Saturday, July 31, 2004
Yes, Rove and Company, results do matter. How about little W’s accomplishments:
- alienated the entire world
- divided the American people by every reason possible
- screwed up the war on terror with a misadventure in Iraq
- lost 1.5 million jobs during his "stewardship"
- cut healthcare benefits for war veterans
- set a record for the biggest annual budget deficit on history
- declared war on the environment
- set the all-time record for most days on vacation by any president
Let them eat cake, let them eat cake…
Friday, July 30, 2004
Russert Gets it Wrong on MTP
Mr. Russert, I was surprised during your Obama interview on Sunday that you badly misrepresented John Kerry’s statementson the Iraq War. Like Howard Dean did, you confused future threat with being an imminent threat. I hope you would reexamine his speech to the floor of the Senate and correct your statement on next Sunday’s show.
Your Sunday show with Barack Obama:
"The nominee of your party, John Kerry, the nominee forvice president, John Edwards, all said he was an imminent threat."
From Kerry’s IWR speech (9/02):
“In voting to grant the President the authority, I am not giving him carte blanche to run roughshod overevery country that poses or may pose some kind ofpotential threat to the United States. Every nation has the right to act preemptively, if it faces animminent and grave threat, for its self-defense under the standards of law. The threat we face today with Iraq does not meet that test yet. I emphasize "yet."Yes, it is grave because of the deadliness of SaddamHussein's arsenal and the very high probability thathe might use these weapons one day if not disarmed. But it is not imminent, and no one in the CIA, no intelligence briefing we have had suggests it is imminent. None of our intelligence reports suggest that he is about to launch an attack.”
Kerry then went on to articulate why the resolution was important even without imminent threat.
Thanks, Daniel Dennison
One of Whouley’s Iowa 500
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
PAUL KRUGMAN on the The Arabian Candidate
Mr. Bush's "war on terror" has, however, played with eerie perfection into Osama bin Laden's hands - while Mr. Bush's supporters, impressed by his tough talk, see him as America's champion against the evildoers.
Last week, Republican officials in Kentucky applauded bumper stickers distributed at G.O.P. offices that read, "Kerry is bin Laden's man/Bush is mine." Administration officials haven't gone that far, but when Tom Ridge offered a specifics-free warning about a terrorist attack timed to "disrupt our democratic process," many people thought he was implying that Al Qaeda wants George Bush to lose. In reality, all infidels probably look alike to the terrorists, but if they do have a preference, nothing in Mr. Bush's record would make them unhappy at the prospect of four more years.
Teddy on Treason
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Barack Obama to Deliver Keynote Address at 2004 Democratic National Convention
"Barack is an optimistic voice for America and a leader who knows that together we can build an America that is stronger at home and respected in the world," said Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry. "He understands the importance of building an economy that lifts up families and expands opportunity, and I'm honored that he has accepted the invitation to deliver the keynote address."
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Bush Got Most and Less Negative Coverage
A new study from the Project for Excellence in Journalism found that President Bush received most of the media’s campaign coverage in recent months, though the tone of coverage on the president’s character has been largely negative by a margin of three to one. The media’s assessment of Kerry has been negative by a margin of five to one.Remind anyone of the pounding Gore got in the 2000 election?
The study also found that "journalists were almost as likely as the campaigns to be the source asserting these character traits about the candidates" and that "more than four in ten character assertions were made with no evidence cited to back them up."
If you do look at the state-by-state polling, Kerry looks very strong right now and positioned well to win in November.
Check out Rasmussen Reports polling for July to see what I mean. In their polling, it shows Kerry with 254, Bush with 197 and 87 in tossups. Not bad since 270 wins it.
Also Zogby has a state-by-state poll in the battleground states. Zogby only has Bush leading in Nevada, Arkansas and West Virginia with a tie in Tennessee. This puts Kerry ahead in the other 12 battleground states.
The unknown factor here is going to be voter turnout. If Democrats can increase voter turnout by 10% this year, Kerry wins in a landslide.
Sour Grapes Tirade
We'd be down fifteen points right now if Dean was the nominee. Dean was never going to sell in the Rust Belt where the next President is going to be elected. Think of Dean as a martyr, who bloodied Bush badly, and paved the way for a Democratic nominee who would leave the primary relatively unscathed and much stronger.By the way, I wouldn’t use it yet, because it isn’t the right time, but Polis had a very good idea for a Kerry commercial. Not bad to start running a similar commercial in September.
Much of what Kerry is doing is running under the radar right now. I was in Iowa when the media was pronouncing Kerry toast in late November and December. I remember back then how all the pundits were laughing, when Kerry kept saying “You don’t want to be the frontrunner till January.”
The Republicans wanted to run a Rose Garden strategy. Instead they have almost spent their war chest entirely on negative ads, and polls show Kerry is still undefined in voter’s minds. What does this mean?
Well, in order to not put it so crassly, "they are like the sixteen-year old kid in back seat of the car for the first time."
Dean strategy was fire often and wildly. Kerry’s is "Don't shoot ‘til you see the whites of their eyes.”
KERRY: I'm John Kerry, and I approve this message.
ANNOUNCER: George Bush says "we have to take the fight to the enemy," but since 9/11, Al Qaeda has gotten stronger.
[Show Washington Times Headline, "Al Qaeda ranks boosted by war on terror, Iraq"
The New Republic calls many of the president's reasons for going to war in Iraq "highly dubious." The war on terror is like no other, against enemies who are cunning, and pledge to no national flag.
[Computer generated graphic showing worldwide reach of terrorist bases, Indonesia, Philipines, etc, in rapid succession.]
That's why John Kerry will add 5,000 more special operations soldiers to our military, to hit terrorists hard in every corner of the Globe, guided by massive new intelligence resources.
A combat veteran with 20 years experience on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, John Kerry understands how we will win this war. John Kerry: Simply the best man for the job.
Great Blog on How a Base Should Act in Power
Instead, from the liberal perspective, it's about convincing the so-called moderates of the party that liberal ideals and views are also political pragmatic.
This is a necessary step for us.
Even though there are enough liberals who have financially backed the Kerry campaign to show that we cannot be ignored, there aren't enough self-described liberals in the country to have earned the right to call the shots.
We cannot sit back and just expect Kerry to do what we want.
We have to go out into the country, make our case to the people, and show the Establishment how it can be done, so Kerry will want to do what we want.
The only thing I would add to this piece is that the progressive base needs to learn this lesson now and close ranks quickly. Postponing the convention, daily terror alerts, finding Bin Laden during the convention, the Bush administration will anything it takes to win. This isn’t the time for whining about Kerry "does not excite me" meaning in reality “does not agree with me on every position.”
Progressives love to “preach to the choir” and brutalize their elected officials when they have to move to the center to stay in power. We heap accolades on the urban Democratic progressive officials from safe districts who never have to compromise and then laud their dedication to principle. We then heap scorn on the rural centrist Democratic elected officials from red states who fight “tooth and nail” every two years to keep an arch-conservative from grabbing the seat. Don't believe me, go to Buzzflash and see the names they call Tom Daschle. He is holding on to a seat the Republicans should rightly have.
My bet is that many centrist Democrats elected officials who gladly move to the left if they could move their people with them.
The current Bush administration is a direct result of what conservatives did for the last twenty years to move the country right. Whether through control of the radio waves, think tanks, or Congress, the Republicans slowly and methodically moved the debate to the right. Progressives need to begin to recapture this ground, but understand it is counter-productive to continue their constant criticism of Kerry. When progressive grumbles that, “I’ll vote for Kerry, but only because I don’t like Bush,” they are in essence saying, “I don’t care that Kerry is more progressive than Clinton, I’ll only get excited about supporting a candidate who toes-the-line with my urban, fair-trade coffee drinking, REI wearing, Onion and Mother Jones reading, masters degree holding, point of view.”
This election is being fought in rural Rust Belt towns in Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. John Kerry is sympathetic to progressive values, but this election is about whether Bush or Kerry represents the mainstream values of Rust Belt residents. My apologies to everyone who does live in a battleground state, but this country has an Electoral College to elect a President, not majority vote.
Republicans win with depressed voter turnout. When you bash Kerry for not representing all your opinions or say how “you aren’t excited by Kerry,” you send a message to others that there is no difference between Kerry and Bush. You are being suckered into helping the Republicans win with their strategy to depress turnout.
Will anyone honesty on this blog claim there is no difference between a John Kerry administration and another four years of Bush in how America deals with civil rights, civil liberties, the environment, our national standing in the world, corporate securities regulation, court appointments, right to choose, health care, terrorism, etc.?
What is not to be excited about that?
US News and World Report Special on the Democratic Primary
This extensive article is a must read for political junkies. And yes, I'm still proud to have been one of the 500 Whouley volunteers in Iowa!
Thanks to Jim from IndependentsforKerry for giving me the electronic link.
Monday, July 12, 2004
Nader Voters - Think Twice
American counterterrorism officials, citing what they call "alarming" intelligence about a possible Qaeda strike inside the United States this fall, are reviewing a proposal that could allow for the postponement of the November presidential election in the event of such an attack, NEWSWEEK has learned.Better start hiding extra copies of the Constitution for safekeeping now.
The prospect that Al Qaeda might seek to disrupt the U.S. election was a major factor behind last week's terror warning by Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge. Ridge and other counterterrorism officials concede they have no intel about any specific plots. But the success of March's Madrid railway bombings in influencing the Spanish elections—as well as intercepted "chatter" among Qaeda operatives—has led analysts to conclude "they want to interfere with the elections," says one official.
As a result, sources tell NEWSWEEK, Ridge's department last week asked the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel to analyze what legal steps would be needed to permit the postponement of the election were an attack to take place. Justice was specifically asked to review a recent letter to Ridge from DeForest B. Soaries Jr., chairman of the newly created U.S. Election Assistance Commission. Soaries noted that, while a primary election in New York on September 11, 2001, was quickly suspended by that state's Board of Elections after the attacks that morning, "the federal government has no agency that has the statutory authority to cancel and reschedule a federal election."
Soaries, a Bush appointee who two years ago was an unsuccessful GOP candidate for Congress, wants Ridge to seek emergency legislation from Congress empowering his agency to make such a call. Homeland officials say that as drastic as such proposals sound, they are taking them seriously—along with other possible contingency plans in the event of an election-eve or Election Day attack. "We are reviewing the issue to determine what steps need to be taken to secure the election," says Brian Roehrkasse, a Homeland spokesman.
© 2004 Newsweek, Inc.
Friday, July 09, 2004
NY Times – Bush Records Destroyed
From the http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/09/politics/campaign/09records.html: Military records that could help establish President Bush's whereabouts during his disputed service in the Texas Air National Guard more than 30 years ago have been inadvertently destroyed, according to the Pentagon.
Thursday, July 08, 2004
The Bush Empire Overstretched?
In a bipartisan show of concern that the military is dangerously overworked, lawmakers said Wednesday the Pentagon is stretching troops to their limit and perhaps undermining the nation's future force.
What is next the draft?
Seems Bush does get a little snippy. When asked about a comparison between Edwards and Cheney Bush broke into a curt, snide response.
President Bush on Wednesday curtly dismissed freshman Sen. John Edwards' credentials to be vice president while Democratic challenger John Kerry and his running mate rallied voters in battleground states. "Dick Cheney can be president," Bush declared, and Kerry suggested that was part of the problem.
Bush "was right that Dick Cheney was ready to take over on day one, and he did and has been ever since, folks, and that's what we have got to change," Kerry said.
Gee for Bush to critisize Edwards for VP when Edwards has more experience than Bush when he became President... Hmmm.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Globe: Bush's Democracy-promotion Initiative a Sham
The Bush administration, while stating that democracy is the cornerstone of its Mideast policy, has directed more than half of the funds in its key democracy-promotion initiative to assist autocratic regimes in promoting free trade and education.
Only about $3 million of roughly $95 million went for direct funding for local groups promoting democracy or "civil society," according to 2002 and 2003 data from the State Department's Middle East Partnership Initiative, which describes itself as "the primary diplomatic policy and development programmatic tool" of President Bush's "strategy of freedom in the Middle East."
Check out the LiberalOasis post on Bush's sham pro-democracy stances versus Kerry's realpolitik.
One other point, isn’t this the same administration that diverted money away from Afghanistan to their Iraq war? Nice little slush fund to carry out world domination, that American taxpayer checkbook...
Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Just saw the Announcement!
Plus I just have a soft spot for Pittsburgh. My wife and my first overnight date was on a snowy magical night in Pittsburgh. We later got engaged there and have traveled there many times. The people always go out of their way to be nice. We especially love the Penn Brewery in the historic Eberhardt and Ober Brewery at Christmas. Just might have to take time off to relax from the campaign this year… Sorry for the digression.
Oh yeah, the whole set up was unbelievably well done. Not having Edwards at the rally was perfect as it showcased Kerry’s executive presence and mastery of the dramatic. Kerry just keeps rising to the occasion.
The masterstroke was when Kerry said his family would ‘break bread” with the Edwards family before appearing on stage with him. A nice religious reference that the Catholic Midwest will surely pick up on.
Kerry Throws a Bone to the Party Faithful
Monday, July 05, 2004
Our guy hammering home the message in the rain. What a great shot!
Values and Language
Here is a Denver Post article about Kerry discussing values and abortion.
I love Kerry taking it to BushCo on their definition of values. First, we are attacking, not getting attacked. Second, Kerry is starting to define the language he wants to run on, not their language.
At a barbecue here, he argued that there was “nothing conservative” about values that produced growing deficits, stagnating wages and a middle class squeezed by rising costs for health care, education and child care, all of which he tied to President George W. Bush.
Moreover, Kerry, a Roman Catholic, added: “I’m a person of faith, and I know I’m surrounded by people of faith. But there’s nothing conservative about allowing your administration to cross that beautiful line drawn by the founding fathers that separates affairs of church and state in the United States of America.”
Last summer, I was a Progressive Choices PAC event where Kerry spoke. (fyi, he took no money from the PAC like the other Presidential candidates who spoke to the group). Kerry really talked indepth about how he wanted to change the language the Republicans use in the media. He discussed how he would use the bully pulpit to bring change. If you are looking for an example of what he meant, national security equals energy independence. This is a perfect example of how tying a progressive value to a need will change how people will use the language.
Now to the abortion issue... BushCo is going to make a big stink about Kerry's statement on abortion. The media is already billing it as a slip. First, here is what he said:
“I oppose abortion personally,” he told the newspaper. “I don’t like abortion. I believe life does begin at conception. But I can’t take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist who doesn’t share it.”
In the two clips that I saw on TV, the media outlets stopped the quote at "I believe life does begin at conception." Misleading or just editing for shorting? I think it is misleading to give the quote without the entire context. But whatever...
Go ahead and let a media firestorm start over this issue. No need to kill it. Maybe even wait till the debates and let Bush bring it up. Here is a hypothetical:
Bush: My opponent thinks life begins at conception, but yet for abortion. This shows he has no core center.
Kerry: I can’t take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an atheist who doesn’t share it.” Didn't we learn this Ain fghanistan from the Taliban. The reason our country has been so successful as a nation in nurturing religion is because we kept a wall between the state and people trying to push their religious views on other people by using the law.
Will the religious conservatives in Alabama accept this? Probably not… However, will enough Catholics in the Midwest who were Reagan Democrats get it? Yes. Will the soccer Mom who voted for Bush the first round get it? Yes. The single woman who has never felt the need to vote before? Yes.
Bring it on...
I really am amazed at how little research progressive voters have done on Kerry’s record. When I talk to progressives, they can name “chapter and verse” about the evils of the Bush administration. Then they whine about how unenthused they are by Kerry. When I ask for clarification, they can’t name ANY specifics. Maybe this is just the reality of being in a non-battleground state.
When I ask about what they know about Kerry’s record, I get a blank stare. People, people, people, we have a historic opportunity to get an actual progressive in the White House. Please put down the Bush-bashing book for a couple of hours and learn about Kerry’s record. You might just get excited.
Stop the Whining About Gephardt
Chris Matthews made a good point today when he said it looked like Edwards was campaigning for the job. Does JK want to have his first major decision on the national stage decided by popular opinion?
We need an attacked dog that knows his place in the campaign and will take instructions plus work his butt off. Edwards is an eager beaver who might be more worried about his own run for President in the future.
The reality is that in the last month of the election, Kerry will be down 5% before he closes the gap to win. Edwards may be looking to cover his ass for a later run, while there is no question Gep will fight to the death for Kerry. I know who I would want in my corner in the last month.
I don't care if the polls drop for 5% for Kerry if he picks Gep. He should go with his gut and who will be toughest fighter for the long haul. Democrats will get over it and the poll bounce is temporary anyway.
My preference is for either Gep, Vilsack or Biden. However with Gep or Edwards, the media pronounce “as expected”and move on after a few days. With Vilsack or Biden, the media will spend weeks introducing these unknowns and their families to us. The extra media coverage buys us more time against the Bush money machine.
Updated: The Arch Pundit does a good job defending Gep as the VP choice.
Friday, July 02, 2004
Draft Dean for VP or Convention Fight?
Dean has shown up on few, if any, lists of serious contenders for the vice presidential nomination. Members of the draft committee say they believe their efforts to persuade Kerry through petitions to choose Dean will prove futile.
So they came up with the idea of forcing a vote at the convention. "We're gearing up for and we're resigned to a floor fight," Meurer said.
I’m hoping Howard Dean will quickly come out and say this is counterproductive and ask them to “cease and desist immediately.” If so, the goodwill that has been building up toward the Dean and the DFA among grassroots supporters of other candidates will remain intact. All the grassroots organizers I knew like Dean’s campaigns focus and methods even if we did not believe he was the right man to lead the ticket.
The supporters of Dean as VP make two contradictory arguments. First, they argue he will appeal to the progressive side of Democratic Party and neutralize Nadar. I find this the least plausible of their arguments since under any measure Kerry is to the left of the NRA endorsed Dean. Second, they argue Dean would also bring appeal to centrist voters. Maybe there is some truth there, but he didn’t seem to draw the independents near as well as Edwards in the primary. But really now, if Dean appealed to independents, Republicans and the Democratic Party base how could he have lost the primaries winning only his home state?
Their web site turns around and link to every poll they can find that shows Kerry losing in the battleground states ignoring most of the major polls showing Kerry ahead. Then rather than compare “apples and oranges” they cherry-pick certain demographics in a Zogby poll that show Dean helping the ticket more than Gephardt in a national poll. Unbelievably and intentionally misleading...
Listen to some of these classic quotes from their website:
Because I don't think Kerry can win without him and he would be the most intelligent Vice President this country has ever known. – Maggie in Oklahoma
If Kerry wants my vote, he BETTER pick Dean. – TT in Mississippi
I won't vote for Kerry otherwise. – Ian in Gainesville, FL
Kerry will not otherwise get my vote. – Pat in Long Beach, CA
Invigorate the party with honesty and intelligence. Appeal to the party base. Dean's centrist appeal plays well to independents and Republicans. His debating skills are second to none. As a governor, he has an exemplary record on health care and knows how to balance a budget. – Teri in Oregon
Howard brings a gut level intensity Kerry is lacking, in addition to his large pool of grassroots supporters. Most Dean supporters I know are voting for Nader now. Kerry/Dean can't lose! – George in Saxapahaw, NC
Kerry's campaign has been uninteresting and lackluster. Howard Dean would be able to ignite the Democratic progressives and spark interest. As a vice-presidential candidate, he could say things that Kerry perceives are controversial. – SD, Olympia, WA
Would I donate? I'd give my life's savings. So would hundreds of thousands of others. Dean stands for something -- he'd give a little integrity to Kerry. He needs it. – Michael in Washington, DC
I donated $300 to the Dean campaign and will not donate $$$ to Kerry, unless Dean is his VP. – Colleen in W. Des Moines, Iowa
And the best for last...
Dean would be a stabilizing force. – PG, Harper Woods, MI
Dean needs to repudiate these people now. This is counter-productive to the cause. Floor fight? Eyes on the prize folks, eyes on the prize...
Thursday, July 01, 2004
John and Joe 2004
Recently, I got irked at Edwards. My wife and I were at David Axlerod's charity fundraiser where JE was speaking. For background, we are both southerners. After about thirty seconds into Edwards speech, we were looking at each other quizzically. Not a trace of a Southern accent was to be heard in his speech... Big money donors in the room and he just lost it. Mostly being from the midwest, the others at the table didn't notice it. (Not that I can say much because only a faint trace of my Southern roots is left in my speech, unless I have been drinking, but then I only turn it on to amuse my friends).
However, when I heard him at the Linn County Dinner in Iowa during the primaries, his North Carolina accent was prominently on display. I'll bet you Joe B doesn't turn his Delaware accent off and on. ;-)
Did I mention Biden rocks!
Social Security Thread
On Kerry, he wrote, “I've very much warmed to the idea of a Kerry Presidency, and may even vote for him.” This is not as isolated comment from a disgruntled Republican. I keep hearing more and more thinking Republicans mention that they will not be voting for Bush although many have not made the conclusion yet to vote for Kerry.
Really though... At some point in Bush’s case, incompetence has to be called for what it is.
The first step in saving Social Security is obviously returning the federal government to fiscal sanity. However, my friend did reach across the isle with two suggestions on Social Security that I thought were noteworthy. He mentioned he would like to see Kerry address the Social Security issue in this manner and he would be a strong Kerry supporter.
Beginning today, all social security surpluses generated each year (estimated at $300 billion) will no longer be loaned and spent to the government. We are going to need that money in 5 years to fund the program..., so let's invest it someplace safe... municipal and state bonds tied to educational and infrastructure projects, and perhaps even NATO governmental debt. Bottom line, our reserves will earn interest, and our money will be liquid, so we can actually draw on it when we need it. The single best thing we can do for SS is to safeguard its reserves from future spending ... and the second best thing is to put it to work and earn some real interest.
Next, we need to address the long-term viability, here, we will need a trade off, we'll probably need to impose a modest increase to the current 12.6% payroll tax, with all the extra being invested in government approved equity markets... of course, this will not occur until we initiate wide-spread corporate reform, from the SEC & FDIC. For those domestic based companies willing to guarantee that their books are clean, through added disclosure and moderated business practices, America is willing to marry a portion of its financial health with yours, for a 20-30 year investment. Not only will this provide a safe-haven for our money, and measurable returns, but it should buttress our companies resources and competitiveness, keep more jobs domestic, and provide a huge incentives for our companies to clean their books and ways.
Two interesting ideas, although I don’t think Kerry will have time in his first term to save Social Security long-term. There is just too much crap from this administration to clean up.
On my friend’s first suggestion, I could see bi-partisan agreement to take the current Social Security intake off budget and invest it in interest bearing infrastructure and educational projects as well as state and municipal bonds.
On his second suggestion, I’m all for increasing individual savings through an increase in the payroll taxes. For the middle and lower classes, we could offset it with lower income taxes. Right now, once an individual earns over $80k, Social Security is no longer taken out. We should not exempt the income at any level, although we should still keep the maximum payout the same. The savings rates in this country are dismal and if this helps, lets do it, provided it is invested correctly. Adapting my friend’s point, this money could be invested in US manufacturing companies who agree to keep the jobs in this country. Hence a good way to offer Kerry’s tax credit for businesses engaged in making this country stronger and our workers more secure.
Did you catch that the current intake of Social Security in one year is $300 billion? Hmm, W’s war is now at 130b plus. How is that for perspective?