Friday, June 09, 2006

Pelosi's purge

I know bloggers don't like how spineless Nancy Pelosi has been in general (although they are warming to her stance on Jefferson), they sure as heck don't like Steny Hoyer.
My money is on Pelosi is behind Murtha's challenge of Hoyer for Majority Leader.

Murtha is one of Pelosi’s top allies in the House, one of the architects of her 2001 victory over Hoyer. Earlier this week, Hoyer publicly pledged his loyalty to Pelosi, saying that he wants her to lead the Democrats whether they win or lose this fall.

Maybe Murtha is going to shoot for Majority Leader now that he is a famous Democrat outside the beltway and respected inside it. I bet that Pelosi is starting to create her own leadership team.

A bit premature if you ask me.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

scary mailer of the week

I am not near my scanner but luckily this object has a website. Meet "Josh," described in the flyer as "the baby boy you've always wanted to hug, hold and keep sweetly innocent forevermore."

Isn't this one of the spookiest things you have ever seen?

It doesn't look good

After last night's super primary results are in, I predicting the Democrats will come up short in November.

If you can't beat a lobbyist replacing a guy who took $2.4 Million in bribes from lobbyists, where can you win? Now I think we should take Bob Ney's seat off the board, and Pombo's and Lewis'. Redistricting and idiot voters seem to be too much to overcome. Busby said something stupid, the CA-Gov primaries were turnout depressing, etc. but a loss is a loss. That was our best opportunity with a good candidate and a seemingly good message.

Liberals in the Blogophere think that Tester's big win means that populism works everywhere and that D.C. consultants are dead wrong. Well I agree with them, D.C. consultants are dead wrong. I supported Morrison because of my personal contact with him and my sense that he was a good guy and since he was elected statewide, he would have a better shot. But that was before the adultery scandal, and it was that scandal that sunk Morrison. Tester organized well and had good outside the box ads, but it was Morrison's failings that propped up Tester. As for populism working, well maybe in a state like Montana, but not in any other state I can think of.

Montana is not so ruby red as Liberal bloggers are trying to tell you. It voted for Clinton in 1996 and I suspect a Clark or a Warner or an Edwards could win that state back too if they showed up with Sen. Tester (God willing) and Gov. Schweitzer.

The worst news for Tester:
Now that Tester has triumphed 60 percent to 36 percent, look to national Democrats to lean on him to shake up his campaign and bring in more seasoned professionals and significantly ramp up his fundraising.

Burns came off his win swinging, challenging Tester to lay bare his thoughts on such emotionally charged issues as gay marriage and flag burning.

That means that if Tester does have to hire those idiot DSCC consultants (for love of humanity, don't do it, please) they will make it talk around or ignore gay marriage and flag burning, which Burns thinks will save his Abramoff-owned soul.

Back to my predictions: in the House, 10-15 seat pickup for Democrats, with the lower end being more likely; in the Senate, 2-4 seat pickup for Democrats; in Governors races I see a win in Ohio, Arkansas, Alaska, New York, New Hampshire, Maryland, losses in California (Angelides looks like Buddy Holly with less charisma), Georgia, South Dakota, Florida, Connecticut, and probably Massachusetts (they always manage to screw it up), toss ups in Colorado, Oregon, Illinois, Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Devil's Wedding Day

Today's date is 6/6/06, which you all know means horror movies, devil worshipers, heavy metal bands, and right wing nutjobs will use the day to promote their product.

At the County building, it means that some 'interesting' folk are getting married today. Those who think being Goth (and tatoos and piercings black lipstick etc.) is really cool and that this is the prefect day to get married, since Halloween is so passe' after "the Crow" came out.

How ironic too that today GOP senators are pretending to debate about amending the U.S. constitution to ban gay marriage.

Look, people get married for lots of reasons, some good (love), many bad (money/land, fame, sex, pregnancy, alcohol/drugs, rebellion, social pressure, diplomacy). What's wrong with marriage is not same-sex couples wanting to profess their love and commitment to each other, but that you can get married in a drive-through...and then get divorced in a drive through a few feet away. Or get the marriage annulled online. Or get married while under the influence.

Some say the real trouble is how easy it is to divorce (I sorta said so myself above, but I was really referring to the drive-thru culture infected marriage). But if you are going to go back to the pre-Henry the VIII era, you best make marriage a lot more serious of an institution.

No child marriages, no drunk/high marriages, no just for sex marriages, no "you'll go to hell unless you get married" marriages.

Personally, I think that marriage as an institution and concept is strong enough and flexible enough to welcome in same-sex couples. It is not "activist Judges" that are "redefining marriage," society has redefined marriage over the ages.

Divorce is no longer taboo, while you might have to be married to get the White House, the fact that John Kerry had divorced was never an issue. Nor is it an issue for dozens of U.S> Senators, including those supporting the marriage amendment.

While Britney's quicky marriage and divorce was the butt of jokes, it is quite normal for many Americans. Why else would the state of Nevada be in the marriage business (and Tennessee for that matter)?

And although pre-marital sex is still considered a sin (unlike divorce), it is regularly displayed on popular shows and movies without much to do (just no nudity please).

If people want to worship the Devil and get married today, they should realize their part of the trivilization of marriage (and of the Book of Revelations).

$ and Congress, part 2006

Sunday’s Deseret News had a very frank discussion of outside money in politics. It seems for once a political reporter actually looked at context and reality. So hats off to Lee Davidson and Bob Bernick Jr. (you have to praise them when they do something right, not just criticize when they do bad stuff).

The real deal as they alluded to: the safer the member of Congress is, the more outside money they raise, because it is a safer bet for lobbyists, interest-groups, and individuals seeking influence. And because Utah not is that that wealthy of a state. I didn’t do well in Stats in college, but I bet there is a statistically significant inverse correlation between one’s Cook rating (safe Republican vs. leans Republican vs. Toss up) and the type and amount members of Congress can raise. Just look at this chart:

CREDIT: Deseret News

Here is another fundamental problem with the system: “Matheson says he spends four to six hours a week on the telephone seeking funds. Because members of Congress cannot use federal phones or office space for such activities, that forces him to work out of his campaign or party offices in Utah and Washington.” That means that instead of spending his time reading bills or talking to constituents, Matheson is spending 4-6 hours on the phone raising money at the DCCC and maybe another hour or so walking back and forth from his office to the DCCC.

Another is that staffers get paid crap, like less than minimum wage in most cases. In an expensive city like D.C., offers of largess from lobbyists can be very tempting. And appearantly, that's what's been happening over the past 6 years. The Medill School of Journalism and D.C. watchgroups noticed that $50 million was given to saffers improperly. And because these staffers are the defacto members in many cases (because a lot of these Members are complete idiots and are just names), the lack of enforcement is scary.

Another big problem is most lobbyists are lobbyists not because they are experts in a field, and could therefore help their company get favorable legislation and Congress make an informed decision. Rather, these lobbyists are lobbyists because their relative is a Member of Congress or big dude in the Administration, or they themselves were a member of Congress.

Take, for example, the case of Tom DeLay's brother Randy DeLay, who is - no surprise here - a lobbyist. According to a report by NPR's Marketplace this morning, he whisked two staffers to a resort while they were both working on a transportation approrpiations bill. They spent the weekend with his client, who wanted money to a build a toll road in West Virginia. DeLay picked up the tab. No repercussions.

Now both Daschles are lobbyists. And soon both DeLays will too. Same goes for Hatch's family, the Hutinson's etc. I could go on and on. If we outlawed neposism in lobbying, made the sit out period for former Members/Appointees 3 years, publicly financed elections or allowed unlimited donations (with a payed for by section at the end of each ad), we could get back to governing for the people, not the well connected.


I have been reading the material of both sides of the debate over the primary battle between Joe Lieberman and Ned Lemont. As someone that worked at the DLC, I should be outraged that leftie groups like and DFA are pushing for the "purge" of Joe. Yet I would like to see Joe go, and almost none of it has to do with reasons either side is pushing.

The whole debate is juvinile, or should I say Joe-vinile.

To sum my view in seven words: Joe is a politican with bad instincts. That is my main problem with him. Everything he supports turns to crap and Democrats would be well advised to treat him as another haplessly comic character, George Costanza: do the exact opposite of what Joe would do or suggest. Having him in the Senate as a national figure creates the temptation for Democrats to listen to him and shot themselves in the foot again in 2006 and 2008.

Let me give you some examples (besides the obvious Iraq war one): the Department of Homeland Security. It was Joe's idea that Senate Democrats, then in the 50-1-49 majority, support a Department of Homeland Security. The idea was that the next 9/11 would be averted if we put all security type agencies under one roof who reported to the president at a cabinet level. But the idea really was, let's go to the right of Bush on terrorism and security and show him Democrats can be trusted with national security. Initially it worked, for months, Bush said no department or cabinet level position was necessary, wishing to avoid Congressional supervision.

Then Bush figured out that DHS could be used AGAINST the Democrats, and went further to the right than Lieberman proposed: no unions for DHS employees, all would be at will. Of course, Democrats balked; that was what Bush was counting on. He then claimed that moderate Democrats couldn't be trusted with national security because they were putting Big Labor ahead of those sacred swing voters.

It worked, every moderate Democrat lost except Mary Landrieu (who ran opposite of Joe's free trade advice), and Democrats lost control of the Senate. When Joe suggested going to the right of Bush on Iran, again it seems like Iraq and DHS all over again.

Joe's political strategy might have worked in 1960, when John Kennedy ran to the right on security to an unprepared Nixon ("missle gap"), but it won't work on the modern GOP. They learned that lesson 46 years ago Joe.

Same goes for big bills like the Cap and Trade Carbon Emissions bill. It is a pretty decent idea, not perfect but certainly better than nothing. But the problem is, Joe keeps working with John McCain on such big bills in a way that McCain gets all the credit for "crossing the alise" while Lieberman gets none of it.

Joe has been unwittingly helped McCain burnish his raging moderate reputation to disguise his raging conservative views on just about everything else. Again Joe is enabling Republicans to beat Democrats by propping up John McCain for 2008. Joe is not a statesman who gets things done, or a well-respected senator. He is a tool; a usefull well-meaning fool Republicans use. Ted Kennedy, like him or not, is a statesman. He has more legislation under his belt that actually has done great things for American than any other politican alive in America today. He is like Henry Clay good at getting his finger in the pie and making sure he gets the most out of his name being on there.

Joe has been against regulations and financial reporting of companies until Enron broke, and then he ran to the microphone, causing harm to the American worker and 401k holder while weakening Democrats who disagreed with him by calling them anti-corporatists.

He told Democrats not to attack Bush when George W. started his downward spiral in the polls. He fudged on Social Security while other Democrats stood down the swaggering president. He fudged on conservative judges because he thought Democrats would look to shrill complaining about this radicals. He is part of the "please let's not talk about Iraq!" coalition of consultants and pundits in the Democratic Party who think that "Kitchen Table Issues" will carry the day if we just ignore the number 1 issue on American's minds.

I don't want to get rid of Lieberman because he talks within GOP talking points, or he was the first to applaud Bush, or that he kissed Bush on the cheek, or even the War. I hope that Connecticut primary voters ditch Joe because his very presence in the cloakrooms, strategy sessions, talk shows, articles, etc. are a cancer on the Democratic Party's hope for reclaiming governing power.

Russ Feingold is right that Democrats need to stand for something. We agree 80-90% on what that something is. So let's go out and stick to it. And come to some sort of agreement on how to talk about Iraq for real. And keep Joe out of the room, he's bad for business.

Monday, June 05, 2006

how gay marriage effected a straight, married man in Utah

As a staffer for a liberal Massachusetts State Representative in 2003 and 2004, I kept asking concerned callers how gay marriage in Massachusetts would effect their marriage or their religious beliefs if they lived in say, Texas.

And now, I have the answer in Utah. Yesterday, my wife and I wanted to go to church. After all, we had a young adult group from our church at our home the night before and all of the attendees would be there; one was even going to be an usher. But when we got there 5-10 minutes before services began, the parking lot was full (it is smaller now with the construction to the cathedral). Moreover, all the street parking was gone because there was a gay pride parade going on right along one of the streets abutting the church. A big part of the parade was not just costumes and floats and motorcycles but a message that the U.S. Constitutional Amendment against gay marriage put out there by the GOP was bad.

Yet my wife and I couldn't get to church, and all the other churches in the area had already started 30 minutes ago. So instead, we "worshiped" by going to the grocery store.

I get why people are upset with the word "marriage" being used for gay couples, and I understand why those gay couples want the right to use the word marriage. I am in favor of equal rights for all people regardless of whom they love, what their skin color is etc. Yet yesterday, in this rare freak occurrence, gay marriage did effect my life in a negative fashion. Although there were lots of fresh produce available, so I guess it wasn't all bad.