• comment on a post The Great, Deluded Benefactor over 9 years ago
    There is some truth that foreign aid stats are unfair to the U.S. because a much larger percentage of U.S. foreign aid comes from private sources, instead of the government.

    That said, our overall foreign aid is still pitiful.  Considering the amount we've spent on wars, foreign aid is much much more cost effective way to project U.S. policy.  We can give now to help needy African and Asian countries avoid becoming failed states or we can spend 100 times as much down the road dealing with the problem once its too late.

    Moreover, generous foreign aid is simply the right thing to do.  As awful as Saddam, or Kosovo, or Darfur was, the numbers of people who died from those atrocities isn't a fraction of the number of people who die from malnutrition, mosquitos and AIDS every year.

    This is something that both Reps and Dems should be behind.  Not only is it a moral thing to do, but it advances the neo-con vision of promoting democracy, good government, and American power abroad (but in a way that isn't so half-assed and destructive).  

    Our foreign aid budget should be at least tripled immediately.

  • comment on a post It's Not Rove over 9 years ago
    So we let people know about the Republican Noise Machine.  Who cares?  No one thinks that THEY are actually influenced by a partisan "noise machine."  It's always someone else.

    Stories like this rarely go anywhere.  People get bored, and they already know there are powerful, wealthy and secretive elements that have a lot of control over things and don't really seem to up in arms about it.

    Also, it's not like we don't have a somewhat equivalent group of people who perform many of the same functions.  They just come from different places.  And some of the places they come from probably don't play well in the press.

  • comment on a post Already At Three: Richardson To Run over 9 years ago
    I like this field so far.  It looks to be much stronger than the group that ran in 2004.  I'm a fan of Hilliary and Richardson, and I find Bayh interesting although I don't know much about him.  

    I wish Dean would run again too, although that doesn't seem likely now.  I disagree with the people here who think he could have done better than kerry did in the general election, but I definitely agree that Dean got an unfair shake in the party and the press.  

    I've never liked Clark.  He kind of lost me back at CNN when he was criticizing the Iraq invasion plan within 24 hours of the war.  As it turned out, the invasion plan was brilliant, it was the whole two years after that sucked. But it seemed like Clark was using his gig as a journalist to score political points, and that wasn't the time or place.  Clark just seems opportunistic and creepy to me (didn't he used to be a Rep?).  Also Clark's Kosovo record kind of worries me too.  He didn't seem to impress anyone there, either in the U.S. or amongst our NATO allies there.

    Edwards I like on a personal level, but I'm still not convinced he has the chops to be president.  He feels like a weatherman to me.  In interviews his answers are vapid at best, and I'm not a big fan of the endlessly repeated, sort of condescending "life is so hard" message.  That may be more a personal taste; watching Edwards just feels like watching Barney the Dinosaur to me, but I know different people have different views than me about him.  He could still sell me, but I'd have to feel comfortable that he's got more depth than I think he does right now.  

    I want a President with a mean streak.  Politics and foreign policy is tough business.  Richardson and Hilliary make me more comfortable as people with the experience and toughness to deal with it.

  • comment on a post An Opportunity On Gerrymandering over 9 years ago
    I agree that we have to be against this because it hurts us, but I have to say that there is some logic to it.  It jams all our city voters in the same district, but in a way it makes sense for people in the same city to vote for the same representatives instead of glomming various groups of them with various groups of other people from areas that have no resemblance.

    I think everyone hates those snakelike, noncontiguous voting districts.  

  • comment on a post Does Deficit Talk Hurt Progressives? over 9 years ago
    The Reps' profligate spending is a huge opporunity for us.

    Besides, the deficit is so huge and such a big problem that we CAN'T not talk about it.  To sidestep an issue like that would result in the same problems that we had with John Kerry's spineless drivel about the war.

    People don't vote on issues as much as they vote for candidates.  The country agree with Dem positions more than Rep position, but Kerry couldn't get any traction because people weren't convinced of his leadership.  And people were convinced on his leadership because he rarely spoke strongly about controversial issues.

    Yes, any time we're talking about balancing the budget, we're talking about an issue that is historically conservative.  But unlike certain issues, there's no reason why a balance budget is inherently conservative.  We can balance the budget by raising taxes and not going crazy on the spending.  The fact is most social programs aren't really that expensive, especially compared to things like wars, social security rehauls, and massive tax cuts.  

  • comment on a post Why America Needs Amtrak over 9 years ago
    I have a hard time feeling sad when we cut money from a trasnportation service that needs $3 billion a year to break even.  Yeah, trains are nice, but if they were truly nice enough people would use them and pay an amount that would at least allow it to break even.

    A very large portion of Amtrak's clientele are morning business travellers who really don't need a government subsidy anyway.

    Hard for me to get worked up about this one.

  • comment on a post Iraqi Election: A Success over 9 years ago
    If a Democrat president had fought this war, Dems would have supported it.  As a liberal, I am happy when I see dictators removed from power and elections held instead.  As a liberal, I am happy when totalitarian regimes like the Taliban which subjugated women are removed from power.  As a liberal, I support policies that don't involve appeasing fanatically religious regimes.

    Bush lied to get his war and screwed it up to all hell.  But I've been incredibly disappointed in the fact that many liberals seem to want Iraq to fail just to make Bush look bad.

    Iraq hasn't failed yet.  1300 soliders is a large price to pay, and a for the families of those soldiers, an unquantifiable cost.  However, to be realistic, 1300 soldiers over nearly two years is a tiny casualty count in the context of every war this country has ever fought in.  We lost 1300 soliders in about 10 seconds at Omaha Beach.  We lost 50K dead in Vietnam. It scares me that people are so spooked by relatively small casualties if we ever have to fight a war to truly defend this country (and no, I do not believe that Iraq was a direct threat to the USA)

    If we succeed in Iraq, and it's a huge if, then it will have been worth it.  Dems have treated Iraq as nothing more than a political issue, as evidence by Kerry's shameless position honing on the war.  Instead of a "position" on the war, Kerry and most other Dems needed an opinion on it.  By never taking Iraq seriously except as a way of scoring political points on Bush, we essentially gave him a blank check to completely botch the war, alienate allies, torture prisoners, and anger (or kill) countless Iraqis.

    Nonetheless, I want this to succeedm even if Bush looks good as a result.  Transforming the Middle East is the great challenge of our age.  

    As a liberal, I have always supported an aggressive use of our power to promote democracy and human rights.  When we go isolationist as a party, we join the ranks of the Pat Buchannan's of the world.  That's not where I want to be.  We were right to go to Kosovo.  We should have gone to Rwanada to stop the genocide. We should have gone to Liberia when the people there begged us to provide stability.  We should have done more to stop the current genocide in Sudan.  We should put more pressure on corrupt African regimes, but at the same time we should provide many times more aid to Africa than we currently do now to deal with the staggering AIDS epidemic.  This is consistent with liberalism, and liberals should support this.  

    I'm not ashamed of an aggressive foreign policy that promotes democratic values.  I'm ashamed that Democrats are slowly putting themselves in the isolationist camp or the EU appeasement camp. I don't want to see us turn into a peacenik isolationist, UN party.  The UN is a useless institution that has developed a tendency to moral equivalency and appeasement.

    Our party's approach to the last four years resulted in nothing but letting Bush get away with in botching the war in Iraq and dishonestly conflating it with the war on terror.

  • comment on a post Bad Idea Jeans over 9 years ago
    Why I don't like him:

    1.  He did everything he could to sabotage Dean.  Whether you liked Dean or not, it was for Democratic voters to decide, not the DNC Chair.

    2. He presided over two of the worst defeats in our history: 2002 and 2004 and had the gall to immediately try to spin those results into a positive.  Come on, if we lost, say we lost.

    3. He made silly strategical decisions, such as pouring tons of money into trying to beat Jeb in 2002.  That money could have been better spent elsewhere, and Jeb won easily.

    4.  He oozes creepiness and sleaziness, and turns moderate voters off.  The nice thing about Dean is that even people who don't agree with him appreciate his candor and down to earth bearing. McCaulife always seemed like a political creature to his very core.  He was incapable of seeming like a real person.  He was the Democratic Party, processed, liquified, and poured in a can.
  • comment on a post Kerry now ruined by The Curse over 9 years ago
    I'd like to see him run again.  We would get the primary season to see if he got why he lost this time.  Doesn't mean I want him to win, but he's welcome to run.  

    I often think that a loss like Kerry suffered can make a man a better person and candidate.  If Kerry really realizes why he lost, I'd at least give him a new look.

  • comment on a post A Rising Era of Partisanship over 9 years ago
    The Reps will rue the day they get rid of the filibuster.  When we are back in power, they'll wish they still had it.
  • comment on a post Feingold over 9 years ago
    I like Feingold a lot.  He excites me much more than the current likely slate of candidates.
  • comment on a post Proceeding as if they're going to run over 9 years ago
    McCain is not going to get the Rep nomination.  The religious wackos don't like him.

    Even if he does, McCain is an overrated candidate. He's a shameless self-promoted and not disciplined enough to stay on message.  Plus if McCain does get the nomination, the minions of evangelicals won't show up.

    Usually when a guy looks unbeatable, they turn out vulnerable.  The guys that are hard to beat are the flawed guys with great political skills like Clinton (incredible eloquence and personality) or Dubya (most disciplined, on-message candidate ever).

    We can beat McCain.  The one problem for us will be that it will be much harder to fire our base up.  I'm as Dem as it gets, but the thought of a McCain presidency doesn't inject me with the same sense of fear and loathing as Bush does.

  • comment on a post Soldiers File Lawsuit for Military Discharge over 9 years ago
    My understanding is that you can sign an X year commitment, but all commitments are subject to procedures such as stop-loss.  I don't think these soldiers have a snowball's chance of winning.  It sucks, but when you join the army you accept these risks.

    I have even less sympathy for reservists who complain about being "drafted."  What the heck do you think the reserves are for?  They were happy to take the pay checks in peacetime.

    We don't have a draft (at least for the time being).  If you didn't want to deal with crap like this, you didn't have to join the army or the reserves.  A lot of folks seem to view the army as some sort of vocational school, but it's not, particular when you have a trigger happy Texan in office.  

  • comment on a post Inventing Reform over 9 years ago
    I think the CBO's report was overally optimistic.  Moreover, a pay as you go system is incredibly inefficient.  I don't see why Dems should be against allowing people to invent a rather small amount of their SS contributions.

    But the Reps want it both ways.  Contributions may not be a terrible idea, but it isn't revenue neutral, and you have to pay for it.  Trying to combine this with their irresponsible tax cuts is simply gross negligence.

    We can talk all we want about winning elections by trying to convert people to liberalism or to find new liberals that don't vote yet. I'm not sure this is more than just wishful thinking, because to the extent we pull to the left and add voters that way, we just bleed them off on the right of the Dem party.

    However, we have a real opening that would definitely add voters: becoming the balanced budget party.  The Reps have given this away, and it is just sitting there for the taking.  We seize this opportunity, and it would make it a lot easier for us to be progressive in other areas with the credibility we gain from being the party that doesn't break the bank.

  • comment on a post Pre-Orlando CattleCall for DNC Chair over 9 years ago
    Not really anything to add to it, just please not Gray Davis.

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