Sunday, July 31, 2011

What now? Game on.

I won't rehash what's wrong with the reported debt ceiling deal. I will add a bit of perspective, however.

We all know that we have a debt problem largely because of irresponsible Republican spending-- King Ronnie got us started down this road and those of us who are old enough remember the Republican mantra-- "Deficits don't matter-- it's the percentage of GDP that matters." Bill Clinton reversed the tide only to have Dubya embrace deficit spending with gusto, running up the debt to the point that when we really had an economic downturn that required significant deficit spending (including a sizable stimulus), there was less stomach for it. This is what Obama walked into. So, yes, despite the media's effort to find "balance" in the blame, the national debt is largely a Republican creation.

But even Obama's budgets show huge structural deficits without end. And, hastened by the crisis created by the Republicans, credit rating agencies are threatening to lower the USA's AAA rating which would have a significant impact on working class and middle class Americans. This is a reality that the President must address. We may not like the outlines of this proposed deal, but if it is what we are facing, what now?

Progressives are understandably concerned about any trigger that cuts entitlements. So are most Americans. The narrative created by the purported deal favors the Democratic position on this issue-- either significantly cut Defense, or popular entitlement programs are slashed. Americans haven't demanded that Defense be cut because they've never been presented with a necessary choice-- most Americans have reflexively supported excessive Defense spending without having to really engage on the issue of whether it is needed or wise. This has played into Republican fearmongering about the "war on terror" and fueled the military industrial complex. Now, average Americans are going to finally be presented with an "either/or." What side do you think they will come down on?

Most Americans are already sick of both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Most Americans can't see the necessity in keeping expensive military bases all over the world. Most Americans, when faced with a forced choice, would rather be investing in this country's infrastructure. This proposed deal will draw clear lines-- Democrats are fighting to protect the entitlements that Americans have paid into all their lives and Republicans are fighting to slash them. Look at the budget. Where's the money? Entitlements and Defense. Which is most bloated? This proposal forces the first real debate of our Defense budget in decades.

This debate will also sharpen the focus on revenues-- most Americans expect the wealthy to pay more. The Republicans will find themselves on the losing end of another issue that will define them for years to come.

This deal also focuses the debate on who Republicans care about-- and who they don't. While the Teajadists may be beyond concerns over their re-election prospects, many Republicans will not be immune from feeling the heat. Let's apply it.

We can look at this proposal as a defeat, or we can look at it as an opportunity to finally get the focused attention of many Americans who often don't engage on political issues, or when they do, focus on issues that do not advance their interest. This will be an epic battle. We may not like the terms of the game, but if it must be played, then game on.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Reagan Myth and the Clinton Reality

I've spent much of the last 16 years defending Bill Clinton. I've done it over the last four plus years in the dKos community when people attacked him for not effectively pursuing a more progressive agenda. I've also done it in countless discussions and arguments with more conservative friends and acquaintances elsewhere. Many of the criticisms I defended him against were complete and utter BS. Other criticisms may have had some measure of validity, but not enough to warrant the conclusions reached or the degree of animosity directed toward him.

Bill was my guy. I loved the Big Dog, and forgave him everything. The first Dem since FDR to be elected to two terms, he was a proud member of the DLC and triangulated the hell out of more progressive Dems, but I defended it as necessary under the circumstances. Bill Clinton was not elected during a particularly progressive era. The first two years of his Presidency ushered in an even less progressive era. That is how poorly even a man of his incomparable political skill managed to sell the American people on the more progressive agenda he did, at least initially, arrive in Washington with.

As promised during his campaign, Bill tried to end the discrimination against gays and lesbians serving in the military during the first month of his administration, and suffered his first major failure. He later passed a more progressive income tax bill and signed the Brady Bill. On the flip side, with Al Gore masterfully taking on Ross Perot on Larry King Live, the Clinton administration pushed NAFTA through against the wishes of most Democrats in Congress.

He then had, perhaps, his biggest setback. Health Care. He gave this task to Hillary. She failed miserably. Despite having a Democratic House and Senate, it was a total flop. Hillary now says she has the scars to prove it. But scars aren't results.

By 1994, the electorate was angry at both Clintons and took it out on the Democrats in Congress. It was an historic realignment. Bill was left to answer questions from the White House press corps regarding his relevance. In his next State of the Union Address Bill appeared to concede:

"The era of big government is over."

Should this be seen as a renunciation of FDR's New Deal? LBJ's Great Society? Those were, indisputably, visions requiring Big Government.

After the 1994 election, the Clintons' primary strategy was one of personal and political survival. He brought back Dick Morris, who also worked with Trent Lott, Jesse Helms and other Republicans, and they developed a triangulation stategy that allowed Bill to regain popularity, often by co-opting the Republican agenda. After this point, Clinton's signature legislation was welfare reform. Was he so bereft of ideas that he had to co-opt the Republican agenda?

So last week, Barack Obama, in a broad ranging conversation, says:

"I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not."

Bill takes offense. Sensing an opportunity, the words get twisted by Hillary:

"My leading opponent the other day said that he thought the Republicans had better ideas than Democrats the last 10 to 15 years."

Flat-out lie. Obama never said it. But let's look at what he did say (it obviously bears repeating since so many folks here and elsewhere keep screwing it up)

"I think Ronald Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.

Bill Clinton never won even a simple majority of the American electorate. After 1994, Clinton played on a Republican playing field. He did it well. He did not change the trajectory of the country in a significant way, however. He did not sell America on progressive ideals. On the contrary, he lost the Congress and it took a total failure like George W. Bush for the Dems to get it back. What Clinton did do was survive-- an impressive enough feat in itself.

Reagan created a myth. But in that myth the voting public became more susceptible to hearing the word "liberal" as a negative and "conservative" as a positive. Bill Clinton served for two full terms and never reversed the reality created by that myth. "Conservative" as a term and governing philospy has only begun to diminish in political value under the failures of George W. Bush, in a way it never did under whatever successes Bill Clinton had.

Largely because of the enormous failures of Bush and the Republican Congress, America may be ready for a more progressive agenda. The country is certainly ready for some type of "change." While I can see how Hillary Clinton might narrowly win the White House, I cannot see how she might successfully expand her coalition and sell a progressive agenda that even her exceptionally skilled husband could not. On the other hand, I can see how her election could have the same negative impact on recent Democratic Congressional gains that Bill's election did. Edwards has a strong progressive message, but has yet to significantly expand his support from 2004, and with diminishing resources and media time, it seems unlikely that he will.

Obama seeks to build an expanded coalition that will allow for the ushering in of a new progressive age. While he has a progressive agenda, his challenge is to have a more focused message that sells that agenda so that he can claim a mandate if we wins. He has an historic opportunity in many ways. He needs to seize that moment.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Bob Kerrey's next race

After promising not to make us wait for a decision, he made us wait for a decision. Kerrey will not be running for Senator of Nebraska. My guess is he saw a real challenge ahead and hated the prospect of ending his political career on a sour note. He doesn't sound like a guy who is finished, though. I suspect he is eyeing Hillary's Senate seat. NY is an easier place for him to win. He's certainly lived there longer than Hillary did, and if he gets the Dem nod, who is on the Republican bench?

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Lying, Racist Georgie Allen

I was amazed when I first heard little Georgie Allen mentioned as a front-running presidential candidate for 2008. I heard that he was the heir apparent to Bush because he had a similar "charm." Granted, I thought he had a similar smarm, but I never found either person charming. Just another junior who lived off of Daddy, even down to taking his first name. They are both putrid little bullies. And they are both liars.

[quote]An Open Letter from Dr. Ken Shelton
September 30th, 2006
Hendersonville, NC
To Whom It May Concern:

I am a former teammate of Senator George Allen of Virginia.

Why do I think Senator George Allen was a racist? George told me that he came to Virginia because he wanted to move somewhere where "the blacks knew their place." He used the N. word often, except in the presence of blacks.

George provided nicknames to many of his team players. He asked me if I was related to Robert Shelton, at the time an Imperial Wizard of a group affiliated with the KKK. I said "absolutely not." Despite this, he nicknamed me "wizard."

After a successful deer-hunting trip on family land of Billy Lanahan near Bumpass, VA, George asked our hunting companion, Bill Lanahan, where the local blacks lived. George placed a severed deer head in their large mailbox. This occurred not long after the film the "Godfather" was released featuring an intimidation scene with a severed horse's head.

Why have I come forward? Because this is the right thing to do. I must clear my conscience. This media firestorm has no advantage for me and severs many friendships I hold dear.
It is my moral obligation and I believe my civic duty to let the voting public know the young George Allen. We all have indiscretions of youth that we would prefer to forget but when the future of this country is at stake, questions must be answered and proof provided that George Allen has changed.

I come forward at personal embarrassment for allowing myself to be a silent observer of George's misdeeds.

Why now? When I viewed the incident of Senator Allen addressing a native born Virginian with the term "Macaca," I saw the "bullying condescension " of the George Allen I knew over 30 years ago. Until the "Macaca incident," I was unaware that George was up for reelection.

When I was called last week by Michael Scherer, a reporter for, he asked me questions about George's racial past. I answered his questions honestly and that has brought us to this point.

I offer my apologies to the voters of Virginia. I have not lived in VA since before George was elected to any public office. Meanwhile George has ascended political heights that I could not imagine. I did not come forward sooner because I thought someone else would speak and I hoped that George would fade from the public's eye so that I could bury these events.

Earlier this year when I heard that George was testing the political waters for a potential presidential bid, I realized that I could wait no longer and began compiling written memories I had shared with others over the years. [My] intent was to bring these facts out early in the presidential campaign to accomplish the same goal I have now. To make the public aware of George's past and to let them make their decision of his fitness for office.

I would do this whether George was a Republican, Democrat, or Independent. I am not political nor partisan. I donate to, write letters on behalf of, and vote for the best candidate regardless of party.

For speaking from my heart and being honest, I have been apparently been called a liar. My response? "George can't handle the truth." To be branded a liar is a response I expect from George. I am surprised it did not come with an epithet attached. All I did was to tell the unvarnished truth.

There are pivotal moments in your life where you have to take a stand based on your morals and ethics. I failed the day of the deer head in the mailbox and have lived with my conscience ever since. I have learned a hard lesson and hope this can go to every parent. Teach your children that silent observation of misdeeds only makes it worse. It makes you an accomplice. They must speak up to injustice.

I ask others to come forward. Listen to your heart and clear your conscience.


R. Kendall Shelton, M.D.
U.Va. College of Arts & Sciences '75
U.Va. School of Medicine '79[/quote]

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A funny thing happened on the way to the White House

Over the last couple of years there have been numerous pundits touting the chances of George Allen's anticipated quest for the presidency. I've heard some say he's the most like Bush, which I guess means his first name is George, he's vapid and he owes every bit of "success" he's ever had to his daddy. I'm thinking this is another George junior whose luck has run out.

Webb wins Democratic Senate primary in Virginia

By John Whitesides

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - James Webb, a former Navy secretary during the Reagan administration, won a rough Democratic primary fight in Virginia on Tuesday for the right to challenge Republican Sen. George Allen in November.

Webb, a former Republican who switched parties over his opposition to the Iraq war, defeated Democratic lobbyist Harris Miller after winning the support of several influential Washington Democrats.


Allen, former governor of Virginia and a potential presidential candidate in 2008, was a safe bet for re-election until Webb's candidacy began to pick up steam. Webb's win could make Virginia a battleground in November, when Democrats need to pick up six seats to regain control of the Senate.


Both candidates tried to link Allen with Bush, particularly on the war in Iraq. Allen is the son of former Washington Redskins head football coach George Allen.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

The Filibuster: key to democracy

Sen. Johnny Isakson, GA (R), relating a conversation with a member of the Kurdish minority:

And even though the results of the election were not complete at the time we were there, we knew they would be in a minority, and we asked, 'Don't you fear that the Shi'ites inevitably being in the majority, that you'll be overturned?' He says, 'Oh, no, we have a secret weapon.' Mr. President, this is a Kurdish leader, of course, in the middle of Iraq, in the 21st century, who said he had a secret weapon. And we asked what the secret weapon was, and he said, 'Filibuster.'" ...

Karl Rove writes his clarification:

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) today refuted comments made by Senate Minority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in which Reid implied that Isakson has endorsed the use of filibusters to block judicial nominations.

"My good friend Harry Reid appears to have construed a quote from a Kurdish leader to reflect my opinion on the Senate Democrats' abuse of the filibuster to block judicial nominations.

"Let there be no reservation or doubt that I believe the Senate should vote on each and every judicial appointment made by the President of the United States and that no rule or procedure should ever stop the Senate from exercising its constitutional responsibility.

"I am proud to support Senate Majority Leader Frist in exploring all options to ensure that all nominees receive an up-or-down vote by the full Senate."

PrometheusSpeaks chimes in with an email to little Johnny:

I heard your speech on the safeguards against the majority overrunning the minority and thought, "Wow. He's one courageous and wise statesman." You've since cleared up my misapprehension. You're one cowardly, partisan, democracy-hating toad after all.

How do you shame the shameless?

Monday, November 15, 2004

How bad off are we?

I keep hearing about Democratic soul searching in the wake of what has been portrayed as an electoral disaster for the Dems. To an extent, this is needed and healthy. But the perspective strikes me as somewhat out of whack. Dems are said to be teetering on the brink of irrelevance. But why is that meme so strong right now?

Between 1968-1988, over six presidential campaigns, the Democratic party won one close race in 1976 after the elected Republican had resigned in disgrace. The average Dem electoral total over those six elections was only 113 measley votes.

By comparison, the Dems have won the popular vote 3 out of the last 4 Presidential races. In the one race we lost, the incumbent won by the smallest margin for sitting President since 1916. For those four races the Dem electoral vote average is 317. During these races, Republicans have not even come close to being competitive in NY and CA. CA used to be a pretty reliable red state.

We have work to do. We need to appeal more to our working class roots than we have been lately. We need to do better with hispanic voters than we did this time. We need to expand the party and get out our vote, but in looking back over the last 26 years, the trend over time is more positive than negative.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Mandate my ass

Bushco wants media folks repeating their "mandate'" meme and we will hear it repeatedly as the Repugs hope it sticks.  I keep hearing how Bush won a clear majority, had a 3.5 million vote margin, was the first to win more than fifty percent since his dad, etc.  The victory is supposedly sweeping.  In fact, 1.5 million of Bush's margin came from Texas which the Repugs robocalled like crazy to boost the vote.  I'm sure that was done in other "safe" states, as well.

But Repugs just won the Senate seats one would guess they would win, given the states involved, except for Colorado and possibly Alaska.  Yes, they beat Daschle by 4 thousand votes in deep red SD after a barrage of media dollars attacking him.  Yes, Repugs picked up 4 out of 5 gerrymandered seats in Texas.  But there was not a real realignment.

But Kerry still was only 136,500 votes from being President.  According to my calculations that is about .001% of the total vote.  With only  182,500 well-placed additional votes, Kerry wins with 289 electoral votes.  That is only .00158% of the total votes cast.

Yes, it is disappointing.  Yes, we need to reassess, and learn the lessons of this campaign.  But Republicans do not have a lock on the Whitehouse by a long shot, no matter how the media wants that to be the story.

Fight the mandate meme

All of a sudden, we're hearing that a narrow victory is a mandate.  The press is already acting on cue.  Amazing how quickly we go from a "deeply divided electorate" to a "mandate".  It is 51%.  Less than 300 EVs.  That ain't no mandate.  Fight the notion.  Write LTEs.  Tell all your friends.  Call talk radio, no matter how small the audience.  Send emails to all media outlets and reporters.   Call them.  Contact the DNC.  Contact your congressmen and other elected officials.  There is no mandate.  We are the loyal opposition and we are about half of America.  We must be vocal.  We must be visible.  We must get a little bit bigger.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Fearless predictions

Okay, truthfully, I'm not totally without fear. Bad weather in Cleveland and Detroit, Repug fraud, and a possible Bushmen coup could prevent us from ending the nightmare that is Bushco, Inc., but short of such scenarios, I'm feeling pretty good. Well, good in the sense that we can finally get some sanity back in the WH to work on the incredible mess "the adults" have created. Victories are measured in the wake of Bushworld. So much for negative nuance and onto the predictions.

Kerry should win the popular vote by 2.5-5 percentage points. He will crack 50%. I can see scenarios in which Kerry wins with anywhere from 272 to 330+ electoral votes.

The Senate: Dem pickups in AK, IL, CO, KY (upset special); Repug pickup in SC.

Dream win: PA

NIghtmare loss: LA without a run-off

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

...Match. Live in the bubble, die in the bubble.

I know they shelter Bush like one would a child who is easily upset, but has he not even been allowed to see the commercials against him? Right off of the bat, he set up the next DNC commercial-- and if it is not the next DNC commercial, heads need to roll. Not only did he flat deny once saying he wasn't concerned with Osama, he was a smart ass about it -- "What you call an ex-a-ger-a-tion."

The man is so totally delusional. Cue it up, boys!

Friday, October 08, 2004

Game, set, ...

Kerry: calm, strong, presidential

Bush: ranting, delusional, angry, tired, flustered, impatient...loser.

A quick trip to the Freerepublic showed that either they are in la la land, (or I am), or they are afraid of showing fear. Or their red-hot hatred of Kerry outweighs everything else. Bush's base loves the fighting Bush. He's preaching to the choir. The problem is, the respective choirs are already in place. Both guys are now competing for the folks milling around outside.

It will be interesting to see how the SCLM spins this. Will they go out of their way to be "balanced" in their appraisal?

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Edwards scores

I think for the respective bases, each liked their guy. It certainly wasn't the obvious victory that Kerry had over Dumbya last week. I think for undecideds, the foreign policy section was probably close to a draw, although I suspect the women voters Kerry needs to cement preferred Edwards. On domestic issues, Edwards won hands down. Cheney's dodge of the jobs question was classic, and Edwards pointing that out was nicely done. Edwards actually segued nicely into the domestic issues by reciting Cheney's Neanderthal voting record in the Congress as he responded to Cheney's critique of his voting record instead of scoring points for Dubya. You may remember, Edwards had gotten under Cheney's skin regarding Halliburton, causing Cheney to attack Edwards instead of scoring some points on the suicide bomber scenario Edwards had handed him. I suspect Edwards scored well with persuadable women which Kerry needs to reestablish the typical Dem advantage.

The talking heads on MSNBC are too deep inside the beltway to get it. Ron Reagan knew better, but is too much of milquetoast to fight the crowd. I've never seen more out of touch morons, but then again, I don't hang out in "Rush Rooms", if they still exist, or Republican functions. Cheney intimidates them and they have a different sense of what plays to whom. I doubt most undecideds were impressed with his scowl, his hands in front of his mouth, or his passing up opportunities to even speak. At least hit your talking points, provided you have more than "Kerry's not a real man."

Edwards also realized he was in a key swing state and, when possible, tied his answers to Ohio. Not so much that it was obvious as pandering, but perhaps enough to be local soundbites. Smart move, unnoticed by most TV pundits.

Cheney was caught in a few lies, which needs to be hammered relentlessy as part of a patttern of deception. Also, this issue needs to be put in proper perspective:

Cheney said Edwards diminished the Iraqi sacrifice by not including their deaths in those of "coalition" losses.  (We'll ignore the fact that the "coalition" has killed more innocent Iraqi civilians than insurgents for now.)  Well, Cheney diminishes the sacrifice of AMERICAN soldiers by cooking the books and including Iraqis as members of the "coaltion".  What country is he running in?  Enron-like accounting. Halliburton-like accounting.  Minimizing the loss of American lives for political purposes.  Disgusting.

Spread these memes. We won tonight. Round three...

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Pray I win the powerball, so I can run some ads

The DNC is close, but they use the wrong quote, and don't connect all the dots.
Text: President Bush speaks on Osama bin Laden. September 17, 2001

VO: George W. Bush [9/17/01]: "...there's an old poster out West, as I recall, that said, `Wanted: Dead or Alive.'"
Text: Six months later...March 13, 2002

VO: George W. Bush [3/13/02]: "I don't know where he is. I, ah [laugh] I repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."

Text: Three years later..."U.S. General Says bin Laden al-Zawahri Still Directing Attacks" Source: USA Today, 9/11/04 "Bin Laden is said to be Organizing for a U.S. Attack" Source: New York Times, 7/9/04

VO: Word tonight that Osama bin Laden is very much alive, and coordinating plans for new attacks on America and American allies.

VO: George W. Bush [3/13/02]: "I don't know where he is... I truly am not that concerned about him."

VO: The Democratic National Committee is responsible for the contents of this advertisement.

The better ad:

George Bush claims he talks straight and you always know where he stands. Really?

On Sept. 13, 2001, George Bush made this promise:

Video: "The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him."

But only 6 months later, as he prepared to invade Iraq, he changed his mind about Bin Laden:

Video: "I don't know where he is. I, ah [laugh] I repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."
3,000 Americans dead, planned by Bin Laden, and Bush is "truly not that concerned."?

This has to be the biggest flip-flop of all time.

Do you really trust this man to keep us safe?

Its time for a change. America deserves better leadership.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

The real story: Bush did not dispute the content of the memos

Atrios has a post that recalls what I posted the other day on Dailykos.

Q Scott, on the National Guard documents on "60 Minutes," the First Lady says she believes these are forgeries. The RNC has accused the Democratic Party of being the source of these documents. Knowing then what you know now, would you still have released those documents when you did?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, that's a hypothetical question, John. We received those documents from a major news organization. We had every reason to believe that they were authentic at that time.

If the basic thrust of the memos was false - if, say, Bush came forward and said "Hey, wait a minute! Those can't be real! I never disobeyed a direct order..." then why would our dear Scotty say such a thing?

My previous post:

There are two major options in the "Memo Debate:'  1) They're forged; or 2) They're not forged.

Frankly, I don't claim to know the answer.  Interesting questions have been raised, but the arguments I have heard to disprove the possibility that they might be real have proven hasty and inadequate.  Either way, however, I think the memos have served to distract from the larger issues.  Also, either way, the following exchange between Dan Rather and Dan Bartlett raises interesting questions that should be the focus of discussion.

Q: Is your suggestion that these documents, at least a couple of them, could have been fabricated?

DAN BARTLETT: I'm not saying that at all. I'm just saying that the fact that documents like this are being raised when, in fact, all they do is reaffirm what we've said all along, is questionable.

The President's spokesman did not dispute the validity or content of the memos.  In fact, he said they "reaffirm what we've said all along."

The White House has not issued a statement about any of the memos, one of which was addressed to George W. Bush, ordering him to get a physical.  Even faced with the question of whether Bush disobeyed a direct order, Bartlett, nor the White House since, has denied the veracity of that memo.  Nor did they claim Bush never received that memo.  They took it totally in stride as if, "Of course that memo was written.  It is consistent with our version of events.  We have no reason to dispute it."   The only thing he ever questions is the timing of their release.

DAN BARTLETT: The two official documents that notified that he did not take the flight exam, which is exactly -- it is explained in your document that he did not take the flight exam because he was going to Alabama in a non-flying capacity because, in Alabama, they weren't flying the same plane that President Bush was trained on.

Q: But what about these two documents is rumor and innuendo?

DAN BARTLETT: ... But these documents state exactly what we said, and that is President Bush didn't take the flight exam because he was going to a unit that didn't fly his plane. And in that very document you're showing it says that he was working out with the staff to find a unit that he could train with, but it was going to be in a non-flying capacity.

Far from disavowing the memo, Bartlett embraces it and confirms that Bush did exactly what it said.

Q: But these are two official memorandums. Any idea of why these would not be in the record?

DAN BARTLETT: I can't explain why that wouldn't be in his record, but they were found in Jerry Killian's personal records themselves, is what I've been told. But it reaffirms exactly what President Bush said. Everybody knows President Bush didn't take his flight exam. After flying for 400 -- more than 500 hours in the cockpit, President Bush, after his fourth year in service, asked for permission to go in a non-flying capacity to Alabama. There was not reason for President Bush to take a flight exam if he wasn't going to be flying.

Again, "there's nothing new here.  We don't dispute it.  It doesn't surprise us."  Rather continues:

Q: Okay. So you seem to paint that as an option, that he could have taken the flight exam if he wanted to continue to fly, but didn't really have to take it. But this first document, dated 4th of May 1972, specifically says, "You are ordered to report for a physical examination." So he either ignored, or didn't fulfill a direct order, not an option.

DAN BARTLETT: Well, in fact, the memorandum shows -- the other memorandum in your possession shows that he spoke to the commander who made that order to talk about his personal situation in the fact that he was going to Alabama. So at every step of the way, President Bush was meeting his requirements, granted permission to meet his requirements. And that's why President Bush received an honorable discharge.

Bartlett again embraces and confirms the content of the memos, including the "note to file" describing the phone conversation.  Bush has not corrected this position.

Two reasons come to mind for this response: 1)  The Bush folks know the official documents are valid; or 2)  They are forged and they know they are forged, i.e. the "Karl Rove bugged his office again" theory

They may know they are valid because, as has been previously alleged, Dan Bartlett "scrubbed" them from the file in 1998.  Or they may suspect all of them are valid, because Bush knows he ignored the memo ordering him to get a physical.

If the memos are ultimately discredited and Bush calls "foul!", the media will need to be reminded that they were never denied, in fact, they were confirmed and eagerly embraced as true, but meaningless.  Which tends to point a suspicious finger in the direction of one Karl Rove.  We need to keep the media focused on these key facts.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

You can’t trust this administration to keep you safe

You can’t trust this administration to keep you safe. Two key messages attacking two key “strengths” of Bush in voters minds. Kerry needs to hit hard now and not let up. I’m waiting…

Narrator: After 9/11, the Bush administration instructed the Environment Protection Agency to provide misleading information, telling New Yorkers the air was safe to breath when it was not. The government agency charged with protecting the public from dangers in the environment was instructed to mislead the public about their safety.

Respiratory illnesses are dramatically up for people who trusted this President.

New Yorker: “We were lied to. I can’t believe they lied to us after all we had been through.”

American citizens need to be able to trust their government. Now more than ever.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Tired of being misled?

Kerry needs to add some more punch to the 200 billion for Iraq in a way that questions Bush's honesty and credibility and reminds people how pissed they were about the 87 billion.

Here's my ad:

When Bush’s Senior Economic Advisor estimated that a war with Iraq would cost up to 200 billion dollars, he was first “corrected” and later fired.

Less than two months before the war, Donald Rumsfeld said it would cost about 50 billion, but indicated the U.S. share would be less.
Media Stakeout, 1/19/03

One month before the war, Bush’s spokesman said, “There are a variety of means that Iraq has to be able to shoulder much of the burden for their own reconstruction.”
Ari Fleischer, White House Press Briefing, 2/18/03

Days after the invasion of Iraq, Bush’s Undersecretary of Defense said, ““There’s a lot of money to pay for this that doesn’t have to be U.S. taxpayer money…the oil revenues of that country could bring between $50 and $100 billion over the course of the next two or three years…We’re dealing with a country that can really finance its own reconstruction, and relatively soon.”
Paul Wolfowitz, House Committee on Appropriations Hearing on a Supplemental War Regulation, 3/27/03

But when Congress proposed that Iraq reconstruction be paid back by Iraqi revenues, George W. Bush promised to veto the entire 87 billion dollar package, including money for troop support. Washington Post 10/30/03

Over 200 billion dollars and counting. More than 1000 troops lost.

Are you tired of being misled?

Don't you think it’s time for a new direction.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Where have I Heard that Before?

Bush is trying to link Kerry with Howard Dean:

For his part, from his first stop this morning on a football field in Lee's Summit to a late-afternoon rally at a fairgrounds here, Mr. Bush ridiculed Mr. Kerry for his saying on Monday that Iraq was "the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time."

"He woke up yesterday morning with yet another new position," Mr. Bush told more than 10,000 people gathered for a breakfast-hour rally. "And this one is not even his own. It is that of his one-time rival, Howard Dean.

"He even used the same words Howard Dean did, back when he supposedly disagreed with him. No matter how many times Senator Kerry flip-flops, we were right to make America safer by removing Saddam Hussein from power."

Well, a lot of people may have said it-- cause it's true. But Dean's most famous comment was this:

Dean said in Monday’s speech to the Pacific Council in Los Angeles that Bush had “launched the wrong war, at the wrong time, with inadequate planning, insufficient help and at extraordinary cost.

Granted, that's close-- but not as close as these guys:

General Zinni

Gen. Zinni: Heads Should Roll


In a slashing criticism of the Bush White House and Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon leadership, General Zinni, former Commander of Central Command of U.S. Military, and Special Envoy to the Middle East in the Bush Administration until he resigned in disgust, said "Heads should roll at the Pentagon--Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Feith and those who foisted the Iraq war on the U.S. despite my objectioins and those of most U.S. Generals including, Schwartkopf, Skowcroft, Clark, Shinseki and others."

Speaking on 60 MINUTES,May 23, Zinni said, "The plan was wrong, it was the wrong war, the wrong place and the wrong time--with little or no planning." He stated that there were serious "derelections of duty," "criminal negligence," and poor planning that put U.S. forces in harm's way and left Iraq in chaos after the invasion. Further, he added that the Pentagon's man on the ground, Paul Bremer, had made "mistake after mistake after mistake."

Arthur Schlesinger

The immediate reason that Mr Bush opened Pandora's box in the Middle East and invaded Iraq was his moral certitude that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and that he was working in close partnership with Osama bin Laden and al-Qa'ida. Those convictions turned out to be delusions. This denouement does great harm to Mr Bush's credibility and to that of the United States; it has got us into a ghastly mess in Iraq; and it has diverted attention, resources and military might from the war that should have commanded the Bush administration's highest priority - the Afghan war against al-Qa'ida and international terrorism. Meanwhile Afghanistan is a mess too. Mr Bush chose the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Does it really matter who said it first? The real question is, is it correct? I prefer Kerry's company on this one. Kerry should point out that he's quoting Zinni and read the quote in his stump speech.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Four Months versus One Damn Day

Bushco and fiends are saying Kerry’s case for the Presidency is based on 4 months in Viet Nam. The man has accomplished nothing else, and on closer inspection, he made those 4 months up, too. Being a prosecutor? Nah, nuthin. Bringing pressure to end a stupid, badly managed war? Liability. 20 years in the Senate? Show me the landmark legislation. Senate investigations? That’s kinda like prosecutin’ and you can’t count prosecutor twice and prosecutin’s nuthin anyway, ain’t you listnin’?

You want a man of accomplishment? They give you George W. Bush. He managed to get in Andover, Harvard and Yale with little effort and fewer brains. As Social Chair, he managed to take a bunch of eggheaded bookworms at the DKE house at Yale and showed them how to close a book on occasion and have some good clean fun. That’s leadership, by God. He showed it was possible to find some spots in West Texas that weren’t polluted underneath the surface with gooey, sticky oil flowing willy nilly. The man’s an environmentalist! He darn near killed the will to drill in Texas!

But his true greatness? One day in September of 2001 he grabbed a megaphone and showed real backbone. It sold McCain, and he’s a tough sonuvagun. It sold Dennis Miller and he made a career (purposefully past tense) being a damn cynic. That’s right. Kerry has his four months, but Bush, efficiency expert, has managed to base a whole lie on one day. Beat that, medal boy!

Monday, August 30, 2004

McCain called Moore Disengenuous?

Excerpts from McCain's 2000 GOP speech:

And I am proud to join you this evening in commending to all Americans the man who now represents your best wishes and mine for the future of our country, my friend, Governor George W. Bush, the next president of the United States….

It is easy to forget in politics where principle ends and selfishness begins. It takes leaders of courage and character to remember the difference.

Tomorrow, our party will nominate such a leader. George W. Bush believes in the greatness of America and the justice of our cause. He believes in the America of the immigrant's dream, the high lantern of freedom and hope to the world.

He will confidently defend our interests and values wherever they are threatened. I say to all Americans, Republican, Democrat or Independent, if you believe America deserves leaders with a purpose more ennobling than expediency and opportunism, then vote for Governor Bush.

If you believe patriotism is more than a sound bite and public service should be more than a photo-op then vote for Governor Bush.

My friend, Governor Bush, believes in an America that is so much more than the sum of its divided parts. He wants to give you back a government that serves all the people no matter the circumstances of their birth. And he wants to lead a Republican Party that is as big as the country we serve.

He wants nothing to divide us into separate nations. Not our color. Not our race. Not our wealth. Not our religion. Not our politics. He wants us to live for America, as one nation, and together profess the American Creed of self-evident truths.

I support him. I am grateful to him. And I am proud of him. He is a good man from a good family that has, in good times and bad, dedicated themselves t o America.

Okay, maybe the last line was sincere:

I have such faith in you, my fellow Americans. And I am haunted by the vision of what will be.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Ginsberg co-ordinated the lack of co-ordination

Given a choice, he picks the Swift Boat Vets over Bush?

Bush Campaign Lawyer Quits Over Ties to Ads Group

CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - A top lawyer for President Bush's re-election campaign resigned on Wednesday after disclosing he has been providing legal advice to a group that accuses Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry of lying about his Vietnam War record.

Benjamin Ginsberg was the second person to quit the Bush campaign over ties to the group, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which has been attacking Kerry's record through television commercials and a book.
Likewise, Mike Russell, spokesman for the Swift Boat group, denied any coordination with the Bush campaign, and said Ginsberg had agreed to continue advising the group.

"I was at the nexus of making sure (coordination) didn't happen. To suggest otherwise is flat wrong," Ginsberg said.

Glad he cleared that up. He was at the nexus that didn't exist.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Two Things Happened in South Carolina

The recent SBVT controversy has reminded folks of how Bushco savaged John McCain in the primary there in 2000, not that John McCain needs reminding. McCain’s initial response was quick and to the point:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republican Sen. John McCain, a former prisoner of war in Vietnam, called an ad criticizing John Kerry's military service "dishonest and dishonorable" and urged the White House on Thursday to condemn it as well.

"It was the same kind of deal that was pulled on me," McCain said in an interview with The Associated Press, referring to his bitter Republican primary fight with President Bush.


The unmentioned villain in McCain’s recollection was none other than the same President Bush he endorsed at the 2000 Republican Convention and now campaigns with. Any reasonable person knows McCain can’t respect Bush and any political observer knows he tweaks him whenever he can. But he continues to play “good soldier” by campaigning with the Shrub and even letting the chimp hug him as if they pledged DKE together. Bush hasn’t condemned anything but the right of all 527s to air ads, honest or not—spotting the ethical issue has never been a Bush family strong suit. But McCain continues to boost up the ugly beast that eviscerated his chances for the Presidency in 2000. Why? Playing good soldier keeps him viable for 2008, or so he thinks. In fact, the Republican orthodoxy will have none of it, but the man is an admitted addict:

Some Republicans think the answer is more complex. "John wants to prove where his loyalties lie for anyone who questioned that," says Bill Dal Col, a Republican strategist who ran Steve Forbes' 2000 presidential campaign.

Others think McCain, who is 67 and has fought skin cancer, may want to run for president again.

"He's clearly looking downstream," says Scott Reed, a Republican strategist who managed Bob Dole's 1996 presidential campaign. "Being a good Republican who's very popular with independents and Democrats is an attractive package for a future run for national office. McCain's team is aggressively working to keep as many options on the table as possible."

McCain issues a standard disclaimer. "I'm running for re-election to the Senate and I don't have any ambitions beyond that," he says. But quoting his late friend Morris Udall, a former Arizona congressman and Democratic presidential candidate, he adds, "Presidential ambition is a disease which can only be cured by embalming fluid."


And so, McCain compromises his principles—again. His presidential hopes were not the only thing he lost in South Carolina. He sacrificed his integrity there, too:

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I believe the flag should be removed from your capitol. I should have done this earlier, when an honest answer could have affected me personally. I did not do so for one reason alone: I feared if I answered honestly, I could not win the South Carolina primary. So I chose to compromise my principles. I broke my promise to always tell the truth.

He’s compromising those principles once again. McCain is more honest than most politicians. Not many would have ever admitted so forthrightly what he did in South Carolina in 2000. But he’s far from pure when it comes to his “principles.” And at 67 he’s probably running out of chances to demonstrate true integrity.

Monday, August 23, 2004

An American Soldier Returns and Speaks

I would like to talk to you a little bit about what the result is of the feelings these men carry with them after coming back from Iraq; men who have returned with a sense of anger and a sense of betrayal which no one has yet grasped.

As a veteran and one who felt this anger, I would like to talk about it. We are angry because we feel we have been used in the worst fashion by the administration of this country.

So many of those best men have returned as quadriplegics and amputees, and they lie forgotten in Veterans' Administration hospitals in this country which fly the flag which so many have chosen as their own personal symbol.

We found that the Iraqis, whom we had enthusiastically molded after our own image, were hard-put to take up the fight against the threat we were supposedly saving them from.

They wanted everything to do with the war, particularly with this foreign presence of the United States of America, to leave them alone in peace, and they practiced the art of survival by siding with whichever military force was present at a particular time, be it Iraqi insurgents, loyal baathists or American.

We found also that, all too often, American men were dying in those deserts for want of support from their allies. We saw first hand how monies from American taxes were used for a corrupt dictatorial regime.

We watched while America placed a cheapness on the lives of Arabs.

We listened while, month after month, we were told the back of the enemy was about to break.

We watched while men charged into insurgent strongholds because a general said that it has to be taken, and, after losing one platoon, or two platoons, they marched away to leave the area for reoccupation by the insurgents.

Now we are told that the men who fought there must watch quietly while American lives are lost so that we can exercise the incredible arrogance of "Iraqization" the Iraqis.

Each day, to facilitate the process by which the United States washes her hands of Iraq, someone has to give up his life so that the United States doesn't have to admit something that the entire world already knows, so that we can't say that we have made a mistake.

We are here to ask, and we are here to ask vehemently, where are the leaders of our country? Where is the leadership? We're here to ask where are Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and so many others? Where are they now that we, the men they sent off to war, have returned? These are the commanders who have deserted their troops. And there is no more serious crime in the laws of war. The Army says they never leave their wounded. The Marines say they never even leave their dead. These men have left all the casualties and retreated behind a pious shield of public rectitude.

We wish that a merciful God could wipe away our own memories of that service as easily as this administration has wiped away their memories of us.

Who recognizes the original author?

John Kerry's Defining Moment

I've heard that when Clinton's letter to the ROTC Colonel surfaced, while Stephanopolous wrung his hands and reconsidered the seminary, Carville smiled and said, "This letter is your best friend."

Kerry needs to approach his 1971 Senate testimony in the same way.  He was a returning soldier who had seen his friends maimed and killed for a war that was being administered very badly by the civilian leadership.  He was driven by both passion and principle and he is driven by those same qualities today as he sees another generation of young people, many the same age as his own children, killed and maimed as an incompetent administration refuses to admit it has made a single mistake.

Contrary to those with a political agenda who want to distort his record of service with valor as well as his words in opposition to the war, Kerry never claimed to have seen soldiers engage in the worst of the atrocities he mentioned.  But he had heard them testify that they had done so "at times."

Contrary to critics who say he slandered the vets he served with, he was chosen by many of them to speak for them in their opposition to how Washington politicians waged a war for more than ten years that they never had a feasible plan to win.  His passion may have led to stronger language at times than he would use now as a more mature statesman than he used as a twenty-something Vet  returning from Viet Nam, but his passion for the truth and for taking proper care of our troops in battle and our vets after they return burns just as strong.  

Now, as then, John Kerry sees an administration that has stumbled badly and our nation's bravest young people are paying the price.  Now, as then, John Kerry sees an administration that has acted arrogantly and has alienated much of the world.  Now, as then, John Kerry is ready to fight based on principle and to insists that no one who joins our military will have their commitment to this country result in them being placed in harms way unless it is absolutely necessary.

Don't back away, don't apologize, don't cede the moral high ground, don't let them define your defining moment up till now.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Birth of a Flip Flop

In case you haven't heard, John Kerry is a flip-flopper.  In fact, he does it so often, we are reminded of it daily.  Why doesn't he stop before the characterization defines him to a point from which he can't recover?  Well, its not exactly up to him.  You have a GOP spin machine that is so on message its frightening and an incompetent press corps that is more than willing to carry its water.  

For example, on or around August 1st, John Kerry said the following:

"If the diplomacy that I believe can be put in place can work, I think we can significantly change the deployment of troops not just there but elsewhere in the world, in the Korean peninsula, perhaps, in Europe, perhaps."

On August 18th, the Bush administration Press Secretary, in response to Kerry's critique of the Bush redeployment, Scott McClellan recited that quote thusly:

"And I would point out that on August 1st, Senator Kerry said, and I quote, `I think we can significantly change the deployment of troops, not just there' -- he was referring to Iraq - `not just there, but elsewhere in the world. In the Korean Peninsula, perhaps, and Europe, perhaps, there are great possibilities open to us, but this administration has had very little imagination.' And then he went on. That was on `This Week' on August 1st.

The phrase he left out was a major qualifier, don't you think?

"If the diplomacy that I believe can be put in place can work, ..."

This is the kind of editing that conservatives accuse Michael Moore of doing when they call him a fraudulent propagandist along the lines of Leni Riefenstahl.

Then the conservative rags jump in on the action, as did Bill Kristol from the Weekly Standard:

"I will have significant, enormous reduction in the level of troops. . . . I think we can significantly change the deployment of troops, not just there but elsewhere in the world. In the Korean peninsula perhaps, in Europe perhaps. There are great possibilities open to us. But this administration has very little imagination."

Distorting through elipses.  I've seen worse.  Earlier this year Drudge used three little dots to excise over 20 paragraphs from John Kerry's 1971 Senate testimony.  I'm sure they weren't important.

This "overlooked" phrase is at least consistent with Kerry's position that Bush has failed on the diplomatic front and that he would do better.  One can disagree with his position, but it has consistently been his position.  It would have taken up precious little space to include it, but it would have been harder to stick to the "flip-flop" meme that Republican orthodoxy demands.

Then the mainstream media follows suit like a well-behaved puppy.

The talking heads start flashing up the abbreviated quote and Kerry's surrogates just don't know what to do.  Which is where Kerry's best chance is to stop the flip-flop in its infancy.  He didn't create it, but by God, a good communications staff can blow it out of the water.  Mischaracterized and out of context quotes need to be taken on right away before they take on a life of their own.  Press releases, emails etc. need to immediately go out with clarifications of what was a said along with a tweak for those in the Bush administration for their distortions and dirty tricks.  Counter meme with meme.  If no one currently on staff is up to the task, I'm available and get by on very little sleep.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Kerry takes the bait?

Cowboy Bush has been calling Kerry out. Dubya wants to know if Kerry would have voted to authorize force if he knew what he knows now, i.e. that the entire rationale for possible force did not exist-- no WMDs. Of course, if that were known, there would likely be no other support from any major country. The Brits had to be fooled into thinking that they were 45 minutes from destruction. Without WMDs you just have bad guy who "wants WMDs"-- which makes him less dangerous than the bad guys who have WMDs, like N. Korea and Iran. The answer is obvious, right? Not so fast.

Kerry: Still Would Have Approved Force for Iraq

GRAND CANYON, Ariz. (Reuters) - Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry said on Monday he would have voted for the congressional resolution authorizing force against Iraq even if he had known then no weapons of mass destruction would be found.

Taking up a challenge from President Bush, whom he will face in the Nov. 2 election, the Massachusetts senator said: "I'll answer it directly. Yes, I would have voted for the authority. I believe it is the right authority for a president to have but I would have used that authority effectively."

Yes, I know authority for force is not the same as a declaration of war, but without the threat, what would be the point? I've learned to love you John, but gimme a break.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Tom's Petition

I received this email awhile back, but it got lost in a sea of spam and then I went on vacation. Better late, than never, I guess. Here it is:

I am writing to you and a few other bloggers asking for help. My name is Tom Mauser and my son Daniel was killed at Columbine High School.  If we don’t stand up to President Bush and the NRA right now, the assault weapons ban will expire and AK47s and Uzis will be back on our streets.
Here is what you can do to help:
1) Sign my petition to extend the assault weapon ban: Tom'
When you sign up, we will automatically create a bloggable Personal Petition Page.
2) Link to your Personal Petition Page from your site and encourage your readers to sign up.  Our special petition software will show you the number of people that sign up because of your effort, and even generate a map showing how the supporters are distributed across America.
Help honor the legacy of my son and prove that bloggers can make a difference!
Thank you,
Tom Mauser

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

For Edwards, I'll wait

Physically, I’m under the weather today. Politically, I’m feeling pretty good. Over the weekend, I developed a nagging case of Gephardtitist. I knew it wasn’t terminal, at least not for me, but it did leave me lethargic. That illness peaked early this morning when the New York Post was faked out of it shorts, but was replaced with a sore throat, slight fever and a headache by early morning. Nonetheless, it was, and is, an improvement. When my Gephardtitist was at its worst, I took repeated doses of viewing a certain aviation forum—a first for me, but I was admittedly desperate. I had even begun engaging in strained logic—not so much to qualify as a Republican, but still an uncomfortable experience for me. Here’s an example of such “logic” that I posted at The Daily Kos:

Okay, since it is rarely the expected choice and Edwards is the expected choice, that means it will be Edwards since Kerry is not expected to pick the expected choice, meaning he is not expected to pick Edwards...right?

I’m not proud of it. But I admit it.

I don’t have much new to add that I haven’t seen somewhere else. I think Edwards should put NC into play, but more importantly, I think he infuses an energy and vitality that will benefit the campaign across the country. He’ll attack with a smile and in regard to the anticipated Cheney debate I say—bring it on. He’s likeable, positive and closes well. In the waning days, undecideds seem to say, “I just like that guy.” I’ll take it. Not that the Presidency is a popularity contest, as evidenced by the popular vote in 2000 that left the free world scratching its collective head regarding our version of “democracy.” I can’t wait to see him and the misses on Oprah. And just think, for Edwards it all started on The Daily Show, uh, sorta.

I also think it helps down the ticket, particularly in NC and SC. Edwards has the ability to put the Democratic Party in a much better light in the South than it has been in a long time. The policies don’t even need to change, just the packaging. Don’t get me wrong. Barring a Bush collapse, which I hold out hope for, I only see a few Southern pick-ups as realistic—Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, and Virginia. But I also think Edwards will play well in rural Wisconsin, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Missouri, West Virginia (no, it’s not the South), Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota.

And while other future hopefuls may not like it, I like the idea of setting up Edwards for a future as President. Sure, some of us may need to change our plans, but I’m willing to put off running for 16 years if we get on a roll.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

A head for a head

Well, Dubya just couldn't wait to let "our guys" start loppin' of heads and hands:

But following a recent string of fatal attacks on Iraqi officials by the insurgents, Iraqi Minister of Defense Hazim Shaalan tells Newsweek that "we will hit these people and teach them a good lesson they won't forget. Americans and allied forces have certain restrictions we won't have." He declined to be more specific, except to say, "It's our country, its our culture and we have different laws than you do." (A few days later, after yet another suicide bombing, he was more blunt: "We will cut off their hands and behead them.")

Cutting off their hands and beheading them seems a little gratuitous, don'tcha think? I mean, even our Supreme Court might think it was cruel and unusual to cut off their hands when you plan to turn right around and behead them anyway.

So Iraq is now in "control"-- well, of the really nasty stuff, anyway:

The handover of power in Iraq is being brought forward to today.

A formal announcement will be made later today, Tony Blair said.

The informal announcement was made by Iraq's foreign minister Hoshyar Zebari.

The handover of power to an interim Iraqi government was supposed to take place on June 30.

Mr Zebari said the deteriorating security situation in the country was one of the reasons why the date had been brought forward.

Well, Mr. Accountability is finally gonna see that "heads will roll." Glad to see democratic government finally coming to the Middle East.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Paging Dale Carnegie

Dubya is in Europe to mend fences, win friends and influence people. Hell, let's poke 'em in the eye first to make it more of a challenge.

“Most of Europe supported the decision in Iraq. Really what you're talking about is France, isn't it? And they didn't agree with my decision. They did vote for the UN Security Council resolution. ... We just had a difference of opinion about whether, when you say something, you mean it.”

Translation: "I'm a man of my word and the French are bunch of cowering, mealy mouth little weasels, that's all. Little difference of o-pin-ion. How 'bout commitin' some troops now, fellas?"

Please learn to shut your mouth-- better late than never

Monica says she has tried to get on with her life-- by trading on the celebrity she gained from performing oral sex on the President, saving a semen stained dress and telling her "friend" Linda Tripp all about it. Grow up already. He's responsible for what he did, you're responsible for what you did. You are not the only one who suffered. Neither is he.

Destroyed' Lewinsky Speaks Out on Clinton Memoir

Jun 25, 7:50 AM (ET)

By Jeffrey Goldfarb, European Media Correspondent

LONDON (Reuters) - Monica Lewinsky says she feels betrayed by Bill Clinton's failure to acknowledge how he destroyed her life in his newly released memoirs.

In an interview with British broadcaster ITV to be shown on Friday, the former White House intern best known for her affair with the 42nd U.S. president says she was disappointed at how their relationship is addressed.

"I really didn't expect him to talk in detail about the relationship," she said, according to a partial transcript of the interview provided by ITV.

"But what I was hoping, and did expect was for him to acknowledge and correct the inaccurate and false statements that he, his staff and the (Democratic National Committee) made about me when they were trying to protect the presidency," she said.

In response to Clinton's recent remark to U.S. news show "60 Minutes" that he had the affair "for the worst possible reason -- because I could," Lewinsky said she "was really upset" when she first heard it.

"I have spent the past several years working so hard to just move on, and to try and build a life for myself," said Lewinsky, 30, who has been a spokeswoman for diet company Jenny Craig and host of the reality TV show "Mr. Personality."

Lewinsky, who told her own account of the affair in the 1999 book "Monica's Story," said she reluctantly spoke out about Clinton's tome "My Life" because he tried to rewrite history.

"He says he was proud of the way that he defended the presidency, at my expense," she said....

Lewinsky insists during the ITV interview that she had a relationship with Clinton even though he never uses the word in the book, instead opting for "inappropriate encounter" on page 773 of the 957-page autobiography.

"This is something that I never wanted to talk about publicly and I know he wished had never become public. But this was a mutual relationship, from the way it started all the way through," Lewinsky said.
ITV will broadcast excerpts of the interview during its lunchtime, evening and late-night news. There also will be a half-hour special, "Monica Lewinsky: My Side of the Story," at 2200 GMT on ITV1.

Noble Ryan refuses to face brutal, scorched earth campaign

And that's just from his own party (And perhaps some apolitical pissed off Trekies). Obama hadn't said a word, and likely wouldn't. He didn't need to. Ryan's own Republican Party, on the other hand, were questioning his integrity and credibility.

Jack Ryan Says He's Quitting Senate Bid

Jun 25, 3:34 PM (ET)


WASHINGTON (AP) - Illinois Republican senatorial candidate Jack Ryan, his candidacy in turmoil over sex club allegations, decided to quit his quest for Congress on Friday. "I am today withdrawing from the race," he said in a statement prepared by his campaign.

"It's clear to me that a vigorous debate on the issues most likely could not take place if I remain in the race," added the statement, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

"What would take place, rather, is a brutal, scorched-earth campaign - the kind of campaign that has turned off so many voters, the kind of politics I refuse to play."

Jackie don't play that. And Jeri don't play what Jackie wants to play.

Monday, June 21, 2004

The Family Values Party's Swinging Good Time

Well, the long awaited divorce papers of the Ryan's have been revealed, and they're pretty juicy.  While I believe what two consenting adults do in private is their exclusive business, it would appear that would-be Senator Ryan has a preference for public places and that the misses didn't exactly consent.  In any event, I wouldn't particularly care if a candidate and his/her spouse had such kinky inclinations, but if her allegations are true, he's a bit of a selfish jerk and a hard sell to the Republican "base."

Its a long way to November, but I think Obama can at least chill the champagne.

Ryan papers contain allegations he pressured wife for public sex

Monday June 21, 2004


CHICAGO (AP) Republican Senate candidate Jack Ryan pressured his wife, actress Jeri Lynn Ryan, to have sex in clubs while others watched, she charged in divorce documents released Monday.

The ``Boston Public'' and ``Star Trek: Voyager'' actress said she angered Ryan by refusing. She did acknowledge infidelity on her part, which she said took place after their marriage was irretrievably broken.

In the documents Ryan denied the allegations, saying he had been ``faithful and loyal'' to his wife.

Jeri Lynn Ryan charged during a custody hearing that Ryan took her on surprise trips to New Orleans, New York and Paris in 1998, and that he insisted she go to sex clubs with him on each trip.

She said that after going out to dinner with Ryan in New York, he demanded that she go to a club with him.

``It was a bizarre club with cages, whips and other apparatus hanging from the ceiling,'' she said. She said Ryan asked her to perform a sexual act while others watched, and she refused.

She said they left and Ryan apologized to her and said it was out of his system. But then, she said, he took her to Paris and again took her to a sex club.

She said she cried and became physically ill at the club, and her husband got angry with her. She said she could never get over that incident.

Saturday, June 12, 2004

The gang that couldn't shoot straight

The incompetence of this administration is truly mind boggling. This should be getting tons of play. No wonder we can't gather intel. We can't even gather statistics.

Terrorism up, not down in 2003: State Department Report States

WASHINGTON — The State Department acknowledged today it was wrong in reporting terrorism declined worldwide last year, a finding that was used to boost one of President George W. Bush's top foreign policy claims — success in countering terror.

Instead, both the number of incidents and the toll in victims increased sharply, the department said. Statements by senior administration officials claiming success were based "on the facts as we had them at the time; the facts that we had were wrong," department spokesman Richard Boucher said.

The report, issued in April, reported attacks had declined last year to the lowest level in 34 years and dropped 45 per cent since 2001, Bush's first year as president.

Among the mistakes, Boucher said, was that only part of 2003 was taken into account.

Secretary of State Colin Powell said today the errors were partly the result of new data collection procedures. "I can assure you it had nothing to do with putting out anything but the most honest, accurate information we can," he said.

"Errors crept in that frankly we did not catch here," Powell said of the report, which showed a falloff in the number of attacks worldwide in 2003 and the virtual disappearance of incidents in which no one died.

Representative Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said this week the administration had refused to address his contention that the findings were manipulated for political purposes. Waxman had written Powell asking for an explanation.

Boucher said a reply to Waxman was in preparation. "We wanted to make sure that we give the congressman the best and most accurate picture of what we know and what's going on as we can," he said.

He said the errors began to become apparent in early May. "We got phone calls from people who were going through our report and who said to themselves, as we should have said to ourselves: `This doesn't feel right. This doesn't look right.' And who started asking us questions," he said.

One of Bush's major foreign policy claims is that his post-Sept. 11 strategy to counter terror was showing success.

Ken Mehlman, the president's campaign manager, said in April, "Ultimately the most important thing that people want to see on the war on terror is, what is your vision for dealing with it and what is your record."

"Obviously one of the most important issues in this election is the question of how do we continue to fight and win the war on terror so we keep our homeland safe," Mehlman said.

At the same time, Vice-President Dick Cheney and Mehlman have questioned whether Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry was qualified to conduct a war against terrorism.

When the annual report was issued April 29, senior administration officials used it as evidence the war was being won under Bush.

J. Cofer Black, who heads the State Department's counterterrorism office, cited the existence of only 190 acts of terrorism in 2003 as "good news" and predicted the trend would continue this year.

Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage said at the time, "Indeed, you will find in these pages clear evidence that we are prevailing in the fight."

His office did not respond today to a request for a statement in light of disclosures some of the findings in Patterns of Global Terrorism were inaccurate and understated.

"When we are sure we have the new facts, the right facts, we will prepare an appropriate analysis and give you our assessment at that moment," Boucher said.

They were quick enough to cite it as good news. Maybe a Dem intern could fact check next time. Amazing.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Bush spreads Freedom around the world

Of course, that's "freedom" in the Bushspeak, 1984 kinda way. Spreading the GOP "no protest" policy to the European continent should be interesting. Do they ever tell French farmers not to strike? Metro workers? Could an attempted protest lead to mass arrests? C'est la vie.

Paris bans protests ahead of Bush's visit

Demonstrations have been banned in central Paris throughout this week to ensure no hostile protests are in evidence to disturb President George W. Bush's brief presence in the French capital on Saturday, where he will be dining with President Jacques Chirac.

This blanket ban cannot conceal the groundswell of French hostility to the US president and the unpopularity of his policies on Iraq and the broader Middle East.

It nevertheless underscores Mr Chirac's determination to make Mr Bush's stay in France for the 60th anniversary of the D-Day celebrations a friendly occasion and a chance to improve the chilly state of Franco-American relations.

Saturday, May 29, 2004

Finally, something the American people can understand-- gossip

Shady Iraqi exiles, leaked CIA identities, Presidential briefing memos, moronic geopolitical ideology-- not just complicated, but also deadly dull! At least to a public consumed by Michael, Koby, Scott and Lacy. But don't fear! Kitty Kelly to the rescue with what promises to be first class dirt:

Bush dynasty ex-wife set to spill the beans

By Steve Bloomfield and Sophie Goodchild

30 May 2004

A new book on the Bush dynastyis set for release just six weeks before November's knife-edge presidential election. The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty by Kitty Kelley will have an initial print run of 500,000, and the main source is believed to be Sharon Bush, the ex-wife of Neil, President George W Bush's wayward brother.

The book could be the most damaging yet for the President, with the publishers, Random House, promising it will "cause controversy".

Monday, May 10, 2004

Relax-- they're professionals

Apparently Iraqi prisoner abuse isn't the only issue Rumsfeld's Defense Department has its collective head up its collective ass about. Job qualifications? We don't consider it an issue.

Assistant Secretary of Defense Charles Abell has a master's from Columbus University, a diploma mill Louisiana shut down. Deputy Assistant Secretary Patricia Walker lists among her degrees, a bachelor's from Pacific Western, a diploma mill banned in Oregon and under investigation in Hawaii.

CBS News requested interviews with both officials. The Pentagon turned us down, saying, "We don't consider it an issue."

But using such a degree is a crime in some states. Alan Contreras cracks down on diploma mills for Oregon, a state that's taken the lead on this issue.

"You don't want somebody with a fake degree working in Homeland Security," says Contreras. "You don't want somebody with a fake degree teaching your children or designing your bridges."

But we found employees with diploma mill degrees at the new Transportation Security Administration, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Departments of Treasury and Education, where Rene Drouin sits on an advisory committee. He has degrees from two diploma mills including Kensington University.

Kensington was forced out of business by officials in California and Hawaii. Another Kensington alum, Florida State Rep. Jennifer Carroll, just stepped down from the National Commission on Presidential Scholars.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The truth about what Bush did with his medals

George Dubya Bush is a practical man. A man who values utility. Why did he join the Texas Air National Guard? Two reasons: 1) to save his sorry ass; 2) to "better" himself (which from all reports would have required very little at the time.)

In his own simple words, before he envisioned leading the Free World (or even Texas):

"I was not prepared to shoot my eardrum out with a shotgun in order to get a deferment. Nor was I willing to go to Canada. So I chose to better myself by learning how to fly airplanes."

Now, his surrogates are smearing Kerry. Was one of his Purple Hearts a little "questionable"? Did he throw away his actual Silver Star, Bronze Star and three Purple Hearts, or just his ribbons? And has he "allowed" people to be confused about the difference? Was he brave, cowardly, medal hungry or just an atrocity seeking mad man when he left his boat, ran down a VC and killed him?

Lost in these distractions is another story of which I am hot on the trail. What happened to Bush's medals? Or ribbons? I've heard rumors (mostly because I listen to myself sometimes) that although Bush wasn't granted medals, or ribbons, or whatever, except an honorable discharge which Republicans seem to think warrants more respect than three Purple Hearts, that Bush routinely stole other soldiers medals and sold them to support his cocaine habit....Developing...

Monday, April 19, 2004

The primaries are over, John

Gotta love those ad companies that cut corners during a presidential campaign. Kerry has had a few ads this season that are cut and paste jobs, but now it is time to at least think, if not be totally original. Two of Kerry's "new" ads, "Choice" and "Join the fight", contain the tag line, "I promise to take the fight to George Bush every single day." Well, that's what the Dems wanted to hear when choosing a candidate, but now Americans want a President who is focused on making their lives better, not "taking the fight to George Bush..." Hey Bob Shrum, this is not the time for amateur hour. The message from the candidates lips kinda matters.

Friday, April 09, 2004

What a difference a year makes

April 9, 2003

According to White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, President Bush watching the statue fall on television, and said, "They got it down."

"The president is filled with joy for the fact that the Iraqi people soon will be free," Fleischer added.

Likening the scenes of Iraqis destroying symbols of Saddam's power to the 1989 fall of the Berlin Wall, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld called it a "very good day" for the Iraqi people.

Then there were utter morons like this guy about a week later:

Hardly a month into it, the war to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein is winding down. The past 10 days have seen....

The taking of the Baghdad airport, as well as Basra and Baghdad itself. The collapse of resistance in Kirkuk, Mosul, Tikrit and Qaim. The repatriation of the Magnificent Seven POWs (plus one). The capture of key Saddamite operatives, the flight of others and the death of still others, such as Chemical Ali and possibly even the big enchiladas - Saddam and his two cretinous sons.

Cooperation with the Turks. Cheers, celebration, jubilation in the streets - Iraqis hugging Marines, saying, "I love Mr. Bush," and shouting, "America, yes!" Torture chambers found, missiles found, caches of likely biochemical weapons found. Warnings to Syria. Statues of Saddam defaced and toppled across the land.

Yet the people who said....

Let the UN do it. Give the inspectors more time. It's all about oil. The Europeans are irked - the Chinese, too. People will die; better start stocking up on body bags. War will cost too much. Preemption is wrong; war to liberate Iraq wouldn't be just; the protesters and the Dixie Chicks are right. It would be an American jihad - war against Islam, war against the Arabs. Iraq isn't our problem; Saddam isn't so bad.

...Are many of the same people who said....

What does stupid Bush know? Cheney, Rumsfeld, Powell and Wolfowitz are proven warmongers - not to mention the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Saddam might use biochems - verily, what if he does? The retired flag officers on TV are skeptical. The coalition forces are too few, too green, can't possibly win quickly. We'll get mired in Iraq à la Vietnam.

...Are many of the same people who, following the statue's destruction, liked these commentaries and headlines....

Celebration is unseemly and premature. Columnist Thomas Friedman: "No water, no food, no happy faces," so "hold your applause." Imams and intellectuals are voicing concerns. Cox News Service: "Sentiment in Baghdad is about 60-40 joy; many Iraqis are sullen and despise the U.S." ...

"Reaction in Europe Muted and Mixed." "Arabs Gloomy." "Some Iraqis Grateful to U.S. But Wary of Any Changes." "Muslims Unmoved by Fall of Saddam; Leaders Condemn U.S. as Colonizer."

...Are many of the same people who are saying now....

The United States has won the war but can't possibly win the peace. There is chaos, mayhem, looting, vigilantism and anarchy. Bush is a boob; he has put a retired general in charge of the interim transition government. In an Arab/Islamic country, democracy can't work.

When will Bush start moving on democracy? What about reconstruction? What about humanitarian assistance? The United States better leave soon, soonest - yesterday. The United States better not leave before the restoration of civil order. If the United States lingers too long, U.S. troops will be viewed in the Arab street as nothing more than latter-day Ugly Americans.

Bush and Blair are arguing over post-liberation Iraq. Who will run the place? Islam hates us; Arabs hate us; we are loathed. What about Arab/Islamic despair over the defeat of Saddam? We need to restore the Arabs' - Islam's - lost honor. Give the UN - and our crucial allies France, Germany, Russia and China - a wider role to get the crucial things done.
Questions: Who is ignorant (Jane Fonda said in Vancouver the other day that Americans are)? Who have their arms around the situation and really know what they're talking about? Who are doing what they said they would do and, thankfully, checking things off the list instead of constantly carping - who is out there in the fray securing liberty for Iraqis and protecting the people and interests of the United States?

Who is out there in the fray today? A bunch of underpaid, underresourced, overextended soldiers. Bush has gone fishing with his Dad and will probably squeeze a fundraiser or two in this week.

Cheney before the war:

MR. RUSSERT: If your analysis is not correct, and we’re not treated as liberators, but as conquerors, and the Iraqis begin to resist, particularly in Baghdad, do you think the American people are prepared for a long, costly, and bloody battle with significant American casualties?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Well, I don’t think it’s likely to unfold that way, Tim, because I really do believe that we will be greeted as liberators. I’ve talked with a lot of Iraqis in the last several months myself, had them to the White House. The president and I have met with them, various groups and individuals, people who have devoted their lives from the outside to trying to change things inside Iraq. And like Kanan Makiya who’s a professor at Brandeis, but an Iraqi, he’s written great books about the subject, knows the country intimately, and is a part of the democratic opposition and resistance. The read we get on the people of Iraq is there is no question but what they want to the get rid of Saddam Hussein and they will welcome as liberators the United States when we come to do that.

Iraqis withold flowers on the anniversary of Saddam's collapse

On the anniversary of the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, Baghdad and parts of central Iraq were chaotic.

At a square in the capital where Saddam's statue was toppled a year ago, soldiers took down a new icon: pictures of the radical Shiite cleric whose followers have risen up against coalition forces in the south.

Another U.S. soldier was killed in an attack on a base elsewhere in the capital, and large groups of insurgents fought U.S. soldiers in two cities to the north, Baqouba and Muqdadiyah.

One Marine was killed in Fallujah and another wounded in exchanges of fire after U.S. forces called a stop to offensive operations in the city, a spokesman said.

The death - along with those of three Marines a day earlier announced yesterday - brought the toll of U.S. soldiers killed across Iraq this week to 46. More than 460 Iraqis have been killed in the fighting - including more than 280 in Fallujah, a hospital official said....

Elsewhere, fighting with al-Sadr's al-Mahdi Army militia diminished. Coalition forces largely left gunmen in control in three cities of south-central Iraq, and further south, coalition forces have largely succeeded in taming the uprising, though Italian soldiers still experienced light fighting in the city of Nasiriyah.

In Fallujah, Marines stopped their assault on Sunni insurgents to allow U.S.-picked Iraqi leaders - angry at the United States over the bloodshed from five days of heavy fighting - to hold talks with city leaders on how to reduce the violence.

The governing council issued a statement early today demanding an end to military action and "collective punishment" - a reference to the Fallujah siege.

Abdul-Karim Mahoud al-Mohammedawi, a Shiite on the governing council, said he was suspending his council seat until "the bleeding stops in all Iraq." He also met yesterday with al-Sadr, whom U.S. commanders have vowed to capture.

Meanwhile, in an indication of the emergence of a new enemy in Iraq, two pictures of al-Sadr hung from a sculpture in Baghdad's central Firdos Square, where one year ago Marines toppled a statue of Saddam.

A U.S. soldier climbed a ladder to tear down the posters, and the military warned that al-Sadr's followers were planning bomb attacks in the area. Hours later, a mortar landed nearby

A more pleasant memory from 30 years and one day ago:

Hammerin' Hank hits number 715

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Let's make him pass it first

Bush Endorses Testing Of 12th-Grade Students

EL DORADO, Ark., April 6 -- President Bush endorsed a proposal Tuesday that would require states to test 12th-grade students and called for the replacement of an 87-year-old vocational education program.

George W. Bush: Uniter Extraordinaire

Shrub ran for President as a "uniter, not a divider." Okay, he's totally polarized this country, but he has done an excellent job of uniting much of the world against us and now he has pulled off what most experts previously thought to be impossible-- Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Iraq have found common ground, at least for now. Too bad our troops have to suffer the consequences.

Muslim Rivals Unite In Baghdad Uprising

BAGHDAD, April 6 -- On the streets of Baghdad neighborhoods long defined by differences of faith and politics, signs are emerging that resistance to the U.S. occupation may be growing from a sporadic, underground effort to a broader insurrection by militiamen who claim to be fighting in the name of their common faith, Islam.

On Monday, residents of Adhamiya, a largely Sunni section of northern Baghdad, marched with followers of Moqtada Sadr, the militant Shiite cleric whose call for armed resistance was answered by local Sunnis the same afternoon, residents said.

As protesters chanted anti-occupation slogans in Abu Hanifa Square, militants were seen hustling toward the site carrying AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, residents said. The guerrillas opened fire on the U.S. armor deployed near the demonstration, attacking from positions in a neighborhood where militants appear to be not just tolerated but encouraged.

"I saw three mujaheddin on this street, and another three moving up this side," said Abu Hassan, pointing toward narrow lanes running toward the square on either side of the bakery where he works. On the other side of the counter, a customer spoke excitedly of guerrilla fighters arriving in several Toyota Coaster minibuses, then melting into the neighborhood.

"Everywhere among the houses they hid," said the young customer, who left without giving his name. "Then they started shooting at the American army."

Saturday, March 27, 2004

Over the next few days...

I'll be out of town and unable to blog. Count on the inept and desperate Repugs to keep Clarke relevant, in the news, and fighting back. Sit back and enjoy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

It is time for Moveon to play hardball

Don't get me wrong-- I appreciate the efforts of, but I simply don't think most of their ads have a tremendous visceral impact on most swing voters. The latest they want to run uses Richard Clarke's quotes. Not bad, I guess, but I don't think they will grab most folks. They need to step it up a notch. Maybe something like this:

Narrator: 3,000 Americans dead. Could it have been prevented? What could we have done differently? That's the question the 9/11 Commission is trying to answer. Its not about blame. Its about answers-- truthful answers. President Clinton has agreed to testify before the entire commission-- no time limits. President Bush refuses to testify under oath. Dick Cheney refuses to testify under oath. Condi Rice questions other people's credibility, but even she refuses to testfiy under oath. What are they hiding? Why won't they swear to tell the truth-- the whole truth? Call the White House. Tell them it is time to fully cooperate with the Commission so Americans can finally know the truth.

Condi takes her eye off of the ball again

The person whose foremost responsibility is to keep us safe is in full-time political shill mode for the Shrub. Can there be any time left for her supposed "day job" that we are paying her for? Now she's complaining that when she took him to lunch to thank him, he didn't grab her by the collar and bitch-slap her. Shut up and testify, Condi.

Rice Accuses Clarke of Conflicting Stories

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A fuming U.S. national security adviser Condoleezza Rice accused former counter-terrorism aide Richard Clarke on Wednesday of shifting positions from backing President Bush's war on terrorism to now questioning it.

Clarke has accused Bush of a fixation on Iraq, but Rice said Clarke did not raise those concerns with her. She said after his resignation 13 months ago, she invited him to lunch three weeks before the start of the U.S.-led war against Iraq to thank him for his years of service.

Clarke had "not a word about concerns that Iraq was going to somehow take us off the path of the war on terrorism. It would've been easy to do, kick the others out, close the door, say 'I just want you to know I think you're making a mistake.' He didn't do it," she told reporters in her West Wing office.

Rice, in normal circumstances an even-keeled top White House aide, was unusually incensed during a half-hour briefing for reporters in her West Wing office, as she castigated her former employee. She also went on television to make her case.

Her comments reflected ongoing White House frustration with Clarke, who has threatened the underpinning of Bush's re-election strategy as an activist in the war on terrorism.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Shameless bastards

Tax Gap Attack

President Bush's campaign rolled out a curious new line of attack on Sen. John F. Kerry this week, highlighting a $1 trillion "tax gap" -- that is, the cost of his proposals and the money available to pay for them -- in the Massachusetts senator's economic platform.

"John Kerry's tax gap of $1 trillion would result in higher taxes on every American and is the wrong prescription for our economy," Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said this week. "Kerry's new government spending will put a burden on every American family."

In a nutshell, the Bush campaign says that Kerry so far has proposed about $1.7 trillion in new spending over the next 10 years while proposing to increase taxes by about $650 million by rescinding the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.

Why is the attack curious? Because the Bush campaign accuses Kerry of doing nearly the same thing Bush did in 2000. In his campaign for president, the Texas governor went from campaign stop to campaign stop proposing hundreds of billions of dollars for new environmental, social and educational programs without ever outlining one major cut in any federal program.

Bush did all of this while proposing a $1.35 trillion tax-cut plan.

The reporters following the Bush campaign (I was one of them) pushed the candidate to explain how he planned to balance the books with huge tax cuts, massive infusions of new spending for education and social programs and no significant cuts in existing programs. The candidate's answer was always the same: The expanding economy and a predicted $4.6 trillion budget surplus would more than pay for tax cuts and spending increases. Even when it became clear in mid-2000 -- the heat of the campaign season -- that the economy was slowing down, the Bush campaign stuck by its story.

It was a smart political strategy, one that played off of a contemporary phenomenon -- the irrational exuberance of the era -- and a traditional one -- the certainty that voters will reward politicians who promise them it's possible to have everything.

Bush endeared himself to conservatives in 2000 by promising historic tax cuts. And, unlike his Newt Gingrich-era predecessors, he didn't alienate liberals and moderates with constant talk about slashing popular government programs.

As the rosy economic predictions that underscored the Bush campaign's economic platform evaporated in 2001, the president proposed even greater tax cuts while overseeing what the libertarian Cato Institute calculates to be the largest annual increases in discretionary spending since the Great Society programs of the Johnson administration in the late 1960s.

The result: a tax gap of more than $5 trillion in spending over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

"While George W. Bush has claimed to support deficit reduction, his policies and plans have led us from a $5.6 trillion surplus to an expected $5.2 trillion deficit -- a $10 trillion difference," the Kerry campaign responded on Monday. "Since George Bush has said he cares about the deficit, we can only assume that there is a $10 trillion tax gap that he will charge the American people."

In other words, the Bush tax gap is bigger than our tax gap.

I've concluded that these guys are so dishonest to their core that they can't even see their own hypocrisy. The sheer volume of dishonest crap that they throw at you-- depending on the ignorance of the average American voter to not be able to see through it on his or her own-- makes it almost impossible to effectively rebut it all in 30 second ads.