READ MY (THIN, BLOODLESS) LIPS: NO NEW PLANS. HOWARD DEAN HAS SOME THOUGH.
Last night I participated in a question and answer session between bloggers and Francine Busby, the San Diego progressive Democrat with an excellent chance of turning "Duke" Cunningham's now vacant 50th CD from tyrannical red to democratic blue. I like Busby a lot and I think she's going to be an exemplary congresswoman and one of the things I liked the most on the call was when she explained how to make sure far right extremists don't get an opportunity to define the race with their demagoguery and simplistic answers to tough questions. Slogans are not what's needed to solve the country's problems-- solid programs are. Right after the call I wrote about Busby's Change Legislative Ethics and Attitudes Now (CLEAN) House Act, a perfect example of looking for real solutions to real problems rather than playing the posturing and PR game by appealing to everyone's dark side and basest instincts.
George Bush's pathetic excuse for leadership has given America 5 years of government by partisan PR. This morning's nonsensical rehash of failed old policies-- with a shiny, colorful (expensive) pamphlet, also with nothing new in it-- was more of the same: nothing by deceptive bullshit. Although some Democrats-- like Kerry and Nebraska Nelson-- have been inside the Beltway so long they've forgotten how to speak straight-forward English, the outpouring of dissatisfaction from Democrats and independents after Bush's disgraceful charade this morning, was deafening. Although the Likud's representative to the U.S., one Joseph Lieberman (disguised as a Democrat) supports Bush's neo-con con completely, actual Democratic reaction was thoughtful and stinging. Harry Reid' analysis was powerful and straight to the point. But even stronger was Russ Feingold's. "While today's speech by the President was billed as yet another attempt to lay out a plan for finishing the military mission in Iraq, the only new thing the administration gave the American people was a glossy 35-page pamphlet filled with the same rhetoric we've all heard before. Today's action by the White House isn't a step forward, it's a step back. In fact the booklet the administration released to accompany the President's speech is described as a '...document [that] articulates the broad strategy the President set forth in 2003...' That alone makes it clear that the President seems more dug in than ever to the same old 'stay the course' way of thinking. This is not a strategy, and it certainly is not a plan to complete the military mission in Iraq. The American people, an increasing number of elected officials, and more and more military and intelligence officials understand what the President doesn't-- that our seemingly indefinite presence in Iraq, and the lack of a plan to redeploy troops, feeds the insurgency and hurts our national security. We need leadership, and we need a policy on Iraq that includes a flexible timetable for completing our military mission there, so that we can focus on our national security priority-- defeating the global terrorist networks that threaten the US The President missed a vital opportunity today. Our brave service members, their families, the American people, and the Iraqi's themselves deserve and demand more."
Even Hillary Clinton is finally coming around to understand that for the vast majority of Americans this foolish war is all but over. Yesterday, saying she would "accept responsibility" for her vote to authorize Bush to attack Iraq, she added for the first time that "[I]f Congress had been asked, based on what we know now, we never would have agreed" to give Bush the authority to go to war. By 2010 she may catch up to Feingold and every single person I know.
And opposing Bush and watching him and his political party, drowning in arrogance and corruption, fall apart is NOT enough to re-shape the political landscape. An editorial by Howard Dean in THE HILL today could.
"In 2006, Democrats will take back the House and the Senate. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have done an excellent job recruiting strong candidates, and we are already investing in the local infrastructure to ensure they win. But the key to winning is running a national campaign based on our different vision and the themes that Democrats around the country have put forward."
Like Francine Busby in San Diego, Governor Dean realizes Americans are revolted by GOP corruption and over-reaching-- and that something must be done about it and that Democrats need to be as clear as a bell about this. "Americans of all political persuasions are tired of and worried about the culture of corruption that Republicans have brought to Washington and to so many statehouses around America. We will offer real ethics reform and election reform so that the Government Accountability Office can report in three years that we can have confidence in our voting machines."
Just as important-- remember that is always the economy, stupid-- is... the economy and the sorry hash Bush and his greedy, selfish policies have wreaked on the rest of us. Dean promises Democrats "will offer a program for American jobs that stay in America and for energy independence that will create jobs and wean us off of foreign oil. The only president to balance a budget in the past 37 years was a Democrat. We will do that again. We will offer a real tax-reform program that helps the middle class pay for it by eliminating the shocking waste and giveaways the Republican Congress and president have added to the budget and subtracted from revenues in the past five years. We will join the 36 other countries that manage to include all their citizens in their health-insurance systems while simultaneously balancing their budgets. We will provide a strong public education system by avoiding bureaucratic federal mandates and taxpayer-funded puff pieces. We will rely on local control while requiring real standards that work nationally."
I know what Dean would like to say about getting us out of Bush's Iraq war and occupation, but as Chairman of the DNC he is somewhat obligated to represent all segments of the party-- not counting lunatics and assholes like Lieberman. "We will offer Americans real security. We all agree that 2006 must be a transition year in Iraq. While we may have different ideas about tactics and timing, it’s clear we must change course. The vision of strategic redeployment set forward by Brian Katulis and former Reagan Defense Department official Lawrence Korb offers a likely roadmap to success that we can coalesce around. We will offer the American people a government that is honest in preparing for any deployment of American troops and honor their sacrifice when they come home."
And with America in the clutches of the Republican Noise Machine, Dean wants to remind Americans that there are real differences between Democrats and Republicans. "Most important, we will talk about Democratic values, which are America’s values. The vast majority of Americans believe it is immoral to lets kids go hungry. We agree. The other party cuts school lunches (they just can’t seem to leave that one alone.) Americans believe it is immoral that not everyone has some kind of health insurance. We agree. The vast majority of Americans believe that government overreaching into personal and family decisions is wrong. We agree. Americans believe that it is immoral to leave huge debts to our children and grandchildren. We agree." Me too.