Showing posts from June, 2004

Dean: Bush's War on Science

via Barb, Howard Dean's ;atest column takes the Bush Administration to task for placing ideology above science - to the detriment of the public interest, but to the great benefit of the Republican Party: I write this week's column as a physician. The Bush administration has declared war on science. In the Orwellian world of 21st century America, two plus two no longer equals four where public policy is concerned, and science is no exception. When a right-wing theory is contradicted by an inconvenient scientific fact, the science is not refuted; it is simply discarded or ignored. Egregious examples abound. Over-the-counter morning-after contraceptive sales are banned, despite the recommendation for approval by an independent panel of the Food and Drug Administration review board. The health risks of mercury were discounted by a White House staffer who simply crossed out the word "confirmed" from a phrase describing mercury as a "confirmed public healt

CFA relaunches

As promised, CFA v2 has launched (didn't want to get left behind by DFA after all :) Its a spiffy new site with user registration, moderated comments, a news aggregator , and a forum . However, given that Trippi has his own site now, it's not clear what role he plays in CFA, or even what role CFA still intends to play in general (the About page still comes up with Page Not Found). My earlier critiques of CFA still stand - I think that they expected to parlay the Dean movement's momentum into a PAC of some sort but utterly failed to deliver the content or the leadership to rally around. If not for the indomitable blogging efforts of Adam Mordecai the place would be as vacant as the leadership vacuum at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. But it is nice to see that CFA has relaunched as a community site, which I think goes some way towards addressing those critiques. Rather than pointless "summits" which never materialized, a community site will allow for more participation

Texas Tuesdays: Jake Gilbreath

via Charles , the first of the Texas State House candidates is being profiled at Texas Tuesdays this week - Jake Gilbreath, a student at George Washington University. Click over and check it out!

Looks like Change For America will be shuttering down in favor of the new Joe site, which currently features some excerpts from Trippi's new book (to be released July 6th). I've asked Joe for a review copy, if he sends me one I will review the book here. In the meantime, will probably be similar to a Scoop-style site with user diaries and moderation, and they will likely transition to that site in the next few days. The introduction to JT's book is online , and has a fairly powerful anecdote of a meeting between the campaign staff and HD about the decision to seal his gubernatorial records. Excerpt: “You’ve got to release the records, Governor.” His eyes are set, and his open face is pulled back defensively into that tree-trunk neck. “But there’s nothing in there.” “If there’s nothing in there, then we should release them.” “But there’s nothing in there.” “That’s why we have to release them.” “But why should we release them when there

Nader's Nadir

Jerome Armstrong declares Nader toast: It is over for Nader. I will personally be stunned if he makes the ballot in twelve states. He does not have the money for a limited national advertising drive like he had in 2000. There will be no Nader "super-rallies" like in 2000, where he regularly drew crowds exceeding 10,000 people. He has no party support. He has nothing. From now on, no poll that includes Nader should be taken seriously. Libertarian + Constitution now probably poses a larger threat to Bush than Nader + Cobb poses for Kerry. It is time for everyone in the Democratic Blogosphere to relax their sphincters and allow their blood pressure to drop. It is time we started paying Nader the attention he deserves in this campaign--none. To continue complaining about him would border on mental illness. Head over to myDD by clicking the link above to read why (I won't spoil the delicious details for you here). And good for the Green party, who are finally free

if Gephardt gets picked as VP,

then I'm staying home on election day.

the first Black President

check out this Obama for Illinois campaign ad, and tell me if you don't agree that you're seeing the future First Black President of the United States. However, Obama faces some difficult challenges ahead, in triangulating between the demands of his base and the broader Democratic electorate. The Black Commentator magazine has a provocative piece that asks whether Obama will fall to the influence of the DLC and Al From - whom we Deaniacs know to have been instrumental in derailing the populist message of the Dean campaign. Note that Obama was among the first Dean Dozen endorsed by Democracy for America - and that Dean himself has pledged to campaign for Obama in Illinois. The New Democrat Network also has Obama on it's watch list of rising stars. However, the best prognostic indcator of where Obama stands is in comparison to another modern-day Illinois politician - Paul Simon. Simon was beloved across the aisle, a populist liberal with a libertarian streak - a

Howard Dean on Randi Rhodes NOW

Randi Rhodes is interviewing Howard beginning right now. Tune in via the above link.

Texas Tuesdays: State House races

The Texas Democratic convention has wrapped up in Houston - check out Texas Tuesdays for highlights on some of the State House races that are in play.

Kerry vacation scandal!

Nedra Pickler does it again - I actually found myself laughing out loud: Kerry is a rich man who promotes the Democratic ideal that government should do more to help the poor. He moves between both worlds, spending the past week traveling to downtrodden places like South-side Columbus, Ohio, and the affluent island playground of Nantucket. Not since President Kennedy have Democrats been prepared to nominate a man of such riches. [...] Like Kerry, President Bush is a Yale graduate who has benefited from his wealth and family connections. But Bush spends his down time as more of an everyman, preferring to spend vacations at his Texas ranch clearing brush. "Most Americans don't sit in Martha's Vineyard, swilling white wine," he said at the ranch two years ago. I'm in awe of this woman's Hackdom. I could fisk this, but what's the point, really? The AP should be outraged.

Texas Bloggers meet Richard Morrison

On the sidebar at left, Dean Nation has a new endorsement - Richard Morrison is the guy taking on Tom Delay in TXCD-22. Myself and a bunch of fellow bloggers (in Houston for the Democratic convention) got to met Morrison at a local coffee shop. Byron has a full report of the interview with Mr. Morrison at BOR. Keep an eye on Texas Tuesdays - big things planned!

Gary Hart for SecHomeDef

If there's one thing that the entire liberal blogsphere should agree on, it is that Gary Hart needs to be in the Cabinet as Secretary of Homeland Defense. His recent interview at The American Prospect is essential reading , where he lays out broad and muscular principles for applying all forms of American power, hard and soft, to both foreign policy and honeland defense. Excerpt: What is the message of your book? From the end of the Cold War until the terrorist attacks of 2001, America did not have a grand strategy. We did not take the time to define our purpose in our world. To rectify that, I propose that we strive toward three goals: achieve security, expand opportunity to ourselves and others, and promote liberal democracy. We have abundant power to achieve these aims. We have the largest economy, and we are a political and military power. In addition, America has a fourth power, which are its principles, including, of course, free press, freedom of assembly, human rig

Veep and Cabinet

Absolutely brilliant thread at Kos hashing out the Veepstakes. I share Kos' disquiet at the fact that none of the contenders are non-white non-males, but this seems to be the hand we are dealt. Keeping in mind that the soonest Kerry will announce a VP is at least a week or two after June 30th's handover in Iraq, so the media oxygen has refreshed, this is all hypothetical, but here's my current leanings: VP - John Edwards. Edwards came through the primaries with almost no mud clinging, media-invented or otherwise. The discussion on Gephardt recently has pointed towards the Labor support, but that's largely illusory . Rockefeller has also been proposed because he would help deliver West virginia, but I don't think two patricians on the ticket will be tenable, it's just too "old guard". Edwards, in addition to delivering South Carolina, brings true life to the party - he has a real knack for the populist appeal and can reach out to disaffected voters i

the center of mass

Robert had a great capsule history of the great drift in American politics that I think bears wider audience: In 1964 the Goldwater faction bullied their agenda and won the presidential nomination Barry and away from Rockefeller. They didn't even want Nelson to be on the ticket as VP. After how shabbily he was treated, Rockefeller withdrew from politics altogether. That '64 convention was the start of the conservative revolution. But Goldwater today would be considered far too liberal for the hard-core right. Dean is really a fiscal conservative and social progressive in the mold of Rockefeller.(in 1964) The problem with most conservatives is that they define anyone who is socially liberal as "Leftist" - ignoring the fact that those positions have essentially become mainstream. The center of mass in the social sense has moved left, whereas the political debate has shifted right (as Robert ably explains above). The resulting disconnect has left a lot

Zogby poll about Kerry/Dean ticket

(registration required) - let's do our part :) Some of you mistook my earlier argument against Dean as VP as an endorsement of McCain - let me assuage that by saying hell no . And while I don't think Dean would would help Kerry win were he on the ticket, I do have a vested interest in seeing Dean's views influence the platform. In that sense, I endorse polls like this because they help keep pressure on Kerry. So go forth and rock this poll! UPDATE: the inevitable Draft Dean site has sprung up. They are asking for money to promote the cause, but IMHO mine is better spent on supporting the Dean Dozen.

Dean for VP? I disagree

A pointed opinion piece in the Boston Globe asks the obvious question, if Kerry can consider McCain for VP, then why not Howard Dean? News accounts of Kerry's overtures and McCain's ultimate rebuff focus on the tempting idea of a bipartisan ticket that could reach across the vituperative divide in American politics. But Kerry would also benefit from the edgy energy and tell-it-like-it-is approach politicians like McCain and Dean exemplify. Settling for the handsome but bland optimism of North Carolina Senator John Edwards makes safe political sense. But it also shows the limits of tolerance for spark, verve, and controversy when Democrats think about selling fellow Democrats to voters or when Republicans think of selling fellow Republicans like McCain to voters. [...] the provocative Republican was Kerry's first choice for vice president; a provocative Democrat who brought heart, soul, and an energized base to his party's primaries is on the sidelines. Dean had the

Excerpt from Gov. Dean's web chat

the single most important question asked, and its answer: MRT for Dean:Melissa: Gov. Dean--please help us rally behind Kerry. Many of us have worked hard in local campaigns (me for Richard Morrison) but I personally can't bear to wear a Kerry shirt. Others have expressed the same reluctance. What could you say to motivate us? Moderator/Gov. Dean: Think of it this way - which candidate will be better for American's environment? Bush or Kerry? Which candidate has a better record on balancing the budget? Bush or Kerry? Which candidate has universal health care as part of their platform? Bush or Kerry? Which candidates has early childhood education in their platform? Bush or Kerry? Rallying behind Kerry is a no brainer for me.

I choose not to be a cynic

President Bush, on President Clinton: The years have done a lot to clarify the strengths of this man. As a candidate for any office, whether it be the state attorney general or the president, Bill Clinton showed incredible energy and great personal appeal.As chief executive, he showed a deep and far- ranging knowledge of public policy, a great compassion for people in need, and the forward-looking spirit that Americans like in a president. Bill Clinton could always see a better day ahead and Americans knew he was working hard to bring that day closer. President Clinton: This is a great country. Politics is noble work.I've just been doing some interviews in connection with my book, and I told Mr. Ryder (ph) yesterday, I said, "You know, Most the people I've known in this business, Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, were good people, honest people, and they did what they thought was right. And I hope that I'll live long enough to see America

AP interview with Howard Dean

Joe Rospars has posted some excerpts from a recent interview with Howard Dean - great reading, head over to the o-blog and check it out ...

I have a dream

Frequent (conservative) commentator Joe remarked below: It's insane that Dean, who really embodied not only change, but honesty and conviction, can't get elected because people won't vote for something different. It's sad. thats really the crux. What choices are there? The polarization of the public "debate" is akin to screaming howler monkeys throwing crap at each other. Dean oferred a third Way where unity was paramount - a new American majority, not just liberal or conservative (labels whose obsolescence is long overdue). Yet with his moving off to obscurity, the same trends arise - we have lefties here adamantly opposed to supporting ANY Republican, and the occassional righty like Joe who expliciitly stated that he cannot even grant a modicum of respect to the motives of the liberals. What unity? Why shouldn't people just vote status quo in such an atmossphere? I want to see a "Dean Nation" where left and right can contribute to a


President Bush's campaign staffers believe that pushing their own guy isn't a particularly good political strategy and that bashing Kerry or grasping on to Reagan nostalgia is far preferable? Now to a related point. I've got a number of notes from people (few of them Bush supporters in the first case, of course) who are outraged by the Bush campaign's unabashed exploitation of Reagan's passing as part of their reelection campaign effort --- the morphing of the Bush website into the Reagan tribute website being a key example. Yes, it's crass and cynical. But it's also a tad desperate. Josh Marshall's analysis here is quite cogent - Bush's problem is that he is a weak leader. There's simply nothing that his supporters can point to to make a case to the undecided moderate - it's a purely base-driven campaign, to whom adoring photos of Bush with halos around his head and Reagan-worship are simply red meat. Case in point - allowing

a look under the hood of DFA

hat tip to Barb for this interesting article in the Wall Street Journal about Dean's continued activity as an "almost candidate". The article says that Dean has studied the lessons of the right in order to formulate tactics for the left: The feisty former Vermont governor, determined not to be a fringe player, is boning up on the political right for guidance on how to better organize the left -- not just for November's elections but beyond. He is studying the tactics used by Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker, and Ralph Reed, who helped make the Christian Coalition a political power. A decade after Mr. Gingrich and Mr. Reed, now a private consultant and adviser to President George W. Bush's campaign, helped usher in an era of Republican power, Mr. Dean hopes to begin to shift the balance back toward his progressive agenda. "Those people were very organized, they were very methodical about what they did," he says. If history is amused by the ir

President Reagan dies at age 93

Rest in peace . He deserves kudos for his role in bringing about the fall of Communism and for being a leader that actually did unite our nation rather than the division that GOP candidates have sown since. His foreign and fiscal policies would be welcome by liberals today, in comparison to the extremism of the present Administration. But if his greatest legacy is that his example furthers the cause of research into Alzheimer's disease, with stem-cell technology, against the policy of the present Administration and the right-wing zealots who have dominated the GOP, then that will be a far greater acclaim than any other judgement history may provide. UPDATE: If you read one speech by Reagan, make it two. The speech after the Challenger , and the speech where he dared Gorbachev to " tear down this wall ." beware the GOP attempts at revisionist history. Much of Reagan's success as President owed to some of his decidely non-conservative policies : Reagan is, to b

the problem with IRV

I've discussed the problems with Instant Runoff Voting (IRV) before, but here's a nice article on the subject. Key graf: This is the fundamental problem with IRV. The only preference that is sure to be counted is my first choice. The problem gets worse as the number of candidates increases. The outcome of the election can depend in a very quirky way on the order in which candidates are eliminated for having the fewest top-choice votes. The only way a voter can be assured of not wasting his or her vote is to rank one of the two major parties as their first choice, which is precisely what happens now under plurality voting. Read the whole article for the rigorous mechanics of why this is so. I also have a fundamental philosophical problem with IRV, in that it would encourage too many small political parties. I do want to see at least one or two healthy alternates to the GOP and the Democrats available to put pressure on the main parties and also serve as an outlet for

Why I cannot hate George W. Bush

By request from Joe on the Zonkboard, here's a link to my entry on UNMEDIA discussing why I do not hate George W. Bush. I do, however, think that Bush has been possibly teh worst president since McKinney and easily the most damaging to the national security of this nation, and that he is grossly unqualified to hold office. The legacy of the Bush Administration will be a millstone borne around the neck of future generations and administrations, Republican and Democrat alike. George W. Bush is a poor leader, a weak leader, and a failed leader, whose single most compelling argument for being elected - being a uniter, not a divider - has been grotesquely Bizzarro-esque. And while I do not hate George W. Bush, I am deeply angry with him for failing to live up to the promise and my expectations of him during that short period of time after 9-11 when he really was a rallying figure for all of us, and we the People granted him enormous political capital hoping that he would use it wisely.

Support Barack Obama

Over at Daily Kos, there's some discussion about whether Obama Barack needs help to win . Kos is trying to choose two of the "dKos 8" to officially endorse and many of the commentors think that Obama doesn't need any extra push since he has the election "in the bag". I think that's wrong, and I want to make a special plea to all of us Deaniacs to contribute money to Obama's campaign . Barack Obama is the son of a Kenyan economist, a principled lawyer who rejected a cushy partnership in order to work the underpaid civil rights beat, and a dedicated public servant. It may shock you to realize this, but if he becomes the Senator from Illinois he will be the sole black Senator. This isn't about a quota but rather a case of a supremely qualified man who deserves to win, far more than his super-funded Republican businessman opponent, because Obama will work for the betterment of the State of Illinois and a truly progressive national agenda.

North by Northwest

I spent last night fretting over the South Dakota House race , while in the next room my teen-age daughter got educated in movie history by watching "North by Northwest" (another South Dakota cliffhanger). Herseth-Diedrich was also a cliff-hanger, but we won . Because the story wasn't covered extensively by the national press (and even the official Democratic blog went to bed before the counting started) I got a lot of my insight from Daily Kos . Here is some of what I learned: Republican Diedrich's claim he would be lucky to get within 5% of Herseth, made over the last weekend, was a ploy aimed at holding down the Indian reservation vote, and it almost worked. Those counties went heavily for Herseth, but turnout was down. Contrary to what you might think, Republicans are heavily-motivated to beat us. Some GOP counties in South Dakota turned out 65-75% of their vote yesterday. The total vote exceeded 50% of registrations, which is awesome for a special

save Yglesias

Matthew Yglesias was unfairly harassed by The Man on Memorial Day. Read all about it - and don't miss the funniest comment thread since Bush was selected. Damn these big-government conservatives! (if only the Libertarian party wasn't so lame ...)

Drop Moran

If DFA is going to ever achieve its goals of promoting small-d democracy, it needs to be absolutely free of any taint. That means that candidates that Dean campaigns for also need to pass a rigorous standard, because any controversy will undermine not just DFA by association but will also apill over to other candidates like the Dean Dozens. The support of DFA on your resume needs to be a strong asset, not a talking point liability. That's why Dean's campaigning activities for Jim Moran need to end. Dean will be a guest at a fund-raising breakfast for Moran on June 4th. Why is Jim Moran a problem? Ben Domenech has a wealth of links - all stories from the Washington Post - about Moran's various foolish statements of persecution by Jews : In comments likely to prolong controversy over Moran's views toward Israel and U.S. Jewish groups and constituents, the seven-term incumbent said the American Israel Public Action Committee (AIPAC) has begun organizing against

Dean column: Electronic voting

Dean's first column is up, and his topic of choice is the danger of electronic vote hijinks: Only since 2000 have touch screen voting machines become widely used and yet they have already caused widespread controversy due to their unreliability. For instance, in Wake County, N.C. in 2002, 436 votes were lost as a result of bad software. Hinds County, Miss. had to re-run an election because the machines had so many problems that the will of the voters could not be determined. According to local election officials in Fairfax County, Va., a recent election resulted in one in 100 votes being lost. Many states, such as New Hampshire and most recently Maine, have banned paperless touch screen voting and many more are considering doing so. Without any accountability or transparency, even if these machines work, we cannot check whether they are in fact working reliably. The American public should not tolerate the use of paperless e-voting machines until at least the 2006 election, a