Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pelosi: In Harman's Way

Week three of the Democractic Revolution in Congress, and still no signs of any progress.

But we do find Speaker Nancy Pelosi again playing politics, this time backing disgraced former federal judge Alcee Hastings for chairman of the House Intelligence Committee over frenemy Jane Harman.

Harman is a member of the committee and was thought to be the shoo-in for the leadership post, but according to the Washington Post she and Pelosi have an only slightly less skanky Paris Hilton-Nicole Richie thing going on.

Before serving in the House, Hastings was impeached by Congress on corruption charges while serving on the federal bench -- an impeachment Pelosi voted for.

Pelosi apparently didn't learn her lesson after getting trounced on the Murtha/Hoyer majority leader thing. Be shame if she squandered all of her political capital this way, before the new Congress takes office in January.

And what does backing Hastings say about Pelosi's pledge to clean up Congress -- the #1 issue on the minds of voters in the November elections?

Still no progress on saving Iraq, keeping us safe from terrorists, lowering the cost of college, making us energy efficient and environmentally friendly, boosting the economy, reducing the deficit, and all the other things the Democrats said they were gonna do.

Oh well, I'm sure after all the politics they'll get around to it...

Tick tock.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dem Revolution -- Week 2

Two weeks since the Democrats took over Congress, and let's see how much progress they've made on their ambitious agenda.

Okay, well, first the majority of the House members flipped new Speaker Nancy Pelosi the bird after she backed resident whack-job Jack Murtha for the majority leader over Steny Hoyer. In secret balloting, Hoyer crushed Murtha for the job.

So much for unity within the party. Although the crazy-old optimist in me says maybe this is good -- maybe it means the Dems won't march in lockstep like automatons behind every nutty idea Pelosi fronts.

But it seems like an awfully big waste of her political capital so early on -- it was a real "in your face" moment for her. She has a reputation for being a dragon lady, and in this case it looks like her own allies slew the dragon.

Next we had Congressman Charles "Big Pimpin'" Rangel once again calling for the resinsitution of the military draft -- a measure expected to get absolutely no support from anyone in Congress or the current administration. Rangel has pulled this stunt before -- apparently trying to make some political point that's lost on everyone.

Unless the point he's trying to make is that he merely likes to make grandstanding plays like this in a pathetic attempt to draw attention to himself.

So, for week two we had domestic squabbling and a hail-mary pass that bounced harmlessly on the 20-yard line.

Or in other words: business as usual for Congress.

No progress on lowering the deficit, keeping us safe from terrorists, finding a solution for Iraq, raising the minium wage, making college more affordable, fixing the healthcare system, making us energy self-sufficient or protecting the environment.

Tick tock, people.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tick Tock for Dems

Well, it's been a week since the Democrats regained control of Congress.

So....have they fixed everything yet?

Sorry, was just pretending I was a typical American voter.

Still the Dems have laid out a rather ambitious -- and in many cases, noble -- agenda:

-- End corruption in Congress (I'd suggest they start with Harry Reid, William Jefferson and Alcee Hastings)

-- Keep America safe in the war on terror

-- Create a cleaner, greener, energy policy less dependent on foreign oil

-- Raise the minium wage and lower college tuition

-- Reform healthcare

-- Keep Social Security solvent and protect retirement income.

Pretty lofty goals. Good luck with them. I wish them well.

But the Dems won the election by capitalizing on the short attention span and impatience of the American voters. And that could just as easily come back to bite them if they don't show progress -- fast.

I figure they have maybe six months to show some progress on some of them. Otherwise, it will be back to "throw the bums out," with the Democrats in the starring role.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Well, that didn't take long

Less than a week after capturing both the House and the Senate, Democratic congressman are sounding the retreat in Iraq, calling for troop drawdowns within months.

''There is no military solution in Iraq,'' said Senator Carl Levin said. ''There is only a political solution.''

"Hold me -- I'm frightened," he added. (no he didn't)

So all this talk about a "new direction" in Iraq was what we suspected all along -- a call for cowardice and abandoning our allies.

Imagine my shock.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Nice Nancy

Presumuptive House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi promised more niceness in government yesterday, pledging that a Democratic-controlled Congress would work across party lines, cooperate with the President, and generally behave like ladies and gentlemen.

Her comments followed conciliatory remarks from President Bush yesterday who also pledged to work more closely with the Democrats for the good of the country. He offer up the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as a mark of sincerity.

Uh huh

The White House has often been abrupt and dismissive, but Bush has a record of being to act in a bipartisan fashion while Texas governor, and pledged to act that when when first elected in 2000.

But the Democrats led by Pelosi have set a tone of shrillness in Washington, often referring to the President and his counselors as incompetent.

It could be that circumtstances now force to two parties for work together.

When the Democrats were in the minority, the Republicans could pretty much do whatever they wanted, and that led to complacency. The Democrats, being sidelined could snipe at will, but carried none of the responsibility for what was going on.

Now they both have skin in the game.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election Aftermath

Voting results showing that it would appear the Democrats have narrowly won the House of Representatives and may still capture the Senate.

In essence, the Democrats are now the dog that chases cars and finally caught one. Now that they caught it, they need to figure out what to do with it.

But while they're still doing their chicken dance, they want to remember this: it was very close, and it remains very close.

Here's what I mean:

-- Democrats and the media have characterized the election as a referendum on Iraq. But exit polls show that three-quarters of the voters were most concerned about corruption, reports the AP -- an issue the Democrats are hardly exempt from -- see: Reid, Hevesi, Menendez, Jefferson...

-- Voters rejected antiwar extremists like Ned Lamont, who repeatedly attacked the U.S. policy on Iraq but failed to explain how retreat and cowardice will keep us safe. Lamont was essentially crushed by incumbent Joe Lieberman, who won handily by an 8-percent margin.

-- Lieberman says he is unbeholden to the Republicans as he returns to the Senate. But in reality, it is the Democrats who abandoned him that he owes nothing to -- giving him freedom of action to operate as an independent.

-- Even if the Democrats win both houses, what can they do about the President's Iraq policy? Speaking on CBS last evening, Clinton White House Spokesman Mike McCurry summed it up this way: very little. Foreign policy is the domain of the administrative branch of our federal government. By attacking the current policy and promising change, they've essentially written a check they can't cover -- look for some very angry voters in two years.

-- The Democrats will likely put forward legislation on issues like the environment, healthcare and minimum wage. But with only a slight majority in the House and near parity in the Senate (no matter which way the final races turn out), the Democrats will need to work with Republicans to make them stick -- they don't have the voting weight to override a presidential veto.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Saddam: Justice Served

Saddam Hussein sentenced to death by hanging by an Iraqi court yesterday for the murder of 148 Shiite men and boys.

It is a far more merciful fate than met his victims, and it covers only a tiny fraction of his crimes.

The list of his bestial crimes is long, but I'll try to summarize:

-- Repeated attacks against his neighbors, including a war with Iran that killed one million soldiers.

-- The murder of between one million and eight million of his own countryman -- victims' group continue poring through official Iraqi documents to come up with a final tally. But even the low end of these numbers puts him in the same league as Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot. Tactics ranged from rounding up and shooting the victims to gassing whole villages of civilians (see photo above);

-- Torture on an incredible level -- eyes gouged out, electric shocks to the genitals, the rape of women and children, infants tortured in front of their parents, hands lopped off, people tossed into shredding machines and vats of acid, and on and on;

-- Repeated violations of the international peace accords ending the first Gulf War, including continuing human rights abuses, failure to comply with U.N. weapons inspectors, and ardent support of global terror;

-- Continuing concealment of WMD programs despite international requirements to fully disarm and prove that he had done so;

-- The wholly corrupt oil-for-food program, which allowed Saddam to continue to collect money to support his murderous regime while lining the pockets of U.N. officials and their associates, including the son of Secretary General Kofi Annan.

One day before the elections, it's important to keep all this in mind as many anti-war candidates question why we're in Iraq.

We know why.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Left Looking Haggard

Now that we have a little more to go on in the in the Ted Haggard episode, we can intelligently analyze the facts at hand.

Lessee...bought drugs but didn't use them...had an illicit, but non-sexual, relationship with a gay male prostitute...

There's only one conclusion we can draw: Haggard is almost -- but not quite -- qualified to run for higher office as a Democrat.

*sigh* If ONLY he had taken the drugs and had sex with the guy. Maybe put his lover on the payroll in a job he was unqualified for for good measure.

Can't you just see it unfurling like a tableau? The public accusation and the fervent denial: "I did NOT have sex with that man, Mr. Jones."

Then, the evidence would appear -- surreptitious recordings, a garment of some type stained with an incriminating bodily fluid.

There would be weeks or months of media drama, hearings and various events -- accusers and defenders would battle.

And, when the evidence was irrefutable, finally the tearful confession: "I am a gay American Evangelical."

Liberals -- being the caring, accepting, tolerant bunch that they are -- would rush to embrace him. "It's nobody's business but his own," they'd say, as they praised his bravery.

A lucrative book deal would follow. Jake Gyllenhaal would play him in the motion picture adapation -- "Brokeback Pulpit," possibly.

He'd make the rounds of the chat shows -- sitting on Oprah's couch, dancing with Ellen, having tea with the ladies on The View. He'd trade laughs with Letterman, Leno and O'Brien.

He'd be the toast of Hollywood.

And before you know it, it would be 2008 and "Haggard for President" on the Democratic ticket.

If only. If only.

You see kids, this is what happens when you don't plan ahead and follow through.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Dem Vandals

Vandals defaced the Pawling offices of Republican NY Assembly candidate Greg Ball, spray painting "fascist," "fascist pig" and swastikas on the walls, reports the Journal News.

And the supergeniuses behind this spelled "fascist" wrong -- they left out the first "s."

Haven't we hit our quota for political irony and hypocrisy yet this week?

First, John Kerry appears to insult the intelligence of our troops in Iraq. Then he says he really meant to insult the intelligence of the president, who actually got slightly better grades than he did at Yale.

Now we have local "political activists" labeling a candidate they oppose a fascist, and themselves employing fascist tactics to do it. Almost like a local little version of Kristallnacht.

Ball's opponent Ken Harper immediately denounced the attack, saying "This is deplorable and it doesn't represent my values or my campaign. I personally pledge to hunt down and apprehend the perpetrators, and hand them over to the authorities."

No he didn't, although he should have.

He actually said he hopes the miscreants are caught and punished, but "People get emotional about this stuff," as if this was all just boys-will-be-boys behavior.

He then launched an attack on his opponent.

Democrats -- could they get it less?

You know, I thought these people were all supposed to be so much smarter, sensitive and tolerant than the rest of us. Apparently not.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Smell of Arrogrance

In one event, we have a summary of everything people don't like about John Kerry and the Democrats: condescension and arrogance.

It all started Monday, as Kerry was on the hustings for Democractic candidates ahead of next week's mid-term elections. He uttered the following to a group of college students:

"Education, if you make the most of it, you study hard, you do your homework and you make an effort to be smart, you can do well. And if you don't, you get stuck in Iraq.''

The apparent implication was clear -- America's military men and women are stupid. Having viewed the original video of his comments, I can think of no other interpretation of what...he...said.

The point was lost on no one, and the White House and others immediately demanded an apology.

Landing in Seattle Tuesday, Kerry explained that this comment was a "botched joke" aimed at the president-- the punchline was supposed to be "Just ask President Bush."

He declined to apologize to anyone, then launched into a diatribe:

"I'm sick and tired of a bunch of despicable Republicans who will not debate real policy, who won't take responsibility for their own mistakes, standing up and trying to make other people the butt of those mistakes. I'm sick and tired of a whole bunch of Republican attacks, the most of which come from people who never wore the uniform and never had the courage to stand up and go to war themselves."

He goes on to insult the intelligence of the president and his White House advisors, call White House spokesman Tony Snow a stuffed suit and Rush Limbaugh "doughy" -- why he dragged him in we'll never know -- and said anyone who thinks he was talking about the troops is crazy.

In other words, it's not him -- it's everyone else.

A full-blown meltdown. Read it here in the NY Times.

A couple points though:

-- If he didn't mean to insult the troops, why not simply apologize for the misunderstanding? He's responsible for it -- he's the one who muffed the line. We don't know what he meant -- we only know what he said.

-- When the president "botches" a line, people call him an idiot. Does this mean Kerry's an idiot too?

-- If Kerry really was referring to the president's academic record, what does that say about Kerry? As the Boston Globe reported last year, his GPA at Yale was slighltly lower than Bush's. So, who's the imbecile here?

Today, Kerry and the Democrats are reeling -- he finally issued a faint apology and has cancelled further campaign stops. Other Democrats have joined the call for a fuller apology.

But the damage is done and it may have an impact on next Tuesday's elections.

"I'm not offended, but this is why John Kerry lost the election," said Jana Cook, a 43-year-old advertising executive and mother of two in Olathe, Kansas, quoted in a Reuters story. "He was perceived as an elitist and those are the kind of statements an elitist makes."