Friday :: Aug 25, 2006

Cutting One's Throat To Spite One's Fate

by pessimist

Anyone with two functioning brain cells recognizes that the regime of the House of Bu$h is made of cards, and is ready to tumble with the slightest push. So why isn't that happening? Lots of commentary on this question is being generated. But few are issuing the clarion call as this pundit is:

Let's Landslide: Memo to Democratic Senate and House Candidates and Staff (pt. 1)
Brent Budowsky

I come from the JFK school of winning. They knew how to win, they played to win, and they won because they always took the initiative, they always took the offensive, they believed in striking first, and striking hard, and taking the fight to the other guy. Qualities modern Democrats have largely lost and must regain.

Do not believe what the compensated consultants or pundits say on television.

They have almost nothing to do with the real America. On the Sunday before the 1994 Republican landslide the Hotline and Sunday Washington Post polled 21 alleged experts. 17 of them, many of the same people in the punditry class today, said the Democrats would retain control of the House. 48 hours before a Republican landslide they had it totally backwards.

One Democrat, stabbed in the political back by Party insiders to make a safe billet on the ballot for one of their own, shows how to fight back - and win:

Paul Hackett on HardballBy: John Amato
August 22nd, 2006

Paul Hackett debated the Iraq war with Republican–TX-17 candidate Van Taylor. Taylor, who did fight in the Iraq war, for some reason uses the most unoriginal "we’re fighting them over there" Ken Mehlman talking points which are sounding more and more like an Abbott & Costello routine.

WMP Video
QT Video
Hi-Res WMP Video
Hi-Res QT Video

Many more Iraq veterans are running as Democrats this year than as Republicans. I wonder why?

Hackett must believe that the nation needs a change if it is to survive the coming challenges, but the Party didn't believe in him.

When a party remains with the tried-and-true when it's clear that change is due, that isn't a recipe for victory.

The Democratic Party doesn't believe in this already-victorious Alabama Democrat either:

Election of Alabama lesbian overturned by committee
by PageOneQ
Aug. 24, 2006

The Democratic primary victory of Alabama lesbian Patricia Todd for a seat in the statehouse was overturned by a party committee tonight.

The committee disqualified Todd and her opponent, Gaynell Hendricks, because they had not filed a required campaign finance report on time.

The same rule has been ignored by all candidates since 1988 and the Associated Press has reported that this year's party nominees for Governor and Lieutenant Governor have not filed the reports as well.
The committee vote was 5-0. Had the committee not reversed the election, which Todd won by 59 votes, she would have become the first openly gay elected official in the state's history.
No Republican has entered the race in the overwhelmingly Democratic district.

This travesty didn't pass unnoticed:

Following the committee vote, Victory Fund executive director Chuck Wolf said "Patricia got the most votes in two separate elections - the primary and the runoff - but party bosses didn't like the results, so now they plan to handpick their own candidate. What happened today in Montgomery was unfair, undemocratic, unAmerican and unwise."

Saner heads may yet prevail:

Tonight's committee vote does not mark the end of the matter. The Alabama state party chairman, Joe Turnham, told the AP he was "very surprised" at the committee's decision and a party spokesperson said the vote may be reversed by the executive committee when it meets Saturday to pick a new candidate for the seat.

It's bad enough when our two party system puts partisanship above the good of the nation. What are we to think when one party divides itself with an eye on one side of making changes that would at least appeal to those who believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, and the eye on the other side is crossed so far back into its own head that it strives to maintain the status quo thinking that backward-looking choice is going forward?

Columnist Robert Scheer looks at this dilemma in the context of the Iraq War:

Robert Scheer: Warring Over the Heart of the Party
Aug 22, 2006

The fight within the Democratic Party over the Iraq war is as important as it is real. Indeed, a seasoned conservative Democratic politician should recognize the war in Iraq for the unmitigated disaster it is and seek to properly place responsibility for it on the incumbent Republican president.

It is one thing for Democrats like Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts to admit that they bought into the Bush administration’s lies about Saddam Hussein’s alleged nuke program and partnership with Al Qaeda and to now seek to make amends by working to bring the troops home. It is quite another, as Lieberman has, to continue to defend as wise this patently absurd betrayal of the public interest. And it moves from dumb to evil to claim that those like Lamont who dare tell the truth are giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

But what if the opposite were true? That, as Lamont and other critics of this quagmire argue, our clumsy presence in Iraq has increased the danger of Al Qaeda-style terrorism?

[This position] is even conceded by the two leading national security experts associated with Lieberman and the centrist Democratic Leadership Council he helped found. “The war in Iraq has proved to be a disaster for the struggle against Osama bin Laden,” Daniel L. Byman and Kenneth M. Pollack said in last Sunday’s Washington Post.

This is quite an admission coming from two Democratic hawks who vociferously supported the war: Pollack wrote the influential Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq. Back in April 2003, the two argued in the DLC’s magazine that democratizing Iraq would be made easier by the fact that “Iraq had perhaps the best educated, most secular, and most progressive population of all the Arab states” prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

This is where the example of the forward-backward division in the Democratic Party emerges:

So are they chastened by the mayhem? No, they want us to dig ourselves a deeper hole. “It probably would require 450,000 troops to quash an all-out civil war there,” they say now. “Such an effort would require a commitment of enormous military and economic resources, far in excess of what the United States has already put forth.”
And once we bankrupt ourselves
to make Iraq a giant military prison camp,
what will we do then?
Find a new Hussein to take over Iraq?
As Lamont wrote in the Wall Street Journal last week, staying the course when the car is headed off the cliff is hardly a realistic position.

Not everyone in the Democratic party is blinded to the necessary shift in political views if the country is going to recover from Bu$hCo ineptitude, self-delusion, and outright corruption. There is so much of the latter in the GOP that the prisons would fill quickly if we had an honest judiciary in this nation. But Democratic hands aren't clean either, and that is the core of the current situation. we'll get the Democrats out of the way first, because as the party out of power, they have fewer opportunities to be corrupt:

Corruption Dogs Both Parties This Year
By LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press Writer
Aug 24, 2006

Out of power for a dozen years, Democrats are trying to persuade voters to give them the reins of Congress by arguing that ethics questions surrounding a few Republicans are part of a broad pattern of corruption in the GOP. The Democrats' effort, however, has been muddied by similar woes in their own ranks, which Republicans gleefully point out as they try to inoculate themselves from Democratic attacks.

But Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster in Alexandria, Va., said both Republicans and Democrats could be held accountable for corruption woes as lawmakers in both parties stand accused. "You can never underestimate the capacity of the Democrats to screw up a good thing as they have with the corruption issue," he said.

Democrats aimed to make corruption an election-year Achilles' heel for the GOP after then-Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, R-Calif., admitted taking $2.4 million in bribes from defense contractors.

Then, as part of a separate bribery investigation, the FBI searched Rep. William Jefferson's home and said they found $90,000 stashed in the Louisiana Democrat's freezer. He claims innocence but faces a dozen challengers this fall.

In West Virginia, Democratic Rep. Alan Mollohan is the subject of an investigation into federal money given to nonprofit groups that contributed to his campaigns. He denies wrongdoing. Republicans plan to run ads to help Chris Wakim win the district.

On a larger scale,
Democrats contend corruption allegations
will stoke a desire among a restive public
to fire Republicans.

They do seem to have more to work with:

* [Tom DeLay] resigned from Congress while facing indictments in Texas related to a campaign finance scheme.

* Three-term Sen. Conrad Burns of Montana has come under scrutiny for initially accepting campaign contributions from Abramoff. [More on Burns below - ed.]

* Rep. Charles Taylor, R-N.C., has faced calls for investigations into his banking activities and questions about Abramoff-related campaign donations.

* Ralph Reed's loss in last month's [Georgia] GOP primary for the lieutenant governor's race was blamed in part by the former Christian Coalition leader's association with Abramoff - an ominous sign, Republicans say.

Case in point:

[S]candal-scarred Republican Rep. Bob Ney of Ohio abandoned his re-election race. [T]he six-term congressman's links to Jack Abramoff, who is at the center of a Washington lobbying scandal, hang like a cloud over the district. He has not been charged and insists he's innocent.

One thing voters in the district that snakes from central Ohio south seemed to agree on - they'll vote for the candidate they trust the most. "Zack Space is an honest man," Rick Critchhow, a Democrat who voted for President Bush in 2004, said of the party's nominee as he sipped coffee at the Daily Grind Cafe with his buddies. All were down on Ney.

Across town, at a groundbreaking ceremony for a technology business park, Tom Hackenbracht and Paul Hickman, both Republicans, praised Ney's "outstanding record" and lamented what they called a big loss for the district.

Republicans are banking on voters like them to help the GOP retain the district. It had been considered one Democrats could win in the fall, but the GOP's chances brightened with Ney off the ballot.

It shouldn't brighten at all, and that is where Democratic Party infighting is harming efforts to remove the GOP criminals from power all over the country.

In Ney's Ohio, for example, are Ken Blackwell and Tommy Noe, along with Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt, who apparently violated an Ohio State law which "prohibits candidates from publishing false statements designed to promote their election".

Across the Ohio River, in Kentucky, Republican Gov. Ernie Fletcher has been playing fast-and-loose with the law, yet charges against him were dismissed after he accepted responsibility for a state hiring scandal without admitting any criminal wrongdoing.

I guess 'I'm sorry' is sufficient? It's OK If You Are A Republican! This is what comes of allowing cronyism to determine who is going to be the judges when one-party rule is the de facto reality!

It is going on in Texas as well, where a Texas Texas Supreme Court Justice Nathan Hecht used his office to politicly support the Supreme court candidacy of Harriet Miers.

Under Texas judicial rules, justices are not permitted to use the prestige of their office to support private interests or to support candidates for office. Hecht was issued an "admonishment", the least severe sanction allowed, following complaints filed with the commission that he improperly used his office to support Miers' candidacy.

On the request of Karl Rove,
Hecht gave about 120 newspaper, radio and television interviews.

Speaking of using the system against itself to maintain illicit power: in Pennsylvania, Sen. Rick Santorum admitted on Hardball that his Republican supporters are helping the Green Party candidate for the sole purpose of splitting the liberal vote in November in order to improve his own margins in his campaign for re-election. [Pensito Review]

However, the Pennsylvania courts are deciding whether to allow such blatant manipulation of the electoral system.

The manipulation of Black voters' rights were evident in both the 2000 and the 2004 national elections. Such has paved the racist road which at least two GOP politicians have chosen to follow: George Allen and Conrad Burns.

But an illustration of the corruption of the GOP soul can best be portrayed by the marriage of Illinois Republican Jerry Weller to Zury Rios Sosa, the daughter of former dictator General Efrain Rios Montt and a current member of the Guatemalan legislature. The local newspapers had this to say about this political marriage made in torture hell:

“The problem is the image it conveys to our Latin American neighbors, who are critical enough of our policies without concerns about how a vote might have been influenced by a committee member’s wife.” - Chicago Sun-Times

“Any time an elected U.S. representative privy to confidential information is intimately involved with a central figure in a foreign government--and one whose father has been accused of genocide within that country--there should be concern. . . . There are some boundaries that elected representatives have to draw in the name of U.S. security. We can’t say Weller has crossed that line, but he’s sure tiptoeing down it.” - Bloomington Pantagraph, the biggest paper in Weller’s district.

Weller himself is oblivious to anything but his own: “I am thrilled to have found my best friend and soulmate.”

The Chicago Reader isn't comforted by that expression of True Love:

Like every politician, Weller must know that, no matter how confident he is that he’s serving his constituents fully, appearances matter. And silence doesn’t help.

Appearances are what took down Alaska Gov. Frank H. Murkowski. His recent primary loss he attributed to 'a rejection of his leadership style'. That isn't how the voters saw it:

While Mr. Murkowski’s defeat suggested a rejection of his plan, which would give generous incentives to oil companies that invest in the pipeline, many people linked the loss more closely to the governor’s brazen ways and missteps.

Several moves cost him support. He appointed his daughter Lisa to complete his Senate term. He eliminated a “longevity bonus” for the elderly that had been intended to keep them from leaving the state.

He proposed taking money from a reserve account financed by oil taxes to balance the budget. And, after state and federal agencies rejected his efforts to buy a jet for the use of the governor’s office, he took out a line of credit from a bank and bought the plane anyway.

Some political observers see a broader force at work which caught Murkowski in it's path:

Stephen Haycox, a professor of history at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and the author of “Frigid Embrace: Politics, Economics and Environment in Alaska,” said Mr. Murkowski’s defeat was a manifestation of a developing pattern. “I think the sense that change is desirable is a transcendent theme,” Professor Haycox said.

Paul Pierson, a professor of political science at the University of California, Berkeley, said Mr. Murkowski’s loss, while rooted in local issues, might show something broader about voters as polls show high disapproval over how some incumbents handle issues like the Iraq war.

“That seems like the link that would be worth exploring,” Professor Pierson said, “that people are in a sour mood and they’re willing to look beyond the presumption they would usually give incumbents.”

One such person is this BuzzFlash contributor:

We've Been Bushwhacked Too Long!
by A BuzzFlash Reader

Hey world...I did not vote for this nut!

I still can't believe this crazy, ignorant bast$#d. I was shocked by the "re-election" and everything before and since. He thinks we are all as stupid as him. Attacking Iraq was CRAZY!! He has the whole world hating us.

I'm a 49-yr.-old female small business owner for the last 10 years. I have everything I own up for sale. I plan on retiring to a grocery cart. I plan on pushing it up and down 1600 Pennslyvania Ave. screaming at the top of my lungs all of the crap that he has screwed up! I know I'll go to jail but I don't care. I think the USA needs its own revolution and soon!

We've been lied to, over and over, and I'M SICK OF IT!

That seems to be the growing political meme:

In a Wayzata yard, 2 signs of trouble for Bush and GOP
Nick Coleman, Star Tribune
August 22, 2006

Like George W. Bush, I am unfamiliar with Bracketts Point Road in Wayzata. Unlike the president, I wasn't invited to visit Tuesday.

So when I drove up to a traffic barricade that blocked off most of the road hours before the president arrived for a fundraiser, I turned my car around and pulled into the driveway of a home that had a sailboat in the back yard, a family of ducks swimming along the shore and a dog named Max that came to bark at me.

That's when I noticed something
I thought I'd never see on Bracketts Point:
signs protesting a Republican president.
"We Believe in Global Warming" one sign said.

"You Should, Too," said the second.

Bracketts Point is the heart of the Republican vineyard, a prestigious address in the state's most generous political gift-giving ZIP code (55391, which means Wayzata). The president's visit drummed up a half-million dollars for Republican congressional candidate Michele Bachmann. But a protest against George Bush here? That's like finding a Baptist information table at the Vatican. There are only a handful of homes along Bracketts Point, big homes with big lots sweeping down to big water where big boats stand ready.

I rang the doorbell and introduced myself to Betsy Hannaford, whose yard was sporting the protest signs. Hannaford, 49, describes herself as "a reformed Republican," [and adds] that the president has "reformed" her.

She said I shouldn't have been surprised. The Bracketts Point natives are growing restless. "People have issues with Mr. Bush," she said. "I think people are troubled by the war, his energy policies, a host of things. And his position on choice."

The protest signs were made by Hannaford's daughter, Mary Connolly, a high school senior. The cops wouldn't let Mary put up her polite signs until they could verify that she lived on Bracketts Point.

We live in strange times. A protest on the Point. Who'da thunk it? Their heads probably are still spinning.

And then again, maybe not. Despite Bu$h being invited to Bracketts Point, his arrival doesn't seem to be raising much of a fuss - or interest:

[A]s far as Hannaford had heard, only two of her neighbors were hoping to see the president. "I don't know anybody who's going," Hannaford said, nodding toward the end of the leafy peninsula that juts out into Lake Minnetonka between Smith and Browns Bays.

The Hannafords received four invitations to attend the $1,000 fundraising event. Two were phone calls from Bachmann, whose campaign in the Sixth District (which does not include Bracketts Point) was the target of the Bush visit.

What did you tell Bachmann, I asked Hannaford. "Nothing," she said. "I didn't talk to her. I never picked up."

Not picking up your phone. Ouch. It's not scientific evidence, but maybe the polls are right:

Bush and his policies are deep in doo-doo.
Something sure seems to be changing. "My grandparents have been Republicans a long time," Mary Connolly said. "And they look aghast at the idea of going to see the president. We know a lot of people who, at one time, would have attended.
"Now, they're looking around and asking: 'Why would I?' "
"I don't want to pay $5,000 to have my picture taken so I can have a Christmas card with George Bush's arm around me," said Mary. "And I won't be out there with cookies and lemonade, either. I'm passionate about global warming, and this administration has not recognized it is changing our weather."

Maybe the idea that it's time to change horses - even if we are in the middle of a stream - is the wiser choice, especially considering that the current horse we are riding can't swim and isn't standing on solid ground anymore.

It's the Democrat's election to lose - and you can bet that KKKarl is already briefing Diebold on what needs to be done. If the Dems do nothing about that illicit connection, they deserve to lose.

But does the country also deserve to lose? They do if they don't get moving themselves, for time is running out.

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pessimist :: 10:19 AM :: Comments (8) :: Digg It!