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Archive for July 8th, 2008

Five House Races to Watch

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 8th, 2008 4:42 am by HL

Five House Races to Watch
In a must-read piece, CQ Politics examines the five most vulnerable House seats — all of which are currently held by Republicans.

  • NY-13, in which Rep. Vito J. Fossella (R-NY) was forced to quit his re-election bid after admitting he had a daughter from an ongoing extramarital affair.
  • IL-11, where Rep. Jerry Weller (R-IL) is retiring — and the GOP candidate nominated in the primary dropped out of the race a couple of weeks later.
  • AZ-1, where Rep. Rick Renzi (R-AZ) announced his retirement not long before he was indicted on pending federal corruption charges.
  • VA-11, where popular Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (R-VA) is retiring, and the GOP’s nominee to succeed him, a well-funded newcomer who pledges a vigorous campaign, nonetheless faces a very well-known local Democratic officeholder with a track record of electoral success.
  • NY-25, where Rep. James T. Walsh (R-NY) is retiring; the Democrat who almost unseated him in 2006 never stopped running; and Republicans had recruiting problems that typified the struggles they have faced in many of their trouble races this year.

For more, see Races to Watch and the Balance of Power Scorecard.

Romney Seen as Best Fit for McCain
Bloomberg says the prerequisites for Sen. John McCain’s running mate are clear: “a Washington outsider with solid economic credentials who isn’t associated with President George W. Bush, can fill the vice-presidential attack-dog role, help win Western and Midwestern states and cut into Democrat Barack Obama’s fundraising advantage.”

“One candidate fits the bill: former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.”


The Things They’ll Never Admit

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 8th, 2008 4:41 am by HL

The Things They’ll Never Admit
Even after the Obama campaign and bloggers like John Cole presented instance after instance showing that Barack Obama’s recent Montana comments on his Iraq policy are what he’s been saying all along, the GOP/Media Complex still clings to the talking points handed it by the McCain campaign and RNC operative Alex Conant.

shhh2.GIFEven after the Obama campaign and bloggers like John Cole presented instance after instance showing that Barack Obama’s recent Montana comments on his Iraq policy are what he’s been saying all along, the GOP/Media Complex still clings to the talking points handed it by the McCain campaign and the RNC’s Alex Conant, and desperately so.  They’re now having to establish bogus second-order arguments to prop up the original nonsense they were spewing.  (When John Kerry goes on Face the Nation to point out the myriad times John Sidney McCain III has does flip-flops and 180-degree changes of position, Bob Schieffer gets all huffy and whines: “Are you attacking John McCain’s integrity?”  This from the guy who befriended George W. Bush when Bush made his brother Tom the ambassador to Australia and later Japan.)

Meanwhile, John McCain rewards especially obedient “reporters” with VIP seating on his campaign airplane, and that will never get anywhere near the amount of media play as the aforementioned Iraq lie they continue to push.  (Neither will the fact that more Americans find Obama barbecue-friendly, personable and likable — which normally are big criteria for rib-loving and McCain-loving reporters except when they can’t easily pretend that a Republican bests his or her Democratic rivals in these categories.)   In case that wasn’t enough, David Broder has issued an ex cathedra pronouncement declaring John McCain to be infallible, just like the Pope: “McCain benefits from a long-established reputation as a man who says what he believes. His shifts in position that have occurred in this campaign seem not to have damaged that aura.”    Um, and who established that undeserved reputation for Mister Keating Five McCain?  Why, his buddies in the press — in other words, people like you, Mr. Broder.

What with all the media fluffing of McCain and stuffing of Obama going on, you’d never know that John McCain’s campaign has been getting the snot kicked out of it.   Here’s a story that somehow never made it to the same newscasts that were pimping Alex Conant’s bogus spinning of Obama’s Iraq stance (h/t John Aravosis):

John McCain calls himself an underdog. That may be an understatement. The GOP presidential candidate trails Democrat Barack Obama in polls, organization and money while trying to succeed a deeply unpopular fellow Republican in a year that favors Democrats.

McCain also doesn’t seem to have a coherent message let alone much of a strategy despite securing the nomination three months earlier than Obama….

McCain’s troubles are so acute that he recently gave senior adviser Steve Schmidt “full operational control” of the day-to-day campaign and, effectively, scaled back the duties of campaign manager Rick Davis. The shift in responsibilities came after weeks of Republican quibbling that McCain had not adequately made the transition for the fall.

Bob Somerby of Daily Howler fame has said for many years that our illustrious press corps will never admit their own role in shaping the news, much less admit when they are wrong.  They also won’t admit, no matter how obvious things such as the events of the past week make it, that they take, and have taken for years, their marching orders from conservatives or from RNC operatives like Alex Conant, or from Steve Schmidt, who now runs the McCain campaign.  Of course they certainly won’t admit that they made it possible in 2004 for T. Boone Pickens’ gang of “Swift Boat” thugs to push their laughable garbage as fact, instead choosing to pretend that it was John Kerry’s fault for trusting that the media would be better than uncritically promote the Swifties’ lies.

The whole lefty side of the blogosphere exists because of the things the GOP/Media Complex won’t admit.


Monday Night TV

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 8th, 2008 4:40 am by HL

Monday Night TV

I can tell this is going to be one of those threads where no one cares to discuss my topic. That's okay, it has nothing to do with politics or crime. But I'm writing about it anyway.

Tonight is the final episode of The Bachelorette where Deanna picks between Colorado snowboarder Jesse Csincsak and Seattle single dad Jason Mesnick. (A pretty good synopsis is here.)

The two hour finale was filmed during the first ten days in May, in Georgia where Deanna's family lives and in the Bahamas where she makes her final choice after both propose.

We don't know who she chooses, only that sometime between that final day of shooting in May and last week, she got engaged.

As to who I think will win: [More…]

First, I want Jesse to win. He's from Colorado. I think he's hotter physically with a cooler attitude, is more fun and leads a more exciting life than Jason. He also doesn't have an ex-wife in the neighborhood and a toddler for whom they share parenting responsibility. At 26, those are the things that would have made a big impression on me.

Other things that weigh towards Jesse: Their personalities, ages, athletic abilities and sense of adventure are more evenly matched. She's a spitfire whether it's on 4-wheelers, jet-skis or driving a race car. She even jumped into snowboarding with no fear. Jesse keeps up with her on all of them. Jason also may be athletic, but it's obvious he is more into golf and baseball. Much more the straight and narrow type.

Jesse and Deanna were friends for weeks (at least three, which is half the length of the series) and they both say that makes for a stronger relationship. By now, they have a pretty intense physical bond as well. He also keeps her on edge so she doesn't know quite what to expect from him. She often says that she loves surprises.

As to actually will win, I can't say. In the end, it's not really about the guys and Deanna, it's only about Deanna and what she wants from life. That's impossible to predict from a reality television show.

She's 26. I suspect she will choose Jason if she wants a secure, stable life and honestly doesn't mind that he's been married before, has a three year old and is limited by the geographic or mobility restrictions that go with that life.

She'll choose Jesse if she's not quite ready to give up the media spotlight or wants a guy who is adventurous, mobile and doesn't have his whole life mapped out yet.

Since Jesse is from Colorado, I actually write about this for 5280.com. As of yesterday, I'm one of Jesse's 300 friends on My Space (sure to be 1,000 by tomorrow)and ABC has added me to the media conference call tomorrow morning where Deanna and her fiancee will be taking reporters' questions and then the guy she didn't choose will come on to answer more questions.

So, Go Jesse. I hope Colorado will get to see more of Deanna. If not, as Deanna always says, everything happens for a reason.

If you have any thoughts on the the show, feel free to join in. I'll also put up an open thread for other topics.


Regular Folks, White Folks

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 8th, 2008 4:39 am by HL

Regular Folks, White Folks
Tweety just can’t stop.

Later Afternoon Thread
dedicated to steve simels: Destroyer of Democracy!

–Molly I.


Impeach Bush Now

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 8th, 2008 4:38 am by HL

Impeach Bush Now
Impeachment is a critical way to curb executive power gone amok. Without public support, presidents will continue to abuse their authority.


McCain’s Plan To Help Balance Budget: Win War In Iraq

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 8th, 2008 4:37 am by HL

McCain’s Plan To Help Balance Budget: Win War In Iraq
The McCain campaign has responded to our request for clarification of its plan to take all the money saved by victory in Iraq and Afghanistan and devote all that booty to balancing the budget. Yes, that does appear to be…


Very Interesting

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 8th, 2008 4:36 am by HL

Very Interesting
Marcus Brauchli, one of the more high-profile cases of Murdoch roadkill over at the Wall Street Journal will be replacing Len Downie as Executive Editor of the Washington Post….


Obama: Consistent on Iraq

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 8th, 2008 4:35 am by HL

Obama: Consistent on Iraq

Sen. Barack Obama’s position on Iraq is that:

1) Unlike Sen. John McCain’s position, we cannot have permanent military bases be the policy objective in Iraq.

2) Instead, we should gradually withdraw our combat forces over a 16-month period, with a temporary residual force remaining for an unspecified time.

3) The specifics of the withdrawal could be adjusted based on the counsel of military commanders on the ground.

None of this is new. Obama explained all this during the primary season.

I lamented about it at the time, when in a September 2007 debate, neither Obama or John Edwards took the opportunity to criticize Sen. Hillary Clinton’s rejection of a pledge to fully withdraw by Jan. 2013.

Obama specifically said during that debate:


I think it’s hard to project four years from now, and I think it would be irresponsible. We don’t know what contingency will be out there … I believe that we should have all our troops out by 2013, but I don’t want to make promises not knowing what the situation’s going to be three or four years out.

More broadly, Obama said on CBS’ 60 Minutes in February 2008:

STEVE KROFT: And you pull out according to that time table, regardless of the situation? Even if there’s serious sectarian violence?

OBAMA: No, I always reserve as commander in chief, the right to assess the situation.

Here’s the video from that interview:

It’s a pretty basic approach. You allow yourself the ability to adjust tactics as circumstances change, while making clear what your principles and overarching objectives are.

Of course, that leaves the opportunity to indefinitely delay the end of the occupation. And maybe you have misgivings about the nuance of that position. I do.

But my misgivings are sufficiently mitigated by his clear and repeated rejection of permanent military bases as a policy goal.

And if other voters had more serious misgivings, they had other options in Gov. Bill Richardson and Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

The positions of the candidates were well aired, fully debated, allowing voters to make an informed decision.

Obviously, not nearly enough did to deny Obama the nomination.

Which is why it’s silly that pundits are:

1) trying to claim Obama has shifted his position

2)
predicting or fretting that Obama will shift his position, when his current position already has flexibility in regard to tactics, or

3) predicting liberal base voters will freak out at Obama shifting his position, when his position already wasn’t the preferred position of some liberals, and he already won the nomination with the help of liberals.


…No, it isn’t – CS Monitor

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 8th, 2008 4:34 am by HL

…No, it isn’t – CS Monitor
WASHINGTON – A preemptive US attack on Iranian nuclear facilities may be unlikely anytime soon. But that does not mean it is off the table forever. And Israel ? worried about the possibility of a hostile, nuclear-armed regional neighbor ? may have its own timetable for possible military action. That is the bottom-line conclusion of a number of US-based experts who have talked in recent days about the possibility of any preemptive strike on Iran intended to halt its uranium enrichment program. US-Iranian relations may well be one of the two or three toughest foreign-policy problems the next American president will have to handle. That leader will have to decide, for example, whether the issue is important enough that the US should make further concessions to Russia to ensure greater cooperation in the struggle to control possible Iranian nuclear proliferation. And the next president will have to decide on an overall tone with which to approach an Iranian government that of late has sounded more temperate.


ThinkFast: July 7, 2008

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on July 8th, 2008 4:33 am by HL

ThinkFast: July 7, 2008
Due to “widespread opposition to U.S. demands in talks on a formal Status of Forces Agreement,” Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is “discussing a short-term memorandum of understanding with U.S. officials” rather than “a formal agreement on the presence of American forces in the country.” Maliki’s proposal “includes a formula for the withdrawal of U.S. troops […]

malikiee.jpg

Due to “widespread opposition to U.S. demands in talks on a formal Status of Forces Agreement,” Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is “discussing a short-term memorandum of understanding with U.S. officials” rather than “a formal agreement on the presence of American forces in the country.” Maliki’s proposal “includes a formula for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq,” a concept the White House opposes.

“A suicide bomber has rammed a car full of explosives into the gates of the Indian embassy in the Afghan capital, killing 41 people and injuring 141.”

Ohio election officials are concerned that the state’s high foreclosure rates will create problems for voters in November, potentially forcing voters with outdated addresses to face pre-election challenges, take trips to multiple polling places, or cast provisional ballots that might not be counted. Ohio ranks ninth among the 50 states for foreclosures, with one in 410 homes filing for foreclosure.

Conservative activists are “preparing to do battle with allies of Sen. John McCain [R-AZ] in advance of September’s Republican National Convention, hoping to prevent his views on global warming, immigration, stem cell research and campaign finance from becoming enshrined in the party’s official declaration of principles.”

On the trail today: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) will attend a town hall meeting at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) will meet with some families at James Martin Middle School “to learn more about the tough times they’re facing in today’s economy.” (more…)