Monthly Archives: March 2004

Defining Kerry

Bush Scores Points By Defining Kerry By Dan Balz, Washington Post

Kerry officials acknowledge that the Bush campaign tactics over the past month have hurt. ”The Bush people dumped $20 million of negative ads on our heads; it’s going to have an impact,” said Steve Elmendorf, Kerry’s deputy campaign manager. …

A CNN-USA Today-Gallup Poll showed Bush leading 49 percent to 46 percent among registered voters, compared with a Kerry edge of 50 percent to 45 percent just after Super Tuesday. A Pew Research Center poll showed Kerry leading Bush 47 percent to 46 percent, down from 52 percent to 43 percent in mid-March. …

Bush’s overall approval rating moved up to 53 percent in the CNN-USA Today-Gallup Poll, after dipping to 49 percent a month ago. Meanwhile, his favorable/unfavorable ratings, which strategists watch closely as leading indicators of voters’ attitudes, held steady at about 57 percent favorable and 41 percent unfavorable. Kerry’s favorable dipped from 60 percent to 53 percent over the past month, and his unfavorable rating rose from 26 percent to 36 percent. …

[T]he Bush strategy is aimed at preventing Kerry from crossing a threshold of acceptability among voters interested in changing the direction of the administration’s policies. Voters ”want a change in principle,” [Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg] said, and the Bush campaign ”wants to make sure there’s no candidate for the job.”

Internet Voting

Pentagon Drops Plan To Test Internet Voting By Dan Keating, Washington Post Staff Writer

The Pentagon has decided to drop a $22 million pilot plan to test Internet voting for 100,000 American military personnel and civilians living overseas after lingering security concerns, officials said yesterday.

mjh’s Dump Bush weBlog: OverseasVote

Use this site to send voting instructions to your U.S. friends living overseas.

mjh’s Dump Bush weBlog: Not Ready for Internet Voting

Republicans Take Care of the Rich (Again)

House Republicans Stop Effort to Limit Tax Cuts By Alan Fram, Associated Press

The Republican-led House defeated a fresh Democratic effort yesterday to limit Congress’s ability to approve new tax cuts, averting an embarrassing setback to President Bush’s agenda of continued tax reductions.

By a near party-line 209 to 209 vote — one vote short of the majority Democrats needed to prevail — the House turned down the Democratic provision urging budget bargainers to reimpose rules requiring that tax cuts or benefit increases be paid for with other budget savings. …

Democrats said Republicans were simply defending their treasured tax cuts while denying the obvious — that both the spending and revenue sides of the budget must be constrained to trim the mammoth shortfalls of recent years.

”I think it’s a conscious failure to accept reality, or perhaps worse, an attempt to spin, to deceive,” said Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii).

Republicans argued the rules would make it harder for Congress to extend tax cuts that will begin expiring after this year….

Dodge as You Go (editorial)

In the 1990s, Republicans seemed to agree that budget discipline was good for the country. They supported a stricter version of this pay-as-you-go rule, they made sure it applied to the House as well as the Senate, and it did some good. But Republican leaders are no longer concerned about fiscal integrity. Making certain that tax cuts can be enacted and extended without any procedural hurdles has become the central — you might say the only — budgeting principle of the Bush administration and its congressional allies.

Thus yesterday’s scene of legislating-by-strong arm. In a familiar episode of rule-stretching and bullying, a vote scheduled for five minutes was stretched to nearly half an hour. At one point, 19 Republicans defied their leadership to support the motion. But eight eventually switched their votes, creating a 209 to 209 tie. That meant the motion failed — and at that point, the vote was hurriedly gaveled to a close. “A meaningless vote but an important principle,” said a spokesman for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), explaining the need to make certain that tax cuts would be exempt from pay-as-you-go constraints.

Other principles used to carry some weight in the U.S. House of Representatives: allowing lawmakers to vote their consciences, not manipulating voting rules to get the desired result, and opposing a reckless amassing of budget deficits selfishly left for other generations. But that was under the leadership of other speakers, and other presidents.

We need a united front to defeat Bush – a coalition, led by John Kerry and the Democrats, which embraces the values of the 33% of Americans who are not members of the two major parties. Tell political leaders that you want this coalition to be created through public negotiations – where politicians representing a broad spectrum come together to find common ground.

Echoing the New Deal Coalition built by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 to defeat conservative Herbert Hoover, let’s unite Democrats, Greens, independents and even Republicans who feel betrayed by the current administration behind John Kerry. Together we can create a mandate for change in November.

A new era of American politics – one built on a foundation of cooperation, trust and respect – is here. And while we may not agree on everything, our common vision starts with ousting George W. Bush. Please join us.

Bush Flip-Flops – A look at Bush’s reversals

Some previous Bush reversals in the face of criticism:

He argued a federal Department of Homeland Security wasn’t needed, then devised a plan to create one.

He resisted a commission to investigate Iraq intelligence failures, but then relented.

He also initially opposed the creation of the independent commission to examine if the 2001 attacks could have been prevented, before getting behind the idea under pressure from victims’ families.

He opposed, and then supported, a two-month extension of the commission’s work, after the panel said protracted disputes over access to White House documents left too little time.

He at first said any access to the president by the commission would be limited to just one hour but relaxed the limit earlier this month.

I would add these from the 2000 campaign:

”The US military shouldn’t be involved in nation building.” and

”I’m a uniter, not a divider.”

No, wait, that last one was simply a lie told to get elected. mjh

Lie, Smear, Change the Subject

mjh’s Dump Bush weBlog: Lush Limbaugh Bloviates As Usual

Lush Limbaugh to VP Cheney: Mr. Clarke, to get back to him for a moment, is saying that actually if we would just take some more time and talk to these people, understand why they hate us, we might be able to forge some kind of peace with them.

NOW with Bill Moyers. Transcript. March 26, 2004 | PBS

MICHEL MARTIN, ABC reporter: Dick Clarke is a great weight. This is not some kind of, you know, squishy liberal who you know thinks that you need to hug the terrorist and you know find out what went wrong in their childhoods.

I mean, the book on him before the Bush Administration was that [Clarke] was too aggressive in seeking a military response to terrorism. I mean here is a guy who wanted to bomb the training camps in Afghanistan. And the reason that this argument did not prevail, it was believed at the time, that there was not the political consensus to support that either domestically or internationally. But it just has to be remembered that the criticism of this man before the Bush administration was not that he was soft. But that he was too quick to react.

BILL MOYERS: One of the president’s top political strategists, Charles Black has been reported as saying, you know, this will all blow over by this weekend. Next week, the agenda will change, we’ll be talking about something else.

See how the machine works: lie, smear, move on, change the subject as quickly as you can. mjh

No End to Lush Limbaugh’s Stupidity

NOW with Bill Moyers. Transcript. March 26, 2004 | PBS

BRANCACCIO: You raise this issue of partisanship. Do you ever worry that you’re being used for those purposes? I had the radio on the other day. And there was conservative talk radio host, Rush Limbaugh, going on about some of the 9/11 widows suggesting that you’ve been coached by the Democrats.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: It sounds to me not only were women coached, but it sounds to me like somebody fed them to the networks.

BREITWEISER: I would have encouraged him to do his homework a little bit better. I voted for President Bush and so did my husband. I believed in him. And I believe when a President takes an oath of office, he takes an oath of office to lead, protect and serve. I think that the least President Bush could do for the families is to come forward and open a dialogue and discuss 9/11.

BRANCACCIO: And you’re not seeing in that committee, at those hearings, this working together to making the world a safer place?

BREITWEISER: No, and that’s what I’m saying. If we can’t even get along on a commission that was set up by the families working so hard, begging to have this commission. We literally begged. If they can’t even remove politics from it, if they have to go down to that level, how in the God’s name can we expect the world to come together? …