Archive for March 23rd, 2007

What Rove Does

Digby excerpts a chilling Atlantic piece from the 2004 election, describing how Karl Rove quite literally stole a close election for Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice back in 1994. Digby also talks about Rove’s probable intent to use bogus accusations of voter fraud to suppress votes and steal close elections in 2006 (and probably 2008). Now that’s chutzpah.

This is why I want Rove gone so badly. It’s bad enough that he’s reduced politics to its basest, most manipulative form, but he’s not content to just game the voters – he has to game the votes themselves as well. He is a liar and a cheat who has done incalculable damage to our Democratic process, but as long as his skills are valuable, even necessary, to Bush and the GOP, they will pull out all the stops to keep him in the game for 2008. Ignore subpoenas? You bet. Constitutional crisis? Bring it on.

6 comments March 23rd, 2007 at 11:26pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,Politics,Republicans,Rove

President Look-What-You-Made-Me-Do Strikes Again

Dubya on the end-the-war supplemental spending bill that the House just passed:

Here in Washington, members of both parties recognize that our most solemn responsibility is to support our troops in the war on terror. Yet, today, a narrow majority in the House of Representatives abdicated its responsibility by passing a war spending bill that has no chance of becoming law, and brings us no closer to getting our troops the resources they need to do their job.

Damn those Democrats for forcing him to choose eternal war over money for the troops!

3 comments March 23rd, 2007 at 07:05pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Democrats,Iraq,Politics,Republicans,Wankers,War

No Pleasing Some People…

I really don’t get this.

Okay, so KagroX, Atrios, and Aravosis had an off-the-record lunch with Democratic Senators and they can’t talk about it. And this is bad, because…? I thought we wanted the Democrats to listen to the blogosphere? I thought we were frustrated they marginalize and ignore us? And now that they’re finally reaching out to the blogosphere, it means the bloggers who talked to them are big fat sellouts?

Sure, I’d love to know what was talked about, mostly just to hear how receptive the Senators were, and whether they intended to change the way they engage with the netroots. But to me the most important thing about the lunch was the information transfer in the other direction, from the bloggers to the Democrats. The more they listen to liberal bloggers, and the less they listen to professional losers like Bob Shrum, the better.

8 comments March 23rd, 2007 at 06:41pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Blogosphere,Democrats,Politics,Wankers

Beinartisanship

Looks like someone has started paying attention:

The real danger for Democrats in the Iraq debate isn’t that they’ll oppose the war too aggressively; it’s that they won’t oppose it aggressively enough. In 1972, Nixon attacked McGovern as a liberal extremist, which wasn’t exactly wrong. But the Democratic Party has become more moderate since the Clinton years, and in the past two presidential elections the G.O.P. has attacked Al Gore and John Kerry less as ideological radicals than as soulless opportunists, weather vanes willing to say whatever it took to win. As pollster Ruy Teixeira has noted, surveys in recent years show Democrats trailing the G.O.P. by more than 20 points when it comes to “know[ing] what they stand for.”

If the public doesn’t like what you stand for, then you should probably adjust your views. But if the public doesn’t believe you stand for anything, then you had better show them that you do. That’s the problem the Democratic Party faces today. And the solution is to end the war in Iraq.

This is what I’ve been saying for over a year now, although not just with regard to the war specifically. The Democrats must take a strong oppositional stand against misguided and destructive Republican policies across the board, not just Iraq. They must distinguish their brand from that of the Republicans, because “We’re just like the Republicans, only smarter and better” is never going to be a big vote-getter.

This is even more true after last year’s elections, which were all about the American people’s disgust with Republicans in general and the war in particular. They want opposition, and the Democrats will face a far more severe backlash if they don’t deliver than if they do.

The only piece I would quibble with is Beinart’s statement that the Democrats have to end the war. It may not be possible for them to end the war, not without a veto-proof majority. But they can do everything within their power to attempt to end the war, thus wiping out their ill-considered AUMF vote almost five years ago, and conclusively establishing themselves as the anti-pointless-war party as well as the competent party.

If they can’t end the war, they should at least make sure that the Republicans have sole ownership of it.

(h/t Atrios)

March 23rd, 2007 at 05:34pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Iraq,Media,Politics,War

Ignatius Gets Some Of It Right

He softpedals the actual offense pretty egregiously, but I think he nails the underlying attitude:

What infuriates me about the Bush administration is its disdain for people like these [dedicated career civil servants]. You sense that scorn reading the e-mails that have surfaced in the flap over the firings of U.S. attorneys. I don’t think the story is much of a scandal. U.S. attorneys serve at the pleasure of the president, and he can fire whomever he wants. What interests me about the Justice e-mails is that they are a piece of sociology, documenting the mind-set of the young hotshots and ideologues who populate the Bush administration.

Here’s Kyle Sampson, now-deposed chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, griping about a U.S. attorney in Phoenix who had the effrontery to want to make his case personally: “In the ‘you won’t believe this category,’ Paul Charlton would like a few minutes of the AG’s time.” And here’s Brent Ward, the director of a Justice Department task force who made his name as an anti-pornography crusader grumbling that he doesn’t want to deal with the U.S. attorney in Las Vegas: “To go out to LV and sit and listen to the lame excuses of a defiant U.S. attorney is only going to move this whole enterprise closer to catastrophe.”

Umm, Michael Elston actually wrote that first e-mail to Sampson, but I guess Iggy can be excused for missing that, since Sampson’s entire response was the word “Denied.” Way to push the pleasure-of-the-president, nothing-to-see-here meme, though.

The Bush political operatives have become the people the Republicans once warned the country against — a club of insiders who seem to think that they’re better than other folks. They are so contemptuous of government and the public servants who populate it that they have been unable to govern effectively. They are a smug, inward-looking elite that thinks it knows who the good guys are by the political labels they wear.

[Examples of inept cronyism in CPA, CIA, and FEMA]

After Katrina, it became clear that the public wanted a change. Americans want to be confident that those in charge of the country’s business are members of what I call “the party of competence,” whatever their political affiliation. The anguish of Iraq deepened that message, and the 2006 congressional elections codified it. But the Bush administration didn’t get it. The purge at Justice came after the November election blowout. They acted as if they were still on a roll.

Here’s the challenge for the Democrats: Become the party that fixes things, that solves problems, that respects expertise and professionalism. Let the GOP be the party of smart alecks and know-it-alls and smirking e-mail writers. The Republicans have made a bed of political arrogance; let them sleep in it for a good long while.

That approach sure worked well for Dukakis. On the other hand, incompetence and cronyism, while present, were not the defining characteristic of the Reagan/Bush 1 era. Nor was there the sense that the country was seriously damaged and in dire need of repair.

I think competence should be a part of the Democratic narrative for 2008, but preferably as just one component of a larger narrative of integrity and service. Something along the lines of, “Republicans believe that the government is for their benefit alone, and for eight years we have all paid the price. Democrats understand that the government works for everyone, and we are committed to building a government you can depend on. Also, pointless war bad, Constitution good.”

7 comments March 23rd, 2007 at 11:21am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Huzzah!

Some terrific news from The Bureaucracy:

The Federal Communications Commission will give up on the idea of allowing cellphone use on airplanes, the chairman said on Thursday, because it is not clear whether the network on the ground can handle the calls.

While the chairman, Kevin J. Martin, cited a technical reason, thousands of air passengers have written to the F.C.C., urging rejection of the proposal because of the potential for irritating passengers in airline cabins. The Federal Aviation Administration had been laying the groundwork to allow in-flight cellphone use.

(…)

The airlines were ambivalent about the desirability of cellphone use on board. Tim Wagner, a spokesman for American, said his airline was concerned about the “social implications,” and would probably have considered setting aside certain times in the flight, or parts of the plane, for cellphone use.

The airlines are still interested in providing customers with e-mail access and the ability to browse the Web, however. “We believe our customers value that and would love to have that on the airplane,” Mr. Wagner said. American carries 250,000 to 275,000 people a day, he said, and “life doesn’t necessarily stop” when they are on board.

The step backward for wireless devices on planes probably comes to the relief of some passengers. Among the more than 8,100 comments received by the F.C.C., for example, was this message from Thomas F. Flournoy III, of Atlanta: “Please for the sanity of the majority of air passengers who do not want to hear cellphone conversations in the air, and to avoid confrontations between passengers, do not allow this practice to begin.”

Thomas F. Flournoy III speaks for me.

Also, I have to wonder if the airlines were quite so ambivalent as they suggest. The bit about them wanting to provide in-air e-mail and internet service may hint at their real motivation: revenue. If people can use their own phones and wireless devices, then they won’t have to pay the airlines for it.

Even so, as much as I love my Treo (which I never actually use as a phone), I would be more than happy to leave it turned off if it meant I wouldn’t be trapped next to an obnoxious cellphone jabberer for three hours.

2 comments March 23rd, 2007 at 07:47am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Technology

Friday Quote & Baby Squirrel Blogging

This week’s quote is from the original Bedazzled, with Peter Cook and Dudley Moore… and Raquel Welch.

P.S. – I leave you my collection of moths.

And, of course, there’ll be other people’s baby squirrels…

March 23rd, 2007 at 06:31am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Friday Quote & Cat Blogging


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