Iraqi Elections: How do we judge success?

Andrew Sullivan is asking how we should judge whether the Iraqi elections taking place on Sunday are a success. I don't have an answer for that. I DO have an answer to the criteria Andrew proffers though. HELL NO. Read on to find out Andrew's criteria.

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Co-Sponsor the Senate Democrats Opposition Agenda. GO!

Senator Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats have just released their opposition agenda and you have the opportunity to become a citizen co-sponsor.

The agenda looks very good as it includes specific Senate Bills that the Democrats will introduce to the full Senate.  The Bills cover a comprehensive set of issues including major reforms in our approaches to the military, trade, medicare, education, health care, and election reform.  Other targeted issues include terrorism, veterans issues, deficit reduction, and abortion prevention.

These Bills will be reconciled with the House Democrats and will hopefully spurn action on a Democratic parallel to the Republican's infamous Contract with America. I've created a quick bulleted summary of the Bills below.  I really hope whoever is responsible for the webpage description of these Bills will take a look at it.  Whoever drew up the descriptions was waayyyy to verbose.  These need to be presented as no-nonsense, serious policy proposals.  I'd like to see them present it as a resume to the American people of what we intend to do.

Read on for a summary...

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Newsweek: Ed Rendell, Bill Richardson, Lead Insiders Against Dean

A new story from Newsweek by Howard Fineman chronicles some of the machinations party insiders are going through to marginalize a Howard Dean victory for party chair.  Nothing suprising, right?  Well, guess who is leading this pathetic troupe.

Governors Ed Rendell of PA and Bill Richardson of NM.  Two of my FORMERLY favorite governors.

From the article:

Now Playing: 'Anybody But Dean, Part 2'

Then, as now, a party establishment—based in Congress, governors' mansions and Georgetown salons—viewed him as a loudmouthed lefty whose visibility would ruin the Democratic brand in Red States.
n the meantime, with the DNC meeting approaching on Feb. 12, party insiders have been conducting an urgent, so far fruitless, search for a consensus Dean-stopper. The Clintons don't like Dean on substance or style, seeing him as too left and too loose-lipped. But they're being careful. Hillary, already eying a presidential run in 2008, doesn't want to alienate the possible winner; she's leaving DNC maneuvers to Bill, whose answer last month was to sound out current chairman Terry McAuliffe about remaining in the job. (He declined.)
Last week the search for a surefire Dean-stopper (if there is one) reached new levels, NEWSWEEK has learned, with several governors—among them Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania and Bill Richardson of New Mexico—trying to gin up a last-ditch plan: let Dean be chairman, but confine his role to pure nuts-and-bolts duties by layering him with a new "general chairman" spokesman for the party.
The incendiary quotes are old news, his advisers insist; besides, Dean will concentrate on organization, not provocation. He and Bill Clinton have talked—at length, sources say—and Dean has hired shrewd Washington hands to help him, including Jim Jordan, Kerry's first presidential handler.

What the hell is going on here?  I like the Clintons.  I liked Ed Rendell until he caved to big telecom.  I liked Bill Richardson until this, but if any of this is confirmed by more reputable reporters than Howard Fineman, I'm going to have to rethink my support for these people.  The Clinton's too.

Bush Might Mourn Loss Of Red State Democrats

An interesting article from Peter Beinart of TNR by way of Kevin Drum.

The article's thesis is that President Bush is facing a crisis (tee hee!) in garnering crucial bipartisan support for his privatization plans, ironically, because of the GOP's success in eradicating the Zell Miller's of the party. This leaves the GOP is running scared in the face of relatively united Democratic opposition. (woo hoo!)

The key grafs from the article:

Why is President Bush having more trouble (so far) trying to partially privatize Social Security than he had cutting taxes in 2001?
It may be that the GOP's victories in last November's elections, the very victories that Bush says give him the "political capital" to push through partial privatization, are actually making the effort harder.  By killing off the Democrats most susceptible to his influence, Bush may have created a political dynamic that works for his opponents, and against him.
Of course, the Republicans who beat them are virtually automatic votes for whatever Bush wants. But, on a major "reform" like Social Security, one vote from across the aisle is worth more than one from your own side. (Especially in the Senate, where the filibuster rule means you need 60 votes to pass major legislation.) Partly, that's because when a Democrat supports Bush's agenda, it's newsworthy, and it builds momentum in the press. When Democratic senators like Montana's Max Baucus signaled their openness to Bush's tax cut in 2001, it created a sense of inevitability that demoralized opponents. Conversely, the absence of Senate Democrats willing to do the same so far on Social Security privatization has produced a spate of stories that should worry the White House ("DEMOCRATS ARE FINDING UNITY IN THEIR OPPOSITION TO PRIVATE RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS,"Los Angeles Times; "CENTRISTS STEER CLEAR OF SOCIAL SECURITY PLANS,"The Hill; "DEMOCRATS ARE UNITED IN PLANS TO BLOCK TOP BUSH INITIATIVES,"The Washington Post). And those news stories have shaped discussion on the chat shows, where even some conservative commentators now express pessimism about Bush's chances.

Leaves one wishing the 2002 elections hadn't purged us of the Zell Miller's before the Iraq War Vote, huh?!  Now, after reading this, go read Maryscott's wonderful rant from earlier today.

It's amazing what a little real opposition can do.  I want more!

Andrew D -- Where Are Your Disclaimers?

Andrew D, I just read your sanctimonious and highly biased piece asking insidiously where Kos' and Jerome's disclaimers are... when I found out, only after reading all of your worthless drivel, that you are an employee of Texas state party.  Martin Frost's home state.

I think it is completely unethical for you to post such a piece given your admitted bias (only at the end where people have to read the whole stinking thing).  It is even more unethical for you to post it all the way at the bottom.  Given that blogs are a new form, shouldn't you be holding yourself to some higher ethical standard?  For shame, sir.

Moderates, Centrists, the DLC and What Will Be

The fundamental root of the disagreement dividing the DLC sect of the party from the netroots was laid bare in Garemko's recent diary by DLC'er demburns.

The United States is not liberal; if anything, it is growing steadily more conservative every year.

Do you view this statement as an unfortunate reality to adapt to and live with, or as something to rage fight against with every fiber of your being?

This question cuts to the heart of our divide.  We were ALL made witness, kicking and screaming, to the truth of the statement every November election.

The netroots, by in large, views this predicament as something to OVERCOME rather than to SETTLE WITH.  The DLC/status-quo faction, just the opposite.

It goes without saying, but is never fully confessed by the DLC crowd, that if we adopt this go-along-to-get-along strategy and choose to settle with this trend, it will not only continue, but accelerate.  The hope of a resurgent liberal America will be abandoned and conservatism will not only be ascendant, but permanent.  DLC proponents will argue that even were we had the will to fight, it would not be successful.  

"Big picture pessimism must rule or small scale pessimism is inevitable.  We'll lose our seats at the table!"

All I can say is, it it must be, so be it.  The alternative is to let liberalism die and that is simply not acceptable.


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