinton. … We need to offer answers, not just anger. We need to offer solutions, not just slogans. So, Iowa, don't just send them a message next January. Send them a president."
This is what Kerry's message should be, because it's who he is. He's the guy to whom battlefield bloodshed is real and foreign policy isn't a foreign language. It's what distinguishes him—now that Wes Clark has bowed out—from every other contender in Iowa. Kerry isn't pretending to be the guy who makes your heart race. He's saying, go ahead and have your fling, but when it's time to marry, you know who to count on.
There is another great article that fits with Saletan's theme that I posted in August. When I posted the blog, I wrote the article “really brought clarity to me.” Well it still does, and if you haven't read this article, you should because it should be Democrats mantra against Bush in 04. I have reposted the blog and link below.
Reposted: This is a must read column! Democrats must reverse the tables on the character issue and take it to the Bush/Rove machine. We need to reevaluate our strategy since 70% of the American people view Bush as trustworthy. How is this possible? 1992 was “It’s the Economy Stupid.” 2004 has to be “Bush is a fake.” We can turn the photo-op landing to our advantage by offering the American public a choice between a phony and a real “Commander-in-Chief” with three purple hearts and a gold star.
1) The national media has been relentlessly negative when it comes to Kerry. After the campaign turnover, I believe they are “looking” to write the story now about “how Kerry is now the comeback kid.” (The media is too predictable) Kerry is 10-15% off in New Hampshire, but only 5% off of Dean in IA. Iowa is the easiest place for Kerry to build momentum especially since Gep and Dean are going to be doing negative attacks against each other. By staying active in IA, Kerry can position himself as the visionary with the right temperament to heal the nation. If Kerry pulls even with Dean in Iowa in December, the media is going snowball the momentum for us.
2) Dean’s pundits have been arguing the “myth of inevitability” saying it is a done deal Dean is getting the nomination. This can easily be a two-edged sword. If Kerry passing Dean in Iowa putting the doctor into third place, the national media is going to go “crazy” with that story. Suddenly the media will be writing about how Kerry has the “buzz” and Dean campaign peaked too early and is in trouble. The number one rule in politics is to set the expectations low. If Dean slips to third in IA, the press is going to be brutal.
3) This scenario translates into negative press for Dean, positive press for Kerry and momentum from which Kerry can re-build in New Hampshire. As Kerry’s numbers start to climb in NH and Iowa, IA voters may look to him as the only chance to stop Dean and hand him a win not just a second place behind Gephardt. Optimistic yes, but the anti-Dean movement continues to grow. Even a second place finish in Iowa, a close second in NH would still keep Kerry in the hunt, since Dean isn’t even going to show in South Carolina (provided Kerry wins at least Delaware and either wins or at least places second in Arizona and South Carolina). Remember the PLEOs.
Anyone remember the Rock the Vote forum CNN held? I was just wondering about it. How much play did Anderson Cooper’s smirking remark about Gephardt being at “some backyard Iowa barbeque” get in the Iowa press. It would have seemed this would have endeared him to the voters there. Did it have anything to do with his bounce or was this not covered? Just wondering…
Monday, November 17, 2003
Heard an NPR report that Kerry is renewing focus on New Hampshire. I hope he doesn't do this to the detriment of Iowa. The last pole showed him within 5 points of Dean in Iowa.
My hope is the campaign adopts an Iowa focus to help build on Kerry’s momentum from the J&J dinner. If Kerry shows he has appeal in the Mid-west, I really think this can build the “buzz” he needs right now. Everyone I have ever talked to who hears him speak is impressed. The media just refuses to print good news out of his campaign since it doesn’t fit what they want to believe.
What works in the Mid-West:
- Hammer home national security/foreign policy/military experience like he did at the J&J dinner. “Bring it on” is a good start. He is the only candidate with the stature to challenge this President.
- Transition more quickly to the vision aspect (hate to say it but Edward’s message at J&J was perfectly scripted for the mood of the party right now). Remember Kerry is the best candidate at painting an optimistic vision, don’t try to make him compete with Dean in the angry category. (He can’t possible win being more mad than Dean). Get mad, make the point, then transition quickly to use that great New England optimism that is so inspiring.
- Make Iowans realize if they send the message to the country by Kerry winning the primary, he can take New Hampshire. Put the choice in Iowans hands. He then becomes the alternative to Dean, and trust me people I talk to in the party are scared Dean is going to be the nominee. The anti-Dean vote is much larger than the Dean vote, it just hasn’t coalesced around a candidate.
- The “send the rest of the country a President, not a message” line is great. Keep it, use it. This is someone who has been preparing all his life and is ready to lead.
A second place finish in Iowa behind Gep would even be great. This would take the "aura of invisibility" off Dean and tarnish him in front of his media admirers. If Dean is third in Iowa, it proves his electability is diminished outside of New England. Very quick, New Hampshire voters will start to reconsider their current state of insanity.
You heard it here on Blog4Kerry first long before the J&J dinner (Sept. 8th). Dean’s angry rhetoric will not win this election and Democrats better have a vision of optimism.
Jefferson-Jackson in Des Moines…
I was at the J&J dinner this weekend and what a blast. Over a thousand loud, sign waving Kerry supporters lined up behind the Senator and accompanied him into the area. Kerry was like a modern day gladiator going into the coliseum to wage war.
The Dean Bloggers are already spinning their web of deceit. Rick Klau is full of crap about there being 12 sections of Dean supporters and three sections of Kerry supporters.
Edwards and Gep had a section or two of supporters each, but in the rest of the arena was evenly split between loud Kerry and Dean supporters. Dean did NOT have more supporters there than Kerry. Matter of fact, the buzz at the event was about how many crazed, loud excited Kerry supporters there were at the event. Plus the Firefighters for Kerry and Veterans for Kerry were the most visible of all the supporter groups.
Hillary is Pissed…
The real interesting scoop of J&J was how annoyed Hillary was to have to read Dean’s introduction in first person. Hillary prefaced her introduction of the candidates by saying the following, “Just to not offend any candidates supporters, I want people to know that I asked the campaigns to prepare their own introductions which I will read verbatim.” My take was that she was upset to have to read Dean’s introduction in first person like she actually wrote the words. While it was a brilliant move for the Dean campaign, since most people will not hear the preface, I have a feeling raising Hillary’s ire is not a good thing long-term.
The Boston Globe puts the balcony split at 30% Dean to 20% Kerry. Then when you take into account the substantial lean on the arena floor toward Kerry, the numbers reach near parity.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
More again of my posts from Dan Conley's site www.danconley.com
To Dan's point, that the "Democratic Party to state simply and emphatically that the Iraq War was a mistake," Rove will pose this series of questions in the general election.
"American people, you know there are bad people out there to get you right?" Heads nod... "American people, would you rather have a President take action on your behalf even if it turns out to be harder than we thought, or a President who would leave each country to their own doing?" President who takes actions... "American people, George Bush will take action even if requires more sacrifice than we thought. Howard Dean doesn't have any answers, he wouldn't have got the inspectors back into Iraq and left Saddam to his own devises." More nodding...
Americans better have a gut feel that the Democratic nominee will act strongly on our behalf on foreign policy and military issues or Bush will be elected.
Kerry needs to preemptively pose this question to Dean in a debate and not let him off the hook. How would Dean get the inspectors back into Iraq? Rather than Kerry defending his own position which will become self-evident, Kerry and others should attack Dean's inconsistent position.
We know Rove will pose it... Yes, Kerry position had nuance, but perfectly consistent until recently (with his vote against the 87 billion which I blame some of the poll watching resume seeking leeches he employees).
More from the www.danconley.com blog
As Senator Kerry argued on the floor of the Senate that, "None of those resolutions or, for that matter, any of the other Security Council resolutions demanding Iraqi compliance with its international obligations, calls for a regime change.” He (and others in the FP community) did not see this Resolution as grounds going to war without another United Nations Security Council resolution.
What changed between September and Bush’ invasion in March? The anti-war folks rather than lay the blame on this President’s feet; were sucked in by an opportunist Presidential candidate, who viewed this as an opportunity to distort and simplify other candidate’s positions in a shameless attempt to bolster his own candidacy.
Sadly, the only result has been more misinformation the American people have to plow through to get to the truth. Those who call the September Resolution a "blank check" only give "aid and comfort" to this President in his lies. This is where Dean duped all us Democrats in an opportunist attempt to win the nomination.
He ignored his promises leading up to the war with Iraq. He ignored even the resolution that did not even authorize regime change. Even with the September Resolution, he had no authority to attack since he did NOT have secondary Security Council authority. But rather than attack Bush for his failure to live up to his obligations, the American people now believe Bush was "authorized to attack Iraq" without any conditions. Because 99.99% of American will never read the actual resolution, one political opportunist’s rants, in an egotistical attempt to win the Presidency, has severely damaged the Democrats chances of holding this President responsible for his lies.
Plus, Dean still can’t answer how he would get the inspectors into Iraq.
I'm continuing my dissection of the Resolution that I have been posting to the www.danconley.com blog
"Americans generally do not like to cede authority, especially over issues of war and peace, to international bodies"
I agree, but the internationalists were not ceding US authority here. What they were arguing is the US cannot proceed preemptively without a real immediate threat. However, the US should use international institutions to gain leverage to avoid Iraq reaching the point of having WMDs where they would become an imminent threat. Prevention not preemption, that is legitimized by international authority to contain rogue regimes... Clark and Kerry would both argue prior to the war there was no immediate threat from Iraq, and that if there were an immediate threat the President should not be going to Congress for a Resolution, but immediately removing the threat. The United States has been responsible for creating tens of international institutions and then using them to assist us with world order (World Bank, UN, IMF, and even yes the EU). This is nothing new and most Americans have accepted our position of leading through coalition building.
As an example, Kerry would say on the floor when voting for the Resolution the following:
"The argument for going to war against Iraq is rooted in enforcement of the international community's demand that he disarm. It is not rooted in the doctrine of preemption. Nor is the grant of authority in this resolution an acknowledgment that Congress accepts or agrees with the President's new strategic doctrine of preemption. Just the opposite. This resolution clearly limits the authority given to the President to use force in Iraq, and Iraq only, and for the specific purpose of defending the United States against the threat posed by Iraq and enforcing relevant Security Council resolutions."
This is why Clark said on his first day as a candidate that he would have supported the Resolution. He understood the resolution meant inspectors entering Iraq in a containment effort. This is different than being against the war...
The actual Resolution (as opposed to the "pretend" version Dean people prefer), authorizes force on two occasions. 1) If there is an imminent threat 2) to enforce Security Council Resolution.
I’ll offer a fifth position: Internationalists who believe the “international community” through its bodies (like UN) should have a tough enforcement mechanism for rogue states. I’ll apply this to the Iraq war later, but other examples would include arguing for ratification of the International Criminal Court and keeping standing peacekeeping forces if they are needed.
These internationalists (or neo-liberals) would give two occasions where pre-emptive war is justified. The first case is simple. A war is justified if there is an imminent threat of danger to America although I don’t know of anyone in the neo-liberal camp that believed this to be the case in Iraq. The second case is harder to understand because it means certain levels of agreement between nations (very subjective). This case where pre-emptive war is justified is if there is international backing (UN sanction) for the war. In cases where a county has misused WMD in the past, harbored terrorists or there is a possible threat of doing so in the future, the international community can chose to remove rouge actors on the international stage. Most internationalists see this as a justified response to the post 9-11 world in order to rein in threats to the world order.
What they heard being argued in pre-September by the administration’s neo-conservatives was that America needed no international authorization to go to war against Iraq. Most internationalist Senators threw a revolt in August and demanded the first resolution be withdraw and narrowed. Interestingly enough, the second resolution only empowered Bush to enforce all “relevant'' Security Council resolutions related to Iraq. Hence the internationalists felt they had “won.” The President and Secretary of State in the weeks leading to the September resolution, backtracked from the neo-conservative arguments with language indicating, “war is a last resort,” “we’ll build an international coalition” and an offer to get a second resolution. In the weeks leading to the Resolution, it looked like Colin Powell and the grown-ups were back in charge and pushing the neo-conservatives off the stage. Powell argued passionately with the Senators that he needed a Resolution to get the inspectors back into Iraq.
Knowing the WMD had been found in Iraq by UN inspectors in the late 90’s, most internationalists, voted for the resolution to either get the inspectors back into Iraq or build a UN coalition to remove him if he did not let the inspectors into the country. If they did not vote for the Resolution, Bush would not have had leverage to get the inspectors back into the country. This would have allowed the neo-conservatives back into the forefront arguing imminent threat. The Internationalist would have none of this especially now it looked like the President was relying on Powell for advice.
Most voted for the resolution to get the inspectors back into Iraq. Simply said, no resolution, no inspectors! I don’t think the Internationalists had any had an idea how quickly and with such bloodlust this administration would turn. Even with the inspectors back in, this administration rushed to war. Most internationalist who believe once the inspectors were back in had believe the US would opt for containment felt betrayed by the rush to war.
My thoughts are about the resolution are that people superimposing the dread we felt in January with Bush’s march to war, with the nuances of the September resolution.
Sunday, November 09, 2003
Dean must be stopped for the good of the Party
If Dean is the nominee, my campaigning efforts are going into a local Congressional race where at least Democrats stand a chance.
I can just see it now, the Deanies will load the buses up in New York, Washington DC, Philly, etc. to go on a bus tour leafleting of the South to convert the “pickup driving, Rebel flag waving, poor white Southerners” to their cause with all the fervor of prohibitionists smashing kegs of booze. The funny part will be when Starbucks reports their East coast earnings losses for that week.
Saturday, November 08, 2003
Heard Jesse Jackson Jr. speak tonight…
He misquoted Dean's actual statement making it seem less offensive, but while annoying, it is not worth blogging about here.
I enjoyed the first part of his talk. He started out with a great didactic on the history of race relations in this country. He rightly pointed out how the tenth amendment creating state’s rights has been used to justify many “sins” in our nation.
However, then he launched into an unrelated tirade about how Howard Dean is the only person who “wants to talk about race and ask white Southerners to vote their own economic interest.” Then he mocked the other presidential candidates in a wimpy scared voice saying how they were scared to talk about race.
Okay, yes, I know this is an illogical argument anyway… He is in reality asking them to ignore race and vote their own economic interest. My god, it isn’t like this is a new idea. How do think Democrats have won any races in the South in the last twenty years? However, this approach has never even attempted to heal the racial divide, instead it applies a band-aid approach of, “Let’s vote together for economic reasons and just leave race out.”
But the real question is how does he plan to talk about race when it no longer is in the best economic interest of whites? How does he expect white people to vote with him on reparations since it is not in their economic interests? How does this ignore race approach open the door to dealing with the root of racism? How can you pander to their “economic interests” on one subject and then ask them to support affirmative action in another since these are diametrical opposites? Any real discussion about race would have to include the holocaust of slavery, how African-Americans were written into our constitution as property not citizens, Jim Crow law, and the continuing disadvantage African-Americans face.
Funny thing about Dean and Jackson Jr lecturing the South on education and healthcare… Their own backgrounds give them so much authority to speak to the issue, two northerners, one from an overwhelming white state (with all white schools) and the other from an overwhelmingly African-American congressional district (with all African-American schools). I went to a Southern high school with 35% minorities and my wife was a minority in her Southern integrated high school. One of the first things we noticed upon our move to Chicago was the segregated neighborhoods and segregated schools. It was much worse than anything we ever experienced in the South. If you move up the North Shore you see rich village after village with their own tiny lily-white school districts (Wilmette, Kenilworth, Winettka, ring a bell). These villages offer their children enormous educational opportunities not afforded to African-American or Hispanic children on the South-side. Mr. Dean and Congressman Jackson if you are so concerned about starting a discussion on race in this society, why don’t you start in your own backyards? Sen. Kerry if you want to answer Rep. Jackson’s charge that you are scared to talk about race, why don’t you come to Chicago in his district and start the discussion?
White Southerners, who would fly the Confederate flag, are only a small minority of the white voters in their states. First, Mr. Dean and Congressman Jackson should not stereotype white Southerners as Confederate flag wavers. Second, that small percentage of Confederate flag wavers are not the ones you should be attempting to bring over to the Democratic fold. There are enough other white voters who could embrace the Democratic platform on economic issues if they trusted Democrats on national security. Step back about sixty years and read WJ Cash’s The Mind of the South. If you think Southerners are going to vote solely on economic issues, Democrats are sadly mistaken. You clearly don’t understand what makes them tick. Third, why are you asking white Southerners and African-Americans to overlook the flag and vote on economic issues if you want to start a discussion on race? Also, Wyeth Wire points out for all Dean’s blustering about wanting to talk to Southerners about race, he is full of crap. He was the only major candidate not to have an office or staff in South Caroline, had not bought the voter list (of the people he wants to talk to) and his supporters have been trashing the SC primary.
And back to the great speech Rep. Jackson Jr. started about state’s rights... Confusing since he endorsed a candidate who believes gun control should be left to the state. The Confederate flag was not what started the flack Dean has faced. It was how Dean tied the flag and his pandering to the NRA on states rights issues that got him in trouble. Dean is on record of supporting one standard of gun control for primarily white rural states and another tougher standard for states containing large cities with African-American inner cities.
Rep. Jackson also talked about creating a constitutional amendment to guarantee equal opportunities in education. John Kerry is the only candidate who has addressed the issue and offered solutions on how to overcome the inequalities in the educational system based on property tax. No other candidate has talked about this to date.
Only way I can explain Rep. Jackson position is the bandwagon effect of the media… Maybe if I want an African-American leader to discuss race relations in the South with white Southern voters, Harold Ford Jr. of Memphis is a better choice. He actually knows something about it (and endorses Kerry I might add).
Wednesday, November 05, 2003
Dean could have said about the comment, “I didn’t give the full version of what I usually say including the lay down their flags bit, and I probably could have used another symbol (like NASCAR sticker) to symbolize white rural Southerners. I was wrong to pick the Confederate flag, since it is such a divisive symbol. My point remains the same that I want rural white Southerners and African-Americans to join together based on their own economic interests. I apologize to anyone who took offense to my remarks. My campaign is about inclusiveness and bringing people together and I am sorry that my poorly thought-out remarks took away from this message.”
This would have been the end of the story. Sharpton and Edwards (who both actually understand what the Confederate flag means) would have looked like jackasses for piling on. Instead, Dean looks like an arrogant elitist Yale-man with zero understanding of racial issues in the South and zero urge to learn about them.
His attempts to hide behind Jesse Jackson, Jr. were pitiful indeed.
Saturday, November 01, 2003
Amazing, the other candidate when he was a long shot was routinely bashing the other candidates saying he was the “Democratic wing of the Democratic party” and the other candidates were “Bush-lite Washington elitists.” Funny how being the frontrunner has changed this “straight talker” into “don’t hurt the party, don’t bash me, just Bush.” His supporters cannot take the same criticism they have been dishing out for the last five months.
I’m not big on the “anybody but Bush” attitude some Democrats are taking. We really need to carefully nominee a candidate who can heal our deeply divided country. I really feel the country is splitting into two camps that are no longer hearing the other camp.
I’m not about revenge, because I fear for my country. Getting mad was good for motivation, but we need to start moving on and presenting a different optimistic vision of a strong secure America.
"I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks." -- Howard Dean, in Iowa
This statement is just too hard to swallow for any person like myself who was born, raised and educated in the South. He should know better than to throw the Confederate flag around so glibly. Doesn’t he realize the Confederate flag was (and still is) used a symbol of racial division in the South during the civil rights movement and integration. Don’t believe the line about flying the Confederate flag for Southern pride, as a son-of-the-South, I can attest it is first and foremost a symbol of an earlier time in the South when slavery was a revered part of the culture. Just ask former Sen. Cleland about this, he paid the price for having the Confederate flag removed from the Georgia flag.
Democrats can win the several states in the South, just by being strong on national defense and national security, and not conceding economic issues to the Republicans. We don’t have to pander to the lowest common denominator to win the Presidency.
Sigh, even the majority of NASCAR dads in the South would be ashamed to fly a Confederate flag in this day and age. Talk about open mouth, insert foot… Wonder what Jesse Jackson, Jr. is going to have to say about his “straight shooter” now. Speaking of his soon-to-be endorsement, interesting he picked a governor with almost no record on race over a senator with a lifetime 100% NAACP rating.
Please don't get me wrong. I do not believe Dean is a racist or even meant to be racist. I attribute his screw-up to two factors:
1) His fundamental misunderstanding of racial issues in America, otherwise he would not throw the Confederate flag around so lightly. And I might add how guns and race are tied together, just ask M. Moore. He could have used an example without any negative connotations like "NASCAR stickers on their pickup trucks," but didn't. 2) His need to pander to the NRA vote... Does he really think NRA supporters are going to vote for him in a general election over Bush?
Political journalist foresees Bush win
“Stephanopoulos said he expects the campaign will occur during a good economy and that national security will be the biggest campaign issue, something Democrats classically have had a hard time with. He was especially discouraged by front-runner Howard Dean's campaign based on antiwar outrage, believing Americans will prefer Republican optimism.”
You heard it here on Blog4Kerry first: 1) national security will be the number one issue in this campaign, and 2) vision (optimism) versus “outrage” is what will win the general election. Looks like we are seeing the Democratic Party in the process of self-destructing, even in the face of the many reasons the American people have for kicking Bush out of office. Sen. Kerry is so good at the “vision thing,” but just awful at being “outraged.” Outrage may win this primary, but will not get the Presidency back for the Democrats.
Some of the e-mails, I’m getting from the national campaign have been discouraging of late. Seems they are trying to out-negative Dean in their hatred of Bush… The primary election is deteriorating into a joke.
No candidate will be able to “out hate” or “out hysteria” Dean, Kerry needs to get back to what he does best, “presenting a different vision and different set of choices” for the American people. IT is NOT to late with two months left, please give the Democratic Party voters another choice than just Dean’s brand of negativity.