Casual Soapbox is a blog, the purpose of which is to provide me with a venue to expound upon politics, popular culture, religion, humor, and any other topic that boils my blood. I'd love to say I have big plans for this site, but I don't, except to bloviate pompously, deprecate myself and others, practice my verbal skills, and pathetically imitate popular people I admire. So, if any of that appeals to you, this blog's for you!
- Name: Abram
- Location: Austin, Texas, United States
He's just this guy, you know?
Thursday, June 30, 2005
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
I love Survey USA!!!
Bush's highest approval rating is in Utah where it is a stratospheric 63%! His lowest approval rating is in Vermont where it is an abysmal 32%.
In the following states Bush's approval rating is 50% or better: Utah 63%, Nebraska 60%, Wyoming 58%, Idaho 56%, Montana 56%, Alabama 54%, Alaska 53%, North Dakota 52%, Kansas 51%, Kentucky 50%, Mississippi 50%, Texas 50%.
When the polls are weighted proportionally according to population, they reveal an overall approval rating of 43%.
Bush seems to be in trouble in Nevada, where his approval rating is only 38% - one point lower than Massachusetts!
(Earlier, Survey USA released approval ratings of all 100 Senators, and all 50 Governors. They are now officially my favorite polling company.)
ABC's Terry Moran just reported that the only time Bush got applause was in the middle of his speech when a White House advance team member started clapping all on their own in order to cajole the soldiers into clapping, which they dutifully did.This is awfully typical of the White House. They pay columnists to support their plans. They hire fake reporters to ask leading questions in the White House briefing room. They create fake news reports for local news stations to run to deceive people into thinking their opinions are facts. Maybe it's just me, but I don't recall these sorts of stories from previous administrations.
So even the applause was fake.
Anyway, Think Progress has the full text of Bush's speech.
State of the States
- South Dakota
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- New Mexico
- West Virginia
- North Carolina
- New Jersey
Monday, June 27, 2005
An Amusing Ad
Fun Facts About Throes
- a throe is superabundant, sparsely totient, a Harshad number and a Pell number.
- the distance light travels in 12 years = 1 light-throe
- 13 years = a baker's throe
- just a guess, but 12 throes = 1 great throe?
- America should switch to the duodecimal system. (Not to be confused with the Dewey Decimal System.)
Supreme Court Dump
We have Castle Rock v Gonzales, in which it appears that the police no longer have to enforce restraining orders.
We have Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer v Grokster, in which online file-sharing is further restricted.
And we have Van Orden v Perry and McCreary County v ACLU, in which it was decided that Sandra Day O'Connor must personally approve any display of the Ten Commandments in a public space. This despite the complete absence of her name from the text of the First Ammendment.
Finally, what we did not have, was any sort of announcement of Chief Justice Rehnquist's retirement. Alas for discord.
Rumsfeld Then and Now
Mr Rumsfeld is in Europe to try to gain backing for possible military action against Iraq.
"It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months," he said, speaking at the American air base at Aviano, in northern Italy.
Now: (June 27, 2005)
The Iraqi people are going to win against the insurgency. That insurgency could go on for any number of years. Insurgencies tend to go on five, six, eight, 10, 12 years.
Friday, June 24, 2005
The Karl Rove Nonsense
Under most circumstances, I don't think public officials should be forced to resign when they make some boneheaded remark that offends someone, including me. Although I can't say it is for this reason, as others might, I would like to see President Bush dismiss him. He won't.
So given that Rove won't apologize and won't be fired, what is the point of the liberal outrage? Well, it is twofold in my opinion. First, people don't vote for politicians who walk away from fights. And second, Rove left a huge opening for Democrats in New York and New Jersey, two states with large liberal populations likely to be rightfully offended by his remarks.
Governor Pataki of New York, Mayor Bloomberg of New York City, former mayor Giuliani, and New Jersey gubernatorial hopeful Doug Forrester should condemn Rove's slanderous remarks. All decent people should.
My Assessment of Iraq
In my opinion, neither WMD nor "making things better" were the primary reason the Bush Administration went to war. I believe they went to Iraq for strategic reasons, and I included those also in my reasons for supporting the war. There is no denying Iraq is a strategically advantageous place to station troops. Iraqi oil is one reason. But the main reason is adjacency to other nations we wish to pressure: Syria, Jordan, Iran, Kuwait, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.
What sort of pressure do we want to put on these nations? Well, oil is one concern. Although protecting energy companies is a concern, ensuring a dependable supply of oil is crucial to American security. Another sort of pressure -- military -- makes the Middle East more secure for our strongest ally in the area, Israel. However, the most important strategic value of Iraq is that it helps us put pressure on Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Iran to crack down on Al Qaeda cells and to enact democratic reforms.
Making life better for Iraqis, disarming Iraq of WMD's, and enhancing America's strategic security were all theoretical reasons to support the war in 2003. Since then, of course, we have discovered that Saddam did not have any WMD's. This has caused problems for the administration at home and America abroad, since President Bush's most high profile casus belli was Saddam's WMD's. Iraqis now have a tenuous hold on democracy and rule of law that depends on our military presence. And America's strategic security would have been enhanced if we had been able to quell the resistance. In other words, if we had military bases in a secure Iraq, our ability to project force in the Middle East would have been greatly enhanced, but we're not there yet.
Our inability to create a secure Iraq is, in my admittedly non-expert opinion, due to a shortage of troops. Our shortage of troops is due in part to a lack of understanding of the purpose of this war among the general population here in the U.S. The thinking of most Americans, I think, is as follows:
There were no WMD's. The Iraqis have had elections. The Iraqis do not want us there anymore. Our troops are dying and getting hurt. Our troops don't have enough armor. We don't have enough troops. Recruiters are tricking and bullying our kids into joining the military. There's no end in sight. If this keeps up, we'll have a draft.
To the extent all this is true, it is Bush's fault for making a sloppy case for the war. One of his problems is his simplistic rhetoric. It's jingoistic and too easy to see through. It undermines trust. Another is his inability to fire anyone. No one was fired for intelligence failures. No one was fired for underestimating the resistance either.
America has a black eye over this as well. First, the rest of the world thinks we either blundered in on false intelligence, or just wanted to conquer an oil-rich country. Or we're engaged in a modern-day Crusade. But worst of all, they see us as war criminals and torturers because of the Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons.
I supported the war in 2003, but now I'm not so sure. We need to leave at some point. It isn't our country and we have no right to be there indefinitely. I don't want a terrorist state to develop there either though. I'm listening to our leaders for ideas on how to fix this, but so far, I haven't heard any beyond "stay the course" or "bring the troops home". And both of those plans leave me a little uncomfortable.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Another good place to get ratings is from Charlie Cook's site. His current Senate ratings, as of June 17, 2005, can be found here. For now, bask in the lore of the revered sages. I'll give my own thoughts on these races a bit later.
Rick Santorum (R)
Last ranking: 2
The only incumbent up in 2006 who consistently polls behind his announced opponent is Santorum. For that reason alone, we have to move him into the top spot. Bob Casey Jr. (D) may not be tough enough to win, but it's possible that Santorum is just carrying too much baggage to take this swing state. However, questions about Casey date back to 2002 when he not only lost a primary for governor, but suffered a double-digit defeat to Ed Rendell. Plus, he was dragged into this race. Will there be enough fire from him once this thing gets down and dirty?
2. RHODE ISLAND
Lincoln Chafee (R)
Last ranking: 1
Speaking of baggage, Chafee's certainly carrying a lot of it. And it's the weight of that baggage, not the worthiness of his Democratic opponents, that makes him so vulnerable. Democrats are down to their third and fourth choices in Sheldon Whitehouse and Matt Brown. And it's likely that the nastiness of the Democratic primary will be just the thing Chafee needs to survive. If you think all this reads as if it's a replay of the 2000 campaign, you're not alone. In that campaign, Democrats failed to get their first or second choices and were stuck with a nasty primary. The only difference this cycle is that Chafee might have to deal with a primary challenge of his own. If that happens, Democrats may find an opening.
Open Seat – Mark Dayton (D) is retiring
Last ranking: 3
In nearly half of the in-play Senate races, Democrats must deal with a primary before they can unite against the GOP. In this race, that primary is not just a problem for the party but for one of the party's leading interest groups, EMILY's List. With both Patty Wetterling and Amy Klobuchar running, the pro-choice women's campaign group faces a dilemma. While the group has tried to encourage Wetterling to seek the state's open 6th District seat, she's not taking the bait.
Right now, it appears Klobuchar has the best shot at garnering that key endorsement. And, should Klobuchar secure the backing of the state party, Wetterling has promised not to run in the primary. That's not the case with self-funding Kelly Doran, who has no plans to participate in the party endorsement process and has every intention of contesting the actual primary.
All this Democratic action allows GOP Rep. Mark Kennedy to continue stockpiling cash. While there have been rumors he could still face a primary challenge, it appears this former Rep. Vin Weber boomlet started by the state's right-leaning blogs is nothing but hot air.
Open Seat – Paul Sarbanes (D) is retiring
Last ranking: 24
Maryland's strong Democratic nature is the only thing keeping this race as low as fourth. Likely GOP nominee Michael Steele is the real deal, and the field of Democrats is underwhelming. The combination could be enough for Steele to pull off the near-impossible. At a minimum, this is going to be a real contest.
The Democrats' two best candidates -- Martin O'Malley and Doug Duncan -- are running for governor , leaving the party with a field of good, but not great, alternatives. Democratic Rep. Ben Cardin has all the respect in the world from his state colleagues, but he hasn't had a competitive race in nearly 25 years. Is he up for this? Former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume has plenty of problems that could worsen when the second quarter Federal Election Commission report is released. Rep. Chris Van Hollen is the wild card. He's the only battle-tested Democrat in the field. Van Hollen may have the best chops for what will be a very competitive general against Steele.
5. NORTH DAKOTA
Kent Conrad (D)
Last ranking: 7
The longer GOP Gov. John Hoeven stalls, the more convinced we become that he's leaning toward a run. It appears he's trying to hold off "lame-duckdom" in his gubernatorial term for as long as possible by announcing a bid as late as possible. Hoeven won't need a lot of money to make this race competitive so he can afford to wait until the end of the year.
Conrad Burns (R)
Last ranking: 17
One of the more surprising primary problems facing the Democrats is here. Auditor John Morrison and state Senate President Jon Tester are both solid recruits, particularly since Burns is always a slow closer. It's unclear which Democrat would give Burns the tougher race. Apparently, Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D) is whispering good things about both candidates because we've heard from partisans in each camp who claim the governor is behind them.
Bill Nelson (D)
Last ranking: 6
If Nelson were the political juggernaut some Florida Democrats want us to believe he is, we'd have this seat ranked lower. But he's not. Nelson has always benefited from weak GOP opponents and, should he win re-election, that reputation will only grow thanks to GOP Rep. Katherine Harris. Divisive political figures don't normally do well in Florida, which is why we're having trouble picturing Harris actually winning. Still, Nelson's not the best campaigner, and we fully expect the former secretary of state to keep this race very close. If the GOP has wind in its favor next fall, she could pull the upset.
Open Seat – Bill Frist (R) is retiring
Last ranking: 5
We know we're supposed to believe Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr. doesn't have a chance, but we're not there yet. Fresh off of a disastrous announcement week thanks to his uncle's arrest, Ford decided to roll the dice by going up with the very first TV ad of the 2006 cycle. This is the type of move that should convince Republicans that Ford's not going to be the pushover they expected. Spending a lot and focusing on Iraq, not his biography, tells potential Democratic donors that Ford is serious.
Meanwhile, the GOP primary appears to be no closer to being sorted out. While Bob Corker's fund-raising abilities seemed impressive early on, this next quarter should tell us which one of the two conservative candidates, Van Hilleary or Ed Bryant, will be Corker's chief challenger.
9. NEW JERSEY
Open Seat? – Jon Corzine (D) is running for governor in 2005
Last ranking: 10
Until we know Corzine's fate, this race is still undeveloped. That said, state Sen. Tom Kean Jr. is getting a great head start as the potential GOP standard-bearer while the three likely Democratic replacements -- Reps. Bob Menendez, Frank Pallone and Rob Andrews -- remain locked in limbo. It's a bizarre situation for the three Democrats -- raising money for a potential primary while also making a case to the one voter who matters most, Corzine.
There was a lot of pushback from supporters of the other two major Democrats when we wrote earlier that Menendez seemed to be the perfect successor. But Corzine could shock all three contenders and name a caretaker, a prospect that may not thrill the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. For now, the incumbent's got to focus on the task at hand, a gubernatorial campaign that will be tougher than many Democrats realize.
Ben Nelson (D)
Last ranking: 4
This state represents a great recruiting disappointment for the GOP, and the White House is to blame. By naming Mike Johanns secretary of Agriculture, President Bush took away one of the two Republicans who could probably beat Nelson. The other Republican, Rep. Tom Osborne, is running for governor and apparently has no interest in taking on his old friend. The state is Republican enough that any nominee could give Nelson a close race, but the Democrat's been pretty smart in handling himself so far. It's hard to see how the Republicans will make the case to Nebraska voters to fire Nelson.
11. WEST VIRGINIA
Robert Byrd (D)
Last ranking: 13
This race only cracks our top 12 because of the chance GOP Rep. Shelley Moore Capito may run. Word is her father, former Gov. Arch Moore, has been pushing Capito to join the race, and according to our sources, his advice is among the most influential to her. That said, Byrd's been taking no chances and is raising money at a surprisingly fast clip. Clearly Capito can give the incumbent a race; it's not clear whether she can actually win.
Jon Kyl (R)
Last ranking: 16
It's not easy being the junior senator in Arizona and that fact more than any other probably contributes to the notion that Kyl is more vulnerable than he should be. The presence of a self-funding Democratic opponent, state Democratic Party Chairman Jim Pederson, will mean this could be a long cycle for Kyl. And John McCain (R) is a double-edged sword. While we fully expect Pederson to make the case that Kyl's "no McCain," Kyl will have no more powerful endorser toward the end of the contest than the popular senator.
Jim Talent (R)
Last ranking: 14
Auditor Claire McCaskill might actually make this a race. We're not convinced enough to move it out of our "tweener" section just yet, but should she announce, it's yet another sign the Democrats will be making a much more serious run at the majority than any of us would have expected six months ago.
Debbie Stabenow (D)
Last ranking: 9
National Republicans are still searching for a candidate while in-state party officials begin rallying around the Rev. Keith Butler (R). At the end of the day, we expect Stabenow's chances to depend more on the political health of Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm than any GOP Senate challenger.
Maria Cantwell (D)
Last ranking: 12
With almost-Gov. Dino Rossi all but out, Republicans probably are not going to be able to give Cantwell the race they would have liked. There are still a few interesting names circulating but nothing certain just yet.
16. VERMONT17. OHIO
Open Seat – James Jeffords (I) is retiring
Last ranking: 27
Without the Democrats nominating someone, it's hard to see how the GOP stops Independent Rep. Bernie Sanders from becoming a member of the world's most exclusive club. Republican Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie or businessman Dick Tarrant might make things somewhat interesting, but we don't see it just yet.
Mike DeWine (R)
Last ranking: 22
There's something going on in this state, and it's not pretty if you're a Republican. The scandal plaguing Ohio has nothing to do with DeWine, yet we can see a scenario where elected officials running in 2006 with an "(R)" next to their names are in big trouble. Democrats are still searching for someone to challenge DeWine, which is why this seat is still low on our rankings. But if either former Attorney General Lee Fisher or former Rep. Dennis Eckart runs, expect this race to move up.
Monday, June 20, 2005
Hillary Clinton: The Next American President
First, and most obviously, she's the front-runner in polls. A recent Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll puts her at 44%, with Kerry at 17% and Edwards at 13%. Biden gets 6% and no one else is above 2%. A look at the history of the Democratic party in the last 50 or so years shows that the front runner gets the nomination about 50% of the time. (In the Republican Party, it's nearly 100% of the time.) So there's at least a 50% chance, right?
Also, liberal women, especially young women, love her for being a strong, independent-minded woman with her own career. A hardcore group of followers who love the candidate is essential - consider the anybody-but-Bush supporters of John Kerry. There were constantly stories about whether or not anyone loved Kerry or just hated Bush. With Hillary, there's no question, she will have followers who love her.
Also, although she is a Senator from the Northeast, like Kerry, she is also something Kerry is not - a former First Lady. As such, people will associate her with the Clinton administration at the exact time the 8-year adminstration nostalgia phenomenon will peak. George W Bush was the lucky recipient of the same phenomenon in 2000. Of course, he didn't win the popular vote, but still - many people said, "If he's anything like his father..." and many will say "If she's anything like her husband..." Kerry very nearly unseated an incumbent President, and he didn't have that going for him.
Another important thing is -- she's vetted. There's no other shoe. All the trash that could possibly come out about Hillary is out there. And Hillary-hatred is fading. The reaction to Edward Klein's hysterical whack job, The Truth About Hillary, is a taste of what is to come. The reaction: very little. Sure there were the crankings and belchings of the gears of the Republican Noise Machine (Fox News, Drudge, Limbaugh). But nothing much came of it all. Her poll numbers are fine, and nobody believes Bill raped Hillary or Hillary is a lesbian. I think this puts her in a better position than Kerry or Gore, who were undefined enough to be effectively smeared.
She's also a very disciplined campaigner. She rarely makes mistakes on the campaign trail. And she knew from the start of her New York Senate campaign to go after her opponent's strength - upstate New York. I think she'll be a tough candidate to beat, both for Democrats in the primary, and Republicans in the general election.
She is perceived as liberal by most of the nation. That will be hard for her to shake. But it will also be an asset in the primary. And the perception is tempered somewhat in the general election elecorate by memories of her husband's Presidency, which most people do not regard as liberal.
On top of all this is the heir-less Bush presidency. At a time when Democrats seem more unified than usual, Republicans seem less so. The obvious heirs to the nomination are Vice President Cheney, and Bush's brother Jeb, the Governor of Florida, both of whom say they are not running. The next most popular Republicans are Giuliani, who is too liberal to get the nomination, and McCain, who is too hated by the Republican establishment.
Governor Schwarzenegger of California is popular, but ineligible because he was born in Austria. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is not interested, and would probably have a difficult time considering she's never been elected to anything. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, probably the first choice of the theocratic right, is now seen as a loser because of the nuclear option vote, and by the way, used to murder kittens for medical experiments. Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, the theocrats' second choice, is likely to lose his re-election bid in 2006.
Also out of the running, due to non-theocraticism: Governor Pataki of New York, and (undeservedly) Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, who would also have to test whether the Republicans can handle his being a Mormon.
What's left of the Republicans are a handful of unknown senators and governors who are each as likely as the other to be the one to block Giuliani or McCain from getting the nomination: Senator Allen of Virginia, Senator Brownback of Kansas, Governor Owens of Colorado, and Senator Hagel of Nebraska. Or it could be blast-from-the-past former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. How many different ways are there to say "third string"?
Anyway, I think all of this adds up to a "Clinton restoration" of sorts. And I've now put myself on the record. So, do I have a future second career as a Nostradamus impersonator? Or will I know the unending, cruel taunts and jeers of high society as I wallow in my humiliation? Only time will tell.
Saturday, June 18, 2005
How can I get a gig like this?
Randy Way had a pretty good idea about the outcome of the referendum when the polls closed. He was the only one allowed to vote.
As expected, Way approved a plan by the village of Oregon to annex 80 acres from the town.
He’s the only person living in the annexed area, so he’s the only one who could sign the petition requesting the referendum and the only one allowed to vote Tuesday.
Town Clerk Denise Arnold printed two ballots, just in case.
“We gave him two just in case he read it wrong and made a mistake,” Arnold said. “This is probably not the norm. It’s pretty weird.”
Three paid poll workers were required to be on duty for 13 hours for the election after town officials said they were unable to find anything in state law that would allow the polls to close early after Way had voted just 17 minutes after the poll opened at 7 a.m.
Way bought pizza for the poll workers to show his appreciation.
Ok, first question: How many poll workers?!?!?
The Third Most Powerful American
After the President himself and First Lady, the next most powerful person in America appears to be: Blake Gottesman, Special Assistant to the President and Personal Aide. How do I know? National Journal provides the map of the White House. Power in the administration is measured in influence with the President. And, as everyone knows, influence is measured in inches from your office to the Oval Office. (Or if you're a humble liberal blogger like me, in parsecs.)
Next in line after the mysterious and powerful Blake are:
- Karen Keller, Special Assistant to the President and Personal Secretary
- Joseph Hagin, Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff
- Karl Rove, Assistant to the President, Chief of Staff, and Senior Advisor
Karl Rove, I'm disappointed in you.
Interestingly, I wonder if Claude Allen, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, measures his influence through the floor? If so, I'd say he moves up the list to #2.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Too much to hope for
Nah.. sadly, likely not.
Ballistic: Rick versus Carol
I'm beginning to like this guy.
Moderate Christians are less certain about when and how our beliefs can be translated into statutory form, not because of a lack of faith in God but because of a healthy acknowledgement of the limitations of human beings. Like conservative Christians, we attend church, read the Bible and say our prayers.
But for us, the only absolute standard of behavior is the commandment to love our neighbors as ourselves. Repeatedly in the Gospels, we find that the Love Commandment takes precedence when it conflicts with laws. We struggle to follow that commandment as we face the realities of everyday living, and we do not agree that our responsibility to live as Christians can be codified by legislators.
When, on television, we see a person in a persistent vegetative state, one who will never recover, we believe that allowing the natural and merciful end to her ordeal is more loving than imposing government power to keep her hooked up to a feeding tube.
When we see an opportunity to save our neighbors' lives through stem cell research, we believe that it is our duty to pursue that research, and to oppose legislation that would impede us from doing so.
We think that efforts to haul references of God into the public square, into schools and courthouses, are far more apt to divide Americans than to advance faith.
Following a Lord who reached out in compassion to all human beings, we oppose amending the Constitution in a way that would humiliate homosexuals.
This follows an editorial he wrote, also for the New York Times, back in March.
During the 18 years I served in the Senate, Republicans often disagreed with each other. But there was much that held us together. We believed in limited government, in keeping light the burden of taxation and regulation. We encouraged the private sector, so that a free economy might thrive. We believed that judges should interpret the law, not legislate. We were internationalists who supported an engaged foreign policy, a strong national defense and free trade. These were principles shared by virtually all Republicans.
But in recent times, we Republicans have allowed this shared agenda to become secondary to the agenda of Christian conservatives. As a senator, I worried every day about the size of the federal deficit. I did not spend a single minute worrying about the effect of gays on the institution of marriage. Today it seems to be the other way around.
As I said, I'm beginning to like this guy.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Bad Senator! Bad!
Two Kings Played Chess
Two Kings Played Chess
Two kings played chess across the sea -
The red below, the white on high.
A grudge they played out truantly,
With naught at stake but currency,
And all our futures in the sky.
The pawns did pout it wasn't fair -
The red was sick, his purse astray.
With paper laurels in his hair,
The white had vict'ries and to spare,
And chess a cruel game anyway.
With hearts of gold, the judges led
Their wallets for a midnight snack.
The white king gave them drums instead.
With fiery fury, then the red,
Brought sixteen knights from 'round his back.
The white knight first to king's rook three
The white queen hollered "What a show!"
The bishop cried that pawn was he.
The red rook crumbled to the sea.
The red was mated 'fore his go.
But with that final score still wet,
The audience declined to yield.
When all was sure and all was set,
With winter come, and battle met,
The world had lost its silver shield.
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Senator Cornyn - Pro-Lynching?
Lynching was a painful, shameful episode from our racist past and should be condemned fervently at every opportunity and with all our strength, energy, and soul. The Senate resolution apologizes for the Senate's inaction during that time.
Monday, June 13, 2005
Our core values
I still think "our progressive heritage, responsible stewardship, and a wise defense" is the way to go, but I'm not an expert. Hopefully someone who is will take a look at these online conversations and actively pursue turning them into a productive strategy.
What could this possibly be a precursor to?
Saturday, June 11, 2005
An Opportunity For Involvement?
From Burnt Orange Report:
Capitol Inside is reporting on the three Dems kicking around the race for Keel's seat: former Jim Dunnam staffer Hugh Brady, former Austin City Council candidate Gregg Knaupe and Democratic activist Duffy Keever. I'm familiar with and on friendly terms with Gregg and Duffy so I'll keep quiet on this one. Suffice it to say that my personal experience with the two I know and everything I've read about Brady lead me to believe that any one of them could win this seat.So perhaps this would be an opportunity for me to get involved in a local race. I'll be keeping an eye out and ear open to see what I might be able to do.
On the GOP side Bill Welch, who ran for the seat in 1992 and lost in the primary to Susan Combs, and Travis County Commissioner Gerald Daugherty are said to be considering a run. This is going to be a fun race, keep tuned to BOR for all your HD
Payback from Thune to Bush
And all the while the Democrats are biding their time, gathering power, until... SHAZAM! 1994 Redux! Donkey Style!
Unless I jinxed it of course...
The Downing Street Memo
They had sort of put themselves in a bind really. Once the rest of the world thought Bush was going to war, backing down would have made America look weak. Of course, it was reprehensible for them to put us in such a situation.
I haven't really talked that much about the Iraq War because I have long had mixed feelings about whether or not it was a good idea. The current state of my fluid assessment is that it could have been the right thing, but Bush screwed it up. Things are not going well now, and that has ruined any strategic advantage the United States would have gotten by being there.
Saddam was a tyrant, truly. But there were other tyrants in the world. There were other tyrants that were far more dangerous. Saddam was the tyrant we could topple, and so we did. But it was absolutely not because Saddam was a tyrant. It was because Iraq is a very strategic place to be if you want to exert pressure on Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, and the Gulf states.
Of course, they couldn't tell us that was the reason they went. Americans don't want war for strategic positioning. So they misled us. And they got caught. That's embarrassing for the United States abroad and offensive to US citizens who don't believe our government should mislead us into war.
Another way to put it I considered was: I'm a Democrat because I believe in liberal values, responsible government, and a thorough defense. That may have been better because it uses smaller and more common words. But it also happens to use words that make people think of Republican talking points ("liberal", "values", and "government"), and "thorough" just doesn't have the strength I wanted in its implicit condemnation of the other side ("foolish" versus "not thorough").
Anyway, let me know what you think.
Why I am a Democrat
I am a Democrat because Democrats stand for responsible stewardship - responsible stewardship of God's Creation, of America's wealth, of the sick and the needy, and of our democratic institutions.
I am a Democrat because Democrats support a wise defense - a defense that honors our soldiers, strengthens our alliances, keeps America's word, and wins wars but pursues peace.
Democrats stand for our progressive heritage, responsible stewardship, and a wise defense. Republicans stand for oppressive values, abuse of power, and reckless aggression. For me, the choice is clear.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
An Interesting Side Note
Gag Me With a Gavel
Karl-Thomas Musselman (Isn't that a badass name?) of Burnt Orange Report has this analysis:
I'd just like to point out that this is the same John Cornyn who earlier this year threatened judges with violence on the floor of the Senate:
Of course, picking a sitting Senator (slightly better than picking your nose) helps Bush's chances of getting his nominee through, gasp, the Senate Judiciary Committee which Cornyn, gasp, is a member of! Then again, picking Cornyn means that Governor "Don't you dare run against me" Perry would get to
anointappoint a replacement. And that little issue makes this story particularly juicy, as if the Texas Republican "which office should I run for" dance wasn't complicated enough.
Maybe KBH could become Governor, and then appoint herself back to the Senate if she realized it wasn't all that it's cracked up to be. At which point Perry could battle off Strayhorn in a special election for Guv. Oh, the possibilities are endless...
I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence.Anyone who can make such irresponsible comments does not belong in a lifetime appointment to anywhere. But all this has to make you wonder... Is Cornyn seeking martyrdom?
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Off-Politics - Feast For Crows
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
Ballistic: Rick Versus Kay
First, it opens up a Senate seat that would otherwise be out of Democrats reach. This has the added effect of opening up other lower offices as other Republican elected officials scramble for a promotion. Open seats are harder to defend than incumbents.
Second, a divisive primary will get the Republicans mad at each other and create a PR nightmare for the party. This will turn media fire away from Democrats and toward Republicans. It will also make some Republicans disappointed as their candidate is defeated in the primary. It will also make Republicans look frivolous, wasting their time attacking each other when there are real problems to solve.
Third, there is a chance Kay Bailey Hutchison will actually lose the primary, which is about the only hope the Democrats have of defeating her for any office she runs for. She is incredibly popular, but not so much on the far right. Not having her on the ticket can only help Democrats. Of course, she could win also. If she does win, she could emerge with a tarnished image if the fight is harsh enough.
Fourth, there is the further possibility of a divisive primary for her Senate seat, as Republicans Henry Bonilla, Greg Abbott, Carol-of-the-Many-Names, and David Dewhurst all seem possibly interested. The more divisive primaries among the elephants, the better the donkeys will look. Especially combined with Tom DeLay's ethical woes.