• Interesting that Blake (quoted in this post) would say, in an article on Sen. Schumer's ambitions:
    "the [NY Governor's] seat is vacant in 2010 now that Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) has resigned."

    Well, actually, no.  David Paterson, just sworn in this week to thunderous applause and positive reviews, might well have his own plans. He ain't chopped liver.

    Is this "inadvertence" in fact a trial balloon for Schumer's potential challenge of Paterson? Unless, of course, David were to swap seats with Chuck in 2010, thereby fulfilling an ambition of each.

  • comment on a post Comcast Decreases Customers' Access to MSNBC over 6 years ago

    FWIW,it isn't just Comcast.  here in Democratic Westchester County New York, in arguably one of the wealthiest zip codes in the country, MSNBC is not available to subscribers who get their cable TV via Verizon's fiber-optic service.  Cablevision, yes.  Verizon FIOS, no. Which means that Cablevision subscribers who would like to go to the more extensive and less expensive offerings of Verizon FIOS TV have to decide whether they're willing to give up Keith O.  

    Interestingly, many of my friends have, at least for the time being, decided to stick with Keith and nix Verizon FIOS.  In effect, they're giving up many channels of entertainment, and paying about $20/month extra, in order to keep MSNBC.

    Whoda thunkit?

  • comment on a post Kick Jefferson out of the House over 7 years ago

    Not to be a wet blanket but:

    1. hasn't he already been stripped of his plum committee assignments?
    2. isn't even he entitled to a presumption of innocence?
    3. bear in mind that (to bring it all together) the charges are brought by one of Bush's U.S. Attorneys (you know: "loyal Bushies").

    So, as long as Pelosi has him isolated and stripped of the power he might otherwise have as a majority member with seniority, what else overt would you have Pelosi do?  On the other hand, what pressure is really available to Pelosi et al to get him to resign, given that his constituents just sent him back for another 2 years?

    Finally, being realistic, one of the chits that a criminal defendant office-holder has to bargain with is the resignation from office.  (Think all the way back to Spiro Agnew.) It might be the "right thing to do" for him to resign, but it would be, from the point of view of his own personal best interest, a foolish thing to resign without a plea bargain.  If (just for the sake of argument) you were his defense counsel, would you counsel him to resign without any deal?  

  • comment on a post Democrats To Be Saved By Learning From Republicans over 7 years ago

    Don't overlook Lakoff's latest: "Whose Freedom? the battle over America's most important idea." (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006.)

    This one is more substantive than "Don't Think of an Elephant",  but far more approachable (and shorter) than Moral Politics.  Using the family models paradigm which is developed at length in Moral Politics, this one focuses on the conceptual underpinnings of the conservative notion of freedom vs. the progressive (traditional American) concept of freedom.  For those who haven't read that earlier work, the  introductory chapter of Whose Freedom is virtually a "Cliff's Notes" version of it.

    The next to last chapter is an enlightening deconstruction of GWB's 2nd Inaugual which should be must reading for anyone trying to get a handle on the rhetoric and conceptual framework that can bring swing voters ("biconceptuals")over to(or from) the dark side of the Force.      

  • Correction:  Yes, the DCCC came in with a whopping $51K on the weekend before the election, after the RNCC had spent over $200K to prop up Randy Kuhl!  Up to that point, all the D-trip ponied up was a lousy $7500.  Even the Working Families Party did better than that!!!

    Eric has spent his life in public service -- career military, then congressional staff -- so he's not a wealthy guy.  But he is a model of what our new generation of Democratic leadership ought to be, and he deserves our support, and opportunists like Mr. Nachbar deserve our input.  

  • comment on a post 2008 Netroots Candidates and Opportunism over 7 years ago

    Agree with you on this one completely, Matt.  What Serge misses in his comment is that sometimes it takes a trailblazer to show the way, to take the risk, and show that it can be done.  Eric Massa in the 29th was that trailblazer.  At tremendous personal sacrifice, he gritted out a tough race and came within a hair of winning, with no -- none, nada, zero, zilch -- support from the DCCC.  And what Serge misses is that sometimes it takes more than one cycle to manufacture a win.  The Republicans understand that. If Eric's 49-51 near-victory is now answered by a challenge from a self-funding corporatist, what's the lesson?  Where's the incentive to be a leader?

    There is every reason to believe that in 2008, Eric can get that one more point that he needs to win, and take this District Blue. But if he has to spend precious dollars winning the right to a rematch, it becomes that much harder.  As Democrats -- and, by the way, not just progressives, but Democrats -- we need to start rewarding our trailblazers, who take on the tough fights.  Yes, Serge, Mr. Nachbar has the right to do many things, but it shows, I think, poor judgment and selfish opportunism to grasp this opportunity and make it harder for Eric Massa. What Mr. Nachbar ought to do is give more than the paltry $250 he gave to Eric last year.  

    Meanwhile, what the rest of us can do is let Eric know that we're with him by logging in to his website, getting on his mailing list, and sending a few bucks. I met Eric this past weekend at the DFNY annual conference in Albany, and was impressed that he's the real deal.  That's why Eric Massa has become the second Congressional candidate outside my own District (the first was John Hall) that I'm supporting with my own hard-earned cash.  Here's a link to his .pdf donation form: http://www.massaforcongress.com/donor.pd f.

    Go Blue!

  • comment on a post What's With So Many Movement Candidates Being Dudes? over 7 years ago
    I wonder if women are simply grossly under-represented among those who offer themselves as candidates?  That, coupled with a recent bias (not a bad thing, just a fact) in favor of seeking out candidates with a military record (also a disproportionately male group) would predictably results in fewer females among the group.  
    Couple that with the Emily's list bias, as noted in a previous comment, "skimming" some strong candidates, and you have one viable explanation for your observation.  
  • First, as a direct response, I think, Matt, you overstate what Hillary actually said.  I do not see this as "deeply conservative", so much as the realistic statement of a potential President of the world's last remaining superpower, who doesn't want (legitimate) US options circumscribed by campaign rhetoric.  Students of history will remember the box that candidate John F. Kennedy put himself in by his rhetoric on the campaign trail.  

    Second, more of a process-and-dialogue point: So Hillary allows that, under her Presidency, the U.S. could continue to have some troops in the Middle East, even in Iraq (subject, of course, to the invitation of the local government).  The instant negative reaction to that statement among the on-line progressive, out-of-Iraq community is, IMHO, unwarranted and overblown.  I know this is going to piss off some of my friends, and a lot of strangers, but the bumper-sticker simplicity of the reception to Hillary's positions and positioning is getting tiresome.  Agree or disagree, she's not the great Satan, she's a serious player, and we should start listening with some sensitivity instead of knee-jerking like the mirror-image of Faux News yahoos.  We've got to get past assuming that everyone who is not purely all-the-way-and-completely-out-now is Bush redux, and start asking better questions and listening to the answers.  Or we're going to end up just hearing what we want, and getting pandered to by sloganistas.

    Look, I'm not carrying any water for Hillary - I'm still waiting for someone in this cycle to earn my support for the Democratic nomination; I haven't completely ruled out any of the grown-ups. But the giant gotcha-gasp every time Hillary takes a position that can't be fairly reduced to an isolationist slogan only makes those doing the gasping sound simpleminded, and trivializes the debate.  I was a Dean supporter early, and was not thrilled with the Kerry candidacy, but I thought one of Kerry's(potential) strengths as a possible President, if not as a candidate, was the ability to entertain nuance, the ability to have and develop positions that had more depth than the first bullet point.  That contrasted nicely with the Holy Simplism of GWBush.  Now if only Kerry had been able to communicate that nuance without reminding me of Treebeard.

    Whatever else one might think of Hillary, you have to admit that she takes seriously the possibility that she might actually become President, and therefore that she has complex (even "nuanced")policy positions; she has depth, and (except for some truly memorable lapses on largely symbolic issues that still leave a really bad taste), she seems unwilling, on serious, Presidential stuff, to pander with shallow slogans.  That's a good thing.  

    On refusing to give THE APOLOGY, she says you don't get do-overs, she wouldn't have voted as she did if the information had been presented correctly, and that if the correct information had been presented a war authorization would never even have come to a vote.  She's plainly right about that.  She says she gave deference at the time to the President which, in light of hindsight, was unwarranted. I take that as polite speak for "few of us at that time truly understood how irresponsible and corrupt this guy really is."  

    Just for the moment, let's look past the Bush presidency.  Unless you're going to take the position that the U.S. has no strategic interests in the region - and even the UPJ crowd don't take that line - the notion of the world's one remaining superpower not having any meaningful presence in the Middle East is silly.  As to whether that presence should include some personnel within Iraq, say to protect the Kurdish region, or to inhibit Iranian incursion, that's something we ought to talk about.  I don't think we should be engaged in policing an Iraqi civil war (although many who say that would say the opposite if the civil war were in, say, Africa), and I think we shouldn't have been engaged in instigating one (which, in effect, is what we did by toppling a tyrant and then immediately dismantling his army, creating a vacuum). But I'm not running for President, and I'd really like to hear from those who are what their serious thinking is on that kind of stuff, if only to show that they are thinking about it.  

  • comment on a post Sharpton-Obama: What does Lieberman mean? over 7 years ago

    First, it ain't about Sharpton; it's about Obama.  Let's focus.

    Second, let's agree that Mr. Obama is relatively new to the national stage, has a thin record on national issues and oozes charisma, which can influence even seasoned political observers.

    Third, let's also agree that there's a tendency for even the most cynical (realistic?) of us to project our own values on the blank canvas of an attractive newcomer who says the right things.

    That said, IMHO, the assertion in the original post -- that Mr. O is "certainly progressive in his policy sympathies" --- conflicts with the evidence offered of by Matt and others of Mr. O's actual conduct.  

    Positioning for a Democratic Presidential nomination may require the appearance of progressivism, but it requires no dedication to or even genuine sympathy for progressive principles in order to spout them.  Nominally "progressive principles" are where the nomination lies, and talk is cheap. So I normally discount any politician's profession of progressive platitudes.

    The facts by which Mr. Stoller does seem troubled are that Mr. O has repeatedly done, and occasionally said, things that seem inconsistent with his professed progressive principles.  

    Adopting coded Republican talking points on "tort reform" does not seem to come from "progressive principles".  When that comes from an articulate Harvard law grad, it cannot be easily excused as mere messaging ignorance.  

    Local progressives in his homestate do not see Mr. Obama's forceful intervention for Duckworth over grassroots progressive Cegelis as consistent with a commitment to progressive principles.

    Apart from an early and cost-free statement against the war, what has Mr. Obama so far DONE that evidences any commitment to the principles that this community cherishes, and the willingness to incur any career risk for the sake of those principles?  

    I, for one, am still waiting for a candidate to EARN my support this year.  

  • comment on a post Dodd Bill Fails To Get Out of Commitee over 7 years ago

    Dodd's proposal, ostensibly capping the troop levels and requiring reauthorization before exceeding the cap, was genuinely flawed.  

    1. It purports to tie the President's hands, but would require passage in the House and signature by the President.  Not. Gonna.  Happen.
    2. The "cap" is, as Sen. Biden pointed out, not related to anything real, because the actual # of troops in Iraq shifts from month to month.
    3. Actual increase in troops would be accomplished by simply retaining troops otherwise slated for rotation out, so the Dodd proposal would be impossible to enforce, even if adopted.
    4. As drafted, it would have the appearance of ratifying current troop levels, which misses the entire point of the debate, which is not the size of the US involvement, but the direction of movement -- the public wants out, not in.
    5. Further, by ratifying current levels of troop strength, it might even be read as ratifying continued involvement, despite the evaporation of the original justifications of the Use of Force Resolution.

    IMHO, a quick and clean non-binding sense of the Senate (or even Joint) Resolution makes the point, moves the argument forward, and sets the stage for more forceful action.  

  • comment on a post GOP Shoots for About 40 Percent of the Vote over 7 years ago

    Not to be a party pooper, but this analysis assumes, without evidence, that the various minority-motivators are merely redundant, rather than even partially cumulative.  What if the fraction that is activated by a single hot button issue, and highly motivated by it, does not completely overlap the fraction activate by another of the Republican hot buttons?  Under those circumstances, the minority picked up by gay bashing, augmented by some of the minority picked up by fear-mongering, augmented by some of the minority picked on some other hot-button, could well add up to a majority.  And none of this considers the votes -- in Congressional Districts -- earned just by delivering well-aimed pork and a little constituent service.  

    Most of the stuff I've seen indicates that while there is overlap among the groups activated by various right-wing hot buttons, the overlap isn't perfect, and the morlocks tend to get more motivated than the eloi, so a bunch of minority motivators can produce a majority.  

    So it's a bit too early for complacency.  Back to work.  

  • comment on a post George W. Bush's "Best Moment" as President over 8 years ago

    My vote is for the pretzel thing, just before it was dislodged.

  • And this is exactly why the new wave of Democrats will retake the House this year: because Democrats are now fielding better candidates.

  • And this is exactly why the new wave of Democrats will retake the House this year: because Democrats are now fielding better candidates.  People of quality, genuinely moved to public service, with the will to rise up against the culture of corruption.  

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