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Monday, September 22, 2003


Backbone Award: Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy

posted by Trammell at Monday, September 22, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Back's Back! -- and for those who think us too Dean-centric please note that this week's Dean Nation Backbone Award goes to a big supporter of one of our chief rivals, Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy -- and boy, does he deserve it. Dean supporters know quite well how difficult it can be to stand up and tell the truth, right? Well, check out this excerpt by AP writer Steve LeBlanc from The Washington Post:
The case for going to war against Iraq was a fraud "made up in Texas" to give Republicans a political boost, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) said today.

In an interview, Kennedy also said the Bush administration has failed to account for nearly half of the $4 billion the war is costing each month. He said he believes much of the unaccounted-for money is being used to bribe foreign leaders to send in troops.

He called the Bush administration's Iraq policy "adrift." Kennedy expressed doubts about how serious a threat Saddam Hussein posed to the United States. He said administration officials relied on "distortion, misrepresentation, a selection of intelligence" to make their case for war.

"There was no imminent threat. This was made up in Texas, announced in January to the Republican leadership that war was going to take place and was going to be good politically. This whole thing was a fraud," Kennedy said.
But did he stop there? Nope. This, from an interview with Judy Woodruff on CNN's Inside Politics:
WOODRUFF: Senator, [what Tom Delay called] hateful rhetoric at the president -- is that what this is?

KENNEDY: Well, it's basically politics as usual. This is the same kind of response that the Republicans had for Max Cleland when they called him unpatriotic after he lost three limbs in Vietnam. It's the same kind of rhetoric from the Republicans that they had for Tom Daschle when he questioned the administration's policy.

It will be the same kind of rhetoric, I guess that they're going to have for the American people who are questioning the administration's policy in Iraq. This is a failed, flawed, bankrupt policy. The American people want answers. They want to know what the peace policy is, what is really going to secure the peace in Iraq? What the cost is going to be to the American taxpayers and when will we be able to bring home our troops with honor?

WOODRUFF: Senator, do you know for a fact that the administration did what it did in Iraq for political reasons, which is in essence what you were charging?

KENNEDY: There's no question in my mind that the White House has hyped the political aspects of the war in Iraq. Karl Rove himself, the principal spokesperson for the Republican Party addressed a Republican National Committee out in Los Angeles in January 2001 and talked about the advantages that this war would have for Republican candidates.

So we also see the bitterness that the Republicans have for anyone that questions -- raising these serious questions about their policy. So they understand what they're doing. They're questioning the patriotism of those that are asking the questions, but the fact is the American people are asking the questions and they should ask the questions.

The administration's had an initial tie between al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein; they rejected that. They said we were in an imminent threat of being attacked by nuclear war; that has not worked out. They said we are going there because of weapons of mass destructions; that isn't so. They also said we wouldn't have to ask the American taxpayer for money for reconstruction because there's sufficient oil reserves there and that's wrong, too. [...] The President of the United States ought to come clear with the American people in terms of the cost of this war and also recognize we never had a peace policy. The administration is asking us now for $87 billion more dollars. There's a blank check for this administration and there is no peace policy.
Despite the fact that Kennedy has, not surprisingly, endorsed the junior senator from his home state, I've no doubt he will be a great Dean supporter once we have a lock on the nomination. Please write or call Senator Kennedy -- tell him you are Dean supporter, tell him about the Backbone Award, send him a link to Dean Nation, and request that he continues asking the tough questions of Bush and Co. on behalf of all Americans!

There were some great runners-up this week: Max Cleland, Robert Byrd, Jimmy Carter and Paul Krugman, among others. Something tells me we'll get a chance to honor many of them with a Deany sometime soon.

But what about The Fruitcake? This one is no fun -- the toughest ever. Charter Backbone Winner Nancy Pelosi dodged a fruit-brick and I was ready to personally snatch that virtual statuette right out her hands! But there was no need. Texas Senator John Whitmire -- also a former winner with the Texas 11 -- removed his own spine and caucused with the jellyfish. By breaking the deadlock and throwing the Republicans a probable win in Texas on redistricting, Democrats may not regain the United States House of Representatives for years to come. He might as well switch parties, because personally, I believe he's the most despicable Democrat in the nation today. To add insult to injury, according to a report at Burnt Orange, Quitmire -- who I like to call Twitmire -- took a swipe at protesting Dean Supporters:
All 500 seats in the gallery were filled and I saw some Howard Dean shirts too. The gallery held up newspapers during the Roll Call to show their disgust (since we can't make noise during the actual session.) Then when the Senators voted to disband and meet tomorrow at 10 instead, things got crazy! ... Whitmire...before the motion...made a statement along the lines of "I want to say that the people here in Dean for President shirts are not supporters of mine."
Nope, Senator, they certainly are not! Haven't you noticed? Contact Senator Quitmire and inform him -- Duh! Dean supporters have Backbone!

P.S. While your at it, let Senator Twitmire know that you are giving a contribution, in his name in memoriam, to Howard Dean.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.