Monday, December 29, 2003
Mr. Divisive is at it again!
Whaaaaaaa! Sounds like the little Napoleon is getting mad during sandbox play and is ready to take his toy soldiers home… Good riddance.
Looks like the Kerry blog http://blog.johnkerry.com/ had a good piece on this.
Then I’m searching the news to catch up on what happened in the world of politics in my absence and run across this story in the Miami Herald. Titled, “Dean Starts to Talk Religion,” I immediately winced. Yes, I know that I have argued this guy has no core values over and over given he changes his mind continually to meet his constituency, but this is ridiculous.
The article states, “Democratic presidential contender Howard Dean peppered an attack on Republican leaders yesterday with religious references, the first showing of what he promised last week would be a broader introduction of religion into his talk on the stump.”
So the question becomes, did Dean get religion over the TRN article or losing the Madonna endorsement to Clark (because she liked his spiritual nature)?
But then he changes course again within the same speech and states the following.
"I think religion is important and spiritual values are very important, which is what this election is really about. The line that drew applause, though, was this: "I am pretty religious. I pray every day but I'm from New England, so I just keep it to myself."
Stop the presses! Now this line is a blatant rip-off of what John Kerry said in the Iowa undecided voter session when asked about his personal faith. He mentioned his strong Catholic faith and prayer, but added given where he is from (New England) people don’t talk about it in a public way. Gesshh, you’d think someone in the press would pick up on this.
Sunday, December 21, 2003
Finding an Anti-Dean Candidate: Let’s Take Back Our Party
We can't pick a political novice like Clark and expect him to win. Clark is running for Mr. Congeniality right now.
Gephardt? Looks like he isn't even going to beat Dean or Kerry in IA. Beyond that, has he ever appealled to anyone outside of Labor?
Lieberman... Sorry, the Gore bounce is over. The best thing Joe can do is be the voice of reason for the Party in decrying the lunacy of Dean right now.
Yes, it brings me to the same conclusion also. The only candidate capable of stopping Dean is Kerry.
He has pulled within the margin of error with Gephardt in Iowa. In internal polling, he has surged ahead of Gephardt. If he pulls off an upset in Iowa, by default he becomes the anti-Dean candidate. This should boost him into at least a close second or even upset win in New Hampshire. Either way, he then has been in the headlines for two weeks in a one-two position with Dean.
The establishment is actively looking for an alternative to Dean. The first candidate who reaches this title, and becomes a viable alternative is going to be on the receiving end of a lot of money and endorsements. Once the Party money starts to open up, Edwards, Clark and others are going to have to bow out quietly. Al Gore's endorsement was not the establishment endorsing Dean, it was Gore admitting his own rejection of the "FOB" gang (Friends of Bill).
Remember up until recently Kerry had staff and organization in 18 states. Sure, he has pulled some back to focus on NH and IA, but it isn’t like he has to rebuild it all over again. He plugs his staff back in and they renew their contacts.
Another thing in Kerry’s favor is money. He still has enough money to go toe-to-toe with Dean for at least a couple of months. If I’m an Edwards or Lieberman donor, I’m certainly taking this into consideration.
Exciting, fluid race to watch. Can't wait to see the pundits on Jan. 20th.
Dean Groupies' "Fantasy Ticket" Goes Up in Smoke
Wesley Clark told Stephanopoulos today he was "absolutely not" interested in being Dean's running mate, adding "I don't see that in the cards."
So sorry Deanies, you may actually have to convince voters that your candidate can stand up to Bush on foreign policy issues.
Energy Independence = National Security
I’m continually amazed how many people that are not environmentalists respond positively to the theme of energy independence. I attribute this to American’s longing for self-reliance. After all, energy independence is good national security. Plus, the pursuit of energy independence frees Americans entrepreneurial spirit to innovate.
This is a good issue for Kerry because it highlights his two strengths; foreign policy and the environment.
· Elimination of many federal subsidies to oil and energy companies in favor of redirecting the money to research in renewable energy technologies
· Offer tax credits for energy-efficient buildings and homes
· Supports a national goal of producing 20 percent of our electricity from renewable sources by 2020
· Building infrastructure to improve the supply of natural gas (cheapest and cleanest of all energy sources) from Alaska
· Increase our fuel economy standards to 36 miles per gallon by 2015 and provide tax incentives for consumers to buy the vehicles
· Calls to create a New Energy Economy to free American industries and ingenuity to discover new technologies
Saturday, December 20, 2003
Ask yourself; can our Senate and House candidates survive Dean’s stewardship of the party? Hmmmmm…
“Head to head with Bush, the poll of 600 likely voters gave the president a 25-percentage point lead over Dean, 57-32 percent; 15 points over Kerry, 55-40 percent, and Joe Lieberman (news - web sites) 54-39 percent; and 19 points over Clark, 56-37 percent, and Dick Gephardt, 55-36 percent. The margin of error was plus or minus 5 percentage points.”
Notice Kerry performs the best against Bush. Time to torpedo the Dean candidacy and try to regain contact with average Americans not just a hysterical minority.
Haaaa-Haaaaa. Headline: Dean Seeks Halt to Attack Politics
It's not necessary to tear down the other opponents," said Dean.
This from the guy who brought you “Bush-lite” and “cockroaches.” What goes around comes around. I really am startring to believe Dean is bi-polar. Even funnier (in a sad way) is this quote…
"This campaign needs a little character transplant," Dean said. "You shouldn't believe what other people say." I can just see the lemming followers shaking their heads in agreement, “Whatever the great leader says we believe.”
And this quote takes the cake. "It has to be about rebuilding the Democratic party."
If this is rebuilding the Democratic Party, then count me out. I just don't believe it is a good thing to remaking the Democratic Party into an extreme leftist Party just to counterbalance the fanatical zealotry of the Republican Party. Uni-thinking (group thought) is the only way I can describe Dean’s followers. It is just like the far right. Any criticism of their candidate’s positions, quotes, and inconsistencies becomes criticism of them personally. Yes, I do believe they are taking the “power to the people” garbage a little too far.
Sent to me from a cyber friend in Iowa. He noted the same day “Howard Dean pleading for Democrats to play nice, Iowa residents received a Dean campaign flyer taking shots at John Kerry and Dick Gephardt.” Geesh, who is Dean kidding?
Another couple articles as a reminder of who really needs a character transplant. Sorry, I can't link since these articles have disappeared into the archives on the newspaper's sites.
Dean Spares No Opponent As He Sprints Across Iowa
By JODI WILGOREN (NYT) 661 words
MONTROSE, Iowa, Oct. 14 -- Howard Dean, who is increasingly giving his presidential candidacy an anti-Washington cast, cranked up his rhetoric on Tuesday, saying that if he won, members of Congress were ''going to be scurrying for shelter, just like a giant flashlight on a bunch of cockroaches.''
His jab at Capitol Hill, institutional home to four of Dr. Dean's five main rivals for the nomination, came in response to a question about how he would handle Congress and the entrenched Beltway bureaucracy. The questioner mentioned Republicans and Democrats alike, and Dr. Dean made no distinction.
Dr. Dean was not shy about criticizing his opponents, particularly Representative Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri, who has emerged as his chief rival in Iowa, which holds the first caucuses in the Democratic contest. ''Many of the people who are running for president left their constituencies a long time ago,'' he told reporters.
Dr. Dean also took a slap at Gen. Wesley K. Clark, who is retired from the Army. Asked by a voter about General Clark's appeal, he began, ''General Clark has not attacked me, and I'm not going to start by attacking him.'' He then proceeded to point out that the general had advised a Congressional candidate to support the resolution on Iraq and had praised the Bush administration at a Republican fund-raiser.
At lunchtime in Mount Ayr, he responded to a question about whether he had a bad temper by saying, ''The problem is, everybody gets along and goes along in Washington, and nothing ever happens.''
Yepsen: Win on merits, not slime ads
By DAVID YEPSEN
Des Moines Register:
11/23/2003 So Howard Dean has gone negative against Dick Gephardt in the Iowa Democratic caucus campaign. The former Vermont governor has launched TV ads and a direct-mail blitz hammering the Missouri congressman for voting for the Iraq war and the bullets to fight it.
Gephardt has pulled ahead of Dean in recent polls in Iowa, so the barrage is understandable. Dean needs to get back on top, and there are two ways a candidate can do that: 1) By talking positively about yourself and your own ideas or 2) By trashing the other guy. Dean is opting for the latter, and it's shades of 1968 when the anti-war movement savaged Hubert Humphrey and the country got Richard Nixon as a result.
In New Ads, Dean Becomes First in Campaign to Attack Fellow Democrats
October 23, 2003
By JODI WILGOREN and JIM RUTENBERG
CRESCO, Iowa, Oct. 22 — Howard Dean this week began running two new television advertisements that criticize his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination as "Washington politicians..." Joe Trippi, Dr. Dean's campaign manager, said this was ultimately a pre-emptive television strike. "That's what we're supposed to do with the money, is get the message out," he said. "We aren't waiting for them to go negative."
Shaun at the Upper-left does a great job documenting Dean the attack poodle. Check his site out.
Friday, December 19, 2003
The American Research group poll shows Kerry climbing 7 points in New Hampshire. Especially interesting is that Clark’s support fell and Lieberman only got a one percentage bounce out of the Gore endorsement sympathy vote.
Then a new poll by the Pew Group in Iowa shows Kerry moving to within the margin of error with Gephardt.
IOWA: Dean, 29 percent; Gephardt, 21 percent; Kerry, 18 percent; Edwards, 5 percent, Kucinich, 4 percent; Clark, 3 percent; Lieberman, 1 percent; Moseley Braun, 1 percent; Sharpton, 1 percent.
Another important factor in Kerry’s favor in the Iowa caucus is the 15% rule. If a candidate doesn’t have 15% of the vote in a caucus room, his support is kicked out of the next round of the caucus. His supporters can choose to throw their support to another candidate. I have a hard time believing Clark or Edward’s supporters are going to choose to support Dean. Plus, Kerry has the most elected officials in his corner and the best organization. This will lend extra credence to Kerry in the caucus room.
Not only has the “bleeding” stopped, but also Kerry has shown impressive gains in poll in those states. This blog mentioned in mid-November the national media will start to search for a new story about Kerry to show he is fighting back:
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.(Written when Gephardt was leading)
I’m certainly hoping the Yepsen article is the tip of the iceberg for the good press to finally start coming Kerry’s way. With Dean and Kerry battling it out in the month of January for the lead in both New Hampshire and Iowa, Edwards, Gephardt, Clark and Lieberman are going to quickly slip off the radar. This boost is Kerry will solidify his position as the anti-Dean candidate going into Super Tuesday.
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Dean's claims and accusations on the war
Finally, we are standing up to this chronic misrepresenter.Scroll down for the waffler's problems on the war resolution.
Dean has also implied in a number of cases that he opposed giving the president authority to take action in Iraq. Yet on most of those occasions, Dean has not explained that, at the time, he supported an alternate Congressional resolution that would also have granted the president authority to take unilateral action if he made additional certifications to Congress before doing so. Dean contends having to make these certifications would have prevented Bush from taking action, but this subtle distinction is often lost in his rhetoric.
The Congressional resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq passed in October 2002 with the support of Dean rivals Rep. Dick Gephardt, D-MO, Senator John Kerry, D-MA, Senator Joe Lieberman, D-CT, and Senator John Edwards, D-NC. As CNN reported at the time, it "requires Bush to declare to Congress either before or within 48 hours after beginning military action that diplomatic efforts to enforce the U.N. resolutions have failed. Bush also must certify that action against Iraq would not hinder efforts to pursue the Al Qaeda terrorist network that attacked New York and Washington last year. And it requires the administration to report to Congress on the progress of any war with Iraq every 60 days." (Bush has taken these steps as required.)
Dean did not support this resolution. However, as Kerry and Gephardt have pointed out and as Ron Fournier reported last week in the Associated Press, Dean supported an alternate resolution known as Biden-Lugar:[T]he former Vermont governor rarely mentions his support of a resolution by Sens. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Joe Biden, D-Del., that would have asked Bush to get a new U.N. resolution to enforce weapons inspections in Iraq.If the United Nations had declined, the president would have had to make a formal determination that the Iraqi threat was so serious that the use of military force would be necessary.Bush would have been required to send Congress a letter -- not seek a vote of approval -- before waging war, Kerry said. He argued there was no significant difference between the Lugar-Biden resolution and the one passed by Congress.Dean acknowledged that the alternative resolution was not binding against the president, but argued that Bush would have somehow been more likely to use restraint."Biden-Lugar required the president to come back to Congress -- not for a vote," but only to certify that a number of actions were taken, including more diplomacy, Dean said. "Had the president done that, we would not have gone to war, because then he would have been forced to certify with his word ... all the claims he made that were not true."
Dean may believe that requiring additional certifications to Congress would have prevented war due to political considerations (Bush "would have been forced to certify with his word ... all the claims he made that were not true"), but this is an assertion about a hypothetical. It is undisputed, however, that Biden-Lugar would have granted the president authority to take unilateral action against Iraq if the UN failed to act and Bush satisfied the requirements of the legislation. Dean has implicitly acknowledged this distinction at times, such as a statement on the February 25, 2003 edition of PBS's "Newshour with Jim Lehrer" in which he said "What they [his rivals] voted for was to allow the president of the United States to attack Iraq unilaterally without going back to Congress." (my italics)
Finally, the Kerry campaign is getting it right and attacking Dean on his inconsistencies and his positions that leave America vulnerable. Dean’s best known position on the war (of many), leaves America unable to respond to threats. (see my 9/8 blog among others)
Also I really like the new message about showing how Bush and Dean’s are extreme polar opposites with the truth somewhere in between. Hopefully, the campaign will continue to refine the message and phase out the references to the United Nations in favor of simple international legitimacy (could be broad but ad hoc like Gulf War 1, could be NATO, etc.) Even though the Senator is right when he talks about the need for the UN, there is no love between the American people and that international organization. However, Kerry can try to change how Americans look at the UN to a more balanced perspective after he is elected using the bully pulpit. Lets not let it be used by Bush as a stumbling block to Kerry in the general election.
I’m also hopeful to see Kerry is referencing his nuanced and right foreign policy positions back to great American leaders to draw the historical link. American history has certainly influenced Sen. Kerry, but he has at times done a poor job communicating his wealth of understanding to the American people. While showing how Dean’s positions are harmful to America’s interests is quite easy (if attempted), Kerry’s complex, but necessary positions are more difficult to explain.
Often people can better understand a complex position with a parable. Use ideas or stories of past great America leaders to gain legitimacy and trust. In the article, Kerry's well thought-out lines are a leap forward in rectifying this problem.
Here in Des Moines, Mr. Kerry sought to draw a contrast between Dr. Dean's posture and those of earlier Democratic presidents, citing Jimmy Carter's "commitment to human rights" in the same breath as Franklin D. Roosevelt's fight against fascism. "None of them would have ever given others the power to prevent America from defending our interests or our ideals," he said.
"To follow the path that Howard Dean seems to prefer is to embrace a kind of `Simon says' foreign policy where America only moves if others move first," he said. "And that is just as wrong as George Bush's policy of schoolyard taunts and cowboy swagger."
The senator repeatedly painted Dr. Dean as an extreme opposite of Mr. Bush. "Americans deserve better than a false choice between force without diplomacy or diplomacy without force," he said. "We need to take a third path of foreign policy: a bold, progressive internationalism, backed by undoubted military might, that commits America to lead in the cause of human liberty and prosperity."
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
Got to see the Senator speak three times over the weekend and was at the Davenport meeting mentioned in the article. He really does seems to be ready to fight for every vote now and I think the change is great. Monday’s speech was actually the best I have seen him. He blended populist economic themes in a delicate but effective balance with themes of the great entrepreneurial spirit of America in a speech that was uplifting and genuine. Has he been working with David Axlerod of the Edward’s campaign? Hmmm…
The new energy in the campaign may be resulting from the buzz among staff surrounding new internal polls from other camps showing Kerry surging ahead of Gephardt in Iowa. With organization even more important in a caucus than a primary, Kerry’s (larger than Dean and Gephardt) organization is set to pull the big surprise.
My suspicion was confirmed today when a friend in the Dean camp started to downplay the importance of the Iowa caucus (before my prompting) and how irrelevant Iowa has become in past election cycles. The early hubris of the Dean campaign is starting to unravel. Trippi must be looking at the poll numbers in Iowa and starting to downplay its importance to minimize the effect of a surprise Kerry win.
Read this article by David Yepsen. And yes, this blog noted last month that the media would start trying to write the Kerry as comeback kid story soon. ;-)
Also, a Globe article in the same vein of thought.
Kerry advisers say he is wagering on a "January effect" to ignite his campaign: He plans to remain in Iowa for roughly 15 days after New Year's in the run-up to the Jan. 19 caucuses, while making quick trips to New Hampshire.
"There's a slingshot effect from Iowa to New Hampshire that is very important to us," said Mary Beth Cahill, Kerry's campaign manager for the last month. "Past exit polls show that one-third of New Hampshire voters make up their minds the week before their primary, in those eight days after Iowa votes. That's huge for us."
It would be far better to run a commercial with hard money that attacks Dean for his support of war in Iraq. Show how he knew the Biden-Lugar resolution (similar to the second resolution which passed) would have allowed Bush to go to Iraq unilateral. A fact, Dean admitted later. Mention of course, how Dean said we should give Saddam 30-60 days and attack unilaterally if the UN didn’t act. Then attack Dean for not supporting the war, and how he argued the resolution was equivalent to supporting the war. Show how a no-vote on the war would not have given the President leverage to get the inspectors back into the Iraq. Show how not giving the international community the ability to hold rogue nations (who misuse weapons of mass destruction) will endanger our country long-term. Now (on Hardball tonight - hard unless you are Dean) Trippi is arguing now Dean’s position was to build an international coalition before attacking, but we haven’t seen these type of statements until very recently with the NEW attempted foreign policy competency image make-over. Dean should not be attacked here for his conclusion, but for coming to the same conclusion Kerry reached a year and three months ago.
The end of the commercial should just ask the audience whether Dean is an opportunistic flip-flopper or might suffer from being bi-polar. (Strike that last comment, I don’t want to slander bi-polar sufferers with a comparison to Dean).
In the post 9-11 world, wars on rogue nations will be unavoidable to prevent WMD proliferation. The question is whether we do it unilateral (like Bush, Cheney, and the oldest Dean personality support), whether we just leave everyone to their own devices and let WMD proliferate (like Nadar, Kucinich and the recently shed Dean personality supported) or whether we do it with international coalitions (like Kerry, Biden and McCain supported and the newest Dean).
If you wonder why it is so hard to rebut Dean’s statements on the war, it because he is on all sides of the issue. So will the real Slim Shady please stand up, please stand up?
I feel like I’m in an alternative world where Dean is the head lemming and the media and his supporters take every f-up and spin in so many directions the average citizen can’t tell what is the truth.
However, are we safer today than one week ago? Yes if we can leverage Saddam's capture in the right way, to some degree we may blunt some of the Sunni insurgency against our troops (yes, of course not all). Do you want precedent? Look at what Turkey was able to do after capturing PKK Kurdish rebel leader / terrorist Abdullah Ocalan.
By capturing Saddam, it has afforded Bush several opportunities to internationalize the situation and make strides to extradite us from Iraq. Will he, who knows? Most likely no, but I can be optimistic.
Maybe Saddam can trade WMD for his life being spared (life in a spider hole instead). Finding the WMD would go a long way to repair our relationship to the world (although not as much as a new President).
For those of you so concerned about Saddam getting his "ultimate penalty", screw you. I’d rather give him life in prison if it can be used to demoralize the Sunni insurgency and save just ONE American soldier’s life. Again, refer to the PKK case. Sorry for actually caring about our soldiers, who this President dares terrorists to kill, with his "bring it on hubris."
Updated: From Politicalwire.com's Quote of the Day
"There's no question that Saddam Hussein is a threat to the United States and to our allies."
-- Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT), on CBS' Face the Nation, September 29, 2002.
Updated: Statement from John Kerry on the Capture of Saddam Hussein
December 14, 2003
"This is a great day for U.S. forces, the Iraqi people, and the world. Capturing Saddam Hussein and ensuring that this brutal dictator will never return to power is an important step towards stabilizing Iraq for the Iraqis."
"Let’s also be clear: Our problems in Iraq have not been caused by one man and this is a moment when the administration can and must launch a major effort to gain international support and win the peace. We need to share the burden, bring in other countries, and make it clear to the world that Iraq belongs to the Iraqi people.
"Today is another opportunity to invite the world into a post-Saddam Iraq and build the coalition to win the peace that we should have built to win the war.”
Sunday, December 14, 2003
This presents this administration with yet another opportunity to internationalize the Iraqi occupation. Let’s hope they don’t squander this chance to take the targets off our soldiers backs. Yes, we should try Saddam in Iraq and let justice be done.
But we should cut a deal with Germany and France. The Europeans want very badly to legitimize the International Criminal Court. They were very upset when Bush early in presidency tried to torpedo the ICC. And us, well we want to bring NATO into Iraq to assist our efforts at national building.
So here is the deal, have Saddam tried in Iraq under auspices of the ICC in exchange for NATO troops in Iraq. Throw in opening up the contractual process for debt relief. This could be like an All-Star game weekend trade. Simple, and effective!
Don’t blow another opportunity Mr. Bush.
Thursday, December 11, 2003
I still don't know how to react to this one. I pulled this off Dan Conley's http://www.danconley.com/ site. This clinches it that this race is about electability. Maybe this is the wake-up call Democrats needed.
In New Hampshire where Dean is doing so "well" and has spent the last year cozying up to voters, they took a poll with a head-to-head with Dean and Bush. Unbelievable the results, simply unbelievable... Dean is getting beat 57% to 30% in a state Al Gore lost by less than one thousand votes. What do you think our chances are with the rest of the country with a Dean nomination? Granted the poll doesn’t show other Democratic candidates versus Bush, but this definitely is a flat out reject of Mr. Frontrunner’s leadership.
It is time to stop the media coronation!
Contrast this with another poll in a swing state (PA) that shows John Kerry as the Democrat to do best against Bush.
December 11, 2003
SPIN THIS, DEANIACS
This is the most stunning poll I've seen in this election yet. In New Hampshire -- yes, home of the huge Dean primary lead -- Howard Dean is getting absolutely destroyed by George W. Bush in the latest American Research Group statewide poll. Mind you, New Hampshire is a state won twice by Bill Clinton and lost by a tiny margin by Al Gore in 2000.
Read it and weap, Democrats. There's no good explanation for this. Other than Vermonters, New Hamsphirites know Howard Dean better than anyone:
George W. Bush 57%
Howard Dean 30%
Howard Dean 67%
George W. Bush 14%
George W. Bush 94%
Howard Dean 0%
George W. Bush 63%
Howard Dean 11%
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Gore's Politically Motivated Endorsement Bolsters his own 2008 Run
Sadly, Gore is preempting other national Democrats in an attempt to endear himself to Dean’s fanatical supporters. Most Democratic Party insiders don’t believe they can beat Bush this year, especially with Dean as the nominee. Al Gore is ensuring he has a base of support for the inevitable Hillary / Al slugfest in the 2008 Democratic primary. In the 2008 election, Gore would have had no starting constituency in a run against Hillary. Now he does...
Gore knows Dean cannot beat Bush. Gore knows that Dean’s tax stance will raise taxes on the middle class and that his “anti-war” stance(s) without answers are going to torpedo Democrat’s chances in 2004. All the better for Gore, Dean loses badly and Gore inherits many of Dean’s supporters for 2008. What a panderer!
And yes, now I'm pissed at the Democratic establishment. They have now given up on actually beating George Bush and are instead looking to cover their butts in the upcoming crash and burn in 2004.
AP reports Gore said Dean "really is the only candidate who has been able to inspire at the grass-roots level all over the country." Heard the rest on CNN, but haven’t had a chance to see the entire transcript yet. Sounds like Gore is wholeheartedly adopting Trippi’s language of empowerment. My guess is Gore is may more interested in starting a revitalization of the Democratic Party than actually winning in 2004.
And get this, Gore says he supports Dean because of how his candidacy is good for democracy, but than in the same breath said he wanted all Democrats to pull behind Dean a month before the first vote is cast. Is this the type of democracy he wants?
I now wish Hillary would endorse another candidate than Dean. Anything to establish an anti-Dean candidate… Now wouldn’t that be a hoot, Al versus Hillary proxies fighting it out in 2004?
Is George Bush a conservative?
I would also argue this assessment is mostly correct and offer the following reasons on why Bush is not a traditional conservative in many areas. First, philosophically he is not a free-trader, but more interested in what helps him politically hold power. The two best examples of this include the steel tariffs and farm subsidies. Second, this administration attempts to torpedo civil liberties at every turn. Third, his twin forays into international activism in either nation building or regime change have never been part of the conservative foreign policies portfolio. Forth, he has no problem expanding government if it serves his purposes domestically. The Medicare drug benefit is one such example. Earlier this year, I wrote about the Santa Claus President and I believe this still to be the most descriptive term for him. Lastly, GW is doesn’t mind either government regulation and/or deregulation, not based on principle, but to the extent it helps his favorite corporate / special interests. No government give away is too big for his friends in corporate America.
The one area where Bush is a conservative is in his view of balance budgets. Most conservatives believe in starving the budget to prevent increases in social spending and infrastructure investment. Conservatives use budget deficits to create crisis in order to force cuts in those areas.
So yes, the record is fairly clear that George Bush is not a principled conservative, but instead governs with two goals in mind; rewarding the special / corporate interests who support him or creating a government program to help re-elect his administration.
At least Clinton did have a philosophy that he rigidly stuck by. His administration believed by reducing deficits almost to an obsession. Yes, he was helped by a Republican congress in part, but this only was a part. What Clinton missed the opportunity to do was to translate those large budget surpluses into infrastructure investments and R&D (like he had originally planned in 1992). This was the third way, don’t use the surpluses for the “Welfare” state, but instead put revenue into building infrastructure that helps middle-class Americans compete globally. This is a 180-degree difference from how Bush wants Americans to compete in the global marathon. The wealthiest of Americans should be allowed to ride the Rolls-Royce to mile 26.2, while middle class workers should be sent out on crutches to face the rest of the world’s workers supported by their governments.
Friday, December 05, 2003
The Dangerous Gamble is Unraveling
I wrote in early September that Dean’s angry message was a long shot and needed to two conditions to happen for him to win the Presidency.
“Sadly if Dean is the candidate in order to win, Democrats have to hope the economy gets worse and more soldiers are killed in Iraq. That is not a position I want my party to be in November of 2004.”
Interestingly enough in today’s USA Today, Walter Shapiro’s article (yes, there are still a few journalists who actually can do primary research) uncovers a statement of Dean’s from 2002.
During a lengthy interview, when he was a long-shot prospect at best for the nomination, Dean spoke candidly about the connection between his assumptions about the economy and his decision to seek the presidency. "Here's my whole theory about this, which will be interesting to see how it plays out a year from now," Dean said. "I don't think a Democrat can win the presidency in 2004 if the economy is good. As much as I hope the economy is good for the country's sake, I'm going to make the assumption that it won't be good. Because otherwise, why would you do this?"
Yes, Dean is a dangerous gamble for Democrats. He geared his long shot Presidency on two premises, one of which is unraveling. He has now pushed the language of the primaries so far out of line with the average general election voter, even if we were to nominate a candidate with Kerry’s summer message, it just might be too late.
My two cents on the “Shadow Democratic Party”
"The result will be a shadow Democratic Party -- an alliance of nonprofit groups that hopes to raise $200 million to mobilize voters and run ads slamming Republicans. It took months of struggle for the Democrats' allies to figure out how to coordinate the left's efforts, while abiding by the new law and not offending the party's unruly constituencies. The story illustrates the difficulties Democrats face as the 2004 campaign heats up."
Conservatives pioneered the use of harsh partisan attacks to raise money from their base. The Democrats of course readily adopted the tactics. Using attacks to gain funds isn't anything new, but given the current climate of the Democratic Party, it represents something seductive yet very dangerous.
This new influx of unregulated money will continue to push the Democratic Party to the hysterical often-irrational left. Worse yet, it will drown out the consistency of message needed to win elections in a cacophony of competing voices. There is no way people are going to put millions of dollars up to run ads arguing for centrist positions. These attacks will be to the far left of the American people. What will be the result?
I certainly don’t see the unregulated money as supporting a ground swell of grassroots or helping bring more people into the political process. What it will do is continue to drive cynicism in the political process and “disenfranchise” more voters. This will steal the “soul” of the Democratic Party. While we haven’t done a good job of representing the working family for sometime now, this will only exacerbate this tendency.
The American people are no longer “hearing” each other, as we are pulled farther to the left and right. Tolerance and civil discourse are disappearing. Support for ideals of the rule of law, individual rights have always rested on our civil institutions nurtured from the early days of our grand Republic. Stop... Wow, I sound like the ole Puritans with my own Jeremiad. Maybe I should lighten up, how about an MTV “claymation” match-up at half time of the Super Bowl between Dean and Bush. What a jolly good show that will be…
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Kerry gets a Break in a Major Paper. Get the coats out Hell must be freezing.
What is so wrong about expecting the next President to actually have some experience in areas that matter?
The Quandary between the Experience and Maverick Image.
The article does hit on one point that the campaign articulates very poorly. “Having spent much of his career as a loner and an outsider, he finds himself fighting the impression that he is a quintessential Washington insider, yesterday's news.”
Kerry has always been an outsider in the Congress and never held a position of Congressional leadership (nor had interest in holding such a leadership position). He broke with most in his party over Gramm-Rudman Deficit Reduction, small business issues, NAFTA and free trade issues, and supported Clinton on welfare reform.
People forget he was a tough prosecutor who brought down the second biggest mob boss in New England behind bars. Kerry’s experience lead him to be one of the leading lights holding “Oliver North accountable and exposing the fraud and abuse at the heart of the BCCI scandal.”
He also took committee assignments that he passionately cared about in the foreign relations and small business committees and became an advocate in these areas. In the Senate Commerce Committee (a powerful one), he was out arguing for increase CAFÉ standards and to build high-speed passenger rail, hardly issues to squeeze money out of corporate donors.
John McCain was viewed as a maverick, but he never broke with his party much until after the 2000 election. Unlike the 2000 election in the 2004 general election, you want to show your extensive credentials to be President in a post 9-11 world. However, in the primaries you need to show you are a maverick within your party and that you will and have challenged the status quo. How you balance this is delicate.
With Clark out of the picture, this leaves only one candidate who can stop Dean. Kerry is positioned in both Iowa and New Hampshire to do very well. A finish ahead of Dean in Iowa (likely) will catapult him into a tight race in New Hampshire. Kerry’s chances get better and better as the anti-Dean movement grows.
Bush Approval Rating at 61%
Notice, Bush never attacks his rivals. The Republicans allow others to do the attacking so he can sit above the fray. Unfortunately, all Democratic candidates have been trapped into hot rhetoric Bush bashing in Dean's style or the press refuses to cover their relevance (another stereotype the media like to prove. Democrats = Bush haters). The sooner Dean is a non-issue in this campaign, the better the chances Democrats have of recovering.
If Kerry is the nominee, I hope he gets back to the pre-summer positive visionary campaign he was fighting. Kerry hit the nail on the head in order to beat Bush, you have to show the American people there are a different and better set of choices America could make at every step versus this administration's choices. This campaign focused on choices not personal attacks and I miss it. Sigh, too bad that Kerry's pre-summer campaign was geared toward the general election instead of a primary. Maybe we would not be in this mess now.
I will not say it this time. ;-)
Glen Johnson has an Boston Globe article about how the Kerry campaign has realize the mistake Dean has made in Iowa by overselling his position. Glad to hear we are going to take advantage of their mistake and gain some momentum heading into the New Hampshire primary.
Interestingly, Glen mentions Tom Vilsack, Iowa’s governor in a statement about how he thinks Kerry can still win. Wonder if we are going to see an endorsement if Kerry continues to post better numbers in Iowa?