Liberty Belle Log
by Miriam Raftery
November 15, 2006 A RISING TIDE
Surf’s up! A blue tidal wave has washed across America. Voters decisively chose to restore integrity and oust corruption from the halls of Congress—as well as statehouses nationwide.
Democrats now control both the Senate and the House for the first time in a dozen years. The margin in the House is not slim: Democrats now have at least 230 seats, Republicans 197, with six races still too close to call. Already, Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid have announced ambitious plans to restore ethics rules for members of Congress, raise the minimum wage, cut college loan rates in half, give tax cuts to the middle class and rollback tax breaks to big oil companies. Barbara Boxer, who will chair a committee overseeing environmental issues, announced plans to hold hearings on global warming. Best of all, Democrats plan to start issuing subpoenas and restoring oversight of the White House—and work on plans to bring our troops home.
Democrats also picked up nearly 300 seats in state legislatures – taking control of BOTH legislative houses in 23 states! (By comparison, Republicans picked up a measly 17 seats in state capitols). The Democratic Party also won the majority of Governor’s races in the country. Talk about a mandate! (No, I’m not referring to Rep. Foley’s social schedule.)
Here in California, Democrats also won most statewide offices—and can now celebrate having Debra Bowen as Secretary of State, Jerry Brown as Attorney General, and John Lockyer as Lieutenant Governor.
Locally, Democrats throughout San Diego County turned out in droves to participate in year-round precinct walking and GOTV on Election Day. In East County, more than 70 precinct captains walked their neighborhoods; up from zero just two years ago! Two Democrats, Gina Henke and Scott Barr, won election to the Alpine school board. Democrat Gregg Barr will take a seat on the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College Board. Democrat Ken Sobel fought a valiant campaign and came within 1% of winning a seat on the Grossmont Union High School Board (with some paper ballots still not yet counted). On higher ticket races, Democrats across the board finished better than in the past – including Mark Hanson, who finished 12% higher than the last Democrat who ran for the 36th State Senate race. His campaign ran radio ads on 5 stations – including country music and conservative talk radio programs.
Our efforts were not in vain. Debra Bowen and some other statewide officers won by narrow margins. Those voters who received calls, visits, e-mails or mailers from local Democratic volunteers or candidates helped make the difference in Bowen’s race, and others, We also raised visibility for our party among voters – and show people that we DO have Democrats even in the reddest areas of the country.
Why didn’t the blue tide sweep out Republicans holding high offices locally? Many here have expressed frustration that local voters seem to be living in a time warp.
Several factors provide clues for what we must do to turn the tide.
- We need massive voter registration drives targeting students, Hispanics, and women – all of whom showed strong Democratic loyalties in this election. If we don’t tip the registration balance to be more heavily Democratic, our candidates will find it difficult to find major financial donors.
- Breaking the lock held by fundamentalist mega-churches is important, though perhaps the most difficult task we face. Democrats need to reach out to more moderate churches, and even to members within the fundamentalist community. The right wing has hijacked Christianity in East County. One large church allowed Rep. Duncan Hunter to preach a sermon from its pulpit, but refused his opponent the same opportunity. With Democrats back in charge, we need to urge investigations by the IRS of such abuses. We also need to stop local government leaders from airing religious videos at taxpayer expense and heaven knows what else. All future candidates should attend services at the mega-churches. Mark Hanson did—and surprisingly received a stronger ovation than Republican school board member Jim Kelly when introduced, though neither was allowed to speak.
- More progressive, or at least unbiased, media is needed. Major newspapers here continue to rubberstamp even the most corrupt and incompetent Republican incumbents – in one case, even after a Republican candidate failed to show up for an editorial board interview! Another major paper endorsed a Republican who flat-out lied to the paper’s reporter about his voting record. Some papers refused to even cover Democrats running for major offices. TV stations largely ignored some Congressional races, deeming them unwinnable. Of course, that “prediction” becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy when the media refuses to cover Democratic candidates.
We must apply pressure to editors and publishers to ask for more fair coverage. (Surprisingly, some small conservative newspapers locally actually gave Democrats fair and positive coverage—when asked by campaign staffers.) Guest editorials and letters to editors are two ways to get liberal voices published occasionally even in conservative publications. We also need to develop alternative media, such as new radio stations, newsletters, and progressive newspapers.
- I can’t resist sharing some juicy gossip: A reliable tipster informs me that a wealthy liberal is negotiating to try and buy the San Diego Union-Tribune. Wouldn’t that be icing on the cake, after all the rest of this week’s good news?)
We should also increase visibility and outreach of Democratic clubs, PACs and progressive organizations. All such groups should send regular press releases to local media outlets. Post notices of your events in local newspaper calendars. Hold press conferences to praise or criticize actions of elected officials, or to announce actions your group is taking to protect citizens’ rights. Hint: releases with photos are far more likely to actually be printed. Be the media!
It’s also important to start now building up a financial “war chest” that can be used to fund the most promising races next time. Donating to a local PAC, such as East County United, will allow establishment of a year-round presence, important programs, and build up a hefty financial war chest enabling candidates to “hit the ground running” in ’08. ECU seeks philanthropists to underwrite establishment of young Democratic clubs on community college campuses and high schools in East County – where currently only the Republicans have clubs. With our state Democratic convention coming to San Diego in April, we have a great opportunity to get young people involved as volunteers or delegates. ECU also aims to create programs for outreach to Native American tribes, Hispanics, and other under-represented groups, providing education and increasing Democratic registration.
If we start now, our efforts can force Republicans to spend money defending seats once assumed to be safe. We might even win some next time. Best of all, our local efforts will boost turnout significantly in the presidential election—and hopefully help put a Democrat in the White House in ’08!
-- Liberty Belle
CLEAN SWEEP! DEMOCRATS WIN HOUSE & SENATE
COUNT NOW AT 230 DEMS, 197 REPS IN HOUSE;
6 RACES STILL TOO CLOSE TO CALL; 2 HEADED FOR RUN-OFF
KEEP TABS ON CONGRESS HERE:
DEMOCRATS TAKE CONTROL OF SENATE
Associated Press (11/8/06) -- Democrats wrested control of the Senate from Republicans Wednesday with an upset victory in Virginia, giving the party complete domination of Capitol Hill for the first time since 1994.
DEMOCRATS SWEEP BOTH CHAMBERS
Baltimore Sun (11/9/06) -- With a decisive victory in Virginia's tight Senate contest, Democrats completed their takeover sweep of Congress yesterday in a midterm election that President Bush described as a "thumping" defeat.
As final votes were still being tallied, the magnitude of the Democratic victory appeared to be sinking in on Bush and other Republicans. The president began an expected shake-up of his Iraq policy by dismissing Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, and the top Republican in the House, Speaker Dennis Hastert, announced that he was quitting the party leadership.
House Democrats picked up at least 27 new seats in the next Congress, about twice the number needed to gain control of that chamber. It was only the second time in more than a half-century that the House has switched hands. Democratic candidates were leading in three other contests that remained too close to call. In the Senate, a dwindling GOP majority vanished after Democrats knocked off incumbents in the two remaining tossup races…
MUSICAL CHAIRS THE NEW TEAM IN TOWN
MSNBC (10/10/06) -- After 12 years of Republican rule, the Democrats likely to take over key House committees are promising big changes, from tax policy to homeland security. Here’s the likely lineup:
DEMOCRATS ANNOUNCE AMBITIOUS PLANS -- PELOSI SAYS SHE WOULD DRAIN GOP ‘SWAMP’
Associated Press (11/6/06) -- Franklin Roosevelt had his first hundred days.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi is thinking 100 hours, time enough, she says, to begin to "drain the swamp" after more than a decade of Republican rule.
As in the first 100 hours the House meets after Democrats — in her fondest wish — win control in the Nov. 7 midterm elections and Pelosi takes the gavel as the first Madam Speaker in history.
Day One: Put new rules in place to "break the link between lobbyists and legislation."
Day Two: Enact all the recommendations made by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Time remaining until 100 hours: Raise the minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, maybe in one step. Cut the interest rate on student loans in half. Allow the government to negotiate directly with the pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices for Medicare patients…
REID IMMEDIATELY CALLS FOR MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUTS
Immediately refuting the campaign lies spewed by Republicans guaranteeing across-the-board tax increases from a Congress controlled by Democrats, incoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) opened the lame duck Senate session yesterday by calling for tax relief for middle-class Americans.
In what will be one of his last opening statements as Senate Minority Leader, Reid called for the passage of tax breaks for middle-class families and businesses as well as appropriations bills that include funding for veterans’ health care, education and energy programs.
“For too long, Americans have watched as Washington has ignored their needs, and concentrated on special interests instead,” said Reid, Monday on the Senate floor. “Families have struggled with high health care costs… only to see big drug companies get billions from Congress. Ranchers in Nevada have struggled to fill their tanks with gas… only to see Big Oil companies get tax breaks. In the weeks and months ahead, Democrats will focus our energies on the real challenges facing America, and take concrete steps to protect the country and help working families get ahead.”
Reid proposed that the post-election Congressional session be used in part to extend critical middle-class and business tax cuts including the following:
* Deductions for college tuition
* Deductions for state and local sales taxes
* Deductions for out-of-pocket expenses incurred by teachers
* For business, extending the Research and Development, Work Opportunity, and Welfare-to-Work tax credits
NO MORE CORPORATE WELFARE?
DEMS PLEDGE TO SCRUTINIZE BIG BUSINESS
Associated Press, Washington 11/8/06) -- The new masters of the House, the Democrats, are promoting an economic agenda that would put more money in the pockets of ordinary citizens and government, while leading to greater oversight of big business. ..
PROGRESS FOR PROGRESSIVES
PROGRESSIVES INCREASE THEIR NUMBERS AS LARGEST GROUP WITHIN HOUSE DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS
PDA (11/10/06) -- PDA National Board Members Rep Barbara Lee and Lynn Woolsey, Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC), anticipate adding at least seven new CPC Members in the 110th Congress. This would increase the size of the CPC to at least 71 Members, making it by far the largest and most diverse sub-group among all Democrats in the new 110th Congress to take office in January and an increase of 14 new House Members in just the past 18 months.
“ Some inside-the-Beltway commentators, columnists, and conservatives want the American people to believe that last Tuesday’s election results have especially empowered moderate-to-conservative elements within the House Democratic Caucus in the 110th Congress, but that is an incomplete picture of the new political landscape on Capitol Hill,” Congresswoman Lee noted, pointing out that the newly-expanded Congressional Progressive Caucus will be decidedly larger than either the ‘Blue Dog’ or ‘New Democratic” Coalitions.”
“We also anticipate that at least half of the incoming chairs of the House standing committees will be Progressive Caucus Members,” Congresswoman Woolsey underscored, “and we are so pleased that our friend and leader –soon-to-be Speaker Nancy Pelosi – belonged to the CPC before assuming leadership duties for all House Democrats…
A WOMAN’S WORK: CLEANING HOUSE
HUMAN TORNADO TO WHIP THROUGH HOUSE
The Australian (11/9/06) -- IN January, when President George W. Bush delivers the State of the Union address, a woman will be seated to his left on the dais for the first time in US history.
That will be Nancy Pelosi, the trim 66-year-old grandmother, who becomes the first woman to be leader of the House of Representatives.
The Democrats' sweeping win of control of the house ends 12 years in the wilderness for the party and elevates Ms Pelosi as arguably the most powerful woman in the US. Move over, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The position of House Leader means Ms Pelosi is the third in line for the presidency if tragedy befalls the President and Vice-President.
… “Americans voted to restore integrity and honesty in Washington DC and Democrats intend to lead the most honest, open and ethical Congress in history." - Pelosi
WOMEN 2006: A POWERFUL FORCE IN THE ELECTIONS
NOW (11/10/06) -- Women made the difference in the 2006 elections with aggressive get-out-the-vote campaigns, a record number of female candidates and a new agenda for change. Their votes helped usher new top leadership into both houses of Congress, including Nancy Pelosi, soon to be the first woman Speaker of the House. The new agenda for the First 100 Hours and Six for '06 includes policies that will have an enormous impact on women from raising the minimum wage (women are paid 77 cents to a man's $1) to preserving Social Security and initiating a new direction for the war in Iraq.
DEMOCRATS WEIGH NEW POWER AS LEADERS
New York Times (11/9/06)— When Democrats take control of the Senate in January, they will immediately assume far more power to influence President Bush’s agenda, particularly his choice of executive and judicial nominations that must pass through the chamber....“It means send us more moderate people or don’t waste your time,” said Senator Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the second-in-command and a member of the Judiciary Committee, which considers judicial nominees. More Outside Link
INVESTIGATIONS TO BEGIN
DEMOCRATS ARE SET TO SUBPOENA
Los Angeles Times (11-10-06) The new majority is expected to hold hearings on military spending and the Iraq war -- just for starters.
WASHINGTON — Rep. Ike Skelton knows what he will do in one of his first acts as chairman of the Armed Services Committee in the Democratic-led House: resurrect the subcommittee on oversight and investigations.
The panel was disbanded by the Republicans after they won control of Congress in 1994. Now, Skelton (D-Mo.) intends to use it as a forum to probe Pentagon spending and the Bush administration's conduct of the Iraq war.
It has been 12 years since Democrats were in control of both the House and Senate. But they are looking to make up for lost time, and in some cases, make the Bush administration and its business allies sweat.
..."The American people sent a clear message that they do not want a rubber-stamp Congress that simply signs off the president's agenda," said Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), who is in line to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. "Instead, they have voted for a new direction for America and a real check and balance against government overreaching."
WHITE HOUSE IN FOR A HEFTY DOSE OF OVERSIGHT
Associated Press, Los Angeles (11/10/06) -- The Democratic congressman who will investigate the Bush administration's running of the government says there are so many areas of possible wrongdoing, his biggest problem will be deciding which ones to pursue.
There's the response to Hurricane Katrina, government contracting in Iraq and on homeland security, political interference in regulatory decisions by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration, and allegations of war profiteering, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., told the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce.
“I'm going to have an interesting time because the Government Reform Committee has jurisdiction over everything,” Mr. Waxman said Friday, three days after his party's capture of Congress put him in line to chair the panel. “The most difficult thing will be to pick and choose.”
Mr. Waxman, who's in his 16th term representing West Los Angeles, had plenty of experience leading congressional investigations before the Democrats lost control of the House to Republicans in 1994.
DEMOCRATS AIM TO SAVE INQUIRY INTO IRAQ WORK
New York Times (11/11/06) — Congressional Democrats say they will press new legislation next week to restore the power of a federal agency in charge of ferreting out waste and corruption in Iraq and greatly increase its investigative reach.
The new bills, the first of what are likely to be dozens of Democratic efforts to resurrect investigations of war profiteering and financial fraud in government contracting, could be introduced as early as Monday morning.
PUMPING UP FOR CHANGE
DEMOCRATS TO TARGET OIL MAJORS IN NEW US CONGRESS
Reuters, Washington (11/8/06) -- Big oil companies will be a top target of Democratic lawmakers when they officially take over the House of Representatives early next year.
Democrats picked up enough seats in Tuesday's U.S. election to win majority control of the House and have promised to roll back billions of dollars in tax breaks and other financial incentives extended to the oil industry in energy legislation Congress passed last year.
Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who is poised to be the next Speaker of the House when the new Congress convenes in January, says oil companies have unfairly earned record profits by gouging consumers at the gasoline pump.
Pelosi says taking away the financial relief given to Big Oil in last year's Republican-written energy law will be among the six major tasks Democrats plan to tackle in the first 100 hours after she slams the gavel to convene the new House.
She says Democrats will go after oil companies by enacting tough laws to stop gasoline price gouging, and some Democrats want to impose a windfall profits tax on Big Oil…
HONESTY, THE BEST POLICY?
NANCY PELOSI’S TOUGH NEW RULES
CBCNews (10/11/06) -- If, as many of the experts and polls are saying, the Democrats win the House of Representatives, then it follows that the loftily titled Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2006 should pass, at least in the House…The act is a tough document, authored by Nancy Pelosi, the San Francisco-area congresswomen who has been the Democratic House leader since 2002. She will likely be the House Speaker if the Democrats win next Tuesday.
Here are some of the new rules Pelosi wants:
No House member may accept any gift of any value from lobbyists, or any firm or association that hires lobbyists.
No free travel, which means an end to the corporate jet line every Friday at Reagan National Airport.
No free tickets to Redskins games; or no meals of any value, even at a Mc Donalds
; no front-row seats at entertainment venues. No, no and no.
To reduce temptations to cheat, Pelosi's bill attacks the usefulness of members to richly endowed lobbyists.
House members will no longer be able to slip in special-interest projects on unrelated legislation. Such measures will no longer be allowed on a bill once negotiations between the Senate and House are complete.
Further, all bills will be made available to the public a full 24 hours before a final vote; presumably this gives watchdog groups a chance to flag any skullduggery…
RUMSFELD RESIGNS AS SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
WASHINGTON (AP) - After years of defending his secretary of defense, President Bush on Wednesday announced Donald H. Rumsfeld's resignation within hours of the Democrats' triumph in congressional elections. Bush...(more)
MEHLMAN TO STEP DOWN FROM RNC POST
Associated Press, Washington (11/10/06) -- Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman, whose party lost both chambers of Congress in the midterm elections, will step down from his post when his two-year term ends in January, GOP officials said Thursday. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061110/ap_on_re_us/rnc_chairman
DEMOCRATS ASK BUSH TO HOLD SUMMIT ON IRAQ
Reuters, Washington (11/8/06) -- Triumphant U.S. congressional Democratic leaders began to flex their new political muscle on Wednesday by urging President George W. Bush to host a bipartisan summit on the Iraq war and find common ground with them on such domestic issues as education and health care.
HANDOVER TO IRAQI ARMY ‘SET FOR THE END OF NEXT YEAR’
London Time (11-8-06) -- American and Iraqi officials have set a date for giving Iraq’s forces responsibility for security across the country.
Under a plan to be presented to the UN Security Council next month, the Iraqi Government would assume authority from coalition troops by the end of next year.
Only hours after Donald Rumsfeld was replaced as US Defence Secretary, American, British and Iraqi officials spoke openly about accelerating the handover process.
DEAN: TIME TO STOP STOLEN ELECTIONS
DEAN CALLS FOR ELECTION CHANGES, REFORM
Associated Press, Washington (11/8/06) -- -- Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean says there needs to be election reform to make sure that everyone feels like their vote counts.
Dean says Democratic leaders should now focus on redistricting areas that were altered by Republicans. Dean says the party should also push for reforms when it comes to improving voting machines…
SAVING OUR PLANET
BOXER PLEDGES SHIFT ON GLOBAL AWRMING POLICY WITH NEW SENATE ROLE
Associated Press (11/9/060 -- Sen. Barbara Boxer on Thursday promised major policy shifts on global warming, air quality and toxic-waste cleanup as she prepares to head the U.S. Senate's environmental committee.
''Time is running out, and we need to move forward on this,'' Boxer said of global warming during a conference call with reporters. ''The states are beginning to take steps, and we need to take steps as well.''
Boxer's elevation to chairwoman of the Senate Environmental Public Works Committee comes as the Democrats return to power in the Senate. It also marks a dramatic shift in ideology for the panel.
The California Democrat is one of the Senate's most liberal members and replaces one of the most conservative senators, Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma. Inhofe had blocked bills seeking to cut the greenhouse gases contributing to global warming, calling the issue ''the greatest hoax perpetrated on the American people.''
Environmentalists were overjoyed at the change.
THE REALISTS TAKE CHARGE IN WASHINGTON
Time Magazine (11/12/06) -- This was a big deal. Certainly, it was the end of George W. Bush's radical experiment in partisan governance. It might have been even bigger than that: the end of the conservative pendulum swing that began with Ronald Reagan's revolution.
Not only did the Democrats lay a robust whupping on the Republicans in the midterm elections, but -- far worse -- the president was forced into a tacit acknowledgment that the defining policy of his administration, the war in Iraq, was failing.
… This election was not only about a disastrous war and the stench of corruption, it was also about a style of politics -- the slashing negative politics practiced by a generation of media consultants in both parties. It was a message to politicians: Stop slinging the manure, and start getting serious about the nation's problems.
VP THUMBS NOSE AT CONGRESS
CHENEY SAYS UNLIKELY HE WOULD COMPLY WITH CONGRESS SUBPOENA
US Vice President Dick Cheney said he would likely refuse to testify before Congress if he is faced with a subpoena from the opposition Democratic party.
VOTERS OPT FOR CHOICE
20 NEW PRO-CHOICE MEMBERS IN CONGRESS
NARAL -- This is a great day! Thank you for helping turn the anti-choice tide by electing 20 new pro-choice members of the House. Help us seize the momentum of these victories - welcome our new pro-choice senators and representatives and urge them to prioritize our pro-choice agenda.
DEMOCRATS GAIN STATEHOUSE SEATS
Sacramento Bee (11/8/06) -- Riding voter discontent with national Republican leadership, state-level Democrats cemented control of both legislative chambers in 23 states and improved their position in others.
With an estimated net gain of nearly 300 seats, the vote resulted in the most one-sided gains for either party since the Republican romp of 1994. The pickup of legislative seats by Democrats will break what had been a very close divide, and give the party's lawmakers more power to shape state policy and to play a key role in drawing congressional districts.
…The gains have taken on added importance since the Supreme Court ruled in June that states are free to redraw districts at any time, without waiting until after each decade's national census. Such a mid-decade redistricting by either party is unlikely, observers said. But the gains by Democrats strengthen their position for the redrawing of congressional territory after the 2010 census.
"The parties in control are going to try to maintain that control because redistricting is only five years away," said Alan Rosenthal, a professor of public policy at Rutgers University.
…All the chambers that switched control in Tuesday's election went to the Democrats, the first time that has happened since Republicans took over leadership of 20 chambers in 1994. ..
Democrats Surge in State Legislatures
By my initial count, Democrats netted 264 pick-ups in state Houses and 59 pick-ups in state Senates. Republican pick-ups? A lowly nine in state House races and just eight in state Senate races. Democrats won enough seats to take control of the following chambers: the Indiana House, the New Hampshire House and Senate, the Iowa House and Senate, the Minnesota House, the Michigan House, the Wisconsin House, and the Oregon House. More Outside Link
WORLD SEES DEMS’ WIN AS A BUSH REJECTION
Associated Press, Tokyo (11/8/06) -- Democratic gains in Congress were seen around the world Wednesday as a rejection of the U.S. war in Iraq that led some observers to expect a reassessment of the American course there.
The shift in power also was seen as a signal in some capitals that the United States would put a greater emphasis on trade policy and human rights.
Many watching the election said the results were a significant blow to President Bush’s presidency…
THANK YOU, AMERICA
UK Guardian (11/9/06) -- For six years, latterly with the backing of both houses of a markedly conservative Republican Congress, George Bush has led an American administration that has played an unprecedentedly negative and polarising role in the world's affairs. On Tuesday, in the midterm US congressional elections, American voters rebuffed Mr Bush in spectacular style and with both instant and lasting political consequences. By large numbers and across almost every state of the union, the voters defeated Republican candidates and put the opposition Democrats back in charge of the House of Representatives for the first time in a dozen years.
When the remaining recounts and legal challenges are over, the Democrats may even have narrowly won control of the Senate too. Either way, the results change the political landscape in Washington for the final two years of this now thankfully diminished presidency. They also reassert a different and better United States that can again offer hope instead of despair to the world. Donald Rumsfeld's resignation last night was a fitting climax to the voters' verdict. Thank you, America.
THAT WAY SON
After his election humiliation George Bush has slunk back to Dad for help. It's Shakespeare meets Freud, says Andrew Sullivan
London Times (11/11/06) -- The events of last week in America have an almost Shakespearean quality to them. It’s like some ghastly conflation of Richard II’s doom-laden “Down, down, I come” and Richard III’s “winter of our discontent”. Richard II is how Bush would like the world to see him — a king of noble motives brought low by injustice and fate. Richard III is . . . well, ask Karl Rove, the hunch in W’s back.
At the centre of this epic psycho-political drama is a royal family of sorts in a war for survival: the Bush dynasty, a story of a father and his son, their tortured relationship and what they have had to do to survive.
Last week George W Bush was forced back — once again — to the protective arms of his father. They call the first President Bush “Poppy” in the family, and it captures both the authority and the slight daffiness of the 41st president. His first son always lived in his shadow — both deeply admiring him and deeply resenting him, the way dauphins often do their monarchs..
LABOUR DRAFTS IN U.S. ELECTION ARCHITECT FOR ‘OUR MIDTERMS’
HOWARD DEAN TO ADVISE PARTY ON CAMPAIGNING STRATEGY AHEAD OF KEY MAY VOTE
UK Guardian (11/9/06) -- Labour has enlisted one of the engineers of this week's Democratic victory in the US midterm elections in an attempt to boost its flagging fortunes before the local elections in May.
Howard Dean, the former presidential candidate and one of the men credited with masterminding the trouncing of the Republicans, will visit the UK next month to brief party officials about his pioneering campaigning techniques.
"The Welsh, Scottish and local elections next year are our midterms," said Hazel Blears, Labour's chair. "It has to be done differently for us to carry on being successful ... We're looking at how [the Democrats] have upped their game."
BALLOT MEASURE LOSSES JOLT THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT
Anti-abortion, stem cell, same-sex issues all falter; leaders left wondering
MSNBC (11/8/06) -- From the country's heartland, voters sent messages that altered America's culture wars and dismayed the religious right - defending abortion rights in South Dakota, endorsing stem cell research in Missouri, and, in a national first, rejecting a same-sex marriage ban in Arizona.
Conservative leaders were jolted by the setbacks and looked for an explanation Wednesday. Gay-rights and abortion-rights activists celebrated.
The verdict on abortion rights was particularly clear. Oregon and California voters defeated measures that would have required parents to be notified before a girl under 18 could get an abortion, and South Dakotans - by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent - rejected a new state law that would have banned all abortions except to save a pregnant woman's life….
PASTOR WILL SHUT DOWN CONTROVERSIAL KIDS CAMP
Religion News Service and The Associated Press -- The summer camp featured in the documentary "Jesus Camp," which includes scenes with disgraced preacher Ted Haggard, will shut down for at least several years because of negative reaction sparked by the film, according to the camp's director.
"Right now we're just not a safe ministry," Becky Fischer, the fiery Pentecostal pastor featured in "Jesus Camp," said Tuesday.
The documentary, which hit select U.S. theaters during the summer, portrays Fischer, 55, as drill instructor to a group of young evangelical children steeling themselves for spiritual and political warfare.
Led by Fischer, the children pray in tongues, as is common in charismatic strains of Pentecostalism; tearfully beg God to end abortion; and bless President Bush at a weeklong camp in Devils Lake, N.D.
OPENLY GAY CANDIDATES WIN ELECTIONS IN RECORD NUMBERS
(11/8/06) -- Openly gay candidates have won elections in record numbers, and the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund celebrated its "unprecedented success" in a press release obtained by RAW STORY.
"Sixty-seven Victory-endorsed candidates were elected to federal, state and local offices, with some winning historic races that make them the first openly gay or lesbian candidates ever elected in their states or legislative bodies," the political action committee declared….
CHOOSE CORPSE OVER GOP
DEAD WOMAN WINS COUNTY COMMISSIONER’S RACE
S.D. candidate gets 100 votes; official says voters knew she was deceased
MSNBC, PIERRE, S.D. (11/8/06) -- A woman who died two months ago won a county commissioner's race in Jerauld County on Tuesday.
Democrat Marie Steichen, of Woonsocket, got 100 votes, defeating incumbent Republican Merlin Feistner, of Woonsocket, who had 64 votes.
DEMOCRATS WILL REVISIT MILITARY HABEAS DEBATE
Likely Chair Leahy Objects to Limits on Detainees' Rights
Daily Journal (11/10/06) --An effort to restore habeas corpus rights for enemy combatants could be the first test of the Democrats' resolve to change course in the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who is expected to become chairman, confirmed Thursday that he is drafting a bill to undo portions of a recently passed law that prevent terrorism detainees from going to federal court to challenge the government's right to hold them indefinitely.
LABOR MOVEMENT DUSTS OFF AGENDA AS POWER SHIFTS IN CONGRESS
New York Times (11/11/06) -- After the Republicans took control of the House in 1994, perhaps no group was on the outs as much as organized labor. But now that the Democrats have swept both houses of Congress, the nation’s labor unions feel as if they are back — and then some.
Eager to be treated as an important force, union leaders have worked overtime since Election Day reminding Democrats about all that organized labor did to help put them over the top, including spending more than $100 million and dispatching more than 100,000 volunteers to help get out the vote.
After years of being sidelined by the Republican majority, the nation’s unions are now pushing Congress to act on a long list of issues: improving mine safety, putting a brake on outsourcing, making it easier to unionize workers and extending health coverage to millions of uninsured Americans.
ROCK THE VOTE--NO KIDDING!
YOUNG VOTERS INCREASE TURNOUT, AID DEMOCRATIC VICTORIES
dpa German Press Agency, Washington (11/8/06) - Younger voters turned out in higher numbers in Tuesday's US congressional elections, giving a lift to Democratic candidates in a contest that gave the party control of the US House of Representatives for the first time in 12 years. "This is a new generation," Hans Riemer, political director of Rock the Vote, an organization that seeks to mobilize young voters, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. "They're more involved, more engaged, and less cynical."
Exit polls showed that voters between the ages of 18 and 29 cast 13 per cent of all votes, up from 11 per cent in the 2002 elections, the last non-presidential national election. Voter turnout is typically higher in presidential elections. …Young voters traditionally favour Democratic candidates and did so by a 22 point margin on Tuesday…
The Democratic takeover of the House and possibly the Senate was seen widely as a response to the unpopular war in Iraq. Young voters reflected that widespread dissatisfaction, Reimer said.
BILL MAHER OUTS GOP CHAIR KEN MEHLMAN
AS GAY ON LARRY KING LIVE
KEITH OLBERMANN’S ELECTION EVE ADDRESS
“Checks and balances Mr. Bush, where did all that go – and what price did we pay for it?”
Don’t miss the most eloquent and powerful editorial I’ve heard from anyone in the mainstream media!
RUSH LIMBAUGH ADMITS LYING TO HIS LISTENERS (REALLY!)
INVESTIGATIVE REPORTERS FACE FEDERAL PRISON TERMS FOR REFUSING TO DISCLOSE SOURCES
Bradblog (11/14/06) -- US Falls to 53rd in 'Press Freedoms' According to Advocacy Group Survey
Bush's Big Government Keeps Getting Bigger and Bigger…
OLBERMANN AT MSNBC TAKES ON FOX:
REVEALS INTERNAL MEMO REQUIRING REPORTERS TO SLANT THE NEWS
NATIONAL GROUPS ANNOUNCE MOVEMENT FOR IMPEACHMENT
On Saturday, November 11, at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, just across from Independence Hall, where the U.S. Constitution was written and signed, a coalition of national organizations will announce plans to mobilize a movement to impeach President Bush and Vice President Cheney. The mobilization will be called Impeach For Change
Speakers will include Elizabeth Holtzman, former Member of Congress, served on the House panel that voted to impeach President Nixon, and author of "The Impeachment of George W. Bush: A Practical Guide for Concerned Citizens"; Cindy Sheehan, Co-Founder of Gold Star Families for Peace; David Swanson, Co-Founder of After Downing Street
.org and Washington Director of Democrats.com; Tim Carpenter, Director of Progressive Democrats of America; Jodie Evans, Co-Founder of CODE PINK Women for Peace; Bill Perry, Veterans for Peace; and Bob Fertik, President of Democrats.com and Impeach PAC
.org. Representatives of other participating organizations will be present. Participating organization include the National Organization for Women, the Hip Hop Caucus, Constitution Summer, and many of the 200 plus organizations in the After Downing Street Coalition.
MSNBC ONLINE POLL
87 percent say ‘plenty to justify’ Bush impeachmentAn MSNBC online poll shows that the overwhelming majority of its participating voters believe President Bush should be impeached.
DEMOCRATS.COM LAUNCHES IMPEACHFORCHANGE MOBILIZATION FOR IMPEACHMENT
On Saturday, Democrats.com and our progressive allies launched a nationwide grassroots mobilization for impeachment in Philadelphia near Independence Hall, where the Constitution was signed on September 17, 1787. The mobilization is called Impeach For Change
. Our goals include:
- A grassroots petition drive to collect 1 million signatures at Impeach For Change.org
- Form Impeachment Committees in all 435 Congressional Districts to lobby every Member of Congress by: delivering books & videos on impeachment collecting petitions and handwritten letters in front of their District Offices meeting with every Member to discuss the issues that require impeachment
- Expand our Citizens Impeachment Commission to add prominent citizens, celebrities and bloggers
- 12/10 Bush v. Gore Day: Hold Town Hall Meetings on impeachment around the country with Citizens Impeachment Commission speakers
- 12/15-17 Bill of Rights Weekend: Collect petitions and handwritten letters at malls,
l libraries, post offices, and door-to-door; sell pocket Constitutions, bumper stickers, books, videos
- 2007: Pass Impeachment bills in state legislatures
PLEASE go to impeachforchange.org and sign the petition and let the Dem leadership know that they
were sent to Washington to be and have accountability.
To visit The San Diego Impeach Bush Meetup Group, go here:
2006: THE YEAR OF THE ‘MACACA’
By Frank Rich
New York Times (11/12/06) -- OF course, the “thumpin’ ” was all about Iraq. But let us not forget Katrina. It was the collision of the twin White House calamities in August 2005 that foretold the collapse of the presidency of George W. Bush.
Back then, the full measure of the man finally snapped into focus for most Americans, sending his poll numbers into the 30s for the first time. The country saw that the president who had spurned a grieving wartime mother camping out in the sweltering heat of Crawford was the same guy who had been unable to recognize the depth of the suffering in New Orleans’s fetid Superdome. This brand of leadership was not the “compassionate conservatism” that had been sold in all those photo ops with African-American schoolchildren. This was callous conservatism, if not just plain mean.
A HINT OF POSSIBILITY IN THE AIR
By Garrison Keillor
Chicago Tribune (11/8/06) -- So now we have thrown some rascals out and left some rascals in power and sent some new folks to Washington to learn the art of rascality, and what in the end, after all the hoopla, will really change? Or will the town drunk continue to run the municipal liquor store?
Perhaps there will be some rational debate on the war. The voters have said they don't want the 30 Years War that Vice President Dick Cheney envisions, so it's time for him and his friend to start making other arrangements. …The health insurance crisis may be addressed, and the crippled behemoth that is Homeland Security. And surely Congress will rediscover the use of the subpoena and require public servants to account for themselves under oath. This would be a novelty. After six years of ingenious spin, we could get a history lesson while we're still young enough to profit from it.
People still care deeply about our government, despite every invitation to disillusionment. This is the astonishment.
A COME-TO-DADDY MOMENT
By Maureen Dowd
New York Times (11/11/06) -- Poppy Bush and James Baker gave Sonny the presidency to play with and he broke it. So now they’re taking it back.
Skip to next paragraph
They are dragging W. away from those reckless older guys who have been such a bad influence and getting him some new minders who are a lot more practical.
GOOD GOLLY, MISS MOLLY: IVINS CARRIES ON DESPITE SETBACKS
Editor & Publisher 911/10/06) -- NEW YORK You'd expect Molly Ivins -- syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and veteran eviscerator of the pompous and mendacious -- to freely offer her opinions to a reporter, and she does, even suggesting this lede: "Molly Ivins Still Not Dead."
The third recurrence of the breast cancer she has been battling since 1999 (and which recently claimed her good friend, former Texas Gov. Ann Richards) has left the 62-year-old Ivins with precarious balance, minimal hair, and no illusions about the redemptive quality of life-threatening illness. "I'd hoped to become a better person from confronting my own mortality," she laughs. "But it hasn't happened."
’08 CAMPAIGN TRAIL
SEN. BIDEN: I WILL RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN ‘08
Huffington Post, 11/12/06 - Senator Joseph R. Biden (D-DE) said this morning on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos that he planned to seek the Democratic nomination for President in 2008. From ABC News. ... read more
SEN. FEINGOLD: I WON’T RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN ‘08
Huffington Post, 11/12/06 - Senator Russ Feingold (WI), until today, has been considered a likely, if underdog, candidate for the Democratc presidential nomination in 2008. But this morning he sent a letter ... read more
DEMOCRATIC GOV. VILSACK TO RUN For PRESIDENT
Huffington Post (11/9/06) -- Democratic Gov. Tom Vilsack of Iowa took the initial step in his long-shot bid for the White House Thursday, establishing a presidential campaign committee and seeking an early jump on ... read more
GOP REP. DUNCAN HUNTER TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT IN ‘08
Huffington Post (10/30/06) -- Rep. Duncan Hunter has shown little interest in seeking higher office during his 26 years in Congress. Suddenly, he is positioning himself for a presidential bid. A Republican official said Hunter, ... read more
DNC: WHICH MCCAIN IS RUNNING?
WASHINGTON, Nov. 11 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Democratic National Committee responded to news reports that John Mc Cain
is entering the 2008 presidential race today.
"If the reports are correct, we welcome John Mc Cain
to the race," said DNC Communications Director Karen Finney. "The question is, which Mc Cain
is running: the Mc Cain
who called right wing extremists like Jerry Falwell an evil influence, or the Mc Cain
who spoke at Liberty University as he attempted to cater to the far right in advance of a presidential run? Or the Mc Cain
who opposed overturning Roe vs. Wade or the Mc Cain
who said he would support South Dakota's ban? As an opportunist who supports the Bush Administration's failed policy in Iraq and changed his mind on tax cuts, a woman's right to make her own decisions about her health care, and campaign finance reform, it's hard to tell which John Mc Cain
will enter the race."
USING THE RIGHT’S BALLOT PLAYBOOK
Tom Paine (11/12/06) -- Conservatives have long used the state ballot initiative process to wage debates on the most divisive issues of the day. This year, conservative dominance on the initiative landscape turned out to be a mixed bag, while dozens of progressive measures helped redefine the landscape of direct democracy.
The year 2006 signaled the first time progressives ever mounted a multistate ballot initiative strategy. Americans overwhelmingly chose to support a fair economy that works for everyone with the passage of six minimum wage initiatives. In other progressive victories, South Dakota voters rejected the draconian abortion ban in one of the most conservative states in the country. And Missouri voted to allow embryonic stem cell research in a much debated and contentious campaign.
Conversely, the total failure of TABOR, the radical anti-tax ideology pushed by New York City real estate investor Howie Rich and his radical shell groups was a bruising defeat for conservatives. After having six TABORs stripped from the ballot, voters in Maine, Nebraska and Oregon firmly rejected the rest.
COLBERT CALLS IT QUITS (NOT REALLY!)
HOWARD DEAN ON DAILY SHOW
OLBERMANN SUMS UP THE ELECTION (Best jokes)
“Over the next two years, Democrats will lead with unified agenda that restores hope and opportunity, competence and responsibility." – Howard Dean, Democratic National Committee Chair
“Here’s to the voters of both parties who drove a stake into the heart of our political darkness.” – Frank Rich, New York Times
“The GOP is DOA.” – Jay Leno, Tonight Show host
"If you look at it race by race, it was close. The cumulative effect, however, was not close. It was a thumping."
—President George W. Bush, on the elections
"Americans voted to restore integrity and honesty in Washington DC and Democrats intend to lead the most honest, open and ethical Congress in history." – Nancy Pelosi, soon to be Speaker of the House
KEITH OLBERMANN: THE EDWARD R. MURROW OF OUR ERA, DELIVERED THIS COURAGEOUS & ELOQUENT ELECTION EVE BROADCAST
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- 21 Nov 2006