Arguing about what to do with a Iraq bill is pointless

And Bush is now threatening a veto on the current "short leash" bill.  This is just more of an example of the reason why Chris' Bowers post from before the original bill was passed is still so relevant:

It doesn't matter what bill the Democrats send to the White House.  So long as a bill give Congress any power to restrict what Bush does in Iraq in any possible way, Bush will veto that bill.  It is wholly irrelevant what the exact bill is.  It is irrelevant whether the bill sets timetables, benchmarks, or requires him to report to Congress.  Any restriction is unacceptable to him, and any restriction will be vetoed.  He is trying to shift responsibility for losing the war onto the Democrats.

All that Pelosi and co. need to do is keep on sending him back bills that he finds unacceptable, and go on TV, continually asking the the following question of the media (and anyone else who will listen):

Why won't the president fund the war?

Hell, even The Onion has figured it out.

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Primary Reform: an idea

I've been thinking a lot about the problems with our current system of frontloaded primaries, and the more I think, the more the problem seems to be the fact that there is no disincentive for a state to have its primary as early as possible--to be relevant, you need to hold your primary before there is a clear winner, and therefore, there is every reason to hold your primary as early as possible.  This, of course, will probably just magnify the already disproportionate influence held by Iowa and New Hampshire.

Obviously, the best reform is to just break the monopoly of these two states, and for the national party to force a more prolonged schedule.  But it is getting increasingly clear that this simply won't happen.

But what if you simply made one reform, one that party insiders might likely not enjoy, either, but wouldn't particularly affect any states disproportionately?

How about simply making it so that a candidate, once (s)he has dropped out of the race, cannot pledge their candidates to another candidate on the first ballot?  The practice is pretty undemocratic--I go to the polls and vote for Gephardt (for example), I elect a delegate, but that delegate ends up voting for Kerry, due to the dynamics of the election in a state after mine.  My delegate should be forced to vote for Gephardt, regardless of what happens later.  

This, however, wouldn't keep delegates from dropping off of the ballot in later states, and that is the key.  This would give states an incentive to have later primaries--the first couple of states will have ballots cluttered with candidates that will eventually fall off of the map.  Hence, their first ballot delegate counts will contain large numbers of delegates that will go to non-viable candidates.  They will still have a great deal of influence, as they determine who has early momentum, but they will not invalidate the later states, who will only have the frontrunner and the challenger on their ballot, and thus, will have nearly all of their delegates count.  

Thus, you will have a set of states that 'vet' the candidates, and a set of states who actually determine the nominee.  This would also make the 'retail politics' angle of IA and NH more relevant--they are processing the large number of early candidates for later states' consideration.  The only real downside that I see in this is that it would greatly increase the chances of having a brokered election.  And I guess it might greatly increase the chances that a candidate drops out early, and thus make IA and NH even more important.  But I do wonder what effects a reform like this would have.

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Personal Autonomy: a constitutional amendment

So, the Republicans in Congress have had the oppotrunity to have their fun with a flag burning amendment.  Maybe it will motivate their base, and place a nice wedge on the left.  Maybe.

But why not try the same thing against them?  What's keeping the dems from offering their own constitutional amendment?  In particular, why not push for a constitutional amendment that guarantees personal autonomy?  Perhaps with something like this: [extended]

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A question for Gore supporters

I have seen much rabid support for Al Gore growing over the course of the preceeding two years.  On one level, I very much understand it.  Gore is a proven candidate who is capable of garnering a reasonable level of support.  On another level, however, I don't understand it at all.

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A Proposal to fight Wage Slavery

This idea has certainly been talked about before, but I don't see why it hasn't been seriously proposed.  I see it as a clear way that the Dems can generate a concrete proposal to take a stance on outsourcing.

The idea is that there should be a proposed law requiring the manufacturers of any product to place on the label of said product a notification of the total man-hours required to manufacture the product and the average wage per hour paid during the manufacture of the product. [more below fold]

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Frames, Values, and Our Future and Past

I was over at Body and Soul reading this post
and the second to last paragraph severely bothered me:

Politically, those children are irrelevant. Not just to Republicans, but to any party that's thinking about winning elections. Everyone is talking about framing issues to pull a few more voters into line. But the deaths of innocents and the suffering of small children are entirely outside the frame. Which is probably why, if you go over to memeorandum right now, you'll find that the only interest this story has generated is among conservatives condemning the Washington Post for blaming America for problems caused by insurgents.

The premise seems true:  if we can't win on issues centered around hunger, health and well-being for all, what the hell is the point of trying?

More below

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