Don't Forget Local Races - Can we Get a Full Accounting

Calling all election geeks! As a former executive board member for the Democratic party of my county I would like to request that we organize a tally of all the local seats that switch from republican to Democrat - State house, senate, commisioners, attorneys general, etc. As important as national races are, many of the issues that most directly effect our day to day lives come from local races.  I think the full impact of the 50 stae strategy can only be assessed by including these numbers.  My argument below the fold.

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AP Picks Up Fox Story

The AP just posted a story on the Michael J Fox ad complete with the despicable quote from Limbaugh.  Hopefully this will take off and generate yet more views for the ad.  I suggest people Rate the story highly at Yahoo to keep the story on the front page.

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Getting Paranoid now but October is slipping by

My wife is currently stuck in Nashville having missed her flight because of a hugely long security check line - a similar line she also encountered on her flight out of Seattle. She was told that we are at a heightened threat level. I checked the Homeland Security(this name still gives me the Orwellian heebie-jeebies)Webpage and discovered we are at code Orange.  I also paged through their press releases and discovered 5 high-level administrators have left the agency in 4 weeks.  This seems like a lot of retirements but perhaps this is normal in a huge agency.  My question, though, is what would be the implications of going to threat level red just prior to the election?  Drive down turnout I assume, but by how much and to what benefit.  Other thoughts?  I, for one, did not realize the threat level was so high - I thought we were at Teal or Eggshell or Taupe.

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October surprise better hurry!

If the Republicans really have an October surprise they had better hurry.  Here in Washington State Ballots can be mailed no later than October 20th and likely will be mailed around the 17th.  In other words, a goodly number of Washington votes will already be cast 21st or 22nd and likely 65-75% by the 30th(voters tend to fill out the ballots on the weekends).  If they want to influence Washington state voters and absentee voters everywhere in the country the clock is really ticking.  One week, maybe two to spring something(on us - too much to hope they will re-Foley themselves?).  SO keep fingers crossed, hold breath, and volunteer for your local GOTV drives. Remember, the last week in some places like Washington is NEXT week.

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50 state stretegy pays more dividends on Foley

In Chicago, New York, Penn., Indiana, - really all over the country - the Foley scandal is showing the true value of the 50 state strategy.  Hastert has a challenger who is well down in the polls but has been working hard and now has an issue.  Every other House member facing an opponent within 15 points has to take a tough stand and demand accountability or face potential voter backlash tying the candidate to the corrupt Republican leadership.  This creates a chorus of REPUBLICAN voices FORCED to ask for accountability and kills any possible spin of "Its just the democrats." House members fighting for their offices can't afford to side with Hastert and there are a lot more of them in this position because of the 50 state strategy.  Many of these House members six months ago laughed at the idea that their seats were threatened and now they wake up to find that five weeks before election day they could be in trouble.  

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Democratic Message on Terrorism

What should the Democratic Message on terrorism be this fall?  I suggest the following which has proven to work for FDR- noting to fear but fear itself - and Ronald Reagen - Morning in America.  Rising music, flags in the background etc.

America has nothing to fear from terrorism.  Yes, we have been attacked and our citizens have been killed and it is incumbent on any sovereign nation to protect its citizens but need we fear?  When our forefathers set out to cross the atlantic and found new colonies many died but they were not quelled by fear.  When the revolutionaries signed their names to the declaration of Indepence and began a war to create our nation, many died but did they fear?  Immigrants have crossed the oceans, we have fought wars in Europe, settled a continent, but not from fear and with timid hearts, but with hope and a belief in the founding principles of our country.  We must work tirelessly to protect our citizens and stop terrorist attacks but we need not fear them.  They are not a threat to the ideals of our nation, to our past achievements, to the future greatness of our country.  The world trade center was destroyed, we shall rebuild it.  Americans were killed and injured, and americans rose to mourn for them, help them, and work to create a better future.  The greatness of America rests in our principles of freedom, equality, and opportunity - ideals that cannot be hijacked, blown up, kidnapped or killed.  As long as they live in the fearless hearts of our citizens they shall endure and continue to inspire peoples at home and abroad.  We are a nation of hope, perserverance and belief in a better future. This great spirit need fear nothing from extremists from any corner of the world for hope is stronger than fear and belief in a better world ever triumphs over hate.  Now, as never before, it is the power of our ideals and the belief in a better world to be built that the world needs.  We have not faltered in the past, we shall not falter now.  American greatness is in freedom, equality and opportunity, in a better world for all to enjoy.  We need not fear for our brightest days lie ahead of us in the better America to come.

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US Foreign Policy Mid-East update

A recent post here at MYDD complained of a lack of coverage of the Lebanon situation and foreign policy in general.  This is a summary overview that I hope addresses some general issues.

First, it is important to remember that before the recent Iraq war Iraq was breaking UN sanctions successfuly.  Despite the best attempts of the US, China, Russia, France, and to a lesser degree India, were all systematically ignoring the sanctions regime and the whole thing looked likely to fold.  This is crucial because it is indicative of the growing strength of China, Russia, the EU, and India vs. the US.  For roughly 15 years the US could claim "sole remaining super power status," but that title has been slowly slipping away.  The EU is nearly the equal of the US economically, China is growing fast and is highly focused, and India is a major regional power.  Russia is, well, Russia and is a wild-card that is feeling less and less desire or need to follow a US lead.  In short, Bush was facing a decline in American power that suggested a few possible paths: neo-isolationism(the original foreign policy idea of the bush admin), increased multi-laterialism(this seems never to have occured to this administration), or the post 9/11 consenus choice - aggressive unilaterialism(or, as any gambler knows it - double up to cath up).  With relatively declinig power the way to maintain US stature is to be that much more aggressive.

Fast forward several years.  We invade Afghanistan and Iraq and our initial gambits look good.  Unfortunately, the decline in our power is not imaginary - it is real. Whether or not you support the war in Iraq or Afghanistan it is now clear that both countries need a dramatic increase in resources if the US is to achieve the stated pre-war goals of stable, western oriented, democratic, free market beacons of hope and prosperity to a benighted middle east.  The difficulty is that we do not really have those resources - either militarily or financially.  Because we did not pursue a policy of robust multi-laterialism, we do not have the international support necessary for either undertaking.  And to gain the support, though it is now too late, the Bush admnistration is not willing to make the necessary concessions.  So we are stuck in a situation where we simply do not have the means to achieve the goals that we have stated - hence the admnistrations systematic lowering of the goals in Iraq.  As clear as I can tell, the current goal is to reduce the killing to a level low enough we can sneak out without anyone noticing.  Short of a draft the military simply does not have the manpower to make a serious try at stabilising Iraq - think 400,000 troops 10 years.  And for those who doubt this, the military itself admits that it has been unable to seal any of Iraqs borders against smugglers.  If we don't have the troops to do this clearly necessary task, any larger goals are just fantasies.  

Enter the Lebanon conflict.  We simply don't have the means to exert our will. Israel feels free to ignore us because they calculate, likely correctly, that we need them more than they need us in the Middle-east.  We can't get Jordan on-side, and Syria feels free to ignore us completely.  Syria.  Note this.  One of the weakest regimes in the Middle-east is betting that they can force the US to come crawling to them.  Iran, of course, has demonstrated confidence that they can develop nuclear technology in the face of near universal comdemnation.  Why?  Syria and Iran know that China and Russia will not isolate them completely and, for Iran, the EU will keep buying their oil short of an actual nuclear test.  It is pretty clear that Israel will not be able to do much about Hezbollah and so far has mostly succeded in making them look less bad than Israel.  In any case, where can we bring our power to bear?  Israel ignores us, Syria ignores us, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, etc. all pursue the course they feel best.  They take the US into account but do no longer see the US as outweighing almost any other consideration.  

In sum, US global dominance, which was sliding in any case, is currently in shambles.  The only sane policy would be robust multi-laterialism - a policy that the Bush administration will not pursue. This leaves, and everyone should be nervous about this, the Hail-Mary pass.  The administration need a win to redeem their position so they back an Israeli war on Lebanon - a bet which is already looking like a loser(I'm not speaking morally here, purely in a sense of raising or lowering american power in the world).  What does that leave?  Attack syria, bomb Iran, a massive offensive in Iraq? Be afraid, be very afraid.  Again, I am not arguing the relative moral value of any of our positions, only from the increasingly weak position of the US on the world stage.

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Whither Dick Cheney???

It seems a good long spell since any news of Dick Cheney has surfaced.  Wherever he is and whatever he is doing I'm sure it is corrupt but I'm just curious because that guy scares me.  Is he so radioactive he cannot campaign at all or is he doing very quiet fundrasising somewhere?

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Youtube et. al. as means of Reaching Netroots

I am essentially a luddite - I still write letters by hand - but even I've noticed the rise in popularity of youtube and the Google equivalent(are there others?) Are tech. savvy folks working on get out the vote, campaign pieces, political films etc. for these mediums? It seems like a good medium for a 1 to 3 minute info. piece or hatchet job.  I'm going to recruit my artsy, tech-savy friends to do shorts for candidates, on issues, GOTV drives etc.  Netroots + Youtube = free campaign ads.  Plus, I have to think Democrats hold a huge art-creativity advantage just waiting to be exploited.  

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Cantwell In Washington

Several articles and diaries have noted that Cantwell may face a real challenge in Washington.  The only challenge she faces is Cantwell.  In my county, the vote will break something like 65/35 for Cantwell or more.  And yet, not a single Cantwell sign is to be seen while the challenger has been very active in putting up yard signs and small billboards.  The challenger is a hard right and the longer the campaign goes, the less attractive he will appear but Cantwell has to start moving. She has a July 31 fundraiser campaign kickoff with Bill Clinton and I hope that signals the start of a vibrant effort. So far, however, the challenger has had the field very much to himself.

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