More Bad News For Democrats

Campaign 2004 already seems to be going down thetubes for the Donks:

The nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 6 percent in October as companies added thousands of new jobs for the third straight month, new evidence of an improving labor market.

The Labor Department reported Friday that payrolls grew by 126,000 last month, significantly more than the 50,000 new jobs that economists had predicted. That followed a revised 125,000 new jobs in September, which initially was reported at 57,000.

U.S. companies also added new jobs in August, marking three months of hiring gains following a six-month slump. October hiring occurred across a broad swath of the business landscape, including technical services, temporary employment firms, health care, social work, education and retail.

“We can finally put the nail in the coffin of the jobless recovery,” said Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics. “We are back on a rising job track.”

Another issue slips away.








Alter on the Reagans

Jonathon Alter is making sense:

Look, Im not defending The Reagans. I have neither read the script nor seen it. (No one outside CBS has). It may well be the hit job described in leaked reports or, at a minimum, another stupid docu-drama that distorts the historical truth. Its a little tacky to be taking a lot of pot shots when the former president is ailing. More important, it is not censorship when people organize boycotts or public campaigns trying to keep something off the air. (Censorship, remember, is when the government controls what is published or broadcast). This was plain old free speech.

The rest of it is just cheap shots at Fox, the GOP, and a litany of the same old tired whining about the Democrats not having a level playing field.








Damnit, Dean!

Everything was going according to plan- Clark is proving to be a babbling idiot and keeps getting caught in lies, the Democrats are too stupid to actually nominate someone electable like Lieberman or Gephardt, and the rest of the field, other thanJohn Kerry, are distant memories. You are leading Howard- and it looks like you are well on your way to the nomination. If you would just please STFU for a few months, everything will be going precisely according to Karl Rove’s plan. As Dodd Harris notes:

Howard Dean has blown a fuse. There’s no other explanation for the fact that he “told a Tallahassee audience today that southerners have to quit basing their votes on ‘race, guns, God and gays.'” Dean, widely described as extremely intelligent, says he is trying to “reassemble a coalition of conservative southern voters like President Franklin Roosevelt had.”

Dean needs to just be quiet for a few more months until he has the nomination, and then he can say whatever he wants- in fact, I beg him to talk whenever and wherever.








Oh, Yeah!

Ricky just reminded me.

You can just put your gracious apology in the comments section, Mac Diva. Or JadeGold. Or whatever the hell you call yourself now.








Where is the Plame Brigade Now?

I found it interesting and thought you all might like to know that to date, Kevin Drum has written close to 70 posts about Valerie Plame, including this one titled NATIONAL SECURITY VS. PETTY POLITICS.

Matthew Yglesias wrote 22 posts on the subject. I am not going to bother counting the posts from the always hyperventilang Atrios and Josh Marshall. Searching Oliver’s site comes up with three google pages linking to Oliver posts about Plame.

I am not even goign to bother with Kos or Mark Kleiman or the other ‘moderates’ out there. My point is that these ‘straight-shooters’ wrote a helluva lot about the Plame affair, most of it gaseous eruptions which turned out to be unfounded. Most of them were written with a tone “That this is just outrageous! This is National Security.” They care nothing abuot national security- they care about elections. Remember this, right before Calpundit latched onto the Plame affair as his new battlefront:

If Josh Marshall and Chris Nelson are to be believed, the shit is about to hit the proverbial fan this week. After two weeks of softening up George Bush’s credibility via African uranium and the ever changing explanations for it, we’re now set for brand new battles on two fronts:

Do I really think all of these guys don’t care about national security and are just opportunistic partisan hacks? I doubt it, but it sure looks like it when they manage with all this huffing and puffing about Valerie Plame, and still, three days after the story broke, have failed to even acknowledge this story:

Congressional Republicans were livid yesterday over a staff memo in which Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats lay out a plan to gain politically from the probe into prewar intelligence.

The memo, first revealed by the Fox News Channel, outlines a plan by Democrats to cooperate with Republicans on the Intelligence Committee to squeeze information out of the Bush administration – and then surprise them next year by calling for a new independent probe while accusing the Republicans of foot-dragging.

On the Senate floor, Intelligence Committee member Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said, “I never saw the kind of blatant partisan politics that has apparently emerged as revealed in this memo.

“It is a disgusting possibility that members of the Senate would try to politicize intelligence, especially at a time of war . . . it is reprehensible.”

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the top Intelligence Committee Democrat, tried to focus on the leak of the memo, claiming it was taken from a waste bucket or through unauthorized computer access.

“The memo clearly reflects staff frustration with the conduct of the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation and the difficulties of obtaining information from the administration,” he said.

I guess leaking classified information and launching partisan investigations is ok if you are a Democrat. How the hell else am I supposed to interpret their collective silence? Why can’t I find one mention of this on any of these ‘moderates’ websites?








Bullshit, Bullshit, Bullshit

This is infuriating:

The investigation of strip club owner Michael Galardi and numerous politicians appears to be the first time federal authorities have used the Patriot Act in a public corruption probe.

Government officials said Tuesday they knew of no other instances in which federal agents investigating allegations such as racketeering and bribery of politicians have employed the act.

“I don’t know that it’s been used in a public corruption case before this,” said Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the Justice Department.

An attorney for one of the defendants in the Galardi case said he researched the matter for hours Tuesday and came to the same conclusion.

“I have discussed this with lawyers all over the country, and if the government has done this before, then this is definitely the first time it has come to light,” said Las Vegas attorney Dominic Gentile, who represents former Clark County Commissioner Lance Malone, Galardi’s lobbyist.

This is how you lose my vote with lightning speed.








So Predictable

As I predicted yesterday, the usual suspects are all in a tizzy because the Reagan mini-series has been moved from CBS to Showtime.

Let’s go through what a ‘biopic’ is supposed to be, why this is not censorship, and what they hysterics are saying.

Part One: The BioPic Itself

According to the Internet Movie Database, a biopic (a Biographic picture) is defined as “A filmed story of a person’s life story.” So we don’t get lost in the words, a biography is generally regarded (at least according to dictionary.com) as “An account of a person’s life written, composed, or produced by another.” Thus, we would assume that a biopic, or at least the final product, would have some semblance of reality, and would be a semi-accurate portrayal of an individual’s life story. Did the “Reagans” pass this smell test? Not according to some informed sources.

According to Michael Reagan, someone we would presume to have a little bit of knowledge on the topic, the picture was a smear job and had no basis in reality:

“I’ve seen eight minutes of the broadcast myself, and I do not recognize the two people who play Ronald Reagan and Nancy Reagan in this TV miniseries as anybody I’ve ever come in contact with,” Michael Reagan said in the Fox News interview.

Reagan added that California liberals “have always seen my father as a buffoon,” and he said their outrage only grew as Ronald Reagan became governor and later, president.

Michael Reagan said he was particularly upset about CBS putting words in his father’s mouth – including profanity – and making him look like he’s not compassionate. “That’s not the Ronald Reagan I know,” Michael Reagan said.

Another individual we would assume knows something about the personal lives of Ronald and Nancy Reagan also stated the portrayal of her parents did not even resemble the people she knew:

Reading the script actually made me feel better in some ways. It is, quite simply, idiotic. Everyone is a caricature, manufactured and inauthentic. My father is depicted as some demented evangelist, going on about Armageddon every chance he gets. My mother is cast as a female Attila the Hun, and I and my siblings are unrecognizable to me. There are absurdities, like depictions of Mike Deaver and political aides camping out at our house during my fathers early political career in every scene, there they are, hanging around the house day and night. I suppose this is meant to explain why, when my sister Maureen visits, my mother tells her to sleep on the floor. Funny, but I have no recollection of any of this. Nor do I remember conducting an impromptu yoga class at my wedding reception. (I promise you, no one at my wedding was chanting Om or Shanti.)

But the idiocy of the script cant dilute the cruelty behind it. To deliberately and calculatingly depict public people as shallow, intolerant, cold and inept, with no truths or facts to back up the portrayals, is nothing short of malevolent. Many of the people depicted in the script are dead Lew Wasserman, my sister Maureen, my grandparents, Don Regan. They can say nothing about their portrayals. And my father, obviously, cannot correct the lies told about him.

Any reasonable person would assume that if these two players (and as Reagan can not defend himself and Nancy has spoken through lawyers, I will stick with these two) claim the film has no basis in reality, it is not even passing the smell test. IN fact, according to the two children, it was cruel, a hit piece, wildly inaccurate, and a grotesque portrayal of Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

I understand the need for some dialogue to be fabricated, and I certainly understand the need for dramatic license. However, when attempting to pass off something as a biographical film, it would make a slight amount of sense to ask the players involved if script resembled reality. According to Michael Reagan, no one in the family was even APPROACHED to give input:

In a Fox News interview on Tuesday, Michael Reagan said none of the CBS people involved in the production of the miniseries bothered to contact him or his siblings to hear their stories about their father or to get the facts straight.

According to the children, this was not a ‘biopic,’ and there was more than just dramatic license taken here in the portrayal of the Reagan’s; this was, quite clearly, a hit piece for sweeps week.

Part Two: Why This Is Not Censorship

CBS is a profit oriented company, and as such, has a responsibility not only to the public, but to its corporate shareholders. That remains true for the shareholders who hate Reagan and those who do not. Thus, when pressured by outside forces, and faced with the prospect of being hammered and losing advertising dollars and diminishing the value of the corporation, they had no choice in the matter.

What kind of pressure did CBS face? According to the NY Times, a number of grass-roots efforts popped up, each with different little goals, all with the ultimate goal of making the film an accurate and fair portrayal of the man’s life. This was something that even liberal Democrat Leslie Moonves was trying to do:

But when CBS picked up the project, the story line had changed. While the network announced that the television movie would be a love story about the Reagans’ relationship, one executive involved in the production said the producers had made it clear in several meetings they were aiming to produce a highly controversial film. That was also the message they conveyed in an article in The New York Times on Oct. 21, that for the first time provided details about the portrayal of the Reagans, and that alerted conservative backers of the former president that the film was not going to be entirely sympathetic.

The day the article came out Mr. Moonves cleared his schedule to deal with the television movie, several CBS executives said. While he had read at least one draft of the script and had seen one day of the daily film footage, the executives said he had not closely followed the progress of the production.

Mr. Moonves emerged from the screening furious, people at CBS said. He alerted his staff members and the filmmakers that CBS would re-edit the film. One of the first scenes to go was one in which Mr. Reagan was shown saying to his wife “They that live in sin shall die in sin” when addressing the AIDS crisis. The quote, the filmmakers conceded, was fictitious.

As the editing proceeded, people at the network said, Robert Allan Ackerman, the director, removed himself from the project. Upon hearing that news, people at CBS said, the film’s stars, Mr. Brolin and Judy Davis, sent word that they would not participate in publicity for the movie.

The CBS Chairman, before any pressure is even applied, wants major editing done to the film because it is inaccurate and unfair, yet he meets stiff resistance from the Directors and the actors who were responsible for the hit piece. Meanwhile, grass roots campaigns are beginning:

Matt Drudge, whose Drudge Report is one of the more popular Web sites, soon obtained a copy of the script and regularly parsed out excerpts, which set the conservative talk radio, cable and other Internet sites back into motion.

Not sure how passing out the script is censorship. Shrug, moving right along.

On Oct. 28, the Media Research Center, a conservative group led by L. Brent Bozell that monitors the news and entertainment industries for what it sees as liberal bias, wrote a letter to a list of 100 top television sponsors urging them to “refuse to associate your products with this movie.”

Here is the whole text of his letter, and here is the money quote:

The Reagans appears to be a blatantly unfair assault on the legacy of one of Americas greatest leaders. I hope you will review the script, and if you agree, refuse to associate your products with this movie.

This is not censorship in any sense, shape, or form, and it must be re-iterated for the politically deaf- HOLLYWOOD MOVIE PRODUCERS ARE NOT THE ONLY PEOPLE WITH FREE SPEECH RIGHTS. It is a call for corporate responsibility- here are egregious slurs against a man who can not defend himself, I would like you to review the script yourself and decide whether you want your products associated with this defamation. I am not sure why this is a problem, when, as Jay Caruso ably pointed out yesterday, this is a tactic that the left loves to employ against certain talk show hosts and television personalities. Some may dislike it, but censorship it ain’t.

Other grassroots efforts regarding the movie included this:

At around the same time Michael Paranzino, a former Republican Congressional staff member from Betheseda Md., decided to start a Web site called BoycottCBS.com. He said he spent a mere $8.95 to establish the site, which called for a viewer boycott of CBS and all the sponsors of the mini-series.

Mr. Paranzino became a sort of grassroots spokesman against the television movie, appearing on conservative cable news programs including Bill O’Reilly’s on Fox News and Joe Scarborough’s on MSNBC. “We used technology that was not available 10 years ago to do in nine days what used to take months,” Mr. Paranzino said. “We created a genuine, national, grass-roots movement that forced a broadcasting titan to cancel one of its key sweeps weeks series.”

A boycott- imagine that. Why I can remember certain groups boycotting entire states, hurting even those who were sympathetic to their cause. This was merely an individual suggesting that people exercise their right to not support someone who is engaging in behavior they do not like. This is not censorship- this is my damned right as a consumer to determine where my time, money, and other resources are allocated. What timid artists Hollywood is breeding these days. Not only do they expect to be able to write, direct, and produce whatever the hell they want, now they are demanding that we have to pay attention to it.

Finally, the RNC weighed in:

Ed Gillespie, the chairman, held a teleconference with journalists calling for CBS to appoint a team of historians and associates of Mr. Reagan to review the film for accuracy. In the absence of such a committee, he said, the network should run a scroll on the bottom of the screen during the mini-series reminding viewers that “The Reagans” is a fictional account.

The Republican National Committee then started a petition drive on its Web site supporting Mr. Gillespie’s request.

So, in sum, this awful censorship boiled down to a call for corporate responsibility, consumer backlash, and a call for a ‘biographical picture’ to exhibit some standards of historical accuracy or be labeled fiction. This is a far cry from censorship, folks.

Part 3: The Hysterical Left and The Loony Responses

The most predictable aspect of this whole affair is the reaction from the Hollywood left- as usual, it is unparalleled in its over-reach and silliness. Let’s start with the Mainstream Media’s Mild Mannered Moron, Sen. Minority Leader Tom Daschle:

“It smells of intimidation to me. It sounds to me like they were intimidated and making decisions that reversed earlier ones. And I’m disappointed.

“I think any time occasions arise when the essence of the judgment made by television producers is influenced by outside forces,” Daschle added, “we have to call into question whether that level of intimidation is appropriate.

“Clearly, we’re all paying the price,” Daschle continued. “Whether or not this was the right decision is something left to others to make, but it does again raise the specter of just how powerful some of these special interest groups truly are today.”

Of course, this is not the first time Daschle has been disappointed. Or dismayed. Or upset. Or concerned. Unlike our esteemed Minority Leader, I am predicting life will go on without any grave consequences.

Hollywood resident lunatic, Gebhart adviser, and DNC lackey Barbra Streisand had this to say:

I am deeply disappointed that CBS, the network that in 1964 gave me complete artistic control in creating television specials, now caved in to right wing Republican pressure to cancel the network broadcast of the movie The Reagans. (And I say MOVIE – because this is NOT a documentary – it’s a television drama.) The movie will now be aired on Showtime, where the difference in viewership is in the millions…

This is censorship, pure and simple. Well, maybe not all that pure. Censorship never is. Due to their experience with the restrictive English government, the framers of our constitution specifically included a ban on prior restraint in the First Amendment, which is an attempt to stop information from getting out there before the public has a chance to see it at all – exactly what is going on in this case. Of course, CBS as a company has the legal right to make decisions about what they do and do not air. However, these important decisions should be based on artistic integrity rather than an attempt to appease a small group of vocal dissidents. Indeed, today marks a sad day for artistic freedom – one of the most important elements of an open and democratic society.

Clearly, this is a disappointing group of people. My favorite part of the silliness from Babs is the declaration that this is ‘censorship, pure and simple’ followed by her own argument outlining explicitly how it isn’t censorship. Atta girl, Babs!

Politically Incorrect Bill Maher was dragged out of the Playboy Mansion Grotto long enough to issue this terse statement:

“It looks so bad,” said Bill Maher, whose late night show, “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher,” was canceled by ABC shortly after he remarked that the Sept. 11 terrorists could not be called cowards. “It looks like they’re caving in to pressure from one side. Why not let people decide?”

There are more responses, but why bother. This is already too long, and by now you get the point. This may have been a number of things, including a really bad, unfair, and inaccurate portrayal of Reagan, but this was by no means censorship. In fact, everyone can tune in to Showtime and watch it when it airs there. Somewhere, Ray Bradbury is laughing. At Hollywood.








Terry Power!

I see that DNC Chairman Terry McAullife’s winning streak continues- the Kentucky governorship has gone to the GOP for the first time in 32 years, and with 82% of the votes counted in Mississippi, Haley Barbour is leading Ronnie Musgrove 53%-45%. And before the Democrats try to claim they were not attempting to make this an election a referendum on Bush, let’s look at what the NY Times has to say about that:

Mississippi Democrats criticized Barbour as a “Washington insider” as President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other top GOP officials came to campaign for him.

In Kentucky, party activists argued that a vote for Chandler would tell the White House its economic policy is a failure.

State Republican Chairwoman Ellen Williams said Bush helped swing the race in western Kentucky, a conservative Democratic area which both campaigns said was crucial. Bush “lit that district on fire,” she said. “The people in that part of the state are in line with Bush’s conservative values.”

The WaPo filed this report:

President Bush invested his own political capital in yesterday’s two gubernatorial elections a year before he will face the voters himself. Bush, Vice President Cheney and other Republican luminaries raised money for Barbour and Fletcher. Saturday, in a final push, the president appeared at rallies in Mississippi and Kentucky with the two GOP hopefuls at his side.

National party organizations also weighed in. The Republican Governors Association (RGA) donated $4 million to Barbour’s campaign, more than any candidate for governor of Mississippi had ever raised. The Democratic Governors’ Association (DGA) countered by giving Musgrove $2 million. The two campaigns spent almost $18 million, triple the previous record for a gubernatorial contest in Mississippi.

All together now- the reason Democrats are losing is because voters don’t know what Democrats stand for and they just have to do a better job selling themselves. Snicker. Plus, this is the South, and everyone in the South is racist and therefore votes for the GOP. Why, Gosh Durn IT, some Dixiecrats became Republicans! The Democrats are being punished for being so good about Civil Rights by all those damn racist rednecks! If only the Republicans did not have a stranglehold on the Klan vote- why, then Democrats would win in the South!

Personally, I blame the losses on too few appearances from Nancy Pelosi and other national Democrats. That and the fact that they simply did not print enought ‘Bush = Hitler’ or ‘Bush Lied, People Died’ bumper stickers. Maybe they should have promised to rescind the tax cuts more, or tried harder to pin Enron on Bush. I thought they were really getting somewhere with the faux yellowcake scandal. Let’s give Joe Wilson and David Corn a couple more weeks!

Seriously, though. I predict the Democrats will have more success once they get their real message out- withdrawal from Iraq (they dont really want everyone to leave- they just want the UN in! It’s that simple!), raising the minimum wage to $10.00, giving the UN veto rights on the military and national security, abortion on demand, ending the death penalty, adding layers of regulations on landowners to appease the environmental lobby, raising taxes (cuz you don’t pay your ‘fair share’), killing school choice, increasing handgun controls, insisting all southerners are racist, enabling all illegal aliens nationwide to have driver’s licenses, and all their other issues. Once Democrats get the message out- why- the sky is the limit! They might win…. Boston and Manhattan.

*** Update ***

The VodkaPundit comments.








Cat Update

I forgot to mention- Oliver came back this morning after 40 hours missing. I was driving around town looking for him this morning for about an hour, came back, and there he was on the doorstep, sassing me for having the audacity to lock him out.

BONUS- No one has urinated on anything in three days.








Talking Down The Economy

In the comments section of a previous post about the economy (yesterday we had good news- today we get bad employment news), it was stated that Bush was never accused of talking down the economy after being elected (yes- he was elected) in 2000. One more time, let’s go through one of the most idiotic charge the Democrats have ever made about Bush.

After being elected on a platform of tax cuts, Bush started to note that not only were Americans overtaxed in these times of huge budget surpluses, but that the bubble had burst, the glow was off the economy and had been for a while, and that tax cuts might be necessary to serve as a stimulus:

Mr Bush has said he sees “warning signs of a possible slow-down”, and has proposed tax cuts of $1.3 trillion over a 10-year period.

“I believe strongly that tax relief is part of the prescription for any economic ill that our nation may have,” he said.

Democrats responded with all the sound and fury that they could muster on an issue as horrifying to them as tax cuts (too bad Hussein didn’t try to cut taxes in Iraq- we might have even had Kucinich and Pelosi onboard), and claimed that Bush was talking down the economy for partisan gain:

On Thursday, US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers (ed.- under Clinton) rejected bleak Republican predictions, saying the economy was “healthy and poised for moderate growth”.

President-elect Bush and his team are actually talking down our economy, (and) injecting more fear and anxiety

His remarks followed accusations made by Democrats and economists that Mr Bush and his staff were attempting to “talk down” the economy for political ends.

Some commentators suggest Mr Bush is seeking to bolster the case for his proposed $1.3 trillion tax cut and to pin the blame for any further economic downturn firmly on the outgoing administration.

“What you’re seeing is President-elect Bush and his team actually talking down our economy, (and) injecting more fear and anxiety into the economy than is justified,” said Gene Sperling, an economic advisor to President Clinton.

Newsmax had this coverage:

The Clinton White House on Thursday warned President-elect Bush to watch what he says about a possible economic downturn because such statements might become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The White House claimed that most experts predict solid but modest growth and not a recession.

“When most experts are still projecting solid growth and a soft landing, a new president should not be hurting confidence by talking down his economy,” White House National Economic Adviser Gene Sperling said…

“It is important to be guarded and measured in what you say about the economy,” White House Press Secretary Jake Siewart said Thursday. Siewart said that most analysts agreed the economy would grow by around 2.5 percent next year and that statements to the contrary could be detrimental.

“It is important for an economic team that is part of the government to be careful about what they say,” Siewart said. “People take these comments very seriously.”

White House officials said privately that Bush was trying to lower expectations on the economy just as he did on his performance before the presidential debates so that an average economic performance will seem like a win.

Vice President-elect Dick Cheney said the Bush campaign was not making any such statements for political gain.

“We have tried to be very precise and accurate about our statements,” Cheney said after a meeting Thursday with Connecticut Democratic Sen. Joe Lieberman. “We don’t want to talk down the economy, clearly. And I think both President-elect Bush and myself have tried to be cautious in that regard. But there does seem to be a lot of evidence out there that the economy is slowing down some,” Cheney noted.

But President Clinton chose Thursday to don rose-colored glasses. At a White House ceremony where he signed the last budget bill of his administration, Clinton claimed the economy was strong. “We are now in the longest economic expansion in our nation’s history,” Clinton said.

Quest for the Presidency had this report:

In their final days, Clinton administration officials consider the long economic boom their greatest accomplishment — and Republican doubts cast a shadow on that legacy. Many Democrats also believe that Bush, facing skepticism in his own party about the wisdom of a 10-year, $1.3 trillion tax cut, will use the cooling economy to boost support for tax relief as a stimulus to spur growth.

“They’ve been looking for a reason to do a tax cut for a long time,” said Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota. “They may have seized upon the best one yet. This certainly adds fuel to the fire.”

… “It looks like it’s slowing down a little bit,” said Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., after a meeting Thursday with Vice President-elect Dick Cheney. “But you’ve got to look at it in perspective because the economy has been pumping away at an extraordinary rate. In some ways, we’re way above the norm.”

Sperling, however, said “98 percent” of economic experts are projecting a “soft landing” for the economy — less-spectacular growth with continued low unemployment and low inflation — and continued negative assessments from Bush and Cheney could “become a self-fulfilling prophecy where they encourage consumers and investors to have less confidence than is warranted.”

“Part of making the transition from a campaign to governing is understanding that your words and signals themselves can have an impact on the economy,” Sperling said.

Is this enough sources, or do I need to put more up?

The next time you hear Democrats screaming about Bush the Miserable Failure, perhaps you might ask them about their own wildly irresponsible claims that everything was just hunky-dory with the economy. Everyone on the planet knew the economy was tanking from Q2 2000 on, yet here the Democrats are claiming it is Bush ‘talking down’ an otherwise vibrant economy that is ‘healthy and poised for moderate growth.’

Vice President-elect Dick Cheney appeared to tone down his rhetoric on Thursday, having previously warned that the United States might be on the “front edge of a recession”.

“We don’t want to talk down the economy, clearly, and I think both President Bush and I have tried to be cautious in that regard,” he said.

Well how bout that- Cheney was right- unfortunately, and it was and is clear when the actual economic downturn started. I am so sick and tired of going through this over and over again. If you want to claim that Bush has not done enough forthe economy, make your case. I am not sure how not cutting taxes, raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment benefits, and nationalizing healthcare would have turned the economy around (the only Democrat plans I have heard in the last three years), but at least that is an argument.

The Democrat claims that Bush caused this bad economy, or that he is somehow responsible for the growth in productivity and reliance on outsourcing that are leading to the slow recovery in employment numbers, and the statement that they never accused Bush of talking down the economy is just sheer bullshit. It is such nonsense I should probably call it Scheer nonsense, in honor of Bob Scheer.

For more on the ‘talking down the economy nonsense,’ check out this snarky piece inthe Washington Dispatch:

In a meeting with Senator Joe Lieberman on December 21, 2000, Vice President-Elect Dick Cheney said, We dont want to talk down the economy, clearly. And I think both President-Elect Bush and myself have tried to be cautious in that regard. But there does seem to be a lot of evidence out there that the economy is slowing down some.

President-Elect Bush echoed Cheneys comments when, as he was introducing Paul ONeill as the next Treasury Secretary, he said, Our economy is showing warning signs of a possible slowdown.

Democrats quickly lambasted Cheney, Bush, and other soon-to-be Bush Administration officials who made similar comments, while arguing that economic growth was still relatively strong. Clintons Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers charged that the economy was healthy and poised for moderate growth. Gene Spaulding, an economic advisor to Clinton, was less diplomatic than Summers, as he said, What youre seeing is President-Elect Bush and his team actually talking down our economy and injecting more fear and anxiety in the economy than is justified.

Incredibly, democrats who had spent upwards of a year claiming that Bush was an imbecile and barely able to tie his shoes were suddenly arguing that Bush had a mystical power over the economy. Of course, history shows that the Bush team was correct in their assertion and democrats were wrong. The non-partisan National Bureau of Economic Research stated that business activity peaked in March 2001 after exactly ten years of business expansion. Therefore, the business expansion began nearly two years before Bill Clinton took office and ended two months after Clinton left the Oval Office. In the final two full quarters of the Clinton Presidency, real annualized Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth fell to anemic levels of 0.6% and 1.1%, respectively.

One meme down, a million more to go.








She Speaks The Truth- And Will Probably Be Punished For It

Teresa Heinz Kerry screwed up yesterday, and actually spoke the truth about the idiotic Democrat debates (and I have no doubt if there were nine Republicans, it would be just as idiotic):

Teresa Heinz Kerry, the wife of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, says nine-way presidential debates are “silly” and a waste of time for the candidates and the voters.

“I don’t think it really helps the American people, I don’t think it helps the candidates,” Heinz Kerry told the Boston Herald in an interview published Tuesday, the same day her husband was to face his rivals in a debate in his home town.

Heinz Kerry said debates have become about scoring a punch with quick soundbites.

“It’s just silly,” she said. “I think those debates are really unproductive and they made it hard for all of them to (get their message across).”

Speak it, sister. These debate formats are absurd, and the winner every time they have held one is George Bush. These formats, as she has stated, are all about souindbites, and that is the only reason every time they have had one of these debates it has been all about the vile Al Sharpton. In fact, it appears the Rev. Al was up to his usual tricks tonight:

A heated exchange between the candidates erupted when Cooper asked former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean to clarify his recent remark that he wanted to be the candidate for “guys with Confederate flags on their pickup trucks.”

“Martin Luther King said that it was his dream that the sons of slaveholders and the sons of slaves sit down around a table and make common good,” Dean said.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said, “First of all, Martin Luther King said, ‘Come to the table of brotherhood.’ You can’t bring a Confederate flag to the table of brotherhood.”

Sharpton went on to address Dean: “You are not a bigot, but you appear to be too arrogant to say, ‘I’m wrong,’ and go on.”

Dean did not back down: “We’re not going to win this country, and even worse, Democrats, if we don’t have a big tent.”

Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina later said, “Unless I missed something, Governor Dean still has not said he was wrong. Were you wrong, Howard?”

“No, I wasn’t, John Edwards, because people who vote who fly the Confederate flag, I think they are wrong because I think the Confederate flag is a racist symbol,” Dean said.

“But I think there are lot of poor people who fly that flag because the Republicans have been dividing us by race since 1968 with their Southern race strategy.”

Those wascally wepublicans and their southern strategy. Actually, idiots, you have been dividing yourself with your own southern strategy for the last 20 years. At any rate, tersea Kerry was right- and her husband will probably pay the price.

BTW- All the candidates were asked if they ever used pot, and Lieberman, Clark, Sharpton(good thing they didn’t ask about any failed coke deals, right Al?) and Kucinich (who I think is on acid) said no, only Mosely-Braun had the dignity to refuse to answer (good for her- and I am as shocked as anyone to be praising CMB), and Dean, Edwards, and Kerry said yes. Assholes- that was the perfect opportunity for all of you to say “It is none of your damned business, and it is none of the government’s business either.”








Uh Oh- They are Learning

If the DNC reads this Max Sawicky post, they might be able to stave off their free-fall into irrelvance:

Dean’s comments about seeking the votes of people who put Confederate flag stickers on their trucks are not objectionable; they are praiseworthy. The other candidates are indulging in cheap moral posturing and race politics. As public policy, we can criticize hanging the Stars and Bars on the Courthouse without futile attempts to marginalize individuals for their own choices in this vein.

What’s at stake is whether we are going to have class politics in the U.S. Cultural conservatism, which in the South can include some type of sentimentality for the Lost Cause, or resentment of what is perceived as excess in the name of civil rights, should not be treated as an enemy ideology. I am not talking about adherence to segregation in public accommodations, denial of the right to vote, or other obvious breaches of democracy that nobody in good faith could endorse.

Coalitions are about reaching understandings through dialogue and/or compromise with people of different views. The Democratic Party needs to be a coalition of working people. It needs to ease up on cultural and social liberalism. I mean fetishes about gun control and tobacco. It needs to stop pretending that Southern whites are more racist than other people. It needs to welcome the “seamless web” Catholics who oppose both abortion and the death penalty. It needs to stop overselling rehabilitation and underselling punishment. It needs to find ways of establishing reasonable environmental regulation other than on the backs of workers. What it endorses as a party is ideally the outcome of a rational debate and compromise on these issues. For some, one or another such compromise could be a ‘deal-breaker.’ So be it. That’s the process we need. The constant and lodestar should be an unwavering commitment to the living standards of working people, and opposition to the corporativist, war-mongering ways of the Republican Party.

Granted, I do not necessarily agree with his final remarks about the Republican Party, but if Democrats ever intend to win again, they need to stop acting like the only people who live in the South are the Dixie Chicks and a few former slaves. To show you what Max’swing of the Democrat party is up against, a commenter to this very reasonable post from Max attempted to do just what Max had cautioned against- ‘cheap moral postuing and race politics’- when he said:

Max: you think you can win majority support for your “progressive” economic agenda returning the socially marginal–uppity blacks, feminist women, gays–to their proper places at the back of the Democratic Party bus. To which I can only say, not with my vote you won’t, pal. This is the same game the smart-ass White Boys at the DLC have been playing for years (albeit with a very different economic agenda from yours). Well, here’s a news flash for you *and* the Bubbas: that game’s over.

-and-

And I find his empathy, if not sympathy, for the neo-Confederates deeply repugnant. If they are not representatives of an “enemy ideology,” then I don’t know who is.

Max’s response:

*** wants to have his/her cake and eat it too. Also his/her pie, sorbet, and chocolate mousse. If the full plate of progressive positions was a going political concern, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. So demanding it embodies a desire for political irrelevance, or some kind of elaborate wishful thinking. Multiple organizing principles mean no principles at all.

The rest of your argument is just inflating my words until they look like something ugly. Sorry but opposition to affirmative action does not equal racism; opposition to gay marriage does not equal homophobia; etc. I don’t have those positions, but making any deviation from liberal orthodoxy on them into a moral indictment is obnoxious and, as we have all seen, spectacularly ineffective politics. If you want to bear moral witness, I suggest joining a monastery or a trotskyist sect.

It just sounds so much better when a limousine liberal is smacked down by a progressive than when they are smacked down by a conservative.








More Great Interviews

John Hawkins has two great interviews up that you should read. The first is with Bernard Goldberg, the second with Michael Medved. Go check them both out.








Primary Concerns

I am of the opinion that the primary process is broken. How do we fix it?








The Real Enemy

David Brooks, in a moment of real clarity, points out who the enemy is in Iraq:

Um Haydar was a 25-year-old Iraqi woman whose husband displeased Saddam Hussein’s government. After he fled the country in 2000, some members of the Fedayeen Saddam grabbed her from her home and brought her out on the street. There, in front of her children and mother-in-law, two men grabbed her arms while another pulled her head back and beheaded her. Baath Party officials watched the murder, put her head in a plastic bag and took away her children.

Try to put yourself in the mind of the killer, or of the guy with the plastic bag. You are part of Saddam’s vast apparatus of rape squads, torture teams and mass-grave fillers. Every time you walk down the street, people tremble in fear. Everything else in society is arbitrary, but you are absolute. When you kill, your craving for power and significance is sated. You are infused with the joy of domination.

These are the people we are still fighting in Iraq. These are the people who blow up Red Cross headquarters and U.N. buildings and fight against democracy and freedom. They are the scum of the earth. And they are being joined in their lairs by the flotsam and jetsam of the terrorist world.
Their scumminess is our great advantage. People like this will never lead a popular insurgency. They have nothing positive to offer normal, decent people. They survive only by cruelty and the power of intimidation.

Meanwhile, in a display of the shallow fecklessness typical of those on the far left or those whose only concern is attacking this administration so that Democrats may have electoral success in 2004, Josh Marshall is concerned only with the language used to describe the enemy:

Were again seeing the importance of language in politics. Or, more specifically, the way that orotund, abstract language can obfuscate truth-telling, accountability, and just simple facing of reality.

We hear again and again how all the bombings and mayhem are obscuring all the good things that are happening in Iraq. But this is like how the thunderstorm obscures the underlying sunny day.

Watching Paul Bremer today on CNN I was struck by his use of language like enemies of freedom and terrorists to describe the people were fighting in the country (these are from my recollection, the precise phrases may be different.) People who kill soldiers are not, at least not by definition, terrorists. Theyre guerillas or insurgents. This isnt a matter of cutting them slack, but one of precision. And precision is required to know what were doing, what were trying to do, and how we can get from clarifying what our goals are to finding effective means to pursue their implementation.

Ahh, the impotent left. For Josh’s edification, they are terrorists, they are enemies of freedom, and they are guerillas and insurgents. This isn’t a moment of ‘precision’ for you, this is a moment of political opportunism, another transparent attempt to call the administration a bunch of liars and to invoke Orwell.

It kind of reminds me of most college universities- the med school is trying to cure AIDS, while the Women’s Studies Department and English Departments are doing rhetorical analysis on the impact of AIDS portrayals in the media on homosexual self-esteem, or an in depth critical analsysis from a feminist perspective on how AIDS ‘disempowers’ disproportionately those afflicted with the disease, or a qualitative analysis showing how the BiGLM community has been stigmatized by the rhetoric of AIDS. In other words, it makes your damn head hurt, but it does provide a moment of clarity- who are you going to listen to regarding the issue of AIDS? The Med. School or the English Department?

Jeff Jarvis thrashes Marshall and Atrios for the attempted ‘PC takeover.’ Good for you, Jeff.