Thursday, November 30, 2006

Good questions…

…from Bob Geiger.
"...where's the joy in out-debating a Republican and how do you follow it up? Do I arm-wrestle an elderly person? Steal from a blind man's cup? Log into Instant Messenger as LittleBobbyHotPants and tease Republican Congressmen?"
Or maybe Republican bureaucrats.

RE: That Kerry fella...

The latest occasion for Kerry commentary is the Quinnipiac "national thermometer" poll, which asserts to measure the "warmth" Americans feel for various political figures. Of those mentioned, Kerry comes in with the lowest marks. Steve Benen offers a more generous perspective than most with the discouraging news...
In the thermometer poll, 20 nationally-recognized political figures were included. Kerry finished dead last, and was the only pol to have a total score below 40 (respondents give a rating from 0 to 100). It suggests the often-ridiculous coverage of Kerry’s botched joke had an effect — his rating was 46.3 in March and is 39.6 now.
It's true - any affect on Kerry's numbers arising out of the infamous joke have everything to do with the coverage, and nothing, really, to do with his performance on that day, his fitness for high office or, for that matter, with his personal warmth. "Often-ridiculous coverage," in fact is a bit of an understatement. It was a calculated attack on the nominal leader of the Democratic Party. Part of that attack's effects is revealed in Benen's conclusion...
It’s not fair, and Kerry clearly deserves better, but the right and the media have sullied his name. My sense is that running again in 2008 would be a mistake — most Dems in the Quinnipiac poll were lukewarm on Kerry, and Republicans and independents were hostile. At this point, I hope he skips the race.
Now, I think Steve's hope in this regard is expressed with benign, even compassionate, motivation, but consider what he's really saying. Because the "often-ridiculous coverage" of a wholly invented 'controversy' resulting in an unfair and undeserved judgment, John Kerry should not run for President of the United States. Not for anything he actually did, or said (unless you choose to believe the Rovian spin that Kerry did, in fact, intentionally insult serving troops). Not on account of some deficiency of character or background, or of extreme or uninformed views on issues of import.

No, ultimately it's because another lie was concocted about John Kerry, one contrived deliberately to make it seem as though this highly decorated combat hero, this man who killed people who attacked American soldiers and saved American soldier's lives by putting his own at risk, is insufficiently supportive of American soldiers.

Classic swift-boating.

Personally, I'm not there yet. While I remain convinced that John Kerry is one of the two Americans I would most like to see in the White House (Jerry Brown is the other), I'm not sure if I hope he runs or doesn't. There are other Democratic stars I could imagine hitching my '08 wagon to, though they'd all fall under the general heading 'third choices.' I'm a Democrat, though, so I'm long since accustomed to getting something less than what I might want. It's part of the price of the big tent.

I wish it was simply a matter of Republican lies, though. One of the most distressing aspects of what's become known as the "botched joke" affair (though it's hard to judge how botched a joke that generated audible laughter really was) was the willingness, sometimes seemingly gleeful, of many ostensibly liberal commentators in the mainstream media and the blogosphere alike to throw John Kerry under the bus.

Part of it, certainly, was the timing. Everyone was eager to sweep away any potential controversy so near the mid-term elections. In this case, though, there was no actual controversy. The suggestion that John Kerry would publicly and deliberately insult troops in harm's way is preposterous. Every Democrat should know that, and every Democrat should have said so. If there had be a chorus of voices insisting that "They're lying about John Kerry again, and they should be ashamed of themselves," the whole matter would have been just as quickly, and far more productively, put to rest.

Sadly, that kind of unity is a rare commodity in Democratic politics. Those who couldn't quite bring themselves to the level of belligerent umbrage feigned by Rove's genuine acolytes were likely to belittle Kerry's comic abilities and/or insist that an apology must be made for something he didn't say. The first point is just another bit of silliness along the lines of Kerry being too haughty or too French or, well, just too just about anything but funny and personable. Of course, John Kerry has made thousands of public appearances in recent years, and nearly every one has featured John Kerry telling jokes and getting laughs. Again, in the appearance in question, he told jokes and got laughs. The notion that he shouldn't tell jokes because he can't tell jokes is just silly.

The second point, the demand for an apology, is even more distressing, because it was a signal that not only were many Democrats unwilling to stand and defend Kerry, but they denied Kerry the basic right of self-defense, as well. When Kerry called the attack what it was, a lie, the word went out that the truth didn't matter. In essence, it was a concession that once the Republicans tell a lie about a Democrat, there's really nothing left to do but roll over. The truth isn't worth a feint, let alone a fight.

There was something worth fighting for in this case, too. As Mark Barrett wrote in a post-election look back...
"...the attack on Senator Kerry was specifically designed to shatter the Democratic momentum he was instrumental in creating prior to the elections. Think of it as an attempt to decapitate the leader of the opposition while rallying the base."
In fact, John Kerry was the Party's top campaigner this year, stumping with 170 Democratic candidates from coast to coast, drawing crowds that wrote checks and filled out volunteer cards, while raising millions more for those and others through his internet operations. He was particularly vigilant regarding the various attempts by Republicans to turn Democratic veteran's service records against them. No one was silently swift-boated on John Kerry's watch.

Whether his continued efforts over the last week or so of the campaign might have turned another seat or two is impossible to measure, but my guess is that it would be more rather than less likely. If so, we may have thrown a Democratic Congressman, Senator or legislator or two under the bus with Kerry. Clearly, the Republican slander machine thought he was a worthwhile target.

Of course, Kerry was simultaneously building up a supply of chits with a small legion of new Democratic elected officials and their appreciative supporters. Getting him off the trail wasn't just a benefit to Republicans. Ignoring the probable impact of '08 politics on the reaction of some is simply another case of denying the truth. Whether or not John Kerry runs again, each candidate's response to the attack on their fellow partisan should be a consideration when evaluating potential nominees.

At any rate, I'm not ready to join the call for Kerry to stand down, though his decision has doubtless been complicated that the cowardly refusal of many who knew the truth to aggressively defend him during the '04 swift-boating assault wasn't an aberration, but seems, rather, to be the predictable response from many of a leftish tilt when Republican prevarications are loosed.

War planners always look for lessons learned in an engagement. In this arena of combat, buddies are few and far between when the bullets fly. John Kerry knows that first hand. What should he do? That will, in part, depend on what he thinks can be done given that hard learned lesson.

I'm still listening, though.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Sounds like a Democrat without apology to me.

How's your boy?" Bush asked, referring to Webb's son, a Marine serving in Iraq.

"I'd like to get them out of Iraq, Mr. President," Webb responded, echoing a campaign theme.

"That's not what I asked you," Bush said. "How's your boy?"

"That's between me and my boy, Mr. President," Webb said coldly, ending the conversation on the State Floor of the East Wing of the White House.
Pretty diplomatic exchange, actually. I'd hate to imagine what my Mom, lady though she may be, might have said to old Dick Nixon while I was in the Jolly Green Jungle.

Still, the WaPo's Michael D. Shear had to gin up some kind of spin, and of course it had to be bad for the Democrats. Jim Webb's disinclination to engage in idle chatter with the man who has sent his son into an arena of senseless combat means he'll be a problem for the Democratic caucus.

Right. And we know this because an anonymous "senior Democratic staff member" thinks Webb will be "a total pain."

Oh my.

Of course, Webb offers reassurance...
"There are going to be times when I've got some strong ideas, but I'm not looking to simply be a renegade," he said. "I think people in the Democratic Party leadership have already begun to understand that I know how to work inside a structure."
…and Chuck Shumer sounds downright sanguine...
"I am truly not worried about it. He understands the need to be part of a team."
Hey, if Chuck Shumer's sanguine, brother, I'm sanguine.

The People's Work.

Liberals value it. The other guys? Well...
WASHINGTON - Republicans vacating the Capitol are dumping a big spring cleaning job on Democrats moving in. GOP leaders have opted to leave behind almost a half-trillion-dollar clutter of unfinished spending bills.


The decision to drop so much unfinished work in Democrats' laps demonstrates both division within Republicans ranks and the difficulty in resolving so many knotty questions in so short a time. GOP leaders promised their House and Senate members the December lame duck session would last no more than two weeks, or until Dec. 16 at the latest.
That the Congressional Republicans would end their string of continuing resolutions and off-budget wars with a display of sloth and irresponsibility is hardly surprising. As Todd points out…
...In 2006, Congress set the all-time record for the fewest days in session. So how many days was it? Not 200. Not even 100. Try 93 days.
That's likely one of the reasons behind this
Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi will open the House for the first session of the 110th Congress on January 4, and keep it in session for the first several weeks of January.
Of course, there's that ambitious agenda
In the first 100 hours:
We will start by cleaning up Congress, breaking the link between lobbyists and legislation and commit to pay-as-you-go, no new deficit spending.

We will make our nation safer and we will begin by implementing the recommendations of the independent, bipartisan 9/11 Commission.

We will make our economy fairer, and we will begin by raising the minimum wage. We will not pass a pay raise for Congress until there is an increase in the minimum wage.

We will make health care more affordable for all Americans, and we will begin by fixing the Medicare prescription drug program, putting seniors first by negotiating lower drug prices. We will also promote stem cell research to offer real hope to the millions of American families who suffer from devastating diseases.

We will broaden college opportunity, and we will begin by cutting interest rates for student loans in half.

We will energize America by achieving energy independence, and we will begin by rolling back the multi-billion dollar subsidies for Big Oil.

We will guarantee a dignified retirement, and we will begin by fighting any attempt to privatize Social Security.

We will introduce this legislation on the first day of the new Congress, we will pass it within the first 100 legislative hours. This new direction represents the priorities of a unified Democratic Party. This is our pledge to the American people.
…and it looks like those first hundred legislative hours are going to come faster than anyone imagined.

Harry's on board, too.
"We're going to put in some hours here that haven't been put in in a long time," Reid said. That means "being here more days in the week and we start off this year with seven weeks without a break. That hasn't been done in many, many years here."
Government by grownups.

The people's Congress doing the people's work.

Imagine that, then watch it come true.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

I hate this thing…

…that they've done to my Army more than most., via Fester
In fiscal 2006, which ended Sept. 30, the Army brought in 5900 non-high school graduates as TTAS (pronounced T-TAS) recruits. Not only do such recruits help the Army reach its numerical recruiting goals but the Army can exclude these recruits when calculating the percentage of high school diploma graduates recruited, which is an important quality measure.

For example, the Army announced last month that 81 percent of its non-prior service recruits for 2006 were high school graduates. That was disturbingly below the 90 percent Department of Defense standard for every service. But the proportion of high school graduates would have been reported as 74.3 percent if the Army had to count the 5900 TTAS enlistees high school dropouts. The number instead is ignored.
It's not, though, the generally bemoaned drop in 'standards' that distresses me. It's the dishonesty. I have no doubt that there are many people without a high school diploma, or even a GED, who are intelligent enough to be trained in any number of Army occupations, if sufficiently motivated. Being educable in the sense of the K-12 tradition may have little to do with being trainable in a military sense.

Of course, knowing, admitting, that for many the Army remains a, if not the, reliable vehicle for upward mobility, shatters one of the myths of the all-volunteer military, that enlistees are among the elite of their generation, better educated and motivated more, perhaps, by duty than their predecessors than by the traditional enticement of 'the bennies.' It may be so in some cases, but those motivations have always been sufficient for some, even in the era of conscripted service.

Still, making this kind of deception a policy demeans the entire service, and the entire chain of command. It's an official lie, and somewhere in that chain there must be a West Point graduate willing to point out that he and his classmates have sworn that they will "...not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do." Through the efforts of generations of officers, that oath has been considered part of the command philosophy of the US Army. Confidence in the kind of character such an oath represents is part of what inspires some men to follow others into combat. Such a baldly admitted official lie represents problems far deeper than recruiting standards or strategies.

Of course, there's the issue of a 'two-tier' enlistment policy itself. The only thing the TTAS recruits appear to have in common is an education that the Army has deemed adequate for enlistment. Why should there be a distinction between them and their comrades whose educations, of whatever level, are similarly adequate? Is there, perhaps, another distinction? Has anyone tracked the percentage of TTAS troops in combat arms assignments, for instance?

Just askin'.

Make eligibility dependent on a minimum score on the Armed Forces Qualification Test. Adjust the score as necessary, but apply it universally. There should be two kinds of applicants - qualified or not - and one kind of soldier.

Or something else. But stop the lie.

It's hurting my Army.


Glenn Greenwald...
" is vital to keep at the forefront of our political discussions the fact that the Bush administration is composed of individuals who do not recognize the rule of law or the authority of Congress to do much of anything, and -- unless they are absolutely forced to do so, and it's unclear what that might include -- they are not going to comply with these things we used to call "laws" or with Congressional subpoenas and other mandates because they believe they do not have to. And they have said so expressly, time and again."
Buscho™ - Not just a criminal enterprise, an anti-American criminal enterprise.

From the 'Good Question' file…

…via David Sirota.
The "Center" of What, Exactly?
Not just a good question, a critical one in the days ahead. Sirota's answer is worth your while.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Snow day.

A combination of light snow, heavy ice and lots of hills is complicating my life today. I'm heading off to the day (and night) job early, and expect to get home relatively late, so posting will be delayed.

At the top of my mind right now is the contrast between the legislative schedule Speaker-designate Pelosi has outlined and the pathetic performance of the outgoing Rs. 'Work ethic' turns out to be a liberal value.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

And now...

Another number.



We're Number 4!

...the war in Iraq has lasted longer than the U.S. involvement in World War II — three years and just over eight months. “Only the Vietnam War (eight years, five months), the Revolutionary War (six years, nine months), and the Civil War (four years), have engaged America longer.”
Hat tip to Think Progress.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

It's nice to know…

…that Senator Hagel is not insane, but he's also not going to vote for Harry, so he's still wrong when it matters.

Things that make you go hmmm…

Last week, two self-proclaimed Jedi Knights appealed to the United Nations to recognize their faith as an official religion and accordingly rename the International Day for Tolerance to Interstellar Day of Tolerance.

The petition from Britons John Wilkinson and Charlotte Law, who call themselves Umada and Yunyun, comes after a 2001 British census recorded 400,000 people who “practice” the Jedi faith.


Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report.

A bit more eclectic...

...than the average random ten. Seems like it to me, anyway...
Etta James - Dust My Broom
Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode
Marvin Gaye - One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)
Austin Lounge Lizards - Forty Years Old And I'm Livin' In My Mom's Garage
Lyle Lovett - Which Way Does That Old Pony Run
Mark Spoelstra - France Blues
The Impressions - It's All Right
The Grateful Dead - Jack Straw
Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen - Sink The Constitution
Hank Williams III - Thrown Out Of Every Bar

Friday, November 24, 2006

Quote of the Day.

"We have to deal with greenhouse gases. From Shell's point of view, the debate is over. When 98 percent of scientists agree, who is Shell to say, 'Let's debate the science'?"

John Hofmeister, president of Shell Oil Co

Hat tip to Todd at The Blue State

OK, let's...

"In fact, they conserve nothing. We who speak out and organize and struggle for peace and freedom—we are the conservatives, and the liberals. The so-called conservatives and “centrists”—what should be call them? Royalists, because they believe in the absolute authority of a king disguised as a president? Fascists, because they seek corporate domination in all areas of social life? For now, let’s just call them: Nihilists."
Or, if you will, destructionists, because their goal is the destruction of Constitutional governance.

Chris Dashiell's typically excellent post points out the reason that there's simply no reason for the continued existence of the Republican Party. Although the new Democratic Congressional majorities aren't as dependent on an influx of conservative Ds as some would have you believe, there's no question that the Democratic Party provides plenty of room for the kind of conservatism that's legitimate in the American context.

Put in terms that any NASCAR dad might understand, progressives are the accelerator and conservatives are the brakes. Both are needed to effectively keep the government on the track, but the track itself, defined by the Constitution, is liberal governance. 'Movement' conservatism is a political vehicle that can't pass the ideological tech inspection because it is designed to drive off the track. It's un-American at its core. As Paul Krugman (liberated by Digby) recently noted…
Why do I want to see movement conservatism crushed? Partly because the movement is fundamentally undemocratic; its leaders don’t accept the legitimacy of opposition.
The Republican Party has been captured by forces that are fundamentally undemocratic and essentially un-American. True conservatism, that which, as Dashiell writes, is "disposed to preserving existing conditions, institutions, etc., agreeing with gradual rather than abrupt change, having the power or tendency to conserve, preservative," is well, and appropriately, represented within Democratic ranks. It's absent in the radicalism of contemporary Republicanism. Whatever legitimate impulses or purposes may have been in the minds of the founders of the Republican Party, one thing is abundantly clear today...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

What's beyond wankery?

Whatever it is, Stuart Rothenberg's soaking in it. While looking for "The Worst Self-Inflicted Wound of 2006," he can't resist a dig at that Kerry fella...
On one level, the Kerry comment about getting good grades or you’ll end up in Iraq was worse than Allen’s "macac" comment, since Kerry wasn’t even on the ballot and, as my wife pointed out, he compounded his goof by insisting that he was trying to tell a joke when he almost certainly wasn’t.
Of course, he absolutely was. That Kerry's line was a joke is obvious both in the prepared transcript of the speech and in the transcript of the speech as delivered. It's one line in a string of barbed humor aimed directly at George Bush, and if you listen to any recorded version that hasn’t been deceptively edited, it was apparent to those in attendance, as well. In fact, while the lines themselves may have been misdelivered, as a joke it wasn't as botched as the conventional wisdom holds, since the audience laughed out loud. When I tell a joke, I generally take laughter as a sign of successful delivery.

In fact, Rothenberg's view seems to be one you could only arrive at without reviewing the actual words or circumstances themselves, relying instead on second-hand reports from people who would have you believe that a highly decorated combat veteran would deliberately demean troops in the field. You know, the purple-heart band-aid crowd. Some would call it 'swift-boating.'

Of course, Rothenberg not only completely misinterprets Kerry's remark, he completely misplaces him on his survey of the self-injured. As he notes, John Kerry wasn't on any ballot this year, and Rothenberg goes on to admit that most folks "shrugged off" the 'controversy' that Bushco™ tried to gin up.

So what was the point? I mean, if Kerry's really a man without a future, why all the focus on what was essentially a non-event? Politician tells joke, people laugh, his enemies lie about it. End of story.

Make that "should be end of story."

But the digs just keep on coming.

Kinda makes you wonder - why are they afraid of John Kerry?

Am I thankful?

Sure, for lots of stuff (including each one of you who logs in to see this stuff), but this year, mostly for this guy…

It's The Quarterback's first Thanksgiving, and he's spending it at our house.

Just look at that face. What's not to be thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving to all y'all upper lefties, whatever corner of the world you're in.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Did'ja hear the one about Oliver…

…and Jessica Alba?

Fun facts.

This is presumably the first cycle since the modern party system began that no party (in this case the Dems) lost not a single House, SEN, or GOV seat.

No House Democrat lost re-election for the first time since '22…

Sam Rosenfeld has more.

Well, sure...

"If he wanted to, President Bush could change the tone in Washington with a single syllable: He could just say "ic." That is, he could stop referring to the opposition as the "Democrat Party" and call the other side, as it prefers, the Democratic Party."
Ruth Marcus is right, but you could only believe that Bush wants to change the tone in Washington if you actually believed what he says, and that's a fools bet at best. The historical notes about Joe McCarthy are interesting, though.

Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Mail from Maria...

I’m pleased to announce that I’ve secured a seat on the Senate Finance Committee, and with it, a central role in formulating new legislation to extend middle class tax cuts, protect social security, and lower health care and prescription drug costs…
This is great news for Senator Cantwell and all of her constituents, especially coming on the heels of Senator Murray's elevation to leadership. As those of us who remember the Scoop and Maggie era know, having Senators who command this kind of regard from their colleagues is invaluable to our state.

Maria will continue to serve on the Energy and Natural Resources, Commerce, Small Business and Indian Affairs Committees. Every one of those provides her a forum for issues critical to the Pacific Northwest.

By the way, you can subscribe to Senator Cantwell's Monday Memo at her Senate web site.

The Big Dog…

barks at the moon.
The beauty of the Democratic Party midterm victory, Clinton muses, is that voters said no to ideology. They wanted to move past fearmongering and demonizing toward true debate. "America rejected shorthand," he says. "People are thinking again." But they are not thinking of a set of liberal policy prescriptions. He argues that the election was about more than Iraq and corruption; it turned on the unmet needs of middle-class voters for whom the country "isn't working anymore." And yet no one is exactly sure how to make it work again. "The people didn't give Democrats a mandate," the former president cautions. "They gave us a chance."
This, of course, is largely self (and spousal) serving nonsense. It's true that the "unmet needs of middle-class voters" was an important factor in the outcome of the elections, but by supporting Democratic candidates, voters explicitly supported a range of "liberal policy prescriptions." From a raise in the minimum wage to sane and humane immigration policy to repairing the destructive effects of Clintonian "free" trade policies, to restoring progressivity to the tax code and preserving Social Security to the degree that the election was nationalized on middle-class economics, the solutions offered were time-honored liberal prescriptions. In some cases (notably the upper left's own Maria Cantwell's) the field was broadened to include issues like executive compensation, excess profits and corporate fraud. This Congress is firmly within the New Deal/Fair Deal/Great Society tradition, the very legacy which Bill Clinton's "New Democat" politics spurned. I'm sure that it's hard to veiw such a profound rejection of his goals for the partyu as a mandate, but if the new House majority isn't commanding enough for the Clintons, the surprise success in the Senate should confirm that a mandate is exactly what we have, and it's not a mandate for a return to some Platonic ideal of a Clintonian center.

Of course, that's why this, however farfetched, must not, and, I'm confident, will not be allowed to come to pass...
But a chance to do what? To compromise with the president to achieve something to show voters the next time? Or to lay out an agenda to run on in the 2008 campaign? (The first cattle-call primary debates, if you can believe it, are only six or seven months away.) The answer will be some of both, of course, with the calibration of the two approaches determined as much by Hillary Clinton and her husband as by Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid.
Hillary Clinton is a junior Senator and her husband is retired. The points of compromise and points of conflict should be, and I'm sure shall be, determined by our elected leadership.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Now this…

…is language I can live with…
"Less than two weeks ago the American public made it clear that they want a middle ground approach to our nation's most pressing problems."

Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY)
…as long as it's understood that the middle ground is between the conservative and progressive wings of the Democratic Party, and not between Democrats and the radicals in control of the Republican Party.

Hat tip to Athenae.

The Mann.

"Mr. Bush, there are a dozen central lessons to be derived from our nightmare in Vietnam, but "we'll succeed unless we quit" is not one of them."

Crooks and Liars has the transcript and video links.

Just wondering…

…how many of the pundits, 'strategists' and sundry observers of whatever description who are so dismissive of that Kerry fella's chances of a comeback were equally certain in December '03 that the '04 nomination was completely out of his reach.

And how much, I wonder, how much damage did their inability to pull back from their pre-convention criticism do to his campaign?

I'm not saying he'd win if he ran, or that he should run, or much of anything except that at this point nothing's impossible. In fact, I'll go out on a limb and guess that the odds of John Kerry being our next nominee are at least as good as the odds of American voters electing someone named Obama our next President.

At least.

But anything's possible.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Umm, Harry?

I thought I told you to knock this off...
In the weeks and months ahead, we intend to reach out to President Bush and our Republican colleagues in Congress. The last four years-in which Republicans controlled the House, the Senate and the White House-have shown that a political party in Congress acting alone can accomplish nothing.

America always works best when Congress and Washington operate as the Founding Fathers intended: with bipartisanship, and a Congress that serves as a separate but equal branch of government, and not a rubber stamp for the Executive.
The founding fathers, who designed a government with no provision for, indeed, no mention of, parties, intended no such thing. They intended a unified system of liberal governance, without, in the language of the day, 'factions' at all. That this misreading of history is offered in defense of the notion that we are best governed by a divided government operating in a bipartisan fashion is even more distressing.

What the last four years, and more, have demonstrated has nothing at all to do with "…a political party in Congress acting alone…" Indeed, the Republican Party in Congress has operated in deliberate concert with an Executive Branch, pursuing a program consciously and aggressively designed to subvert the Constitution of the United States.

If Senator Reid meant to say that a single political party acting alone while in control of the Congress and the Executive alone can accomplish nothing, well, again, history disproves the notion. A single party in just such control brought us out of the Great Depression, gave us Social Security, Medicare, rural electrification, historic advances in civil rights, victory over fascism and much, much more. A single party with respect for the Constitutional principle of separation of powers and of the corresponding obligation of oversight and the proper role of judicial review is, indeed, the ideal of the founders.

The only problem with single party government is the Republican Party.

So explain yourself, Senator. Are you prepared to sacrifice your legislative majority or to concede the Presidency in '08 in pursuit of your ideal of divided, bipartisan government? Or do you need to find another way to express the need for the Republican Executive to cooperate with the Democratic Congress that has been elected to represent the true political will of the American people until the Executive can be recovered by the only party truly committed to Constitutional governance?

And now...

I'm somewhat fascinated... the number of pundits from all shades of the political spectrum who've never appeared on a ballot, let alone won an election, who seem so certain that their own political instincts are ever so superior to those of the woman who has successfully traversed the political minefield to become Speaker of the House of Representatives.

I mean, why aren't all these smart people Speakers or Preznits or something?

Saturday, November 18, 2006


Norman Horowitz in the Huffington Post...
Our President and his people decided that they wanted to make omelets. They broke the eggs, put them in a bowl, and used an egg beater to scramble the eggs. They now find themselves in a position of no longer wanting the eggs this way, so they have their minions running around complaining that the Democrats have no plan of returning the eggs to their original condition.

Ten more...

The Greenbriar Boys - Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me
Dixie Chicks - Cowboy Take Me Away
Rory Block & Keb' Mo' - Ain't Nothin' Like The Real Thing
Shelby Lynne - You're The Man
Richard & Mimi Farina - Hard Loving Loser
Ian Tyson - Someday Soon
Jefferson Airplane - We Can Be Together
Great Big Sea - The Fisherman's Lament
Ethan Daniel Davidson - 1913 Massacre
Major = Smart Casual
...but no matter what's on, I keep humming "Happy Days Are Here Again."

All of the above?

Robert Reich wonders "Why are they gunning for Howard Dean?" His theories don't necessarily conflict...
1. The only way a Dem gets on television after such a sweet victory isn’t by criticizing Republicans – it’s by criticizing fellow Dems. Stirring up clear waters grabs attention. Attention draws crowds. Crowds create power. Power is the name of the game in Washington, especially when formal control of Congress changes hands.

2. Dean’s strategy of putting money into state party infrastructure takes money out of the pockets of Washington insiders – away form Democratic consultants and key congressional party activists. That makes insiders angry.

3. Dean is an independent DNC chair, not under the sway of the Clintons. Unlike Ron Brown, who guided the DNC toward a Clinton victory in 1992, Dean doesn’t play the usual power games. Hence, the Clintons would like him out, and the sooner the better. Carville, Greenberg, and Emmanuel, among others, are doing their bidding.
Bob Reich is still the best thing about the Clinton administration.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Don't be a sucker.

Greg Sargent explains...
...the truth is this: Lieberman is virtually certain not to switch. The Senate map for 2008 looks like tough sledding for the GOP, so if Lieberman switched parties, he'd be at grave risk of relegating himself to the minority for years to come. And as you've probably noticed by now, the last thing Lieberman wants is to be considered irrelevant. Every time he hints that he might switch, he's doing it to get attention -- nothing more, nothing less.
In fact, Joe Lieberman is going to vote with the caucus 90% of the time on 90% of the issues before the Senate, as he always has. He's a marginal man, and he'd be even more marginal across the aisle.

He'll be infuriating from time to time, but he's best ignored.

Strike a blow...

...or a click, anyway, for the Speaker-designate and the Party.

An answer, at last.

If, like me, you've been wondering what victory in Iraq would look like, the Preznit finally offers an answer...
"We'll succeed unless we quit."
That's it. As long as we fight, as long as our soldiers and Iraqi men, women and children die, as long as the torture continues, as long as our treasury is being pumped into the war machine, we succeed.

Perpetual war.

It's all he's got.


Yeah, both of 'em, but this time St. McCain™ is the featured prevaricator…
"...the election results were an expression of frustration with Washington gridlock and Washington's lack of touch with real America. In 1994, American voters sent Republicans to Congress to change government; instead, we became government."
The truth? Every Democrat seeking reelection to office in DC was reelected, because the results were about Republican corruption, Republican incompetence and the goddamn Republican war.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

When it comes to credit…

…for bringing local bloggers aboard the Darcy Burner bandwagon there was no one earlier or more enthusiastic than Andrew at the Northwest Progressive Institute, and there's no doubt that his local efforts were instrumental in her eventual adoption by most of the national heavyweights. His contribution just can't be overstated, but on this point, well, include me out...
Nobody in this organization or the larger Pacific Northwest progressive community seriously expected to win WA-08, WA-05, or WA-04 - though we all did have high hopes. And we worked hard to try and make it happen...

...Our strategy was, and is, to invest in races to make them competitive.
The 4th and 5th, well, ok, but the 8th? I seriously believed that Dave Reichert could be defeated, and I came to serously expect Darcy to get it done. I seriously believe it's worth another shot, because I still seriously believe she can do it.

I try to avoid ex-cathedra statements about 'the blogosphere' or 'the netroots,' because while a lot of us have a great deal in common, and we all benefit from linking and working cooperatively, we're hardly a monolithic lot.

Sorry, Andrew. My strategy was, and is, Democratic victory.

I can live with setbacks, but there's still no substitute.

This is still America, dammit…

…and we still have a Constitution. Senator Dodd is determined to help us act like it.
"It’s clear the people who perpetrated these horrendous crimes against our country and our people have no moral compass and deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But in taking away their legal rights, the rights first codified in our country’s Constitution, we’re taking away our own moral compass, as well.”
I can't think of a more important priority right now than The Effective Terrorists Prosecution Act, which...
· Restores Habeas Corpus protections to detainees
· Narrows the definition of unlawful enemy combatant to individuals who directly participate in hostilities against the United States who are not lawful combatants
· Bars information gained through coercion from being introduced as evidence in trials
· Empowers military judges to exclude hearsay evidence they deem to be unreliable
· Authorizes the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to review decisions by the Military commissions
· Limits the authority of the President to interpret the meaning and application of the Geneva Conventions and makes that authority subject to congressional and judicial oversight
· Provides for expedited judicial review of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 to determine the constitutionally of its provisions
Now there's an act to make a patriot proud.

It's what we have to do to take our country back.

Dodd's stock just went sky high in my eyes.

Wankery 101

A headline proclamation from the New York Times
Many Say Leadership Race Damages Democrats’ Image
OK, Ellen Tauscher sounds a note of modest concern...
“It’s four days that we haven’t talked about our message and built on the euphoria.”
…and Steny thinks the whole thing is "somewhat distracting," though he seems confident that "…we will bring the party together and become unified…"…but there's not much mention of meaningful damage there. And "many say"? Not that many, unless you count Ray LaHood's pals...
“I can’t believe they are self-destructing before they even get started,” said Representative Ray LaHood, Republican of Illinois. “Everyone on our side is giddy.”
Of course, Carl Hulse can't really be blamed for the headline, can he? Unless you think his overwrought lede, rather than the actual reporting that follows, inspired it...
WASHINGTON, Nov. 15 — House members acknowledged on Wednesday that the increasingly bitter contest for majority leader was sullying the image of unity and new direction that Democrats hoped to convey.
Nope, it's just wankery, pure and simple. Hardly unique, though. Of course, it's worse when we feed the wankers. For instant, the Clintonista Liberation Front (Carville and Greenberg) serve up a steaming pile to Adam Nagourney, who digs right in...
The Democrats are celebrating their big victory of Nov. 7 with recriminations, finger-pointing and infighting, no matter that they won control of the Senate and the House for the first time since 1994.
Of course, it's not just in the Times. Stuart Rothenberg frets that...
Now, reporters will have the Pelosi versus Hoyer story to kick around for the next couple of years…
…as though reporters would have been otherwise unaware that there's been a rivalry between the top two House Democrats for some years now. In the blogosphere, Ezra Klein legitimizes the story line with an exclamation...
...we've seen the (legitimate!) return of the "Democrats in disarray" storyline. though the story line had ever gone away.

From the lofty view of the leftish media, David Corn seems a little too eager to self-fulfill his own prophecy...
There's no way to spin this: this was a big loss for incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi…this vote will be depicted as a slam on Pelosi and on the start-withdrawing-now Democrats.
Of course, if Nancy Pelosi hadn't done everything she could for her longtime friend and caucus ally Jack Murtha, we can only imagine the story line. "Pelosi Dumps Pal!" "Loyalty Not A 'San Francisco Value'!"


People who actually care about the fate of our new majorities would do well to heed Arianna this time...
It bodes well for Pelosi that was willing to spend her political capital right off the bat -- especially on the issue that will define her time at the helm. Far too many modern politicians save their political capital until it's lost all its value.
Meanwhile, eternal vigilance, folks, because the wankers are everywhere, and for the most part, the conventional wisdom is foolish.

The other front...

Al-Qaeda's influence and numbers are rapidly growing in Afghanistan, with fighters operating from new havens and mimicking techniques learned on the Iraqi battlefield for use against U.S. and allied troops, the directors of the CIA and defense intelligence told Congress yesterday.
Of course, folks still have to make a living.
Net opium poppy cultivation (hectares);

2002: 74,000;
2003: 80,000;
2004: 131,000;
2005: 104,000;
2006: 165,000.

Damn. Well, at least we freed those people, didn't we?
Increasing numbers of Afghan women are committing suicide by setting fire to themselves to escape difficult lives, according to NGOs based in the country.

They say women forced into marriage or suffering chronic abuse are killing themselves out of desperation.

Although estimates are difficult to make, one group says cases of self-immolation in the capital have doubled since last year.

Cases are said to be reported every day in the western city of Herat.

In Kabul, some 36 cases of self-immolation have been recorded this year.

The intramural season is over…

…and the varsity lineup is set.
Nominee for Speaker:
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)

Majority Leader:
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD)

Majority Whip:
Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC)

Caucus Chair:
Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-IL)

Vice-Caucus Chair:
Rep. John Larson (D-CT)
Now let's get out there and win a few for democracy.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


From John in DC...
The only goal that mattered was winning back the House and Senate. And we did. No candidate in any race is more important than that goal.

From the "Lessons Not Learned" file…

Trent's back (not that he was all that far away).

As Chris Bowers puts it…
"...the modern Republican Party is welcoming of all types of people, even though they did just elect a leader who think the country would have fewer problems if a segregationist had become President instead of Harry Truman."
That would be "modern" in a purely chronological sense, I suppose.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Michael Hood has some "great hopes" for Darcy Burner. I share them, pretty much exactly.
First: despite you gave up so much to make this sacrifice, we hope that through some miracle or extra-natural calling you will have redoubled the commitment to your son's future that inspired this race. We hope you run again. You'll be even better at it next time, and your opponent's vulnerabilities will still be be there. Remember: politics are never over.

Second: we're hopeful and convinced that the 8th District is only an election cycle away from turning as blue as the Republicans' noses. Your near miss shows your abilities as a candidate and a policy thinker, and also that the 8th is within reach.

Third: we hope your use of the net roots will be a model for liberal campaigns everywhere. This new techno/political medium was only beginning to gather its strength- many of us in it didn't know yet its potentials- but you'd already got it. You used us to raise some significant money, do some focused organizing, and get out your message in a way that's the old order's attention. The right-wing blogs haven't caught onto the concept yet, preferring to stand off to the side, and be snide.
While thousands helped and millions were raised, the most outstanding feature of the campaign was always Darcy herself. None of the rest would have mattered if she hadn't been so damn good at doing what she was doing, whether it was doggedly pursuing the generally humiliating duty of dialing for dollars to charming the bejasus out virtually every crowd she came across.

She was a first-time candidate and, some scoffed, 'third-tier' to boot. Seemingly by force of will, but certainly on the shoulders of many, she turned WA-08 into a high profile race, and forced the national GOP to spend millions in defense of the local icon they'd entrusted this supposedly gerrymandered seat to.

Darcy did us proud.

Add my voice to the chorus of thanks, and my name to an early endorsement for '08.

On a more somber note…

...Brand W Dave squeeks one out.
Darcy Burner already had called Reichert called Monday night to congratulate him on winning a second term, and the two shared their frustrations about the slow pace of Washington's largely vote-by-mail elections.
Sheriff Dave demonstrated a typical lack of grace…
"Finally, something we agree on," Reichert told The Associated Press Monday in a phone interview from Washington, D.C.

Pasted from Umm, Dave? Didn't you just drop a few million bucks trying to tell us you were an independent minded kind of guy? One who freqently disagreed with the Preznit and agreed with you opponent's view on things like Schaivo, ANWR and more?

Hell of a time to tell us you're just another doctrinaire Republican with bad manners

Way to go, Homegirl!

As a constituent and supporter since her first election to the Shoreline School Board, I take just a bit of hometown pride in Senator Murray's leap into the leadership big leagues...
WASHINGTON -- Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., won the fourth-highest leadership post Tuesday as Senate Democrats organized their new majority following last week's elections.

Murray, who is in her third term, was named secretary of the Democratic caucus, replacing Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., who is stepping down to lead the Senate Democratic Steering Committee.

The secretary's job ranks behind Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., caucus vice chairman.
Heady company, but we know you'll make us proud, Patty.

Monday, November 13, 2006

More McCain?

Oliver doesn't like him either.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Mark Barrett at The Premise...
John McCain: ...For suicide before he was against it. Flip. Flop.
And then there's this…

And now...

Saturday, November 11, 2006


The usual suspect (emphasis mine)…
"The profile of corruption in the exit polls was bigger than I'd expected," Rove tells TIME. "Abramoff, lobbying, Foley and Haggard [the disgraced evangelical leader] added to the general distaste that people have for all things Washington, and it just reached critical mass."
The truth is, not one Democrat in Washington, DC was removed from office in this election. Not one.

The general distaste was reserved for Republicans.

Hat tip to Digby.

Return to random.

Nice list. Some commercially obscure indies in there, all worth tracking down.
Ekoostik Hookah - I Been Down That Road
Bottoms Up Blues Gang - Key To The Highway
King Curtis - Memphis Soul Stew
Lovin' Spoonful - Lovin' You
The Impressions - It's All Right
Jerry Garcia Band - Sugaree
Chris Daniels & The Kings - If I'd Only Taken You Dancing
Freeloader - Renee
Bossa Nova Beatniks - Route 66
Doc Watson & Frosty Morn - On A Monday

A little Veterans Day truth…

…from Carl.
"...we need to stop having Dead Americans."
Sooner, rather than later.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sure, it's disgraceful…

…(and 'anti=Deaniac' is so, well, 2004), but this isn't really out of character…
Says James Carville, one of the anti-Deaniacs, "Suppose Harold Ford became chairman of the DNC? How much more money do you think we could raise? Just think of the difference it could make in one day. Now probably Harold Ford wants to stay in Tennessee. I just appointed myself his campaign manager."
After all, as Chris Bowers reminds us, the Ragin' Cajun is the guy who "... undermined John Kerry's potential challenge to the result in Ohio in 2004."

Digby's right
Apparently the beltway elite is determined to start a war.
...and I'm on the same side of that war as he is, but why be coy. We can draw the circle tighter than "belway elite."

It's not secret that James Carville isn't an independent operator. What he does, what he says, is on behalf of a Clinton, every time. It's pretty clear to me that Hillary remembers how handy it was to have a friend in the DNC Chair. Just as Ron Brown greased the skids for Bill, Hillary's looking for a break in '08. Her grotesque spending in New York (how many more House and Senate seats might, what, $20 million have brought home) has been described as a financial potlatch, a ritual display of wealth designed to establish rank via capacity for srecklsess self-indulgence. Hell, she's still torpedoing that Kerry fella.

Yep, '08's begun in earnest, folks.

It's better, I suppose…

…to be squabbling about credit rather than blame, but there's a risk that the quest for credit could become as internally destructive to Democrats as the current blame game is proving to be for Republicans. It's laudable of Atrios to declare that "I really don't care who gets "credit." I just know that it's silly to set this up as a competition…", but why not stop there? Why this?
"…some of the hostility you see from some in the party organizations to the "netroots" is absurd."
I mean, if it's so, which Party organizations? And who in them?

Not the DNC, certainly. Chairman Dean, after all, is the front man for the '50 State Strategy' that so much of the blogosphere would like credit for, though it's really a creation of the State Chairs who were, far more than any bloggers, the architects of the Dean Chairmanship after he adopted their priorities.

I know Rahm Emmanuel is a current prime target for 'netroots' antagonism, but he's the one who broke with recent precedent and decided very early to expand the field to three times the number of targets required for a majority. He continued to expand the the DCCC targets throughout the election as campaigners (Peter Goldmark is a notable example) proved their bona fides, even though they may have remained longshots. Beyond that, the DCCC has run one of the most open and able internet shops in Democratic politics for a couple of cycles now (howdy, Jesse!). No, not there.

The DSCC, maybe? Not that I can see. They've only expanded their outreach, in my experience, and improved their online operation to a degree that gives serious challenge to their House counterparts.

State Parties? Maybe some, somewhere, though I read tons of local and regional blogs, and I haven't seen any particular complaints. It's certainly not true here in the Upper Left, where regional bloggers have been embraced and encouraged by Chairman Dwight Pelz and his team.

If anything, the Party organizations have been more than gracious, in my experience, despite the fact that that graciousness hasn't always been reciprocated. To believe some of the bloggers out there, for instance, you'd think that Rahm deliberately tried to throw the election just to spite them.

Of course, part of the problem is the tendency of some of the A-listers to speak ex-cathedra, as though everyone who logs in is lined up in lock step. Duncan is less guilty of that particular tendency than most of his cohort, but he can still slip. For example...
As for Lamont/Lieberman, well, that sucks, but a big reason we all supported a run against Joe was to force the party to Start Talking About the War.
Who, exactly, is this "we all." I mean, I may be small potatoes in the world of Kos, Atrios and the MyDD crew, but I have a blog, and I supported Ned Lamont's primary challenge, and that wasn't my reason at all. I was just sick to death of Joe's sanctimonious apologies for and accusation aimed at his fellow partisans. Maybe that's because I'm part of the Party, and I was talking about the war, and I was listening to the Party and I heard lots of talk about the war from folks like Jack Murtha, Nancy Pelosi and, of course, that Kerry fella.

In fact, "we all" aren't unanimous on very much, really, except that Democrats, generally, are preferable to Republicans. Just watch the race for '08 heat up and see how much real divergence "we all" are capable of.

For now, the only election I'm claiming credit for is the largely unheralded and totally unopposed race for Precinct Committee Officer in SH 32-0558. Hey, I did fill out the form, after all.

And blame? Screw blame. We won. I'm still celebrating.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Top cop.

Congrats are due to Jerry Brown, who I've voted for in races for Secretary of State, Governor, US Senator and President, for his election to Attorney General in California.

One of the most visionary and inspiring individuals I've known over the four decades or so I've been watching politics, he's still going strong at 68 and I'd still vote for him on any ballot before me, for any office, anywhere.

Way to go, Guv!

Even though I vote a straight ticket...

...I don't love the Clintons enough to rate a perfect score.

You Are 80% Democratic

You have a good deal of donkey running through your blood, and you're proud to be liberal.
You don't fit every Democratic stereotype, but you definitely belong in the Democratic party.

What's up in 08?

No, not 2008. WA-08. You know, Darcy.

I dunno.

Nobody does, really, but Goldy's explanation is probably as informed as any you'll find. In a nutshell, it looks like Darcy Burner's within 1% of Brand W Dave with somewhere between 40 to 60% of the votes left to count.

Not done, but doable.

And all y'all who love mail in ballots? Hope you're enjoying the wait…


Labor comes home, and brings an election with them...
According to internal AFL-CIO surveys, union voters supported Democrats 74% of the time, up from 68% in 2002. They focused on -- and managed to turn out -- hundreds of thousands of drop-off voters.

More than 205,000 union members volunteered for the AFL-CIO’s political program this year. Union members knocked on more than 8.25 million doors, made 30 million phone calls and passed out more than 14 million leaflets at workplaces and in neighborhoods. The AFL-CIO’s program sent out more than 20 million pieces of mail to union households, not including those sent by affiliate unions
The AFL-CIO’s “Final Four” program in the final four days of the election proved to be a powerful counter to the RNC’s 72-hour program. The AFL-CIO turned out 187,000 volunteers, made nearly 8 million phone calls and knocked on 3.5 million doors in the final four days.
Can anybody think of any other identifiable demographic beside African-Americans that turned out 74% for Democrats?

I know we're supposed to be in an era of way-new politics and everything, but it's as true today as it's been since the New Deal coalition was forged by your grandparents - when you're shopping for Democratic victory, look for the union label.

And It Just Keeps Getting Better

Yesterday, word was that Virginia had decided not to declare a winner in their senatorial race until November 27th. This made many of us a little cranky. Today, sources close to incumbent George "The Macaca Guy" Allen say he will probably concede the election as early as today, giving the Dems control of the senate as well as the house. Keep your TVs warmed up, and check on George Bush's rose garden speech at 11:30 ET, too. My guess is the angry tone evident in his voice yesterday will be much more subdued this morning. He'll be heading to the garden just after having breakfast with Republican leadership and meeting with his cabinet. Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall for those conversations? The subject of the Virginia race is surely on the menu, along with sour grapes. It should be an interesting morning for news channel surfing, folks. Even if Allen doesn't make an appearance, his opponent, projected victor Jim Webb, is planning a news conference to declare victory. And with that victory, Dick Cheney's tie-breaker status goes out the window, and he must surely see a chalk outline around his relevance, if not his political career.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Darcy Burner…

wants you to know:
· We are down slightly as of midnight Election Day, but this is expected because the current vote includes a disproportionate number of Pierce County votes (our least favorable area).
· We are outperforming Dave Ross (2004’s Democratic nominee) in both Pierce and King Counties.
· There are upwards of 150,000 ballots left to count. The lion’s share of those votes are King County absentees.

· We still believe this will be a very, very close election.
· We remain cautiously optimistic given that the remaining absentees favor Darcy.
· It is likely we will have to wait until Friday or next week for a clearer sense of the outcome.
· We will work to make sure every valid vote is counted.
Stay positive. Stay tuned.

Happy days are here again

Resurgent Democrats win control of House

The skies above are clear again

Democrats take majority of governorships

So lets sing a song of cheer again

Rumsfeld quits as Democrats sweep U.S. election

Happy days are here again

Pelosi set to become first woman to lead House

Altogether shout it now

Youth turnout in election biggest in 20 years

Theres no one who can doubt it now

Democrats make big gains in state

So lets tell the world about it now

Dow reaches new high on election results

Happy days are here again.

Lessons not learned.

While Democratic leaders are (appropriately for now, I think) sending messages of conciliation and promises of bi-partisanship, Rep. Mike Pence is having none of it in his announcement for the position of Minority Leader...
Our mission has now changed. Our mission in the Majority was to pass legislation reflecting Republican principles. The duty of the Republican Minority in the 110th Congress is to defeat the liberal agenda of the Democrat (sic) Party and become the majority in Congress again. We will only defeat the Democrat agenda by presenting a positive, conservative message in vivid contrast to the big government liberalism of the new Majority.
Yeah, the Newtonian 'Democrat' slur again. The same one Bush used in his press conference this morning. That's certainly helpful.

And what's that liberal agenda almost-Speaker Pelosi's pushing again? Clean up corruption, support the middle class, defend America and restore civility to government? That's what Pence is against. OK, then.

Rep. John Shadegg strikes a similar not in a 'Dear Colleague' announcing his run for Minority Whip...
"Last night's election was NOT a revolution, nor was it an endorsement of a true or real Democrat alternative. It was a rebuke of the way Washington has conducted itself as of late. This past year, we were presented with many opportunities to act decisively, but instead we wavered in our responsibilities. Yet in defeat there is hope, and now we are presented with an opportunity to reevaluate, unite, and change course."

"It is for these reasons, along with the urging of my colleagues that I have decided to run for Minority Whip. Now is the time to return to the ideals that swept us into a governing majority. The Democrats that were elected yesterday do not represent the reform that Americans want. They do not stand for a strong national defense, nor do they stand for fiscal restraint. They will not end pork barrel spending or reform the earmarking process, and they will not change the way Washington works."
Yep, more slams and slurs. And a big lie. The election wasn't a "rebuke of the way Washington has conducted itself…" It was a rebuke of the way Republicans have conducted themselves in Washington. One of the reasons the Democratic victory is so magnificent is that it was so unilateral. Not a single Republican pickup. Not one.

This wasn't about (the other) Washington. It wasn't about incumbents. It was about Republican arrogance, incompetence and corruption.

They haven't learned a damn thing, but I really don't mind. Actually, I like the sound of 'permanent Democratic majority...'

While folks scramble for credit…

(was it Chuck and Rahm? The bloggers? Some very talented candidates who made impressive personal sacrifices and efforts along the way? Maybe the ineherent, if not always apparent, wisdom of the American voter?) it's good to see some folks who'd never ask for credit get some. Marc Ambinder at The Hotline puts some well deserved focus on the should-be vaunted Democratic field operation...
Here are a few Democrats who deserve mucho credit for building an impressive ground machine.

At the DCCC, they are Sean Sweeney and Adrian Saenz, political and field directors respectively.

At the DSCC, pol. dir. Guy Cecil spent months developing GOTV programs in Montana and Missouri that effectively harnessed those states' blue waves. (Not for nothing are DSCC exec dir J.B. Poersch and DCCC exec dir. Karin Johanson old hands at "field.") BTW: the DCCC brought in guru Michael Whouley to supervise the field programs during the last two months.
It's a big win. There's credit to go around, but three cheers for the folks who beat Bush's Brain at his own game.

Too soon to call...

...the quote of the day, I suppose, but here's an early contender.
"Democrats are not about getting even. Democrats are about helping the American people get ahead."

Nancy Pelosi

Oh my goodness gracious!

Breaking news - Rummy resigns.

It's morning in America.

My expectations are exceeded and my hopes are still alive. If this is as good as it gets, well, it's good.

And it's getting better all the time.

Memo to Harry…

…knock this off now.
"The message to the American people should be, 'A one-party town doesn't work'"
That's just nonsense. The message should be 'A Republican Party town doesn't work.'

A 'one-party town' gave us the New Deal, Social Security, collective bargaining, victory in World War II, the Marshall Plan, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act and countless other achievements. The only thing wrong with a 'one-party town' is the wrong party.

Democratic leaders who don't get that or who aren't willing to say that may be the wrong leaders.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Almost there.

Some exit polling is starting to show up, and some hard results will be coming soon. I've generally avoided the temptation to forecast this election, because I know from sad experience that it ain't over till it's over. I have some high hopes, balanced by fairly modest expectations. The Senate, for instance, is a hope. The House is an expectation.

But the more I know, the more I know I don't know. Just fifteen seats. That's all I ask, and from here it's hard to see how that doesn't happen.

So, where are you, and what's it look like there?

And remember...

Just a few more hours…

…that's all the time we've got.
In a few hours I'll walk into my local polling place and mark my ballot. For what it's worth, here's what I'm doing.

There will be partisan races for the US Senate, US House, two State House and a State Senate seat on my ballot, and I'll be voting a straight party ticket, natch. I fully expect US Senator Maria Cantwell, US Representative Jim McDermott, State Reps Ruth Kagi and Maralyn Chase and State Senator Darlene Fairley to be returned to office. The sole remaining partisan race, King County Prosecutor, features an unchallenged Republican incumbent, and my ballot will be unmarked in that non-contest.

There's one contested judicial race, and I'll be supporting State Supreme Court Justice Susan Owens, who I hope prevails in her defense against a special interest assault on the appellate bench.

Initiatives? I hate 'em. I think whatever value they ever had as a populist reform has been corrupted beyond redemption. I vote no on all of them as a matter of principle. If you're inclined to consider them at all, though, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that virtually everyone I respect says Initiative 937 is one of the rare good ones.

I'll be voting for the only referendum on the ballot, HJR 4223, which provides a degree of relief for small businesses operating under one of the most regressive tax codes in the nation.

King County Prop. 1 is basically housekeeping, and will get my vote. Prop. 2 is problematic for me, because while I support the transit improvements it would provide, I'm loath to support any increase in the burden of the same damn regressive tax structure that has me voting for HJR 4223. I'm out of step with most of my fellow Ds, I suppose, but I'm voting no on 2.

I'm exceedingly grateful that I don't reside in the City of Seattle so I don't have to worry about all those damn Charter Amendments that make my voter's pamphlet look like a small telephone directory,

See all the rest of y'all dinosaurs that share my affection for the voting booth over kitchen table ballots at the polls!

The General wants you to…

The Mann.

Via Crooks & Liars
Mr. President, there is no other conclusion we can draw as we go to the polls tomorrow.

Sir… you have been making this up as you went along.

This country was founded to prevent anybody from making it up as they went along.
Vote as if your country counts on it.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Washington State Dems want you to know…

Call us if you need assistance. If you have problems voting, need to know your voting place, or have any other questions, don't hesitate to call our voter hotline at 1-877-DEMS-4-WA (1-800-336-7492). If you vote at the polls, keep in mind that polling places close at 8 pm. If you vote by mail, remember that your ballot must be postmarked by tomorrow (Tuesday). Make sure you know when the last pickup is at your nearest mail dropoff location.

The DCCC wants you to know…

Dirty Tricks 2006: GOP Spends $600k on Late Night Attack Phone Calls

Today, with memories of past intimidation in the minds of voters, national Republican operatives are phoning voters at all hours of the night, especially at 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. to try and dampen Democratic turnout.

Learn more >> Fight back: volunteer >>


Sunday, November 05, 2006


Is there anybody in the whole wide world (with the possible exception of Iraqis who who were personally victimized by the sonofabitch) who gives a good goddam about the decision of the kangaroo court in Iraq?

I mean, why? What possible difference can it make at this point to any sane person?

Morning after update: None, apparently.

And now...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Heckuva Fantastic job, Rummy…

WASHINGTON - President Bush said Wednesday he wants Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney to remain with him until the end of his presidency, extending a job guarantee to two of the most-vilified members of his administration.

"Both those men are doing fantastic jobs and I strongly support them," Bush said in an interview with The Associated Press and others.
On the other hand...

"Rumsfeld has lost credibility with the uniformed leadership, with the troops, with Congress and with the public at large. His strategy has failed, and his ability to lead is compromised. And although the blame for our failures in Iraq rests with the secretary, it will be the troops who bear its brunt."

An editorial slated for election eve in The Army Times, The Navy Times, The Air Force Times & The Marine Corps Times.
Actually, there's blame to go around, but you've got to start somewhere…

Hat tip to The Carpetbagger Report and, well, damn near everybody.

Tune time...

OK, so it's not quite random this week...

Booker T & The MGs - Time Is Tight
Judy Collins - Get Together
Willie Nelson - Funny How The Time Slips Away
Rickie Lee Jones - Have You Had Enough?
The Temptations - Ain't Too Proud To Beg
Bob Marley & The Wailers - Redemption Song
Richie Havens - Here Comes The Sun
Ian Tyson - Someday Soon
Tim Hardin - Reason To Believe
Mavis Staples - Respect Yourself

Friday, November 03, 2006

"...the most condescending, sexist TV ad..."

...that Joel Connelly's ever seen would have to be a doozy, indeed, but that's his take on Dave Reichert's latest slam on Darcy Burner. I haven't seen it, and given Joel's description, I don't think I want to…
It shows a ditzy blonde showing up for a job interview. She is unable to list any qualifications or give coherent answers and is sent away.

Waiting in the wings, as she leaves, is Dave Reichert with a sly look on his face.
It's unclear to me how that applies to the Harvard educated former CAP wing commander who went on to a successful career in a highly demanding business environment, but I guess I'm just not part of the club. You know the club…

Sadly, Joel succumbs to the "on the other hand" school of journalism in his piece, with a dig at Maria (I like Joel, but I really don't get the man-crush he seems to have on Mike McGavick)…
Democratic groups, acting for Sen. Maria Cantwell, immediately attacked him for laying off Safeco employees and taking a handsome "golden parachute" on leaving to run for the Senate.

McGavick is still defending himself and trying to turn the Safeco issue to his advantage. With surrogates doing her dirty work, Cantwell has spoken sparingly on the subject.
McGavick, of course, did lay of thousands of Safeco employees (he's confessed that a late round of layoffs is one of his greatest regrets, along with his divorce and his drunk-driving bust) after making the transition from Slade Gorton's hatchet man to Safeco's axe man. He did take a "handsome" (some would say "obscene." Me, for instance.) golden parachute. Saying so is hardly "dirty work," regardless of who says so.

It's not that I don't care...

...or that I don't think that it's a real problem, but some care needs to be taken in the discussion about electronic voting machines and the sundry other problems at the polls doesn't lead to suppressing votes via an 'it just doesn't matter' attitude. Wind and rain knocked my phone lines out for about 18 hours and I spent part of the time consuming more cable news than ususal and it's pretty damned discouraging to hear one host or guest after another wringing their hands over whether votes will be counted, or whether voting really counts.

Beats the heck out of the sex life of Colorado preachers as an issue of import, though.

Shoulda spent more of that time helping Darcy, Peter and Maria.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Want to win?

Want to win big?

Do More Than Vote

Mea Culpa.

The outgoing Speaker writes...
In short, Democrats do not believe in the Global War on Terror….What I mean is Democrats don't believe the war actually exists.
In the case of this particular Democrat, at least, Dennis Hastert's absolutely right (wow, never thought I'd find myself saying that!), because. well, it doesn't actually exist.

Even the most strident advocates of the GWT should understand that, after all, it is not a thing, but a metaphor, like the War On Poverty or the War On (some) Drugs, and, like it's predecessors, it's an unfortunate metaphor. Throwing the word 'war' at everything you don't like reduces the awful reality of the thing itself. It cheapens the sacrifices of those of us who've actually been to war.

So, no, I don't believe in the Global 'War' on Terror (for the record, I don't believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy or moderate Republicans, either).

There's also the problem that the GWT isn't really global, and terror, well, it's pretty hard to pin down, isn't it. I mean, if some North Koreans got fed up and sabotaged their country's nuke plants, how hard would we go after them? If somebody had flown a plane into whichever palace Saddam was spending the night in, how fast would we have retaliated?

We need some reality based language for campaigns against social and political problems that implies appropriate urgency without invoking the specter of the horrific last resort of war.

There's another metaphor, after all, that's truly reality-based for those of us who've been there.

War is Hell.


In case you missed billmon

Having successfully terrified a small child with his threat that "the Democrats are going to use you for science experiments and then sell you to the terrorists," President Bush returns the crying toddler to his parents. (Photo by AP)

Boehner's boner…

House Majority Leader John Boehner: Wolf, I understand that, but let's not blame what's happening in Iraq on Rumsfeld.

Wolf Blitzer: But he's in charge of the military.

House Majority Leader John Boehner: But the fact is the generals on the ground are in charge...
No, actually, they're not. Or, at least, they shouldn't be. Civilian control of the military, with command vested in the Executive and budget authority resting with the Congress, is a central principle of the United States Constitution.

Not, of course, that Republicans give a damn about the Constitution.

Blaming the soldiers, though, for inept political leadership?

Harry gets it...
"John Boehner ought to be ashamed. He's blaming our troops for failures in Iraq. If he wants to cast blame, he can start by looking in the mirror because he and his Congressional Republican colleagues have rubberstamped the Bush Administration's failed policy for nearly four years. Our troops in Iraq have performed bravely. It's political leaders like Congressman Boehner and Donald Rumsfeld, who have failed. I expect President Bush and Congressional Republicans, who demanded John Kerry apologize, hold their own party's majority leader to a much higher standard. There's no spinning his disparaging comments. He made them. He needs to apologize."

There'll be time enough…

…to deal with Democrats who picked up the Rovian spin and attacked a man who has traveled tens of thousands of miles and raised millions of dollars for Democratic candidates this year, and who nearly toppled an incumbent 'war president' while winning the votes of more Americans than any Democrat in history.

I'm not necessarily talking about guys facing hard races in so-called red states.

I'm certainly not just talking about guys.

But there'll be time enough.

Right now, Darcy Burner, Maria Cantwell, Peter Goldmark and the whole dang Democratic Party need you help.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Quote of the Day

"There's not enough good news in the entire New Testament to offset the disaster Rumsfeld has been singularly responsible for creating in Iraq."

Commander Jeff Huber, USN (Ret.), at Main and Central

"Her smile was brighter than the hot desert sun."

She was Army specialist Alyssa Peterson, 27, a Flagstaff, Az., native serving with C Company, 311th Military Intelligence BN, 101st Airborne. Peterson was an Arabic-speaking interrogator assigned to the prison at our air base in troubled Tal-Afar in northwestern Iraq. According to official records, she died on Sept. 15, 2003, from a “non-hostile weapons discharge.”
Greg Mitchell has the rest of the story in Editor & Publisher...
“Peterson objected to the interrogation techniques used on prisoners. She refused to participate after only two nights working in the unit known as the cage. Army spokespersons for her unit have refused to describe the interrogation techniques Alyssa objected to. They say all records of those techniques have now been destroyed….”

She was was then assigned to the base gate, where she monitored Iraqi guards, and sent to suicide prevention training. “But on the night of September 15th, 2003, Army investigators concluded she shot and killed herself with her service rifle,” the documents disclose.
Yeah, it gets worse. Kevin Elston, the reporter who did the digging and filed the FOIA request that exposed the story says "...that the documents also refer to a suicide note found on her body, revealing that she found it ironic that suicide prevention training had taught her how to commit suicide."

Spec. Peterson may have pulled the trigger, but make no mistake about it, these men killed her.

God damn them to Hell. As literally as may be possible.

God. Damn. Them.

Hat tip to CoolAqua.

Don't just tell 'em…

…show 'em.

Help the DCCC get this on everywhere.

Submitted for your consideration…

…by Keith at Northwest Progressive.
If you're considering ANY Republican this year, consider the following: Katrina, macaca, Foley, Cunningham, DeLay, Ney, Abramoff, Weldon, “stay the course,” Halliburton, body armor, Haditha, 103 US Military deaths in October, Scooter Libby, Jeff Gannon, DOMA, waterboarding, “no-brainer,” Military Commissions Act, torture as policy, a PR arm for the Pentagon, Rush Limbaugh on Michael J. Fox, Rush Limbaugh on Abu Ghraib, WMD, “freedom is on the march,” the Taliban, Iraq Civil War, NSA wiretapping, habaeus corpus, posse comitatus, missing armaments in Iraq, missing 7 billion dollars in Iraq, “cut and run,” “I'm the Decider,” Donald Rumsfeld still has his job, “Brownie, you're doin' a heckuva job,” election fraud, Kenneth Blackwell, no-bid contracts...
By now you know...

End of story.

Carville's right, of course…
"He didn’t owe anybody an apology. He owed an explanation”
…which he gave, but for Harold and Jon and anyone else who thought they needed the cover of an apology, here it is...
KERRY: Of course it isn’t what I said. I left out one word, I left out the word us. They got us stuck. Instead of that, I said they got stuck. And they’re taking advantage of it. And here’s what’s wrong.

IMUS: Why not apologize for the misunderstanding?

KERRY: I did, I said it was a botched joke, of course I’m sorry about a botched joke. You think I love botched jokes? It’s pretty stupid.
…and more.
KERRY: ... it's just a disgraceful thing when people try to assert that somebody like me, who has spent 35 years of my life fighting for veterans, standing up for veterans, fighting for their combat pay, fighting for Agent Orange recognition, fighting for their armor, fighting for their up-armored Humvees, fighting for them to have a strategy that wins, fighting to honor them that the notion that this comment was directed at them is an insult by these guys, and they know it. I mean, that's really the bottom line here.
And for all y'all who want to jump on this brouhaha, born and bred in the cesspool of Karl Rove's smear shop, as proof that John Kerry is somehow singularly unsuited for another Presidential bid, Greg Saunders has a relevant reminder...
We've seen this exact same scenario unfold countless times in response to similarly "controversial" remarks by Howard Dean, Al Gore, and others.
It doesn't matter who you like or don't, or what they say or don't. Republicans are just going to lie.

It's what they do.

It's all they got.

By the way, the Democratic Party needs your help.

base (bās) (n.)

A supporting part or layer; a foundation.
A basic or underlying element; infrastructure.
One of the silliest things associated with the latest round of Republican lies is all the handwringing about how it will affect "the base," ours or theirs.

Folks, it's six days out from the election. If you haven't decided how, or even whether, you're going to vote next week, you're not part of anybody's base.

On the other hand, there's a body of voters larger than anybody's base that may still be malleable. You know some of them, at work, maybe, or next door, or even in your own family.

The question to put to them is real simple. Are they going to sit on their hands and let the crooks and liars run the Congress or will they take just a few minutes to strike a blow for democracy?

And have I mentioned that Maria Cantwell needs your help?

Everything you need to know...

...about what Markos calls "the John Kerry nonsense" (not necessarily everything I'll say, mind you, but everything you need to know)...
They're lying about John Kerry.


Because it's all they've got.

Checking in…

…on Way New® brand sovereignty by Bushco™.
BAGHDAD, Oct. 31 — Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki demanded the removal of American checkpoints from the streets of Baghdad on Tuesday, in what appeared to be his latest and boldest gambit in an increasingly tense struggle for more independence from his American protectors.

Mr. Maliki’s public declaration seemed at first to catch American commanders off guard. But by nightfall, American troops had abandoned all the positions in eastern and central Baghdad that they had set up last week with Iraqi forces as part of a search for a missing American soldier. The checkpoints had snarled traffic and disrupted daily life and commerce throughout the eastern part of the city.
If Prime Minister al-Maliki is the democratically elected head of a sovereign government, he has every right to call for anything his heart desires within his borders. If American troopers are expected to abandon a comrade on the battlefield for fear of disrupting "daily life and commerce," the cue for the leaders of our sovereign government couldn't be clearer. It's time to saddle up for withdrawal and leave the Prime Minister to his own sovereign devices.

There's a big "if" there, of course.

Iraq, after all, isn't a democracy any more than it's sovereign. It's an occupied territory on an apparent road to virtual colonization. Here at home, we can toss up a block on that road in just six days.

By the way, Peter Goldmark needs your help.

Don't take my word for it...

...ask the generals.

So, the good news from Iraq is it's not quite chaos.

Feeling safer?