Archive for October, 2007

Hillary Knew: Now THAT’s a Rant

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

Holy Guacamole’ Batman! These people are pissed and have the video goodness to prove it. If you think Hillary is due for a correction on the inevitability factor, this is for you. If you just don’t like her, this is for you. And, if you think her war vote was BS, oh baby, have I got video for you. Check it out!


The Scummy Side Of Politics

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

One of my jobs as Netroots Coordinator for the Grayson campaign is to search the Net for mentions of the candidate and his competition. I have to say for the most part it’s been rewarding, most of the mentions have been very supportive. Occasionally however you run across nonsense that makes you want to smack someone. That’s how I felt this morning when I stumbled across this tripe from written by Jeff Poor at Newsbusters that Right Winged purveyor of sleaze and nonsense.

Maybe it just slipped his mind, but maybe not.

CBS Chief Investigative Correspondent Armen Keteyian neglected to mention that the “attorney” he interviewed for the October 17 “Evening News” was also running as a Democrat for Congress.

Keteyian piled on military food contractors by relying on a Democratic Congressional Candidate Alan Grayson as an expert when he reported on a federal fraud probe in the military’s food-supply operations.

Grayson has “filed dozens of lawsuits against military contractors,” including one against the company Public Warehousing – a company Keteyian focused on for overcharging the Army.

The interview setting looked more like a campaign commercial, with a waterfall in the background that should include the disclaimer “My Name is Alan Grayson and I approved this message.”

Grayson ran for Congress in Florida’s 8th Congressional District as a Democrat in 2006 and his Web site now states that “we are in the process of re-vamping our website for the 2008 race,” a key element that would have given the viewer a sense of his motives.

Well let me see here. Alan is indeed an attorney, so putting that in quotes is just stupid. Maybe If I put “journalist” in quotes around Mr. Poor’s name it might be appropriate, but not Alan’s credentials. That’s just absurd.

Second, Alan is an expert on this subject. Long before thoughts of a congressional run to help the residents in Florida’s 8th district, Alan was fighting corruption by government contractors looking to steal from the American tax payer. He has over 16 years of experience in the field. He has brought suit against several of the most egregious violators in the Iraq War (yeah I’m looking at you Haliburton) and has stuck up for Whistle blowers his entire career. Expert is exactly what I would call him. Who would be better for CBS to ask? Dick Cheney??

Accusing CBS of some underhanded doings is just absurd. Trust me, I wish they had mentioned Alan’s bid for the US House. You can’t buy that kind of positive national exposure. But no matter how badly I would have liked it, CBS wisely left that out of the story. They were reporting on their story, not being a publicity whore for the Democratic Party. Unlike Fox, journalism and fluff aren’t the same thing at CBS.

Isn’t it funny how a group like Newsbusters, can twist the correct decision it into “media-bias.” I guess facts and honesty are part of the “vast left-winged conspiracy”

Not that I’m surprised. The whole spin was an attempt to discredit the story by throwing some ridiculous red-herring out there. Why worry about massive fraud when you can pick on some inconsequential fact. It is the classic ad-homonym attack that passes for reasoned political insight these days. Why discuss the issue when you can just throw some mud?

I guess I should take heart. The work Alan is doing to fight War Profiteers is starting to worry people. It looks like our “friends” are scared of Alan. They should be. Eventually the truth wins out. I expect the attacks to pick up steam in the near future. I guess that’s a compliment though isn’t it? The more afraid they are, the more confident I am that Alan is the right man. Bring it On!

Fox - GOP Debate Questions

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

Well, Fox is hosting yet another pointless GOP debate tonight. I think I’d rather watch the Steelers/Broncos game. The 2-3 Broncos are coming in hungry, but the 4-1 Steelers are not no breadline. Should be pretty good - or boring.

Speaking of boring, I wonder what sort of inane questions Fox is going dream up for the GOP candidates.

Here’s ten suggestions…

1) On the “Death Tax” - will it be retroactive and if so, how would you inform the dead taxpayers of their refunds?

2) On “The Surge” - will the surge be over and “victory” declared in Iraq by October, 2008?

3) On “The Fairness Doctrine” - can you beat this thing, or will you have to wait for it to actually come up on the Hill?

4) On “Family Values” - will you now promise that no pregnant ten year old will be allowed to have an abortion without her parents’ consent?

5) On “The War on Terror” - if the Musharraf government topples to an Islamist theocracy, will you now pledge to bomb Iran in retaliation?

6) On the “Nuclear Option” - should the Nuclear Option remain on the table in our dealings with Fiji?

7) On “Activists Judges” - will you now promise to appoint truly constructionist judges, that is to say judges who adhere only to the real Constitution and not any of those crazy, liberal Amendments?

8) On “Guantanamo” - should the “terrorist enemy combatants” remain at Gitmo, or be released on the streets of Colonial Williamsburg?

9) On “fiscal conservatism” - will you swear not to raise taxes no matter what happens ever, no matter what, here and now, under the auspices of God, even if the deficit spirals completely out of control, even if the war in Iraq worsens and expands, even if the value of the dollar sinks below the valuation of the Fijian currency, even if your wife threatens to leave you (well, not you, Giuliani), even if Jack Bauer himself threatens to kill you and your entire extended family… ?

10) On “evolution” - with this new “superbug” threatening to kill millions, will you now pledge to eliminate funding for the scientific investigation of the bacterial evolutionary development and instead look at ways to treat the disease with adult stem cells?

Bonus question:  On NFL Week 7 - Steelers v Broncos, great timing for a “debate” - huh?


I Have A New Job And I Need Your Help

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

Hello everyone. How’s everybody been lately? I know I haven’t been around much the last few weeks but I have a good reason. I’m now neck deep in a political campaign. I’ve recently accepted a position as the Netroots Coordinator for Alan Grayson’s bid to represent Florida’s 8th District in the House of Representatives.

Who is Alan Grayson and why do you care? Well, even if you don’t live in Florida (and knowing who a lot of you are you don’t) you’ll still care about him. See, Alan is the guy you have heard about on the news (such as this months Vanity Fair) because he is taking War Profiteers to court for stealing from the American tax payer. He is, as Vanity Fair described him “a crusader against government-contractor fraud.” And brother, is there ever a lot of fraud to crusade against. He is quite simply doing what we all dream we could do - holding Haliburton and other contractors accountable.

See? I told you you would care.

If that was the extent of Alan’s credentials, I might have worked for him anyhow. Fighting the fight against corruption is a major selling point. Luckily, that isn’t the end of the story. Unlike many other candidates running for the Florida 8th, Alan is actually a progressive. Not an opportunist, not person looking for a promotion, but someone who shares OUR values and works hard to carry them out. He’s a “good” democrat in a state all too often saddled with Republican Lite. He’s the kind of guy we need in Washington. He doesn’t NEED this job. He’s serving because he has talent we can use; he’ll take a massive pay cut to share it with us. Civil service. What a concept.

I’m not saying that because I volunteered. I volunteered because I can say that. It’s such a refreshing change.

So why am I telling you all this? A few reasons actually. First and foremost over the last 3 years I think we have developed a bit of trust with each other. To not tell you that I was working on a campaign would violate that trust. Second, because Alan deserves to have people talk about him. We are in one of the few competitive districts in the country. The incumbent, Ric “Mr. Fast Food” Keller, is vulnerable and we need that seat. This week’s defeat over Children’s Healthcare should make that brutally obvious.

You and I both know that all Congressional elections are national elections these days. We all need to help win anywhere we can. We can win here. We need to win here.

Let me be honest with you, I need your help. I have no idea what a “Netroots Coordinator” is. I’m not a politico and never claimed to be. I’m just a guy who knows right from wrong and is willing to write about it. What I don’t know about politics could fill a library.

Yet, even with the lack of experience I know that over the last 3 years we have made a difference. We have found our voice and have helped change “business as usual.” We have a chance to take the next step and help a man who walks our talk. I need your help to make that happen.
None of us pays taxes because we want our hard earned dollars wasted. Nobody who reads this blog likes corruption, enjoys being lied to, or thinks that more of the same is a recipe for a healthier American political system. Over the course of this campaign, I hope you’ll avoid taking the easy route of following talking points, and take something greater from the blog entries I post here about my experiences. Like you, I’m a guy with an ideal in my heart about what my country can and should be. Like you, I’m sick of old-school old rules politics. I’m ready for some honesty in my political landscape, I’ve found a candidate I believe in, and I’m doing it. Thanks for coming along for the ride.

Political Strategy: Keep An Eye On Mike Huckabee

Friday, October 19th, 2007

The Republican Party remains unconvinced by their front running presidential candidates. This weekend religious conservatives are holding a Values Voter Summit in Washington DC…hoping to identify a candidate they can support. Despite the many pundits who believe Rudi Giuliani is headed towards the Republican Party’s nomination, I have my suspicions that we will see Mike Huckabee emerge as a viable alternative. Here’s the basis of my speculation.

1. Giuliani will not be able to undo the damage done to his prospects by the strident opposition of evangelical leaders like James Dobson. While polling indicates he has support from Christian conservatives, the same polling suggests that support is soft and therefore vulnerable.

2. Romney may be willing to say whatever evangelicals want to hear but when its all said and done, he remains a Mormon and that’s a hurdle far too many evangelicals will not be able to overcome.

3. Thompson created high expectations by delaying his announcement to run and his performance since entering the race has been disappointing. His opposition to a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage put an exclamation mark on the disappointment.

4. McCain may have the best track record on social issues but his history with evangelicals has been confrontational and I suspect many GOP voters simply don’t think he can win the general election. The fact that he supported the President on immigration and is so closely aligned with the President on the war in Iraq doesn’t help his cause with independent voters.

5. The anticipated withdrawal of Sam Brownback eliminates one of Huckabee’s primary rivals for the evangelical vote…as well as the votes of conservative Catholics. The fact that Brownback believes the GOP nominee must be “a pro-life candidate” suggests the Kansas Senator will not support Giuliani.

So how does Huckabee enter the top tier and become a legitimate contender? Partly by who he is…inclusive of his Christian credentials…and partly be default especially if he can succeed in becoming the protest candidate in the Iowa primary. The challenge Huckabee faces is formidable. He has his detractors amongst traditional conservatives and they include the influential Richard Viguerie. My own belief is that Viguerie favors establishing a third party nominee and is therefore doing his best to disqualify the existing GOP candidates.

Notwithstanding the opposition Huckabee faces from the evangelical elite, his down home approach appeals to the average church goer in the GOP…individuals who will ultimately decide the winner of the Iowa primary. Huckabee may also be the best speaker in the field and his conciliatory tone plays well with those evangelicals who fear another abrasive candidate like George Bush may turn off moderate conservatives and independents who have grown weary of the unyielding gridlock. The fact that Huckabee holds true to the GOP social agenda but seeks to enact it with civility and a seemingly sincere style is also appealing.

If one looks at the criticisms of Huckabee from the likes of Viguerie; they may represent differences on issues that will play well with middle class Republicans…voters who many believe have supported the GOP even though doing so may have not been in their own best interest. The fact that the GOP has had success in painting prior Democratic candidates as elitists may have actually opened the eyes of these mainstream Republicans who now feel they may have been used by their own GOP elite.

What evangelicals are beginning to realize is that elitism exists throughout the political system and the promises they received from the GOP on social issues may have been nothing more than the means to guarantee their votes. Viguerie’s criticisms of Huckabee may actually represent the other concerns that impact values voters…interests which are beginning to resonate and may influence their future votes…votes that may be cast for men like Mike Huckabee who support their values but do more than provide lip service. A few of Viguerie’s objections to Huckabee follow.

Not only did he increase Arkansas’s minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.25 per hour, but he even encouraged the U.S. Congress to do the same thing nationally.

He supported President George W. Bush’s 2003 massive expansion of Medicare by adding a prescription-drug benefit.

He called the No Child Left Behind Act, which increased federal education spending by 48 percent and expanded big-government control of local schools, “the greatest education reform effort of the federal government in my lifetime.”

The GOP elite seems to believe they can take values voters for granted with little more than stating the right things with regards to social issues. However, these voters may be ready to embrace a candidate who not only shares their religious values but will support programs that provide them with other important economic considerations. Truth be told, many values voters who have repeatedly supported the GOP received little benefit from the Bush administration’s policies (think tax cuts). A candidate like Mike Huckabee may offer a much more palatable formula.

A number of stars have to align for Huckabee to emerge as a viable contender…but he can look to the path taken to the presidency by another former Arkansas Governor. The fact that Bill Clinton, frequently regarded as one of the best political minds in recent history, cites Huckabee as the second tier GOP candidate to watch suggests that those stars may be more malleable than we may realize.

Cross-posted at Thought Theater