“‘What strikes me now is the degree to which the fairly fiscally irresponsible policies of the last six years have put Democrats in a box,’ Mr. Greenstein said. ‘They’ve got these large tax cuts in place, they have even larger fiscal problems in the coming decades and they have large unmet needs right now, such as 45 million uninsured people. Addressing all three of those things will be very difficult.’” The NYT discusses briefly how the 2008 Dems are planning to approach Dubya’s tax cuts — As you might expect, everyone agrees that the giveaways to the tiny percentage of wealthiest Americans, those with incomes over $200,000, will have to stop. “‘Yes, we’ll have to raise taxes,’ Mr. Edwards declared in February in one of the first statements by a Democratic candidate on the issue.”
“The campaign goes on…The campaign goes on strongly.” Despite a deeply unfortunate recurrence of his wife’s cancer, John Edwards announces he’s staying in the presidential hunt. A welcome decision: At the moment, I’d say it’s still a race between he and Barack Obama for my primary vote.
“If we actually want to change this country and we want to move America the way it needs to move, we’re going to have to do it, all of us, together.” As telegraphed by his official site a day early, the John Edwards train leaves the station from the Ninth District of New Orleans. I thought highly of Edwards last cycle — and voted for him in 2004 — so I for one am glad to see him back around for 2008. Right now, with Feingold out of the picture, it’s a two-man race right now between him and Obama for my primary vote.
Ethanol and granite, meet poker and palmettos. After months of wrangling, the Dems announce that Nevada and South Carolina will be pushed forward into Iowa/New Hampshire territory come the 2008 primaries. “Harold Ickes — a committee member and confidante of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y., a potential 2008 candidate — spoke in opposition to a Palmetto State primary out of concern that it would be a walkover for former senator John Edwards (N.C.) should he choose to run.” (Interestingly enough, this article also notes that Rep. Jim Clyburn, the congressman from my hometown of Florence, SC, is now the third-ranking Dem in the House. Nicely done.)
Faced with the prospect of his state losing its disproportionate influence on presidential campaigns, New Hampshire Governor John Lynch (D) begins twisting the arms of possible presidential candidates in 2008, with Evan Bayh the first to cry uncle. “New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has assiduously avoided taking a position on the issue despite personal urgings by Lynch to do so. Former Virginia governor Mark Warner, the hot ‘anti-Hillary’ candidate these days, is similarly noncommittal.” Pushing back on New Hampshire’s entreaties are Bill Richardson (New Mexico) and John Edwards (North Carolina), for obvious reasons. Feingold is also uncommitted (as far as I know), although one would think that, as an independent-minded maverick, he’d be a prime candidate for an early Granite State boost. That is, provided John McCain doesn’t suck all the air out of the state, as he did in 2000 versus Bradley.
“Democrats are heading into this year’s elections in a position weaker than they had hoped for, party leaders say, stirring concern that they are letting pass an opportunity to exploit what they see as widespread Republican vulnerabilities.”.” Gee, you think? “‘What the American people are hungry to hear from us is, what is the difference?’ Mr. Edwards said in an interview. ‘What will we do? How will we deal with the corruption issue in Washington? How will we deal with the huge moral issues that we have at home? This is a huge opportunity for our party to show what we are made of.’”
With the administration’s numbers in a continuing death spiral ever since their sheer incompetence, blatant cronyism, and general heartlessness was exposed by Katrina, several recent anti-Dubya speeches of note:
President Clinton: “Now, what Americans need to understand is that means every single day of the year, our Government goes into the market and borrows money from other countries to finance Iraq, Afghanistan, Katrina, and our tax cuts. We have never done this before. Never in the history of our republic have we ever financed a conflict, military conflict, by borrowing money from somewhere else…We depend on Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Korea primarily to basically loan us money every day of the year to cover my tax cut and these conflicts and Katrina. I don’t think it makes any sense. I think it’s wrong.“
John Kerry: “‘Brownie is to Katrina what Paul Bremer is to peace in Iraq, what George Tenet is to slam-dunk intelligence, what Paul Wolfowitz is to parades paved with flowers in Baghdad, what Dick Cheney is to visionary energy policy, what Donald Rumsfeld is to basic war planning, what Tom DeLay is to ethics and what George Bush is to ‘Mission Accomplished’ and ‘Wanted Dead or Alive.‘”
John Edwards: “I might have missed something, but I don’t think the president ever talked about putting a cap on the salaries of the CEOs of Halliburton and the other companies . . . who are getting all these contracts…This president, who never met an earmark he wouldn’t approve or a millionaire’s tax cut he wouldn’t promote, decided to slash wages for the least of us and the most vulnerable.“
Bill Maher: (I forgot where I saw this one first, but it’s a toss-up between Booknotes and Follow Me Here.) “On your watch, we’ve lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you’re just not lucky. I’m not saying you don’t love this country. I’m just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side. So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is: ‘Take a hint.’ “
“The Committee for the Study of the American Electorate reported yesterday that more than 122 million people voted in the November election, a number that translates into the highest turnout — 60.7 percent — since 1968.” The Dems didn’t do so hot that year, either, but then we had Tet, Chicago, and the murders of both RFK and MLK. How are we going to answer for 2004? Also, “[t]he report noted that although turnout reached new heights, more than 78 million Americans who were eligible to vote stayed home on Election Day. The group estimated that Bush won just 30.8 percent of the total eligible voters.“
From Boing Boing and the AP: “A computer error with a voting machine cartridge gave President Bush 3,893 extra votes in a Gahanna [Ohio] precinct. Franklin County’s unofficial results gave Bush 4,258 votes to Democratic challenger John Kerry’s 260 votes in Precinct 1B. Records show only 638 voters cast ballots in that precinct.” Hmmm…I for one don’t think it’s feasible that the entirety of Dubya’s winning popular vote margin is manufactured. (Right now, I’m more inclined to side with Jane Smiley and the Brits.) But factor in Greg Palast’s discussion of Ohio chads to the equation and, I’ll admit, one starts to wonder.
So, that’s that, then…the Idiot Wind blows anew. The American electorate has spoken and — despite all the shadiness and incompetence of the past four years — has given Dubya and his cronies the imprimatur to go hog-wild. 51-48%…this is pretty much a mandate, folks. (Big of those Red Staters to ensure that we will be woefully unprepared for the next terrorist attack on a Blue State.) Y’know, H.L. Mencken‘s whole Tyranny of the Booboisie schtick has always grated on my lefty sensibilities, but at this point I have to admit he may have been on to something.
Ugh. I’m too young to remember 1984 very well, but I’m curious as to how last night and this morning compared for America’s Left. (I’ve since been reminded by several people I trust that 1968 and 1972 were much more grievous blows.) Thing is, 2004 started out with such promise over here. But, right around the time I ended up on crutches in May, events personal and political took a nasty turn, and the past few months have been some of the most dismal I can remember. Now, it seems, I may just look back on this time as relatively calm and worry-free.
But, ok, enough wallowing…let’s start taking it frame-by-frame. Given the war, the economy, and Dubya’s obvious incompetence, how on Earth did we lose this election? Well, give credit where credit is due…all this exit-talk of “moral values” proves that Karl Rove pulled off his gambit: He got the extra 4 million evangelical votes he was targeting, partly, it seems, by judiciously invoking rampant anti-gay hysteria. Yet, for some reason or another — a lousy ground game, perhaps? — the Dems inexplicably didn’t counter with extra votes of our own.
Where do we go from here? The Dems are facing an ugly Rule of Four…We lost four seats in the Senate, at least four seats in the House, and likely four seats in the Supreme Court. Whatsmore, we now appear officially dead in the water in the South and Midwest. And, with Kerry and Daschle gone, our standard-bearers now appear to be Hillary Clinton (about whom the country has already made up its mind), John Edwards (whom I still admire, but he couldn’t carry his home state), and Barack Obama (who’s probably too inexperienced to make much headway in 2008.)
Obviously, it’s now well past time for the serious party overhaul we should’ve began last cycle, when Al Gore had an election stolen from him that he should have won hands down. Daschle & Gephardt are already in the dustbin of history, and Terry McAuliffe should probably follow them there. I for one don’t think Howard Dean was or is the answer, but he’s one of the only people injecting new blood and enthusiasm into the party right now, so he should have a seat at the table. Right now, I think Edwardsian populism is our strongest ideological card, but as I said, it didn’t seem to make much headway last night.
Silver lining? Yeah, right. Well, as this Washington Monthly forum noted in September, second terms are notoriously scandal-prone (Watergate, Iran-Contra, Monica), partly out of press boredom, and Dubya’s ilk seem particularly scandal-worthy…perhaps we’ll finally hear a little more about Halliburton. I’m sure there’ll be no shortage of horrifying policy decisions emanating from this administration that’ll keep lefty blogs like this one in business. And, on a purely selfish note, my likely dissertation topic on the fortunes of progressivism in the twenties is now seeming much more sexy in the wake of last night’s 1928-like cultural divide. Of course, none of these are really any consolation at all.
At any rate, I generally believe that America tends to get the president it deserves. So, God help us, we’ve brought this upon ourselves. And now, for we 48%, the hard work begins…we have to lick our wounds, get our act together, and figure out how we can best combat the rightward drift that’s afflicting our nation. Alas, I fear Dubya will do much of the heavy lifting for us, by running the nation further into the ground over the next four years. Still, we gotta keep on keeping on, y’all. I do not believe this darkness will endure.
Well, fuck. Here we go again. At 3:10am, Ohio is still up in the air, and may well be for days, as we wait for the provisional ballots to be counted. Right now, Dubya’s up by 140,000 votes with 99% reporting, which means Kerry has to run the table with those 175,000 provisionals to go over the top. Doable, sure, but we’re definitely running really low on ammo at this point.
I’ll save the real post-mortem for when the winner’s declared (and I’m less tired), but obviously both my earlier confidence and most of today’s exit polls were, um, somewhat off. So, more tomorrow. For now, I’m off to bed, where I’m going to try not to dwell on the future of the Supreme Court.
Update: 3:49am…Oof, there went Daschle. I think it’s safe to say at this point that our party is in disarray. Still, given that 51% of the electorate signed off on four more years of Dubya tonight, despite the arrogance and incompetence displayed by this White House since January 2001…well, perhaps we Dems are destined to remain a minority party for some time to come.
[Scroll down this post for exit poll updates.] The 2pm exit polls should be out now…I’ll post ‘em as soon as I find ‘em (or when Jack Shafer of Slate divulges them.) Right now, Drudge is leading with the following: “KERRY CAMPAIGN FINDS COMFORT IN FIRST BATCH OF EXIT POLLS. Election 2004 has been rocked with first wave of exit polls which show Kerry competitive in key states, campaign and media sources tell DRUDGE. National Election Pool — representing six major news organizations — shows Kerry in striking distance — with small lead — in Florida and Ohio.” Sounds like music to my ears, but what’s this talk of striking distance? Drudge makes it sound as if Kerry was expected to lose. Update: Ok, here they are, courtesy of dKos. Apparently, they ratio was skewed 59-41 women to men, for what it’s worth:
Arizona: Bush 55, Kerry 45
Colorado: Bush 51, Kerry 48
Florida: Kerry 51, Bush 48
Iowa: Tied at 49
Louisiana: Bush 57, Kerry 42
Michigan: Kerry 51, Bush 47
Minnesota: Kerry 58, Bush 40
New Hampshire: Kerry 57, Bush 41
New Mexico: Kerry 50, Bush 48
Ohio: Kerry 52, Bush 48
Pennsylvania: Kerry 60, Bush 40
Wisconsin: Kerry 52, Bush 43
So, as of right now, Kerry’s up in all three prongs of the trifecta (Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida), and doing well in Michigan, New Mexico, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and New Hampshire. Iowa’s tied, and Dubya’s got Arizona and Louisiana locked up with Colorado in play. Hey, it’s early yet, but so far, so good. Let’s get those 4pm numbers!
Update 2: More from Drudge on the Senate Races: “Senate races: Thune +4 Castor +3 Burr +6 Bunning +6 Coburn +6 Demint +4 Salazar +4…” Thune (SD, v. Daschle), Burr (NC, v. Bowles), Bunning (KY, v. Mongiardo), Coburn (OK, v. Carson ), and Demint (SC, v. Tenenbaum) are GOP. Castor (FL, v. Martinez) and Salazar (CO, v. Coors) are Dems.
Update 3: Slate‘s Shafer has somewhat different morning numbers. His (that differ) are below. New states in bold:
Colorado: Bush 56, Kerry 43
Florida: Kerry 50, Bush 49
Nevada: Bush 50, Kerry 48
North Carolina: Bush 51, Kerry 49
Ohio: Kerry 50, Bush 49
Pennsylvania: Kerry 54, Bush 45
Wisconsin: Kerry 51, Bush 46
So, I don’t know what’s going on over there in Edwards Country, but otherwise, these are better numbers for Bush…he’s pulling away in Colorado and closing the gap in the Trifecta and Wisconsin. Phew…and more numbers in 15-30 minutes…if I can find them!
Update 4: Some good news on Florida, via MyDD: Hispanics in Florida are voting 53-46 for Bush (The Cuban breakdown is 68-32). This is significantly better for Kerry than the 2000 numbers: 65-35 and 83-17 for Dubya respectively.
Update 5: A friend of mine in the program alerted me to Wonkette’s numbers, which are also slightly different…I don’t know if these are the 4pm numbers or not, so I’ll just go ahead and post them, new states in bold. Update 6: These are confirmed as the 4pm numbers:
Arkansas: Bush 54, Kerry 45
Colorado: Bush 50, Kerry 49
Florida: Kerry 52, Bush 48
Iowa: Kerry 50, Bush 48 (This was a tie earlier.)
Maine: Kerry 55, Bush 44
Michigan: Kerry 51, Bush 48
Minnesota: Kerry 57, Bush 42
Ohio: Kerry 52, Bush 47
New Hampshire Kerry 58, Bush 41
New Mexico: Tied at 49 (Kerry was up before)
Nevada: Bush 49, Kerry 48
North Carolina: Bush 53, Kerry 47
Pennsylvania: Kerry 58, Bush 42
Wisconsin: Kerry 53, Bush 47
Update 7: Late numbers via Wonkette:
Colorado: Bush 50, Kerry 48
Florida: Kerry 51, Bush 49
Iowa: Kerry 50 Bush 49
Michigan: Kerry 51 Bush 47
Minnesota: Kerry 54, Bush 44
Nevada: Tied (Bush up at 4pm)
New Hampshire: Kerry 53, Bush 45
New Jersey: Kerry 54, Bush 44
New Mexico Kerry 50, Bush 48
Ohio Kerry 51, Bush 49
Pennsylvania: Kerry 53, Bush 46
Wisconsin: Kerry 51, Bush 48
Update 8: Ok, one last batch from dKos, and then I’m off to the local grad student watering hole to watch the real numbers come in. All in all, it’s looking pretty good for Kerry — he’s still leading in the Trifecta, the Michigan-Wisconsin axis, and New Mexico. But let’s keep our fingers crossed that there isn’t a Diebold surprise in the works. Here they are — I’ll see y’all on the flip-side:
Arkansas: Bush 53, Kerry 47
Ok, I can now guarantee at least one vote for the Kerry-Edwards ticket in New York. (Of course, the guy in front of me picked Nader, so it’s neck-and-neck in the Empire State in the early going…)
Well, if nothing else, it should be a lively evening, and I for one am eagerly anticipating Dubya’s Rove-penned concession speech. So, until tomorrow, vote early, vote often, and vote Kerry-Edwards!
until the American people crawl out of the television set and kick this godawful administration to the curb. I know Dubya is up ever so slightly in the polls, but ties generally go to the challenger, and, at this point I still feel pretty confident that Kerry is going to win next Tuesday. (Then again, I’ve felt that way since the primaries ended, which probably has more to do with my inability to conceive of this nation actually choosing Dubya than anything else.) And, with Big Bill back in the game to help close the deal in swing states (something Gore should have considered more seriously in 2000), I think we’re good to go. Hope is on the way, y’all.
Just in case anybody needed it spelled out, Rehnquist’s recent health problems make it explicit: next week’s vote will in fact determine the Supreme Court. It’d be hard to find a judge more Right-Wing than the Chief here, but I’m sure a second Dubya administration would do its damnedest to find one nevertheless.
In a Nickelodeon online poll, nearly 400,000 American children pick Kerry over Dubya 57%-43%. “Nickelodeon has held a “Kids’ Vote” every election year since 1988, and kids have correctly predicted the winner of the general elections for the last four U.S. presidential campaigns.”
Well, to my partisan eye, Dick Cheney proved time and time again in tonight’s sole veep debate that he’s not only an inveterate liar but a major-league asshole. (Yeah, big time.) Iraq (“It’s going great!”), Osama (“We never stopped going after him!”), the homefront (“Things are looking up!”), you name it…the guy just seems to have no compunction about dissembling flat-out to the American people. Said the veep early on, “The senator has got his facts wrong. I have not suggested there’s a connection between Iraq and 9/11.” Really, Dick? How were we supposed to take Saddam “had long-established ties with Al Qaeda” then? Similarly, the audacity of Dick Cheney attacking John Kerry for voting against weapons systems he himself opposed is simply staggering.
From lies to misdirection. How did Cheney try to explain away Halliburton’s sweetheart no-bid Iraq contracts, and the subsequent looking askance at their egregious overbilling of the American people? “Um, John, I’ve never seen you around the Senate before.” (Not true, of course, but nice of Dick to send voters to the Soros-run FactCheck.com rather than FactCheck.org, though.) And, when Edwards skewered the veep with his own voting record from back in the day — no to Head Start, Meals on Wheels, and the Education Dept, no to MLK Day and to condemning apartheid(?!) — what was Cheney’s answer? “Oh, I think his record speaks for itself.” You’re damn right it does, as does yours.
All that being said, I thought Edwards missed a few chances to put the hurt on Cheney in the early going, and should have responded harder to the ridiculous “facing-up-to-Howard Dean” riff. And he didn’t really hit his stride until the domestic-policy-oriented second half, when less-interested swing voters out there had probably started tuning out. (Conversely, I thought Cheney self-destructed for awhile there, mumbling about No Child Left Behind in a question about jobs.) So, while my gut (and the insta-polling) say Edwards took this one, I’m guessing the numbers in the next few days will show a draw, if only because Cheney seemed at least somewhat cognizant of the world around him, unlike his running mate. Next stop: Friday.
Well, well, look who’s back. Kerry closes the gap over the weekend, setting the stage for this week’s debate double (Dubya?) dip (beginning tomorrow with Edwards v. Cheney.) Maybe now Dubya is finally beginning to realize: going mano-a-mano with Kerry is hard work.
Are you sitting down? Time Magazine is reporting that Dubya’s now up 11 on Kerry, 52%-41%. Phew, that’s ugly…but we are post-convention now, and, various October surprises notwithstanding, I really can’t see how Dubya goes anywhere but down. Plus, we already know both Kerry and Edwards are solid closers. Still, the GOP and their corporate cronies have gotten away with misrepresenting John Kerry for far too long. For the sake of our republic, it’s time to push these lying bastards back. Update: A new Newsweek poll shows basically the same spread. Grr.
Kerry takes a sizable hit in the polls that extends to swing states, thanks largely to the Swift lies still being bandied about as news. Chris over at Do You Feel Loved ably summed up my thoughts on the controversy. I’m a cynical fellow relatively wise to “politics ain’t beanbag”-type shenanigans, but the sheer corruption of this whole GOP enterprise is somewhat staggering. What we have going on here is akin to the Kerry campaign funding a spate of backdoor ads declaring Dubya a serial wife-beater, and having the national news media ponder the charges despite all evidence to the contrary. Wait…is there evidence to the contrary? Did I mention I saw Dubya swing madly at Laura while he was on a three-day drunk in 1978? Well, yes, I was only four in 1978, but why should that matter? Dubya’s a wife-beater.
Say what you will about the Dem ticket, but at least they understand the importance of protecting our precious bodily fluids from terrorist and Communist impurifications. This October, John Edwards will introduce Dr. Strangelove for Turner Classic Movies. (By way of Quiddity.) For the rest of the “Party Politics and the Movies” series, John McCain chose Paths of Glory, Joe Biden picked Dead Poets Society, and Orrin Hatch took To Kill a Mockingbird.
“The president — highly intelligent, personally flawed, detested by many, a man who was first elected in a narrow three-way race and then reelected easily — had faced impeachment. In the following election, his vice president, a decent man with decades on Capitol Hill, was beaten by an inexperienced governor from the South. Four years passed. The economy weakened and oil prices soared. Crises in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan eroded our national confidence. Clearly the president was in trouble. Yet many were not comfortable with his opponent. Yes, he was effective on television. But was he a steady hand? Was he trustworthy? Would the country be safe in his hands? The year was, of course, 1980.” James K. Galbraith makes the case for a decisive Kerry-Edwards victory in November.
So did Kerry-Edwards get a post-convention bounce or not? Depends on how you spin it, it seems. I’m not too concerned, frankly…I think most people know how they’re going to vote at this point (including the Kerry Republicans.)
Well, other than the over-the-top salute at the very beginning of his remarks, I’d say Kerry knocked it out of the park last night. It was definitely the best speech I’ve ever heard of him give, and one surprisingly full of red meat to lob back at the Bushies. As a result, Kerry seemed energetic and self-assured and, well, presidential throughout. All in all, I thought it a very impressive performance, and one that should help him a great deal in the time between now and the debates, bounce or no.
As for Edwards the night before, I actually thought his speech, despite the nice “Hope is on the Way” refrain, was a bit of a letdown after Obama’s rousing keynote. Edwards seemed to stumble a few times in the middle going, and I found the tone a bit too conversational to produce any really memorable turns of phrase. Still, any other year, I think the Senator’s speech would’ve been one of the highlights of the convention. The fact that it loses some luster when compared to those of Clinton, Obama, and Kerry speaks very highly of the overall quality of this year’s proceedings in Boston.
Speaking of which, I’d say the GOP will be extremely hard-pressed to match the Democrats’ unity, optimism, and energy in a month, particularly with the legions of embittered conservatives in attendance at the Garden. Well, even if they do muster up a fine three-ring circus at the end of August, John Kerry, John Edwards, and the Democrats have proven this week they’re ready for the fight. So bring it on.
Speaking of Dubya and “shared values,” I neglected to post this earlier, so the links are kinda stale now. (Compounding my bad form, I also forgot where I saw them originally.) Nevertheless, much to the chagrin of many pastors and theologians, the Dubya campaign is leaning heavily on churchgoers to join an ecclesiastical voting army this November. “Even Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s ethics and religious liberty commission and a prominent Bush supporter, recoiled at the idea of churches becoming directly involved in a political campaign. ‘I am appalled,’ Land said in a statement. ‘I suspect that this will rub a lot of pastors’ fur the wrong way…It’s one thing for a church member motivated by exhortations to exercise his Christian citizenship to go out and decide to work on the Bush campaign or the Kerry campaign. It’s another, and totally inappropriate for a political campaign, to ask workers who may be church members to provide church member information through…directories.” Will Karl’s Crusade against Kerry-Edwards falter before it’s even begun?
In his first riposte against his new Dem adversary, Dubya questions Edwards’s qualifications for the Presidency. Good God, man, we let you take the position (although admittedly it did take some prodding by the Supreme Court.) For the Dems’ part, Kerry had a pretty solid response: “He was right that Dick Cheney was ready to take over on Day One, and did, and he has been ever since, folks.“
Apparently, the Bushies are also keying in on “shared values” as their answer to the threat of Kerry-Edwards. Shared values? Puh-leeze. Playing bait-and-switch on the American people? Wading neck deep in corporate cronyism? Handing the rich tax-cut candy at the expense of everyone else? Those ain’t my values, bub.