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Archive for May 13th, 2008

Dole Faces Tough Challenge in North Carolina

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 13th, 2008 4:40 am by HL

Dole Faces Tough Challenge in North Carolina
A new Public Policy Polling survey in North Carolina finds Kay Hagan (D) closing in on Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC) in their U.S. Senate race.

Dole now leads Hagan by just five points, 48% to 43%.

CQ has a backgrounder on the race.

Clinton Campaign Admits $20 Million Debt
According to the Washington Post, Sen. Hillary Clinton aides “continued to insist that she will remain in the race even while confirming that she is $20 million in debt.”

The New York Daily News reports “the situation is serious enough that Clinton has summoned her top fund-raisers to a meeting at her Washington home on Wednesday to talk about the road ahead.”


Family Values

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 13th, 2008 4:39 am by HL

Family Values
I can’t imagine why anyone might take offense to a harmless, family-friendly little joke about an outgoing Commander-In-Chief being murdered by his own troops – those Democrats are so sensitive! Besides, it’s not like there was cussing.

Ah, Republican humor:

In last week’s NH Republican Party newsletter, NHGOP Chair Fergus Cullen included the following:

HUMOR (Send your family-appropriate political jokes to fergus@nhgop.org): Almost seven years ago I sat, as did millions of other Americans, and watched as our government underwent a peaceful transition of power. At first, I felt a swell of pride and patriotism as I watched George W. Bush take his oath of office. However, all that pride quickly vanished as I later watched the Clintons board Air Force One for the last time. I saw 21 Marines, in full dress uniform with rifles, fire a 21-gun salute to the outgoing President and first lady. It was then that I realized how far America’s military had deteriorated under the Clinton administration. Every last one of them missed.

HAHAHAHA!!! The military totally failed to assassinate the Clintons as they were leaving the White House!  Get it?  Get it?  *nudge nudge poke poke poke*

But you know what’s the best part?  The part where it says “Send your family-appropriate political jokes to fergus@nhgop.org” – yes, that’s right, assassination jokes are what passes for “family-appropriate” in today’s Culture Of Life Family Values Party.  And bear in mind, this is a state GOP chair, not just some random LGF commenter. (Eliminationism: It’s not just for fringe-dwellers any more!)

The profoundly unamused NH Democratic Chair, Ray Buckley, called on Senators Sununu and Gregg to call on Cullen to step down, resulting in the following oh-so-contrite apology from Cullen:

There is a place for humor in politics, but I can understand why some might find this joke in poor taste. No offense was intended, and I regret if any was taken. I personally apologize to President and Senator Clinton.

Gee, I can’t imagine why anyone might take offense to such a harmless, family-friendly little joke about an outgoing Commander-In-Chief being murdered by his own troops – those Democrats are so sensitive!  Besides, it’s not like there was cussing.

The Republicans actually made a much more successful, albeit unintentional, foray into humor today, when it turned out that the NRCC’s new slogan, “The Change You Deserve,” was already being used to market prescription antidepressant Effexor:

The Change You Deserve™

Are these symptoms of depression interfering with your life?

  • Not involved with family and friends the way you used to be?
  • Low energy, fatigue?
  • Not motivated to do the things you once looked forward to doing?
  • Not feeling as good as you used to?

Well.  That was perhaps not the best possible choice.  Even more so when you consider that it’s been under a “Black Box Warning” for promoting suicidal tendencies since, ahem, 2004.

Not to worry, though.  Those resilient Republicans have rebounded with a brand-new slogan, carefully researched to have absolutely no embarrassing connotations at all: “When The Moment Is Right… Republicans.”

(h/t Julia)


How Big Is Appalachia Anyway?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 13th, 2008 4:38 am by HL

How Big Is Appalachia Anyway?

This DKos post argues that Barack Obama’s inability to connect with white working class voters is limited to Appalachia. That is incorrect in my view and I will discuss why I think so below.

But the question is begged – is that not a problem in and of itself? The Appalachia Phenomenon is used to explain Obama’s problem with white working class voters in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina and improbably, Maryland. That is 7 states. One is comfortably Democratic, Maryland. Four are solidly Republican, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky (though Bill Clinton won it). But the last two? Ah, Ohio and Pennsylvania. They decide Presidential elections. Even the Appalachian Phenomenon gives serious cause for worry. But the Appalachian Theory does not explain everything. More . . .

The expanded Appalachian Theory holds that:

In the 19th century, migrants from Appalachia moved west. People from Appalachia settled and put their stamp on the Ozark region of Missouri and Arkansas, on Oklahoma and the southern Plains, on North Texas, and eventually they were a big part of the initial growth of Southern California.

(Emphasis supplied.) The Appalachian Theory now explains Obama’s problems with white working class voters in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma as well. Of those, Oklahoma has long been a solid Republican state. But Missouri and Arkansas have been battlegrounds. So now we have Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Arkansas explained by the Appalachian Theory. This is a problem we must overcome if the Dems are going to have a good chance to win the White House in November.

But I do not accept that the Appalachian theory addresses the full spectrum of this phenomenon. Of course we have the Southern Problem which effects Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Mississippi.

But that still does not explain all of Obama’s white working class problem. Let’s look at three other states: Arizona, Florida and Indiana. In Arizona, Clinton won the white vote by 53-38 (she won Latinos 55-41.) In Florida, Clinton won whites by 53-23 (she won Latinos by 59-30). In Indiana, Clinton won whites 60-40. Are these three states in Appalachia too? Need to hear more? Ok.

In Massachusetts, Clinton won whites 58-40 (she won Latinos 56-36). In Rhode Island, Clinton won whites 63-37. In New Jersey, Clinton won whites 66-31.

Unless the entire country East of the Mississippi is now referred to as Appalachia, I think this proposed theory explains very little and indeed is part of the entire Ostrich approach we now see from Obama blogs. It is just plain silly now.

I believe Obama can do better. I believe his problem goes beyond race issues. Obama is indeed the wine track candidate, the candidate of the Creative Class (and of course African Americans.) But he must do better – with white women, with the white working class, with seniors and with Latinos. I wrote about this in February, March and April and Obama is not doing any better now. Indeed he seems to be doing worse. This is a problem that MUST be addressed for November. Pretending that saying “Appalachia” will solve it is no answer.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only


Pony Boy is grumbling

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 13th, 2008 4:37 am by HL

Pony Boy is grumbling

I have no idea whether this is a dupe.

Bush’s approval rating has been extraordinarily stable — before today’s 31 percent it had been 32 percent or 33 percent in nine ABC/Post polls from July through last month. In presidential approval polls by Gallup since 1934, just three presidents have gone lower: Jimmy Carter, who bottomed out at 28 percent approval in July 1979; Richard Nixon, 24 percent in July and August 1974; and Harry Truman, 22 percent in February 1952.

ABC

And this doesn’t mean I’m posting an over/under employment bet. Dad didn’t say I had to.


Deb Price: Courts Rule in Favor of Deception

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 13th, 2008 4:36 am by HL

Deb Price: Courts Rule in Favor of Deception
Anti-gay crusaders are deceiving voters about their strategies and intentions — and the courts are playing along.

The Human Rights Crime in Gaza
A million and a half human beings are being imprisoned with almost no access to the outside world — we can’t sit idly by.


Congress Pushes for Unaffordable Housing

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 13th, 2008 4:35 am by HL

Congress Pushes for Unaffordable Housing
Progressives have generally sought to promote affordable housing. We usually think that it is a good idea that moderate income people can buy or rent good housing. However, Congress seems determined to go on the opposite path, striving to keep…


We Need Your Help

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 13th, 2008 4:34 am by HL

We Need Your Help
As I noted in this post over the weekend, buried in that DOD document dump on the compromised cable show ‘military analysts’ was a fun little email in which someone (the sender’s name is redacted) wrote attacking Rajiv Chandrasekaran, an…


Sometimes politics is funny

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 13th, 2008 4:33 am by HL

Sometimes politics is funny

I’m reading Richard Wolffe’s article on Barack Obama and his team in Newsweek. Wolffe is doing a good job in saying that Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama are getting ready to face each other. Obama is getting ready for an onslaught from the right. The article was going along nicely, until I get to this paragraph.

“The McCain campaign is now poring over Obama’s record, looking for weaknesses that can be exposed without race-baiting or hitting below the belt. They want to brand Obama as a “superduper liberal who is out of the mainstream,” says one McCain adviser who did not wish to be identified discussing internal campaign strategy.”

It is at this point I fall out of my chair laughing. Let me get this straight, Republicans are going to try to paint a Democratic candidate as liberal and out of the mainstream? Oh, and this is so top secret that the McCain adviser didn’t want to named. I’m still laughing.

In every major campaign from Maine to Florida and from California to Alaska, Republicans have tried to paint Democrats as liberals who are elitist and out of the mainstream. Geoffrey Nunberg, a linguist, wrote a great book in 2006 called “Talking Right: How Conservatives Turned Liberalism into a Tax-Raising, Latte-Drinking, Sushi-Eating, Volvo-Driving, New York Times-Reading, Body-Piercing, Hollywood-Loving, Left-Wing Freak Show.” So, how is this a secret? Why would Richard Wolffe write about it as if it is a secret? This is standard operating procedure from Republicans. If a Democrat can’t fight off this now-lame and tired attack, he or she shouldn’t run for any office more important that dog catcher.


Lieberman pans anti-McCain Iraqis

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 13th, 2008 4:32 am by HL

Lieberman pans anti-McCain Iraqis
Lieberman pans anti-McCain Iraqis

Obama promises no let-up in support for Israel
Obama promises no let-up in support for Israel


Former State Dept. Official: Amb. Crocker Is Either ?Negligent? Or ?Intentionally Misleading?

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on May 13th, 2008 4:31 am by HL

Former State Dept. Official: Amb. Crocker Is Either ?Negligent? Or ?Intentionally Misleading?
Today, the Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing on the U.S. reconstruction effort in Iraq and corruption in the Iraqi government. Two former State Department employees testified, including Judge Arthur Brennan, the former director of the Office of Accountability and Transparency (OAT) in Iraq. He said that his office’s work “was ignored and demeaned by […]

Today, the Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing on the U.S. reconstruction effort in Iraq and corruption in the Iraqi government. Two former State Department employees testified, including Judge Arthur Brennan, the former director of the Office of Accountability and Transparency (OAT) in Iraq. He said that his office’s work “was ignored and demeaned by the Department of State, the Department of Justice, and the government of Iraq.”

He also revealed the State Department completely altered a report he sent to the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) that criticized an Iraqi watchdog agency as being a “disaster”:

MCCASKILL: And your testimony — I want to make sure that you have said the Department of State has negligently, recklessly and intentionally misled Congress, the American people and the people of Iraq. And you stand by that testimony, Judge?

BRENNAN: I stand by that testimony.

MCCASKILL: And so, what we’re learning today is that SIGIR, the information we’re getting from SIGIR is not, in fact, always factual, that sometimes it is being spun by Ambassador Crocker and that it is your testimony today that Ambassador Crocker knows the level of corruption in the Iraqi government and has failed to be honest with the American people about it.

BRENNAN: If he doesn’t know, then he’s negligent. If he does know, then he’s intentionally misleading Congress and the American public.

Watch it:

According to Brennan, when the House Oversight Committee requested a copy of OAT’s report on Iraqi corruption last fall, the State Department “then retroactively classified the report in an effort to prevent it from being made a subject of public knowledge and discussion.” The department also ordered all State personnel not to testify at the House committee hearing examining corruption in Iraq.

James Mattil, who worked with Brennan, agreed with Brennan’s assessment, blaming the Bush administration for failing to demand greater action on corruption: “It seems reasonable to conclude that the reasons are either, gross incompetence, willful negligence or political intent on the part of the Bush administration and more specifically, the Department of State,” he said.