Friday, February 20, 2004

Advice for Bush

I know, I shouldn't help him out, but I bet he has already though about this, almost every morning. Fire Scott McClellan

Ever since Ari "best liar in the world" Fleisher left as press secretary, the whole Bush White House has come unraveled. There was a temporary lapse with the capture of Saddam, but it has pretty much been like the Titanic-- a huge ship that is slowly, but surely sinking.

They need Karen Hughes and Ari like Edwards needs over 400 delegates-- i.e. they can't win without them. Little Scotty has been taking a pounding since the New Year on the WMD bogus info, the Plame affair, Halliburton, the FY 2005 budget, Bush's AWOL National Guard duty, and the Jobs forecast. Sure, part of it is the press core finally got fed up with being snookered and started hammering home at the tough reality that Bush's team has lied to us since about day one. But just look at this recent example of McClellan's ineptness.

QUESTION: Scott, on taxes and jobs, your campaign chairman, Marc Racicot this morning said that the job prediction or the job forecast in the CEA report was a "goal." You indicated to us yesterday that it was simply a figure that was based on economic modeling. So what is it? Is it an objective analysis of the current state of the economy, or was that a political document?

Scott McClellan: John, I think it is what it is. The data is a snapshot that economists use at a point in time for economic modeling. That's what I said yesterday. So it is what it is --

QUESTION: Right, but Racicot --

Scott McClellan: -- and it's based on the data available at that point in time.

QUESTION: So was Racicot wrong in describing it as a goal?

Scott McClellan: I haven't seen those specific remarks. I'll be glad to look at them, but it is what it is, and it is how I described it yesterday.

[Here there's a short and snappy back-and-forth between John and Scott on the difference between predictions and goals, and what the definition of 'is' is.]

Scott McClellan: John, I'm giving you the facts. It is what it is.

QUESTION: And the meaning of the word "is" is?

Scott McClellan: Well, John, I think that where the discussion of policy should be -- or the discussion should be is on policy. And the President is a decision-maker. The President leads by making policy decisions. And the policies we are implementing are working to strengthen our economy and create an environment for robust job creation. New jobs are being created. The unemployment rate is declining. The policies this President has advocated and passed are working. And I think the American people think the discussion should be there on the policy decisions that are being made. Some don't want to discuss the policies. But it's important for a President to lead and make decisions, and then defend those decisions.

QUESTION: You understand the difference between a forecast based on economic modeling and a stated goal. Racicot just seems to indicate that this is a stated goal.

Scott McClellan: It is the economic forecast for our annual Economic Report. That's what it is.

QUESTION: So it's not a goal?

No silly, the goal is to be re-elected!

Thursday, February 19, 2004

The Loneliest Person in America

Dennis J. Kucinich, US Representative from Ohio and protest candidate for President, has two delegates, one of whom is himself. So who is this other guy? The one that tells me wins a prize.

Granted, there will be a bigger club membership, probably after Super Tuesday, especially in his home state of Ohio. This might hurt Edwards, but still, one delegate?
Like shooting fish in a barrell

Remember Mel Gibson, and his highly-controversial movie that is being shamelessly promoted on right-wing congregations? Let's here from the man who raised him, Hutton, his 85 year old father what his opinion is of some things to see if this movie truely is or isn't anti-semitic or extremist, shall we?

On Jews: "They're after one world religion and one world government," radio interview that will air Monday night.

On the Holocaust: "They claimed that there were 6.2 million in Poland before the war, and they claimed after the war there were 200,000 - therefore he must have killed 6 million of them," he said. "They simply got up and left! They were all over the Bronx and Brooklyn and Sydney, Australia, and Los Angeles." same interview.

On the US Federal Reserve: "Greenspan tells us what to do. Someone should take him out and hang him."

On 9/11 and Ossama Bin Laden: "Anybody can put out a passenger list," the elder Gibson told The Times.

"So what happened? They were crashed by remote control." NYTimes interview Let me guess, the Jews conspired on this one too.

The Gibson's theology, writes Christopher Noxon in the New York Times piece, "is a strain of Catholicism rooted in the dictates of a 16th-century papal council and nurtured by a splinter group of conspiracy-minded Catholics, mystics, monarchists and disaffected conservatives -- including a seminary dropout and rabble-rousing theologist who also happens to be Mel Gibson's father."

In the 1992 El Pais interview, Gibson said that "For 1,950 years [the church] does one thing and then in the 60s, all of a sudden they turn everything inside out and begin to do strange things that go against the rules.

"Everything that had been heresy is no longer heresy, according to the [new] rules. We [Catholics] are being cheated. ... The church has stopped being critical. It has relaxed. I don't believe them, and I have no intention of following their trends. It's the church that has abandoned me, not me who has abandoned it," he said.

Rush out and see that one, if you like the historical accuracy level of Holocaust denyers.
More signs of a looming Dean-Edwards endorsement

I just read on Hotline that Al Gore is subbing for Edwards in Idaho, where Edwards is punting Kerry's vacation home state and the Beehive state to focus on Ohio, upstate New York, Georgia, and maybe California for Super Tuesday. Of course, Edwards says he will compete everywhere. If by "compete," you mean "name is on the ballot" than so is Dean and Clark. Gee, who did Gore support again? Next thing you know, Edwards will send Carol Mosley Braun to IL for him. The Underdog, of course always picks his battles and wants to debate the front runner mano y mono.

Things are starting to get testier between Kerry and Edwards. Kerry, who nearly blew a huge lead in Wisconsin, said this about Edwards' opposition to NAFTA "He wasn't in the Senate back then. I don't know where he registered this vote, but it wasn't in the Senate." Meanwhile, Kerry is slipping back into his bad, old habbits that got to be written off in the first place.

And now there's some more unflattering news from "special interest fighter" Kerry. John Kerry "sent 28 letters" on behalf of CA defense contractor Parthasarathi "Bob" Majumder, "who pleaded guilty last week to illegally funneling campaign contributions" to Kerry and four other congressmen. This is why it is a bad idea to nominate a Bob Dole guy: someone who has been in Washington for decades.

Nevertheless, Bay State supporters seem pretty confident in Kerry beating Bush. The Globe is reporting that MA lawmakers are going to pass a bill that would prevent GOP Gov. Romney from appointing someone to replace Kerry in the Senate. The legislation would "leave Kerry's seat vacant for two months or more, until a special election is held." If it is an open seat, they figure, openly gay US Rep. Barney Frank will win.

Meanwhile, Nader's re-elect Bush committee...I mean "presidential exploratory committee" won't tell the Hartford Courant where the headquarters are because, "It's for security reasons. We have too many adversaries." I am sure they are predicting a landslide victory. My bet: Nader enters and gets 1% at best. Here's what we need: Kucinich telling him to get off the stage. "If you wanted to get your issues out, you should have ran a protest candidacy in the Democratic Primary like I did."

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Close, but no cheese

unexpectedly, Edwards managed to make the race much closer, losing to Kerry by a mere six points (40-34). Edwards got so close due to his recent trend of attracting independents and cross-over Republicans to vote for him. He could use that as an argument it is he, and not Kerry who can better beat Bush.

"Today the voters of Wisconsin sent a clear message. ... Objects in your rearview mirror may be closer than they appear," said Edwards.. Of course, we didn't get to hear that because Kerry came out within minutes of Edwards to steal his free TV time; smart jerk.

Meanwhile Dean (18%) is going to "suspend campaign operations" but let people waste their vote for him. I guess Howard People-Power generator needs some repairs.

With Dean out, can Edwards get enough ABKBNB (anybody but Kerry but not Bush) voters to his side by Super Tuesday? Sure he might win Georgia, but he needs to win some industrial rust-belt states with his anti-NAFTA contrast message against Kerry. Some point to Ohio as a must win, and New York too. In any event, he can't keep coming in second, he needs to win. Right now the score is Kerry 17-Edwards 1-Dean 0 (Clark 1).

Speaking of Clark, one guy who endorsed him won. That's right, ex-KY AG and Gov candidate Ben "Happy" Chandler won in a virtual landslide in a GOP-ish district against Sen. Mitch McConnell proxy Kerr. This state is supposed to be a bellwether. Much like 2003 looked good for Bush with a GOP Gov win, this bodes well for Democrats looking to win back the White House and the Congress.

98 percent of districts reporting:

Chandler (D): 54.6
Kerr (R): 43.6

This race was big for my BOP friends in a way, since it proves the power of the internet, as Josh Marshall says. However, it has become clear that the internet is the best way for Democrats to raise money not win elections. Chandler spent $2,000 on internet ads on places like DailyKos and TalkingPointsMemo, and got $100,000 from it; that's a really good return. Democratic House Candidates from all over are now already copying the model to make their competitive races even better with small (>$100) contributions from folks online.

We have two more very winnable special elections for the House coming up. SD's seat in June, and LA 3 around Easter. Both of which, I predict, we will win. That's three less seats we have to worry about (or worry less about) in the steep uphill climb to retake control of congress. Maybe Dean can be useful after all, in campaigning/raising money for all these would be congressmen/women. Send Joe Trippi to run the CO Senate race for Mike Miles, who is running a Trippi style campaign out there vs. Ben Nighthorse Campbell.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

PM exits: is there gonna be an Edwards revival?

Matt Drudge reports "LATE AFTERNOON EXIT POLLS SHOW JOHN EDWARDS PULLING A STRONG SHOWING AGAINST JOHN KERRY, TOP MEDIA AND CAMPAIGN SOURCES TELL DRUDGE... KERRY 42%, EDWARDS 31%, DEAN 15%" If this is true (given the phoney intern story on Kerry) that would be a huge coup for Edwards, as Kerry has sunken about 10+ points.

And Dean's result is super dissipointing for his crowd. Even Kos says, "I think most of us can agree that Dean is history."

One national poll shows Kerry fading:

Rasmussen tracking poll. 2/14-16. MoE 4%. (2/11-13 results).

Kerry 43 (51)
Edwards 25 (18)

Big dip, but still there is 18 point gap. Can Edwards ever make that up? If Kerry slips, he might.
Ashcroft sued by AUSA on terror efforts

According to The Journal, "A federal prosecutor in a major terrorism case in Detroit has taken the rare step of suing Attorney General John Ashcroft, alleging the Justice Department interfered with the case, compromised a confidential informant and exaggerated results in the war on terrorism."

"Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Convertino of Detroit accused the Justice Department of "gross mismanagement" of the war on terrorism in a whistleblower lawsuit filed late Friday in federal court in Washington." Isn't he a political appointee? If so, wow, that man has balls and my vote.

Ashcroft is a favorite whipping boy of the left, but now he has proven to be an equally bad AG in terms of simply winning cases. "The government [read Ashcroft-led Justice Department] now admits it failed to turn over evidence during the trial that might have assisted the defense, including an allegation from an imprisoned drug-gang leader who claimed the government's key witness made up his story."

I love whistleblowers. The made the laws in the 1970s to prevent another Watergate, and now the people that worked for Nixon/Ford are feeling the rath. How great.

On a different note, where are the leaked 12/1 PM exits from Wisconsin or the KY 06 special? Could it be that the press feels bad for doing it the last 3-4 times? I am going to assume that the polls were right and that Chandler eeks out a win again Foggy-Kerr in Kentucky and Kerry pounds everyone in Wisconsin. Edwards might get 3rd, but Dean's done either way (close battle for 2nd though at 20-25% a piece).
Morning roundup

I am not really going to be talking about the WI primary as it was over so long ago, despite what Howard Dean says. Dean, who fired his National Campaign Chair Steve Grossman for expressing reality, is now being told by his hometown newspaper, the Burlington Free Press to quit the race and have "the grace to leave." More from the editors: "It's over. Dean will not be elected president in 2004."

Former President Clinton was asked about picking a Vice President: "It is a deeply personal decision who you pick as your running mate." On Kerry's choice, "I have not taken sides with regard to any of the candidates for president. I like Wes Clark, but it would be disloyal of me to favor any individual when so many have been helpful to me." So maybe the rumors were true, Clinton wanted to support him all along. I guess he saw what happened to Gore and decided to keep his support for Clark underground. Would there really be a Kerry/Clark ticket? Here are some cheezy mottos I made up on the spot...
Kerry-Clark 2004: Two Patriots. No Act. K-C : they know what's cookin' and "Support our Troops: Elect some" or "Support of veterans: Elect them" The site of the two doing competing pushups with the troops at the Army-Navy football game would be a great Photo-Op, too bad it will be in December, after the election.

Speaking of using troops for a photo-op, the Bush administration wants to "have discussed bringing in U.S. troops to boost security" at the GOP convention, "but the NYPD doesn't think it needs them." Isn't it bad enough to lay the 9/11 memorial cornerstone during the convention and have a view of Ground Zero from the hotel and have it all take place a few days before 9/11? I guess not.

Meanwhile, in the Kentucky special election to the house Democrat Ben Chandler (ex-AG ex-Gov candidate) "says he's cautiously optimistic about his chances for a win" today against GOPer Alice Forgy-Kerr. The last poll I saw had him 8 points up. This could be the first of 2-3 special election wins for the Democrats before November in the House. (the other two are South Dakota special and Louisiana special where Billy Tauzin is looking for a lobbying job at MPAA-- the guys that arrest teens for downloading MP3s) Good way to starting taking back the House in 2004.

Remember that unsubstantiated rumor that Kerry had an affair with a reporter. So far we have gotten nothing but denials from both sides and no proof (even if you counted an off-record quote by Wes Clark, his people say once again, that was a misconstrued misquote from off the record-- and hence not supposed to be quoted anyway). Meanwhile Larry Flynt, the smut peddler who cares, has dredged up more on real sounding proof on Bush. Flynt was instrumental in helping nail GOPers in 1998-9 for having affairs while impeaching Bill Clinton for having one. "I've talked to the woman's friends. ... I've tracked down the doctor who did the abortion, I tracked down the Bush people who arranged for the abortion. ... I got the story nailed" said Flynt, who "says he plans to market a Bush abortion story as genuine." Flynt "claimed that Bush arranged for the procedure in the early '70s." Does this mean this aborted fetus was Bush's would-be baby? Or was he just being a nice guy and helping out a friend? Guilty by association according to the press, if true. This is especially true when you are loud pro-life politician. Seems pretty hypocritical.

Folks, it isn't even March and already it has gotten ugly with these rumors and the National Guard stuff. Can't want to see how nasty it gets by the fall-- oh wait, yes I can.

Monday, February 16, 2004

President's Day vs. Precedent's Day

Now lots of my more pessimistic friends (and my father) still believe that George W. Bush will ultimately win in November, because no unchallenged (in the primary) incumbent president has ever lost re-election in the modern era.

The American legal system is also based on precedent: what judges have ruled before, must, by definition still be right now. It should be based on the present, or even better, the future. That is, what will be true or what is now true.

Many conservatives are complaining about the MA SJC's ruling on Gay Marriage. But what about Brown v. Board of Education, or Roe v. Wade? As times change, the law should change with it. So too, can the so called rules of politics and elections. Some say that tea Democrats should, therefore, abandon the South and seek haven in the Southwest and Midwest (as well as the coasts). Others think that the Internet has turned campaigns and their management upside down, from a pyramid to a sphere, Dean's huge public belly flop notwithstanding.

How about starting our own trend by defeating the man who is, in comparison, the worst U.S. President before and after the modern era both before he assumed office, and during his tenure (we can't evaluate after just yet, but we will with other former Presidents).

Let's compare Bush vs. Hoover. Well Hoover lost more jobs, and a bigger percentage of jobs, but it was after all the Great Depression and the Great Dustbowl. All Bush has to blame is his own ineptness, massive tax cuts (which should stimulate the economy, if you believe in the Laffner curve), corporate cronyism (which he looked away from and was a part of in his day, as well as his Administration). Bush likes to blame 9-11 [which of course were something that was to a degree forewarned and also did not do anything about (at least Clinton dropped some bombs).

Bush vs. Rutherford B. Hayes: Both lost the popular vote, and then somehow became President although Hayes was far more shady than Bush Supreme Court 5-4 decision (you don't hear conservatives yelling about the courts on Bush v. Gore do you? Funny) Unlike Hayes, who promptly promised to only serve one term to quell the furor (although he singlehandly stopped the Reformation and his immediate legacy was Jim Crow), Bush has done nothing of the sort and ruled as if he won by landslide. Furthermore, Bush has raised in real terms far more than any President ever for re-election, most of it from the same industries that he carried water for in his first term.

Bush vs. Nixon: Like Nixon, he is very good at lying through his teeth (remember the old Checkers speech?), hiding in secrecy (Energy Commission) and blaming his bad deeds, when caught on others (both have had a string of resignations and damning revelations from people high in the White House). Unlike Bush, Nixon got us out of Vietnam (after not-so-secretly bombing Cambodia), created the EPA, banned cigarette advertising on TV, and was there when Man landed on the Moon. Of course, these were due to massive pressure and the legacy of Kennedy, but I am getting ahead of myself here.

Bush vs. Ford: Ford also came to power in a contested fashion. Ford did a create many number of progressive things, but this was because his hand was forced by the overwhelmingly progressive post-Watergate Congress. He was a weak president mostly because he was A) not elected and B) pardoned Nixon but at least the man tried. A great many lieutenants of Ford are now in the Bush White house, and like W. they are trying their version of "Quantum Leap" -- setting Right, what once went wrong the last time they had power.

Bush vs. Reagan. Like Bush, Reagan raised spending, especially on weapons systems, while cut taxes for the richest few. But Reagan had the Democratic congress to blame, and also cut a deal to go after those loopholes and tax cheats. Bush is working to widen the loopholes and relax regulation for his friends who are tax cheats. Reagan too lied about wars like Iran-Contra. But at least the Democratic congress held his feet to the fire and people were carted off to jail. Bush has a Republican congress that wouldn't dream of doing anything to hurt him.

George W. Bush vs. George H.W. Bush: OK, this has been well documented but lets do a fly by....41 took politically courageous steps to balance the budget, 43 did nothing of the sort. 41 called himself the environmental president, but helped big plotter's continue. 43 calls himself a man of peace, and you know what the results of his "peace" have been. 41 pardoned his aides who might squeal on the aforementioned Iran-Contra, 43 might do that for his own skin as well. 41 pulled out Willie Horton against Mike Dukakais, 43's henchmen pulled out Osama and Saddam on Max Cleland. Both had recessions both are hopelessly rich and out of touch with everyday Americans. Landmark legislation: 41-- Americans with Disability Act , 43-- No Child Left Behind. 'Nuff said.

Add it all up and you've got the worst president ever. One who is more interested in Photo-Ops than achievement, approval ratings than accomplishment, words rather than deeds. History will look back and say, "What in the world were 48.7% of Americans thinking?"

Speaking of presidents, one wannabe just got another big blow. Howard Dean's Campaign Chair Steve Grossman (once head of the MA Democratic Party and failed 2002 Gov candidate) is quitting the campaign. "I have no doubt he'll support the nominee in any way he can, no matter who the nominee is and obviously that nominee looks to be John Kerry," Grossman said in a telephone interview with the Post from Vermont. "He may say that Tuesday night. He may wait until Wednesday or Thursday to say that."

Meanwhile the AFP (via Yahoo! News) is reporting that Dean is getting ready to turn his campaign into a PAC and use it to attack Bush and repair his profile in the party. Guess he isn't planning on winning in Wisconsin either.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Kerry's reply

I missed it yesterday, but the Sunday talk shows pointed it out Kerry's reply to Bush's internet attack ad with one of his own, pointing out that Bush has taken far more special interest money than anyone else.

True, the point of the Bush ad was to point out Kerry's message vs. reality, but they do it in typical GOP distortion fashion. Don't believe me, check out a non-partisan break down on it all by the "Kerry also has reported raising and spending more than $2 million through a separate political organization, the "Citizen Soldier Fund." But even counting that group's special-interest donations still don't bring Kerry's totals close to the Bush campaign's totals in any category." Even in the one area where Kerry has taken money from special interest, paid lobbists, "Bush has reported getting four times more than Kerry in this presidential race."

It's not even close, Bushies. Of course, both of these candidates are throwing bricks from glass houses. It's just that Bush's house is a giant glass mansion, whereas Kerry's is a glass shack.