My robo-polling call from SurveyUSA

I thought I had made my home (landline) phone number unlisted, but I just got a robo-call from SurveyUSA.  They are doing polling for the local (DC-area) CBS affiliate WUSA 9.  The poll was centered around the '08 presidential election, and some of the pairings were interesting (including Al Franken versus Sean Hannity).

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for an era of good governance

What I'd like to do with this diary is suggest a theme for Democrats, liberals, progressives and all reform-minded Americans this fall. In order to introduce this theme, I'd like to offer one insight into the state of American politics today.

We need to understand that the mid-term elections of 2006, the politics of the off-year of 2007 and the Presidential Year election cycle of 2008 are, in essence, rolled into one. What this compressed two-year time frame in American politics represents, in my view, is a battle for governance.

Simply put, the two political parties, whatever their ideological differences, are locked in a battle to determine who can claim and maintain the mantle of "good governance."

In my view, the party that succeeds at defining itself as embodying a reform agenda...the party that persuades the American public that they represent "clean and well-run government" will win this battle and emerge to control majorities in the Federal Government and State Houses regardless of ideology.

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Chuck Hagel: nothing more than your typical Republican

(originally posted at Deny My Freedom and My Left Wing)

There's been quite a bit of buzz in the media lately due to a rarity: a congressional Republican has been openly criticizing the Bush administration on a number of issues as of late. Chuck Hagel, a Republican senator from Nebraska, has been at odds with his party over various foreign policy-related issues. A few weeks ago, he criticized the Bush administration's handling of the Mideast conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. Then he went and compared Iraq to Vietnam, something that's not too popular an opinion with the right wing. Today, he comes out and says that the GOP has lost itself:

Republicans have lost their way when it comes to many core GOP principles and may be in jeopardy heading into the fall elections, Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. says. Hagel, a possible presidential candidate in 2008, said Sunday that the GOP today is very different party from the one when he first voted Republican.

"First time I voted was in 1968 on top of a tank in the Mekong Delta," said Hagel, a Vietnam veteran. "I voted a straight Republican ticket. The reason I did is because I believe in the Republican philosophy of governance. It's not what it used to be. I don't think it's the same today."

Hagel asked: "Where is the fiscal responsibility of the party I joined in '68? Where is the international engagement of the party I joined -- fair, free trade, individual responsibility, not building a bigger government, but building a smaller government?"

The obvious question to ask, of course, is this: if that's what Senator Hagel truly believes, why doesn't he switch to the Democratic Party?

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The DNC got the primary schedule wrong

(cross-posted at Deny My Freedom and Daily Kos)

In an earlier post on the issue of the Democratic Party's potential changes to the primary calendar in 2008, I had supported the changes. I remember how Howard Dean, my favored candidate in 2004, sank like a stone after his dismal 3rd-place showing in the Iowa caucus. As I became more involved in politics, I thought that Iowa and New Hampshire had a disproportionate influence in the nomination process. I commented as such a couple months ago:

This is a good step forward for our nomination process. Even though the small size of Iowa and New Hampshire allow for true retail politics, and both are swing states in this day and age, they simply aren't representative of the demographics of the Democratic Party. Furthermore, just how important is retail politics? In local races, I think that retail politics is an absolute must; however, in the race for president, most people won't even get to see the candidates in person, much less interact with them on a personal level. Frankly, most politicians are going to come off as nice guys (or women) when you speak to them up-close.

Today, the changes I was speaking about earlier came into effect. By a voice vote, a new schedule for the 2008 primary was approved. The plan calls for Nevada - a state with a large labor base and a sizeable Hispanic minority - to hold a caucus between Iowa's caucus and New Hampshire's primary. South Carolina will also hold the first primary after New Hampshire, as soon as a week after the Granite State. While I was initially enthusiastic about such changes, I think that the DNC knows there is a problem with the nomination calendar - but after giving the matter some thought, they have made the matter worse instead of better.

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More Liebermans?

Joe Lieberman combined three factors that made Ned Lamont possible and neccessary.  Lieberman came from a Democratic state/district.  He voted poorly for a Democrat.  He has a big mouth that often supports Bush and often attacks other Democrats.

It is easy enough to replicate two of the conditions for Lamont.  Who are incumbents from Democratic districts who vote worse than Joe Lieberman.  To make this simple, I have eliminated southern Democrats although at least one should make this list (and will as an add-on).

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