Friday, March 05, 2004

Mornin' Roundup (not the weedkiller)

The Jobs Report is out this morning, and estimates were off by over the wrong direction; and, last month's numbers were revised downwards as well. I guess counting burger flippers as "manufacturing jobs" didn't work out quite like the Bushies planned. According to the BLS, the U.S. Economy created 21,000 jobs last month. As Atrios points out, "to keep up with the growth in the working age population we need about 140K new jobs per month, and also keep in that they [the Bush administration] claimed that after the last round of tax cuts they'd create 306,000 jobs per month, something they haven't achieved once."

US Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) has "stirred up" Dems and the blogosphere by saying a vote against the re-election of Pres. Bush is "like supporting Adolph Hitler during World War Two." I guess he never did too well on those "compare and contrast" essays in English class. Cole is also quoted in the Yukon Review as saying: "If George Bush loses the election, Osama bin Laden wins the election." Does he have the inside scoop are Kerry's running mate? So far, there has been "no comment" from OK Dem Party leaders to see if they think Cole is comparing John Kerry to Hitler or bin Laden (KTOK-AM, 3/3). "It's OK by me!" Oklahoma Democrats. Well at least they voted for Clark.

This is why I thought Kerry or Dean would be a bad pick for president: Freshman US Rep. Rodney Alexander (D-LA) is "seriously considering" leaving the Dem Party "because he says" Kerry "is too liberal, and that he might be able to better represent his constituents" as a GOPer (New Orleans Times-Picayune).

A Research 2000 IL SEN poll of LVs found Dems Barack Obama with 22% support; Dan Hynes 20%; Blair Hull 15% and Maria Pappas 14%. On the GOP side, Jack Ryan had 38%; Jim Oberweis 15% and Andrew McKenna 10% (release). I guess it was the wife beating thing that did it to Hull and Obama's $10,000 check from Michael Jordan himself that got him into the lead.

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), on the rumors that he is gay: "They are not correct in any shape, form or fashion. ... These are irresponsible. They're salacious. They're hurtful to my family." Perry also said "he has been targeted by 'an obvious, orchestrated effort' launched by political foes" (Austin American-Statesman).

Oh and the phony Iraqi constitution signing has been delayed again. I guess multiple, coordinated suicide bombings killing the U.S. equivalent of 3,000 people (we have 10x more people and about 300 people died) might do that.
"A formally dressed, six-piece classic music group played under the watch of a U.S. soldier in combat gear as officials trickled in the for 4 p.m. (8 a.m. ET) ceremony at the former conference hall of ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.

"The document is to be signed on a desk used by King Faisal I. Faisal led Iraq when the country received its independence in 1932 after years under a League of Nations mandate administered by Britain. " Who's paying for all this? Well it should be Bush-Cheney 2004, but it is all us taxpayers.

Meanwhile, BushCo, this time is ex-NYC Mayor Rudy "I want to be President in 2008 or VP now" Giuliani, is still defending angry 9-11 families, firefighters, and Democrats who are upset that his ads exploit the tragedy for his reelection campaign.

Good work Democrats, if you can't afford ads, at least it can afford outrage and distraction of the Bush machine.

Thursday, March 04, 2004

Into the great wide open

Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-CO) decided not to run for reelection yesterday for "health reasons," and by health reasons he means kickback scandal.

The Denver Post reported that "The allegation centers on [Chief of Staff] Ginnie Kontnik's admitted action in 2002 of inflating an aide's salary and asking him to give her $2,000 in return. The claim was first documented in the aide's resignation letter in 2003.

"Kontnik, who resigned her $142,000-a- year position Friday citing personal reasons, denies the arrangement was a kickback. But after a day of questioning by The Denver Post concerning Kontnik's departure, Campbell said he would refer the matter to the Ethics Committee."

What does this mean? A wide open race. Here are some potential people who might run:

  1. ex-Sen. Gary Hart (D). [offically out according to state party chair]
  2. Governor Bill Owens (R)
  3. Multimillionaire Think Tank head Rutt Bridges (D)

  4. Teacher Mike Miles (D)

  5. Retiring Congressman and Anti-Immigrant Nut Tom Tancredo (R)

  6. Son of one time presidential candidate/fmr. Interior Secretary, Congressman Mark Udall (D)

This all means that the race is going to be as wide open as a church's doors on Sunday. I think this not only puts the senate more in play for the Democrats, it could put the whole state in play for Kerry if Republicans can't get the governor in and get some one like Tancredo or worse, Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, the author of the Federal Marriage Amendment

In other news...

Bush has three silly ads up now. One exploits 9/11, another has him playing fake president with Laura by his side, telling us "I know exactly where I want to lead this country." Where, into the depths of Hell? I have seen zero leadserhip from Bush outside 9/11, although anyone who was president would have done what he did. All of Bush's actions are based on the rubric of "Will this help me get re-elected?" not "What is best for the country?" Ok and the third blames everything from the economy to 9/11 on Bill Clinton indirectly. If he didn't have over $150 million and actually was president right now, I would be laughing. Instead, I shudder.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Name that Cabinet!

Now that the nomination is over sooner than ever before since Edwards dropped out last night, John Kerry will eclipsed by other more trivial items of news and Bush's bully pulpit. Bush's millions will start to blanket him tomorrow. In fact, I was interrupted from typing just now by a RNC pop-up asking me to "support the president's agenda" the funniest part was "lower interest rates" something which is making progressively higher with his tax-cut and spend budgets.

But back to the point; how is Kerry to keep a positive image of him going until the July Convention in Boston? Sure MoveOn's ad campaign this week will help, but Bush is going to be spending way more money. My suggestion? Slowly name your cabinet. Make it like the family feud and leak names to the press of people in the running for various spots.

Have each one of the 9 other democrats who lost to you have a fundraising race on your behalf to get in your cabinet and on your agenda. Ditto for VP wannbes like FL Sen. Bob Graham, NM Gov. Bill Richardson, IN Sen. Evan Bayh, and all the rest of them. Hell, hold a couple fundraisers with Hill and Bill. That if nothing else will fuel the fire of attention (I can see the NY Post header now: "Kerry-Clinton 2004?") like the Clintons. Even talk about who you might replace Terry McAuliffe with in 2005. '

Here's whom I might pick out slowly, if I were Kerry (realistically, with backups):

  • VP: Bayh (see why here) or Edwards

  • State: Clark (already has good relationships with Europe) or Richard Holbrook

  • Defense: John McCain (nobody else will have credibility to cut out wasteful Pentagon spending during a war like this Maverick; plus, Gov. Napalitano (D) gets to name a new Senator with a full two year term) or Bob Kerrey.

  • Treasury: Bob Rubin (no one has more [Wall] Street Cred than Ruby) or Larry Summers

  • AG: John Edwards (he'll crack down on the FBI and its crappy performance that will remind folks of Bobby Kennedy) or Elliot Spitzer

  • CIA director: Graham (former Intelligence Chairman knows his stuff and won't lie to President Kerry) or Gary Hart.

  • Homeland Security: Gary Hart (his commission in 1999 was eerily right about 9/11) or Graham

  • Commerce: George Sorros (hey if you give several million to elect Kerry, I think you deserve a plum like this) some other rich dude who helps Kerry raise dough

  • Labor: Gephardt (if he can pass the Senate) Bob Reich

  • HHS: Dr. Judith Steinberg (aka Judy Dean) or Howard Dean (I'd prefer him to be DNC chair)

  • OMB: Dem. Senate Staffer on the Budget Committee

  • Agriculture: Tom Vislack or Rob Atkinson (PPI VP)

  • Interior: Deb Callahan (LCV head) or Jan Mazurek (DLC environment person)

  • Chief of Staff: Mary Beth Cahill or Jim Jordan (both did good jobs on the campaign)

  • Veteran's: Cleland (triple amputee will make sure Vet's are left out in the cold) or one of Kerry's "Band of Brothers"

  • Energy: Grey Davis (this cost him the election, among other things) or John Dingle (get him out of the House)

  • Education: Ted Kennedy or George Miller (heads of Dem committees in Senate and House)

  • Transportation: James Oberstar (heads of Dem committee in House) and Doug Duncan (Montgomery Co., MD Executive)

Please comment on your picks, or critique mine below.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Where's the fat lady? Plus: Dean finally wins one

Jack Shafer, Slate's Editor At Large, is posting the mid-way exit polls from the Eastern block of Super Tuesday states.

As expected, Kerry is kicking butt.

Kerry 63
Edwards 26
Dean 5

Kerry 50
Edwards 39
Sharpton 7

Kerry 59
Edwards 28
Sharpton 4

Kerry 75
Edwards 16
Dean 3
Kucinich 3

New York
Kerry 61
Edwards 21
Sharpton 10

Kerry 58
Edwards 30
Kucinich 10

Rhode Island
Kerry 70
Edwards 21
Dean 5

Dean 63
Kerry 33
Kucinich 3
(Edwards was not on the ballot)

Also, California is not out yet due to time zones. But I would guess the results are the same. Now Edwards has to leave gracefully so that Democrats will want him to be VP or President in 2008. Tough luck JRE.

Hat's off to Dean for winning his own state without even trying. Too bad his former campaign and former campaign manager Joe Trippi are squabbling over their supporters, no matter what spin they put on it.

Ex-Dean speechwriter Joe Drymala writes at ex-Dean manager Joe Trippi's Change for America blog: on 3/1 that Howard Dean "posted on Blog for America and on these forums, making it clear that Dean for America and Change for America are two different organizations. We agree with him completely."

More Drymala: "Change for America will be doing something very different from Dean for America -- rather than duplicating each other's efforts, we will be complementary. The last thing we want is for the media to have the opportunity to fabricate a "turf war" between CFA and DFA where none exists. It's not fair to the grassroots and it hurts the movement for change. And we don't want to put anyone in the position of feeling as though being a part of one effort is somehow disloyal to the other. CFA and DFA will have entirely different purposes... [W]e'll be making a survey available online shortly to help shape the platform of Change for America" (, 3/1).
Powell's "correction" to Aristide's claims

Sec/State Colin Powell: "He went onto the airplane willingly. And that's the truth." Powell "also admonished two" Hill members "for suggesting U.S. troops strong-armed the Haitian into exile." Powell: "It would have been better for members of Congress who have heard these stories to ask us about the stories before going public with them so that we don't make a difficult situation that much more difficult."

The Times went on to say that while U.S. officials "insist that they did not force" Aristide to leave, "they acknowledge that they made it clear to him that they could not protect him if he clung to power, and that they offered to give him safe passage out of the country if he would leave by dawn on Sunday." What a great choice! Either live in exile, or risk being killed my an armed mob of distgruntled ex-army men.

Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), talked to CNN's Wolf Blitzer about the Aristide kidnapping allegations and summed it up nicely. "I have certainly heard the accusations and I've heard the rebuttal by the administration. But it sort of misses the point. The fact of the matter is, we said to President Aristide, look, you can stay and be killed or you can leave. You make the choice. That's hardly a voluntary departure. ... We've now set up a new standard. You don't have to be a failed government, just a failed leader in our minds and we won't do anything to support and defend you."
Web designers don't lie

Wonkette makes a very good case that Indiana Senator Evan Bayh will be John Kerry's running mate.

After all, just look at the layout of each website side to side: Evan and John. Also note that they use their names as their campaign homepages, not with the or ending, so they can use them over and over again for each campaign. So what you say, they might have hired the same firm. Its one thing to use the same company or same feel, but the same damn template means they are working together.

Why Bayh? Wonkette explains:"Upside: He's a red stater, he's personable, he's handsome, and he's not John Edwards. Downside: Also not the son of a mill worker." True, Bayh is daddy's boy and from what I have heard working at the DLC married to real B*tch who loves throwing her "Senator's Wife" title around.

Evan has been running for VP for about 2 years now, starting with the all-important "serious book" written by the Senator. Several DLCers told me that they tried their best to read the book, but it was just crap, so they just included an excerpt in Blueprint where I used to work. OK, so he is light on substance, who cares if all he is going to be is VP and the DLC needs a new chairman. I mean, they have been begging for this for a long time. The political department knows a putz when they see one. But not as much of one as Kerry is, according to Slate.

Anyway, Democrats wouldn't lose a seat, Governor Joe Kernan (D) would just appoint Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson (D) if Kerry-Bayh won and if he won the governor's race ( I would suspect Kernan would appoint himself if he were to lose to Mitch "Bush's B*tch" Daniels.) And hey, if Bayh could take Indiana with him, Bush is toast, even if he keeps Florida and Ohio in his tent. Just try it out: if Kerry-Bayh gets all the Gore states, plus the Hoosier state, they're at 271 right there. That's without NH, FL, OH, WV, AZ, CO, MO or any of the other states that might swing the Democrats' way in November.
The Battle for the Senate (and House)

...just got more interesting. It seems that in Oklahoma, the Republican "nominee-in-waiting" a Oklahoma City mayor named Kirk Humphreys, has been such a flop that ex-Congressman Tom Colburn was "drafted" into running to replace retiring Republican Senator Don Nickels. Congressman Brad Carson, the Democratic nominee-in-waiting, has been polling much better than Humphreys. This is a seat that Democrats actually could pick up, given that Carson is popular and the Governor is a Democrat. All they need is ex-Sooner's coach Barry Switzer to endorse Brad, and he is golden (worked for the Governor).

Alaska looks to be a great race too, with former Governor Tony Knowles running against Lisa Murkowski, the appointed daughter of ex-Senator now Governor Frank M. More than just nepotism, Alaskans are taking it out on Lisa because her dad has been a terrible governor thus far. He even, gasp, raised taxes. Polls show Tony with a narrow (5 points) lead over Lisa. I am sure it will come down to a few hundred votes.

Illinois will be a pick up for the Democrats, but the major question is who will it be? Multimillionaire Blair Hull was cruising to a win with all of his money that he spent (he even paid people to put up lawn signs) until reports came out that he verbally threatened to kill his ex-wife (she was his wife at the time). He even called her a f*cking c*nt. Nice, huh? So now the race may swing to Comptroller Dan Hynes or State Senator Barrack Obama. Hynes is running old-school statewide race, which Obama is running Chicago out. Barrack is a progressive Black man with a cool name (too bad it sounds like Osama) and Hynes is more moderate, although they are both loved by the DLC (the DLC loves winners).

Georgia looks like a Republican pick up, as we can't find a good dog catcher to run.

Louisiana looks like a toss up, as does Florida (both Democratic Seats). South Carolina is looking better than it should considering how conservative the state is. But Inez Tannenbaum is running hard and well (sorry I only cover candidates with cool names). North Carolina is going to be tough but I think we have a good shot with ex-Clinton CoS Erskine Bowles.

Colorado looks to be suddenly a good race. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the original party switcher (D->R) is in hot water because his staff seems to have taken kickbacks for legislation. Assuming its true, its bad news for the only Native American in Congress: either he knows about it and his criminally liable, or he is a old aloof man that shouldn't be sitting there (plus he's got health issues). A rich, DLC-aligned Think Tank owner, Rutt Bridges, is running for the Democratic nod and a Dean-grassroots type Mike Miles is opposing him in the primaries. I would like either one against Campbell.

On the House side, there is the not-so-secret secret that 2006 looks better. The four year plan is to hedge losses and hope that Dubya is so bad that they win back a lot of seats. The best shot will come in 2012, when redistricting happens again. Of course, there will be no more partisan redistricting if I have my way. But that is a story for a different day.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Notice something different?

Dear Readers,

I have slightly changed the layout and style of this site and I hope you like it slightly better. Also, please note that the comments section is back up. I switched to another free comments provider after the other got all full. After all, I don't want to get on the black list of BOPNews' MattS. ;)

Many thanks to blogExtra for this free comments log. Please try it out, especially during the gay marriage debate on March 11th, when I will be there until the cows come home on the crappy roads they made in Boston and Cambridge.

Post away!
When rumor is fact?

Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide is now on the telephone from the Central African Republic on CNN and is claiming he was forced to resign. He further says his resignation letter was dictated to him by U.S. Embassy officials and that then U.S. Marines "forcibly escorted" him onto a plane. CNN's Cooper Anderson (the guy from the Mole) seems to seriously doubt Aristide's claims, since those truth tellers, the Bush Administration, says so.

Aristide also told the same thing to the Congressional Black Caucus, who have been very vocal in their critique of the President over the weekend and the administration's handling of the situation. So has my man for Secretary of State (assuming Clark is VP) Richard Holbrooke: "By calling for Aristide to leave and then having him leave within a few days, the administration has really taken ownership of the problem. Whether one likes it or not, whether one thinks we're getting too involved or not. ... They cannot walk away from the consequences of their actions" ("This Week," ABC, 2/29).

Is this rumor true? If so, a HUGE blow to US credibility. Why are we such thugs to Haiti? Shouldn't we be helping them instead? After all, Clinton tried to do something with one hand tied behind his back by the GOP congress. Now Bush is holding up his hands while his goons apparently do the dirty work.
$31 million well spent?

According to the end-of-the-year FEC reports, Bush spent a little over $31 million of his $130 war chest in 2003. By now, he has doubtlessly raised much more money and spent more too, by guess he is getting close to the $150 million range, which is obscene considering he has no primary opposition.

Meanwhile, Kerry has about a million or two to his name and 7-8 million in debt ($6M of which is his home loan) and spent about $35 million or so. So, what's Bush spending his money on?

According to a TIME magazine article, Bush has one of the best "grassroots" organizations I have ever heard of (I like to call it "astroturf" when you buy your grassroots support network).

And "what has given the Bush campaign the most confidence during these dark days is its ground organization." While Dems "were attacking, the Bush team says it was quietly laying track." The campaign "has county chairs in all the 1,189 counties in 18 of the target states from 2000. It has held 127 regional training sessions. By June, it will have made 800,000 phone calls to Republicans. Almost 200,000 volunteers have signed on. It boasts that it will be able to run the first 'national precinct campaign,' involving lieutenants in all the 10,020 precincts of every swing state, a level of blanketing usually reserved for smaller campaigns." If you are a "swing-state Republican, lean that way or happen to share an interest like NASCAR or the N.R.A., someone is probably going to knock on your door between now and Election Day. You may already know G.O.P. officials from the church potluck or Little League, but if you don't, they hope to lavish attention on you."

Holy Sh*t. I guess you could argue that Howard Dean blew money on crap like this too, but that was for a primary and for people that he needed to persuade, not religious nuts or gun zombies (of course, there aren't many of those, most gun owners and church goers are normal folks but they definitely lean GOP on issues like gay marriage and gun control). The whole grassroots are going to get all reved up by wedge issues. They're called, by the illustrious Ed Killgore "the 4 Gs:" Guns, Gays, God, and Gas chambers.

These issues are the reason Democrats lose in the South and Middle America. Because if people voted economic interest, Dems would win in a landslide. There aren't enough millionaires out there to vote for the president without his religious conviction (AKA gay marriage amendment). So the question will be, can Bush use these wedge issues to distract swing voters long enough for them to forget about 2 costly, badly run wars, 3 million lost jobs, a $1 trillion swing in the federal budget deficit, exploding health care costs, and a string of broken promises to the moon and back.

Let's work to open people's eyes to the facts: No one is going to take your guns away from you, unless you are a criminal. No one is going to force your church to marry gay people, unless they want you. No one is going to tell state's they can't execute heinous criminals, unless your state bans it. But some one is going to cost you jobs; some one will cost you more money than the pithy tax cut he gave you in higher state fees, health care costs, interest payments, etc.; someone is going to make you pretend to be Canadian when you travel abroad; someone is going to make this country more divided than ever; someone is willing to go to any length to win reelection lives or constitution be damned. Ladies and Gentlemen, that some one is George W. Bush.
Objects in rear view mirror may be closer than they appear, but they are still behind you

Senator Johnnie-come-lately Edwards finally got around to attacking Senator John Kerry yesterday, when no one was watching (hopefully because Dan Rather made an ass of himself again). Some say it is too late. But others think the "Washington" attack lines won't work when the attacker is himself a sitting senator. Details, Details.

Finally, some one at the Boston Globe put down in words why I don't like Kerry and thing he is the worse choice of nominee, lack of political courage. The closer: "At the age of 25, John Kerry's courage was indisputable. Now, at age 60, it is more or less undetectable." LA Weekly says its because Kerry always wanted to be an insider and never really was. You really are an outsider when you go to St. Paul's in NH, Yale (and Skull 'n Bones), and marry two millionaire heiresses. Must be tough. [if you can't figure it out, I don't buy that argument]

Tomorrow millions of people vote, and if the polls are to be believed Kerry wins most, if not all, the contests. Edwards says he will stay in for at least another week, but I almost wonder why he would bother if he can't win. Maybe it is because Kerry is annoyed with Edwards, despite their LA knoodling, and won't pick him for VP. Latest rumor: ex-Sen. Max Cleland (GA) will be it.

Let's hope the 25 year old big-chinned Kerry shows up, and the cautious 60 year old Senator from Massachusetts disappears.