Friday, June 06, 2003

But are you sure Wesley Clark's not running for president?

Coulda' fooled me...

Retired 4-star General and former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Wes Clark wants to make it clear that he's not running for president. He's making it even clearer with his new "Leadership for America" website in which he talks about his record of military leadership, the fact that he graduated first in his class from West Point, and his Master's Degree from Oxford in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Did I mention he was a Rhodes Scholar?

Did I also mention that he's not running for President? Because he's not. Really. He's just setting up a website chock full of his observations on the course America should steer itself in. Entirely without his help. It's just suggestion, really. It has nothing to do with laying out a campaign platform. Really.

Between Clark and Biden, why do I get the feeling that the Democratic slate is going to look vastly different by the fall?

posted by Scott | 6/06/2003 | |

Dodging the Sharpton third-party bullet

Al Sharpton had been scaring me. A lot. Not because of his background or his history or his race or anything like that, though. He'd been scaring me because he'd been publicly entertaining the idea of running as a third-party candidate.

Two nights ago, however, on Crossfire, the Reverend Al laid all my fears to rest.

CARVILLE: If ... you're not the party's nominee, will you run -- have you pledged not to run not as a third party candidate, or will you consider it?

SHARPTON: I've said from the beginning if I was interested in running as a third party candidate, I would have done that from the beginning. I will be in the party. I hope to support the nominee, I hope to be the nominee. But I will not be running for the third party.

Let me sum it all up in one word: WHEW!!!

posted by Scott | 6/06/2003 | |

Speaking of the Killer D's...

As many of you undoubtedly know, Molly Ivins has given Texas Governor Rick Perry the nickname "Goodhair." Have you seen the guy? It fits him to a T! Say what you want about the man's politics--that's a damn fine head of hair he's got there, perfectly coifed and all helmeted up.

But good hair isn't everything. Especially when you seem to have lost all sense of decency.

According to his testimony, during the search for the Killer D's, Texas Dept. of Public Safety official Lt. Will Crais was handed a letter by Gov. Goodhair and told, "I want the Texas Rangers to go by and locate Mr. Eiland."
One can figure that the letter contained information regarding state Representative Craig Eiland, right? It sure did. So where did Goodhair assume Eiland was? Rep. Eiland was assumed to be at a hospital in Galveston, where his wife had just given birth to twins. This is where Gov. Goodhair wanted him arrested.

Now, if you're wanted by the police and the police know where you are, they have every right to come pick you up. Fair enough. In a non-criminal matter like this, however, common decency would seem to dictate that you'd leave the father with his wife and newborns for a reasonable amount of time before you quietly took him away.

But poor taste isn't what's on trial here. What is in question is Rick Perry's integrity and honesty. The governor claimed not to have anything to do with the tracking of the Killer D's, which is clearly a lie. According to a state trooper, not only did Perry lie, but he attempted to exploit a man's newborn children for political gain.

Good job, Goodhair.

posted by Scott | 6/06/2003 | |

GOP: Greedy Old Porkers?

It would seem, as recent revelations tell it, that the Grand Ol' Party ain't quite so grand. In fact, some would go so far as to say that they're anything but. This morning, The Washington Post ran a front-page story alleging that internal e-mails from Westar Energy, Inc. contained damning evidence of quid pro quo between company executives and GOP Congressmen Tom DeLay, Billy Tauzin, Joe Barton, and GOP Senator Richard Shelby. The agreement? $56,500 in a mix of soft and hard money would buy Westar an exemption from an unfavorable regulation.

The e-mail said Tauzin and Barton "made this request" for donations, and Shelby "made a substantial request" for another candidate.

Despite damaging statements in the from Westar executives, the Four GOPs and their respective staffs are claiming ignorance. If any of them supported the legislation Westar sought, it was simply because the company and the legislators had a shared ideology.

The Post notes that the offending "exhibits were posted on Westar's Web site," though at 15MB, not many will have the patience to wade through it all.

Josh Marshall was flummoxed as to the reason why no one paid attention to the scandal over the GOP crackdown on the Killer D's in Texas. It slowly picked up but then seemed to die down a bit. Let's see if Tom DeLay's able to wriggle his way out of this one as well.

posted by Scott | 6/06/2003 | |

Honey, I thought Howard Dean already announced he was running for president...

Ah, DemWatch loves a good "official" announcement. Imagine my glee when I saw this header at the top of a recent campaign e-mail:

Subj: Howard Dean to Declare his Candidacy June 23rd
Date: 6/5/2003 11:00:17 PM Eastern Standard Time

Someone had better tell John Kerry. One can only wonder what Chris Lehane's going to say now that he's got an actual candidate to run against.

In all seriousness, Dean is poised to make the most out of his tech-savvy image, beaming out a live webcast of his formal declaration to Dean 2004 meetups around the nation. Expect this to be Dean's first major national media coverage of the 2004 campaign.

posted by Scott | 6/06/2003 | |

Thursday, June 05, 2003

Lead for God's sake!

The Washington Post's angle on the Take Back America conference currently underway in D.C. is that the star of the show seems to be the guy who invented the flying toasters. Hence, they stick the story in the tech section. Such is journalism, I guess. But Wes Boyd, the inventor of the flying toasters, is also the founder of, which gives his star status a little more credibility.

Boyd and Co. are portrayed as fighting an uphill battle against both Team W and the DLC, who The Post wrote mocked them in a "sly welcome" letter. While I can't really argue with the fact that the conferees are taking on the DLC--The Campaign for America's Future director Robert Borosage said, "those who advise Democrats to tuck their tails and bite their tongues are simply wrong"--I do disagree with the charge that the DLC slammed the conference.

In reading the DLCs letter, I found a rival Democratic Party faction who disagrees with antiwar liberal organizations like MoveOn, but not a hostile enemy progressive Democrats need to fear. The letter is headlined, "Democrats Need to Talk" (too true) and lays out an appeal from the center to the left not to "tuck their tails and bite their tongues," but rather to keep a strong Democratic national security platform at the front and center of the debate.

Right now, the media would like nothing more than to paint a beautifully complex picture of George W. Bush's unlikely presidency. He wasn't even elected, but look at all he accomplished, winning over public approval against all odds! To portray the Democrats as once-powerful, but now bungling and confused only furthers this positive image of the president. Don't get me wrong. I'm not claiming a vast right-wing media conspiracy. But I am claiming that interesting stories are widely-read stories, widely-read stories mean increased readership, and increased readership means more money.

In order for the Democrats to counter this, two things must happen. One, the DLC centrists are right. The Democrats need to talk. There are differences in the party and they need to be addressed and dealt with. Two, liberals like Wes Boyd are right. The Democratic Party must "consistently fight for things that people care about" and "for God's sake," lead.

posted by Scott | 6/05/2003 | |

DemWatch has fallen ill

Please excuse my absence of the last few days. I've been very ill and sleeping most of my days away. I will say it's been a good time to stay in bed, however, with the biggest news of DemWatch relevance the Hillary Clinton book...

posted by Scott | 6/05/2003 | |

You'd never guess... Bush's foreign policy is not all that popular!

Credit where credit's due - I stole this one from Katrina vanden Heuvel at the nation. I mean, if I'm going to steal from anyone...

A University of Maryland poll has found that a whopping 76% of Americans believe that the United States should "solve international problems together with other countries." The poll also found that, even after Iraq, 88% think that seeking UN approval for military action is the right thing to do.

Even more surprising, majorities of Americans believe America should not be overthrowing dictators (57%), should be withdrawing troops from Saudi Arabia (67%), and should seek a diplomatic solution to differences with Syria (71%).

So tell me again about the GOP advantage on national security, Karl Rove?

posted by Scott | 6/05/2003 | |

Monday, June 02, 2003

Dennis Kucinich: Not anticipating World War III

At the earlier-mentioned Democratic cattle call in Lake Placid, New York this weekend, Dennis Kucinich proposed to pay for his single-payer health insurance plan by cutting the funding "from weapons that anticipate World War III."

There's no better way to show that Democrats are strong on national security than gutting military preparedness, huh, Dennis?

posted by Scott | 6/02/2003 | |

Lazy headlines from the Washington Post

First we find out that Hillary Clinton isn't running for president in 2004. And then we find out that Karl Rove is the mastermind behind the Bush reelection campaign.

Now that's the kind of hard-hitting investigative journalism we've come to expect from The Washington Post!

posted by Scott | 6/02/2003 | |

Hello Media Hegemony, Goodbye Diversity of Opinion

Patently ignoring the public outcry against them, the FCC--on a straight party line vote--has torn down the media ownership rules barring media companies from owning too many television stations or from owning both a broadcast station and a newspaper.

After the ruling, Powell stated that the FCC's "actions will advance our goals of diversity and localism."

I guess this is based on the same logic that tells us the Bush tax cuts help all Americans. Oh, wait. That's not logic. That's actually a little something George Orwell fans like to call doublespeak: saying one thing while you really mean the opposite.

posted by Scott | 6/02/2003 | |

Sunday, June 01, 2003

John Kerry: "Rally the troops... I want to win!"

Kicking off a series of candidate profiles in the Sunday edition with the man polling first, The Washington Post tips its hand. In their minds, John Kerry is the man to beat for the 2004 presidential nominee.

Besides the Lieberman and Dean charges that Senator Kerry has waffled on his position regarding Iraq, the top favorite criticisms of Kerry have been that he's aloof and that he's too much of a northeastern liberal.

The first sentence of the Post profile? "John Kerry eats dove."

It's not metaphor. The man tracks, shoots, guts, cooks, and eats doves (along with quail, duck, and deer). He also "rides a Harley, plays ice hockey, snowboards," and so on.

The message? John Kerry is no Mike Dukakis.

And he's not. The war record, the (often) hawkish voting record, and hell, the sheer size of the man should halt that line dead in its tracks.

Reading the profile--titled "Hunter, Dreamer, Realist"--one notes that the name Kennedy shows up quite a few times (four to be exact). But it's a name from another political dynasty that the piece brings to mind: Roosevelt. Kerry the legislator carries liberal credentials which rival FDR, for sure. But Kerry the man more closely resembles Teddy Roosevelt, another adventurous, civics-minded American with a celebrated war record.

Kerry's best shot at the nomination and then the White House is to steer the media away from aloof New England patrician and towards what seems to be a more accurate portrayal: Rough Rider.

posted by Scott | 6/01/2003 | |

The Team W tax cut news keeps getting worse for low-income taxpayers

The real question, though, is whether or not the news is getting better for the Democrats. Can they capitalize on the GOP folly without looking like they were keeping their fingers crossed for a failure?

Some serious schadenfreude, here, folks. Stay tuned...

posted by Scott | 6/01/2003 | |
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