When the war was popular, Kerry/Harkin, etc. were for it, and now that it is not, they are against it. Priceless. Only Dean took an unpopular stand when it mattered. I promise you if the war was popular right now, Kerry would be supporting it.
When the New York Democrats stop nominating machine politicians, I will gladly vote for him. Bloomberg isn't perfect, and since he is now a nominal "Republican," it means he has to sell out every so often and support Bush. Nonetheless, Bloomberg has been a very good mayor, and there's no way I could support a tiny man like Ferrer against a guy who's doing a good job.
Good riddance to Amtrak. Privatize it. I think a lot of it could be profitable private anyway. I never understood why the entire nation should subsidize a system that is primarily in the Northeast.
We've won a lot of good victories lately, but it was because we picked fights worth fighting. This one isn't worth fighting. I've never understood the obsession of a lot of Democrats with Amtrak. It will never have adequate carrying capacity to replace cars for medium travel and it's too slow for long travel. For carrying people, trains basically combine the worst features of cars and planes.
I've been following the Roberts threads for the third day now. I guess my question is what is the big picture. I see all these tiny "a-ha"'s, but I don't see anything that makes me think we are going to stop his confirmation. Is there anything that could turn the tide here? From my read, it looks like Roberts has done an excellent job to the extent his goal was to avoid pitfalls and get confirmed. We can go on all day about how he won't illuminate his views on this or that issue, but it sounds to me like he has cleverly stayed out of trouble so far.
The reason Bloomberg looks so good to a lot of Dems is because the Dem party nominates nothing but crusted machine politicians to be mayor. These guys see New York as basically a local entity comprised of a myriad of interest groups. When you see these tiny figures like Ferrer, it makes you realize that Bloomberg is pretty damn good.
More Dems support Bloomberg than any other candidate, even "Dems". Are they all fools? There's some reason why Bloomberg is extremely popular among New York Dems.
I think the main reason NYC Dems have elected Rudy and Bloomberg is that they are turned off by the Dem party's being completely mired in machine politics.
Possibly my feelings about Bloomberg/Ferrer comes from the fact that I'm not a progressive that comes from the union side of the movement (I come more from the social issues side). I'm always a bit suspicious of the unions, particularly in the context of municipal public employees. Many, not all, but many New York city workers do very very well for the skills their jobs entail. Compared to other cities, New York has a lot of public employees and they get paid a lot. That's one reason why taxes in NYC are outrageous: federal + state + city taxes are over 50% of marginal income for most people.
The fact that Bloomberg brought the city into a surplus to me doesn't seem like a good reason to throw the surplus back to the municipal workers.
That said, I can understand how a progressive from the labor side might have very different feelings about Bloomberg. I don't think he's gone out of his way to destroy unions or anything, but I don't think anyone would claim he's "pro-worker." He's a businessman, and he is largely pro-business in his economic policies.
Anti-working class is a pretty unfair characterization. I wouldn't call Bloomberg a progressive, but he's not gone out of his way to screw city workers. He has tried to work his way out of a deficit and not jack up NYC's already sky-high taxes. The NYC public unions typically ask for obscene pay raises every year. Bloomberg has always been able to cut deals with them at the end of the day.
I'm a pretty big fan of Bloomberg. He's one of the few politicians these days that governs like a mature adult. He's not vindictive, not photo-op driven, not trying to stir up trouble like Rudy did. He's balanced the books and kept crime low without so much of the brulaization of minorities that was rampant in Rudy's mayorship.
Although New York is generally progressive, at the end of the day they like their mayors competent above all else. That's why Bloomberg will win easily. And I definitely consider him a RINO.
I'm all for a tough fair hearing, and if something comes out we can use to legitimately oppose him, then go for it.
But saying right now we're going to try to oppose no matter what...let's just say I predict a post by Chris in a few weeks to the effect of, "Depsite the fact that Roberts was confirmed, we did a great job in making this closer than it would have been, and we weakened Bush." And that's just another "victorious" defeat.
Unless Roberts blows something in the hearings, I would rather be seen as having conducted a tough but fair hearing and gain credibility that will help us oppose a Bush nominee that's an easier target. If we oppose everyone Bush nominates, then we look like we would oppose anyone whether they are qualified or not.
Bolton was a good target; Roberts so far looks less promising.
I'm just not enthusiastic about making everything a cabinet level post. It dilutes the the importance of cabinet level departments when we have 25 of them. As important as FEMA can be when disasters strike, such disasters are fairly irregular. I think generally we have to set some priorities as to who reports directly to POTUS. This POTUS spends five weeks sitting on his ass at his ranch every summer, but when we have a competent POTUS, I do want to give them a executive branch that's reasonably manageable.
Also, I'm philosphically opposed to making big changes immediately after huge crises. In the same way that 9/11 gave us the Patriot Act, I don't want to see Katrina result in a flurry of poorly thought out legislation by a Congress eager to "do something". FEMA probably needs reform, but right after Katrina seems like a bad time for it.
As a poster above pointed out, FEMA's failure's don't really have so much to do with its status in the government. Under Clinton, FEMA worked very well. The problem was we have a President who lives in a bubble and gives the job to a completely unqualified baffoon as patronage. A reform of the POTUS is probably more useful than a rash overhaul of FEMA.
I'm not a big fan of elevating FEMA to cabinet status, just because I don't like a proliferation of cabinet level departments, but Hilliary is right on most of her points. The Reps complain about the "blame-game"?: guess what, when things get fucked up this bad, you're going to get blamed.
I actually find the White House response to Katrina far more damning than the bruhaha about 9/11 preparedness. It was easy to use hindsight and say we should have been prepared for 9/11, but the fact was no one really expected it. Katrina was not something that was unexpected; people had been warning about the effect of a big storm in NO for years, and everyone and their cousin knew the levees couldn't hold anything stronger than a Cat 3 hurricane.
I think it's a mistake for FEMA to be in Homeland Security. For better or worse, DHS is going to be focused on external threats (i.e. terrorists). Disaster management is a whole different ball of wax. Clearly, whatever preparation has been made for a terrorist situation was pretty much useless for Katrina.
At the core of the problem was that Bush was out in left field when Katrina hit. It seems that he doesn't really care about disasters unless an Arab does it to us, even if the natural disaster kills 4x as many people.
I'm more loath to beat on the "Bush doesn't care about black people" drum, but I can't imagine the response would have been so sluggish if 200,00 middle class WASPS had been trapped in a flooded city.
Also to blame is the State and City, they shouldn't get off scott-free. NO is a terribly managed city; the local government is incompetent and corrupt. Their police force definitely didn't come through with a NYC-style response to the disaster.
In 9/11, FEMA basically took a backseat to NYC's world-class infrastructure for dealing with disasters. I think FEMA walked into Lousiana expecting the same thing, but the facilities and competence just wasn't there.
Bush is in charge of FEMA, and a disaster like this is first and foremost his problem. To his shame, he only made this a focus when it became a political crisis. When it was simply a humanitarian crisis, there was no sense of urgency. Also, the fact that an incompetent and unqualified boob like Mike Brown was in charge of FEMA is just inexcusable. I'll bet $20 bucks he was a big Bush fundraiser.
I think this of all issues is going to be the killer for Bush. Political issues are what they are, people agree or disagree, but everyone expects the Prez to come through ina situation like this, and Bush dropped the ball completely. However, I don't think Blanco and the mayor should get off the hook either. Nobody came off looking good here. But Bush can and should be the main target of the "blame-game."
It shows Bush on a naked body, but only from the waist up. It's a pretty dumb ad, but it doesn't seem to me to be close to worthy of a banning.
Nonetheless, I bet you that Fox's reason, at least publicly, was the portrayal of Bush (ostenibly) naked. The partner is shown for no more than a second, and the candidate merely puts his arm around him as they face the camera.
I've never seen any evidence that the Local Fox affiliate was alligned politically with FOX News Corp, but I do think after seeing the ad that the refusal to air it is peculiar.
I have a hard time counting Ahnald out yet. He's saavier than people think. He's made mistakes, but he's not stupid. You don't accomplish what he has accomplished without some skills.
This is a must win for us. In a way, I find the Reps like Ahnald and McCain scarier than the ones like Frist and DeLay. These guys that pretend to be more centrist-friendly provide the Reps with a facade to hide some of their warts. Also, if Ahnald is able to push through his redistricting plan in CA, it really harms our ability to take back and hold the House.
There aren't only two reasons. I don't know if it's true or not, but it's possible that they thought it was inappropriate for a commercial to show the head of a president on a naked body. I'd have to actually see the commercial to see if that is the case. Now you can agree or disagree with whether such an image should be refused airing or not, but a reasonable person could think it wasn't appropriate without being homophobic or partisan.
If the ad was refused simply because it showed the candidate with his partner or simply because it criticizes Bush, that of course is unacceptable, and Fox 5 should get reamed for it.
But I don't understand why you say there's only two reasons; it's a conclusary statement that's not necessarily true.
I watch local Fox 5 in NYC sometimes and can't say that I've ever seen any evidence of it being homophobic or partisan. If anything, like the city itself, it may have the garden variety slight left lean.
As a side note, not a reason for or against airing the commercial, but why does a candidate for Manhattan Borough Prez attack Bush in his ad? What does that have to do with the office he is running for? It reminds me of Reps running for state and local offices in Southern states doing montages of their opponents with Ted Kennedy. A bit lame, imo, and kind of appeals to the lowest common denominator.