The Presidential Candidates and their Iraq Exit Strategy

Over at Open Left, Bowers has put up a helpful breakdown of where each candidate stands  on exiting Iraq.

http://openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId =1169

He writes:

"No residual forces outside of embassy protection: Richardson, Kucinich. This would require 5,000 to 10,000 troops, though possibly less, depending on the size of the embassy each would decide to maintain in Iraq.

Residual forces for embassy and personnel protection: Edwards. This would require between 5,000 and 10,000 troops for the embassy, and probably a similar number outside of the embassy. So, 10,000 to 20,000 seems likely.

Residual forces for counter-terrorism, Iraqi troop training, personnel protection and embassy protection: Clinton, Dodd and Obama, plus Biden conditionally. This will require roughly 40,000 troops, plus the number of advisors for the Iraqi military, plus an indeterminate amount of mercenaries private contractors. The Biden plan might require as few as 20,000, depending on the circumstances."

I haven't seen quite so succint a breakdown, and, I hope that it's okay that I include his breakdown here.

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Hating Hillary

I read an article in the San Diego Union Tribune (taken from Chicago Tribune) on Sunday entitled:

'Hillary Haters' sharpening their knives

Legion of conservatives seeking dirt on candidate

Here is part of what it said:

"Richard Collins, a wealthy Texas philanthropist, businessman and political  aficionado, heaps praise on the woman he has set out to destroy, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y. "She looks like a winner," said Collins,"She's run a good campaign, very consistent, no mistakes."

But make no mistake about it: Collins is just one in a vast army of professional "Hillary haters" who are banking on Clinton to become the Democratic nominee. Like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth in the 2004 election who denigrated John Kerry's military service in Vietnam, Collins and others are searching for just the thing that will crystallize the way voters think and feel about Clinton.

This fall, Citizens United, a conservative organization that claims half a million members, will release a documentary film about the life and times of Clinton. It's being made with the help of Dick Morris, the fired former adviser to Bill Clinton who has turned criticizing both Clintons into a crusade.

Clinton says she knows the attacks will come and that she's uniquely qualified in knowing how to fight back. "I've been through it, and I understand their tactics," Clinton told voters last week at a house party in Concord, N.H. "And I have been subjected to them for 15 years, and I have survived them. And there is something to be said for that."

There's been a lot of talk about the "Vast Army of Hillary Haters", I did a little research the last couple of days on who they are:

Richard Collins (who the article is about) has two websites - one is Citizens United and the other is Stophernow.  Both are inspired by a hatred for all things Hillary and both solicit contributions to help fund their upcoming movie effort entitled: "Hillary - The Movie" about her "liberal plot to destroy our future".

Citizens United is a conservative, right wing, organization whose current President is David Bossie.  Bossie was the chief investigator for the Whitewater hearings during Bill Clinton's presidency. He was fired from his job for leaking transcripts of conversations with Webster Hubbell to the media specifically to create a false impression that Hillary Clinton was involved in billing irregularities at the Rose Law Firm. Citizens United is the organization producing the Anti-Hillary movie.

The film features professional Hillary-Hater Dick Morris. Morris writes a column for the NY Post and is a featured political analyst on Fox News. Morris was hired by Bill Clinton to help him with his reelection campaign in 1996, but was abruptly fired when he allowed a prostitute, whom he had an affair with, to listen to his calls with the President. With an ax to grind, he has made it his mission to bash the Clintons every chance he gets. It is interesting to note that Fox NEWS features him as an "unbiased" (or fair and balanced as they like to say) political analyst for Hannity & Colmes and O'Riley. Morris uses Republican mailing lists to solicit contributions to make the film for Citizens United.

Bob Perry - is the man who funded the swift boat ads against John Kerry. The name of the ad was "Swiftboat Veterans for Truth", but in reality, Bob Perry is the largest single contributor to the Texas Republican party. Perry is a Board Member for The Council for National Policy. This is a group of a few hundred (mostly men) of the most powerful conservatives in the country. Some of their more famous members include: Tom Delay, the late Jerry Falwell, Ralph Reed (Christian Coalition founder), Pat Robertson, Ed Meese, Jack Abramoff, Trent Lott, John Ashcroft (ex member), Ken Blackwell (Secretary of State for Ohio, involved in '04 election scandal when Kerry ran), to name a few. Their website and members list can be found at:

http://www.seekgod.ca/cnp.pe-q.htm

Part of the CNF membership also includes a sizable segment of Christian Reconstructionists, whose goal is to replace the U.S. Constitution with a legal code from the Old Testament.

The National Conservative Campaign Fund (they have many of the same board members as the CNP, plus Ann Coulter and Bay Buchanan), has a website that claims to be about raising money for conservative candidates yet they provide a detailed strategy aimed at stopping Hillary by driving up her unfavorable poll numbers and printing and distributing anti-Hillary materials, newspaper and radio ads.

Another group is The United States Justice Foundation. This is a Christian conservative group owned by Gary Kreep from Escondido, Ca. They solicit contributions to pay for legal fees for those wishing to sue Bill and Hillary Clinton. His latest lawsuit is Paul vs. Hillary Rodham Clinton. He claims to have evidence linking Hillary to a multi-million dollar fraud in connection with her 2000 Senate campaign. In the past, they have also sued Al Gore and Planned Parenthood.

And, just when you think you must have made it through the list - well there's Ed Klein. Ed epitomizes all that is Hillary Hating. His home page on his website StopHillaryNow.com proclaims:

"She's a mother, but she isn't maternal.  She's a wife, but she shows no wifely instincts.  She's a feminist, but she rode to power on her husband's coattails"....and so on....

Ed wrote a book, released about two years ago at the time of Hillary's Senate reelection campaign. His goal was to "swiftboat Hillary" so that she would not be reelected and would be unable to run for President in 2008. Ed's book is called The Truth About Hillary.  Edward Klein was the editor for The New York Times Magazine until he was fired for inaccurate reporting in 1987.

If you want a good laugh, go to the media matters website link below and read the transcript of when Ed visited Al Franken on Air America. Franken basically caught him in one lie after another about Hillary and his book:

http://mediamatters.org/items/2005062400 07

Oh, did I mention that most of Ed's "sources" for his book are second hand and provided by none other than.....Dick Morris.

So, even though there are so many websites and material dedicated to Hating Hillary, it all comes from this circle of Hillary-Hunters (hunting for anything on Hillary to swiftboat her).  Their sole mission is to destroy her. Of course the mouth pieces for these groups are Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and other pro-hate talk hosts. With the exception of Ann Coulter, the vast majority of these great white hunters - are men. Old, White, Conservative, Men who claim to be "Christians". By the time the election is over, they will have spent hundreds of millions of dollars hunting and hating Hillary.  And, the loser in this game is us - we have a whole year of listening to their propaganda.

Some Democrats have questioned whether or not it is wise to have Hillary as our candidate based on all the negativity they see and hear about her, even though she has very high favorable ratings among democrats and she is the most qualified of all the top candidates running.

But I contend that it is really a small number of detractors that exist in this tight-knit circle of conservatives.  They have done a good job of getting their message out and raising doubt and fear about Hillary, for sure.  But they did this to John Kerry and Al Gore too.  ANY candidate that the Democrats nominate will face this Hate Machine.  Furthermore, why would we let them tell us who we should  and shouldn't vote for?

If ever there was a moment for the Democrats to seize an opportunity - 2008 is it!  We will go down in history as electing the First Woman President and finally break through the glass ceiling.  If we do not do it this year, then when? And, who? Don't think for one second that if Dianne Feinstein or Barbara Boxer were running they would not be subjected to the same hatred that they have bestowed upon Hillary.

And what message exactly do you want to send to your daughter, granddaughter, and son? That the most qualified person for the job didn't get it because she's a woman?

These right-wing, conservative, wealthy, "Christian" men want to keep the power for their select few. To do this they will stop at nothing to destroy everything they are against: strong, intelligent, effective, women leaders.  For them, the end justifies the means. They do not care about the truth, they only care about staying in power.  Their campaigns are based on fear and hatred.  Their deceptive and hateful methods need to change and the only way to do this is to take their power away.

Richard Collins' website StopHerNow - did not stop her now or then.  Hillary was reelected to the Senate in 2006 with an overwhelming majority of 67% of the vote. Her record speaks for itself and it shows what she said to be true - she has a 15 year history of fighting the Hillary Haters - AND WINNING.

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Lobbying- Do issues matter to Democrats on mydd?

I know that this blog is chiefly concerned with the election process, but does that mean that issues, themselves, don't matter on mydd.com? It seems their only functions are to serve candidates rather than the reverse. Big Tent Democrat had an excellent diary up on this subject recently, and I want to add to it.

Right now, there is this silly debate about lobbying that is ocurring on this site because the debate is framed as "my candidate didn't take lobbying money" or "your candidate is a hypocrite" because they took lobbying money.

Isn't this besides the point? That is- isn't the question of what each candidate has or has not done besides the point of what we should think with regard to the question raised about the influence of lobbists in DC? You may or may not agree about their influence, but one gets the feeling in reading some of these diaries that the agreement or disagreement is based on which candidate one supports.

more below

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'First Read': Hillary the Electable

First Read weighs in this morning on the latest NBC/WSJ polling showing Hillary up over Obama in the primaries and also over Giuliani in the general.

The piece echos two things that I have said here recently.  One, Hillary is running in the general right now, not the primary.  Second, these leads she is now showing in the general election match ups will only strength her hand in the primaries, given the lust for electability among many primary voters.

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/

Is she basically putting Obama and Edwards in her rear view mirror and focusing on that thin slice of moderate and independents that will determine the general election?  Is this a mistake on Hillary Clinton's part?  If it is I don't think Obama or Edwards have the strength to capitalize on it.

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The Case for Clark 08: Best if Used before 10/07

Two things the media loves nowadays are sports and reality TV. No wonder they are so enthralled by Presidential contests. What could possibly be better than two fields of high profile celebrities competing in a nonstop horserace over 18 months to win the Super Bowl of Politics? A serious discussion of the critical issues facing both our nation and the world? Nah, doesn't even come close. Meet the Press was never able to muster the ratings that Survivor has. So it's no surprise that General Wesley Clark's potential 2008 run for President gets virtually no mention in the press. He's not on their chosen island.

But what about us Democrats? We aren't covering 2008 Presidential races, we're staging one. In theory we get to pick our candidates. Currently we have a nice group of announced ones. Wes Clark isn't in that group, and neither is Al Gore or Russ Feingold. In Feingold's case the reason is clear; early on he decided against running this year. Al Gore has done all he can to discourage speculation about him running for President, other than stating that under no circumstances will he run. So of course that encourages speculation about Al Gore running for President. That leaves Wes Clark, who candidly admits that he would like to run for President this year, if he can line up enough support. Which, it seems, discourages some Democrats from speculating about Clark.

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Diaries

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