Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Let the DCCC Packing Begin

If you've been reading my posts lately, you know I'm more than a bit upset by the DCCC's pushing Tammy Duckworth into the IL-06 race. My distress has little to do with Ms. Duckworth herself, even though she is a complete political novice who doesn't live and the distict and hasn't spent much time in her adult life in the district. No, my issue is the the idiotic idea that the DCCC can nationalize this race using a pre-packaged 'war hero' narrative to win voters in DuPage. This is just stupid. From Jonathan Kaplan at The Hill :
Emanuel wants Ladda “Tammy” Duckworth, an Army National Guard pilot who lost her legs and suffered a broken arm when Iraqi insurgents hit her helicopter with a rocket-propelled grenade, to jump into the race. According to Bill Burton, the Democratic Campaign Congressional Committee’s (DCCC) spokesman, Emanuel believes her military credentials and wounds give her an edge in a district that no Democrat has ever won.

When I think of a political edge, I think ground support, name recognition, poltiical ability, etc. Not the DCCC. It's Duckworth's military creds and wounds that give her an edge?!? How crass can these guys get? How base can they go?

Ms. Duckworth, are you willing to be a suckpuppet like this? It's not your views or your talents. It's that you are a wounded Iraq vet they can pre-package into a 'war hero' narrative. This isn't going to work, and I'm not the only one thinking this:
While Duckworth could tap into Emanuel’s political operation to raise money, some political operatives doubt a strategy of “nationalizing,” i.e. having national party officials involved in the midterm elections, would work.

“Congressional races are far more sheriff’s races than they are D.C. races, if they are going to be competitive,” said Mike McKeon, an independent, Chicago-based pollster. “It’s a mistake trying to run national in a congressional campaign.”

Rahm Emanuel, and his of so clever spokesman Bill Burton, should be ashamed of themselves. Not only are they trying to undermine Cegelis when there are 90+ other House races out there without Democratic challengers, but they are not even trying to hide that all they care about Duckworth is that she has a good bio and makes for good photo ops.

This is pathetic. This is reprehensible. This might as well be Republican.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sun Times Article: DCCC Support Cegelis

I'm not the only one who finds it really strange that Emanuel and the DCCC are not supporting Cegelis. From today's Sun Times courtesy of Dick Simpson:
Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) should quit playing games and support Christine Cegelis for Congress.


As Sun-Times columnist Lynn Sweet reported, Emanuel courted Army Major "Tammy" Duckworth to run as the Democratic candidate. He cynically believes that people will vote for her just because she is a wounded veteran of the Iraq War. She has no political platform and no indigenous campaign organization. She is still undergoing physical therapy for her war injuries and she had to get permission from the military to run. She will leave active duty on Dec. 1 to do so.

Apparently the campaign staff and cash would be helicoptered in from Washington because there has been no base built in the district even though nominating petitions are to be filed beginning Dec. 12. David Alexrod has been picked by Emanuel to run her public relations campaign locally.

As a candidate produced a couple of weeks before petitions are to be filed in an election for which she has yet to campaign, running is neither in Duckworth's best interest nor the party's. Emanuel just wants her to run because he can control her and use her in photo opportunities for the party.

BOO-YA. See everyone, It's not just the lefty blogosphere. Duckworth has no experience, no campaign in place, no in-district time, and is basically going to be Emanuel's sock puppet - and I'm not the only one who has had this thought! So what about the Democrats already in the race:
Professor Lindy Scott of Wheaton College, who is also running, has a grassroots base in the district and a political platform. He has taught Spanish and Latin American Studies at Wheaton for 10 years. His platform includes: "We should inform the Iraqi government that we will withdraw our troops over the next two years and we will submit to their precise timetable within those parameters." He has raised only $21,000 but is serious about running.

In comparison to Duckworth and Scott, who have never run for office before, Cegelis received 44.2 percent of the vote in 2004 against long-term Republican incumbent Hyde. Her election would revolutionize suburban politics by making elections between Democrats and Republicans competitive.

In talks before audiences in the 6th District over the last couple of weeks, Cegelis asserts that she is fighting to reclaim the American Dream and better opportunities for Americans. She believes the country is going in the wrong direction. Because she is a mother, she is concerned about the next generation and the country we are leaving to our grandchildren. She argues the cost of a college education is too high. She points out the No Child Left Behind federal legislation is causing primary and secondary education costs in her district to soar at the same time some suburban schools are losing funding by being placed on the state's failing school lists.

She believes we have to be smarter in fighting terrorism by better gathering and using intelligence and data which the Bush administration is failing to do. On Iraq she has consistently said: "We need to develop a timeline and an exit strategy to get out of Iraq." She is pro-choice on the issue of abortion.

This is a tough but winnable district for the Democrats. In 2004, Cegelis carried 44.2 percent of the vote; John Kerry, 47 percent, and Barack Obama, 60.

So what's the problem with Cegelis then? Oh yes, that be all, end all, money yardstick:
Cegelis' sin in the eyes of Emanuel is that she has raised only $160,000 this year and has only $50,000 in the bank. Washington insiders believe that only campaigns that raise $1 million win. Emanuel previously tried and failed to get some personally wealthy Democrat to jump in the race. Failing that, he is putting up a war veteran in the hope of winning the sympathy and patriotic vote despite the fact that the majority of Americans now want to get out of Iraq.

The national Democratic Party would do better to send money and support to Cegelis. She, her more than 100 campaign volunteers, and the Democrats and Republicans in the 6th District who voted for her last time, have earned the right to run this race.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: The DCCC wanted to replace Cegelis with a millionaire candidte with deep pockets and inside ties. Since that failed, now the DCCC wants to try a pre-packaged 'war hero' candidate they can sell to the electorate as they attempt to buy the election with their resources and consultants. Rahm Emanuel and the DCCC have been trying to undermine the Cegelis campaign for months. Is is any wonder her fundraising has been hurt by their whisper campaign of promising Beltway insiders that Cegelis was a poor candidate they would replace with a sure winner?

This is just plain wrong and they should be ashamed for undermining a local Democratic candidate like Cegelis.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The DCCC is Buying My District

Here's a story for you: One driver works his way up to the Big Race by racing dirt tracks, fixing up his own cars, begging, borrowing and co-opting money for his racing team. He had a surprising showing in his first major outing, even though he was a last minute entry and had almost no national sponsors. He's a good driver and learned a lot from his experience in the dirt track, and has gotten to know the people in the local racing scene.

Another driver is a favorite of a big race sponsor. He has a great bio and photographs well, so he can be marketed easily. He hasn't driven in any races yet, but his connection to the race sponsor helps grease his path. The big race sponsor buys him a top of the line car, sets up all his sponsors for him, and even gets him all kinds of press touting him as the best thing to hit the Big Race since sliced bread.

So which driver is better? If you are the DCCC, you like the guy with no experience and the best team money can buy.

In case you've missed it, the DCCC has been trying to undermine the Cegelis campaign for months. Now, according to Lynn Sweet in the Chicago Sun Times, they've fixed their sights on injured Iraq vet, Tammy Duckworth - a political rookie with no campaign in place - except the very best one money and DCCC connections can buy.
While Duckworth is a political rookie with no campaign experience or political organization behind her, if she runs, she will be able to tap into a turnkey political operation engineered in large part by Emanuel. That operation consists of some of the state's highest-profile Democratic political professionals, including media consultant David Axelrod, direct mail marketeer Peter Giangreco and Jasculca, who said he met with her in Washington a few weeks ago to discuss the possibility of a campaign.

So a political rookie, who hasn't declared yet, is able to afford all those DCCC consultants? Where did she get the money? Especially given what this beneficiary of a DCCC turn-key campaign think about the war in Iraq, given that she has first hand experience fighting there:
It's unclear what Duckworth would say about the Iraq war. When I asked her, she would not declare the war right or wrong: "There is good and bad in everything."

So in a political environment in which the Iraq War is becoming more and more unpopular, a candidate looking to take the DLC middle of the road position, tossing away the chance to bash Roskam for his unwavering support of the war, gets the turn-key campaign courtesy of the DCCC. But Cegelis is out of step for the DCCC:
Cegelis ran as an anti-war candidate in 2004, and on Sunday, her campaign manager, Patrick Mogge, said her position is "it is time to come up with a plan for a complete withdrawal from Iraq." Asked about running a race against a war hero, Mogge said they "definitely respect her service to this country."

Boy, Cegelis sure is out ther with those "liberal" views. So what about experience and background. This must certainly be the reason Duckworth is getting all that DCCC backing:
As a teen, Duckworth lived in Hawaii; she has an undergraduate degree from the University of Hawaii and a master's degree in international affairs from George Washington University. She landed in Illinois as a doctoral student at Northern Illinois University. Duckworth joined the ROTC as a graduate student in 1991 and was commissioned in the reserves the next year, becoming a part of the Illinois Army National Guard in 1996. Before deployment to Iraq, Duckworth was a staff supervisor at Rotary International headquarters in Evanston.

Cegelis founded her own information technology consulting business.

So the candidate who has spent almost all of her life outside IL-06 is again the candidate to get a turn-key campaign ala the DCCC. She went to school out of state, then in rural DeKalb. Then she worked in the military as a supervisor in Evanston - located north of Chicago on the lake, a good hour out of the district in good traffic. But Cegelis, who starter her own business and has lived in or near the district for nearly 20 years is the bad candidate here.

So the candidate who sees the good and bad in Bush's War of choice, with no political experience, and no experience within the district boundaries will have the best campaign money can buy. I wonder what type of fundraising Duckworth will have with the DCCC lining up every fat cat donor they've got behind her, while telling them Cegelis is a poor candidate. I wonder what mistakes Duckworth will avoid thanks to her high paid DCCC consultants that Cegelis might have avoided. I wonder how a candidate like Duckworth, who hasn't been around the district long enough to see the changes over the last two decades, will bring the understanding of anything but her bio to the district's issues that Cegelis would.

Mostly, I wonder why the DCCC is buying my district with a turn-key campaign for a pre-packaged 'war hero' candidate who doesn't know me or my neighbors.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Duckworth's Media Covergence a Coincidence?

So the DCCC's new line is to play in the Republican frame of "Democrats are weak on defense" by running Iraq vets in house races. As we've heard, Army Maj. Ladda “Tammy” Duckworth has been recruited by Rahm Emmanuel, head of the DCCC to undermine the Cegelis campaign. But Ms. Duckworth has not declared that she will run yet. But you'd never know this by media she is "randomly" getting all of a sudden. First there's the Daily Herald article today that reads with all the imagery needed to fill the "war hero" candidate mold:
Unsure whether anyone else in the Black Hawk was alive, she knew she had to try to land the aircraft. She urged her phantom legs to push the pedals but the helicopter did not respond.

Smoke filled the cockpit as the helicopter made a rapid descent. It shook violently, as if it were going to break into a million pieces.

Running out of options, Duckworth tried to autorotate the aircraft, a move similar to putting a manual car into neutral. She still doesn’t know if it helped.

She kept trying, letting her instincts decide which action to take next. She didn’t know that in the seat next her, Milberg, uninjured and the pilot in command, had taken control of the aircraft.

He brought the Black Hawk down in a field less than a half mile from the attack site. Duckworth saw grass poking through the helicopter floor.

What a bright shade of green, she remembers thinking.

She reached up to turn off the helicopter blades and promptly lost consciousness.

I don't know about you, but it sure sounds like she's a candidate with a publicist to me rather than a recovering war vet. I mean, isn't it a coincidence that a local paper like the Herald would go all the way out to Walter Reed the same week Newsweek runs an article featuring Duckworth prominently in the lead:
She was a senator's guest at the State of the Union and a witness before a congressional hearing on health care for war casualties. As Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson put it, she was simply "a true American hero.

She could have stayed a trophy veteran. But as Major Duckworth met with Democratic members of Congress, she talked about how she viewed politics as an extension of her service. One summer's day she invited Rahm Emanuel, the Democrats' master strategist in the House of Representatives, to the hospital to meet some recovering vets from their home state of Illinois. "We were walking down the hall and you could see the incredible response to her and her leadership," Emanuel told NEWSWEEK. "She goes to see other troops to keep their spirits up." Last week Duckworth returned home to Chicago's affluent suburbs to begin what looked like an unofficial campaign for the open congressional seat now held by retiring Republican Rep. Henry Hyde. Still on active duty, Duckworth cannot declare her candidacy or talk politics to the media. But according to Democratic leaders, she's their preferred candidate.

The last line there is key, considering the sudden interest in Duckworth by the media. But I don't think preferred is the right word. Look more like anointed to me. Duckworth may hav not declared her candidacy yet, as she is prohibited to do so on active duty. But that matters little to the DCCC here.

Undeclared candidates don't have coordinated media like this. Duckworth will have a turnkey campaign set up for her by the DCCC. They will line up their consultants for her campaign. They will have signatures gathered for her to get her on the ballot. They will use their money and connections to annoint her as the Democratic candidate for IL-06, and essentially buy the seat from the Beltway.

Besides the way I feel this is just wrong and undermines local politics, Newsweek sums up what really bothers me about this:
Despite the national Democrats' faith in these candidates, the hopefuls aren't shoo-ins at home. Some face resistance from local pols who see them as arrivistes jumping ahead in the political pecking order. While the national party leaders love Hackett, the state party leans toward Sherrod Brown, a seven-term congressman; the two will do battle in the primary next spring. In Illinois, Duckworth's emergence has dismayed supporters of Christine Cegelis, a software engineer who won a respectable 44 percent against Hyde last year. And some of the Democratic vets are more conservative than their party's base on crucial issues like abortion and gun rights, let alone how and when to wind down the U.S. presence in Iraq.
If the Democratic party is more concerned about looking tough by running vets in pre-packaged campaigns, what happens to Democratic values? How far to the right will the DCCC go in order to look tough? How far from the Democratic base will they go? And most importantly, how does a conservative pro-war Democratic candidate differentiate themselves from a conservative pro-war Republican?

Nope, that doesn't matter. A "war hero" is a package the DCCC can sell. But this is all just speculation right, as Duckworth has yet to declare her candidacy (wink, wink). I'm sure it's not a DCCC consultant or publicist at work here. Just a coincidence.

Congressman Roll Over in Iraq

It's not even safe to be a Congressman in Iraq these days:
NEW YORK The Macon (Ga.) Telegraph was apparently the first newspaper to carry news today that a military vehicle carrying U.S. politicians overturned on the way to the Baghdad airport on Saturday and injured two members of Congress.

The source was a Georgia congressman unhurt in the accident, Rep. Jim Marshall.


The accident reminded Marshall of his first trip to Iraq with Skelton, when Marshall voiced concerns on the dangers of the high-speed driving strategy aimed at getting dignitaries safely through treacherous territory.

"It's so odd to me that I said, 'Shoot, this is more dangerous than the terrorists,' and dang if we don't flip over," Marshall said.
Sure, we have enough troops in Iraq to make the place safe. In fact, we have so many troops that we are still doing Kamikaze runs to the airport down the middle fo the road in hopes of dodging any IED's or mortars. Great strategy.

Blog Wars

If you've been reading the blogs this holiday weekend, you've probably seen that in the absence of any riveting news like we've been treated to lately, the Blogosphere has gone metapalooza. Armando must have gotten happy drunk and announced "the new Armando." People pissed off at dKos for a variety of reasons are flocking to BooMan Tribune and bashing dKos. BooMan then gets frustrated that many Kossacks are using his site, started out of his frustration with dKos, to bash dKos. And locally SoapBlox Chicago is wondering what to do with Rich Miller's new "both sides of the isle" centrist group blog Illinoize.

It shocks me that none of these blogger has in any way consulted me for my opinion on these matters. But being that I'm a guy with a blog, I thought I'd offer my own damn opinion anyway, and jump on the metapalooza holiday weekend navel gazing theme with my lint brush and flashlight in tow:

Boys and girls, the Blogosphere is a big place. But reading the blogs one might miss that. You get familiar with bloggers and blogs and then jump to the conclusion that you know these people. Newsflash: you don't know a blogger just because you read what he/she writes. I've read Kos for three years now and what I think I know about Marcos and his motivations is based on nothing more than what I read on his blog. Sometimes I agree with him. Sometimes I don't. Some times I think he's sold out. Some times I read just for the pie.

If you form your opinion of me based on what you read at this blog you probably think I'm a vein popping pissed off condescending prick with, based on my spelling, an 8th grade education. Actually I'm a fairly shy introspective guy with a Masters degree who is a terrible proof reader, especially without an editor.

I love blogs and think they have the potential to change politics and the way we get our information. Blogs that offer opinions that stir debate will flourish if they provide an environment in which debate can occur. Threaded comments, open minds, thoughtful writing attract readers. Pissing matches, pie fights, and one-upmanship in linear comment threads get old fast.

The Blogosphere is a great place. But it's still the wild west out here. Standards are hardly set yet, but the next person who calls for a committee on blogger ethics I will personally troll rate into oblivion. Remember blogs are written by journalists, insiders, grassroots activist, grad students, knuckle draggers, and even guys like me in the suburbs. They are a hybrid of media, serving editorial and reporting vantage points simultaneously, often in the same post. They evolve over time as their authors get better at their craft, increase their readership, become popular, or as their founders change their minds about opinions they once held.

Because blogging is instant publishing, post are written quickly, thoughtfully, thoughtlessly, in the heat of battle, in the dead of night, while drunk, while pissed, while sad, while joyous, and al without the benefit of an editor. Just remember how easily it is to take an email the wrong way, and multiply that by 100 for a blog post. Blogging is an imperfect medium, offering anonymity, a stage, and a microphone. Everyone has a blog and an opinion these days. And you know what they say about opinions.

So relax. The Blogosphere is a big place. There's plenty of room at the table. If you don't like the table, build your own.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

What Was Not a Lie

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Why aren't there a slew of Democratic Senators, Representatives, party officials and pundits lined up 10 deep on every Sunday bobble head show screaming "what was not a lie?" If a Democratic administration had done one-tenth the transgressions the Bush administration has Republicans would be so besides themselves with outrage that there would be two of every Ann Coulter out there, head exploding on every cable news shows, from the injustice of it all. Why can't Democrats just follow the playbook outlined in Frank Rich's column to appear tomorrow in the NYT:
What these revelations also tell us is that Bush was wrong when he said in his Veterans Day speech that more than 100 congressional Democrats who voted for the Iraqi war resolution "had access to the same intelligence" he did. They didn't have access to the President's Daily Brief that Waas uncovered. They didn't have access to the information that German intelligence officials spoke about to The Los Angeles Times. Nor did they have access to material from a Defense Intelligence Agency report, released by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan this month, which as early as February 2002 demolished the reliability of another major source that the administration had persistently used for its false claims about Iraqi-Qaida collaboration.

There. Was that so hard? Someone in the Democratic ranks please step up to the plate before my head explodes.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Ann Coulter & Facts

You've got to love someone so craven that they lie as easily as they breath. Oh, excuse me. They intentionally measure their words, shade the true facts to their perspective, smile at the camera, and do their best to mislead. Millions of sheep too busy or too self absorbed or too comfortable with what Fox News tells them are all too willing to sit there, grab their beer, and go "yup, a yup, a yup. Damn Liberals!" This is the world Ann Coulter lives in, and the ignorance she counts on as she smiles glibly and serves up her talking points with pride.

Wake up sheeple! As a guy with a blog and a bare minimum of reading, even lowly little ol' blogger me can take her apart. Let's take this example from her CNN interview today:
ROMANS: What about the legitimacy of the debate? The debate about talking about time lines. It was not very long ago we were saying time lines weren't very nice. Wasn't nice to our guys there. Was only helpful to terrorists.

COULTER: Right. Well, I think this is -- I think this is a monumental development, this vote last Friday. I mean whether, of course, on principle you have a right to say timetables, war isn't going well, bring the troops home. Americans are against it.

Yes, in principle you have a right to say that. But there's no question. It's simply a fact that that is going to encourage the enemy and will demoralize our side.

Oh, I love when Ann tells me what the unquestioned facts are! A flood of questions fill my mind. Where, oh where, do I start. How about, who says it's a fact? Why is it a fact? Did I miss the Insurgent Montly Newsletter with the story on page three "Timetables really piss us off infidel scum!" No, sorry Ann. Talk to those who know something about what happens when an occupying force leaves the country they're trying to hold. Like maybe an expert on terrorism and terrorism tactics like Robert Pape:
The American Conservative: Your new book, Dying to Win, has a subtitle: The Logic of Suicide Terrorism. Can you just tell us generally on what the book is based, what kind of research went into it, and what your findings were?

Over the past two years, I have collected the first complete database of every suicide-terrorist attack around the world from 1980 to early 2004. This research is conducted not only in English but also in native-language sources—Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, and Tamil, and others—so that we can gather information not only from newspapers but also from products from the terrorist community. The terrorists are often quite proud of what they do in their local communities, and they produce albums and all kinds of other information that can be very helpful to understand suicide-terrorist attacks.


The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide-terrorist campaign—over 95 percent of all the incidents—has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw.


Since suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation and not Islamic fundamentalism, the use of heavy military force to transform Muslim societies over there, if you would, is only likely to increase the number of suicide terrorists coming at us.

So according to Ann, if we leave we embolden the enemy. According to the experts, terrorism is a tool, not an enemy, and leaving removes the motivation for their terrorism. Don't know about you, but I'm going with the expert here.

Then there's this gem:
Now we know from the vote last Friday the Democrats don't even believe it. They voted -- in the vote in the House was 403-3 against withdrawing the troops. So why do they keep saying it's not going well, bring the troops home, Americans have turned against it? I mean, you're down to the only rationale being that they want to demoralize our side and encourage the enemy.

That's right Ann, the Democrats voted against a resolution put forth by REPUBLICAN lawmaker Duncan Hunter that said the following:

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that
the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately.

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces
in Iraq be terminated immediately.

That's the whole resolution people. Didn't anyone tell Ann that this attempt to embarrass Rep. Jack Murtha backfired? This was the Republicans voting for an immediate withdrawal. What did Murtha's resolution say? Here's just a small part of it:
Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That:

Section 1. The deployment of United States forces in Iraq, by direction of Congress, is hereby terminated and the forces involved are to be redeployed at the earliest practicable date.

Section 2. A quick-reaction U.S. force and an over-the-horizon presence of U.S Marines shall be deployed in the region.

Section 3 The United States of America shall pursue security and stability in Iraq through diplomacy.

That doesn't say anything about immediate withdrawal. "Earliest practicable date" is legaleaze for structured withdrawal. Keeping forces in the region isn't cut and run. Working with the Iraqi government - remember those guys all the purple fingers elected - to establish security in their own country isn't bugging out.

But how many people do you think have actually read these resolutions. Hell, how many people know there were two of them - a Democratic one and a Republican bastardization of it meant to embarass a war hero advocating withdrawing our troop?

Nope. Ignorance is king, and Ann is his chief spokeswoman. Now get off the blog and go throw somebody to the ground at your local Wal-Mart to get 10% off some cheap crap from China that you don't need.

Lou Dobbs Tonight: Hard Hitting News

Does anyone wonder why cable news shows generally have poor ratings and are only watched by channel surfers and boring political junkies like myself? Rhetorical question, but it just never ceases to amaze me the depth of depravity these idiot bobble head shows will go to. Case in point, Lou Dobbs tonight and the poll pushed by the fill in host:
Would you knock someone to the ground for:
- A $400 laptop
- A flat-screen TV
- An Xbox 360
- All of the above
- None of the above

THIS is news? This is featured on CNN, flagship cable news station? This is even appropriate for adults? You've got to be kidding me. Would you knock someone to the ground? Why not just ask a couple of these questions off the top of my head:
Would you rape someone if you wouldn't get caught?
Would you pick your nose in public to gross someone out?
Would you mug an old lady if you knew she had $1,000 on her?
Would you hide Saddam if he gave you $100,000?

It's a race to the bottom where morals are just plain quaint. No wonder people are uniformed sheep parroting Republican talking points, just like Ann Coulter did today on the very same program asking this idiotic question.

More on Annie later when the transcript is posted. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go take a shower after watching that bile flow from her mouth...

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Thanksgiving Humor

This is too funny:
Schmidt calls Bush Coward after President Pardons Turkey

EWM- (November 22, 2005) Freshman Representative “Mean” Jean Schmidt (R-OH) stood on the floor of the House of Representatives today and called President Bush a coward for pardoning the White House Thanksgiving turkey.

“A real man would choke that bird with his bare hands. Cowards pardon and run, real men never do,” said Schmidt. Last week the Ohio Republican drew boos and hisses by calling decorated war veteran Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) a “coward” after he recommended withdrawing from Iraq.

This time Schmidt’s words prompted a melee that resulted in several minor injuries. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) was treated for bite wounds after he was pushed into the Republican Cloakroom by four deputy whips and assaulted. He will undergo rabies shots as a precaution.

Read the whole thing. Very funny stuff!


"Let us therefore proclaim our gratitude to Providence for manifold blessings -- let us be humbly thankful for inherited ideals -- and let us resolve to share those blessings and those ideals with our fellow human beings throughout the world."

John F. Kennedy
1963 Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Damn History: Thanksgiving 2003

Many people who read this blog or my posts elsewhere in the Blogosphere often jump to the conclusion that because I have a blog named "Damn Liberals" I'm a far left Liberal on the fringe of the party. I'm not. I definitely lean left, but I'm closer to the center than any hard core card carrying liberal would probably like. Just as Howard Dean sparked my political awareness, I'd probably say I'm closest to his views on most subjects. This isn't about drinking the Dean Kool-Aide as much as it is about Dean being a remarkable match to my own views, hence my support of his campaign.

So it was that back in 2003 I found myself, just as I will be tomorrow, at my in-laws for Thanksgiving dinner. I have great respect for both my mother and father in law, and look forward to what I consider to be some of the finest turkey I've ever had every year thanks to my mother in-law's cooking. But they are very conservative. Fox News watching, Bill O'Reily loving, Anne Colter book buying, love their guns type Conservatives. Needless to say my political awakening and support for Howard Dean was not viewed positively.

The year previous my wife and I put a Gore sign up in our yard the week before the election. That was a big deal for me then. Much to our dismay, my father in-law happen to stop by that week. He was less than amused. At one point, he threatened to disown my wife whom I had corrupted. At first we thought he was kidding. It became painfully clear when he left quickly that he wasn't kidding.

So it's 2003 and Dean is picking up steam and gathering all sorts of press. Iraq is in full swing. The war on terra is the dinner topic of choice. Luckily my niece and her husband had a seat available at one of the multiple tables arranged in the basement to accommodate the overflow crowd of nieces and nephews and assorted dogs that had come to visit at Grandma's. As we started to talk, in very guarded language, we came to find out that thank goodness there were two other sane people in the room who though Bush was terrible, the war was a bad idea, and the Right Wing was out to take America back to the 1950's.

In our joy of discovery we forgot that we were in a den of lions, and allowed ourselves to speak at normal party tones. Then there was a hush. In stolen glances we notices that we, and our conversation, was getting some attention and the usual banter about how Al Gore wanted to take away their guns and Clinton was Satan had quieted a bit. The secret was out. We were... (DA DA DUMMMM) Liberals.

For the rest of the evening every so often the hushed conversations of the now aggrieved Conservatives would rise in volume to be triumphantly ended with a glance our way and the muttering under the breath of "Damn Liberals." This of course would come with the associated nods of approval from those holding court, and we would then rise and go get some more pie. Just because they are Conservative doesn't mean they can't bake.

Since this date my father in-law has pulled my wife aside an told her, quite seriously, that he was concerned about her. He gave her Ann Coulter's book, Treason, and asked her to promise him she'd read it. We both made it through the fist chapter then had to stop as it was just that ridiculous and hate filled. So we gave him Krugman's "The Great Unraveling" for a Christmas gift. Don't know if he read it though. After all, the New York Times is the Mecca of Liberalism you know.

So when I started my own blog, the thought of using the title Damn Liberals was just a natural. Anything I said, anything I would write, any source I would quote would automatically be deemed "Liberal" by my Conservative in-laws. So I figured that I might as well just run with that thought and blog my Liberal head off.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone. Thanks for reading, putting up with my typos, and linking to my posts.

What's the Bottom Line?

So over at Hotline they posted the numbers for all the campaign committee for both parties through the end of the Third Quarter. Some interesting figures:
  1. The RNC has raised almost twice that of the DNC ($88.5M to $47.6M)
  2. The RNC has more than a 5 to 1 advantage in cash on hand over the DNC ($34.3M to $6.1M)
  3. The RNC's burn rate (79.3%) is nearly 14% less than that of the DNC (93.2%).

So looking at these numbers, it's all over right? I mean, the DNC is being out raised, has a huge disadvantages in cash on hand, and a high burn rate. Numbers don't lie. Statistics aren't misleading or anything. Naturally we can expect the DNC to be blown out by their Republican opponents.

Or not.

I've said this before, and I'll probably say it again several more times, but I'm convinced bottom line thinking like this is just not going to hold as much sway as it once did. Aside from their DSCC, the Democrats are getting beat pretty bad in the fundraising end of things. This is not unusual however, as in fact the DNC is having record fundraising years. But compared to their opponents they are getting hosed. But there are some important points these numbers don't tell. And just like the DNC, the numbers don't tell everything about the Cegelis campaign either:
  1. Roskam as out raised Cegelis by more than 4 to 1 ($679K to $160K)
  2. Roskam has an 11 to 1 cash on hand advantage ($550K to $49K)
  3. Roskam has a much better burn rate (37% to 95%)

Due to the focus on small donors and lack of party support for Cegelis, the bottom line misses several important point about the Cegelis' campaign that mirror in many ways what the DNC's number don't show.

The DNC is national. It has access to a network of small and large individual donors that a local race, like IL-06 does not. The pool in just too small. So where is Roskam getting his money from? Considering Cegelis has more than twice the number of donors than Roskam, one would think she'd have raised more money, right? Well when you consider nearly half (49%) of Roskam's donors gave $1000 or more while half of Cegelis' donors gave $300 or less, it becomes pretty clear that Roskam is tapping a different audience.

And just like the DNC, the audience that Cegelis is tapping focuses on the small donor. Just as the DNC has almost ignored the corporate lobbies in DC and looked to the people for funding, so has Cegelis. The DNC did so as a change in practice, Cegelis did so out of necessity and grassroots beginnings. The small donors Cegelis has tapped are mostly the in-district donor. The donor who will give not only money, but time. The donor who will talk to his neighbors and volunteer to GOTV. Roskam's $1000 donors, on the other hand, are buying influence. High dollar fundraisers in DC, thrown on Roskam's behalf by none other than Tom DeLay, have helped Roskam to tap the DC fat cats, and flush his campaign with cash. Cash to buy votes through paid media, not community interaction.

And just like the DNC, Cegelis has a burn rate that is over 90%. The DNC under Dean's leadership is implementing their 50-state strategy. They are laying down infrastructure, setting up offices, hiring staff. The Cegelis campaign is doing the same. They are hiring campaign staff, building their on-line resources, and working with experienced consultants to get the most from their fundraising dollars. The DNC sees this as building a foundation for the future. The Cegelis campaign sees their burn rate as building a foundation for the general.

Finally, unlike the DNC or Roskam, Cegelis has gone it alone. Roskam has big name Republicans out campaigning for him. He has Hyde and other Republicans throwing their weight behind his campaign. He has Tom DeLay throwing $500- $1000 a plate fundraisers for him. He has the RNC and NRCC pushing his campaign and helping him raise money. Cegelis has virtually no support nationally from her party. With the DCCC actively working to undermine her campaign,her fundraising has naturally suffered.

Money is important in politics. There is no removing that fact. And I don't mean to completely dismiss traditional yardsticks like fundraising and cash on hand. But bottom line thinking does not show all the cards in this race, just as it does not show the foundation being laid by the DNC.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Define Victory II

Yesterday, I noted that Democrats needed to define what victory in Iraq was, and provide a reason to get outta Dodge:
...Democrats must provide a positive plan, an achievable goal, a meaningful yardstick, a viable alternative that provides a reason to end the mistake Bush and the Republicans took us into.

Senator Obama must have been reading my mind (or my blog). Here's what he had to say today at the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations where he laid out how the US could drawn down forces in Iraq:
First and foremost, after the December 15 elections and during the course of next year, we need to focus our attention on how reduce the U.S. military footprint in Iraq. Notice that I say "reduce," and not "fully withdraw."

This course of action will help to focus our efforts on a more effective counter-insurgency strategy and take steam out of the insurgency.


Second, we need not a time-table, in the sense of a precise date for U.S. troop pull-outs, but a time-frame for such a phased withdrawal. More specifically, we need to be very clear about key issues, such as bases and the level of troops in Iraq. We need to say that there will be no bases in Iraq a decade from now and the United States armed forces cannot stand-up and support an Iraqi government in perpetuity - pushing the Iraqis to take ownership over the situation and placing pressure on various factions to reach the broad based political settlement that is so essential to defeating the insurgency.


Third, we need to start thinking about what an Iraqi government will look like in the near term.

The post-election period will be critically important in working with the Shia and Kurdish leaders to help address Sunni concerns and to take steps to bring them into the government.


Fourth, we have to do a much better job on reconstruction in Iraq.

The Iraqi people wonder why the United States has been unable to restore basic services - sewage, power, infrastructure - to significant portions of Iraq. This has caused a loss of faith among the Iraqi people in our efforts to rebuild that nation and help it recover from decades of brutal tyranny.

If we are unable to point out the progress, how are Iraqis - especially ones we are trying to persuade to claim a bigger stake in the future of their country - ever to know that the Americans efforts are helping to make their lives better? How does this approach help to quell the insurgency?


Fifth, we have to launch a major diplomatic effort to get the international community, especially key neighboring states and Arab nations, more involved in Iraq.


Finally, it is critical for this Administration, and Congress, to recognize that despite the enormous stakes the United States now has in seeing Iraq succeed, we cannot let this mission distract us from the larger front of international terrorism that remains to be addressed. Already we are getting reports that the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating. Our progress in improving our intelligence capabilities - particularly human intelligence - has lagged. Iraq has absorbed resources that could have gone into critical homeland security measures, or in improved coordination with our global allies and partners.


Iraq was a major issue in last year's election.

But that election is now over.

We need to stop the campaign.

The President could take the politics out of Iraq once and for all if he would simply go on television and say to the American people "Yes, we made mistakes. Yes, there are things I would have done differently. But now that we're here, I am willing to work with both Republicans and Democrats to find the most responsible way out."

You can't sound byte this one effectively. But Obama is continuing the discussion of how we define victory in Iraq. With the recent attention given to what has been incorrectly labeled an immediate withdraw proposed by Republicans trying to embarass Rep. Murtha, and now high profile Democrats like Obama proposing plans for withdraw, this is rapidly becoming more of a movement that is gathering steam than background noise that can be ignored by the MSM and the ruling party.

Essentially, Obama is saying to the Bush administration and Republican leadership: "Grow up." Let's see if the adults take over for Jr. and the boys.

Jean Schmidt: Coward and Liar

So the other day on the floor of the House, Jean Schmidt hid behind an "email" from one of her constituents and called Rep. Murtha, a decorated ex-Marine, a coward:
...A few minutes ago I received a call from Col Danny Bubp, Ohio representative from the 88th District in the House of Representatives. He asked me to send Congress a message, "Stay the course." He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message, "That cowards cut and run; Marines never do." Danny and the rest of America, and the world want the assurance from this body that we will..."

Now, remember, Schmidt wasn't calling Murth a coward, she was just placing the comments from an email into the record. Let's get the facts right. Or not:
Bubp, who has served in the Marine Corps Reserve for 27 years, including three years of active duty, said he called Schmidt on Friday afternoon to discuss the resolution that called for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq - not to talk about Murtha.

The House nonbinding resolution failed by a 403-3 vote.

"There was no discussion of him personally being a coward or about any person being a coward," Bubp said. "My message to the folks in Washington, D.C., and to all the Congress people up there, is to stay the course. We cannot leave Iraq or cut and run - any terminology that you want to use."

I bet all of you in Ohio who voted for Schmidt instead of Hackett are proud of your Representative today.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Define Victory

How do we get out of Iraq? I think this is what Dems need to focus on. "Cut and run" is now part of the lexicon just as is "up or down vote." So just saying the US should withdraw is not reason enough. The real question is how to we achieve a goal in the near term that allows up to withdraw?

Call them what you will: milestones, benchmarks, timetables, Iraqi government capabilities. It doesn't matter. How do we get out of there in an orderly fashion in a way we can claim some level of success and save face. We need to save face. I know this sounds really stupid and juvenile. But we need to save face for reasons both political, psychological, and for our own security.

Sure this may be Bush's war, but someone in our country - be it Dem or Republican - is going to have to pick up the pieces for all our sakes and that of the world. What defines "victory" in such a way that the US can withdraw, not leave Iraq in complete turmoil, and not create a terrorist state, is something that requires the US to save face, declare victory no matter how hollow, and go home.

As Democrats and opponents of the war, the overwhelming need to hold people accountable for this mess and our desire to redeploy our troops needs to be separated. A blatant failure of astronomical proportions in Iraq may bring changes at home that hold negative political consequences for the Republican party, but it does none of us or our country any good for misplaced political retribution to take the form of a desire for such a failure in Iraq. Seeking immediate withdraw of troops to emphasize the failure of the Iraq policy is not only redundant in its emphasis of this fact, but hurts everyone from our troops to our security.

We need to present a cause, noble or dutiful, that our troops died for. We can't as a nation just say to the world, "oops Bush broke it." The Pottery Barn rule doesn't work on this scale. Bush may have broken it, but our troops died trying to fix it as ordered by the Commander in Chief. It's not their fault their supreme leader was an idiot. Iraq may have been a vast example of how not to wage a war, but America and the world needs to understand that going it alone as our troops often did without the planning, equipment, armor, and vision they needed to succeed is not their fault.

Defining what victory means, regardless whether or not it is victory in the normal sense, adds accountability to the blank check this war has and the unending powers the president has assumed. The Iraq war, and the war on terra need to be defined in scope. Without this, there is nothing but an ever escalating open ended contract. This makes little sense in business, let alone war.

We must get out of Iraq. To do so, we need to work toward some goal, some level of victory, some way to save face for the nation. This should not be confused with bailing out Bush and his Republican administrion. Providing a reason, a goal, a way to save face doesn't mean that we shouldn't hold those responsible accountable at the highest levels. Not at all. Instead it means that as a party, the Democrats must provide a positive plan, an achievable goal, a meaningful yardstick, a viable alternative that provides a reason to end the mistake Bush and the Republicans took us into.

If the Democrats provide a reasonable plan to end this mistake, the nation will take care of the mistakes holding power in Washington.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Real War

The following is from dKos, and describes the "real war where people are dying" that Murtha spoke of. This is tragic:
This summer I posted about a young Army Lt. my wife and I met at a wedding. He was headed to Iraq within the week. As an ex-grunt, I struck up a conversation with him. I mostly just wanted to tell him to keep his head down, but the conversation evolved...


About three weeks after the initial post, I posted an update. The young man was in Walter Reed, missing his right eye, most of his right arm, and facing extensive reconstructive surgery for severe thoracic trauma. I visited him once, but always seemed to find a reason not to return. Eventually, he was transferred to a facility closer to his Pennsylvania home, and I never saw him again. I will regret that for a long time.


This will be my final update. A half an hour ago I received a call from the friend at whose wedding I met the young man. On Thursday, during a day trip from the hospital, he wheeled himself into the bathroom, put a 9 mm pistol in his mouth, and pulled the trigger. If they ever build a wall, he won't be on it. He doesn't even count as a casualty of this war. But the next time you see the KIA number, add one to it.

What was the nobel cause this man died for Mr. President?

Murtha on MTP

This guy is a class act. From Meet the Press today (emphasis mine):
REP. MURTHA: Well, I tell you, Cheney's a friend of mine. We work very closely together. He was a good secretary of Defense, but he's wrong. They should have fired people. The president should be furious with this--the people that work for him giving him bad intelligence. We spend more on intelligence than any country in the world. We spend more on intelligence than the whole world spends together and our intelligence was wrong. There's no question we're going in the wrong direction and we're not winning. The incidents have increased and the economic indicators--oil, which was supposed to pay for all of this, is below prewar levels. There's nothing that's happening that shows any sign of success.

And the biggest problem is this illusion that--I remember going to Iraq a month or so after the invasion when they said it was all over. And one of the members said to Ambassador Bremer, "What do you think about this cleric named Sistani?" And he turned to his expert, and you know what she said? She said, "Oh, he's just a minor cleric." Now, two weeks later that guy had 100,000 people in the street. That's the kind of information they were acting on. They've been overly optimistic and illusionary about their policy. We got to--this is not a war of words, this is a real war where people are getting killed. Fifteen thousand people have been wounded, and half of them are desperately wounded, blinded, without their arms.


MR. RUSSERT: Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld said he's given the troops, the commanders on the ground, everything they've requested, including troop levels.

REP. MURTHA: Tim, Tim, come on. They fired Shinseki when he said they needed 200,000 troops. They had 44,000 shortage of armored vests. They had no--one brigade had one jammer in it. They had no--I mean, that's what the troops told me. I came back and they started to come up with that stuff. People had to buy their own armor.


And members--Republican members of Congress can't say because I'm a Democrat--I led the fight to go to war in '91 with President Bush I. He knew what he was doing. But $60 billion was paid by our allies and we had a coalition, a real coalition of forces and he had an exit strategy and he didn't go into Iraq. And why didn't he go into Iraq? Because he said, "I don't want to occupy it. I don't want to reconstruct it." And he knew what he was doing. He was a an experienced president. He's got to get some experienced people to give him some advice and ask for some bipartisan support. President Bush I did this continually. He asked--he didn't like what we said sometimes but he listened to what we were saying.


REP. MURTHA: Well, it's not--this is not a party issue, Tim. This is something that I'm offering as an individual, and it's only been out there for two or three days. Let me predict this: We're going to be out of there, we're going to be out of there very quickly, and it's going to be close to the plan that I'm presenting right now.

MR. RUSSERT: You think we'll be out of Iraq by the end of 2006?

REP. MURTHA: I think we'll be out of there; if not completely out of there, we'll be very close to being out of there. I think we could be out--yeah, I predict we'll be out of there--it'll be 2006.

MR. RUSSERT: By Election Day 2006?

REP. MURTHA: You--you have hit it on the head.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

IL-06: Roskam Challenged

With sinking poll numbers for Bush and the Republicans, and the dissatisfaction with the Conservative Republican agenda they represent, it seems some Republicans aren't content to let a hard core Conservative Republican like Roskam represent their party in the IL-06 race:
A real estate developer and Glen Ellyn School District 41 board president said Friday he is taking steps to challenge state Sen. Peter Roskam in the Republican primary for the congressional seat long held by retiring U.S. Rep. Henry Hyde.

John Vivoda, 47, said he is disappointed and frustrated with the way GOP leaders have rallied around Roskam, a Wheaton attorney, whom he described as too partisan and conservative and "way, way outside of what I think the district needs."
Moderate Republicans seem to be finally realizing that their party has been hijacked by the Conservative Right wing of their party.
Vivoda said he is building an organization to support his run and collecting signatures to get on the ballot by the Dec. 19 filing deadline. He doesn't expect to get the support of the district's traditional Republican leadership, who he says "winked and nodded at George Ryan forever.

"There should be some choice, some contest on the Republican side rather than an anointing by all the same cast of characters," Vivoda said.

So what do the Republicans in control think of anyone challenging former DeLay aide and ultra-conservative Peter Roskam:
Patrick Durante, Addison Township GOP chairman and a longtime Hyde aide, said it was "infuriating" that Vivoda was looking to run as a Republican without contacting local GOP leaders in the district. He labeled Vivoda "a spoiler" who would force Roskam to spend money in the primary and hurt the GOP in the general election.

"It's selfishness. It's self-aggrandizement," Durante said. "The guy's going to get blown out."

WHAT! Vivoda didn't ask permission of the party bosses to run for office! The nerve of the guy thinking in a Democratically based society just anyone could run for office! The nerve.

This is good news for Democrats Cegelis and Scott. Roskam was set to run un-opposed in his primary allowing him to sit on his cash and not having to talk about the Iraq War and Bush's conservative agenda that he supports whole heartedly. Now he'll have to go on record in the run up to the general election supporting many of the positions that are getting Bush's approval numbers stomped.

Pass the popcorn.

Conventional Wisdom & IL-06

The latest Survey/USA poll out has Bush's approval rating at 37% with a record high 60% disapproval rate. But what I found interesting was looking at the internals of the poll specific to Illinois. Based on my un-professional interpretation, contrary to Conventional Wisdom, the direction Democratic candidates should be moving seems pretty clear - and it isn't to a conservative pro-war Republican-lite position.

Counties where not listed in the internals, but based on what we see here, what can be inferred for suburban races like IL-06? Located primarily in DuPage, with a little bit of Cook County for good measure, IL-06 is no friend to the Republican President or his conservative Republican agenda no matter what Conventional Wisdom says.

Of this poll, 74% identified themselves as either Democrat or Independent, with 42% considering themselves Democrats. Since Illinois is considered a blue state, and the majority of respondents (44%) came from Cook County - a Democratic stronghold with a large portion of the state's population, this may not seem surprising. But still, with only 25% identifying as Republicans statewide, that can't be a good sign for any candidate who adopts any stance that supports President Bush's conservative policies or those of the Republican controlled Congress.

Related to ideology, the overwhelming majority again did not match the conservative Republican leadership in Washington. The majority (62%) of respondents identified as either moderate or liberal, with the plurality choosing moderate (47%). Collar counties came in at 58% disapproval for the president, his strongest showing compared to downstate and Cook. But at a still very high 58% disapproval, this is by no means a positive for Bush or the Republicans. Instead it most likely reflects the higher percentage of self identifying Republicans in the collar counties. Yet even with a Republican lean in collar counties like IL-06's DuPage, a strong majority still disapprove of Bush.

Conservative Republican ideology was not supported in other areas as well: A anti-conservative pro-choice position was favored 60% to 35%. Add to this the pro-choice respondent's disapproval of Bush of 80%, and their majority in this poll, and you have an even stronger anti-Republican sentiment out there in DuPage than Conventional Wisdom would ever agree to. With the majority of Democrats pro-choice, and moderates breaking overwhelmingly against the Republican President, being "pro-choice" isn't looking so liberal anymore - even in DuPage.

"Morality" voters, those with high church attendance, are also in the minority. Of respondents, 64% attended church never or occasionally. Since Rural voters are often seen as having a higher church attendance rate, one can infer that a collar county like DuPage would lean more towards the majority of secular respondents. With the higher 70% disapproval of the Bush and a Conservative Republican agenda than those in downstate rural counties, this internal again seems to infer DuPage trending away from a strong Conservative message.

Even among party affiliation, with DuPage County's Republican lean in registered voters, there still is no real advantage in associating with the President or his Conservative agenda as the majority (50%) of self described Conservatives disapprove of Bush. With disapprovals at 73% for Moderates and a whopping 87% for Liberals, one can logically deduce that any Democratic candidate who differentiates themselves from Republican leaning positions will do better than a candidate who takes a Conservative or Centrist one. This holds even more true in the Democratic primary in which Moderate and Liberals, and their high disapprovals, will vastly outweigh Conservative positions.

For those who's head is swimming now, here's my interpretations in talking point form:
  1. Even in typical "Republican strongholds" like DuPage, the majority probably disapprove of Bush.
  2. A Pro-choice position is strongly favored, and associates very high negatives for the President.
  3. A Democratic candidate who presents contrasting views to Conservative views will be more in line with the district's views.
  4. A Democratic candidate who oppose Bush's policies outright will be more in line with the district's views.
  5. In the Democratic Primary, a pro-choice candidate with views clearly opposing Bush's conservative policies will be the stronger candidate.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Jean Schmidt: Coward

In case you missed, as I did originally, the Republicans in control of Congress decided in their infinite wisdom to take Congressman Mutha's resolution and alter it a bit. Essentially, they changed it to be a total withdrawal of troop immediately - essentially a cut and run position. Then they tried to claim it was Murtha's amendment and that the Democrats were advocating the cut and run position.

But when the real fireworks started was when Congresswoman Schmidt, Republican from Ohio, stood up and said this:
"...A few minutes ago I received a call from Col Danny Bubp, Ohio representative from the 88th District in the House of Representatives. He asked me to send Congress a message, "Stay the course." He also asked me to send Congressman Murtha a message, "That cowards cut and run; Marines never do." Danny and the rest of America, and the world want the assurance from this body that we will..."

Emphasis mine, and the cause of the uproar on the floor in which Democrats shouted her down and the speaker had to gavel the house to a close as out of order. Besides being yet another example of Republicans calling any and all detractors names like any good school yard bully, this was just another example of how the Republican party deals with the truth.

You see, Congressman Murtha is a retired Marine.
He was born in New Martinsville, West Virginia, and grew up in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. He left college to join the Marines during the Korean War. He volunteered for Vietnam in 1966-67, receiving the Bronze Star with Combat "V", two Purple Hearts, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and, upon his retirement as a colonel, the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.

That's right, this "coward" seems to know a thing or two about the Marines. And service to his country. And combat. And war.

What does Schmidt know about war:
Schmidt made the Iraq War an issue in the race. She declared on WCET-TV's Forum that "9/11 was a wakeup call. We lost our innocence" and praised the Bush foreign policy. "The foundation of democracy that has been planted in Afghanistan and Iraq", she said, has inspired reforms in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, and elsewhere. At the Chatfield College debate on July 7, she said of Iraq and Saddam Hussein "We have toppled a terrorist regime, a terrorist madman who now sits in a prison cell. This country has gone to the ballot box and made its decision to become a democratic regime."

So let's see. Murtha fought in Korea and Viet Nam, has two purple hearts, a Bronze Star, and retired as a colonel with the Distinguished Service Medal. Schmidt thinks the President's plan for Iraq and the war on terra is just ducky, and as a millionaire has never served her country in the armed services. Yet she hides behind an "email from a constituent" in order to call Murtha a coward on the House floor.

Who's the coward here again Jean?

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Rahm Needs Mail

It seems that Rahm Emanuel, in his zeal to aggressively recruit a "stronger" candidate for IL-06, has garnered some attention for his efforts. Seems some Democrats aren't happy that he's trying, as Lynn Sweet put it, to undermine the Cegelis campaign. From The Hill:
Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), aggressively courting strong Democratic House candidates, is facing an awkward situation back home.


Cegelis, who ran against Hyde in 2004 and gained 44 percent of the vote in a shoestring campaign helped by Howard Dean’s Internet troops, has a network of supporters who have been e-mailing me that they are not keen on Emanuel’s recruiting drive in their Democratic back yard. Cegelis’s campaign manager, Patrick Mogge, told me she has no intention of backing down for Emanuel.

But, I thought Cegelis didn't have any real support. I mean, come on, look at her fundraising numbers they keep whispering their dissatisfaction about! So where did this "network of supporters" come from? How could such a network exist, since obviously Ms. Cegelis doesn't have the cash on hand to pay for any media to reach said supporters with?

This is typical. Democrats in the district support Cegelis in her run against Hyde. Rahm and the DCCC look at her bottom line and write her off as a candidate, further undermining her fundraising in the 2006 race. Democrats in the district say Cegelis has invested in a strong volunteer organization and campaign infrastructure for 2006. Beltway folks ignore them, opting instead for a "war hero" candidate with no experience or organization. Locals like what they see, giving in small amounts, leading to over 1,300 contributors - three times Roskam's number - to Cegelis this year. The DCCC doesn't care how many supporters she has, but would rather look tough, playing within the GOP "Democrats are weak" frame, by supporting a candidate who may not even live in the district and seems poised to support, in DLC fashion, the Iraq war - a unpopular position in DuPage county, especially among Democrats and Independents.


Did anyone tell these guys that according to the latest polls Bush is at 31% approve and 67% disapprove in Illinois? Did anyone show these guys the results from the 2005 elections where anyone who supported Bush or his war was voted out of office? Did anyone explain to these guys that being just another pro-war Democrat in DuPage doesn't look tough, just stupid. You know, looking at it this way, I don't anyone has told Rahm or the DCCC any of this stuff.

Yeesh! You people are emailing the wrong person! And you call yourself organized supporters. The person you should be emailing is Rahm Emanuel and the DCCC. Maybe you should write him and tell him that what ever they hell he has against Cegelis, he should get over it. Maybe suggest that he should start helping the candidates like Cegelis who are positioned to lay into their Republican opponents. Maybe he should rethink spending his time and resources recruiting out of district candidates for costly primary races while the GOP sits back leisurely raises more money.

Maybe you just need to point this out to him:

Congressman Rahm Emanuel:
Washington, DC
1319 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
phone: 202-225-4061
fax: 202-225-5603

3742 West Irving Park Road
Chicago, IL 60618
phone: 773-267-5926
fax: 773-267-6583

Email Page

Democatic Congressional Campaign Committee:
430 South Capitol Street SE
Washington, DC 20003
Phone Number: 202-863-1500
Email Address:

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Five at a Time for Bush's Nobel Cause

But at least we're on the offensive, right?
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Five U.S. Marines were killed in Iraq on Wednesday during a firefight near the Syrian border in Ubaydi, the military said.

Sixteen insurgents were also killed in the fighting, part of Operation Steel Curtain, a U.S.-Iraqi military offensive aimed at clearing insurgents out of towns in northwestern Iraq.

The announcement brought the number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war to 2,079 according to U.S. military reports.

I heard on CNN tonight during Lou Dobbs that the military is claiming this time they have enough Iraqi troops to hold the town after our guys take it back from the insurgents. This time. Just like that corner we turned in Faluja.

Impeach Him Already

This photo was sent in by one of my damn blog readers:

I've noted several times on this blog that if Bush were a Republican he would have been impeached by now. But instead, Clinton's lying about a blow job was worth impeachment, but Bush's lying us into a war is just hunky dory with the Republicans.

Hat tip to Shelia for the image.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Start the Hate Young

I thought my wife was kidding me when she told me about a children's book that taught kids about the evils of those Liberals hiding under the bed. I really should stop being surprised at the lengths the Republican Right will go to demonize anyone they disagree with:
This full-color illustrated book is a fun way for parents to teach young children the valuable lessons of conservatism. Written in simple text, readers can follow along with Tommy and Lou as they open a lemonade stand to earn money for a swing set. But when liberals start demanding that Tommy and Lou pay half their money in taxes, take down their picture of Jesus, and serve broccoli with every glass of lemonade, the young brothers experience the downside to living in Liberaland.

That's right kids, Senators Clinton and Kennedy are evil and hiding under your bed! Talk about literally trying to turn these two in to bogymen. I just don't know how people take the Republican Right seriously. Tommy and Lou are forced by Liberals to pay 50% of their money to the government, and their private establishment is forced to take down pictures and change their menu? Talk about simplification to the point of absurdity. I wonder who really thinks they pay 50% tax and is forced to do business in a way that is detrimental to the public or the rights of the business owner.

What's most troubling is this is a book of propaganda that is aimed at children. The Republican Right can't stand on it's own moral values (of which Red states surpass tax dollars used, divorce rates, abortion rates, and crime rates) so instead they have to promote hate. They have no positive agenda, just fear of the Liberal bogyman. Pathetic.

So maybe we should tell the rest of the story, following the guidelines of the current Republican administration and leadership in Congress. We'll call this book: Help! Mom! There's a Criminal Investigation Under My Bed!" In this book, a sequel, Lou and Tommy find themselves indicted on charges of extortion, bribery, and violation of several health codes.
It would seem that their father, a well connected lawyer on Liberaland's planning commission, pulled strings to change the zoning to favorably affect Lou and Tommy's lemonade stand. Little Suzy down the block told her parents that she was offered a cut of the profits if she would relay a story about how the product sold by the twins competition made her sick. A police report was then uncovered, filed by the twins' neighbor, who caught the two watering down their lemonade using the hose in his backyard.

The scandal real blew open when Pablo, a foreign exchange student, relayed to his teacher that he was paid six-cents an hour to staff the twins lemonade stand, not given any bathroom breaks for hours, which caused him to have to urinate in the unused glasses. Curiously, on these days several local children were found to have gotten sick after drinking the twins' product.

Of course the twins denied any wrong doing, blaming their problems on a few 'bad apples' who they allowed to run their stand. The father countered that there was no proof the boys had done anything wrong, and that this was another example of the Liberal agenda bias against twins with lemonade stands. He further added that anyone who was against such lemonade stands was certainly not patriotic.

But when investigative reports uncovered that business associates of the twin's father profited from the zoning changes he'd pushed through Liberaland's planning commission, one of whom was a swingset manufacturer, and the bill of sale for the "super delux whiz bang swingset" was made public showing it was sold to the twins for $1.98, a criminal investigation was begun into the twins' family business.

I could go on, but why bother. I'm just one of those damn Liberals hiding under kids' beds waiting to corrupt them and steal all their hard earned cash to give to those atheist welfare queens. This would be humorous if these people weren't serious.

Monday, November 14, 2005

The Good and Bad of Things.

Lynn Sweet has an article today in the Sun Times today in which she asks Iraq War vet and DCCC recruit, Tammy Duckworth, what her take on the Iraq war is from a veteran's perspective:
It's unclear what Duckworth would say about the Iraq war. When I asked her, she would not declare the war right or wrong: "There is good and bad in everything."

That sure is inspiring. A nice middle of the road vanilla non-answer. So over 2,000 dead US service men and women, 15,000 plus injured, tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians killed, $200+ billion dollars drained from the US treasury, and the very real possiblity that the war is based on trumped up intellegence cherry picked by Bush and his Republican administration - and there's good in this?

With the support for the war falling fast, and DuPage having an active and organized anti-war effort, this type of talk is going to lose the Independents and Democratic base needed to win the district. The potential DCCC backed candidate looks to be positioning herself, in typical DLC fashion, to throw away a key issue she could contrast herself to Roskam with and hammer the Republican on his support for this unpopular war. Yet this is a better candidate?

Come one. See this for what this is. Even Sweet gets it:
Rep. Rahm Emanuel, who chairs the House Democratic political operation, is recruiting Hoffman Estates resident Army Maj. Ladda "Tammy" Duckworth, who lost her legs in Iraq, to run for Congress, undermining a bid by Democrat Christine Cegelis.

Rahm is trying to undermine Cegelis because she's not a typical DLC middle of the road war hawk. Emanuel is so concerned with not looking weak, that he is recruiting a candidate who thinks there is good in the Iraq War.

I don't see the good in that.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

So What is it: Fundraising or Message?

So this week we heard how the DCCC is recruiting another candidate for IL-06 because they are dissatisfied with current Democratic front runner Christine Cegelis. The key complaint being leveled against Cegelis is that she's not raising enough money. For example, from Archpundit:
Saying it will be a grass roots campaign is fine, but an under funded campaign without media isn't going to win in a race where it's a slightly Republican leaning district and Republicans will be throwing money at it right and left.

At the current rate, she'd be buried by Roskam. The campaign won't have money for serious mail, it won't have the ability to combat Roskam's ability to set the agenda, no number of Trib editorials will be enough, and there will be little money to fund last minute GOTV.

Roskam is raising so much more money, the conventional wisdom goes, that Cegelis won't have the funds available to buy traditional media to be competitive, and thus is a poor candidate who should be replaced.

But today on Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, Blitzer used this exact same convential wisdom to highling the inequity of DNC fundraising totals in comparison with RNC totals. In his interview with DLC favorite and potential presidential candidate Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack, lower fundraising totals weren't an issue:
BLITZER: As you know, Governor Vilsack, money talks in politics and lots of cash can certainly help candidates.

Look at these numbers, and I'll put them up on the screen. The Republicans doing so much better in raising funds than the Democrats. So far, they've got more than $81 million compared to the DNC with about half, $42 million. In terms of cash on hand, the RNC has $34 million as opposed to only $6.8 million for the Democrats. Looks like they have a huge cash advantage, Governor Vilsack.

VILSACK: Well, I'll tell you, Wolf, I think that Democrats are investing their resources in rebuilding the party infrastructures across this country. And I think that's going to be very, very important investment.

It really isn't about dollars in the bank. It's really about the solutions that you have for ordinary folks' problems.

Take Tim Kaine's victory, for example. He talked about transportation. Why? Because people are tired of spending so much time in their cars getting to and from work. That's a kitchen-table issue. That's the reason why I think people are interested in the Democratic message because we're getting back to the basics, making sure that we can solve people's problems.

That's what it's all about and frankly, if we continue to do that, there will be more than enough money to support our candidates next year.

Wait a minute. Governor, you lost me here. The RNC has an almost 5 to 1 advantage in cash on hand and that's not an issue? Won't the DNC get buried when the RNC outspends Democrats hand over fist just like Cegelis will get buried by Roskam? Instead it's all about the message and infrastructure now?

Let me see if I got this straight. In support of her over-arching kitchen table message of "Reclaiming the American Dream" and focus on what is important to district voters, Cegelis has spent her campaign funds on name recognition, grassroots support, and a strong volunteer network in IL-06. Rather than just fixating on her anti-war position, Cegelis' over-arching message has consistently promoted core Democratic values such as supporting Veterans who fought in Iraq. From the Cegelis blog:
I was recently honored to receive the endorsement of local veteran Dale Peters. Dale and I spent some time talking about my support for our troops and veterans’ issues. We also talked about the New GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century, proposed by congressional Democrats, but held from discussion on the House floor by Illinois’ own Dennis Hastert. This new GI Bill would ensure that health care is accessible and affordable for all veterans. This measure is opposed by Republicans, including my opponent, Peter Roskam. Passing this legislation should be a national priority.

You want to know Cegelis' priorities, there they are right in her core message: work hard and play by the rules and the Federal government will keep its promises. That sounds like a good match up to a guy like Roskam who has ties to Tom DeLay and his corrupt ways, and is far to the Right of the district in general.

But this doesn't matter, since Cegelis is focusing on message and building a robust campaign infrastructure, much like the DNC, all that is noted about her campaign is her lack of cash on hand and burn rate - both of which seem similar the DNC's. Due to this, in the minds of those from the Beltway, it would be better to recruit a "war hero" candidate, who may not even live in the district, but could generate more fundraising dollars.

This thinking is Madison Ave. politics at it's worst. In the DCCC's mind, a disabled Iraq War veteran is a package they can sell to the public. The approach is all media driven and sales oriented. It's not about message. It's about sensationalism that will raise money to spend on media ads that, as Matt Stoller points out, are increasing irrelevant:
Well, because other tools are cruder, and will lose influence as their ability to reach people declines.  Take TV.  This is a crude medium - most of the ad dollars going to NJ were wasted, since Jon Corzine had to advertise in the New York and Philly media markets (1st and 4th most expensive), which meant a lot of non-Jersey eyeballs were seeing Corzine stuff.  TIVO's going to make it more difficult to buy viewer attention, since viewers will simply be able to choose to not watch ads.  This is also happening to radio, since everyone will soon be listening to podcasts after all those are superhip! (more likely is satellite radio I suspect but the effect is somewhat similar).
Add to this the very real possibility that, due to the association of Emanuel with the DLC, any Iraq veteran he recruits is going to be at the least a hawk, and at the worst pro-war. With support for the war rapidly decreasing, and DuPage having a very active and organized anti-war presence, such a candidate would not energize the independents and Democratic base needed to overcome Roskam. Although such a candidate might allow great fundraising interest, especially with Beltway backing, I wonder if such a candidate would have the message needed to win the district.

If support for local races like House seats is going to be decided by such bottom line thinking, than ordinary people are going to be excluded from the process. Only those with connections to big money or who represent the top 1% of Americans in income are going to be supported in their efforts to represent the people. Since this segment of the population represents such a small portion of America, is that really representative of the Democratic process? Does having a small number of political insiders decide who should and shouldn't run really Democratic?

Either message matters or it doesn't. In local races like IL-06 the pool of available fundraising dollars is limited, making grassroots candidates dependent on national party support in a way national candidates are not. If all the DCCC can read is a bottom line, then they believe they can package any candidate for sale to the electorate, regardless of message, if they throw enough money into slick media marketing.

Perhaps this is why Democrats are in the minority.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Four Simple Suggestions for Bloggers

In Paul Rosenburg's diary "How To Run The Table In 2006--And Beyond," Paul proposes some excellent suggestions on how Democrats can focus the country's attention on the problems caused by Bush and the Republican party, and present the Democratic Party as the party of needed change leading to the realignment Chris has spoken of.

While Paul's suggestions are great, I'm not a Democratic Party staffer or policy maker. I'm a blogger. So I took Paul and Chris' ideas and riffed off of them to come up with four simple sugestions bloggers can help the Republican's assume responsibility for the mess they've created.

The name "Bush," not "Republicans," often gets much of the blame directly in the Blogsphere. We must help everyone remember that Bush is a REPUBLICAN president and can't do much with out his friends in the REPUBLICAN controlled congress. So here are my suggestions for bloggers:
1. When referring to Bush, always include the word "Republican" in close proximity to his name as in "Bush and his Republican Culture of Corruption..."

2. When referring to Congress, remember to remind readers that the Legislative Branch is Republican controlled. For example: "Legislators in the Republican controlled Congress today proposed legislation that would cut veteran benefits..."

3. When writing about Bush or Republican leaders like Frist, always include the word "Republican" in association with them. For example, instead of "Majority Leader Bill Frist" use "Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist."

4. When referring to the Republican Party, always start with the words "Republican Party" rather than "GOP." To the less politically aware, the lack of awareness that "GOP" is the Republican Party may be to the Republican's advantage.

All of this is completely obvious to those of us in the Blogosphere, but to those not politically aware the word "Republican" can and should be directly associated with scandal, corruption, and lies. Maybe through simple association, over time we can give the word "Republican" a negative association just as the Right has done to the word "Liberal." At the very least, by simply using the word "Republican" in our work work more, we may help the Republicans more effectively tarnish their party's reputation.

O'Reilly's Hate Speech

I'm so tired of hearing how Liberals hate America. It's not the left that is warning of God's retribution for a town's voting out their school board. It's not the left that is advocating terrorist attacks on San Fransico:
O'REILLY: Hey, you know, if you want to ban military recruiting, fine, but I'm not going to give you another nickel of federal money. You know, if I'm the president of the United States, I walk right into Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, "Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead."

And if Al Qaeda comes in here and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. We're going to say, look, every other place in America is off limits to you, except San Francisco. You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead.

Are you serious? If any Democrat said anything even remotely close to the level of ignorance that this is the Right would be all over the airwaves of the MSM calling for their head on a pike in Times Square.

It's time the light is shined on these cockroaches. Mr. and Mrs. Republican, do people like this really represent what you and your party stand for? Wake the fuck up and clean house.

Friday, November 11, 2005

IL-06: Duckworth Angst

With rumors and unofficial DCCC talk of injured Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth entering the race for IL-06, there has been quite a bit of ruffled feathers online by Cegelis supporters. The core complaint seems to be focused on whether Cegelis should get a "free ride" in the primary, having "earned" the nomination by virtue of her name recognition in district, volunteer base in district and past showing against Hyde.

But to me, whether or not Cegelis has earned anything isn't the point. To me, this is a discussion about local politics and how candidates are supported - or not - in their run for office. That Duckworth appears to have been recurited by the Democratic establishment (read DCCC) is the reason for the angst among Cegelis supporters; the cause of which is worthy of discussion and should not be muddied by charges that Cegelis supporters are bashing a "war hero" who has every right to be in the race.

It's obvious that every candidate has a right to run for office. It's how this process gets manipulated by those outside the district that is bothersome. The issue for me is how state and national support for many local in-district candidates is brokered. With regard to Cegelis, it appears the Democratic establishment, as was done to Dean in his primary, has undercut her campaign from early on. From a whisper campaign that has hurt her ability to fundraise, to quiet off-record quotes doubting her efficacy as a candidate, Cegelis has had to fight not only her well funded, well supported, potential Republican opponent, but her own party. Here's just one recent example from The Hill:
While Democrats will not acknowledge publicly that they are frustrated with Cegelis, they have made it known they are open to other contenders’ jumping into the race.

Bill Burton, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), has said the committee has met with other potential candidates.

A Democratic aide on Capitol Hill said simply: “The Democratic field in Illinois-6 is still open.”

That might as well be a tacit endorsement of anyone by Cegelis. Officially they won't talk, but under the radar they are "dissatisfied" with her and her lack of fundraising. And they wonder why Cegelis is not attracting traditional Democratic big donors while they call her a weak candidate based solely on her fundraising number they are helping to suppress!

So now we have rumors of a "war hero" entering the race and the DCCC seems ready to offer their significant resources, and tacit endorsement (publicly or not), behind this unknown candidate; a candidate with no political or campaign experience who may not even live in district. This to me looks like a decision based in opportunistic reasoning rather than a candidate's ability. It's once again about electability, rather than support for local Democrats in the district like Cegelis or Scott.

Duckworth may be a genuine Democrat with great Democratic values. This remains to be seen. But entering the race like this - being recruited at the last minute by Beltway Democrats - makes her look like a puppet of the DCCC. As Roosevelt University political science professor Paul Green notes:
“With her resume, obviously [Duckworth's] going to get a lot of interest,” Green said. “But can she run a campaign? That I don’t know. Once the novelty wears off that here’s a woman who wants to run for office and she gave so much for her country, she still has to know how to campaign in a traditionally Republican district.”

Green said Duckworth’s stand on Iraq could become the central issue. “If she supports the war, it might position her better to beat Roskam, but maybe she won’t make it past Cegelis in the primary.”

I can't blame Duckworth if she took the opportunity being offered to her, and don't begrudge her possible decision to enter the race. I just wonder what the Cegelis campaign would look like with the type of backing and support Duckworth looks poised to be given. Will Duckworth avoid mistakes that Cegelis made because she will have the backing and support in resources, consultants and guidance that Cegelis never had? Does that make her a better candidate than Cegelis, or just a candidate who has greater opportunities and resources?

A genuine primary race would occur between Scott and Cegelis. Both are from district and have a desire to bring change to the district. Add a packaged "war hero" candidate with the backing of the DCCC (even if it is under the radar) and the race is no longer genuine. The field is not level. The primary candidate has been anointed by those outside the district.

For Duckworth to show she hasn't been anoited and the DCCC to show they aren't manipulating local races, Duckworth would have to fundraise on her own, set up her campaign team on her own, recruit volunteers on her own, and get the signatures needed to get her on the ballot on her own - something she has precious little time to do at this point. Cegelis and Scott did all these things on their own. Instead, should this be done for Duckworth, then she is the candidate getting the free ride, not Cegelis.

Bush on Veteran's Day

Bush is upset over criticism of the Iraq war? Revisionist history at work, he says:
(CNN) -- President Bush Friday accused critics of the Iraq war of distorting the events that led to the U.S. invasion, saying Democrats viewed the same intelligence and came to similar conclusions.

"While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began," the president said.

That's right, Mr. President. All of us Democrats and war critic revisionists are questioning why the US invaded Iraq, the central location of the war on terror, to fight those who attacked us on 9-11 on their shores, not ours. Even though Iraq wasn't the central location for the war on terror until you made it so, and those who attacked us on 9-11 had nothing to do with Iraq.

But maybe it's because you were authorized to use force to disarm Saddam and the ominous nuclear program he had. Remember that "smoking gun in the shape of a mushroom cloud"? All that Yellowcake he was buying from Niger even though he had tons of the stuff already.

Or maybe it was because we thought you were going there to disarm Saddam, taking away his chemical and biological weapons that you told us he had. Remember, mobile chemical labs, crop dusters with Anthrax, gallons of Saran?

Or maybe it was because we thought Saddam was a really bad guy. Remember, he was a dangerous thug who posed a threat to the US of A. We would be greeted as liberator with flowers not IUDs.

Or maybe it was because we wanted to spread Democracy in the middle east. Remember all those purple fingers and all those corners we turned? All those Democratically elected candidates who's names and pictures where kept secret up until election day. That Constitution the US helped shape, write and revise for them.

Or maybe it was the deaths of over 2,000 service men and women who died for a noble cause, even though you have yet to define what that noble cause they died for is, where the course we are staying is headed, and how this endless war will be won.

Mr. President, you and your administration are the revisionists. You and the Republican leaders are responsible for this war. You and the Republicans leaders are suspect in your ethics, as evidenced by indictments for top leaders like Scotter Libby, Tom DeLay, and investigations into Bill Frist's insider trading just to name the top leaders.

Democrats and war critics are revisionists? If so, we learned from you.