Sunday, September 30, 2007

Seymour Hersh Believes Bush Getting Ready for Iran Attack

On the New Yorker website is an article by Seymour Hersh that goes into where the Bush Administration is at regarding Iran. Hersh's article points out that the Bush Administration believes that Iran is five years away from developing a nuclear weapon and that the American public is not buying into its fear campaign against the Iranians. Therefore, what Cheney, aka Darth Vadar and Bubble-Boy want to do is attack Iran and justify it by claiming that they are protecting American troops in Iraq.

Here is an interesting quote from the article:

At a White House meeting with Cheney this summer, according to a former senior intelligence official, it was agreed that, if limited strikes on Iran were carried out, the Administration could fend off criticism by arguing that they were a defensive action to save soldiers in Iraq. If Democrats objected, the Administration could say, “Bill Clinton did the same thing; he conducted limited strikes in Afghanistan, the Sudan, and in Baghdad to protect American lives.” The former intelligence official added, “There is a desperate effort by Cheney et al. to bring military action to Iran as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the politicians are saying, ‘You can’t do it, because every Republican is going to be defeated, and we’re only one fact from going over the cliff in Iraq.’ But Cheney doesn’t give a rat’s ass about the Republican worries, and neither does the President.”

We wonder how the Republicans in Congress feel about Dick Cheney and George W. right about now. They have staked their political futures to a man who doesn't give a "rat's ass" about their futures.

UPDATE: Here is a link to's page on polls about Iran. It shows that a strong majority of Americans do not want the Bush Administration to attempt military action against Iran over its nuclear program.

Historical Indicators Point Down for GOP

The Associated Press ran a story on Sunday, September 30, 2007, about how historical indicators for political parties are pointing down for the GOP for 2008. This quote is from the story:

"The Democrats will continue to be the majority party in the House and Senate and Hillary Clinton will make history by being the first woman president" in 2008, predicts Rep. Ray LaHood, one of three Illinois Republicans to announce his retirement so far.

Political coalitions don't last forever in American politics. The FDR coalition of Southern whites, labor union members, intellectuals, northern Afro-Americans, and Roman Catholics lasted to about 1968. Starting then both southern whites began to leave that coalition because of the passage of Civil Rights Acts, notably the Act of 1964. After Roe v. Wade, Roman Catholics began to leave the coalition and a lot of labor union members became Reagan Democrats in the 1980s.

Before it broke up, though, it had a hell of a run. It produced Democratic presidential victories in 1932, 1936, 1940, 1944, 1948, 1960 and 1964. It also produced a Democratic majority in both Houses of Congress from 1932-1946, and in the House of Representatives from 1954-1994.

The Republican Party, starting in 1968, began to put together a coalition that consisted of Southern whites, Northern working class whites, small town whites, and Roman Catholics and evangelicals upset with both abortion and social issues, and members of the business community. This coalition produced presidential victories in 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1988, 2000, (if you accept that the Florida vote was legitimate), and 2004. It also produced a Congressional majority in both Houses from 1994-2006.

This coalition, however, may be breaking apart because of the internal tension between business supporters and working class whites over social spending, and between business supporters and evangelicals over what stress should be placed on social issues such as gay rights, abortion, and controlling sexual activity.

It will be interesting to see which political party puts together a new coalition first. Rove thought he could do it by adding Hispanics to the GOP's coalition, but immigration issues are hurting the GOP with Hispanics. Democrats have an opportunity in 2008 and beyond, but this matter is still very much in flux.

Mitt Romney's Financial Backers Legal Woes

Media Matters' Jamison Foser put out a column on Friday, September 28, 2007, about the difference in the coverage that the legal troubles of one of Hillary Clinton's supporters received compared to Mitt Romney's. In the column he points out the legal troubles of two of Romney's backers.

The first is Alan Fabian. Fabian was indicted for 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, perjury, and obstruction of justice. He pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.

The second is Robert Litchfield who is being sued for abuses at schools for troubled kids. The newspaper, The Hill, which covers Capitol Hill, had a story with the following quote:

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, 133 plaintiffs have alleged that Robert Lichfield, co-chairman of Romney's Utah finance committee owned or operated residential boarding schools for troubled teenagers where students were "subjected to physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse."

The question that Foser raises in his column is why the different treatment between the troubles of Clinton's backer, Norman Hsu, and the troubles of Litchfield and Fabian? One explanation is that the media is obsessed with the Clintons. Another explanation is that she is the front-runner for the Democratic nomination while Romney is not the front-runner for the Republican nomination. A third possible explanation is that reporters know that their publishers, owners, editors, etc., want stories on the Clintons and don't want stories on the Republicans.

Whatever the explanation, this is just one more example of why Democrats need their own vehicles of communication with the public. We just can't trust the media to be fair or objective where Democrats are concerned.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Media's Obsession with Hillary's Laugh Shows Why She Laughs

Slate has an article by some idiot named John Dickerson about Hillary Clinton's laugh. Her laugh became the subject of some discussion on the Internet and in the media because she laughed during parts of her interview with Chris Wallace and also during her interview with Bob Schiffer. Here's a clue for the media: she is laughing because she finds you people ridiculous.

Dickerson goes into all sorts of reasons why he thinks she laughs. Apparently it was talked about on some right-wing television shows. Never once, though, does it occur to any of these self-absorbed media types that she is laughing at them. They apparently can't fathom that a politician who is actually interested in solving our country's problems would find their mirth at their antics. Which, of course, proves her point.

Fascinating Framshop Entry on Clinton Shaping Democratic Position on Iraq War

A person named Jeffery Feldman runs a blog called Frameship. In an entry dated September 26, 2007, entitled Frameshop: Field Swings To Clinton Frame On Iraq he argues that all top three Democratic candidates are adopting Senator Hillary Clinton's framing of American options for the war in Iraq. According to Feldman, those options include keeping American troops in Iraq for the entire next presidential term. As he points out, this leaves anti-war Democratic activists in the position of having no candidate in the top three who advocates getting all American troops out of Iraq in the relatively near future.

What's interesting about both Edwards and Obama basically accepting Clinton's position on Iraq is that, according to a CBS poll of the American public, it's not what most Americans want. This is a question asked in the poll and the response:
"From what you know about the U.S. involvement in Iraq, how much longer would you be willing to have large numbers of U.S. troops remain in Iraq: less than a year, one to two years, two to five years or longer than five years?" .

Less Than A Year 49%
One to Two Years 23%
Two to Five Years 12%
Longer Than Five Years 5%
Other/Unsure 11%

Take a look at those numbers. Seventy-two percent of the American public want withdrawal within two years and only 17% of the American pubic wants American troops longer than two years.

Assuming that both Guiliani and Clinton get their parties respective nomination, neither major party's presidential nominee will be articulating a position on Iraq that is in accordance with what most Americans want in Iraq. That is both remarkable and dangerous for both major political parties.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Congressman Mark Udall to Introduce Resolution Condemning Limbaugh's Remarks About "Phony Soldiers"

Talking Points Memo is reporting that Congressman Mark Udall, D-CO, will introduce a resolution on Monday condemning Rush Limbaugh's remarks about soldiers who oppose the Iraq War being "phony soldiers." He is seeking co-sponsors for the resolution.

It will be interesting to see how the Republican and Democratic House members who voted to condemn the Move On ad about General Petreaus will respond to this resolution. Our guess is that Minority Leader John Bohner, aka Bonehead, will find some bs explanation on why when a right-wing hack denounces soldiers for being against the war it is okay. It will, of course, be ridiculous, but what else can he do?

Voinovich's BS Idea: Have Iraq Timetable for Withdrawal After Bubble-Boy Leaves Office

Voinovich and some other so-called Republican moderates, otherwise known as "Bush enablers", have come up with a real bright idea: establish guidelines for withdrawal from Iraq which start after BB leaves office. Who else is supposedly backing this lame-brain effort? Well, there is Elizabeth Dole, Norm Coleman, and Lamar Alexander. What do all of them have in common? They are running for re-election in 2008 and they are worried about losing because of BB's War.

Now, this proposal makes a lot of sense for Republicans. Vote to set up guidelines for getting out after Bush leaves so that his wing-nut base won't vote against you in a primary. Stick any negative consequences of withdrawal on the incoming president who will most likely be a Democrat. Avoid having your party held accountability for the diaster that its President and Vice-President have gotten the U.S. into in invading Iraq.

For the rest of us, however, this idea really, really sucks. In a democracy elections are how we hold political parties and politicians accountable for their exercise of power. The Republican Party shouldn't be let off the hook for how Bush and his enablers in the Congress have managed this country since 2000.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Limbaugh Calls Soldiers Serving in Iraq Who Are Against War "Phony Soldiers"

So how many Republicans in Congress who muscled through a resolution in both Houses condemning the Move On ad about General Petraeus will rush to support a resolution condemning Rush Limbaugh? On September 26, 2007, Rush Limbaugh on his radio show, in response to a caller, referred to soldiers who are serving in Iraq and who are against the war as "phony soldiers." Of course, these "phony soldiers", some of who have died in combat, have done somthing that Rush has never done and that is serve in the armed forces of our country.

This, of course, will be either ignored by the media or excused by them because, quite frankly, they are afraid of Rush and his moronic followers, the infamous "dittoheads." Far easier to pontificate and bluster over an ad in the New York Times. Democrats need to push Congress to pass a resolution condemning anyone who attacks the service of any member of the armed forces serving in Iraq. Want to take bets on how Republicans like John Boehner will vote on that resolution?

George Voinovich Chooses Bush Over Ohio's Kids

The Senate voted today on the Reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. Sherrod Brown voted to invoke cloture while George Voinovich voted not to invoke cloture. The motion to invoke cloture passed 69-30, more than the required 60 votes. Our guess is that Voinovich will now to try and have it both ways by voting for the bill on final passage. This way he can spin it to the press and other media that he supports expansion of the program while, in reality, he voted against Ohio's kids and for George W. Bush on the cloture motion.

Democrats At A Disadvantage Because Republicans Don't Care if Government Works

Democrats are at a disadvantage when dealing with conservative Republicans. The disadvantage stems from the fact that most Democrats believe in government and want to make it work. Many conservative Republicans, however, don't believe in government and really don't care if it works, unless, of course, its working benefits them.

One way this leads to problems for Democrats is seen in the recent vote regarding members to the Federal Elections Commission. The Republicans have nominated a Republican hack who has specialized in trying to deprive minorities of their right to vote in American elections. His name is Hans von Spakovsky and he is a real piece of work. Here is a run down on his infamous career to date.

So when his name and three other names came to the Senate Committee that had to vote to send the nominations to the Senate floor, Committee Chair Diane Feinstein was going to demand individual votes on each nominee so that she could block Hans's nomination. Only it didn't happen that way. Why? Because a Democratic Senator, Ben Nelson of Nebraska informed Feinstein that he would vote to confirm Hans and send his name to the Senate.

So the compromise that was reached was that three of the names were sent to the Senate floor with recommendations for confirmation while Hans name was sent to the Senate floor with no recommendation. Immediately after that happened the GOP Minority Leader told the media that the Republicans would resist a separate vote on each nominee by the full Senate. Instead he is demanding that all four nominations be considered in one vote.

Now here is where Democrats' tendencies work against them. Republicans don't care if the FEC doesn't have a full commission or can't do anything. Democrats do, and so, our guess is that they will cave in to the GOP pressure. What Washington Democrats have to learn is that the government doing nothing is preferable to it doing what Republicans want.

Reader Comment On Ohio Election Law Problems

This comment was posted as a comment on the post about the GOP putting the fix in for the 2008 election in Ohio. We found it so interesting that we thought it deserved its own entry.

This is not only a highly potential caging issue, it is one of abuse of power by anyone in office, the "party of money and power" as so many have come to call our governments, that reaches far beyond all too typical, and now almost inconsequential party lines.

Focusing on just the possible challenges that would tie up polling place lines, as indicated by SoS Brunner, which was also a major Dem put-out-there diversionary fear in '04 and '06 that didn't happen is only a minor focus.

As you explained above, HB3 mandated that a government paid, non-forwardable mass mailing be sent out to all registered voters previous to elections. AND that studies have shown that low income voters are far more likely to move, live in mass rental areas which receive far less than all their mail (left on counters, floors, no one takes the time to find them) and not even have forwarding addresses.

What Brunner is NOT saying is that when the HB3 pieces sent out by the election boards come back to them as non-deliverable, then the fact is these names can be used NOT ONLY as the basis for voter challenges in a general election, tying up the polling places; but ALSO such non-deliverability of the HB3 mailing, also mandates that that voter votes a Provisional Ballot - which then is subject to further, often confused and confusing ID requirements. The problems that election advocates have found in election officials invalidly not verifying/not counting such Provisional Ballots has been huge.

Also what Brunner is not saying is that:
• despite the fact that Ohio has had one of the largest numbers of Provisional Ballots of all states in our elections;
• and has one of the highest rates of provisional voters being discounted/not counted/not verified;
• and despite the fact that to date it is only through public action - way after the election - when such Provisional information is finally released to the public - has it been found, BY THE PUBLIC - that some of these unverified ballots should have been verified,and that many of the reasons voters were given provisional ballots, and rejections were due to numerous "mistakes"in the state's and local elections boards own registration lists, or in lack of poll worker training.

And despite all of the above, she has currently been considering a directive that would keep all such provisional information - not how people voted, just their names and whether or not their ballots were counted - from the public eye in the future.

THAT would realistically, invalidly disenfranchise far more. Even the most dedicated elections boards have shown neither the time nor certainly the to properly investigate and often to expose their own problems.

Dedicated, mostly unpaid activists have, and the results have not been pretty for election officials.

Absentee ballots are NOT the solution, especially to this put-forth problem that, once again, uses the old saw of partisanship being the problem in elections.

Abuse of power, and/or protecting inside wrongdoing or incompetence from exposure, not the voters, is a huge problem. The glossed over, but ultimately FALSE assumption of no need for transparency to the people, or that the people are "bad" and all election officials are "trustworthy" is a huge dynamic that keeps the entire huge election messes going.

A far larger solution to the problem - which is certainly not only partisan caging, which has been labeled as THE problem for years, and has not happened as stated for years ( did happen to some extent with GOP threat letters sent out in '04) but is more endemically making us think that those inside, are the OWNERS of OUR elections, and are somehow worthy of our blind trust, in whatever they tell us.

A far larger solution to the problems as you've set them out is, and remains, TRANSPARENCY in everything the SoS office and our boards do, so we can oversight, point out any wrongdoings, ask and get answers, and help fix them.

A big part of the solution to the problems as you've set them out is keeping Provisional Voter information public, so the major organizations who have worked so hard in the past to aright people's votes invalidly not being counted, and to stop the same people from thinking year after year, that they went to the polls and voted, so falsely, that their votes counted from continually being caught in what could be a growing method of government disenfranchisement - especially of the poor and most vulnerable.

Senator Sherrod Brown Votes Against Iran Resolution

The Kyl-Lieberman Resolution on Iraq came up for a vote on Wednesday, September 26, 2007. Although the Resolution was amended to take out some of the more egregious wording, it still labeled a unit of the Iranian Army a "terrorist" organization. As Senator Jim Webb pointed out this Resolution was never discussed in a Senate Committee and this was the first time that a branch of the U.S. Government has labeled a branch of a foreign country's military a "terrorist" organization. Many people fear that the Bush Administration is determined to drag us into a war with Iran before leaving office. Giving them any sort of justification to do so is like giving a gun to a baby.

Did GOP Put Fix In for the 2008 Elections in Ohio?

McClatchy Newspapers put up a story dated Wednesday, September 26, 2007 on whether voting law changes made in Florida and Ohio, the two states with questionable voting for the 2000 and the 2004 elections, will hold down the Democratic vote in 2008. The article wonders whether the Ohio voting law changes will result in voter "caging" in 2008.

Voter caging goes like this. An organization, say the state GOP, engages in a targeted mass mailing aimed at lower income voters. Studies have shown that such voters are more likely to move and not have forwarding addresses. If the pieces sent out in the mass mailing come back as non-deliverable then that fact is used as the basis for voter challenges in a general election. The intent is to drive down the voter turn-out in Democratic areas by tying up the polling places with challenges on the day of the election.

The article notes that a change made in Ohio law in 2006 requires each election board to send out a non-forwardable notice to every voter on its rolls 60 days before an election. This is sent out at county expense. Because it is a public document, it can be obtained by anyone seeking to challenge voters on election day. This means, as Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner points out, that effectively counties are paying for obtaining data that could be used in a voter caging project.

One of the enduring myths promulgated by Republicans is that there are hordes of low-income and minority voters illegal voting in elections. Never mind the fact that there is almost no evidence of such activity, they believe it. Therefore they justify laws like the change made in Ohio as being a measure to combat election fraud. If it has the supposedly "unintended" effect of suppressing voting by Democratic leaning groups, well that is just the price that has to be paid for election integrity.

Now, of course, it is possible that the McClatchy article raises concerns that aren't justified. The change in Ohio's law, for example, took place in 2006 and there were no reports of widespread challenges in last year's election. Then again, GOP efforts to suppress voting are usually reserved for presidential elections. When asked by McClatchy whether the Ohio GOP would engage in voter caging in 2008 a spokesman for the party refused to comment.

This is why we believe that Democratic organizations should encourage the use of absentee ballots in Ohio. The GOP believes that their voters are more likely to vote absentee than are Democratic voters. Therefore, when they passed the Ohio voting changes in 2006, they made it relatively easier to cast an absentee ballot than a regular ballot. One change, for example, was to allow anyone to vote absentee without stating a reason. This means that Democratic organizations could obtain absentee ballot applications, distribute them to their voters so that they could vote before the election and avoid efforts to tie up polling places on election day.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Medina County JJ Dinner on October 6, 2007

The Medina County Democratic Party Executive Committee requests your presence at the Annual Jefferson Jackson Day Dinner & Silent Auction on Satuday, October 6, 2007.

State Senator John Boccieri candidate for Congress in the 16th District will be the speaker.

The Dinner will be held at:

Sharon Party & Event Center
6600 Ridge Rd (Route 94), Sharon Center, OH

6:30 - Party Time! Cash Bar
7:30 Buffet Dinner

$40 per person / $320 for a table of eight

Theme: Celebrate our local roots by bringing township/city memorabilia for display tables.

Please RSVP by September 28th by either

Making your reservation online at
Mailing a check payable to "JJ Dinner Committee" to Medina County Democratic Party, P.O. Box 583, Medina, OH 44256
Clicking on "related document" link below to download a flyer/RSVP form
Note: Please consider making a donation of a silent auction item!

GOP Senator Hagel: GOP Will Use Fear in 2008

On Monday, September 24, 2007, the L.A. Times published an article on its website about how Republicans are uniting against the idea of closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba. The article contains a great quote from Nebraska Senator Charles Hagel. Here is the quote:The Republican Party has won two elections on the issue of fear and terrorism. [It's] going to try again."

It's refreshing to see a Republican actually admit that his party used fear to win the 2002 and the 2004 general elections. The question remains, though, whether it will work in 2008.

On the one hand it might not because by the election of 2008 the U.S. will have been in Iraq for over five and a half years, with little or nothing to show for the tremendous human and financial cost. On the other hand it might because the GOP presidential nominee won't be George W. Bush. It is hard to know how much of the opposition to the war is based on Bubble-Boy's performance in office and how much is based on the objective reality of what's happening on the ground.

What is known, though, is that the Democratic nominee has to be tough enough to withstand the assault on his or her patriotism that is going to come from the Republicans. Which brings us to Hillary Clinton.

She isn't our first choice for President, Edwards is our first choice, and she might not even be our second choice, but one thing is obvious and that is that she is probably the toughest Democrat running. By that we mean that she doesn't get thrown off message and has the discipline to keep her eye on the ball.

A good friend of ours once remarked that every political campaign goes through a crisis at one time or another. Often the success of a campaign depends on the ability of the candidate and the campaign to rise above that crisis. So far this year, Hillary Clinton seems like the candidate best able to do that. She is certainly running the most effective campaign and is doing the best at staying on message.

Democrats Need to Link Children's Health Insurance and No Child Left Behind

E.J. Dionne has a column about the debate over the State Children's Health Insurance Program that was posted on the Washington Post's website on Wednesday, September 26, 2007. In the column he mentions, in passing, that the No Child Left Behind Act is coming up for renewal at the end of September and that Bush needs Democratic votes to get it passed. Here is a question: Why don't Democrats tell Bush that if he doesn't sign the insurance bill, he isn't going to get a vote on the No Child Left Behind Act?

Time and time again we see Bush being able to hold up Democratic legislation because the Republicans won't allow matters to come to a vote in the Senate. The Democratic response to this tactic is to figuratively throw up their hands and say that there is nothing they can do about it. Well, that's not exactly true. There is legislation that Republicans want passed and that Bush wants passed. No Child Left Behind is an obvious example.

If Reid and Pelosi called a press conference and announced that Bush isn't going to get an extension of No Child Left Behind unless he signs the Health Insurance bill, the media coverage would be extensive. The Democrats would be seen as playing offense, not defense.

Politics is compromise. Democrats don't point that out enough and so Bush gets to have it both ways: he gets to block Democratic legislation and then gets Democratic support for his pet project. Well, life doesn't work that way. If you want something from me, then you have to be willing to give me something in return. It is way past time for Democrats to remind Bush of that fact.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Regula Bucks Bush, Votes for CHIP Reauthorization Act

Today, September 25, 2007, Congressman Ralph Regula voted against what Bush wanted and for America's uninsured children. The House passed by a margin of 265 to 159 to approve the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act. This program, which Bush has pledged to veto, will expand health insurance opportunities for American children who lack health insurance.

This is from a Baltimore Sun article about this bill:

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), pressing for passage of the bill today says: "This is all a matter of priorities. And we can see what the president’s are...Each day we spend $333 million on Iraq. That’s over 23 times what we currently spend on children needing health care every day. For one day in Iraq, we could cover the healthcare of over 256,000 American children.

The message that Democrats ought to send is real simple: Republicans like Bush and House Minority Leader John Boehner care a lot more for Iraqis and their security than they do for America's children. It is a very simple message to send and it is true.

MCDAC Newsletter Doing Well

This entry is going to be somewhat self-congratulatory. MCDAC puts out a weekly newsletter called the MCDAC Democratic Newsletter. It goes out to about 1300 email addresses per week. We use a product called Campaigner which is produced by Got Marketing.

Recently Got Marketing released a new version of Campaigner. This new version allows us to compare how our newsletter is doing to other newsletters put out by Campaigner. We analyzed the last 10 newsletters and found out that we did better in all categories than the average newsletter produced by Campaigner.

The categories included percentage of newsletters delivered; percentage opened; percentage where a link was clicked on by a reader; and percentage of readers who unsubscribed. We are happy with this result and wish to thank all our readers.

Jill Miller Zimon Raises Good Point: Why Didn't PD Do Story on Ohio Trending Blue?

Jill Miller Zimon, who is the author and owner of Writes Like She Talks a blog that covers writing, education, children, and politics raised a really interesting point in a posting that appeared on on Tuesday, September 25, 2007 She asked the question why was the Dayton Daily News and not the Plain Dealer doing a story on exurban counties trending Democratic. One of the counties that was profiled by the Dayton Daily News is Medina County which, as Jill noted, is much closer to Cleveland than it is to Dayton. (She was also kind enough to mention our own MCDAC Blog, which was certainly nice of her and appreciated.)

Of course, part of the problem may be that Medina County is much better known to the Cleveland Plain Dealer than to the Dayton Daily News. As a result they may not have been as impressed by Senator Sherrod Brown carrying Medina County since PD reporters would know that Sherrod represented all or part of Medina County from 1992 to 2006 before being elected to the Senate. Consequently, they may not have thought that it represented a political trend.

All that is true, but it doesn't totally explain why every state-wide Democrat running for a partisan office carried Medina County except for Barbara Sykes, who ran for State Auditor. You can explain away Brown and Strickland by pointing out that Brown's connection to Medina County and Strickland having a wing-nut for an opponent. Explaining away the Cordray and Dann victories, however, is much harder.

All this is not to say that MCDAC expects Medina County to go Democrat in the presidential campaign next year. It is to say that we expect that Medina County will be competitive and could be carried by the right Democratic candidate.

Barack Obama Wins Online Yahoo Poll

Okay, so we're not sure what to make of this either, but in a poll that was taken of people who watched the online Democratic debate sponsored by Yahoo, Barack Obama won with 35% to Clinton's 31%. Now, it should be kept in mind that of the estimated 1,000,000 people who watched the online debate, only approximately 15% voted. Keeping that in mind, though, we believe that this shows what we talked about in an earlier post this week, namely Obama's support among younger people. Again whether or not that support will translate to votes in the caucuses and primaries.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Dayton Daily News Article on Medina County

On Sunday, September 23,2007, the Dayton Daily News published an article that appeared on its website about Medina County going for Sherrod Brown and Ted Strickland in the 2006 elections. The article quotes Medina County Democratic Chair Pam Miller and the Medina County coordinator for the Kerry campaign in 2004 and the Brown/Strickland campaigns in 2006, Medina attorney David Brown.

The article is pretty interesting, although to a certain extent it misrepresents the success of local Medina County Democratic candidates. Although the article claims that all the local offices are held by Republicans, that isn't entirely accurate. Medina County Democrats have held the Auditor's office since 1982 and have held the Medina County Prosecutor's office for all but four years since 1980. Medina County Democrats also occupy three of the county six judicial positions, from 1976 to 1996 held the Sheriff's office, and from 1980 to 1996 held one of the three seats on the Board of County Commissioners.

Putting aside those discrepancies, the article is an interesting read, and there are also links to other Daily News articles on the state of the Ohio Democratic Party. If you are interested in Medina County and/or Democratic politics, check it out.

Paul Krugman on Race and Politics

Over the last two weeks, the New York Times has dropped its requirement that Internet readers pay to read certain articles and columns appearing in the NYT. This means that we can now link to articles like this one that appeared on Monday, September 21, 2007 on the Times website and in the print version of the Times. What Krugman does in this article is acknowledge that the political success of the Republican Party in national elections since 1968 has depended on getting Southern whites to vote Republican. The following quotes are from the article:

Consider voting in last year’s Congressional elections. Republicans, as President Bush conceded, received a “thumping,” with almost every major demographic group turning against them. The one big exception was Southern whites, 62 percent of whom voted Republican in House races.(emphasis added)

And yes, Southern white exceptionalism is about race, much more than it is about moral values, religion, support for the military or other explanations sometimes offered. There’s a large statistical literature on the subject, whose conclusion is summed up by the political scientist Thomas F. Schaller in his book “Whistling Past Dixie”: “Despite the best efforts of Republican spinmeisters to depict American conservatism as a nonracial phenomenon, the partisan impact of racial attitudes in the South is stronger today than in the past.”

Appealing to white Southerners is why Republicans candidates aren't appearing at black forums. Its why George W. Bush campaigned at Bob Jones University. It's why Ronald Reagan kicked off his 1980 campaign by appearing at Philadelphia, Mississippi, where three civil rights workers were murdered and gave a speech praising "state rights", code words for white racism. When Republicans told you that impeaching Bill Clinton wasn't about sex, you just knew it was about sex, and when they tell you that appealing to white Southerners isn't about race, you just know it is about race.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Medina County Swung More Than 25% for Dems from 2000-2006

A reader sent us a very interesting Dayton Daily News article link that shows that in Medina County between 2000 and 2006, the Democratic vote as measured by the vote for Gore in 2000 compared to the vote for Sherrod Brown increased by more than 25%. The link takes you to an interactive map which you can click on to get the vote totals from all three elections for every county in Ohio. What's interesting is that the Daily News used the U.S. Senate race as a comparison. If you used the 2006 Governor's race, the swing would be even more pronounced.

One thing that really helped both Brown and Strickland was that they campaigned everywhere in Ohio and didn't "write" off counties based on their previous voting history. Both men made more than one visit into Medina County. Strickland, for example, made three trips into Medina County between August of 2005 and November of 2006. Such efforts paid off on election day.

Another thing that helped was that in both 2004 and 2006 Medina County saw a tremendous grassroots effort led by David Brown, who co-ordinated the Kerry for President campaign in 2004 and then both the Brown and Strickland campaigns in 2006. Although Kerry didn't carry the county, the experience that volunteers gained was invaluable and really helped in the 2006 election.

Health Care Moving Up as Concern of Voters

The Washington Bureau of the McClatchy Newspapers has an interesting article dated September 23, 2007, about health care. The article notes that health care is moving up as an issue for voters. While all voters are concerned about health care, there is a marked difference between the concerns that Republicans have and the concern that independents and Democrats share.

According to the article, 50% of Republicans are concerned about the cost of health care, while for both Democrats and independents it is 36%. The article also points out that while only 16% of Republicans are concerned about insuring the uninsured, the figure for Democrats is 40% and for independents it is 37%. When asked about reducing medical errors, 17% of Republicans saw that as a concern, while 14% of Democrats saw that as a concern as did 11% of independents.

The same divide exists regarding what candidates should propose as health care reform. When asked what candidates should talk about, 35% of Republicans mention increasing spending and insuring nearly all the uninsured, while the percentage for Democrats on that question was 67% and for independents it was 54%.

Click here to see a graph with the percentage breakdown.

Does Obama Have a "Hidden Vote"?

One of the things that we have noted during the last few months is that Barack Obama has a lot of support among younger Americans. If you go to My Space, Facebook, and You Tube, you will note that Obama has much more activity on those sites than any other candidate. Those are sites that younger people use and frequent.

This observation is borne out by news of a memo that Obama's staff is circulating about how Obama has a "hidden vote" which doesn't show up in the polls. The reason why it doesn't show up in the polls is that younger people don't use landlines for phone service, they increasingly use cell phones. The argument is that they are overlooked in polls because they aren't called by polling companies.

The problem, of course, as the author of the article linked to above points out, is that younger voters are notorious for not coming out to vote. If they voted at the same percentage as their parents, John Kerry would probably be president today and Bush would be down at his fake ranch having a ghost-writer writes his memoirs.

This would seem to be especially true with regards to Iowa, which is a caucus state, as is Nevada. Participating in a caucus means going out on a winter evening in January and hanging around while the caucus takes place. It calls for both organization to get your voters to the polls and for commitment from those voters. If younger voters don't show up to vote, which is a relatively quick process, is it realistic to expect them to show up for a caucus?

We hope that Obama's campaign is correct because younger voters are increasingly turned off by the Republican Party. An energized population of young voters could guarantee a Democratic victory in 2008. Whether it will happen, though, is a big unknown.

Fact Checking the Prez Over Children's Health Insurance Program

The Center on Budget Policy and Priorities has a articleresponse fact-checking the Prez on a bill which will expand the availability of health insurance to uninsured children. The response is dated September 20, 2007. It refutes several of the Bubble-Boy's claims including:

1. His claim that families with incomes up to $80,000.00 will be covered;
2. His claim that this bill doesn't target low-income families; and
3. His claim that this bill would lead to a government run health care system.

If you have an interest in this legislation, check out this article. It is just one more example of BB's willingness to lie to get what he wants.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Was Department of Justice Targeting Supporters of John Edwards?

A Harper's Magazine writer, Scott Horton, who has been following what he describes as the political prosecutions of the Bush Justice Department has an interesting article on the Harper's website dated September 22, 2007. This is the first paragraph of the article:

In the last two weeks, two sources, one of them inside of the Justice Department, have told me that a scheme was hatched in the upper echelons of the Bush Administration shortly after it took office in 2001 or early in 2002. The project identified John Edwards and Hillary Clinton as likely Democratic challengers to President Bush, and identified prominent trial lawyers around the United States as the likely financial vehicle for Edward’s rise. It directed that their campaign finance records be fly-specked, and that offenses not be treated as administrative matters but rather as serious criminal offenses.

Horton claims that prosecutions of trial lawyers for campaign finance violations have actually taken place, but that the lawyers involved don't want to call attention to them because it would adversely affect their law practices. Horton believes that Rove was behind this effort, but that both Gonzales and Ashcroft knew about it and signed off. It is both fascinating and chilling.

Political Futures Market Shows Dems Winning

Over the last several years political futures markets have been developed where people can bet on the outcome of future elections. The idea behind these markets is that people who place their money on the outcomes of elections will more accurately predict those outcomes than polls conducted before the election. It is a concept that is based on the "wisdom of crowds." The concept of the "wisdom of crowds" is that thousands or even millions of people can collectively obtain more information and therefore more accurately predict what will happen than even the most brillant single individual.

If you look at the two political futures markets where participants are allowed to use real money, Intrade and the Iowa Electronics Markets, you will see that in both markets Democrats are favored to win the presidential election in 2008.

Conservatives love to praise free markets. They profess to believe that such markets are the best way to evaluate products, ideas, and everything else. It is ironic that the political future markets are, as of September 21, 2007, predicting that the White House will be captured by Democrats in 2008.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Iraq Government Has No Control Over Its Own Country

On Sunday, September 16, 2007, employees of the Blackwater Company who provide security for Americans in Iraq were accused of killing several Iraqis. This is not the first time that Blackwater has been involved in such incidents. Yet, under regulations adopted when the provisional coalition authority ran Iraq, employees of such firms cannot be prosecuted for such attacks.

Not only is the Iraq government barred from prosecuting Americans who, in their opinion use unjustifiable force, but the Iraqi government is not in a position to disarm sectarian militias. This means that the Iraqi government is in the unenviable position of having to tolerate armed forces it can't control in its own country.

What this means to the United States is that a government that can't protect its citizens from violence won't have those citizens' respect. It also means that if getting our troops out of Iraq depends on political reconciliation among the Iraqis, they are going to be there for a very long time.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Voinovich Backs Bush, Screws Troops Again

Senator Jim Webb, (D-VA), sponsored legislation to require that troops spend as much time at home as they spend in Iraq. The bill came up for a vote today. Webb needed 60 votes to cut off debate on this bill. He got 56. Among the 43 voting against his legislation was, you guessed it, Ohio's own George Voinovich. Despite the fact that last week he indicated he might vote for the Webb legislation, in the final analysis he couldn't just bring himself to do something that Bubble-Boy didn't want him to do. Good to know where Voinovich stands when it comes to really supporting the troops.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Netherlands Approach to Health Insurance: Would it Work in Ohio?

The Netherlands has adopted a very intriguing approach to health insurance. First of all, it uses private insurance companies. Second, it requires all citizens to get health insurance. Third, it makes all health insurance companies accept all applicants. Fourth, it makes all health insurance companies offer the same basic policy with the same benefits. People can buy supplemental insurance, but the same standard policy with the same benefits has to be offered to everyone. You can read more about the Dutch approach to health insurance here.

One thing that should be kept in mind is that the Netherlands is bigger than the State of Ohio, but not a lot bigger. Ohio has a population of 11 million plus while the Netherlands has a population of 16 million plus. The advantage of such an approach is that it people who have health insurance would probably be able to keep such coverage, increasing their comfort level with the concept. Another advantage for doctors and other providers of health services is that there would be a universal insurance policy with a standard amount of benefits. Consumers wouldn't have to worry about being denied coverage for pre-existing conditions.

Another advantage of this program is that insurance companies would be forced to compete with each other by becoming more efficient. Right now there is a big difference between the administrative costs for private insurance companies and Medicare. The administrative costs, as represented by the percentage of health care dollars going to such costs, are much higher for private insurance companies than for Medicare.
The change would be politically difficult, but probably easier than establishing a state-run insurance program. Democrats should think about adopting the Dutch model as the model for Ohio.

Check Out

Want to find out who gets political money from who? Check out You can check either by contributor names or by candidate/committee names. It is pretty interesting and is very comprehensive.

Alan Greenspan Says Iraq War is About Oil

Alan Greenspan has a new book out in which he is quite critical of the Bush Administration. Most of the press coverage of the book has been centered around his complaints about Bush and his disappointment with Cheney, who he served with in the Ford Administration. There is, however, a fascinating quote about Iraq. Here is the quote:

"I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

Now, apparently, he doesn't go into an explanation of what this quote means or why he believes that the Iraq War is about oil. This could just be speculation, but if it is, it is speculation coming from a man who is wired into both Republican and Washington power circles. The next time that some Bush loyalist tells you that this war was started because of weapons of mass destruction or to spread democracy, or any of the other discarded reasons we have been given, give them Greenspan's quote.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Western Colorado Trending Democratic Because of Environmental Concerns

The Washington Post posted an article on its website dated Sunday, September 16, 2007, about the growing Democratic vote in western Colorado. The Democratic vote is growing because of environmental concerns brought on by the Bush Administration's plans to vastly increase oil and natural gas drilling in Western Colorado. According to the residents of western Colorado, this increased drilling is destroying the beauty of the area. The natural beauty is one reason why many people have moved to the western part of the state.

This is a quote from the article:

At the behest of the White House, which made accelerated oil and gas leasing the top priority of the Bureau of Land Management, the gas industry has in the past five years transformed huge tracts of an iconic Western landscape into something resembling an industrial zone. As Coloradoans struggle to adjust to the changes -- a steady flow of heavy rigs on back roads, powerful odors from evaporation ponds and a small army of roughnecks gobbling methamphetamine to work 12-hour shifts -- disquiet grows over federal plans to open the spigot wider yet.

If you haven't visited western Colorado, you may want to schedule a visit before Bush turns the state into one great big oil and gas drilling field.

Voinovich's Iraq Position: Troop Withdrawal Good, Deadlines Bad

Ohio's other United States Senator, George Voinovich, gave an interview to WOSU radio in which he came out for the Bush Administration developing a plan to withdraw from Iraq, but, according to WOSU, he will not vote for a deadline. He says that he believes that a deadline of one year would be disastrous.

This is classic Voinovich: Do just enough to look like you are listening to Ohio's voters, but, when the chips are down, support Bubble-Boy's Iraq policy. This way he gets the praise of moderately conservative Ohio newspapers like the Plain Dealer and the Columbus Dispatch for being realistic about Iraq, but doesn't earn the animosity of the wing-nuts who vote in Ohio's Republican primaries.

This is always the problem that Cuyahoga County Republicans have in Ohio politics. Since they are from Cuyahoga County, they tend to be much more reasonable than some of the downstate Republicans. They have to be because Cuyahoga County, even in its Republican areas, will only tolerate a certain amount of right-wing craziness. This tendency toward reasonableness makes them hard for Democrats to beat in general elections, but makes them vulnerable in Republican primaries.

Look what happened, for example, to Jim Petro. Here he was a successful state-wide vote getter, a winner of races for Ohio Attorney General and Ohio State Auditor, a proven vote getter in the biggest Democratic county in the State, and he gets whacked in the primary by a right-wing nut job named Ken Blackwell. You can be sure that Voinovich took note of that election, especially if he is thinking about running for re-election in 2010.

Iraq, though, is different than other problems Voinovich has faced in his political career. The cost in human suffering and financial treasure to the United States is high compared to the importance that most of us who aren't oil company executives attach to the country. Voinovich's political balancing act may come to a crashing end over this issue if he decides to run in 2010.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Pelosi Goes After Bush's 10 Year War

Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi issued a statement today, September 14, 2007, claiming that Bush's plan means a 10 year American presence in Iraq. Although the Republicans are going to deny it, her statement is based on comments that General Petraeus made to Congressional delegation.

This is a theme that has some legs. Bush spoke in his statement on Thursday evening, September 13, 2007, about creating an "enduring relationship" with Iraq's government. Of course, that assumes that Iraq will have a functioning government, but that is another matter altogether. We have already been in Iraq for over four years, and have actually increased the number of troops in Iraq over the last 12 months. So the American public might be very willing to believe that Bush and his neo-con friends would actually be in favor of a 10 year war.

Conservative Columnists Greatly Outnumber Progressive or Liberal Columnists

Media Matters has a report out that shows the tremendous conservative advantage in columnists that are published by American newspapers. This is a quote from the report:

Sixty percent of the nation's daily newspapers print more conservative syndicated columnists every week than progressive syndicated columnists. Only 20 percent run more progressives than conservatives, while the remaining 20 percent are evenly balanced.

In a given week, nationally syndicated progressive columnists are published in newspapers with a combined total circulation of 125 million. Conservative columnists, on the other hand, are published in newspapers with a combined total circulation of more than 152 million.

When you consider the tremendous advantage that conservatives have in the electronic media with their own network, Fox News; the advantage they have on talk radio; and the advantage they have in newspaper columnists, it is remarkable that they sincerely believe that there is such a thing as a "liberal" media. It is also remarkable that in spite of all these advantages, they still can be beat in honest elections.

Did Petareus Arm Both Sides of the Iraq Civil War?

Here is another view of General David Petraeus and his role in Iraq. In this article, the person being interviewed by Amy Goodman argues that Petraeus has helped arm both Shia death squads and now Sunni death squads. These death squads are basically private militias under the control of tribal leaders and religious leaders in Iraq. They are definitely not under the control of the Iraqi government. It is well worth the time it takes to read it.

Fact Checking the Prez

Salon Magazine's Tim Grieve has a post out that fact checks Bubble-Boy's speech last night about Iraq. You can read it here. Needless to say, BB stretched the truth last might and that is being charitable.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Master Narrative of the Bush Presidency

Jay Rosen, who blogs on media matters at Huffington Post, and on his own blog, has an entry on Huffington Post about the missing master narrative of the Bush Administration. That missing master narrative is the effort of the Bush Administration to increase the unchecked power of the presidency. Rosen uses the term "master narrative" to mean the story that drives all other stories. It is a way for the media and its public to make sense of the world around us, a way, if you will, "to connect the dots."

In this case, Rosen says that most political reporters used the master narrative that the Bushies were skilled at politics. The evidence was that Bush had won the 2000 election, although disputed, helped Republicans win the 2002 off-year election, and won re-election in 2004. The theory was that these wins demonstrated the political skill of Bush and Karl Rove.

What such a narrative overlooks, however, is that political campaigns cannot be separated from the political aims of the people conducting the campaigns. It is as if political reporters never asked themselves why exactly did Bush plan to accomplish with his political power. How exactly did he plan to govern? What goals would he try to accomplish with is political power?

Those questions were strangely missing from the media coverage of both the 2000 and the 2004 presidential campaigns. Consequently while Bush would claim a mandate for everything that he tried to do as President, the voters who supposedly gave him this mandate never really was told what he was trying to accomplish as President.

The master narrative suggested by Rosen allows consumers of news to understand what the Bush Administration is trying to accomplish. It explains why he waged a war on the rule of law, why he reacts viscerally to the idea of Congressional oversight, why he feels that it was permissible to start a war using questionable or false evidence, and why he believes that his administration can spy without a warrant on Americans or imprison an American without due process of law. The Bush Presidency is about turning the American presidency into a unchecked instrument for governing.

Ohio's John Boehner Says U.S. Is Paying a "Small Price" in Iraq

So here we have an incredible remark by Congressman John Boehner, who is the Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. Here is the question from Wolf Blitzer of CNN and Boehner's answer:

BLITZER: How much longer will U.S. taxpayers have to shell out $2 billion a week or $3 billion a week as some now are suggesting the cost is going to endure? The loss in blood, the Americans who are killed every month, how much longer do you think this commitment, this military commitment is going to require?

BOEHNER: I think General Petraeus outlined it pretty clearly. We’re making success. We need to firm up those successes. We need to continue our effort here because, Wolf, long term, the investment that we’re making today will be a small price if we’re able to stop al Qaeda here, if we’re able to stabilize the Middle East, it’s not only going to be a small price for the near future, but think about the future for our kids and their kids.

Only a politician who doesn't have a family member serving in Iraq, who doesn't have to worry every day and night whether his loved one is safe in Iraq, could make that kind of statement. Frankly it is obscene and a hell of a lot more insulting to American soldiers than some ad run by

Republican Plan for Iraq: Endless Troop Committment

The New York Times has an article dated September 12, 2007, on its website in which the reporters claim that Bush is going to try and portray his so-called troop withdrawal of next summer as a way to bring America together over Iraq. Here is a quote from the article:

With lawmakers openly skeptical of his troop buildup, Mr. Bush will cast his plan for a gradual, limited withdrawal as a way to bring a divided America together — even as he resists demands from those who want him to move much faster.

Now there are all kinds of things wrong with this concept. First, if the United States withdraws the 30,000 troops that were included as part of the surge, that brings us back to where we were before the surge started. Second, the 30,000 troops have to be withdrawn by next summer according to several reports because the Pentagon cannot sustain this kind of commitment. Third, as we noted in an entry posted yesterday, this plan leaves American troops held hostage to decisions made by Iraqis, which we cannot control.

Politically, however, this plan of Bubble-Boy's may work unless Democrats push back with an easily understood counter-message. That message could be that the Republicans are promising an endless troop commitment in the Middle East. Vote Republican for War without End.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

U.S. Cannot Control What Iraqis Do or Decisions They Make

One of the most frustrating problems with the Bush adventure in Iraq has been the absolute inability of Bubble-Boy and Dick "the Duck Hunter" Cheney to recognize that the United States cannot control what Iraqis do or what decisions they make. This problem is illustrated by an article that appeared in the Washington Post on Wednesday, September 12, 2007.

Here is a quote from that article:

A little over four years ago, when the Bush administration claimed its mission had been accomplished in Iraq, warnings that it would be hard and maybe impossible to remake Iraq were whispered only in the bowels of the State Department -- by Crocker, a career Foreign Service officer with long Middle East experience, among others. Diplomatic caution was dismissed as timid "clientism" from "Arabists" who were out of step with what the White House saw as the march of democracy in the region.

Now, of course, four years later, we understand that this so-called "march of democracy" depends on the Iraqis and the decisions they make. Now we are told that we can't leave Iraq because there will be sectarian violence that could kill hundred of thousands of Iraqis. Now we are told that only the Iraqis can decided if there will be reconciliation between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Now we are told that only the Iraqis can decide whether there will be a sharing of oil revenues, or whether local militias will be disarmed, or what the shape of a post-war Iraq will take.

The bottom line is that we have put over 160,000 American soldiers at risk because of decisions by Iraqis that we can't control. Does it make any sense to allow them to continue to be in that position?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Petraeus's Plan Kicks Iraq Over into 2008

McClatchey News Service has a story up on its website about how Petraeus is kicking Iraq into the 2008 campaign. This has both good and bad points for both political parties. The good for the Democrats is that the issue of the Iraq War will probably be the number one issue in the 2008 campaign for control of the White House, the Senate, and the House of Representatives. The bad news is that if Republicans can get Bush to withdraw a significant amount of troops before the 2008 election, the Republicans can try to portray themselves as the Party who actually got us out of Iraq. Of course, for Republicans, the situation is just the opposite.

This is a quote from the article linked to above:

That's where Petraeus creates both opportunity and challenge for the Democrats as well.

His plan would leave 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq until next August at least, as many as were there in January, three months after Democrats won control of Congress largely on an end-the-war platform. That could stamp the Republican brand name even more emphatically on sustaining a woefully unpopular war. And that could be enough to persuade war-weary voters to give Democrats victory next year.

But if Dowd is right about voters wanting some party — either party — to get the troops out, then the Democrats have a problem: They must reconcile their followers' urge to set a deadline now for quick withdrawal with their congressional leaders' calculation that they can't enact a deadline over Bush's veto power without first getting some Republicans to sign on.

That conflict is building strains in the Democratic Party. And Petraeus' presentation put more pressure on that fault line.

The presidential campaign of Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., for example, hit rival Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., on Tuesday for not committing to vote for a fixed, enforceable timetable for withdrawal.

L.A. Times Article On How Bush Wants to Leave Iraq to His Successor

The L.A. Times posted an article on its website dated September 11, 2007 on how Bush plans to leave a large military presence in Iraq to his successor. This will ensure that any consequences of an American withdrawal will be on his successor's watch, not his. The author points out that in 2003 Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, said it would take 10 years to stabilize Iraq and, according to a State Department source, that's what it is going to take.

Politically this approach also offers some political cover to Republicans. The thinking is that they will be able to argue next year that the war is winding down and troops are coming home, even though it will be less than 20% of the number of troops are scheduled to come home next year. (That 20%, by the way, apparently is 20% of the number there now, after the so-called "surge" as compared to 20% of the number that were there prior to the "surge.")

This policy is, of course, completely in keeping with Bush's character. He has always left messes for others to clean up. His whole life has been about avoid taking responsibility for his own mistakes. What is irritating about this situation is not just Bush's refusal to take responsibility, but also why Democrats don't point this out to voters. Prominent Democrats, like our presidential candidates, should point this out. They should point out that of course Bush is going to leave it to others to clean up his Iraq mess, because that's what he does and who he is.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Are There Liberal and Conservative Brains?

The L.A. Times posted a story on its website dated Monday, September 10, 2007, about a research study that supposedly proves that liberals and conservatives process information differently. There have been studies that show that liberals and conservatives think differently, but this study goes beyond those studies and explores the processing of information. Here is a quote from the article:

Analyzing the data, Sulloway said liberals were 4.9 times as likely as conservatives to show activity in the brain circuits that deal with conflicts, and 2.2 times as likely to score in the top half of the distribution for accuracy.

Sulloway said the results could explain why President Bush demonstrated a single-minded commitment to the Iraq war and why some people perceived Sen. John F. Kerry, the liberal Massachusetts Democrat who opposed Bush in the 2004 presidential race, as a flip-flopper for changing his mind about the conflict.

Based on the results, he said, liberals could be expected to more readily accept new social, scientific or religious ideas.

"There is ample data from the history of science showing that social and political liberals indeed do tend to support major revolutions in science," said Sulloway, who has written about the history of science and has studied behavioral differences between conservatives and liberals.

If this research study is accurate, then the question becomes whether how such brains are distributed across the United States population. That is, are there more "conservative brains" or more "liberal brains"? Are there differences in where such brains are located? Do people with "liberal" brains tend to live in areas where there is more change? It will be interesting to see how this information develops over the next few years.

UPDATE: Here is an article on the same study that gives more background on how liberals and conservatives differ in their cognitive styles.

Iraq War Producing Thousands of Brain-Damaged GIs

The AP ran a story on Sunday, September 9, 2007 about how the Iraq War is producing an "epidemic" of brain injuries to American soldiers. These injuries are being caused by bomb blasts and are occurring to relatively young soldiers. Some of them will need life-long care. This care will continue long after American soldiers are no longer serving in Iraq. It will be just one more bitter legacy of Bush's Iraq War blunder. A legacy that neither he nor any member of his immediate family will have to live with, but one that will haunt thousands of American families.

Politics Is Marketing

One of the problems that Democrats seem to have is that all too often Democrats overlook that politics is about marketing. A political campaign markets the candidate who is running. A political party markets its ideas, its philosophy about how a government should be run. A political action commmittee markets itself. All of these efforts are designed to somehow influence the voters when they choose their elected leaders.

Yet, it sometimes seems that while Republicans understand this basic concept, Democrats not only don't understand it, they resist it. Part of this may be that a lot of Democrats don't come from business families and don't have business backgrounds before entering politics. They are not likely to have been business majors in college. Their exposure to marketing concepts is limited.

It is way past time for Democrats to grasp this simple fact: If they want political power in a democratic society, then they have to market themselves, their candidates, and their ideas. Consumers don't usually buy a product they are not aware of and voters don't either.

Biden Criticizes Petraeus on Sunday Talk Show

This Sunday,September 9, 2007, Senator Joe Biden criticized General Petraeus's assessment on how things are going in Iraq. Biden appeared on the NBC's Meet the Press. Challenging Petraeus is crucial to Democrats winning the public relations campaign that the Bush Administration has been running since the Congressional recess in August. The Bushies know that Bubble-Boy has no credibility with the public on Iraq, so they are hiding behind Petraeus, hoping that Democrats will not challenge his assessment on Iraq.

Why does Bush have to hide behind Petraeus? Because as Biden said on Meet the Press,"This president has no plan — how to win and how to leave." As Biden went on to note, Bush's plan is to leave Iraq for the next President to handle. All his life, other people have bailed Bush out of his mistakes. He has been allowed to avoid the draft, bankrupt businesses, and invade a country and not pay any price for his screw-ups. Being George W. Bush means never having to take responsibility.

Public Doubts Petraus Will Give Accurate Report On Iraq

The Washington Post is reporting in its Sunday, September 9, 2007 edition that the public doubts that General Petraeus will give an accurate report on conditions in Iraq during his congressional testimony. This is a quote from the article:

Only about four in 10 said they expect the general to give an accurate accounting of the situation in Iraq. A majority, 53 percent, said they think his report will try to make the situation in Iraq look better than it really is.

This story also reflects how much independents are adopting the Democratic point of view on Iraq. Here is a quote that illustrates that point:

Just 23 percent of Democrats and 39 percent of independents expected an honest depiction of conditions in Iraq. By contrast, two-thirds of Republicans anticipated a straightforward accounting.

The story also reports that the poll shows that Iraq remains the predominant political issue in Americans' minds. This is from the article:

Beyond current policy, the war has clear implications for the 2008 presidential race. More than a third identified Iraq as the campaign's single most important issue. The war received nearly three times as many mentions as the next most frequently cited issue, health care, at 13 percent. Nearly half of Democrats called Iraq the single most important issue, as did a third of independents and 28 percent of Republicans.

The bottom line is that for all of the PR spin about Petraeus's report to Congress that the Bushies have put out, the public remains skeptical. Hopefully Congressional Dems will read this report before the General testifies.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Three Rules for Local Campaigns

This is the year that Ohio elects city, village, and township officials across the state. There are a lot of Democrats running for local office. MCDAC members have a lot of experience running in local elections. Here are three rules to keep in mind when you are organizing your campaign:

1. Not all voters are equal. By that we mean that voters who won't vote in this year's elections are not equal to those voters who will vote. Voter turn-out will be about 50% of the electorate, and in some areas, less. You need to figure out the voting history of voters in your area and concentrate on those voters who will vote in this year's elections.

2. There is never enough time or enough money. Campaigns are captive of things that are finite. Those are money and time. You need to focus on fund-raising and you need to budget your time. Keep in mind that people can only get done about half of what they think they can get done; things will probably cost around twice as much as you think they will; and things will take about twice as long to accomplish as you think they will take. This means that you have to budget both your time and your campaign money.

3. The most valuable resource in any campaign is the candidate's time. Since time is finite, and since the candidate is the person that you want voters who are going to vote in off-year elections to be talking to, you need to make sure that you both protect and maximize the candidate's time. Here's an example: Let's say that a candidate and volunteers are going to do a door-to-door canvas on a street. The candidate should only be hitting homes with voters who are pretty certain to vote. Households with voters who may vote in an off-year election should be covered by other volunteers.

Those are the three rules. Thanks for taking the time to participate in local campaigns and good luck!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Bush Claims We are "Kicking Ass" In Iraq as Seven More Americans Die

This is incredible: The President tells a deputy Australian Prime Minister that we are "kicking ass" in Iraq. Meanwhile the media is reporting that the United States lost seven more troops in Iraq. (As of early morning 9-7-2007). So while "Bubble-Boy" indulges himself with some good old-fashioned down-home Texas talk, American families are constantly being notified that their loved ones have either died or been wounded in Iraq.

Does he think that makes him look tough? Does he think that the insurgents in Iraq are impressed by his language? Does he think that he is making our troops safer? The adolescent posturing of Bush was, perhaps, amusing before people started dying in Iraq. Now it is just sad

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Military Deaths in Iraq Higher Each Month of 2007

If you go to this website page, you will see a graph that shows the military deaths of United States forces in Iraq by month for 2003-2007. If you compare each complete month of 2007 compared to each month of 2006, you will see that so far this year each month of 2007 has seen more deaths than the comparable month in 2006. Yet, the Bush Administration is convincing the American media that the "surge" is supposedly working. So, let's see, deaths of Iraq1s are up, deaths of American military personnel are up, yet we are supposed to believe that we have turned the proverbial corner in Iraq. Well, if you believe that line of b.s., we got a bridge over the Euphrates we would love to sell you.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Democrats Work

If you click on the link in this entry's title you can read a article on Huffington Post by Jason Carter, the grandson of Jimmy Carter. He is promoting a concept called Democrats Work. This is an organization dedicated to using Democrats as volunteers for community service projects. This is an excellent idea because it shows how Democrats could be seen as doing more than just asking people for their votes. It would put Democrats in touch with community service organizations and would lead to alliances with local activists who are working in local communities. If you know of such an organization in Ohio, please leave the name and other contact information in the comments section of this entry.

When Pat Buchanan Starts Making Sense.....

you know you are in some seriously deep do-do. Read the column linked to in this entry's title by P.B. He makes more sense on Iran than anyone in this administration. Is this an endorsement of Buchanan's views? No, but his point that no one in the Democratically controlled Congress is stopping W's drive toward war with Iran is a very valid point.

Republicans Discover "Bi-Partisanship" on Iraq

This is a story from the AP about how six so-called Republican "moderates" and five Democratic "moderates" want a bi-partisan solution to Iraq. The story was posted during the evening of September 4, 2007. We can see why Republicans want a bi-partisan solution to Iraq because they are in danger of taking even further losses next year in both the House and the Senate. We can even see why Democrats from "swing" districts are interested in such an approach. The problem, though, is that Bush isn't interested in such an approach, as this story, also from the AP, shows. He is determined to keep as many troops in Iraq until the end of his term as he can and if he ends up destroying the chances of Republicans to retake either House of Congress, that is just too bad.

GOP Troubles Continue as Sen. Craig Reconsiders Resigning

The rumors were out on the Internet over the last two days that Sen. Larry Craig was reconsidering his decision to resign from the Senate due to his arrest for an incident in a airport bathroom in Minneapolis. Now, Politico has two stories up on about Craig's resignation. This report, put up on September 4, 2007, confirms that Craig is looking at his options. This report, also put up on September 4, 2007, points out that his GOP colleagues aren't happy with this turn of events.

One of the problems for the GOP Senate leadership is that the longer this takes to resolve, the more people are going to raise the question about why the difference in treatment between Sen. David Vitter from Louisiana and Sen. Craig from Idaho. Reporters raised this issue yesterday with McConnell, according to this story posted on Politico on September 4, 2007. The situation involving Craig will be interesting to watch over the next few days.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Another Reason to Like Ted Strickland: He Knows When Not to Talk

Buckeye State Blog put us on to this report about Governor Ted Strickland refusing to make public his preference for the Democratic nomination for President in 2008. The Gov told the Cincinnati Enquirer reporter that yes, he had a preference and no, he wasn't going to announce it to the media. That's smart.

First of all, why tick off Ohio Dems who aren't supporting the Governor's choice? Second, why tick off someone who may not be his choice, but who may end up being the nominee. Third, next year when he is campaigning with the Democratic presidential nominee he won't have to answer questions about why the nominee is better than his preference if his preference doesn't make it.

Surprise, Surprise-Bush's Advisers Tell Him to Stay the Course in Iraq

Despite reports like this one from the Monday, September 4, 2007 edition of the Los Angeles Times, or this one from the Monday, September 4, 2007 edition of the Washington Post, the AP is reporting that Bush's advisers are telling him to stick with his current strategy in Iraq. Clearly, the Bush Administration is not going to withdraw any troops from Iraq unless they are forced to do so by two-thirds of the Senate and the Congress. Since that is not going to happen, this means that the 2008 presidential campaign will be dominated by Iraq. We wonder how the Republicans running for President are going to like spending all of next year answering questions about Bush's Iraq War? Our guess is not very much.

The Public Information Paradox: Putting Out Good Information May Just Reinforce Bad Information

Okay, so have you ever wondered why a fairly large percentage of Americans believe that Iraq and Hussein were involved in the attacks on September 11, 2001? Although the Bush Administration shares a good deal of the blame, its deceit isn't the whole reason. Part of the reason has to do with the human brain. Consider the following quote from this article in the September 4, 2007 Washington Post:

The psychological insights yielded by the research, which has been confirmed in a number of peer-reviewed laboratory experiments, have broad implications for public policy. The conventional response to myths and urban legends is to counter bad information with accurate information. But the new psychological studies show that denials and clarifications, for all their intuitive appeal, can paradoxically contribute to the resiliency of popular myths.

This phenomenon may help explain why large numbers of Americans incorrectly think that Saddam Hussein was directly involved in planning the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and that most of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Iraqi. While these beliefs likely arose because Bush administration officials have repeatedly tried to connect Iraq with Sept. 11, the experiments suggest that intelligence reports and other efforts to debunk this account may in fact help keep it alive.

This research puts politicians and public officials who face opponents who aren't afraid to lie in a bad situation. If they ignore the lie, then people might believe it is true who otherwise wouldn't believe it is true. Taking the lie on, however, by putting out facts refuting the lie might also contribute to the lie being better remembered by people who have heard it. It is a fascinating article and one that you might want to take the time to read.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Wolf Blitzer Confronts Republican Congressman with Reality

This is a very interesting video that is posted on You Tube and was mentioned in the Think Progress blog:

What's interesting about this is that Blitzer is not just accepting the Republican spin that the Bush Administration is putting out in advance of the report that Petreaus is going to make to Congress later this month. It may be that the ability of the Bushies to bully the media into doing their bidding is finally ending.

Newsweek Article on Ethnic Cleansing of Sunnis from Baghdad

Newsweek has an interesting article on how Shia Muslims are forcing Sunni Muslims out of Baghdad. Here is a quote from the article:

The surge of U.S. troops—meant in part to halt the sectarian cleansing of the Iraqi capital—has hardly stemmed the problem. The number of Iraqi civilians killed in July was slightly higher than in February, when the surge began. According to the Iraqi Red Crescent, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has more than doubled to 1.1 million since the beginning of the year, nearly 200,000 of those in Baghdad governorate alone. Rafiq Tschannen, chief of the Iraq mission for the International Organization for Migration, says that the fighting that accompanied the influx of U.S. troops actually "has increased the IDPs to some extent." (IDP refers to internally displaced persons.)

So what about the success of the surge that the right-wing and the major media outlets keep telling us about? Here is an explanation about that from the same article:

When Gen. David Petraeus goes before Congress next week to report on the progress of the surge, he may cite a decline in insurgent attacks in Baghdad as one marker of success. In fact, part of the reason behind the decline is how far the Shiite militias' cleansing of Baghdad has progressed: they've essentially won. "If you look at pre-February 2006, there were only a couple of areas in the city that were unambiguously Shia," says a U.S. official in Baghdad who is familiar with the issue but is not authorized to speak on the record. "That's definitely not the case anymore." The official says that "the majority, more than half" of Baghdad's neighborhoods are now Shiite-dominated, a judgment echoed in the most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq: "And very few are mixed." In places like Amel, pockets of Sunnis live in fear, surrounded by a sea of Shiites. In most of the remaining Sunni neighborhoods, residents are trapped behind great concrete barricades for their own protection.

This is a very interesting article, and also very sad, because it shows how much havoc our failure to plan for a post-Saddam Iraq has caused for Iraqis. Obviously, things were going to change once Saddam was removed. Sunnis are a relatively small portion of Iraq's population but had been exercising all of the political power. Just as obviously, though, Iraq didn't have to be like this.

According to this article in the Washington Post, taken from a new book that is coming out about Bush he thought that Americans would be greeted as liberators. This was based on three conversations he had with dissident Iraqis before the invasion. Here is a quote from that article:

Several of Bush's top advisers believe that the president's view of postwar Iraq was significantly affected by his meeting with three Iraqi exiles in the Oval Office several months before the 2003 invasion, Draper reports.

He writes that all three exiles agreed without qualification that "Iraq would greet American forces with enthusiasm. Ethnic and religious tensions would dissolve with the collapse of Saddam's regime. And democracy would spring forth with little effort -- particularly in light of Bush's commitment to rebuild the country."
We now see how useful that information was for the United States.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

British Generals Criticize Rumsfeld Over Iraq Planning

The Washington Post posted a story on its website on Sunday, September 2, 2007, reporting that two retired British generals are criticizing Rumsfeld for the lack of planning that went into the Iraq War. The story is interesting because it is coming from British officers who were involved in the preparation for war with Iraq. It will be hard for the Bushies to blow this off as just more bs from Europeans who are too timid to stand up to the forces of "Islam Fascism."

Eleabor Clift's Column for Newsweek: "Marketing the War"

Here is a link to a great column by Eleanor Clift because it contains an analysis on how the Republicans plan to blame the Democrats when things go wrong in Iraq. This is a quote from the article:

Forget September. April is the real deadline. That’s when the U.S. military can no longer sustain the surge, and the debate will then be over whether to return to pre-surge levels or begin a staged withdrawal. You can guess where Bush will be; he’ll want to keep 130,000 troops (down from the current 160,000) in Iraq until he leaves office. The strategy of the war’s architects is clear: keep enough troops in Iraq to provide a surface illusion of progress, and then when the Democrats (ideally, Hillary) win the presidency in ’08 and pull out of Iraq, Bush and the Republicans can claim they were on the verge of a great victory against Islamofascism when the weak-willed opposition party betrayed the troops and snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. It worked with Vietnam, crippling Democrats on national security for decades because it was a Democratic Congress that pulled funding from the South Vietnamese government.

This is why Democratic politicians in Washington are not lining up to cut off funding for troops while they are serving in Iraq. They realize that they are going to be blamed if we withdraw rapidly and a bloodbath results. The thing that is not known, however, is whether the American public will care if there is a bloodbath in Iraq. If you want an explanation of why Democrats aren't willing to cut off funding, Clift's column is a good place to start.

Newsweek Reports Democratic Pressure Hasten Rove's Departure

Newsweek has an online story out that quotes an unnamed White House official as saying that Democratic pressure was the reason that Karl Rove, aka Bush's Brain, decided to leave before Bush's term ends in 2009. Apparently Rove thought that after the 2006 mid-term elections he could return to his former role in the White House. A Democratic-controlled Congress changed that by launching investigations of activities that were connected with Rove. Karl apparently then decided that his family needed him to leave his White House position. So not only Gonzales' departure but Rove's as well can be credited to a Democratic controlled Congress. Two good by-products of the country voting Democratic in 2006.

Is Bush Administration Planning Massive Military Attack on Iran?

This online article certainly thinks so. Of course, since there is no way of knowing exactly what "Times Online" is, there is no way of knowing how much stock to place in this report. On the other hand, there is no doubt that Bush and Cheney are crazy enough to try such a stunt. Embroiling the whole Middle East might be the only way they think they can ensure a GOP President gets sworn in on January 20, 2009.

There is also the possibility that the Bushies are putting this story out there as a way to pressure the Iranians and the United Nations into doing what they want. One possible advantage of being considered a war-monger by the rest of the world is that other global actors are inclined to believe such rumors and take them into consideration when planning their moves.

The article does show how they are going to justify this move. They are going to claim that the Iranians are supplying the insurgents in Iraq and if they would just stop, Bush's use of military force would start paying dividends in Iraq. One thing is for sure and that is that Bush won't be swayed by any humanitarian considerations. He is willing to sacrifice our military personnel and an untold number of people in Iraq and Iran to get his way. That's what happens when you turn our country over to a man whose entire life has been all about his sense of entitlement.

UPDATE: This is an article from another UK newspaper's website on the same topic. It is chilling reading to say the least.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

DOJ Attorneys Engage in Quiet Rebellions Against Bush Policies

U.S. News and World Report posted a story on its website on August 30, 2007, that reports on how attorneys at the U.S. Department of Justice are refusing to do appeals involving the detention of hundreds of people at the Guantánamo Bay naval base. This is yet one more illustration of the way career lawyers at the Justice Department are opposing Bush and his attempts to subvert Justice.

From leaking stories to the media about the reality of the Bush Justice Department to testifying truthfully to Congress, lawyers have been the source for media stories about what is happening at Justice. Since we have two lawyers in our family, we are proud of the role that lawyers have played in bringing the abuses of this administration to light.

This is not to say that all the lawyers at Justice have opposed Bush. Indeed, one of the sad things about the reign of Ashcroft and especially Gonzales has been that many of the abuses of power associated with this administration have been defended by lawyers. John Yoo comes to mind, as well as good ol' Alberto himself, but there are plenty of others.

Still when the sad history of this administration is written, one of the bright spots will be the willingness of many attorneys in the Justice Department willing to risk their careers or worse to expose this administration's war on the rule of law.