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Saturday, March 18, 2006

And They're Off....

Remember, tomorrow all the cool kids will be watching:
07:45 AM EST
News Review
C-SPAN, Washington Journal
Christy Hardin Smith,
Paul Mirengoff,
Go Redd. We'll be cheering you on.


FDL Late Nite: The Silent Majority

"A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he'll never crow. I have seen the light and I'm crowing." -- Muhammad Ali

According to the Pew Research Center for People and the Press, George W. Bush's overall approval rating stands now at 33%. That's 9% among democrats, 26% among independents and 73% among Republicans. The poll further points out that, since the beginning of his second term, Bush has lost sizable chunks of Republican support. That 73% is down from a 89% in January, 2005. This is the same poll that tells us the most popular, single descriptive word for Bush is incompetent. Oops.

How about Iraq? After all, national security is the republican's signature issue, right? Eh, not so much. According to NBC News/Wall Street Journal's most recent poll, 35% of the public approves Bush's handling of the war while 61% disapprove. And get this: only 4% are undecided, presumably because they have too much to handle walking and chewing gum simultaneously. Oops again.

But aside from Iraq, Republicans still enjoy a national security advantage, right? Look away, Unka Karl (the horror!). NPR released a poll yesterday that includes the following absolutely devastating conclusions in its executive summary:
Democrats win every security debate in this poll and when voters are asked who they trust more on issues including the Iraq war, foreign ownership of US ports, and homeland security issues, Democrats come out on top. The only exception is the nuclear threat in Iran, where Republicans have a narrow 5 point advantage.

[snip. . .]

Democrats have an historic 15 point advantage (52 to 37 percent) in the generic congressional vote, the result of an emerging trend over the last 7 months and serious conclusions drawn about President Bush, the war in Iraq, and the economy.

These results are brought about by independents including mainline Protestants, Catholics, and Baby-Boom college voters moving away from the Republicans and by a crash in key parts of the Republican base. The parties are now running even in the white rural counties and in the counties carried by Bush in 2004. Older blue collar voters - most impacted by the changing economy, and least interested in foreign spending and foreign ownership of American ports - have pulled away from the Republicans.
On November 3, 1969, the spiritual father of today's Republican Party, Richard M. Nixon ("When the president does it, that means it's not illegal."), delivered a speech containing the following famous phrase regarding another failed, idiotic war:
"So tonight, to you, the great silent majority of my fellow Americans, I ask for your support. I pledged in my campaign for the Presidency to end the war in a way that we could win the peace."
That was then; this is now. Today, March 18, 2006, we clearly have a new Silent Majority. It is not heard through the establishment media, though it shows up in the polls. And guess what: that majority includes the coveted likely voters. How do you think they feel about the president asserting the right to sniff panties in your home without a warrant?

I think Harry Reid is catching on. Otherwise, he would not have said of George Bush yesterday, "I really do believe this man will go down as the worst president this country has ever had." Representative Jane Harman got a lesson from the Silent Majority yesterday, too, when she got an earful over at kos (as Jane pointed out last night) over chalenging the president on warrentless wiretapping.

Nope. No more silence from the Silent Majority. And while the netroots/grassroots makes noise on the Internet and on the phone lines into the Capitol, the mass of voters will be heard in November. How will Tweety survive?

Take another look at that man in the picture above. In his day, establishment elites like Tweety wanted him to shut his damn mouth. They wanted him to accept his birth name when he chose another. They wanted him to fight a war he knew was bullshit. He refused. To their unending exasperation, he would not be silent. He's the model for today's Silent Majority. Let's get LOUD!

Today's Silent Majority wants to see action from leaders in Washington, not just timid posturing. In that vein, I have some advice for Harry Reid (Minority Leader) and Chuck Schumer (head of the DSCC) in the Senate: take a look at those polls again. It's time to play some offense. Get in front of the parade by getting behind Feingold's censure motion.

If you do, I'll bet many of the remaining 26% of democrats who currently oppose censure will flip to support it, moving overall population support for censure from 48% to well over 50% (hat tip to eRiposte). Some independents will follow along, too, if you stand together and make your case to a public starving for alternative leadership. (Note: censure polling varies by the wording of the question.) That will boost democratic turnout for the midterms, and also happens to be a political stance for the right fucking principle: the president does not get to break or ignore the law at his whim.

Nancy Pelosi (Minority Leader) and Rahm Emanuel (head of the DCCC) in the House, you have homework, too. Play some damn offense. End the off-the-record ethics truce in the House, and start filing charges. CREW has a fine list you and your senate colleagues have been ignoring for some time. Every indication is this year will hold a nationalized midterm election. Let your people run on accountability and ethics in Washington and ride the wave to glory. This is no time for rope-a-dope.

All this friendly advice comes with a warning: the Silent Majority will not be denied. The tectonic plates of American politics are fundamentally shifting. To those who would get in the way of the new majority politics, consider: like that guy in the picture, we in the Silent Majority know how to handle those who stand in our way.

PS - Don't forget to set your TiVo to record Christy (ReddHedd) on C-Span tomorrow morning at 7:45. We love ya, Redd!


Feingold and the Censure Resolution: 2006 and 2008

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Hi, it's Scott back from Lawyers, Guns and Money for a cameo appearance.

As a follow up to ReddHedd's post below, yesterday I wrote a post about Ryan Lizza's baffling claim, in response to Russ Feingold's proposed censure of the President, that "[c]hanging the FISA law is the way to address Bush's overreach." Ann Althouse objects, arguing that I am not "the best person to be deciding who's 'vacuous.'" The merits of the ad hominem I will leave to the reader, but I think that Althouse is missing the fundamental point here, and I don't think that what's at stake can be emphasized often enough. There are two issues here: the politics, and the merits. The former issue I see little point in discussing, because whether it's a net positive or negative the political impact of a censure resolution on mid-term elections in November will be negligible in any case. I will only point out another contradiction in Lizza's argument. His argument that the resolution will be politically damaging rests on his assertion that "providing a check on Bush and the Republican dominance of Washington is a key Democratic talking point, but it's being advanced subtly by candidates who still often must distance themselves from national Democrats." But, if a Democratic victory rests on red-state Democrats being able to distance themselves from the Senate leadership--a plausible enough claim--then how can the fact that Feingold's resolution has not produced a unified Democratic caucus be damaging? Lizza's argument gets more puzzling the more you think about it.

But the more important point, which I think Althouse also misses, is that Lizza's claim that supporters of the resolution have the policy wrong is just a transparent non-sequitur. Changing the FISA law is hardly an adequate response to presidential overreaching, given that the administration has asserted the authority to ignore any statutory restrictions placed on its authority to conduct domestic searches. The value of Feingold's resolution is that it draws attention to the point that pundits like Lizza seem unable to grasp: this dispute is not only about the best policy to gather information about terrorists, but is about central questions of the President's constitutional powers and the rule of law. The key issue here is that the President acted--and continues to act years after 9/11, and therefore with plenty of time to request changes in the statute if it was inadequate--against a law passed by Congress. And, as ReddHedd says, claims that FISA is unconstitutional because the President has unconstrained authority over foreign policy are exceptionally weak. It's worth repeating my quote from Cass Sunstein about how contrary to our Constitutional framework such claims of plenary presidential power are:

Yoo emphasizes Blackstone and British practice, arguing that the United States closely followed the British model, in which the executive--the king!--was able to make war on his own. But not so fast. There is specific evidence that the British model was rejected. Just three years after ratification Wilson wrote, with unambiguous disapproval, that "in England, the king has the sole prerogative of making war." Wilson contrasted the United States, where the power "of making war and peace" is in the legislature. Early presidents spoke in similar terms. Facing attacks from Indian tribes along the western frontier, George Washington, whose views on presidential power over war deserve special respect, observed: "The Constitution vests the power of declaring war with Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they have deliberated on the subject, and authorized such a measure." As president, both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams expressed similar views. In his influential Commentaries, written in 1826, James Kent wrote that "war cannot lawfully be commenced on the part of the United States, without an act of Congress."

the issue. The administration is claiming powers to act unilaterally with respect to a conflict with no logical end, powers far beyond what Lincoln claimed at the height of the Civil War. Changing the FISA statute not only doesn't address this crucial issue--which the censure resolution, at least, foregrounds--it compounds it by legitimating the President's lawbreaking and contempt for constitutional restraints retroactively. Feingold, unlike Lizza, actually understands the crucial issue at stake. As long as Congressional Republicans refuse to assert congressional prerogatives there's nothing Democrats can do policy-wise, but at least they should be making this point as often as possible.

One area where I agree with Lizza, however, is that this is more about 2008 than 2006, and that's where I'll throw open to the discussion to FDL readers. This probably won't make me a very popular in these parts, but as much as I admire Feingold I think that, ideally, the Democrats would be better served by running a red-state governor than a blue-state Senator. On the other hand, if Matt is right that this strengthens Feingold's odds against Clinton, that can only be good news. If it comes down to Clinton/Feingold, then I think there shouldn't be any contest: Clinton--who ran well behind Gore in New Work, while Feingold ran well ahead of Kerry in Wisconsin--has electability issues that are just as or more serious, and Feingold is much better on the merits. To the extent that it weakens Clinton by highlighting her unswerving commitment to a disastrous and increasingly unpopular war, this is a good thing for the Dems in '08.


Libby's Defense Could Be Our Answer

The trial of Scooter Libby is still 10 months away but already we are learning that his defense could expose serious problems within the White House, in particular, their claims for the war in Iraq.

Lawyers for Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide are suggesting they may delve deeply at his criminal trial into infighting among the White House, the CIA and the State Department over pre-Iraq war intelligence failures.

New legal documents raise the potential that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's trial could turn into a political embarrassment for the Bush administration by focusing on whether the White House manipulated intelligence to justify the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

In a court filing late Friday night, Libby's legal team said that in June and July 2003, the status of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame was at most a peripheral issue to "the finger-pointing that went on within the executive branch about who was to blame" for the failure to find weapons of mass destruction.

So does this mean one of the administration’s top allies in selling the war to the public could now become a greater asset to revealing the truth that lead is into this mess called Iraq? When it comes down to a threat of jail time that is exactly what could happen.

Since the invasion started three years ago there have been countless documents, reports and documentaries on the subject of “cooked intelligence”. One of the most damaging items has been reports from employees at Langley talking about the vice-President and his excessive “hands on” attitude when it came to the Iraq war. Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern even brought this up during the Downing Street Memo hearings last summer. He spoke of times where Cheney would come in and want “briefings” from the analysts and Tenet would be there with him. This was a highly uncommon practice with previous administrations and in fact put extra pressure on the analysts to say what Cheney wanted to hear.

Now that Scooter Libby is getting ready to go to court, stories like this have a greater chance of gaining more attention. It not only helps build the defense of him being under enormous pressure and the pressure building inside the beltway, but also the lengths this administration was going to in order to protect their lie.

Something else that will help back Scooter's defense is a July 30, 2003 Rose Garden press conference. This was the day President Bush accepted responsibility for the flawed intelligence of the Niger claim. This will help show that those times were in fact tense. At the same time it will be a damaging blow to the White House. Just a few weeks prior to that, the administration was in a full blown “attack Joe (Wilson)” campaign and one of those attacks was outing his wife which lead to all of this.

Perhaps Scooter will be able to convince a jury that he did “forget” about disclosing Plame’s identity. It is a long shot but even if he does, it will expose more truths about what was happening in Washington and to what lengths this administration would go to defend their illegal war. The only hurdle left for our side is hoping that this information is not kept from the public because it is classified. Even if it is we still have the ears of Patrick Fitzgerald listening in and he might just be willing to pursue other angles of this case.

Cross posted at IntoxiNation.


Friday, March 17, 2006

FDL Late Nite Bonus Bayh Edition: Spring the Crooks

Anybody see this over at Josh Marshall's?

I just love that the guy Bush hired to spy on terrorists us (and provide "intelligence services" to the White House they don't want to talk about) is looking at 20 years for bribing Duke Cunningham.

Maybe Evan Bayh can change the law and have him back in the Quaker panty sniffing business in time for the War on Christmas. I'd hate to see O'Reilly have to face that alone.


Late Nite FDL: Everyone Wants to Take Us To the Prom

This is rich. From a Boston Globe article on how the big Democrats are all courting the netroots for their 2008 bids:
The next round of prospective Democratic presidential candidates, even those with centrist credentials, is actively courting the Democratic Party's left wing -- which speaks loudly through its blogs, enjoys rising fund-raising clout built on Howard Dean's 2004 campaign, and is imbued with a confidence that it can build on Republican disarray.


The 2008 prospects appear especially eager to stay in the good graces of bloggers, who enjoy growing influence though only a small percentage of voters read or write them. Even a solid centrist like Bayh felt compelled to take his message for a "tough and smart" foreign policy to the liberal Huffington Post, founded by commentator Arianna Huffington.
Jane Harmon posted a diary over at Kos recently asking people to email George Bush and tell him they didn't want permanent bases in Iraq. She was shocked when knowledgeable, articulate people showed up and told her in no uncertain terms that her Bayh-esque plans to change the law and make George Bush's illegal NSA wiretap activity legal were utterly ridiculous. To her credit she stayed around and addressed people's concerns but it certainly wasn't the response she anticipated.

On the heels of his backstabbing of Russ Feingold, can I for one say how much I'm looking forward to Evan "lemming" Bayh's next "tough and smart" diary on the Huffington Post?


More Rough 'n' Ready Russ

Glenn Greenwald:
The Feingold Censure Resolution is unmasking the hideous underbelly of almost every Washington institution as vividly as anything that can be recalled. Each of the rotted Beltway branches is playing so true to form that the distinct forms of corruption and dishonesty which characterize each of them are standing nakedly revealed. As ugly of a sight as it is, it is highly instructive to watch it all unfold.
Feingold stepped up and spoke for millions of Americans who see this administration's abuse of power as a very serious matter for which this president should be held to account. We are desperate for such leadership and we care nothing about the lack of political politesse with which it was raised. The president and his party are held in very low esteem by two thirds of the country. If not now, when?
Puppethead (from the comments):
The thing that pisses me off is how the Democrats are treating this as a political calculation. I want them to uphold our nation's Constitution and the rule of law. I don't care how many senate seats are lost over this, or whether or not anyone's re-election bid is jeopardized. I want accountability in my government.
I'll repeat -- Feingold's popularity among Democrats has soared from 22% before he introduced the resolution to 52% after the resolution. The nerve he tapped is way beyond political squabbling. This should not be some big mystery.


Lieberman Distorts His Record

It's no surprise that Joe Lieberman is afraid of Ned Lamont. Ned's a handsome guy, a self-made man with superb business acumen, a great sense of humor and the willingness to speak out and oppose this disastrous war. Lieberman is a squirrelly little opportunist who backstabs his own party while his election coffers grow fat from the contributions of war profiteers his petty bellicosity has done so much to enrich.

Most Connecticut residents oppose the war according to the Stamford Advocate in an editorial which appeared yesterday welcoming Lamont into the race. They hope that it spurs a serious local discussion about Holy Joe's warmongering which appears to have nothing to do with actually representing the views of his constituents.

So I guess it's no surprise that Lieberman feels he's got to distort his record to boost his credibility with his constituents. I noticed this in the National Journal today (subscription):
For his part, Lieberman is taking his first-ever primary challenge seriously. His campaign Web site prominently features his lifetime voting records from such left-leaning groups as the AFL-CIO (82 percent), NARAL (95 percent), the Human Rights Campaign (90 percent) and the League of Conservation Voters (88 percent), which has already endorsed him.
Yeah and if you go back to 1977 Joe never voted to authorize the war in Iraq, either. The fact is that Joe's 2005 NARAL voting record is 75%, and that doesn't even include his cloture votes on judges that put both both Roberts and Alito on the Supreme Court. Nor does it take into account his recent comments telling rape victims to get up off the gurney and leave Catholic hospitals in order to get emergency contraception (which the hospitals will not even tell them they need). NARAL may not be willing to speak out against Holy Joe but to imply that they are 95% happy with his record is 100% bullshit.

If you're from Connecticut you might want to drop an LTE to the local papers and let them know that Joe needs to stop sliding around on statistics and old news, and that he needs to be held accountable for what he does now:
Hartford Courant LTE Webform
Connecticut Post LTE email
New Haven Register LTE email
Stamford Advocate LTE email
While you're at it let them know that you're interested in hearing more about Ned Lamont, who actually cares about representing the views of Connecticut voters.

And on this Sunday, the third anniversary of the horrendous war Joe Lieberman got us into, there will be a demonstration outside of Lieberman's office. Crooks & Liars has the details.


I'd Be Happy, Too

I just don't understand this. Every time any Democrat opens their mouth they talk about how the netroots community is more an more influential every day on the course of party politics, and they are most certainly looking to turn us into a virtual ATM for the next election cycle.

Yet they are so disconnected from the palpable rage of the base -- and yes, we are the base, the people who show up every day, who write about this stuff, send letters, make phone calls, give money, give a shit -- that they have no concept of stepping into a leadership position on matters of great concern like the illegal NSA wiretaps and channeling that emotion into positive action.

They are then often startled to find that frustration turning back on them. Is it really such a mystery?

EJ Dionne understands:
Consider the disparity between the response to Feingold's initiative among Democratic senators and the reaction among Democratic activists.

Senators mostly scampered away from the cameras earlier this week, because they didn't want to say publicly what many of them said privately. Most were livid that Feingold sprang his censure idea on a Sunday talk show without giving them any notice. Many see Feingold as more concerned with rallying support from the Democratic base for his 2008 presidential candidacy than with helping his party regain control of Congress this fall.

Some Democrats want the party to forget the issue of warrantless wiretapping, because engaging it would let Bush claim that he's tougher on terrorists than his partisan enemies. Others share Feingold's frustration with the administration's stonewalling on the program, but they think they need to know more before they can effectively challenge Bush on the issue. Both groups were furious that Feingold grabbed headlines away from those delicious stories about Republican divisions and defections.

But at the grass roots and Web roots, Feingold has become a hero -- again. They already loved him for his courage in opposing the USA Patriot Act and his call for a timetable for troop withdrawals from Iraq. Feingold's latest move only reinforced his image of being "a Dem with a spine," as the left-liberal Web site put it in a comment representative of the acclaim he won across the activist blogs.

In an interview, Feingold was unrepentant, arguing that before he made his proposal, "the whole issue of the president violating the laws of this country was being swept under the rug."

"We were going to sit back as Democrats and say, 'This is too hot to handle' -- well that's outrageous." He warned that "the mistakes of 2002 are being repeated," meaning, he said, that Democrats should never again "cower" before Bush on security issues, as so many at the grass roots saw them doing before the 2002 elections.

And it's a sign of Feingold's view of some of his Democratic colleagues that he defended his decision not to let them in on his plan. Had they known what he was up to, he said, "they would have planned a strategy to blunt this."

Here's the problem: Feingold and the activists are right that Democrats can't just take a pass on the wiretapping issue, because Bush's legal claims are so suspect -- even to many in his own party. The opposition's job is to raise alarms over potential abuses of presidential power.

But Democrats, unlike Republicans, have yet to develop a healthy relationship between activists willing to test and expand the conventional limits on political debate and the politicians who have to calculate what works in creating an electoral majority.

For two decades, Republicans have used their idealists, their ideologues and their loudmouths to push the boundaries of discussion to the right. In the best of all worlds, Feingold's strong stand would redefine what's "moderate" and make clear that those challenging the legality of the wiretapping are neither extreme nor soft on terrorism.

That would demand coordination, trust and, yes, calculation involving both the vote-counting politicians and the guardians of principle among the activists. Republicans have mastered this art. Democrats haven't.

Turning a minority into a majority requires both passion and discipline. Bringing the two together requires effective leadership. Does anybody out there know how to play this game?
I don't know how to make it any clearer. You can't tell people what to care about. They can continue to harp on the Dubai Ports mess all they want, but that moment has passed. It will make a fine talking point but the white-hot emotion fueling the discussion is gone. Russ Feingold saw where the conversation was going and he stepped in to provide leadership in a timely manner, not six weeks from now when they'd caucused the fucker to death and the world had moved on.

So let me speak in a language that even the dullest, the most remedial, most thick-witted Democratic consultant can understand.

According to a new Rassmussen poll:
"Initially, 22% of Democrats had a favorable opinion of him while 16% had an unfavorable opinion. However, knowing he advocates censure, Feingold's numbers within his own party jumped to 52% favorable and 14% unfavorable."
Every day that goes by and the party leaders do nothing but carp about an investigation that will never happen they are single-handedly delivering the loyalty, dollars and activism of the base over to Russ Feingold.

Are we communicating now?


Thursday, March 16, 2006

FDL Late Nite: Trust Us

A surprisingly large number of Senate Democrats seem to be completely out of touch with the anger and frustration felt by people in America over their failure to hold the President accountable for his illegal NSA wiretap activities. While Feingold, Boxer and Harkin have shown tremendous bravery and leadership in co-sponsoring the censure bill, many others seem reluctant to commit themselves and hope for some sort of investigation that will give them political cover.

There is not going to be an investigation, we know it, they know it and George Bush knows it. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted on March 7 not to investigate. Do they somehow think Arlen Specter is suddenly going to change his stripes? The censure resolution has been referred to the Judiciary Committee, which if the GOP holds true to form will probably mean they'll wind up investigating Feingold for treason.

In the mean time we're supposed to trust the Bush Administration that all of this warrentless spying is being handled judiciously and in the interest of fighting the war on terror.

Right. Because they handle everything else so very competently, we are to simply trust that everyone involved in developing and implementing government surveillance technology will do so with Solomonic wisdom.

What kind of people are being hired to work on this shit? From the TPM Muckraker, via Josh Marshall:
Here's an interesting -- but overlooked -- detail of the Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-CA) saga: one of the crooked contractors who bribed the Duke Stir was apparently involved in a Total Information Awareness-like data-mining operation that looked at U.S. citizens' data.

Mitchell Wade, former CEO of MZM Inc., pleaded guilty to several conspiracy and bribery charges a few weeks ago in connection with the Cunningham scandal. But a little-noticed piece of his history goes into one of the most sensitive domestic spying operations we have heard of to date: the Pentagon's Virginia-based Counterintelligence Field Activity office (CIFA).

Wade got over $16 million in contracts with CIFA by bribing Duke Cunningham, who forced earmarks in to Defense appropriations bills on his behalf. Furthermore, Wade's second-in-command was a consultant to the Pentagon on standing up the operation.

In its brief life -- it was created in 2002 -- CIFA has had trouble keeping its nose clean. Despite the ink that's been spilled on the center, little is actually known about what it does, and how MZM serviced it.
Feeling better yet? I know I am.
The area that's gotten [CIFA] into hot water recently is TALON, a system of receiving "threat reports" from around the country and storing them in a database, known as Cornerstone. Last December, NBC news got their hands on a printout of a portion of the database which revealed they were keeping tabs on nonviolent protesters, mostly anti-war, around the United States.


Where does Wade and MZM come in? We're learning more every day, but here's what we know now: CIFA culls "commercial data," including financial records, criminal records, credit histories and more. MZM won a contract -- through Cunningham -- to provide a data storage system to CIFA, presumably to hold a lot of that information. Unfortunately it was a piece of crap, and was never installed.

In addition, the Washington Post has reported MZM assisted CIFA in "exploiting" the data -- presumably by searching it, organizing it, and looking for patterns.

Keeping databases on citizens engaging in protected political activities? Datamining credit histories looking for terrorists? It looks like the place bad ideas go to stay alive, behind the curtain of secrecy. As Wade has proven, you can get away with a lot behind that curtain (for a while, anyway). I wonder what more is back there we haven't heard about.
So, in summation: the DOD hired a crook who ripped off the government to pick through the underwear drawers of Quakers. To look through your credit history, your financial records, and no doubt a whole lot else. And we are supposed to trust that this guy with all this extremely private information about our personal lives will keep it confidential and not exploit it because -- well, because the Bushies say so, I guess.

It is an enormous mistake for anyone to stick their finger in the wind right now to see which way it's blowing before committing themselves on this issue. This is not partisan politics. This is not political chess. These are our core beliefs as Americans, our rights as citizens that are being fucked with here, auctioned off to the crook with the fattest wallet -- just like the ports.

Do the wavering Democrats understand this? I do not believe that they do.

Russ Feingold looks pretty damn good for having been the only one to vote against the Patriot Act, and a year hence he'll look even better for having stepped out in the forefront of this because the corruption and mismanagement are only going to become more painfully obvious as the details are unearthed over time.

The question is -- who's going to look good for having stood with him?


The Tin Political Ear of Evan Bayh

Meet our newest Lemming. BushCo. is on the ropes, but Evan Bayh offers them a helping hand:
But the first thing Democrats need to do, Bayh said, is take Republicans on in an area they've dominated: national security.

"It's a threshold issue for us, and it's a threshold issue for America," Bayh said. "People aren't going to trust us with anything else if we first can't convince them to trust us with their lives."

Before he spoke, Bayh told reporters that he does not support efforts by Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., another potential 2008 presidential candidate, to censure Bush for authorizing domestic eavesdropping. Bayh said it's not clear whether the law requiring court approval before surveillance was broken, and he instead favors revisiting and possibly updating the law.
How exaclty does Bayh plan to be the big national security badass? By changing the law so that the President's illegal actions are made legal? Wow you are one tough hombre, Evan.

I wouldn't trust you to guard my potted fern.
Evan Bayh
463 Russell Building
Washington, DC 20510
Washington, DC (202) 224-5623
Indianapolis (317) 554-0750
Evansville (812) 465-6500
Fort Wayne (260) 426-3151
Hammond (219) 852-2763
Jeffersonville (812) 218-2317
South Bend (574) 236-8302
I never want to hear "Evan Bayh" for anything, ever again. Not President, not Vice President, not dog catcher. Ever.


Way to Go, Lieberman

I'm going to give you a marketing tip, Joe. Take it for what it's worth.

If your polling indicates that your opponent only has 7% name recognizability factor among Democrats in your state, you do not mention his name. Ever. You don't do his work for him. You certainly do not go running to the Associated Press three days after he announces his campaign and accuse him of "angry name calling" because he calls you "Bush's favorite Democrat." Sort of boxes you in, see, because while many Republicans are trying to distance themselves from George Bush that option really isn't open to you -- you hitched your wagon to his war and you can't back away from it now.

They must have some truly awful internal polling that tells Camp Lieberman the more people know about Lamont the more they like him, and some really first-rate consultants are no doubt telling Holy Joe to get out in front of this thing by painting Lamont as an angry liberal (and Lieberman's favorite trick, after all, is using Republican memes). Trouble is, Lamont doesn't come off as an angry liberal. So the more Joe raises his awareness, the more Ned gets thrown into the spotlight and what Ned needs more than anything right now is to become the focus of press attention.

Of course the possibility still exists Joe is just a thin-skinned moron driving his own campaign and unable to control his mouth. Whatever. As a supporter of Ned Lamont, I offer my sincere thanks.

Update: Thread Theorist points out -- and rightly so -- that the 93% "had not heard enough about Lamont to form an opinion." Which is a bit different from name recognition. They go on to say that "For Lamont I would interpret that as a good sign, and it would also explain why Lieberman would want to go to the AP just 3 days after Lamont's declaration. Lieberman wants to mold the public's as yet unformed opinion of Lamont." I would agree.


Prayin' for a Miracle

In the face of a 33% Presidential approval rating, the New York Times quotes oodles of Republicans this morning who admit that their base is so disspirited that their only hope of holding them together is the Bush Cargo Cultist fear that the Chief Jeep will be impeached.

If that's all they've got, the Feingold resolution has clearly demonstrated that the wingnut tank is on empty. When the number one word that comes to people's minds about George Bush is "incompetent," impeachment is just not going to have the same primal, reptilian brain pull as gays, gods and guns (and we can now safely add "sluts" I think).

Quite the contrary, impeachment offers the hope of some 24/7 cable news scandal theater, always candy for the Fox News rabble.

As Jeffrey Feldman says this morning, the frame is now ours -- Feingold's resolution has the GOP is backed into a corner. In the public's eye they tried to sell our ports -- and our national security -- to the very people they've spent the past five years demonizing, all for the sake of a buck. Now their only answer to Feingold is to attack Democrats for being weak on terrorism when they themselves have just been revealed as craven opportunists on that front, willing to exploit it whenever they see fit.

How nice of them to take the bait.

Truly horrible timing -- it makes them look once again like there whole game is playing politics with national security, that they're trying to avoid a debate about the crimes of an unpopular president by engaging in partisan smear tactics.

Even though the press, and the wholly compliant David Kirkpatrick (no doubt the recipient of a truckload of cocktail weenies for that slavish bullshit) are repeating the GOP spin on the Feingold resolution, it is real now. It's concrete. It's on record, in has now entered the public discourse, and the GOP is on the run, playing defense, something they're neither comfortable with nor experienced at.

They can clap and stomp their feet all they want about how great this is, that's pure spin. The latest polls show that the public supports the censure resolution (as Attaturk says, "Holden pretty much can build himself a glue factory"). This is a perfectly timed disaster that shows no signs of dissipating no matter what kind of a face they want to put on it.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

FDL Late Nite: Democratic Defeatism

I said this yesterday and I'll repeat it. This image of "powerlessness" at a time when the Republicans are on the ropes is the biggest problem we face for the fall elections. If Democratic pols don't understand that they are flirting with terrible grassroots defeatism, then they are going to lose. They must take action (and I don't mean boring press conferences and 10 point plans) or it won't matter a damn if the Republicans are on the ropes --- demoralized Democrats are not going to bother with them. Come on. Speak for us. If not now, when?
Declaring defeat NOW let's them off the hook now. It's not a question of trusting them, as one friend of mine wrote to me today. It's a question of understanding and thinking about what will be most effective in bringing pressure to bear on them in the battle to come.

I submit that declaring them a lost cause TODAY is not only not effective in this fight, it is harmful. Before we decry the defeatism of our Democratic officials it is best that we avoid it ourselves.


The Democratic Rapid Response Team

Digby gives a rundown of all the reasons the Democrats are pissed at Feingold for taking on the President when his approval ratings are at an all-time low. Predictably they are all lame. I would almost have sympathy for their anger over lack of consultation, but as Digby says:
It's apparently true that Feingold didn't consult with the party. But considering the response I can sort of see his point. They are so unimaginative and so sluggish that he didn't see the use in playing the party game. If party coodination means being forced to wait for them to hold plodding press conferences about x-raying cargo boxes, then it's hard to see why anyone who wants to take the fight to the Republicans would bother.

I can see why they are angry about it. They were caught short. But they need to move more quickly on this stuff. Planning is great, but you can't always control events. How you deal with things coming from left field is important --- they failed on this one, making it worse for themselves by ducking the press and dithering about their response. I think Democrats have lost touch with their political instincts. This is one of those things that a smart old fashioned pol would have been able to either finesse or respond to properly off the cuff. (They should have called Bill Clinton --- he was good at that sort of thing.)
Feingold's timing was superb and call me wacky but if the best "group think" the Democrats can muster produces a slogan like "Together We Can Do Better" I really don't hold out a lot of hope for a quick, coordinated plan of attack. Feingold probably had no choice but to ambush them. They are all waddling around now saying that they'll withhold judgment until the Intelligence Committee finishes its investigation. Do they not realize that the Republicans effectively killed that investigation on March 7? Hello, McFly!

We see people every day, all over the blogosphere crying out for some leadership on the illegal NSA wiretaps. They're dying for it. Nobody even seemed to realize there was a void to be filled, and not because we didn't mention it. Feingold had to do something drastic to shake them up.

Sorry if he disturbed anyone's peaceful slumber, but we have a serious problem here.


The Clooney Incident

John Amato and I were there with Arianna on the night in question when she spoke to George Clooney about blogging, and the conversation went down as she describes it today. Clooney went on a very funny rant about Bill O'Reilly and seemed to be quite interested in blogging, and Arianna said she'd hook him up.

I don't know if Clooney got spooked because Fox News went after him or if he just doesn't know that his office bungled the communique but I've seen the email exchanges and Arianna's absolutely right on this one. It was obvious she was clearing a blog post for Clooney on both the HuffPo and Yahoo, and Clooney's PR person explicitly gave the okay.

When George Clooney stands up and says he's a liberal it's the liberal blogosphere who gets his back. These Hollywood PR games played on his behalf do not serve him well with a community that has wholeheartedly supported him.

(photo by me)


Dayton Wobbly on Feingold Opposition?

It appears the phone calls are having an effect. Although Mark Dayton told Bloomberg that Feingold's censure resolution was "premature, and over- reaching, which often involves losing more than gaining," callers to his offices are now reporting that he has backed off of this and has decided to take no position.

Could it be that Democrats are finally emboldened against a President with a 33% approval rating?

We've put up a list of "lions" and "lemmings" in the sidebar (so named by Digby). Maybe we should find out where Dayton belongs:
Washington, DC Office
SR-123, Russell Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: 202-224-3244
Fax: 202-228-2186

Metro Area Office
Federal Building, Suite 298
Fort Snelling, Minnesota 55111
Phone: 612-727-5220
Toll free: 888-224-9043
Fax: 612-727-5223

Northwest Regional Office
401 DeMers Avenue
East Grand Forks, Minnesota 56721
Phone: 218-773-1110
Fax: 218-773-1993

Northeast Regional Office
222 Main Street, Suite 200
Post Office Box 937
Biwabik, Minnesota 55708
Phone: 218-865-4480
Fax: 218-865-4667

Mobile Office
Post Office Box 608
Renville, Minnesota 56284
Phone: 320-905-3007
If there are any Minnesota residents out there we'd love it if you could give a call and report back in the comments.

It appears that Bloomberg writer Catherine Dodge, who was so quick to trumpet the GOP propaganda that Feingold's resolution would actually help the Republicans (did Unka Karl type that himself?), needs to check her sources. You can ask her to do so here.


Why Can't The AP Count?

The GOP-obedient media is once again providing cover for George Bush rather than, you know, reporting the truth.

Laurie Kellman, Associated Press:
Feingold introduced censure legislation Monday in the Senate, but not a single Democrat has embraced it.
What a lazy, dishonest hack job. John Kerry has been saying right out of the gate he would support the resolution, Boxer's office has been confirming that she would and so has Menendez. And now Harkin (above) has signed on as a co-sponsor. Counting Feingold himself, that's five.

Only three Democrats have indicated they definitely don't support the measure -- Dodd, Dayton and (no surprise) Holy Joe.

Yesterday Donna Brazile indicated that Democrats were reluctant to sign on because their consultants hadn't given them the go-ahead. Glenn Greenwald shreds this particular bit of beltway wisdom that has done so much to keep Democrats in the minority:
People like Kevin [Drum] -- who believe that Democrats must "prove" to the country that they can be strong -- should most understand the value in having Democrats take a stand regardless of whether they ultimately prevail. Strong and resolute people fight. Weak and spineless people run away from fights -- or fight only when their victory is guaranteed in advance. The Democrats have been running away from fights for five years now based on the Kevin Drum theory that fights are only worth fighting if you know in advance that you will win. It is beyond irrational to think that the Democrats are going to look strong by simply crawling away meekly and allowing George Bush to break the law.
That this has to be pointed out is absurd. Once again the age old question rears its head -- when the revolution comes, who will be the first against the wall, the Democratic pundits or the Democratic consultants? Today the consultants win.

I shouldn't have to point this out either, but I will: any Democrat looking to score points in the blogosphere right now would do well to find their voice on this matter, sooner rather than later.

Update: It thought that name sounded familiar. Laurie Kellman was the AP writer who also gave us this gem, which she later had to retract:
Sheehan's T-shirt alluded to the number of soldiers killed in Iraq: "2245 Dead. How many more?" . . .

Young's shirt had just the opposite message: "Support the Troops Defending Our Freedom."

Update II: Per Jacqrat, you can contact AP and raise your objections here.


Of Principle and Diffidence

Bill at Liberal Oasis reminds us that when Diane Feinstein proposed her censure resolution for Bill Clinton's extra-marital blow job she had a number of Democratic co-sponsors who are still in the Senate:
Daniel Akaka
Max Baucus
Byron Dorgan
Dick Durbin
Dianne Feinstein
Daniel Inouye
Jim Jeffords
Ted Kennedy
John Kerry
Herb Kohl
Mary Landrieu
Carl Levin
Joe Lieberman
Blanche Lincoln
Barbara Mikulski
Patty Murray
Jack Reed
Harry Reid
Jay Rockefeller
Chuck Schumer
Ron Wyden
Of course there were four Republican co-sponsors as well: Pete Domenici, Mitch McConnel, Gordon Smith and Olympia Snowe. But we'll just asume that these members of the GOP Ladies' Smelling Salt Society do, in fact, find a little bj action to be more objectionable than illegally spying on American citizens (so complex and hard to wrap their feeble little heads around). So we will just leave them to their lavender-scented hankies and not expect too much of them.

The rest of them -- WTF?

If you feel like calling and asking, the numbers are right here.

Note: Sorry about the site confusion, we're having yet another bumpy migration.


Monday, March 13, 2006

Late Nite FDL: It's All About Joementum

Joementum (jō-mĕn'təm) n., 1. neologism coined to indicate momentum where none was obvious to anyone but the candidate. 2. a portmanteau referring to the perceived lack of potential for success of a campaign or endeavor.

Lieberman's Campaign Manager:
"[Lieberman] ran for vice president. He ran for president. He hasn't really had a dialogue with Connecticut voters about Connecticut issues in a while."
Lieberman, living the lavish life of an insulated Senator, hanging out with lobbyists and neoconservative ideologues at cocktail parties - has absolutely no connection to actual people anymore.

That might explain why he has taken such out-of-the-mainstream positions in support of the Iraq War the UAE ports deal. It might explain why he sees no problem hanging out at parties with some of the most extremist right-wing forces in America.

It might explain why he has so ardently supported corporate-written trade deals that sell blue collar Connecticut workers out. Because those positions and that behavior is acceptable to someone who has caught such a bad case of Potomac Fever, they have become wholly disconnected from reality.
Washington Post:
Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., said he had not read it either and wasn't inclined simply to scold the president.

"I'd prefer to see us solve the problem," Lieberman told reporters.
Joe Lieberman, 1998:
... the transgressions the president has admitted to are too consequential for us to walk away and leave the impression for our children today and for our posterity tomorrow that what he acknowledges he did within the White House is acceptable behavior for our nation's leader. On the contrary, as I have said, it is wrong and unacceptable and should be followed by some measure of public rebuke and accountability.
The day Al Gore picked that insufferable, sanctimonious gasbag as the Democratic nominee for Vice president was one of the lowest of my life. That speech was the single most disloyal public political act of my lifetime. The Republicans were shrill, shrieking hyenas, foaming at the mouth, circling in for the kill --- and that preening showboater stepped into the well of the senate and used his image as a moral exemplar to try to validate their bullshit partisan witch hunt. It was unforgivable. But he got lots of fawning press coverage from the Republicans and the beltway establishment and it evidently got into his blood. He can't stop doing it.
What Lieberman said today about a short drive to a hospital is immensely cruel....Having a medical procedure done, any medical procedure, is embarrassing, intrusive, and scary, especially in a system as fucked up as ours where doctors don't really care about you because they are paid to avoid mistakes with paperwork. When you combine with this making the decision to have children or not, and maybe in a bunch of cases dumbfuck boyfriends who either aren't around or aren't helpful, the agony for some women is just immense. To talk about hospitals denying legal medical care because commuting is easy in Connecticut is really monstrous. It's so out of touch, so banal in the evil sense, and so downright elitist and cowardly.
And you know you've really hit the skids when you're the villain in your own text adventure game.

I'd score today: Lamont 1, Lieberman 0.


FDL Photo Essay



Any questions?


Holy Joe Bags on Feingold

It's being reported in the comments that Boxer says she will support the resolution although I wasn't able to confirm it when I called her office (San Francisco didn't know, DC was closed).

And Holy Joe doesn't let us down:
But Sen. Joe Lieberman, D- Conn., voiced some misgivings and hinted that he’d vote no on the Feingold resolution.

“Frankly I’d prefer to spend our time on figuring out ways to bring this very important program of surveillance of potential terrorists here in the United States under the law…. I disagree with the Bush administration’s legal judgment on this one…. But this is a critically important program to the prevention of terrorist acts here in the United States.”
While Lieberman worships in the Bush Cargo Cult, Ned Lamont officially announced his candidacy today at a kick-off party. Howie Klein reviews the music.

You can say thanks for the Joementum by giving to Ned Lamont.

Update: Lieberman also does the honors trashing Feingold with the Washington Post, saying he'd prefer to "'solve the problem' rather than scold the president."

Update II: Redd will be on Majority Report with Sam Seder tonight at 5:04 PST/8:04 EST.


Lieberman Supports Rapist Rights in Connecticut

In Connecticut, rape counseling activists say a recent study concludes that about 20% of state hospitals routinely refuse to offer emergency contraceptives to rape victims who are determined to be ovulating at the time they're attacked. A proposed bill would require them to do so.

And what sayith Holy Joe about this? According to The New Haven Register:
This fight isn't exclusively being drawn along party lines.

U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, who often takes a conservative line on social issues, is facing a liberal Democratic primary challenge from wealthy Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont. But that hasn't stopped Lieberman from supporting the approach of the Catholic hospitals when it comes to contraceptives for rape victims.

Lieberman said he believes hospitals that refuse to give contraceptives to rape victims for "principled reasons" shouldn't be forced to do so. "In Connecticut, it shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital," he said.
I'm sure that waving a chicken over your head is a marvelous cure for something but as yet we still don't call it medicine in this country. That access to emergency contraception is essential to the health and well being of rape victims is undeniable, and if Catholics can't provide that then they should get out of the fucking emergency medical business. Having to deal with their superstitious voodoo nonsense applied as science is just one more indignity rape victims do not need. If Catholics want rape victims to be forced to carry the fetuses of their attackers that's great, let them move to South Dakota.

It is outrageous and yet quite predictable that Lieberman once again provides "bi-partisan" cover to this especially ugly brand of religious extremist bullshit. His cloture vote put Alito on the Supreme Court and paved the way for what is happening today in South Dakota, Mississippi and Missouri. That he continues to be considered a "friend of choice" by both NARAL and Planned Parenthood is an absolutely contempt worthy. They should both be denouncing him loud and long and calling bullshit on his claim to be "pro-choice" rather than rubber stamping his nonsense.

I called NARAL Connecticut and spoke with Executive Director Carolyn Treiss, who said that she has a call into Lieberman's office and that they have not yet returned her call. Susan Yoland, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood Connecticut, however, says that they have no plans to do any kind of press release or make any kind of statement denouncing Lieberman for his position.

You can contact their national offices and ask both what the hell it is going to take to get them to stop rubber stamping Lieberman and call him out for being the coathanger-wielding creep he really is:
NARAL Pro-Choice America
Nancy Keenan, Executive Director
1156 15th Street, NW Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005
Main Number: 202.973.3000
Main Fax: 202.973.3096
feedback form

Planned Parenthood

Cecile Richards, Executive Director
Washington, DC office:
1780 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 202.973.4800
Fax: 202.296.3481
I have two words for both organizations: Ned Lamont.


CNN Says Frist Will Move on Censure Vote Tonight

Ed Henry is reporting on CNN that Frist is trying to move the Feingold centure vote up to tonight because he thinks he has 85 votes against, including wobbly Democrats. If it's true this is absurd, there is a President with a 36% approval rating and it hurts none of them one bit to support Feingold.

If you've called your Democratic Senator once today, call 'em again. If you've been putting off calling, now is the time to do it. That only 15 Democrats would support Feingold in this is ridiculous.

Contact information for your senator can be found here.

Update: There was an objection to having it this evening. Frist asked about having it tomorrow and there was an objection to that too, so there won't be a vote yet. But call your Senator anyway.

(graphic via asptrader)


Sunday, March 12, 2006

FDL Late Nite: What Would Karl Do?

The bottom line is that Mr. McCain isn't a moderate; he's a man of the hard right. How far right? A statistical analysis of Mr. McCain's recent voting record, available at, ranks him as the Senate's third most conservative member.

What about Mr. McCain's reputation as a maverick? This comes from the fact that every now and then he seems to declare his independence from the Bush administration, as he did in pushing through his anti-torture bill.

But a funny thing happened on the way to Guantanamo. President Bush, when signing the bill, appended a statement that in effect said that he was free to disregard the law whenever he chose. Mr. McCain protested, but there are apparently no hard feelings: at the recent Southern Republican Leadership Conference he effusively praised Mr. Bush.

And I'm sorry to say that this is typical of Mr. McCain. Every once in a while he makes headlines by apparently defying Mr. Bush, but he always returns to the fold, even if the abuses he railed against continue unabated.
Question for the evening, thrown out by a reader: "If McCain were a Democrat and Rove were going after him for a national campaign (ie, not just some race-baiting bullshit for the South Carolina yokels), what would he be doing?"


The Art of The Corner

Before I start to write anything about those fine thinkers at The Corner I go and re-read this post by TBogg to put me in the right frame of mind.

Never has anyone so artfully captured the intellectual elegance, the artful expression and the profound depth of thought offered daily by the fine thinkers at The Corner.

This post, "Flowers for Goldberg," is also up for a Koufax this year. I would like to express my profound gratitude for all the inspiration it has given me since its publication on May 1, 2005 by recommending that you read it and consider voting for it (also up for best series, "Jonah Goldberg Series").

For all they do for us at The Corner, it's the least we can do for them.

Update: The Wampum link for Jonah Goldberg Series isn't right, here are the actual links:
. Part One - Jonah and the Ocean of Lotion ("This pudgy slightly damp man who smelled of Ding Dongs and Hai Karate and danger...")
. Part Two - Doughy Pantload Tonight ("Look, lady," Jonah said to her, "is there anything here besides yourself, the Stargate and the sarcophagus and those donuts on that table over there? Because we're tired, we're hungry and I left my asthma puffer in my other pants")
. Part Three - It Was A Dark and Jonah Night (He was about 5' 7", scruffy brown hair, little piggy eyes, garbed in Dockers and a black Billy Joel River of Dreams tour t-shirt that was bunched up around his man-boobs.)
Once again, I'm not worthy.


With Friends Like That...

The GOP is evidently worried that the South Dakota freaks will be a problem for them. They're no fools, they realize that most of the country wants to keep abortion legal and they're worried that the Democrats could capitalize on something like this.

Which means, of course, that DCCC brain trusts like Rahm Emanuel will do no such thing:
"Republicans are going to be the ones who look like extremists," says former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota, who lost his seat in 2004 after being beaten up on the abortion issue for years. That does not mean, however, that Democrats are rushing to call attention to the Republicans' dilemma. In the upcoming midterm elections, the Democrats don't plan to spend a dime on ads highlighting the abortion issue, according to Rep. Rahm Emanuel, the savvy Chicago pol who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He wouldn't spell out the reasons, but a top party staffer (who declined to be quoted out of deference to his bosses) told NEWSWEEK: "These guys are gun-shy because they're used to getting clobbered on the issue."
You really have to wake up early in the morning to be that stupid. Nobody's saying you should run ads in Alabama, but Christ on the cross why aren't they using it to consolidate their blue state base? Lincoln Chafee should be wearing his Alito vote around his fucking neck, as should Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, and Emanuel should be making the South Dakota law de rigeur attire for Congressional Republicans in solidly pro-choice districts. The rapist rights bill should become emblematic for everything the GOP stands for, especially in progressive states where the Republicans are quite rightly afraid of being associated with the forced birth extremists.

Howie Klein has been doing great work over at Down With Tyranny covering Emanuel and his tactics to drive progressive candidates out of Democratic races by putting DCCC money behind centrist tools. It takes a special kind of craven cynicism to try and outdo the GOP in supporting the forced birth lobby, a position that even Ken Mehlman has the good sense to try and distance himself from.

For everything we do trying to back progressive candidates, Emanuel and the DCCC seem to be doing everything they can to undo it. It's bad enough to fight the GOP machine without having to fight the DINOs who eagerly do their work for them.


Democrats Must Like the View

Glenn Greenwald has a post this morning at Crooks & Liars where he delves a little deeper into his interaction with key Democrats over the Senate non-investigations into the illegal NSA wiretaps, something I touched on last night:
I explained that there is a bursting and eager energy among the literally millions of people who write and read blogs to take meaningful action against the Bush Administration. The people in the blogosphere are highly motivated, informed, and politically engaged. Activating that energy and having national Democrats work cooperatively with the blogosphere (rather than ignore it or scorn it) could make an enormous difference in how these stories end up being covered and resolved. It is monumentally dumb not to embrace the one mechanism which has the ability to unleash genuinely impassioned, mass citizen action. And there are obvious and easy -- yet quite potent -- ways for national Democrats to work with bloggers and the blogosphere to maximize the force of these efforts.

This was the response I ultimately received:
I think there is an opportunity for us to figure out a better way to work together. But, you have to understand, my ultimate goal is to help [the] Senator [] achieve his objective of real oversight on national security matters by the Intelligence Committee.

Even with the best of intentions, I'm not convinced that bloggers can help us meet that goal. In fact, I worry about it hurting our efforts given the increasingly partisan environment.
This response is not uncommon. Many - if not most - national Democrats really are afraid of working with actual citizens, and are particularly afraid of having any involvement at all with the blogosphere. It's as though they think they need to remain above and separated from the poorly behaved, embarrassing masses. They actually have been scared away from working with the very people who they are supposedly representing and who are on their side.
Glenn demonstrates on a daily basis that he knows more about what's going on with this whole mess than any of those clueless dolts who are supposedly tasked with oversight. Their dismissive and condescending response to his overtures of help (after they contacted him to chew him out) would be pathetic based on that fact alone, but as Glenn goes on to explain, it's their commitment to staying in the minority that is really galling:
The fact that so many Democrats are so resistant, even hostile, to one of the only venues which exists where truly impassioned and energized activism can be found illustrates just how dysfunctional and frightened they have become. They care far more about securing the approval of pompous establishment media pundits and even the approval of Bush allies who continuously push them around, than they do about working with the people who are on their side and actually winning.

They don't want to go anywhere near the citizen activism in the blogosphere because Tim Russert and Chris Matthews will no longer think they're a moderate, serious, responsible Democrat, and Republicans might accuse them of being an extremist or a liberal. They'd prefer to avoid that disapproval even it means losing (as it usually does), than be criticized and win. The reason they run away from their own allies in the blogosphere is the same reason they so often run away from taking a real stand against the Bush Administration -- it's because they are petrified that the establishment media and even Republicans will criticize them as being too combative, too liberal, extremist, etc.

As Crashing the Gate makes clear, the national Democratic apparatus is broken in so many ways, and the blogosphere and Internet-based citizen activism can either be the antidote for those problems or the force which wages battle against that dysfunctional machinery. Many of these frightened national Democrats are shutting their eyes tightly hoping that the blogosphere and its dirty masses just go away, or at least remain quiet and at a safe distance.

That obviously isn't going to happen. So the sooner Democrats realize that the blogosphere and citizen activism is something to embrace rather than scorn, the sooner it will be that they can find ways to finally cause the Bush Administration and all of its appendages to come crashing down.
As Glenn points out, the GOP most certainly recognizes the looming potential of the blogosphere and that's why they've gone to great lengths to promote the right and demonize the left. Once again, the Democrats have allowed the Republicans to define their narrative for them about the liberal blogs and then done their best to perpetuate it.

I guess the gutter is an awfully comfortable place for some people.