« Expect A Flu Plan Announcement Tuesday | Main | Indicting Dick »

October 30, 2005


I figure Monday Bush announces someone, Tuesaday, he does bird flu, Wednesday he does something with the illusion of governing. Let's talk SCOTUS again.

Will he hurt himself with moderates or conservatives Monday? And is mcConnell a needle-threader or another political problem?

PS the Right is unappeasable.

I think everyone has missed an important part of the treason.
I'd appreciate your collective view on a thread. It's quite long (forty plus posts) but you can get the argument from the first post. Any comments?


The WaPo has been awful about their editorial board's support of the war and good with their news coverage (at least compared to the NY Times).

Pincus as conduit for the CIA's side of the story? Sure. But Allen, Milbank, et al as part of a conspiracy? I don't think so.

Let's talk about Nancy Nusbaum again. She's running for Congress in Wisconsin's District 8. Remember? I sought a nickle's worth of advice last month. Kagro X and Mimikatz responded. http://Nancy2006.com

The Democrats can take this district. Nancy was personally recruited to run by Rahm Emmanuel, and her campaign manager, Jen Pihlaja, used to work for EMILY's List.

I hope the following news release (a few weeks old, actually...I've been waiting for another political open thread to post) supports my contention that this woman can win!

So, now, let me ask again: how can we broaden and increase her profile?

Nusbaum Matches Broad Grassroots Support with Strong Fundraising

-First FEC Filing Shows 90% of Donors from Wisconsin-

DE PERE, WI -- Nancy Nusbaum, Democratic candidate for Wisconsin's 8th Congressional district, matched her broad grassroots support with a strong fundraising report during the third fundraising quarter of 2005. In a campaign finance report filed today with the Federal Election Commission, Nusbaum's congressional campaign reported raising over $230,000 in the third quarter with a remarkable 90 percent of those contributions coming from Wisconsin.

Nusbaum commented, "I am honored by the broad range of support I have received from teachers, nurses, law enforcement officers, small business owners and community leaders in Northeast Wisconsin. I am confident that people want to change the way business is done in Washington and that they want a representative who will stand up for ordinary working families, not big corporations and influence-peddling lobbyists."

Nusbaum's campaign manager Jen Pihlaja said, "Hundreds of people have already come forward to make sure Nancy is the next Member of Congress from Wisconsin's 8th District. This is a strong and energized early showing for Nancy and we are confident that with continued strong support, this campaign will have the resources to communicate her message to voters."

Over 660 individuals contributed to this first filing, with an average contribution of $152. Ninety percent of contributors are from Wisconsin, and a majority of those contributors are from the 8th Congressional District. As of the end of September, the campaign had over $210,000 cash on hand.

A recent poll shows Nusbaum is the front runner in this open seat race for Congress. The poll showed her running even against likely Republican nominee John Gard. This recent filing demonstrates that Nusbaum can also raise the resources necessary to run a competitive race to represent the people of Northeast Wisconsin.


Better for Dems to keep the focus on indictiments, or to push new policy while resistance is most disorganized?

My thought was that indictment troubles have reached critical mass where the story can roll without getting pushed, and now it's a better time to put forward positive message. (Also to steal the thunder from any positive message Bush might try to put out to save himself, as DemfromCT says above.) Weak first attempt at saying this here.

Is there benefit to top senators harping on indictments further -- are there still swing-able people out there who don't get what's going on?

article in NYT

GEORGE W. BUSH and Karl Rove came to Washington with the boldest of ambitions: to overhaul the nation's political architecture, establishing Republicans as the indisputable majority party for a generation or more. It was a meticulously conceived plan: broaden the Republican base, strip moderates away from the Democrats, even make incursions with such solidly Democratic constituencies as African-Americans. But a White House that has prided itself in thinking in broad historical strokes found itself struggling to keep afloat through the news cycle, as it confronted the indictment of a senior White House aide and a failed Supreme Court nomination.

The article goes on to talk about what people think about that conservative re-alignment.

I certainly think that BushBo has done a lot of good for the GOP infrastructure, but a generational conservative re-alignment? They may have won over some voters, but I think Nagourney's article falls short in a number of areas.

Nowhere does Nagourney mention 9/11, which gave Bush & the GOP an opening with voters on a number of issues. A lot of Bush voters in 2004 didn't like 95% of his agenda, but voted for him because of the terrorism and national security issue. These voters are bullhorn-moment voters. For a conservative re-alignment, wouldn't he need to win these people over on other issues, too? The residual feelings from 9/11 will eventually go away.

The one other major fault with the article, IMHO, is that Americans like the dressed up GOP agenda, but aren't in love at all with the real GOP agenda. SS privatization, for example. The more they learned, the more they hated it.

What do the political consultants here think about the chances for GOP re-alignment in and its chances in 2000 and now?

Pincus as conduit for the CIA's side of the story? Sure

The very opposite.
I've heard Pincus is CIA, but if this is the CIA's side of the story, all I can say is that the Wilson/Plame saga WAS a CIA sting.
That the W-2 was a plant.
And that "two Bush administration officials" are CIA moles within the White House.
That's not impossible, but Mr Occam would suggest it is unlikely.

Better for Dems to keep the focus on indictiments, or to push new policy while resistance is most disorganized?

My thought was that indictment troubles have reached critical mass where the story can roll without getting pushed, and now it's a better time to put forward positive message. (Also to steal the thunder from any positive message Bush might try to put out to save himself, as DemfromCT says above.) Weak first attempt at saying this here.

Is there benefit to top senators harping on indictments further -- are there still swing-able people out there who don't get what's going on?

With the SCOTUS pick coming, I don't think that anything the Dems do, could take attention from that. To paraphrase Pelosi, the Dems want a clear shot at it.

There was saturation media coverage on Friday of the Libby indictment, and all networks broke in to regular programming to carry Fitzgerald's presser. Prior to this, there were a few news segments in July and a few in the two weeks leading up to the Libby indictment. This may seem like a lot of coverage to us political junkies, but it's nowhere near the coverage that Lewinsky got. I think there's a good chunk of Americans who don't know much about the whole CIA leak case or understand the ramifications of an agent's cover being blown. This CIA leak case harms national security and is worse than Watergate or Lewinsky. The gravity of how bad a CIA leak case, is something that I don't think many Americans have really grasped. This is an area where the Dems have to hammer it home at the local level. Dems have to talk about the breach of national security, at the national level, but they don't have to do as much heavy lifting nationally, because there are enough nonpartisan intelligence experts who can explain just how bad this is.

The 'GOP culture of corruption' line could be used as a pivot. "While the GOP has been cultivating a culture of corruption, we've been working on ways to improve health care for all Americans." I've noticed that "GOP culture of corruption" has been finding its way into the vernacular and in news articles in a way that Republican catchphrases have in the past. The Dems need to keep hammering on that from now until Election Day 2006.

What do the political consultants here think about the chances for GOP re-alignment in and its chances in 2000 and now?

It was always a stealth realignment. The interesting thing will be to see what happens when the Dems unveil their alternative in November. Any alternativw will be looked at by the public as a viable option.

iraq is, however, still a mess. The story is always iraq. whoever thells the truth and gets it right wins. That was not always the case, but it is now.

PS, the coming discussion about idictments is all about Cheney, not Libby. That's why it doesn't go away.

WH planted leaks from KRT

WASHINGTON - Rebounding from the failed nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court, President Bush is poised to select between two of the nation's leading conservative federal appeals court judges - both experienced jurists with deep backgrounds in constitutional law - for what promises to be a bruising Senate confirmation battle.

With an announcement expected Sunday or Monday, administration officials have narrowed the focus to Judges Samuel Alito of New Jersey and Michael Luttig of Virginia, sources involved in the process said. Both have sterling legal qualifications and solid conservative credentials, and both would set off an explosive fight with Senate Democrats, who are demanding a more moderate nominee to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

Sources close to the process cautioned that Bush still could pick someone else, noting that he had wanted to name a woman to replace O'Connor. He had considered Priscilla Owen of Texas, another federal appeals court judge, before tapping Miers, and she remains a distant possibility, administration sources said.

True? False, and setting up a surprise to change the subject? Any ideas?

on nominating alito or luttig: with Dems in a strong position to filibuster and neocons in open revolt (love that phrase -- as Allan Sherman sang about King Louis XVI, "The peasants are revolting, well, Louis, you're pretty revolting yourself!") Bush is staring down a 7-10 split. when bowling a 7-10 split you don't aim down the middle. he's just shooting for the 10-pin now. Some advice from experts:

It really is easy. You only have to do 3 things:

1. Throw the ball hard
2. Hit one of the pins
3. Get lucky as hell

Most failures are due to failing to do 1 or 2, but some are due to failing to execute #3 at the proper time.


If you are unlucky enough to leave a 7-10...and unless you MUST make the spare to win...shoot the pin that you KNOW you can make, and hope it bounces out.

And, I think especially apropos to Miers and how Bush got into this situation:

Basically, don't bother. take it as a warning sign that either your release on that shot was deadsville, or you are playing the lanes pretty wrong.

Usually you leave a 7-10 only when you have a very weak hit, sometimes combined with very light. The best thing you can do for your score is to get one of the two, then adjust your line so that you don't leave it again.

(emphasis mine.)

Newsie, I think you're right, and I don't really believe much in "alignments." I think a large segment of the electorate is far more fluid than commentators and journalists typically assert.

Saying this makes for bad conversation, though. E.g. "well, you really never know....external circumstances come into play more than people think.....maybe, maybe not....." And it also renders the predictions of journalists moot. They don't like that. Poor babies, Nagourney has so much in his great mind to share with us.

I say economic situational perception rules all in national elections, with corruption coming in a close second. And branding weakens with time, unless continually reinforced. For example, those who say the Democrats still pay a price today for "losing" national security during the cold war era are flat wrong. All of that is forgotten except in the wonkosphere. So any perceptions from 10 years ago are gone, except in the wonkosphere. I'd say the 9-11 GOP advantage has been spoiled by the war. They blew their opportunity to cement major gains.

There is a huge opening for Democrats now, and even with a mediocre effort I expect some gains in '06. But I think the real battle for the future of the social safety may not come until next decade, after the next Presidential election has reset the game. The only thing that would change this would be a Democrat with gifted message skills and a focused agenda (i.e. health care, or retirement/education/economic security as a focus) getting elected President in 08; If GOP wins WH in 08, we get status quo. If an ordinary D wins in '08, status quo.

Hey Demfromct
We can be fairly sure that the Bush admin will produce a regular stream of busy making. What worthless tail chasing should we expect? I have some suggestions to go with your Bird flu scenario. Maybe a new hurricane prediction center is on the way? How about the "Rosa Parks" Center for displaced Katrina Survivors? Maybe a renewed debate over the environment. Bush will come out strong in favor of Big Horn Sheep and alert Americans that the bird flu threatens Bald Eagles. Maybe we can revisit the pornography issue. Tax porn to subsidize farmers. I can feel a fierce battle will be heating up over the pledge of allegiance. How about putting a man on Jupiter or raising the Titanic. Declare November the month of the teacher. Bring back the war on drugs. I would have the "California Raisins" visit the white house. And I would definitely pass an emergency piece of legislature, "No Home Depot shopper left behind" guaranteeing all Americans a cordless drill in every garage. Health care, smelth care, who cares, it's too complicated any ways, and most folks feel bad when they start thinking about this stuff. Same with social security. I say let McDonalds cater the school lunch program. Kids will love the new McYummy and parents will be thrilled that it is packed full of nutrients.

But I question you this:

Who will take charge to line up the opposition? Most Americans are still searching for the remote control. They don't care about the FBI scandal or whatever that Scootie thing is about.
To be successful Dems must be ready to debunk every single proposal that Bush should put forth. Anticipate them in advance and be ready to attack with them. I can only hope there are some strong leaders that are ready to step up to the plate. Sure, some will be shot down as is the job of the primary infantry (to take the hit), but this will clear the way for those who follow. Do you have an predictions or hopes?

harry reid is an extremely effective spokesperson. And hopefully the Nov release of the Dem house platform will help,too.

I'm tired of only asking Republicans what they think, and of the suggestion that Democrats are the R secret weapon.

..but to add, it's all about iraq and that issue has not fully played out. We need more Gephardts.

I agree with you, Crab Nebula, in general, when it comes to party branding being soft and voter memories being short. I think that's true when it comes to many issues, but not when it comes to Democrats being "weak" on national security/national defense.

That's due to three things:

1) It's one of the most repeated and long-standing of GOP charges. While the vast majority of voters now on the rolls weren't even a gleam in their granddaddy's eye when the Republicans started screaming "who lost China," there has been a steady drumbeat of "weak on defense" ever since then which continues to this day. Sometimes, it's bit the Repubs in the ass, as when Jack Kennedy pushed the (phony) bomber/missile gap in the '60 campaign.

2) The largest cohorts of voters - both in numbers and percentages - remain those in older age groups who have been influenced the longest by these charges against the Democrats.

3) Democrats still have not come up with a unified, resonating alternative to the Republican weak-on-defense accusation that resonates even with young voters. Most seem scared to death to arrive at a unified stance on what to do next in Iraq for fear that anything other than "stay the course" or "stay the course"-plus will taint them as "cut-and-runners" with the voters.

Hence, we see liberal Democrats all over the map on the subject. When many high Dems voice any position at all on Iraq, beyond the justified Republicans-are-incompetent charge, they are what I could call dangerously cautious.

I'm a little concerned - as I think others here are - that the initial announcement of the Dem Agenda may get swallowed by chatter about the indictment and, of course, the Next Nominee. In some ways, we've almost entered the time of year when it might make more sense to wait until January for such large declarations.

Except, as DemFromCT constantly (and, in my view, correctly) notes, it's all about Iraq. It'll soon be America's third Christmas there.

Much as I'd like to see a Democratic agenda with a universal health care/public health care proposal, a fiscal sanity/social safety net proposal, a visionary energy/environmental policy, an education/job training policy and a rejuvenated globalization/trade policy, all that can wait a couple of months. Iraq can't.

While I'd rather see a Gen. William Odom or Zbigniew Brzezinski approach to Iraq (essentially, out now), I'd settle for a combination of John Kerry's latest (20,000 out after the December elections) and Russ Feingold's (everybody out by next December). But most Dems have yet to come around to either of those positions or anything coherent at all. The party needs a solid, bring 'em home policy coupled with a flexible umbrella foreign policy that draws a sharp contrast with both the NeoImp hegemonists and the Paleocon "realists" of the Baker/Kissinger/Scowcroft school. Without such a policy, Democrats truly ARE weak on defense.

What about pardons?

In the midst of the start of a joyful Fitzmas season, I haven't seen much mention of Bush pardoning Scooter, Rove and anyone else caught up on this mess. Now, my own frequently wrong instincts, give me two conflicting answers. One, Bush can't pardon LIbby et al without turning a political shitstorm into a category 6 hurricane. The lying was too egregious, the media has their blood up and the poll numbers are too low for him to attempt this.

On the other hand, this president is more marked by a bloody single-mindedness than any I can remember. If he wanted to pardon them, he will, even if it means the end of his and Rove's dreams.

What do you think?

I think your first point carries the day. When Ford pardoned Nixon, it was not seen as cronyism, but an act of healing. Same with Bush I and Iran-Contra (it wasn't his people). This is different. Bush can pardon but he can't get away with it politically.

Early in Plamegate, Scott McClellan specifically said that Karl Rove, Scooter, and Elliot Abrams were not involved in the leak. We now know that Rove and Libby were most certainly involved. What's the story with Abrams? Is he a leaker? What is his history with Novak? What will we find if we go back and shine a light under his rock?

The most compelling quote to me in Adam Nagourney's story was the one from Michael Deaver. After discussing the "crush of problems" facing Bush, from high gas prices to Iraq, he notes that Reagan never suffered from the low approval ratings Bush had. He notes that polls suggest "that Americans seem despondent about the state of the country, typically a bad sign for the party in power." Then comes the Deaver quote:

"'The thing that is the most disturbing to me now--this wasn't true then [under Reagan]--is this sort of hopelessness that the American people are feeling," said Michael K. Deaver, who was a senior Reagan adviser. 'When you have 70 percent of the people saying they don;t think things are going to get better--that to me is the most disturbing thing.'"

That is also what gives the Dems their opening. And Crab Nebula is right. If a Democrat with gifted (maybe even just good) message skills comes along and builds a platform around increased opportunity and increased economic, health and retirement security (the two are connected logically, because a safety net allows greater risks to be taken), then the Dems can score big gains.

The Repubs talk about optimism, but they preach a dark vision about human nature and about the threats we face. That message is about played out. A message built around opportunity, security and sustainablity would be well-received, if delivered by someone who didn't look and talk like a focus-grouped fake.

I think the majority of people are tired of grand crusades. They want competence and hope, something they can have confidence will turn things for the better. It can't come from a party that has facilitated the kind of wealth transfer and growth of inequality that has taken place over the last 5 years and that lied us into an unnnecessary war.

But the Dems have to become real risk-takers to seize the momnet. Clinton is right. If they don't want to fight (at least in the sense of really trying to do what is needed not just what is safe, comfortable and familiar), get into another line of work.

The perfect occasion for the Dem counter response would be the release of the Bush tax panel's recommendations. The Dems should come back with a counter-message, the cornerstone of which is more widely dispersed opportunity and security, based on a fairer tax structure. Keep the mortgage and state tax deductions; raise the top 2 brackets by 1% point each; put the capital gains tax back to 20% max; exclude the first $5000 of dividends in US companies from tax but tax the rest as ordinary income. Freeze the estate tax at next year's levels.

Then expand opportunity through much better financing of education and student loans; overhaul health insurance (offer a basic gov't run plan that companies could use instead of employer-based health care and individuals could buy into, plus gov't-funded catastrophic health care) and overhaul pensions and IRA/401(k)s to promote portability and greater security.

Start bringing the troops home beginning next year, train a new disaster corps and make the military more attractive by reducing Iraq deployments. Restore competence and clean gov't.

Really, it is almost a no-brainer.

Elaborating on my post above ... What about Eliot Abrams as the Leaker?

In the early days of Plamegate, Scott McClellan made a specific point of talking to Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, and Eliot Abrams about their involvement in the leak. He reported in a press conference that each had assurred him that he was not involved. We now know that Rove and Libby were leakers, but it seems neither was the one who leaked to Robert Novak. That leaves Abrams as a prime suspect.

In The Nation (Nov 3, 2003 issue), Eric Alterman speculated about the way the information may have been leaked to Novak ...

"In other words, did someone get in contact with Novak first, tell him to call Rove, tell him what to ask, and alert him what Rove would say in reply, thereby resulting in a story which would reveal precisely what the perpetrators wanted?"

and goes on to speculate further about the identity of that someone ...

"But what about Elliott Abrams? A convicted liar and longtime ally of Novak whiling away his time inside the National Security Council, he has played a much larger role in these war plans--and the battles that have accompanied them--than so far has been recognized by the media. Abrams has quite legalistically denied any role in 'leaking classified information,' according to White House press secretary Scott McClellan. But the last time Abrams pretended ignorance, he was lying. When caught, he found himself celebrated by Novak, pardoned by Bush's daddy and given a spanking new career by Bush himself. I think he knows the drill by now."

With what we now know from the Fitzgerald notes in the indictment, and based on the fact that Joe Wilson suspected Rove, Libby, and/or Abrams, it looks like we may have strong clues about the identity of the Leaker to Novak just by the process of elimination.

The Alterman speculation looks better now that we have seen some of the facts in the Libby indictment. Maybe Eliot Abrams is indeed the mysterious "Official A" (for Abrams) mentioned in the indictment?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Where We Met

Blog powered by Typepad