Saturday, March 31, 2007

Bush's Chief Campaign Strategist says 'Kerry was Right' on Iraq

The New York Times came out with a rather interesting story today. Apparently Matthew Dowd, Chief Campaign Strategist for Bush/Cheney in 2004 wrote an op-ed piece to the NY Times in which he agreed with Kerry's position on Iraq. Even while he was slamming it on every possible media outlet he could find.

From Raw Story:

The chief strategist for President George W. Bush's 2004 reelection campaign wrote an editorial that said Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry was right in calling for a withdrawal from Iraq -- "Kerry Was Right" -- but never submitted it, according to an article to be published in Sunday's New York Times.

The article, "Ex-Aide Details a Loss of Faith in the President," details the disenchantment of one of Bush's most senior campaign aides, Matthew Dowd.

Dowd was a keystone in the Administration's effort to portray Sen. Kerry as a flip-flopper "who could not be trusted with national security during wartime." He is the first of Bush's inner circle to break so publicly with him.

From the NY Times article:

Mr. Dowd established himself as an expert at interpreting polls, giving Karl Rove, the president’s closest political adviser, and the rest of the Bush team guidance as they set out to woo voters, slash opponents and exploit divisions between Democratic-leaning states and Republican-leaning ones.

In television interviews in 2004, Mr. Dowd said that Mr. Kerry’s campaign was proposing “a weak defense,” and that the voters “trust this president more than they trust Senator Kerry on Iraq.”

But he was starting to have his own doubts by then, he said.

He said he thought Mr. Bush handled the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks well but “missed a real opportunity to call the country to a shared sense of sacrifice.”


His views against the war began to harden last spring when, in a personal exercise, he wrote a draft opinion article and found himself agreeing with Mr. Kerry’s call for withdrawal from Iraq. He acknowledged that the expected deployment of his son Daniel was an important factor.

He said the president’s announcement last fall that he was re-nominating the former United Nations ambassador John R. Bolton, whose confirmation Democrats had already refused, was further proof to him that Mr. Bush was not seeking consensus with Democrats.

He said he came to believe Mr. Bush’s views were hardening, with the reinforcement of his inner circle. But, he said, the person “who is ultimately responsible is the president.” And he gradually ventured out with criticism, going so far as declaring last month in a short essay in Texas Monthly magazine that Mr. Bush was losing “his gut-level bond with the American people,” and breaking more fully in this week’s interview.

“If the American public says they’re done with something, our leaders have to understand what they want,” Mr. Dowd said. “They’re saying, ‘Get out of Iraq.’”


Friday, March 30, 2007

Beating the Bush with the Co-Equal Branch

Well it sure has been one depressing week if you were on the Bush-as-almighty-god bandwagon hasn't it?

You have Alberto Gonzales screwing up a perfectly good plan to eliminate prosecutors that were either going after Republican corruption or not working quick enough for upcoming elections on cases where Democrats were targeted. And then you have the entire Department of Justice going cannibal on one another as they eat themselves alive trying to save their skins.

You also have Democrats thickening their skin and setting timelines and benchmarks on this President and his war before issuing him any more money to fight it. Frankly this should have happened from the beginning but since the sheep that was the Republicans in Congress felt they should give their king total and absolute power, they were just giving the guy blank checks.... which he was signing over to political contributors. Nice...

All the while humvees and soldiers weren't given proper armor, the VA and Walter Reed funding was cut and veterans were put in harm's way constantly. I mean really, how dare Democrats for wanting to get them out of those conditions! Traitors!

It's pretty humorous to the 70% of America who aren't with this President to even contemplate the arguments this guy is making.

He's arguing that calling members of the administration to testify under oath is somehow unprecedented and against executive privilege even though the Republicans called the entire Clinton Administration to the hill to do just that with 1,052 subpoenas to 141 Administration officials resulting in 568 hours of depositions.

He's arguing that putting strings on the troops prevents the commanders from doing their job and that it will somehow prevent success in Iraq.... as if all the blank checks provided a heaping dose of successes in the past.

Democrats are finally toughening up. Sure they aren't going full blown impeachment but they are taking progressively stronger stances to Bush and his Administration's imperial power grab.

Henry Waxman is now investigating ANOTHER LAW Bushco may have broken about White House Records, and he sent an incredibly biting letter to Condi about her ignoring his letters.

It's only a matter of time before the illegal wiretaps are on the investigation block.

I can only imagine how many Americans will be in shock when they hear what comes out of that. All those, "I don't care because I am not doing anything wrong" apologists are going to get a wakeup call when they realize what and who the White House has been wiretapping.

It's conjecture only at this point but I have a pretty strong suspicion that the White House has used this power in a way that made Nixon look like a confident, at peace with the world Saint. Watergate will look less like paranoia run amok as it will be like a jaywalking charge in comparison to vehicular manslaughter.

That's how much worse I anticipate Bushco's actions will end up looking. We can only wait and see. For now, open up the popcorn as it looks like two years of criminal hell for the most delusional bunch ever to seize power in Washington.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Katie Couric Needs Journalism School

From the Milwaukee Journal yesterday, Tim Culprisin's Entertainment blog:

C'mon, Couric had job to do, and Edwardses handled themselves well

Katie Couric is taking heat for her grilling of John Edwards and his wife, Elizabeth, over the announcement last week that her cancer has returned.

Among the things that have set some people off in Couric's "60 Minutes" interview was the fact that she repeated questions, seemingly badgering a guy who wants to be president, and his ailing wife.

You can find some of the criticisms along with the transcript posted at, where Couric is variously described as "cold," "rude," "mean," "insensitive," "a hypocrite," "calculating," and "a disgrace to journalism."

Some point to Couric's husband, Jay Monahan, dying of cancer and Couric's own on-camera colonoscopy, to suggest she should have been more sensitive.

But focusing on the anchor's questions misses their point. Reporters frequently ask the same question many times.

Journalism isn't a polite business. And we shouldn't feel too sorry for Couric: Taking heat is part of her job.

But when you're talking about a very public couple like the Edwardses, there's always a well-planned first response. Getting through all that was the point of Couric's grilling.

The Edwardses have put themselves out there, volunteering to go on "60 Minutes" to take whatever questions come their way. This was no surprise for either of them.


Tim does spend time praising the Edwards' on their appearance and poise but he fails to see why there is outrage.

So I responded with why I felt people had a right to be mad in an email this afternoon....



What you're missing in your defense of Katie Couric's interview of the Edwards was that she didn't just grill them as you suggested. Rather she took her questions directly from a political foe that is known for using slanderous comments to assault his enemies. Even Laura Ingraham, usually a bitter partisan foe, was willing to speak well of Elizabeth Edwards while being interviewed on television on the topic.

Rush Limbaugh though takes glee in mocking the sick and assaulting their character. For Katie Couric to be using his questions with the false journalism premise of "some people say" (a dirty Fox News trick to interject their own personal opinions into an interview) gives credibility to insults rather than bringing up legitimate points.

People like Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter insult and name call to get attention and sell their media. At no time ever should legitimate news journalists be using their framework to ask real questions in interviews as that gives them more credibility than their entertainment schtick deserves.

I agree the Edwards made an uncomfortable situation work and handled the interview well enough, but Katie should know better. She should be citing sources and try her best to make those legitimate ones, not just those who scream "FIRE!" the loudest to garner undeserved attention.

Katie Couric's credibility as a serious journalist already is lacking because she and her producers tried to make their newscasts feel more like Entertainment Tonight with a couple of news pieces rather than a real newscast with teeth. Ripping into John and Elizabeth Edwards for choosing to campaign on at a time of tragic news doesn't make her a tough journalist.

It makes her a Republican lap dog.


Monday, March 26, 2007

Speaking to American Voters

I was thinking about the state of American politics lately and I came up with this intriguing thought. Americans finally seem eager to be engaged on the issues.

There’s always those few that see politics as a drag. It’s bickering. It’s fighting. It’s talking about legal terms they don’t understand. It’s boring. To those of us that are not political junkies like myself and likely you reading this blog, this is truly how politics is viewed.

Not to mention people see Politicians as self serving, dishonest corporate whores. Even the parties that care more about the people (see: Democrats) are just a step below Republicans in having their hands out in accepting money and policy from rich big wigs that don’t want anything to change.

Barring some dramatic overhaul of the election system that takes private financing out of the equation, this perception will never change.

But the Republicans and this Bush Administration in particular have made such a mess of the political system even the non politicos are taking notice. Scandal after scandal arises within this Administration and every single one can be pinpointed to political cronyism.

People are taking notice that their President cares more about his power and his rich friends being protected than doing what’s best for the American people. They noticed this more in the 2006 midterms and we took back the House and the Senate. I think the people are gearing up to depose Republicans for a good decade or two long minority in 2008.

This works for the Democrats on every level because Republicans in the national and state government all have their hands dirtied by this. At one level or another every one of them has towed the Bush line hoping to capitalize on what they believed to be a Conservative wave that would as Karl Rove put it, “create a permanent majority”.

If I were running a Democratic campaign for State Office I would do everything I could to let the voters and constituents know that I care about them. Right now there is a tremendous disconnect between reality and fantasy in the Republican policies and that disconnect carries over towards their constituents. People feel used. Used for their votes and not heard on the issues that caused these lawmakers to be elected in the first place.

Even some Democrats are starting to feel the heat as protesters who believed the November vote was a referendum on the war, are coming to their offices in droves to push the issue. While Democrats have limited power to stop the President (the Senate majority is too thin to pass any binding legislation or override Bush’s veto anyway), this has to be a wake up call to all current and future candidates as to how they must treat the will of their constituents.

Another thing that has to disturb most Americans was this notion that only those who voted for them must be catered to. Tony Snow recently mentioned that Bush is working for the people who voted for him. That to many has to be discouraging as even those who did not vote for you are still your constituents and with races as close as both of his were, you’d think somewhere in there Democrats who voted against him would have a voice in the shaping of American policy also.

Beyond left or right this disconnect from reality is what is driving people to be more and more frustrated with the current state of politics. Instead of driving people away from polls it is driving people to them. A “throw the bums out” theme resonated in the November midterms and unless something dramatically changes, 2008 will be more of the same.

If I were running a state office campaign (aside from Governor of course), I would put my candidate on TV and radio ads that welcome discussion from the people. I would have the candidate say something like this:

“Hi, I’m _________ and I’m running for _____ in your district. I’m sure over the years you have been bombarded with TV and radio ads that have negative tones and robocalls that interrupt your daily routine, sometimes multiple times a night.

I am running to represent you. I want you to hear my message and even though we may disagree on some things I want you to know that I am willing to listen and have an open and honest discussion on all of the issues. That sort of dialogue has sorely been missing from government and politics for many years now and I want you to know from the very beginning of this campaign that I intend to listen to you and make our district’s views a part of the conversation if I get elected.

So you will not be bombarded by robocalls or negative ads that blitz your day. Instead, I am going to put my number up here. Call this number with any questions or concerns you might have and volunteers here will take your message for me to get back to you with a response. I want to talk to as many of you personally as I can and I will try my best to get back to as many of you as possible. Also many of my stances on the issues are going to be up at for you to read.

We need a government that is open and honest and listens to their constituents. I can bring that back and this is my pledge to you. I look forward to hearing from as many of you as I possibly can and as this campaign moves forward we have an opportunity to make history by interacting as a community of people not political donors. Thank you.”

Now this could be shortened up and some might say, “Well that could be an insane amount of calls” but is it really that many calls for a State Assembly or Senate candidate? Anymore than they usually make? Probably not by a lot.

Perception is everything in politics. If you are on the air slinging mud all the time or slamming people with robocalls you are turning them off to you and the process. This takes the exact opposite approach. It’s refreshing to hear that a politician wants to hear your views and is not going to try to bombard you with negative ads. It’s also refreshing to hear that the politician will try to call everyone back because he wants to engage you on issues that matter to you.

Will the candidate call everyone back? Probably not. It might be impossible depending how well the idea goes over. But you’re trying to get back to as many people as possible and for most that seems like a personal commitment most politicians never attempt to make. This shows you are beholden to the people and to the voters, not just the fundraisers which is a mistake even many Democrats make all too often. Raising money is important to buy media, visuals (signs, stickers, mailers) and pay for transportation costs but we must also get our message out in a way that the people feel a part of the process.

The concept will draw media attention for sure and of course free media is nice especially with the positive spin a story like this will draw. You can concentrate money on mailers, yard signs and phone banking and less on radio and TV buys because you would need to run this type of ad less often than you would if you were pounding in negative ads to try to counteract an opponents’ negative ads. In fact you could probably get away with a couple ads during the entire election season. One with the phone call message and another positive one that defines your stances on the issues.

Of course running for a national office and trying to do something like this could be a logistical nightmare. I mean how many calls would be missed by districts that large? But on a smaller scale it could be done and the time is right for someone who wants the people to be a part of the process.

And as much as winning the national campaigns is vital to the strength of a future Democratic majority, winning state office is equally important.

State Supreme Court and District Attorney races create more viable candidates down the road for Federal Court openings and thus the future of many issues that will be faced with court challenges down the line. State Assembly and Senate races determine statewide policies that are often emulated on the national level and have a direct (if not more so) impact on people who reside in these states. Those State officials can eventually rise up to governorships or as Barack Obama showed, to National prominence.

A Democratic majority must be built from the local office level on up and if I were to run a local campaign that is how I was start it. With an open dialogue between my candidate and the constituents they hope to represent. America is frustrated with the current process and the disingenuity of the politicians that run for office and could care less why the voters elected them. They feel their voices are not being heard.

Here’s our chance to capitalize on that and get voters motivated while at the same time disarming many who might automatically vote against the candidate based on the letter D being next to their name. Even if you disagree with someone it’s harder to work vigorously against someone who listened to and respected your views.

An open dialogue with constituents. Only in America does this seem such a foreign concept that bringing it up as a campaign idea seems somewhat radical.


Welcome to American Politik!

Hello everyone!

I created this blog to carry my takes, opinions and of course rants (and what's a blog without a few of those?) on the current happenings in American politics. Being that this is a blog, I expect an honest and open discussion between myself and those who want to comment.

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