March 10, 2006

From Cook's March 11th subscription-only column, reprinted with permission:

The Cook Report - This Time, Dean's Right
Charlie Cook

No one would mistake me for the president of the Howard Dean fan club. I can't even count the number of times that the chairman of the Democratic National Committee has said things that I considered a bit over the top and that I thought contributed to the caricature that the Democratic Party has become in the minds of many Americans. In his most recent dustup, though, Dean is absolutely right.

Last Sunday, Dan Balz and Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post reported that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada met with their party chairman and "complained about Dean's priorities -- funding organizers for state parties in strongly Republican states, such as Mississippi, rather than targeting states with crucial races this fall."

While Pelosi and Reid are right that control of the Senate will be decided by races in just eight or nine states and that, likewise, a small fraction of House districts will truly be in play, they ignored one set of facts. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee exists solely to win House races. On the Senate side, there's the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. For the party's governors, there is the Democratic Governors' Association. The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee was created to boost candidates for state legislatures. And the GOP, of course, has comparable committees for all of its candidates.

The primary responsibility of the DNC is not to win House, Senate, gubernatorial, or state legislative races, but to build and sustain a national party and to oversee the presidential conventions and nomination process. The same is true of the Republican National Committee. No other entities within the two major parties are charged with those missions.

In January, while giving a speech at Mississippi State University, I happened to meet a DNC staffer, a former executive director of the Oklahoma Democratic Party, who was assigned full-time to party-building in Mississippi. In the 33 years that I have been involved in politics, I have never heard of the national Democratic Party assigning a full-time staff member to organizational efforts in Mississippi.

Although organizing in Mississippi might not seem important to Pelosi and Reid -- after all, the state won't have competitive House or Senate races this year -- at some point, conservative Democratic Rep. Gene Taylor will retire, and then the House Democratic leadership may see the wisdom of their party already having a presence in southern Mississippi. When Republican Sens. Thad Cochran and Trent Lott retire, the Senate Democratic leadership just might have a similar revelation. Keep in mind that if Lott had opted to retire at the end of this year, as many had expected, Democrats would have had a pretty fair shot at winning that seat by running former state Attorney General Mike Moore.

The Democratic congressional leaders' shortsighted, penny-wise/pound-foolish complaints show why their party has become bicoastal. Congressional Democrats have trouble winning in many interior states, in part because leaders like Reid and Pelosi have failed to appreciate the importance of maintaining a strong national party apparatus. The Democrats' inability to consistently win elections in places where gun shops outnumber Starbucks is a big reason the party controls neither the House nor the Senate.

Right now, one of the biggest obstacles to Democrats' taking the House back is their failure to recruit strong candidates in many Republican-held districts that ought to be in play. Party building means lining up a solid team -- organizing and winning lower-level offices that give the party a talented bench from which to draw for higher contests.

Dean's view -- that Pelosi, Reid, and their party committees have their jobs and he has his -- is the one that he ought to stick to. He should also resist pressure from interest groups, such as the Congressional Black Caucus, whose members raise very little money for the DCCC even though a Democratic takeover of the House would elevate many black lawmakers to chairmanships.

Howard, stick to your guns.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
Tens of thousands of Americans are in the streets today in Chicago to rally against H.R. 4437.  They are marching from Chicago's Union Park to the Federal Plaza, where Senator Dick Durbin and Congressman Luis Gutierrez, and Governor Blagojevich will speak.  Estimated head counts for the rally range from 40,000 to 100,000.

H.R. 4437, "The Border Protection, Antiterrorism, and Illegal Immigration Control Act of 2005," is a Sensenbrenner bill that creats a new federal crime of "unlawful presence" which would apply to undocumented immigrants. It's also sponsored by Peter King of New York.  The bill's scope is so broad, even technical or minor violations in immigration status would be a federal crime.  Additionally, the bill expands the definition "alien smuggling" to include any organization or person that knows an individual is in the United States unlawfully. This would include churches, non-profits, and other organizations that help undocumented individuals to get the care and services they need.  Giving aid or providing health care to an illegal immigrant would be a felony.  For more on the Sensenbrenner bill, click here.  It's clear that this bill has the potential to destroy families across the nation.

It is against that fate that tens of thousands of people took to the streets today in Chicago.  Latino, Irish, and Polish immigrants joined with thousands of other Chicagoans to voice their outrage.  I have yet to see major coverage of this massive protest in the national media, but the local media is covering the situation.  As the cameras sweep over the mass of humanity flooding the streets, I see American flags waved by faces pleading for a chance at the American dream.  I see signs, so many signs, reading "I AM NOT A CRIMINAL".  I see children marching alongside their parents, holding their mommy's hand tightly as if they know that she can be taken away from them at any moment.  I see old immigrants who have sweat and bled on American soil for decades, now branded "criminals" by Sensenbrenner's bill.  I see priests and other religious leaders marching, declaring that they're willing to go to jail to help another human in need.

For an aerial video of the tens of thousands of protesters at Union Park, click here.  More videos of the protest can be seen here and here.  

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
Ezra fleshes it out a bit.

I'm not totally sure I agree with the basic storyline, but mostly because "inevitable" is a bit of a strong word for anything. It's nonetheless interesting because it's a way of looking at the primaries which has been largely absent from the conversation.

The undeniable point is that this dynamic will be there, it will be important, and anyone who wants to beat Clinton will have to figure out how to change it somewhat.

Recent experience makes us think that a primary win in Iowa means it's all over, but let's remember 1992. In order, Clinton lost Iowa, New Hampshire, Maine, South Dakota. On a day with 7 primaries he then won one - Georgia - and lost Colorado, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Utah, and Washington.

He then won North Dakota, lost Arizona, and won South Carolina.

...On the other hand, today's indictment of Hillary Clinton might have a big impact on her political future.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
13:13 Bush’s Approval Rating Falls to New Low By RON FOURNIER, AP Political Writer 2 hours, 43 minutes ago WASHINGTON - More and more people, particularly Republicans, disapprove of President Bush’s performance, question his character and no longer consider him a strong leader against terrorism, according to an AP-Ipsos poll documenting one of the bleakest points of his presidency. Nearly [...]
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Congress Must Act To Prevent Similar Deals In The Future

Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH), Ranking Member of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations, today, introduced a rarely used Congressional procedure called a Resolution of Inquiry to demand documents from the Administration about the security review of the port deal that would have allowed a United Arab Emirates (UAE) company to take control of six US ports.

Categories: Blogs

By Cindy Sheehan

As I lie here in bed recuperating from the injuries that I received from a federal agent and the NYPD in front of the US Mission to the UN (USUN) the other day, I have had time to reflect on the experience, the state of our union and its descent into a fascist state.

The plain-clothes police or US Dept of State Diplomatic Security agent with the cell phone is the one who assaulted Cindy Sheehan and Ann Wright in New York.

Categories: Blogs

Global Agenda for a Peaceful Future

By John McConnell: 90 year old founder of Earth Day.

Faced with a growing global danger of total catastrophe, we need a worldwide agenda that will enable us to continue the human adventure.

The original Earth Day (March 21, 1970) followed two events I was responsible for -- the global Minute for Peace (December 22, 1963) and my Star of Hope Satellite proposal which obtained front page attention around the world in 1957.

Categories: Blogs

There are now 30 Congress Members sponsoring House Resolution 635, which would create a select committee to investigate and make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment.

Michael Capuano and Bernie Sanders are the two latest Members to sign on. Sanders received a great deal of pressure after five towns in Vermont passed resolutions calling on him to introduce articles of impeachment. Sanders initially posted this statement saying it would be impractical to talk about impeachment. He has not introduced articles, but backing this bill sure amounts to "talking about it." This success demonstrates the usefulness of

Getting your city or town to pass a resolution.

Please Email Your Congress Member.


Categories: Blogs

In anticipation of the March 21st Democratic primary race between candidates for U.S. Representative 6th Congressional District, the Downers Grove Sun has published a snapshot of all three candidates in the race. Each candidate was invited to give not only their basic biographical information, but also talk about the top three issues which are important to them. Our own DFA-List candidate, Christine Cegelis, highlighted her stance on education, the economy and health care:

Christine Cegelis
Age: 53
Residence: Rolling Meadows
Family: Two sons: Christopher, 25, and Ted, 24
Education: Graduated from Miami Coral Park High School in Dade County, Fla.; bachelor of science in international relations and public administration from Florida State University, 1975.
Employer: Self-employed as a technology consultant in Rolling Meadows
Political experience: Democratic challenger to Rep. Henry Hyde for 6th District Congressional seat in 2004.
Community involvement: DuPage Democrats; Addison Township Democrats; Elk Gove Democracy Club; Elk Grove Democracy for America; Illinois Progressive Democrats of America; Sierra Club; Mother Cabrini Secular Franciscan Order; St. Bernadine, scout leader and bereavement counselor.

Issue 1: Education: A good education should be accessible and affordable for all. Our economy cannot sustain growth until we prioritize education and the retraining needs of our workforce. Expand Head Start, which has been proven to make a positive difference in the preparedness and performance of children. Fix and adequately fund the No Child Left Behind Act, stopping the unfunded federal mandates that have caused property taxes to rise but have not improved our schools. ... Without additional federal funding, our students and our workforce are increasingly ill-prepared to take on complex jobs.

Issue 2: Economy and Jobs: America's economic stability rests on the strength of hard-working, middle-class Americans. At a time when we are competing with ever-increasing numbers of people around the world, we are weakening middle-class America. Gas prices, taxes, college, rent, health care; the costs of living for the average American are increasing while job security is falling. ... Work to create jobs through small businesses, restoring funding for the Small Business Administration and the SBA loan programs. Target tax cuts for working Americans, not the richest few.

Issue 3: Health care: I believe that health care is a human right, and I will fight to secure that right for all Americans through a universal, high-quality, affordable, single-payer national health-care system. Patients would still choose their own doctors and hospitals, but overall costs would be significantly lower; and the maze of HMOs, PPOs and other plans, forms and rules would be simplified so doctors and nurses could concentrate on treating patients instead of doing paperwork.

Categories: Blogs
I doubt I'll take too much away from the forthcoming Matt Bai profile of Mark Warner except that Mark Warner participating in the exercise proves that he or his people need better judgment. Any Democratic politician who doesn't realize (or whose people don't realize) that if Matt Bai comes knocking at your door wanting to do a profile, you slam it shut and bolt the door needs to rethink his press strategy.

Since the story says Trippi says the Clinton nomination is inevitable if she runs, I'll provide his reasoning which he shared the other night. Basically his take is that Clinton will get literally all of the African-American vote in the primaries, and therefore the only way to knock her out is to figure out how to get some of that vote.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
Armando reminds us just how truly vapid the Contract With America was. The only reason it had much resonance was because the press at the time treated it as if it were chiseled on stone tablets and given to them by Moses. The Democrats are quite capable of typing up an utterly vapid press release themselves, and the press would respond by basically ignoring it or treating it with disdain, as they probably should.

Of course the Dems can improve their messaging, but stories about how they don't have a message just write themselves which is why they'll keep being written.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs
  • Check out the cool animation on Mark Warner's website. Expect other campaigns to start doing similar stuff. The next one or two campaigns that do it should be okay. After that, it'll get really annoying, really fast.

  • Gale Norton is resigning. Is it because of this? (Hint: Jack Abramoff)

  • People still read Slate? Why?

  • Things that make me want to pull my hair out for a thousand dollars, Alex. Pelosi pulled Slaughter's corruption report from her site because the GOP threw a hissy fit.

  • Ahh, the wingers are infesting the CTG page on Amazon, trying to push Tacitus/Trevino's review up higher. Funny how Amazon has become a new partisan battleground.

  • Street Prophets targets Specter today as part of the Roots Project.

  • Another racist Republican, State Rep. Jim Welker of Colorado. He sent out a racist email to the entire House caucus. In his defense, he trotted out the "some of my best friends are black" line and pointed to a black Republican in the Colorado state senate. That black Republican responded with "he's not one of my best friends". Welker has previously said that gay marriage would lead to animal marriage.

  • DemFromCT looks at Bush's recent stumbles and how they've led to his dismal poll numbers.

  • Ned Lamont will be on Air America at 5:30 ET to make some sort of announcement (hmmm, I wonder what that might be?). It'll be on Randi's show, with substitute host Sam Seder. Of course, your local time for the announcement may vary depending on your AAR affiliate's scheduling.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
In an effort to deflect attention away from one of the most unpopular Presidents in American history, GOP attack puppy Ken Melhman today will claim that the Democrats lack an agenda and a slogan. Melhman's speech will also cite "a list of achievements in the war on terror." It is expected to be a very, very short speech.

It's no surprise that the Republican party is obsessed with slogans.  There's no doubt that the GOP is great at churning out catch-phrase and soundbites. For example, here are some Republican slogans:

  • "The world changed on September the 11th."
  • "We fight them over there so we don't have to fight them over here."
  • "Freedom is on the march."
  • "Up or down vote, up or down vote, up or down vote (deep breath...) up or down vote, up or down vote, up or down vote."

I'll be the first to admit, the GOP is one lean, mean, marketing machine.  But like the soft drink OK Soda that had spiffy packaging but tasted like liquified crap, beneath the marketing, the GOP is a party devoid of any substance.  Besides stripping every American citizen of her rights, can anyone recite the Republican agenda? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

More below...

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
To be clear, Abramoff tendrils of course reach to Norton but that's not necessarily why she resigned. If she resigned because of that it means more than tendrils, it means the investigation is bumping up against her and she's gotta bail before it makes King George look bad.

From America for Sale: (pdf)

In December 2000, DeLay aides Tony Rudy and Thomas Pyle helped GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff get access to newly-nominated Interior Secretary Gale Norton. Abramoff represented several Indian tribes interested in lobbying the Secretary. This assistance occurred just a few months after Abramoff and his clients donated money to DeLay, gave him use of a skybox, and took him on a lavish golfing trip to Scotland in the summer of 2000. Soon after the email exchanges offering help, Tony Rudy left DeLay's office to work for Abramoff.

Besides using his Congressional contacts, Abramoff and his Indian tribe clients gained access to Interior Secretary Gale Norton by donating a quarter-million dollars to the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA), an "environmental" group Norton co-founded in the late 1990s with conservative activist Grover Norquist. The group's current president, Italia Federici, who describes Norton as a mentor and worked on Norton's failed Senate run, acted as a go-between for Abramoff and the Department of the Interior, even though CREA's mission does not include Indian affairs advocacy. The result of the lobbying and contributions was that Abramoff and his client, the chairman of the Coushatta tribe, sat with Secretary Norton at a CREA-sponsored fundraising event in September, 2001.

Another avenue for Abramoff to get access to the Interior Department was J. Steven Griles, Deputy Secretary at the Department of the Interior. From 2001 to 2005, Griles used his position as the number-two person in the Department to try and prevent the Jena Band of Choctaw Indians from building their casino. According to Michael Rossetti, former counsel to Secretary Gale Norton, Griles repeatedly tried to get into meetings in which Norton reviewed the Jena proposal, and even tried to show Norton a binder full of materials arguing against the proposal—a binder that, when questioned, Griles admitted came from Abramoff. One of the main channels of communication between Abramoff and Griles was Griles' friend at CREA, Italia Federici. While Federici and Abramoff regularly contacted Griles about the Jena casino and other various Indian matters, Abramoff's clients contributed heavily to CREA. Abramoff even offered Griles a job lobbying at Abramoff's firm of Greenberg Traurig.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs

By Don Williams

I'm learning to love ugly letters to the editor. Honestly, they help sell
books, fill my writing classes, and they let me know who my friends are when
we meet in public. Sometimes they prompt brave admirers to write lovely
letters in my behalf-something I truly appreciate.

I'm also learning to appreciate angry emails. If emails full of bluster and
indignation, along with others brimming with praise, didn't arrive almost

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jay woodson (215) 868-8377 [email protected]

Slam War!!!

WASHINGTON - March 9 - "Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war." Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 1967

Over 4 years after U.S. centers of military and financial imperialism were attacked, the U.S. military and coalition forces continue to occupy Afghanistan and Iraq.

Categories: Blogs

The Bush administration has appointed 28-year-old former White House
staffer Doug Hoelscher as the executive director of the Homeland
Security Advisory Committees.

In his new position, Hoelscher will gather expert advice "on behalf of
the president and the Homeland Security secretary" from 20 other
advisory boards covering "key areas of homeland security, including

Categories: Blogs

It's pretty much a given that Ben Chandler probably wouldn't have won without support from bloggers. It's also the case that Stephanie Herseth got a tremendous boost from bloggers, though I won't say I can claim that blogger support was necessary. Neither of those members of Congress are my favorites, but the fact that they were supported despite being rather right wing undercuts the usual media narrative that lefty bloggers only support candidates that are crrrraazy lefties who are otherwise unelectable. Herseth and Chandler won against Republicans in conservative districts [...]

There are lots of reasons to support underdogs, and for better or for worse most of the candidates directly support by Kos and me in the last election cycle were not especially ideologically liberal. They were generally underdogs running against incumbents (most people running against incumbents are underdogs), and in many cases the small amount of funds provided to them helped force their opponents to spend huge amounts of money in return, diverting money from other places.

If my goal in life was to support people who were "winners" I'd be writing checks to Joe Biden, Hilllary Clinton, and Ted Kennedy. All 3 of those candidates will win their next election. All 3 of those candidates have far more money than they need to win their next election. All 3 of those candidates still have no problem getting people to line up to give them even more money for their campaigns. If there's wasted money in campaigns that's where it is [...]

It's odd that people who throw $50 at Ciro Rodriguez get mocked while people who throw down $2000 to the Clinton campaign aren't. This is not a slap against Clinton, it's just that the "big money" in campaigns is accepted as the way things are done while the little money is scorned.

The netroots could have a perfect record if we rallied behind incumbents. But that's not how you win when in the minority. You rally around the underdogs, spread the playing field, force them to play defense where they least expect it, and after chipping away, we'll have breakthroughs.

So let people laugh. Fact is, not a single Republican or Democrat wants to face a netroots-backed candidate. Lieberman isn't laughing at how ineffective the netroots is. He's scrambling to beat back the challenge of Ned Lamont, a no-name, obscure businessman with no little political experience.

Source: Daily Kos Blog
Categories: Blogs
Andrew Sullivan.

The comment about Krugman being "too important to have his columns available to non-subscribers" is also ridiculous. Times Select is likely an idiotic business decision but it wasn't as if it was Krugman's decision to do so. In any case, Sullivan has long written for The New Republic which makes much of its content available only to subscribers.
Source: Atrios Blog
Categories: Blogs