Monday, February 27

We Told You So, But That Doesn't Mean We're Happy

We saw it coming, we liberals. We knew that something would happen that would start a civil war in Iraq. We saw through the lies and deceptions coming from the White House and new that Iraq, regardless of the rationale, was a bad idea in the first place. Though Iraq is still a unified nation (in as much as a ripped sleeve of a shirt is still part of the shirt with its last threads clinging for dear life), it borders dangerously close to oblivion.

But that does not mean we're pleased with how it's gone. The Rude Pundit puts it oh so well:

So let's just say it up front here: over here in Liberalburg, we weren't happy when Ronald Reagan was cozying up to Saddam Hussein back in the 1980s. We weren't happy that the United States was backing a brutal, murderous, raping thug, giving him weapons and such. We weren't happy with the first Persian Gulf War. We weren't happy with sanctions that decimated the poorest people in Iraq. We weren't happy that the President wouldn't allow weapons inspectors to finish their work.

We weren't happy with this war to start with, saying, for instance, that a civil war was the inevitable outcome. We're not happy to be proven right. We're not happy, simply, when people are dying for no good cause, with no good outcome on the horizon, and no good way out. Frankly, oh, dear, sweet right wing, on the whole, we'd've rather been wrong and had tens of thousands of people not killed, tens of thousands of America soldiers not wounded. We'd've eaten the crow and, trust us, wonderful, fair right wing, you'd've shoved our faces in the plate of that black bird.

But since we were right, maybe, just maybe, someone oughta pay a political price for being so goddamned wrong. Instead, though, the right's gonna try to turn it around and blame the left and those who "didn't support the war" for its failure. Which would, for all intents and purposes, finally seal the deal on Vietnam redux.

So when the inevitable tide of right- wing talking points try to say liberals are happy as can be that Iraq is ripping itself apart, remember that we find no solace in being right about that that is plain as day. And the day that conservatives realize that will be the first day on the path back to being a rational people.

Wednesday, February 22

"A Big Bowl of Bad"

Someone asked we "what scandals are you talking about?" when I mention the White House (I know, crazy...). I've been thinking about how to put it succinctly for the past few days. Well, Letterman last night was able to cover the Vice President for me. Now if I could just figure out how to put the other ones in the same manner...

Tuesday, February 21

"Iraq Apologizes for the Invasion"

Chief Iraqi leaders said "accidents do and will happen" and apologizing for the trouble the incident had caused the United States. "Our nation is deeply sorry for everything President Bush and his family have had to deal with," the Prime Minister said, his voice a bit raspy but strong.

"We all assume certain risks in what we do, in what activities we pursue," the foreign minister said. "Accidents do and will happen."

Wednesday, February 15

Drinking Liberally

Same Bat Time, same Bat Place.

UPDATE: Just got off the phone with Drinking Liberally. (Turns out that 6 EST is not the same as 6 PST. Who'd a thunk it?) Anyway, we're about to become an offical chapter. Once we get some more things taken care of, (Sara, you're going to get an email about it) we're going to be for real!

Tuesday, February 14

In The Face

Words cannot describe how spot- on the Daily Show is about this.

Crooks and Liars has the Video.

Monday, February 13

The "Political Crime Wave" Narrative

I am a big proponent of Framing. In a nutshell, framing is the idea that if you argue with someone using the terms that you decide on, you have already won the debate. The shining example of this is the term "Pro- Life." By using that term, the opponents are now framed as being "Anti- Life." From the get go, they have to say why they are 'against life' even before they start presenting their side of the argument.

A narrative (for the uninitiated) is the over- arching framing term used for a political platform. The small government Republican, for example, is a narrative. Democrats, these days, are lacking a narrative (partly due to the Republican narrative of 'Democrats don't stand for anything', gleefully carried on by the traditional media). What I read this morning is a narrative that I love.

Via Simon Rosenberg, a la MyDD (Emphasis mine):

There is a lot of talk these days about how to best clean up Washington. The answer seems obvious - make a very public example of those who have broken the law, showing that even powerful players in Washington are not above the law. Our message to the American people should be a simple one - we will do whatever it takes to find the lawbreakers who have betrayed the public trust and bring them to justice. We should put the bad guys in jail.

...

When a city faces a crime wave the mayor doesn't call for the toughening of the laws. He first works to catch the criminals and bring them to justice. The same should apply to these Republican scandals, perhaps the most extensive set of ongoing criminal investigations into a governing party in American history. Our first order of business should be to make sure that those in power are doing everything possible to cooperate with the investigators, share what they know with the American people and bring the lawbreakers - regardless of party - to justice.

For the health of our democracy, Republican leaders - Bush, Frist, Hastert - should publicly disclose what they have been doing to help the various criminal investigations. Have they been deposed? Will they testify at the many upcoming criminal trials of their colleagues? Have they turned over relevant documents? Will they give the Justice Department and the FBI more resources to tackle this political crime wave? What are they doing to ensure that the prosecutors are walled off from any political interference? Will they resign if it is found that there was rampant criminal activity on their watch?

It fits so well with everything that's been going on in DC. It fits because frankly, it's the Truth. What do you get when a bunch of thugs and liars are put in charge? A crime wave that just so happens to be overlooked by the powers that be.

I'm also not worried about the hemorrhaging of the Republican Party. Recently, there have been Republicans in DC and state capitals jumping the Bush ship, so to speak, so as to keep their political careers alive. These politicans may very well try to run on a 'reform' platform in the run up to November. But as Glenn Greenwald points out (with comments from kos), they will have much more to deal with than Democrats (A fantastic article, a MUST READ):

People who self-identify as "conservatives" and have always been considered to be conservatives become liberal heathens the moment they dissent, even on the most non-ideological grounds, from a Bush decree. That's because "conservatism" is now a term used to describe personal loyalty to the leader (just as "liberal" is used to describe disloyalty to that leader), and no longer refers to a set of beliefs about government.

...

And in that regard, people like Michelle Malkin, John Hinderaker, Jonah Goldberg and Hugh Hewitt are not conservatives. They are authoritarian cultists. Their allegiance is not to any principles of government but to strong authority through a single leader.
The conservatives that support the administration will attack like wild dogs any 'turncoat Republican' that they see as abandoning their Dear Leader. It is already apparent that any Moderate in the Republican party will likely be faced by a hardcore conservative in their primaries this fall. That puts them right where we progressives want them: In a devil's Catch 22 between Moderatism and Conservatism; between jumping Bush's ship, and thus the party, or going down with it like brass on the Titanic. Either way, things are looking better for us every day.

Democrats can win in November. Our party can regain the majority in the House and (if we have some luck) the Senate. Sometime this spring or summer, the party needs to launch it's campaign platform. We need some sort of "Political Crime Wave" narrative. People hate crime. I think it's an issue that will get Joe and Jane voter to the polls in the upcoming midterms. Once we get a majority in either chamber, we can begin to get things back on the right track.

Saturday, February 11

A look at Idaho, Ten Months Out


Here's a map:

(Sure is pretty to see all that Blue, eh?)

As you can see, Idaho is 2nd Banana to Utah on the Happy Happy Bush Cheer Squad. I'm not going to bother and look at why Utah's so pleased with Bush's work, given how much our 'Honest President' has fallen since November '04.

What's more intriguing is why Idaho is so high up there. What (or rather, who) is it that is keeping his numbers so high? We have all seen the same President, so who is it in Idaho that stands behind him, and who is working tone down that blue, one shade at a time?

I'm thankfull to live in the age that we do, because we have wonderful organizations like SurveyUSA. They track public opinion in all states. Even better, they will survey and track other pollsters to see who is trending too far to one side. Needless to say, they're pretty unbiased.

Anyway, on to the survey in question. The most recent poll I could find was the January 2006 poll. SUSA asked three questions: How well you think the President, your Governor, and your Senators are doing their jobs. For us, that means we can look at how Bush is doing 'round here, along with Kempthorne, Craig, and Crapo. I'd really like to see something for the House, but there will be more of those in the next couple of more
.

THE PREZ'NIT

Here is the nice spreadsheet that SUSA gives us for the results of their January 06 poll. President Bush is sitting at 58- 39 in the Gem State. That score is a decent amount off of the national average of lower 40's for both numbers. Now I know I'm not alone in my dissaproval of the President, but who likes the guy?

As is the trend nationally, the Democrats (22% of the electorate) disapprove of Bush (17- 82) and the Republicans (45% of the electorate) approve (89- 8). Independants (31%) however, buck the national trend and break almost even (43- 51). Nationally, Independants are approving of Bush by around 33%. Why the ten point difference? I have no concrete idea, but a few hunches that I'll keep in mind until I can get more data...

What did show up with large differences in SUSA's poll was the regularity of Church attendance. By a whopping 74- 22, regular church attendees approve of Bush. At 43% of the survey pop, this is big. This is where we see his bastion of strength in Idaho. But it is not enough for me. I want to know which churches we're talking about. Is it from the Mormons? The protestants? I doubt us Catholics could do it, but it could be; I don't know.

The counter- group of never go-ers poll at 42- 57. These people are not insignificant, checking in at 33% of the pop. Here again, I want to know who these people are. Are they Athiests, or just lazy (like me)? Are they Urbanites, or rural livers? This amatuer pollster does not know.

THE GOOD OL' BOYS

Our dear Governor is sitting at a lovely 59- 31 right now. Not exactly the thing a Progressive wants to see, but that's what we get in our bastion of conservativism that is Idaho. Just about every demographic likes the guy except for self- identified Liberals at 36- 46- 10 (14% of the pop). Even the democrats were split down the middle at 44- 46.

The story is almost the same for our Senators. 57- 30 for Craig and 55- 29 for Crapo. Again, across the board approval in almost all demographics. At least this time the democrats pulled away from the middle ground. Interestingly, Crapo is polling a little under Craig. Though it is almost always withing the margin of error, Crapo has higher "I don't know's" than Craig. Craig's numbers are always stronger than Crapo's, but still within the MoE. Is Crapo not known quite as much? Is Craig the 'Big Brother Senator', with Crapo playing the part of the puppy- eyed little brother? Could be. (Funny thing, though, democrats disapprove of Crapo more than Craig (33 & 38 app., 48 diss.)

CONCLUSION?

So what does it all mean? Not much. Church attendance seems to be the only divider in Idaho politics (that SUSA uncovered). The bases of the parties are pretty much in line with the rest of the nation. Conservatives self- identify in Idaho at about 42% of the population; moderates at 41%; and us liberals at a paltry 14%. This means that any gains for us Democrats are going to come from Independant moderates. So we're not going to win on a platform of stem cells and higher taxes for social programs. But if we can get a guy like Gov. Schweitzer of Montana and pull off our own Montana Miracle, we just might get to bathe in the light at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, February 8

When We Are Finally in Bizzarro Land...

...When I quote Pat Buchanan:

Why would a president use his State of the Union to lash out at a school of foreign policy thought that has had zero influence in his administration? The answer is a simple one, but it is not an easy one for Bush to face: His foreign policy is visibly failing, and his critics have been proven right.

But rather than defend the fruits of his policy, Bush has chosen to caricature critics who warned him against interventionism.

Having plunged us into an unnecessary war, Bush now confronts the real possibility of strategic defeat and a failed presidency. His victory in Iraq, like the wars of Wilson and FDR, has turned to ashes in our mouths. And like Truman's war in Korea and Kennedy's war in Vietnam, Bush's war has left America divided and her people regretting he ever led us in. But unlike the world wars, Korea and Vietnam, Bush cannot claim the enemy attacked us and we had no choice. Iraq is Bush's war. Isolationists had nothing to do with it. To a man and woman, they opposed it.

But what has done more to radicalize Islam than our invasion of Iraq? Who has done more to empower Islamic radicals than Bush with his clamor for elections across a region radicalized by our own policies? It is one thing to believe in ideals, another to be the prisoner of some democratist ideology.


And my Favorite Part:

...George Bush cannot credibly blame isolationists or protectionists. These fellows have an alibi. They were nowhere near the scene of the crime.


Wow, Bizzarro Land sure is pretty, with it's clear, green skies and beautiful, rolling hills of blue grass...

In all honesty, I've been irked by Bush's straw man of an argument against Isolationists ever since he brought it up in his SOTU. I was about to give up finding just the right way to put it, when lo and behold, I get this gift horse. Since it's a bad idea to look it in the mouth, I'll just be on my way.

Drinking Liberally

Same Bat Time, Same Bat Place.

Wednesday, February 1

Hey, Let's Get Together and Vent About Bush!

Drinking Liberally, exploratory meeting #3. The Alehouse, 8pm. (Right?)