Friday, February 29

Senior Cpl. Victor Lozada Tirado to be laid to rest today

Hillary will attend the services.

Now that's class.

He was a fine man, and his wife described him as "so excited" to be taking part in the motorcade.

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Thursday, February 28


Joe Conason:

Within the next two weeks, the number of American troops killed in Iraq is likely to reach 4,000, assuming that the average number of fatal casualties per day remains steady. It is an arbitrary number, given meaning by the fact that the nation may briefly take notice, but a day will come in this presidential campaign when Sen. John McCain must explain what he thinks we have gained by the sacrifice of those men and women.

Emphasis mine.

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Two important moments during the Tuesday night debate:

1. Hillary repudiated her vote for the authorization of force in Iraq.
2. Barack Obama ran as fast as he could from the term "liberal."

Video and transcript here.

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Tuesday, February 26


This is what we're up against.

With the Arizona senator in command of the GOP race, some Republicans are motivated to cast a protest vote against Clinton.

Michael Jones, a 39-year-old self-described conservative Republican who is involved in marketing, said he will cast his vote for Obama in the primary "so Hillary gets out."

But he isn't enamored of Obama, a first-term senator whose experience has come under fire from both Clinton and McCain.
Even though polls show that Clinton would be a weaker candidate against McCain than would Obama, experts say Republicans, who have long expressed a visceral distaste for Bill and Hillary Clinton, want to prevent her from being on the ballot in November.

"The argument I've seen is, 'Let's get rid of Clinton once and for all,' " said Ralph Bordie, who conducts the IVR Poll in Texas.

Bordie's latest statewide poll released last week found that 15 percent of Texas Republicans who said they will support the GOP nominee in November plan nonetheless on voting for Obama next week.

A troubling number of Texas Republicans plan to vote for Obama in order to disqualify Hillary from the "Final Two." As I said to my good friend Sally at lunch today, it bothers me tremendously that Repugs have any say at all in the nominee we Democrats choose. While Chris Dodd may rejoice in having "Obama Republicans," similar to "Reagan Democrats," I don't believe for a minute that the Democratic nominee will get substantial registered Republican votes. Independents are another matter. I freely concede that Obama appears to be attracting true independents and new voters.

But to let regular Republicans tip the primary to Obama just to spite Hillary and deny her the nomination is madness.

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Former Ambassador Joe Wilson makes the case for Hillary's foreign policy experience. And points out WHY that experience is important.

During my tenure as Senior Director for African Affairs in the Clinton Administration, I had the responsibility for helping to plan and execute President Clinton’s historic trip to that continent. It was a trip that forever changed the way American administrations think about Africa. I spent eleven days with President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton traveling to six countries and meeting with leaders from many more. She was a full participant in all of our activities and a key adviser–and for good reason. Hillary had previously traveled to Africa, leading a prominent U.S. delegation to several countries. On her return she was instrumental in persuading the president that he should invest that most precious of presidential assets–time–in his own trip. People who are now senior advisers to Senator Obama were involved in both of those trips. So it is mystifying to me that they have allowed themselves to “forget” the key role Hillary played in such a major shift in approach to that part of the world and have participated in a negative campaign tactic on the part of the Obama campaign to demean her significant contributions to foreign policy of which they are well aware.
After he came to Washington, Obama’s views were thoroughly conventional and even timid. In 2004, he said about the 2002 congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force: “I’m not privy to Senate intelligence reports. What would I have done? I don’t know.” On Iraq-related votes in the Senate, Obama’s record identically matches Senator Clinton’s–with the exception that Senator Clinton voted against the confirmation of General George Casey as Army chief of staff. Obama’s vote was typically passive.

In the run up to the war and thereafter, I was in frequent discussions with senior Democrats in Washington, including Senator Clinton, and I was keenly aware of her demand for the full exercise of international diplomacy and allowing the weapons inspectors to complete their mission. Many of the most prominent early opponents of the war, including former General Wes Clark and former ambassador to the United National Richard Holbrooke support Senator Clinton for President, as do I. We do so because we know that she has the experience and the judgment that comes from having been in the arena for her entire adult life–and from close personal participation with her in the conduct of U.S. foreign policy. And we have trust in her to end the war in Iraq in the most responsible way, consistent with our national security interests.

We know that she has won and lost but always fought for her beliefs, which are widely shared within the Democratic Party. The battles she had been in have been fierce–and the battles in the future will be no less intense–and she has proven her steadfastness and is still standing. She does not have a cowardly record of voting “present” when confronted with difficult issues. She does not claim “intuition” as the basis of the most dangerous and serious decision-making. What she has is deep and vital experience, more important than ever in restoring our country’s place in the world.

In other news, General Taguba has endorsed Hillary.

General Taguba is among 27 flag-rank military officers and more than 2000 veterans who have endorsed Senator Clinton to be our nation’s next Commander-in-Chief.

Think about it. How many generals and diplomats have you heard endorsing Barack Obama?

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Sunday, February 24


Cokie Roberts interviewed tennis legend and feminist Billie Jean King this week and quoted her as saying, "I feel like everything I've worked for all my life is going out the window."

I can second that emotion. But not as I think Billie Jean meant, that of the first really viable female candidate for president being rejected for the nomination.

I feel as if we're in real danger of losing the presidency, once again, to a war-happy Republican who believes lobbyists and CEOs should dictate legislation, that if we take care of the wealthy that will suffice to fix the economy. We have an opportunity to elect a person who understands and has a lifelong record of working for women's and children's issues, a person who's battle-hardened in the political arena and has demonstrated the ability to work across the aisles, to gain the trust of the military, to win the admiration and affections of the whole world outside the United States. I don't care what the national polls say, Hillary could beat John McCain. I'm highly suspicious of an Obama win against McCain. The primary season is more of a popularity contest within the political parties, something like voting for sorority president. But the general election is another thing entirely. It's the time when Americans are faced with a momentous decision: Whose hand do they most prefer at the wheel of the ship of state (and on the nuclear button)? I fear they will want an experienced hand, and when push comes to shove they simply will choose the man they (think they) know rather than the man who has yet to define himself.

But it's not over yet. Nobody ever went wrong in refusing to count Hillary Clinton out when she's simply down.

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Great line by George Will just now on This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

It will make a great title for an article about how John McCain has acted against his own narrative of incorruptible integrity in gaming the public financing system and packing his campaign staff with lobbyists. Yet as Will pointed out, the man is so full of his own self-righteousness, he's indignant when challenged by his own history.

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