Chafee Finds His Groove: Emerging as a Republican “John Breaux”

-

chafee-small.jpg
This has been a tough week. A prominent conservative pol knocked me around a bit in some private communications and caused some real stress because of the view by his staff memer that I am a “firebrand” — a really good one in his view. And on the left, a prominent pol went “nuts” on me in an email because of positive commentary on the blog about Lincoln Chafee, John McCain, and ironically — Bill Frist. This individual somehow thinks that my blog has more impact than it could possibly have and that my “centrism will tilt the election back towards a corrupt cabal of Republicans.”
I am going to stand strong where I am — and will be fair-minded with edges, hopefully being a firebrand at the right times and a fair interpreter and negotiator at others.
Folks that want to carve out space in the “principled middle” or the “radical center,” as I like to call it, have a tough time. The world expects such centrists to be weak, squishy compromisers between the right and left — but they sometimes don’t know what to do when one vigorously works against John Bolton’s confirmation but then applauds the President and some of his key architects for emptying America’s black site prisons abroad.
We need people in the middle who still have edges. I have eges on John Bolton’s UN confirmation, clearly — but I will always deal with him respectfully if we find ourselves in a room together or even in an interview (could happen someday). I will wrestle with the politics and profile of prominent presidential pretenders, highlighting what I see as their deficits and their strengths.
Last year, after Senator Lincoln Chafee failed to align his many statements of concern about John Bolton with his confirmation vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I was extremely tough on him. I thought he deserved the critique I offered, but I was also a bit over the top. Passion was running high that day.
But I am equally passionate about Chafee’s show of strength of late — and despite some readers of this blog who take serious exception to my views on the Rhode Island Senator — I want to make clear that the Lincoln Chafee we have seen in the Senate these last few months is the kind of American senator I personally wish we had more of in BOTH parties.


One of the calculations that I believe that Lincoln Chafee made when he supported Bolton last year is that he figured John Bolton was an obscure government bureaucrat ascending to a job few Americans cared about. A vote in his favor would be seen by the White House as playing nice with the Cheney gang, and the consequences would be minor.
Chafee also correctly calculated that the Bolton vote would be less significant to Rhode Island voters than his votes on controversial judicial nominees. He was absolutely right — as long as the Bolton vote didn’t come back up.
What Chafee underestimated — as did the White House — is that John Bolton became a household name in the country and political space was created to robustly oppose the Ambassador. But ultimately, Chafee’s decision on judicial votes being more memorable to voters was right.
I want to remind the American public and Rhode Island voters of Lincoln Chafee’s opposition to Samuel Alito’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. It was a brave and correct position.
For the record, I supported the confirmation of John Roberts and opposed Samuel Alito. Such is the fate of those in the genuine radical center.
But remind yourself of Chafee’s concerns about Alito stated before the confirmation hearings:

CHAFEE STATEMENT ON SUPREME COURT NOMINEE
The President’s nomination of Judge Samuel Alito to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court raises many concerns and I intend to focus on a number of key issues during the nomination hearings before the Judiciary Committee.
In 1990, Judge Alito joined the federal bench on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. During the past fifteen years, Judge Alito has taken many positions that appear to place him at odds with the protection of key fundamental rights. It is vital that the Senate carefully examine these cases as we conduct our hearings to provide the necessary advice and consent on this nomination.
In 1991, Judge Alito showed a narrow view of a woman’s right to choose. He was the lone dissenter in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, (947 F.2d 682; 1991) where Judge Alito asserted that it was constitutional for Pennsylvania to require a woman to inform her husband before obtaining an abortion. The Supreme Court of the United States reached the exact opposite conclusion, ruling that this Pennsylvania law was unconstitutional.
Judge Alito’s writings appear to give considerable latitude to state governments as they attempt to place restrictions on a woman’s right to choose. Judge Alito has also taken a narrow view of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. He was alone in dissent in ruling that Congress did not have the authority to restrict the sale of machine guns. In United States of America v. Rybar, (103 F.3rd 273; 1996), Judge Alito ignored more than fifty years of constitutional law in an effort to narrow the power of Congress to enact legislation. This is concerning to me, in that this view of the Constitution calls into question the authority of Congress to enact key laws to protect the welfare of all Americans, including environmental legislation to protect the quality of our air and water and to protect endangered species.

Lincoln Chafee went on to vote no on Alito’s confirmation. That was the right call.
I think he is making exactly the right call in opposing John Bolton this time around — but whether he remains on course on Bolton this Tuesday afternoon or not, I do admire “deliberative” Senators.
Chafee is increasingly cutting his own groove and making his own weather. I see him less as a victim of the stormy battles between both parties and more of a principled player between the parties — potentially becoming a “Republican John Breaux.” (the “centrist coalition” part of Breaux’s complex profile)
So, there it is. I know I will get an avalanche of email about this post — but after the really out-of-line battles I had this week with thin-skinned top tier personalities on the Republican and Democratic side, I need to put down my marker for those who see policy decisions in pragmatic ways and set aside ideology when the nation’s interests are at stake.
Lincoln Chafee is coming into his own and has found his voice — and groove.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

66 comments on “Chafee Finds His Groove: Emerging as a Republican “John Breaux”

  1. Chiaroscuro says:

    Steve, I’m coming late to this thread. In your subsequent post about Kissinger’s private advice to Bush, you admonish him for his loss of realism. Yet you are so far from realism in your support of Chaffee and the “sensible” center, I think you could use a long look in the mirror.
    You may congratulate yourself for avoiding the indignities of spittle-flecked partisan debate and mourn an era of compromise that is so bygone as to be ancient history. But you are aware, as many have noted upthread, that the current Republican regime is inflicting almost irreparable damage on our democracy.
    Politicians like Chaffee may be perfectly nice men who do the right thing most of the time. In REALITY, however, he sides with his destructive caucus enough of the time — and at crucial junctures such as cloture votes — that his EFFECT is as damaging as that of his intemperate colleagues.
    Beyond this, his party affiliation alone adds another seat to the majority column for Republicans. He thus materially aids in keeping this regime in power.
    Since you, Steve, are a nice man, it is perfectly proper to regret the forces that MUST attack men like Chaffee. He must, however, be sacrificed rather than supported. Until the time that moderates can be cloned to fill congressional seats, they are sad obstacles to getting rid of this dangerous and corrupt regime.
    Finally, I truly resent the moderates’ “sober” opinion that partisans on the left equate in any way to rightwing partisans. As long as American politics remain so polarized (a situation largely of Republican doing), I think it’s clear that the left is far more representative of the civilized virtues than the rightwingers we’ve seen in action.

    Reply

  2. Marky says:

    Centrism is a trope.. a personality quirk, neither good nor bad. Mindless cheerleading of centrism for its own sake is plain silly.

    Reply

  3. RichF says:

    “firebrand”? Man, that must hurt! 🙂
    I like the idea of a “principled middle” and of “radical centrism” — AS LONG AS it’s actually principled. And pragmatic. And actually in the middle.
    There are many many many pols who transparently seek “the middle,” but when closer examination shows there is no center in their principles, and no principles in their center.
    In short, any “moderation” or “centrism” that DOES NOT adhere to the Constitutional princples that define us as a nation — cannot by definition be thought of as in the middle or centrist or moderate or principled.
    For too long, it’s been a marker of those willing to compromise both values and lawful Constitutional principles. It’s been a marker of those willing to triangulate: but never demand of those they deal with to be equally reasonable, equally principled, equally pragmatic.
    Keep up the good work!
    That both “conservative” and “liberal” pols can attack you as a “firebrand” means that it’s the reasonable and principled men and women in the true middle that are the real threat to establishment politicians who’ve been so fatally compromised for so long.

    Reply

  4. Jim DiPeso says:

    Mr. Clemons,
    Thanks for an insightful commentary on Lincoln Chafee, a lonely centrist who is faithfully carrying on his father’s legacy on conservation and other important issues.
    We need more legislators like Lincoln Chafee who are willing to think for themselves and show some independence. The dominance of government by one-note ideologues – whether of the hard left or the hard right – leads to polarization, party leaders demanding cult-like conformity to the dogma flavor of the month, and political vapor lock. This is not what the Founders intended for our country.
    Chafee has a tough race, but we at Republicans for Environmental Protection are supporting him to the hilt.

    Reply

  5. David G. Stahl says:

    Lots of noise on this thread – but I’ll state maybe the obvious comment – Chafee is becoming a better Senator very close to the highly probable end of his Senatorial career.
    The demographics in RI make it very difficult for Chafee to win against Whitehouse. Chaffee needs to capture 100% of the registered GOP voters, 100% of the independents, and get a fraction of the registered Democrats in a year when Democrats are not feeling well disposed to GOP control of the Senate.
    I believe in consensus – and the center. But in my opinion consensus and center is not going to play in RI in 2006.
    If one looks at places that are dominated by one party [e.g. Philadelphia and RI] I see a lot of corruption, bad governance, and disillusioned voters.
    Another prime example of the importance of the center is how the inability of the GOP to provide adequate Advice and Consent to the President may cost them their majority – and certainly will make the New England GOP party much weaker.
    The best hope for this country is that the center does get stronger – and that open and trasparent government is strengthened. It may take a third party to do this, and I believe the chances for a successful third party in the USA are miniscule at best. Open government, good governance is hard tough going – like diplomacy.
    Finally, a couple questions for Steve Clemmons – are you going to actively campaign for Chafee in RI? Have you written his campaign a check?
    Thanks as always for the wonderful forum and insights into interesting issues.
    Most Sincerely,
    David G. Stahl

    Reply

  6. karenk says:

    Emil writes:
    “we should be humble enough to make payment without spewing bile about pay back time. 8 million Jews exterminated equals at least 100 years of humility for what we allowed to happen..”
    HUH??? Are you German? Must be, cause AMERICA doesn’t owe anyone anything regarding the Holocaust. We did our part to stop Hitler.
    Besides, there are many many lesser Holocausts going on even now that deserve our attention(Darfur)

    Reply

  7. emil says:

    Campbell !!!! The truth you tell is anti-Semetic so please stop ! We must pay the debt, the eternal debt, of the Holacaust guilt and we have a long way to go yet. Do you deny the Holacaust too? Never let them forget, that is their due; and we should be humble enough to make payment without spewing bile about pay back time. 8 million Jews exterminated equals at least 100 years of humility for what we allowed to happen, and that humilty especially includes being in the service to those whom we gravely wronged. It’s the Holacaust, stupid; and rightly so.

    Reply

  8. MP says:

    “MP,
    I strongly disagree with your comments on dual citizenship. No one is suggesting that dual citizens should not be allowed residence, or should not be allowed to work in this country, but there is nothing unreasonable about considering the possible impact of a second citizenship for some jobs. Should an Israeli citizen be the US ambassador to Israel.. or Saudi Arabia, for that matter? I think it’s a legitimate question. Also, given the terrible record of Israelis selling our most sensitive military secrets to our enemies, I have no problem with restricting dual citizens’ access to some classified information.”
    Marky, Carroll, Pauline: You make some good points. But I think it’s important to note that dual citizens are actual citizens of both countries. They aren’t real citizens of one country and guest workers of the other country. So, Marky, your language about allowing these folks to reside and work here almost sounds like your talking about an applicant for a green card.
    Keep in mind, too, that Aldrich Ames and that fellow before him from the Navy and the most recent mole in the CIA (my mind’s a sieve!) were not Jews (to my knowledge) nor were they dual citizens. Yet they stole secrets and sold them to our enemies.
    So the real issue here is, to my mind, are the people who have access to classified information trustworthy? Are they loyal to the US? Or are they selling us out? If the answers are no, no and yes, they need to be arrested and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But I’m not sure you can tell who is going to be a no, no, yes in advance just because they are dual citizens. Asserting that you do know in advance, I think, moves you in the direction of witch-hunting. Not there yet, but in the direction.
    (You also give fuel to anti-Semites like Campbell. That’s not a reason not to speak one’s mind, but it’s worth keeping an eye on–as folks seem to be doing well on this blog.)
    (You also run into the problem of the rabid Christian “zionists” who support Israel first. They don’t have dual citizenship, so they would presumably drift through your net.)
    Having said all that, I haven’t made up my mind on this issue. Top security positions may not be the place to practice our democracy, and it may be the better part of valor and caution to exclude folks who are dual citizens. (I’m leaving aside all the legal issues such an exclusion will probably run into, since, as I say, these folks are actual citizens and many were born here.)
    Carroll: I’m in complete in agreement that the US needs to pursue its own interests independently of Israel’s. I happen to think that oil is a much bigger influence on US foreign policy in the ME than Israel is, but that’s a different discussion.

    Reply

  9. Campbell says:

    The Council on Foreign Relations created the United Nations in 1945. The UN set up shop on prime Manhattan real estate donated by the Rockefellers, themselves a strange combination of Yankees and Jews. Yankee CFR member and Soviet spy Alger Hiss was the UN’s first Secretary General! The first new nation that the United Nations created was “Israel” in 1948. It is a fake nation, a fake nation of parasites that does not deserve to exist, as it is sitting on a foundation of lies.
    So, we are responsible. For one thing, the UN is in America. Israel is supported by American tax money and our unpayable debt. We must repudiate this debt because it was incurred by fraud. Israel is the greatest fraud in history, and the most vicious. The UN is just a fraud, but it is the framework for what the CFR has in mind for us. The first step is the North American Union in which we will degenerate into another Third World dump and answer to the US, Mexican and Canadian armies.
    We are responsible for everything we’ve done except for the debt. The debt to the Federal Reserve Corporation and to the Wall Street lenders and the bonds we trade for their counterfeit cash are based on fraud. Fraud nullifies all contracts, with no statute of limitations. We repudiate the debt. The Federal Reserve Corp would cease to exist because most of its directors are CFR. The rest would get the message and quit.

    Reply

  10. Nell says:

    Steve is emerging as a blogging Walter Duranty:
    “applauds the President … for emptying America’s black prisons abroad.”
    Emptying? What evidence do you have that this is so? How has the administration earned the right to be given the benefit of the doubt on this question?
    Your “both sides criticize me so I must be right” routine is tired and fatuous.

    Reply

  11. Carroll says:

    Posted by Cambell at September 25, 2006 10:15 PM
    >>>>>>
    Not good fellow…if you want to talk about the AIPAC influence and jewish groups influencing US policy..that’s one thing …but you are definitely over the top in using “Jews” in the collective in your rant.
    And this might not help you understand your blind spot..but there is an excellent book “by a Jew” Robert Rosen ,who just published a book defending Roosevelt’s decisions during WWII that were critized by other jews. Read it, you might get a different prespective. There are also numerous other Jews who are not in lockstep with Lukid Israelis or AIPAC…educate yourself.

    Reply

  12. ET says:

    You’re right. Tom. Time to fish or cut bait. I’m supporting George Clooney. And, if he gets any better looking, I’m going to send him a donation, too. All seriousness aside, my nightly rant tonight is on the futility of centrism, at this hour. Out of respect for Steve, I posted it at TPM. 😀
    http://tinyurl.com/r5oj4

    Reply

  13. Carroll says:

    MP,
    I strongly disagree with your comments on dual citizenship. No one is suggesting that dual citizens should not be allowed residence, or should not be allowed to work in this country, but there is nothing unreasonable about considering the possible impact of a second citizenship for some jobs. Should an Israeli citizen be the US ambassador to Israel.. or Saudi Arabia, for that matter? I think it’s a legitimate question. Also, given the terrible record of Israelis selling our most sensitive military secrets to our enemies, I have no problem with restricting dual citizens’ access to some classified information.
    We don’t allow foreign citizens to be President, do we?
    Posted by Marky at September 25, 2006 05:36 PM
    >>>>>>>>
    I have to agree with this..since I have said it myself so many times. But it is not only the dual citizenship issue..it is mostly right now more about of the “pervasive myth” especially fostered by some Jewish American groups that somehow they are entitled to special privilages concerning loyalty to a foreign country. Every time I read or hear some jewish voter say he is going to vote in american elections for whoever is best for Israel I cringe. It’s gone too far, sooner or later Isr and the US are going to go in different directions and the jewish community and the evangelicals for that matter, are going to have to decide if they want to live in and support the US and Americans or Israel and Israelis. I saw that female evangelcal (can’t remember her name, the blonde one) on c-span prior to the elections in 2004 and she told her flock that she was loyal to Israel “first”. ..the reaction from her flock wasn’t that good…there was some definite uneasy silence and not any clapping on that one.
    This Isr and the US are one and same and joined at the hip is going to blow up sooner or later.
    The ponzi scheme Aid to Israel and unqualified support of any action Isr cares to take is a deal breaker for me politically. I won’t vote for anyone supporting this, it’s dangerous to this country and it’s bad for Americans.

    Reply

  14. Pissed Off American says:

    Go away, Campbell, no one here is buying your ignorant bigoted horseshit.

    Reply

  15. Easy E says:

    Personally, I’d like to see the neocon dual-citizens get mugged by the Neturei-Karta:
    http://www.nkusa.org/Historical_Documents/tenquestions.cfm
    As to the rest of the neocons (aka Christian Zionists), deportation to Sadr City should be an option. There’s bound to be better………

    Reply

  16. tom says:

    More navel-gazing, please. This isn’t embarrassing enough yet.

    Reply

  17. Carroll says:

    Carroll wrote:
    What Steve has is called a sense of DIPLOMACY!—something our country sorely needs to revive in our foreign policy (say, rather than just bullying people into submission or telling them it’s “my way or the highway”)
    Now, Carroll, please tell us readers how we are going to magically get more DIPLOMACY in place in our fed gov’t/state dept, when in reality it is overrun with war-mongering “New Pearl Harbor” neo-cons and a host of dual-citizens in very high places who, by definition, don’t have the USA’s best interests in mind!?! Who’s been checking to see if all these dual citizens aren’t crossing their fingers behind their backs when they’re taking their oaths of office?
    Posted by pauline at September 25, 2006 02:59 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Er…Pauline, I didn’t write that I think karenk did. …but we do need better diplomacy…along with some wooden stakes in a few neo hearts or whatever organ they have that passes for a heart.

    Reply

  18. Cambell says:

    What that reader didn’t understand is that the path to power is our acceptance of total responsibility for everything our government has done. This is not a gag, because we actually are responsible, once we catch on. Billions are spent to keep us from catching on, as mentioned. But now there’s less and less excuse not to know. I mean, there’s a huge wall the Jews just built around what’s left of Palestine. A big prison wall. That’s the symbol of Jewish Rule. The Jews just destroyed Lebanon again. That’s what the Jews do. The Jews stole over two trillion dollars from the Pentagon. That’s also what they do. The Jews knocked down the World Trade Center because they didn’t want to pay to demolish it legally. That sort of insurance fraud is known as “Jewish lightning.” They just took it to a new level and parlayed it into a couple of anti-Moslem wars with one more about to break. But now a whole lot of us, thanks to the Internet, know a hell of a lot about these things. That puts us under a certain obligation to do something. Especially now that we know the followingSNow the Jews want Iran destroyed by nuclear annihilation.
    It’s their bomb, after all. They invented it and built it and dropped it on hundreds of thousands of civilians. And gave it to Stalin and made a few hundred for themselves. It’s their scientific claim to fame, the only important invention they can brag about. As we know, they keep quiet on that subject. But I digress. This is about responsibility.

    Reply

  19. .... says:

    at least chafee wants to see a more balanced view towards israel taken by the usa… i don’t don’t know if the same can be said for whitehouse the dem candidate that is running against him while receiving funding from the aipac group… i wonder why all of a sudden there are posters here suggesting to vote for chafee out. they wouldn’t have an agenda that dovetails with anything so obvious as that would they?

    Reply

  20. Easy E says:

    How the Mainstream Media keep Americans stupid and the GOP in power:
    LATEST NEWSEEK COVERS BY EDITION –
    Europe: “Losing Afghanistan”
    Asia: “Losing Afghanistan”
    Latin America: “Losing Afghanistan”
    U.S.: “My Life In Pictures”
    http://thinkprogress.org/2006/09/25/newsweeks-latest-cover-by-geographical-region/

    Reply

  21. For Howard Dean says:

    Top priorities for victory in November: (1) convincing national security positions and (2) going on the offense.
    Dear Fellow Democrat,
    You can’t trust Republicans on national security — and two things proved it yesterday:
    1) In a powerful interview that aired yesterday, President Bill Clinton took on the extremist Republican propaganda about 9/11 — and Fox News tried to cover up the fact that the Bush administration downgraded terrorism as a priority before September 11th and has failed to eliminate Osama bin Laden since the attacks.
    2) An explosive report on the still-classified National Intelligence Estimate states that the “invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks” — and Republicans have been trying to cover it up.
    This is what we’re fighting against every day — an administration covering up of the Bush failure of 9/11 and covering up an honest look at the war in Iraq and the war on terror.
    You know that Democrats have a real plan for destroying Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, fixing the mess in Iraq, and really securing us at home.
    But we’ve always had those things — the problem until now has been our willingness to stand up and fight for them in the face of fear mongering, bullying and intimidation from the other side.
    That’s why we’re going on the offense on national security. The future of our party, and of our country, depends on the ability of Democrats to get a strong national security message out in all 50 states this year. Donate to make it happen and watch President Clinton fight back now:
    http://www.democrats.org/playmoreoffense
    Here’s the meat of the Fox News interview with President Clinton, where he’s had enough of the right-wing revisionist history from the propaganda machine:
    CLINTON: I’m being asked this on the Fox network. ABC just had a right-wing conservative run in their little Pathway to 9/11, falsely claiming it was based on the 9/11 Commission report, with three things asserted against me directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report. … And I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans, who now say I didn’t do enough, claimed that I was too obsessed with bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden. They had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office. All the right-wingers who now say I didn’t do enough said I did too much — same people.
    Over a quarter million Americans stood up to ABC and beat back the right-wing Republican 9/11 propaganda that tries to cover up the Bush administration’s huge failures to protect America before and after the attacks.
    Yesterday Bill Clinton did exactly what Democrats need to do in this election — to stand up to the right-wing and tell the truth. We will not let the Republicans twist history and distort reality.
    We’re sick of playing defense against a Republican leadership that uses national security to scare people to win elections. We’re not going to be pushed around, spun, and defamed by right-wing extremists and those whom they use to disseminate their propaganda.
    Our plan for this election is to go on the offense — to talk straight about the Republican failures and lay out a clear Democratic plan to take American foreign policy and national security in a better direction.
    Watch President Clinton and donate now to Democrats who will fight back:
    We have a fundamentally different vision for our security than the Party of Bush. We want a new direction in Iraq, more competent security at home, and the restoration of America’s moral leadership in the world.
    They failed to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, and five years after September 11th he still lives to taunt Americans.
    They squandered America’s moral authority and global leadership by launching a war of choice in Iraq instead of fighting the war on al Qaeda.
    The calls of the 9/11 Commission Report and Hurricane Katrina simply did not awaken Republican leaders to our continuing vulnerabilities at home.
    We’ve had enough, and we’re going to run an honest campaign about the security of our country. People are smart and ready for real leadership — will you make a donation right now to help get the message out?
    Republicans have won two elections since 9/11 by instilling fear in people, and they’re trying to do it again this year.
    But it’s not going to work. The Bush policies have failed. Iraq is sliding into civil war. Iran and North Korea are more dangerous than they were five and a half years ago. And the Taliban resurgence poses new threats in Afghanistan.
    As President Clinton said on Fox News that we have a government “that thinks Afghanistan is only one-seventh as important as Iraq.”
    People have had enough. This administration cannot be trusted with our security.
    Democrats are going to reclaim American leadership with a tough, smart plan to transform failed policies in Iraq, the Middle East and around the world.
    We will increase the size of Special Forces to destroy Osama Bin Laden and terrorist networks like al Qaeda. We will implement the bipartisan 9/11 Commission proposal to secure America’s borders and ports and screen every container. And we will fully man, train, and equip our National Guard and our police, firefighters and other first responders.
    Let’s get this message out to Americans who need to hear it:
    When it comes to national security, the Republicans have not led.
    We will.
    Thank you,
    Gov. Howard Dean, M.D.
    Democratic National Committee
    P.S. — Below are a few excerpts from President Clinton’s interview. To make a donation to Democrats across the country committed to beating back right-wing propaganda, click here:

    Reply

  22. For Howard Dean & the Democratic Party says:

    (1) National security is the #1 priority facing the nation and (2) going on the offense is the key to victory at the polls in November.
    Dear Fellow Democrat,
    You can’t trust Republicans on national security — and two things proved it yesterday:
    1) In a powerful interview that aired yesterday, President Bill Clinton took on the extremist Republican propaganda about 9/11 — and Fox News tried to cover up the fact that the Bush administration downgraded terrorism as a priority before September 11th and has failed to eliminate Osama bin Laden since the attacks.
    2) An explosive report on the still-classified National Intelligence Estimate states that the “invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks” — and Republicans have been trying to cover it up.
    This is what we’re fighting against every day — an administration covering up of the Bush failure of 9/11 and covering up an honest look at the war in Iraq and the war on terror.
    You know that Democrats have a real plan for destroying Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, fixing the mess in Iraq, and really securing us at home.
    But we’ve always had those things — the problem until now has been our willingness to stand up and fight for them in the face of fear mongering, bullying and intimidation from the other side.
    That’s why we’re going on the offense on national security. The future of our party, and of our country, depends on the ability of Democrats to get a strong national security message out in all 50 states this year. Donate to make it happen and watch President Clinton fight back now:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    Here’s the meat of the Fox News interview with President Clinton, where he’s had enough of the right-wing revisionist history from the propaganda machine:
    CLINTON: I’m being asked this on the Fox network. ABC just had a right-wing conservative run in their little Pathway to 9/11, falsely claiming it was based on the 9/11 Commission report, with three things asserted against me directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report. … And I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans, who now say I didn’t do enough, claimed that I was too obsessed with bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden. They had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office. All the right-wingers who now say I didn’t do enough said I did too much — same people.
    Over a quarter million Americans stood up to ABC and beat back the right-wing Republican 9/11 propaganda that tries to cover up the Bush administration’s huge failures to protect America before and after the attacks.
    Yesterday Bill Clinton did exactly what Democrats need to do in this election — to stand up to the right-wing and tell the truth. We will not let the Republicans twist history and distort reality.
    We’re sick of playing defense against a Republican leadership that uses national security to scare people to win elections. We’re not going to be pushed around, spun, and defamed by right-wing extremists and those whom they use to disseminate their propaganda.
    Our plan for this election is to go on the offense — to talk straight about the Republican failures and lay out a clear Democratic plan to take American foreign policy and national security in a better direction.
    Watch President Clinton and donate now to Democrats who will fight back:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    We have a fundamentally different vision for our security than the Party of Bush. We want a new direction in Iraq, more competent security at home, and the restoration of America’s moral leadership in the world.
    They failed to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, and five years after September 11th he still lives to taunt Americans.
    They squandered America’s moral authority and global leadership by launching a war of choice in Iraq instead of fighting the war on al Qaeda.
    The calls of the 9/11 Commission Report and Hurricane Katrina simply did not awaken Republican leaders to our continuing vulnerabilities at home.
    We’ve had enough, and we’re going to run an honest campaign about the security of our country. People are smart and ready for real leadership — will you make a donation right now to help get the message out?
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    Republicans have won two elections since 9/11 by instilling fear in people, and they’re trying to do it again this year.
    But it’s not going to work. The Bush policies have failed. Iraq is sliding into civil war. Iran and North Korea are more dangerous than they were five and a half years ago. And the Taliban resurgence poses new threats in Afghanistan.
    As President Clinton said on Fox News that we have a government “that thinks Afghanistan is only one-seventh as important as Iraq.”
    People have had enough. This administration cannot be trusted with our security.
    Democrats are going to reclaim American leadership with a tough, smart plan to transform failed policies in Iraq, the Middle East and around the world.
    We will increase the size of Special Forces to destroy Osama Bin Laden and terrorist networks like al Qaeda. We will implement the bipartisan 9/11 Commission proposal to secure America’s borders and ports and screen every container. And we will fully man, train, and equip our National Guard and our police, firefighters and other first responders.
    Let’s get this message out to Americans who need to hear it:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    When it comes to national security, the Republicans have not led.
    We will.
    Thank you,
    Gov. Howard Dean, M.D.
    Democratic National Committee
    P.S. — Below are a few excerpts from President Clinton’s interview. To make a donation to Democrats across the country committed to beating back right-wing propaganda, click here:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense

    Reply

  23. For Howard Dean & the Democratic Party says:

    (1) National security is the #1 priority facing the nation and (2) going on the offense is the key to victory at the polls in November.
    Dear Fellow Democrat,
    You can’t trust Republicans on national security — and two things proved it yesterday:
    1) In a powerful interview that aired yesterday, President Bill Clinton took on the extremist Republican propaganda about 9/11 — and Fox News tried to cover up the fact that the Bush administration downgraded terrorism as a priority before September 11th and has failed to eliminate Osama bin Laden since the attacks.
    2) An explosive report on the still-classified National Intelligence Estimate states that the “invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks” — and Republicans have been trying to cover it up.
    This is what we’re fighting against every day — an administration covering up of the Bush failure of 9/11 and covering up an honest look at the war in Iraq and the war on terror.
    You know that Democrats have a real plan for destroying Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, fixing the mess in Iraq, and really securing us at home.
    But we’ve always had those things — the problem until now has been our willingness to stand up and fight for them in the face of fear mongering, bullying and intimidation from the other side.
    That’s why we’re going on the offense on national security. The future of our party, and of our country, depends on the ability of Democrats to get a strong national security message out in all 50 states this year. Donate to make it happen and watch President Clinton fight back now:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    Here’s the meat of the Fox News interview with President Clinton, where he’s had enough of the right-wing revisionist history from the propaganda machine:
    CLINTON: I’m being asked this on the Fox network. ABC just had a right-wing conservative run in their little Pathway to 9/11, falsely claiming it was based on the 9/11 Commission report, with three things asserted against me directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report. … And I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans, who now say I didn’t do enough, claimed that I was too obsessed with bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden. They had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office. All the right-wingers who now say I didn’t do enough said I did too much — same people.
    Over a quarter million Americans stood up to ABC and beat back the right-wing Republican 9/11 propaganda that tries to cover up the Bush administration’s huge failures to protect America before and after the attacks.
    Yesterday Bill Clinton did exactly what Democrats need to do in this election — to stand up to the right-wing and tell the truth. We will not let the Republicans twist history and distort reality.
    We’re sick of playing defense against a Republican leadership that uses national security to scare people to win elections. We’re not going to be pushed around, spun, and defamed by right-wing extremists and those whom they use to disseminate their propaganda.
    Our plan for this election is to go on the offense — to talk straight about the Republican failures and lay out a clear Democratic plan to take American foreign policy and national security in a better direction.
    Watch President Clinton and donate now to Democrats who will fight back:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    We have a fundamentally different vision for our security than the Party of Bush. We want a new direction in Iraq, more competent security at home, and the restoration of America’s moral leadership in the world.
    They failed to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, and five years after September 11th he still lives to taunt Americans.
    They squandered America’s moral authority and global leadership by launching a war of choice in Iraq instead of fighting the war on al Qaeda.
    The calls of the 9/11 Commission Report and Hurricane Katrina simply did not awaken Republican leaders to our continuing vulnerabilities at home.
    We’ve had enough, and we’re going to run an honest campaign about the security of our country. People are smart and ready for real leadership — will you make a donation right now to help get the message out?
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    Republicans have won two elections since 9/11 by instilling fear in people, and they’re trying to do it again this year.
    But it’s not going to work. The Bush policies have failed. Iraq is sliding into civil war. Iran and North Korea are more dangerous than they were five and a half years ago. And the Taliban resurgence poses new threats in Afghanistan.
    As President Clinton said on Fox News that we have a government “that thinks Afghanistan is only one-seventh as important as Iraq.”
    People have had enough. This administration cannot be trusted with our security.
    Democrats are going to reclaim American leadership with a tough, smart plan to transform failed policies in Iraq, the Middle East and around the world.
    We will increase the size of Special Forces to destroy Osama Bin Laden and terrorist networks like al Qaeda. We will implement the bipartisan 9/11 Commission proposal to secure America’s borders and ports and screen every container. And we will fully man, train, and equip our National Guard and our police, firefighters and other first responders.
    Let’s get this message out to Americans who need to hear it:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    When it comes to national security, the Republicans have not led.
    We will.
    Thank you,
    Gov. Howard Dean, M.D.
    Democratic National Committee
    P.S. — Below are a few excerpts from President Clinton’s interview. To make a donation to Democrats across the country committed to beating back right-wing propaganda, click here:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense

    Reply

  24. For Howard Dean & the Democratic Party says:

    (1) National security is the #1 priority facing the nation and (2) going on the offense is the key to victory at the polls in November.
    Dear Fellow Democrat,
    You can’t trust Republicans on national security — and two things proved it yesterday:
    1) In a powerful interview that aired yesterday, President Bill Clinton took on the extremist Republican propaganda about 9/11 — and Fox News tried to cover up the fact that the Bush administration downgraded terrorism as a priority before September 11th and has failed to eliminate Osama bin Laden since the attacks.
    2) An explosive report on the still-classified National Intelligence Estimate states that the “invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks” — and Republicans have been trying to cover it up.
    This is what we’re fighting against every day — an administration covering up of the Bush failure of 9/11 and covering up an honest look at the war in Iraq and the war on terror.
    You know that Democrats have a real plan for destroying Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, fixing the mess in Iraq, and really securing us at home.
    But we’ve always had those things — the problem until now has been our willingness to stand up and fight for them in the face of fear mongering, bullying and intimidation from the other side.
    That’s why we’re going on the offense on national security. The future of our party, and of our country, depends on the ability of Democrats to get a strong national security message out in all 50 states this year. Donate to make it happen and watch President Clinton fight back now:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    Here’s the meat of the Fox News interview with President Clinton, where he’s had enough of the right-wing revisionist history from the propaganda machine:
    CLINTON: I’m being asked this on the Fox network. ABC just had a right-wing conservative run in their little Pathway to 9/11, falsely claiming it was based on the 9/11 Commission report, with three things asserted against me directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report. … And I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans, who now say I didn’t do enough, claimed that I was too obsessed with bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden. They had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office. All the right-wingers who now say I didn’t do enough said I did too much — same people.
    Over a quarter million Americans stood up to ABC and beat back the right-wing Republican 9/11 propaganda that tries to cover up the Bush administration’s huge failures to protect America before and after the attacks.
    Yesterday Bill Clinton did exactly what Democrats need to do in this election — to stand up to the right-wing and tell the truth. We will not let the Republicans twist history and distort reality.
    We’re sick of playing defense against a Republican leadership that uses national security to scare people to win elections. We’re not going to be pushed around, spun, and defamed by right-wing extremists and those whom they use to disseminate their propaganda.
    Our plan for this election is to go on the offense — to talk straight about the Republican failures and lay out a clear Democratic plan to take American foreign policy and national security in a better direction.
    Watch President Clinton and donate now to Democrats who will fight back:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    We have a fundamentally different vision for our security than the Party of Bush. We want a new direction in Iraq, more competent security at home, and the restoration of America’s moral leadership in the world.
    They failed to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, and five years after September 11th he still lives to taunt Americans.
    They squandered America’s moral authority and global leadership by launching a war of choice in Iraq instead of fighting the war on al Qaeda.
    The calls of the 9/11 Commission Report and Hurricane Katrina simply did not awaken Republican leaders to our continuing vulnerabilities at home.
    We’ve had enough, and we’re going to run an honest campaign about the security of our country. People are smart and ready for real leadership — will you make a donation right now to help get the message out?
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    Republicans have won two elections since 9/11 by instilling fear in people, and they’re trying to do it again this year.
    But it’s not going to work. The Bush policies have failed. Iraq is sliding into civil war. Iran and North Korea are more dangerous than they were five and a half years ago. And the Taliban resurgence poses new threats in Afghanistan.
    As President Clinton said on Fox News that we have a government “that thinks Afghanistan is only one-seventh as important as Iraq.”
    People have had enough. This administration cannot be trusted with our security.
    Democrats are going to reclaim American leadership with a tough, smart plan to transform failed policies in Iraq, the Middle East and around the world.
    We will increase the size of Special Forces to destroy Osama Bin Laden and terrorist networks like al Qaeda. We will implement the bipartisan 9/11 Commission proposal to secure America’s borders and ports and screen every container. And we will fully man, train, and equip our National Guard and our police, firefighters and other first responders.
    Let’s get this message out to Americans who need to hear it:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    When it comes to national security, the Republicans have not led.
    We will.
    Thank you,
    Gov. Howard Dean, M.D.
    Democratic National Committee
    P.S. — Below are a few excerpts from President Clinton’s interview. To make a donation to Democrats across the country committed to beating back right-wing propaganda, click here:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense

    Reply

  25. For Howard Dean & the Democratic Party says:

    (1) National security is the #1 priority facing the nation and (2) going on the offense is the key to victory at the polls in November.
    Dear Fellow Democrat,
    You can’t trust Republicans on national security — and two things proved it yesterday:
    1) In a powerful interview that aired yesterday, President Bill Clinton took on the extremist Republican propaganda about 9/11 — and Fox News tried to cover up the fact that the Bush administration downgraded terrorism as a priority before September 11th and has failed to eliminate Osama bin Laden since the attacks.
    2) An explosive report on the still-classified National Intelligence Estimate states that the “invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks” — and Republicans have been trying to cover it up.
    This is what we’re fighting against every day — an administration covering up of the Bush failure of 9/11 and covering up an honest look at the war in Iraq and the war on terror.
    You know that Democrats have a real plan for destroying Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda, fixing the mess in Iraq, and really securing us at home.
    But we’ve always had those things — the problem until now has been our willingness to stand up and fight for them in the face of fear mongering, bullying and intimidation from the other side.
    That’s why we’re going on the offense on national security. The future of our party, and of our country, depends on the ability of Democrats to get a strong national security message out in all 50 states this year. Donate to make it happen and watch President Clinton fight back now:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    Here’s the meat of the Fox News interview with President Clinton, where he’s had enough of the right-wing revisionist history from the propaganda machine:
    CLINTON: I’m being asked this on the Fox network. ABC just had a right-wing conservative run in their little Pathway to 9/11, falsely claiming it was based on the 9/11 Commission report, with three things asserted against me directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report. … And I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans, who now say I didn’t do enough, claimed that I was too obsessed with bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neo-cons thought I was too obsessed with bin Laden. They had no meetings on bin Laden for nine months after I left office. All the right-wingers who now say I didn’t do enough said I did too much — same people.
    Over a quarter million Americans stood up to ABC and beat back the right-wing Republican 9/11 propaganda that tries to cover up the Bush administration’s huge failures to protect America before and after the attacks.
    Yesterday Bill Clinton did exactly what Democrats need to do in this election — to stand up to the right-wing and tell the truth. We will not let the Republicans twist history and distort reality.
    We’re sick of playing defense against a Republican leadership that uses national security to scare people to win elections. We’re not going to be pushed around, spun, and defamed by right-wing extremists and those whom they use to disseminate their propaganda.
    Our plan for this election is to go on the offense — to talk straight about the Republican failures and lay out a clear Democratic plan to take American foreign policy and national security in a better direction.
    Watch President Clinton and donate now to Democrats who will fight back:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    We have a fundamentally different vision for our security than the Party of Bush. We want a new direction in Iraq, more competent security at home, and the restoration of America’s moral leadership in the world.
    They failed to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, and five years after September 11th he still lives to taunt Americans.
    They squandered America’s moral authority and global leadership by launching a war of choice in Iraq instead of fighting the war on al Qaeda.
    The calls of the 9/11 Commission Report and Hurricane Katrina simply did not awaken Republican leaders to our continuing vulnerabilities at home.
    We’ve had enough, and we’re going to run an honest campaign about the security of our country. People are smart and ready for real leadership — will you make a donation right now to help get the message out?
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    Republicans have won two elections since 9/11 by instilling fear in people, and they’re trying to do it again this year.
    But it’s not going to work. The Bush policies have failed. Iraq is sliding into civil war. Iran and North Korea are more dangerous than they were five and a half years ago. And the Taliban resurgence poses new threats in Afghanistan.
    As President Clinton said on Fox News that we have a government “that thinks Afghanistan is only one-seventh as important as Iraq.”
    People have had enough. This administration cannot be trusted with our security.
    Democrats are going to reclaim American leadership with a tough, smart plan to transform failed policies in Iraq, the Middle East and around the world.
    We will increase the size of Special Forces to destroy Osama Bin Laden and terrorist networks like al Qaeda. We will implement the bipartisan 9/11 Commission proposal to secure America’s borders and ports and screen every container. And we will fully man, train, and equip our National Guard and our police, firefighters and other first responders.
    Let’s get this message out to Americans who need to hear it:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense
    When it comes to national security, the Republicans have not led.
    We will.
    Thank you,
    Gov. Howard Dean, M.D.
    Democratic National Committee
    P.S. — Below are a few excerpts from President Clinton’s interview. To make a donation to Democrats across the country committed to beating back right-wing propaganda, click here:
    http://www.democrats.org/offense

    Reply

  26. Marky says:

    MP,
    I strongly disagree with your comments on dual citizenship. No one is suggesting that dual citizens should not be allowed residence, or should not be allowed to work in this country, but there is nothing unreasonable about considering the possible impact of a second citizenship for some jobs. Should an Israeli citizen be the US ambassador to Israel.. or Saudi Arabia, for that matter? I think it’s a legitimate question. Also, given the terrible record of Israelis selling our most sensitive military secrets to our enemies, I have no problem with restricting dual citizens’ access to some classified information.
    We don’t allow foreign citizens to be President, do we?

    Reply

  27. Reader says:

    The assertion has been made that Chafee is the type of public servant we should see more of in BOTH parties if policy making in Washington is to be improved.
    1) What has Senator Chafee done to promote women’s rights in Iraq?
    2) What has Senator Chafee done about loose nukes in the former Soviet Union?
    3) What has Senator Chafee done to promote democracy, rule of law, suppression of opium and adequate troop deployments in Afghanistan?
    4) What has Senator Chafee done to promote repair of broken alliances between the Bush administration and France, Germany, the EU, India, Turkey?
    5) What has Senator Chafee done for civil rights? Gay rights? African American poverty? Latino access to quality education? Pluralistic hiring practices for his own staff on the Capitol Hill?
    6) What has Senator Chafee done to increase access to academic opportunity for non-millionaire Americans? To increase the Pell grants named for his far more illustrious predecessor as a senator from Rhode Island?
    7) What has Senator Chafee done to increase the abysmally low minimum wage so the working poor can earn dignity through labor?
    Either the senator from Rhode Island has a very poor communications director or he gets an F- grade in each area of performance.
    Vote for Sheldon Whitehouse. Support his candidacy. Tell your friends, acquaintances and colleagues about Whitehouse’s candidacy. It’s time to clean house in the United States Senate. The character of the Supreme Court for the next 20 years – among other things – depends on replacing Chafeee.

    Reply

  28. pauline says:

    MP wrote:
    Those who truly hold dual citizenship are entitled to it under the law.
    And please tell us in detail, MP, just how much of a witch hunt it is to seriously question the wisdom, the safety and the security for our country to hire/appoint “legal” dual citizens for several of the top security and Pentagon Defense Policy board positions? hmm?? And just how does that questioning lead to witch hunt vigilantism?
    In our post 9/11 world, can you truly justify that, especially when virtually all these duals are duals from the same country??
    And just what other countries in our great big world allow dual citizens to hold these high positions in their governments? (I’m especially interested in your specific answer to that.)

    Reply

  29. obsessed says:

    >Republican Chafee enables Republican control of >the Senate.
    >That is a deal-breaker.
    I strongly agree

    Reply

  30. MP says:

    Just a quiet word about dual citizenship…
    Those who truly hold dual citizenship are entitled to it under the law. Lots and lots of people have with many different countries. All this talk about dual citizens is verging on witch hunt vigilantism. You don’t like someone’s views, fine. No argument. But it is not an argument to accuse them, rightly or wrongly, of being a dual citizen.

    Reply

  31. CLK says:

    Republican Chafee enables Republican control of the Senate.
    That is a deal-breaker.
    VOTE WHITEHOUSE, DEMOCRAT, FOR SENATE IN RI.

    Reply

  32. pauline says:

    Carroll wrote:
    What Steve has is called a sense of DIPLOMACY!—something our country sorely needs to revive in our foreign policy (say, rather than just bullying people into submission or telling them it’s “my way or the highway”)
    Now, Carroll, please tell us readers how we are going to magically get more DIPLOMACY in place in our fed gov’t/state dept, when in reality it is overrun with war-mongering “New Pearl Harbor” neo-cons and a host of dual-citizens in very high places who, by definition, don’t have the USA’s best interests in mind!?! Who’s been checking to see if all these dual citizens aren’t crossing their fingers behind their backs when they’re taking their oaths of office?

    Reply

  33. karenk says:

    What Steve has is called a sense of DIPLOMACY!—something our country sorely needs to revive in our foreign policy (say, rather than just bullying people into submission or telling them it’s “my way or the highway”)
    Remember the old adage, you catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar. Well, your mother said that for a reason. IT’S TRUE!
    Using good tactful diplomacy more often than not will get you more of what you want in the end with less compromise of your position than any other method. Even if you take something by force, you may think you’ve won, but you pay with resentment that force engenders.
    I agree very much with Bryan when he says about Steve, “I am glad that there is an educated, intelligent, connected and influential person that thinks like me (or that I learn from, so I hope to think more like you…)that I can read about the real world from.” My sentiments exactly. Matter of fact, I see Steve running for the White House one day. He’d make a great Commander in Chief. Looks the part already and I met him once, very approachable, even gave me a big hug! You go BOI!!!

    Reply

  34. Carroll says:

    The time has come to think about solutions outside the democratic or republican mainstream.
    All the best,
    JWF
    >>>>>>>>>>
    Ditto,ditto.

    Reply

  35. For Ellis Weiner says:

    If the people in the sloshy political center know anything, it’s that Republicans diss Democrats and are their mortal enemy–even if everyone deplores it. The combat that plays out every day in the news is not between “us” and “the terrorists.” It’s between the administration, its enablers in Congress, and the saloon loudmouths on talk radio, and the Democrats. And who’s winning?
    […]
    No, “the facts” are very cute, and objectively true, and everything, but remember whom you’re trying to convince when you cite them: People who still think maybe Republicans aren’t so bad.
    What kind of person still thinks that? What kind of person, at this late date, is even tempted to re-elect a Republican? Aside from the religious nuts and the career right-wing loons, the authority-worshippers, the Strong-Daddy idolators, and the sincerely ignorant?
    The answer is, the fearful, the freaked-out, the perfectly nice but anxious people who simply can’t believe that their president is the callous, narrow, desperately insecure liar we know him to be. These are the people who, if given the proper “space” in which to judge, will indeed vote Dem. They saw Katrina. They hear “torture.” They see, or try not to see, the daily slaughter in Iraq. Many of them, mirabile dictu, probably “believe in” global warming and evolution. They remember Jack Abramoff and Bob Ney and Tom Delay, or they will once they’re reminded.
    […]
    You do it because it’s the right thing to do to neutralize the lies and smears already under way (ask Jack Murtha) and sure to get worse. By fighting back, by spitting in the eye of your “good friend” on “the other side,” you’re showing the fearful, the nervous, and the uncertain outside the Beltway that you’ve got what it takes to protect them from the other bad guys–the ones who aren’t Republicans.
    But what if that means that you can’t wave collegially at Dennis Hastert at the Capital Grille, or enjoy a bipartisan laff with Sam Brownback at the next Correspondents’ Dinner? Shut up. Don’t even ask me such things.
    Just, as the saying goes, do it. Because, if you don’t, there’s no reason for the people whose votes you want, to think you’d have the nerve and resolve to do any serious damage to terrorists.
    Because, really. If you can’t slap down a bunch of clowns in suits, how can you protect us from the suiciders?
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellis-weiner/my-wife-just-figured-it-o_b_30192.html

    Reply

  36. pauline says:

    poa wrote:
    “I suspect one of the prices he pays is a harnessed tongue. One wrong move, one mis-spoken blog comment, and he might find his invite to the party is revoked.
    But hey, the time is coming when he won’t be able to sit on the fence, because these bastards are about to blow the fence sky high.”
    My dear poa, will it be a multi-attack on the US by mostly the same Zionist/neo-con bunch that caused and covered-up 9/11? And will they be using tactical nuclear weapons this time? And will a large sporting arena, a middle-sized American city and family-oriented theme-park be used this time?
    Will we Americans be begging for a world government to then come in with newer, tighter controls and a new currency, too?
    Are these “the fences” that will blow this time?
    Pleae clarify.

    Reply

  37. vachon says:

    Your integrity is not in peril, Steve. You are not duplicitous or mendacious. On the contrary, I believe you are open and honest about everything you do, or at least everything that counts where this blog is concerned.
    That’s different than saying I agree with you. I don’t. But I do understand what you’re trying to do and who you’re trying to do it with or in some circumstances, against. Carry on.

    Reply

  38. Eli Rabett says:

    Let us consider the Bolton obsession of this blog. You are every so greatful that after how many months, just when he has to move left to have any chance of winning in the general election, Lincoln Chafee has decided he may not like John Bolton.
    Chafee is playing you.

    Reply

  39. For Arianna Huffington says:

    ON PANDERING TO POWER …
    More specifically, what can Bill Clinton learn? That the bipartisan love-in he’s been engaged in over the last several years has resulted in jack-squat.
    […]
    All of Bill Clinton’s tireless “bipartisanship” has been of no benefit to him, of no benefit to the country, and has only benefited George Bush and the right-wing.
    […]
    Taking the “high-road” has a nice sound to it, but Clinton shouldn’t fool himself — and insult the rest of us — by thinking that the time he’s spent traveling that elevated path has made the world a better place. Or made the gang at Fox News hate him any less than they did the day he left office.
    The people who tried to hound him out of office haven’t changed much, though they do now control both houses of Congress and the White House.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/bill-clintons-bipartisan_b_30141.html

    Reply

  40. don_wis says:

    Re: those “who applaud the President …for emptying America’s black site prisons abroad.”
    No applause for him, please. Just indictment and trial for criminal violation of U.S. laws and international conventions.

    Reply

  41. Greekian says:

    If it is moderates you want, then you need to destroy the far Right, and to do that the legislative branches must be taken over by the Left and let the Trials begin. If we are ever to get back to the center again this administration must be slaughtered on the altar of Justice. The Evil Ones must be Destroyed!

    Reply

  42. PUBLIUS says:

    Realists understand that the best way to block the John Boltons of the world and the ideologies that put such execrable (but illustriously pedigreed) types in power is to work on behalf of the Sheldon Whitehouses of the world
    http://www.whitehouseforsenate.com/
    and the VALUES the Sheldon Whitehouses seek to advance in the institutions of government. It is a sign of the times that a “prominent conservative pol” would seek to knock around someone of Steve’s moderate views and characterize him as a “firebrand”. We are in a period of right wing extremist dominance of all three branches of government AND the news media, so any challenge to their worldview is naturally seen as shocking, out of order, impolite, impolitic. (See the interview by Chris Wallace of Bill Clinton, in which Clinton’s very restrained defense of the factual record was taken by right wing pundits as an outburst of unjustified wrath.) Yes, the Washington international policy circuit is a fragile environment of exotic cocktails, tasty dinners in the city’s finest restaurants and frequent parleys with unsavory characters whose positions of power command the attention and silenced tongues of those who seek improvements to the way business is done here and on the world stage. The challege, of course, is to remain true to one’s commitment to progress rather than join the cynical chorus of sycophants comprised of that species lying on the spectrum of creation between vertebrates and invertebrates and which is more than amply represented in influential positions around the capital. In the meantime, prudence requires judicious contributions to the public forum.

    Reply

  43. fb40úó2 says:

    Don’t get all bent out of shape that Steve likes Chaffee. Steve is of little consequence as to whether Chaffee gets re-elected or not. Steve needs to play the middle. His livlihood depends upon schmoozing with both sides and particularly the making of a middle, being non-committal, like diplomatical twittle. He wanna keep being a playa in salons wiff da beautiful peeps, but he’s not so utterly high and mighty to not give y’all a nod, he’s a well respected man about town living his life soo diplomatically when he’s not being a firebrand revolutionary who dares speak truth to da powah. Steve’s kool.

    Reply

  44. No time for moderation says:

    To support and vote for centrist Republicans now is complete foolishness since it is equivalent to support full support of this Republican administration’s agenda. All Republicans are one and the same with the filth of the administration; they are all the administration’s enablers. To be seduced by “moderate Republicans” makes you a dupe of the Far Right as they retain majorities in both houses of the legislature, will still wield the most power in the land and put the hammer down on anyone out of step in their party. All Republicans must be anathema in this election if this country is to bring Justice to bear on its criminal Executive by casting out their protectors. Chaffee is a small, small, single individual of no consequence compared to what needs to happen to set this country back on the correct path. All Republicans up for election need to be defeated and Chaffee being vulnerable needs an extra push over the cliff. The “R” next to his name is all you should need to know about him.

    Reply

  45. Arun says:

    Compromise, coalition-building, etc., is possible only on issues where the different points of view have equal legitimacy.
    On travesties like the rape and torture bill, there can be no compromise. If you’re for the bill, you’re against the best traditions of this country. Put aside any specifics for a moment, the President ought not to have a power that is not overseeable by either the courts or by Congress, and that is what this bill gives him.

    Reply

  46. jocelyn says:

    No matter how wonderful little Chaffee is, the Democrat would be far better whomever he is. Dems need to control the legislature,period. The Dem candidate will all the good things Chaffee is less Chaffee’s Republican affiliation. No Republican, no matter how lovable they might be should be held in higher esteem than their Democratic challenger if we want to hold this administration accountable. Hold your tongue when it doesn’t help the overall goal, control of Congress, which will also insure Bolton’s defeat. Think.

    Reply

  47. mrgavel says:

    To quote a unknown Democratic staffer: “A Republican moderate is a person who, if you were drowning 20 feet off shore, would throw you 10 feet of rope.”

    Reply

  48. bob h says:

    I’ve never viewed you as a centrist at all; I wouldn’t waste time on the blog if I did. I see a very diplomatic but committed partisan.
    In any event, Chaffee is going down in November.

    Reply

  49. J. William Fulbright says:

    Hey Steve,
    if the radicals in both parties don’t allow for a reasonable moderate center to emerge what about starting your own third party with like-minded folks? It’s increasingly promising to think about such a move since neocons and lib hawks are still tightly allied against any other prudent foreign policy manifesto. They’re seem not to get tired of sitting in the same boat. Meanwhile the silent majority is growing.
    As Tom Edsall concludes in his new book “Building Red America”:
    “Politics functions as a market, and the political marketplace is now significantly out of balance – it is in disequilibrium. If political parties were corporations, the political market would be viewed as territory ripe for takeover or for the entry of an outside competitor.”
    The time has come to think about solutions outside the democratic or republican mainstream.
    All the best,
    JWF

    Reply

  50. David says:

    David H Lewis
    Subject David Hicks
    Visit Time 25/09/2006 12:00 AM
    Remark Dear Mr President
    I write to seek your interest in the case of David Hicks
    Who’s been at Hotel Gitmo, five years or is it six?
    Altho’ he much appreciates your hospitality (NOT!)
    Enough’s enough, the time has come for David to be free.
    “Honor bound” to fight for freedom is Gitmo’s noble creed
    So we’re hoping you’ll live out this creed and David will be freed.
    Why David’s there at all is not an edifying tale –
    Your soldiers paid a grand for him (!) and slung him into jail.
    So apart from minor scruples about BUYING fellow men
    It’s clear that Hotel Gitmo hasn’t won you any friends,
    For it betrays the founding principles your nation holds so dear
    And it’s sad to see ideals being trashed in panic, shock and fear.
    Thank God your nation’s judges took a more enlightened view
    Declaring it illegal and that you should start anew
    But instead of finding other ways to persecute these men
    You have the chance to start afresh and really make amends
    To show some generosity, admit mistakes occurred,
    Set David and the others free – to keep them now’s absurd.
    In any case they’re all just far more trouble than they’re worth
    Cos’ Gitmo’s now regarded as the meanest place on earth,
    And after all this time there’s no way justice can be served:
    From trying to work outside the law you got what you deserved –
    A Godalmighty legal mess that stains your country’s name
    And shows the world that YOU’RE the biggest threat to freedom’s flame!
    So seize this chance to close it down and set your prisoners free
    Stand by your country’s claim to be the land of liberty
    To hold these men for yet more time will only make things worse
    And show the world AMERICA is really freedom’s curse
    The USA v Mr Hicks is like David and Goliath
    And we all remember how that went and who laid down and dieth!
    David H Lewis.

    Reply

  51. Pan Pan (anon) says:

    Steve’s is a centrism I can subscribe to, a far cry from the dishonest and contrived ‘split-the-difference’ centrism of David Broder and his acolytes. I’ve never felt his progressive credentials were in doubt: Steve always praises perceived Republican moderates in the context and on behalf of arguments for more independence and more moderation. This is simply an alternative, and, I think, more effective way to pressure them into breaking ranks with the Bush administration. One can’t expect to turn Republican congressmen into progressives, but by reminding them of their aspirations (pretensions?) of centrism, one can hold them to higher standards that Steve, as a bonafide ‘radical centrist’, can himself establish.

    Reply

  52. Carroll says:

    I think this fixation with centrists is misguided. First of all, I see self-proclaimed centrism as an indication of a certain personality type—the sort of person who sees great value in building coalitions and who believes that one can accomodate the greatest number of people by espousing views which tend toward the middle on each issue.
    Posted by Marky at September 24, 2006 09:36 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I have to say I disagree with your definition of centrist…I suppose though that there are diffent concepts of it.
    I consider myself a centrist, even if I am more liberal on social issues and programs than conservative.
    So what centrist means to me and others I know is that we look at issues one by one, consider an issues seperately from any overall ideology. And ask are they beneficial and fair for the people and the country as a whole.
    Now a politican who “calls” himself a centrist may be interested in “coalition” building…but that a whole other subject.

    Reply

  53. Pissed Off American says:

    The truth is that the doors that Steve goes in and out of would slam shut if he was as candid as some of us feel free to be. We caught a glimpse of that recently when Reid’s camp became a bit upset with Steve’s presentation of an issue concerning them.
    There are times when Steve’s fawning endorsements of some of these scumballs makes me want to scream to high heaven. But Steve belongs to a different caste than I do, and I suspect his proximity to the players results in him having a somewhat myopic view of the whole picture. At times he seems quaintly naive to me. And who knows, really, what price he pays to rub elbows with the people he rubs elbows with? I suspect one of the prices he pays is a harnessed tongue. One wrong move, one mis-spoken blog comment, and he might find his invite to the party is revoked.
    But hey, the time is coming when he won’t be able to sit on the fence, because these bastards are about to blow the fence sky high.

    Reply

  54. bryan barfield says:

    Steve,
    When you are involved in commenting on such a decisive subject as politics, and have a wide and passionate audience, there are going to be those who disagree with you. Some are going to let you know about it. Some are going to rip you about it. So what? This is YOUR blog. You don’t owe anyone anything. It is your responsibility to be true to yourself, and yourself alone.
    I am glad that there is an educated, intelligent, connected and influential person that thinks like me (or that I learn from, so I hope to think more like you…)that I can read about the real world from. I may not agree with everything you write but, that’s not why I read your blog anyway.
    Keep up the good work.
    Bryan Barfield

    Reply

  55. Carroll says:

    Stand firm in the Center Steve!
    But use plenty of your “edge” on the moral issues.
    Then let the chips fall where they may.
    I disagree though that this blog doesn’t have any influence. I disagree many times with your take on certain people or events. But then I also learn a few things about another person, like Hagel, or a subject under discussion that gives me reason to reconsider and do some research and sometimes changes my mind.
    If you are under seige that means radicals of both sides are afraid of the centrist…and that’s good news to me…because it’s good for the country.

    Reply

  56. Jerome Gaskins says:

    Average Joe here, Kitty. What us AJs need is more acceptance of the views of people who are NOT trying to take advantage of us by playing off of our ignorance about the way things work in politics.
    You may disagree with Steve’s methods, but try to understand that, for an AJ, many points of view are necessary to making an informed decision. Your opinion of his work may not agree with his or his other readers, and you might resist it on principle, but there are us who, even in disagreement, want to know how he sees things, and we happen to like his reports from the “front line” as it gives us Average Joes the vicarious thrill of being “in the club”.
    After all, most of us Average Joes cannot afford to live in DC, build his style of network, travel around the world or commiserate with spies, insurgents and diplomats. It’s certainly better than CNN, FOX or MsNBC any day of the year!

    Reply

  57. Ddrich says:

    I too think LC is probably a descent person and I’ve enjoyed listening to and reading his thoughts and policy ideas. He strikes me as a man that just might be a Republican from bygone times. I have to take issue with your clarity “… that the Lincoln Chafee we have seen in the Senate these last few months is the kind of American senator I personally wish we had more of in BOTH parties.” Ahmen to that.
    I’m glad LC blocked the evil “Captain Kangaroo” and I applaud him for that, but how long will this conviction last. If re-elected, I’m thinking about November 8. Why would I be so pessimistic? Words guide and actions determine. Take the example this past week of another (I’m sure a descent man in person) Senator McCain. Not facing the real possiblilty of defeat he won the compromise position that America will become a country that will torture, just a little, and deny the ideal that “all men are created equal” and thus avail those rights to all mankind. No, NO, No. we as a nation have just told the world that we reserve the right to be as brutal as any enemy we might face, not better.
    How do I know? I don’t because knowing requires time and action, but on ABC, Mr. Frist explained that the agreement on “alternative interrogation” clarified specifics of such and was unable to specify anything which might be disallowed except actions against human dignity. Which Mr. Bush has already stated is vague and incomprehensible. Anything goes. Great compromise. LC block the Bolton will probably go the same route. History says the chance exists as likely.
    You may applaud “the President and some of his key architects for emptying America’s black site prisons abroad.”, but how American was it of them to do that in the first place. Internment during WWII was not a lesson learned, only template for further action. Chafee, McCain, Clinton, Reid, and the majority of these wacky thinking, principled people allowed it to happen by speaking principles and voting tryanny.
    Monsters to our written rules of conduct do deserve to be dealt with as civil human being because that is what our Constitution, laws, and religions demand of us. I understand that even Stalin was a polite, reasonable, principled, and likable person face-to-face and if I had to deal with him it would have been in a polite manner. Right up to the point that my civility and principles required enforcement from the trigger side of our weapons. Sadly lacking in all levels of our government.
    I know it must be flattering to be carped at from both extremes and led to the belief that the “principled middle” or the “radical center is where you dwell. But a man stands where he stands, nothing more. Right? Left? Center? Einstein explained this in the General Theory and people tend to become attracted toward their own personal event horizons. Just remember the gravity well in which you and the people reside is part of a wider universe that is governed by laws, theory, and principles or just chaos.

    Reply

  58. badgervan says:

    After going through 6 years of bush/cheney/rove rule, and I do mean rule, you must realize just how dangerous and incompetent these posers are. I strongly believe that we just don’t have the option at present to be politically “neutral”. I am worried about cheney and the neos declaring war on Iran; now is not the time to trust anyone on the Right – especially McCain, Frist, and that whinny little opportunist and self-styled King Protector of Israel, Joe “Party of One” Lieberman.
    At least you and Broder can get together and piss and moan about the mean lefty bloggers. Many of us, however, will be working as hard as possible to defeat any and all repubs. It’s been the repub party that has enabled the past 6 years, and I do not want to see another 2 years of the worst “leadership” in our country’s history. There is no authentic “middle” right now; we do not have that luxury. November 7 is going to be one of the most important dates in the history of our United States. bush/cheney/rove have used the moderates to their advantage; played ’em to a tee. Now is NOT the time for moderation with these people – now is the time to defeat them, and defeat them with gusto.

    Reply

  59. nepeta says:

    Re: those “who applaud the President …for emptying America’s black site prisons abroad.”
    I’ve read that the only reason Bush emptied (?) any black site prisons abroad was that the CIA refused to continue interrogations and ‘running the prisons.’ So, if that’s true, let’s give applause where it’s due, to the CIA, and not Bush.

    Reply

  60. Marky says:

    I think this fixation with centrists is misguided. First of all, I see self-proclaimed centrism as an indication of a certain personality type—the sort of person who sees great value in building coalitions and who believes that one can accomodate the greatest number of people by espousing views which tend toward the middle on each issue.
    Of course the underlying desire is worthy.
    Unfortunately, for now, reclaiming the middle comes at the cost of strengthening Bush.
    Over and over again, the legs of the opposition to Bush have been cut off by well-meaning centrists—and of course by the truly slimy war-monger McCain, who should be labeled far right rather than centrist. Chaffee has been 10 times the liability to the state of the nation than a benefit. Why on earth strengthen him, which is absolutely certain to strengthen Bush compared to having a Democratic Senator?
    That is a very long term view, and the “comma” of current strife should not be drawn out towards the quixotic goal of turning mediocrities like Chaffee into pillars of the centrist community.
    A second issue I have with a tilt towards the center is that I wonder if the center is really close at all to the best plans for Iraq, and even more importantly, for global warming?
    In conclusion, let me say that if there is a hope to build a strong, useful center, perhaps it should be on the foundation of a commitment to fight global warming now.

    Reply

  61. Kitty says:

    You know, Steve, I don’t think the problem is whether you are centrist, too far right or left. I don’t think the problem is about you at all. I agree that what is said on this blog will not move the voter in this election season, and to me that’s what it’s all about.
    You can like this person here, that person there, but frankly I don’t see how that is going to change the policies of this Administration. When it comes to the issue of torture, of national security, of fiscal responsibility, of poverty here in the US, of health care, of pretty much everything the American citizen is impacted by when it comes to the actions of our government, I don’t see that there can be any change from the truly destructive actions of this Administration than to change the make-up of Congress and the Senate.
    I think you are a very intelligent man, but I also think you hang around enough with the movers and shakers so that you are out of touch with the regular American citizen. I say that because I’ve been reading your blog for quite some time — I notice how often you talk about this dinner party, meeting that dignitary, how you personally feel this man or that man is of high integrity. You may not feel this affects your stance on the highly partisan issue of how to bring our government back to the people, but it is evident to me when I read what you write.
    So you can like Chaffee, you can have respect for McCain and treat Bolton well — what does that have to do with anything? All that tells me is that you have met these men personally or at the very least move in those kinds of circles.
    And I feel you have lost some credibility with the average Joe in doing so. You really can’t imagine how you sound when you write things like this.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *