the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

January 27, 2008

Watch Bush’s Last State of the Union With DCDL and TheSeminal.com


SOTU 2008: The End of an Error. Toast the final Bush State of the Union speech with DC Drinking Liberally and TheSeminal.com, Monday, January 28, 8-10pm at the 17th St Cafe, 1513 17th St NW (Dupont Circle Metro). RSVP to seminal@theseminal.com (or the Facebook event).

January 26, 2008

Rally With Obama in DC Monday


Looks like the Obama campaign is thinking our February 12 regional primary in DC, Maryland, and Virginia may be important:

Please join Barack Obama at a ‘Stand for Change’ Rally in Washington, DC, where he’ll talk about his vision for bringing America together and bringing about the kind of change we can believe in.

Stand for Change Rally with Barack Obama

American University
Bender Arena
4400 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016

Monday, January 28
Doors open: 10:30 a.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required but an RSVP is strongly encouraged, so sign up now:


For security reasons, bags are not allowed inside the event. Please limit personal items. No signs or banners are permitted.


January 22, 2008

Spencer Ackerman at DCDL


Join us January 24, 6:30 to 9, in the back room of Timberlake’s (1726 Connecticut Ave NW, north of Dupont Circle) for our first guest speaker of the year, Spencer Ackerman:

Spencer Ackerman is transitioning from his role as Reporter/Blogger for TPMmuckraker.com, to his new position as Senior Reporter for the Washington Independent (set to launch Jan 28). Additionally, he’s a senior correspondent for The American Prospect and national security correspondent for the Washington Monthly. His writing has appeared in Slate, Salon, Men’s Journal, the Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, New York Press and The New Republic. In 1996, the New York Daily News included him in a profile on punk-rock fashion in city high schools, which began Ackerman’s long career of embarrassing himself in public. He was named as a potential witness in the Scooter Libby trial and is still bitter about not being called to testify.

BloggingHeads.com will soon feature the second annual cooking/blogging competition between himself and the Atlantic’s Megan McArdle.



In last night’s debate, Barack Obama said this:

When you look at Bush and Cheney and their record, the one good thing they’ve done for us is they have given their party a very bad name.

No doubt we’ll now be hearing from the Obama haters about how Obama praised the good that Bush and Cheney have done.

January 21, 2008

A Pardon a Day Keeps the Impeachment Away


And other maxims of the right.

After seeing There Will be Blood, a few of us huddled in Georgetown’s Alamo Grill for a meal of chips, and well… mostly chips. I’d really hate to see how slow the kitchen is on a busy night.

At any rate, in a typically wide-ranging conversation someone touched on the subject of presidential pardons. Would Bush issue pardons for political cronies? Given that’s one of those questions that answer themselves, more generally, would Bush issue a blanket pardon for the entire Executive branch?

Personally, I find the area of presidential pardons to be very interesting. This wikipedia article is a starting point. (Though, given the controversial nature of the subject matter, it really needs to be taken with a grain of salt.)

One thing that the article mentions, supported by Bob Woodward’s Shadow, is that accepting a pardon implies an admission of guilt. See also this NYT article on Ford’s defense of his pardoning of Nixon:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 — President Gerald R. Ford was never one for second-guessing, but for many years after leaving office in 1977, he carried in his wallet a scrap of a 1915 Supreme Court ruling. A pardon, the excerpt said, “carries an imputation of guilt,” and acceptance of a pardon is “a confession of it.”

Note that Bush didn’t pardon Scooter Libby. To do so would jeopardize Libby’s defense in Joe Wilson’s civil suit. Instead, he commuted Libby’s sentence.

Note also that Carter’s blanket amnesty for draft evaders was really a pardon (see here). Here, there was not a disagreement over whether draft evaders had broken the law- they clearly had. And, it could be that the argument would be similar for a potential blanket pardon of Bushies: it’s not really a crime to break an unjust law. That is, of course, a rhetorical defense and not a legal defense.

I’d say there’s an unexplored question over how blanket a blanket pardon can be. I think we can all agree that Bush couldn’t issue an executive pardon for all Republicans until the end of time. But, he may be able to issue a blanket pardon for his favorite 12,500 people in his administration. (See this 1974 Time Magazine article. 12,500 was the minimum number that Carter’s pardon applied to.)

Now, getting back to our conversation in the Alamo Grill we all agreed that a President Kucinich would challenge such a pardon. Would a President Obama or Clinton? It seems to me a worthwhile question to ask these candidates while we still have their attention.

January 18, 2008

Shelby Steele on Obama


This has come up in a few DL conversations, so I wanted to pass along the link.

From last Friday’s Bill Moyers Journal, Shelby Steele gives some historical background on the race politics involved in the Obama campaign. He used two terms I hadn’t heard before in this context: bargainers and challengers. Here’s how he defines those terms: (transcript)

SHELBY STEELE: Well, the black American identity, certainly black American politics are grounded in what I call challenging. It’s basically, they look at white America and say we’re going to presume that you’re a racist until you prove otherwise. The whole concept is you keep whites on the hook. You keep the leverage. You keep the pressure. Here’s a guy who’s what I call a bargainer who’s giving whites the benefit of the doubt.

BILL MOYERS: Give me a simple definition of what you call a bargainer. And a simple definition of what you call a challenger.

SHELBY STEELE: A bargainer is a black who enters the American, the white American mainstream by saying to whites in effect, in some code form, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt. I’m not going to rub the shame of American history in your face if you will not hold my race against me. Whites then respond with enormous gratitude. And bargainers are usually extremely popular people. Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Sidney Poitier back in the Sixties and so forth. Because they give whites this benefit of the doubt. That you can be with these people and not feel that you’re going to be charged with racism at any instant. And so they tend to be very successful, very popular.

Challengers on the other hand say, I presume that you, this institution, this society, is racist until it proves otherwise by giving me some concrete form of racial preference.

BILL MOYERS: Affirmative action.

SHELBY STEELE: Affirmative action. Diversity programs. Opportunities of one kind or another. And so, there is a much more concrete bargaining on the case of challengers. And you go into any American institution today and they’re all used to dealing with challengers. They all have a whole system of things that they can give to challengers, who then will offer absolution.

January 13, 2008

Registration Deadlines for Voting in Presidential Primary


I should have posted this last week, but for local residents not yet registered to vote, time is running out if you want to participate in the presidential primary. In both Virginia and DC, Monday, January 14, is the deadline for registering to vote in the February 12 presidential primary election. For information, see the Virginia State Board of Elections or the DC Board of Elections and Ethics.

Maryland residents have until Tuesday, January 22, to register for their primary, which is also February 12 (see the Maryland State Board of Elections). The Maryland primary covers other races in addition to president. For example, Democrats in the 4th Congressional District will be deciding whether the progressive Donna Edwards will unseat the more conservative Rep. Al Wynn, so if you live in that district make sure you’re registered even if you think the presidential nomination will already have been decided by the time you get a chance to vote.

January 11, 2008

Thursday Night Notes


As always, many good discussions from the back room of Timberlake’s. Before I forget there were a couple of links I wanted to pass on.

The first regards voter suppression. It’s ironic that while Republicans are trying to suppress votes among the elderly, handicapped, and students through voter ID laws, and through techniques such as caging, Jonah Goldberg of NRO writes a book called Liberal Fascism. Fortunately, the always delightful David Niewert, writing at the American Prospect gives us this thorough take-down of Goldberg’s “opus”:

Goldberg, who has no credentials beyond the right-wing nepotism that has enabled his career as a pundit, has drawn a kind of history in absurdly broad and comically wrongheaded strokes. It is not just history done badly, or mere revisionism. It’s a caricature of reality, like something from a comic-book alternative universe: Bizarro history.

Goldberg responds:

Neiwert, what with all of his credentials and seriousness might want to explain how a dogmatic individualist can be a totalitarian, since totalitarian in the academic literature he so esteems defines totalitarianism as anti-individualism. Totalitarianism is about trying to define the lives of others through state power. Individualists might be bad or wrong or selfish, but they aren’t any of those things because, again, they’re frick’n individualists!


January 10, 2008

“Shut Down Guantánamo” Demonstration Friday


Shut Down GuantánamoFriday, January 11, is the sixth anniversary of the transfer of the first prisoners to the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, and the ACLU, Amnesty International, Witness Against Torture, and many other groups are organizing a protest on the Mall.

George Bush’s embrace of torture, secret prisons, and denial of habeas corpus and other legal procedures to prisoners is one of the worst stains he’s going to be leaving on the country, and one of the legacies that will be hardest to clean up. If you’re able to take the time during the day, go participate. I plan to. If not, you can at least wear orange — if you can find any (not sure what I’ll do about that, but maybe they’ll have orange armbands to give out).

10:00 am - Gather at the National Mall for Orientation to Prisoner March (National Mall @ 12th street NW btwn Madison Dr NW & Jefferson Drive SW - near the Smithsonian Metro Stop)

11: 00 am - Permitted demonstration on the National Mall co-sponsored by Amnesty International and National Religious Campaign Against Torture

Noon - Guantanamo Prisoner Procession from the National Mall to the Supreme Court (2 plus miles)

1:30 pm - Funeral Ceremony at the Supreme Court remembering the four men who died in custody at Guantanamo and mourning the death of Habeas Corpus

The Presidential Race by Beverage Choice


Karl Rove (emphasis mine):

Sen. Hillary Clinton won working-class neighborhoods and less-affluent rural areas. Sen. Barack Obama won the college towns and the gentrified neighborhoods of more affluent communities. Put another way, Mrs. Clinton won the beer drinkers, Mr. Obama the white wine crowd. And there are more beer drinkers than wine swillers in the Democratic Party.

What’s this obsession that Republicans have with beverage analogies (or for that matter the word “swillers”)? I’m sure you recall this golden oldie launched against the 2004 Dean campaign:

‘I think Howard Dean should take his tax-hiking, government expanding, latte-drinking, Volvo-driving, New York Times reading …’ at this stage his wife leaps into finish off the mantra ‘… body-piercing, Hollywood loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont where it belongs.’

Rove’s message, I gather, is that Dean and Obama are elitist, while Clinton is regular people. You can tell that by the beverage of choice of their supporters.

I for one, happen to be an elitist beer drinker. Take that, Karl Rove. I’m sure that on a given DL happy hour we have plenty of salt-of-the-earth latte swillers.

Maybe our next straw poll should try to correlate beer/wine/latte drinkers with Clinton/Obama/Edwards supporters?


DCDL is a blog by Washington, DC-area members of Drinking Liberally. Opinions expressed are the writers’, not those of Drinking Liberally, which provides no funding or other support for this blog.

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