President Bush said this morning from the driveway in Crawford that Iraq is safer now, while another six Americans were injured in an attack. He stated that infrastructure improvements and the stirrings of democracy were welcome signs that the situation is improving, and claimed that the contributions of other countries heartened him. Exactly what those contributions were and from what other countries he did not say. He also did not answer a reporter’s question on the estimate of our occupation costs, but said that Congress’s legitimate questions on the issue would be answered. But he did manage to put a crony in charge of privatizing Iraq assets towards his friends and away from the Iraqi people. And while Bush said things were getting better in Iraq, he obviously meant for the criminal element: crime is rampant since we “liberated” the country, with America doing virtually nothing to supply the police with the equipment to fend off the criminals. But then the GOP has always been more comfortable with crime than Democrats. Just look at Florida in 2000.
Then again, if Iraq is getting safer thanks to us, then why are we trying to reduce our role?
Condi Rice managed to make an issue out of nothing when she equated alleged concerns about the ability of Iraqis to govern themselves to the civil rights movement. Condi, let me clue you in on something: no one is saying that the Iraqis cannot govern themselves except the oppressive corporate jackboots you and Cheney have installed in their country. By saying this, you misdirect away from the real issue, which is why we are there, how we got there, and how long you and the corporatists will stay there depriving the Iraqis of their self-government and their rebuilt infrastructure. The only people who are saying that the Iraqis cannot govern themselves are the neocons, so equating them with the Jim Crow element of the South, which is the basis of your party Ms. Rice wasn’t particularly deft, was it? What a moron.
Howard Dean is now tied for second among the Democratic candidates in the latest national poll, passing by John Kerry. This occurred while Joe Lieberman stepped up his attacks on Dean for pushing the party too far to the left during this run-up to the primaries. Obviously Joe wants to make this a two-person race between he on the center-right of the party, and Dean on what he perceives as the center-left of the party. None of the other candidates seems to grasp that Dean is grabbing the center-left of the base during the primary season with an eye towards moving back to the center in the general election, if he gets the nomination. This is not rocket science, or at least it shouldn’t be to anyone who knows how to run as an outsider.
John Edwards is now getting heat from his home state Dems to make a choice: your presidential ambitions or your senate seat. Given his declining national poll numbers, an argument can be made that he should get out and save a seat for the Dems next year. But Edwards is just now running TV in Iowa and New Hampshire, and getting aggressive towards Bush on civil liberties. Since his plan all along has been to wait until the fall to run TV and see how things go, it’s not likely that Edwards will consider dropping out until he sees how the TV affects the poll numbers.
As for Bob Graham, he may need to make a difficult decision fairly soon. His poll numbers in his home state have dropped, and rivals are encroaching in his back yard to collect campaign cash. Since Graham’s appeal was his assumed ability to bring Florida over to the Democratic column, and his unassailable credentials on challenging Bush’s national security posture, any poll numbers that indicate such a line of attack has hurt him must be taken seriously. Again, the national party may be better off with Graham withdrawing to keep his seat, and possibly wait for a VP call, than to toss this seat also to the GOP.
And lastly, if you thought that the media treated Clinton harder than either Bush, you now have proof: Howard Kurtz reported on a Shorenstein Center study released this week by Harvard that shows in fact the conservative major news dailies were less likely to criticize a GOP administration than the liberal or center-oriented dailies were to criticize Democratic administrations. In other words, the conservative papers were more partisan.