• comment on a post The Constitution Is For The People over 8 years ago
    I agree with Dantheman.  The living document idea is a two-edged sword.  If this country becomes more religious, or the court becomes activist-conservative like Scalia, we may be yearning for strict constructionism.
  • comment on a post Hackett for Ohio over 8 years ago
    I really do think this validates the 50 state strategy, but maybe for different reasons that some people think.  I think "bleeding the Rep money machine" is overrated, because it's not a static supply.  If the chips were down, I think they could come up with even more money.  I don't think we can ever outraise them.  And to the extent it is static, it is the same for us too.  The netroots don't have endless supplies of money.  The money you gave here could have always gone somewhere else.

    The reason 50 state strategy works is that if you contest 50 low probability races (say, 5% chance of winning), it means you win 2-3 of them.  The problem with giving up a race is that you have to make that decision a year before the election.  When you do that, you give up any chance of taking advantage of good circumstances: scandals, prevailing political winds, etc.  

    Also, the more races we run, the more candidates you run.  Some of them are bound to be good.  Hackett was perfect.  This was a Rep district, but it sort of was a double edged sword for the Reps.  I'm guessing that the district had some extra respect for a guy who actually fought in the war.

    So we had the combo of a lot of factors: Reps weaker than '04 everywhere, Ohio Reps in shambles, and a good candidate who was a perfect fit for a conservative district.

    The Reps have some real issues.  The gay rights, Supreme Court justices and Schiavo crap piss me off a lot, but those issues don't win elections in the tough districts we need to win to get the House back.  But the Reps have handed us a no-downside issue on a silver platter: corruption.  

    That's what we need to hammer over and over, and there's no side effects of playing it.  It's hard to push a guy in a conservative district by fudging abortion, and then in the next district  the same party's candidate is heralding their pro-choice laurels.  But corruption is non-controversial, and can be played to full effect everywhere.

    The Reps didn't win in '94 b/c of the Contract with America; they won because we had been in power forever, had gotten arrogant and complacent, and were scandal-prone.  People weren't voting for the Reps, they were voting Dems who had gotten too fat and happy out.

    Last thing, we REALLY need to win the House in '06.  I think we can do it, and I will be disappointed if we don't.  I'm tired of moral victories.  I'm not knocking the Hackett race, because I think it truly was an incredible achievement, but at some point we need real victories.  '06 is the big one for us.  If we don't win in '06, things could get tougher for us in '08.  The Reps' missteps could be papered over by then. Midterm elections are always the best chance for the out-of-power party. If McCain wins the Rep nomination (I realize that is no sure thing by any means), we are going to be running uphill, because McCain will not have the Bush taint, since no one can claim that he was in Bush's club.

    If we win in '06, it would be nice to dump Pelosi as majority leader.  I know that may not be popular, but she communicates poorly and plays bad to anyone who's not a hardcore Dem.

  • comment on a post VT-Sen: Winning Elections the Bernie Sanders Way over 9 years ago
    I like him, but let's be realistic.  He wins because he's in Vermont.  The Reps in Vermont are more liberal than any Dem holding an office in the South.

    But I do think that we can learn something from his personal style. Politicians that spend at least some of their time in their district (not in DC) talking on an equal level to constituents earn their respect.  It seems simple, but it's clearly something we could be a lot better at.  It's one thing to get out the vote.  It's another thing for a poltician to do the things between elections that make people want to go vote without being poked and prodded to the polls.

  • comment on a post NY-Gov: Spitzer Wins over 9 years ago
    He has done an outstanding job of mayor.  He has the ability like Rudy to get things done, but without all the grandstanding, vindictiveness and thirst for attention.  It's actually strange to watch Bloomberg as mayor because he doesn't act like a politican.  He takes his job seriously and doesn't have any axes to grind.  He's Republican in name only.  
  • comment on a post Racism Evident in 1981 Roberts Memo over 9 years ago
    Racial affirmative action should be replaced with race-neutral economic affirmative action.  

    I can think of a lot of reasons I don't want Roberts to replace O'Connor, but if his appointment results in the end of affirmative action as we now know it, that really isn't a negative to me.  

    My personal anecdotal experience is that AA mostly helps middle class minorities who really didn't need the help anyway, while doing little for poor urban minorities (or whites) who actually need some assistance to overcome the huge societal and economic disadvantages they have suffered from birth.

    If you want to get Dems thinking hard about Roberts, talk about abortion, gay rights, labor rights, environmental regulations.  That's where judges like him will hurt us.  AA shouldn't be a Dem issue.  I feel like we've been stuck defending a bad policy just because it came from our party many decades ago. Let the Supreme Court strike it down and get it off the table for us.

  • I agree with the Reps on this one.  If we want good government, we have to pay competitive salaries to those who govern.  Salaries that are too low have the perverse result of limiting to some degree the pool of leaders to the very rich or those who are too incompetent or lazy to make money in the private sector.

    I'm not saying that every politician is either rich or a career politician that can't do anything else, but I do believe that if we want top quality leadership, we should pay competitive wages.  If we expect to have governors with the types of skills to run a large complex state government, then $65K (even with the housing) is ridiculous.

    To be honest, although we laugh because its a Republican complaining about it, this is really an issue that means as much if not more to us.  Republicans are more likely to come from the corporate sector where they either made a lot of money, or will get taken care of by their corporate "sponsors" when they get out of office.

    If you want good government, you have to pay for it.

  • I'm very uncomfortable with criticizing a guy as a "flip-flopper" for statements he made as a lawyer advocate for a client.  Lawyers are expected to advocate their clients' positions to the best of their ability, even if they do not personally agree with the position.  I think taking those two statements to call Roberts a "flip-flopper" is completely off-base and unfair.

    I'm not saying we shouldn't go after Roberts aggressively, but the "flip-flopping" argument based on those two statements is intellectually dishonest.

  • comment on a post 10% Read Blogs Every Day over 9 years ago
    is that I don't think that Rush Limbaugh even considers himself a jounalist.  In interviews, he presents himself as an entertainer.  I would dispute that description too, but it's closer to the truth than journalist.
  • comment on a post Republicans: 1.2% Minority Representation over 9 years ago
    I don't think the part of Dean's comments that was offensive was the "White Christian" part.  I don't think anyone can argue that that isn't substantively true.  

    I think the problem was the "they all look the same.  They all behave the same."  part.  That's where Dean's comments made me feel uncomfortable.  First, it isn't true.  There may be some generalities, but a sweeping statement like that is false.  Second, I know if this statement were made in reference to other ethnic or political groups, or made by a Republican in reference to one of our constituencies, we would have been going apeshit about it.

    I don't think Dean's statements are a big problem, and I think Dems have been correct to back Howard.  But at the same time I do hope he cools it a little.

  • comment on a post NJ Gov: It Is Going To Be Close over 9 years ago
    I think Corzine can win, but he has to make clear that he is going to clean up the mess in the state.  And honestly, a lot of that mess is our party's fault.  In a time where we are generally looking very good compared to our opponents as far as ethics, New Jersey is about 20 years behind the times.  The Reps there are crooked too, but they've been out of power for a bit, so can plausibly point at us as the problem there.
  • comment on a post Right Wing Slime Machine Focused On Hillary over 9 years ago
    I'm uncomfortable with the dynasty issue too as far as two families dominating our political scene, but I probably don't care so much that I wouldn't vote for Hilliary if she were the nominee.
  • comment on a post Right Wing Slime Machine Focused On Hillary over 9 years ago
    This book has been woefully overhyped. It's not like people don't know Hilliary well.  Everyone knows all the good and all the bad and has basically formed an opinion of her long ago.  I don't think she has anything to worry about with this book, which looks to be pretty sloppy anyway.  I bet even the author doesn't actually think this will "torpedo" Hilliary.  The author and the publisher just want people to buy the book.
  • comment on a post Santorum Extremely Vulnerable over 9 years ago
    I'm not sure that winning this race has any real correlation to winning PA in 2008, but Santorum is definitely a prime target.  He's basically out of step with a state than leans blue.  The conservative groups will porr money into the state, but I think we can win this as long as we get out the vote in the cities.
  • comment on a post Breaking News: DEAN TELLS TRUTH...... again over 9 years ago
    "They all look the same.  They all behave the same."

    For one, that's not "the truth".  I don't know how you could say otherwise.

    This was preceded by the statement a couple of dayss ago that Republicans have never made an honest living in their lives.  Yes, I realize this was a statement made in jest, but Dean's a big boy, he knows how the media works in this day and age, and he should have learned from the scream that different types of media plays things different ways than intended.

    I know that Jerome has had a connection to the Dean camp for a long time, but to try to say this is helpful is ridiculous.  I want Dean out there hammering the president's record repeatedly.  I want him out there hammering the Republican party's intolerance and greed.  I don't want him making careless, stupid ass statements that distract from his message and scare people away from the party.

    Can you honestly say that yesterday's statement was at all helpful in any way at all?  Does this statement help or hurt a 50 state strategy?  Come on Jerome.  Face it, our boy needs to measure his words a lot better.  Dean can shoot straight and tell it like it is without making an ass of himself.

  • comment on a post Pick the Billboard for DeLay's Backyard: Vote Now over 9 years ago
    I think a billboard placed by a non-local Dem group in DeLay's district will backfire.  People there may be sick of DeLay, but they definitely aren't going to kick him out if they think that "liberal" Dems from outside Texas are trying to effectuate that result.


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