Progressive Democrat Newletter Issue 188

This is it folks. Last few days of what I consider the third most important election of my lifetime. I put 2000 first because in many ways (terrorism and global warming in particular) the Supreme Court's seating Bush as President instead of Gore was a pivotal moment in world history...and a disastrous one for all of us. I'd say 2004 was second because then we had a shot at minimizing the damage from a Bush presidency. Now we need someone who can fix the mess and a strong majority of Americans believe Barack Obama is the person to do it.

Things look good. But take no chances. Once again I am posting the actions I have been asking people to do. I know lots of you have put time and money into this year's races. Just a few more days. Here, once again, is what you can do right now from your own home to boost our chances of winning.

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A Review of Republican Failure

From the moment I realized that the Supreme Court was going to decide the election for Bush in 2000 and that Florida's elections were fraudulent, to the moment I realized Bush was warned about 9/11 before it happened but ignored it, to the moment I realized Bush also ignored the approach of Hurricane Katrina, despite warnings, to the fact that Osama bin Laden is still free and Bush honestly doesn't care about capturing him, my main emotion regarding how our country is being run has been anger. I am mad as hell at how Republicans have deliberately mismanaged this country, more interested in their own greed and self-interest than in actually governing.

As the nightmare of the Bush years nears an end, it might be worth reviewing the magnitude of the disaster his administration has been on America. This is not an all-inclusive list. There are just too many Republican failures for one person to cover.

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Progressive Democrat Newsletter Issue 181

Ike is making landfall. Best of luck to all affected. Seems like a tough hurricane season. Ran into some people from New Orleans last week and asked them how things were. They were pretty worn out already. They had gotten out ahead of the hurricanes in something of a rush and had no idea when things would settle down.

Big couple of weeks. There were some big elections in NYC that I have been distracted by and now I am starting jury duty, which will take up my time for another couple of weeks. But I will continue to try to get out a newsletter even if my opening page is a bit sparse.

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Convention Hurricane 2: It Begins

The GOP's politicizing of Gustav was as inevitable as it is tasteless.

From a Politico Story, the GOP is already counting the ways this helps McCain: 8/13025.html

Republican officials said the images from here will present a positive contrast with the celebratory Democratic convention last week in Denver. The storm could paralyze Democratic efforts to hit McCain on several fronts.

"The contrast between McCain's responsibility and the fanatical followers in the temple of the Lord Obama won't be lost on everyday husbands and wives trying to meet their own responsibilities," a Republican official said.

Yeah, why didn't Obama have a hurricane?

Drudge is also making hay out of a Michael Moore quote and a Dem official making jokes that the Hurricane is some sort of devine retrobution against Republicans. Now they can blame Democrats for politicizing it... thus absolving their own blatant attempts.

Seriously though, people who think this has any political benefit for the Democrats, I think, are deluding themselves. Instead McCain will get to avoid having to give a "big speech," something he can't do, and allow the GOP to criticize the Dems for doing one, even though "the big speech" would otherwise be a part of their own convention, Bush had his own Greek columns, and so on and so forth.

Given how the Bush administration let McCain lead on Georgia, I don't doubt that Bush would avoid the region entirely to give McCain credit for any success the admin has. And I can't imagine how the administration could fail on this one. The Bush admin's failing has always been a lack of imagination... they couldn't imagine Katrina happening -- but now that it's happened once, they know what to do... provided it hits the same city the same way -- even at the same time -- again.

The GOP apologists in the media are already setting the stage -- "redemption" for Katrina. (See AP and Politico.) Even before "redemption" happens. To avoid the Astrodome debacle, they're just not offering any public safe haven. Truly the Bush-era way to deal with a problem. The Levees may hold or not hold, it doesn't matter -- the main picture will be of McCain boldly helping somewhere, lifting some grain or something. Sarah will be hugging people. Cindy offering them a cup of joe.

All will be forgiven.

The GOP are expert at turning non-partisan tragedy into political gain. They rode 9/11 to two major victory cycles, and unless the Democrats get similarly craven and exploitive, I really fear for a third.

I don't want to be too reactionary or alarmist, but I think it was all said in the above-mentioned Politico quote:

"The contrast between McCain's responsibility and the fanatical followers in the temple of the Lord Obama won't be lost on everyday husbands and wives trying to meet their own responsibilities," a Republican official said."

That's what they're saying. What are we saying?

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Conventional Hurricane?

So, the GOP convention is in shambles. With Hurricane Gustav likely to hit the coast on the convention's first day, organizers are debating postponing or severely cutting down on the convention.

Given the GOP brand's damage, the fact there was so little interest in it, that so few big name GOPers were attending, and the open dislike for Monday's speakers -- Bush and Cheney -- this may actually be a good thing for the GOP.

Bush not appearing is clearly a gift.

The line is that it would be inappropriate to be "festive" during a time of great suffering may strike us Democratic Partisans as laughable. Especially given where Bush and McCain were during Katrina. (But, of course, the trad media hasn't been reminding people... I'm shocked.)

The idea of a convention shuttered -- in the veil of the GOP's shame of Katrina -- may further strike us Partisans as just desserts.

But I wonder if the optics of this may be exactly what the GOP needs.

Shelving the cravenness of looking at a could-be natural disaster through a political lens, (I'm sorry) there is opportunity for the GOP here. Big opportunities.

Reports have them  maybe making care packages on the convention floor. Maybe turn it into a telethon for victims. It costs them the chance to dig on Obama, but offers a chance to appear above the fray.

But really, conventions exist just to help the nominee get free air time. And in a case where the GOP has a truly un-telegenetic nominee -- this could be the best opportunity to save McCain the embarrassment of giving yet another boring speech.

With news today that McCain himself may not attend the Twin Cities convention, and instead give his acceptance speech from the disaster area -- assuming there is one -- will give McCain an out from trying to match Obama's grand night.

McCain couldn't come close to matching Obama's oratory -- or speech content. There is no way that McCain, which his halting, insincere delivery and awkward smile cues, to connect as Obama did. And given the unpopularity of many of his stances, the content would be unlikely to match up as well.

But by speaking in a subdued way, to a small number in a flood zone, McCain could hide these deficiencies and do that whole "looking Presidential" thing. He could be political while pretending to do the opposite -- and it would be hard to call him on it.

Really, McCain has an easy task. Any failure on the governmental level, he can take the opportunity to distance himself. Any success can be claimed by the GOP, since they control FEMA, the area governorships, etc.

And we can't count on the media to point out the ludicracy of such commentary.

I could even see GOP apologists in the media looking at Gustav as a GOP redemption for the crimes of Katrina.

This is just a muddled ramble, but something that worries me. I was disgusted how the GOP claimed 9/11 for themselves, and profited from it, and I'm wondering if they're not about to do the same here.

Turning national tragedy and times of goodwill into partisan gain is a GOP expertise.

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