Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Farewell For Now

As most if not all of you now know, I've joined Jerome Armstrong and Chris Bowers as a full-time blogger over at That means that my posting here has come to an end. It's been over two years of blogging at DemWatch, and I've enjoyed every minute of it (well, almost). Thanks to everyone who's interacted with me, supported me, argued with me, and become a friend. You've all made it worth while. Many of you have gone on to start your own blogs, make your bones at other larger blogs, etc. I can't even begin to tell you how gratifying it is for me to know that I may have played some small part in that.

So that's it for now. No long goodbyes. You know where to find me. If you aren't a member of the MyDD community, I encourage you to register and get active. I look forward to seeing you all there.

posted by Scott | 7/20/2005 | |

Sunday, July 17, 2005

2008: Warner, McCain, Pataki, Vilsack and more

The names of potential candidates for the 2008 Presidential race are steadily piling up. Here's some of what's being said...

Mark Warner

"Warner's the guy in the background no one knows about," Nelson said. "But as a governor, people will give him a look."

While in Des Moines this weekend for the annual summer meeting of the National Governors Association, Warner is doing no active political campaigning. The governor, who steps down Monday as chairman of the association after a yearlong tenure, has not disclosed his political ambitions.

But in perhaps the clearest sign so far of his interest in a presidential race, Warner held an undisclosed, private meeting with Iowa's veteran Democratic attorney general, Tom Miller, to discuss Iowa politics, according to party sources here. Warner would neither confirm nor deny the meeting.
Warner also headlined a $500-a-plate fundraising luncheon for the Iowa Democratic Party. The exclusive lunch, in the private Embassy Club on the 40th floor of Des Moines' signature office tower, was closed to the press.

The governor already has formed a federal political action committee, called Forward Together, that could be used to help finance a potential presidential campaign. And he has hired Monica Dixon, once a deputy chief of staff to former Vice President Al Gore, to help advise him on national politics on a part-time basis.
John McCain

The right-wing hit squad is out for blood. Here's the "liberal" Susan Estrich repeating Matt Drudge's (and Karl Rove's?) talking points regarding McCain's cameo role in the new "Boob Raunch Fest" movie 'The Wedding Crashers':

If John McCain were just another U.S. senator, you might say that it was quite a star turn, particularly for a Republican who is actually quite conservative on social issues. And since it's not just another senator, but John McCain, a man whose life story is of courage and service, maybe you'd say it's part of what makes him an appealing figure across generational lines. As he explained it, "It impressed my kids."

But McCain isn't just another senator. He is currently - according to the polls - the "front-runner" in the Republican race for the 2008 nomination, although Republicans are sharply divided as to whether that can hold in a process dominated by party regulars and Christian conservatives.
In the end, what may be at issue is not whether conservatives share McCain's sense of humor but whether they come to question his judgment.
CNN gives the rundown on three current governors vying for the GOP nomination at the National Governors Association meeting in Iowa:

George Pataki -

Pataki started Saturday with a visit to a farmers' market. He then met privately with state GOP activists. He also joined other Republican governors for a party luncheon that raised $100,000. And later that night Pataki went to a Little League baseball game.

Pataki also met with Des Moines Register political columnist David Yepsen. One aide to the governor said, "It was more us picking his brain. Asking, what are the things we should be doing to prepare."

He gave every appearance Saturday of someone trying to generate buzz. With TV cameras and boom mics in tow, Pataki breezed through the convention center with a small entourage of aides and supporters, stopping briefly to chat in Spanish with Puerto Rico Gov. Aníbal Acevedo Vilá.
Mike Huckabee -

Huckabee, the incoming NGA chairman, said campaigning for Republicans during the past three presidential elections has taught him to appreciate the primaries and caucuses.

"It's very refreshing that, in order for a person to seek the highest job in the land, they have to listen to people out in middle America," said Huckabee. "Candidates are forced to go out to small groups of people, actually go out to people's homes to a farm in rural Iowa and sit down. Instead of making a speech, they have to listen. It's more about what they hear than what they say."
Mitt Romney -

Another GOP governor, Massachusetts' Mitt Romney, is preparing more aggressively for an '08 bid than any other sitting governor.

"But he hasn't been doing county fairs or house parties like some of the other governors," said Romney spokeswoman Julie Teer. "And ... he's not holding big dinners for reporters."

Instead, Romney spent Friday at a roundtable discussion of six GOP governors, followed by a fund-raiser for the Iowa GOP. Later, he met with Republican leaders of the state legislature and had dinner with former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad, a former client of Mike Murphy, Romney's chief political adviser.
It's never too early, I guess...

posted by Scott | 7/17/2005 | |

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

The GOP Strategy On Rove

Well, there actually seem to be two strategies. The official strategy from the administration is keeping quiet. Don't say anything incriminating, even if it means contradicting the incriminating things you've already said.

But the secondary strategy, currently being carried out by the Republican Noise Machine, is to dump so much dirt on the situation, no one knows which end is up. Valerie Plame wasn't covert. Rove didn't know Plame was covert. The Wilson report was wrong -- the claims of Iraq buying uranium from Niger were true. It was wrong for Wilson to write the report. Wilson wasn't qualified to write the report. Blah, blah, blah. The waters have been incredibly muddied.

Here are two of the sillier mud pies being thrown by the right at the moment.

1. Plame wasn't undercover! People knew she existed!!! Courtesy John Podhoretz in the New York Post:

But Plame's undercover status at the time was and is a little questionable in any case. How undercover could she have been when her name was published at the time as part of Joseph Wilson's own biography online (see
As Atrios points out,

Valerie Plame's name was not secret. The fact that she was married to Wilson was not secret. The fact that she worked for the CIA was.
Wow. It's amazing how far up their asses people are willing to stick their heads just to maintain their narrow-minded world view.

2. Wilson Lied!!! Courtesy Cliff May at The Corner:

In his conversation with Matt Cooper was Karl Rove responding to Joe Wilson's claim that Vice President Cheney sent him on the mission to Niger?

That claim was implied in Wilson’s NYT oped 7/6/03: "In February 2002, I was informed by officials at the Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had questions about a particular intelligence report. ... The agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president's office."

But Cheney has consistently denied that he sent Wilson anywhere – or even received a report on Wilson’s visit. And the Senate Select Committee On Intelligence confirmed that Cheney did not assign Wilson to conduct an investigation on behalf of the CIA.
Wilson specifically wrote -- as is cited in the text above -- that "agency officials asked if I would travel to Niger to check out the story so they could provide a response to the vice president’s office." But May claims that Wilson "implied" that he was sent on his mission by Cheney? My head is spinning with this one.

Wilson clearly wrote that it was "agency officials" who requested that Wilson be sent to Niger -- not Cheney. You'd have to be borderline illiterate to honestly think that Wilson was implying that it was Cheney who sent him on the mission. Either that or a desperate liar.

Once again, we're seeing a White House get caught up in that age old game of coverup. Someone did something wrong. Rather than fessing up to the wrongdoing and moving on, the administration dug itself in even deeper, involving more and more people in the lies and deception. Even if Rove comes out of this unscathed, even if no one goes to jail for outing a covert CIA agent for political retribution, the Bush White House will no longer be trusted by an ever-larger chunk of the American electorate.

posted by Scott | 7/12/2005 | |

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Rove Outed Plame


Newsweek's Isikoff has the story confirming that Karl Rove was Matt Cooper's source. Already, those far leftist Bush haters at dKos are urging caution, saying that a lot is riding on when Novak's column was first seen by the White House. It's an interesting premise, but I think they're just covering their asses in case this whole thing ultimately turns out not to be Rove.

What is certain is that Karl Rove spoke to Matt Cooper (and also likely Judith Miller, Chris Matthews, etc.) and told him that Plame's position as a CIA agent working on WMD issues calls into question the ethics behind sending Joe Wilson to Niger.

More later when I'm not late for a wedding...

posted by Scott | 7/10/2005 | |

Friday, July 08, 2005

London Update

Brit Hume of Fox News talking about the bombings:

"I mean, my first thought when I heard -- just on a personal basis, when I heard there had been this attack and I saw the futures this morning, which were really in the tank, I thought, 'Hmmm, time to buy.' "
My first thought upon reading this:

"Hmmm, time for Brit Hume to get fired."

Hume's monumental heartlessness might be funny if it weren't so frighteningly crass. And he won't get fired, either. Conservatives will rush to his defense, claiming context and nuance. Because... you know... conservatives are such staunch defenders of context and nuance.

Also, just to clarify last night's post, I still think Bush sent the right message. That doesn't mean that Bush's latest rationale as to why it's so important for war in Iraq -- fighting terrorists there so we don't have to fight them here -- has not been completely and utterly disproven. Iraq has proven to be less flypaper than a petri dish.

posted by Scott | 7/08/2005 | |

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Tragedy In London

This morning's coordinated terrorist attacks in London were nothing short of horrifying. Though the death toll -- in the dozens -- was far smaller than those of 9/11 or Madrid, the well-choreographed nature of these bombings, taking place in one of the most important cities in the civilized world, reminds us all that our safety from those who wish us harm is not something to be taken for granted.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, two statements from elected officials struck me as hitting the exact right chord. One came from a man of the left. The other came from a man of the right.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone:

I want to say one thing specifically to the world today. This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.

That isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith - it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I’m proud to be the mayor of that city.

Finally, I wish to speak directly to those who came to London today to take life.

I know that you personally do not fear giving up your own life in order to take others - that is why you are so dangerous. But I know you fear that you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society and I can show you why you will fail.

In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don’t want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.
George W. Bush:

The contrast between what we've seen on the TV screens here, what's taken place in London, what's taken place here is incredibly vivid to me.

On the one hand, we got people here who are working to alleviate poverty and to help rid the world of the pandemic of AIDS and that are working on ways to have a clean environment. And on the other hand, you've got people killing innocent people. And the contrast couldn't be clearer between the intentions and the hearts of those of us who care deeply about human rights and human liberty, and those who kill, those who've got such evil in their heart that they will take the lives of innocent folks.

The war on terror goes on. I was most impressed by the resolve of all the leaders in the room. Their resolve is as strong as my resolve. And that is, we will not yield to these people, will not yield to the terrorists.

We will find them. We will bring them to justice. And at the same time we will spread an ideology of hope and compassion that will overwhelm their ideology of hate.
I suspect I'm going to take a lot of heat for giving Bush credit on his statement. To be completely honest, there are parts that I don't care for so much. I'm not sure I even believe that Bush really buys his own rhetoric. Then again, I'm not sure he doesn't buy it either. But the rhetoric is as close to being right on as it's ever going to get with Bush.

What Livingstone and Bush both inherently get is that al Qaeda is essentially a worldwide gang of maniacal mass murderers who hide behind false religious and political ideology. What they also seem to get is that, at the end of the day, we will win. We believe in hope and progress. They believe in death and intimidation.

But it's one thing to believe in something and another thing altogether to act on it. I believe that al Qaeda will ultimately lose. But it does scare me that they are seemingly much more willing than we are to act to create the world they'd like to see. It's good to go to your local Live 8 concert and nod seriously as Bono talks about debt reduction. It's nice to slap a magnet on the bumper of your car or a rubber bracelet on your wrist to show your support for an issue. But we've been lulled into a sense that these things count as action in the Western world. They don't.

The civilized world will eventually win out over the thugs and murderers. But the road to that victory would get much shorter if the silent majority of this world -- the good and decent people who believe in simple concepts like peace, freedom, liberty, and equality --would stand up to act with courage and conviction to fight for the world they want to see just as hard as the terrorists have been doing in New York, Baghdad, Madrid, Bali, and now London.

posted by Scott | 7/07/2005 | |

Supreme Court, Etc.

So I haven't joined many of my friends on the right and the left going cuckoo over Sandra Day O'Connor's replacement. The main reason for that is that Bush hasn't nominated anyone yet. It's a bit silly to freak out over a nominee who hasn't been nominated yet, isn't it?

There will likely be two Supreme Court vacancies during the second term of the George W. Bush Presidency -- O'Connor and Rehnquist. Both are conservatives. Both replacements will be conservatives. Will they be more conservative than O'Connor and Rehnquist? It's quite possible. But at the end of the day, will it matter? As the DLC's Bruce Reed has pointed out in his new blog at Slate (which I like more than I want to), on the most partisan Supreme Court decision of the last decade -- Bush v. Gore -- O'Connor voted with her party. Can it possibly get worse than that?

(Tangent: Yeah -- I'm saying that Bush v. Gore is ultimately more important than Roe v. Wade. Imagine that right now, Al Gore gets to pick two Supreme Court justices. Now tell me which case is more important to the woman's right to choose. Okay. Tangent over.)

And besides, who says a conservative Supreme Court is such a bad thing for progressives? As I've written before, federalism works for us. A conservative judge is not necessarily bad for liberal causes. A Christian conservative judge? That could be a problem. But it seems to me that mainstream America wouldn't stand for a flaming theocrat on the Supreme Court.

So if Bush's pick winds up being Gonzales, as he seems to be leaning, then the Democrats should grill him fast, express reservations, and then unanimously confirm him. Because A) the religious right hates him way more than we do (which could very well split the GOP in time for '06), B) they need to save both their energy and political capital for a potential Rehnquist replacement, and C) based on his tenure on the Texas State Supreme Court, he probably won't be a such bad judge.

On the other big topic of the moment, it's really crazy that the media doesn't seem to get the difference between protecting a whistleblower from those in power and protecting those in power when they try to smash a whistleblower. Do I think Judith Miller should go to prison? Sure. Why not? She's made her choice and she's accepted the consequences.

The fact that Matt Cooper has received permission from his confidential source to use his or her name in court testimony is very interesting. There's a theory floating around (actually, to my knowledge, only Eileen from OH at dKos has mentioned it) that Cooper could be protecting someone in the White House who outed the outers, as it were, telling Time who in the White House leaked Plame's identity originally. Cooper's source, if he or she was the original leaker, would probably be much more worried about prosecution. But as it stands, that's apparently not so much of a concern. That would indicate that Cooper's source is not the person who outed Valerie Plame.

This thing gets more confusing by the minute. Can't they just frogmarch Rove out the White House and get it over with already? Sheesh...

posted by Scott | 7/07/2005 | |

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Freudian Slips - 2004 Election Edition

Florida GOP Congresswoman Katherine Harris, the former Secretary of State who famously 'helped' George W. Bush during the Florida recount -- after serving as his Florida campaign co-chair, no conflict of interest there! -- is now running for Senate, surprisingly with no help from the White House. She's quite a lightning rod for her sketchy roll in the 2004 election and recount, and Rove & Co. have decided she can't win.

Here's her camp's reaction to the snub, courtesy The Hill:

"It's unimaginable that the White House folks and the National Republican Senatorial Committee would be so disloyal to Katherine Harris, especially after all she has done for the Bush family and the Republican Party," a Florida political operative who supports Harris said. "It's unconscionable and a stab in the back."
Gee... "all she has done for the Bush family"? What ever could they be talking about? It would be hilarious if it weren't so maddening.

posted by Scott | 6/30/2005 | |
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