the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

January 8, 2006

Time to Unsubscribe From Kerry’s List


If you’re like me, you’re probably subscribed to John Kerry’s e-mail announcement list. Maybe you made a donation during the 2004 campaign, or maybe you just signed up to keep up to date on events. But if you’re like me (or like John in DC at Americablog), you’re also not exactly excited by the prospect of Kerry’s running in 2008, and you’re irritated by news articles that describe the list as “an online army of 3 million supporters”.

Well, Jonathan Zasloff at the Reality-Based Community has an idea: If you’re on the list but you don’t want Kerry to run in 2008, then unsubscribe. It’s easy — I just did it. At the bottom of each message you get, there’s a little “Click here to unsubscribe” link. Use it. If the word spreads, maybe we can stop hearing about Kerry’s huge base of online supporters.

By the way, the Reality-Based Community, at samefacts.com, is the site formerly known as Mark A.R. Kleiman (markarkleiman.com). Mark has had several other academics blogging with him for a while now, so they’re finally making the site less Kleiman-focused. Looks like they’re still working a few bugs out of the new setup, but it remains a source of great posts and one of the blogs I visit daily.

January 3, 2006

Powerful Words.


Rep. Murtha has once again changed the nature of the discussion on Iraq:

A decorated Vietnam combat veteran who retired as a colonel after 37 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Murtha told ABC News’ “Nightline” program that Iraq “absolutely” was a wrong war for President George W. Bush to have launched.

“Would you join (the military) today?,” he was asked in an interview taped on Friday.

“No,” replied Murtha of Pennsylvania, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives subcommittee that oversees defense spending and one of his party’s leading spokesmen on military issues.

“And I think you’re saying the average guy out there who’s considering recruitment is justified in saying ‘I don’t want to serve’,” the interviewer continued.

“Exactly right,” said Murtha, who drew White House ire in November after becoming the first ranking Democrat to push for a pullout of U.S. forces from Iraq as soon as it could be done safely.

Remember this when you hear people on the Left argue that he wants more of the same-old same-old in Iraq, just a different deployment.

Like his original resolution, this is a tremendous step forward in deconstructing the entire PNAC playbook.

December 31, 2005

Poor, Oppressed Leaders


Matthew Yglesias writes about Democratic hawks and their persecution complex (exemplified by Marshall Wittman’s latest gift to those looking for bipartisan support for Republican talking points):

Progressive Iraq hawks are hardly some beleaguered minority. They compose maybe ten percent of the population at most, but count among their number the Democrats’ 2004 presidential nominee, their 2004 vice presidential nominee, the last Democrat to serve as president, the minority leader of the United States Senate, the minority whip in the House, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the leading candidate for the 2008 presidential nomination, the ranking members of the House Armed Services and International Relations Committees, a majority of Senate Democrats, the country’s most prominent foreign affairs columnist, and all of the leading candidates for foreign policy jobs in the hypothetical Kerry administration.

Worse, despite having presided over the Democratic defeats in 2002 and 2004, these DLC types still blame their powerless leftish opponents and say they need to be given the reins in 2006 and 2008.

The “Republican wing of the Democratic Party” becomes more like the real Republicans every day. Now they’re replicating their own miniature version of the Republican Party’s long-term complaint that although they control the presidency, both houses of Congress, and much of the judiciary, they remain an unfairly oppressed minority.

November 17, 2005

Happy Birthday, Howard!


Howard Dean, chair of the Democratic National Committee, turns 57 today. I’ve been pleased with his strategy of rebuilding the party from the lowest levels in all 50 states (plus the District, where former Deaniacs were among those who threw out the incumbents on the DC Democratic State Committee last year). He’s also been good at speaking out against the administration when most Democratic elected officials have been too timid, and now some of them are finally standing up.

To thank Dean, today I’m finally getting a Democracy Bond — something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time. If you feel the same, consider buying one for yourself.

And if you’re in the DC area, stop by our regular Thursday Drinking Liberally tonight at Timberlake’s (1726 Connecticut Ave, north of Dupont Circle on the red line) starting at 6:30 and toast Howard Dean with your favorite beverage.

November 15, 2005

Wal-Mart Movie This Week (and Democrats’ Kickoff Tonight)


Robert Greenwald’s new film Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price is premiering this week at house parties and other events across the country:

WAL-MART: THE HIGH COST OF LOW PRICE is a feature length documentary that uncovers a retail giant’s assault on families and American values.

The film dives into the deeply personal stories and everyday lives of families and communities struggling to fight a goliath. A working mother is forced to turn to public assistance to provide healthcare for her two small children. A Missouri family loses its business after Wal-Mart is given over $2 million to open its doors down the road. A mayor struggles to equip his first responders after Wal-Mart pulls out and relocates just outside the city limits. A community in California unites, takes on the giant, and wins!

Producer/Director Robert Greenwald and Brave New Films take you on an extraordinary journey that will change the way you think, feel — and shop.

Wednesday-night DCDL has a showing tomorrow, but it’s already full (though you may be able to squeeze in if there are no-shows). Fortunately there are plenty of other showings to sign up for, every day of the week. There are even some tonight — like the one at the Women’s National Democratic Club — that combine the movie premiere with the Democrats’ national organizing kickoff. Sounds like a great way to maximize your progressive event attendance.

October 31, 2005

Post Wants Democratic Surrender on Social Security


Recently Matt Yglesias was wondering what happened to the supposed Social Security crisis. Only a few months ago, the press was full of the idea that something must be done, immediately, and Democrats couldn’t afford to be the “Party of No” and simply oppose Bush ideas for “reform” (really phaseout) of the system. When Bush utterly failed to sell his plan to the American people, the media suddenly stopped talking about the “crisis” entirely, so how serious could their concern have been?

Unfortunately Yglesias spoke too soon. It will probably be lost in the uproar over the Alito nomination (the huge dark cloud that goes with the silver lining of the failure of Miers), but the Washington Post editorial board today decided to revive the idea of the Social Security crisis:

The Bush administration’s declining fortunes have buried the prospect of Social Security reform. Congress was never keen: Democrats united against personal accounts; Republicans were divided as to what sort they wanted. But although President Bush’s critics may celebrate this defeat, delaying Social Security’s reform makes the eventual change only harder. Both sides should acknowledge their contributions to this debacle — and reengage.

This is madness. The Democrats won decisively on the issue of Social Security, and now that Bush has lost the Post wants them to go back and compromise with him? Perhaps the system needs reform, but there’s no rush. If reform is needed, it’s better to wait until the White House and both houses of Congress are not controlled by a party that is opposed to the very existence of Social Security.

Update (7:25 pm): Yglesias noticed this post and wrote a followup over at TPMCafe.

August 24, 2005

How’s the DLC Ceasefire Going, Hillary?


Read this and guess who wrote it (emphasis added):

[O]ur forces and their allies have toppled one of the world’s most odious tyrants; upheld the principle of collective security; liberated a nation of 24 million; made possible Iraq’s hopeful experiment in representative self-government; and changed the strategic equation in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

These are considerable, and noble, accomplishments, but they could all be squandered if we give up and come home too soon. [… P]rogressives shouldn’t leap to the premature conclusion that we are doomed to failure in Iraq.

Democrats should also bring a sense of proportion to the prisoner abuse scandals at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. [… T]he revelation that some U.S. troops aren’t saints should not come as too great a shock, at least to grownups. By dwelling obsessively on U.S. misdeeds while ignoring the far more heinous crimes of what is quite possibly the most barbaric insurgency in modern times, anti-war critics betray an anti-American bias that undercuts their credibility.

Amnesty International likewise stumbled into the quagmire of moral equivalence in a report that absurdly analogized Guantanamo Bay, where 500 prisoners remain, to the Soviet gulags, where millions perished. The usually level-headed Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) was forced to apologize after falling into the same trap. Activists rationalize such witless hyperbole by saying it’s the only way to get Americans to pay attention to what their government is doing wrong. But this is the political equivalent of a compound felony: insulting voters’ intelligence while offending their patriotic sensibilities.

Was it George Will? Charles Krauthammer? Bob Dole? Newt Gingrich? No, it was Will Marshall, co-founder of the Democratic Leadership Council, writing in the DLC’s Blueprint magazine.

I’d like to see some signs of that ceasefire Hillary Clinton called for last month. It seems to me that a good first step would be for the DLC to stop shooting at those in the party who were right about the war.

Update: Billmon points out that Marshall’s suggestion that the Iraq war helped with “the Arab-Israeli conflict” is the same sort of supposed “antisemitism” that the right has been claiming Cindy Sheehan is guilty of lately.

August 3, 2005

Paul Hackett Fights the Good Fight


Suppose you’re a political novice running for Congress in a special election. And suppose you’re a Democrat running in a district where only nine months ago the Republican candidate won by 72 to 28 percent, and the Republicans have had similar margins for at least the three elections before that. Now suppose you called Bush’s “bring ’em on” challenge “the most incredibly stupid comment I’ve ever heard a president of the United States make”, referred to the president himself as a “chicken hawk”, and said “I don’t like the son-of-a-bitch that lives in the White House” — causing the Republican National Congressional Committee to pour advertising dollars into your opponent’s campaign, promising to “bury” you. What percentage of the vote would you expect to get?

Well, if you’re Paul Hackett, in Ohio’s second district Tuesday, the answer is 48 percent. Not enough to win, alas, but an amazing total. Look at that again: he took the Democratic share from 28 percent up to 48, when the RNCC was going all out to bury him. Of course, it didn’t hurt that he’s a veteran just back from Iraq and that he got lots of publicity and funds from liberal blogs throughout the country. But there are a lot of districts where Democrats don’t need to gain 20 points to win — 5, 10, or 15 will do.

Maybe Howard Dean isn’t so crazy:

As I’ve said all along, our strategy for victory is a simple one. Show up. Not just in a battleground state. Not just in 18 of 50 states. Not just show up in blue areas, and not just show up around election time. Show up in every state, in every election, in every community….

July 26, 2005

The DLC Rises Again


When Howard Dean became DNC chair, some of us hoped that the Democratic Leadership Council — which he famously called “the Republican wing of the Democratic Party” — would lose influence, allowing the party to embrace the values of its base rather than chasing the elusive center by embracing the values of the Republicans. Well, the DLC is back in the news, with a big boost from Hillary Clinton.

Conservatives throughout the blogosphere are linking to this Los Angeles Times article and ranting about how Hillary is changing her spots — apparently they’re under the impression that she’s really Dennis Kucinich or maybe Noam Chomsky. I first saw the article mentioned by Charles Bird at Obsidian Wings, who uses it as an opportunity to reinforce the talking point that Democrats are “the Party of No”.


July 25, 2005

A Small Sign of Spine


Today John Kerry and 25 other Democrats in the Senate formally requested a congressional investigation into the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity (read the letter). Now you may remember that there are 44 Democratic senators, so let’s see who signed and who didn’t:

Signed Didn’t Sign
Bayh (IN)
Boxer (CA)
Carper (DE)
Clinton (NY)
Corzine (NJ)
Dorgan (ND)
Durbin (IL)
Feinstein (CA)
Harkin (IA)
Inouye (HI)
Johnson (SD)
Kerry (MA)
Kohl (WI)
Landrieu (LA)
Lautenberg (NJ)
Levin (MI)
Mikulski (MD)
Murray (WA)
Obama (IL)
Reed (RI)
Rockefeller (WV)
Salazar (CO)
Sarbanes (MD)
Schumer (NY)
Stabenow (MI)
Wyden (OR)
Akaka (HI)
Baucus (MT)
Biden (DE)
Bingaman (NM)
Byrd (WV)
Cantwell (WA)
Conrad (ND)
Dayton (MN)
Dodd (CT)
Feingold (WI)
Kennedy (MA)
Leahy (VT)
Lieberman (CT)
Lincoln (AR)
Nelson (FL)
Nelson (NE)
Pryor (AR)
Reid (NV)

Surprising signers include Mary Landrieu and Ken Salazar, who were two of the six Democrats who voted for Alberto Gonzales as attorney general (the other four are in the “Didn’t Sign” column above). Surprising nonsigners include Kennedy and Reid — perhaps they missed a memo? Joe Biden failed to redeem himself from Friday’s embarrassing performance, and Joe Lieberman is where we all expect him to be.

Along with the request, Democrats revealed a leak clock and a Harper’s Index–style listing of facts about the Plame leak.

Meanwhile, Republicans had their own response to the Plame scandal. We’ve been waiting for the attack on the prosecutor. Well, it looks like it’s started, led by one of the White House’s congressional henchmen, Rep. Pat Roberts of Kansas:

[Roberts] intends to preside over hearings on the intelligence community’s use of covert protections for CIA agents and others involved in secret activities.

The chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence could hold hearings on the use of espionage cover soon after the U.S. Congress returns from its August recess, said Roberts spokeswoman Sarah Little.

Little said the Senate committee would also review the probe of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who has been investigating the Plame case for nearly two years.

Josh Marshall has more — and more (update: and still more).


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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