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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

New Digs

Please visit us at our new home,


Monday, March 20, 2006

FDL Late Nite: Feingold Plays Rochambeau With Lincoln Chafee

Leading Democrat Russ Feingold on Charlie Rose:

I was pleased, Charlie, that Lincoln Chafee, Senator from Rhode Island, a Republican -- even though he didn't say he would vote for it he did not rule out the possibility that censure would be the right answer at some point in time. And that's the spirit in which I offered the resolution this week.
Yeah Republican tower of conviction Lincoln Chafee did say that, didn't he? I'm sure he believes it. Just like he believes in pro-choice -- and voted for cloture on Samuel Alito. Just like he claims to be a progressive from a blue state -- and supported John Bolton.

Chafee believed it okay, on March 15. But on March 16 he released a statement entitled:
Chafee Reiterates His Opposition To Censure Resolution
How brave. How principled. Must've had his chain righteously yanked by BushCo post haste. They don't really care what kind of problems Chafee is going to have running in a progressive blue state, nobody is allowed that far off the reservation no matter how urgent their need to distance themselves from Fearless Leader.

Chafee's numbers are shockingly bad. Yet the voters of Rhode Island get to see another portrait in GOP courage from Lincoln Chafee. And Russ Feingold's censure resolution has not only highlighted Chafee's horrible dilemma, Feingold himself then went on national television and pointed his finger at it.

Can we hear the one again about how Feingold is killing the Democrats' chance to take the Senate in 2006? 'Cos I need a good laugh.


Thanks For Being Patient

We're still having growing pains into our new site. Fortunately we have great people working on it and we hope to be back up soon.

In the mean time, Digby catches DC Beltway denizen Cokie Roberts sticking her finger in the air and coming up -- bloggers:
Democrats are enjoying their miseries. Jack Reed of Rhode Island said to me this week-end "we have a strong wind at our back and all we have to do is get a sail up, any sail, some sail" but they haven't managed to do that yet.

They were interested to see how Senator Russ Feingold's call for censure worked with the blogosphere, mainly, and also in polls. Because Democrats backed away from his call just dramatically, even Democrats like Nancy Pelosi of California didn't want anything to do with it. But a Newsweek poll out today shows 42% of the people supporting censure including 20% of Republicans. So Democrats are feeling pretty good about where they are in all this.
They waited to see what we were going to say? While there were a few in the blogosphere who decided to sit this one out, the people who took a stand to back Feingold came out looking pretty good. The opinion polls show that there is a lot of public support for censuring the President and it feels like there is a sea change taking place as Democrats (though not Evan Bayh) warm up to the idea of representing what a large part of the country already feels.

I guess we're not so fringe after all.


Sunday, March 19, 2006

Late Nite FDL: Incomprehensible Demoralization

When Nancy Pelosi recently stated that she thought things were "going well" for the Democrats she was no doubt referring to polls that show the Democrats have a 16-point lead in 2006 congressional election preferences.

But this confidence presumes that the Democrats will be able to mobilize the GOTV. The Republicans are very, very good at this and I hear a lot of defeatism amongst netroots Democrats that I am quite worried about. It only seems to grow worse as the Senate Democrats prove so deaf to the concerns of their base as evidenced in their petty, dismissive attitude toward Russ Feingold and his censure resolution.

People have come to believe in the past five years that Karl Rove is all-powerful (he's not), that Diebold can steal every election (they can't), that it is just not worth fighting because defeat is inevitable. That is a very dangerous mindset amongst people upon whom you are counting for those 16 points.

If the Democrats lose in November, I'm sure [Eleanor Clift will] find plenty of reasons to blame Democrats, but it won't occur to her that the reason people didn't vote for the D's was because the party listened to people like her and campaigned like a herd of neutered animals instead of listening to their hearts, their minds, their constituents and their leaders who were prepared to take a stand for what we believe in. No, they'll blame the "extremists" who want a safety net and a sane terrorism policy --- and leaders who defend the constitution. It couldn't possibly be that their tired, stale reflexive passivity is to blame when half the base fails to turn out because they just. have. no. hope.
I'll go beyond Digby. When half the country fails to vote because they realize they're not represented by an political party. Almost half the country supports censuring the president. That's not half the Democratic party, that's half the country.
Voter disenfranchisement isn't something you deal with in October, it's something you deal with now. People need something to believe in, not politicians who shun their values and treat them like some sort of social disease as they dive for the cocktail weenies in the center.

To presume voters will show up for you just because they think they other guy is worse is suicidal.

(drawing by Matt Elder)

Note: This should be our last post on this blog. Thanks to Blogger for giving us such a nice home for so long. We'll see you tomorrow on the other side.


Redd on CSPAN: No Prisoners

Reddhedd did a super job on Washington Journal this morning with Paul Mirengoff of Powerline. They had a good exchange over Scooter Libby and Redd, of course, was shining.

Crooks & Liars has the video.


Nancy Pelosi Should Act First, Criticize Later

Although Nancy Pelosi is not a member of the Senate, she decided to pipe up and discipline Russ Feingold for daring to challenge the hegemony of the GOP:
"I think that things are going well for the Democrats right now," Pelosi told reporters Thursday, alluding to recent data showing that a plurality of poll respondents would prefer a Democratic-controlled House.

So why, she implied, should Democrats risk spoiling the mood?

She rebuffed the call by Sen. Russ Feingold, D- Wisc., to censure Bush for ordering National Security Agency surveillance of al Qaida contacts with persons in the United States without seeking warrants from a court.

"I have no idea why anybody would censure someone before they have an investigation,"” she said.
This would be the same Nancy Pelosi who, as Pach noted, sits in the same House of Representatives with some of the most corrupt Republicans who have ever climbed out of the primordial slime and attempted to walk erect, yet she actively discourages Democrats who want to file ethics complaints against them.

Ari Berman, writing in the Nation:
Meanwhile, Democratic leaders cry out for investigations--but only in their public statements. "The House Ethics Committee must get to work immediately to investigate ethics and corruption cases in the House, including those involving members with ties to Jack Abramoff," House minority leader Nancy Pelosi declared recently, naming DeLay, Ney, John Doolittle and Richard Pombo as deserving of inquiry. Yet according to Bell, Sloan and lawmakers who asked not to be named, Pelosi has specifically told House members not to file complaints. Pelosi, who said through a spokesperson that she has never been a party to any ethics truce, spent six years on the Ethics Committee during the turbulent Gingrich era ("serving my time," she jokingly calls it). Bell suspects that she's worried about retaliatory complaints being filed against Democrats. "There are some members who want to act, and when they bring it up with the leadership they're told to wait a while," says Bell. Congress, he says, "is a self-preservation institution. Members realize that if they rock the boat they endanger their self-preservation. And you can't file an ethics complaint without rocking the boat."
Pombo and Doolittle are facing tough re-election campaigns this November, and the only reason not to do their jobs and wave big, fat red flags around their flagrant ethics violations is incumbency protection. You don't challenge us, we don't challenge you. Their responsibilty to the people who actually elected them is considered not at all.

Pelosi claims there is no truce in place. Which means what, she doesn't know what Pombo and Dolittle have done? I guess that's what she has claimed, though one has to wonder what exactly she hopes to achieve in acknowledging ignorance about something about which the rest of the country is only too well aware.

It's the same frigid recalcitrance that paralyzes the rest of the Democratic establishment -- Feingold's resolution rocks the boat. It makes them all uncomfortale.

Too bad. Pelosi should STFU about Russ Feingold and do her damn job.


Let's Play Strategery

Ryan Lizza isn't a complete idiot, his piece on Gold Bars Luskin is the best I've read and I thoroughly enjoyed his portrait of McCain's unprincipled backdown from the steel-caged death match with Grover Norquist now that he's eyeing the white house. But since his TNR piece on Feingold this week is emblematic of much conventional wisdom he is, for the moment, a useful idiot:
Feingold is thinking about 2008. Harry Reid, Charles Schumer, and other Democrats are thinking about 2006. Feingold cares about wooing the anti-Bush donor base on the web and putting some of his '08 rivals--Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, and Evan Bayh--in uncomfortable positions. Reid and Schumer care about winning the six seats it will take for Democrats to win control of the Senate. Feingold cares about making a political point with a measure that has no chance of succeeding and which, even if it did, would have no actual consequences.


So the partisans on the left cheering Feingold appear to have both the policy and the politics wrong. Censure is meaningless. Changing the FISA law is the way to address Bush's overreach. And the only way for Democrats to change FISA is for them to take back the Senate. This week, Feingold's censure petition has made that goal just a little bit more difficult to achieve. What an ass.
Scott Lemieux dispatched the inherent absurdity of this Bayh-esque statement yesterday, to wit: How is changing the law going to deal with the problem of a President who doesn't think he has to obey the law? It doesn't even make sense on its own terms.

But I'd like to address the wholehearted swallowing by the Democratic establishment that this startling little bit of GOP group-think represents. As Jamison Foser says today (via Atrios):
Osama bin Laden may be dead? Good news for Republicans: They got bin Laden! New tapes prove bin Laden is still alive? Good news for Republicans: It reminds people of the threat of terrorism! Democrats don't criticize Bush? Good news for Republicans: Democrats are timid! Democrats do criticize Bush? Good news for Republicans: Democrats are shrill!
That's basic marketing 101, no matter what happens it's good for your team. It shouldn't be surprising to anyone that the media has internalized this so thoroughly they don't even know what they're doing; more puzzling is the fact that the Democrats now seem to be doing so as well.

If you're fighting a war you intend to win, you never. Ever. Say. That. Ever. So when token Democrats like Eleanor Clift step up and say Feingold's actions help the GOP, it can only be reflective of what Digby articulates so well: individuals (not the party) who have decided their lives will be made easier if they just stop resisting, lie back and learn to enjoy being throttled. Russ Feingold's fight -- our fight -- makes it uncomfortable for them to do that. Is there any other reason why they should be oh so much more exasperated with our exasperation than with, say, the President himself?

Even Bill Kristol today acknowledges the political efficacy of Feingold's move :
Kristol: I think Feingold has succeeded in casting a big cloud over the President's program.

Wallace: Do you think it's helping Democrats and hurting Republicans?

Kristol: Absolutely, as long as the charge is out there and not rebutted?

Hume: That is absurd. No politician among those who have been thoroughly briefed on this claims the briefings were insufficient and vague…Rockefeller does not claim that. Rockefeller has said many things about this program, but he has never said that he wasn't fully briefed that I know of.
Watch the tape at Crooks and Liars. Brit Hume's head explodes. Tell me he is a Republican happy about these charges being made? His only answer is to cook up a lie about Rockefeller, who most certainly has said he doesn't have enough information about the program. Hume fumbled with nary a Democrat in sight.

The idea that somehow this will hurt the Democrats in the 2006 election is beyond witless. That Feingold is being selfish, only stoking his own 2008 chances, throwing 2006 to the dogs. Please. Can someone explain to me how forcing the Republicans to rally around an unpopular President just as they're trying to distance themselves from him is going to hurt the Democrats? Lincoln Chafee knows it -- he's in the fight of his life for his Rhode Island Senate seat, and is notably the only Republican who said Feingold has raised good points and he wouldn't rule out voting for the measure.

If someone had the guts to hammer that wedge they'd put Chafee in an awfully uncomfortable position vis-a-vis BushCo (who must've kicked the shit out of him over it, because he backed down mighty quickly). Isn't that what Lizza says they're desperate to do? But they don't. They send Evan "Lemming" Bayh to trash Russ Feingold.

It was nice to see Dick Durbin back Feingold up this morning, even if he didn't come out and say he'd vote for the resolution. In doing so he seems to be bucking the one thing the Senate Democrats have been quite good at holding party solidarity on -- something they couldn't muster to oppose putting a rabid, Dobson-loving fundamentalist on the Supreme Court.

Is Bill Kristol the only one who's going to point out the obvious? Not only is Russ Feingold rallying a disspirited base frustrated with lack of leadership on the part of big Senate Democrats, this is a full-on disaster for the GOP in November.


Three Years Of Hell

Three years ago tomorrow night was when our news channels filled with images of bombs exploding in Baghdad. 9:34pm est. time will mark the anniversary of the actual start of the invasion.

So where have we gone since then? Well we did make it to Baghdad with little effort. We did find Saddam Hussein. That’s about it for the good points..

Now here we sit 3 years later and where are we. We have lost 2,318 soldiers, over 30,000 Iraqi citizens; spent over half a trillion dollars (increasing by $200 million a day) and we sit here, isolated from the rest of the world. What does our President have to say about the war now?

"More fighting and sacrifice will be required," Bush said in his weekly radio address. "For some, the temptation to retreat and abandon our commitments is strong. Yet there is no peace, there's no honor and there's no security in retreat. So America will not abandon Iraq to the terrorists who want to attack us again."

Basically the Bush plan for Iraq is the same it has been since the invasion. Think of it as football. We see upsets time and time again. A team takes to the field with an over optimistic attitude because their opponents rated a large underdog. Of course that over optimistic team comes home with their heads held down low because they were just upset. I am not saying our outcome in Iraq will be the same because we can change the rules. We can redefine what we call a win. True in war, the only winner is war.

In January of 2003, Saddam Huessein vowed to give the Americans “a war like no other they have fought before”. Many people laughed at that comment. Well there are 2, 318 families not laughing now. In fact Saddam has given us exactly what he vowed. The insurgency is that war which Saddam vowed.

Last fall Donald Rumsfeld took to the Sunday morning talk shows to try and build support for the war. One question he was asked on Meet the Press was about the insurgency. Rumsfeld said he does not believe a “robust” insurgency was something they planned for. Of course it wasn’t. What they planned for were people greeting their liberators and throwing flowers and candy at them. It is not a lack of planning, but rather a lack of perspective.

Prior to the invasion, our President did not even know the difference between Sunni, Shiite and Kurds. He thought Iraq was nothing more than “Iraqis”. It is that sort of monochrome view that has helped contribute to this disastrous nightmare.

One of the benefits I have on IntoxiNation, is having a great partner in blogging who shares my same views. The only difference we have is the fact that I am in the United States and he is in the United Kingdom.

In the U.K. public support for the war has always been very low. Tony Blair is now facing some big political challenges and one way he is trying to gain public support is by fixing Iraq. This week the U.K. announced that they were withdrawing 800 troops from Iraq. The next day the U.S. announces they are sending over 700 more troops. Kind of hard to say we are making progress when we have to offset our allies’ withdrawal like that.

This move by Blair was also done the same week a new Downing Street Memo was published in the Guardian.

Senior British diplomatic and military staff gave Tony Blair explicit warnings three years ago that the US was disastrously mishandling the occupation of Iraq, according to leaked memos.

John Sawers, Mr Blair's envoy in Baghdad in the aftermath of the invasion, sent a series of confidential memos to Downing Street in May and June 2003 cataloguing US failures. With unusual frankness, he described the US postwar administration, led by the retired general Jay Garner, as "an unbelievable mess" and said "Garner and his top team of 60-year-old retired generals" were "well-meaning but out of their depth".

Of course we already knew this. There was a five year project headed up in the State Department, which started under Clinton, whose mission was to deal with a strategy when it comes to dealing with a post war Iraq. This project employed some of the brightest minds in our nation when it comes to Iraq and cost the taxpayers’ millions. What did George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld do with this plan? They threw it out. Instead they went into Iraq with no plan because they were that over optimistic team I talked about earlier. In war the greatest enemy is optimism.

In the past three years we have created a breeding ground for terrorists. We have also destabilized the most dangerous region in the world. We ignored the offers of help last year from other Middle Eastern countries and now Iraq is on the verge of civil war – a war which will most likely span across its borders and further destabilize the region as a whole.

Three years later and we got the President out giving his same talking points. The year may be different but the rhetoric is the same. Today you can turn on the television and see General Casey talk about the war. He is scheduled on three Sunday Morning talk shows while Dick Cheney is slotted on Face the Nation. While the citizens of this country mourn what we have lost, we got the cheerleaders out trying to muster support for a highly unpopular war. If they want to gain support then they should be locked in a room in Washington trying to figure out a plan to get us out of this nightmare.

Cross posted at IntoxiNation

(On another note: Great job Reddhedd on Washington Journal this morning)