Saturday, July 31, 2004

iTunes Music Store Offers Free DNC Speech Downloads

If the one hour per night network coverage represented a massive failure of old media to recognized the importance of politics, this represents an equally large success on the part of new media. and Apple's iTunes music store are offering free downloads of key speeches from the Democratic Convention as audio books for iTunes and iPod. Go get them and rock out to Barack Obama and Al Gore between your Led Zeppelin and Public Enemy.

posted by Scott | 7/31/2004 | |

Friday, July 30, 2004

Dems Grooming Affleck?

At first, I thought the Democratic Party was just taking Ben Affleck for a test-drive, seeing how he handled himself in front of political pundits and audiences.

And now?

Okay, okay. I know he's on the campaign trail for some extra media draw. But after the uniformly glowing reviews from everyone from Chris Matthews to Bill O'Reilly to Ted Kennedy to Joe Scarborough, I'm starting to think that Affleck isn't just window dressing anymore. I mean, he's at Wendy's with the Edwards family on John and Elizabeth's anniversary for pete's sake!

The question has shifted from 'is he serious?' to 'which office will he run for first?'

UPDATE: First off, let me say hello to all of the Affleck -- and Kevin Smith -- fans who have been flooding this site lately. It's nice to have you here. Vote Kerry. It's what Ben would want.

Okay, down to business. The Boston Herald recently noted that Affleck is being awfully cagey about his political future, deftly avoiding questions on the issue. Possibly more important to his future in politics is the fact that the heavily Democratic Massachusetts state legislature has changed the state's election law, stripping the Republican governor of his power to appoint a Senator to complete Kerry's term if he wins the Presidency. Succession in that event will now be handled through a special election 145 to 160 days after the general election. This means that if Affleck were serious about an immediate political run, he might theoretically be able to run for Kerry's Senate seat as soon as this winter.

However, as Ben himself has pointed out, Massachusetts Democratic Congressmen Markey and Meehan have each amassed large campaign war chests and both have their eyes on Kerry's seat. Maybe Affleck has a home in one of their districts, though. Who knows...

posted by Scott | 7/30/2004 | |

Where Kerry Won: Defining The Democrats

Last night's acceptance speech was all I could have hoped for. Both the delivery and the content were outstanding. Enough red meat for the base, but also a hefty serving for the rest of the country.

As I show below, there was definitely a unifying theme to the speech, tying distinctly Democratic values to the hopes and desires of the nation. By now, you've read probably a dozen blow-by-blows of Kerry's speech, so I'm not really going to get into that.

I will say, though, that the speech struck me as incredibly well structured. I'm talking politics here more than rhetoric. There is a good deal of right-wing slander against John Kerry. But none of it really seems to have connected the way that Bush and the GOP have been hoping for. In all major polls for at least the last month, Kerry and Bush have been running neck-and-neck. That's not supposed to be the case when a supposedly powerful, supposedly conservative 'War President' runs against a liberal flip-flopper from Massachusetts.

The reason is that President Bush and the current leadership of the Republican Party have lost credibility with the American people over the war in Iraq. The labels they're trying to pin on Kerry just are not sticking. He confounds them with both his stature and his resume. Much has been made of the fact that more people would rather have Dubya over for a barbecue than Kerry. But these are serious times. And in serious times, the guy you want at the backyard barbecue isn't always the guy you want running the country.

Why then, have Kerry and Bush been tied in the polls?

It's been my sense that swing voters are definitely absorbing the Bush rhetoric, but not really swallowing it completely. They've been waiting for John Kerry to make his case.

John Kerry started making his case last night, that "America can do better." Jobs and health care ought to be priorities. We are a nation that truly believes, despite color-coded threat warnings, that "the future doesn't belong to fear." Rather, "it belongs to freedom." "It is time to look to the next horizon" and ask "what if?"

The Bush attack machine, fangs buried in the media bloodstream, is responding to the Democratic message by saying that they're going to run on Bush's record. If that's not a sign that they truly underestimate the American people, I don't know what is.

posted by Scott | 7/30/2004 | |

The Kerry Speech By The Numbers

America 1 - 117
Values - 16
Jobs - 16
Family 2 - 13
Health - 13
What If - 9
America Can Do Better - 8
Children - 8
Faith - 7
Truth - 6
Help Is On The Way - 6
Security 3 - 5
God - 5
Democrat - 5
Republican - 5
Hope - 4
Patriotism - 4
Alliances - 3
Vietnam 4 - 3
Stronger At Home And More Respected In The World - 2
Leadership - 2
Democracy - 2
Credibility - 2
Optimists - 2
Constitution - 2
Army - 2
Veterans - 2
Bush - 2
Cheney - 1
Edwards - 1
Roosevelt - 1
Kennedy 5 - 2
Reagan 6 - 1
McCain - 1
Lincoln - 1
Enron - 1
Clinton - 0
Gore - 0
Navy - 0

1: includes 7 mentions of "United States," 9 relevant mentions of "nation," 13 relevant mentions of "country"
2: does not include 1 mention of the Saudi Royal family
3: does not include 1 mention of Social Security
4: includes 1 mention of the Mekong Delta
5: includes 1 mention of a "young president" who challenged the country to go to the moon
6: Ron Reagan, Jr. was referenced -- not President Reagan

posted by Scott | 7/30/2004 | |

Thursday, July 29, 2004

Kerry Triumphant!

Kerry blew away all expectations tonight, projecting an image of himself as a strong, confident leader who the American people can trust.

November is looking very, very good.

More tomorrow...

posted by Scott | 7/29/2004 | |

Introducing GOP Hitsquader Bernard Kerik

The Right has had an incredibly well-funded media manipulation team for years now, but until recently, their mouthpieces have often been less than credible and have often lacked mainstream appeal. Two of their heavy hitters these days, though, definitely do have much more credibility with the general public -- former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his Police Commissioner, Bernard Kerik. The two became famous on 9/11 and in the days that followed for their handling of the crisis.

While much has been written about the real Giuliani record, not as much has been written about Kerik. But since the man is now debasing himself as a GOP hitman, a little exposure is in order.

Bernard Kerik served as New York City's Police Commissioner for just under 16 months, leaving the post when Michael Bloomberg became the Mayor of the city. The high point of his short tenure, of course, was the aftermath of 9/11. I'm not sure what he did that any other Police Commissioner would not have done, but he handled himself quite well and for that I give him much credit.

The low point of Kerik's tenure, however, had to be his handling of the fallout of the Amadou Diallo shooting. On February 4, 1999, Diallo, a 23-year old African student with limited English skills was shot 19 times (out of 41 total shots fired) by plainclothes NYPD officers who mistook him for a rape suspect. They killed him when they believed the wallet he was pulling out -- assumably to show them his identification -- was a gun. After the shooting, the police tampered with evidence and began questioning people in the area, setting up a cover story that they were investigating the murder.

Eventually, the cops were acquitted of second-degree murder and reckless endangerment. Not only were the officers not punished by the courts for their actions, they were also not punished by then-Commissioner Bernard Kerik. Kerik reassigned the men to desk jobs, but refused to take any disciplinary action against them.

What about Kerik's pre-NYPD days?

Kerik served in the Army Special Forces and the Military Polices, training other Special Forces troops in martial arts. Not bad. But here's where it gets interesting. Conspiracy crowd, ready your antennae...

Following his military service, Commissioner Kerik traveled to Saudi Arabia where he assumed various security assignments, including protection for members of the Saudi Royal Family.
Make of that what you will.

So what's Kerik been up to more recently?

Well, after leaving the NYPD, Kerik was sent to Iraq in 2003 as the Coalition Provisional Authority's senior advisor to the Iraqi Interior Ministry. As Needlenose pointed out in an excellent examination, Kerik's comments reveal him to be quite the flip-flopper.

May 2003: "I will be there at least six months - until the job is done."
June 2003: "By the time he leaves -- in three to six months -- Kerik must create a police force that understands, as he puts it, 'the principles of a free and democratic society,' but has enough public respect to maintain order
"No one, not even Kerik, thinks the task will be complete by then."
August 2003: " 'We've only been here for 100 days and you want what? Come on!'
"He predicts his job will be completed in the next two months, and then he will leave."
September 2003: "The Bush administration's top security adviser in Iraq has completed his stint and is returning to the United States, the Pentagon said Friday.
"Kerik's departure comes amid severe security problems in Iraq.
"[D]efense officials said Friday that Kerik was scheduled to leave this summer and actually had 'extended his stay to finish his ongoing projects.'
"A spokeswoman for Kerik in New York said his job was supposed to have lasted only 90 days."

I don't know about you, but I got pretty dizzy trying to follow all of that.

And it's interesting that the Bush-Cheney campaign would trot out Kerik as one of its spokesmen when he's said so many things that the Bush administration has supposedly disavowed. Right on the White House website, from June 2004, President Bush is quoted as saying, "This administration never said that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated between Saddam and al Qaeda."

Someone had better tell Kerik that. As a member of the CPA, doesn't Kerik represent the administration? "Saddam didn't do 9/11. But did Saddam fund, and train al-Qaida? The answer is yes. Then ask yourself, who hit the towers?" The hanging answer Kerik's question is, "Saddam," even if he doesn't say it outright. So he gets to have his cake and eat it, too.

And the cherry on top?

"Finally, Kerik had this to say to critics of the war: 'Political criticism is our enemies' best friend.' "

These are the crackpots the Rove & Co. have reduced themselves to using to hit Kerry and Edwards. I smell desperation.

posted by Scott | 7/29/2004 | |

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

John Kerry: The Next President Of The United States Of America

Why am I so excited that Kerry just secured the delegates needed to become the Democratic nominee for President? Was there any doubt?

Of course not, but damn if it isn't exciting...

posted by Scott | 7/28/2004 | |

Misreading Fair Trade Economics

Slate's William Saletan, as a published writer and well-respected web journalist, is surely a very smart guy. So why then is his critique of Democrats decrying the international outsourcing of American jobs so dumb?

Obama, like other speakers at this convention, complains about "companies shipping jobs overseas" and workers "losing their union jobs at the Maytag plant that's moving to Mexico." At the same time, Obama holds himself out as a symbol of a diverse, welcoming America. How can Democrats be the party of diversity at home but xenophobia abroad, the party that loves Mexican-Americans but hates Maytag plants in Mexico, the party that thinks Obama's mom deserves a job more than Obama's dad does? I understand the politics of it. But what about the morals?
This is a stock line against anyone who does not believe in hard-line free trade. If you aren't for free trade, the thinking goes, then you're against third world workers. The implication is that the target is at best a simple-minded protectionist, at worst a racist. While that may be true for some, it's certainly not true of Barack Obama and the modern Democratic Party.

Here's the fundamental truth about international outsourcing and Democratic politics: our problem with Mexican workers taking American jobs is not that they're not American. Our problem with international outsourcing is that these corporations -- like Maytag -- are exploiting workers around the world, extracting labor from them which holds a much greater value than these workers realize. We want them to know the true value of their work. Once they know that and the international wage playing field is somewhat equalized, then and only then will complaints about foreign workers taking American jobs be xenophobic.

Isn't it in everyone's best interest to make sure that American workers -- who double as American consumers -- are taken care of first? That may sound crass, but it's really not when you give it some thought. As Henry Ford used to point out, there was no point in making cars the workers who built those cars couldn't afford. It's a self-fulfilling cycle in which the balance of producers and consumers is maintained. If we offshore all of the manufacturing jobs in this country and do not ensure that the now ex-manufacturing workers are retrained and re-employed, what is to become of them? They are no longer consuming the goods they were collectively helping to produce. And then it's just economic dominos. Consumption, corporate profits, benefits, and wages will all fall in a row. And that cycle is hard to break.

It's the 'giant sucking sound' Ross Perot famously warned us about. But Perot was wrong in that it would be heard immediately. It's a gradual process, and by the time it's really roaring like a jet engine, it's too late to stop.

The process can be eased, however, by inserting labor and environmental standards into international trade agreements. This can prove the difference between a snowball rolling down a steep mountain and a gentle hill. When it gets to the bottom, we want that snowball to be small and still, not rolling back up the other side, building even more heft, and continuing the cycle.

And this, not xenophobic economic isolationism, is what Democrats want. We want both the girl in Kansas and the goat herder in Kenya to have good jobs. We just think there should be a pool of good jobs for the two of them to pick from and not one job that they have to fight over, using increasingly lower wages as weapons.

posted by Scott | 7/28/2004 | |

Tuesday, July 27, 2004


In the lead-up to the second night of the Democratic National Convention, much was made of tonight's keynote speaker, Illinois Senate candidate Barack Obama. He's come onto the national stage pretty fast over the past few months, improbably winning the Democratic nomination and blowing away his opponent in the polls before his opponent blew himself right out of the race with a sex scandal. More recently, he'd been tapped to deliver the Democratic response a few weekends ago to the President's weekly radio address. All of this -- along with carefully considered readings of his biography and political skills -- has given rise to the buzz about Obama as a clear candidate to be the first black President of the United States.

Tonight, the hype has become reality. There is no question that Barack Obama is not only the new superstar of the Democratic Party, but also the new superstar of American politics.

Punditry and pull-quotes cannot possibly do justice to Obama's speech, so here is the whole speech in all of its glory...

On behalf of the great state of Illinois, crossroads of a nation, land of Lincoln, let me express my deep gratitude for the privilege of addressing this convention. Tonight is a particular honor for me because, let's face it, my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack. His father, my grandfather, was a cook, a domestic servant.

But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place: America, which stood as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before. While studying here, my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor he signed up for duty, joined Patton's army and marched across Europe. Back home, my grandmother raised their baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the GI Bill, bought a house through FHA, and moved west in search of opportunity.

And they, too, had big dreams for their daughter, a common dream, born of two continents. My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or "blessed," believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success. They imagined me going to the best schools in the land, even though they weren't rich, because in a generous America you don't have to be rich to achieve your potential. They are both passed away now. Yet, I know that, on this night, they look down on me with pride.

I stand here today, grateful for the diversity of my heritage, aware that my parents' dreams live on in my precious daughters. I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that, in no other country on earth, is my story even possible. Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation, not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy. Our pride is based on a very simple premise, summed up in a declaration made over two hundred years ago, "We hold these truths to he self-evident, that all men are created equal. That they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. That among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

That is the true genius of America, a faith in the simple dreams of its people, the insistence on small miracles. That we can tuck in our children at night and know they are fed and clothed and safe from harm. That we can say what we think, write what we think, without hearing a sudden knock on the door. That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe or hiring somebody's son. That we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will he counted - or at least, most of the time.

This year, in this election, we are called to reaffirm our values and commitments, to hold them against a hard reality and see how we are measuring up, to the legacy of our forbearers, and the promise of future generations. And fellow Americans - Democrats, Republicans, Independents - I say to you tonight: we have more work to do. More to do for the workers I met in Galesburg, Illinois, who are losing their union jobs at the Maytag plant that's moving to Mexico, and now are having to compete with their own children for jobs that pay seven bucks an hour. More to do for the father I met who was losing his job and choking back tears, wondering how he would pay $4,500 a month for the drugs his son needs without the health benefits he counted on. More to do for the young woman in East St. Louis, and thousands more like her, who has the grades, has the drive, has the will, but doesn't have the money to go to college.

Don't get me wrong. The people I meet in small towns and big cities, in diners and office parks, they don't expect government to solve all their problems. They know they have to work hard to get ahead and they want to. Go into the collar counties around Chicago, and people will tell you they don't want their tax money wasted by a welfare agency or the Pentagon. Go into any inner city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can't teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to parent, that children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white. No, people don't expect government to solve all their problems. But they sense, deep in their bones, that with just a change in priorities, we can make sure that every child in America has a decent shot at life, and that the doors of opportunity remain open to all. They know we can do better. And they want that choice.

In this election, we offer that choice. Our party has chosen a man to lead us who embodies the best this country has to offer. That man is John Kerry. John Kerry understands the ideals of community, faith, and sacrifice, because they've defined his life. From his heroic service in Vietnam to his years as prosecutor and lieutenant governor, through two decades in the United States Senate, he has devoted himself to this country. Again and again, we've seen him make tough choices when easier ones were available. His values and his record affirm what is best in us.

John Kerry believes in an America where hard work is rewarded. So instead of offering tax breaks to companies shipping jobs overseas, he'll offer them to companies creating jobs here at home. John Kerry believes in an America where all Americans can afford the same health coverage our politicians in Washington have for themselves. John Kerry believes in energy independence, so we aren't held hostage to the profits of oil companies or the sabotage of foreign oil fields. John Kerry believes in the constitutional freedoms that have made our country the envy of the world, and he will never sacrifice our basic liberties nor use faith as a wedge to divide us. And John Kerry believes that in a dangerous world, war must be an option, but it should never he the first option.

A while back, I met a young man named Shamus at the VFW Hall in East Moline, Illinois. He was a good-looking kid, six-two or six-three, clear-eyed, with an easy smile. He told me he'd joined the Marines and was heading to Iraq the following week. As I listened to him explain why he'd enlisted, his absolute faith in our country and its leaders, his devotion to duty and service, I thought this young man was all any of us might hope for in a child. But then I asked myself: Are we serving Shamus as well as he was serving us? I thought of more than 900 service men and women, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and neighbors, who will not be returning to their hometowns. I thought of families I had met who were struggling to get by without a loved one's full income, or whose loved ones had returned with a limb missing or with nerves shattered, but who still lacked long-term health benefits because they were reservists. When we send our young men and women into harm's way, we have a solemn obligation not to fudge the numbers or shade the truth about why they're going, to care for their families while they're gone, to tend to the soldiers upon their return, and to never ever go to war without enough troops to win the war, secure the peace, and earn the respect of the world.

Now let me be clear. We have real enemies in the world. These enemies must be found. They must be pursued and they must be defeated. John Kerry knows this. And just as Lieutenant Kerry did not hesitate to risk his life to protect the men who served with him in Vietnam, President Kerry will not hesitate one moment to use our military might to keep America safe and secure. John Kerry believes in America. And he knows it's not enough for just some of us to prosper. For alongside our famous individualism, there's another ingredient in the American saga.

A belief that we are connected as one people. If there's a child on the south side of Chicago who can't read, that matters to me, even if it's not my child. If there's a senior citizen somewhere who can't pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it's not my grandmother. If there's an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It's that fundamental belief - I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper - that makes this country work. It's what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. "E pluribus unum." Out of many, one.

Yet even as we speak, there are those who are preparing to divide us, the spin masters and negative ad peddlers who embrace the politics of anything goes. Well, I say to them tonight, there's not a liberal America and a conservative America - there's the United States of America. There's not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there's the United States of America. The pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I've got news for them, too. We worship an awesome God in the Blue States, and we don't like federal agents poking around our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and have gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and patriots who supported it. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America.

In the end, that's what this election is about. Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or a politics of hope? John Kerry calls on us to hope. John Edwards calls on us to hope. I'm not talking about blind optimism here - the almost willful ignorance that thinks unemployment will go away if we just don't talk about it, or the health care crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it. No, I'm talking about something more substantial. It's the hope of slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs; the hope of immigrants setting out for distant shores; the hope of a young naval lieutenant bravely patrolling the Mekong Delta; the hope of a millworker's son who dares to defy the odds; the hope of a skinny kid with a funny name who believes that America has a place for him, too. The audacity of hope!

In the end, that is God's greatest gift to us, the bedrock of this nation; the belief in things not seen; the belief that there are better days ahead. I believe we can give our middle class relief and provide working families with a road to opportunity. I believe we can provide jobs to the jobless, homes to the homeless, and reclaim young people in cities across America from violence and despair. I believe that as we stand on the crossroads of history, we can make the right choices, and meet the challenges that face us. America!

Tonight, if you feel the same energy I do, the same urgency I do, the same passion I do, the same hopefulness I do - if we do what we must do, then I have no doubt that all across the country, from Florida to Oregon, from Washington to Maine, the people will rise up in November, and John Kerry will be sworn in as president, and John Edwards will be sworn in as vice president, and this country will reclaim its promise, and out of this long political darkness a brighter day will come.

Thank you and God bless you.
When you study history, you'll notice that some speeches sound like poetry. Not forced poetry. Not a political application of poetics. Actual poetry.

This was the power of Barack Obama's keynote speech tonight. Even more than President Clinton's speech last night, this really laid out the Democratic vision of America. It's not just about policy and polls. It's about a politics that works as hard for the people as the people work for this country. Obama directly targeted the divisive vitriol that pours from the mouths of bitter GOP partisans like Cheney and Ashcroft.

When Kerry wins the White House in November, he will owe a big debt to Barack Obama for doing his part to humanize Democratic politics.

posted by Scott | 7/27/2004 | |

Official GOP Strategy: 'Suppress' Minority Votes

Every now and then, the truth inadvertently slips out. They don't mean to let it happen, but it's got to be hard keeping up the lie all the time.

A few weeks ago, discussing the Bush-Cheney campaign's chances of winning Michigan, Republican State Representative John Pappageorge admitted one of the dirtiest realities of the Bush reelect effort.

If we do not suppress the Detroit vote, we're going to have a tough time in this election.
There is no confusion about what Pappageorge means when he refers to "the Detroit vote." He represents Michigan's predominantly white Oakland County. Detroit, by contrast, is 83% African-American.

Pappageorge's defense seems to hinge on the assertion that he is not a racist. But that's just changing the subject. There are serious questions here, however. How widely this strategy is being pursued nationally by the Bush campaign? Who is the architect of this plan? And how far is the GOP willing to go to implement it?

posted by Scott | 7/27/2004 | |

Monday, July 26, 2004

Kerry's 'Band Of Brothers' Could Prove Decisive

Following tonight's speech on Kerry's behalf by veteran David Alston, MSNBC's Joe Scarborough noted that the story was "very powerful. [Kerry] could be in the Oval Office and I'd sleep well."

For those of you who didn't see it, Alston really hammered home the message that, when the chips were down in Vietnam, John Kerry had the personal courage and strength of character to turn his boat around and save the life of a fellow soldier.

And for those of you who may not be familiar with Joe Scarborough, he is a conservative former GOP Representative from Florida with a fiercely independent streak, and now -- what else? -- a popular television commentator.

After Alston's speech detailing Kerry's selfless conduct during his time in Vietnam, Scarborough was genuinely impressed. He pointed out that, while of course he and Kerry disagree on the issues, he had no doubt that the security and well-being of the American people would always be foremost on President Kerry's mind.

This is what's coming from a Republican pundit on the first night of the Democratic Convention, folks. I'd say this is a very good sign about the week to come.

posted by Scott | 7/26/2004 | |

Jimmy Carter Gets Tough

Who says there are no more surprises at political conventions?

For the past few days, the pundits have talked about reigning in Howard Dean and Al Gore, making sure that they wouldn't hit the Bush administration too hard during their speeches. What no one expected -- why, I'm not sure, however -- was President Jimmy Carter bringing the red meat to the Democratic delegates.

Carter's speech was a tough, honest appraisal of the foreign policy failures of the Bush administration. The hardest-hitting section of the speech had to have been Carter's criticism of Bush's military service record as it relates to policy formation.

As many of you know, my first chosen career was in the United States Navy, where I served as a submarine officer. At that time, my shipmates and I were ready for combat and prepared to give our lives to defend our nation and its principles.

At the same time, we always prayed that our readiness would preserve the peace. I served under two presidents, Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower, men who represented different political parties. Both of whom had faced their active military responsibilities with honor.

They knew the horrors of war, and later, as commanders-in-chief, they exercised restraint and judgment and had a clear sense of mission. We had confidence that our leaders, military and civilian, would not put our soldiers and sailors in harm's way by initiating "wars of choice" unless America's vital interests were endangered.

We also were sure that these presidents would not mislead us when it came to issues involving our nation's security. Today, our Democratic party is led by another former naval officer one who volunteered for military service. He showed up when assigned to duty, and he served with honor and distinction.
I honestly expected to hear from Carter an uplifting message of hope and human rights. But I'm not complaining.

To hear a man as kind and even-tempered as Jimmy Carter blast President Bush's failed military and foreign policy record really drives home the fact that this President has alienated not only the rest of the world, but also a clear majority of kind, wise, and good-hearted people here at home.

Carter brilliantly closed his speech by making the case not only for Kerry and Edwards to American voters, but also for America in the eyes of the world.

And so I say to you and to others around the world, whether they wish us well or ill: do not underestimate us Americans. We lack neither strength nor wisdom. There is a road that leads to a bright and hopeful future. What America needs is leadership. Our job, my fellow Americans, is to ensure that the leaders of this great country will be John Kerry and John Edwards. Thank you and God bless America!

posted by Scott | 7/26/2004 | |

Message To The Media: Shove It!

By now, everyone has heard the 'news' that Teresa Heinz Kerry told a hostile reporter to "shove it." Normally, this would be the kind of non-story that only Drudge would cover. He did, of course, but in the slow news cycle that led up to the opening of the convention, so did the mainstream news media.

I'm not going to get into the details of what she said and what she didn't say. I'm not even going to defend her for it. Telling someone to "shove it" is not something one should apologize for. It's time to grow up, people.

Rather than reporting on this once and then letting it go, it seems that much of the media has decided to run with Teresa's "shove it," pretending that it actually says something about the Heinz Kerry, her husband, and the Democratic Party.

Throughout the MSNBC coverage of the convention's first night, host Chris Matthews has repeatedly brought up Heinz Kerry's comment, asking an assortment of questions on the appropriateness of the comment, and if it fits with the overall positive tone of the Democratic National Convention.

Now, I'm normally a fan of Matthews. However, the one thing that constantly gets me about the Hardball haranguer is the fact that he seems to want to run from his past as a Democratic staffer and strategist. He beats the hell out of Democrats in a way he rarely does Republicans. It's a strategy that seems to be designed to show Republicans that his resume may be Democratic, but his journalism certainly isn't.

This has certainly been the case tonight. Chris Matthews ought to be ashamed of himself for trying to push this non-issue so hard down our throats. Let's just see if he rails against Cheney for his, ahem, poor choice of words during the Republican convention in September.

posted by Scott | 7/26/2004 | |

Sunday, July 25, 2004

New Design, New Projects

As you may or may not have noticed, DemWatch is undergoing a redesign. I've been trying to put something new together for a while now, but it's really not the type of thing I'm able to devote much time or attention to. So things have changed a bit, and I hope they change even more in the coming weeks and months.

I also figured I'd take advantage of this little housekeeping post to hip you to another project I'm working on aside from DemWatch. After George W. Bush now-infamously said that the difference between Dick Cheney and John Edwards was that "Dick Cheney can be President," I checked to see if had been registered. It had not. I saw a delicious opportunity and registered the site.

I've sat on it for a little while now, but it's finally up and running. It's pretty bare-bones, I'll admit, but the "Cheney can be President" statement was so laughable, so desperate, and just so obnoxious, I felt that someone needed to compile some reasons that while, yes, Dick Cheney can constitutionally be President, that still doesn't mean it's a good idea.

Linked from the new site is a little store I've thrown together to help me offset the costs from all of these ventures I embark on. I'm not a fan of political apparel that doesn't have a sense of humor (or a good sense of humor, for that matter), so don't expect to see any over-the-top statements of liberal self-importance.

Plain and simple, for the time being, all you'll find at the store are t-shirts and other articles of clothes that proclaim Dick Cheney's true demonic nature.

To my conservative readers, I really hope you get the joke -- hey, I'm demonizing him... get it?

To my liberal readers, seriously...the man was sent from Hell by the Devil himself to do the Dark One's bidding.

Either way, buy a shirt. Help keep this site running. Thanks.

posted by Scott | 7/25/2004 | |
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