Giuliani's 9/11 Problem?

Even though Rudy Giuliani doesn't conform to the Republican base on issues of choice, gay rights and gun control, the Chris Matthews of the world believe that the former New York City mayor will nonetheless be able to win over conservatives' support in 2008 because of his strong response to the September 11 attacks. But as Hope Yen of the Associated Press reports, those with the most intimate knowledge of the attacks -- the two leaders of the 9/11 Commission -- are publicly questioning just how well Giuliani responded..

Republican Thomas Kean and Democrat Lee Hamilton also say in "Without Precedent" that their panel was too soft in questioning former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani - and that the 20-month investigation may have suffered for it.


The questioning of Giuliani was considered by Kean and Hamilton "a low point" in the commission's examination of witnesses during public hearings. "We did not ask tough questions, nor did we get all of the information we needed to put on the public record," they wrote.

The more Americans take look at Rudy Giuliani the more quickly they will realize that he is not the homeland security hero so many believe he is. To take just one example, it was on Giuliani's advice that President Bush nominated Bernie Kerik -- who has since come under intense scrutiny for possible corruption -- to serve as Secretary of Homeland Security.

But as this AP article indicates, questions about Giuliani's homeland security prowess are not limited to his relationship with Kerik. Serious questions remain about Giuliani's preparation -- or lack of preparation -- for a possible terrorist attack in New York City before September 2001, questions that if unanswered in the next two years could trump Americans' positive impressions of him. And anyone who believes Giuliani will be able to march towards the GOP nomination and the White House with outstanding questions about his preparation and response to 9/11 is just plain wrong.

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Changing The Rhetoric

I have decided to soften the rhetoric of my blogs. Even though the majority of comments have always been positive I have been thinking that some of my terminology might have a negative effect on some readers. For instance: "Georgie" and Dick "The Monster" Cheney will not be used in future blogs by me. That doesn't mean I have ANY respect for these two men or any in their administration. I'm just going to change the way I write about these two in the hope that more readers will be compelled to listen to facts instead of hearing the angry screams of extreme rhetoric.

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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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Warner Pumps Money into 2006 Campaigns

The Hill's Jonathan E. Kaplan, who has been doing some great reporting on the Netroots in recent weeks, writes in today's paper about Mark Warner's serious effort to fund 2006 candidates.

In June, Forward Together, Warner's PAC, contributed $392,400 to House and Senate Democratic candidates and he gave $15,000 to both the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), said Ellen Qualls, Forward Together's spokeswoman.

Separately, Warner gave $164,000 to House Democratic candidates and more than $72,000 to Senate Democratic candidates, as well as $36,500 to state parties, during the first three months of 2006, according to Federal Election Commission records.

Since Warner began raising money after the 2005 November election, Forward Together has raked in $8.2 million and contributed $860,500 to 108 candidates and political committees. He has hired several top Democratic political consultants, including longtime Democratic operative Monica Dixon, pollster Peter Hart and New Democrat political guru and speechwriter Kenneth Baer.

Warner is not the only (potential) 2008 candidate going out on the road supporting candidates across the country. Wes Clark has stumped for several congressional and gubernatorial candidates this year, raising money to help campaigns be more competitive and win this fall. Russ Feingold has been doing the same, as have Evan Bayh and a number of other leading Democrats.

This is the exact strategy possible 2008 campaigns should be taking today. The way to win the support of the grassroots is to not only show a willingness to go out and work for progressive Democrats across the country but also prove an ability to help win races -- particularly races that are being overlooked by many inside the Beltway.

The candidates who show the greatest commitment to seeing the Democratic Party retake both Houses of Congress this fall -- but also governorships and state legislatures from coast to coast -- will be the ones with the inside path to the supoprt of the Netroots and the grassroots in 2008. Win back Congressional seats and governor's mansions this year and there will be plenty of time to campaign for the White House in the following two years.

Update [2006-7-12 15:29:47 by Jonathan Singer]: KickinIt notes that John Edwards has also been raising a bundle of money for 2006 candidates -- to the tune of $6.5 million.

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John Edwards Talks Payday Loans in Iowa

John Edwards of North Carolina hit the hustings in Iowa yesterday on behalf of a longshot US House candidate, and as the Associated Press reports, the former Senator hammered away at a very important issue.

John Edwards, a White House hopeful, focused on the problem of predatory lenders in his first swing through Iowa since a statewide poll gave his potential presidential campaign a boost.

"What we're doing is focusing on what can be done to stop predatory lenders and payday lenders from preying on our most vulnerable families," said Edwards, who called for new regulations for an industry in which annual interest rates for payday loans can soar to 300 percent to 400 percent.

For the past couple of months, I have become intimitely acquainted with the effort to begin regulating payday loan stores and predatory lenders in general. As a part of the state House campaign that I am managing in Oregon (Mike Caudle for State Rep), I have been working at both the local and the district level to reign in these companies, which in my state charge up to a 521 percent annual rate on short-term loans.

Just to provide some perspective, a survey by the State of Oregon (.pdf, page 27) showed that 30 percent of payday loan consumers explain they take out the loan just to pay for groceries. Another 10 percent take out the loans to pay off other loans.

Not only is it good policy to reign in predatory lenders, it is good politics, too. There has been polling conducted on this issue, and while I can't get into the details of it, suffice it to say that the vast majority of voters -- and even the vast majority of Republican voters -- are in favor of capping the interest rates that predatory lenders charge.

But a surprising number of Republicans in Oregon, and no doubt across the country, are opposed to placing regulations on predatory lenders on grounds that free enterprise should be left free.

So when Democrats like John Edwards and Mike Caudle come out in favor of new regulations and Republican politicians announce their opposition on grounds of free enterprise, the Dems have a great wedge issue to drive in the middle of the GOP coalition. Speaking from experience on the ground, even faith voters -- especially faith voters -- are willing to defect from the Republicans over this issue.

So I really hope Senator Edwards continues to hammer away on this issue throughout his (possible) bid for the Democratic nomination. I certainly know that my campaign will for the next four months through election day.

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