Galivants Ferry III: Biden column

06stump_043Biden hopes even ‘red states’ want ‘competent government’

By Brad Warthen
Editorial Page Editor
THE AMERICAN people “have written off” the Bush administration, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden told a parking lot full of Democrats Monday at Galivants Ferry.
    “Part of me says ‘good; they figured it out,’” he said. But “In a sense it’s a shame, because we’ve got George W. Bush as our president for the next two and a half years.”
    One woman called out, “No, we don’t!”
    There we have the two-party system, and all it’s done to America, in three words. I don’t know who it was, but I know the voice of a poster child when I hear it.
    It’s obvious, probably even to partisans, that if the guy who’s going to be commander in chief for the next two and a half years is falling apart, it’s probably not a cause for celebration, seeing as how that could be somewhat detrimental to our troops who are laying it on the line overseas. So diehard partisans figure it’s best to deny the situation: No he’s NOT!
    That way there’s no problem.
    But there is a problem, and as Sen. Biden said, “It goes beyond right and wrong…. This administration is not competent.” You can’t just say he’s-wrong-and-we’re-right-so-let’s-applaud-his-failure. The cost of a failed presidency at this moment in our history is too great for us all.
    Some of his speech I had heard — and agreed with — before, such as “History will judge George Bush harshly not for the mistakes he has made… but because of the opportunities that he has squandered.”
    Those include the opportunity to pull the world together on Sept. 12, 2001, to “plan the demise of Islamic fundamentalism,” as FDR or JFK or “even Ronald Reagan” would have done. Or to ask us all to sacrifice and shake off “the grip of foreign oil oligarchs,” instead of giving us tax cuts. “Do you believe anyone in America would have refused?”
    “Rich folks are every bit as patriotic as poor folks,” he said. “They got a tax cut they didn’t ask for.”
    But a lot of what he said was new — he showed me his scribbled notes. And some of what was new, and most welcome, to me was decidedly not the usual fare for a partisan event.
    “Did you think you’d ever live to see the day when we would be defined in terms of red and blue” states? We’re “not that way,” he insisted. He blamed Karl Rove for that false construct, but he also — in a gentler way — bemoaned the fact that “the Democratic Party is different from what I remember.”
    There are Democrats who want to “make our base more angry so that more will turn out.”
    “They may be right; that may be the way to win,” he admitted. But he’s not going that way.
    “The country can be reunited.
    Later in the week, he confirmed by phone from Florida that he’s decided to pursue “a general-election strategy from the start.”
    “I’m gonna be coming down a lot” to South Carolina, he said. He’s not predicting he could win here, but he’s convinced that to win the White House, a Democrat must “become credible in a dozen or more red states.” By “credible,” he means “45 percent of the vote or more.” He sees opportunities in Mississippi, Arkansas, Colorado, Ohio, Kentucky, Montana and others he rattled off too quickly.
    There’s room for a candidate who believes in America in the 21st century and values doing the job right more than scoring partisan points, he suggested. Across the ideological spectrum, “Americans realize they want and are entitled to competent government.”
    That the Biden message appeals to frustrated independents there can be no doubt. “He talked about sacrifice,” said Paul DeMarco, a Marion physician and thoughtful regular contributor to my blog, at the Monday night event. “I like it when politicians talk that way.” I wondered how many politicians he had heard talk that way since January 1961, but I kept quiet because he was on a roll. “I’m one of the people who got the tax cut,” he said. “And I didn’t really want it.”
    It was a good October 2008 speech. Will Sen. Biden’s fellow Democrats let him get that far? I don’t know. But he got a warm welcome by the banks of the Pee Dee last week. It took him an hour after his speech to tear away from all the well-wishers.
    Of course, these were South Carolina Democrats, and he was the guest of honor, and it was the sweetest weather I’ve yet seen at a Stump, and some of the Styrofoam cups in the hands of Inner Party members contained something that smelled a lot stronger than RC Cola, and I couldn’t head back to Columbia until I’d stood for a moment with hostess Russell Holliday doing nothing more active than frankly admiring the way the razor-cut sliver of moon rose over the piney bottomland in a sky so deep-ocean blue…
    I’ve also been in Iowa in January. It’s different. We’ll see.06stump_040

71 thoughts on “Galivants Ferry III: Biden column

  1. Doug

    Here, I’ll save Lee and others the time:
    Joe Biden is a East Coast liberal, plagiarizing, seditious, Catholic with
    hair that makes Strom Thurmond’s ‘do
    look stylish. There you go.
    To tell the turth, when I think of Biden,
    the plagiarism incident pops into mind first. But after doing a little research, here’s the facts about that situation (from Wikipedia):
    Controversy broke Biden’s candidacy for the U.S. presidency in the 1988 Presidential campaign. He was found to have plagiarized a speech from British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock. The plagiarism was considered all the more serious, because it included details of Kinnock’s life which were not true in Biden’s case. After Biden withdrew from the race, it was learned that he had correctly credited Kinnock on other occasions but failed to do so in an Iowa speech that was recorded and distributed to reporters by aides to Michael Dukakis, the eventual nominee. Dukakis fired the senior aide responsible, but the damage had already been done to Biden.
    I would anticipate the SC Republican party is already gearing up to misue the facts this incident against Biden.
    From reviewing Biden’s background, the only area that concerns me is his role in the creation of the “Drug Czar” position in the government. I’d like to ask Biden if he thinks we’re winning the “war on drugs”.
    Billions of dollars have been pumped into this so-called war with about as much success as Bush has had in Iraq.
    Since I’m in ANYONE-BUT-BUSH mode now, Biden looks interesting. But I’m willing to see if McCain can somehow convince me that he hasn’t become just another politician seeking to appease the voters of the Red states (really Grey if you think about it).

  2. Dave

    Biden wants to reunite America and have a competent government. Good goals but at the Supreme Court confirmation hearings he showed for the nth time he is a camera hogging bag of wind. He took 12 minutes to “ask a question” and at the end indicated he didn’t want to hear an answer. What has he ever done that is competent? Can anyone name anything?

  3. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, since Dear Leader has shown contempt and disregard for the constitution throughout both his terms what makes you think that he won’t continue?

  4. Ready to Hurl

    Bizarrely enough, I somewhat agree with Dave about Biden. There’s no doubt that he’s a camera hog.
    Here’s what I hold against him: if Biden really had the welfare of the country at heart then he would had run in 2004. He had witnessed the absolute mendacity of the Bush Administration. He’d seen Bush lie and deceive the country into a mistaken war that only made our terrorist enemy stronger and more difficult to defeat.
    Yet, when the country so desperately needed him Biden chose to keep a safe Senate seat rather than put his chips on the line.
    2004 was the “anybody but Bush” election. Biden missed his chance.

  5. Judray_SC

    I think Biden did a great job at “the stump.” I was expecting more about specific issues, but agreed with his apparent approach to use the time to help us understand what his VALUES are.
    After all, the election IS 2.5 years away. The issues will change (sometimes daily) … intelligence, abilities, and values will not (at least not in this time frame).
    As to “hair and air bag” … minor points, or no-points.
    Camera hog? Of course he wants the camera … he has something to say and he IS running for president. His charisma is not a bad trait. If we didn’t want to hear it (or see in case of TV), then we don’t have to be there (or we can turn TV off).
    My priorities at this point are (1) intelligence, (2) moral fiber, (3) knowledge of THE issues, (4)my getting a positive perception of his abilty to MANAGE the issues, and (5) plans, not rhetoric.
    I think that’s what I BEGAN to get from Biden on May 1st.
    NO candidate, now or in 2008, will meet ALL my beliefs and/or standards; that’s the way it is … give and take.
    I’ll be grading on the curve as I hear the other candidates. That’s what we all do when we vote … select the one that “best” meets our OVERALL wants in a president.
    His hair will NOT be an issue for me, whoever he/she is.

  6. Dave

    RTH – The people who wrote the FISA law and the current judges have stated that the constitution has not been violated and no laws were broken.

    Biden wasn’t anti-war enough to get the nomination in 04 so he did sit out. Kerry wants the nomination so he can lose again and the worst thing is Teresa will have to change her name again back to Heinz-Kerry.

    GOP fortunes are starting to turn for the better lately with help from the immigration issue. Santorum is moving up on Casey, Ford is down in the Tenn. senate polls against 3 different GOP candidates for Frist’s seat, and Bush’s approval rating is moving up. And all this and Rove hasn’t really begun to spend any money yet. The GOP has pretty much innoculated themselves with the new prescription plan for seniors. 65% have now signed up and like it. So much for the hateful GOP throwing seniors on the street. I see the Dems gaining a few house seats and the senate staying as is. At least at this point.

  7. bud

    Dave, you’re probably correct about the November election, however, the democrats could eke out a close victory in the house if a few more republicans are indicted in the Abramoff scandal. Even if a few democrats are caught misbehaving the party in power is much more vulnerable to the wrath of the voters.
    I do think Santorum will lose, but the senate is proably safe for the repugs. He’s at least 13 points down right now in a state that’s true blue. The wild card in all of this is the Iraq war. Unless some progress can be demonstrated the republicans may lose credibility simply because the president’s low popularity will drag them down.
    On the other hand, the Rove smear machine is so effective he will scare many voters into voting repug. As much as I despise the man for his reprehensible lying tactics I must admit he’s effective. He is perhaps the best marketing genius of all time.
    By the way, what polls are showing the president’s approval making a comeback? Some are at all-time lows. The latest list of polls can be found here:
    Many show the president at the lowest level of his entire presidency. The best over the past month is 39%.

  8. Ready to Hurl

    Once again Dave proves laughably out of touch.
    Nobody KNOWS whether laws were broken. That’s the beauty of having “see-no-evil, hear-no-evil” Repugs in charge of squashing investigations. These Rethugs are willing to cover-up their party’s leader’s constitutional violations simply because he’s their party leader. (These are the same hacks who thought that extra-marital sex in the Oval Office was an impeachable offense. Hello, Sen. Graham!)
    But the best punchline has to be that GOP fortunes are turning. The Duke Cunningham/hookgate scandal is about to engulf the Grand Ole Pukes. Goss’s resignation is just the beginning. If the MSM will deign to connect the dots then Bush’s stock will sink even further.
    The Repugs best hope is that the current Dem leadership (as exemplified by Hillary Clinton) is too afraid to play hard ball and take principled traditional progressive stands that appeal to American voters. If the Rethugs can keep the lid on hookergate with a cowed, clueless national media, then they’ll be able to ride out the rest of Bush’s trainwreck.
    Of course, all bets are off if Bush decides to attack Iran.

  9. Ready to Hurl

    And, Dave, Kerry’s position on the war was pretty much Biden’s: we’re there, so we’ve got to win; and, let’s get our global allies really involved.
    Kerry’s strong suit, which quieted the anti-Iraq invasion faction, was that he could win with his intelligence and his military service.
    His ineptness as a campaigner and unwillingness to take a more anti-war stance probably cost him the election.
    Plus, of course, Rove’s smear campaign.
    Those of us in the reality-based community with a longterm memory will remember that many of the primary criticisms of invading Iraq have come tragically true.
    Dave, otoh, thinks Iraq is a flourishing Jeffersonian democracy after welcoming our troops with flowers, candy and parades.

  10. Lee

    We already have 60 allies involved in Iraq, 38 nations with troops there.
    I doubt any Democrat can get the nations who were subverting the UN sanctions to get involved:
    * France – illegal bank accounts for Saddam
    * Russia – selling black market Iraqi oil under Russin label
    * Red China – supplying missiles and small arms. Supplied Iraq with nuclear enrichment facility it had bought from Russia and used until they could afford to build a new one.
    * Germany – built poison gas and biological warfare manufacturing facilities.
    * Sweden – banking for UN Oil-for-Food sales, and secret accounts for bribes paid to 280 UN officials

  11. Dave

    Bud, I was referencing an April Rasmussen poll. Bush has dipped some since then, but look at what is happening now:
    Gas prices coming down.
    Tony Snow has the popularity as new Press Secretary to make a difference.
    Stock Market at new 6 year high.
    Immigration issue turning against Democrats.
    Read this excerpt from John Fund on the election prospects:
    The other problem Democrats still face is that the public thinks almost as badly about them as they do the Republicans. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC poll finds just 33% have a positive view of the Democratic Party, with 39% having a negative view. Republican numbers are worse, but just barely: 35% positive, 43% negative. Just after the 2004 elections, Democrats had a 44% favorable rating while Republicans had a 46% rating, numbers that came close to matching that year’s election results. Even Howard Dean, Mr. Mehlman’s Democratic counterpart, admits that his party has to “earn the public approval of our right to govern again.”
    So far Democrats are offering little should they take control of the House. Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader, told the Washington Post last week, that she planed to launch a series of investigations, starting with the five-year old meetings of the energy task force that was convened by Vice President Dick Cheney and that the Supreme Court has already ruled was within its rights to hold secret meetings. The Washington Post reported that “Pelosi denied Republican allegations that a Democratic House would move quickly to impeach President Bush. But, she said of the planned investigations, ‘You never know where it leads to.’ ”

    The GOP PR machine is getting ready to spend some serious money. One thing the Americans cannot stand is this culture of endless investigations that amount to nothing. So, how will they react when they see the new Dem agenda, vote for me and I will launch more and more investigations.

    Count on Nancy Pelosi to push for a losing strategy just like that.

  12. bud

    The one thing Americans like even less than endless investigations is endless corruption.

  13. Lee

    Endless, baseless investigations are a form of corruption. We have have 17 federal investigations of the oil industry in the last 20 years. A bunch of states just finished a joint investigation and found no wrongdoing, but Congress demands another sideshow.

  14. bud

    Lee, Duke Cunningham has been convicted; Tom Delay and Scooter Libby indicated. That doesn’t sound baseless to me. (It’s so tempting to bring up the Clinton investigations but I’ll resist, since that’s irrelevant to the current issue). Just a reminder concerning these so-called endless investigations, congress is controlled by REPUBLICANS. If you want fewer investigations vote DEMOCRAT. That way we’d have fewer corrupt officials committing crimes that need investigating and also fewer investigation happy REPUBLICAN committees. We would kill two birds with one stone!

  15. Lee

    The three investigations above were made by police in the criminal justice system. There is no need for political hearings.
    Duke Cunningham is assisting prosecutors in investigations of Democrats and bureaucrats who also took bribes.
    Tom Delay’s indictment is a political vendetta, which requires a political jury for conviction.
    Scooter Libby’s indictment is a technicality charge to save face by a prosecutor who found that there was no leak about a CIA employee who was not even covert, and whose husband had blown her identity with his illegal contributions to Gore 2000 campaign.

  16. Dave

    Bud, People from both parties have been caught or accused of corruption. Are you familiar with Rep. William Jefferson, Rep. Mulholland, John Conyers, McKinney, and an ever expanding list? Dems took less money from Abramoff because lobbyists dont like to give money to losers. Does that make them more honest? Hardly. You need to find a new argument along with Nancy “Botox Queen” Pelosi.

    That woman is dumber than a cake of soap. Yesterday she told Russert that the President needs to be investigated over the wiretaps of foreigners calls to the US coming from suspected terrorists. Russert asked her if whe would eliminate the program then, and she said no. Is she stupid or just plain confused, or both? She is a walking billboard of how Democrats are weak on national security.

  17. bud

    Dave, you said democrats took less money from Abramoff than republicans. Finally you said something that is true. The exact amount of money dems took from Abramoff is zero. That is a zero followed by 9 zeros. That is zip, nadda, 0. Anyway you want to say it the Abramoff scandal is a a republican scandal.
    And Lee, obstruction of justice and perjury are not technicalities, they are crimes. But I’ll declare a truce on Libby until the final verdict is in. After all, in America a person is innocent until proven guilty. I know that’s a novel idea with the right but it’s what makes this a great country. So at this point we have 1 congressman (Cunningham) and at least 3 congressional staffers, all repug, guilty in the Abramoff scandal. Let me do the math – 4 repugs to 0 dems.
    By the way Dave, if conservatives are so strong on national security why do we have so little of it. Few inspections of port cargo, no Osama, a huge increase in world-wide terrorist activity. Doesn’t sound very secure to me.

  18. Lee

    We have several times more inspection of port shipments than we had under Clinton, or any other administration since World War II, when containers were invented.
    As for leaking information revealing the ulterior motives of Joseph Wilson, who was spreading lies about Iraq and its nuclear program… how do Democrats think he should have been discredited?
    We already had an investigation into Abramoff and the $1 BILLION of children’s savings accounts stolen from Indian reservations, but Janet Reno decided not to prosecute the Clinton appointees.

  19. Lee

    Bud, did you have the same problem when Democrats in the Clinton circle leaked the names of real covert CIA operatives, who were killed by our enemies?
    Do you have a problem with CIA agents who failed in their analysis of Iraq now leaking classified information to the Democrat media in an attempt to rehabilitate their reputations by smearing Bush?
    In 1995, the big CIA “intelligence failure” story in the New York Times was how President Bush expelled Iraq from Kuwait in 1991, unaware that Saddam had deployed chemical and biological weapons in SCUD missiles, and was close having a nuclear bomb. We almost had a WMD launch into Israel from one of the undiscovered 191 chem/bio missiles obtained from Russia and Red China.
    From 1995 to 2001, all we heard from Clinton and the liberal press was how Saddam still had secret WMD hidden all over Iraq, and that is why they were dropping 80,000 tons of bombs on Iraq in 1998.

  20. Dave

    Bud, since 9-11, have we had a terrorist attack on US soil? You should credit that to this administration, and the NSA, CIA, FBI, and Homeland Security where credit is due. Many democrats work in those agencies. Why do you want to discredit all of these honest hard working people. We will have another terrorist attack on US soil, it is inevitable. But we should not be playing the blame game on protecting the nation in a time of war.

  21. bud

    Lee, I was waiting for you to play the “no attacks on American soil” card. I’d be careful with that one, it only takes one attack, and it doesn’t have to be the size of 9-11, to make that comment look rediculous. Besides, why should the terrorists go to all the trouble to kill Americans over here, we’ve made it easy for them by sending Americans abroad. By the way, the presidents approval rating has plunged to 31%. It’s finally dawning on most people that we really are not safe or prosperous.

  22. Dave

    KC – For anyone who supports Joe Biden, that link should be required reading. Here is a piece of it that proves to me this guy is as phony as they come:

    In 2003, the New York Times reported this:
    The company also has ties to Senator Biden’s son, R. Hunter Biden, a lawyer in Washington. Hunter Biden joined MBNA as a management trainee after graduating from Yale Law School and rose to be an executive vice president. Now a partner in Oldaker, Biden & Belair, a lobbying and law firm, he receives a $100,000 annual retainer from MBNA to advise it on “the Internet and privacy law,” Mr. Freeh said. He added that Hunter Biden was not a registered lobbyist and did not lobby on legislation for the company.
    And you wonder why even loyal Democrats get disgusted with the Democrats nowadays. Many Americans crave a political system in which there’s a choice between the party of the fat cats and the party of the regular guys. Instead, what we get is the party of all fat cats versus the party of selected, money-giving fat cats.
    And the loser is you. Remember that the next time MBNA offers you a credit card in the mail, or the next time that Joe Biden dares to run for president.

  23. BLSaiken

    The Bush diehards are shrieking loudly, given all Biden’s vulnerabilities. This would seem overblown, except that the President’s ratings have sunk almost to the vanishing point. Are we worried?

  24. Lee

    We will surely have more Muslim attacks on US soil, with our porous Mexican border, and liberals blocking every bit of police and intelligence work that they can.
    But we have stopped a significant number of attacks, captured over 2,000 Muslims entering the US illegally, and done so with only a few dozen domestic wiretaps, all done with warrants.
    So let’s talk about real issues, not the fabrications of the DNC.

  25. Judray

    RE: MBNB Biden. I read the link. So, what’s there that disqualifies Biden as the most qualified Democratic candidate in the field so far?
    So he supported the banking industry, the largest employer in his state. Is this a threat to our national or international security or ?? Is this any different than any other elected official? If it is, they will not be the elected official of that area next election.
    Smart people avoid high interest credit cards and running up thousands. Some, like me, cancelled their MBNA card (now Bank of Amer.).
    Look at the contributions lists of all the candidates; why are any of the corporations, unions, Jewish orgs., law firms, OIL companies, and so on, giving money? It’s unfortunate, but without reform, that’s how GOOD and BAD candidates get their message out and get elected.
    Biden is not a rich Senator; he’s one of the poorer ones.

  26. Ready to Hurl

    It’s a measure of the desperation of rightwing parrots when they attack Biden for serving corporate interests.
    Jeez, the Bush Administration is one long litany of corruption: Prez/VP from Big Oil; Halliburton coincidentally gets nobid contracts from the Iraq death pit created by the company’s former prez, now US VP; that wonderful drug bill that forbade government negotiation with Big Pharma; an assortment of bills written by lobbyists (including Dead-Eye Dick’s secret energy task force); and, the appointment of “former” industry shills to head regulatory agencies.
    You guys don’t know how silly you look to us in the reality-based community.
    Keep it up. It’s like watching Baghdad Bob reincarnated as a desperate rightwing putz.

  27. Lee

    Halliburton has a no-bid contract, but all the actual work is done by subcontractors who bid. Halliburton is paid about 10% override to manage the bids and work.

  28. Lee

    Dick Cheney’s Energy Task Force was not secret. In fact, he invited 68 environmental groups to be part of it. Many of them refused, then lied to the willing media, claiming that they had been shut out.
    That was Hillary Clinton’s socialized medicine task force which was secret.

  29. kc

    RTH, I certainly hope you’re not calling ME a right wing parrot.
    Judray, as far as I know, Biden is the only Democrat now actively campaigning for the nomination. So I guess it’s fair to say that, yes, he is the most qualified Democratic candidate. So far.
    Smart people avoid high interest credit cards and running up thousands. Some, like me, cancelled their MBNA card (now Bank of Amer.).
    Bully for you.

  30. Judray

    Announced or not, we all know that there are at least 4 others who are ACTIVELY running for the nomination.
    Let’s hear their specific plans to solve our ills. AND let’s check to see who their financial supporters are. Anti-Bush is not enough … even if they are not yet “official.”
    What does “bully for you” add to this discussion. Bully for you for stating your opinion and respecting mine.

  31. Ready to Hurl

    kc, nope. Lee and Dave couldn’t recognize outrageous hippocrisy if it bit them in the butt. However, holding the mirror up to them is always fun.
    Here’s the latest dispatch from the Rethuglican era of corruption:
    from the Dallas Business Journal–
    “Once the color barrier has been broken, minority contractors seeking government work may need to overcome the Bush barrier. That’s the message U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson seemed to send during an April 28 talk in Dallas. Jackson, a former president and CEO of the Dallas Housing Authority, was among the featured speakers at a forum sponsored by the Real Estate Executive Council, a national minority real estate consortium. After discussing the huge strides the agency has made in doing business with minority-owned companies, Jackson closed with a cautionary tale, relaying a conversation he had with a prospective advertising contractor. ‘He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years,’ Jackson said of the prospective contractor. ‘He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something … he said, ‘I have a problem with your president.’ ‘I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘I don’t like President Bush.’ I thought to myself, ‘Brother, you have a disconnect — the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn’t be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don’t tell the secretary. He didn’t get the contract,’ Jackson continued. ‘Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president?'”

  32. Nathan

    Is your real name Howard Dean? Your comment on Abramoff is so misleading. Yes, all of his PERSONAL contributions went to Republicans, but that isn’t the issue. The money that is an issue is the money his clients funneled to politicians. Around 30% of this went to Democrats. This, of course, is not a partisan issue, he just funneled the money to those in power. And right now, Republicans are in power. Why bribe someone with no power?

  33. Dave

    RTH – Alphonso Jackson is a shining example of how Bush is actually elevating minorities into important positions, very much the opposite of what Clinton did. Clinton talked about it but never really helped blacks. I don’t know enough about the example you posted, but the Dallas Morning News is a leftist publication with an agenda to damage Bush. Alphonso may have been saying, from one brother to another, You diss the Prez, you are outa here. I bet the guy was an in your face you owe me obnoxious jerk, so in the end justice may have been done.

  34. bud

    Nathan, the REAL issue is not money but the law. So far at least 4 (5 if you count Abramoff) republicans have been convicted of a crime. ZERO democrats. The fact that some of Abramoff’s clients contributed to democrats is a red-herring attempt by conservatives to try and mitigate the blame. Abramoff is a life-time republican who contributes his money to republicans because they support the same causes and policies that he supports. Nice try, but this is a REPUBLICAN scandal.

  35. kc

    Later in the week, [Biden] confirmed by phone from Florida that he’s decided to pursue “a general-election strategy from the start.”
    Is that insider talk for “pander early and often?”
    Announced or not, we all know that there are at least 4 others who are ACTIVELY running for the nomination. – Judray
    Judray, I don’t know that. But I trust that you do. If you want to list them and their financial supporters, have at it. I’m all ears.

  36. kc

    Alphonso Jackson is a shining example of how Bush is actually elevating minorities into important positions . . . . Alphonso may have been saying, from one brother to another, You diss the Prez, you are outa here.
    [buries face in hands]

  37. Brad Warthen

    Actually, Nathan, Howard Dean in person was a pretty reasonable guy. He visited our editorial board twice in seeking the nomination, and it’s really hard to reconcile that person with the “angry” persona he has assumed.
    One of those two times was AFTER he had become the “I’m mad as hell” guy — and again, he wasn’t at all like the screamer. Personally, I liked him better than Kerry, who came in the same day. Kerry was a stiff. But it was impossible — to the point of not really being worth trying, with more attractive candidates in the running — to get over that disturbing chameleon trait on Dean’s part.
    At one point, I had thought about mentioning that in this column, and expressing my fond wish that Biden not lose his reason as well when the competition gets hotter. But I didn’t have room to explain all that. There was other stuff I thought more important that I didn’t have room for, either. Such are the laws of space and time.
    Fortunately, a blog is limited only by time.

  38. Brad Warthen

    That’s interesting. kc considers NOT playing to the base “pandering?”
    We “insiders” — you know, we folks who have been abandoned by both parties — consider it to be the precise opposite.

  39. kc

    That’s interesting. kc considers NOT playing to the base “pandering?”
    I just asked a question. “General election strategy” – that’s process talk, isn’t it? I’d never heard it before I saw it in your column. I didn’t think too much of it until just tonightwhen I caught some DC guy on Olbermann talking about “running a general election strategy.”
    Anyway, Mr. W., I’ll take your non-answer as a “yes.”

  40. bud

    Brad W.,
    I really don’t know that much about Biden, but he seems reasonable enough. I hadn’t really thought much about supporting him but thanks to your column I’ll at least take a look.
    Keep up the good work. (I may be becoming a blog junkie. I’m not sure that’s a good thing. Only time will tell.)

  41. kc

    OK, I was being pretty snarky. Both times.
    But still, I don’t quite get why pandering (or playing to, if you prefer) one group is any better than playing to another. I mean, unless you just like one group better than the other.
    I don’t really blame you. I myself certainly prefer a politician who plays to the issues that float my boat.

  42. Judray

    I thought Biden “played to the issues” very well on May 1st and he certainly has played to the issue of Iraq.
    The first issue is, “who is he,” and that was certainly delt with on the 1st.
    A key issue to me is that several Dems want to divide and scare to win; he wants to unite to win.
    Like it or not, he’s the only “potential candidate” (among the 4 key “non-declared”) with a plan to deal with debacle of Iraq.
    Something’s got to be done there vs. stay the course. That’s going to bankrupt us and cost thousands more AMERICAN and Iraqi lives. As a minimum, Biden’s proposal should drive the current “central” government towards unity.

  43. Judray

    Here’s the real test to Biden’s proposal … WILL THE CENTRAL IRAQI GOVT HANDLE THIS (AP story in today’s news):
    “President Jalal Talabani said Wednesday that nearly 1,100 people were killed in Baghdad alone last month and urged Iraq’s feuding factions to unite against surging crime and terrorism.
    But attacks continued across Iraq.”

  44. Lee

    I haven’t met anyone yet who could tell me real factual items which made them think the war in Iraq was “a debacle”. All they have is an impression created by our Democrat Media, which is run by the Vietnam protestor crowd.

  45. Brad Warthen

    kc, pretty much everything I write on the subjects of the political parties makes very clear that it is bad to play to either one of those herds of people who have surrendered their cognitive responsibilities as citizens to groupthink.
    To put it in your terms, playing to one group is never “better than playing to another.” Unless, as you say, “you just like one group better than the other.”
    Which I certainly don’t. But I suspect you do. And even though it’s my professional responsibility to thoroughly understand why you, or your counterparts on the “other side,” feel that strong sense of identification, I will always find it confounding.
    Perhaps I think about it too much.

  46. kc

    Which I certainly don’t. But I suspect you do. And even though it’s my professional responsibility to thoroughly understand why you, or your counterparts on the “other side,” feel that strong sense of identification, I will always find it confounding.
    Mm, well, let’s say your mind-reading skills are rusty. Though as I suggested, there are some issues that I do care about. Like that dreadful “bankruptcy reform” bill Sen. Biden supported. I’m sure you have issues that you care about too.
    I am curious – “strong sense of identification?” Moi? Identification with what, or whom? What ARE you talking about, O Great Carnac?

  47. Nathan

    You are still missing the point. I am a conservative. But, if I get into the bribing business, and get my clients to give money to, for example, Harry Reid, so that he will write letters on our behalf, does that mean that it is a “Republican” issue. And yes, he had staffers of Republicans who joined in his cause, but that is because he surrounded himself with people that he agreed with. Just because it was Democratic staffers running around slashing tires on election day doesn’t mean that Hillary Clinton is a criminal or that Howard Dean is caught up in the tire-slashing scandal.
    As for Howard Dean, Brad, he perplexes me a great deal. He was a moderate in Vermont by almost all accounts. My only explanation for his transformation is that he got caught up in the idea of power and started pandering to the crazy left wing of the Democratic party because they were the ones funding him. Now he is off the charts to the left and I just hope that the DNC keeps him in place another 30 years so that the Republicans can just point back to him anytime they have trouble in the polls. Because no matter how few ideas that Republicans present (as has been the case recently), Americans just have to imagine him sitting down with other heads of state to realize that they can just go ahead and punch thier ticket with the GOP.

  48. Ready to Hurl

    Brad, it’s sad that you don’t recognize the media frenzy (driven by reich-wing propaganda like FNC) which defined Howard Dean as a nutcase.
    Disbelieving your lyin’ eyes is to be expected from purple koolaid addicts like Lee and Dave. In your case, I guess that you’re too busy running a big newspaper to pay attention. Seems like a critical Achilles heel in someone who should be astutely observing the political scene but, given your comments about us “Bush/America haters,” I guess that it’s to be expected.
    Dean made several crucial (and, ultimately fatal) mis-steps as a newbie to the “care and feeding” of the national media. He was frank, honest and original in a business that values schmooze and inside the beltway “common wisdom.”
    Maybe you could explain the national media’s eagerness for insulting nicknames and disdain from Dear Leader. Are they (you?) so afraid to be called “un-American” that they refuse to even ask the most obvious questions. (For instance, it takes a retired CIA analyst to remind Rummy and the public of his WMD promises.) Are the corporate managers squashing even a pale imitation of fourth estate independence since the Bushies have proven unrestrained in using governmental power to destroy anyone not in lockstep?
    Or, maybe the rest of the editors have a similar blindeye as you– falling for the reich-wing propaganda and image manipulation.

  49. Nathan

    Let me get this straight, the “right-wing” media is responsible for defining Howard Dean as a nutcase. It has nothing to do with the following:
    “I hate Republicans”
    “You think the Republican National Committee could get this many people of color in a single room? Only if they had the hotel staff in here.”
    He said Republicans “never made an honest living in their lives”
    Republicans, he said, are “pretty much a monolithic party. They all behave the same. They all look the same. It’s pretty much a white Christian party.”
    “Not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin, we’re going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we’re going to California and Texas and New York … And we’re going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan. And then we’re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! Yeaaaaagggggh!!!”
    Oh yeah, and he suggested that Bush knew about 9/11 ahead of time.
    Yep, that is the right-wing media at work. The left-wing media from the days of yore would have left that unreported and he would look perfectly sane.

  50. Dave

    RTH – SC Democrats are ashamed to be seen with Howard Dean. That has nothing to do with the media. Actually, Dean should go back to practicing medicine, because he sure sucks as a politician. He was a compromise choice to lead the DNC to make sure the blacks didnt take control. Now, middle of the road blacks steer clear of him as well as Pelosi. I read where a behind the scenes movement is underway to remove her after the 04 elections. She is an embarrassment to the Dem party.

  51. kc

    Mr. W says: Actually, Nathan, Howard Dean in person was a pretty reasonable guy. He visited our editorial board twice in seeking the nomination, and it’s really hard to reconcile that person with the “angry” persona he has assumed.
    RTH’s last post reminded me that I meant to ask you about this: What specific statements or acts by Dean made you think he “assumed” an “angry persona?” Because as RTH correctly points out, the way you just described Dean just happens to neatly dovetail with the right-wing pre-programmed (and unfortunately happily swallowed by the most of the media) talking points about Dean. (Actually in all fairness the “assumed” bit is your gloss, as far as I can see.)
    Dean seems mostly pretty reasonable to me. And you are strictly non-partisan, of course, Mr. W, and above base politics, so I’d be curious to know when and how you came to the conclusion that Dean had “assumed” this “angry persona.”
    I hope my question doesn’t offend you. Think of it this way: If someone came on here and started talking about John McCain as being unhinged, you’d probably recognize it as the SC Bush campaign’s characterization of Dean in 1999. And since you don’t think McCain is unhinged (correct me if I’m wrong of course), you’d probably assume that person was just regurgitating what that person read or heard about McCain.

  52. kc

    Actually, Dean should go back to practicing medicine, because he sure sucks as a politician.
    I’ll grant you Dean’s not very slick.

  53. Dave

    This was a funny Deanism: I still want to be the candidate for guys with Confederate flags in their pickup trucks. We can’t beat George Bush unless we appeal to a broad cross-section of Democrats.

  54. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, SC Dems are afraid of their shadow. The demonization of Dean (as Nathan and Brad so ably parrot) has made him radioactive in SC. Ironically, Dean recognized the necessity to woo the white middle/working class in the south. Or, maybe that’s what Rove found so dangerous about him.
    You’ll pardon me if I don’t accept your ridiculously insulting (not to mention ignorant) portrayal of internal national Dem politics. Where’d you get the idea that Dean was some kind refuge for African-American phobic Dems? Rush is that you? How’s peeing in the jars going?
    How many rules does the Rethuglican party have to enourage diversity? I’ve participated in low-level Dem organizations. At least there are rules to encourage diversity. The state and national party organization still too strongly reflect the white, male power structure of the American monied classes. But, at least they’re striving.
    Keep on reading whatever you’re reading for your bizarre interpretations of internal Dem politics– LittleGreenFootbals? NationalReview? NewFacistRepublic? Whatever your sources are, they provide many chuckles for me– at your expense.
    I’m not a big Pelosi fan but probably for reasons opposite yours. At least she’s not under indictment. How’s the esteemed BugMan doing? He’ll look great in an orange jump suit.

  55. Nathan

    I just posted, verbatim, a set of Dean quotes. Is that demonization? If so, I guess that Dean is the demon. As for your “rules…to encourage diversity”, I should point out that Republicans don’t need them. Bush, for instance, didn’t need a quota system to decide that Condi was the best person for Secretary of State. Republicans believe in choosing people based on thier talents, not based on what voting bloc they belong to.

  56. Ready to Hurl

    Nathan–“Oh yeah, and he suggested that Bush knew about 9/11 ahead of time.”
    Dean: There is a report which the president is suppressing evidence for which is a thorough investigation of 9/11.
    Diane Rehm, WAMU (public) radio: Why do you think he’s suppressing that report?
    Dean: I don’t know. There are many theories about it. The most interesting theory that I’ve heard so far, which is nothing more than a theory, I can’t—think it can’t be proved, is that he was warned ahead of time by the Saudis. Now, who knows what the real situation is, but the trouble is that by suppressing that kind of information, you lead to those kinds of theories, whether they have any truth to them or not, and then eventually they get repeated as fact. So I think the president is taking a great risk by suppressing the clear, the key information that needs to go to the Kean commission.
    —Exchange on The Diane Rehm Show, on WAMU in Washington, Dec. 1.

  57. bud

    Nathan, you said Republicans believe in choosing people based on thier talents…..
    HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA. You’ve got to be kidding. How about Brownie, Mr. Arabian Horse Judge, for director of FEMA. What exactly were his qualifications for directing that very important federal agency? He had absolutely no experience whatsoever in managing disaster relief efforts. And boy did it show. Or Mr. Goss for CIA director. How much intelligence experience did he have. Oh well, I guess intelligence is in short supply in the Bush administration.

  58. Ready to Hurl

    One of Dean’s jobs as the DNC chair is to give Republicans hell. The first four remarks that you “cite” to “prove” that Dean is crazy is really just red meat hyperbole for partisan Dems who’re damned tired of being slandered by the reich wing propaganda machine.
    (BTW, if you looked critcally at the delegates to the last Rethug National Convention his “look alike” remarks rings pretty true.)
    If anyone paid attention to “Ken Doll” Mehlman or previous GOP chairs, I’m sure that they could string together some equally partisan shots at Dems.
    The “scream” quote is really just a fluke which was replayed ad infinitum by the cable news channels. Dean was exuberant after a win and revving up his excited supporters. I never claimed that he was a polished orator but a lot of pols have exhibited similar exuberance. The room was crowded and noisy. Dean was excited and inexperienced in that situation.
    Unfortunately for Dean he didn’t realize the impression that his yowl would leave when seen on TV– again and again and again.
    Lastly, if you think that Condi Rice was the best person for national security advisor (and, not just another Bush crony) maybe you’d like to explain why she disregarded and downplayed all the warnings of an impending attack before 9/11.
    After five years, I still get a shock when I realize that people like you truly believe the fake GOP line about “choosing people according to their talents not a voting bloc” or “governing according to principles, not polls.” Such drivel from the party that to this day still panders to racists and nativists.

  59. Ready to Hurl

    Dave, try to get the Dean quote right…
    In Slate, William Saletan quotes Dean:
    I intend to talk about race during this election in the South. The Republicans have been talking about it since 1968 in order to divide us, and I’m going to bring us together. Because you know what? White folks in the South who drive pickup trucks with Confederate flag decals on the back ought to be voting with us because their kids don’t have health insurance either, and their kids need better schools too.
    Saletan adds:
    I have that speech on videotape. I’m looking at it right now. As Dean delivers the line about Confederate flags, the whole front section of the audience stands and applauds. It’s a pretty white crowd, but in slow-motion playback, I can make out three black people in the crowd and two more on the dais, including DNC Vice Chair Lottie Shackelford. Every one of them is standing and applauding. As Dean finishes his speech, a dozen more black spectators rise to join in an ovation. They show no doubt or unease about what Dean meant. He wasn’t condoning racism. He was saying that his party shouldn’t write off people who share its economic philosophy just because they don’t yet share its understanding of civil rights.

    Pretty good stuff if Dean had the political finesse to pull it off; to turn the lightbulb on in working class whites exploited by the GOP kultur warriors.

  60. Dave

    RTH – Actually Republicans did NOT take Dean’s quote as racist. It was taken more as another example of how a northeast liberal perceives that southern whites are all rednecks with pickup trucks, shotgun in the back window, and a rebel flag on the bumper. That is exactly how Dean and Kerry, as two examples stereotype Southern whites. That lack of understanding also led Kerry to (on camera of course) walk into an Ohio sporting goods store and say, “How can I git me one of these huntin licenses?”. We would have preferred that he ask that in French.

    The reality is, aside from the slate guy, it was the liberal media who took racism from Dean’s comment. They see racism behind every comment of every white guy, no matter what party he belongs to.

  61. Ready to Hurl

    Is Dean ham-handed when it comes to phrasing comments about “Christian” Republicans and Confederate flag southerners?
    Yes. Guilty as charged.
    Note that I said “if Dean had the political finesse to pull it off.”
    That doesn’t make him bigoted or stereotyping. He chose only a somewhat extreme example in the case of the neo-Confederate white southerner to demonstrate that the Democratic Party shouldn’t write-off even the most beknighted, reactionary southerners.
    Believe it or not, many people from many other sections of the country rightly see South Carolinians as un-reconstructed racists and bigots when our representatives refuse to put the flag of a failed rebellion fought to preserve slavery in a museum instead of displayed proudly on the capitol grounds.
    It’s not an unwarranted view, given fairly good evidence like Trent Lott’s (R-Jim Crow) gaffe.
    BTW, keep up the French-phobic cracks. Every time you make them you confirm your gullible rube status.

  62. Lee

    Why should South Carolinians care about the hatred of condescending racists and ethnic bigots in some dark corner of America? Most of them have made every effort to segregate themselves from the diversity they proclaim as so wonderful, buying the best class of homogeneous neighbors they can afford.

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