Monday, April 30, 2007

A MCDAC Question for "The Decider"





Since it is the anniversary of the famous "Mission Accomplished" photo-op conducted by "The Decider" on the deck of an aircraft carrier, we thought we would take this opportunity to ask this question which has been bothering us for some time.

Pollster Mark Penn & the Clinton Campaign

The Washington Post did a story today by Anne E. Kornblut on Mark Penn who is, according to this article, not only a pollster for Hillary Clinton's campaign, but also a top-level advisor. In 1996, after Dick Morris had to resign for being publicly linked to a call-girl operation, Mark Penn became the Clinton campaign's pollster. According to all accounts he did a great job. His influence in the Clinton campaign in 2008, however, may strike some as problematic.

This is a quote from the Post article: If Clinton seems cautious, it may be because Penn has made caution a science, repeatedly testing issues to determine which ones are safe and widely agreed upon (he was part of the team that encouraged Clinton's husband to run on the issue of school uniforms in 1996).
If Clinton sounds middle-of-the-road, it may be because Penn is a longtime pollster for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council whose clients have included Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.).


If Clinton resembles a Washington insider with close ties to the party's biggest donors, it may be because her lead strategist is a wealthy chief executive who heads a giant public relations firm, where he personally hones Microsoft's image in Washington.

And if some opponents see Clinton as arrogant, her campaign a coronation rather than a grass-roots movement, it may be because of the numbers wizard guiding her campaign and the PowerPoint presentations he likes to give on the inevitability of his candidate.

Yet Penn also has everything that Clinton would want in a senior consultant: undisputed brilliance and experience, according to even his enemies; clear opinions, with data to back them up; unwavering loyalty; and a relentless focus on the endgame: winning the general election. And Clinton clearly adores him. She describes Penn in her autobiography, "Living History," as brilliant, intense, shrewd and insightful.

"Mark brings a certain certainty about his point of view that can feel like an anchor in stormy seas," said Geoffrey D. Garin, a Democratic pollster who is not connected to any campaign. "It's clear -- and more importantly, it's clear to Senator Clinton -- that he has a consuming commitment to her, and that's not been true in all of the previous Clinton consulting relationships."

Here's what concerns us about Penn's influence on Clinton. We believe that the way to win Ohio and other red states trending purple is to run as an economic populist much like Sherrod Brown did in 2006 in Ohio, as Jim Webb did in 2006 in Virginia, and as Jon Tester did in Montana. We don't think that Clinton is predisposed to run that kind of campaign and we worry that with Penn advising her, she won't run that type of campaign.

We think that Republicans will paint her as a social liberal, elitist and out of touch with the ordinary concerns of Americans. They will run a social populist campaign. The way to beat such a campaign is to run an economic populist campaign. Sherrod showed the way to carry Ohio. The question is can Hillary follow his lead with Penn advising her?

Reader Submission: The Case for Obama

This entry originally appeared as a comment to one of our earlier posts. We thought that it deserved its own entry and so we have posted it as a reader submission.

Obama for president, 2008

It is obvious, that 9-11 provided the opportunity to unveil and unleash upon an unsuspecting nation a sinister plan to invade and occupy the sovereign nation of Iraq. The idea to go to war in Iraq of course was plotted long before that fateful day. This act of unmitigated war defied the moral and value basis of the American democracy.

So much has been said about the reasons for going to war in Iraq. It is now as clear as day that none of the reasons given were true. It can be stated without fear of prejudice that the whole thing was an outright fabrication given all the facts that have now come to light.

The damage has been done and now the big questions beg answers. Where do we go from here, and who will be the best leader to tackle the monumental task of restoring constitutional order to the United States? Who can do the best job of rebuilding Iraq a nation ravaged by a senseless war driven by lies and criminal ambitions? Who can recapture world respect diminished by our total disregard for international law in the conduct of the illegal invasion of Iraq

Enter the 2008 presidential elections. With one swipe of the hand, all Republican candidates are ruled out. As a matter of national and global interest, no Republican should be allowed near the White House in a hundred years because that’s how many years that party has set civilization back. Attention now turns to the Democrats

If the outcome of the Iraq invasion and occupation was not so tragic, it would be laughable to think that all members of Congress who voted to start military intrusion into Iraq were deceived by the Bush administration.

Far from it, all those who voted for the war including Clinton, Biden, Edwards and Dodd knew what they were doing. They took a calculated political risk in part to brace a perceived weak spine in matters of national defense. The other profound reason was to fulfill their obligation to special interest groups like the Neo-cons whose agenda is counter to real American interest. Think about it deeply.

All these pitiful escapists who are now prostrating at the altar of empty regrets should be held accountable just as George Bush and his cronies. These people should not be rewarded for their lack of vision and leadership at the critical moment when supreme judgment and courage were demanded.

Obama is the man for president. After all, what he saw sitting down in the valley, others couldn't standing atop the hill. What other test of leadership can there be other than the ability to make sound decisions using instinctive judgment in the face of uncertainty.

All those politicians who favored the disastrous incursion into Iraq should be held accountable because they failed in their duty as leaders to protect the vital interests of America namely freedom, pride, treasure and national security. Why should these people be trusted to lead now?

A strong case can be made for Obama to be President because he has already demonstrated presidential capabilities which include strong vision, superior intellect, political savvy, courage, successful career, uncluttered personal life and a great natural charm.

These qualities far out weigh the so called years of experience touted by the other candidates. What do they have to show for their worthless experience? If years of experience meant so much, then why are we in such a mess today?

Please, not another word by these candidates about being deceived by George Bush. Truth is, if one can be deceived by Bush on matters of such national significance, then on no account should such individuals be qualified to lead this great country. Please, drop the self serving talk and make way for Obama, the next President of the United States.

Wordtodawise

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Are Republicans Drinking Bush's Iraq Kool-Aid?

If you click on the link in this entry's title you can see the results of the recent CBS-New York Times poll on Bush's handling of the Iraq War. Overall 24% of those responding approved of his handling of Iraq, 71% disapproved, and 5% had no opinion. Inside the party breakdown, however, the results are much different. Among Democrats the approve/disapprove breakdown is 5%-93%; among independents it is 19%-74% but among Republicans it is 58%-34%. Clearly the rank and file of the Republican Party has drunk the Iraqi Kool-Aid that Bush has put out for them.

These figures are also why it is so hard for Congressional Republicans to break ranks and support the Democrats' plan on the war. If they do, they risk being opposed in contested primaries. If they don't, however, they risk being defeated in the 2008 general election. (Click here to see what happens to those who start warning others about drinking Bush's dangerous brew.)

Of course this is creating a very bad environment for Republicans. The L.A. Times referred to the present political environment as "toxic" for Republicans in this article. Well, it is a poison of their own making and we don't feel the least bit sorry for them. Our sympathy is for the families of the dead and wounded who served in this war.

Notes from Medina County Democratic Chair Pam Miller

Medina County Democratic Party Spring Dinner

Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray is the featured speaker at the Medina County Democratic Party's Spring Dinner this Saturday, May 5th. Tickets are $40. Contact Pam Miller at pamelabmiller@gmail.com or call 330-722-6655. Help support Medina County candidates and party activities! Theme of the evening is "Spring Green," promoting environmental friendliness. Join the best people in our county....Medina County Democrats!!

Ohio Democratic Party State Dinner

Senator Hillary Clinton headlines the Ohio Democratic Party State Dinner, May 12th in Columbus. The Medina County Democratic Party has tickets available, $150 each, payable to the Medina County Democratic Party.
Call Pam Miller at 330-725-7487 or email at pamelabmiller@gmail.com if you'd like to join other Medina County Democrats at the State Dinner. Ohio will be in the limelight in 2008...let's be a part of it.

Irony of the GOP's Position and the Media's Position Iraq War Funding Resolution

James Fallows is an award winning writer for the Atlantic Monthly. He wrote an article about the Iraq War that appeared in the Atlantic and included the following: There is no evidence that the President and those closest to him ever talked systematically about the "opportunity costs" and tradeoffs in their decision to invade Iraq.

No one has pointed to a meeting, a memo, a full set of discussions, about what America would gain and lose. The Administration apparently did not consider questions like "If we pursue the war on terror by invading Iraq, might we incite even more terror in the long run?" and "If we commit so many of our troops this way, what possibilities will we be giving up?"

Bush "did not think of this, intellectually, as a comparative decision," I was told by Senator Bob Graham, of Florida, who voted against the war resolution for fear it would hurt the fight against terrorism. "It was a single decision: he saw Saddam Hussein as an evil person who had to be removed." ... A man who participated in high-level planning for both Afghanistan and Iraq--and who is unnamed here because he still works for the government--told me, "There was absolutely no debate in the normal sense."

Think about what that means: this Administration took this country into a war with a country that had not attacked us, was not implicated in the attacks on 9-11, did not have any weapons of mass destruction, and before they started this war, they didn't bother to present Bubble-Boy with a memo outlining the calculated costs versus the expected benefits. Nor was such an analysis imposed on the Administration by the media. The media never asked Bush whether he had compared the costs to the benefits before starting this war. They never asked the Administration to produce a memo that Bush had been given in which the costs and benefits were set out. Instead they sallowed the Administration's BS hook, line, and sinker.

Now, however, both the GOP and the media want to impose such a debate on Democrats who want us to leave Iraq. Now we are supposed to weigh the costs of our leaving against the costs of our staying. Now that we are stuck in this awful mess, the GOP and the media want to do some cost-benefit analysis. Well, if we didn't have to do it to get into this mess, why do we have to do it to get out of it?

Quotes taken from a Fallows article about George Tenet, which you can read here.

Cleveland PD Articles on Lawsuit Over Strickland's Veto

On Tuesday, May 1, the Ohio Supreme Court will hear the lawsuit involving Gov. Strickland's veto of the bill that Taft refused to sign and that capped punitive damages in consumer cases. Cleveland Plain Dealer Business columnist Sheryl Harris has a good article about this case in Sunday's Plain Dealer. You can read her story here. She had a recap of the bill's legal history here. Here she explains who is backing the Governor and who is backing the General Assembly. In this sidebar she sets forth the text from the Ohio Constitution that is at the center of the dispute.

If you are looking for a good explanation of what is involved in this lawsuit and why it is important these stories are ideal. What is most interesting is the groups backing the two sides in this lawsuit, Secretary of State Brunner and the Ohio General Assembly.

Groups backing the GOP led General Assembly include the following:
Ohio Automobile Dealers Association
Ohio Business Roundtable
Ohio Chamber of Commerce
Ohio Chemistry Technology Council
Ohio Council of Retail Merchants
Ohio Manufacturers' Association

Groups backing Ohio Secretary of State Brunner include the following:
AARP
Advocates for Basic Legal Equality and Legal Aid of Western Ohio
Cleveland Tenants Organization
Coalition on Homelessness and Housing
Cuyahoga County Foreclosure Prevention Program
Equal Justice Foundation
Gov. Ted Strickland
Ohio State Legal Services Association
Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
Legal Aid Society of Columbus
Miami Valley Fair Housing Center
National Association of Consumer Advocates
Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless
Toledo Fair Housing Center
18 constitutional law professors from state and private colleges

We will leave it to you to decide which groups represent the interests of Ohio consumers and ordinary citizens.

Ohio Republican Hypocrisy

If you click on the link in this entry's title you can read about how the GOP House Speaker Husted and the incoming Ohio GOP Chair Dewine want to cut 22 million out of Gov. Strickland's proposed budget for economic development but also want to earmark 9 million additional dollars for economic development for the Dayton area, where, gee, both of them come from.

As Gov. Strickland points out, it doesn't make a a lot of sense to be cutting funds for economic development in a state that is bleeding jobs. It is also inconsistent to cut funds out of the state budget for economic development for the whole state but then add funds for economic development for one area of the state.

As we have commented before, former GOP Governor Jim Rhodes used to talk about "jobs and progress" in the 1960s. This current group of GOP leaders want to talk about "guns and gays", except, of course, if the jobs are in their areas. Just another example of GOP hypocrisy.

MCDAC Newsletter for April 27, 2007

MCDAC Democratic Newsletter
April 27, 2007

MCDAC Video About the War
You can view our recent video concerning the Iraq War by clicking on this link: http://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/video-tribute-to-american-military.html

Can Hillary Clinton Win in Ohio?

David Brown was the Medina County co-ordinator for the Kerry campaign in 2004 and for the Sherrod Brown campaign in 2006. He has written an article questioning whether Hillary Clinton can carry Ohio in 2008. We are interested in your thoughts about Clinton's chances in Ohio. Read David's article and then let us know what you think. You can either post your comments on the MCDAC Blog or send them to us by replying to this message. Here is the link for David's article: http://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/reader-submission-can-hillary-clinton.html

Should Al Gore Run in 2008?

We posted that question to the readers of our blog. You can view their answers by clicking here: http://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/responses-to-our-question-should-al.html

Help Build a Progressive Arts Organization in Medina County
Repeat Item

A Medina County Democrat, Mark Kuhar, is hoping to create a progressive arts community in Medina County that would produce works on themes such as social justice and the Iraq War. If you are interested, please email him at markk@deepcleveland.com

Cordray to speak at Spring Green Dinner May 5th
Repeat Item

Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray will be the keynote speaker at the Medina County Democratic Party's Spring Green Dinner, Saturday, May 5, 2007, at Sharon Event & Party Center, Sharon Center. Social Hour (cash bar), 6:30 PM; Buffet Dinner, 7:30 PM. $40 person; $320 for table of 8. "Green" is the theme of the event. Planners Pat Chaloupek and Sheila Benson are looking for "eco friendly" items for the Silent Auction. Get in touch with them atpchal@zoominternet.net or sbenson3@neo.rr.com. Reservations due April 27th. Make checks payable to JJ Dinner Committee & mail to Medina County Democratic Party, P.O. Box 583, Medina, OH 44258. For more info & to find out about Patron listings, call 330-722-6655 or go to www.medinadems.org.

MCDAC Blog Entries for the week of 4.20-4.26.2007

This past week Laura Bush assured us that no one in America "suffers more" from what is happening in Iraq than her and her husband. Read our reaction to her comments here: http://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/laura-bush-on-iraq-no-one-suffers-more.html

You can read all our entries for the past week at http://www.mcdac.blogspot.com
We are always looking for short postings by Democrats and links to interesting articles. If you would like to submit an article or a link for our 'blog, please send them to joycekimbler@medinacountydemocraticactioncommittee.org.

MCDAC
Joyce Kimbler, Treasurer
P.O. Box 1213
Medina, OH 44258

Limbaugh's Song about Barack Obama and WTAM

Rush Limbaugh is singing a song on his show called "Barack the Magic Negro" to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon." You can read about the song at the Media Matters website here and you can listen to it here. The last link is to the site "Crooks and Liars" which also reports that several employees at radio stations that air Limbaugh's show are complaining to management about Limbaugh's song.

In the Cleveland area Limbaugh is heard on WTAM, 1100. WTAM has a contact page on its website that lists its phone number and has a form you can fill out to send them an email message about their content, including Limbaugh's song. If you are so inclined please remember to be polite, be short, and avoid profanity. The contact page can be found here.

Progressives need to push back on this because if Barack is the Democratic nominee in 2008, Rush will try to use racism to defeat him, all the while complaining that whites in the Democratic Party are "reverse racists" for supporting him. The reason why we are sure that this will be his tactic is because that is his excuse for singing this song. He justifies it as a parody of the racism that exists on the left of the political spectrum.

There is also some real irony here. WTAM spends a lot of time talking about sports, especially professional sports. In Cleveland a lot of professional sports stars are Afro-Americans. So here you have a radio station on the one hand talking about say the Cleveland Cavaliers while on the other they are airing a show like Limbaugh's. They are using interest in black sports figures to make money and sell advertising while they are also using a person like Limbaugh and his racist song to make money and sell advertising. All apparently without one minute of shame or embarrassment.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Dr. Ruth's Advice for Politicians

If you click here, you can read a short story about Dr. Ruth Westheimer and listen to an interview with her. Now you are probably wondering why we are posting a link to an interview with a sex therapist on a blog about Democratic politics and political issues? Well, in the interview, she tells the interviewer that she credits a lot of her success to an old Yiddish saying that "a lesson taught with humor is an lesson remembered." We think that is good advice for Democratic politicians.

It is easy for politicians to be serious and these are very serious times, but Dr. Ruth's advice is sound. If you can work humor into your presentation, into your message, there is a better chance that your audience will remember it and pass it on. Think about it, are you more likely to tell a friend or a family member about a speech with statistics or a speech with some humor in it?

Of course, being humorous is not easy. It is very hard work. Anyone who has ever told a joke at the beginning of a speech only to have it fall flat can tell you how hard it is. Yet, humor is more effective at turning aside attacks or countering your opponents than anger.

One of the more effective uses of humor during a political debate was when Ronald Reagan said in one of the debates with Walter Mondale in 1984 that he wouldn't hold his opponent's age against him. It was a good line because it dealt with an issue that the Reagan people were worried about and that was the fact that Reagan was old and might cause Americans to wonder if he was sharp enough for the job. Reagan's joke was both a way of acknowledging the issue and then dealing with it.

More recently, just this past month, John Edwards had to deal with the media obsession with his $400 haircut. One way he is doing that is working it into his standard speech. He does this by saying things like he wants an America where every child can dream of growing up and getting $400 haircuts. It gets his audience laughing and is much more effective than whining about how unfair it is that the media is making a big deal over the haircut.

So when you are crafting a political message, take Dr. Ruth's advice and use humor to make your point. If it works for a sex therapist, it should work for a politicians.

And the Incompetence Goes On

This is from a story in the New York Times, published in the April 29, 2007 edition: "In a troubling sign for the American-financed rebuilding program in Iraq, inspectors for a federal oversight agency have found that in a sampling of eight projects that the United States had declared successes, seven were no longer operating as designed because of plumbing and electrical failures, lack of proper maintenance, apparent looting and expensive equipment that lay idle."

It gets even better: At the airport, crucially important for the functioning of the country, inspectors found that while $11.8 million had been spent on new electrical generators, $8.6 million worth were no longer functioning.

Of course, since it is the Bush Administration, there has to be a lie somewhere. How about this:
The dates when the projects were completed and deemed successful ranged from six months to almost a year and a half before the latest inspections. But those inspections found numerous instances of power generators that no longer operated; sewage systems that had clogged and overflowed, damaging sections of buildings; electrical systems that had been jury-rigged or stripped of components; floors that had buckled; concrete that had crumbled; and expensive equipment that was simply not in use.

If you want to read the whole damned depressing story, click here.

Bush Pawning off Iraq Mess on Next Prez?

Okay, so maybe it really isn't a question, maybe it is just a fact. A story in Saturday's New York Times shows the cynicism of the Bush Administration. They have been having their allies in Congress and in the media complain that Democrats weren't giving Bubble-Boy's "surge", aka escalation, a chance. Well, it turns out that they don't expect any progress for months.

This is from the article: "The Bush administration will not try to assess whether the troop increase in Iraq is producing signs of political progress or greater security until September, and many of Mr. Bush’s top advisers now anticipate that any gains by then will be limited, according to senior administration officials."

September? Does this mean that our glorious leader's "surge" is going to last for several months? Yep. Here's another quote: "In interviews over the past week, the officials made clear that the White House is gradually scaling back its expectations for the government of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. The timelines they are now discussing suggest that the White House may maintain the increased numbers of American troops in Iraq well into next year."

Next year? Wait a minute, isn't that 2008, a presidential election year? What happens to our troops in the meantime? Check this out: "That prospect would entail a dramatically longer commitment of frontline troops, patrolling the most dangerous neighborhoods of Baghdad, than the one envisioned in legislation that passed the House and Senate this week."

So, here's what we got: a surge that isn't a surge since it is apparently a long-term commitment of more American troops. A president who won't tell us when we can expect American involvement to end in Iraq. A political party that plans to call anyone who disagrees with Bubble-Boy anti-American. In short, a receipe for more and more American casualities.

You can read the whole NYT article here.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Reader Submission: Mental Illness and Violent Crime

America Needs a Mental Health Initiative to Help Heal Society

To protect the public from potential criminals while safeguarding the individual from Big Brother is to walk a treacherous tightrope. So far, this delicate balancing act has been performed poorly by too many public servants.

The abundance of violent crime in inner-city and other high-risk areas illustrates that the nation is losing the struggle against dangerously anti-social behavior. Add school and workplace shootings to this sorry picture and the social disorder of modern America becomes disturbingly clear.

The root causes of most of twenty-first century American crime are not poverty and lack of economic opportunity. The generator of so much of our country’s criminal hostility is the alarming number of people struggling on their own with various forms of serious mental illness. The massacre at Virginia Tech only highlights this phenomenon. How else can we explain the increasing senselessness of American criminal violence?

America needs an urgent response from its elected leadership. The crisis of untreated mental illness cries out for national attention. In the crime and health care debates, mental health issues and their consequences for society have been given minimal treatment for far too long.

So much of our focus is directed at security measures that the necessity of providing better mental health evaluation and assistance is given unacceptably limited attention. According to The New York Times, there is only one clinical staff member on the typical college campus for every 1,697 students. This is a severely minimalist approach for reaching out to students in need in light of the fact that depression and substance abuse are growing epidemics on university and high school campuses. The longer that the nation gambles with this crisis, the greater the odds that crippling social disorder will result in the future.

Today’s America is fast evolving into a morally shocking society. Though segregation, discrimination, and racial violence have become targets of government action, national institutions have found themselves rather helpless at bringing the country’s moral, political, and financial resources to bear on the growing plague of serious untreated mental illness.

Teenage gang members savagely beating old people for pocket money. “Pranksters” phoning in bomb threats to high schools in the midst of post-Columbine and post-9/11 anxiety. Adults slaying their spouses and children, then turning guns on themselves. Such breaking news stories are becoming awfully repetitive for a civilized society.

The traditional explanation of moral deficiency only goes so far. There is a nationwide epidemic of psychological disorder that requires a cooperative effort between political leaders and psychiatric, public health, and other mental health professionals. The issue of violent crime has expanded fatefully beyond the narrow dimensions of the gun control and prosecution versus defendants’ rights debates.

Crime is often a sensational issue in the media. However, other pressing concerns emanating from untreated mental illness tend to go underreported. Homelessness is one such issue.

Unable to hold a job, to interact normally with others, or to deal with life’s difficulties without relying on drugs or alcohol, thousands of mentally ill Americans find themselves on the mean streets and skid rows of the nation’s cities every year. The shortage of halfway houses, clean and safe shelters, and free outpatient clinics reinforces this national tragedy. Not to mention the high expense of inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

For all the talk of “supporting the troops,” many vets continue to be abandoned to the streets and to rundown residential hotels on account of post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and other behavioral and emotional problems. Without a doubt, our society is failing the mentally ill. The consequences will remain morally and socially disastrous for the country until affordable, or free-of-charge, good quality mental health services are made available to all Americans. The United States is in dire need of a “New Deal” for the health care system, with a solid commitment to identifying at-risk persons for the purpose of ensuring their own and their neighbors’ health and safety.

Individual privacy is a vital concern. Checks must be implemented to discourage the government, educational institutions, and employers from prying too deeply into Americans’ private lives. Yet, at-risk children and adults require prompt identification and psychological help before treatable problems develop into debilitating or life-destroying disorders. We have thousands of broken homes, incidents of domestic violence, runaway kids, and filled-to-capacity homeless shelters as evidence. At the most dangerous levels, the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings illustrate the potential for outright disaster for entire communities. Public safety and the health and welfare of our communities demand our country’s full dedication to these problems.

Comprehensive mental health care free of charge or at an affordable cost must be a right of every American. Our schools should be especially vigilant in guaranteeing help for students suffering from psychological and family problems that place those individuals as well as the local community at risk. While protecting the rights of victims of mental illness, progressive Americans must work to ensure the safety and welfare of innocent people who may be affected by outbreaks of pathological violent behavior. Progressives and Democrats should seize the lead in formulating bold and creative solutions for the sake of the nation.
____________________________________________________________________
Submitted by kmjohns

Why Using "Win" or "Lose" with Iraq Helps Bubble-Boy

Josh Marshall of www.talkingpointsmemo.com has an excellent post this morning about why using the words "win" or lose" with reference to Iraq plays into Bush's hands. His point is that using such terms obscures the fact that American policy about what would happen in a post-war Iraq was bound to fail because our objectives aren't the same as the Iraqi objectives. He argues that Bush wanted to create an Iraq that would be unified, allied with America, secular, and democratic. The Iraqis seem to want a state that is not necessarily allied with America, not necessarily secular, and one where the Sunni minority is under the control of the Shia majority. His point is that using a "won/lost" dichotomy is artificial and doesn't really describe the problems facing America in Iraq. Click on the link in this entry's title to read Marshall's analysis.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bush Administration Doesn't Count Car Bombings in Promoting Surge Success

Okay, we shouldn't be surprised anymore. After all, this is the Bush Administration and when it comes to Iraq, it is simply incapable of telling the truth. Even given that standard, however, this is one for the books. The McClatchy News service is reporting that when the Bush administration claims that its Iraq surge is working because civilian deaths are going down, it turns out that they are not counting fatalities resulting from car bombs. Unfortunately for Iraqi civilans in Baghdad, and for the administration's credibility, car bombs are one of the main reasons why Iraqi civilians die.

Responses to Our Question: "Should Al Gore Run for President in 2008?"

Hello:

Below are the responses we got to our question from people who responded to our question by email. We also had people who gave their responses directly by posting them as comments to the original entry. The original entry and the comments can be viewed here.

All told we had 27 responses to our question. Of those 27 responses, 14 were for a Gore candidacy; 11 were opposed; and the other two were entries that were mixed. Thanks to all who responded. We will be posting similar questions in the future and look forward to your responses.

Joyce
______________________________________________________________

JOYCE.....NO. He should not seek the nomination. He should be appointed SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR. His interest, study, research, and extensive volume of knowledge about the earth and it's environment, would best serve the earth, world,and the United States preserving life on earth, both human and animal . GALE NORTON was the puppet of GEORGE BUSH destroying the environment and all therein. BARABK OBAMA, his wife, and family are the compendium of today's society,and current very complex global issues. They represent life in today's world. Barack was born of biracial parents, his father black from Kenya, and his mother white, a highly educated anthropologist from Kansas. They understand today's crises in education,cultures,relationships, health care, environment,the work ehthic, and are not endowed with politics as usualEnough of the BACK ROOM scratching backs and " GOOD OLE BOYS " politics. We need to break the cycle, and BARACK OBAMA is the one to do it. HILLARY CLINTON did not stand up to BEORGE BUSH, which to me showed intimidation which has no place in a leader. OUT WITH THE OLD AND IN WITH THE NEW ! A NEW BROOM SWEEPS CLEAN .
___________________
By the way I don't think Al Gore should be nominated I fear he'llturn into wuss material again. Al Gore would at least do better than Hilary and Obama. Though we all know if my boy Edwards doesn't make it there will be a continuation of the mourning I'm already in
___________________
I think Al Gore's time and energy is better spent on his cause to save the planet and the global warming issues. He is effective and passionate about the message and we certainly need a spokesman like him to give this issue the priority it needs.However, as a presidential candidate...I say no. I just don't think he's got what it takes to beat the well-oiled Republican machine. And we definitely need someone that can. The question is, who is that person?
___________________
I would Love to see Al Gore run for President. I believe that he would have a good chance at winning . The other candidate that I really like is Barack Obama. I am looking forward to watching the Democrats Presidential candidates debate this Thursday. Wouldnt Al Gore and Barack on a ticket be phenomenal? What about Barack and Hillary? Wow!
___________________

Should Al Gore run? In my humble opinion, He does not have a fresh image, even with his documentary , environmental expertise and experience as VP.
___________________

no he should not .Back Edwards
___________________

I would not want Al Gore to run for President. While he certainly has the credentials, I don't believe he could win. He doesn't have the ability to excite people, to make them want to get out there and stomp for him. His movie is commendable but he needs to stick to that sort of thing, not run the country. He can do much for the next presidential candidate by exploiting what environmental problems have mushroomed since the Bush administration has taken over.
Of course, Al Gore hasn't had a $400 haircut; maybe that would help...I like Edwards but stuff like that hurts him and our chances to regain the White House...Hillary needs to get a voice; I haven't heard much from her...maybe she should be on The Daily Show...
___________________

Hi Joyce,

Gore is an appealing candidate, but, in my opinion, should run only
if he is driven to do so by his own conscience. That is, he should
not be drafted.
___________________

Gore should run and probably would win. It would be really good to see Bill Bradley as his running mate or possibly Edwards as VP again. Either VP choice would give an intelligent, trustworthy choice for VP.
___________________

Yes, I think Al Gore should run.
___________________

We are backing John Edwards. If Al Gore entered the
race we would give him strong consideration and
probably back him if Edwards was still in third place.
Obama is too inexperienced and Hillary is too
divisive.

____________________
Joyce:
If Al Gore entered the race, I think that he would be the immediate
odds-on favorite, and deservedly so. He has the right experience and comes
from the right area of the country. I just don't have any sense that he's
going to do it.
___________________

Simply - YES - (2 votes) (Our 3 teenagers agree too, but they aren't old enough to vote yet!)
__________________
Will Gore fight for it if they attempt to steal another election?
John Kerry didn't. Gore didn't fight long enough in 2000. We can't risk another candidate that will allow the theft of our presidential election, and worse yet, not speak of it later. I've personally put the evidence documents in John Kerry's hands in 2006, the evidence of his stolen election. My brother gave them to John Edwards in 2005. Yet neither man has uttered a syllable about this election theft. NEVER AGAIN! They must not concede if they won, or they are part of the problem. What does Gore have to say about the elections now? I've not heard him address it. I am very glad he is addressing the environment.
Thanks for asking, and for all you do Joyce.
__________________
To be honest, I do not believe that he could win the presidency. I also do not believe that Hillary Clinton could win.Gore's newfound "celebrity, actor status" (which, in my mind, he is not an actor, but it is the way the R's will cast him - forgetting of course Ronnie Raygun playing with Bonzo, and the Terminator, and Sonny Senator....) will be used against him - even though many folks are starting to wake up to the fact that human activity has raped and plundered the earth (Jim Morrison was singing about this decades ago). You have my nickle.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Laura Bush on Iraq: "No one suffers more than I do or the President"

If you click on the link in this entry's title you can look at a video clip of First Lady Laura Bush telling Ann Curry of NBC's Today show that no one in America suffers more about Iraq than her and the President. Now here's the question: does this woman really believe the bs she is putting out? Does she really believe that she and her husband suffer more than the parents of the American military personnel killed in Iraq? Does she really believe that she suffers more than the parents of the wounded? How about the spouses and children of the dead? How about their brothers and sisters? Does she really think that she suffers more than they do over Iraq?

There are two possibilities about her comments. One is that she realizes that she was just mouthing platitudes and that she didn't really expect anyone to believe what she was saying. The other is that she is totally delusional and believes her and her husband are suffering just as much as those who have lost someone they love in Iraq or seen them come home wounded. Given those two bad choices, we hope that it is the first, because if it is the second, then the Bush family really is delusional about what is happening in Iraq.

Sen. Bill 117 & the Ohio Constitution's Impairment of Contracts Clause

One of the bills being talked about in the General Assembly is Sen. Bill 117 which would apparently wipe out local franchise agreements between cable tv providers and local governments. Apparently members of the General Assembly are taking some heat from mayors and other local government officials. You can read about their pressuring the Ohio Senate by clicking on the link in this entry's title.

What Sen. Bill 117 supposedly does is wipe out local franchise agreements and replace them with one state-wide franchise agreement. What is interesting about this proposal is that it would seem to violate the Ohio Constitution. The Ohio Constitution contains a provision that prohibits the impairment of contracts. The clause is found in Art. II, Sec. 28, which reads as follows:

§ 28. Retroactive laws The general assembly shall have no power to pass retroactive laws, or laws impairing the obligation of contracts; but may, by general laws, authorize courts to carry into effect, upon such terms as shall be just and equitable, the manifest intention of parties, and officers, by curing omissions, defects, and errors, in instruments and proceedings, arising out of their want of conformity with the laws of this state.

If Sen. Bill 117 would "wipe out" local franchise agreements, then how could it not be a law impairing the obligation of contracts? It would seem that such a law would violate the Ohio Constitution. Of course what is interesting about this debate is how it would seem to go against three supposed "conservative" values. They are respect for local governments, respect for the sanctity of contracts freely entered into between contracting parties, and respect for the property right that is, according to many conservative writers, implicit in such contracts.

So why is the supposedly "conservative" GOP that controls the General Assembly pushing such a bill? Because in the final analysis the GOP has become the corporate party of American politics. Conservative values are fine as long as they don't interfere with what private corporations want, but if such a conflict happens, then corporate interests will win out almost everytime.

Sojourners Magazine and Sherrod Brown

For those of you who aren't familar with Sojourners, it is a Christian organization founded by Jim Wallis. Wallis is the author of God's Politics: Why the Right is Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It. Sojourners is an organization that talks about issues such as free trade, death penalty, and poverty as well as abortion and gay rights. It publishes a magazine. In its magazine this month is an article on free trade that points out how the mainstream media only pushes one side of the free trade debate, and that is the side the favors globalization. In that article is a favorable reference to Ohio's newly elected Senator Sherrod Brown. You can read the article by clicking on the link in this entry's title.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Video Tribute to American Military Personnel Killed in Iraq

This is a short video clip prepared as a memorial to the American military personnel killed in Iraq:

Monday, April 23, 2007

U.S.Sargent: Honor American War Dead Same as Va Tech Students

If you read the article linked to in this entry's title, you can read about an American Army Sargent who wrote an opinion piece lamenting that America war dead aren't shown the same respect as the students at Virginia Tech. The following quotes are from the article:

In the article issued Monday by the public affairs office at Bagram military base north of Kabul, Sgt. Jim Wilt lamented that his comrades' deaths have become a mere blip on the TV screen, lacking the "shock factor" to be honored by the Stars and Stripes as the deaths at Virginia Tech were.

"I find it ironic that the flags were flown at half-staff for the young men and women who were killed at VT, yet it is never lowered for the death of a U.S. service member," Wilt wrote.

He noted that Bagram obeyed President Bush's order last week that all U.S. flags at federal locations be flown at half-staff through April 22 to honor 32 people killed at Virginia Tech by a 23-year-old student gunman who then killed himself.

The article goes on to note that while some states do lower the flag to half mast when a soldier from that state is killed, this practice is not uniform. The Sargent's point is well taken. Regardless of whether you agree with this war or not, those men and women who are serving in Iraq and in Afghanistan deserve our respect and deserve to have their sacrifice recognized by us.

American Research Group Poll has Bush as 33%

If you click the link in this entry's title, you can read about the latest poll from the American Research Group on Bubble-Boy's job approval ratings. As the headline indicates, the news isn't too good for BB and his henchmen. Here are a few choice excerpts from the article:

Among all Americans, 33% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 62% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 33% approve and 63% disapprove. In March, 32% of Americans approved of the way Bush was handling his job and 63% disapproved and 32% approved of the way Bush was handling the economy and 64% disapproved......

Among Republicans (31% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 72% approve of the way Bush is handling his job and 24% disapprove. Among Democrats (37% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 10% approve and 87% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job. Among Independents (32% of adults registered to vote in the survey), 24% approve and 73% disapprove of the way Bush is handling his job as president.....(emphasis added)

As you can see from the part of the second quote that we highlighted, we believe that the rate of dissatisfaction with Bush among independents is key to Democrats' hopes in 2008. If these numbers continue up until next fall, the Republicans won't be able to use Bush as a campaign tool in most states. They will also be forced to choose between aligning their views with his, which will be a problem for them with independents or distancing themselves from Bush, which will be a problem for them with the base of the Republican Party, 72% of whom approve of his job performance.

Reader Submission: Can Hillary Clinton Win Ohio?

Editor's Note: The author of this piece is a Medina County Democrat who co-ordinated the county Kerry for President campaign. His views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and views of MCDAC or any of its officers.

Can Hillary Clinton Win Ohio?

David N. Brown
Medina, Ohio
April 19, 2007

Every four years it all comes down to Ohio. It always does.

Knowing that I have worked on Ohio campaigns since 1972, every four years my friends from around the country start calling me in the days before the presidential election to ask me how things are going here. They call because they know one simple fact about these elections: no Republican has ever been elected president without carrying Ohio.

It has been this way since the founding of the Republican Party. The state which holds the key to the White House for Republicans is this state. If the Democrats want to lock out the Republican nominee, they know they can do it by winning Ohio. It is self-evident that if Al Gore had carried Ohio in 2000 or if John Kerry had carried it in 2004, we would have avoided either all or the last half of the Bush disaster.

So as the exit polls and the early returns began coming in in 2004, so once again did my friends’ calls. They knew I was running a medium-sized county for Kerry and that I knew other county coordinators from around Northeast Ohio—where most of Ohio’s Democrats live. And they wanted to know if Ohio was going to go for Kerry.

The exit polls looked good, and the counties in Northeast Ohio were on their way to producing a huge number of Democratic votes, so my responses to the calls I received in the afternoon were optimistic. Not long after the polls had closed and official results began to be reported, however, everything had changed, and by 10 PM we all knew that the catastrophe known as the Bush Administration was going to continue for another four years.

Later I will revisit Gore and Kerry and what I think they showed about the Ohio presidential electorate. But for now I want to stick to two basic points—the central role this state has played in the past and will inevitably play again in 2008 in determining whether we elect a Democratic president and the kind of Democratic presidential nominee Ohioans have been receptive to over the past century .

A detailed look at the history of Ohio’s presidential elections over the past century shows that—with the sole exception of FDR (and even he lost Ohio in 1944)—Ohioans have been unkind to Democratic presidential candidates from the Northeast. Apart from FDR, who was elected and reelected under the special circumstances of, first, the Great Depression and, second, the onset of World War II, only the following Democratic presidential candidates have been able to carry Ohio since 1900: Bill Clinton (twice), Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson, Harry Truman, and Woodrow Wilson. What each of these candidates shared were the following two characteristics—they were Southerners (or, in the case of Truman, from a border state), and in winning Ohio they also won the presidency.

Northeastern Democrats rejected by Ohioans include John Kerry, Mike Dukakis, and John F. Kennedy. JFK’s loss is particularly instructive. He was charismatic, articulate, telegenic in the campaign involving the first televised presidential debates, a war hero, married to a glamorous (and pregnant) woman, and running against a plug ugly candidate in the person of Richard Nixon. Further to his advantage, he was running when unions were still strong in Ohio, when the national security issue was still a strength for Democrats, and when divisive social issues like abortion and gay rights had not yet appeared on the national scene. As a Catholic running in a state with a “Catholic belt” which ran from Toledo to Youngstown and with Catholic voters eager to elect a Catholic president for the first time (it was later estimated that up to 80% of Catholics did indeed vote for Kennedy), he could count on Catholic votes to offset any anti-Catholic votes from Ohio’s Bible belt. In short, JFK was ideally positioned to win Ohio.

And yet he lost Ohio by 273,000 votes. Various answers have been offered for his loss, including voters’ displeasure with Ohio’s Democratic governor, Mike DiSalle. Nevertheless, given the huge size of Kennedy’s loss in Ohio and given the strong preference Ohioans have shown for Democratic presidential candidates with a Southern connection, it is tempting to ask whether JFK’s Northeastern identity did not play an important role in his loss.

The answer may well be that he lost for the same reason that Kerry and Dukakis lost the state in 2004 and 1988, respectively, and that FDR lost it in 1944 (even as the Allies were sweeping across Europe): Ohioans, particularly conservatives from the southern part of the state who draw a good bit of their conservative cultural identity from the South, seem to have a predisposition against Democrats (especially those perceived as liberals) from the Northeast. At the same time, they are much more willing to vote for southern Democrats.

The southern character of this part of Ohio is discussed by Kevin Phillips in American Theocracy, in which he refers to a study by the sociologist John Shelton Reed suggesting the substantial extent to which people from southern Ohio perceive themselves to be Southerners.[1] In a November 3, 2004 story about the outcome of the just-concluded election, Yvonne Abraham of The Boston Globe referred to Ohio’s social conservatism (“…[a] strong social conservatism runs through the state”), though she did not describe it as being confined to any particular region of Ohio. The state’s cultural conservatism was again demonstrated in the November, 2006 election when, by a wide margin, Ohioans rejected the introduction of slots parlors into the state. Ohio is now completely surrounded by states that have casino gambling in one or another form, but the recent rejection of gambling by Ohioans represented their third rejection of gambling issues since 1990.

It is against this backdrop of a culturally conservative, southern-looking electorate that one must view the willingness of Ohioans to look to the South and not to the Northeast in deciding who to vote for in presidential elections.

There is perhaps no better example of the contrast between the acceptability of a Southern Democrat and the unacceptability of a Northeastern Democrat to Ohio’s voters than the outcomes of the 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. In 2000, Gore wrote the state off early. The Boston Globe reported that he “pulled out of Ohio with a month to go….” [2] Then-Democratic Party chairman Terry McAuliffe said that the pull-out occurred even earlier. In a 2006 article in the online magazine Salon, McAuliffe was quoted as saying that in 2000 “Al Gore had to pull out of Ohio six weeks before the election because he was broke.” [3] No matter whether it happened a month or six weeks before the election, Gore’s abandonment of Ohio had a serious impact here. He halted his television advertising, and as will be noted shortly, even his most basic campaign operations became badly impaired. And yet Gore, a Tennessean, only lost the state by 165,000 votes.

Contrast this to what happened to John Kerry in 2004. Yvonne Abraham’s article described Kerry’s Ohio effort as “gargantuan” and “enormously expensive.” A pre-election analysis of Ohio by the Washington Post noted that “Ohio has been ground zero of Campaign 2004 since Kerry wrapped up the Democratic nomination, swarmed over by the candidates, bombarded by television ads, and blanketed by organizers….” [4]

The difference between the Gore effort in 2000 and the Kerry effort in 2004 was also mentioned by Brad Friedman in a post on his blog, BRAD BLOG, on November 30, 2004. He wrote of a “recent email I received from someone in Warren "Lock Down" County” and quoted the relevant passage:

I was in Warren County during the 2000 Gore campaign. We had no money, no supplies and when Gore pulled out 6 weeks ahead of the election our headquarters closed. We did not phone bank or canvass. We did not have a GOTV [Get Out The Vote]. Gore got 28% of the vote.

In 2004 we had two headquarters set up by July. We phone banked, and canvassed, starting in July. We had yard signs, bumper stickers t-shirts, house parties, bonfires, barnstorms, ACT and Moveon.org. We had a booth at every festival over the summer and fall. We caravaned to rallies. When we reached 1000 volunteers we opened a third HQ, and we still had to turn people away because there wasn't enough room. We had our own lawyer and had training sessions for Challenging the Republican Challengers. Our GOTV was from 4 sites and was amazing. Kerry got 28% of the vote after they locked out the press.

Gore got 28% after not even trying and Kerry got 28% after the biggest democratic campaign in Warren County's history.[5]

My experience in Medina County was very much the same: we covered every event, canvassed and phone banked relentlessly, and ran such a strong operation generally that John Kerry’s brother Cameron came to our headquarters to thank us personally the day before the election. Bush had beaten Gore by 11,924 votes in 2000. Another 1,960 votes had gone to Nader.
Assuming that most of these votes would have gone to Gore if Nader had not run (a fair assumption, in my view), Bush’s margin was more like 10,500 votes. In 2004, Bush beat Kerry in this county by 10,714 votes. All our work had had almost no effect on the margin of defeat.

In sum, the intense focus on Ohio by Kerry had produced an equal and opposing intensity of effort by Bush, and the net result was a wash. While Kerry got many more votes here than Gore did, Bush also greatly increased his vote total between the two elections. After all the time, money, and effort spent by and on behalf of Kerry in Ohio in 2004, he lost to Bush by 118,601 votes out of the 5.6 million votes cast. Having gone dark in Ohio six weeks before the election in 2000, Gore lost the state to Bush by 165,019 votes out of the 4.6 million votes cast. Again, the margin had barely budged. So Kerry met the same fate met earlier by FDR in 1944, JFK and Mike Dukakis. The voters just were not willing to elect someone from the Northeast.

Thus it is fair to say that Hillary Clinton faces a regional bias in Ohio as she begins her campaign for the Democratic nomination. Ohio Democrats—particularly the activists like me—will doubt that Ohioans are prepared to vote for someone who will be branded by her opponent and the media as yet another Northeast liberal. She faces two other obstacles as well.

First, she is closely tied to NAFTA (her husband will be forever seen as its architect) in a state where the voters are angry about the effect of globalization on the state’s industrially-oriented economy. And, second, she follows four years of Bush I, eight years of the first Clinton, and eight years of Bush II. Given the disastrous nature of the second Bush presidency, voters here may well be disinclined to trust the fate of the country to a candidate whose election will continue the recent tradition of dynasty in the White House.

On Election Day in 2008, my phones will begin to ring again. This time I would like to be the bearer of good news to my friends. I would like to tell them that Ohio went for the Democrat. If Hillary Clinton is the candidate, I doubt that I will be able to convey that message.
____________________________________________________________________

[1] Kevin Phillips, American Theocracy (Viking, 2006), p. 160.
[2] Yvonne Abraham, “Turf war puts focus on battlegrounds,” Boston.com, Nov. 3, 2004.
[3] Walter Shapiro, “The greedy truth about media consultants,” Salon.com, May 9, 2006.
[4] “Washington Post Analysis”, Washingtonpost.com, November, 2004.
[5] Email as quoted by Brad Friedman in his post titled “The Stench Builds in Ohio” , BRAD BLOG, November 30, 2004

Online Presidential Debates Being Scheduled

Huffington Post and Yahoo are teaming up to provide online presidential debates this fall. There will be two debates, one for Democrats and one for Republicans. The debates will be hosted by Charlie Rose, a talk show host whose talk show appears on PBS. You can read more about the debates here.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Hill Newspaper Reports Two Month Iraqi Funding Bill Likely

If you read the article that is linked to this entry's title you will learn that the Democratic Leadership in the House is thinking about presenting a two-month Iraq War funding bill after Bush vetoes the current legislation. Such a bill has several advantages for Democrats: It keeps the pressure on the administration; it forces Republicans who are vulnerable to a challenge next year to vote repeatedly on the Iraq War; it makes sure that Iraq dominates the national discussion; and it reinforces to Iraqis the need for some sort of political solution to their problems.

There are also down-sides to such a bill. Anti-war activists in the Democratic Party will be angered by what they may see as a sell-out by the Congressional Democrats. It puts Democratic incumbents from Republican leaning districts in a position of either angering potential voters or the activist base of the Democratic Party. All in all,though, it may be the best tactic following the expected Bush veto.

A Question for our Readers: Should Al Gore Run in 2008

If you click on this entry's title you can read an article from a British newspaper about how supposedly a secret team of Al Gore advisers are assembling in private to put together a Gore campaign. The theme of the article is that Gore isn't backing this group but isn't telling them to stop either. This article, along with Bill Clinton's mention of Gore possibly running in 2008 on the Larry King show the other night, is bound to trigger some political speculation.

There are a lot of reasons why Gore would be a strong candidate:

1. Last time he won the popular vote and almost won the Electoral College vote;
2. He already has great name recognition;
3. He has already staked out a position on the environment that resonates with a lot of voters;
4. He was against the war from the start;
5. He can raise money; and
6. He is identified with the successes of the Clinton administration and has none of Bill Clinton's personal baggage.

There are also some reasons why he shouldn't:

1. The media doesn't like him and would be attacking him for his supposed flaws;
2. The conservative press would be all over him; and
3. His life is going pretty good so why put himself through all that crap?

Tell us what you think by posting your comments.

MCDAC Newsletter for April 20, 2007

MCDAC Democratic Newsletter April 20, 2007

Help Build a Progressive Arts Organization in Medina County

A Medina County Democrat, Mark Kuhar, is hoping to create a progressive arts community in Medina County that would produce works on themes such as social justice and the Iraq War. If you are interested, please email him at markk@deepcleveland.com

Calling All Democratic Nurses and Nursing Students
Repeat Item

This was sent to Ms. Pam Miller, Medina County Democratic Chair, and we are forwarding it on at her request.

Dear County Party Chair;

We are asking for your assistance by sharing this invitation to any nurses or student nurses you may know. We are inviting nurses and student nurses to join us in Columbus on Saturday, April 28 for "Nurses and Politics: A Practical Approach for Democratic Nurses and Students" with Special Guest, State Senator Sue Morano, RN.

We will meet at Ohio Democratic Party Headquarters, 271 E. State Street from 1-4pm. A flyer is attached also for you to share.This meeting and continuing education event is free to members of the Nurses Democratic Caucus (NDC) and $10.00 to non-members. (The $10.00 fee can be applied to joining the caucus. Information about how to join can be found on the website www.ohdemnurses.org.) Payment will be accepted at the door. The NDC is an official caucus of ODP.

In order to plan, we are asking that participants please register by April 21 by advising Paulette Sheeley, Treasurer, 5008 Boughner Rd, Rock Creek,Ohio 44084 or email her at pcs1@alltel.net Our goal is for the Democratic Nurses in Ohio to be ready and visible in 2008!!!

Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

Carol Roe (Cleveland Heights), ChairpersonKaren Krause (Toledo), Vice-Chairperson

Cordray to speak at Spring Green Dinner May 5th
Repeat Item

Ohio Treasurer Richard Cordray will be the keynote speaker at the Medina County Democratic Party's Spring Green Dinner, Saturday, May 5, 2007, at Sharon Event & Party Center, Sharon Center. Social Hour (cash bar), 6:30 PM; Buffet Dinner, 7:30 PM. $40 person; $320 for table of 8. "Green" is the theme of the event. Planners Pat Chaloupek and Sheila Benson are looking for "eco friendly" items for the Silent Auction. Get in touch with them atpchal@zoominternet.net or sbenson3@neo.rr.com. Reservations due April 27th. Make checks payable to JJ Dinner Committee & mail to Medina County Democratic Party, P.O. Box 583, Medina, OH 44258. For more info & to find out about Patron listings, call 330-722-6655 or go to www.medinadems.org.

Medina County Democratic Yard Sign Committee
Repeat Item

We are continuing to strengthen the Democratic Party in Medina County. Yard signs are a very important part of a candidate's efforts to get his/her name and message out to the voting public. Building on the success we achieved and the lessons we learned during the 2006 elections, we want to create a systematic approach to delivering candidate yard signs for every election. The process will include identifying priority locations by precinct, creating a group of volunteers who will assist candidates in identifying locations, putting together and delivering yard signs. We want to create an 'event' to deliver yard signs. The first meeting of the Yard Sign Committee will be held on Monday, April 23rd at 7:00 PM at Panera's 4065 Pearl Road in Medina. We will use the meeting to begin to identify the priority sites within Medina County , outline volunteer opportunities and discuss how we will capture and maintain lists of individuals who are willing to post yard signs on their property. Come join the fun as we turn Medina County Blue!! Please contact Mary Ogden at mogden@ogdenpost.com or call 330-723-2507 for more information.

MCDAC Blog Entries for the week of 4.13-4.19.2007

Reader Submission: Puppets + failure=Dubyahttp://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/puppets-and-failures-dubya.html

John McCain sings about bombing Iran. http://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/john-mccain-singing-bomb-bomb-bomb-bomb.html

Senator Sherrod Brown: Doing the work of two men. http://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/senator-sherrod-brown-doing-work-of-two.html

New York Times story: Illegal immigrants taking 20% of construction jobs. http://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/ny-times-story-illegal-immigrants.html

Retired Marine General explains why he turned down the position of Iraq War "Czar"
http://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/retired-marine-general-explains-why-he.html

Pew Research Report: Fox viewers not well informed. http://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/pew-research-report-fox-news-viewers.html

Regent University hypocrites?
http://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/regent-university-hypocrites.html

Did Regent University scrub its website after Monica Goodling resigned?http://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/did-regents-university-scrub-its.html

Insider's view of the United States Department of Justice under Alberto. http://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/insiders-view-of-department-of-justice.html

How long do Americans have to stay in Iraq until Iraqis stop killing each other?http://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/how-long-do-americans-have-to-stay-in.html

Being criticized by Cheney on Iraq is like being called ugly by a toad. http://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/being-criticized-by-cheney-on-iraq-is.html

How much did George Bush pay in taxes?
http://mcdac.blogspot.com/2007/04/bush-pays-approximately-24-of-income-in.html

We are always looking for short postings by Democrats and links to interesting articles. If you would like to submit an article or a link for our 'blog, please send them to joycekimbler@medinacountydemocraticactioncommittee.org.

MCDAC
Joyce Kimbler, Treasurer
P.O. Box 1213
Medina, OH 44258

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Question for Republicans: How Many American Deaths in Iraq are Enough?

Right now the cost of this war is over 3,000 American dead and over 419 billion spent on the Iraq War. Given the fact that the American dead in the first Gulf War was a fraction of that number, and the cost was borne by several nations, Americans were not prepared for what this war is costing us in lives and treasure.

Here is a question for Bush and his Republican supporters: how many American deaths in Iraq are enough? How much money do we have to spend in Iraq? Does the death toll have to reach 5,000; 10,000; or 15,000 before this administration decides the sacrifice isn't worth it? Do we have to spend half a trillion; a trillion; or a trillion and a half before this administration decides that trying to convince Iraqis not to kill each other isn't worth the cost?

No one in the media, to our knowledge, has ever asked a White House spokesperson this question: how many American deaths in Iraq are you willing to accept? No one in the media, to our knowledge, has ever asked a White House spokesperson what the administration calculated the American death toll to be when the administration was planning this war. Isn't it time we had a rational discussion about what this war is costing America versus the alleged benefit that we are receiving from this war being fought?

Democrats Not Shying Away From Tax Debate

As this New York Times article points out, Democrats are not shying away from pointing out that it is time to undo the damage done by Bush's reckless tax cuts. What they are proposing is a ceiling on the Bush tax cuts so that they are not extended in 2010 for the richest Americans.

f you remember, in 2001 and in 2003, to make it look like they weren't blowing a big hole in the Federal Budget, the Republicans put a sun-set clause in their tax cuts. What this means is that most of them expire in 2010. Since that year is only three years away, much of the debate in the 2008 presidential campaign will be about the fate of those tax cuts.

The Republicans will try and paint the Democrats as standing for massive tax increases. The reality is, of course, something different since the expiration of the tax cuts in 2010 would just restore the tax rates that existed when Bubble-Boy took office. There is a suggestion from the head of a liberal advocacy group that the Republicans have put the Democrats in a box. This is because if they leave the tax cuts in place they will less money to confront the problems caused by the retirement of baby-boomers and the impact on Social Security and Medicare. If they do away with the tax cuts, they get painted as tax and spend liberals.

The solution is to do what they are doing and confront the Republicans head on. Point out that it is time to undo the damage of tax cuts that benefit the middle class. Be bold and stand for something besides just getting elected. This seems to be exactly what they are doing.

Report Says 3.2 Million U.S. Manufacturing Jobs Lost

The AP put out a story yesterday, April 20, 2007, about the loss of manufacturing jobs in America. The story points out that 84 percent of Americans in the labor force are employed in service jobs, up from 81 percent in 2000. This loss of manufacturing jobs has put "16 percent of the nation's 379 metropolitan areas are in recession, reflecting primarily the troubles in manufacturing. There have been heavy job losses in a variety of industries from textiles and apparel to paper and furniture."

Most of these manufacturing job losses can be explained by two words: China and Mexico. That is where the jobs are going. These job losses are caused by cheaper labor rates and by the Chinese government keeping its currency artificially low compared to the currency of the United States.

Currently the job losses are being seen in manufacturing, but according to one expert quoted in the article, job losses will soon spread to service jobs. This is from the article: "Princeton economist Alan Blinder, who was vice chairman of the Federal Reserve during the Clinton administration, says the number of jobs at risk of being shipped out of the country could reach 40 million over the next 10 to 20 years. That would be one out of every three service sector jobs that could be at risk."

When you start looking at Democratic candidates for our party's 2008 nomination ask yourself which ones will fight for American workers and which ones won't.

Rolling Stone Panel of Experts on the Iraq War: We've Already Lost

If you click here, you will see an article that appeared in Rolling Stone magazine in March of this year about the Iraq War. Rolling Stone did something that the Bush Administration failed to do before it got us involved in this disaster. It assembled a independent panel of experts and asked them what they thought was happening in Iraq. Their conclusion? The war in Iraq is already lost and the only question is how big a mess will it turn out to be.

One of these experts is a retired General who served on the Joint Chief of Staffs during the first Gulf War. He is Thomas McPeak. This is a quote from the article: "Iran's influence will have been increased geometrically. We're already the losers in this, and now we become the big-time losers."

So if you hear some right-wing blowhard condemning Harry Reid for telling the President the truth about Iraq, ask him or her to explain McPeak's analysis in Rolling Stone magazine. Oh, yes, and also ask them how many relatives they have serving in Iraq.

Bush Values: Where He Puts Our Money

You can tell a family's values by where it puts its money. If, for example, a family puts their money in a big house and expensive cars while not saving for their children's college education, that tells you something about the values of the adults in that family. The same is true for politicians when it comes to spending our tax dollars. Where they choose to put our money shows what they value. With that in mind, how are conservatives doing?

If you go to the website www.costofwar.com you will see what the Iraq War is costing United States tax payers. The site has a counter with constantly changing figures. The figures displayed are a running total of the U.S. taxpayer cost of the Iraq War. The number is based on Congressional appropriations.

As of this morning, the cost of this war exceeded 419 billion dollars. Note that the figures are based just on the Iraq War and not on the operations in Afghanistan. The site also has comparisions of what we could have gotten for this money. We could have give, for example, over 20 million American children scholarships to attend four-year universities. We could have built over 3 million housing units. We could have hired over 7 million teachers for one year. We could have provided medical insurance for over 250 million children for one year.

Of course, Bush and his gang of radical conservatives would never have spent our money to help Americans. They will spend billions on a futile quest to bring democracy to Iraq, but not to help their fellow Americans. Just like with a family, where the Bushies put our tax dollars shows the values of George W. Bush. What it shows is that he doesn't value Americans.
___________________________________________________________________
The cost of war website is maintained by the National Priorities Project. The Project's website has other interesting stuff.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Framing the Recent SCOTUS Decision on Abortion: Republican Supreme Court Refuses Another Opportunity to Overturn Roe

The recent decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States of America in the cases of Gonzales v. Carhart et al. and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood Federation of America are being portrayed as defeats for abortion right advocates, and, by extension, for the Democratic Party. The reason why the Democratic Party is being seen as suffering a setback is because of the perceived support of the Democratic Party for Roe v. Wade.

There is another way, however, to portray this recent decision. This is at least the third time since the Roe decision that the Republican majority of the United States Supreme Court has refused to overturn Roe v. Wade. There are seven Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justices on the Court as opposed to only two Democratic-appointed Justices. This has been the situation for several years because since the Roe decision, only two Democratic-appointed Justices have been named to the Court. Thus if Roe hasn't been overturned, it is because Republican-appointed Justices don't want to overturn it.

Keeping Roe around makes sure that the conservative base of the GOP stays motivated. It helps in close elections like 2000 and even 2004. Overturning Roe, however, carries the substantial risk of a backlash from women against the GOP. It could cause suburban women in particular to abandon the GOP. It would deprive GOP nominees for President of a potent issue and put GOP candidates for state legislature positions in swing states in a bind.

Since approximately 90% of abortions are performed in the first trimester of pregnancy, the impact of the two recent decisions will be limited, which is exactly what the GOP wants. What it doesn't want is for Democrats to point out that it is a GOP appointed and dominated SCOTUS that is keeping Roe around.

GOP Congressional Corruption Probes Continue with FBI Raids

Lost in the news over the horrible events at Virginia Tech and the controversy over Alberto Gonzales was the fact that this week the FBI raided the home of one GOP Congressman, John Doolittle, and the business of another GOP Congressman's family, Rep. Rick Renzi. Doolittle is from California and Renzi is from Arizona. This entry's title has a link to a short article on the blog called Political Wire if you want some more information.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Puppets and failures = Dubya

Let’s play a 2007 version of "Jeopardy." The answers are: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Howdy Doody and Buffalo Bob Smith, George W. Bush and Karl Rove, Kermit the Frog and Jim Henson, George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld, and Lambchop and Shari Lewis.

Of course the question is: Who are some of the more famous puppets and their masters in the past 50 years? A puppet, by definition, requires another’s help to accomplish anything. On its own a puppet is doomed to failure by inaction.

Well, George W. Bush has plenty of failures on his resume due to action, inaction, lies, and bone-headed decisions. He invaded Afghanistan in 2001 to overthrow the Taliban yet they are now stronger than ever and we are still there. In March 2003 he invaded Iraq based on weapons of mass destruction being present but no weapons were found, we are still there, and over 3,100 of our family members are dead. Osama Bin Laden is still a free man and thousands of Katrina victims have not gotten the support and aid he promised.

Bush was the CEO of at least 3 oil companies all of which lost money on his watch. Think about that feat! No Child Left Behind has failed and many state legislatures have just said "No" to following its mandates. He wanted to privatize Social Security but couldn’t even with a Senate and House dominated by his cronies. Bill Clinton left a budget surplus and Bush has the USA in the greatest deficit of any county in the history of the world! In 2002 he proposed a Clear Skies Initiative and again failed to win support. He has asked Congress to grant 12 million illegal aliens legal status at our expense. In 2001 he withdrew US support of the Kyoto Protocol the purpose of which was to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions and thus impact global warming.

To be fair though Bush has accomplished the following: a DUI conviction, avoidance of Vietnam in 1968, membership in the Skull and Bones at Yale also known as the Brotherhood of Death, and approved the execution of 152 people while the Governor of Texas. "Thou shall not kill" is the 5th commandment that Bush quotes when talking about stem cell research and being against abortion but conveniently ignores when putting people to death.

One other accomplishment we should not forget is Bush’s political shrewdness. He declares himself a Christian but in 1988 he went to Washington with Lee Atwater and Doug Wead. Their purpose was devise strategy to delude and use conservative Christians and evangelicals into believing that only Republicans were good enough to hold elective office. I guess it worked pretty well for too long a time.

John McCain Singing "Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran"

Here is one strange video: John McCain singing "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran" to the tune of the Beach Boys' song "Barbara Ann." What in the world was he thinking? After the deaths of over 3,000 American troops, billions of American dollars spent, damage to our reputation in the world, not to mention the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and the collaspe of their society, Americans don't want a President who thinks that war in the Middle East is a joke.

A State by State Approach to Universal Health Care

Earlier this month we posted an entry about the efforts of SPAN Ohio to create universal health coverage in Ohio based on a single payor system. This effort joins efforts in other states to achieve universal health coverage in the absence of any effort by the Federal Government to achieve this goal. These efforts are usually presented by the media as being evidence of some sort of "failure" by the Federal Government. There is another way, however, to look at such efforts.

One of the problems with the Clinton health insurance plan of the 1990s was that it tried to impose one structure on all of America. Quite frankly, such an approach has a multitude of problems. This is a very large and diverse country. The states range widely in population, culture, and demographic make-up. A plan conceived in Washington to cover every state is bound to be resisted since there is no guarantee that such a plan will work in every state.

Here's a different approach: why not advocate a plan that uses the taxing power of the United States government to achieve this goal without mandating any particular plan? Here's how this would work: the United States government would reduce the income taxes for the residents of any state that reaches the goal of universal health coverage for all its residents. How the states get there is up to them. Whether they want to get there is up to them. The Federal Government would develop the yardstick and apply it to the states. It would also publish tax tables showing the states that are getting a break on their taxes.

What this would do is put pressure on state legislatures and governors to come up with universal coverage. It would be very hard for Republicans to oppose politically and it would stop liberals and Democrats from having to work out the detail of a plan while trying to win elections.

Is it a perfect solution? No, but that's not the choice. The choice is between the status quo which leaves an increasing number of Americans uninsured and a plan that increases the number of insured Americans.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

George Voinovich Shows His True Colors: Bush Lap-Dog

There were two votes in the United States Senate that showed George Voinovich's true colors. The one was a vote on a cloture motion to stop debate on the Medicare prescription drug bill that would allow the government to negotiate with the insurance companies for the best possible price for drugs. Voinovich voted with the Republican leadership and the Bush Administration. (You can see that vote here.)

The second vote was on a cloture motion to stop debate on a bill that would fund the nation's intelligence agencies, but require more disclosure from the Bush Administration. Again, Voinovich voted with the Republican leadership and the Bush Administration. (You can see that vote here.)

Time and time again Voinovich talks the talk of opposing Bubble-Boy and his destructive policies, but, when it comes to walking the walk, he backs down. He won't confront Bush because in the final analysis he cares more about making right-wing Republicans happy than making most Ohioans happy. Since he has been doing it since 2000 and got re-elected in 2004 by a sizable vote, he thinks he can get away with it forever. Maybe he can, but maybe he can't. Its up to Ohio Dems to insist that Voinovich stop being a Bush enabler.

UPDATE: You can read the New York Times article about the Senate vote on the Medicare prescription drug bill here.

Senator Sherrod Brown: Doing the Work of Two Men

Since Sherrod Brown took office as one of Ohio's two United States Senators, it seemed to us that he was doing more, a lot more, than Ohio's other Senator, George Voinovich. This prompted us to run a search using Google's news feature on both men. When we ran a search using the words "Sherrod Brown Ohio Senator" the search returned 225 results. We then ran a search using the words "George Voinovich Ohio Senator" the search returned 39 results. That's why we say that Sherrod Brown is doing the work of two men in the United States Senate.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

N.Y. Times Story: Illegal Immigrants Taking 20% of Construction Jobs

The New York Times ran a story in the April 17, 2007 edition in the Business section about how the housing slowdown in America is impacting illegal immigrants in America. the interesting statistic in this story is that illegal immigrants are taking up to 20% of all construction jobs, including jobs that pay $25.00 to $35.00 an hour. This is a far cry from how Bush and other Republicans portray illegal immigrants. The refrain from the Republicans and Bush is that illegal immigrants are taking jobs that no one else will do such as farm labor. As this story makes clear, however, illegal immigrants are taking jobs that Americans would do if they knew about the jobs or had an opportunity to apply for them.

The reason why employers hire illegal immigrants is that it is cheaper to hire them. They won't apply for benefits like unemployment insurance or workers' compensation. They don't complain about being subjected to unlawful working conditions. Because they are often paid "off the books" their compensation doesn't show up for tax purposes. This means that employers don't have to pay for Social Security or Medicare benefits. For the employer, they are a great deal. For the rest of America, however, employing illegal immigrants isn't such a great deal. In fact, its a lousy deal. ________________________________________________________________
Click on the link in the title to read the New York Times article.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Retired Marine General Explains Why He Turned Down Iraq War Czar Position

Retired Marine General John Sheehan wrote an op-ed piece in Monday's Washington Post about why he turned down the position of Iraq-Afghanistan War "Czar". The link to the article is in this entry's title. According to Sheehan the Bush Administration doesn't understand what it is doing in Iraq. This is a quote from the article: What I found in discussions with current and former members of this administration is that there is no agreed-upon strategic view of the Iraq problem or the region.

Here we are, four years into this war, and this Administration doesn't have a strategic view of the Iraq problem or the region. That is a damning indictment of Bush, Rice, and the rest of this incompetent crowd. They had no idea what they were going to do the day after they got rid of Saddam Hussein. That's why this operation has been so badly managed. The entire focus was on getting rid of Saddam. Once they had accomplished that goal. they had no idea what to do next. It was if getting rid of Hussein would magically make everything in Iraq work out. If the consequences weren't so horrible, it would be funny.

Pew Research Report: Fox News Viewers Not Well Informed

If you click on the link in this entry's title, you can read a report that appeared on Editor & Publisher's website about a recent report on news consumers released by the Pew Center for the Study of the People and the Press. According to the article, "Pew judged the levels of knowledgeability (correct answers) among those surveyed and found that those who scored the highest were regular watchers of Comedy Central's The Daily Show and Colbert Report".
The report goes to note that: "Virtually bringing up the rear were regular watchers of Fox News. Only 1 in 3 could answer 2 out of 3 questions correctly. Fox topped only network morning show viewers."

When Democratic candidates are asked why they won't appear on Fox News, they should cite to this report. The role of a news organization is to inform its users. Clearly Fox News is not fulfilling its role. Why? Because it cares more about pushing Republican talking points than informing its viewers. No Democrat should be heistant about pointing out this failure and using such a failure as a reason not to appear on Fox News programs.

Regent University Hypocrites?

One of our readers, OHDave, posted a comment on one of our entries about Regent University inviting Rudy Giuliani to speak on April 17, 2007. What he found interesting about this invitation is that Pat Robertson was very criticial of Bill Clinton for his relationship with Monica Lewinsky and for allegedly lying about it at a deposition for a civil lawsuit. He pointed out in his comments that it is pretty well documented that Rudy was carrying on an affair with his third wife while he was married to his second wife.

We searched and, sure enough, OhDave was right, Regent University has invited Rudy to speak on April 17, 2007. If you click on the entry in this title, you can read the press release. At the bottom of the press release is a email address and a phone number for the media relations officer at Regent University. Maybe someone wants to join OhDave in finding out why the double standard with respect to Clinton and Giuliani.

After all, Clinton is still married to his wife, didn't get a divorce, and is close to his daughter. On the other hand, Giuliani is on his third wife, went through a messy separation from the mother of his two children, and, consequently, his relationship with his children is strained.

Could it be that some conservative Christians only care about morality when it promotes their political agenda?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Did Regent's University Scrub Its Website After Goodling Resigned?

Earlier this month we posted a story about how Regent University posted on its website the fact that 150 of its alumni either worked or had worked for the Bush Administration. As one of our readers pointed out to us that information appears to be gone from the University's website.

Why was this done? The reader suggests three possible reasons: " Could they be embarassed that the public now knows where Bush's advice comes from? Or maybe the info has been removed because of the Gonzalez Attorneys General scandal? Or perhaps they withdrew the info because their claim was overblown/inaccurate?

It would be interesting if someone would call up Regent's University and ask them about this apparent change. If you do, let us know by posting a comment on our blog.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Insider's View of the Department of Justice Under Alberto

Law.com has an interesting article about the United States Department of Justice under Bubble-Boy's buddy, Alberto Gonzales. (Maybe we can start calling Alberto BBB). Here is a quote from the article: Third, and most significantly for present purposes, there was an almost immediate influx of young political aides beginning in the first half of 2005 (e.g., counsels to the AG, associate deputy attorneys general, deputy associate attorneys general, and deputy assistant attorneys general) whose inexperience in the processes of government was surpassed only by their evident disdain for it.

The reason why young conservatives are so willing to trash government, even as they are profiting from it, is because they don't value government, have no regard for it, and think that its only purpose is to enrich them while they destroy it. It is way past time for these people to just go. Monica Goodling was a start, but many more need to depart.