Friday, January 21, 2005

RE: They don't fight

In response to Paperwight's lengthy reply to my rant/comment on his blog, I would like to thank him first for driving some traffic here. But I wouldn't consider myself as a DLC apologist. I feel that I have a duty as a person who has actually worked there to dispel some of the myths/misconceptions about the organization which the blogopshere and far left seem to spread.

only natural for the grassroots/netroots to conflate the two, and to inject as well their frustration with the lack of fighting spirit among the clubby DC crowd, so that "DLC Democrat" or "DINO" becomes shorthand for "cowardly appeaser pissing on the people who worked their asses off in the ground game". Is that fair? No, it's probably not entirely fair.

This is a very good point, and probably the main source of the problems the DLC faces. They were outsiders, and then with the success of Clinton, they got thrust into power and now they intermixed with the pre-existing status quo/establishment folks. I agree with what you say for the most part; the DLC needs to repudiate the establishment guys like Paul Begala and shame Tim Roemer. But Tim was their good foot soldier for the most part (except the tax cuts and Clinton 93 budget) and I am sure Paul is tight with the senior staff at the DLC.

For their part, the DLC has repudiated Shrumism for many years now (since about 2000 as far as I know) and folks like Ed Kilgore has agreed with folks at Tapped and elsewhere that ideology is a trivial concern at this point and we need to reform and rebuild the party. Ed has made some very positive noises about Dean's quasi announcement speech. They have been remarkably quiet, at least publicly, as to whom they like for DNC chair. I have trouble thinking of who they might want.

I will let Ed do more defending of the DLC since A) he still works there and B) he is a much better writer than me. But to sum up, the DLC doesn't appease, the Congressional "leadership" does/has. I don't agree with the DLC all the time, but I think the real enemy of Reform Democrats everywhere are not DLC members but folks like Bob Shrum, the folks who staff the DCCC and DSCC (those who cross-pollinate with said Shrums), the soft money men/women, the John Dingle's of the congress (career over substance, party, values etc.) We need to change how the party runs.

A group of what Paperwight indirectly calls "has-beens" is not the threat, it is those who hold the keys to the party and its purse-strings. The Dean campaign helped weaken the hold these people have on the party, but at the same time it reaffirmed their power (since Dean sunk like a stone).

Hal on comment board didn't like my closer that "I look to the Blogosphere for the next great promise of reforms for America." He said "I look to the people." But the blogosphere is made out of people. That is where it's power derives, not software. True, many smart and capable people don't go online yet, or aren't members of the blogophere. But I trust their ideas, if good enough, will trickle into the 'sphere over time. This is the promise of Open-Source policy making that Matt Stoller and Stirling Newberry advocate.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

A view of the real world

Today we visited Judge/Professor Paul G. Cassell's court room downtown. Today we watched the procedings of a Marijuna sentencing (for a spanish-speaking guy that merely trimed the leaves of well over 950 plants and did not grow the stuff down near St. George), A meth pleading (for 51 year old guy who will get a very generous 12 years in prison), and a preliminary evidence hearing (on a guy who slapped a woman he was sleeping with and owned a gun).

It was a hard look at what the criminal world is all about and its consequences. Cassell to me seemed very patient and fair. The family of the slapper was very upset that he denied their motion but all it did was set themselves up for trail and/or a plea. I had to be classist and prejudical, but this guy looked like white trash and had a history of violence against women and run-in with the law. Plus, his lawyer was a big, fat moron. Cassell had handed down a draft order (to deny the defense's motion) and the defense lawyer never found/read the case he cited. Granted it was a recent case, but he had a 3L on staff (from the NRA society no doubt) who could have used Lexis-Nexis or WestLaw to look it up for free. That's bad form.

Da Judge went out of his way to listen to every lame argument and explain things to people via interpreter. Further, he pointed out that all the attorney's there went to the U, I guess to make us feel like we had a chance to do those jobs. One even had a SJ Quinney pin on his lapel. The AUSA's stayed on to answer our questions and it was interesting. To me, it seems to have to clerk for a federal judge and know people in the US Attorney's office to get the job. And to clerk, I am betting you have to have really good grades. Sigh....

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Only 2 votes against sycophancy?

I have trouble believing that the Foreign Relations panel could not find more Democrats or GOPers with some spine to tell the president that he can't put just anyone into such a powerful post as Secretary of State.

John Kerry, who thinks he still has a shot to run for president again, voted no. Barbara Boxer, the hyper-liberal from California who has a great name and was just reelected, did too. What happened to Joe "Plagiarism" Biden? Dick "Iraq is in the toilet" Lugar? Or Chuck Hagel? Russ "only no vote on Ashcroft" Feingold? Barrack "President in 2008" Obama? Man, what happened?

Condi Rice is incompetent, she failed to do anything to prevent 9/11, she did nothing since then to fulfill her duties as national security advisor, since anyone with guts would have told Bush that there was no pressing, national security need to go to Iraq and that the US would be less secure as a result. She led the parade of lies to go to Iraq. She was the president's puppet.

The only good thing I can say about her is that foreign governments will know that when she speaks, she speaks for the president since she wouldn't tie her shoe unless he gave her permission. That is the major problem Colin Powell had: no support from the White House since day one.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

On the Precipice of History

How cool is this, I am learning from a professor and Judge who presaged/pursauded (US v. Croxford) the outcome of a landmark Supreme Court Decision this week (US v. Booker)? Further, Cassell also was able to twice be the first out of the barn to interpret Blakely v. Washington and Booker, this time with US v. Wilson.

First of all, it is a brilliantly writen and argued decision. Moreover, it made for 39 pages of reading instead of over 100 for Booker. Many have put out through critiques of Wilson: the Sentencing and policy blog, TalkLeft, and many others. There is a buzz about it and Cassell is making the most out of his appointment to the court.

While I might not agree with all of his opinions, I totally respect his ethics, his intelligence and influence. After all, he did clerk for Scalia.

Long weekend

Sorry for not posting for a couple days...maybe I have run out of things to say. I have been posting comments now and then on and it probabbly has done everyone more harm than good.

Some people on there still believe the hyper-liberal myths that the DLC is trying to destroy the party and is responsibile for every loss the Democrats have had. These same people strangly feel that Dean is their Moses who will lead Democrats out of the desert even though he was part of this supposed devil's pact a few months prior to running for president and still believes most (if not all) of the DLC's tenants.

These folks and their hyper-conservative counterparts give credance to the idea that Dean's leadership of the DNC will wrench the party to the left, when in reality nothing could be further from the truth. I am not supporting Dean for DNC, but I am not opposing him for this very reason.

We need to change the leadership and the way the party runs itself. The incestuous relationship between the DSCC/DCCC and political consultants in DC needs to stop. The dependancy on big, soft money donations (see 527s) needs to stop. The idiotic left-right debate needs to stop. I am tired of the turf wars between the DLC and the Nation Magazine factions of the party. Is that really going to lead to victories in November? I think not. Why should people who win with 80+ percent of the vote be making political decisions for those at the margins?

If the Democrats want the Congress under their control before 2012, they need to embrace reform and change, not fight it like Roemer et al. The American people don't even know who controls their government because the only Democrats they hear from are in Congress or run for President (or both). To ensure long-term sucess, Democrats need to support Iowa-style redistricting, where a non-partisan group designs congressional districts and there is near parity in almost every district. The results are a more moderate, more representative House of Representatives than the current hyper-partisan GOP-dominated body today.