Kerry in Oregon: A Huge Success

from my blog, Basie!

I think by any stretch of one's imagination, John Kerry's travels through Oregon today have been immensely successful.  Although I don't think that Oregon is a battleground state in the traditional sense of the term (as I write here), I do believe that Kerry went far today in ensuring that the state, which heavily leans Democratic, will cast its 7 electoral votes in his column this year.

John Kerry began his Oregon sojourn today in Springfield, just outside of Eugune.  Joined by progressive Congressman Peter DeFazio and scores of voters, the Democratic nominee spoke at a neighborhood gathering this morning, adding a timely new piece to his usual stump speech.

With the CBO report coming out today indicating that the Bush Administration's tax policies have shifted the burden from the ultra-rich to the middle class, John Kerry once again pledged to cut middle class taxes and return taxes on the rich to the levels at which they stood during the Clinton Administration.  Watching Kerry use this line later in the day in Portland, I must say that the reaction was unbelievable (the crowd booed quite loudly when Kerry said that "over the last four years, the burden of taxes has shifted from the wealthy to the middle class... The middle class is paying more taxes."

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More on Frist's critical ineptitude

from my blog, Basie!

Today's Washington Post features this interesting front page article on the rise and fall of Senator Bill Frist.  A rare piece that actually captures the nuance of the predicament in which the Senate Majority Leader currently finds himself, Charles Babington and Helen Dewar's article is a definite must read on this Sunday morning.

There was a time at which Bill Frist was viewed as the future of the Republican Party; a handsome former heart surgeon, Frist had ascended the latter of American politics in only eight short years.  After becoming Majority Leader in December 2002 with the fall of Trent Lott, "supporters openly speculated that Frist would run for president in 2008."

"Despite an obviously steep learning curve as he settled into his job, Frist helped rack up substantial GOP victories in 2003, including Bush's third major tax cut, the Medicare drug benefit bill, a ban on what critics call partial-birth abortions, and other initiatives that appealed especially to conservatives."

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Dole's Oregon Chair backing Kerry

In light of The Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth Ad put out by a shadow Republican group, the Democrats' Truth Squad, mentioned in this diary entry, will likely become even more prominent in Kerry's campaign. -- Jerome

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As has been the case as of late, I've been finding Salem's Statesman Journal to have far superior political coverage than Oregon's largest paper, The Oregonian.  This is especially true of statewide politics.

Today, the Statesman Journal runs an extremely interesting article about former Air Force chief of staff, General Merrill "Tony" McPeak.  The General, who appeared as one of the dozen retired military leaders at the Democratic National Convention last week, headed the Air Force during the first Persian Gulf War in 1991.

The paper explains that McPeak will become a member of the Democrats' Truth Squad, a "20-person group will shadow the Bush campaign, including attending the Republican National Convention later this month in New York, to defend Kerry's record and challenge Bush's. [...] McPeak's role will be to defend Kerry's record on defense and foreign policy."

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Democrats Staying on Message (Thankfully)

After watching hours of coverage of the convention on ABC News Now, CNN, C-SPAN and MSNBC, the thing that has impressed me the most has been the ability of the Democrats to stay on message.  In past years, the Dems have been plagued by infighting and mixed messages heading out to the media; this year, things have been different.

Larry King, whom I generally despise as a "reporter," spoke with former-Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-ME) after the Carter speech this evening.  The most interesting point that came out of the interview was when Senator Mitchell, an iconoclast who deftly led the Senate through middle of the road pragmatism , said that this was the most united he had ever seen the party.  Later, during an MSNBC interview with the ultra-liberal Representative Dennis Kucinich, the Congressman voiced nearly the same comment.  What is more, he emphasized his point by saying that although he did not agree with John Kerry on all issues, he was completely supportive of his party's nominee.

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