“Cosmetic reduction of partisan conflict appears to be displacing substantive effort to make the Senate an institution that operates according to majority rule. You have to wonder whether Democrats, in the hours leading up to their party leader’s State of the Union, had any sincere desire to enact its programs.“
Seem like every time you stop and turn around, something else just hit the ground. Not to be lost in the shuffle, filbuster reform has died anew, and so once again the broken United State Senate has “slipped back into stagnant waters.” Sounds like Two More Years for Presidents Snowe, Collins, Lieberman, and Nelson, then.
“The politics of President Kennedy — patriotic service to country, support of civil rights and social justice, pro-growth economic and tax policies, and a strong national defense — are still my politics,” Lieberman said. “So maybe that means that JFK wouldn’t fit into any of today’s partisan political boxes neatly.“
Um…yeah. Anyway, after four terms in the Senate, Joe Lieberman announces he will not be running again in 2012. [Archive.] (Politically, this was a foregone conclusion — his poll numbers have been in the tank for years.) You know how they say: If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all? Well, with that in mind,
“‘Both parties talk a good game on cutting earmarks, but at first opportunity, the House larded up,’ said Stephen Ellis, vice president of the watchdog group. ‘This is just another broken promise.’” With another big defense bill imminent, congressional earmarks are sadly back in vogue. “In the Senate, Lieberman led the way with his participation in 14 requests worth more than $292 million, some of them involving more than one lawmaker, the watchdog group data show. Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.) made 48 requests, many with colleagues, worth more than $198 million. Sens. Jeff Sessions (Ala.) and Elizabeth Dole (N.C.) led Republicans by participating in requests totaling $188 million and $182 million, respectively.”
“They shook hands. But Obama didn’t let go, leading Lieberman — cordially — by the hand across the room into a corner on the Democratic side, where Democratic sources tell ABC News he delivered some tough words for the junior senator from Connecticut…Reporters watched as Obama leaned closely in to Lieberman, whose back was literally up against the wall.” Taking a page from the LBJ school of physical persuasion, Sen. Obama seems to warn Joe Lieberman privately about the perils of Zelling out. Update: Holy Joe pushes back. Hard to imagine Lieberman remaining a committee chair after November at this point.
Late to the party on this, but some endorsements of note. The The Des Moines Register backs Hillary Clinton, as does former Senator and Bradley supporter Bob Kerrey (although Kerrey has some nice words for Obama as well.) Says the Register: “Obama, her chief rival, inspired our imaginations. But it was Clinton who inspired our confidence.” And, of course, former President Bill Clinton has been touting his wife more loudly than usual of late, including going so far as to disparage Obama on television.
Meanwhile, calling Clinton’s campaign “needlessly defensive” and “a backward glance at the bruising political battles of the 1990s,” the Boston Globe backs Barack Obama, citing his international experience, judgment, and — most happily — his progressive bona fides: “The first major bill to Obama’s name in the Illinois Legislature was on campaign ethics reform. In Washington, he coauthored this year’s sweeping congressional lobbying reform law…exposure [to government] has tended to give [Obama's opponents] a sense of government’s constraints. Obama is more animated by its possibilities.“
Finally, while Mike Huckabee may have locked up the home-school crowd, both the Des Moines Register and Boston Globe back John McCain…as does — continuing his fall from Democratic grace — formerly Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman. “The problems that confront us are too great, the threats we face too real, and the opportunities we have too exciting for us to play partisan politics with the presidency,” said Lieberman. Sigh…And he and Clinton seemed so close in their aghast GOP-lite moralism when they were blaming Grand Theft Auto for all America’s ills.
“‘You can look at this stage and see an African American, a Latino, a woman contesting for the presidency of the United States,’ Clinton said. ‘But there is so much left to be done, and for anyone to assert that race is not a problem in America is to deny the reality in front of our very eyes.‘” Unfortunately, I missed the third Democratic debate at Howard University debate last night, so I can’t comment on the performances of Clinton, Obama, Edwards et al. I can say that this new NBC poll showing that 52% of the electorate wouldn’t consider voting for Hillary under any circumstances conforms to one of my major concerns with her nomination. As I said before, she’s a smart, talented, and impressive politico who’d undoubtedly sail the ship of state much more smoothly than the current administration. (Of course, so would you, I, the night-janitor at the local McDonalds, or almost anyone else one can think of.) But, really:  she’s thoroughly lousy on campaign finance reform, to my mind the issue that bears on virtually all others;  she apparently didn’t have the wherewithal or leadership instincts to realize the Iraq war was a terrible idea in 2003 (it didn’t take all that much to figure it out, particularly when you figure how much more information Clinton had access to than we did);  her view of centrism is apparently to act like Joe Lieberman every so often; and  most of the nation has already decided for various reasons that they don’t like her. With the Republicans scattered and in retreat, their ideology in eclipse, why do we keep throwing up marginal, tired candidates — Gore, Kerry, Clinton — on the off-chance that the electorate will manage to surmount their strong negatives, hold their collective nose, and vote for them?
To be fair, the other Dems haven’t been all that great at articulating a progressive alternative to Republican-lite DLC-ishness yet either, but at least there’s some potential for it there. Sen. Obama‘s got all the right JFK moves, and this all-things-to-all-people ambiguity may be one of his strongest political assets. But right now I think he’s relying too much on his initial spate of public goodwill, and missing a chance to really draw the nation’s attention to the issues that concern him. And John Edwards‘ son-of-a-millworker-made-good brand of populism, while laudable, doesn’t yet seem fully formed to me. But, at the very least, Edwards — unlike some of his more-willing-to-triangulate opponents — seems more often than not to let his flag fly, and act from the courage of his convictions. Right now, particularly with McCain hopelessly derailed by his blatant compromises of principle, Edwards may be the closest we’ve got to a Straight-Talk-Express this year (well, this side of Kucinich, Gravel, and Paul.)
At the moment, I’m still leaning towards Obama, just because of his tremendous upside — he, unlike virtually every other candidate, has the possibility to transform, revitalize, and realign our current political debate if he plays his cards right. But, Edwards is still in my estimation, and I’ll be taking a long hard look at him over the coming months (and either, in my humble opinion, are preferable to Senator Clinton, for the reasons listed above.)
“We don’t blame the Democrats for being frightened. The Republicans have made it clear that they’ll use any opportunity to brand anyone who votes against this bill as a terrorist enabler. But Americans of the future won’t remember the pragmatic arguments for caving in to the administration. They’ll know that in 2006, Congress passed a tyrannical law that will be ranked with the low points in American democracy, our generation’s version of the Alien and Sedition Acts.” Abu Ghraib becomes standard operating procedure as Dubya’s terror bill — horrifying as it is — passes the House 253-168 (roll call) and the Senate 65-34 (roll call.) Twelve Senate Dems (well, eleven Senate Dems and Lieberman) voted for the bill: Carper, Johnson, Landrieu, Lautenberg, Menendez, Nelson, Nelson, Pryor, Rockefeller, Salazar, Stabenow. Chafee was the only Republican to vote against it, Snowe abstained.
“It surprised me…It seemed almost orchestrated. It’s sort of demeaning to the people of Connecticut…I thought the senator and the vice president were both wrong to use that attack (strategy) on the voters of Connecticut.” In the first full week of the post-primary race in Connecticut (Joe’s up five at the moment), Ned Lamont calls out Lieberman for his recent Cheneyisms. And, in related news, Russ Feingold asks Lieberman to get out of the race on ABC’s This Week: “Joe is showing with that regrettable statement that he doesn’t get it. He doesn’t get it…Senator Lieberman has supported the Bush Administration’s disastrous strategic approach of getting us stuck in Iraq instead of focusing on those who attacked us.”
Is Lieberman’s MoJoe rising, or have Ned Lamont and his YouTube army stymied the Joementum for good? It’s decision time in Connecticut today, and the political world is watching with bated breath. My hope? Lamont in a walk. Update: As expected, Lieberman is defeated by a margin of 52-48%. Alas, after spewing forth some staggeringly self-serving GOP talking points about “partisan polarizers” in the Democratic Party (which several of the media glitterati are taking at face value), Lieberman has already announced his independent bid. Well, say hi to Zell for us on your way out of the party, Joe, and good riddance.
“What [Connecticut] tells us about the fall is something I think we’ve known all along, and that is the status quo in Iraq is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable to Democratic primary voters, it’s unacceptable to independents and it’s unacceptable to a large minority of Republicans. Iraq is the number one issue and the message is exceptionally simple: We cannot abide the status quo.” As Joe Lieberman likely nears the end of his days as a Democrat, Hillary, the DLC, and other centrist Dems prep for the fallout from the Connecticut primary.
And is dubious Democrat Joe Lieberman finished as well? (At least in the party, that is.) A new Quinnipac poll shows him trailing challenger Ned Lamont 51-47 for the first time in the Connecticut primary, which takes place August 8. (Although, loath to make the same mistake as his former running mate, Lieberman has the one and only Bill Clinton — a man who knows how to survive an inappropriate kiss or two — coming to town on Monday to campaign for him.) Update: Clinton makes the case.
“If Lamont has been unconventional and smart, Lieberman so far has been conventional and dumb.” Slate‘s John Dickinson reports in from the Connecticut Democratic primary, where Joe Lieberman is finding his pro-war Republicrat schtick isn’t playing too well with the Dem grass roots and amid the blogosphere. “The challenger clearly has the momentum. He’s doing so well that Lieberman has had discussions with political advisers about running in the general election as an independent.“
“The disturbing material in Grand Theft Auto and other games like it is stealing the innocence of our children and it’s making the difficult job of being a parent even harder.” It’s Dem Mods v. dem mods as Senators Hillary Clinton and (surprise, surprise) Joe Lieberman decide to sic the FTC on Rockstar Games for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, namely for the “Hot Coffee” PC mod which may or may not have been included in the original source code. (FYI, you can see the controversial game-clip here — It’s not safe for work, but it’s basically two pixellated characters having explicit sex in various positions, a la the puppets in Team America.)
As with most PMRC, V-Chip, and/or anti-Hollywood-style scapegoating for easy moderate bonus points, I don’t particularly think this type of sophomoric tomfoolery in an M-rated (17 and over) game is the central reason for the Decline and Fall of America’s Wayward Children. (And several wry Slashdotters have already pointed out the ridiculousness of the argument being made about GTA here: “I don’t care if my child carjacks a senior…[or] if he takes a golf club and starts clubbing to death pedestrians. But he may never, over my dead body, have adult on adult, consensual sex!“) But Sen. Clinton’s proposed remedy — adding teeth to the ratings system by potentially fining stores who sell M or AO-games to minors — doesn’t sound like the end of the world either. Update: Rockstar fesses up. Update 2: “Maybe she’d be wiser to focus on issues that matter to these people — say, the fighting and dying in Iraq — than on the fighting and the dying in the fake, fun world of ‘Grand Theft Auto.’” Slate‘s Farhad Manjoo calls out Clinton.
In a nod to her husband’s V-Chip triangulation strategy of 1996, Senator Hillary Clinton joins perennial bluenoses Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Rick Santorum (R-PA) in calling for a new ratings system for television, video games, and the like. Ok, fine, if this helps Sen. Clinton gain cred with Bush-leaning soccer moms, so be it…a uniform ratings system isn’t the end of the world. But I’d be more heartened if Hillary spent less time trying on the moralistic protective camouflage of the GOP and more time articulating the differences between the Democratic and GOP conceptions of “moral values.”
For example, Republicans love to throw the Bible around. Well, last I checked, the New Testament has more to say about compassion, tolerance, the hypocrisy of self-appointed moral arbiters, and the excesses of the wealthy than it does to recommend the small-minded bigotry and pro-corporate, devil-take-the-hindmost avarice of today’s Republican party. The Dems would do well in 2006 and beyond to draw attention to these huge shortfalls in GOP “values,” rather than rush to appropriate their shallow, scapegoating dramaturgy. (In fact, perhaps they should take a page from groups like the surging evangelical-environmental movement.)
“‘I really don’t like being lied to, repeatedly, flagrantly,’ Mr. Dayton said.” In a display of dissent that bodes well for the Dems’ outlook in the coming term, several Senate Dems — most notably Ted Kennedy, Mark Dayton, Carl Levin, Evan Bayh, Robert Byrd, and Barbara Boxer — use the Condi hearings to call out the administration on Iraq. (Newcomer Ken Salazar and Joe Lieberman, on the other hand, rolled over immediately.) Update: She’s through, but not before racking up the most No votes (13) in 180 years (since the “Corrupt Bargain” backlash against Henry Clay in 1825.)
While the Senate (led by Senators Lieberman, McCain, Bayh, and Specter) has crafted a bipartisan security bill that encompasses all of the 9/11 commission’s suggestions, Tom DeLay and the House GOP are, as per usual, off the reservation. “DeLay said the House will rely largely on its own expertise and insights, adding that ‘we have plenty of experts on our committees.’” Well, what was the point of having a commission, then? And, I don’t care how big the roaches are in Sugarland, Texas, Tom. Your “expertise” as a bug exterminator just isn’t going to cut it.
Seven states across the nation up for grabs last night, and five go to John Kerry. On the flip side, Joe Lieberman finally faced the music and bowed out of the race (So much for that “three-way tie” in NH.)
Well, call me an establishment sellout, but I’m close to putting this one in the fridge. I was glad to see Edwards take my and his home big, but I think Clark’s ekeing out of Oklahoma will hurt Carolina’s Finest on the momentum front. (That being said, Edwards is looking like a grand Veep.) And Dean, well, his 0-7 strategy was a gamble anyway, but I personally don’t believe he’s hitting the right notes to make a comeback anymore. Kerry a Republican? That’s just plain goofy. I’m all for running on campaign finance reform, of course, and I agree with Mark Shields that Dean’s made an enormous contribution in that regard…but I think spinning the “outsider” rhetoric just for the sake of it is lame. (Might as well say “Vote for me! I won’t know what the hell I’m doing for the first two years of my administration!”) Besides, it’s hard to run as the outsider who’ll change the insidious culture of Washington once you’ve nestled the likes of Al Gore to your breast. I’ll still put up Gore’s primary performance last cycle as an order of magnitude more shady than anything that’s gone down this time around.
So, if Kerry’s our horse, I’m ready to circle the wagons. He’s already up ten on Bush according to Gallup. And, having just seen California freak-show Darrell Issa on late-night CNN frantically go the “Dukakis Dukakis Dukakis” route, I’d say we have a real chance to win this thing. Between this and the atrocious State of the Union, I’m starting to get the sense we’ve been grossly overestimating Karl Rove’s political savvy. And, if the Big 47 holds up…it means trouble for the GOP that even Rehnquist, Scalia et al can’t solve this time. Bring it on.
So…New Hampshire has spoken, and John Kerry wins by 12 over fellow New Englander Howard Dean, Clark and Edwards tie for a distant third, and Lieberman falls to fifth. The game now shifts to the South and Midwest, including South Carolina.
Well, while it’s a bit off-putting to put this race in the fridge after only two states have spoken, I say it’s now definitely looking to be John Kerry’s year. That is, barring a strong showing by John Edwards on more favorable terrain, who has to win South Carolina convincingly next week to stay alive. As everyone’s known for months, Lieberman is clearly done, despite his ridiculous talk of a three-way tie for third in NH. (So much for the vote-swinging ability of the New Republic.) Wesley Clark may be able to pick up Oklahoma, but momentum counts for a lot, and he was fading fast all last week. So, barring something crazy happening, I’d say the general is also on his way out.
And Dean? Well, obviously he’s still got a large war chest and the frenzy of the Deaniacs to fall back on…but where does he go from here? The pre-NH polls have him dropping to fourth or fifth in every one of the polled February 3rd states, except New Mexico (and even that’s based on pre-Iowa numbers.) It’d be one thing if he had pulled closer to Kerry in New Hampshire, or even to within ten points, but a twelve-point loss is pretty decisive in terms of being a momentum-killer. (Consider in 2000 that Bradley got to within four points (52%-48%) of Gore in NH, something that was also spun by the pundit class as a “still-kicking” comeback after Iowa, and he got hammered in all 15 states the Tuesday next.) As Chris Suellentrop notes, Dean’s only hope may be to go “underground” for awhile, but it’s hard to see how a hail-mary play like that will have generated much mojo once the big states actually vote. It’s remarkable how Dean and Kerry switched places so quickly, but they did…and just as Kerry would be toast had he not won New Hampshire, the same now looks true for the governor of Vermont.
Carol Moseley Braun calls it quits, and will be endorsing Dean later today. That was very nice of her to do so before Iowa, and thus give the Doctor the benefit of a friendly press cycle before the first big contest. And, what with Jimmy Carter taking up a day too, that’ll make it even harder for the other candidates to gain traction in the media in the last four days. So…who’s next? Kucinich, I suspect…although it’d be nice if Lieberman saw the writing on the wall.
In another endorsement news, and in yet another sad reminder of how far the once-proud mag has fallen, the New Republic endorses Joe Lieberman. Basically, they feel he’s the best representative of the “hawkish liberalism” that should define the party, as evidenced by his continual support for Dubya’s Gulf War II. That’s bad enough, but you have to read the article to get a sense of how utterly ridiculous it all is. Exhibit A, the opening lines: “Recall for a moment the political climate in the United States in January 2001. Ralph Nader and the Supreme Court had made George W. Bush president.” (My italics.) Give it up, y’all. Or, here’s another, “Liberals resent Lieberman’s moralism. But what they see as sanctimony, many ordinary Americans see as overdue concern about the toxic influences that saturate their children’s lives.” They do? Really? Are these the same Americans who’ve made Joe Millionaire and The Simple Life hit shows? I like some of the writers on staff at TNR — some of ‘em are even my friends from the DC days — but let’s face it, Marty Peretz and Peter Beinart are to Democratic Party politics what Stanley Kauffmann is to film: conservative, condescending, and hopelessly out of touch.
In a week of minor stumbles (among them caucus-dissing — let’s face it, the Iowa caucuses are dominated by special interests. Ethanol subsidies, anyone? — and gubernatorial honoraria), Howard Dean pulls up another key endorsement in Tom Harkin. At this point, I’ll just go ahead and say that I hope the good Doctor takes both Iowa and New Hampshire and ends all the primary shenanigans sooner rather than later. It’s a safe bet to say that I like Howard Dean better than any of the other eight candidates, but that frankly isn’t saying much, and particularly given how Edwards, Clark, and Kerry have all underperformed.
I’ll be honest – I’m much less enthused by Dean than I was by Bradley last cycle. Dean has yet to make any policy proposals that I flat-out love, and I find him neither as progressive nor as inspiring as I’d like. In fact, more often than not, he kinda leaves me cold…But, of the nine, he’s the witch-king, so to speak. His occasional grouchiness and glibness does concern me, but no more so than any of the other candidates’ personality traits (And let’s drop the “unelectable” stuff…c’mon, this country elected George W. Bush. Anyone‘s electable. Oh, wait a minute, we didn’t.) In sum, Dean’s run a great campaign to this point, he’s got money and moxie to spare, and he clearly strikes a chord with many Democratic souls out there, so here’s hoping the party coalesces around him before we bleed ourselves to death solely to satisfy the big dreams of also-rans and the bruised egos of the DLC.
Whoa. Word is Al Gore will endorse Howard Dean tomorrow. I must say, I’m quite surprised by this announcement, particularly given all the water Gephardt and Kerry carried for Al last election cycle (to say nothing of Joe Lieberman, of course.) I guess Gore has either decided the Dems need to rally around a candidate immediately, or he’s recently experienced what alcoholics refer to as a moment of clarity. Either way, it’s obviously now even harder to envision anyone else but Dean winning the nod, barring a nuclear gaffe by the good Doctor. Update: It’s official.
Oh, there’s nothing halfway about the Iowa way to treat you when they treat you which they may not do at all. Wesley Clark and Joe Lieberman plan to skip the Iowa caucus in 2004…I’d say that’s a smart call for Clark (my thoughts on Lieberman are below), given how Iowa treated Bradley and McCain respectively last time around — Bradley came in second after Gore’s debate lie (actually penned by my roommate at the time), while McCain had the sense to stay out in the first place.
Speaking of which, will Joe Lieberman take a page from his old campaign partner and run a scorched-earth primary campaign? While normally I’d say the more the merrier, this time I agree with Perlstein – “It could be considered comic, this abyss at the Lieberman grassroots. It could be, that is, if Lieberman showed any signs of going away.” Read the writing on the wall, Joe, and step aside.
By respective votes of 303-125 and 87-12, the Iraq funding bill passes the House and Senate. (In terms of the Dem contenders, Lieberman and Gephardt voted in favor of the bill, while Kerry, Kucinich, and Edwards did not.) So Dubya got his money this time…let’s hope it’s enough to get the job done. Perhaps it’s time for Congress to reconsider the Biden Amendment?
So the Dems debated again last week in Arizona (during Sox-Yankees Game 2, of all times…I caught the first half, tuned out when the goofy “Real Americans Just Like You” portion started, and refrained from playing the drinking game), and this time around General Clark was the new focus of attack. I must say, I was very unimpressed with Clark’s handling of the Iraq question — When asked about his equivocations on the subject, he equivocated. Unless the General raises his game and soon, I’d think that the smart establishment money might look anew at Kerry, Edwards, or someone else. Speaking of which, also in Dem election news, Kerry and Gephardt conspire to kick Dean off the island, as manifested by Kerry’s new Gephardt-like Mediscare gambit. I definitely still could vote for Kerry, but allying with Gephardt in any capacity and playing the Mediscare game are two strikes in my book.
In the newest set of 2004 preview polls, Dubya is tied with a number of Dems, including Clark, Kerry, and Lieberman (Dean and Gephardt run slightly behind.) For his part, Bush say he’s not listening to the primary furor, yet that’s not stopping the White House from sweating today’s UN address, or GOP flaks from decrying the Dems’ “political hate speech.” Hate speech? Heh. Perhaps Gillespie should be referred to a little matter called impeachment…it was in the papers a few years back. Also in Election 2004 news, be sure to check out Value Judgment, a site I found in the referrer logs a few weeks ago. It’s very pro-Dean, but nevertheless does a superlative job in keeping up with Dem primary news.
In the last week before the General makes his anticipated move, Dean courts Clark for a final time. Nevertheless, it looks like Clark is a go (provided he finds time away from his advocacy of military bicycles.) In other Dem election news, Dean (who’s now pulling ahead in Iowa and everywhere else) got in a spot of trouble the other night in the third debate. Regarding the furor over Israel, I thought Dean successfully parried Lieberman’s attack by invoking Clinton, and made Joe (and Gephardt’s flunkies) seem as desperately aggressive as they in fact are. Yet, while he generally avoided the Mean Dr. Dean schtick this time, his comments on race — “I’m the only white politician that ever talks about race in front of white audiences.” — smacks of Gore-like hyperbole. Overblown, self-aggrandizing, and flagrantly ridiculous remarks like those cost Mediscare Al dearly in 2000…I would hope Dean knows better to repeat that mistake. At any rate, I thought Kerry and Kucinich also did quite well, although these two — especially the latter – might soon have to face the music when the General unleashes his cyclists on Sept. 19.
With Howard Dean’s place currently secure as a top-tier candidate (despite perhaps needing to burnish his foreign policy creds for the stretch run), a number of other Dems try to take advantage of the Labor Day rush to gain some traction before Wesley Clark becomes the soup du jour. As such, a Military Kerry officially announces in SC, an experienced Gephardt unveils new ads, and a newly compassionate Lieberman offers a “MediKids” plan. Well, the jury may still be out in Iowa, but I think I can safely say there’s very little chance of my voting Gephart and absolutely none of my voting Lieberman. Kerry still has a shot, though, depending how the campaign goes over the fall.
Campaign Update: While Howard Dean enjoys a very good press week, a flailing Joe Lieberman rails against the Left (and calls Dean a “ticket to nowhere.”) How utterly self-serving. Meanwhile, although it’s nothing compared to Dubya’s, John Edwards prepares to capitalize on his own considerable war chest.
As Dean scores another Internet coup and looks even more competitive in New Hampshire, the DLC tries to scare the left into submission with polls suggesting a mass defection of white males (veterans notwithstanding, I presume.) Perhaps it should be noted that Mark Penn is currently working for the Lieberman campaign. In related news, Jonathans Chait and Cohn debate Dean’s effect on the race in TNR. And, finally, John Edwards announces his health care plan in New Hampshire in Clintonesque fashion. (Veteran link via Follow Me Here.)
Weaponsgate fallout continues, with Ted Kennedy decrying Dubya’s foreign policy, John Kerry lambasting Homeland (in)Security under Bush, and Dean and Lieberman calling for Tenet’s head. Whether or not Tenet continues to fall on his sword for the Bushies, the buck stops with the White House, and the GOP Senate can only play defense for so long. What did Dubya know, and when did he know it?
William Saletan, who’s been rather unkind to Dean in the past, shows his hand – he’s for Edwards. Unfortunately, Saletan’s case here makes me less inclined to vote for him. “If Dean’s strength is speaking bluntly to the right, Edwards, like Joe Lieberman, has shown a facility for speaking bluntly to the left.” That’s exactly what I don’t want to hear.
Ryan Lizza looks at the charges of plagiarism and kleptomania resounding across the Democratic field at the moment, singling out the Dean campaign as the most “protective–some might say paranoid.” It seems to me that, while there’s clearly a lot of protective camouflage going on, one would have to expect some degree of overlap in a field of nine candidates, particularly when the allowable range of leftiness is so frustratingly small.
The Democratic candidates find out there’s more to the party than the DLC at the Take Back America conference. Good to see an uprising against the Lieberman Republicrats, and that the rest of the Dem field now – thanks in part to Howard Dean – has to take progressive discontent seriously.
If you can judge a man by his enemies, then Howard Dean picked up a key endorsement last week. Via Scully by e-mail, Al From’s Democratic Leadership Council – one of Al Gore‘s main water-carriers in 2000 and an organization which counts Joe Lieberman and Bob Graham among its members – decides to attack Howard Dean as an “elitist.” What garbage…The DLC is going to have find a better way of dealing with their left flank than simply casting old GOP insults their way. It’s exactly this type of Republican-lite thinking endlessly promoted by From’s organization that made Ralph Nader the spoiler in 2000. Don’t think it couldn’t happen again. Update: Perhaps Clinton will straighten ‘em out, although it sounds like he’s just reading from the Lieberman-Graham playbook instead. Update 2: Independent James Jeffords criticizes the DLC remarks, calling it “incredible to hear such charges coming from Democrats.” Not as incredible as it once was, I’m afraid.