Wayne A. sends along this piece from Liberal Slant by Walter Brasch. An excerpt:
When Mr. Clinton left office eight years later, the nation had experienced the biggest economic expansion in history. More than 22 million new jobs were created, unemployment dropped to the lowest rate in 30 years, and welfare cases were down by almost half. He also stopped massive Medicare and environmental cuts imposed by the previous Republican administration, and set aside more land for environment than anyone since Teddy Roosevelt a century earlier.
However, because Intern Monica got down on her knees before Mr. Clinton who then lied about it, he was disgraced and impeached, though not convicted. When George W. Bush gets down on his knees before corporations and a phalanx of special interest lobbyists who tuck wads of dollar bills into his elastic campaign fund, then lies about the economy, innumerable domestic issues, and reasons to send American youth into war, we just nod our heads and tell him to keep sucking and spinning.
A letter I wrote to The Bakersfield Californian finally got published today. It seems they much prefer letters of the "if it bleeds or it woofs or it coos or it screams, it leads" variety. I've also confirmed a local reporter for our next meetup.
I think these are some of the issues that will "play" better for Dean in rural, "traditional," and conservative areas. Here be the letter:
Will Democrat Howard Dean become the first "Internet president?"
Earlier this year, Dean supporters began meeting through Meetup.com, an Internet site that helps folks "meet up" around shared interests. Now at 32,000-strong nationwide and growing, the Dean Meetup phenomenon has come to Bakersfield.
We held our first Bakersfield meetup recently, and are anticipating a larger group for July. Attendees ranged from veteran Democratic activists to a 16-year-old high school student who said she was "inspired by Dean's message and wanted to help," even though she can't yet vote.
Why Dean? Much like John McCain, he's a straight-shooter. He's a strong leader with backbone and many Kern County residents will identify with his background and positions.
The former governor of Vermont, Dean knows agriculture and land use issues better than any candidate in the field. He's a strong supporter for local control of public schools and states rights. He's a lifestyle environmentalist. A physician, Dean's private-sector health care plan has the right mix of reforms and services that will give all Americans health coverage.
He supports fully funding federal mandates. He opposes Bush's refusal to federally fund his own Homeland Security and education bills that are exacerbating the fiscal crisis in our cash-strapped state and local governments. His fiscal conservatism and calls for balanced budgets and deficit reduction reflect valley values.
Visit DeanForAmerica.com, or come to our next Bakersfield Meetup. We can be reached at Kern4Dean@yahoo.com. Hope to "meetup" with you soon!
In a much larger analysis of recent Dem Primary polls in New Hampshire, Jerome at MyDD explains why the recent American Research Group poll is faulty, and well, just sucks. He also does some comparison on the methods used by Zogby and AMG. Out of the Zogby analysis, this little gem, below:
Zogby essentially discounts Gephardt and Lieberman, and says the race is between Kerry and Dean, and gives this picture of the NH polling:
In addition to the war (and, Zogby notes later, NH's acceptance of 'gay marriages'), Dean has been helped by his proximity to New Hampshire's residents. In the northern part of the state (closest to Vermont), Dean actually beats Kerry: 29 percent to 23 percent. Meanwhile, Kerry does best in the more heavily populated areas closest to his native Massachusetts. In the Boston suburbs, Kerry receives 25 percent to Dean's 22 percent; on the New Hampshire seacoast Kerry gets twice as many votes as Dean: 26 percent to 13 percent. The same difference shows up when suburban versus rural parts of the state are compared. In the suburbs, Kerry leads with 26 percent to Dean's 18 percent. But in rural New Hampshire, Dean is ahead with 28 percent to 22 percent.
Dean's "rural edge" is something that will benefit us in the general election -- a quality that none of the other Dems in the field really brings to the table.
After The Cowboy-in-Chief's curt rejection of a Democratic plan for cooperation on judicial nominees, it looks like Bush actually wants to fight with Democrats. And before you say "duh" this is not your typical, in the gutter, partisan political match. Oh no. This one is like ripping open old wounds and grinding in salt. This is nasty, and brazen, and despicable. Gonna be hard to wiggle out of this one, the arrogance is getting thicker by the moment. Does Rove have a master plan? He must -- but maybe even Rove is feeling that rush of omnipotence that so often brings down US administrations. If not, is this just Bush wallowing in a fit of spite over WsMD criticisim? From the WaPo piece:
President Bush plans to nominate White House lawyer Brett M. Kavanaugh, an author of independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's report on President Bill Clinton, for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Republican sources said yesterday.
The disclosure came as Bush issued a curt rejection to Democratic senators who had offered to alleviate a fight over a future Supreme Court vacancy by working with him to find a nominee both sides could accept.
Kavanaugh's nomination would suggest Bush is spoiling for a fight with Senate Democrats while the administration's selection of judges is already a raw issue between the parties. The D.C. Circuit court is considered the second most powerful in the land. Kavanaugh, 38, was involved in many of the Clinton administration's legal controversies, and has played a key role in choosing Bush's judicial nominees.
Nice way to "change the tone." One more shining moment for the Bush Oil & Cattle Co.
Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (Mass.) said the best way for Bush to avoid a major fight would be to consult with the Senate and send up nominees "without ideological chips on their shoulders. But if this president wants a battle," Kennedy said, "he'll get it."
Nice. I think Dean is having an impact. I don't recall the last time I saw this many Dems sporting some backbone - including Kennedy.
Revisionist Scientists and Junk History
According to The New York Times our Bush/Cheney EPA is cookin' the books on global warming. To wit:
"Political staff are becoming increasingly bold in forcing agency officials to endorse junk science," said Jeremy Symons, a climate policy expert at the National Wildlife Federation. "This is like the White House directing the secretary of labor to alter unemployment data to paint a rosy economic picture."
But wait! Then we have this Reuters story on Dubya's belief in the sanctity of "history" -- and these comments on the topic from TomPaine.com:
We can't unpack all the horror and hilarity of the speech Bush delivered to New Jersey business owners this weekend, but here's a little preview. Bush says, "This nation acted to a threat from the dictator of Iraq." Why, after four years on the stump, is our president still so inarticulate? "Now, there are some why would like to rewrite history -- revisionist historians is what I like to call them," he adds. Bush didn't coin the term "revisionist historian," nor does he know what it means, since clearly he's the one trying to alter the record on WMD -- among other things. And finally, we get a little glimpse of the prez's bottom line on why we "continue to fight and win the war on terror.": "People want to have a secure environment in which to risk capital."
Hmmm. Guess it just depends on who's doing the revisiting or revisioning or whatever. And there, my friends, it is. Nut, nutshell and all.
Daschle and other Hill Dems extended an olive branch to President Bush recently in an attempt to head off the almost-certain-to-be divisive nomination process for a new Supreme Court Justice. Some speculate that one or two vacancies could happen this year or next. Today, Ari-al-Bush tossed any such possibility over the rail of the Truman Balcony:
This morning, White House press secretary Ari Fleischer called the idea "a novel new approach to how the Constitution guides the appointment process." The Constitution gives the president sole power to nominate Supreme Court justices, who then need to be confirmed by the Senate.
Bush is declining to meet with Democrats on the topic. "But the Constitution is clear, the Constitution will be followed," Fleischer added. "We always welcome thoughts, but certainly no one wants to suggest that the Constitution be altered."
Fleischer brushed off questions about why Bush himself will not consult with the senators and about why Bush would not seize the opportunity to avoid a divisive process. "Unless and until there is a vacancy, this is idle chit-chat and I'd just leave it at chit-chat," Fleischer said.
Well, I think we won this standoff. Bush should have agreed, and then thrown up his hands and blamed the breakdown on the Dems. This is the kind of arrogance that will lose the Oval Office for Bush. Wasn't this the President who was going to "change the tone" in our nation's capitol? Hey Dubya, thanks for the campaign issue!
Steve Neal's column from today's Chicago Sun-Times drives my anxiety-driven nervous system to new heights of dizzying dismay. Dems? From Chicago? Helping Bush? What the hell is this, Nixon's Revenge Part III?
President Bush, the only Republican to capture the White House without Illinois electoral votes, is looking for help from a couple of Democratic friends. Mayor Daley and Gov. Blagojevich, who have yet to endorse a fellow Democrat for the presidency, have been generous in their public comments about Bush. As the heirs to famous political names now holding jobs that belonged to their fathers, Bush and Daley have much in common. Both are often underestimated and neither is a smooth talker.
I think Neal meant "MISunderestimated" but why quibble, really. Political aristocracies are at stake.
So, it ain't just those crazy weed-smokin' Europeans no more. Nope.
The Canadian prime minister said he will file a bill to permit same-sex marriages, a change that would make Canada only the third country where such homosexual couples can legally wed. The bill will be drafted within weeks and submitted to the Supreme Court for review, Prime Minister Jean Chretien said Tuesday. Chretien's Liberal Party has a majority in the legislature, though the issue has caused division in the party.
. . .
"Americans now have the chance to see a society can treat gay people with respect," said Evan Wolfson, executive director of the New York-based Freedom to Marry organization promoting homosexual marriage. "Families are helped, and no one is hurt."
In light of this news from the north, Doctor Dean doesn't seem so "out" there now, does he?
Yes, it sounds like a Laurel & Hardy horror flick, but old rumors are starting to seem like reality. Someday. Maybe. Gore, Franken (The Two Als) and some lefty gazillionaires are actively considering launching a progressive television and radio network. This, from Time Magazine Online:
In March, the MSNBC cable news network canceled Phil Donahue's talk show after a disappointing six-month run against The O'Reilly Factor. However, some liberals point to the success of Hillary Clinton's just-released memoir as evidence that a marketplace exists for their viewpoint.
Gore has shared their frustration. In an interview last December with the New York Observer, he described the conservative outlets as a "fifth column" within the media ranks that injects "daily Republican talking points into the definition of what's objective."
"The media is kind of weird these days on politics, and there are some major institutional voices that are, truthfully speaking, part and parcel of the Republican Party," Gore said. "Fox News Network, The Washington Times , Rush Limbaugh — there’s a bunch of them, and some of them are financed by wealthy ultra-conservative billionaires who make political deals with Republican administrations and the rest of the media."
From today's New York Times, great piece on the dedication of the Alfonse M. D'Amato United States Courthouse in Central Islip, New York. The event was, interestingly enough, attended by NY Senators Clinton and Schumer, who spoke at the event. D'Amato comments:
Mr. D'Amato indeed seemed in good humor joking about everything from how Mr. Schumer "threw me out on the street and I had no job" to his glee to learn that the courthouse would be named for him.
"The next time my name is carved in stone, I won't be there to enjoy it," he said. "Although others might."
Indeed, Al, indeed. But hey, all that old Clinton stuff is dead and buried, right?
Older items from the Indy Baby blog...
Robert Frost, D-Mass.
I just came across this Maureen Dowd piece from last week's New York Times. As Indy Baby is committed to hilarity of a political nature -- especially at the expense of adversaries -- enjoy the following:
The Democrats are trying hard to sprout hair on their chests. They have to compete with the Bush buckoes to show they can be even more aggressive in fighting terrorist vermin than the cowboy in chief and his shoot-'em-up-now-and-check-for-weapons-later posse.
And so John Kerry toted up his manly deeds for Laura Blumenfeld of The Washington Post: hunting doves, gutting deer, riding a Harley, playing ice hockey, snowboarding, windsurfing, kitesurfing, Purple Hearting. (The only thing poor Joe Lieberman has is speeding and not wearing a seat belt, and the Breck Girl, as the Bushies call John Edwards, merely musters limp trash talk: "Mr. President: Bring it on.")
While chest-pounding, Kerry let slip a lyrical side, reciting a poem of his own composition: "I had a talk with a deer today/we met upon the road some way . . . between his frequent snorts/He asked me if I sought his pelt/cause if I did he said he felt/quite out of sorts.
So very Robert Frost, D-Mass."
Some of this stuff, well, you must simply bow your head in awe and wonder of the warped political ego.
Ghost in the Machine
Former White House counterterrorism advisor Rand Beers is no longer working for Bush. Nope, now he's working for John Kerry as a national security advisor on his campaign.
Questions: Did he gravitate to Kerry as the presumptive frontrunner who could defeat Bush? Is he a Kerry fan? Will he offer up his services to another candidate if Kerry stumbles? On the last question at least, my guess is yes.
Anyway, from the WaPo piece:
Part of that stemmed from [Beers] frustration with the culture of the White House. He was loath to discuss it. His wife, Bonnie, a school administrator, was not: "It's a very closed, small, controlled group. This is an administration that determines what it thinks and then sets about to prove it. There's almost a religious kind of certainty. There's no curiosity about opposing points of view. It's very scary. There's kind of a ghost agenda."
My guess is that no matter who the nominee is -- though my money is on Dean -- that Mr. Beers follows. National Security Advisor maybe? Secretary of Homeland Security? Get used to the name, one way or another we're gonna hear plenty more about Rand Beers.
Glass of water and a paper bag please?
From the conclusion of Maria Russo's column, a collection of literary critiques on Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton in The New York Observer. Francine Prose considers ink on dead trees by Shrub:
"I could hardly breathe. Gulping for air, I started crying and yelling at Donald and Dick and Condoleezza: 'What are you saying? Why did you lie to me? What do you mean, there were no weapons of mass destruction?' "
Other contributors include John Updike, Erica Jong, and Jennifer Egan.
Dean's Machines Sweep Webby Awards
Meetup.com, the website that became famous for helping to organize the Dean for President grassroots movement, has won a Webby in the Community category.
In the Political category, MoveOn.org moved on out with a Webby. Though MoveOn has not yet endorsed in the Democratic Primary, Dean has a natural constituency among MoveOn members. At 2 million members strong, MoveOn could become a full-tilt-boogy coalition partner in the Dean for America campaign.
Congrats to MoveOn and Meetup!
An Open Letter to Chris Matthews
Not sure how much you follow the blogs, but did you hear that there was a 3,000 person rally for Howard Dean yesterday in Austin, Texas? This early in the primary? In Dubya's home state? Wow.
I heard that you told Charlie Rose last night that you though Dean would get the nomination. You're right. But yesterday on Hardball, I heard you make the ubiquitous "specter of McGoevrn" comment. I don't think you're right on that score. McGovern really was a one-issue candidate, he had no fire or passion or leadership like Dean, and he presided over a bitterly divided party. These are things Dean has or will overcome.
Dean is more like a Ronald Reagan for the Dems. Remember Reagan? The conventional wisdom about Reagan at the time was that he was "another Barry Goldwater" and could not win the Oval Office.
Or McCain? He tapped into something powerful, but by the time he won New Hampshire, he had no way of organizing the flood of volunteers and cash that fell into his lap.
I predict that Dean has already answered the McCain question: his ground army is organizing now, not after the NH primary win. Like Reagan, he's shoring up his party's grassroots in preparation to stand up and achieve the impossible.
Governor Dean is the ONLY candidate in this race who stands a chance of beating Bush. If he can't do it, then none of the others stand a chance. He's leading a growing coalition that bridges typical ideological divides. Like McCain, he taps into independents and new and disaffected voters. Like Ronald Reagan, he's at the head of a new political realignment in our great nation.
I've spent over 10 years in Dem party politics here in California, and I've never felt a shift like this. It's exciting, and it's not hype, it's real. Call me crazy Chris, Dean is gonna win the nomination, and the Presidency.
In the meantime, I suggest ya'll continue to dismiss us -- it keeps expectations low and the troops fired up!
Posted by Scott Moore aka Indy Baby