Sunday, February 27, 2005

Letting Them Up When You Have Them Down

Today's Washington Post is reporting that the Congressional wing of the GOP (and maybe the President?) is looking for compromise on Social Security.

As Outside the Beltway (a privatization fan) says:

If the president can get this deal, he should certainly take it. Once the camel's nose is under the tent, and the public's fears of partial privitization are allayed, the margins can be increased.

This, of course, is the whole point. Democrats don't have to compromise, they are winning.

Generally, I favor compromise, especially when it leads to greater comity, but compromise in this case means losing. The Democrats are on the side of the majority for a change, they should use that power. The public does not want to change what may be the most successful government program in the history of the country. Compromise just lets the GOP try to make their changes slowly and under the radar.

My sense is that Democrats are finally getting it, when you have them on their back, you don't let them back up - you put your foot on their throat. But it only takes a couple of defectors to lose the battle, so vigilance is necessary. (Are you listening Sen. Lieberman?)

Friday, February 18, 2005

More Reasons For a Libertarian/Democrat Union

George Will spells out why W. is at war with his small government allies (i.e. libertarians). Key statistic - most recent budget proposes spending 38 percent more than the government was spending when Bush became president.

If they don't agree with them on social issues, and the Republicans have no plans to decrease the size or scope of government -- why are libertarians siding with the GOP?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Maureen Dowd

I don't read her stuff particularly often anymore, but she does seem to nail the Jeff Gannon thing here. This especially stuck out:

I'm still mystified by this story. I was rejected for a White House press pass at the start of the Bush administration, but someone with an alias, a tax evasion problem and Internet pictures where he posed like the "Barberini Faun" is credentialed to cover a White House that won a second term by mining homophobia and preaching family values?

At first when I tried to complain about not getting my pass renewed, even though I'd been covering presidents and first ladies since 1986, no one called me back. Finally, when Mr. McClellan replaced Ari Fleischer, he said he'd renew the pass - after a new Secret Service background check that would last several months.

But at least it was cheaper than paying for the coverage.

I Don't Know Why This Surprises Me

According to this AP story, Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge met with two Republican pollsters last spring before his tour of battleground states. This, of course is the same guy who said "We don't do politics in the Department of Homeland Security."

Again, I can't says that this shocks me, but I believed from my Washington days that Tom Ridge was an upright guy and a straight shooter.

I am Charlotte Simmons and Conservative Feminists

I have begun read Tom Wolfe's latest opus, and although, as usual, I don't agree with his political slant, it is, as usual, a good read.

Along the lines of Wolfe's novel, Kerry Howley, over the libertarian Reason, has a take on the woe is me conservative feminists and their complaints about campus diversity. (You can read the article here.)

It has always seemed to me that conservatives complaints about liberal biases on campuses are nothing more than conservative whining. After all, I don't complain about the lack of diversity in corporate boardrooms or in corporate management. How about this, I'll make you a deal - 50/50 split between liberals and conservatives on campuses and in upper corporate management. Any takers?

(This also serves to underscore my growing believe that Libertarians would feel more at home in the Democratic Party than in the GOP.)

Is it too early to talk about 2006?

I believe that I had said earlier that it is still to early to talk about 2006 races, and it is . . . still to interesting polls are out this week. First, Lincoln Chafee is polling at about 30% in RI, and second, Bob Casey Jr is ahead of Rick Santorum in PA.

Alright, no more 2006 talk until June . . . maybe.

[UPDATE - Actually, I see that I said earlier that it was too early to talk about 2008 until June.}

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Jimmy Carter

The neo-cons (aka typewriter warriors) over at the Corner have been having great fun with the Navy's decision to name the last Seawolf sub after Jimmy Carter. Ha-Ha (Of course all of the joke are all obvious and not particularly clever.)

Of course, this President actually served in the Navy, and on a nuclear submarine no less. Which branch of the service did that glorious war hero Ronald Reagan serve again? You'll have to remind me.

Kevin Drum has more.

If You're Feeling Backwards

Try this.

It's like Google in a mirror.

This Seems Like a Pretty Big Story To Me

Life may exist on Mars!

(Although probably not little green men, but more like little green algae.)

Break up the Oligarchy

Democrats, on principle, should be opposed to an oligarchy, however for year Democrats have been accepted this in their own ranks - namely among their political consultants. Now some are fighting back. Amy Sullivan's article in the Washington Monthly was the opening salvo, which has been followed up by, among others, Chris Bowers of MyDD.

Sensing some dissention in the ranks, and perhaps even noticing that their current roster of consultants hasn't exactly been overwhelmingly successful, Sen. Reid and Rep. Pelosi have signaled plans to expand their reach beyond the beltway in search of fresh talent.

I will hold off judgment, but I expect that very little will change. The Democrats are still a party that looks first at Washington, and then only later outward. That is fine when you have the Presidency, or at least the Congress, but when you have neither, it is time to shake things up. Trying new consultants seems like a very minimal start.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Election Controversies Update

Yes, the court disputes in Kentucky and Washington state continue. In Kentucky, where as you may recall, the Senate voted to sit a Republican, despite her failure to meet residency requirements, the Kentucky Supreme Court will have the final word. Currently Dana Seum Stephenson (the Republican) is the Senator, but is prohibited from taking any official actions. The Democrat Virginia Woodward is awaiting word from the Supreme Court.

And in Washington, the drive to get Gov. Gregoire out of office continues. However, the most recent court rulings make it seem as if a revote will not be in the offing. But no immediate resolution to this appears is in the offing either.

Chickens Coming Home to Roost

After having used same-sex marriage ballot initiatives/amendments to drive up their voter turn out in recent elections, Republicans in Alabama are facing a vexing problem with their turn at this ploy. Democrats controlling a majority in the legislature appear ready, according to this story in the Birmingham News, to set a same-sex constitutional amendment vote date not next November, but in June during the primary season.

And with far-right wing/Christian extremist Roy Moore thinking about running against the incumbent Gov., this would certainly help drive up Moore's base and increase his chances of grabbing the nomination. And a Moore victory certainly would help to increase the Democrats chances of winning in November.

Now, I hate the whole ballot initiative thing in general, and I especially hate the cynical ways that the parties have been using them to try and drive up their voter turn out (Republicans are by far the worse offenders, but Democrats are guilty too) but I can't help but enjoy the irony of this coming to bite the GOP in the tuchus in Alabama.

(The whole Roy Moore as Governor thing is its own disaster, but for a good take on that by a Republican in Alabama, visit here, here and here.)

Friday, February 11, 2005

You Gotta Love Texas

According to the LA Times, the Texas Legislature is debating a bill that would give the State Ethics Commission whose members were appointed by the three top elected officials in the state, all Republicans the power to quash the prosecution of a politician. The Bill is Entitled the Tom DeLay Protection Bill. (Just kidding about that last part.)

Now, I imagine that the public reaction to this will be fairly outraged, but then again I thought that the Texans would get upset about their redistricting fiasco a year ago. If this succeeds, I would suggest that the next bill simply allow for the GOP to appoint the government officials.

Is it too late to give Texas back to Mexico? Would Mexico even accept?

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Which Red Sox Player Are You?

Take the Quiz.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

And While I Am Talking About Smaller Government

This quote from another Washington Post article struck me as well:

Medicare chief Mark B. McClellan said the new drug package would cost $534
billion over 10 years. Last night, he acknowledged that the cumulative cost
of the program between 2006 and 2015 will reach $1.2 trillion, but he cited
several major savings and offsets that he said will reduce the federal
government's bottom-line cost to $720 billion.


Yeah, Democrats must be looking better and better to those Libertarians. At least they know they won't be lied to.

Remember When . . .

the GOP actually stood for a smaller federal government? Or believed in things like local control over schools and states' rights over courts? Yeah, that seems like such an innocent time, and it really wasn't all that long ago, but it was a time when Democrats had some control over the Federal government. That isn't so now, and gone with it is what was supposed to be one of the "bedrock" Republican principles.

The President's most recent budget, according to the Washington Post, will continue to expand the size and role of the federal government. From schools to marriage to lawsuits the "smaller government" party wants the Federal Government to decide that one size fits all in this country -- what is good for Alabama is also good for Massachusetts.

It seems to me, and also Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana), that this President has dropped any pretense of believing in smaller government. The only question is whether he brings the entire GOP with him down hypocrisy lane. My money, by the way, is on the President and the GOP's thirst for continued power to trump "principles".

Maybe the Democrats should make a real push for that Libertarian voter. It seems to me that after this budget, Democrats have more in common with true Libertarians at this point than Republicans.

Monday, February 07, 2005

DYNASTY

It is official. The Patriots are the newest football Dynasty.

Simply amazing, though, that the Eagles never learned how to run a hurry-up offense. (I am assuming that this is their reason, otherwise, what the hell were they thinking?)

Anyway, congrats to the New England Patriots, who can now be talked about with the Packers of the 60's, Steelers of the 70's, 49ers of the 80's and the Cowboys of the 90's.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Black is White; Cats and Dogs Living Together

It is not very often that I agree with this administration, but when I do, I should go out of my way to acknowledge it, so here we go.

The administration's proposal to cut back on farm subsidies is a great start. It will without a doubt cause some hardship, and I am sure that there will be sob stories about family rice farmers in the South, but for the most part this is a much belated effort to cut back on government subsidization of corporations.

So kudos to the Bush Administration -- of course, it is one thing to propose a cut, another to enact it. So for now I guess I will limit it to a half kudos.

Hillarymania

Mort Kondracke (Mor-Ton) contrasts Hillary and Evan Bayh, two potential 2008 candidiates, and comes out favoring Hillary.

Conventioal wisdom is still that Hillary is too polarizing to ever be the nominee in 08, but the cracks in that wisdom are starting to form. (see also Andrew Sullivan) Her policy statements are very savvy, and also happen to be right on. It is way too early to start handicapping the 08 race (that can't start until June at the earliest), but what irony if Hillary ran as the conservative candidiate in the primary.

Friday, February 04, 2005

OK, I admit, I'm confused.

According to the LA Times:

A Bush aide, briefing reporters on the condition of anonymity, was more explicit, saying that the individual accounts would do nothing to solve the system's long-term financial problems.

But I thought the whole reason that we needed private/personal/individual accounts (choose whichever word you think polls best) is that Social Security was in a "crisis." But if personal accounts won't solve this crisis, then why are they a part of the discussion?

There is a disconnect somewhere and I think someone needs to tell the White House, unless *gasp* they already know, and there policy and belief is that confusing and diverting are the best (only?) way to sell this boondoggle to the public.

Nah, not this White House, they wouldn't do something like that.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Super Bowl XXIX

In case you may have missed it, the New England Patriots are back in the Super Bowl going for their third title in four year (and official dynasty status).

Again this year, Bill Simmons is blogging the happenings in Jacksonville here. The Boston Globe has there coverage here.

My Prediction:
Patriots - 30
Eagles - 17

Bonus Prediction:
New Englanders will somehow learn to live with their new found sporting success, if for no other reason than to spite people like Dan Shaughnessy.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Happy Groundhog Day!

However, Punxsutawney Phil has forseen six more weeks of winter.

[UPDATE - You can visit Phil's website here.]

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Judicial Filibusters

Kevin Drum has a great op-ed in the Washington Post outlining the current status of judicial filibustering.

I, for one, am interested in seeing if Sen. Frist will ever live up to his rhetoric and invoke the "nuclear option." And if he does, I will be equally interested to see if the Dems decide to shut the place down by invoking procedural rule after procedural rule.

It would be an awful way to govern a country, but it would be great political theatre.

Goodbye, Farewell, Auf Wiedersen, Adieu

Andrew Sullivan is cutting back on his blogging. Will he make a clean break or will the blogosphere prove to be too powerful a seductress. Only time will tell.

I don't believe that this is in anyway related to his recent revelation that "Hillary Rodham Clinton is absolutely right," but you ceratinly cannot rule it out.

And of course, the blogosphere becomes even more tilted to the right side of the political spectrum.
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