Archive for August, 2006

60 Year cycle

Friday, August 25th, 2006


House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) raised eyebrows Tuesday when she used a campaign phrase suggested for the Democrats early this year by former Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.).

But it turns out that Pelosi is not alone.

Democratic candidates for Congress across the country have been employing the phrase “Had Enough?” in speeches and on their campaign websites.

After national Democrats unveiled their 2006 slogan, “Together We Can Do Better,” Gingrich in March said Democrats would be better off using “Had Enough?”

A month later, former Rep. Tim Roemer (D-Ind.) wrote an op-ed in The New York Times urging Democrats to embrace the phrase “Had Enough? Vote Democratic!”

In an interview yesterday, Roemer said the idea for the op-ed came to him after reading a story about Harry Truman that recounted that an advertising executive in 1946 suggested “Had Enough?” to the Republican Party, which adopted the slogan. Later that year, Republicans gained control of both chambers of Congress.


The man who “cooked up” the widely used Massachusetts election slogan — “Had Enough? Vote Republican” — is a Boston advertising executive who kept his identity secret until after balloting began.

Karl Frost, president of the Karl M. Frost Company of Boston, said that he and his associates “cooked up” the slogan at the request of the Massachusetts Republican Comittee. It required a series of tries, he said, before the catchy phrase was concocted.

Mr. Frost said the paint was hardly dry on Massachusetts’ signs when the National Republican Committee requested authority to use the slogan.


But when the Eightieth Congress assembles, the Republicans will be able to decide the fate of such measures themselves unless they split as the Democrats have done. In that event an anti-administration colaition of members of the two major parties will still command the actions of Congress. But the responsibility to the country for congress will rest on the Repuiblicans, and not on the Democrats as it has for the last fourteen years.

That is why, in view of the difficulties of making a political bridge between a Republican majority and a Democratic President over which essential functions of government can travel, some long-headed Republican politicians hoped their gains would fall just short of majorities in the House and in the Senate. They wanted thus to double the assurane that, with the aid of conservative Democrats, they would continue to have power over legislation. They wanted at the same time to be able to blame all consequences on the nominal majority.

But a landslide cannot be confined. A public which has “had enough” and is resolved on change, does what it can to make that change complete and certain. No strategy has been devised that can manage a landslide and this was again demonstrated on Tuesday.

2006: If I could find the news reports about Democrats privately hoping they just narrowly remain in the minority, I’d post it here.


At the same time the Republican campaign managers and their candidates in closely contested areas realize that if they cannot induce the people to turn Congress over to them in current circumstances, they can scarcely hope for electoral success at any time in the visible future as their party is now organized and labeled. A revolution, similar to that which under the late President Roosevelt changed the character, aims, and the dominating influences of the Democratic Party, would probably be required for the Republicans to make a strong challenge very soon thereafter unless, meanwhile, the Democratic party itself exploded into several pieces because of its centrifugal disturbances.

That event will not happen unless the South seceds from the Democratic Party and its label, or the radical groups still affiliated with it set up in politics under a new standard. But the South in 1940 and 1944 resisted the most extreme provocations since 1860 to secede politically, giing its electoral votes to the Democrats as usual and the members of Congress with whom that party was able to organize.


U.S. Rep. Charles Rangel, a senior black Democrat in Congress, said Wednesday that he would consider retiring from the House of Representatives if the Democrats don’t retake control of the House after the midterm congressional and Senate elections in November.

“If the American people support the Bush gang and reject what is sane, moral and just, then I would consider some educational opportunities where I could still fight for my principles without being on the losing side of the U.S. Congress,” Rangel told

Rangel said he still expects the Democrats to win their elections, reclaim the majority of the House and discuss a bevy of issues, including withdrawing troops from Iraq; cutting the federal deficit; restoring funding for education and health care; Republican indictments and the federal government’s “incompetence” in responding to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

But he said he may seriously decide to quit after 35 years in Congress.

“If the American people support two more years of Bush,” Rangel said in an interview, “this is not America. I really believe this [November] election will allow the American people to get rid of people who support Bush and his gang.”

Mr. A

Thursday, August 24th, 2006

A quote I saw the other day went to the effect of “(Ayrn Rand) requires the fervent elitism of late adolescence to truly be taken in. One either needs to acquire a taste for Ayn Rand then, or not at all.”

Ayn Rand, now that I think about it, would probably sit somewhere in the 20s in my list of 100 or thereabouts People who are screwing up America. (I can apparently include dead people, since L Ron Hubbard is listed in one of those books.)

But I’m pondering something here. Apparently part of her appeal as an intellectual, of some sort, is that she does not hide behind a wall of impenetrable words. And yet, the biggest by-product of hers in government — a man who had one foot in her inner Objectivist circle and one foot out, by all accounts — Alan Greenspan, was nothing if not impenertable in speech.

I have no answer. Ask Steve Ditko, and get back to me.

Bush is an —–

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2006

The other day I saw a letter to the ediot which went something to the effect of: He was a divisive president. He fought an unpopular war which was going badly. Fill in some other blanks obviously designed to turn your head toward Bush. He was Abraham Lincoln. History regards him well.

So it does. But somehow I just believe that just about anyone can pull a “You’re no Jack Kennedy” thing when someone sticks Lincoln next to Bush, and leave it at that. Call me crazy.

Joe Scarborough, a man MSNBC hired to do a cheap rip-off of Bill O’Reilly’s show, has now done at least two segments where he debates the matter “Is Bush an Idiot?” His answer is the estimation is correct.

A tedium has long settled in with this president, and the news that Bush enjoys the lowest of low humour, and finds farting hilarious would be as believable if it were published in the “Capitol Hill Blue” as it is published by US News and World Report.

He loves to cuss, gets a jolly when a mountain biker wipes out trying to keep up with him, and now we’re learning that the first frat boy loves flatulence jokes. A top insider let that slip when explaining why President Bush is paranoid around women, always worried about his behavior. But he’s still a funny, earthy guy who, for example, can’t get enough of fart jokes. He’s also known to cut a few for laughs, especially when greeting new young aides, but forget about getting people to gas about that.

This does raise an interesting question for me. Would I see this all as a drawback if it were a characteristic of a better president, say, one that I don’t — with some reluctance for the finality and exclamation point of the assessment — consider the worst president in American history? Better I can say that it would depend on how well this president compartmentalizes it. And I’d think you’d better be pretty careful with the “cut a few for laughs … when greeting new young aides”.

Taking a look at yesterday’s press conference, and all I can say is he is sounding more obnoxious, his bad characteristics compounding themselves. The first thought is of a fourth-grader who had not prepared himself for a class report and was getting stuck by the teacher’s questions, trying to fake his way through by plucking what he could. But that doesn’t explain it at all. This fourth grader would not be as emphatic in answering the teacher. Bush was very emphatic about his answers, and defensive in full force. I wonder if the defensiveness isn’t a tell of self-awareness, as though he is masking his inadequacies by over-compensating.

As for Iraq, it’s no news that Bush has no strategy. What did come as news—and, really, a bit of a shocker—is that he doesn’t seem to know what “strategy” means.

Asked if it might be time for a new strategy in Iraq, given the unceasing rise in casualties and chaos, Bush replied, “The strategy is to help the Iraqi people achieve their objectives and dreams, which is a democratic society. That’s the strategy. … Either you say, ‘It’s important we stay there and get it done,’ or we leave. We’re not leaving, so long as I’m the president.”

The reporter followed up, “Sir, that’s not really the question. The strategy—”

Bush interrupted, “Sounded like the question to me.”

First, it’s not clear that the Iraqi people want a “democratic society” in the Western sense. Second, and more to the point, “helping Iraqis achieve a democratic society” may be a strategic objective, but it’s not a strategy—any more than “ending poverty” or “going to the moon” is a strategy.


Incidentally, the letter I did find that seems appropriate here:

The problem with David Reinhard’s suggestions for President Bush to have Churchillian chats with the American people is that you can’t explain what you don’t understand.

Bush has always had a poor understanding of the Middle East and Islamic terrorism. He has consistently painted a rosy picture in Iraq, and recently he expressed shock that the Shiites in Iraq rallied in support of Hezbollah. He didn’t have a clue about the consequences of going to war with Iraq and now doesn’t have a clue about the best way out.

I didn’t read that David Reinhard editorial, but it sounds hilarious. Yes. Bush needs to wax Churchillian. If he tried, it’d come out Bluto-esque than Churchillian.

I See Hairstyles

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2006

I see a man wearing a “Ben Westlund” shirt. It’s the shirt that gatherers of petitions for Ben Westlund were wearing back when they were holding clipboards, asking people to sign to get Ben Westlund on the ballot to run as an Independent for the Governor’s seat here in Oregon. Ben Westlund had announced that he did not want to be a spoiler, watched the polls, watched the horse-race centric news reports putting a race between the Democrat and the Republican and him as a spoiler, and decided to call the whole thing off. His calculation that he would take votes away, more or less equally, from both Republicans and Democrats based on the fact that he was a Republican was always a bit strange– was John Anderson going to tap into Ronald Reagan’s total in 1980?

As for the man wearing the Ben Westlund shirt, I don’t know. Is this now the Ben Westlund for Governor memorial shirt? Is it something akin to leaving on a bumper sticker for a defeated candidate long after the election is dead and buried? Is it Laundry Day? Who can drum up that much support for Ben Westlund?

Minutiae of Electoral Politics

Sunday, August 20th, 2006

Taking another gander at that list of Senate races I plopped up there to the right, where I’ve occasionally very loosely bumped around depending on how my general absorption rate of how a race is going — ie: most likely to change parties at top of each list, and down from there…

It occurs to me that my original guess that Virginia’s race as being more likely to see the Democratic candidate win than Tennessee, which in terms of how the pundit class sees the races was the only real break from them. The Democratic Party has generally held that to win the Senate, they’d have to win that slot of five seats — a stronger likelihood as the season has gone by, hold onto all the seats they have now — which has always been a strong likelihood and more on that later — and win another seat… which they have reckoned to be Harold Ford, Jr of Tennessee.

In terms of which candidate you would rather see win the race, it’s quite clearly James Webb. Harold Ford’s line in campaigning includes pointing out that he ran against Nancy Pelosi for Democratic House Leader, to keep the party from moving too far to the left. His run was panned and mocked by the pundit class at the time, as though it was anything other than what it was: a marker to use when he decided to run for the Senate seat.

James Webb, meanwhile, had a good week without really having to do anything. George Allen is his own worst enemy, this week if nothing else pretty well establishing himself as someone who is not going to be the next president of the United States.

Now, then. Looking over the Democratic seats, I have to shrug. I suppose we can now treat Joseph Lieberman as an erstwhile Republican. He would then trot to the top of that list. The comment from Minnesota, always seeming to be the Republican’s top pick-up opportunity, is that “the bottom seems to have just dropped out” from under the Republican candidate’s support. I guess that almost leaves Nebraska and Ben Nelson as the most vulnerable Democrat.

This is the World We Live in.

Saturday, August 19th, 2006

On Judge Anna Diggs Taylor’s ruling on the NSA wiretapping, from the mouth of George W Bush: “Supporters of the decision don’t understand the world we live in.”

Because a man who flirts with Creationism — or “Intelligent Design” as Science, and who trust Michael Crichton as a voice against Global Warming is a man who really understands the world we live in.

An interesting example of the present predictament is when George W Bush announced that Israel was the winner of that last … um… little skirmish with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“Hezbollah attacked Israel. Hezbollah started the crisis, and Hezbollah suffered a defeat in this crisis.”

My first thought on why Bush believes “Hezbollah suffered a defeat” was that Bush is of the mistaken mindset that because Israel bombed away a greater percentage of Hezbollah’s stuff than Hezbollah bombed away of Israel’s, the equation must be that Israel won. But than he extrapulated away my worst bias of him, and created a new bias against him.

“The first reaction, of course, of Hezbollah and its supporters is, declare victory. I guess I would have done the same thing if I were them, but sometimes it takes a while to come to the sober realization of what forces create stabiility and what don’t. Hezbollah is a force of instability.”

That last statement is a mish-mash of non-sequitors, which is to say that the “Hezbollah is a force of instability” and “Sometimes it takes a while to {figure out] what forces create stability and what don’t” does not follow “Hezbollah declared victory {which is not true]”.

At this moment, the prime minister of Israel’s approval ratings are in free fall, and recriminations are happening over how that little skirmish proceeded. Hezbollah’s approval rating in Lebanon has gone from the 30-percent range — a nice little voting block I suppose, to the 80 pecent level. The residents of Lebanon watched as Israeli rockets bombasted their homes, regardless of the bit about “human shields”, and are now watching as Hezbollah — always good with the social services part of the equation, pledges to rebuild the country. And Israel moves from the peripheal to center-stage in Lebanonese’s conciousness. It’s not much of a victory for Israel.

I hear this story, and I have no idea how I am supposed to verify it (yes, I’m going to go check my sources in the Israeli government), I think from the Washington Note blog, that Israel’s strategy had included the United States pressuring early on to end the hostilities — Israel gets their point across and holds their bluff as long as they could and let them out. If this were the case, I have to wonder about the sense of the Israeli government: this is the Bush Administration we’re talking about. They’re blowhard ideolouges who don’t do nuance.

Trying to figure out a racist comment

Friday, August 18th, 2006

Since hearing about the Congressional Candidate named Tramm Hudson , the leading contender for the seat that Katherine Harris is vacating so as to run a comedic campaign for the Senate, who said that Black People cannot swim — or have trouble swimming, I needed to figure out in what context a politician could possibly find for saying such a thing, as it seems just kind of random. I guess I have the answer.

In the segment, Hudson, a former Army commander, recalls leading his infantry company across a river during a training exercise.

“A large number were black,” Hudson said. “I grew up in Alabama. I understand, uh, I know from experience, that blacks are not the greatest swimmers or may not even know how to swim.”

So what he was describing was how much mettle it takes to lead an infantry across the river, and to further appreciate the demands this takes on you, you need to understand that the infantry he was leading were black, and — since he had contact with a lot of black people because he grew up Alabama, he knows that blacks make lousy swimmers, and thus it takes more mettle and more leadership capabilities — the type you would appreciate and the type that it would take to be a fully capable and excellent Congress-man– to lead an infantry that includes a lot of blacks than if it were all white.

So, there’s your pitch. Elect Tramm Hudson. Florida 13th.

He has many Black Friends, as you can see at this website.

am a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and an African American woman. Like Tramm, I commanded troops in the field. I reviewed the complete video tape of his remarks about the river crossing in Panama and do not find it offensive. It shows an awareness and concern for his troops and quite possibly was the reason the soldier was rescued so promptly. I have direct experience with racism and know what racism is. Tramm’s remarks were not racist. To take his words out of context and portray this as something it is not, is the height of demagoguery and smacks of race baiting.

Frances Rice – Lieutenant Colonel, US Army (Ret.)
Chairwoman of the National Black Republican Association

What context Frances Rice has his words in, I do not know.