Archive for January 25th, 2007

Let’s Hope.

Digby:

…I just saw [new DLC chair Harold Ford] interviewed by Blitzer and he did not succumb to the temptation to use liberals as his foil — indeed, he argued with Blitzer’s entire premise which was that the party was divided along crazies vs centrist lines. He even interrupted to point out that the DLC had strongly backed “progressive” legislation during the 90’s like family and medical leave.

More importantly, he came out strongly against the escalation, which was my biggest concern. True, he did use Republicans Warner and Hagel as his benchmarks for seriousness, which was annoying, but it was a minor transgression compared to what I expected….

Ford is a talented politician. It would be nice to see him use his gifts for good. If he can persuade the DLC that they do not need to reflexively trash their fellow Democrats, even when Wolf Blitzer is tossing them opportunity after opportunity to do so, then perhaps they will not be the pernicious influence on the political discourse that they grew into during the 90’s and the Bush years. Baby steps.

Amen to that. The last thing Democrats need to do is help the Republicans to marginalize progressives.

6 comments January 25th, 2007 at 11:55pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Politics

Expanding Sexual Horizons

Today I got multiple e-mails from “DirtyFun” with the subject: “[HardCoreXXX] January 25, 2007 Thai Basil Chicken”.

I just had to open it, and it was all… recipes. Recipes with obvious sexual codewords, like “Cheese Filling”, and “Sealed Sandwiches”, and “Leftover Ham Potato Soup”.

Saucy.

3 comments January 25th, 2007 at 10:13pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Spamoptikon

Is This All He Can Talk About???

Oh, look. Broder’s going on about bipartisanship and civility again.

Despite the raging controversy over Iraq military policy, President Bush’s plea for bipartisan cooperation on the domestic agenda has a chance of success in the Senate. The reason has less to do with sympathy for the politically weakened chief executive than a dynamic that has gone largely unnoticed among the senators themselves.

Since the midterm election created a near-even balance in the Senate — 51 Democrats and 49 Republicans — serious efforts at cross-party communication have developed momentum.

Forty senators showed up on Jan. 9 for the first of a planned series of weekly 8 a.m. breakfasts designed to provide neutral ground where lawmakers of both parties can meet, rather than caucusing separately.

Yesterday, some 60 top Senate staffers of both parties held a similar breakfast session aimed at obliterating party lines and fostering personal relationships.

The core of the “Gang of 14” — the self-selected bipartisan caucus that negotiated the compromise on judicial filibusters and averted an explosion in the Senate in 2005 — has reconstituted itself as a “fire department” ready to douse other blazes.

(…)

The powerful current toward consensus-building flowing through the Senate has two sources. Politicians who were at home last autumn had their ears burned by constituents frustrated by the partisanship of the past Congress and its failure to act on issues of national concern. “The last election was a resounding repudiation of the status quo,” said Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of the few Republican survivors in New England.

And senators themselves are weary of excessive partisanship. “All our time is spent in team meetings, playing petty kindergarten games about what we’re going to do to each other,” said Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, referring to the party caucuses.

Snowe and Alexander became ringleaders in two of the efforts to break down party barriers. Alexander teamed with Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, reelected as an independent Democrat, as co-hosts of the new Tuesday morning breakfasts for senators of both parties.

With senators seated at round tables of eight, and the seats alternating between Republicans and Democrats, the breakfasts feature five-minute briefings by a pair of senators from opposite parties on an issue about to reach the floor, followed by 20 minutes of discussion of that issue and a half-hour of general conversation. No votes are taken; no policy set. But senators, without staff, get to listen to each other and build personal bonds.

It’s so beautiful and sparkly! Personally, I think this is all bullshit, and Broder is a tool for getting a hard-on for anything that looks even remotely bipartisan. Bipartisanship and civility, while admirable ideals in the abstract, are used as Republican clubs in the real world. Any time Democrats or progressives stand up and say “This is wrong,” Republicans and their attack dogs accuse them of being partisan and uncivil. But when Bush, Cheney, or bipartisan paragon Joe Lieberman equate criticism of the war with treason, there’s hardly a whisper of protest outside the liberal blogosphere.

I also feel obliged to point out that alleged Republican moderates and mavericks like McCain and Lindsay Graham (Gang Of 14 members), Lamar Alexander (Lieberman’s Bipartisan Breakfast co-host), and Chuck Hagel (Mr. Principled Anti-War Voice Of Reason Guy) all voted to completely eliminate the minimum wage yesterday. Keep that in mind the next time you think they can ever be counted on to do the right thing.

As an aside, the minimum wage vote is like Dubai Ports World all over again: The Republicans whip up fears about Americans losing their jobs to immigrants (legal and il-) who work cheap, and then they vote to make it easier to pay them two bucks an hour? Brilliant.

2 comments January 25th, 2007 at 07:17pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Sentences I Never Thought I’d Type

I really enjoyed today’s Robert Novak column:

When President Bush called for a bipartisan “special advisory council” of congressional leaders on the war against terrorism in his State of the Union address, he had in his pocket a rude rejection from Democratic leaders. Thank you very much, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, but no thank you.

Three days earlier, Reid and Pelosi wrote a letter to the president turning down his offer (which was contained in his Jan. 10 speech on Iraq) to establish a council consisting of Democratic chairmen and ranking Republican members of the relevant committees. “We believe that Congress already has bipartisan structures in place,” they said, adding: “We look forward to working with you within existing structures.”

That could be the most overt snub of a presidential overture since Abraham Lincoln was told that Gen. George B. McClellan had retired for the night and could not see him. Courtesy aside, it shows that the self-confident Democratic leadership is uninterested in being cut into potentially disastrous outcomes in Iraq. It wants to function as a coordinate branch of government, not as friendly colleagues in the spirit of bipartisanship….

(…)

Bush made a mistake in attributing the idea to Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who as the Senate’s only self-identified Independent Democrat is estranged from his colleagues who are unmodified Democrats. These former comrades are not charmed by the prospect of Lieberman pontificating as a member of the “working group” by virtue of his chairmanship of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

(…)

On both sides, the prevailing attitude is that Bush looks like a president at bay. Statements made to me this week by two prominent political figures, one from each party, were so candid that these sources did not want to be quoted by name.

The Republican, a ranking House committee member, said: “The president and his aides are irrelevant and out of touch, removed from realizing what happened in the election.” A Democratic state party leader said that “Bush is in such bad shape that the result of the 2008 election is already decided.” In that atmosphere, pleas for consultation go nowhere.

Sweet, sweet music… from Novakula, of all people.

1 comment January 25th, 2007 at 06:49pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Iraq,Lieberman,Politics,Republicans

It’s The Bluntness, Stupid.

E.J. Dionne gets it. Ryan Lizza doesn’t. What makes Webb great for the Democrats, and why they need more candidates like him, is not that he’s a macho alpha male – it’s that he says what he wants to say and doesn’t pull any punches. That is what American voters have been craving, and it may even explain their irrationally positive response to Republican trash talk.

As I say in the probably-unfortunately-named Multi Medium Manifesto (which I plan to update after I finish cleaning up the new blog):

Voters respect conviction, passion, and heart. Candidates like Hackett with firm convictions, who tell it like it is without pulling punches, who say things like “I said it, I meant it, I stand behind it” will gain the voters respect, even from voters who don’t agree with all their positions.

That is what Webb does, and that is what the Democrats need, and the sooner they recognize that, the better.

1 comment January 25th, 2007 at 06:40pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Media,Politics,Wankers

Defensive

To follow up on an earlier post, I am curious as to just how a “scapegoat” defense will work in a perjury/obstruction case. Is there any way to argue that Rove somehow set Libby up to look like he was lying and obstructing, when in reality it was Rove? Or are they going to argue that Libby only did so because he was ordered to cover Rove’s ass?

And if it’s one of those, just how much of a case against Rove does Team Libby have to build to get him off? Do they have enough dirt to get Rove indicted, or at least embarrass him into resigning (ha)?

Alternatively, is it simply a ploy to make Poor Sacrificial Libby a more sympathetic figure? Or, better yet, is it simply payback against the White House for not fully enfolding him in its warm coveruppy bosom?

3 comments January 25th, 2007 at 12:03pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Politics,Wankers

Farewell To NYC Photoblogging

Okay, this is the last of it:

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Not-quite-sunset over Jacob Riis Park.

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More not-quite-sunset.

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From the plane on the way home.

Highlights of this and previous NYC trips can be found here.

If you really want to see everything from NYC, go here and check out the NYC4.1 and Riis Park & Fort Tilden albums…

January 25th, 2007 at 07:34am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: NJ/NYC,Photoblogging


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