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July 14, 2005

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Nice post. I've always sort of poo-pooed my wife's comments that Wellstone was murdered (mostly because I just don't want to believe it), but she's not the only person I know who thinks so. Mr. Coleman probably wouldn't be a Senator today had he had to face Wellstone in the election. He certainly owes Karl—and Dick—for much of his success. And I wouldn't put anything past those two.

I agree with much of what you say. The problem for the GOP is just how much of their position in contemporary DC is based on the Rove System. They have patently NOT won the battle of ideas this decade -- since 2000, Democratic issue positions have consistently dominated polling. What they have managed -- by tactically rigging together war hysteria, one-off social issues for the fundies, and major sliming of Democratic candidates --is to keep or very marginally expand majorities in the presidential and Congressional vote at a time when voter inclination might have led the nation the other direction. This can be seen as impressive (by political scientists, anyway), but it provides little ballast for achieving any major governmental breakthroughs -- as seen in the utter failure of the social scurity push.

Moreover, it leaves the party with nothing for a rainy day. Clinton, whatever hardcore lefties think, pleased most of the public with his as-promised buoyant economic stewardship, and thus they were willing to let him get by despite a big slip-up. This current administration and Congress, with its 50% + 1, do-it-for-us-and-no-one-else strategy, has nothing to provide similar benefit of doubt. When Iraq goes south...when scandal intrudes...when (and I don't say if) the economy turns bad, there's no cushion. And Pubs who've been running hard and strong on identification with Bush --even (as you point out) in states like MN or PA where the association is dubious -- can hardly dissociate themselves from any of this now.

It's been commonplace to hear, over the past day or two, that getting the Bush folk on this is like nailing Capone on tax evasion -- it seems the least of their crimes. But, in fact, it relates strongly to their larger flaws: the action was in service of the above-all policy in Iraq, and it reflected their standard M.O. for dissent (destroy the dissenter). Because of that, I think there's danger for them that every mistake they thought they'd blown past might still come back to haunt them; that every enemy they've accumulated over the past 4+ years (and there are many) will now decide it's time to step in and take a shot. The word that comes to mind is "unravelling". It's taken way too long, but what happens may be more an undoing of this crowd than even appears likely today.

demtom

Thanks for the comment. You raise a lot of the ideas I was thinking about but didn't get into the post.

I suspect there's this sinking feeling, on the part of some in the GOP, that if this unravels (your word, a good choice), it may reveal a lot that the Rove System has served to cover up. That's the real reason I raised Wellstone--not that I think there's anything there. But to raise the specter of what MIGHT get uncovered if lie after lie start falling apart, unpeeling everything like an onion, down to the big things they hide with their seemingly innocuous lies.

I feel like the 2000 and 2004 campaigns were not substantively much different than the 1988 campaign. Has the Republican style really changed that much?

...every mistake they thought they'd blown past might still come back to haunt them; that every enemy they've accumulated over the past 4+ years (and there are many) will now decide it's time to step in and take a shot.

From your lips, demtom, directly to the ears of whatever Deity is paying attention.

emptywheel, yours is the kind of speculation I love ... the how-many-rats-will-desert-the-other-rats-before-the-ship-goes-down question.

And, to mix animal metaphors, I'd love to be the proverbial fly-on-the-wall right now, eavesdropping on whatever strategy sessions the White House is engaged in on this matter. Not even to hear the secrets - just to enjoy the recriminations.

Steve:
Yes, things are _very_ different than in '88 or '92. Did Bill Clinton's private life get pulled into '92? Can you imagine what Faux News would have done to him? (we all saw it in '96 so don't answer that question, it was rhetorical). Bottom line is that Rupert Murdoch has almost destroyed our electoral process, but only because he had the willing assistance of one of the major parties. You can't just blamethe press for following the talking points, but you also can't just blame the 'Thugs for giving out the talking points they knew the press would swallow. The two are bound together like siamese twins...that was kinda rambling, wasn't it?

MB

As to recriminations. I think one of the best things that could happen is for a giant split between the Rovians and the Cheneyians to occur, and for the two vile groups to bring each other down. I do suspect that part of the deafening silence from most Republicans is due to a loyalty oath, Dick or Karl, that they have taken. All against a background of Condi's moderate success in foreign affairs (well, very moderate), hopefully suggesting to some real Republicans that they should take this opportunity to disassocciate from both wings of the wingnuts.

And again, if I'm right that there's a Cheney Rove thing going on behind closed doors, it means up until today (roughly) Cheney has been winning the fight.

Fineman's article on MSNBC also posits a struggle between Fox media and the rest of the media who are tired of WH stonewalling and dishing only to their favorites. That, he thinks, accounts for the feistiness. Better than his usual tripe, and I see him as one of the bellwethers.

Speaking of things to be uncovered if it all unravels, of course there are election irregularities. The Bolton-Florida-State Dept-yellowcake-INR Report is a link I keep hoping gets made. Kay Bailey Hutchinson has endorsed Rove. Specter also said he stands by him. But from those in blue or purple states, other than Specter, it is pretty quiet.

emptywheel--what makes you think that there's a Cheney/Rove split?

Mimikatz

Yeah, I need to add Kaybee and Kit Bond to the pro-Rove list. Neither surprises me. Bond is one of the three Senators (with Hatch and Roberts) who "found" that Wilson misrepresented his trip. I think there's a miniscule (but existent) they'll be implicated in this too (in obstruction), so why not go down with the ship. And Kaybee--how could any ambitious politician from TX not defend Karl?

Fineman's making a point I made a few days ago--that this is going to split the media into cable versus network. I'm looking forward to that happening. I think the cable channels realize that if Rove's System goes down, they go down.

bostoniangirl

I think there may be some Rove/Cheney animosity here because,

1) Wilson said as much in his book--Libby started this smear, Rove picked it up, and then Rove blamed Libby/Cheney when it blew up on them

2) There have been odd leaks coming out of the White House that don't help Rove's case at all

3) There seems to be a push, on the part of some on the right, to isolate this with Rove--even though we know Libby is implicated in one way or another

What strikes me is that the prominent Rove defenders are not exactly the heavy hitters even among the wingnuts. Whatever can be said about how Norm Coleman got into the Senate, he needs weight belts to keep from floating up to the top of the Capitol dome. Generally, there's not exactly been a stampede of support for Rove.

Oh, by the way, mark another notch against Bill Frist - his attempt to counterpunch Reid in the Senate this afternoon only drew 33 votes.

-- Rick Robinson

LOL--weight belts.

How many votes did Reid's amendment draw?

The key to keeping the GOP to 33 votes was simply pointing out how many republicans would also lose their security clearance. When Sessions said he was against it (he would have lost his clearance based on yesterday's Gitmo hearings), I knew it was doomed.

Answered my own question--a strict party line vote, with 3 abstentions. Although apparently some GOPers were in favor until it became clear it would fail.

Being a DFL'er from Minnesota who worked on Paul Wellstone's 1990 and 96 campaigns -- and being one who still drips tears when something brings back those awful days in October 2002 -- I gotta say I really don't think he was murdered. There were several investigations -- the NASB one, and private ones done by Paul's Lawyers, and while faults were found -- none of it adds up to anything but an accident. Lots of us feel that any focus on Conspiracy Theory regarding the crash is less time and effort spent on figuring how to play Paul's sort of Politics, which were about how to represent the "little feller" who didn't have the kind of lobby Rockefeller's do.

But that doesn't mean one should not look closely at who Norm Coleman is. You should. And to understand him you do have to comprehend who were Wellstone's enemies were. Because that's the crowd that made Norm Coleman. And it begins with understanding Rudy Boschwitz, the Senator Paul beat in 1990 and 96 -- and who essentially organized Norm's campaign for him, and then once in DC, set up his office. Boschwitz is a total Neo Con -- a charter PNAC type, and a shadow representative of Sharon and Israel's Likud Party in the US. Coleman was recruited to do Boschwitz's stuff in the Senate.

And when he stands up in the Senate to defend Rowe well he is representing that wing of Republicanism -- and we all would be much better off if he was outed for what he is -- understand the positions he takes in terms of his sponsors, and mess him up that way than depending on some suspicion about Paul's death. We are going to have to defeat Norm Coleman in 2008 on his record with a new DFL candidate, and the more he is diminished in DC the easier it will be to elect a proper successor to Wellstone.

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