Saturday, November 19, 2005

Blue vs. Red: Heat Is On; Neocon Tries To Bail


Our contestant this week on "Blue vs Red" attempted to capitulate to the side of knowledge by informing us that his voting record might surprise you. Are tie-dye shirts and McGovern posters hanging in his closet?

This tempering of their conservative ideology is similar to Conservatives Unite!, who bent over backwards to show she was tolerant to blacks and the poor in the wake of Hurricane Katrina by unveiling her resume of good deeds towards the indigent.

Calling Daniel-In-Brookline and Rich Casebolt conservative is insulting to the party of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan. These are neocons, a sect of conservatism that is anathema to the party's already dubious thought.

Here's my return fire to one of his supporters:
Let me give you some perspective on "your war". Don't you see how foolish your exuberance for a far-flung, phony war looks to the rest of the country and world? Why are you so happy to be duped? Here's an apt analogy:

Wouldn't you feel foolish if you were telling everyone how great your wife was when the rest of the neighborhood knew she was having an affair with Mandingo, the three-legged paper boy, who also eats your favorite pork rinds and watches your 60-inch big screen while you're out saving the Middle East?

Mr. Daniel-In-Brookline had this preposterous statement in regards to the benefits to Israel with U.S. military involvement in the Middle East:
America had strong and compelling reasons, post-9/11, to force Iraq to disarm, by diplomacy or by force. Israel, on the other hand, has no greater interest now than she did in 2000.


Does he believe the administration's assertion that Saddam was devising a plan to fly a remote-controlled plane with weapons of mass destruction to the continental U.S. and detonated it? How could he possibly assert that the most-hated rival to all of the Arab and Muslim world would not have an interest in an ally patrolling Baghdad? It's absurd to say such a thing and points again to the fact that his arguments emanate from Israel and cloak their involvement in this war.

And here's my response to Mr. Daniel-In-Brookline's question of why his beliefs stem from his ties to Israel.

By the way, it's likely that the Mr. Daniel-In-Brookline is a pro-choice-Israeli national-neocon-Red Sox fan.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Bill Clinton Calls War 'A Big Mistake'

Bubba and Bush 41 yuk it up
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.

Thanks, Bill. Where were you when we needed you the last two years? Playing golf with George H.W. Bush in Kennebunkport, that's where.

Bubba and the elder Bush must have had a falling out over Clinton taking too many mulligans because he finally spoke the truth about the situation in Iraq.

President Bill Clinton told a group of college students in Dubai that the war in Iraq was "a big mistake"

It's a little too late for Clinton to lead the Democrats against this war today. Where was his leadership when the war president was throwing his post-9/11 weight around in 2003? Why didn't he cite the very quotes that Republicans are using against him and his party back when Bush and Cheney were frightening Americans with visions of atomic winter?

We'll probably never know. If anything, it probably stems with the peculiar neutering of the Democratic Party back then when the party leadership was more afraid of preposterously being called unpatriotic than of the actual terror threat.

If Clinton would have stood up then and said that his administration believed Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction and put it in its proper context; being that he was a risk to the region and in no way a threat to the continental U.S. then many of the questions still lingering today might have been dealt with in the run-up to war.

Instead of hemming and hawwing with the Bush family in Indonesia and countless dinner dates in Maine, Clinton could have called for an extension of his own and the U.S. policy of containment through diplomatic circles rather than becoming complicit by his inaction.

Tim Grieve from Salon makes a good point that the heavy hitters of the party are now vehemently calling for the end of the war. First Sen. John Edwards and now President Clinton.

If Bill is calling the war folly, will his wife be next?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Blue vs. Red: NeoCons Gang Up on LFR

After failing to pick a fight with a feeble-minded Republican in Conservatives Unite, the Lunatic Fringe Report has found two neocons in the mold of Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Stephen Hadley.

Interestingly, Daniel-in-Brookline, resides in the lovely blue-shaded state of Massachusetts. Whatever. It's still about the debate that Americans all too often shy away from: politics.

Read what Daniel-in-Brookline has to say about the public perception that Bush is a liar. He outlines scant evidence that reads like a boring inter-office memo. He offfers nothing except to urge us to take his word on everything.

Daniel-in-Brookline and his cohort, Rich Casebolt attempted to tag-team me when I commented on the above post.

Read the comments Here.

The gist of their argument is the standard neocon talking points since 9/11. Republicans have a newfound special spot in their hearts for the welfare of the Muslim world. Saddam was a monster waiting to be vanquished along the typical macho bravado better served for Dirty Harry than for the world's only superpower.

I will readily admit that I attempted to bait Mr. Daniel-in-Brookline by mentioning his relationship with Israel as a factor in his worldview.
Your Pro-Israel banner, which I am not against, plainly clouds your view of this unfortunately war.

I added the modifier to the sentence to make this point: Being of Portuguese descent, I too, would be a war hawk if the Spanish were raining SCUDS over Lisbon while I'm drinking expensive Port wine in the comfort of my Northern California home, but, they're not and all I have is Two Buck Chuck in my cabinet.

I urge readers of the Lunatic Fringe Report to visit these blogs to witness arguments that are quite foreign to liberal and moderate minds and pointedly un-American. The neocon philosophy of forcefully reorganizing the Middle East with American power along with the brutality of the enemy and political sleight of hand that follows it must be recognized before it transforms this country from the Shining City on the Hill to a ghetto of darkness.

I unleash you, Lunatics!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Newest Beltway Scandal; Come On Down!


The Administration's bungling of Hurricane Katrina. Ouch!
The indictment of Lewis Libby. Ouch!
The death of the 2,000th American serviceman in Iraq. Ouch!
The dark clouds of faulty pre-war intelligence. Ouch! Now this:

Tomorrow's Washington Post is reporting--similar to the false reasons for war in Iraq that we suspected all along--that executives from Big Oil, indeed, participated in Vice President Cheney's ultra-secret Energy Task Force in the spring of 2001.

Dana Milbank and Justin Blum have obtained detailed Secret Service logs that show executives from Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips, Shell Oil Co. and BP America Inc. met with the Task Force's executive director and an aide to Cheney at the White House.

In hindsight, it seems Sen. Ted Stevens' (R-AS) request not to swear in the five executives last week when they testified before the Energy and Commerce committee was a convenient stroke of luck for the oilmen. When Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) queried them about each companies involvement in Cheney's energy task force, three of the five flatly denied it, while BP America's CEO wasn't sure and Shell's CEO has only been on the job for a year.
Toward the end of the hearing, Lautenberg asked the five executives: "Did your company or any representatives of your companies participate in Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001?" When there was no response, Lautenberg added: "The meeting . . . "

"No," said Raymond [ExxonMobil].

"No," said Chevron Chairman David J. O'Reilly.

"We did not, no," Mulva said [ConocoPhillips].

"To be honest, I don't know," said BP America chief executive Ross Pillari, who came to the job in August 2001. "I wasn't here then."

"But your company was here," Lautenberg replied.

"Yes," Pillari said.

Shell Oil president John Hofmeister, who has held his job since earlier this year, answered last. "Not to my knowledge," he said.

Just how long can this precarious house of cards continue to stand before this administration topples in grand fashion? The American people are nearing critical mass in how much they will put up with from their President. Not only has this president betrayed the trust of the American people but now it's becoming more apparent that his policies were drawn up by ruthless, money-grubbing Oil companies bent of swindling every bit of the country's gas money.

If this sort of corruption continues to emanate from our Republican leaders, then pundits can forget about the demise of the Bush-style of governance in this country and begin to wonder whether a huge progressive renaissance is in our future.

We can only hope.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Horny Ol' Clinton Is Now GOP's Buddy?


David Goldblatt wrote an utterly misleading article in the National Review. One that screams Karl Rove is back.

Part of the Bush administration's defense against the Democrats onslaught to pre-war intelligence is to use their Golden Boy, Bill Clinton, against them.

Goldblatt's article is a cacophony of useless eight-year-old quotes attributed to everyone in the Clinton administration from Bubba to Samuel Berger and Madeleine Albright.

None of the quotes call for attacking and occupying Iraq. Of course, it was Clinton's gospel to pursue solutions in a more diplomatic fashion.

So, according to this new Republican logic, the man vilified for his lack of integrity and morality by every conservative in America is now the grand visionary for the backers of this quaint war. Evidently, he couldn't keep his pants on in the Oval Office and impeachment was punishment that befit the crime, but his judgment was sound when it came to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Oh, but wait, goes the apparent logic, Clinton was wrong about the WMD, too and that's the slippery slope coming out of Rove's talking points.

It is from these boldface lies that this administration attacks Democrats who voted for the war by using the argument that they reviewed the exact same intelligence that the neocon cabal in Cheney's office perused.

If this were true, then the dismantling of the entire Senate would be in order. It would mean that nearly every Democratic senator voted for a war in Iraq after looking over documents from CIA that harshly questioned whether WMD existed in Iraq and found the aluminum tubes thought to be used to enrich uranium to be the wrong specs. Democrats in the Senate knew that the possibility of occupation would likely incite a new terrorist enemy and they voted for the war anyway?

No, none of these documents were received by the Democratic leadership only the hawkish rhetoric of mushroom clouds and saving tortured Iraqis and wounded children. Nobody outside of the White House had the raw data that the false intelligence was manufactured from. Democrats did not have the preliminary reports that a captured terrorists claimed a link between Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein was "highly dubious" by Pentagon analysts. Instead, the report merely passed the information that the fanatically religious bin Laden and the secular Saddam were in cahoots without the extreme doubt included.

The type of blurring that the Republicans are striving would cover the arguments that pre-war intelligence was incorrect and manipulated to be false in the first place. Today they claim the end justifies the means.

Goldblatt makes another point that is eerily similar to a story on Cheney in this week's Time magazine. Goldblatts says:
In the final analysis, of course, the crucial question is not who believed what about Saddam's WMDs but whether the decision to invade Iraq was the right thing to do. It's a question for the history books; a definitive answer is likely a decade away.

In Time a former Administration official put it this way regarding a tale that makes Cheney look unwavering in the face of doubters:
If the VP isn't proven right until after he has kicked off, he's fine with that. The idea of being proved right before the end of his life is a false deadline in his mind. Right is right.

This second tactic basically says Republicans are resigning themselves to the fact that this pre-war intelligence maelstrom is a losing battle in the present. Instead of owning up to the result, they will take their chances with history fate.

Since Bush's big comeback speech on Veteran's Day, there hasn't been any indication that their arguments are swaying any detractors or if its even stopping the bleeding. What Republicans do not understand is that the vast majority of Americans backed this war initially because they gave the President the benefit of the doubt in those trying days after 9/11 despite their reservations.

The tide isn't going to turn just by perpetrating a negative argument. Americans feel betrayed by this president and that sort of anger doesn't subside so easy.

Friday, November 11, 2005

GOP's Election Shutout Doesn't Say Much


Yesterday election sweep of governorship Virginia and New Jersey, plus the trouncing Arnold Schwarzenegger took in California was less of a foretelling of the future and more of a missed opportunity for the Republican Party.

It's true that Republicans are running from President Bush as if he were the first known case of the avian flu, but Tuesday's election results could have been had with a approval ratings from a year ago; before the veil of invincibility completely fell from the once powerful "war president".

Virginia is near the gravitational pull of the Beltway, but tends to vote fairly conservative. It's also the home state of Gov. Mark Warner, a Democrat, who enjoys enormous popularity in Virginia and probably would be a strong presidential candidate if not for his abnormally large teeth. To have the Democrat, Tim Kaine, win on the heels of Warner's record is not surprising. All account out of Virginia was that Jerry Kilgore was a weak candidate whether the country was head over heels for the President or not.

Much was talked about Bush's last-minute stop in Richmond the night before the election and whether it was a sign of his weakness or that Kilgore wanted to distance himself from the Prez until the last minute. In fact, Bush's presence in Virginia, despite the GOP loss, helped Kilgore at the polls by energizing the base. Kilgore was still trounced, but far more complex factors were underlining the defeat than Bush's unpopularity.

In New Jersey, the win by Sen. Jon Corzine wasn't a surprise. The mega-millionaire from the Garden State had the uniquely Jersey political machine well-oiled and the cash to make it operate. In any election year, a Republican winning in the increasingly Democratic New Jersey would have been a huge upset. His challenger, Doug Forrester, has been a loser at big time politics and his defeat by Corzine was easily foretold.

In California, Gov. Schwarzenegger has never linked his political future to the President. Whether it's because the Golden State is one of the bluest of blue states or The Governator's conservative credentials are fairly moderate; both sides have been weary of the other. The special election in California and the initiatives Schwarzenegger backed was dumb politics.

In a cash-starved economy as California, spending millions of dollars for a needless election frustrated many. On top of that, Schwarzenegger picked fights with some of the most heroic and cherished institutions in America--nurses, firefighters and teachers! How a positive outcome could have came out of this needless acrimony is beyond many.

Democrats should not judge the GOP's poor showing last Tuesday as the beginning of the end of their majority, but there were more important factors in the way they ran these campaigns and how some of their tried-and-true tactics failed them.

You should expect everything and anything from Republican strategists. These are the political operatives who made a war hero out of a coward by thrashing a five-year POW and a senator with a purple heart.

In Virginia, Kilgore used the same undignified tactics of calling voters and passing false information. Voters in Virginia, received a recorded message that was surreptitiously spliced together and said:
I am running for Governor and I am not afraid to tell you where I stand.
I am conservative on issues of personal responsibility. As a former Christian missionary, faith is central to my life. I oppose gay marriage. I support restrictions on abortion: No public funding and parental consent. And I've worked to pass a state law banning partial birth abortion.

Karl Rove used the exact same ploy in the 2000 South Carolina primary where the message said Sen. John McCain may be unstable from his stint in a Vietnamese prison camp and possibly fathered a black child. This sort of underhanded trick didn't work this time.

In New Jersey, Forrester drummed up controversy by showcasing Corzine's ex-wife on a 15-second television spot. She said, " "He let his family down, and he'll probably let New Jersey down, too."

What both these dirty tricks show is that the difference between the atmosphere in Washington today and last year is that the bread and butter of the Republican party, that is, the ability to win only when the issue are buried in favor of titillating stories is over.

Voters in Virginia, New Jersey and California have all seen these types of shenanigans before and they responded by voting for what's best for their states. If the American people force politics to be played solely on issues, then that could be the lasting marker of last Tuesday's elections.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Reid: Don't Even Think About A Pardon


Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid, struck with another bit of genius yesterday. The Democratic leadership has produced such a precise and detailed plan of attack against the Republicans that it's even reacting aggressively to scenarios a year or two down the line.

Reid and his band of saviors of the Republic announced that they will send a letter to the President urging him not to pardon the recently indicted Scooter Libby.

Where did this come from? There wasn't a groundswell of innuendo about Libby's fate from anybody, at least, not just yet.

Instead, it was a sly move by the Democrats to bring back the conversation of the CIA leak investigation back to above the fold of your local newspaper. It also was a strong dose of clever politics from a party that has been bare of such ideas from Bill Clinton's time in the White House.

The endgame that the Democrats sprung on the White House erases one of the Bush administration's possible moves regarding Libby's fate.

The Democrats took what was lightly discussed in every classroom and smoky bar in America and publicized it. It is inconceivable that Bush--with such low ratings--could pull off the mechanics of a pardon for Libby without plunging the country in a frenzy against anything Republican.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Report: U.S. Used WMDs In Iraq Last Year


Torture in secret prison camps and the use of chemical weapons against civilians. Only the crimes of Saddam Hussein? Try the United States of America

The Independent is reporting today that it has uncovered evidence that the U.S. military bombed civilians in the Iraqi city of Fallujah last year with the flesh-burning chemical weapon, white phosphorus.
Powerful new evidence emerged yesterday that the United States dropped massive quantities of white phosphorus on the Iraqi city of Fallujah during the attack on the city in November 2004, killing insurgents and civilians with the appalling burns that are the signature of this weapon.

A week after the Bush administration fought back renewed charges that the reasons for war were created under false pretenses, the torturing of prisoners and the shocking use of chemical weapons by the United States has created another black eye for this country.
If the use of chemical weapons against the al-qaeda stronghold of Fallujah is found true, it will be the most heinous and morally reprehensible act in American history.

Given that hyperbole, why has every major media outlet chosen to ignore this report. Just like Abu Ghraib scandal the American media was silent until 60 Minutes had the guts to report a story that had reported a full three months earlier. Is this likely to happen again?

If the world hated us yesterday, they loathe us today. The use of chemical weapons was the basis of the barbarism of Saddam by the Clinton and both Bush administrations. How was the use of gassing Iraqis justified in light of this cozy reason to attack Saddam?

Last Thursday, the Washington Post reported the existence of "black sites" in Eastern Europe that tortured terrorist prisoners. The use and knowledge of these prisons was believed to be known be few in our government or the host countries.

There comes a point in time where this becomes more than Democrats and Republicans and more about fighting a sinister evil inherent in our government. This government leaks covert CIA agents therefore endangering her life and others undercover. Led by Vice President Dick Cheney, it wildly supports the use of torture against terror suspects and today we now have knowledge of a hypocritical predilection towards using weapons of mass destruction.

How much more damage can our international reputation take until it becomes suicide for any American to travel abroad?

Monday, November 07, 2005

Hollywood's Love Affair With Sacramento

Warren Beatty as "Bulworth"
Originally uploaded by wonderbread74.

California is the most powerful state in the Union. It's the most populated and richest state then why are we so poor in leadership? Has our governor's mansion become the plaything of Hollywood?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has put his limited political capital on the line with four initiatives that will go before voters tomorrow. Many believe that Schwarzenegger would not have won the recall election two years ago if it was, in fact, a standard primary. But, in three months, a lack of time to gain any substance and his considerably fame was too much for former governor, Gray Davis.

Since then, Californians have seen a governor that is a near duplicate of the one they controversially booted out of Sacramento. Kah-LEE-fornia, as the Governor calls it, is preparing for a re-election of its body-building governor next year with a dearth of formidable candidates. What has happened to the land of prosperity in the West?

Thus far, Democrats have countered with a unknown and underwhelming candidates such as Steve Westly and the dour Phil Angelides.

Last Saturday, during a campaing stop in San Diego for Schwarzenegger's initiatives, a band of protesters led by actors Warren Beatty and Annette Benning tried to crash the proceedings. As the San Francisco Chronicle describes it, aides to the Governor ordered the hangar where the rally was held to close the doors on Beatty. Afterwards, the Fire Department ordered the doors reopened for safety reasons.

Beatty's presence at Schwarzenegger's rally is no coincidence, nor is it a concern Californian protesting the establishment. Beatty has intimated to many in Hollywood that he is interested in running for Governor in 2006. With likes of Westly and Angelides on the Democratic side, the horror of an all-actor gubernatorial election pitting "The Terminator" versus "Bulworth" is quite possible.

California's role in our nation is enormous. Legislation and ideas from the Golden State reverberate all over the country. If California passes legislation on topics such as curbing energy consumption, gay marriage and health care to name a few, the rest of the country takes notice. Conversely, when California elects a former action hero with a funny accent, the nation laughs. How loud will this howls be when the governor's mansion pits two overaged Hollywood actors to guide it for the next four years?

Is California's economic problems, bursting classrooms and high housing prices so much of dilemma that we cannot enlist a true politician trained to tackle these problems instead of men more accustomed to playing such roles on celluloid?

Where is Sen. Dianne Fienstein? Where is Gavin Newsom? Where is Willie Brown? Where is the ghost of Edmund Brown?

Governor Brown cradled the growth of this state during the 1960s. He built the world's finest state university system flowing the knowledge for a generation from one end of the state to the others. He built freeway system that facilitated enourmous growth and he watered the dark soils of the Central Valley that feed the state and the country.

The visionaries such as Brown have given way to ego-maniacal thespians with a dearth of casting calls and a boatload of hubris.

Let's hope that the Governor is furthered weakened tomorrow with a political defeat at the polls. Maybe then, the real reformers will find some encouragement in ending Hollywood's love affair with the Governor's mansion.

Lunatic Fringe Lounge: "Love Rescue Me"

this is an audio post - click to play


A little Holy Ghost Power! tonight here at the Lounge.

I read the 23rd Psalm from the Bible and recalled this song written by the great Bob Dylan for U2's Rattle and Hum album.

Incidently, the last minute was lost in recording. Maybe we'll find it in time for the Greatest Hits album.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

C'mon Kids! Let's Go To Pop's Place

Check out Pop's Place and join in on the conversation.

I'm usually bad with names, too.

The blog writer, Pops Santos, is a former native of Northern California and honored in many Bay Area bars as the "Greastest Drinker Who Ever Lived But Hasn't Died From Liver Failure...Yet".

Kids, do you know where drinking leads you? To the middle of the Arizona desert stratching and crawling for another drink for your parched throat. What an ironic and vicious cycle.

Also, check out one of the LFR's readers from the East Coast, The Opposite of Progress.

Friday, November 04, 2005


Red States Pay Cost Of Military Blood

Over 59 million Americans go to bed each night with the blood of those military heroes on their hands. It may seem ridiculous--almost blasphemous--but every American who voted to re-elect George W. Bush did so with the knowledge that the administration falsified intelligence information and fostered a blanket of fear over the country with lies since 2003.

The indictment of Scooter Libby and the others that may follow were only confirmation of what every Democrat in the Presidential race was telling you. What Democratic Party Chairman, Howard Dean, says today about the malfeasance of this rogue regime is not any different to what he remarked in any stump speech from Des Moines, Iowa to Tallahassee, Florida.

The information was out there, yet the Bush machine of trickery and fear overwhelmed you. The false, rugged manhood of the "War President" was too much to ignore. The specter of gays getting hitched and the highly unlikely notion that your rifles would be taken away drove you to vote for Bush. He even tricked you that the guy who actually served in Vietnam with valor was less than the President who went AWOL from the National Guard.

All over the world the media lampooned you for ignoring facts and re-electing this buffoon. But, you went further when evangelicals spoke in reverent tones of Bush's holiness. You found no problem in your heart elevating this man to the right hand of God.

You know nothing different today than you did November 3, 2004. If you would have stood up then the deaths of so many young lives--American and Iraqi--would have been saved. To atone for your sins, you should do this:

Go back to the churches that preach in the name of the lord with such hypocritical doctrines of war and hatred. Ask for forgiveness because you were blinded by your inner prejudices and sought refuge in the fear of our leadership in Washington and remember this: Ultimately, in a democracy, it is not the fault of our leaders who do wrong, but accountability lies in the citizens who neglect to choose them more wisely.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The White House's Incestuous Affair With Holding Power

The underlining question of the CIA leak investigation is what exactly is the White House's men protecting? Is it more than just a boongoogle of a war in Iraq or something more?

The theory goes that Joe Wilson could have been easily muzzled. His accusations that Iraq did not attempt to buy uranium from Niger could have marginalized. The British, of which, President Bush first attributed the Niger findings still hasn't backed off that assertion.

Instead, the administration sought to discredit and possible endanger a covert CIA agent with some of the heaviest hitters in government. What are they hiding? How big is it and how much is it worth to the donors of Bush's presidency?

This murky question has been furthered in recent days with a reshuffling of the usual suspects. Vice President Dick Cheney appointed two familiar cronies of this scandal to replace the indicted Scooter Libby.

David Addington and John Hannah (not the splendid New England Patriots offensive lineman from the 80s) were named to replace Libby's duties in the Vice President's office. These are not administration outsiders, but merely the second string from the neo-conservative's bench.

Addington has been linked to the decision to authorized torturing terror suspects and was obliquely named in Libby's indictment. Addington may have been a part of meetings that first looked into gaining knowledge of Plame's status at the CIA.

Hannah was apparently worried about receiving an indictment as early as a week before Libby's came down from the special prosecutor. Hannah was named in Wilson's book as a possible suspect in the outing of his wife's covert status to various journalists.

The point here is that along with Addington and Hannah, Karl Rove still holds a security clearance for top secret information despite being named as an individual who passed along highly-sensitive information to Matt Cooper and possibly Robert Novak.

Why can't this embattled President follow his beloved idol--Ronald Reagan--and clear house? Or is the house of cards named the War in Iraq only standing with these few felonious architects?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Whoa! Nice Plugs

Ralph Neas

Ralph Neas is the man responsible for blocking the Supreme Court nomination of Robert Bork in the 1980s. Since then he been the Democrats point man on President Bush's three nominations to the Supreme Court and a frequent visitor to Plugs-O-Rama.

Neas has done some wonderful things during his career as an advocate. He's been a powerful ally in some of the most important civil rights legislation of the past twenty years, but how well can you trust a guy who thinks the attrocious black sprouts protruding from his hairline is, in fact, hair follicles.

Listen, we're not even mentioning the face-numbing botox and plastic surgery, either. But, alas, I just did.

At the end of the day, I would rather trust those guys who spray paint hair on the top of their dome. Those guys have the opportunity to go topless anytime they want. It's good to have leaders with functional noggin hair.

The Seed Of Democrats '06 Argument Are Sown

Only time will show what this investigation by Patrick Fitzgerald will really mean in the long run. There's a sense that it will go farther than indictments that are handed down.

What we cannot see is the possible cumulative effect that political pressure will have on the White House and how they handle it. Crimes have been charged. The White House is stumbling and every reporter is speculating what's next and, more importantly, looking intently at every corner for the next big scoop. This is the combination of a precariously built house of cards ready to fall.

Amidst this frenzy, it's not a surprise that the Democrats are slowly building their 2006 midterm case around this CIA leak scandal. For the Democratic Party it's an excellent chance to nab one of the GOP's most revered platforms: The bearers of national security.

In the past months, it seemed that Democrats could successfully run on the platform that Republicans had squandered their majority and wrecked the country. An unpopular war, rising gas and heating prices and botched assistance to the Gulf Coast would have been a proven trinity of bad news to the Republican majority in Congress.

Now, as news about Cheney's Chief of Staff became known, filtered and processed it seems that national security is definitely up for grabs.

Liberal blogger, Oliver Willis is blunt in his assessment of the Republican party's handling of national security,
If you want ethics in government, don't vote Republican. If you want to trust your government not to leak classified information to journalists for political gain, certainly don'’t vote for Republicans

If national security is just within reach, then the issue of accountability and honesty in the Bush White House is a near certainty to played and won by Democrats.

Former White House hand during the Clinton presidency, Paul Begala, posted a rather biting comeback to the current inhabitants of the White House and their pious attitude when they received the keys to government.
As a matter of morality, the Bushies are already guilty. Guilty of smearing the Wilson family. Guilty of twisting intelligence. Guilty of lying about the role of White House aides in outing Mrs. Wilson. Guilty of sanctimony and hypocrisy and hubris. Most of all, they are guilty of misleading us into this God-awful war.

Yesterday's aggressive move to close the Senate was another weapon to root out the truth. In this case the attack is two-fold. One, it serves notice that the minority party will be vociferous in fighting the nomination of Samuel Alito. And second, it simultaneously hovers the ill-fated war and the indictments of Lewis Libby like a dark cloud over red state America.

Thus far, the Democrats plan to quietly lie in the weeds until the wounded elephant was on one knee has proven to be political genius.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Did You Ever Know That You're My Hero


Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)
Senate Minority Leader, Harry Reid, should know his way around a poker table being a senator from Nevada. His reputation wasn't one of a political gambler until today when his high-reward bet to close a session of the Senate turned him into a hero for Democrats across the country.

Just listen to the superlatives being lavished on the political acumen of Reid today:

Tom Curry of MSNBC said, "On a quiet Indian summer afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid dramatically wrenched the political agenda from the Republican majority"

David Sirota said in the Huffington Post, "Give-'Em-Hell Harry Reid today did a great service to America today by standing up, shutting down the Senate and demanding answers about how and why the Bush administration lied to America about the Iraq "threat" in the lead up to the war."

Marty Kaplan, also of the Huffington Post, said, "Finally the Democrats on the Hill have shown some leadership.

Mark Schmitt at the TPMCafe said, "the prospect of a "final showdown" in which Alito is confirmed by the Nuclear tactic is just not going to happen in a Senate effectively run by Harry Reid."

The Daily Kos said, "Let's hear it for Reid. Simply masterful, as a parliamentarian and as a leader.

...And then there's this hilarious quote attributed to Republican Majority Leader, Sen. Bill Frist in the New York Times:
"The resort to this, this, this stunt - this political stunt - this scare tactic, is really deeply disappointing," he told reporters . But "if they want to get in the gutter, I guess that's what they'll do."
You be-be-be-better wa-wa-wa-watch out, Billy.

Lott Calls For Gray Beards


The retreat has begun. On today's Hardball Republican Sen. Trent Lott all but threw Karl Rove under the bus. Lott told Chris Matthews this:
Look, [Rove] has been very successful, very effective in the political arena. The question is should he be the deputy chief of staff under the current circumstances? I don't know all that's going on, so I can't make that final conclusion. But, you know, how many times has the top political person become also the top policy advisor? Maybe you can make that transition, but it's a real challenge, and I think they have to -- I do think they need to look at bringing in some more people, you know, old gray beards that have been around this town for a while, help them out a little bit at the white house.

Lott may still harbor anger towards Rove for the lost of his leadership in the Senate, but his statements must be construed as a very visible Republican sending a message to the White House: We will not stand with you unless the political winds start changing.

But what was astonishing was the fact that Lott drizzled such contempt for Rove that he even shifted the critique to a question of experience. Gray beards?

Emboldened Demos Hijack Senate


The imagery and narrative is provocative. The downtrodden Democrats--defenders of civility and honor--gallop into the Senate and closed it down until the Republicans relent and action is forced on the adminstration's pre-war intelligence.

Of course, that's the romanticized version of what happened today in the Senate. In what Republican Sen. Bill Frist called a "stunt", the Minority Leader, Harry Reid motioned for a rare closed session and was seconded by Sen. Dick Durbin. This clever bit of senatorial procedure was all that was needed to clear the Senate. Sen. Reid used the occasion to force the Republicans hand in continuing and being more forthright in investigating the Bush administration's reasons for war.

Not since Bill Clinton has the Democratic Party had a clear and precise story to tell the American people. Reid's action today was, indeed, a stunt. A simple one that plays on the country's disatisfaction with the path the country is heading, soldiers dying in Iraq, and the universal feeling that the public was bamboozled into a foreign war with scant evidence and poor leadership.

The story seems heroic. A "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington-type" scenario, where the stonewalling and secretiveness of the Bush administration is cleary highlighted.

From today to election day, November 2006, it is now clear that the Democratic Party will vigorously hammer every Republican running for a seat in the House and Senate with every remnant of the CIA leak investigation. Invariably, it is likely to force every Republican candidate to distance themselves in various amounts of severity from the President.

In another sense, this bold and aggressive move by the Democrats is saying loud and clear: We will use the nuclear option with the newest Supreme Court nominee, if provoked. It's no coincidence that this option was taken a day after the President unwisely drew the battle lines by nominating a wingnut conservative in Samuel Alito.

Now, if the Democrats could only come up with some equally bold ideas, too.