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:: Thursday, November 11, 2004 ::

Dean and the DNC

One last thought on the DNC spot: Dean should get it for the simple reason that he's been doing the job ever since he dropped out of the primaries. He lost, he conceded, and began to stump for Kerry while building an organization to funnel money and volunteers to down-ticket Democratic races.

Isn't that the DNC chair's job? Raise money, support the party, and support races up and down the ticket?

And tangential to this, regarding the DLC, Kerry's Iowa victory, and Clinton's "Third Way" (it keeps coming up in reference to Dean) let me point out this: Kerry's path -- which was Clinton's and the DLC's -- lost. Clinton's strategy has never worked for anyone but the Big Dog. It failed for Gore, it failed for Kerry, and it's failed for quite a few Congressmen. We might have won the Presidency twice, but we lost it twice too. And the House and the Senate to boot.

So yeah, Dean's different than Clinton. Thank God.
:: Morat 12:59 PM :: ::

Fallujah Update

Troops stage night attack into southern Fallujah. Reading between the lines:
  • Funny how CENTCOM and the US Army's Hospital spokesman had different casualty figures.
  • It appears while we're playing "Find the Insurgents" in Fallujah, they're having a grand time in Mosul, ransacking police stations and generally running amok. Mosul, by the way, is a lot larger than Fallujuh.
  • Stuff is still blowing up and killing people in Baghdad.
  • Oh good. We blew up a Mosque AND arrested a Sunni cleric for agitating for Iraqis to desert their Guard units. That's a good PR move there.
  • Oooh! We raided the homes of several other clerics who threatened to boycott the elections. That's another smart move!
  • More insurgents in Baiji. We suck at "Whack-a-mole".
  • 600 insurgents killed? That means only 1400 to go! (Or perhaps 4400. The initial estimate was 2000 to 5000).
In short: Not doing us any good. We're blowing up a city (yes, the precision striking ability of AC-130s and 155mm artillery shells can't be overstated!), I don't really trust our body counts (insurgents don't wear a uniform and most Iraqis have guns), and it appears that there are enough insurgents outside of Iraq to more or less blow up whatever they feel like.

I'm sure the warfloggers will see the nice, pretty explosions, ejaculate, and then come blog about how we showed those 'terrorists' why they shouldn't fuck with America, and proclaim "Mission Accomplished" while prancing around in their Official George Bush Flight Suit Underoos.

In the meantime, I'm guessing the dying is only beginning. I don't think it's wise to be blowing up mosques, leveling a city, and arresting prominent clerics (especially those whose only apparent crimes lay in speaking out) during Ramadan. Might as well send the Marines out to bitch-slap nuns at Christmas in order to win over the Catholics.
:: Morat 11:59 AM :: ::

:: Wednesday, November 10, 2004 ::

Spineless Liberals

That's what the GOP calls us. "Spineless liberals". And they're right. And it's what's killing us in the Red States. How the hell can we be trusted to stand up to terrorists and rogue nations if we can't even stand up for ourselves?

Think back over the primaries. Think about the current conversation about the DNC chair. What do you see? You see Democrats trying to pick candidates that are "safe" from the GOP. Don't want to pick someone too liberal, or too angry, or too short, or too young, or whatever....

That doesn't work. It's a sign of weakness. People -- Red State AND Blue -- look at that and can tell the GOP is the boss. You want electoral success? You want people to trust us? Stop rolling over to the GOP. We pick the candidates, we pick the DNC chair, we pick the issues. Screw what the GOP wants or fears or desires. It's not their candidate, not their chair, not their issues.

We lose because we let the GOP -- or fear of them -- define us. We've become that one annoying kid that's always sucking up to the jocks, hoping not to get beaten up this time.

It's time we stood up for ourselves. It's time we picked the people who represent us. Who represent our issues. If we're going to lose (which seems to be the recent pattern. Only Ross Perot got Clinton elected), we might as well do so fighting for what we believe. And not what we think might get us elected.
:: Morat 8:37 AM :: ::

:: Tuesday, November 09, 2004 ::

Fallujah

Reading between the lines of the Fallujah assault paints an unappealing picture:

  • "Reached the city center" is pretty meaningless lacking information on where the insurgents are resisting. Governments need to hold city centers. Not an insurgency
  • Losing 11 men on Monday outside Fallujah, rather than inside, does not bode well.
  • Hundreds of insurgents running around Ramdi doesn't really make me think taking Fallujah will somehow "kill" the insurgency. It appears the insurgents aren't keen to lose, and keep moving. They're very selfish that way.
  • I like the way it's described as "Marines and some Iraqis". How many is some? 100? 500? There's 10,000 or so Marines involved in this. Unless there's a few thousand Iraqis helping out, we're doing the work while they found something better to do. Not that I can really blame them.
  • It appears the official US casualty numbers might be -- and this is a shocker -- a bit understated. Go figure.
In short, it appears that the fighting is rather bloody, done primarily by Marines, and even if we're wildly successful in terms of taking over Fallujah (isn't this the third or fourth time we've done that?) it's not going to make any difference, because now they're running around in Ramdi.
:: Morat 9:03 AM :: ::

Thoughts for the Democratic Party

Want to win in 2006? Then I suggest you make sure that every time I see a GOP talking head spazzing about the "latest and greatest" GOP plan, I see a Democrat there forcefully articulating how the GOP plan is doomed to failure, whereas the Democratic plan would succeed beyond anyone's wildest dreams.

What I don't want to see is lame-ass "moderates" agreeing how the GOP plan is "just fine, with a few minor modifications". No Woody Allen-type, mushy-mouthed naysaying.

You want people to see there's an alternative? Then you better shout it. Because the Right-Wing Echo Chamber is pretty damn loud.

I'm sick to death of "Their plan, only done better". Especially when their plans suck. And especially when their plans are complete bullshit.

Why not start now? Bush is planning some big tax cuts, Social Security Privitization, fixing the AMT, reforming the tax code and cutting the deficit in half. Every time I see someone pushing that little pie-in-the-sky fantasy, I better damn well see a Democrat pointing out that the only way he can do all that and cut the deficit in half is to get rid of the entire government outside of the military.

Then hammer home the flaws in his tax cuts, reforms, etc. But the key is to hammer on the fact that he's lying. That he's wrong. That he's bullshitting the American public. Do that first and hardest, and the media will be forced to report on it. OVER AND OVER.

:: Morat 7:22 AM :: ::

Dean and the DNC

Apparently, Dean's name is floating around as a "possible" for the DNC chair. I say "possible" because I'm guessing the DLC types would scream and put up a BIG fight.

On the other hand, it's possible they'd prefer him safe in the DNC rather than plotting a 2008 run...

In any case, on the merits, I think it's an excellent idea. Dean had an excellent -- and quickly stolen -- set of themes for 2004, was the forerunner of a new and highly effective fundraising strategy, and has an enviable track record of being right.

Two moments come to mind: Dean's comments about Hussein's capture and his comments about the timing of Bush's terror announcements. Both created a nice little media circus and pseudo-firestorm.....which passed without damaging Dean or the Democrats, and derailed the White House storyline.

As DNC chair, Dean would continue to have the visibility to get his statements onto the air and wouldn't have to worry about short-term political blowback. He'd be DNC chair, for Pete's sake...the guy is supposed to be a partisan attack dog.

Most importantly, though, was the simple fact that Dean is proud to be a liberal (even if he is, in all honesty, a moderate) and acts that way. Acting ashamed of our own ideology is not the way to counter GOP demonization of "liberals". There is more to being an "opposition" than merely voting against bills. There's a war for hearts and minds out there, and during the primaries Dean seemed to be the only one playing.
:: Morat 7:08 AM :: ::

:: Monday, November 08, 2004 ::

Democratic values

The more I think about it, the more I think the biggest Democratic mistake was placing so much faith in the DLC. The DNC acted like "Bill Clinton's way" was the only way (and never really seemed to admit that "Bill Clinton's way" only worked because of Ross Perot). It's not. If nothing else, the mere fact that poll after poll shows that majorities (often quite big ones) prefer Democratic positions to Republican positions should give us faith in our policies.

What it boils down to is framing. So how to frame the Democratic party? I think it's pretty easy:

  • Responsibility: The GOP refuses to take responsibility for it's drunken spending spree, and the resultant hole in the budget, preferring to bury their head in the sand. Democrats are committed to balanced budgets and responsible spending.
  • Liberty: The GOP talks about American values, but in practice rejects them. The Democrats stand for personal liberty: The freedom to speak your mind, practice your religion, and love whom you choose. The GOP doesn't think you can handle making your own moral, spiritual and ethical choices.
  • Reality: The GOP rejects reality, preferring theory to facts. The Democratic Party is committed to dealing with the real world rather than ignoring inconvenient facts.
  • Cooperation: The GOP rejects cooperation and compromise, not just with the Democratic Party but with the world. "My way or the highway" is a great soundbite, but results require allies. The Democratic Party is committed to working with allies, not against them -- both in Congress and in the world. Democracy, not dictatorship.
Obviously, smarter minds than mine will undoubtedly come up with something better. But the idea here is to take the correct framing ("Democrats stand for freedom, liberty and justice for all") and then connect them to real Democratic policies -- and real Republican failures.

It's time to break the GOP frame and create one of our own. And -- if anything -- we should have an edge. We're the reality based community, after all. When we submit "Healthy Forests" and "Clean Skies" programs, we're actually promoting healthy forests and clean skies. We can run on our record, as long as we do not act ashamed of it. The GOP must flee from theirs, or cloak it in lies.
:: Morat 8:58 AM :: ::

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