Fair. Balanced. American.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Why did all those Republicans vote against the FCC?

Sometimes progressive outcomes are not purely the result of progressive coalitions. Some evidence here.

Let the crazy game of chicken begin

Will she or won't she? And if she does, will anyone else? I wonder if nominations will end up like the last five minutes of an ebay option. We will know soon.

NRA for Dean?

I doubt this will actually happen, but I am glad to see the stirrings of a movement within the NRA to endorse Dean. In the last year, and particularly following the 2000 and 2002 elections, I have seen not only within Jusiper but among the wider progressive community an emerging consensus that this is a war we can't win, so we might as well just move on. Whatever one thinks of Dean, he is surely the only Democratic candidate who could make a credible case for a gun nut to vote for him. But a gun nut needs other gun nuts to convince him, and maybe this is a start.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

McCain, Clear Channel, the Dixie Chicks, and the Boss

John McCain held a remarkable Commerce Committee hearing, during which he grilled radio executives for not only banning the Dixie Chicks but threatening to ban Bruce Springsteen for a statement defending them. I wonder how Clear Channel and its friends would feel about Bruce Springsteen's latest comments during his run at the Meadowlands, as posted in the discussions on his official website:

"[H]is comments before 'Land of Hope and Dreams' regarding events in Iraq brought some of the biggest cheers of the night. Prefacing his remarks by saying, 'People with all kinds of political beliefs come to see us---I like that, we welcome them all,' he addressed the question of whether our government has been been forthright, and that it's neither a new concern, nor a partisan one: 'It's always wrong, never more so than when there are real lives at stake.... It's not a Republican or Democrat question, it's not a liberal or conservative question, it's an American question.... protecting our democracy we ask our sons and daughters to die for.' "

DLC and Donna Brazile in agreement?

The DLC's poll on election results is getting a great deal of attention, but it is worth noting that Donna Brazile and Timothy Bergreen have been saying the same thing for quite some time now. Their reflections suggest two questions:

1) Can a Democrat win without an energized party base? If not, then the DLC's prescription is dead wrong. Bill Clinton put together a coalition of African American and white blue collar voters in Illinois and Michigan during the 1992 primaries. Al Gore won the 2000 election because of a highly energized Democratic base in Michigan, Pennsylvania and, particularly, in Florida. It is simply not a fact that every DLC-identified candidate would be able to do that. (In fairness, it's far from evident that Dean or Kerry can.)

2) Does it matter who the opponent is where there is an incumbent president? If this election is a referendum on Bush, ideology may matter a lot less than the economy and whether we are still using the Q-word in 2004.

But bottom line, I think Penn and Brazile/Bergreen are basically right on one point. To the extent voters will be looking at the Democratic candidate and not simply voting up or down on Bush, s/he will have to be credible on security. That is potentially a weak spot for Edwards, Dean and Gephardt (not sure about Lieberman's popular standing on these matters) but not so for Graham, Kerry or Clark . And that is something we should all be thinking about.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Max Cleland, still a hero

Kos and Atrios are all over this, but Max Cleland's reflections on PBS are a must read.

Bob Graham's remarkable performance on Meet the Press

The transcript isn't up yet, but Bob Graham gave a blistering performance on Meet the Press tonight. Confronted with his earlier statements regarding impeachment by Tim Russert, he gave a spirited defense in the form of an evasion. He said that that it was an irrelevant question because the current leadership of the House and Senate would not use the same standards they did with President Clinton adding that fortunately, the American people would have a chance to impeach him in 2004.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

Part of the solution

We at Jusiper congratulate Patrick for his own contribution to
this phenomenon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Carville vs. Clinton

You'd think these two would see eye to eye, right? Well, Bill Clinton and James Carville are taking different tacks on how to deal with George Bush's misleading State of the Union address. Last night Clinton went soft on Bush with CNN's Larry King:
"I thought the White House did the right thing in just saying 'we probably shouldn't have said that,' " Clinton told King.
"You know, everybody makes mistakes when they are president. I mean, you can't make as many calls as you have to make without messing up once in a while. The thing we ought to be focused on is what is the right thing to do now. That's what I think."

It almost sounds like Clinton's talking about himself more than Bush, doesn't it? Now, compare that to Carville's take, in a recent speech:
On Iraq, Carville said Democrats "should not exaggerate the facts," but merely state and restate them. "They lied to get us in. They don't know how to get us out," he said. "How did they not know the country wasn't divided? How do you commit 150,000 troops with no plan to get out? All we have to do is remind people of that."

Carville reminds us that Republicans will use "insidious" tactics. The first question primary voters should ask of candidates in the Democratic primary, he says, is this: "Sir, tell us the kind of campaign that you will run to combat Republican thuggery."

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

The DNC has started running a blunt new television ad, which accuses George Bush of misleading the nation in his State of the Union address. The RNC wants it off the air. Here's the letter their lawyer has written to stations in Madison, WI, where the ad is running first (courtesy of a DNC email):

Dear Station Manager:

It has come to our attention that your station will begin airing false and misleading advertisements on July 21, 2003, paid for by the Democratic National Committee. The advertisement in question misrepresents President George W. Bush's January 28, 2003, State of the Union address. The advertisement states that President Bush said, "Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." In fact, President Bush said, "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." By selectively quoting President Bush, the advertisement is deliberately false and misleading. Furthermore, the British government continues to stand by its intelligence and asserts that it believes the intelligence is genuine.

The Democratic National Committee certainly has a legitimate First Amendment right to participate in political debate, but it has no right to willfully spread false information in a deliberate attempt to mislead the American people. These advertisements will not be run by legally qualified candidates; therefore, your station is under no legal obligation to air them. On the contrary, as an FCC licensee you have the responsibility to exercise independent editorial judgment to not only oversee and protect the American marketplace of ideas, essential for the health of our democracy, but also to avoid deliberate misrepresentations of the facts. Such obligations must be taken seriously.

This letter puts you on notice that the information contained in the above-cited advertisement is false and misleading; therefore, you are obligated to refrain from airing this advertisement.

Respectfully,

Caroline C. Hunter
Counsel

Of course, the ad nowhere near approaches the depths of evil to which GOP campaigns have gone. Laughingly, the letter points out that the deliberate misrepresentation of facts hurts democracy. The DNC's response?

We agree. And that's why we are demanding an independent investigation of President Bush, and why we want to run this hard-hitting ad in as many places as we can.

Way to go. The letter is a dirty threat that the DNC - and television stations - have nothing to worry about. Political speech is considered the highest form of speech under the First Amendment.

The DNC says it will run the ad nationally using money it raises via the internet. Now what it needs to do it rip a page from Howard Deans' playbook: make it easy and exciting to contribute. In addition to traditional methods of fudnraising, it needs to reach out to bloggers, spread the word formally, and turn it into a telethon. Terry McAuliffe has smelled the scent already, with the fledgling ePatriots program. Now he has to take to the chase.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Do You Trust George Bush? Americans Says NO!

We at JUSIPER are grateful for voices of caution. It was certainly sobering, when, last week, Charlie Cook warned against reading too much into a Newsweek poll that gave Bush a near-low public approval rating of 55%. Four other recent polls showed Bush at around 60%, Cook wrote, and "Newsweek's 55 percent is very much the outlier of the five". For Cook, polls are revealing a gradual post-war decline, not a steep drop. And what's more, he said, "approval ratings between 59 percent and 62 percent are still very, very good."

Well, the other shoe has dropped. This is from a new CNN/Time poll, taken July 16-17:

"Do you think George W. Bush is a leader you can trust, or do you have some doubts and reservations?"

Can Trust 47%
Have Doubts 51%
Not Sure 2%

"In general, do you approve or disapprove of the way President Bush is handling his job as president?"

Approve 55%
Disapprove 40%
Not Sure 5%

Now we know Newsweek's number wasn't an outlier. And the declining public approval is affecting Bush's re-elect numbers too: in a Zogby poll taken the same two days, only 46% say he deserves reelection - and 47% say it's time for someone new. (The CNN poll gives Bush a slight edge, 50 to 47.)

So, why the sudden change? No doubt the mounting loss of lives in Iraq plays a big part. But is it coincidence that the new numbers come on the heels of revelations in the yellowcake scandal, and, just as important, the White House's inability to deal with them? I don't think so.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Is Dean Electable? Ruy Teixeira says no, and TAPPED gives in

Until recently, the American Prospect's blog, TAPPED, saw hope in Howard Dean. Then, hearing Ruy Teixeira's negative answer to the question, "Is Dean electable?" they appeared to give in awfully easily. Teixeira claims that Dean's supporters think Dean's aggressive style is what makes him electable against Bush. I haven't seen that argument made anywhere - not by itself, anyway. Sure, the passion is what gets the liberals and professionals. But what most Dean supporters think makes Dean a potentially powerful coalition builder is his RECORD, not his anger: one of pragmatic, centrist policies. To many independent voters, who find extremism of any kind distasteful, this may prove quite attractive. Though hardly a secret, Dean's record could prove to be his secret weapon. In fact, a couple of polls show Dean doing better than Kerry among independents in New Hampshire.

That said, Teixeira's right about a potential weakness among culturally conservative working class voters in swing states. I just wonder if these voters will flock to Kerry any more than to Dean: after all, Kerry and Dean share the same stance on gay rights (both support civil unions, but not gay marriage), on the death penalty (some support) and Kerry has a record that is more anti-war than Dean.

Compared to Kerry and his Gore-esque advisors, Dean is a risk-taker with an innovative, canny staff. Against Bush and Rove and their big money, that will prove an advantage.

That said, I have to agree with TAPPED's point about a Southern Democrat being the party's best chance - assuming such a person meets other conditions as well. Imagine Wesley Clark at the top of a ticket with Dean as running mate, aided by the latter's staff, energy and organization. Wow.