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October 22, 2005

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This is not a question, it's a collection of random but related observations. Related to each other, that is. Not to anything else in particular. But since this is an open thread -- and mine, to boot -- I'm posting it anyway, just to give people something to muse on.

The topic: Crazy shit I have seen on cars in the last week.

1. Vanity plates reading "REICH4," which I sincerely hope denoted that the vehicle belonged to a family of four, by the name of Reich.

2. A yellow "Support Our Troops" ribbon, but where the cutout of the "loop" of the ribbon should have been, there was a cutout of a cross instead.

and are they related to minutemen popularity, and the Olsen twins of hate? I don't speak in code and need most of Bush's speeches explained to me (dred scott, etc).

"What does '88' mean?" she asks. (The girls respond that it stands for 'Heil Hitler' -- "a comradic thing," says Lamb.)

"What does '14 words' mean?" ("We must secure the existence of our people and our future for white children," says Lamb.)

"So the term 'mud,' what does that refer to?" (Lamb: "A non-white.")

"What does it imply?" McFadden follows up, her eyes narrowing. (Lamb: "Instead of saying, you know, saying a racial slur, it's just like oh, 'mud.' They call us 'cracker,' we call them 'mud.')

and are they related to minutemen popularity, and the Olsen twins of hate? I don't speak in code and need most of Bush's speeches explained to me (dred scott, etc).

"What does '88' mean?" she asks. (The girls respond that it stands for 'Heil Hitler' -- "a comradic thing," says Lamb.)

"What does '14 words' mean?" ("We must secure the existence of our people and our future for white children," says Lamb.)

"So the term 'mud,' what does that refer to?" (Lamb: "A non-white.")

"What does it imply?" McFadden follows up, her eyes narrowing. (Lamb: "Instead of saying, you know, saying a racial slur, it's just like oh, 'mud.' They call us 'cracker,' we call them 'mud.')

Frequent flier frolics:

A baggage screener with the federal Transportation Security Administration has been charged in connection with the theft of $80,000 in cash from a passenger's bag at Kennedy International Airport... The bag belonged to an Astoria man, who was not identified but who boarded a flight to Pakistan and, when he arrived, discovered the money was missing.

Questions:
1. Why was he taking $80,000 in cash to Pakistan?
2. If that was the bag he checked, what was in his carry-on?

Nice Miller stab from the LA Times:

The Times is a great news organization with a newfound capacity for self-criticism and a demonstrated capacity to renew itself. Miller, the reporter, represents something far more persistent and pernicious in American journalism. She's virtually an exemplar of an all-too-common variety of Washington reporter: ambitious, self-interested, unscrupulous and intoxicated by proximity to power.

Unfortunately, she has also become the poster child in the push for a national reporter's shield law, and this week she went before the Senate Judiciary Committee to testify for the Free Flow of Information Act. There, she didn't even blush when she told the lawmakers: "Confidential sources are the life's blood of journalism. Without them ... people like me would be out of business."

Probably so, but there's still a case to be made for this legislation.

Snap. This is one unpopular lady, as reporeters around the country seem to be getting it.

Two women in trouble: Harriet Miers and Judy Miller. The word needs to go out... hang with the Bush crowd, and your future prospects won't look so good all of a sudden.

Frequent fliers. I once went through security behind a diamond merchant. Just before he went through the screener, he took out a sign and said something to the effect of (had to work pretty hard to read it) "I'm travlling with a shitload of very expensive diamonds. They will show up on your machine. But please don't check further or draw attention to the bag since it is worth mucho dinero." Really scruffy looking guy. But then it made sense. People have to travel everywhere with cash or near equivalents. The worst thing that could happen to you is someone--a baggage screener--draws attention to you.

Miers rejected by National Review:

There is no good reason to keep going down this road other than the sheer stupid force of inertia, i.e. this is the nomination, so we're stuck with it. Indeed, if Senate Republicans and conservative lawyers were being candid about their views of this nomination, it probably would already have sunk. This moment calls for leadership from Republican senators, who should go to the White House and insist that this nomination will not work and should be withdrawn. The White House is too insulated and reflexively defensive (note President Bush's pique yesterday when asked about criticism of Miers) to figure this out on its own. Is this a difficult message for anyone to deliver? Yes, but that's why we have senators and not White House automatons occupying the upper chamber of Congress.

and now Judy's turn again from the public editor:

What does the future hold for Ms. Miller? She told me Thursday that she hopes to return to the paper after taking some time off. Mr. Sulzberger offered this measured response: "She and I have acknowledged that there are new limits on what she can do next." It seems to me that whatever the limits put on her, the problems facing her inside and outside the newsroom will make it difficult for her to return to the paper as a reporter.

Lots of political quandries that could use a dose of advice (a.k.a. making KagroX & co. earn their $0.05)

1. If you are an advisor for either Paul Hackett or Sherrod Brown and is considering backing out of the race for Senate in OH, how would you do it?

2. If/when Rove, Libby, and others are indicted in the CIA leak investigation, what would you propose be Bush's first move? What should be the Democrats' first move? If Bush is indicted as well, would you propose Dems go for impeachment, censure, or anything else?

3. If you're Sulzberger and/or Keller, how do you get rid of Judy Miller?

4. If you're Santorum and behind by double digits to your challenger who is over 50 in multiple polls, what do you do to jump start your campaign?

5. If you're working for Bill Nelson, what do you do to solidify his position in case someone other than Katharine "Tammy Faye Baker" Harris win the GOP nod?

6. What do you do to jump start the special election and/or referendum campaigns in CA, CO, and OH?

7. About 2-3 weeks left until NJ and VA voters go to vote for a new governor. Corzine is likely to win in NJ. If you were Corzine, who would you tap as your successor? If you are working for Kaine in VA, what do you do to keep your momentum and close out the race?

8. What can other 08 Dem hopefuls do to stop Hillary, especially those with lower name ID (and presumably less baggage, since I think Americans will want a politician with a clean track record of turning things around)?

9. Christine Cegelis missed her fundraising target for Q3. DCCC is probably going to field another candidate. What does Cegelis have to do to raise her profile in her district? Do you think she'll do as well in 06 as she did in 04 if she makes it through a Dem primary?

10. Rev up your crystal ball. What will be the top 3 issues for American voters in 2006?

11. What should the Dems do in regards to Harriet Miers? Is there a way they can force on Bush Sonia Sotomoyer (Hispanic female moderate judge who would've been on the list of a Dem president and would be difficult for the right to oppose since she's held in high regard) or some highly credentialed moderate judge?

What should the Democrats do to win in Michigan's 7th and 8th CD's?

Your latest post some context on is not found when following the link please fix.

Please fix the link on "Some Context on Scowcroft." We're dyin' here!

not us, it's typepad... and it's fixed. wish we coulda done it sooner.

Corzine's successor for $200, Alex.

Acting Gov Codey would have won handily if he had chosen to (approval 61%; even among Rs 48%, in fantasy matchup against Forrester wins by 19 points) but stepped aside for Corzine. Corzine owes him one, and according to the ever-reliable NYT the only person more popular in New Jersey right now is Bruce.

Newsie --
1. Hackett has positive outs, but his rabid admirers are rapidly boxing him in. He can run again in OH-02 (presumably to a romantically tragic political death); he can relocate to run and win in a more competitive district; he can run for a relatively meaningless statewide office; he can serve his promised hitch in Iraq and return as Rumsfeld's worst nightmare.

Brown has no reason to look for outs, but could exit unharmed if another viable candidate cuts in.

2. Bush's move will be part of a coherent crisis management strategy. What the move is depends on what the strategy is.

Overall strategy is to identify scapegoats, and run them out of town -- taking the sins of the village with them. The likable, earnest Bush has been betrayed by unfaithful, unscrupulous subordinates.

Details: How quickly Bush should come to these realizations? How many and how big are the scapegoats?

I'd set up Cheney, but not too quickly (don't let him leave before all the sins are tied firmly to his back) and not too slowly (replace the VP with a continuity pick, NOT with a successor-apparent).

3. ASAP, Trump style. That won't stop the bleeding, and Judy will cash in, but get it over and done with. And don't expect to keep your head in the endgame.

I'll take some time to think (read: see if anyone else answers Newsie first), but let me just say how ridiculous I Dick Codey's popularity. I'm sure he's enjoying it, because it's very new for him. Of course, it's worth noting that he's suddenly become the most popular politician in New Jersey by promising not to run.

Will wonders never cease?

Thanks for the answers so far, y'all.

I've had a soft spot for Codey since he stood up for his wife. Some idiot radio show host made fun of her post-partum depression. Aside from him taking over for McGreevey, that incident has garnered him the most attention and press. People love it when you stand up for your spouse.

Newsie --
4. Resist action bias. It's a long season. You need to catch a break or bust a move, but you don't need to do it now -- especially when shackled as part of a Senate GOP leadership in an awkward session wrap-up. Tomorrow is another year, and there are changes in the cards. January 2006 may not bring a better configuration of allies and issues, but it will bring a different configuration. Draw your battle plan when the landscape is known.

5. Similar, but happier. See what next year brings. Fitzmas may bring new toys. Next year may bring a new opponent, or no opponent. Big moves can backfire, and risk is not justified with what looks to be a winning hand.

Newsie --
11. Slow walk the Miers implosion if possible. Bush is losing clout a mile a minute. He will probably nominate a rightwing horrorshow - to punish Dem's and firm up his religious right core support.

Then it gets interesting. At this point the Bush administration -- which took office under exceptional judicial circumstances -- is defending itself against a variety of legal nightmares, most of which contain the prospect of decisive exceptional judicial action.

D's can filibuster, moderate (and institutionalist) R's may peel off, and Cheney (triggerman on the nuclear option) will be persona non grata.

Sotomayor or the like will be nominated when Bush is no longer in charge (though he may still be in office).

The later, the better.

On Miers... the Dems could eventually use the "poor Bush judgment" argument, maybe?

"After [insert list of scandals, investigations, and failures], we are wary of the President's nominees. Here's a list of moderate judges who are well-regarded by many on both sides."

I'd push for Sotomoyer, because Bush might be inclined to pick her... Hispanic, very confirm-able. He gets to pick the first Hispanic SCOTUS judge, and Dems can claim victory because she is essentially their pick. He may be so politically weakened that he'd have to go with a Dem choice, but he's also so petulant that he'll want to get something out of it.

I like the idea of dragging things out, not just for strategic reasons as you've detailed, but also because of the personal satisfaction I get when Dubya gets hammered from all sides in the media. It's just so much more fun to read the news in the morning when Dubya is suffering through his latest round of negative press.

(National Review) This moment calls for leadership from Republican senators, who should go to the White House and insist that this nomination will not work and should be withdrawn.

Oh, sweet. NR calling for Jealousy of Senatorial Preogative. My, my. Get Bunning and Allen on it! [Edward G. Robinson-as-Dathan voice] Where's yer 'Constitutional Option' now, huh?

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Newsie, that's sweet. But I have a raw spot where Codey rubbed me the wrong way throughout his entire political career, right up until his assumption of the Acting Governorship. He's my hometown politician, and I know what he did to local politicians who weren't sufficiently enthusiastic about funding the machine he was attempting to build.

That's no different from any other politician, of course. The closer you are, the worse the things you're able to see. The better ones convince you to forget that stuff, though.

In re #7: If I'm Corzine and I actually intend to be the big dog in New Jersey, I don't just give a Senate seat to either Menendez or Andrews. I'd give it to the more personable (and somewhat more pliant) Pallone, and let the other two fight in out for Lautenberg's seat down the road. And if I'm Tim Kaine, maybe I'd ask why Kilgore was only too happy to take credit for the arrest and conviction of Robin Vanderwall for soliciting sex with minors, but got him sentenced to only seven of a possible 60 years. Oh, did I mention that Vanderwall was director of the "Faith and Family Alliance?" Or that he was an Abramoff/Norquist crony whose main function was as a conduit for their laundering of Jack's clients' gambling money, so it could be scrubbed before being sent to Ralph Reed?

In re #8: Ummm, use the word "impeachment" a lot? You don't have to endorse it for Bush, but it'd be a sneaky way to be very pro-Dem, but subtly anti-Big C.

The ultimate answer to #6 and #9 is still money, as distasteful as that may be to the blogosphere. But it's true. It was true when the DCCC said it, and it was true when "netroots activists" said it wasn't.

The magic of "Team Hackett" didn't produce revolution in CA-48, nor did they even stick around to watch the exciting conclusion. And no amount of blogosphere coverage has managed to make referenda sexy. That doesn't mean it can never be done without relying on raising and spending tremendous amounts of money in the "old media," but it does mean that the "netroots" haven't yet found any magic formula, though candidates and issue advocates who pay "netroots activists" for some of their mojo will do so again next go round, despite the results. You're meeting the new boss.

If another candidate appears in Cegelis' district and outraises her, what does that mean? Would that mean DC is dictating terms to the sixth district? Or that Cegelis can't take care of business at home, and the rest of the country can't wait patiently by as she learns on the job? If there's any validity to the notion that Democratic challengers should be fielded in every district -- or at least in the districts of GOP leaders -- so that they have to fight a rearguard action and can't venture far from home, it's got to be based on fielding Dem candidates that can do that. No GOP leader feels he has to stay home and fight when the Democrat can't raise cash. Even if the DCCC sends the cash (which they won't and can't).

But I suspect you know that.

Ooh. Good answer on the Kaine answer.

On Codey, sigh... NJ machine politics.

Referenda will never be super sexy. Reading the descriptions would make anyone sleepy, no matter how well-intentioned the referndum.

Ahh, money. When the issue comes up, I immediately start hearing the theme song for "The Apprentice" in my head.

It seems as though terms like "electable" and "strong challenger" have different meanings depending on who you ask. Electable is someone who can be elected, but who won't necessarily get elected. After Kerry, it's "who will definitely win." "Strong challenger" is really someone who has the right mix of skills to win a seat, but in the blogosphere it's whoever is more progressive. Sometimes the stuff that goes on between netroots leaders and people working in D.C. is a result of the varying definitions. Christine Cegelis may be the netroot's definition of a strong challenger, but by other definitions and measures (other than stances on the issues) she's doesn't appear to be such.

The netroots, whatever they are, don't have a definition of "strong challenger." But that problem begins with the fact that there's no definition of the "netroots," either.

Over in Ohio, what do the "netroots" say about the Senate race? Do they say Hackett is the "strong challenger" because he has the right mix of skills, or is Brown the "strong challenger" because he's more progressive?

What's happening there is a battle to define the "netroots" to the advantage of one group of would-be consultants or another.

Well, whatever the definition... it adds to some of the disagreements and lots of situations where I think everyone is just talking past each other.

No it doesn't, you commie bastard.

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