Friday, November 10


Sean Hannity declared war on the Democratic Party today on his radio show.

A listener called in and said something like, Sean, the president has called for putting the election behind us and calling for bipartisanship solutions going forward. So in that spirit, why don't you stop playing audio clips of Democratic ads and comments attacking the president and the GOP?

Hannity replied that he's not about to forget, that he's just begun to fight. "Maybe the president is a better person that I am," he said (HOOT!!!), but he repeated that he's not about to just forget the terrible things Democrats have said about Bush.

Another caller (or maybe the same one) said that maybe Sean should just balance his clips of Dem attacks with those of Republicans, and Bush, against Dems. Sean blew that off and disconnected with the caller. He just wasn't going to address a moderate.

Sean said he's galvanized, he's motivated, more than ever before. He said he's anti-taxes, pro-national security, pro-family values. And he hates the mainstream media (especially CNN, the "Clinton National Network"), even in the face of a caller who asserted that conservatives don't listen to the MSM or heed them. When a New Yorker called him to say he's facing far greater economic consequences from increased healthcare costs and that the vaunted Republican tax cuts haven't benefited him, Sean cut him off, saying, Just wait until you see the tax increases that the Democrats will levy on you.

Sean Hannity is a blight on that nation's discourse equal with Rush Limbaugh, maybe even more malignant since he has a major media outlet outside of his wingnut radio show, the Fox TV show "Hannity and Colmes."



Credit DNC Chairman Howard Dean's long-range 50-state strategy to rebuild the Democratic Party with a share in the Dems' midterm elections victory. Who can doubt it? But DLC'ers, who have fought Dean from the beginning, are starting to talk about replacing him as DNC Chair. For what? For a strategy payoff long before anyone could have predicted? I'm talking to you, James Carville. So shut up. (I have a huge affection for the Ragin' Cajun, but when you're wrong, you're wrong.)

Some big name Democrats want to oust DNC Chairman Howard Dean, arguing that his stubborn commitment to the 50-state strategy and his stinginess with funds for House races cost the Democrats several pickup opportunities.

The candidate being floated to replace Dean? Harold Ford.

Says James Carville, one of the anti-Deaniacs, "Suppose Harold Ford became chairman of the DNC? How much more money do you think we could raise? Just think of the difference it could make in one day. Now probably Harold Ford wants to stay in Tennessee. I just appointed myself his campaign manager."

Joe Conason makes the case for Dean.

Against the counsel of party professionals, whose long losing streak has done little to diminish their influence, the new chairman began the process of re-creating the Democratic Party in 2005. And contrary to the gossip and subsequent press reports, he succeeded in raising $51 million last year, about 20 percent more than in 2003 and a party record for an off year.

Much of that money was spent in ways that obviously paid off on Tuesday, including the 2005 election of Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine in Virginia -- where Jim Webb's upset victory over incumbent Sen. George Allen overturned Republican control of the Senate. Several million dollars was spent on rebuilding the party's national voter files, yet another essential sector in which the Republicans have enormous technological superiority.

Less obvious but equally significant was the spending on hundreds of organizers and communications specialists -- and their training -- in every state. In some places this meant taking the chains off locked, dusty offices that had seen no real activity in years; in others, it meant bailing the state party out of literal bankruptcy and convening meetings in counties where party activists had given up.
What Dean and his organizers created, however, was an environment that allowed insurgents and outliers as well as the party's chosen challengers to ride the national wave of revulsion against conservative rule. That enterprise, in turn, surprised and overwhelmed the Republican capacity to respond. Faced with many more viable challenges than anticipated, the Republicans made mistakes in allocating resources -- and were forced to defend candidates in districts that are usually safe.
[T]he party chairman has won the argument he started last year. Rebuilding the Democratic Party in every state is as much a matter of pragmatism as principle. There would have been much less for the Democrats to celebrate on Election Night if Howard Dean hadn't been so "crazy" -- and so persistent.

Durn tootin'.

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Thursday, November 9

Care Net's Purity Ball Preview

Okay, pals of the Christian right (and I have a lot of them, including many of my extended family). It's time to declare at least that this is not only creepy, but downright sick.

The Sage and I have three grown (20-somethings) daughters, and from the time they were teenagers, I'll confess, I sometimes complained that he spent more time with them than with me. But never, ever, did our girls primp -- make themselves up, dress in strapless gowns -- to get their dad's attention. It was always, "Help me with my presentation... my car repairs... my boyfriend... my teacher... "

I showed him the video of dads with their daughters at the "purity balls" and his reaction was, "Disgusting!" We laughed at the notion that any of our girls would ever primp up with makeup and strapless gowns for their dad and declare their decision for "abstinence until marriage" to him -- as The Sage declared, "That's a promise they should make to God, and beyond that their mother should be an equal object with their dad." In the case of our girls, they're more likely to look their worst to play on Dad's sympathy.

With all of the sex scandals involving Christian ministers over the years, I think it's time someone helped the Christian community to understand that sex is one of the great gifts of God, not an instinct to be ashamed of. We would all be a lot healthier for it. If we could cope with the idea (explicitly spelled out in the Bible in the Song of Solomon) that God ordained that we should have a healthy enjoyment of sex, we would be more aligned with what God ordained. And isn't that what religionists are supposed to aim for, obedience to God?



Not-so-big surprise, since Ken has long been suggested as a gay-in-sheep's-clothing while Rethugs were making gay rights a big wedge issue with their conservative base. Many of us have just been waiting for the right-wing, especially after the disastrous Mark Foley and Ted Haggard scandals, to purge themselves of their gay staffers. The irony is that the party of inclusion, the Democrats, will/have benefited from these revelations, when we don't even consider them political fodder. From our point of view, the sexual orientation of political candidates and staffers isn't relevant. Would you ask a (supposedly) heterosexual to declare the details of his or her sex life? Of course not. But Republicans themselves, and the rightist Christianists who champion them, have made sexual orientation a political issue.

Hat tip to Mikevotes. And to blogActive.



Absolutely astounding.

Dallas County still calls its historic courthouse Old Red, but on Tuesday it went "blue."

A national wave of Democratic voting and changing demographics swept Republicans out of power in the county as the GOP surrendered 42 judgeships, the district's attorney office and the county judge's seat.

This has to be a result of straight-Democratic ticket voting. The judges simply aren't that visible and do little or no advertising. I keep hearing, as I just did on CNN, pundits and journalists opining that the results of the midterm elections weren't a product of "voters voting for Democrats but against Republicans." Well, Texas cowpies. It's at the least a combination of both.

Appropos of nothing, I've been working closely with "Old Red" the past few months because it's being converted into the Dallas County Museum, to open April '07 (a six-year effort). One floor will be devoted to Trade & Commerce, and my company has been selected along with nine other Dallas companies to be included in a permanent exhibit titled "Entrepreneurs" -- 10 Dallas companies that have changed the face of America and the world (the others include Texas Instruments, EDS, Mary Kay, Nieman-Marcus, 7-Eleven, Mary Kay, Hunt Oil, Club Corp. of America, Frito-Lay). It's my responsibility to coordinate our exhibit, and today when I called the curator about some issues it was my pleasure to tell him that henceforth I shall refer to the project as "Old Blue."


Wednesday, November 8


Wow. And just hours ago, WaPo was saying he wouldn't be forced out "just because he faces a tougher time from resurgent Democrats."

But voters' repudiation of the Iraq war might cause President George W. Bush to decide life would be easier without Rumsfeld around. Some insiders and analysts believe that could happen, despite Bush's declaration last week that he planned to keep Rumsfeld in the job.

Bush opened his press conference by saying he was obviously disappointed with the outcome of the election, but that he'd called Dem leaders and told them they can work together over the next two years. Bush said he told Nancy Pelosi he could share the names of some good interior decorators.

He said the message yesterday was clear, that voters want their leaders to put aside their partisan differences and work for common solutions to face the challenges of our time. But he insisted that he believes that most Americans understand that we can't accept defeat in Iraq. He said the election hasn't changed his fundamental responsibility, which is to protect America from attack.

Then he announced that he and Rummy have agreed that the time is right for a change of leadership in the Pentagon. He called Rummy a "superb leader." Bob Gates, former director of CIA and current president of Texas A&M, will replace Rumsfeld as Secretary of Defense.

He had a message for "those on the front lines": To our enemies, don't be joyful, don't confuse the workings of democracy with weakness. We'll bring you to justice. To the people of Iraq: don't be afraid. We know you want a better life, and now is the time to seize it. To our brave men and women in uniform: Don't be doubtful. Our nation will always support you.

Then he started talking about how he'd wanted to "change the tone" when he came into the presidency, that he's made some progress but not as much as he wanted to. Said in Texas he worked with both sides, and if we put partisanship aside, that would be a good thing.

Plenty of warmed-over talking points and cliches in response to reporters' questions. Said he and Rummy want "fresh eyes" looking at Iraq. Said he and Rumsfeld made the decision yesterday.

What about his campaign rhetoric of "Terrorists win, America loses" if Dems win the midterms? He responded, What's changed today is the election's over and the Democrats won, and Democrats are going to have to make up their mind how they're going to conduct their affairs.

What do you mean in terms of course correction in Iraq? What did Cheney mean by "full speed ahead"? Is Bush going to listen to the voters? Well, he said, Iraq was on people's minds but there were different factors in different races. Most Americans want a victory in Iraq, "my point is" that while we've been adjusting, we'll continue to adjust. Somehow the idea worked into people's minds that I just wanted to "stay the course" when we're constantly adjusting. If we leave before the job is not complete in Iraq, Al Qaeda will have a safe haven from which to launch attacks. We're going to help this government [in Iraq] become one that can defend and sustain itself.

Said it's important that at a time of war it's important to be seen as not adjusting tactics because of political considerations.

Kept talking about finding "common ground" with Democrats without either side compromising their principles. Cheney still has Bush's complete confidence. Said the "elections were close, but the cumulative effect was a thumping." "One of the things" that "amazed" him about the election was that the economy is doing so fabulously. He figures it was trumped by "how hard" the fight in Iraq is. It's a tough fight, and we're going to win the fight. The only way we won't win it is if we leave before the job is done. It's very important the people understand the consequences of failure. I promised we'd win, and we will. If the goal is get out now, regardless, then it'll be hard to work with the Democrats. He wants to "institutionalize the steps" we need for future presidents to win the war on terror. The enemy looking at this election must think, "Well, America's going to leave," and the troops are wondering if they'll get the support they need. No, that's not what's going to happen.

UPDATE: A reporter asked the question, if Bush didn't know or expect the kind of results that were delivered yesterday, does that mean he's out of touch with the voting public? And as a followup, he asked, "Does the president think Nancy Pelosi looks much like Bob Bullock?" Good shot. As Molly Ivins famously said, "Bush was smart enough to do what Bob Bullock told him to for four years, and it worked fine."

UPDATE: Bush was asked about his last-week assertion to reporters that Rumsfeld and Cheney were doing "fantastic" jobs and would remain in place for the duration of his presidency. He answered that he had to answer the way he did in order to get the reporters to move on to another question. Everything is politics with this guy. He admitted he was already scouting for a replacement for Rummy. So, in other words, HE LIED AGAIN. He used the excuse that he hadn't yet talked to Gates, the replacement DefSec. That explains it? He clearly knew Rummy's days were numbered at the same time he was talking job security.

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Can you say "Madam Speaker?"

Credit where credit is due. Nancy exerted discipline on Congressional Democrats and deserves her share of the kudos for the success by Dems in the midterms.

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A thought about Harold Ford, Jr. His concession speech last night was a tableau of grace. This guy is just 36 years old, yet he is so articulate, so polished, and so genuinely sincere, he surely has a big career in politics ahead of him. Some may not have appreciated his final words, in which he quoted Ephesians 6:12 ("For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, and against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places."), but I thought it was incredibly apt.

"These moments are moments you can either shrink form or grow from," says Ford Jr.

Ford said he was going to pray for strength to grow and be a better person. He also asked his supporters at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis not to get angry about the defeat.

There's another Tennessee Senate seat, and when Lamar Alexander decides to retire, you can bet that Harold Ford, Jr. will be back.



Pinch me so I'll know I'm not dreaming.

23 seats and counting! A possible takeover of the Senate!

The Sage and I didn't go to bed until after 2 a.m. It was like New Year's Eve as we watched the coverage all night and shouted our glee as seat after seat fell to the Dems. Now we're holding our breath over Virginia and Montana, but you know what? I'm finally encouraged enough to BELIEVE.

Tuesday, November 7


Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann are joined in pre-poll-closing commentary on the election. They've agreed that the world is watching to see if the people of the U.S. are going to vote for Republicans, which will indicate that America backs the Iraq war, or Democratic, which will send the message that the American government is to blame, not the people.

That's an interesting and accurate (I believe) assessment. Up till now many across the world have been split on their sentiments about the U.S., thinking that while the Bush/Cheney administration has proven to be a dangerous, militaristic, destabilizing force that threatens peace, the American people are good, honorable, and charitable. If the American electorate deliver a vote today that essentially validates the administration's policies, the rest of the world will perceive that they have been mistaken: that Americans approve of Bush's foreign policy.

And that will be disastrous for our standing among nations.

In the anti-Vietnam War protests of the late sixties and early seventies there was a slogan that was often chanted for the media to record: "The whole world is watching. The whole world is watching."

It's never been so true as it is now.

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It's Tuesday morning, and I'm going to be a nervous wreck all day. Today we find out what Americans are made of. And I meet my new boss.

My predictions for the election:
1. The Republicans will manage some more dirty tricks.
2. Democrats pick up 14 House seats, 3 Senate seats.

Oh, how I hope I'm being pessimistic.

Monday, November 6

Tucker Carlson is airing as an intro to each segment of his show, attack ads against Democrats. It's despicable. It's giving unpaid-for national air time to the Republican candidates.


A colleague in my department (formerly a newspaper reporter in Connecticut) who now works for us from his home in Connecticut was in the office today, and he joined our public affairs director (i.e., lobbyist) and I for lunch. His take on the Lamont-Lieberman campaign is that Lieberman's edge is all about jobs -- the perception that Lieberman's been able to deliver protection for their military installations and contracts. He says he's been bombarded by calls and door-hangers from both candidates, but that Lieberman has dominated the news coverage. Our PA director (also a Connecticut native) and he started laughing when I asked about Lamont. "He's from GREENWICH!" they hooted. Ignorant me. I don't know much about CT, obviously, since I had no idea that Greenwich is 70% (at LEAST, they asserted) Republican. Greenwich, according to my buddies, is considered by Connecticut-ians as a "land beyond time," a wealthy, protected bubble.

Then we got serious. He and I asked our resident expert (the lobbyist, a moderate Republican) for her inside projections on the midterm election results. She reported that she has absolute confidence that the Dems will take the House by gaining 25-35 seats and fall short in regaining the Senate, though gaining 3-4 seats.



Chuck Todd of National Journal's "Hotline" is on Hardball giving me some reasssurance about the weekend polls' blip in favor of Republicans. He says he went back and looked at historical data, and the weekend before the 1994 Gingrich revolution, the polls indicated that the Democrats had pulled even with Republicans and even moved ahead of them a point. Looking at the overall history of the polls and midterm elections, and with the current gap between Dems and the GOP in the generic poll, he said, there's almost no possibility that we won't regain control of the House.

From his lips to God's ears.


Sunday, November 5


Well, we just finished our GOTV calling party for Political Action, and during every break we discussed our total disbelief that Bush and the Republicans continue to command such loyal hordes of women, gays and the middle- and lower-classes, despite the fact that the GOP has spent the past thirty years working against their interests and the past six years specifically passing legislation designed to widen the gulf between the super-wealthy and all other Americans, and to limit the choices and freedoms to which Americans can lay claim. Over and over today I heard, "I don't get it" and "What are they thinking?" It was particularly galling to watch poll updates on the cable networks and hear that the Rethugs are closing in on and even leading Dems in races critical to our winning control of the two houses of Congress.

Then I collapsed in the easy chair, picked up the computer, and the first thing that caught my eye was this:

The American Conservative magazine calls Bush a "feckless president" and says, "The GOP must go."

It should surprise few readers that we think a vote that is seen—in America and the world at large—as a decisive “No” vote on the Bush presidency is the best outcome. We need not dwell on George W. Bush’s failed effort to jam a poorly disguised amnesty for illegal aliens through Congress or the assaults on the Constitution carried out under the pretext of fighting terrorism or his administration’s endorsement of torture. Faced on Sept. 11, 2001 with a great challenge, President Bush made little effort to understand who had attacked us and why—thus ignoring the prerequisite for crafting an effective response. He seemingly did not want to find out, and he had staffed his national-security team with people who either did not want to know or were committed to a prefabricated answer.
There may be little Americans can do to atone for this presidency, which will stain our country’s reputation for a long time. But the process of recovering our good name must begin somewhere, and the logical place is in the voting booth this Nov. 7. If we are fortunate, we can produce a result that is seen—in Washington, in Peoria, and in world capitals from Prague to Kuala Lumpur—as a repudiation of George W. Bush and the war of aggression he launched against Iraq.
On Nov. 7, the world will be watching as we go to the polls, seeking to ascertain whether the American people have the wisdom to try to correct a disastrous course. Posterity will note too if their collective decision is one that captured the attention of historians—that of a people voting, again and again, to endorse a leader taking a country in a catastrophic direction. The choice is in our hands.

Why do these things seem to come so late in the election cycle? Everybody seems to be piling on Bush and the Republican Congress a couple days before the midterms, before they can hardly penetrate the conscious of most Americans. I can't respect or give credit to anyone who decides to finally go on record as opposing the policies and performance of this "feckless" administration when it can hardly do any good, be they neocons, conservatives, or editors.

Why do so many Americans continue to support the Bush-Cheney-Rove-GOP? Because those who know better, wait till too late to say so.