the blog of DC Drinking Liberally

April 8, 2007

Jeffrey Feldman at DCDL


This Thursday, April 12 we are pleased to host author/blogger Jeffrey Feldman discussing and signing his book Framing the Debate. The evening starts at 6:30 in the back room of Timberlake’s (1726 Connecticut Ave NW, Dupont Circle Metro). Drink discounts ($1 off drinks) until 9:00. Appetizers will be supplied. Books will be available for purchase courtesy Olsson’s Books.

For decades, the powerful communications machine of the conservative movement has controlled our national political discourse. One of the biggest obstacles to progressive victory has been seeing what American political speech looks like when it is not “framed” by the Republican noise machine.

Framing the Debate: Famous Presidential Speeches and How Progressives Can Use Them to Change the Conversation (and Win Elections) is about unleashing the power of communication in contemporary progressive politics. The book presents fifteen key speeches by American presidents — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and George Bush — in order to define the big ideas and images — the “frames” — that each speech evokes to show how those framing techniques can be applied to today’s political debate in order promote a progressive perspective.

An essential book in today’s political climate, Framing the Debate will be instrumental in helping to reshape progressive political language and rhetoric.

More on Jeffrey Feldman:

An expert on speeches and messaging, Jeffrey Feldman is the editor in chief of the influential political blog Frameshop. He has been a contributor to the The Thom Hartmann Show on Air America, and travels the country offering seminars on language and progressive politics.

April 4, 2007

DC Special Election Candidates


The District is having a special election for Wards 3, 4, and 7 on May 1. Since I was researching it for tonight’s DC for Democracy meeting (please attend if you’re looking for a local grassroots political group), I thought I’d do one of my traditional posts listing the candidates in ballot order with links to their websites.

For the special election, there is no primary. Candidates from all the parties, along with independents, run on the same ballot, so the number of candidates can be overwhelming. This would seem to give Republicans their best shot at getting a ward seat in DC, but for some reason no Republicans got onto the ballot.

Residents of Ward 3 will vote for one school board member, residents of Ward 4 for school board and council, and Ward 7 for council. Residents of Wards 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8 won’t be voting this time. The deadline for registering to vote in the special election was April 2.

Candidates for the three positions are below. If I’m missing any candidates or links, let me know in the comments.


April 2, 2007

Iraq War Conman Goes to Baghdad


You’ve probably heard about John McCain’s latest unconvincing press conference from Iraq. But I think I have to give it to Lindsay Graham this time. He outfailed McCain by far, I think (video here):

Predictably, the jist of most of Graham’s remarks was that despite the terrible violence, yes, yes, he sees major improvement in the Iraqi military forces — they are more “empowered” now.

Every person I had lunch with today… said that the Iraqi military capability was better.

By this point the Iraqi forces are probably more capable fighters than they were a few years ago, sure, I’ll buy that. Whether they’re putting those skills to good use is another matter.

But Graham realized he also had to claim the security situation had somehow improved. Time for some theatrics:

So it goes back to who we’re gonna allow to define this war, the fanatics who wanna just blindly kill people or the folks who will go back to that market 4 weeks later and will bring their kids and shop and try to do business and say thank you to us. This is a great struggle and we’ve made tremendous mistakes and we’re finally getting it right. And is it too little too late?, I don’t know but I don’t think so. So yes, in my opinion things are better today than they’ve ever been since I came here 3 or 4 years ago.


PHANTO THE PHANTOM REPORTER WHO NEVER EXISTED: Senator, were things WORSE 3 or 4 years ago when there wasn’t even half as much violence as today?
GRAHAM: Well, now WAIT. 3 or 4 years ago we didn’t have any Iraqi Security Forces to speak of. We had no elections, no Iraqi government.
PHANTO: But now huge numbers of Iraqis are dying who weren’t dying then. How is that progress?
GRAHAM [wide Lindsey Graham smile]: Phanto, you’re ignoring the issue of infrastructure. We’ve built so much more infrastructure now, schools, markets — we’ve got a new Iraqi oil law- PHANTO: But, Senator, my question-
GRAHAM [wider Lindsey Graham smile, finger in the air]: THINGS — ARE — BETTER. I am a SENATOR. That’s what I’ve seen. [pause] OK, thank you…

March 29, 2007

GSA Toady Comes to Capitol Hill


You may have already seen the video, but this was too good not to preserve as text.

On Wednesday, Lurita Doan, Administrator at the General Services Administration, came to talk to talk to Henry Waxman’s committee. She was there to answer questions about a meeting this past January between GSA and Karl Rove’s Office of Political Affairs, a meeting that was by all appearances a Republican strategy session held in a government agency that is supposed to be nonpartisan. That’s why this was probably an illegal meeting.

Bruce Braley (IA-1) is the freshman Democrat who led the questioning. His focus was the Powerpoint presentation on recent Congressional elections that was given at this meeting by Karl Rove’s deputy, Scott Jennings.

BRALEY: Let’s look at Slide 578. This is the slide that has at the top “2008 House Targets Top 20″. … This slide is depicting Republican targets that identify Democratic seats that are vulnerable in 2006. Isn’t that what it says? … And it shows district by district the individual what the percentage of that district was in the 2004 election and what percentage that particular Democratic candidate received in the 2006 election. Correct?
DOAN: Yes, it appears… I-I-I honestly, I have not seen this chart until yesterday, I don’t remember, I mean, I really truly don’t remember seeing this chart until yesterday when I tried to dig it up and I have to say I don’t know what the explanation was that accompanies this. I truly do not remember this part of the presentation.

DOAN: [T]his was not my meeting, I did not convene it, I didn’t run the agenda of it, I did not invite… Scott Jennings to the meeting, I actually didn’t have any involvement in it.
WAXMAN: You were just there, though.
DOAN: I did attend the meeting. Yes, I was there, and I-
WAXMAN: Well I’m going to let Mr. Braley continue.
BRALEY: You would agree that a reasonable interpretation of this slide is that it was a political attempt to try to target the top 20 Democratic candidates for defeat in 2008.
DOAN: No, I would not say that. I would say that this was a slide that says “2008 House Targets Top 20.” I do not want to try to speculate what was intended by Mr. Jennings on the slide. I really think you have to ask him.

Sniff-sniff. Smell something?


March 27, 2007

Wednesday Political Events


Those of you who are interested in politics and plan your schedule at the last minute are in luck. The evening of Wednesday, March 28, is chock-full of exciting events:

March 25, 2007

DNC Reception with Howard Dean and Eleanor Holmes Norton


In 2005, when Howard Dean became DNC chair, he launched the Democracy Bonds program, in which grassroots Democrats set up monthly contributions to support the party. Obviously not everyone can afford to make such a commitment, but you don’t have to be rich to do it, either. I’ve been a Democracy Bond holder for nearly a year and a half now, and I was very pleased in November with the return on my investment as the Democrats took back both chambers of Congress.

Monday, Democracy Bond holders are invited to reception with Governor Dean and Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (fresh off her latest appearance on the Colbert Report). Hear what Dean has to say about the future of the party, and what Norton can tell us about the status of DC’s hoped-for vote in the House. If you’re not yet a bondholder, you can become one or make a one-time contribution of $50 to attend.

Monday, March 26
Human Rights Campaign
Equality Forum Room
1640 Rhode Island Ave NW

RSVP at www.democrats.org/dcgrassroots or contact Casey Breitenbeck at breitenbeckc@dnc.org or 202-863-8023.

March 22, 2007

Max Blumenthal at DCDL


Join us in the back room of Timberlake’s this Thursday, 6:30 to 9. (1726 Connecticut Ave NW, north of Dupont Circle). This is our monthly guest speaker night, and we are proud and pleased to host Max Blumenthal.

Max Blumenthal is a Nation Institute Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow whose work regularly appears in the Nation. He is a Research Fellow at Media Matters for America.

You may want to check out his March 19 article in the Nation: The Porn Plot Against Prosecutors. If you’re interested in the prosecutor purge story, there’s fresh material here that’s definitely worth a read.

March 20, 2007

Bush Denounces “Show Trials”


From Bush’s press conference today:

We will not go along with a partisan fishing expedition aimed at honorable public servants. The initial response by Democrats unfortunately shows some appear more interested in scoring political points than in learning the facts. It will be regrettable if they choose to head down the partisan road of issuing subpoenas and demanding show trials.

Bush knows a thing or two about show trials, considering he has people “voluntarily” confessing to lists of crimes in Gitmo right now. I don’t think demanding that witnesses testify under oath is quite the same as waterboarding, though I can see how it might seem that way to people from an administration as allergic to truth telling as this one.

March 19, 2007

The Real Reason Americans Hate Muslims, According to David Frum


Today the radio show To the Point discussed “America and Islam: Four Years Later”. One of the guests was David Frum of the American Enterprise Institute, who was asked to give his expert opinion on such topics as whether Barack Obama is now or ever has been a Muslim and whether Obama might be targeted for death by the Islamic world for being an apostate. I love listening to “liberal” public radio.

Later in the program Frum provided this bit of insight (my transcription):

The best survey of American attitudes toward the Muslim minority is conducted by Pew, and they’ve done a series of — the Pew Charitable Trust Fund, which has lots of money — and they’ve done a series of these, and what they found was overwhelmingly positive American attitudes toward Muslims. Actually, attitudes became more positive after the 9/11 attacks, if you can believe it. The inflection point — the point at which the attitude becomes much more skeptical — is the Danish cartoon controversy, where a group of imams based in Denmark whipped up this agitation all around the world against people exercising very ordinary free speech rights, and that is the moment where you can see Americans suddenly reconsidering and where if you plot these things as trend lines, the trends change.

While the reaction to the Danish cartoons was a big event in the blogosphere, I somehow doubt that the average American was obsessing about the story, much less that it affected American attitudes more than 9/11 did. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to find the Pew survey, but even if by some miracle it actually shows significant changes in the directions Frum claims, I doubt the right wing’s favorite cartoons are the explanation.

March 17, 2007

Bush Weighs In On DC Voting


In case you didn’t see this, the Decider-in-Chief has ruled out voting rights for the District: (Washington Post)

The White House declared its opposition yesterday to a bill that would give the District its first full seat in the House of Representatives, saying it is unconstitutional, and a key Senate supporter said such concerns could kill the measure.

“The Constitution specifies that only ‘the people of the several states’ elect representatives to the House,” said White House spokesman Alex Conant. “And D.C. is not a state.”

Then, Conant added: “Let them eat cake.” Not really, but it’s very easy to imagine him dressed up like Louis XIV.

My question is: when did Bush become pro-Constitution? My whole memory of the legal proceedings at Guantanamo was Bush trying to find the best way to avoid having the Constitution apply to him.

And, if I’m not mistaken, doesn’t the Supreme Court exist to decide what is and what’s not Constitutional? True, some of them are more duck-hunting partners for the VP than legal authorities, but still, wouldn’t it be polite to at least ask them what they think?

On the other hand, as Scalia once put it: “Quack, quack.”


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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