The Democrats' 9-11 Equivalent

If the 2006 elections were held in March or April instead of November, just about all any Democrat would have to do to win would be to buy 15 seconds of TV time and mutter three words--Iraq, Dubai, Katrina--then go home and plan the victory party.

Well, not really, but you get the idea. Unfortunately the election isn't till November, and the issue with the greatest staying power and most potential isn't either of the obvious ones: it's Katrina. It's the Democrats' 9-11.

Dubai may fade, Iraq may change, but Katrina is firmly fixed in the public mind.

Bushites have made shameless and effective political use of 9-11. But Democrats have not effectively focused on an equally powerful phenomenon, with its equally powerful associated images, that is ready-made to tell the tawdry story of Bush administration failure. The Democrats have Katrina. And it's about time they used it.

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NAACP'S WHITE FEMALE PRESIDENT SPEAKS IN HAMMOND

NAACP'S WHITE FEMALE PRESIDENT SPEAKS IN HAMMOND

"Poverty politics and the war in Iraq"

Saturday, February 25, 2006

HAMMOND, LA Covington attorney Annie Spell is the only white, female NAACP chapter president in the United States. On Saturday evening, she was among the speakers to address the Greater Tangipahoa NAACP's Freedom Fund Banquet on the SLU campus. She pulled no punches.

In a drum beat of criticism against the Bush administration, Spell called the government to task on such hot-button issues as "illegal" wiretaps, Katrina relief, the occupation of Iraq, inadequate public education, and what she called "poverty politics" in Louisiana and across America. "Today, we suffer from poverty politics and an unchecked totalitarian administration. African Americans, in particular, suffer from voter disenfranchisement, limited access to polling places, and outdated technologies." She pledged that she would "Speak truth to power" and encouraged the audience to join her by actively participating in the NAACP.

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Bush gives in on aid to Louisiana

Bush to ask Congress to give Louisiana $4.2 billion more in aid according to NYT - http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/16/politi cs/16aid.html


The money will come from $18 billion that the administration said last month it would request from Congress this year for hurricane relief.

The announcement was praised by Louisiana officials who said that the $4.2 billion, when added to $7.7 billion in rebuilding money approved by Congress last year, would be enough to help anyone in the state who owned a storm-wrecked home.

"I am here to say a special thank you to the president," said Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, who flew in for a news conference at the Capitol. Ms. Blanco, a Democrat, had criticized the White House for falling short of President Bush's pledge to "do what it takes" to reconstruct New Orleans.

The $4.2 billion request was a turnabout for the administration, which three weeks ago rejected legislation proposed by Representative Richard H. Baker, a Louisiana Republican, to create a nonprofit group to buy out flooded homes, the plan favored by Ms. Blanco.

Louisiana officials had also complained that Congress had shortchanged the state in a $29 billion relief package in December that gave $5.2 billion in housing reconstruction money to Mississippi, which suffered far less damage than Louisiana but which has a Republican governor and two Republican senators.

Last week, Ms. Blanco threatened to try to block a federal sale of oil and gas leases off the Gulf Coast, saying it was "time to play hardball." But in the past week, state officials said, Donald E. Powell, the president's coordinator for Gulf Coast rebuilding, became convinced that the federal government should do more to help homeowners in the flood plain who did not have flood insurance.

Good to see Democrats playing hardball and holding Republican's feet to the fire like this.

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Five months late - Chertoff to overhaul FEMA

While we knew within days of Hurrican Katrina that FEMA's response to this National disaster was totally unacceptable, it has taken DHS chair Michael Chertoff over five months to come to that realization, and this happened only upon the release of a report by the House of Representatives blasting his response, FEMA's response and the WH response. The changes he is proposing, while probably worthwhile on face value, are merely being used by a governing party that isn't interested in governing to cover-up the broader issues at stake and culpability that rises to the highest levels of the White House.

Last September I think we missed a great opportunity to clearly delineate Democrats and Liberals as the party of effective government in the aftermath of Katrina. We talked about it for a few weeks here and there, but were unable to build a consistent drumbeat and narrative that framed this tragedy as a parable for the Republican Party. Of course it is not George Bush's fault that a hurricane hit New Orleans, but it is his fault and his party's fault that the emergency response was so pathetic and disorganized.

Just as George Bush reminds us at every turn that we must not forget the lessons of September 11th, so must we remind everyone that we must not forget the lessons of Hurricane Katrina...

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NV-Sen - Carter's Big Announcement

Yesterday, while the blogosphere was focussed on the testimony of Alberto Gonzalez in the NSA wiretapping hearing, a major event was going on in Nevada.  Jack Carter announced that he is officially entering the race to become Nevada's next US Senator.  All of us kids were there (Jack is my Dad), as well as my grandparents, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter.  It was a fun day, with events in Henderson (outside of Las Vegas), and in Carson City.

The day kicked off with an event at the AFL-CIO headquarters in Henderson, NV.  We got there early and hung out in the "clutch" (the back room) meeting with some of the folks that helped put the event together and getting our instructions from the campaign manager.  For me, it was the first time I'd met some of the folks involved in my Dad's campaign, and it was really interesting to put faces to names.  When we entered the event room, it was packed.  The organizers had put out chairs for 200 people, and there were another couple hundred standing around the sides and in the back.  (Read on for Dad's speech and more.)

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