Saturday, January 31

Bush To Investigate Himself 

And Cheney, of course.

"Bush had rejected an independent investigation amid White House fears of a political witchhunt by Democrats hoping to unseat him in elections this year, but began in recent days to reconsider the position.

'I want the American people to know that I, too, want to know the facts,' Bush told reporters on Friday."

This is, I admit, an odd strategy in an election year, but maybe it is just a set-up to be able to say "The Democrats are wasting taxpayer dollars on a politically-motivated witchhunt" later on down the line. Dumb americans will have forgotten that Bush himself wanted the investigation.

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Thursday, January 29

Dirty Tricks Part II 

It wasn't the Republicans, but we love this stuff. It's so... mean-spirited. And it created 1000 jobs a month or so ago in the telecommunications industry, I think.

"The Dean campaign keeps fingering the Kerry camp, and it's hard to see who else might be responsible.

The calls were targeted at Dean in Iowa and NH -- the two states that were must-wins for both Dean and Kerry. Gephardt might've been behind a robo-calling effort in Iowa, but he'd have no reason to do the same in NH.

Who else, the Republicans? Problem is that by all reports, these robo calls have specifically targeted Dean's '1s' and '2s'. That level of sophistication would require an extent of polling unlikely from the GOP. Only Kerry would have conducted the type of polling identifying levels of support for Dean in both Iowa and NH.

So it's all anecdotal, but the evidence suggests dirty tricks from the Kerry campaign. The thought literally makes me want to puke (some of the calls suggest Dean is not a real Christian because he's married to a Jew). None of the other candidates have faced this type of puke tactics, so there's only one guy engaging in it.

God help Kerry if real evidence emerges. "

Daily Kos, thanks for the tip. We'll get our people on it and nail Kerry, even if he's innocent. For practice.

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Sen. Edwards' Record 

I recently heard John Edwards give a speech, and it struck me how liberal he sounds these days. Edwards' reputation as a liberal fire-breather is at curious odds with his track record as one-term senator. For example, Edwards, evidently in a move to look "tough" and presidential was the first to endorse Mr. Bush's rush to invade Iraq in mid-September 2002; then, sensing the public's hesitancy, back-pedaled and sniped at Bush's foreign policy. Edwards embraced Bush's "No Child Left Behind", which disqualifies teachers with decades' worth of experience; then, hearing from teachers and families in Iowa how rotten the legislation was turning out to be, back-pedaled yet again and reversed his earlier support of the Republican legislation. Edwards felt compelled to hire a "rural liaison" in the summer of 2002 to show how in touch he was with rural voters. Evidently as part of Edwards' Southern strategy to win conservative voters' support, Edwards has reached out to Hootie and the Blowfish to play at a campaign event, helped sponsor a racecar in an Iowa racing series, and talked with several NASCAR drivers about their making campaign appearances for candidates Edwards is helping in Virginia. Edwards also has David Saunders, his rural liaison, composing a bluegrass song all about Edwards' rural upbringing in the Carolinas. Yet when Howard Dean announced a similar Southern strategy intended to bring in the "voter with a pickup truck" and a Confederate Flag on back, Edwards attacked him on a televised debate sponsored by MTV. I suspect that Edwards attacked Dr. Dean not because he said "confederate" but because he thought Dean had stepped into his territory.

Don't you find Edwards' efforts to reach out to poor white Southerners to be calculated, not to mention insincere? The question is will the rural voter see through the senator's slick, moneyed Insider image or be taken in by "Bubba"? When Edwards signed a memorandum to Iowa precinct captains the weekend before the Iowa Caucus ordering them to attempt to win voters to his side by calling Dean "an elitist from Park Avenue in New York City", isn't that hypocritical especially considering that Gov. Howard Dean is from rural Vermont whereas Senator Edwards lives in a million-dollar townhouse in the well-to-do Washington neighborhood of Georgetown? Lately, Gov. Dean has been the victim of dirty tricks, not from the Republicans, but from his Democratic opponents. Or are these dirty tricks actually borderline criminal behavior? According to one Dean supporter in Essex County, New York, the chairman of the state's Democratic Rural Caucus, Stuart Brody, he received an abusive phone call "two or three weeks ago" lasting about a minute and featuring an older male voice with a Jewish inflection, who sounded as if he was reading from a script. The voice blasted Dean for a remark calling for an "even-handed" approach to the Middle East. One New Hampshire voter, quoted in the New York Times, said she had received a phone call questioning Dean's Christian faith and his marriage to Judith Steinberg, who is Jewish. Is besmirching a candidate for his marriage to a woman of Jewish faith also part of Edwards' Southern strategy to win rural white conservative votes? Hiring a detective to investigate possible criminal behavior on the part of Sen. Edwards might just supply the answer to that question.

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Wednesday, January 28

Long Strange Trippi 

Dean boots Trippi, offers to Neel. That's right, the architect of the Dean campaign is being replaced.

"Governor Dean asked Roy Neel to join the campaign CEO and Joe Trippi resigned as campaign manager,' said Dean campaign spokeswoman Tricia Enright.

Dean offered Trippi a spot on the payroll as a senior adviser, a source said, but he decided to quit the campaign rather than accept the demotion. "

This is certainly an interesting turn of events. Trippi was almost as well known as Doctor Dean himself within the campaign, sending regular e-mails to supporters and appearing on TV talking about websites and voters. Perhaps the campaign felt that changing pitchers now was good for the game.

The new pitcher comes from Gore's dugout.

Trippi is smart, and may have been planning this all along. "I'll get you known, then toss me if anything goes wrong and get some more press..." It's certainly the sneaky sort of thing Rove and I dream up over drinks.

Kerry tossed his staff, started some sneaky behind-the-scenes tricks, and look how he has done.

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Tuesday, January 27

Cartoonist for Not-Kerry 

Ted Rall makes some interesting points about this election.

"Bush is a disaster. He has nearly bankrupted the federal government and many states with his profligate spending policies. He has planted the seed of fascism in the highest levels of government with his concentration camp, red-baiting and increased surveillance powers for Das Homeland. And it's a fair bet that he's planning more unwinnable wars for 2005. The Democratic Party needs its best chance at defeating him this fall, and that chance isn't in the form of John Kerry.

I fear that too many Democrats, and too many Americans, don't get it. If Bush wins this election, there may never be another one.

If you live in New Hampshire, vote Dean."

Now, how did Mr. Rall know that we planned on cancelling elections in the future? Could it be all the laws we're passing to consolidate control within the fortress we call the White House? Could it be MSNBC talking about Jeb's second term? Or maybe it was the talking points we faxed around to Novak?

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Poll shows Dean fightback in New Hampshire Even as Last Minute Dirty Tricks By Anti-Dean Opponents 

Screaming voices in the night. Accusations from Kerry campaign callers to Dean supporters that Dean's Christian faith and wife Judy's Jewish faith are somehow suspect. What's all the nonsense about? It's called 11th hour dirty tricks and John Kerry is an old pro at it:

The Indpendent:

"In its last 24 hours, a previously polite campaign heated up as Mr Dean accused his opponents of using dirty tricks. "Unfortunately we are seeing a few of these in the Democratic primary," he said. "It's not nice but you get used to it." But campaign staff said potential Dean voters had been receiving phone calls, faxes and e-mails distorting his policy positions, and accusing the former governor of pretending to be Christian when his wife and children were Jewish."

The New York Times:

With End Near in New Hampshire, a Day for Final Jabs

A Dean spokesman, Jay Carson, later said that Dean supporters in New Hampshire had received pestering late-night and early-morning phone calls, including some that consisted only of a screaming voice. He also complained about messages posted on pro-Dean Internet sites offering paid campaign internships that do not exist but warning that gay men, lesbians and non-Christians need not apply.

The Dean campaign supplied reporters with telephone numbers of some supporters it claimed had been harassed. One of them, Frances Gehling, a volunteer in Londonderry, said she received a phone call last week from a woman who identified herself as a volunteer for Mr. Kerry.

"She tried to persuade me not to vote for Dean," Ms. Gehling said. "She asked me if I was concerned that he was hypocritical for talking during campaign events about Christian values while he's married to a Jewish woman."

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Sunday, January 25

Cheney Takes Questions on Empire 

He's having so much fun...and hands the hard questions to a great statesman known for diplomatic wisdom - Lynne Cheney.

"Asked on Saturday whether he considered the United States to be an empire, Vice President Dick Cheney had the perfect dodge: Ask my wife.

Lynne Cheney was responsible, the vice president said, for the quote from Benjamin Franklin on the family Christmas card: 'If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?'...

The United States has deployed its military might to depose dictators and empires, Cheney said. But then America withdraws its forces to U.S. shores 'without any aggrandizement, in terms of territory, or any of the other trappings of empire,' he said...

Also, he said, if the United States were a true empire, 'We would certainly preside over a much greater piece of the earth's surface than we currently do.'"

See, we're not an empire because we don't own everything, yet. We're working on it, though, and when we do... don't call the emperor and emperor. It looks delicious, by the way. Could you please pass the oil? I'd like an extra helping of South America, when you get a chance.

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Cheney Escapes; Studies Roman Empire 

Dick tours Rome:

Vice President Dick Cheney left his motorcade behind to take a 15-minute stroll through Rome on Sunday...

"Good walk. Nice way to start the day," Cheney said after he and his wife, Lynne Cheney, and daughter, Liz, arrived at the Villa Borghese. "Beautiful walk through Rome."

"We saw an eagle," Mrs. Cheney added.

After sightseeing, Cheney was expected to watch lions eat men with senior U.S. officials in Rome.

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