Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) now claims that “we had the wrong plan for three years” in Iraq, and the current escalation is working. Glenn Greenwald writes, “That being the case, one would expect that Kit Bond spent the last three years protesting our war strategy, lamenting our lack of progress, and demanding that we change course. Needless to say, he did exactly the opposite.” Bond spent the last three years claiming the U.S. was winning in Iraq.
Today on Fox News Sunday, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol attacked the Democratic presidential candidates for their decision to attend the YearlyKos blogger convention. He held it up as evidence that the presidential candidates have “gone left.”
“Every Democratic presidential nominee is going to the DailyKos convention,” said Kristol. “That’s the left-wing blogger who was not respectable three or four years ago. The Howard Dean kind of sponsor. Now the whole party is going to pay court to him and to left wing blogs.” Watch it:
The YearlyKos convention is independent of the blog DailyKos. So the candidates are not going to simply “pay court” to the head of DailyKos, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga. Approximately 1,500 “people from all walks of life who belong to the Netroots community” are expected at the convention this year.
Moreover, as NPR’s Juan Williams points out, what Kristol describes “as left is now center.” “The majority of the American people, 70 percent, want us out of Iraq,” noted Williams. “In fact, if you asked Iraqis, 60 some percent of Iraqis say we’re doing more harm than good in Iraq.” In a survey conducted by Pew Internet and American Life after the 2006 mid-term election, “online political activists” were said to “mirror the general population of those who are civically active.” Like the progressive blogosphere, a solid majority of Americans believe President Bush should not have commuted the sentence of his former aide, Scooter Libby.
The attendees of the YearlyKos convention haven’t “gone left.” Kristol just doesn’t understand how radically right wing he is.
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) announced today that he will “introduce two censure resolutions condemning the President, Vice President and other administration officials for misconduct relating to the war in Iraq and for their repeated assaults on the rule of law.” In March 2006, Feingold introduced a censure resolution against Bush over the NSA wiretapping program. In a statement released today, Feingold said:
At my town hall meetings, online, and everywhere I go, I hear the American people demanding that the President and his administration be held accountable for their misconduct, both with regard to the disastrous war in Iraq and their flagrant abuse of the rule of law. Censure is a relatively modest response, but one that puts Congress on record condemning their actions, both for the American people today and for future generations.
Read the full statement.
UPDATE: Feingold discusses his censure resolution on Meet the Press. Watch it:
UPDATE II: Responding to the censure resolutions on CBS’s Face the Nation, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said the Senate should keep its focus on other priorities:
REID: I’m sure Russ Feingold will try to find a way to offer that amendment. The Republicans won’t let us vote on it. They’ll block it.
SCHIEFFER: So would you go along with it if they let you vote on it?
REID: Bob, frankly, we have so many other things to do. The president already has the mark of the American people that he’s the worst president we’ve ever had, and I don’t think we need a censure resolution in the Senate to prove that. We have to do…
SCHIEFFER: So you’re not going along with it?
REID: Well, at this stage, Russ is going to have to make his case as to why we should do that rather than do our appropriation bills, finish the defense authorization bill, Homeland Security appropriation bill.
REID: We have a lot of work to do.
Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard, “Bush and the Republicans aren’t dominant. They’re a minority, but an unusually effective one. One measure of this: At the end of 2007, there will be more American troops in Iraq than when Democrats took over Congress in January.”
In a recent conversation with the editors of the Washington Post, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings was asked why she rebuffed Karl Rove’s advances on her in the early ’80s. Spellings paused, then said: “Have you met Karl Rove? He was so inept and so inartful,” she added. “I mean, I couldn’t even understand.
Yesterday, former President Bill Clinton sharply criticized Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman, who recently rebuffed Sen. Hillary Clinton’s (D-NY) request for Pentagon briefings to Congress on the administration’s redeployment plans. Edelman wrote, “Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda. ABC News reports:
Clinton said Undersecretary Eric Edelman was “wrong” to send a letter to his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., criticizing her request for a briefing from Pentagon officials about military plans for a future withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. […]
In an interview with ABC’s Kate Snow in Lusaka, Zambia, Bill Clinton called Edelman “one of the more ideological holdovers” in the Defense Department.
“I think it’s wrong to politicize national security,” he said.
Edelman has close ties to Vice President Cheney and several other administration hardliners. He served under Cheney, then Secretary of Defense, in the first Bush administration. At that time, Cheney set up a “shop” to “think about American foreign policy after the Cold War, at the grand strategic level.” The project also included Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby. [New Yorker, 4/1/02]
From 2001-2003, Edelman served as a national security adviser to Cheney. In 2003, he was named as U.S. ambassador to Turkey, attempting to convince Turkey to cooperate with the Bush administration’s plans to invade Iraq. Turkish columnist Ibrahim Karagul noted, “Edelman is probably the least-liked and trusted American ambassador in Turkish history.”
Bush recess appointed Edelman on on Aug. 9, 2005, replacing Douglas Feith.
Currently atop the Drudge Report is a gigantic ad by “Health Care America,” which states, “In America you wait in line to see a movie. In government-run healthcare systems, you wait to see a doctor”:
The ad is part of the industry-led smear campaign against Michael Moore’s movie SiCKO. The group is “financed in part by pharmaceutical and hospital companies.” Its Advisory Board includes President Bush’s former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson. In June, the organization “staged a conference call that drew nearly 20 reporters from around the country,” with the purpose of discussing “what Michael Moore left out of his movie.”
Additionally, the PR firm MultiVu is distributing a “fake news video” smearing SiCKO. The firm receives funding from Health Care America.
These industry-funded organizations attacking Moore argue that the United States has the best health care system in the world. But in reality, the United States is behind in preventing asthma-related deaths, vaccinating children against polio, and providing flu shots to seniors. Americans also, on average, die at a younger age compared to the average age of death of comparable nations. Yet health spending “per capita in the United States is much higher than in other countries — at least 24% higher than in the next highest spending countries, and over 90% higher than in many other countries that we would consider global competitors.”
UPDATE: Michael Moore will be conducting a live chat at Crooks and Liars on Sunday afternoon at 4pm (EST), 1pm (PT).
CQ reports (sub. required):
With some temporary leeway granted by her party’s anti-war activists, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., will try this week to chip away at President Bush’s Iraq policy rather than halt the war outright.
Now that a withdrawal deadline like that approved by the House has stalled in the Senate, Democratic leaders have signaled they will likely opt for incremental measures, such as a bill (HR 2929) sponsored by Barbara Lee, D-Calif., that would effectively extend a ban on permanent U.S. bases in Iraq.
That legislation would do little or nothing to force the president’s hand. But it would buy time to build support for another redeployment proposal by Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John P. Murtha, D-Pa., to be offered on the floor as an amendment to the fiscal 2008 Defense appropriations bill.
The Plank’s Isaac Chotiner finds this interesting revelation from Stephen Hayes’ Cheney biography. Hayes describes the events as Cheney’s staffers were preparing him for an appearance on Fox News Sunday:
An aide fired one tough question after another at the vice president. Then: Did you agree with President Bush’s decision to replace Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense?
“Absolutely not,” Cheney replied without elaborating. His answer surprised the small group with him, but it was the answer he was determined to give if Wallace asked, even at the risk of angering his boss. But the story was a month old, and Wallace never asked the question.
This year, “Senate Republicans are threatening filibusters to block more legislation than ever before.” The pattern of obstructionism is demolishing previous records:
Nearly 1 in 6 roll-call votes in the Senate this year have been cloture votes. If this pace of blocking legislation continues, this 110th Congress will be on track to roughly triple the previous record number of cloture votes — 58 each in the two Congresses from 1999-2002, according to the Senate Historical Office.
McClatchy provides this shocking statistical analysis:
On Monday, Under Secretary of Defense Eric Edelman sent a letter to Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), rebuffing her requests for Pentagon briefings to Congress on the administration’s plans for redeployment. “Premature and public discussion of the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq reinforces enemy propaganda,” wrote Edelman. Yesterday, Clinton sent a new letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. In a new statement, Gates responds, but does not promise congressional briefings:
I have long been a staunch advocate of Congressional oversight, first at the CIA and now at the Defense Department. I have said on several occasions in recent months that I believe that Congressional debate on Iraq has been constructive and appropriate. I had not seen Senator Clinton’s reply to Ambassador Edelman’s letter until today. I am looking into the issues she raised and will respond to them early next week.
As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, Clinton and Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) plan to introduce legislation requiring the Pentagon to brief Congress on redeployment plans.
The New York Times writes this morning that conservatives are trying to walk a fine line between supporting and distancing themselves from President Bush:
There is little question that the winds of discontent are stirring among Republicans on Capitol Hill over the direction of the Iraq war. A majority, of course, continued to support President Bush with their votes this week during the latest Iraq debate. But several Republicans no longer whisper, or walk away, when asked about their skepticism.
One of those conservative trying to strike this delicate balance is Sen. John Sununu (R-NH). “Sununu has faced criticism for his stance on Iraq, with critics charging he is too close to President Bush on war policy.” This week, he voted to filibuster the Levin-Reed amendment.
In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Sununu said that, despite standing with Bush on the war, he would not want the President to campaign with him. Asked if Bush would be an effective campaigner, Sununu said, “No, I think the President’s popularity unfortunately is at a fairly low level.” Sununu added that he’d be better off campaigning alone than with President Bush. Watch it:
“Bush campaigned for Sununu twice in 2002, including one visit three days before the election. First Lady Laura Bush visited the state two days before the Nov. 5, 2002, contest.”
The U.S. Joint Forces Command has paid $400,000 for a report to improve the “brand” of U.S. military operations worldwide. According to the study, “since the U.S. military invaded Iraq in 2003, its ’show of force’ brand has proved to have limited appeal to Iraqi consumers” and “a more attractive brand for the Iraqi people might have been ‘We will help you.’”
The AP reports, “Bush reclaimed his presidential powers and duties at 9:21 a.m. EDT. The transfer of power took place with letters Bush sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., president pro tempore of the Senate. Bush reclaimed the powers with follow-up letters once the colonoscopy had ended.”
Fresh off his hero worship of President Bush, New York Times columnist David Brooks said last night on the PBS Newshour that he’s more confused than ever about Iraq. “Let me say, I’m more uncertain about what to do than I’ve ever been in this war,” he said. “I really have no clue. So I almost have no judgment on what we should do, stay or go. I really am so confused.” Watch it:
UPDATE: Atrios notes a time when Brooks was less confused.
The New York Times reports that the White House is confidently asserting that any attempts by Congress to hold White House staffers in contempt will be stymied by Alberto Gonzales’ Justice Department:
“The Justice Department would be likely to block any efforts by Congressional Democrats to seek contempt charges against present and former White House officials for refusing to give information to Congress, a White House spokesman said Friday. […]
A White House spokesman, Tony Fratto, said Congressional threats to have presidential aides charged with criminal contempt would probably end in failure. “It has been the Justice Department’s long-held view that the law does not permit Congress to require a U.S. attorney to convene a grand jury or otherwise pursue a prosecution” when someone refuses on the basis of executive privilege to testify or turn over documents, Mr. Fratto said.”
The National Review posted its favorite suggestions for what Dick Cheney should do during his three hours as acting President while Bush is under anesthesia for his colonoscopy tomorrow:
Commute the sentences of those border agents.
Fire Mike Chertoff.
Tell Harry Reid to … well, you know…
In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit “rejected the Bush administration’s plan to limit what judges and the detainees’ attorneys can review” when Guantanamo Bay detainees challenge their status as “enemy combatants.” “The court has resoundingly rejected the government’s effort to control the record and to limit an investigation into the truth,” said Sabin Willet, the attorney who argued the case for the detainees.
Yesterday, federal district Judge John D. Bates “dismissed a lawsuit filed by former CIA officer Valerie Plame and her husband [Joe Wilson] against Vice President Cheney and other top officials over the Bush administration’s” retaliatory leak of Plame’s identity. Bates’s decision yesterday is in line with a long record of injecting his personal political agenda into the administration of law. Some other recent examples include:
- In August 2006, Bates “ruled that it was acceptable for the president to sign a bill that had not been passed by Congress.” A clerical error resulted in the President receiving a version of a law approved by only one half of Congress. Bates upheld the law, despite the President being warned of the error before signing the bill. [LINK]
- In December 2002, Bates protected the Bush administration by narrowly dismissing a lawsuit filled by the U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker against Cheney. Walker “wanted Mr. Cheney to reveal the names of industry executives who helped the administration develop” its energy policy. Bates argued turning the records over to Walker “would hobble an administration’s essential, legitimate ability to receive frank information and advice.” [LINK]
- From September 1995 to March 1997, Bates served as Deputy Independent Counsel to Whitewater investigator Ken Starr. During that time, Bates wanted open access to what Sen. Pat Leahy called, the “dresser drawers of the White House.” At the time, Bates “successfully argued that the White House had to turn over documents related to then-first lady Hillary Clinton.” [LINK]