Our Weekday Hosts
Peter B. Collins
Active forum topics
April 19, 2006
We were all outraged when the GOP took out radio ads asserting that Democrats had advocated criminalizing undocumented immigrants. I wondered what the Democratic response would be. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid foreshadowed the Democratic response with this statement:
I will fight back against this vicious smear in Nevada, but it will only stop if we show Republicans there is a price to pay for their lies. I'm not going to ask you to contribute to me, but to Democrats running for Senate around the country. We have a real shot at taking back the majority in November and that would be the best revenge.[...]
The Republicans should not pick this fight. I've been in more boxing rings then all of them combined. And when you throw a punch at me, you end up on the mat.
So Reid turned the Republican's tactics against them, using their lies to raise money to defeat GOP candidates. Awesome.
And the DNC? Well, it has launched a series of Spanish-lanuages ads to counter the GOP lies. The ads will be aired nationally through Univision, including targetted markets in Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona. Here is the text:
Democrats support tough and smart immigration reform. We want to strengthen our borders; as well as U.S. workers and their wages. We want for immigrants who obey the law and pay taxes to be able to apply for U.S. citizenship.
That's immigration reform that matches American values: tough and smart.
Now Republicans are lying to us.
They control Congress and the White House, and in five years have done nothing. They've failed.
If they wanted comprehensive immigration reform and to protect our borders, they would have done it already.
But what Republicans and President Bush supported was a plan that would criminalize immigrants, families, doctors, and even churches just for giving communion.
Call Republican Senator Bill Frist at 202-224-3135 and tell him to allow a vote on immigration reform.
You can listen to the ad here. Oh, and Democrats aren't stopping there. The DNC is also taking out similar ads in Spanish newspapers, as well as ads in Asian American, Irish, and Polish print media.
Reid is right. The Republicans shouldn't have picked this fight. The GOP thought it could disassociate itself from its atrocious immigration bill by peddling blatant lies, thinking that Democrats would just let it slide. Not this time, not this year, not this issue.
Our Minority Leader isn't afraid of using the word "lie." The DNC isn't shrinking from the word "lying." Democrats are fighting back, and they're painting Republicans as the lying liars they are.
It's about time.
Raw Story previews tomorrow's Post:
Dave Neiwert over at Orcinus once again proves why he's a national treasure in his latest takedown of Michelle Malkin. In his post, Radio Rmalkin, he compares the conservative pundit's methods to those of talking radioheads during the Rwandan genocide whose broadcasts of the names and locations of private individuals led to death by machete. While the results of Malkin's latest shenanigans haven't led to more than hateful harassment, exposing personal information of private individuals is a slippery slope indeed.
There is a good reason that using the power of mass media to expose individual citizens' private lives to abuse and threats is considered unethical: It represents unchecked and abusive power. No one interested in holding the public trust should either want or seek it.
Yet this, of course, is exactly what Malkin did this week in publishing, on her blog, the home phone numbers of three students who led anti-military protests on the campus of UC-Santa Cruz.
Predictably, the students were deluged with hate mail and phone calls, including a number of death threats.
Malkin not only refused to take the numbers down -- in response, she reverted to her timeworn victimization schtick, posting some of the nasty e-mails she received in return and pretending there was nothing wrong or unethical in her behavior.
We're all too familiar with this routine. After all, it's what the entirety of her book Unhinged was predicated upon. Malkin, as I said then, is like the lunatic who walks around the public square and pokes people in the eye with a sharp stick, and then is shocked, shocked, that anyone would respond with anger and outrage.
This poking and then playing the victim game is becoming as predictable as daisies in the springtime from the right side of the political aisle. Weeping to the heavens about a fictional war on Christmas, painting Rumsfeld as the innocent, hard-working target of jealous and petty retired generals ... thank God we have voices like Neiwert's to call them on it and announce when enough is enough. Read the whole piece. It's a doozy.
DeLay conspiracy charge thrown out
An appeals court upheld a judge's ruling today, throwing out a felony conspiracy charge against former US House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. DeLay still faces a money-laundering charge and another conspiracy charge that stems from the financing of state legislature races in 2002.
Bush says 'failure not an option'
President Bush said today that he did not expect to recieve unanimous support at home for his decision to invade Iraq, and that because of that, failure there "is not an option." Um, too late?
Source: Democracy for America
The numbers are in, and don't provide too many surprises. Clinton blows out everyone with an astounding $19.7M cash on-hand. Yowza. A distant second, but still ahead of most of the pack, is Bill Nelson with $10.3M. I don't think we have anything to worry about in Florida this go-round. Here are some details that stuck out.
AZ: Pederson's fundraising has been pretty impressive, making him one of the top non-incumbent fundraisers with $2.42M, and $2.72M cash on hand. Not surprisingly, Kyl has well over twice as much, with $7.3M on hand. But his favorables aren't all that impressive, 45%, making this an unlikely pick-up for us, but an interesting race to watch.
CT: Lamont raised a fairly respectable $710K to Lieberman's $965K, but spent heavily and has a depressing COH disadvantage to Lieberman. He's also one of the top self-funders. But he got into the race late, and Lieberman has no where to go but down, or, well, to the Independents.
MD: The crowded field of Ds is led by Rep. Ben Cardin, who of course has the phenomenal advantage of being a sitting Representative. He raised $829K from individual contributions, with Mfume a distant second at $187K. Rales, true to his promise to spend his own fortune going after this seat, sunk a huge chunk of his own funds into the campaign to end up with total receipts of $522K. While Cardin's fundraising has far outstripped his primary opponents, Steele raised more than any of the Dems. He trails Cardin on COH $1.76M to $2.63M.
MI: Stabenow is strong both on fundraising (a little over $1M this quarter, total receipts) and in her war chest $6.27M). Her favorables could be better, SUSA had her at 48% last month), but she's still polling better than 20% over her opponents.
MO: Missouri is looking better all the time. McCaskill raised a whopping $1.04M this quarter to Talent's $850K (update--in individual contributions). While he has a huge war chest advantage ($5.6M to her $2M) she's got a lot of momentum right now, and according to Rasmussen, the race is neck and neck. Left in Missouri has some fun anectdotal information about Talent's lack of popularity in the state.
MT: Everybody's favorite state has Morrison with a $100K lead over Tester in individual contributions, and a whopping (for Montana) $620K advantage in COH. Burns, meanwhile, had to spend $901K over the quarter to staunch the bleeding. Or was that Abramoff money he was forced to dump? Either way, he has a 38% approval rating, trails Morrison by two points and leads Tester by just three points. Rasmussen likes to think that this is Burns bouncing back.
OH: Ohio's reporting is a little screwy, covering just a six week period. Brown's total receipts are $1.26M to DeWine's $2.35M, and has $2.8M COH to DeWine's $5.2M. It's healthy fundraising for a challenger, and helped force DeWine into being one of the quarter's big spenders--$1.41M.
PA: Santorum was another of those big spenders, $2.06M, while Casey was one of the top non-incumbent fundraisers for the period, with $2.17M. Santorum's war chest is huge, $9M. Casey's is more than respectable at $4.5. Rasmussen's funky poll with the NOW question was reported around the blogosphere quite a bit earlier this month. It found a 9 point lead for Casey in a head-to-head match with Santorum, but that support slipping when Casey's anti-choice views were explained. It's a screwy poll--erosion of support to Casey makes sense, but why would half of them switch to Santorum? Could it be that that large a chunk of PA's population isn't aware that Santorum is anti-choice? Anyway, this one is tightening up. Unless a fundraising fairy-godmother waves her magic wand for Sandals or Pennachio, they don't have a hope.
RI: Laffey is providing a strong fundraising callenge to Chafee in the Republican primary, $328K to Chafee's $300K. And he's got over $1M in the bank to counter Chafee's $1.87M. On the Dem side, Brown spent heavily this quarter in an effort to increase his name recognition. It worked, he surged in the polls, but it left him at a serious disadvantage to Whitehouse with COH. Whitehouse has $1.8M to Brown's $355K.
WA: This one is troubling. Cantwell and GOP challenter McGavick were among the quarter's biggest spenders (Cantwell $1.2M and McGavick $1.27). He raised $1.2M to her $1.8, and according to a Rasmussen poll has gained to within 10 points of her. She's got a strong bank account, with almost $5.6M on hand, while McGavick has just $896K. But he's proved that he can really raise money, and she's a major target of the Right. Support among plenty of Washington state progressives for Cantwell is less than enthusiastic, given her unwillingness to bend on Iraq and her truly undefendable vote for cloture on Alito. This is a seat we really can't afford to lose, so I think I speak for all Democrats in Washington in saying that she really needs to figure out a way to reenergize her base.
I want the number of Mark Morford's muse. Whoever he/she is, today's Morford column is truly an inspired piece of wordsmithing. In today's piece, he paints the picture of a failed presidency in a way that perfectly captures the essence of George W. Bush (you really should read the whole thing):
Now, here he is, sitting right next to all the other countries at the Big Table, representing America, it's little Dubya Bush, stewing in his own juices, his poll numbers hovering right near Nixon levels, mumbling to himself, smelling vaguely of sawdust and horse manure and dead Social Security overhaul plans.
He is pockmarked by scandal, buffeted by storms of disapproval and infighting and nascent impeachment. He authorized the leak of classified security information merely to smear an Iraq war critic, he lied about WMD and lied about Saddam and lied about making the United States safer and lied about, well, just about everything, on top of launching the worst and most violent and most expensive, unwinnable war since Vietnam.
His pile of betting capital is down to a tiny lump, nothing like back when he had the table rigged and all the pit bosses worked for him and the pile was as big as a roomful of Texas cow pies. But now, fortune is frowning. In fact, fortune is white-hot furious at being so viciously molested, spit upon, raped lo these many years. The truth is coming out: Bush has now lost far, far more bets than he ever won.
What's to be done? Why, do what any grumbling, furious, confused, underqualified alcoholic gambler does: reach down deep and say, "To hell with the nation and to hell with the odds and to hell with the rest of the planet," and pull out one more desperate, crumpled war from deep in your pants, slap it on the table and hear the world moan.
White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan's resignation means one more Republican we're not going to miss.
Bush called McClellan's resignation "a challenging assignment" and said that he would be "hard to replace." He was right -- McClellan did possess a rare form of incompetence. He'll be remembered especially for his angry stutter and for demanding apologies from reporters for writing stories exposing the Bush administration's lies.
In another Bush administration staff shake-up, an official revealed that Karl Rove would give up oversight of policy development "to focus on politics with the approach of the fall midterm elections." Joel Kaplan, currently the White House's deputy budget director, will become the deputy chief of staff for policy. New chief of staff Joshua Bolten is responsible for these staff re-assignments, as he vowed on Monday to "refresh and re-energize the Bush administration" in hope to pick up their pathetically low approval ratings.
Bush said that he and Scott would one day, sit "rocking in chairs in Texas and talking about the good old days." The good old days? Like when Bush's administration turned out to be so corrupt that they had to replace nearly everyone on staff, just to get through a mid-term election?
Source: Democracy for America
In the current issue of the American Prospect I write about my military service, and how the values and experiences drilled into me made me the person I am today. And that includes turning me from a Republican into a Democrat.
There's a reason most vets running for office this year are running as Democrats. The military is perhaps the ideal society -- we worked hard but the Army took care of us in return. All our basic needs were met -- housing, food, and medical care. It was as close to a color-blind society as I have ever seen. We looked out for one another. The Army invested in us. I took heavily subsidized college courses and learned to speak German on the Army's dime. I served with people from every corner of the country. I got to party at the Berlin Wall after it fell and explored Prague in those heady post-communism days. I wasn't just a tourist; I was a witness to history.
The Army taught me the very values that make us progressives -- community, opportunity, and investment in people and the future. Returning to Bush Senior's America, I was increasingly disillusioned by the selfishness, lack of community, and sense of entitlement inherent in the Republican philosophy. The Christian Coalition scared the heck out of me. And I was offended by the lip service paid to national service when most Republicans couldn't be bothered to wear combat boots. I voted for Bush in 1992, but that was the last time I voted Republican.
By David Swanson “When it came to pinning the terrorist label on the Saddam Government,” Dilip Hiro wrote in 2004 (”Secrets and Lies,” p. 381), “all the Bush administration had to do was point a finger at the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO, People’s Mujahedin). An anticlerical Iranian group opposed to the regime in Tehran, the MKO, [...]
Cindy Sheehan “Go home,” a Crawford neighbor of Camp Casey, her face deformed with rage, yelled at me as about 50 of us walked the four miles from Camp Casey I to Camp Casey II on Good Friday. We were re-enacting the Stations of the Cross. I was hauling a 12 pound cross on my shoulders [...]
In a lengthy essay, the American Prospect's Michael Tomasky wonders what the Democratic Party philosophy is.
What the Democrats still don't have is a philosophy, a big idea that unites their proposals and converts them from a hodgepodge of narrow and specific fixes into a vision for society. Indeed, the party and the constellation of interests around it don't even think in philosophical terms and haven't for quite some time. There's a reason for this: They've all been trained to believe -- by the media, by their pollsters -- that their philosophy is an electoral loser. Like the dogs in the famous "learned helplessness" psychological experiments of the 1960s -- the dogs were administered electrical shocks from which they could escape, but from which, after a while, they didn't even try to, instead crouching in the corner in resignation and fear -- the Democrats have given up attempting big ideas. Any effort at doing so, they're convinced, will result in electrical (and electoral) shock.
But is that as true as it appears? Certainly, today's Democrats can't simply return to the philosophy that was defeated in the late 1970s. But at the same time, let's recognize a new historical moment when we see one: Today, for the first time since 1980, it is conservative philosophy that is being discredited (or rather, is discrediting itself) on a scale liberals wouldn't have dared imagine a few years ago.
Tomasky calls it a "philosophy". In other places, you'll hear it talked about as the party "narrative". This isn't our values (which seem to be coalescing around "opportunity, fairness, and investment in the future and our people"), nor is it the party brand. This is even bigger picture.
Tomasky argues that the New Deal Democratic philosophy was "that citizens should be called upon to look beyond their own self-interest and work for a greater common interest."
This, historically, is the moral basis of liberal governance -- not justice, not equality, not rights, not diversity, not government, and not even prosperity or opportunity. Liberal governance is about demanding of citizens that they balance self-interest with common interest. Any rank-and-file liberal is a liberal because she or he somehow or another, through reading or experience or both, came to believe in this principle. And every leading Democrat became a Democrat because on some level, she or he believes this, too.
Of course, the Democratic Party no longer holds that philosophy. Democrats seemed to think that notion was an electoral loser, though as we argue in CTG, Republican gains have come in large party (if not in most part) from their maassive machine that generates, markets, and sells their ideas to the American people without a countering liberal machine. And it was Reagan that landed that knockout punch to this traditional liberal philosophy.
By 1980, Reagan had seized the idea of the common good. To be sure, it was a harshly conservative variant that quite actively depended on white middle-class resentment. But to its intended audience, his narrative was powerful, a clean punch landed squarely on the Democratic glass jaw. The liberals had come to ask too much of regular people: You, he said to the middle-class (and probably white) American, have to work hard and pay high taxes while welfare cheats lie around the house all day, getting the checks liberal politicians make sure they get; you follow the rules while the criminals go on their sprees and then get sprung by shifty liberal lawyers. For a lot of (white) people, it was powerful. And, let's face it, manipulative as it was, it wasn't entirely untrue, either!
So what does Tomasky suggest? He thinks the moment is ripe, historically, for a return to the politics of the greater good, that asking people to stand and work for something bigger than themselves is a political winner.
Some will say that asking Americans to look beyond their own self-interest and participate in a common good will fail, either because it failed before (the 1960s) or because such a request can succeed only in rare moments -- a time of war or of deep domestic crisis. But that isn't what failed in the '60s. The first half of the '60s, the civic-republican liberal half, succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. The second half, the half that ditched the common good, is what failed, and it failed for precisely the reason that it did so. And yes, it may be that the times when such appeals can work are comparatively rare in American history.
For that to happen, Tomasky argues that the interest groups must be tamed and a leader must emerge to symbolize this transcendence from the individual and his or her pet cause, to something much bigger, much more inspiring:
I dream of the Democratic presidential candidate who, in his -- or her -- announcement speech in August 2007 says something like the following: "To the single-issue groups arrayed around my party, I say this. I respect the work you do and support your causes. But I won't seek and don't want your endorsement. My staff and I won't be filling out any questionnaires. You know my track record; decide from it whether I'll be a good president. But I am running to communicate to Americans that I put the common interest over particular interests." Okay, I said it was a dream. But there it is -- in one bold stroke, a candidate occupies the highest moral ground available to politicians: to be unbought and unbossed.
Yeah, that would make my heart flutter as well! And as I've argued a million times, that position is not borne of hostility toward the goals of those groups, but in their lack of grasp of the bigger picture.
Much of the work done by these groups, and many of their goals, are laudable. But if they can't justify that work and those goals in more universalist terms rather than particularist ones, then they just shouldn't be taken seriously. Immigration policy can't be chiefly about the rights of undocumented immigrants; it needs to be about what's good for the country. Similarly with civil-rights policy -- affirmative action, say, which will surely be up for review one day again when a case reaches the Roberts court. As I noted above, when talking about Gingrich's failure in 1995, there exist powerful common-good arguments for affirmative action. In addition to the idea that diversity enriches private-sector environments, affirmative action has been the most important single factor in the last 40 years in the broad expansion of the black middle class, which in turn (as more blacks and whites work and live together) has dramatically improved race relations in this county, which has been good, as LBJ would put it, for every American.
Tomasky's dream candidate is Gov. Brian Schweitzer from Montana, though he's still committed to fixing the mess Republicans made in Montana and won't be available for national duty until the next decade. Others might and hopefully will emerge.
But it's clear that the future of the Democratic Party isn't the current collection of constituency and issue groups. It's committed, movement-building progressives who fight for higher principles than narrow self-interest, and sell that vision to an American public that isn't as selfish and self-centered as Republicans would have everyone believe.
When I was on my nationwide search for a Berkeley alternative, Boulder was an oft-stated option. And I learned why yesterday. Boulderites have themselves a nice little corner of the world. And I've been a fan of Denver since I first visited last year while doing research for the book.
I spent the morning in Denver hanging with the Progress Now crew, doing some radio, a podcast, and meeting with Colorado bloggers like the Soapblox Colorado guys. I had lunch with Talkleft's Jeralyn and her law-school-attending son (he apparently hates it as much as I did), and after a short nap, headed off to Boulder.
I did a book signing at the Boulder Bookstore (which has signed copies of the book if you couldn't make it last night) then hung out with the local Drinking Liberally crew. I chatted for a while with Jay Fawcett, who is getting a great deal of local buzz in his open seat congressional race despite running in the heavily Republican Colorado Springs district. And got to hang out with the very cool Em Dash.
Today's public events schedule:
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
I head to Los Angeles early Thursday for the start of our California coastal tour. Next week I'll be in Salt Lake City and Nashville. More info at Crashing the Gate.
Washington, DC - Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (CA-35) issued the following statement regarding the tenure of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: “The United States military needs fresh leadership. The Secretary of Defense has failed to provide effective leadership in the Iraq war and our soldiers are paying a dear price. Secretary Rumsfeld must resign. The [...]
By William Rivers Pitt t r u t h o u t | Perspective Wednesday 19 April 2006 I hear the voices. And I read the front page. And I know the speculation. But I’m the decider and I decide what is best. - George W. Bush, 18 April 2006 Bill Simmons, an excellent sportswriter for ESPN, uses a [...]
Help Needy Monterey Families and Children
Children's Services International is a unique and wonderful local non-profit that serves homeless and low-income families and children throughout Monterey County. csichildcare.org
Call to participate 3-6pm PT:
Center for American Progress
Prog. Dems of America
Democracy for America
Daily Kos Blog
The Nation Editors' Picks
The Nation's Weblogs
NY Times Political Reports
MSNBC Political Reports
Log in or create account
Click here: Log in or create account.