Wednesday, August 31, 2005

All Roads Lead to Bush

It seems that once again another disaster has struck. Certainly Katrina was not of George Bush's doing. But passing tax cuts for people like Paris Hilton while cutting funding for flood relief projects for New Orleans can be laid squarely at the White House door step. In his zeal for removing the "affliction" of taxes from those who can most afford to pay their share - those who earn 5, 6, 10 or more times what I as a teacher make annually - Bush and his Federal Budget cut the funding of the very projects that could have prevented much of the disaster in New Orleans. A disaster that happened after the city survived a near miss from Katrina:
Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars.

[...]

The 2004 hurricane season was the worst in decades. In spite of that, the federal government came back this spring with the steepest reduction in hurricane and flood-control funding for New Orleans in history. Because of the proposed cuts, the Corps office there imposed a hiring freeze. Officials said that money targeted for the SELA project -- $10.4 million, down from $36.5 million -- was not enough to start any new jobs.

Bush's war has now come home to roost. Not only has it cost this country our respect in the world and nearly 2,000 of our service men an women, but now it's cost New Orleans everything. The Big Easy is under water, and Paris Hilton's tax bill is lower today thanks to directly to Bush's deception that led us into an ill-advised and costly war.

We won the cold war by nearly bankrupting the USSR. Will we bankrupt our country with tax cuts for the most affluent while the poor drown? If Paris Hilton lost a home to Katrina, I'm sure her Bush-tax cut help her relocate to one of her half-dozen other homes in drier locations. What of the people who lost everything? Will their $400 refund check help them now that their humble New Orleans home is under 20 feet of water thanks to a levie project that had it's funding cut to pay for Paris' relocation?

Was this the noble cause our men and women died for?

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Dear Mr. Blitzer (and other pundits)

So I'm watching Wolf Blitzer interrupt Viet Nam war veteran and former senator Max Cleland, who being a veteran of similar war, can draw the comparisons to Iraq quiet nicely. But Wolf keeps asking what Democrats think military strategy should be and how Democrats would handle Iraq. Democrats criticize the president, he notes, but what would they do differently?

First, lets get something straight. Bush is the Commander in Chief. The Republicans control Congress. I don't give a crap what the Democrats would do. Democrats can't do squat about our military and foreign policy. They are not in control of the country, the direction of which is now being set by the Republicans.

Second, since Republicans are in control, why isn't anyone asking them these question? "Stay the course" and "demonstrate our resolve" is not a plan, nor an exit strategy. They are cute catch phrases that say nothing. Comparing Bush to Bill Clinton (who hasn't held office in 5 years) and saying the minority party isn't providing a plan or leadership in Iraq is a line of crap. The GOP is in the leadership role now, not Democrats past or present.

Let's get a few things straight Mr. Blitzer and all you other pundits cheer leaders for Bush et al: Democrats are not going to bail out the Republicans here. Iraq is a Republican sponsored course to stay, not a Democratic one. The Bush administration and the Republican cheerleaders got us into this war based on their insistence of WMD and a threat to this country. It is their mess to clean up. They are the ones that should be held accountable. They are the ones who need to come up with a plan, three years late. They are the ones that need to provide an exit strategy.

Democrats can propose away and it will go no where as they do not hold power. Bush is the Commander in Chief , not Bill Clinton. Republicans chair the committees in Congress, not Democrats. Tom Delay, a Republican, sets the agenda in the House. Bill Frist, a Republican, sets the agenda in the Senate. They set the nation's policy, not the Democrats.

So let's hear what the Republicans will do. If all they can say is "stay the course" then lets have them define what the course is. We've turned so many corners and seen so many reasons Bush took us to war in Iraq that I don't have a clue what the course is we are staying anymore. How are the Republicans going to get our troops out of Iraq? When are they going to bring the troops home? Months? Years? Decades? Let's ask the Republican leaders what is the noble cause our troops are over there dying for? Then let's ask the Republican leaders why this cause has turned so many corners and changes so many times.

Let's stop asking Democrats who highlight this administrations catastrophic failures in Iraq what they would do. They can do nothing beyond highlighting the failure of the Republicans in charge to come up with a plan.

Which War This Time?

Let's all go to war. Let's kick some ass. Let's beat up the thugs. Let's show the world that America is the toughest guy around, so you better not mess with Texas, err, the U.S. of A. Idiots.

The Chickenhawks argued that Saddam had WMD. He had mobile weapons labs. He had unmanned drones and crop dusters that could spray our cities (all the way from Iraq) with chemical agents. Condi warned of the smoking gun in a form of a mushroom cloud. Cheney warned of the vast stockpiles of the most lethal agents. And Rummy knew right where they were. Bush cheer leaded about the threat, the imminent threat, the grave and gathering threat, and threw in 9-11 references like a politician in a Memorial Day parade throwing out candy. There was the nuclear program, the aluminum tubes, the secret weapons program, and the hiding of all manner of bad things we were told no mad man like Saddam should possess.

So we went to war, and gee whiz, there is no WMD. No mobile weapons labs. No drones or crop dusters. No chemical agents. No mushroom cloud was possible as yellowcake from Niger was a phony and everyone knew it. There was no threat, imminent, grave or otherwise to the USA. Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11. There were no terrorist ties or terrorists there. There was no nuclear program, no secret weapons program, and no hiding of any WMD as there were none to hide. Not only were there none to hide, we didn't know where they were either. So we took a year looking for something that everyone who looked now says didn't exist anyway.

So we went to war because Saddam was a bad guy. He had ties to terrorists. Remember 9-11? That changed everything. Never mind our allies like the Saudis or Pakistan who were actually funding and supplying terrorists. Never mind that North Korea was moving full speed ahead with a nuclear program. Never mind all the other bad guys in the world. But then it turned out, yes Saddam was a bad buy, but he was a paper tiger. Crippled by sanctions, the first gulf war, and increasing attacks by air by the US and Great Brittan, Saddam was barely a threat to his neighbors, let alone the USA on the other side of the world.

So we went to war to foster democracy. Look what a great thing the Iraqis have now with all those purple fingers voting. Look at them choosing leaders who were kept secret up until the day of the vote. Look at them choosing leaders hand picked for them by the US and our Iraqi allies. Look at them writing a constitution, with the US input and oversight, that is essentially placing the law of the land in a Islamic theocracy. Look at them now about to ram through their new constitution that essentially removes woman's rights. Woo-whoo! Yay democracy. Even the Iraqi woman flown in to sit next to the firs lady as Bush gave his State of the Union now thinks the whole thing is a sham. The Chickenhawks disagree, but I'm giving a tad bid more credence to the woman from Iraq on this one.

So why are we going to go to war this week now that this constitutional photo-op looks to literally blow up in our (troops) faces? What is the noble cause touted by the Bush White House and Right wingers going to be this this time? Now we hear that Iraq is the front line in the "war on terror," a perpetual war that has no defined enemy, no defined boundary, and no way to measure victory or see an end in sight. How convenient. Proponents say we can't "cut and run" and leave Iraq as that would embolden terrorists, at the same time the terrorist, flocking to Iraq to take pot shots at American troops, achieve greater success at blowing IED's. I'm sure their increased success at killing more American troops does nothing for their self esteem.

No, the Chickenhawks argue, we can't leave Iraq now. The terrorists are killing Americans there, so we have to stay. But the longer we stay, the more American troops they'll pick off, so we'll have to stay longer. If we can't leave because we are there fighting and dying, then we can never leave.

So let's remember, this is not a chicken/egg deal. It is a chicken hawk/war deal. Bush and his administration wanted this war. The Republicans cheer leaded right along with it. Our troops are in Iraq fighting and dying because the civilian leadership - Bush and his administration - got us there and have continually changed the reason for why we should be there in the first place.

What is the noble cause our troops are dying for? Which war is it this time, Mr. President?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Air America Founders Support Cegelis

Just got note of this in my inbox: Christine Cegelis has the support of Sheldon and Anita Drobny, the founders of Air America Radio. Her campaign is having a book signing event with them that will also include plenty of Q&A time about AAR and why they're supporting Christine:
Learn how Air America took flight with founders Sheldon and Anita Drobny

Meet the people who put independent back into independent media. Sheldon and Anita will be talking about their commitment to progressive radio, the challenge of launching a new radio network in the face of widespread discouragement—and why they’re supporting Christine Cegelis for Congress in the 6th District.

Christine will be at the event and there will be plenty of time for questions with the candidate and our special guests—plus an opportunity for you to buy a copy of their recent book, Road to Air America: Breaking the Right Wing Stranglehold on Our Nation's Airwaves and have it signed by the author. Don’t miss this special campaign fundraiser!

When: Wednesday, September 14, 6-7:30 pm
Where: Holiday Inn, 1250 Roosevelt Road
Glen Ellyn
(NW corner of Roosevelt and Finley)
Donation: $35.00

To RSVP for the event, please send an e-mail to RSVP@cegelisforcongress.com or call 630-693-0500


This one sounds pretty interesting!

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Who Would Jesus Assassinate

I wish I could claim credit for the title of this post, but I can't. You've got to read Madman in the Marketplace's great post where in he clues in all those in the Democratic Party on why people in the Blogosphere question their ability to ever beat the GOP:
The blogs are talking about Pat Robertson's un-Christ like call for assassination today. (A search on Technorati brings up nearly 50K posts discussing "Pat Robertson" today). The media is covering it.

So where are the Democrats on this statement, a day after he said it?

Yup, the sound of our little friends the crickets is all you hear.

Al Sharpton on Hardball is the only Democrat I've seen respond to this gift from one of the leaders of America's Taliban. He rightly pointed out that Robertson was speaking like a terrorist. That's it. Rev. Al is the only one.

How can this party ever launch an effective comeback when it can't even respond to political opportunities like this? The Republicans strike back swift and loud when a Democratic leader, or even any liberal celebrity or writer, says anything even remotely objectionable. Hell, they yell louder when what the Democrat says is true (cf nearly anything Howard Dean says).

One of the leaders of the Religious Right (aka American Taliban) and a huge supporter of Bush calls for the assassination of the a world leader and the Democrats don't even respond? Sigh.

Monday, August 22, 2005

#43 at 36%

Bush must be feeling the heat. Today he actually noted he could count. All the way to 1,864:
From the beaches of Normandy to the snows of Korea, courageous Americans gave their lives so others could live in freedom. Since the morning of September the 11th, we have known that the war on terror would require great sacrifice, as well. We have lost 1,864 members of our Armed Forces in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and 223 in Operation Enduring Freedom.

I like the way he slips in the comparison of his invaision of Iraq with the fight to stop Hitler and Communism, even slipping in a 9-11 reference to boot. Double-bonus points for George.

Too bad people are starting to get wise to junior however:
George W. Bush's overall job approval ratings have dropped from a month ago even as Americans who approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president are turning more optimistic about their personal financial situations according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Among all Americans, 36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 33% approve and 62% disapprove.

Just for reference: Nixon has similar numbers by this time in his second term. No wonder George learned to count. Let's see what approval rating drives him to finally attend a funeral.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Bush's Islamic Democracy

Hey, remember how the latest noble cause Bush was peddling was that we invaded Iraq to foster the spread of Democracy in the middle east? Well, about that Iraqi democracy:
BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. diplomats have conceded ground to Islamists on the role of religion in Iraq, negotiators said on Saturday as they raced to meet a 48-hour deadline to draft a constitution under intense U.S. pressure.

U.S. diplomats, who have insisted the constitution must enshrine ideals of equal rights and democracy, declined comment.

Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurdish negotiators all said there was accord on a bigger role for Islamic law than Iraq had before.

But a secular Kurdish politician said Kurds opposed making Islam "the", not "a", main source of law -- changing current wording -- and subjecting all legislation to a religious test.

"We understand the Americans have sided with the Shi'ites," he said. "It's shocking. It doesn't fit American values. They have spent so much blood and money here, only to back the creation of an Islamist state ... I can't believe that's what the Americans really want or what the American people want."

That's right boys and girls, we invaded Iraq so that they could write a constitution that made Islamic Law the supreme law of the land. In effect, creating an Islamic state. Is anyone surprised U.S. diplomats declined to comment?

I wonder how many in congress would have voted for this.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Blogsphere vs. Beltway

I've always considered myself a pretty typical Democrat. I don't consider myself tied to one ideology or political doctrine. Although my blog is named "Damn Liberals" it gets the name more from an inside joke founded in the teasing from my in-laws than from my actual political ideology. To them, anyone who is not a Republican is a damn liberal. Like most Democrats however, I'm liberal on some issues, moderate on others, and conservative on a few.

But what's always struck me is how attacked I sometimes get by "moderate" or "conservative" democrats who assume, wrongly in my mind, that I'm some flaming liberal because I am a proponent of the Blogosphere and the new progressive model of politics that it supports. Express any support of changing the model used by the Beltway and I'm automatically accused of being one of those "fringe" elements on the "far left" out of the mainstream of the party. Maybe I'm blind to my own faults, but I sincerely don't think that's the case.

Chris Bowers at MyDD tonight posted on the rise in Sen. Feingold's straw poll numbers, noting that his numbers have jumped dramatically since he announce that their should be a time table for withdraw from Iraq:
Don't believe me? Look at three candidates from the first two Dailykos community straw polls, Clinton, Feingold, and Edwards, who have been battling it out for a distant second behind Clark. You can find the June poll here and the July poll here.

June July
Clinton 36.8% 37.0%
Feingold 35.6% 35.5%
Edwards 27.6% 27.5%

Note: Percentages reflect the percentages of votes each candidate received from the combined total of Clinton, Feingold and Edwards votes)

Clinton, Feingold and Edwards had nearly identical, and static, support among the netroots in these two polls. Now, look at the numbers in the August straw poll, one day after Feingold declared that he supported a timeline with fixed dates and a real plan for withdrawal:

August
Feingold 53.0%
Clinton 25.0%
Edwards 22.0%

Now that is what I call moving numbers. One single policy proposal completely altered the way the netroots saw these three candidates in relative terms. And that is in one day, with one policy. There is, quite simply, nothing else a candidate could do to move support in the netroots as quickly as this, period.

Here's where I'm going with this: there is a void out there waiting to be filled by Democrats, regardless of ideology. Being "anti-war" is suppose to be a "liberal" position. Yet when you look at poll numbers that Chris put up, 52% of self described "liberals" want the troops home now while 64% of "all Democrats" want the same. This isn't a liberal vs. moderate issue here. Most of the division between the progressive Blogosphere and the Democratic base is not really a division of ideology.

As Chris notes, the ideological difference is there. But the overwhelming desire that in my opinion trumps ideology for most is the desire by the Blogosphere to address the four issues Chris notes: Improved Intellectual Infrastructure, Improved Progressive Media, Electoral Strategy, and Party Reform. The basis of each of these issues being generally non-idelogical in nature but instead grounded in strategy, message and tactics.

In the end, those of us in the Blogosphere want what those in the mainstream base of the party want: to beat the GOP. Where we differ significantly is not on liberal vs. moderate ideology, but on how to achieve this goal. Once both the Blogosphere and the Beltway realize this and stop picking nits over which ideology is better in our presidential candidates we can both start focusing completely on the common goal of beating the Republicans

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Lincoln vs. Bush

Oh, how the GOP have fallen. Once the party of Lincoln, the Republicans have disgraced the first of their party to ever win the presidency over and over. Bush is no exception in his stark contrast to Lincoln's example of what the Republicans used to represent. Bill Felmlee sums it up in his great post at MyDD:
There is extensive documentation of Lincoln visiting battlefield hospitals in Virginia and Maryland.  No doubt, he saw first hand the immediate consequences of warfare.  I do not believe that Bush could stomach what Lincoln saw.

If Lincoln repeatedly subjected himself to the smell of death, then why can't Bush at least visit a grieving mother?

Bush is a pampered rich kid who grew up in the prep school environment of the East coast. He can't meet with soldiers injured due his his false machismo, let alone a grieving parent. That man has never cleaned up, let alone took notice, of a mess he's created in his whole life. Why would he start now? He's got to get on with his life, after all.

Read Bill's post. Through Lincoln's example, we learn just how pathetic our Commander in Chief is.

Monday, August 15, 2005

A 4th IL-06?

A few days ago, Lynn Sweet wrote an article on the Cegelis campaign's fundraising efforts. I posted on it regarding the DCCC's "one major yardstick to measure political viability" being nothing more than a campaign's bottom line. ArchPundit also had a post on the article as well with some additional insight. The line that got my attention was the last line of the post:
My understanding is that DCCC is polling the District now and that will help shape future decisions as well.

What I'd like to know is if DCCC is actually polling in the 6th or not. Because if they are, it could mean one of two things: either they have a horse with deep pockets they are considering putting in the race or they are seeing if there is more to the Cegelis campaign on the ground that isn't showing in the FEC quarterly filing. This is either really good or really bad.

If they are polling to see if Cegelis has the support she says she does, this means maybe they are finally listening to the Blogosphere and grassroots volunteers working for her campaign. It means they are trying to verify that she really does have the name recognition the campaign says she does, and her 44.2% in 2004 wasn't a fluke. This might change some minds and opinions in the progressive world about how the DCCC does business. Such a move would be applauded and welcomed as signs that the Party really does want to embrace their progressive grassroots base. It would be a unifying gesture.

On the other hand, if they are staging a candidate who has deep pockets and can self-fund - essentially buying name recognition - to run against Cegelis, they are once again demonstrating that they don't get it, and confirming the worst suspicions about the DCCC expressed in the progressive Blogosphere. Such action would essentially be seen as undermining a popular candidate who has positioned herself to be the Democratic candidate for the seat. By taking this type of action to supplant a candidate who shares great support from the grassroots, the DCCC risks a potent blowback from the grassroots for anointing another millionaire candidate with no real backing from constituents. This would be a divisive move that would pit the grassroots against the DCCC, and ultimately help Roskam and the GOP.

So which is it? Are they polling the 6th or aren't they?

Light posting

Sorry for the light posting everyone. I've been doing some work for a couple congressional candidates, and a candidate for governor. Real work has been taking the place of my blogging time.

Besides, between Rove, Bush "getting on with his life" while his poll number drop like a rock, Iraq being FUBAR, and Cindy Sheehan, there just been so much going on that I just didn't know where to begin...

Thursday, August 11, 2005

DCCC to Cegelis: "Raise Money"

In today's Sun Times, Lynn Sweet has a piece in which she states that Cegelis "may tempt a self-funded Democratic candidate into the primary" if she doesn't raise more money. She also noted the the DCCC's "major yardstick" for the campaign: Money:
Emanuel is the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and part of his job is recruiting strong candidates. Emanuel uses one major yardstick to measure political viability, and that is fund-raising. Cegelis will not get a break from Emanuel just because she is an Illinois Democrat.

[...]

Cegelis said she has talked to Emanuel briefly and the advice he gave her was to "raise money.''

When are the establishment types and the DCCC going to get it? "Raise money" is the only advice and yardstick the they have? The only tempting of a self funder is being done by the DCCC who seems to only have one tool to measure a campaign with.

Sweet uses this angle in her story as well, highlighting the differences in fundraising totals with Roskam, the likely GOP nominee:
In the first six months of this year, Cegelis raised $107,628 and has $43,460 cash-on-hand, totals that won't go far if Roskam's early fund-raising is a predictor of what he can do in the future. Roskam reported raising $395,149 between January and June and has $369,675 on hand. Cegelis' second quarter haul was below the national average raised by Democrats and Republicans competing for open seats, according to research by the DCCC.

Gee whiz, a conservative GOP lawmaker and former aide to both DeLay and Hyde, in a Republican leaning district, is out-raising the Democratic challenger unsupported by her party! I'm shocked! What Sweet doesn't note, is that Roskam's totals are from a small number of donors, often with the same last name, giving high dollar donations. Cegelis during the same time had over 1,000 donors. But this broad base of support is not used as a "yardstick" for her campaign, or a weapon to wield against the GOP, but instead seen as a weakness.

It's all about the money. The DCCC short sightedly seems to target only races think they have a strong chance of winning. To them, "winning" means "outspending." They play not to lose. Fearful that Cegelis won't raise money on her own, they hedge their bets, entertaining the possibility of backing other candidates with no name recognition and no organization on the ground with deep pockets and political connections. This of course undermines the Cegelis campaign's efforts to raise money as influential donors wait to see who national organization will support. This then creating the DCCC's self fulfilling prophecy of an inability to raise money on the part of the Cegelis campaign. Instead, if they lent early support, doors to traditional sources of fundraising would open and Cegelis would be as well funded as any Democratic challenger.

But no. They continue to keep their options open, and hurt their chances of taking this seat while waiting for someone like a McPartlin - with deep pockets and Clinton connections - to run. Which he says he won't. Or does he?
Brian McPartlin, the chief of administration for the Illinois Tollway Authority -- and a veteran of the Clinton White House -- who had been mulling a run, told me Wednesday he will not get in this race, but "I'm not ruling anything out down the road.''

Boy, now there would be a candidate who would take the district by storm: the guy in charge of the oh so very well loved Illinois Tollway Authority with a Clinton connection. Can't imagine the GOP using that to their advantage.

Sheer genius.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Admit Mistake or Apologize?

Yesterday, I wrote a diary titled "Just Admit You Fucked Up." Whether this meant Democrats should apologize for their vote on the Iraq War resolution, taking responsibility for their role in Bush's war or just admit the vote was a mistake, laying the blame squarly on the Bush administration, became the debate in the comments.

I updated the diary noting I was not after an apology, just an on the record admission that Democrats felt their vote was an error. After I updated the diary, I got heat from some for "changing my mind" or my favorite:
It's as if you spoke from your heart this morning and then Hillary and Al From took you out to lunch and removed it you changed your mind.

Let's get something straight: This is the reality based community. The odds of Democrats apologizing for their vote, and thereby their role in this war, are slim to none. The only way Democrats are going to take control of this issue is by laying the blame for this war at the feet of the Republicans where it belongs. This is not going to happen by the reality based community demanding Democrats apologize.

The outrage, the sense of betrayal, the feeling of political gainsmanship that arose from the Democrats voting with the GOP to give Bush the green light to use force in Iraq is painfully evident to everyone here. With a president with astronomically high approval ratings, in the patriotic hysteria following 9-11, and with elections looming, it seems obvious that many Democrats voted for this war to look tough on terror and position themselves for the 2004 election.

This is despicable. It is terrible. It is shameful. It shows a gross lack of character. But those with the intestinal fortitude needed to accept responsibility for their vote already voted against the resolution in the first place. Those politically motivated to ignore the wild claims and trumped up evidence lacked the guts needed now to apologize in the first place.

So why do so many here still demand they apologize? I feel people are so blinded by their hatred of this war that they want to punish those who voted for it. Especially those on our side who "betrayed" us by siding with the Republicans. This seems to be the area where we as a party get into the circular firing squad mode.

The reality is that the Bush administration and the Republicans are responsible for this war, not the Democrats. It was the Bush administration manipulated intelligence. Bush made up his mind to use military force. Cheney waxed eloquent about Sadaam's ties to al Quaeda. Rusmfeld knew where the WMDs were. Powell detailed their mobile weapons labs at the UN. Rice warned of the smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud.

We can argue all day about the culpability of the Democrats for their vote. The reality is few if any will apologize for their role in this war. The reality of the situation is that as long as Democrats are on the record as voting "for the war" the party will have to defend their voting record instead of laying the blame for the deception, manipulation of the American people, and death associated with Bush's war of choice at the feet of the Republicans.

Those who voted for this war will have to answer to a higher authority than those of us in the Democratic party. Karma is a bitch. They will eventually arrive at their day of judgment. This is not my concern.

My concern, and my reality, is we need to beat the SOB's who engineered this war - the Bush administration and the Republicans in the majority of both houses of congress. The only way we do this is to stop letting our hatred and pain over this war blind us to who the real enemy is.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Just Admit You Fucked Up

To all Democratic Representatives and Senators who voted for the Iraq War resolution:

Just admit you fucked up.

I don't care how you do it. I don't care why you do it. I don't care if you believe it or not.

Just admit it and move on so we as a party can start beating the crap out of the Republicans with this issue.

Once this is done, the Democrats can then get back to the business of siding with the American people, the majority of whom see the war negatively, not worth the cost, and not making us safer.

So Mr. Congressman, you are really a hawk and for the war. Great. Try this:
I now believe my vote on the Iraq War resolution was wrong. I believe that America should go after the terrorists that attacked us on 9-11, capturing or killing every one of them. But it has now been amply proven that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 and I realize my vote to support President Bush's disastrous war of choice was an error.

Not a hawk? You voted for the war out of 9-11 hysterical patriotism? Try this:
I now believe my vote on the Iraq War resolution was wrong. In the emotion filled days after 9-11 I believed the America was vulnerable to any enemy. I underestimated the greatness of this nation. The Iraq war has not made us safer, and has had disastrous costs to this country.

Can't admit you were wrong? Fine. Blame it on Bush:
I now believe I was deceived into voting for the Iraq War resolution based on the Bush administration's use falsehoods, misleading and manipulated intelligence reports, and scare tactics. The Iraq War has proven disastrous for this country and I am disturbed that I, like many, were convinced under false pretenses to vote for it.

Just want to be honest? Bravo:
I now believe my vote on the Iraq War resolution was wrong. I feared the President's high approval ratings and looking weak on terrorism in the wake of 9-11. I regret voting for this disastrous war that has cost our country dearly.

I don't really care how you do it Mr. Congressman. Just do it.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Vacations During Wartime

This is what Bush had to say yesterday about the dozen Marines killed in Iraq by one IED:
President Bush lamented the deaths of 14 Marines in Iraq Wednesday, calling the deadly attack a "grim reminder" America is still at war.

[...]

"Make no mistake about it," Bush said. "We are at war."

So if we are at war, why is the Commander in Chief taking the longest vacation of any president in 36 years? From Plutonium Page at dKos:

Some numbers for you:
49:
the number of vacations that Bush has taken since he was inaugurated in 2001

5:
the number of weeks that Bush will spend on vacation, starting yesterday.  It is the longest presidential vacation in at least 36 years.

319:
August 3, 2005 was the 319th day Bush has spent on vacation since his 2001 inauguration

20%:
the fraction of Bush's presidency that he has spent on vacation

A culture of corruption in which an "ownership society" means that everyone else owns Bush's mistakes while he goes on vacation. Especially the families of those killed in Iraq who's funerals Bush has honor with his attendance.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Why the CAFTA Vote Mattered

I've been pretty critical to Democrats of late who break ranks with the party, especially Melissa Bean. I just don't understand why Democrats as a party continue to fail to realize opportunities to weaken the Republicans that opposition presents. CAFTA might not have been all that terrible of legislation, and Democrats like Bean might have not felt all that much desire to oppose it. Letting it pass while currying favor in their conservative districts might seem to them an easy way to boost their individual political capital back home. But in thinking like this, Bean and the other dozen or so Democrats who broke ranks with the party failed to see the opportunity it presented and weakened the Democratic party as a result.Kevin Drum sums it up:
Aside from demonstrating strength and resolve and a variety of other positive character traits, there's another thing that Democratic unity on CAFTA would have accomplished: it would have forced Tom DeLay to put the screws to a dozen more of his people than he otherwise had to. This would have forced him to use up political capital, and it also would have forced some Republican congressmen in weak districts to vote for CAFTA whether they liked it or not. As things stand, though, a dozen Republican congressmen in districts that are anti-CAFTA were able to vote against it.

If, instead, they had been forced to vote for it, they would have been more vulnerable in 2006. This is Politics 101, and Democratic congressmen who don't understand this really shouldn't be in politics. If you want to become a majority party, you have to do things that weaken the opposition, and playing hardball on CAFTA would have done just that. It was an opportunity missed.

When wolves hunt they separate individuals from the pack. An individual is much easier to bring down on its own than one within the pack. The Democrats seem to want to play as individuals rather than as a pack. And as such, the GOP wolves will continue to pick them off.