Green Voicemail

Friday, January 16, 2004

Kerry Surges in Iowa Race

Recent discussion on the Daily Kos board about Kerry's "surge" in Iowa. There are two sources for this "surge", so to speak. One is a recent Zogby poll which has Kerry LEADING in Iowa by 5 points. Zogby, however, has been wrong before and caucus polls are notoriously inaccurate. The other source is an article in The New Republic, home of Fighting Joe Lieberman.

A commentator on Kos, Al Giordano, had THIS to say about John Kerry's "comeback":

****(begin Giordano)****

Grassy Troll asks:

What the hell has Kerry done to get a 5 point lead in Iowa?

Good question. Here are a few factors:

1. He Turned His Campaign Over to Strong Women : For most of last year, the Kerry campaign was top heavy in consultants, some of whom are brilliant guys but who don't get into the trenches and implement their brainy ideas. When Kerry fired his campaign manager, he brought on Mary Beth Cahill, a clear-headed, no-nonsense, general who is defined by her willingness to do the work and make sure everyone else does theirs. He named Jeannie Shaheen his national campaign chair and gave her (and her significant machine) a freer hand to lay the groundwork in New Hampshire. The chemistry between the candidate and the chairwoman is visible. You can see the same chemistry between Kerry and Christie Vilsack. You can also see it with Teresa Heinz Kerry. This is related to the next reason...

2. There's a Gender Gap Within the Party : Look at the numbers. Dean and Gephardt in Iowa, Dean and Clark in New Hampshire, are battling it out for a male vote, while Kerry is mopping the floor with the women's vote. He's a candidate who clearly likes strong women, and a large degree of his hazing over the past year has been in the context of a male-dominated press corps and a male-dominated Internet political planet. If the boys are scratching their heads, now, saying "how did this happen?", well, that's just another sign that boys don't pay enough attention to what the gals are thinking when it comes to politics.

3. Kerry Plays Better as an Underdog Insurgent : This has been the story of Kerry's political life. It's how he won the Lieutenant Governorship nomination in '82 and the senate nomination in '84, and it's how he beat the sitting governor Bill Weld for the Senate in '96. He had to be put on the ropes in order to find himself, for his "inner Hulk" to emerge. That has happened. He's clicking. Like him or not, you have to acknowledge that he's got that invisible magic right now with voters.

4. Ali Bumaye : Kerry has tricked the other candidates and their supporters in the same way Mohammed Ali tricked George Foreman in their championship fight. He played dead. Unlike all the other campaigns who kept insisting "we're winning! we're winning!", Kerry and his people let y'all believe he was dead. (This is also a gender gap thing... only boys need others to validate their self-confidence in politics.) Kerry held onto key endorsements - like from the Vislack machine - until the final hour, even when he had them in the bag weeks, if not months, ago. And he turned on the lights all in the past week.

5. Organization, Organization, Organization : I'm astounded by the frequent claims that Kerry hasn't got organizational parity with Dean or Gephardt. I think he's got the same amount of muscle, and more brains, to his Iowa organization. Start with Michael Joseph Whouley, who has lived in Iowa now for months. He began with Kerry's 1982 campaign as a 22 year old field director, and through the Clinton and Gore presidential campaigns, Whouley has pulled off organizational miracle after miracle. He doesn't like press coverage. He stays out of the limelight. He doesn't walk around saying that he's got the biggest (fill in the blank) on the field. He doesn't need to (funny, but Whouley for his gruff Dorchester Irish exterior also "gets" the strong women factor and has always worked well that way). Here's the big, final, surprise of the Iowa Caucus: Kerry has the best organization on the field, he's got a large chunk of the Vislack and Miller organizations, he's got 27 state legislators, he's got the 'Nam Vet shock troops, and he's got more smart and savvy Democrat women than any other campaign. Watch 'em work on Caucus night.

6. Money : Sophisticated caucus voters understand that money is a factor. There are serious doubts that Edwards or Gephardt can, even off an Iowa win, raise the money to compete come Super Tuesday in California and New York. There are reasonable doubts that Clark can do that without an outright victory in NH. Everybody knows that Kerry has the money to stay. And half of America likes that it comes from a strong woman.

7. Bush Hate Matures : Okay, we all agree now that we hate Bush. One of my favorite quotes: "God put hatred in men's hearts for good reason: to ensure justice." Thomas Paine said that. At some point that kind of "healthy hate" matures into the hard work of unseating the Court Appointed President. Kerry's support comes from those people.

Where Kerry fooled everyone was by not advertising his organizational strengths when he could have, by letting everyone think he didn't have it, by pacing himself and his campaign to stay with the pack until the final lap and now he's out in front.

The Zogby poll is not an abberation. All the major campaigns, if honest, will tell you their internals say the same thing. The Iowa TV poll cited by Kos yesterday had the same exact numbers for January 11-14 as Zogby. You might not want to believe it, but you'll believe it soon enough. The Kerry surge is real. And there's a top-shelf organization on the ground to back it up.

Kerry saw a mile race and ran the mile. He may emerge Monday night as unstoppable. You can already see him on the upswing in New Hamsphire's ARG tracking poll, too.

****(end Giordano)****

I think half of this anaylsis is bullshit. And I think half of it is absolutely fucking brilliant.

To paraphrase someone else on KOS, "Sure, I'll vote for Kerry in 2004. That's an absolute fact if he wins the nomination, Bush is absolute evil. But for courtesy's sake, give me a barf bag I can take into the booth with me."

posted by Green Voicemail 1/16/2004 10:39:00 AM

Oh Carol! I am but a fool!

Well, one down , six or seven to go. Sad to see Braun exit the race, but lets face it, the horse race is fun but it's time to focus it down to, since only males are left in the running.

Meanwhile, the first "caucus" is over: Dean wins , beating out Al Sharpton, Carol Moseley Braun and Dennis Kucinich is a more or less ignored pseudo-primary that won't be choosing delegates anyway. The District of Columbia wanted to make this the earliest of political primaries to call attention to its lack of statehood. Instead, few candidates wanted to offend the voters of Iowa or New Hampshire, and they left DC non-contested.

How it turned out: they ran evenly for the most part. In the virutally all-white part of Washington, Dean thumped Sharpton by a 10-1 margin; in the virtually all-black part of Washington, Sharpton lead Dean by 20 points. However, if it were REALLY true that voting was to be along racial lines, then Sharpton and Braun should have tallied up with about 60 percent of the vote and Dean and Kucinich should have limped in at 31 percent.

The final voting tally:

Dean: 43 percent

Sharpton: 34 percent

Braun: 12 percent

Kucinich: 8 percent

Sharpton supporters are claiming that if Braun had dropped out of the primary race earlier, Dean would have been beaten by Sharpton. Yes, by 45 to 43, if every single Braun voter had voted for Sharpton. And I suspect that that is not the case.

posted by Green Voicemail 1/16/2004 10:13:00 AM

Mike Glover Watch

New one by My Man Mike Glover , and not really that compelling. I'm sure he's gotten tired knocking these articles out during Iowa Caucus season.

Remember the other analysis where one figured that Gephardt was either very confident or very desperate in leaving Iowa? Well, I calculate desperate . Gep has just released an attack ad, one which names Dean by name, the first such ad of the 2004 season. Of course, this is not to say that Howard Dean is blame free -- Dean did the EXACT SAME THING in November of 2003 , but Dean responded back hitting Gephardt. Dean and Gephardt are the only two politicians who have released negative ads; the only difference between now and then is that Gephardt struck first.

It will be an interesting Monday. Generally, the rule is that the candidate who goes negative in a tight primary race is the one with the most to lose. At this point, Democratic candidates want to be sharpening their swords against George Bush, not fending off their rivals. Right now, Kerry is chuckling because of the sudden groundswell of support. He hopes that Dean and Gephardt both go on the least until Monday is over.

posted by Green Voicemail 1/16/2004 09:55:00 AM

Where I Was

Hey, blogging is hard. YOU do it sometime (grin).

Anyway, my last day of minor blogging, and expect no new entries for Saturday or Sunday. I have to go to my wife's cousin's wedding. Well...I don't HAVE to go, no one HAS to do anything, but they gave us money at our wedding, so we're slogging up to Pittsburgh to go to theirs, reluctantly. I'll have to tape AbFab because it comes on Oxygen at 8 central and we won't be there.

The perils of a political blogger.

posted by Green Voicemail 1/16/2004 09:44:00 AM

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Clark Kent and Superman

New thread on Atrios which caught my eye. It was about the recent MoveOn.Org awards banquet for the "Bush in Thirty Seconds" awards. And Matt Drugde was incensed, incensed , I tell you! The headline of his article reads "Raw Rage at Bush During MoveOn.Org Awards, Transcript Revealed".

Drudge twisting the truth? Gee, I never woulda believed it. But it was the reaction on the comments thread that really surprised me. Normally, When Conservatives Go Wild threads are met with righteous indignation on the comment threads, a sort of lid-on-the-pot liberal fury. This one, however, was met by a sort of "who cares?" attitude. Not the bitter, "who cares what you think?" attitude, but a more relaxed and placid, "Oh, well Drudge has never been right" attitude. The majority of posters were completely non-apologetic about the comments. Hey, if the conservatives thought it was rage, well, they can think what they want to think. We're not bothered.

I believe that what's happened is something new. We are seeing a new generation of progressives in their mid-twenties. As they came of age, the first president they knew was Ronald Reagan. Eight years of Reagan, Eight years of the Bushes, and twenty four years of vicious ad hominem from the conservatives.

What's happening is nothing short of a cultural revolution in progressivism. Before 1980, the norm was that, for the most part, progressives and conservatives would meet on the battlefield of election politics and occasionally pointed op-ed pieces. Republican politics for the most part was Nixonian or post-Nixonian. Even in the days of Nixon, there was a limit as to how far you could go with an attack on someone.

The 1980s changed all that, with the beginning of ad hominem as an art form. It probably made sense to the conservatives -- progressivism was a winning philosophy and the only way they were going to beat it was to libel their opponents. For twenty years, the progressives have been the "Nice Guys" in the fight, assuming that deep down in their hearts, their opponents were nice guys too and had noble aspirations. And for twenty years, the conservatives ruthlessly used that against them. The only thing the conservatives cared about was holding back the liberal tide, and the philosophy was "win at any cost". Limbaugh. Coulter. Hannity. O'Reilly. Like it or not, THEY are the beacons of conservative thought. As a matter of fact, "conservative thought" is almost an oxymoron. William Buckley is almost an antique. Goldwater is dead. Ayn Rand was never really let in the door. Conservative thought is simply pro-corporate positions bellowed at screaming volume with the snarl of a bully.

Now a younger generation of progressives has grown up. WHY they are progressives, I don't know. There's certainly no glory in it for them. But they are on the move. The cracks in progressivism began to show with Nader's run for office in 2000. The disenchanted youth got tired of seeing progressives mouth conservative positions and play kissy-face with their troglydite opponents on the other side of the aisle. Gore might have BEEN a progressive, but he sure didn't sound like one, with his pro-NAFTA stances.

But what was MOST important was this. Gore wouldn't fight. Nader WOULD, he had been a fighter all his life. It cost Gore the election.

Face it. The young progressives are tired of seeing their "parents" get sand kicked in their faces. I'll bet dollars to donuts that most of those Nader voters are now backing Dean. They like Dean. He FIGHTS.

Young progressives have become quite immune to conservative taunting. They want to get right up in conservative faces and give it to them full blast at full strength. It has been the Kerrys, the Liebermans, the Clintons who have said, "now now, let's be peaceful, let's let the strength of our ideals win". But the young progressives see that as a sucker bet. How can you win on "the strength of your ideals" if every second you're moving to the center politically and trying to triangulate a Republican position, while the Republicans are calling you everything but the child of your mother?

In short, this might be the end of the New Democrat wing of the party. Younger progressive see these guys as losers, big time losers. These guys are the Clark Kents of the Democratic Party. Guys who believe in reason and values, but who are so timid and tenuous in defending those values that no one respects them. Clark Kent is the kind of guy who gets beat up by the bullies.

Young progressives believe in the Clark Kent not of the comics, but of "Smallville". They long for that day when Clark whips off that shirt, puts on that "S" and beats the living shit out of Limbaugh et. al. Their heroes are NOT Bill and Hillary Clinton. Their heroes are Ralph Nader (despite his faults), Michael Moore, Al Franken, and now, Howard Dean. True, looking for Superman to save you is madness. But the Republicans have descended to such a level of cartoonish evil that Superman is looking better and better.

Let me put it this way. When you see Kerry or Edwards or Lieberman go into a phone booth, you expect them to make a phone call and beg for help. When you see Dean, and to a lesser extent, Clark, enter that phonebooth, you expect him to be LITERALLY flying out of it five minutes later and for someone mean to be getting his ass kicked. You want Howard Dean at your side in a bar fight. And even though John Kerry is probably tougher -- and has actually SEEN combat -- why is it that Dean comes off as tougher, stronger.

Republicans, you sowed the wind for about twenty years. Now, you're about to reap the whirlwind. If the Democrats lose in 2004, the New Democrats won't take over. It won't be a vindication of centrist thinking. It will just mean that the young progressives will be four years older and four years wiser. Whether they stay with the Democrats or bring their own political party to life is something that waits to be answered in the future.

posted by Green Voicemail 1/14/2004 08:54:00 AM

The Work-Up

It has been announced that Al Franken will be hosting a new three-hour talk show on the radio. And it won't be sandwiched in between Rush Limbaugh and Dr. Laura. There will be a new progressive radio network called "Progress Media" that will air entire blocks of liberal program, 24-hour progressive radio, all the time.

Random thoughts:

1. 'Bout time. I don't think it was the case that conservatives deliberately planned talk radio. Rather, they lucked on a good idea and progressives are now just catching up.

2. It will be a LONG time before Progress Media catches up in the ratings with the conservatives. First, individual franchises will have to be found for Progress Media to buy. Second, there will have to be enough of these to make an impact. But finally, and most important, most progressives have abandoned the idea of listening to AM radio and hearing anything other than a reactionary gasbag.

3. When are the progressives going to catch up with the conservatives in funding magazines and think-tanks for college students across the country? I'm not saying that mirroring the conservatives should be progressive policy. But hey, a good idea is a good idea.

4. So when is Al Franken's new show going to be on in Nashville? Someone lemme know.

posted by Green Voicemail 1/14/2004 08:22:00 AM

Tuesday, January 13, 2004


In an earlier post, I stated that Michael Dukakis had won the 1988 Iowa Caucus. The winner in 1988 was Dick Gephardt. I would correct that elsewhere...I just don't know HOW. Lousy lack of blogging 3l33t skillz.

posted by Green Voicemail 1/13/2004 11:38:00 PM

Glover Watch

More articles from the man in the AP that Tinheart keeps his eye on, Mike Glover:

Unfortunately, I can't attack Mr. Glover as a mindless partisan of the So-Called Liberal Media. Mr. Glover is fairly balanced, and not "fair and balanced" like say, O'Reilly. His first article for the DAY deals with Gephardt and his trip to New York today. Basically, it comes down to this: either Gephardt is so sure he can win that he can leave to raise money elsewhere, or he's so desperate that he HAS to raise money elsewhere. We're not going to know the truth until next Monday, but before you chuckle at Gephardt beating Dean, remember -- Gephardt won the Iowa Caucus in 1988. There are still a lot of Iowans who voted for him the first time.

Other reporters followed my Main Man's lead and wrote articles about Democratic candidates being elsewhere. This article informs us that Howard Dean will be making an appearance with ex-President Carter in Georgia. Already, the speculation is brewing. Will Carter endorse Dean? Is it RIGHT for an ex-President to get involved in his party's primary wars?

What no one seems to have this :

"Dean's campaign headquarters announced later that the Democratic front-runner would leave Iowa to attend services and Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia, where Carter worships . "

Heh! This isn't about the Carter endorsement...not his political endorsement. Carter wasn't that great a president. It's about something ten times more's Carter's spiritual endorsement that Dean wants. I can see it now. Carter and Dean stepping out of a little Georgia church, Bibles in hand. Carter is instant spiritual credibility with southern Christians, even Southern Baptists to some extent. You can call Carter all the names you want, but no one has denied that Carter talks the talk and walks the walk when it comes down to Christianity.

Dean doesn't want Carter's endorsement. He wants that camera image of him and Carter stepping out of that church together. I am seriously fucking impressed. BRILLIANT. Kerry, Lieberman, Clark, Edwards...this is why Dean has been kicking your asses, guys.

In this second non-Glover article , John Edwards heads off to New Hampshire. You'll notice that in the last two debates, Edwards has been so nice that butter wouldn't melt in his mouth. He's hoping that the rest of the candidates are so busy slinging feces at each other that everyone will be disgusted. Edwards sees it this way:

"Senator Kerry and Governor Dean have busted the caps (in Iowa), and the best I can tell, they're not moving,'' (Edwards) said. "And Congressman Gephardt has huge organized labor support, which is important in Iowa, and I haven't seen much movement from him. The campaign that's moving is mine. "

In short, Edwards is saying that his lack of money doesn't matter. He's saying that Kerry, Dean, and Gephardt have all maxed out on support, that they've gained all the votes they're going to get and no matter how much money they spend, they can't change that. Whereas Edwards sees himself as picking up votes and becoming the "clean alternative".

Meanwhile, my man Mike Glover, in a burst of Herculean effort, CO-WRITES an article with Ron Fournier about Dean's new ads in New Hampshire . The Dean campaign is worried about Clark's surge in New Hampshire. The new Dean ad attacks Gephardt, Kerry, and Edwards for their positions on the Iraq war. A bit of speculation as to whether Dean is desperate or whether Clark is next in the crosshairs.

The speculation is not out of place, it doesn't bash Dean or the Democratic candidates, and it is entirely legitimate. More great work from Tinheart's Man in the AP, Mike Glover.

posted by Green Voicemail 1/13/2004 11:25:00 PM

Dean Stock Falling, Electoral Stock Rising

From Tradesports . An update on the betting going on there.

In the Iowa Primary Betting, Dean's stock has dropped a full eight points. The strength of contract for Dean (scale of 0=failure to 100=certainty) is down to 66 while Gephardt has gone UP eight points to 34. Everyone else straggles in the less-than-five category -- but John Edwards, of all people, crawls up to third at 3.8. Watch him.

Dean, however, is still leading the New Hampshire Primary Betting with a resounding 93 score. The next closest contender is John Kerry...with SIX. And Dean is still ahead over Edwards, 55 to 22, in betting for the South Carolina Primary. Despite the punditry, it still looks like a clean sweep for Dean.

In the Democratic Nomination, Edwards moves up again. It's Dean, Clark, and then Edwards, at 60.5-24.1-6.0.

For the separate State by State Votes, Bush leads Unnamed Democratic Candidate with 366 electoral votes versus his challenger's 172. I have the Democrat taking Maine, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maryland, DC, Illinois, California, and Hawaii, with Bush taking everything else. Still, the Democrats have picked up three electoral votes (Delaware) since my last update. I'll keep you posted.

posted by Green Voicemail 1/13/2004 12:04:00 AM

Monday, January 12, 2004

Hey Democrats!!

I hate to interrupt you from the Dean catfights in Iowa, but you can expect Bush and his friends to be pimping pictures like this long and hard, so you will forget your problems.

If we don't come up with a response to this, it's OVER. Dean, Clark, Lieberman, whoever, stick a fork in him, he's DONE. Bush will pimp bodies falling out of the towers, dead firemen, whatever if he senses that it's slipping away. Right now, they're putting together his glorious campaign film in Hollywood, where Bush wraps himself in a flag, the Bible, and the corpses of the glorious dead.

Yes, it's heinous that we should even dignify this with a response. Here's what I'd say:

"Mr. Bush, you said that you would bring the killers to justice, that you would move heaven and earth to exact American vengeance. Instead, you exacted vengeance on the American people. You exacted vengeance on those who had been critical of you. 'Whoever is not for us is against us.' You exacted vengeance on American liberty with your "Patriot Acts". You extracted your vengeance on the press. This is not the first time you've used the dead to further your political survival. I remember the funeral of a great man, Paul Wellstone, and you twisted the truth of what went on there into something dark and devious. I remember when the name of a CIA agent was made public by a hack political reporter who says that he got it from the White House. Is this another example of your vengeance, Mr. Bush?

"Mr. Bush, the people of the world would have borne any burden, would have reached out and given us any aid we asked for. Instead, when they decided that you had mislead them about Saddam Hussein, when they knew that there was no al-Qaeda connection in Iraq, when they knew there were no weapons of mass destruction, you exacted your vengeance on the countries that doubted your stories, stories that have been proven to be just speculation."

"An American soldier dies every day. We are guarding Iraqi oil fields. We go to Orange Alert. Americans are terrified to fly. I just have one thing to say to you, Mr. Bush...."

"...if this is a War on Terror...then WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON?"

posted by Green Voicemail 1/12/2004 11:39:00 PM

Hammer to Fall

"It's okay folks," shouted Bush. " Nothing to see here ! Oh, and Secret Code Orange Alert Al-Qaeda!!"

Bush is already beginning the acts of prestidigitation, hoping to make the O'Neill allegations disappear. Unfortunately, O'Neill's book comes out tomorrow, it's #1 before it has even hit the press, and everyone in the press is trying to pretend that O'Neill is some sort of loon and nothing ever happened.

It's embarassment, plain and simple. I suspect that Bartcop was right. He stated that no Democrat would ever have the courage to take Bush on; he would have to be brought down by a Republican. I propose the Bartcop Corollary -- namely, that no member of the media will have the courage to take Bush on, the hammering will have to come from books.

Right now, they are trying to shut O'Neill up , but it's a case of locking the barn door after the horse has escaped. The book will be out, and I'll be buying it.

"But tinheart," cry the conservatives, "Bush was for regime change from Day One! O'Neill's telling a fib! A big fib!!"

Really...? Well then, let me ask you this question. In September 2002, Bush told the UN Security Council that Iraq was a "grave and gathering danger", and that they could either join him in acting or that the US would be acting alone.

What two arguments were given for this brash action?

1. Saddam was in cohoots with al-Qaeda. A bold and flimsy accusation that evaporated under scrutiny.

2. Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Another bold and flimsy accusation that evaporated under scrutiny.

The conservative defense for Bush's embarassment is that "well, he acted on evidence that he believed was true". What O'Neill's allegation means, however, is that he was LOOKING FOR JUSTIFICATION since day one. It's odd that he somehow "discovered" these very bad things in Iraq; he had been looking for a motive to go in since Day One.

It looks like Bush's "mistaken assumptions" got him what he wanted -- Iraq. Bartcop has a saying which goes: "If a politician makes a 'mistake' that turns out to his benefit...expect him to make that same mistake, over and over again."

Why am I thinking of Nixon? Of Daniel Ellsberg, and the "Pentagon Papers". The parallels are striking. Secret documents concerning a failed war are made public, and the White House does everything it can to smear the leaker and supress the truth. I hope that Bush shares Nixon's fate -- but we won't have to wait for an impeachment. Just, hopefully, an election in 2004. May our Long National Nightmare Be Over.

posted by Green Voicemail 1/12/2004 11:01:00 PM

The Mike Glover Watch

It was Atrios who first came up with the idea of keeping an eye on a member of the press and making sure that the "So-Called Liberal Media" remained free of any conservative bias.

However, as I stated in an earlier blog, all of the really interesting stupid people were taken up. I decided I would whet my finger, stick it in the air, and just choose someone at random. Putting in "associated press" and "Dean" in a Google News search, I came up with Mike Glover of the Associated Press. He writes frequently, his columns are usually published every day, and he's covering the 2004 presidential campaign.

Here's the problem with being an AP reporter. You never know if they are going to attach your name to the article, you don't know what the headline will be, and you don't know how the article is going to be edited. For example, this link probably leads you to Gerber's complete article, which the Salt Lake Tribune has titled: "Democrats' debate turns to race".

Here is the part of Gerber's article that deals with the topic:

"You keep talking about race," the former street activist (Rev. Al Sharpton -- tinheart) chided Dean when he had a turn to ask a question. He said that not one "black or brown held a senior position, not one. It seems as though you've discovered blacks and browns in this campaign."

Dean bristled and called the charge untrue, saying he had "senior members" of his staff who were minorities. But Sharpton cut him off and said the question was whether he had minorities in his cabinet.

"No, we did not," conceded Dean, whose state has a population that is nearly 98 percent white.

Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun, who is African-American as is Sharpton, defended Dean. "Rev. Sharpton, the fact of the matter is we can always blow up a racial debate and make people mad at each other."

Seems to take into account everything. Sharpton hit Dean on the fact that Dean had no racial minorites as members of the Vermont cabinet. Gerber adds the clarifying information that Vermont is almost 98 percent white -- leaving the question of how many qualified minorities there really are in Vermont that could fill a cabinet position -- and that Brown chided Sharpton for trying Dean on the defensive for making an inflammatory comment, Sharpton implying that Dean was either a racist or racially insensitive.

The News-Leader of Springfield, MO, cut off a paragraph or two at the bottom, printing the article with the headline, "Dean on hot seat in Iowa debate" .
The Chicago Sun-Times, however, cuts off a large section of the article, as you can see from the link . Brown's defense of Dean disappears, although the fact about Vermont's lack of diversity remains. The Knoxville News-Sentinel headlines it as "Dean admits he has no minorities in his cabinet" (as if he tried to hide the fact), whereas the Tacoma News Tribune adds a remark made by Sharpton -- that "you only need cosigners if your credit is bad", dismissing Dean's endorsements from the Congressional Black Caucus -- which doesn't appear in most of the other articles.

My take on the whole thing: Grover's original article was a fairly good one, although I don't like the adjective "grudgingly" as in "Dean grudgingly admits", implying that you had to force it out of him. Hey, I didn't see the debate, I would like to know for myself if it is "grudgingly" or not. Otherwise, it was a straight reporting of the facts.

Indeed, to change gears, I have a feeling that a lot of the press is probably like Mike Grover. For the most part of the time, they are unbalanced, which makes one wonder whether Atrios's idea has much merit to it. For there to be a TRUE "reporter watch", there would have to be several biased journalists out there, and the fact that I found it hard to find one indicated that either a) there just aren't that many out there, or b) I don't read enough newspapers.

Indeed, people like David Brooks and William Safire stand out, but only because they primarily write opinion columns. You're going to find the most biased writing there.
As for people like Nedra Pickler, the worst of the journalists will stick out like sore thumbs, and it won't be just a few dedicated liberal bloggers reporting their misdeeds -- it will be everyone noticing. People like Rachel Marsden, a "freelance writer living in New York", according to the Fairly Unbalanced J. Grant Swank, will be sorted out immediately.

I believe the problem with the SCLM is the same problem Al Franken noticed -- most of them aren't particularly biased one way or another -- they're just lazy. However, here's a problem that doesn't figure in Franken's thinking. We can easily remove the Coulters and Marsdens of the world from our reading list. Brooks and Thomas can be ignored. The problem is the Nedra Picklers, the sources for major news chains who put a spin on the truth to serve up some conservative political agenda. We can remove those lazy people with some elbow grease. But with the UPI already owned by the Moonies, and more and more publications and networks falling to conservative cash, we might get to the point where when you remove a Pickler, they replace her with someone like Marsden. This is why you can't solve the problem at Fox News and MSNBC, because if one empty-headed reactionary draws public fire, there are five other empty-headed reactionaries to take their place.

THIS is the real problem. We shouldn't worry so much about the rotten apples. Instead, we should ask "who's tending the orchard"?

posted by Green Voicemail 1/12/2004 01:58:00 PM

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Exile on Fifth Street

It was 2002, and George Bush decided it was time to play poker with the big boys. He needed legitimacy, and there was good rumor that Bush cheated at cards, busting out Al Gore. As they were saying on the street, "Gore won the hand, but Bush took the pot."

He had decided that he wanted to be a Big Deal. That meant a Big Pot. While Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfield taught him how to hold them and how to fold them, they told each other that Bush would be the perfect poker player. He was the perfect poker player, a man who played aggressively despite the fact that he had nothing. Now, Cheney and Rumsfield were prepared to give him billions to sit at the table with the big boys.

It was Texas Hold 'Em, the big game. The game that the pros played.
The dealer dealt everyone at the table two cards. They called it the pre-flop in Texad Hold 'Em. Everyone would bet on the strength of those two cards.

All the civil libertarians folded when Bush waved his two cards around. "Boys, I'm the boss now, you'll have to give me those liberty dollars."
They were pikers. Bush was raising and raising and raising. Joe Biden, Tom Daschle, John McCain, everyone threw in their chips because they knew that Bush was being bankrolled by some mean and angry people. No sense going all in against Bush's bankroll, and Bush was a mean drunk when he lost.

The first three cards came up. These cards were called "the flop". A nine, an ace and another ace came up on the table, the ol' 9-1-1. The Democratic Congress immediately folded and left the table, out $2,002 dollars and in disarray. The homeboys were cleaned out; this left the rest of the world to face down Bush.

Fourth street turned up, and it was a ten of clubs, a "Tony" as the boys called it. Bush immediately raised the ante. He hadn't gone all in just yet. Kofi Annan looked at his cards, and tossed them to the table. He knew that Bush was a cheatin' man, and frankly, Kofi didn't have the cards. He had tried to tell Bush before the game that he wasn't playing with the Texas Democrats anymore. Bush ignored Kofi. Called him gutless. A fucking Frenchman. With the 9-1-1 up on the table and Tony at his side, he felt he couldn't miss. He had a Jack and Queen of Diamonds, "Mr. and Mrs. America", giving Bush a straight. And the man he was facing was Saddam Hussein.

Bush suspected that Saddam loved to bluff. Saddam and Bush's daddy had got into a fight when Saddam took Kuwait from Bush and Bush was bankrolled by the Saudis and ran the table. "Boys, you better let me handle it. I suspect Saddam's got a pair of aces, aces of mass destruction." He puffed up Saddam so big that he thought Saddam's head would explode. Most people thought Saddam would take Bush's son to school.

God knows Saddam wanted to play. He had Iraq in the pot already. But all he had in his hand was vapor. He knew that he had lost Iraq, and sooner or later, he'd have to hide in a spider hole somewhere as soon as the game was over. He didn't have the aces, he never had the ace, and Bush knew it all along.

Fifth street came up. It was a five. Bush put five hundred lives in the pot, he was prepared to put more in if it took that to win the hand. He went "all in", betting all of his cash. If he won, he'd be the boss of poker. If he lost...well, he didn't want to think of the consequences.

"You boys wanna leave the table and let a REAL man handle it?" Bush smiled with that smile, the smile of a gay basher beating up some poor homo in an alley.

"Running dog," said Kim Jung Il, "You can shove THIS up your ass." Kim Jung Il flipped up an ace from one of his two hole cards. "That's the ace that you SWORE Saddam had. And I tell you, there's another ace where this came from." Kim had that bulldog-on-crack look about him, evil little black eyes glowing out of his fleshy face. "This is where you might want to fold."

"I saw you bluff Clinton with that ace you keep talking about," Bush smirked, "but I haven't seen it."

Kim Jung Il smiled. "It will cost you your administration to find it out." He called Bush's bet. A drop of sweat started to form over Bush's forehead.

"What about you, Sistani? You were in debt to Saddam for years. Hell, you ought to let me have Iraq and just leave the table. I'll even toss you a couple of chips for good luck. Sheeeeee-it," drawled Bush, "you oughta be grateful you're still in the game."

"I'm not going anywhere, infidel."

"Jesus Christ, Sistani. What can you have? Nothing. There's no way you can win. You don't have a straight, you COULDN'T have nines. You don't have any aces. There's no way you can win. Iraq is mine."

Sistani went all in . All the chips on the table. "One of us is going to walk away from this table and one of us is going to have Iraq. And I suspect you're going back to America with nothing but your cowboy had and dung-kicking boots." Because if Sistani didn't have the cards he needed to win, he did have that derringer hidden underneath his sleeve....

posted by Green Voicemail 1/11/2004 04:00:00 PM


Well, it's all out in the open . Everything that progressives have been claiming since 2002 has been made public by ex-Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill -- namely, that Bush had been wanting to invade Iraq even before 9-11 and was merely looking for some kind of justification. The planning had begun even before the horror of the Twin Towers. Which means that even if those 3000 hadn't died in New York City, we would STILL be in Iraq, with almost 500 American soldiers dead, countless Iraqis dead, and less safe now than we were when the war started.

I'm definitely going to be buying, "The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill", by former Wall Street Journal reporter Ron Suskind. I'm interested to know how the book will stand up to critical scrutiny -- after four years of George Bush, I don't take ANY politican's assertions at face value, not even the Democrats or even the Greens. But let me tell you this -- it doesn't look good for Bush. Not at all. Progressives will be quoting from that book all summer.

George Bush, you pigfucker. (No. I take that back. Some pigfuckers out there might be offended by the comparison.) The wheels of justice turn slow, little man. But they do turn.

posted by Green Voicemail 1/11/2004 12:06:00 AM

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