Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Barack Obama - Keynote Speaker at Democratic Convention?
The New York Times reports today Illinois own Barack Obama might be the keynote speaker at the Democratic convention in Boston. The Times quoting Kerry says:
CHICAGO, June 29 — The Democratic National Committee has not yet announced or, in fact, selected the keynote speaker for its convention in Boston next month, but Senator John Kerry, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, let a hint slip here this morning.
"I cannot wait to hear his voice," Mr. Kerry said of Barack Obama, the Democratic Senate candidate here in Illinois, who became a hot commodity in national political circles after emerging from a crowded primary field this spring. "First at our convention, where he's going to have an opportunity to speak in a few weeks, and then on the floor of the United States Senate."
Blog4Kerry links to Pat Buchanan (Via Stout)
This next statement might also come as a surprise to many of you. I subscribed to Pat’s magazine simply because it was the best anti-Iraq war writing out from September 2002 until the last six months. No liberal magazines held a candle to it, because of the neo-liberal and pacifist arguments that diluted their thought processes. After all, true conservatives and true liberals agree on foreign policy more than with their neo-conservative or neo-liberal counterparts.
You don’t believe me about TAC, look at their inaugural cover in October 2002.
Anyway, enough chat about his magazine. Pat writes another damning article blasting this administration for being so shortsighted in taking us into this war.
If this is indeed the ultimate goal of the radical Islamists, the U.S. invasion of Iraq was a strategic victory for the enemy.
Consider what has happened as a result of our war on Iraq. An enemy of Islamic fundamentalism, Saddam, has been removed. His secular Baath Party is gone. A vacuum has opened up in Iraq that the Islamists and their allies may one day fill. The Arab world has been radicalized and supports the Iraqi resistance in its drive to defeat and expel the Americans.
The destabilization of the Saudi monarchy through terror has begun. Rulers in Arab countries have been forced to distance themselves from the Americans if they wish to retain the support of their people.
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Press Reports: Kerry Repeatedly Whacked by an Ugly Stick Sometime Between 2000 and 2004
The campaign press in the summer of 2000 was entranced with John (Kerry). It tumbled all over itself to describe John as the perfect match for what it saw as the somewhat wooden, robot-like Gore. One newspaper described John as a man with "an easy manner and good looks," a politician whose "charisma [might] rub off on [Gore]," a person who could "bring some charm to the ticket." John's selection, it opined, would signal that Gore "thinks the election will be decided on personality." A television reporter also regarded this John as "charismatic." Another newspaper saw him as "younger and more telegenic than Dick Cheney." Yet a third newspaper called him "handsome," with "a record tailor-made to undermine the standard Republican attack on liberal Democrats."
Hey Dad, How do You Like This? Iacocca Endorses Kerry
Lee Iacocca, former chairman of the Chrysler Corporation, endorsed John Kerry for President today. In 2000, Iacocca endorsed George Bush, and campaigned actively for Bush, appearing in television ads and GOTV calls focused on the need to protect jobs in Michigan. Iacocca also campaigned for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and 1984.
So today I’m joining the Kerry team...I’m doing this not as a Democrat or Republican, but as an American, simply." - Lee Iacocca, June 24, 2004
Iacocca realizes sometime the government can help save jobs. This election will be a referendum on whether Bush has lifted a finger to help the middle class. I firmly believe voters will rejected the radical ideological values of this administration in favor of the mainstream values of John Kerry.
FYI, please just remember the government bailout Iacocca engineered was an anthemia to conservatives at the time.
Friday, June 25, 2004
Pat Robertson Says he Lectured Bush on Iraq
But here is the kicker; he said Bush basically blew him off nonchalantly. See the following exchange:
BROWN: I want to ask you how you feel about the war in Iraq. And if God is calling this war a disaster, does that mean that he is actually opposed to it?
ROBERTSON: Well, I don‘t think God‘s opposed to the war, necessarily, but it was a danger sign. I felt very uneasy about it from the very get-go. Whenever I heard about it, I knew it was going to be trouble. I warned the president. I only met with him once. I said, You better prepare the American people for some serious casualties. And he said, “Oh, no, our troops are, you know, so well protected, we don‘t have to worry about that.” But it has been messy. And I think we‘re going to come out of it, though. I think we‘ll have a free Iraq. But it certainly has been a mess so far.
So Robertson's need to feed his own ego, in effect, shows us just how unprepared Bush was to be President. Oh, to end the reign of the incompetent one in November!
Blogging versus Organizing
Now I’m left pondering the worth of blogging as an armchair pundit. In the 9th CD of IL where I am organizing, we are growing leaps and bounds. We now have six established Meetups, over 700 volunteers, communication vehicles, phone lists, committees working on visibilities, fundraising, communications, etc. We have ties into the local parties and their networks and are actively building their next generation of grassroots activists. I see tangible progress, not the elusive progress of watching a counter and hoping I’m making a difference. Sigh.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
Philadelphia Inquirer First to Endorse Kerry
I just finished reading the Inquirer’s endorsement of John Kerry. The editorial board waxed eloquently about Kerry’s strengths and leadership ability.
In that spirit, this newspaper, the first in the nation, endorses John Kerry for president. Unlike the current White House occupant, Kerry can lead America to a brighter, better future. He has shown the personal courage, compassion, intellect and skill to lead this country in a time of war abroad and economic troubles at home. He is a serious man for a serious time.
He is not the indecisive waffler the Bush team would have you believe. Instead, he is offering a concrete, pragmatic direction for the nation.
Kerry, who fought in the swamps of Vietnam, can lead us out of the quagmire of the Bush administration - but for that to happen, he will need your help.
I expected as much praise once people get to understand the complexities of Kerry. However, what I was surprised as was the fervor with which the editorial board attacked Bush. They succinctly dissected the failures of the Bush administration with a clarity rarely seen in editorial boards. Here is a tidbit, go read the entire endorsement.
You can help Kerry win Pennsylvania. Act now. The commonwealth - indeed the nation - cannot afford another four years of George Bush.
Go please, read the article, print and distribute. Copy and forward to friends in battleground states.
Monday, June 14, 2004
Thanks John U!
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Potential Vice-Presidential Candidate Analysis
Dick Gephardt was originally high on the list since he would have been a strategic pick. A Midwestern with union ties, he hails from a “red” state. If the polls proved he could swing his home state of Missouri, I don’t think there is a doubt he would be on the ticket. But… The latest polling does even have Kerry competing in Missouri and it is doubtful Gephardt would enough to the ticket to carry his home state.
Blog4Kerry predicts Gephardt’s chances continue to shrink despite Kerry’s personal admiration for him. Rating - 5
John Edward’s chances continue to increase as of late. No strategic candidate has emerged who can deliver a red state for Kerry. This means a broad appeal candidate like Edward’s is in a better position.
Blog4Kerry predicts Edward’s chances continue to increase despite Kerry’s personal questions about his readiness. Rating - 7
Vilsack is an unknown to most folks. However, Kerry owes him big time. Vilsack’s wife endorsement of Kerry in the last week of the primary carried major weight with Iowa voters. He has many of the same reasons you like Gephardt, meaning a Midwesterner from a battleground state. Gore eked out a victory in Iowa in 2000 and with Vilsack on the ticket one would hope Kerry would win sizably in the state.
Blog4Kerry doesn’t believe the hype around Vilsack of recent. While he may have moved into the top three, I don’t think he is the favored choice yet. The latest round of gossip is just “floating” to gauge the reaction. Rating - 6
He has been vetted at least. The Drudge rumor that Clark is credited with repeating to reporters is still a strike against him, but the thought of having two veterans leading the Democratic ticket in a time of war is hard to resist. Plus Kerry recently added Clark’s home state of Arkansas to the battleground list.
Blog4Kerry doesn’t believe Clark is out of the running. Depending on how Iraq goes after the turnover on the 30th, Clark might move up quickly. Rating - 6
The Rest of the Pack:
My personal dark horse favorite... Forget the plagiarism thing, forget his is from a Mid-Atlantic small state, forget he is a Senator, forget he is not a candidate who can deliever a battleground state, but who cares? Edwards can’t deliever a state much less his home state. Biden has the same appeal as Edward, but also has experience in foreign policy.
Blog4Kerry thinks Biden has MO! Wake up campaign… My rating is based on current state not where he should be. Rating – 3
Rumors are he has more skeletons than a graveyard despite the appeal of having an Hispanic governor on a ticket.
Blog4Kerry thinks Richardson is going nowhere. Rating – 2
Should have stayed out of the Presidential primary. If there is a strategic candidate it is Graham, I think he would deliver Florida. However, he just isn’t dynamic enough to help us in the Midwestern swing states. I actually think he might hurt us.
Blog4Kerry thinks Graham is going nowhere. Rating – 2
Midwest governor and now Senator, sounds appealing. One problem, Bayh is from the wrong Midwestern state, Indiana. Even with Bayh on the ticket, Kerry stands no chance of winning this Republican stronghold. Worse, the progressive base would be livid with a centrist choice like Bayh.
Blog4Kerry thinks Bayh is also going nowhere. Rating – 2
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Can Kerry Use Footage of Reagan for His Campaign Commercials?
New to Me News Site– Capital Hill Blues
CHB has an article called “Has Bush Gone Over the Edge” in which the rumor mill is brewing.
There is a bizarre account by Doug Thompson about Bush’s mental stability. Whether it is entirely true I don’t know, but it probably has more truth than the garbage the Republicans used to “drudge” up on Clinton. The Republican rumor mill would have had a story like this on the Sunday Talk shows. Heck, they got a garbage story about Kerry and a staffer even on the “dignified” Sunday press coverage. Amazing the lack of power progressives have in the media.
A sensational account of an imploding George Bush is making the rounds. "President George W. Bush’s increasingly erratic behaviour and wide mood swings has the halls of the West Wing buzzing lately as aides privately express growing concern over their leader’s state of mind." So begins Thompson’s insider report. He goes on.
"In meetings with top aides and administration officials, the President goes from quoting the Bible in one breath to obscene tantrums against the media, Democrats and others that he classifies as ‘enemies of the state.’ "It reminds me of the Nixon days," says a long-time GOP political consultant with contacts in the White House.
"Everybody is an enemy; everybody is out to get him. That’s the mood over there."
CHB also has an article quoting Democratic Senators saying the Justice Department Memos Laid Groundwork for Prisoner Abuse.
Democratic senators say Justice Department memos contending that a wartime president is not bound by anti-torture principles could have laid the legal groundwork for the prisoner abuses that took place in Iraq and elsewhere.
"They appear to be an effort to redefine torture and narrow the prohibitions against it," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday.
Did You Really Think Bush Would Not Exploit Reagan’s Death?
If you have been reading my blog for long, you know that I am a Southerner. My father was UAW member, who voted for Democrats locally and became one of the celebrated Reagan Democrats. As a student of history, my views on Reagan’s legacy have changed over the years. However, I still have a deep seeded affection for the “Gipper.” His optimism, his quick-witted sense of humor, wonderful communication skills and deep seat Midwestern pragmatism were traits that I deeply admired. Maybe this is why Bush trying to claim Reagan’s legacy galls me to no end.
I liked Reagan not for his ideology, but because he made me proud to be an American. He didn’t do it in a jingoistic chest thumping way. Internationally, Reagan stood up against a threat (Soviet Union) that we believed it was a military equal. In doing so, he rallied allies to the cause.
And domestically? He was a pragmatist to the core. For all his rhetoric about reducing the size of government, he was too practical to actually do it. He was President in a different time when Democrats had been entrenched in control and perhaps the pendulum needed to swing in the other direction. For the most part, Reagan still managed keep mainstream values in mind. Reagan’s conservatism, regardless of how well it worked, tried to put the middle-class first.
How this could be compared to Bush boggles the mind? Radical is the only way to describe the current administration. Radical ideologues with no attempt at balance, they bow to corporate masters on the domestic side and embrace whacked out theories of global empire in foreign policy. And on their personality, any comparison between Reagan and Bush is dead on arrival. Bush has created an extremely partisan tone in Washington even though after 9-11, he was offered a great opportunity to heal the nation. Does anyone believe Reagan wouldn’t have seized this opportunity to bring the nation together with his optimistic outlook?
Just my thoughts, here are what the papers are saying:
PoliticalWire.com points out the Bush/Cheney campaign is blatantly trying to take advantage of Reagan’s death by linking their campaign site as a tribute to Reagan.
Laura Berman of The Detroit News writes:
“Americans loved and responded to Ronald Reagan because he was an original, an authentic American. He believed in America because he had traversed it, from small-town poverty to Hollywood and the White House. His success story was as astounding as it was hard-won.
You can’t blame George W. Bush for being the beneficiary of a strong political name. You can’t fault him for using the privileges accorded the privileged.
But do not confuse the two of them, either. Reagan invented himself as a man and then as a myth. Bush, the younger, strives mightily to copy the formula.”
The San Francisco Gate writes:
The death of Ronald Reagan, the voice of modern conservatism, has had an immediate impact on the national political stage -- giving new life to George W. Bush's sagging campaign by shifting the focus of the 2004 presidential election.
But former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown said Bush runs the risk of appearing diminished by comparison.
"He will do his best to try and associate himself with Reagan -- but it won't fly," the Democrat said. "It would be as if you're comparing a squirrel to an elephant.''
The Boston Globe writes:
Bush has long sought to portray himself as Reagan's ideological heir, and with Reagan's death, he has augmented those efforts.
When Bush was asked about Reagan yesterday, he responded in terms largely reflecting his own reelection theme. "Ronald Reagan will go down in history as a great American president because he had a core set of principles from which he would not deviate," Bush said from the G-8 summit in Georgia, during a joint appearance with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan. "He understood that a leader is a person who sets clear goals and makes decisions based upon principles that are etched in his soul."
The St. Paul Pioneer Press writes:
Aides to Bush and Kerry said they did not want to do anything to make it appear they were exploiting Reagan's death. But in one sign of what may lie ahead, Republicans circulated old quotes from Kerry in which he criticized Reagan. Democrats promptly dug up their own old quotes, in which George H.W. Bush spoke unkindly about Reagan in 1980, as the two competed for the GOP nomination.
And an article from the Buffalo News:
"Reagan talked about cutting the size of government but really didn't do it. Government continued to grow during the Reagan years and that's the pattern of the Bush administration," said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif.
Paul Krugman writes:
But Ronald Reagan does hold a special place in the annals of tax policy, and not just as the patron saint of tax cuts. To his credit, he was more pragmatic and responsible than that; he followed his huge 1981 tax cut with two large tax increases. In fact, no peacetime president has raised taxes so much on so many people. This is not a criticism: the tale of those increases tells you a lot about what was right with President Reagan's leadership, and what's wrong with the leadership of George W. Bush.
Whatever George Jr...
Updated: The Who Pundit draws the contrast with the outrage expressed in the media after Wellstone's death at the Democrat's politization of his life and the silence in the media now.
Thursday, June 03, 2004
New Illinois Bloggers
Who in there right mind would admit to liking what Bush has done for our country? You couldn't say with a straight face, or without prejudice, Bush or his administration has done anything for anyone other than big business or their cronies. In addition, anyone who thinks of themselves as taking the "moral-high-ground" by aligning themselves with Bush, or his rhetoric, is blinded by their own prejudices — being anti-gay, -women's rights, -religious freedom, -anything-that-differs-from-what-I-know, does not equal a heightened morality. No, on the contrary, you are the personification of the moral-low-ground — those who judge others with a jundnice eye, the very hypocrites who walk through life with blinders of hate to any truth that isn't endorsed by FOX News.
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush has sought a lawyer to represent him in the criminal probe into who was responsible for a leak that was seen as retaliation against a critic of the Iraq war, the White House said on Wednesday.
A federal grand jury has been hearing testimony since January from administration and government officials in an attempt to establish who leaked the name of CIA (news - web sites) operative Valerie Plame to the media last year.
Plame is the wife of Joe Wilson, a former ambassador who was asked by the CIA to travel to Niger in February 2002 to check reports that Iraq had tried to buy enriched uranium from the African country.
Pass the Puke Bag Please
From the Bush/Rove site: On Sunday, the Washington Post reported that John Kerry is kicking off his 11-day national security tour by attacking the President for emphasizing democracy as a central goal in U.S. foreign policy.
Please go read the entire WP article, it is actually quite good. Kerry sets out a realistic view of the world and shoots straight. He also takes Bush to task for the disconnect of articulating democracy as a central goal and his support of dictators. Instead Kerry says he will make the security of America, his number one priority. If he has to deal with unsavory characters in the short-term to guarantee security, he will not blink. Essentially, Kerry is dismissing both the neo-conservative and neo-liberal schools of foreign policy in one swoop! Instead he is arguing for a pragmatist worldview based on American security. He is calling a spade a spade. Go ahead, let Bush have his fantasy world with hypocritical soaring rhetoric about democracy while he continues to support brutal dictators in third world countries. He probably isn't capable of handling the truth and he is too close to the nuke button for us to safely test this theory.
It is all part of the same problem," Kerry said. "It is the distinction between what is cosmetic and what is real. In the 20 years that I have been here, I have learned to distinguish between the two. This stuff going on is mostly rhetoric."
Emphasizing his interest in setting realistic goals, he added: "Beware of the presidential candidate who just sort of says with a big paintbrush we're going to make everything all right overnight."
I also thought Kerry's statement about how to prioritize "establishing democracy around the globe" was right on.
"I don't see that as the first thing that is going to happen in our priority of making America safer. It is a long-term goal. It is a goal that I will keep on the table. But it is not the first thing that has to happen."
It took America hundreds of years to build the institutions to support our own democracy, and you have to be an idiot to think you can establish a democracy in a country with no standing civic institutions or ethnic identity. Iraq isn't Germany (with a history of democracy) or Japan (with strong ethnic identity ties), but even in those countries we are still garrisoning our troops 45 years later.
Dictators Bush supports (at least if oil concessions are given):
President Pervez Musharraf – Pakistan
Crown Prince Abdullah - Saudi Arabia
President Islam Karimov – Uzbekistan
Saparmurat Niyazov – Turkmenistan
So put Bush’s two-face rhetoric aside, what is the difference? First, Kerry was very clear that he would never offer support to a dictator for oil (like Bush with the Saudi Arabia and Turkmenistan).
"We cannot be hamstrung on Saudi oil," he said. "I don't believe we have a free voice in the Middle East as long as we are dependent on the oil card. That is exactly what gets played. I think there has been this sweetheart arrangement that has deprived us of that ability."
Second, Kerry will not jeopardize America’s security on foolish misadventures like Bush’s single vision on Iraq.
He said he would aim to set clear priorities after deciding what is most important and achievable in dealing with other countries. He also said he would balance those goals so no single objective overwhelmed the administration or left other concerns festering. He accused the Bush administration of having an "Iraq-centric preoccupation" that has left little opportunity to deal with other pressing problems.
Third, notice how the reporter mentioned Kerry knowledge and competence on foreign policy. Do I really need to draw a contrast? Well of course, look at Bush's confused mind in a recent speech to the Air Force Academy in a post by fellow Chicagoland blogger(s) WhoPundit.
Kerry, who has devoted much of his two-decade Senate career to foreign policy issues, was comfortable and confident in answering questions that hopscotched across the globe and various trouble spots. He provided detailed, sometimes complex answers that occasionally drew on his experiences in meeting leaders in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America.
Warning: Non-Political Post
I just ran across a fun site called chicagobloggers.com. The site lists Chicago bloggers, but obviously that is no cause to even raising an eyebrow much justifying a post. But the cool twist is that bloggers are categorized by their EL stations. There is large EL/Metra map on the page, you then select a station and are able to view the bloggers in the area. Heck, an anthropology student could almost do a thesis paper on the demographics of bloggers contrasting their topics and neighborhoods. Very cool, so check it out!
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
“The future of this company is bright”
The news that 1,300 jobs will be cut could hardly have been worse--or more awkward--for President Bush, who returned to the key battleground state of Ohio last week for the 17th visit of his presidency.
Based in a county with many independent voters and "Reagan Democrats," Timken has long had strong Republican ties. W.R. "Tim" Timken Jr., the company's chairman, is a "Ranger" within Bush fundraising circles, meaning he has helped raise at least $200,000 for the re-election effort.
Partly for that reason, one of the company's buildings served as a backdrop a year ago for a presidential speech about the economy. The oration included references to Timken's future in Canton that now appear ironically incorrect and almost made for a Democratic campaign commercial.
"The future of this company is bright, and therefore, the future of employment is bright for the families that work here," Bush said in April 2003.
This article also pointed out a new bumper stickers stating "Outsource Bush" have started to appear in Ohio. Anyone know where to get these?
Obama on the Cover of The New Republic
I really think this race is Barack’s to lose. He has really captured the public fascination and the new Tribune poll loudly echoes that this is true. Obama holds a 22% point lead over Ryan-52 percent to 30 percent. The question for this fall will be whether once the Ryan negative attacks start if Obama’s campaign decides to just hold onto the win or roll the dice and go visionary in search of a mandate. I’m eagerly looking forward to the latter.
Integral to Obama's success are the factors he cites in his speech: his unusual racial and cultural background. Whereas many working-class voters are wary of African American candidates, whom they think will promote black interests at the expense of their own, they simply don't see Obama in these terms. This allows him to appeal to white voters on traditional Democratic issues like jobs, health care, and education--just like a white candidate would.
The sad fact is that there is no single truly prominent black elected official in the country today, a situation that marginalizes African American voices on everything from education to foreign policy, and creates a vacuum that charlatans like Al Sharpton can exploit for their own gain. Were Obama to win in November, he would instantly become the de facto political leader of the country's African American community. Better still, his intelligence, savvy, and sheer force of personality would quickly make him an important player on Capitol Hill. From his perch in the Senate, he's likely to become a perennial possibility for a spot on a national Democratic ticket. Which is to say, while it's a shame there aren't more candidates like Barack Obama, for the moment, one may be enough.
Run to the Right on Troop Funding
I have heard several prominent Democratic columnists arguing that Dems should run to the right of the President on this issue. Instead of accepting the administration’s estimates in the $20 million range, Dems should press for $40 million plus to ensure our troops have the armor and ammunition.
This is the right approach to take to make sure the military has the funding and troop numbers needed to stabilize the security situation enough begin the process of internationalizing the occupation of Iraq. We have let the ideologues run their war on the cheap for to long with the brunt of their ill preparedness being borne by the soldiers stationed in Iraq. Enough is enough!
In order to not complicate their efforts to win approval, this administration told Americans that at this point in the war, American troops on the ground in Iraq would number less than 30k. They even publicly reprimanded General Eric Shinseki for arguing over 200k troops would be needed to maintain order in post-war Iraq.
Instead, we have dangerously followed a minimalist policy, not for strategic reasons, but only because this administration is not capable of admitting it was wrong. I’m not going to speculate whether more soldiers have died because of this policy, but it has certainly made it harder long-term for America to extricate our troops from Iraq.
Last year if you remember, I criticized Kerry for his stance on the $87 billion last year because I thought it was an opportunity lost. My hope is that Nancy Pelosi and Tom Daschle can build a large enough coalition to push for adequate funding of our troops. We should have at least two weeks with daily presentations showing the areas our troops have been short-changed before the bill is allowed to come to a vote. Does this mean we are politicizing the situation in the same way this administration has in the past? No, simply for one reason, self-interest... The Bush administration is short-changing American troops in the field in order protect themselves politically while Democrats are merely calling for our troops to given the resources to be fully protected.
And one other note to Pelosi and Daschle, don’t add in anything to your bills other than military appropriations. No first responder funds or other domestic issues, no matter how important. Don’t give the Republicans a chance to cry “apples and oranges.” Concentrate on giving the troops what they need and nothing more.