Democrats & Liberals Archives

July 2003 Archives

July 31, 2003

Between A Man And A Woman

So, as I'm sure you've already heard, President Bush apparently wants marriage reserved for heterosexuals. Not just by creating regular laws - but by amending the Constitution.

[Correction to original article, 8/1/03 8am: thanks to Richard for pointing out in the comments that I interpreted the Reuters article too strongly. A constitutional amendment is one of the possibilities that the Bush administration is considering. Mea culpa. However, I stand by my conclusions in the lower three paragraphs.]

Wait a minute. Amending the Constitution? A major, civil rights amendment such as this hasn't been ratified since the age of suffrage was dropped to 18 in 1978; and the last Constitutional amendment that negatively affected civil rights would be Prohibition, back in 1933.

And we all know how that turned out.

Of course, an amendment such as this would be extremely difficult to pass anyway: two-thirds of the House and the Senate and three-quarters of the states would have to agree first.

From my rather cynical viewpoint across the pond, Bush's initiative seems to be no more than a publicity stunt to gain some credence with the more religious edge of the Republican party. He's not even got a concrete suggestion ready - apparently,

"...we've got lawyers looking at the best way to do that."

It's the run-up to an election. Vote-winning pronouncements like this are to be expected from any leader, in any party, in any democracy around the world. There's no need for gay rights groups and the ACLU to get too angry – at least until they see a draft of a bill emerging from the White House.

Posted by Thomas Scott at 8:03 PM

Interesting Chart of Presidential Approval Ratings

This chart plots the presidents' approval ratings across their terms in office, going back as far as Carter.

Two things I find interesting when examining the chart:

  1. The strong correlation of Clinton's and Reagan's approval ratings throughout each's two terms in office
  2. The huge spikes in both Bush's approval ratings followed by consistent, dramatic declines

Our current president saw a huge jump in his approval rating following Sep. 11, and then experienced a continual slide until the start of Gulf War II gave him another boost. His approval ratings are again sliding rapidly. Does this trend continue, or will he benefit from another event that commands support? Is another terrorist attack or another event which he belives justifies sending in troops the best thing that could happen to him as we head into the election season?

Posted by blipsman at 11:40 AM

July 30, 2003

What we've got here...

... is a failure to communicate. Either that, or its more Bush Administration bravado.

Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning that terrorists may again attempt to hijack aircraft to carry out an suicide attacks similar to the one on Sep. 11.

However, the "Transportation Security Administration has alerted federal air marshals that as of Friday they will no longer be covering cross-country or international flights."

Huh!?!?! Was it not cross-country flights, full of jet fuel, that the terrorists selected last time to carry out their attacks? Wouldn't international flights hold similar attraction? So why are we reducing the security on the highest risk flights?

Anyone in the Bush administration care to explain this one? Or is this another one of Bush's "Bring them on" challenges?

Posted by blipsman at 10:16 AM

July 29, 2003

Why We Should Start Questioning Authority

We've been discussing the current trend of outsourcing the IT of American companies (be it software or hardware production, customer support, etc.) today via email and a friend raised the point that sometime, in the future, he "foresee[s] a future where so many high tech jobs are overseas that at some point foreign governments or companies may be able to hold us [Americans] hostage." My question is this: don't American companies realize that, pretty much wholesale, they are exporting all of the means of production and brain-trust of the American technology industry to countries like Russia, India, and China?

» Continue reading "Why We Should Start Questioning Authority"

Posted by huxley75 at 1:59 PM

A Distinct Lack of Debate

In today's New York Times, Paul Krugman wonders if Tony Blair's troubles over the David Kelly affair are a sign of things to come for President Bush.

The Labour Party – Blair's party, currently in power – have been involved in a remarkable war of words with the BBC that has hurt the credibility of both sides. But as a Briton who spent half of last year in America, I believe the reason for this whole debate – and Blair's troubles – is that this story simply couldn't happen in the United States. Why? Because the American media would be too scared to start it.

» Continue reading "A Distinct Lack of Debate"

Posted by Thomas Scott at 11:09 AM

July 27, 2003

Moral Equivalence

The most controversial song on Bruce Springsteen’s “The Rising” comes right between the title track and “My City of Ruins,” which he sang at the 9/11 concert shortly after that horrible event.

“Paradise”tries to get inside the head of a Muslim suicide bomber. (It tries, and in the end rejects the bomber. “I see you on the other side, I search for the peace in your eyes, But they're as empty as paradise…I break above the waves.”)

“Paradise” was instantly condemned by the Right as claiming a kind of “moral equivalence” between those who destroyed the World Trade Center and its victims.

But Springsteen put his finger on the central issue of our times. Should we seek to find the humanity in our enemies, or must we all condemn them as “evil-doers,” in Bush’s words.

» Continue reading "Moral Equivalence"

July 26, 2003

Missed Opportunities

I never cease to be amazed at the Republican PR machine. Get a load of this press release, distributed via USNewswire, which is used well by PR-savvy organizations. (The true evil in newsrooms today isn't deceit or plagiarism - it's laziness and staff reductions that result in too much space/air time, too few reporters.)

» Continue reading "Missed Opportunities"

Posted by 9thwave at 2:55 PM

July 24, 2003

The One Remaining Republican Principle

In all the actions of the Bush Administration there is one principle that overrides everything else.

That is the principle of F. U., And it is about time people who call themselves card-carrying Republicans understood this.

Everything – money, power, life – will be concentrated in fewer-and-fewer hands, until the Republican Guard around this President has just as much power as Saddam Hussein ever had.

As to every other principle – F. U.

» Continue reading "The One Remaining Republican Principle"

July 23, 2003

White House official aplogizes for role in scandal

It seems the left has been holding on, hoping that someone in the White House would admit that those 16 words were in the State of the Union address with the White House's knowledge. Today our prayers were answered when Stephen Hadley apologized for his role in allowing shaky intelligence to find its way into the President's speech.

Not only did the White House know about the shaky intelligence, but they knew about it four months before the State of the Union address. I think the picture is becoming more clear every day - we (the US public) were duped.

Posted by joestump at 8:02 AM

July 21, 2003

The Nine vs. The One

The Washington Post's Dan Balz does a nice job of fielding questions, hypothetical and empirical, on the Democrat's primary candidate field. Among other things he notes it odd that only an insurgent (Dean) has emerged before an established candidate (Kerry, Lieberman or Edwards), not visa versa; and he doubts any one will drop out before March pimaries.

Balz's Q&A page is a good primer on the field which has to contend against what the L.A. Times describes as a Republican party with dreams of a political dominion, lunging along behind candidate Bush's $34 million coattails.

Posted by Ry Rivard at 6:47 PM

July 20, 2003

She Who Laughs Last

Great column by Frank Rich in today's New York Times. While the headline - Why Liberals Are No Fun (registration required) - may be a little off-putting to some, he makes two key points - one is that rage is building among Democrats and two, that in politics, timing is everything. It's a lesson I learned well while working on the Mondale-Ferraro and Dukakis-Bentsen campaigns. Just one criticism - I don't think he answers his own headline. Believe me, I'm liberal and I think I'm loads of fun. Okay, maybe not loads but I've got a hell of a sense of humor. Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Posted by 9thwave at 4:54 PM

July 19, 2003

Treason

There is a new meme coming from the right, a dangerous meme. It’s dangerous to those who spout it but also very dangerous to the very idea of democracy.

The meme is treason.

» Continue reading "Treason"

Who's In the Money?

I'll be the first to admit, I found this week's news reports about the FEC's second quarter financial reports a bit confusing. And I have stated on more than one occasion that I don't think money is a major issue right now.

In one of the best articles I've seen on the subject, Slate's William Saletan talks about "the folly of horse-race journalism" and offers advice that everyone should heed - particularly members of the Fourth Estate. In the spirit of Watchblog, and in an effort to help voters wade through the muck and mire of political information to find useful and valuable insight, we could use more columnists like Saletan.

Posted by 9thwave at 3:40 PM

Democrats and Yellowgate

How should Democrats be dealing with the current Administration scandal over YellowGate?

Should be we be shaking our heads in sympathy, clucking platitudes or letting the bastards have it with both barrels?

Don't just say what would make you happiest. Tell us what would do the most good for the cause of the Democratic Party. And why.

July 16, 2003

"Been Dazed and Confused for so long it's not true."

So, where are those WMDs, Mr. Bush? I see that you're blaming the CIA for your ineptitude. Good job — Reagan had Ollie North and you've got George Tenet — it's good to see that someone learns from history, especially when it comes to wars and scapegoats. I knew that Rumsfeld and team wouldn't let themselves topple — guess you learned about that from Mr. Kissinger, right? But what I want to know is why? What are you gaining from this? At least Reagan didn't leave our Constitutional Rights in a shambles (or unavailable) and he didn't try to take down the reputations of other countries (like France and the UK) with him — so what is on your agenda? We're still wondering...

Posted by huxley75 at 11:57 AM

July 15, 2003

Mark Your Calendar

Black Thursday for Bush may have occurred on July 10. David Broder has an excellent column in today's Washington Post. He's the reason I decided to get out of politics and become a journalist, so I admit I'm biased.

But it's not just that. He also makes clear that there is no point in anyone talking about landslides or being unbeatable, or unelectable, for that matter, at this stage of the game. And he confirms what I said previously that public opinion is shifting - slowly, but it is shifting. If you have a few minutes to spare, this morning's online chat about his column doesn't contain any bombshells but is an interesting read.

Posted by 9thwave at 9:06 PM

July 14, 2003

Primary Color. BROWN

Itís been said that voters in primaries elections have more power to influence who is on the ticket much more than they do in the general election. Voting blocs can be based on age, economic status, and ethnicity among other divisions.

Who will get the votes cast by ethnic minorities this year? What is their potential for deciding the election? Is it more beneficial for them to play the spoiler or work with the two majority parties?

Will racial and ethnic minorities get their due or become part of the white male dominated power structure?

» Continue reading "Primary Color. BROWN"

Posted by grover at 11:20 PM

Bastille Day

Bastille Day celebrates a jailbreak.

Of course it was more than a jailbreak. It was the end of the monarchy, the birth of a Republic. The French move toward democracy did not end on Bastille Day -- it just began there.

Since Bastille Day France has had five Republics, five Constitutions, five different ways to organize executive, legislative and judicial power. Meanwhile the U.S. has had one, a Constitution that came into force the same year the Bastille was stormed.

» Continue reading "Bastille Day"

July 13, 2003

A Tagline for My Generation

The hot topic for today's morning talk shows was all about "those 16 words." Honest - that's how Condeleeza Rice and George Tenet refer to this episode. And thankfully, Kerry and Graham both had the sand to insist this isn't over, despite what W thinks.

So I guess it's okay to allow false information through - and face no consequences for doing so. The press and others keep referring to Tenet as "the fall guy." That implies...a FALL. If he stays where he is, which I admit remains to be seen, you can't call him a fall guy.

» Continue reading "A Tagline for My Generation"

Posted by 9thwave at 7:43 PM

July 11, 2003

The Need To Speak

Silence Is Sedition.

It is our silence that passed the Patriot Act. It was our silence that allowed the "Niger uranium" lie to go unchallenged. It is our silence that turns Iraq into Vietnam. It is our silence that allows laws with Orwellian names like "Clear Skies" (for an act encouraging air pollution) to pass. It is our silence that lets Faux News rule the airwaves, our silence that keeps Ann Coulter in business, our silence that lets Republicans even here lie through their teeth about anything they want without being called on it.

As an American, you have an obligation to come to the aid of your country. Right now.

Stop standing silent. Speak up, speak out, be heard.

July 10, 2003

A Wholistic Approach to the White House

I'm working on a theory here. I was struck a few weeks ago by the repeated media call that the members of the Democratic field needed to find a "united message" as to why George Bush should be fired. I don't think that campaign messages will be enough. And I don't think one person will be enough. What we need is a fully defined, dedicated team to replace Bush in the White House. (Of course I thought I was the only one thinking this way until I started checking out a variety of message boards to discover I am definitely not alone.)

» Continue reading "A Wholistic Approach to the White House"

Posted by 9thwave at 5:07 PM

The Meaning of Reflective

Merriam-Webster defines the word "reflective" as meaning "capable of reflecting light, images, or sound waves," "marked by reflection : THOUGHTFUL, DELIBERATIVE" and "relating to, or caused by reflection."

Why the English lesson? Because our view of Bill Clinton is marked by his curious circumlocution before a grand jury, concerning his infidelity, that whether he'd had sex "depends on what the meaning of is is." That became the meme that destroyed him before history, even if it did not cost him his Presidency.

Here is Ari Flesicher on the Niger "yellow cake uranium" that led us to war with Iraq. "So given the fact that the report on the yellow cake did not turn out to be accurate, that is reflective of the president's broader statement."

» Continue reading "The Meaning of Reflective"

July 9, 2003

The Game Is Afoot

The Dean success in the "money primary" has shifted the grounds of the Democratic race, and put it into a higher gear.

Suddenly all sorts of Dean criticisms, and negative Dean comparisons are coming out of the woodwork. Bob Harris, a Kucinich supporter, offered one yesterday, a very self-serving "comparison" showing that his candidate is principled while Dean isn't.

Liberals will say he's not liberal, conservatives will call him a "hyper-liberal" (whatever that is). The DLC will say his stand on Iraq makes him unelectable.

» Continue reading "The Game Is Afoot"

July 8, 2003

Decent Dean vs. Kucinich Summary

Bob Harris, a media type, put together what seems to me to be a pretty accurate and concise summary of the differences between Dean and Kucinich on the issues. Harris is an acknowledged Kucinich backer (as am I) but is clearly willing to vote for Dean if he gets the nod.

I found this table of differences enlightening and useful.

Posted by insiter at 4:29 PM

Holding out hope

The White House said today that some of the "intelligence" presented during the President's State of the Union address were false.

So today I sit at my desk knowing all of my fears are looking more and more true every day. The truth is that our government took us to war, in part, on forged documents from Nigeria. In fact, they even said so. I'm sure this first one will be shrugged off because "we had SO much evidence", but, little by little, I think it will all come out.

This of course not because our own Congress is really doing anything, but because the Brits have Tony Blair on the hot seat. Yup, this is one leftwing conspiracy nutjob who's holding out hope the Bush administration will implode.

Posted by joestump at 10:02 AM

July 7, 2003

Who is That Guy?

Slate has one of the best articles I've seen about Grover Norquist . If you've never heard of him before, it's time you had. Among other things, he's been running weekly Wednesday morning meetings in the Capitol building for years - and has been directly involved in the major policy and political decisions of the Republican Party for more than a decade. If I asked 20 people outside the Beltway who Grover Norquist was, 19 wouldn't know. Isn't it time more people get to know him?

Posted by 9thwave at 9:56 PM

The Dean Meme

Howard Dean is too far left to be elected.
Howard Dean is George McGovern.
Howard Dean is mean.
Howard Dean is a fraud.
Howard Dean is Perot in Wellstone's clothing.
Howard Dean hates war and loves fags, so no one in, say Georgia (which loves war and hates fags) would ever vote for him.
Howard Dean is Vermont, and Vermont is Berkeley with cows.
Howard Dean has no minority support.
Howard Dean is a flash in the pan.
Howard Dean's Internet campaign cannot scale.

Fact is Howard Dean is none of these things. Howard Dean is Howard Dean. And you barely know him, whether or not you support him.

But there are $7.5 million reasons why you will get to know him. Once you do you can make your own judgements.

Just don't believe pundits, don't believe reporters, don't even believe me. Find out for yourself. That's the lesson of what Howard Dean means.

And fortunately, finding out is easier than ever before. So you don't have any excuse.

July 5, 2003

Who're the guys in the shades?

I ate a hotdog yesterday. A weiner for the Fourth.

A lot of people did.

Maybe even Karl Rove. (great pic!)

He had a frankfurter for Howard Dean.

Who are the guys in the shades?

Posted by grover at 2:05 PM

July 4, 2003

Happy Independence Day

There are some great things about this country. The Dean campaign is helping remind me of them. When they can get lefties like me into a flag-waving mood, you know they're doing something right.

I was going to post something longer, but DRRemer is on it in the third-party column.

Political participation is at the heart of democracy. Please get involved on behalf of the candidate of your choice, even if I think you've picked the wrong one.

Posted by dsws at 1:39 PM

July 2, 2003

Unelectable and bad for the party

The Economist has a warning to the Democratic party about Howard Dean. Unfortunately this article is behind a paywall, so let me try to summarize.

Quite simply, Howard Dean is unelectable. Democrats, this article claims, are "pig-wrestling" mad. The are mad about the election, about the tax cuts, about John Ashcroft and mostly about the war. This will lead the party to nominating an unelectable candidate, much like they did when they elected George McGovern and Walter Mondale. The Democratic parties anger at the 2000 election and the resulting administration will cloud their vision in the 2004 primaries. They will nominate an anti-Bush, not a Bush-lite, to use Mr. Dean's own phrase. Finally, the article finishes off by saying, "[b]esides, Mr. Dean does not have to win for his party to lose. His insurgency is already tugging other candidates to the left."

» Continue reading "Unelectable and bad for the party"

Posted by Grant at 11:07 PM

Lesser of Two (or Four?) Evils

I hate to admit that I'm not giving certain presidential hopefuls their fair shake — I'd like to say that I've looked at all of the candidates fairly and objectively — but I don't think that is going to happen. Since I'm writing for the left-hand side of this blog, you obviously can guess which way I lean but that doesn't mean that I'm not taking a look at the Republican and Third Party candidates — no, on the other hand I'd like to know where they stand on certain issues and I'm not unwilling to listen to what they have to say. There are other candidates out there who aren't going to be getting through to me, though: Bob Graham, John Kerry, Joseph Lieberman, and Dick Gephardt. To me, they represent the "party line" and status quo. They represent spinelessness, pork-barrel pocket-lining, and serious lack of action that has taken deep root within the Democratic party.

» Continue reading "Lesser of Two (or Four?) Evils"

Posted by huxley75 at 10:02 AM

July 1, 2003

Dear Human Resources

Regarding your memo: Building the case.

I've been trying as hard as I can. This place was a mess when I got here and then all hell broke loose. If my approval ratings get any lower, I'll have to start another war or something. I think Dick, Rummy, Condie, Karl and the rest are letting me down. I keep telling them that I'm the top dog around here, but darn it, sometimes I get the sense that can't keep everything under control. This job is way tougher than the oil business or running the ball team. All I thought I had to do was talk tough, hammer the bad guys, sign some stuff, kiss some babies and then everyone would respect me.

As far as the financial thing. It really was the last guy's screw up. And the way he messed up the Pentagon and CIA really hurt. Heck, it's so messed up, no wonder I can't find Bin Laden or Hussein.

I promise to work harder on it before next November. If I play my cards right the economy will come back good enough to get me past the next report card. Maybe I can get some good publicity from the Korea thing. We can worry about what comes next after that.

Whaddya say?

Posted by grover at 12:45 PM

New operation or same old lies?

Operation Sidewinder is the Bush Administrations latest military offensive to route out Saddam loyalists. Operation Sidewinder consists of the US Army going door to door to find ba'atheist. The only problem with the announcement of Operation Sidewinder is that it has been going on for weeks, if not months.

A friend of mine said in a email dated June 21st:

Our mission is still the same, we're here to take out the "Shadow Regime" as it's been dubbed. We are accomplishing that slowly and methodically. We've been on a number of raids where we enter the bad guys houses and detain them. In the process we also detain their weapons. So on an overall thing it's going well.

This represents just one more instance of the Bush Administration distorting the facts to suit its needs. I don't believe that this one instance is a huge impropriety on the Bush Administration's part, but it just contributes to a pattern of deceit. And that I see as a HUGE problem.

Posted by Grant at 12:23 PM

Building the Case

Memorandum (the first in a long series)
To: Human Resources (aka the voting public)
Subj: Reason #001 to fire the Chief Executive

When you've held a job for more than two years, the organization (d/b/a all Americans eligible to vote) should not tolerate an employee who blames his predecessor for the current state of affairs - in this case, the economy. Specially when said employee obviously knowingly revises the facts. Ample cause for dismissal in this manager's opinion.

P.S. - Such memos will continue to be posted to the file until a more suitable candidate for the position is found and approved.

Posted by 9thwave at 11:22 AM

The $7 Million

John Edwards and John Kerry seemed to head for Dick Cheney's "safe location" after they bagged $7 million in first quarter fundraising.

In fact, that is what "the book" says you should do. What counts, according to "the book" on running for President, is "money in the bank." Even with his poorer, $5 million haul in the second quarter, Kerry bragged yesterday he has $11 million in the bank.

But if money is just sitting in the bank, what good is it? Money needs to be put to work. (This is why Bush' economic policy isn't working -- the money he gave to the rich just went into the bank, not into investments, because they don't see any profit.)

» Continue reading "The $7 Million"