Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Sic 'em, John!

"John Kerry and I made a promise to the American people that with this election, every vote would count and every vote would be counted. Tonight we are keeping our word and we will fight for every vote. You deserve no less."

(almost) Vice President-elect John Edwards


Count every damn vote!

I just gotta say...

...how very grateful I am that Air America made it to the Seattle airwaves before election day.

AM 1090 if you're in the neighborhood...

Fuque Faux

Faux News is apparently calling Ohio for Bush, but don't you believe it. They stole one, but this time the theme is no surrender.

Of the states still uncalled on the AP map as I write, Kerry has leads in Nevada, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and New Hampshire (Washington, I happily and proudly report, has finally been called for Kerry). New Mexico's a problem, with a 17,000 vote deficit, but it's also irrelevant if Ohio comes through, and Ohio's hardly done.

There's a substantial deficit, about 115,000 votes, but there are significant urban centers still reporting (Air America just reported that Cayahauga County is now turning in a report that shows a 195,000 vote bulge for Kerry) and there are about 150,000 provisional ballots that may be the final key to victory.

Dreams of landslides are gone, but this election isn't over until every vote is counted - including the wet foot heroes in Ohio.

Network projections are not election results. Count every damn vote.

The Spirit of '04

This election will be decided by heroes with wet feet.

Via Salon's War Room...
...At one polling place at an eastern Columbus library there were six voting booths in 2000; this year, despite historic levels of voter registration, there were only three, reports America Coming Together volunteer John Darrah, on the ground in Columbus. Mid-day ACT shifted people from ferrying voters to the polls to going to get them food and water. When Darrah left the library around 10 p.m., there were still several hundred African American voters waiting to vote. "I saw people standing in two inches of rain, for hours," says Darrah, angry but inspired. "And I only saw one person walk away."
God bless 'em, every one.

And when someone gets around to counting them, I think they'll elect our new President.

The picture's fuzzy...



...but it's clear to me that that's the most important, most satisfying ballot I've cast in 32 years of voting.

They're predicting an 84% statewide turnout in Washington, and if the line at my sleepy little suburban precinct, in the heart of a safe blue district in a safe blue state, is any indication, they're likely to be right.

We're doing it.

Wow.

Vote...

...because they couldn't...



...because they can't...



...because it matters.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Another reason...

...to read James Wolcott everyday comes disguised as the Quote of the Day.
"...the war in Iraq has made moral cowards of us all. To focus on whether or not the Bin Laden tape would give Bush a boost while thousands upon thousands of Iraqis die and Fallujah is about to pulverized without the slightest debate in this country is an indictment of our media, our political class, and the phony Christianity that so many of our dumpling patriots profess."

Uh oh...

Atrios is on to us.
There are days I think that all of these things are decided by a committee of freemasons in a dark dungeon somewhere...
It's true. Kerry's going to win, and it's all our fault...



...and you're very welcome.

I'm one, too.

Needlenose, via Oliver...
The truth is, there is a plot by the Democratic Party and its sympathizers to steal this election, and Needlenose is absolutely, 100 percent a willing co-conspirator in the scheme.

Our nefarious plan is to flood polling places from Hawaii to Florida and Maine with millions of voters who will seize this country back from the cult-like assortment of creeps, criminals, and fanatics who have taken control of it -- so many that even a systematic campaign of disruption is overwhelmed by the avalanche of democracy.

To our anonymous friend, that will probably feel like theft. But so be it. Get out there, everybody, and steal this election by voting! And thanks for being part of the plot!

Be Prepared

If you live in Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee or Washington, the ACLU has information you need for tomorrow.

Along with links to voter registration and absentee ballot information, polling place locators and contact info for the local ACLU and election officials, they've prepared Voter Empowerment Cards that summarize election law and your rights under those laws.

Go take a look, and take the time to print out a card to take to the polls. No matter how confident you are about your ability to cast your personal ballot, be ready to help a fellow citizen in distress with good information. There's a huge effort underway to make sure that every vote is counted, but to make that effort meaningful, we can't afford to let a single vote go uncast.

(Credit Carl Ballard at Washington State Political Report with the tip. Thanks, Carl!)

Sal sez...

...Kerry's going to win, but not by the margin I projected.

Sally, the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left, has her own notion of how things will play out tomorrow, and her map looks like this.



She's not buying my arguments in favor of Colorado (where she spent a significant chunk of her childhood) or Arkansas. I could write that off as the result of her excessive exposure to the mainstream media, but, in fact, it's probably got more to do with the fact that she's, well, brilliant.

Still, it comes out 316-222 in Kerry's favor, so if she's right and I'm wrong (something that occurs frequently enough to be likely) I'll be perfectly happy with the result.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

OK, maybe it was this.

First BC04 put their morally reprehensible spin on the Bin Laden tape...
A senior GOP strategist added, "anything that makes people nervous about their personal safety helps Bush."

He called it "a little gift," saying it helps the President but doesn't guarantee his reelection.
...and then the Sunday pundits dutifully lined up behind it. By midday Sunday, there was a concensus forming that OBL gave a big boost to GWB. As a result, there's a new wave of nervousness in some corners of the Kerry camp. But Bushco is wrong, the pundits are wrong, and by now we should all know better than to listen to any of them.

Political Wire offers some encouragement from a reliable Democratic source...
A Democracy Corps poll shows the release of the Osama bin Laden video is more likely -- by 46% to 36% -- to remind people that bin Laden hasn't been caught and remains a threat to the United States rather than give them positive feelings about President Bush as a fighter of terrorism.
...and Billmon's back with this note from Faux News' favorite pollster...
"While it has been said too many times to count, this race remains too-close-to-call with the outcome dependent on several key swing states," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "With less than two days to go, it is likely that any further last minute events will have little impact. However, it can be said the recent news of a bin Laden tape, while not necessarily hurting the incumbent, has clearly not helped him hold off Sen. Kerry."
If they can't keep Gorman on message, they're in bigger trouble than I might have thought.

If I were the kind of guy to say I told you so....well, I guess I am...

Aw, c'mon!

Hard as it may be to believe, there's still a few folks out there who haven't heard that panic is passe. Steve Gilliardoffers sage advice to one such...
It's not over, so curling up into a ball is silly. You can still do something to prevent what you fear. Volunteer for ACT or Kerry or the DNC. Do something besides worry and you'll at least know you did your part to prevent Bush from winning. Just printing up and handing our Move On Voter Protection Cards on your own may help people. Take $10, go to Staples, and run some off. Then just hand them out near a couple of polling places. You are not powerless and this is NOT over.

If you do nothing, you help Bush win. And your fears may well come true. But if you act, what you want may well happen.
When anxiety strikes, take Steve's advice.

Or use Zephyr's tips.

Or get in on Party For America's phone bank action.

Or just walk next door and ask you neighbor "If you screwed up your job as bad as Bush has screwed up his job, wouldn't you get fired?" and offer them a ride to the polls Tuesday.

Just do something. Because if we all do something, we'll get this thing done.

Got a minute?

Got a bunch of 'em?

If you've locked down every vote on your block and your cell phone has a national calling plan, you're not done yet.

The folks at Party For America have a job for you. They've teamed up with ACT to organize a national phone bank effort to GET OUT THE VOTE in Ohio. If you can help, the details are right here.

It's working. As of noon today, 148,000 PFA/ACT calls had poured into Ohio from across the country. Keep 'em coming!

Public service announcement...

...courtesy of Roger Ailes.
Don't forget to turn the clock forward 100 years on November 2.

Happy Halloween!



The Upper Left Department of Front Porch Security is gearing up. We've assembled a formidable arsenal of Snickers and peanut butter cups, hung up the spiders and spooky lights and the eerie sound effects should be in place well before the invasion.

I love Halloween. The more kids the better. I'm very grateful for one night of big fun, but very mindful that it's just the lead in to two days of hard work.

It's down to the final hours now, and frankly I don't thing there's any new information that's going to move any voters. It's all about person to person efforts, and every person is essential.

There are a lot of ways to get in the game. When all else fails, this is a game you can just put yourself into. Zephyr Teachout has some solid advice...
(1) Volunteer with a voter mobilization group. One of the best is American Coming Together. Go to www.acthere.com to learn more. As a volunteer, you'll have opportunities to canvass, phone bank, and pass out literature.

(2) Print out posters from www.udecide.org and pass them out.

(3) Take a sheet of paper and spend 20 minutes writing down names of all the people you know in swing states. Call them. Tell them to find their polling place here: www.pollingplacelocation.com.

(4) Create your own 8 hour GOTV plan for the last 48 hours.

Here's how you do it:

a. On Monday, spend two hours making plans. Call and email people you know who might want to work with you, and sign them up for these responsibilities for your dorm or street:
i. Literature drop captain(s) (to pass out information at doorsteps)
ii. Polling place captain(s) (to pass out information near polling places)
iii. Visibility captain(s) (to put up signs)
b. On Tuesday, meet first thing (in person or on the phone) with all the people who have agreed to help.
i. 8 A.M. Literature drop. Go to every dorm room and house where your friends live and drop off a reminder to vote for change, with accurate polling location info and a partisan candidate comparison. Include a map with written directions on the back. Use posters at www.udecide.com. The literature drop captain will be responsible for making copies and getting others to help distribute.
ii. 10 AM – 11 AM Call 10 people you know to remind them to vote.
iii. 12 PM Email everyone you know (text message and IM are good, too!). Include a reminder to vote, where to vote, and who to contact in case of a problem: 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
iv. Throughout the Day. Find people willing to stand near the polls and pass out literature. More is always better, so don't worry if others are there too – you can coordinate when you meet them!
v. Throughout the Day. Find people willing to poster signs about where the polls are, when and where and why they should vote.
...and remember...


Saturday, October 30, 2004

Marching Orders

"I see an America of rising opportunity. And I believe hope, not fear is our future. In three days, we can change the course of our country. I ask for your vote and I ask for your help. When you go to the polls next Tuesday, bring your friends, your family, your neighbors. No one can afford to stand on the sidelines or sit this one out. In three days, this campaign will end. The election is in your hands. You can vote now and every day until Election Day. And if you believe we need a fresh start in Iraq . if you believe we can create and keep good jobs here in America ... if you believe we need to get health care costs under control ... if you believe in the promise of stem cell research ... if you believe our deficits are too high and we're too dependent on Mideast oil ...then I ask you to join me and together we'll change America."

John Kerry, national radio address, 10/30/04
What will you do to change America today?

BOO!



I'm not entirely sure what the impact of the new Osama tape will be on the election, but my best guess is that it will range from none at all to a slight bump for Kerry. I am pretty sure, though, that the last thing Karl and George want at this point is a reminder that Bin Laden is alive, well and at large.

OBL has been Kerry's issue, and he's been clubbing Bush with it on a regular basis for weeks. Charges that he's politicizing this tape ring hollow because he's never dropped the issue, so he doesn't have to change his message to deal with the latest news.

All the nervous Nellies ready to score this as advantage Bush are ignoring his continual effort to hide the Bin Laden question behind the Saddam smokescreen and the continual spin that's come from Bush allies who have opined that Osama was either buried in the rubble or ill unto death in some vermin infested cave.

Nope. He's alive, well and at large, and that's bad for Bush. If you're tempted think otherwise, think again, and think once more before you speak. Josh Marshall is right...
Whether this OBL tape represents no-bump, a bump, or something more damaging than a bump, I don't know. But reactions can dictate and shape outcomes, especially in such a context as this where perception is the essence of the matter.
Don't give 'em an inch, especially not on our issues.

Get a grip. Get busy. Get out the vote.

Wow.

I deeply respect your commitment to our nation and your patriotism which, I believe, was forged when you-like I-proudly wore the uniform of the United States Navy in Viet Nam...

Because of the courage and character you demonstrated in Vietnam, I believe you when you say that you'll do a better job than President Bush to win the peace in Iraq, as well as to win the war against terrorism...

John, for each of these reasons I believe President Bush has failed our country and my party. Accordingly, I want you to know that when I go into the booth next Tuesday I am going to cast my vote for you. So will my wife, Mary Jo, and all three of my children: Jason, Bobby and Jenny.

Moreover, I will do all that I can to encourage my friends in New Hampshire and Florida to join me in supporting you.
That's Bob Smith, the former Republican Senator from New Hampshire and Senate candidate in Florida. The man whose commitment to conservative values and issues was so profound and so consistent that it led to a break with his party - not a break to the left, a break to the right.

A man who understands that character counts, and knows where it is in this election. It's kind of astounding, really, but less so when you consider the long list of Republican luminaries he's added his name to, including
Elmer L. Andersen, former Republican Governor of Minnesota
Marlow Cook, former Republican Senator from Kentucky
David Durenberger, former Senator from Minnesota
Pete McCloskey, former Republican Representative from California
William Milliken, former Republican Governor of Michigan
and many more.

There's been so much said about Bush and Rove playing to their base, but you have to wonder if they even know who their base is. If folks like Republican Governors and Senators aren't part of it, well, maybe the time for the Republican Party has (finally!) passed.

Speaking of facts...

...while you can get an opinion about the Al QaQaa situation most anywhere, Jeanne is all over the facts of the matter for those who still prefer their opinions to be informed ones.

And the fact is, the truth is scarier than most anything you can imagine...

Quote of the Day

It’s still heresy to say it, but Americans were safer when Saddam was in power. He guarded his high-grade-weapons sites, and just days before the U.S. invasion, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency had monitored the site, warning the Bush administration about the potential danger.

Eleanor Clift (with my emphasis)
A hard, even dangerous fact.

So hard, so dangerous, that it's impolitic for Kerry to say it, but if Clift is writing it, you know millions of folks are thinking it. Bush's cover is blown.

Facts are, indeed, stubborn things.

More Maps

The Talent Show weighs in with a more confident projection than Mr. Drum offered in a post below...




...and speaking of getting into the game, I'll jump into the deep end of the projections pool with this one.




That's a 326 to 212 margin for Kerry, and while it's confidently bold, I think it's a very feasible result, especially with the Big Dog on the road this weekend.

The simple fact is that it gets harder every day to figure out how we could lose this thing...honestly, anyway...

Friday, October 29, 2004

Just in time for Halloween...

...the U.S. Chamber of Horror...err...Commerce tries another trick on Upper Left voters, but this time there may be a treat in store for Don Barbieri, the Democratic contender in the 5th Congressional District.

Washington voters will remember the U.S. Chamber's last attempt to influence a race in these parts. They dove into the Democratic primary for Attorney General with a million and a half bucks to smear Deborah Senn, hiding behind a psuedonym. When their scheme was exposed, the outrage was considered to be a major factor in the scrappy consumer advocate's victory over her primary opponent, Mark Sidran. That's right - the U.S. Chamber's best efforts produced their worst nightmare.

And they're back. Preemptive Karma points to an article in the Lewiston Morning Tribune that reports...
The U.S. Chamber has sent an endorsement of George Nethercutt, GOP challenger to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, using the mailing list of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce. And it may have used the same list for a mailing supporting Republican Cathy McMorris over Democrat Don Barbieri for the 5th District seat in the U.S. House.

That latter mailing has angered many members of the Spokane Chamber, of which Barbieri is a former chairman, reports Bert Caldwell, business columnist for the Spokesman-Review in Spokane. The organization's executive committee voted last week to send a letter objecting to the national group's rejection of a previous request for cooperation with local chambers.
Local chambers tend to be collections of mainstreet businessmen and others who have fairly few interests in common with the multi-nationals and mega-corporations that form the backbone of the U.S. Chamber. They're typically community oriented folks who appreciate the kind of contribution made by people like Don Barbieri, whose solid business experience and record of participation in the civic life of 5th District communities is the foundation of his Congressional campaign. All the U.S. Chamber seems to have accomplished is to put the focus on Barbieri's strengths and get his friends in the Eastern Washington business establishment (not generally viewed as a bastion of Democratic Party fervor) to rally behind him.

Still, the U.S. Chamber is trying to do to Don Barbieri what they did to Deborah Senn.

Here's hoping they have similar success.

Low Ball = High Hopes

Kevin Drum has offered up his electoral projection, and the good news is that even with what I think is an excessively modest level of expections, it's a Kerry win. If this is all we do, we get a new President. If we do just a bit more (and I think we will), our prospects for a new House and Senate get even better.



This is so important. It's so doable. But it's not easy. It needs everybody, ever day, doing everything possible.

What have you done to change the world today?

Apologies to Joe Hill...

...but if we organize, mourning won't even be an issue, and this year we're organized like never before. As Harold Myerson pointed out in an article that seemed to make everyone's 'must-read' list yesterday...
Those liberal organizations that already knew how to do politics — the AFL-CIO, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and a few others — are doing it better than they have before. Those liberal groups that stayed aloof from elections or phumphered ineffectually are now playing the game like seasoned pros. New organizations have arisen to mobilize sometime voters; the largest of them — America Coming Together (ACT) — will have 12,000 staffers in each of the three biggest battleground states (Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida) on Election Day.
Now the question is, what's on top of your 'must-do' list today? Which organization or campaign will you be calling or dropping in on in order to offer your services this weekend? Have you scheduled a day off on Tuesday yet? Are you in the game?

As Carl Ballard of the Washington State Political Report (a great resource for information on local volunteer opportunites) notes in a comment, Upper Lefties can contact the Washington Democrats coordinated campaign at http://www.wa-democrats.org/site/action.php. There's probably a similar program in your state, if you're elsewhere. There's ACT, there's your union, there's your local congressional campaign and any number of other down-ballot races eager for your aid. There's lots to do, and lots of places and ways to do it.

Many teams, one league, and we're playing for keeps.

Get in the game.

Our cat-blogging editrix...

...the lovely and talented Miss Audrey Hepcat, reminds me that it's Friday and time to get to work...


Thursday, October 28, 2004

From the "I coulda told you so" department...

...comes the Quote of the Day.
"...as I moved through the crowd, I found that perspectives on Kerry became increasingly positive the further from the press stands I traveled."

Garance Franke-Ruta
(tip o' the cap to Diane at Tough Enough, who's been telling you so at least as long as I have.)

A bit belated...

...but Roger Ailes was a bit belated himself in reminding us all that his second blogiversary came just the day after Upper Left's first.
Roger Ailes first published on October 23, 2002, with a post insulting Dick Morris. Since then, I've posted 2,676 times. And each post was a gem.
Several of them were, perhaps, a bit more modest than that, but few were more accurate.

Thanks, Roger, for two years of premium grade snark. Here's hoping for many more.


Spread the joy.

The fine folks at BlogPac are soliciting some last minute bucks to buy ad space for their thoroughly enjoyable ENJOYtheDRAFT.com ads. If you think these would do more good on a commercial youth culture site or something similar than they might do here, and you've already maxed out your contribution to the DCCC, you might toss some change their way...oh, heck, even if you haven't maxed out (and you have donated to the DCCC, haven't you?), spread the wealth a little...






Damn.

It happened again.

I've been toying with this terrific post on the whole Al Qaqaa situation and how it's just another inevitable consequence of an absurd battle plan based on Rumsfeld's radical theories about military reorganization, and the experimental implementation of those theories in a real battlefield situation - a battlefield designed, I believe, in no small part to test those theories regardless of the very real cost in human life. Just as our rush to Baghdad left our flanks open and the enemy armed and in tact at our rear, we bypassed caches of offensive weapons that our troops are now being attacked with.

And Digby wrote it first.

Which wouldn't be so bad, I suppose, except that he says it so well that I'm once again reduced to a swipe...
This Al Qaqaa disaster is 100% the fault of the civilian leadership of the Bush administration. One thing that has to be remembered about these early days was the insistence that the army push through to Baghdad at record speed, stopping not even for rest or refueling. Do you remember the embeds hanging on to the back of jeeps and humvees by their fingernails, looking like hell, as they raced through the desert to get to Baghdad (and then found that Baghdad was wide open?)

These lethal explosives are missing because Rumsfeld was using Iraq as an experiment for certain aspects of his Revolution in Military Affairs wet dream. He managed an impressive dash across the desert with a relatively small force but because he was trying to prove a theory rather than deal with a very real situation on the ground, his refusal to commit enough troops to the operation as a whole meant that they could not spare the manpower or the time to secure these weapons dumps.
He has more. You should read it. He's exactly on point.

Blame Rummy. Blame Bush for hiring Rummy.

And schedule next Tuesday off to help fire them both.

Why we will win...

...and how.

Overexposure to the mainstream media's obsession with the polls and their insistence that the Presidential race is too close to call is apt to inspire varying degrees of apathy or despair, but it ignores both historical and contemporary reality. As usual, Ruy Teixeira is on hand to set the record straight...
...this year, Kerry is doing better in the polls than Gore did at the equivalent point in the 2000 race. Therefore, if current polls are overestimating Bush's strength by the same amount as in 2000, Kerry should wind up doing better than Gore on election day--and Gore won the popular vote by half a point. And that's not even factoring in the likelihood that, with Bush as the incumbent, Kerry will receive the bulk of undecided voters' support on election day.
The election is there for the taking, but it has to be taken. USA Today is almost right...
After all the speeches are given, all the commercials are aired and all the cheering has stopped, the outcome of this year's presidential election could come down to which candidate is better able to physically get his vote to the polls.
Replace "could" with "will" and there it is in a nutshell.

It's no longer a matter of where Kerry should go, or what Kerry should say, or how it will be reported. It's really up to us now. What will you do to get out one more Kerry vote on your block? Ten more in your precinct? They're out there. You know it. People who want to do the right thing, and will do it if someone just pushes them a little past the apathy or despair that might keep them away from the polls.

Make some calls. Knock on some doors. Offer a ride. Do a little or do a lot, but do something. And while you're at it, sell them the whole ticket and give President Kerry the Congress he deserves.

We can win it all, but we can't win at all if we don't play.

Get in the game.


Hurrah!



Now let's go win another one!

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

B.C. Statehood Now!

That's right. Not D.C. (although that's an idea whose time has long since come, too). B.C. As in British Columbia.

I'm just back from a quick 36 hour stint as your foriegn correspondent, having joined the Brilliant and Beautiful Bride of Upper Left for a voyage to Victoria, British Columbia to take in the Eternal Egypt exhibit at the Royal Museum of B.C. (and it's magnificent. It closes on 10/31, but if you're in any way able, go see!). Naturally, our travel wardrobes included our ever-present Kerry buttons, and based on the response of our Canadian neighbors, I'm confident that if we could just get B.C. into the union before next Tuesday, they'd deliver whatever electoral votes they were apportioned to Kerry/Edwards.

Literally dozens of folks volunteered comments like "Good luck to you guys!" or "We're counting on you." The British woman on the boat home is hopeful that by dumping Bush, it will make it easier for the Brits to get rid of Blair (at least, I'm pretty sure that's who she meant by "the puppy").

Equally encouraging was the response of the American crew of the Victoria Clipper, who universally offered their best wishes to Kerry. One in particular stands out - the young woman who was outraged by a Bush supporter elsewhere on the boat who was headed for Canada to get the flu shot that Bushco couldn't provide at home.

The whole world is watching. We can't let them down.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Don't forget the D-Trip

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is trying to raise the last few bucks for their "Million for a Majority" fund, and while I know most of us are already down to our last few bucks for food, rent and gas by now, if you've got a couple to spare there's not a better place to put them.

If after all my yammering on the subject, you're not sure why, Arch Pundit's guest post at The Stakeholder makes the case pretty well. If you're convinced, and able, this link to the Upper Left Majority Makers page, or the one on the sidebar, are fine avenues for your generosity.

Let's give President Kerry the Congress he deserves, and Nancy Pelosi the promotion she's so clearly earned!

A good one stop shop...

...for Al Qaqaa information is over at the Left Coaster, where Mary Ratcliff has a fine summary of the situation. Best of all, maybe, is her header, which is so true so often that it's almost redundant...

Bush's Incompetence Endangers American Troops

Monday, October 25, 2004

Quote of the Day

'Clinton's Law', via Kicking Ass...
"...if one candidate's trying to scare you, and the other one is trying to get you to think, if one candidate is appealing to your fears and the other one is appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope."

Bill "Big Dog" Clinton

What's at stake?

AMERICAblog explains, well, if not all, enough...


Thank you, Mr. Wolcott.

As a proud member of the 'For Kerry Before Iowa' club, one of my greatest frustrations has been the big media drumbeat over Kerry's lack of popularity among the Democratic base, supposedly based in some lack of personal charisma.

As the primaries moved forward and Kerry virtually swept the board, gaining victory after victory, they created the notion of 'electability.' Why was John Kerry the overwhelming choice of rank and file Democrats from coast to coast? Why, because he was considered more 'electable' than the other contenders.

But why was that, do you suppose? As many of us knew, but the media wouldn't say, the reason so many people thought that John Kerry was the most electable Democrat was because so many people thought he had the personal experience and qualities that made him the best equipped candidate to become President, and many of them made that decision, back in those heady days of retail politics, on the basis of personal experience with him at rallies, town hall meetings, coffee shops and other gatherings where they were able to size him up while making their decision.

The fact is, the reason so many people supported him was in no small part because so many people liked him. Even more do now. But the punditocracy can't seem to move beyond their original portrayal.

So kudo's to James Wolcott, who calls a pair of the worst offenders on their nonsense today...
First of all, how does Fineman know the crowds aren't pumped up for Kerry? Did he attend these rallies? Did he ask anyone? No, he's assuming, as most of the media elite do, that no one could possibly be "up" for a Kerry event because the media narrative is that Kerry is a stiff hunk of bark.

As reflected in Adam Nagorney telling Charlie Rose that heck he has more charisma than poor Kerry.

Really, Adam? You think you could hold the interest of 12,000 people, as Kerry did at a recent rally in Reno, Nevada?
I think John Kerry is the best qualified candidate for President I've had the opportunity to vote for in the 30+ years I've been voting. He'll be the first one in virtually forever I can truly say that I would willingly follow in combat. I honestly can't think of anything I want from a President that he doesn't bring to the Presidency.

And I'm hardly the only one. We are legion.

And you know what? We like him.



Flippers agree.

Bush is a flop.

Editor and Publisher has identified 24 newspapers which backed Bush in 2000 and have moved over to the Kerry column this election.

Here's the list:
Chicago Sun-Times (Ill.)
Los Angeles Daily News (Ca.)
Orlando Sentinel (Fl.)
Memphis Commercial-Appeal (Tn)
Allentown Morning Call (Pa.)
Stamford Advocate (Ct.)
Journal News (White Plains, N.Y.)
Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa)
The Rockford Register-Star (Ill.)
Oakland Tribune (Ca.)
Contra Costa Times (Ca.)
Santa Cruz Sentinel (Ca.)
Idaho Statesman (Boise)
Iowa City Press-Citizen (Ia.)
Worcester Telegram & Gazette (Ma.)
Flint Journal (Mich.)
Star-Gazette (Elmira, N.Y.)
Ventura County Star (CA)
Tri-City Herald (Kennewick, Wa.)
The Sun (Bremerton, Wa.)
Wausau Daily Herald (Wi.)
Billings Gazette (Mt.)
Walla Walla Union-Bulletin (Wa.)
Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Altogether, the E & P list shows Kerry with 125 endorsements to Bush's 96, and a circulation advantage for the challenger of 16 million to 10 million.

I still love the smell of newsprint in the morning...and victory is even nearer at hand.

The Rules

In an excellent overview of how things went FUBAR in Fallujah, the LA Times quotes Maj. Gen. James N. "Mad Dog" Mattis, commander of the 1st Marine Division.
"You know my rules for a gunfight?" he asked a reporter outside the meeting. "Bring a gun, bring two guns, bring all your friends with guns."
Whatever you think of war in general, or this war in particular, there's really no denying the wisdom of Gen. Mattis' rules.

"Bring all your friends..." And Bush got us into a gunfight with many of our biggest and best friends left behind. His job was to enforce the rules, and he broke them.

Even the most fervent supporter of the war in Iraq, your most hawkish neighbor, has to admit it by now. In leading us to war with friends left behind, Bush screwed up his job.

And you've got to ask. If you screwed your job up as bad as Bush has screwed his job up, wouldn't you get fired?

Sunday, October 24, 2004

"...deficit, discord and disappointment."

That's how the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette describes the Bush record, and it's about as good a summary as I can think of.

Xan at Corrente has a good rundown of recent endorsement action, and put's the Post-Gazette's endorsement of John Kerry among his favorites. I'm partial to the Des Moines Register, which writes...
"Yes, Kerry is liberal. But what's to fear from a liberal president? That he would run big deficits? That he would increase federal spending? That he would expand the power of the federal government over individuals' lives? Nothing Kerry could do could top what President Bush has already done in those realms."
...effectively disabling the Bush attemp to use the 'L' word as a point of attack (and yes, Kerry's a liberal, and so am I, and so what? After November 2 we're going to restore that word to it's proper respected place in the political lexicon).

There are some other notable additions to the Kerry endorsement list, including the Orlando Sentinel, Kansas City Star, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Iowa City Press-Citizen, Racine Journal Times, Newsday and the Wausau Daily Herald. Lots of swing state action there, and some notable crossovers from 2000 (Hello Orlando!)

Another stunner - the resolutely Republican editorial page of the Detroit News can't quite bring itself to endorsing a D, but they pointedly refuse to endorse a second term for a failed Republican presidency.

Sure, newpaper endorsements only matter in the margins, but we're going to win this one in the margins, and every day brings news that victory is closer.

What the mind can conceive...

...our votes can achieve.



Go see...and send your friends...

Ya got yer swing votes...

...and ya got yer sway votes...

via Wampum

Depending on what side of the fence people are on, crowd control was at an all-time high or low at the Wachovia Arena in Wilkes-Barre Township during President Bush's visit Friday.

A 27-year-old registered Republican and member of the U.S. Army, along with three other people around him, was forced to leave the arena before getting inside.

The Wyoming Valley man, who did not want to be identified by name because of his loyalty to his service members, is being deployed to Iraq in two weeks. His Army service and status were verified.

He explained that he was attending the event in hopes of finding the right candidate to vote for on Nov. 2.

"I thought seeing Bush would be enough to sway my opinion one way or the other. After today, it definitely has swayed," he said.
His crime? Standing too near a suspected Democrat.

Finding out their Commander-in-Chief has no regard for the Constitution they've sworn to defend just might sway a few more GI votes in the next few days.


Saturday, October 23, 2004

"The eagle again..."

"The eagle soars high above the earth; the ostrich buries its head in the sand. The eagle knows when it's time to change course; the ostrich just stands in its place. Given these challenging times, shouldn't we be the eagle again?"
Damn straight.

Watch it here.




"No one really thought..."

There are no better words to describe Rummy's DoD...
Since January 2003, more than 16,000 reservists and guardsmen have been placed on "medical holdover" - waiting for treatment and the military to decide if they are fit for duty - either because of injuries overseas or because of medical problems found while they were training to be deployed. Of the 4,240 part-time soldiers now on such status, 904 are being treated in their own communities under the Army's Community Based Health Care Initiative. Many others, including residents of more than half the states across the country, cannot even apply.

Col. Barbara J. Scherb, who oversees the initiative for the Army Forces Command, was asked why military leaders had not planned a way for reservists and guardsmen to be treated near their homes before now. "No one really thought much about this before," she replied.
And for those who seek relief from Bushco's government-run health care program?
Someone who leaves active duty and seeks treatment from his own doctors qualifies for military medical insurance, known as Tricare, for only six months. Advocates for the National Guard say one in five guardsmen lacks medical insurance from his regular job, leaving no room for health problems that may linger.
I believe God will damn them to hell for what they're doing to our warriors.

First, though, we need to kick 'em out of office. All of them.

It's time for a goverment that thinks first.



Friday, October 22, 2004

For Kerry...

...Bush or (if only) no Bush.

Your mission during the next week is to find that neighbor who isn't particularly happy with the way things are, but isn't planning to vote because ABB just isn't a good enough argument to compel him or her to the polls.

The fact is, as many of us have long known, John Kerry is an outstanding American leader with a fine record in the Senate and the courage and intelligence to become a great President.

David Corn lays out the pro-Kerry case...
...during his time in the Senate, he has been a consistent--yes, consistent--champion of environmental protection, abortion rights, campaign reform and a forward-looking foreign policy. He was a leader in the battle against Bush's tax cuts for the rich. He voted against the antigay Defense of Marriage Act. He has advocated boosting the minimum wage. During this campaign, he has proposed a massive effort to develop alternative energy sources and has touted a healthcare proposal that is not national health insurance (or a "government takeover," as Bush falsely claimed) but that would extend coverage to millions.

On occasions Kerry has displayed flashes of courage. In the late 1980s and early '90s, Kerry, a former prosecutor, spearheaded investigations in the Senate that targeted the CIA's relationship with suspected drug traffickers during the contra war in Nicaragua; the connection between Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega and the US government; and the crimes of BCCI, a corrupt global bank frequented by drug dealers, terrorists and intelligence services (including the CIA). During the CIA-contra-drug inquiry, fellow Democrats asked him why he bothered engaging in such a thankless task--especially when it rendered Kerry a target of White House retribution. And during the BCCI probe, Democratic colleagues in the Senate complained because the bank was linked to prominent Democrats. Yet Kerry did not relent. All this work required guts and resolution--rarely on display in the Senate--as did Kerry's combat activity in Vietnam and his subsequent antiwar activism. He has opposed the death penalty, a brave move for a politician with national aspirations.
I agree.

So do these folks...



Now go convince your neighbor.

Remember, each one reach one.

Thanks Eric...

What's the difference between Vietnam and Iraq?

Bush had a plan for getting out of Vietnam.
...I needed that.

The Kids Are Alright...

WASHINGTON — Drawn by the war in Iraq and an uncertain economy, college students are showing more interest in politics this year than they did in 2000, and they favor Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry over President Bush by 13 percentage points, according to a poll released Thursday by Harvard University.

Voter turnout among young people has fallen steadily since 18-year-olds were given the right to vote in 1972. But in the new poll, 84% of students said they would "definitely be voting" this year, compared with 50% who said so in the spring of 2000, when the Harvard Institute of Politics began surveying the population.
...but what about mom and dad?

There's a lot of talk about which demographics will vote how. Women, blacks and youth get a lot of attention, but I'm not a member of any of those, and it would be a bit presumptuous, I think, for me to speak for, or even to, any of those.

I am, though, a member of a group that can make a difference, one that has, and one that arguably has the greatest responsibility of all to rechart the course of our ship of state this year.

I'm a baby boomer, and there's a whole big bunch of us. GW is one of us, and we have to take responsibility for that by turning out in order to throw him out. If you're one of us, you must share my dismay that he's become the representative of our generation's leadership.

I can't issue a better call to arms than the one put forward by a man who is a cultural hero to every right thinking member of my generation, the inimitable Dr. Hunter S. Thompson...
We were angry and righteous in those days, and there were millions of us. We kicked two chief executives out of the White House because they were stupid warmongers. We conquered Lyndon Johnson and we stomped on Richard Nixon -- which wise people said was impossible, but so what? It was fun. We were warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river.

That river is still running. All we have to do is get out and vote, while it's still legal, and we will wash those crooked warmongers out of the White House.
There are still millions of us. We have a job to do. If we don't do it, how are we going to face the kids?

Get angry again. Act righteously again. It's our responsiblity.

"No, no, no...

...I'm not going to be your monkey."

The lovely and talented Audrey Hepcat does her best Jon Stewart, Crossfire edition...


It started like this...

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

With a thirty-some year track record as a Democratic Party consultant, candidate and activist, there's no way I'm going to claim to be 'fair and balanced.' Nope, Upper Left will be proudly partisan. I was born and raised in a New Deal Democratic home, and time came to choose a candidate on my own, I got Clean For Gene back in 1968. In 1972, I came home from Vietnam and went to work for George McGovern. In the intervening years, I've worked with and for dozens of Democrats running for everything from small town city councils to POTUS. Now I've got a spot to spout off what I think I've learned and what I think is right and wrong on the current political scene. I hope to offer a regional focus, too, from my vantage point in the suburbs of Seattle (close enough to town to proudly claim Jim McDermott as my personal Congresscritter). Now I just have to figure out the functional side of this thing...
...and now, 365 days, over 1,800 posts and almost 50,000 visits later, I think I'm getting the hang of it.

I still remember when getting 100 hits in a week was pretty exciting stuff, but as that number's gone over 1000, I'm still grateful for, and fairly amazed by, each and every one. Along the way, we've raised a couple thousand dollars for John Kerry, a few hundred for the DCCC (and it's not to late to make that number bigger!), made new friends and had a lot of fun. Hopefully there's been some good information passed along as well. From the Dean-bashing days of yore throught the Don't Panic! period and now into the increasing anticipation of victory in November, I've got to say that every bit of effort I've put into this thing has been worthwhile for me, and I hope that whatever time you've spent here has been worthwhile for you.

So to everybody who's logged on, linked up and/or chipped in during Upper Left's first year, thanks! And please hang around for year two. I'll be here.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Miserable Failure

WASHINGTON - President Bush will end his four-year term having fulfilled about 46 percent of the promises he made during the 2000 presidential campaign, according to an analysis by Knight Ridder.
46%. Yep, that's an F. And what with a Congressional majority and a compliant press, the Bush presidency has been the equivalent of an open book test.

So tell me. If you screwed your job up as bad as Bush has screwed his job up, wouldn't you get fired?



Can't we all just get along?

Fafnir issues a plea for peace...

Democrats, say somethin nice about a Republican!(1) Republicans, say somethin nice about a Democrat!(2) Libertarians, say somethin nice about some function of the government!(3) Greens, say somethin nice about the "corporate duopoly"!(4) Naderites, do not vote for Nader!(5)

1. who isn't John McCain or Lincoln Chafee
2. who isn't Joe Lieberman or Zell Miller
3. that isn't a "night watchman" function
4. without gratuitous use of the word "fascist"
5. no, seriously, don't vote for Nader

As you might expect...

George Bush has a dominating lead among voters who identify themselves as "white evangelicals. According to the latest numbers from Pew Research fully 70% of the group is lining up behind the Preznit.

What you might not know, though, is that that's dismal news for Rove & Co. Despite non-stop pandering to that element of the Republican base, they're losing ground, according to a swift bit of research by Holden at First Draft, who writes...
I never dreamed that 22% of white evangelicals would vote for John Kerry with only 70% supporting Bush. In 2000 84% of white evangelicals voted for Bush!
Let's see. He's lost the Arab-American vote, enough Cubans to cost him Florida, a whole gaggle of former Republican Governors, cabinent members and such, at least one Republican US Senator and now a healthy chunk of the white evangelical vote.

The R's say they have an unbeatable ground game that's poised to turn out their entire base.

Sure.

Both of 'em.

President Kerry. That sounds nice, doesn't it.

And don't forget Speaker Pelosi.

The more things change...

...the more different they get, sometimes.

During the debates, Bush was boasting (though why he thought it was a subject to brag about is a bit of a puzzle to me) that Iraqis were posting higher "right track" numbers than Americans in the polls.

Steven Moore, political consultant to luminaries ranging from Boris Yeltsin to Arnold Swharzenegger, was the apparent source of some of that data. Writing in the LA Times yesterday, Moore noted...
I was there from July 2003 to April 2004, conducting about 70 focus groups and a dozen public opinion polls and advising L. Paul Bremer III, then the civilian administrator, on Iraqi public opinion. Whatever you might hear from Kerry, Michael Moore, the mainstream media and anyone else to whom defeating President Bush is more important than the fate of the Iraqi people, those who know best what's going on in Iraq — the Iraqis themselves — are optimistic about the future.
I'm not sure what his methodology might have been, but it seems it wasn't face to face interviews, since he admits elsewhere that...
I was in Iraq for nine months myself, and your analysis of a Westerner's life resonates. I was confined to my hotel for much of the time, and felt my freedoms erode as I became increasingly hunted.
...although he persists in this claim.
After nine months doing a dozen or so polls and about seventy focus groups in 13 Iraq cities, I defer to those who have the most information on Iraq's future - the Iraqi people. And they are optimistic.
Or were, perhaps.

If Mr. Moore had been able to get outside his room a bit more, he might have noticed that there was a war on over there, and wars rarely provide the conditions for static opinion. When they go well, optimism increases, and when they go poorly, well, stuff like this happens...
More Iraqis say their country is headed in the wrong direction and they blame the poor security situation, a new poll has found.
USA Today offers some findings more recent than Moore's.
•Wrong direction. Forty-five percent of Iraqis said the country is headed in the wrong direction compared with 39% when the United States transferred political power to a caretaker Iraqi government in June. Sixty-three percent blamed "poor security" as the reason.

In June, 51% said the country was heading in the right direction. That is down to 42%. That number started going down around the time that U.S. and Iraqi forces were fighting to oust insurgents loyal to rebel cleric Muqtada al-Sadr from Najaf, a city that is holy to Shiite Muslims, who are the majority in Iraq .

•Concerns. Asked to name the most important issues to them, every Iraqi surveyed named security; 80% said the economy; 58% said quality of life; and 38% said politics. When asked to rank specific issues, they listed unemployment, crime and infrastructure in the top three. More people singled out crime as their first concern.

Thirty-three percent blamed problems on U.S.-led forces in Iraq, and 32% blamed foreign terrorists.

•Future leaders Al-Sadr, whose militia has battled U.S. forces in Baghdad and the Shiite south, has the biggest name recognition in the country at 88%, edging out Ayad Allawi, the U.S.-backed caretaker prime minister, whose name was recognized by 86%. More Iraqis said they would vote for Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, the leader of a religious party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, than for Allawi.
Of course, Paul Bremer didn't commission the new poll...

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Congress plays catch up...



Finding 65 separate Republican scandals over the last few months hasn't really been all that difficult, but it's been a little frustrating at times, because Bushco is so damn corrupt that they've overwhelmed Congress, with the administration hogging 48 of the first 64 spots on the Upper Left Scandal Scorecard.

A tip o' the Upper Left green eyeshade, then, to Rep. Richard Pombo (R-CA), Chair of the House Resources Committee, for helping to restore at least a bit of balance with #65.
WASHINGTON (AP)- A House Democrat said Wednesday a Republican committee chairman broke House rules by mailing more than 175,000 fliers promoting a Bush administration decision to keep the Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks open to snowmobilers.

Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minn., learned of the fliers - produced and mailed over the last month for $68,081, at taxpayer expense - when a constituent complained last week. Republicans are "using any means possible to promote their agenda, and the re-election of the president," she said.
So, what's the big deal about another Congressional newslettter?

Well, there are the rules, of course, which put severe limits on the ability of members of Congress to use their franking privileges in the 90 days before an election. There are some exceptions for Committee Chairs, who can
"...send "normal and regular business" such as press releases or hearing schedules. The guidelines specifically prohibit sending "a newsletter which is suddenly issued by a committee" during the 90-day cutoff."
So there's that, but what really prompts outrage is this...
"The fliers were sent to 166,000 residents in Minnesota and Wisconsin and to 9,658 residents in Montana and Wyoming."
Why would a Congressman from California dump 166,000 pro-Republican, pro-Bush flyers into the battlegrounds of Minnesota and Wisconsin? Because he can (his Republican staffers reviewed the Republican propaganda and didn't find any problems - how convenient). And because he thinks he can get away with it (and cheers for Betty McCollum for blowing the whistle). Because they'll do any damn crooked thing, big or small, to retain power.

It's an abuse of power and position.

And it's a scandal...like all of these.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Blogging 101

A handy hint for those of you who might want to try doing this stuff. When you can't think of a better way to say something, just swipe stuff (with appropriate credit and links, of course.)

Hence this from The Carpetbagger Report, which makes a point I've been pondering lately...
Fresh from the AP:

Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday evoked the possibility of terrorists bombing U.S. cities with nuclear weapons and questioned whether Sen. John Kerry could combat such a threat, which the vice president called a concept "you've got to get your mind around."

But we should be outraged because Kerry is trying to "scare people going into the polls." Got it.
I mean, isn't the entire Bush election effort based on exploiting people's fears? And in case you're confused about what or who exactly we should be afraid of, Ezra Klein provides a little research over at Pandagon...
Did a quick term count in yesterday's "major" speech on terrorism. The results, amazingly, are even more ridiculous than I expected:

Frequency of John Kerry (with the terms "Senator", "Senator Kerry", or "my opponent"): 41

Frequency of "Saddam Hussein": 4

Frequency of "Al Qaeda": 1

Frequency of "Osama bin-Laden" or "bin-Laden": 0
Clearly, when fear strikes George Bush, it's John Kerry he's afraid of.

As it should be, given the whupping Kerry's going to put on him November 2.

Road Trip!

As 5th District Dem Don Barbieri picks up another key endorsement from the Spokane Spokesman-Review, a couple Congressmen from west of the Cascade Curtain are teaming up to help put him over the top.

Reps Jim McDermott and Jay Inslee are hoping the Barbieri campaign some critical help on the ground this weekend. If you've got a couple days to spare, the campaign will handle transportation, food and housing for a weekend jaunt to Spokane. It all starts at the Inslee campaign office on Saturday morning, and ends at the same place Sunday evening. Details are at Jay's website.

If you can't make the trip (and, due to day job duties, I sadly fall into that category), don't despair. You can still help Don, and lots of other worthy Democratic contenders, by going no further than this link.

If you can make it, though, do. A little time and effort now can make a big difference in the next Congress.

Hope you enjoyed your stay...

...your payment is overdue.
Army Spc. Tyson Johnson III of Mobile, Ala., who lost a kidney in a mortar attack last year in Iraq, was still recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center when he received notice from the Pentagon's own collection agency that he owed more than $2,700 because he could not fulfill his full 36-month tour of duty.

Johnson said the Pentagon listed the bonus on his credit report as an unpaid government loan, making it impossible for him to rent an apartment or obtain credit cards.

"Oh man, I felt betrayed," Johnson said. "I felt, like, oh, my heart dropped."
With all due respect, Specialist Johnson (and the amount of respect due is immeasurable), you didn't just feel betrayed. You were betrayed.

It's really amazing. I thought I'd reached my outrage limit with Rummy's DoD long ago, but it seems that hardly a day goes by that doesn't require a new expansion of the rage I feel over what they're doing to my Army, to our soldiers.

While there's been at least some attention paid to the 1102 American fatalities in Iraq to date, there's been a disgraceful silence about the 7532 wounded (as of the last DoD update on September 27). 'Wounded,' in fact, is often an inadequate term. Spc. Johnson lost a kidney. He was maimed physically, and the goverment he served has maimed him psychologically in return.

He's hardly alone. Take Staff Sgt. Peter Damon.
"Well, in a way, I'm kind of lucky losing both arms because I've been told I'll probably get 100 percent disability," he said.
"Lucky" to lose both arms. Because he'll probably get 100% disability. And hopefully, no calls from a collection agency.

This is the level to which chicken hawks like Bush and Rummy have reduced our brave warriors, and for that I sincerely pray that God will damn their draft dodging, war mongering souls to Hell.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Panic is passe...

...so I know you didn't find the headlines about the Gallup poll particularly distressing, but just in case, your best bet, as always, is to check in with Ruy Teixeira. Dipping deeper, he finds the good news buried under the lede...
1. Independents favor Kerry/Edwards by 11 points, 51-40.
2. First-time voters favor Kerry/Edwards by 21, 57-36.
3. Early voters favor Kerry/Edwards by 9, 52-43.
4. Young voters (18-29) favor Kerry/Edwards by 9, 50-40, and seniors (65+) favor Kerry/Edwards by 15, 54-39.
and one weird note...
5. Men favor K/E by 50-46 and women favor Bush-Cheney by 49-43.
He's as confused as I am by that last point, and offers an idea...
...I had to look over those gender breakdown data several times to make sure I wasn't seeing things. And I'm still not sure they didn't somehow mislabel their categories. But if they didn't, it's certainly a head-scratcher. Perhaps they not only oversampled Republicans in general but Republican women in particular. Who knows.
...and Ezra Klein makes a point I consider indisputable...
In a country where Democratic party registration outpaces Republican and Democratic turnout regularly swamps Republican, it is, quite simply, impossible, for a Democratic campaign leading by 11% among independents to be behind in the polls. It gets significantly less impossible if you oversample Republicans by 6%, but you get the point. Further, our lead among first-time voters, early voters and young voters suggests that, assuming the huge turnout many of us expect, Kerry and the Democrats may end election night far, far ahead.
Yep, there's still lots of hard work ahead, and we've got to keep fighting for the next two weeks (and well beyond), but the bottom line is that we're winning this thing, and the fight is to preserve the victory.

I'm an unabashed partisan...

...but that doesn't mean I don't recognize that individual Republicans can be fine human beings, regardless of their misguided politics. One example has always seemed to be Alan Simpson, the former Senator from Wyoming. No matter how wrong I almost always thought he was about most everything ideologically, he always seemed to be a genial sort, with a well developed, if wry, sense of humor and a genuine tolerance for differences between people.

Which leads me to wonder - what's he got against Mary Cheney?
In his opening remarks, Mr. Simpson noted, "Not one of us doesn't have someone close to us who is gay or lesbian." Then he invoked Mary Cheney, the daughter of the vice president, who attended the inauguration with her partner. Mr. Simpson said that after Ms. Cheney said she was a lesbian, her father, Dick Cheney, "protected and loved her as his very special, special daughter."
He called her a lesbian! Can you believe that?!?

Come to think of it, what's Mary Cheney got against Mary Cheney? She keeps calling her a lesbian, too.

Don't tell her mom...

Streak is shrill...

...but that doesn't mean he's wrong. He's also one of my favorite commentators on Bush's peculiar religiosity, and stuff like this is why.

The Beatitudes according to GWB:

Blessed are the Rich, because I like them.

Blessed are the Poor as well, because we are getting so many more of them. God must like poor people, and he will take care of them, so that the wealthy will not have to.

Blessed are the warmakers, because it is a scary world and you have to hit them before they hit you. Thus and verily so. Killing others is good! And we will not record how many of the others we kill, because that might cause bleeding hearts to care. Caring is bad.

Blessed are the polluters, because mercury in the water and fish will only harm the infants and pregnant women (family values).

Blessed are the torturers, because we must protect ourselves in a scary world.

Blessed are those who lie for their President's sake, for their ends shall justify their means. (and if the President can lie, why not his minions?)

Blessed is John Ashcroft, and his racist little heart, for white supremacy is a good goal, and civil liberties have always gone too far.

Blessed are the gay bashers, because they will always have an audience who is scared of others.

Blessed are those who profit, because profit is the highest form of human endeavor and should be valued over people and God's creation.

Blessed are those who proclaim their Christianity without living it out.

And finally, Bless America, and no one else.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

More about Mary.

It seems pretty obvious from the chatter on the Sunday shows that the wingers are going to spin the Mary Cheney story for all it's worth, but it just doesn't strike me as being worth all that much to them. It's not like they're going to bring over a substantial portion of the gay and lesbian vote by feigning outrage for poor Mary, and Kerry's not going to win over much of the homophobe vote by using her to support his position on the nature v. nurture question. I think Ruy Teixeira comes closest to the truth...
... it doesn't make a whole lot of sense unless you hypothesize that BC04 don't quite know what to do and figure anything that generates a campaign story that isn't about jobs, health care or Iraq is a net plus. But this kind of campaigning is a sign of weakness...

It's probably also a sign they're pretty worried the Kerry-is-a-Massachusetts-liberal strategy won't work. And they should be.
...and as Jerome points out at MyDD, whatever people think about Kerry's comments, it doesn't seem to have much effect on their Presidential decision...
That's a 10% lead by Kerry in the battleground states-- Wow! (and yes, this was in the same poll that showed 2/3rds didn't like Kerry's remarks about Mary Cheney. Of course the Republicans didn't like it, as it exposed their shadow-projections of hate onto a real person and made them deal with the hypocrisy. This carrys little to no political fallout, with GOP backlash just as likely...).
I do wish the wingers would drop it, but not because I think it cuts either way in the Presidential race. It's just so damn sad to watch.

I tend to agree with Kerry-blogger and Upper Left commenter Mark from Iowa that "Lynne Cheney is the black widow of American politics," but I'm still struck by the family tragedy that this story has exposed. It seems like Dick is a lot more comfortable with his daughter's orientation than Lynne is. I suppose that's largely because while Lynne spends more time in the cultural conservative mileu, Dick is by an large an adherent of the more traditional profiteering war-monger school of Republicanism.

In either event, their exploitation of their daughter by their declarations of shame and dismay over a simple and respectful observation of her sexual orientation is at once the saddest and the most infuriating element of the whole story.

Maybe Norbizness offers the best resolution for the entire mess...
"I will agree that John Kerry should not have mentioned Mary Cheney's name in the debate if you'll agree that today's weird shriek-fest by Lynne Cheney is one part motivated by motherly concern and 200 parts motivated by the realization that her meal ticket to a plush stay in the Vice Presidential mansion and his varying levels of concern about Osama bin Laden just got beat for the third straight debate."


(minor edit to compensate for my inability to keep the Cheney's...ahem...straight. Thanks Mark...)

A unificator...

...not a divisioner. That's our Bush.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - The most feared militant group in Iraq, the movement of terror mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, declared its allegiance to Osama bin Laden on Sunday, saying it had agreed with al-Qaida over strategy and the need for unity against "the enemies of Islam."
He's presiding over what may be the most sharply divided American populace since the Civil War, but after four years of hard work, he's successfully brought two of our most pernicious enemies together.

Whatta guy!

Remember this?

I thought this was Bush's most revealing (and outrageous) moment in the debates...
"...in the old days we could see a threat and we could deal with it if we felt like it or not."
To be honest, when it comes to facing down security threats around the world, I still don't know what or who he's talking about. But when when it comes to public health, it looks like these are the (not so good) old days...
"We're in the middle of a crisis that could have been averted,'' said Dr. Irwin Redlener, associate dean of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University and director of its national center for disaster preparedness.

In particular, public health experts have long cautioned against the country's dependence on a few vaccine makers, and yet this has become standard practice.
So, Bush saw the threat (or should have), but I guess since he didn't feel like dealing with it. Or maybe he's just afraid of shots...

Saturday, October 16, 2004

When Lynne said this...

On Sunday, when ABC's Cokie Roberts started to ask the GOP vice presidential nominee's wife about having a daughter who has "declared she's openly gay," an irate Lynne Cheney shot back: "Mary has never declared such a thing." Cheney then blasted the media for its interest in the story, and chided Roberts: "I'm surprised, Cokie, that even you would want to bring it up on this program."
...four years ago, Mary Cheney had already served as the G/L/B/T liason for Coors Brewing Co., a job she took because, as Mary herself put it, "I knew several other lesbians who were very happy here" and was engaged in G/L/B/T outreach for the Republican Party.

So when Elizabeth Edwards said this...
"She's overreacted to this and treated it as if it's shameful to have this discussion. I think that's a very sad state of affairs. ... I think that it indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter's sexual preferences. ... It makes me really sad that that's Lynne's response."
...it appears she was exactly, entirely, sadly right.

Elsewhere in the Upper Left...

...there's big news in WA-5.

An endorsement by the Tri-Cities Herald dominates the front page at BarbieriforCongress.com today, as well it should.

It's easy to dismiss endorsements, but in a race like this they can have a real effect. It's invigorating for Tri-Cities Democrats, who are a real key to winning back Speaker Tom's seat, and it gives independent voters a good reason to take a second look at a great candidate in Don Barbieri.

The endorsement itself is focused directly on those independent voters, concluding that "Barbieri gets the nod for his astute insights into what makes the district tick and his fresh ideas about how to tackle its most pressing problems."

Are newspaper endorsements of marginal value at best? Well, in this case, the best candidate is likely to win in the margins, so Hurrah for the Herald!

It's not quite enough to insure victory, of course, but it's not all we've got. This is another race where the DCCC's been helping out, so it's another reason to help the DCCC.



Scooped.

I guess I should be a little sheepish about getting Upper Left news from the other Washington, but Jesse Lee at The Stakeholder has the scoop on WA-8, offering an article from The Stranger as a textbook example of what the DCCC can do where it matters.
Reichert, who led former KIRO talker Dave Ross, the Democratic candidate, by 16 points in an early September pre-primary poll, has now fallen 10 points behind Ross according to a poll of 500 likely voters conducted between September 29 and October 3 and released last week. Much of the shift appears to be due to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's hard-hitting attack ads, which portray Reichert as unready for federal office and too socially conservative for the swing district.
Why do I keep posting a link to the Upper Left Majority Makers page? Because it works. But don't take my word for it, or the D-Trip's for that matter. Ask Chris Vance, the Washington State Republican chair...
Vance admits, though, that the Democratic ads have had an effect: "They did a very smart thing by being ready to go right after the primary. They stole a couple of weeks on us."
It ain't over, of course, until it's over.
The National Republican Campaign Committee and the Reichert campaign have begun their own major ad campaigns, which include sharp attacks on Ross, and Reichert is sharply curtailing his mano-a-mano face-offs with Ross, where his less-than-sturdy grasp of policy questions has sometimes been apparent.
We're winning, but we haven't won, so here's that link again.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Your way...

...on the highway. To all the Upper Lefties who've been giving The Freeway Blogger a hand, from Seattle...







to Bellingham...





to Orcas Island...





to Port Angeles...



and along the highway to Spokane...



Upper Left salutes you, one and all!


Chockfull...

...O' bloggity goodness. That's the only way to describe Altercation today, where Eric shows up to work on a Friday to point out that...
I’m not saying Bush can’t win; I’m just saying I don’t think he can win honestly.
...and Pierce lays McCain low...

Outside of Dukakis in the tank, there never has been a more pathetic political image than McCain, apparently shot full of whatever it is they use to bring down a moose when it gets into the suburbs, dragged out to stand there with C-Plus Augustus for that transparently phony man-of-the-people stunt on Air Force One yesterday. My God, John, how do you face your wife after that? How do you face your child?

How much is a cabinet post worth? How much is it worth to you to have the drooling racist nitwits on the Imus show kiss your ass? How much is it worth to have Tim Russert think you're a hero? How much will you sell to be who they say you are? How big a toad will you consent to eat?

My God, Doc. There's nobody these people won't ruin to get what they want. Screw it. Until John Kerry is inaugurated, there are no rules.
There's more you won't want to miss.

Happy Holiday!

He's right...

...so get ready.
But this is how it's going to be for the next couple of weeks. If John Kerry says "have a nice day," Republicans will accuse him of disrespecting night shift workers.

They know they're losing, and they're desperate.

Tom Tomorrow
Remember. Work hard. Fight back.

And above all, remember that panic is passe.

But where's Mary?

Liz Cheney, Dick and Lynne's straight daughter (yes, that's a gratuitous reference to her presumed sexuality) joins the family smearfest...
ZAHN: Back to the issue of last night's exchange during the debate where John Kerry was asked a very specific question about whether homosexuality is a choice. Were you offended by the fact that he mentioned your sister

CHENEY: I was offended.

ZAHN: And tell me why.

CHENEY: I think that it was out of bounds.

ZAHN: Why?

CHENEY: For Senator Kerry to exploit the child of his opponent to make political point on his own, for his own political gain. And I have to say I think that I, like many Americans all across this country today, are wondering what kind of a man would do that.

ZAHN: Was your sister offended?

CHENEY: It was a very offensive thing for him to do, yes.

ZAHN: Did you talk to her about it?

CHENEY: It was very offensive. I think I'll just leave it there.
I think people can make their own judgment about what he said.
Yes we can. And we can make our own judgements about what Dick, Lynne and Liz have said. But we may never know what Mary says, because she's not talking and they, apparently, aren't talking to her.

You know, I imagine Mary is offended. Deeply hurt, even.

But not by anything John Kerry had to say.

I'd just as soon see this story disappear, but I'm still outraged by the cheap political exploitation the Cheney family is subjecting their daughter and sister to. I'm trying to imagine how my own out lesbian daughter would react if I treated a respectful reference to her orientation sound like a personal disgrace. I don't think I could face her, really.

So I'm not surprised, really, that Mary Cheney has maintained silence on the subject. When your family treats you abysmally in the national media, it's hardly a comfortable subject.

As Ellen Andersen, an assistant professor of political science at Indiana University-Purdue University, told the LA Times...
"This [controversy] is predicated on the fact that there are a number of Americans that think homosexuality is shameful."
Dave Cullen writes in Salon...
Let's get one thing straight. It is not an insult to call a proudly public lesbian a lesbian. It's an insult to gasp when someone calls her a lesbian. That's how all the gays I have spoken to the past 24 hours perceived the press response. You're embarrassed for us. And it's infuriating.
It's more than that when the gasp comes from your family, I think. It's a betrayal. It's humiliating. It's deeply disappointing. It's unconscionable. It...well, you get the point. And Cullen makes it more graphically in his close.
I doubt very much that Mary Cheney gives a rat's ass if some church lady in Idaho knows she's gay. But her mother cringing at the church lady knowing -- that's gotta hurt like hell.
I know that gay bashing is, sadly, a necessary element of the BC04 effort to shore up their base. But bashing a member of your own family? Isn't anything beyond the pale for these people?


Update: Digby posts eloquently (as usual) along the same line, concluding...
At some point, maybe not until they are on their deathbeds, they will have to face the fact that they betrayed their beloved daughter countless times by refusing to use their power for good and stand up for what they knew in their hearts to be right. It may not be on their gravestone, but that will be their true epitaph.

Hail to the Champs!

The lovely and talented Audrey Hepcat joins me in celebrating the Seattle Storm's WNBA Championship by performing her uncanny impersonation of a basketball...


Thursday, October 14, 2004

You think they're angry and indignant?

"You saw a man who will do and say anything to get elected, and I am not just speaking as a father here, although I am a pretty angry father."

Richard Cheney

"Now, you know, I did have a chance to assess John Kerry once more and now the only thing I could conclude: This is not a good man," she said. "Of course, I am speaking as a mom, and a pretty indignant mom. This is not a good man. What a cheap and tawdry political trick."

Lynne Cheney
What's the source of all this anger and indignation?

When the candidates were asked whether homosexuality was a matter of choice or nature, George Bush ducked it with an "I don't know," but John Kerry responded with a definite position and an apt example.
"We're all God's children, Bob, and I think if you were to talk to Dick Cheney's daughter, who is a lesbian, she would tell you that she's being who she was. She's being who she was born as. I think if you talk to anybody, it's not a choice."
Frankly, I'm a bit astonished by the furor. I got home a bit later than I'd planned last night, and dozed off while watching a tape of the debate. That question was one of the last things I remembered, and one of the first I saw when I woke up and started replaying the tape. It seemed pretty unremarkable to me. Bush, as is his habit, evaded the question, and Kerry gave a pretty textbook response reflective of his long term dedication to civil liberties and respect for all people, regardless of sexual orientation.

Next question, please.

But that's what the Bush campaign has siezed on as a defining moment in the debate. They've decided to exploit Mary Cheney for more points with the homophobic right.

Let's be clear. John Kerry didn't out Mary Cheney. She's been an open lesbian for a long time. She makes public appearances at BC04 events with her partner. She's not a private citizen. She's a Republican political operative, holding a responsible position as the manager of her father's re-election effort. She can be accurately described as a professional lesbian, using her orientation as a resume item when she was the liason between the Coors Brewing Co. and the G/L/B/T community.

Elizabeth Edwards is exactly on point in discussing Lynne Cheney's attack on Kerry.
"She's overreacted to this and treated it as if it's shameful to have this discussion. I think that's a very sad state of affairs. ... I think that it indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter's sexual preferences. ... It makes me really sad that that's Lynne's response."
Well, nearly on point. Elizabeth is clearly more compassionate than I. I'm not sad. I'm indignant. Angry even.

The big slap seems to be that the mention of Mary Cheney was 'gratuitous,' but that's simply not the case. The reason that so many in the gay community have been stressing the importance of opening the closet door is simple. Ignorance breeds bigotry, and it's been generally believed that as more people come to know that their neighbors, co-workers and family members are gay and lesbian, that knowledge will reduce homophobia. It's effective, too. I've been known to call people up short when they've begun to indulge in the kind of casual gay-bashing, usually in the form of 'jokes,' that contributes to so much division and hostility in this country, simply by pointing out to them that they're talking about my daughter. A real person. Someone I love.

So when George Bush feigns ignorance about an issue as fundamental as the choice v. nature question, it's worth pointing out that there's a real person, who his Vice President loves, a person George Bush knows, a person who is working hard to help George Bush, that he's feigning ignorance about.

So it's a fair question. Does George Bush think that Mary Cheney 'decided' to be a lesbian? John Kerry thinks Mary would say otherwise, and I think he's right. And Dick and Lynn's betrayal and exploitation of their daughter, makes me angry and indignant.

I'm not accustomed to giving Andrew Sullivan the last word around here, but this time it's appropriate.
When Kerry cites Bush's wife or daughters, no one says it's a "low blow." The double standards are entirely a function of people's lingering prejudice against gay people. And by mentioning it, Kerry showed something important. This issue is not an abstract one. It's a concrete, human and real one. It affects many families, and Bush has decided to use this cynically as a divisive weapon in an election campaign. He deserves to be held to account for this - and how much more effective than showing a real person whose relationship and dignity he has attacked and minimized?

Speaking of Charles Pierce...

It's been awhile since he's scored the Quote of the Day, but I can't imagine anybody beating him out of this one...
What Kerry is, was, and always will be is someone who can always make the other guy on the stage look like he’s applying for a night manager’s job at a Gas ‘n Sip somewhere.

Bottom Line

Pierce lays it down, blogging at Altercation.
The fundamental dynamic of these things has been that Kerry seized the role of the incumbent in the first encounter and never let it go. "Why should we ever trust you again?" is the great unspoken question of this campaign, and C-Plus occasionally appears to be trying to return his own serve.
I make no pretence of personal objectivity, but I've tried to view the debates through a simple filter. If I hadn't already decided to support Bush, what would he say that might persuade me? How could he present himself that would instill more confidence in his ability to understand what's wrong and make corrections during a second term?

And try as I might, I can't find a damn thing in any of the three debates that would persuade an genuinely undecided voter to move into the Bush column. I assume that someone who's undecided must have at least some reservations about the condition and direction of the country, or they'd naturally fall to the default position of 'more of the same.'

And that's all Bush has to offer. More of the same. No mistakes on his watch. No way. Peace and prosperity prevails, and freedom is on the march. But everyone who believes that is already in the Bush column, and right now my confidence level is as high as it's ever been.

Not high enough, of course, to believe that we can let our guard down for a minute. All Bushco has left is three weeks of smears, distortions and fear mongering, and it's coming down the road in full force. Count on it. Brace yourself, and get ready to work hard and fight back.

One of the best things about the end of the debates is we can set aside the jabber about what Kerry 'must do' or 'must say.' He did what he did and said what he said, and he won every step of the way.

Nope. Now it's down to what we must do. There's still an potential Kerry voter on your block who's not planning to go to the polls. There is. Go find that voter. You know this is the most important election of our lifetime. Convince that voter, and deliver him or her to the polls.

There are still calls to make, letters to write, signs to post, precincts to walk, work to do in every element of the ground game, which is now the only game in town.
Do something. Do it through your local party. Do it through your union. Do it through ACT. Do it through DFA.

Just do something.

We can win.

And we will, if we work hard enough and fight back everywhere.