Saturday, December 30, 2006

John Edwards Goes to New Hampshire And Proves He Is A Terrific Candidate For President - But What About Iraq?

John Edwards proved yesterday that he remains a popular politician in the state of New Hampshire.

More than 1,000 people showed up to see the former South Carolina Senator at a "Town Hall" meeting at the Little Harbor School in Portsmouth. So many people showed up that hundreds were turned away.

Not a bad Granite State turn-out considering that Edwards just declared his intention to make a second run for the White House. Not bad at all.

The New Hampshire Union Leader has the traditional print media story on the Edwards visit here:

The Edwards' campaign is known to have a robust and aggressive new media strategy (thank you Dr. Dean), which is why Edwards met privately before the Town Hall with twelve local Bloggers to chat about his candidacy.


I was invited to participate in the discussion.

Very smart.

Two things I noticed about the other Bloggers invited to the Edwards chat - 1. they were capable, 2. they were friendly.

I helped crack the ice a bit by telling the Massachusetts folks,, that my nickname for Governor Mitt Romney was "Governor Big Love". They responded by telling me that Mitt Romney's real first name isn't Mitt, it's Willard.

Daily Kos rocks stars this bunch.

One Blogger I met was active in Ned Lamont's upset victory over Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut primary, another worked with Deval Patrick's campaign in Massachusetts during the 06' cycle.

It's new media politics baby. It's here to stay. Rock on early primary states.

The Edwards campaign even streamed the Q&A ("Pod Tech" and "Rocket Boom") for their website and YouTube.

Which makes good sense. Senator Edwards is a gifted talker. He looks good on film. The Internet is a content delivery system limited only by a campaign's imagination. It is bargain basement cheap.

And, most importantly for our dear Republic, Senator Edwards seems to have a depth of knowledge about what afflicts our country and what he intends to do about it - "Tomorrow begins today".

One of the Bloggers asked what he (Edwards) would do to end poverty in America. Edwards answered that he would raise the minimum wage, make it easier for unions to organize, modify housing policies and increase access to higher education.

He stated that the growing wealth gap in this country is a disgrace.

I agree with that. By anyone's standard, what we pay our so called "top CEOs" is disgusting and dangerous to the common good. I don't care how many times you've read Adam Smith.

Speaking of his goal to get the public excited about public service Edwards said, "I want Americans to feel patriotic about something other than the war."

God bless you. I agree.

Too bad for us that at the beginning of 2007 all the oxygen in the public square is being consumed by the War in Iraq. Not even John Edward's baby smooth demeanor can escape that fact.

Tomorrow, it seems, still begins after we fix what Bush started yesterday.

To confess, my own question to Edwards was on the Iraq War. So was my follow-up question. I couldn't resist. I'm merely a simple columnist. I opine on the reality of the present in the reality of the present.

What the Democratic Party - the MAJORITY PARTY of the U.S. Congress - is going to do about Iraq is the political question of the moment.

The Democrats have nothing resembling a unified front on what to do. They've got bad, worse and "blown up" options for Iraq. And, their ponies are already heading into the 08' ring.


To be fair, what the Republican Party has for political options with the Iraq War is almost as bad. But hey, we're the wimpy minority party and when that crazy bastard George Bush "surges"(which I actually support) we still have that crazy bastard George Bush.

Get it?

But the Democrats asked for majority control in the last elections and the American public gave it to them. All that was asked in return was that Democrats "take the War in Iraq in a new direction."

Not that easy.

Three options. They are all terrible.

1.You can stay the course.

2.You can go along with Bush and "surge".

3. You pull the troops out starting tomorrow, which means that you vote against funding the war.

Doing anything other than 2 or 3 is 1. (And this is your war too Mr. Biden - Mr. CHAIRMAN - it's not just the President's anymore)

I wrote about the Democrats Iraq problem several weeks ago here:

and here:

So, I can't say I was surprised to see the following story in my local paper on Friday -
It seems that soon-to-be Chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, Patrick Leahy, is exploring ways to cut off funding for the President's expected troop surge and the Democratic leadership, and their candidates for President, aren't exactly pumped:

Wait, troop surge? But isn't just stopping the surge simply maintaining the status quo? That's not a new direction! Oh well, I guess Senator Pat had to start somewhere.

Which brings me all the way back to John Edwards and the fact that on Friday I was sitting less than 2 feet from him when it was my turn to ask him a question.

No problem. Enquiring minds want to know. I even have the audio tapes preserving my moment in the sun.

Here is a imperfect transcript of my question to Edwards:

Clacker: "Senator Edwards, soon-to-be Chairman Leahy is currently exploring ways to cut off funding for the Iraq War. Do you support Senator Leahy's efforts?

Edwards: (2 minutes of verbal dodging and weaving) "No, I'm running for President, how can I agree with that? All 3 options on the Iraq War are terrible and if I choose any one of the three definitively, I'm screwed. If I don't act definitively I'm screwed. What a mess."

Clacker's follow-up: Senator Edwards, do you think that disagreement on the Iraq War within your Party will be a problem in 08'?

Edwards: (Another minute of verbal dodging and weaving) "No."

Edwards and I didn't disagree on much over the course of our 20 minutes together, but we disagree on his answer to that question.

The Iraq War question is going to tear the Democratic Party apart in 2008. It will take smarts and political skill to avoid the wreckage.

Edwards has both. In bunches.

Stay tuned.

Friday, December 29, 2006

McCain Campaign Continues To Do Everything Right, Picks Up Key South Carolina Supporter

Over the last 24 hours Monday Morning Clacker has been all about John Edwards.

Hey, when you get an opportunity to sit down and interview a presidential candidate approximately 25 seconds after he declares his intention to run, well, it tends to focus your senses.

And, my 20 minutes with John Edwards today in Portsmouth, New Hampshire did not disappoint.

You will get the details of my interview with Edwards here tomorrow.

Hint - Edwards' take on funding for the Iraq War doesn't jive with Pat Leahy's take on funding the war.

The Democrats are splitting on what to do about Iraq? Suprise, suprise.

And yes, I will be providing pictures of the entire affair like the good little cutting-edge Blogger that I am. And, for my very good (and maybe skeptical friends) in the traditional media, well, I have audio tapes of the interview.

In the meantime, I offer this little nugget of information that is guranteed to give Romney and Giuliani (if he were actually planning on running but he's not) and Huckabee FITS.

Yesterday, in the mad shuffle to get ready to interview Edwards, I neglected to mention the McCain press release that I got.

Yesterday McCain's campaign announced the endorsment of South Carolina House Speaker Pro Tempore Doug Smith of Spartanburg.

That's South Carolina. Yeah, it's an important state in 2008.

This news is good for McCain. Terrible for every other GOP candidate running for President.

John McCain and John Weaver continue to run a picture perfect campaign. Much to the horror of everyone that isn't on Team McCain.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hey Official Washington - U2 Is Public Relations Rock and Roll!

Greenmountainpolitics1 does not casually comment on 21st century culture. I haven't the time or the stomach for that.

However, super group U2 demands comment.


Because they ROCK.

But, more importantly, U2 rocks in the name of halting world poverty and AIDS:

What's not to like?

Bono, U2's lead singer, has done more to help the world's less fortunate than 99.9% of the rest of us.

But, when Bono came to Congress earlier this month seeking help for the world's poor, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi told him that they could not help him:

Reid and Pelosi are Democrats. Aren't they supposed to be men and women of the people?

They can throw a 4-day "coronation celebration" at $1,000/per person to celebrate the Democratic take over of Congress, but can do nothing to help the poor and those afflicted with AIDS?

Which brings us to our post's picture of Bono with Republican U.S. Senator Jesse Helms.

Republican Senator Helms is certainly not rock and roll.

However, even he found a way to break bread with Bono:

And, his nationwide favorables took a huge jump when he did.

Helms quipped, "Both of our public images took a hit when we had lunch together. We must be doing something right."

Then they got down to doing the people's business.

What's up with Nancy and Harry?

They need to get with the program.

"I'm In!" Edwards Declares He Is Running For President

In a move that surprised no one, John Edwards has just declared that he is seeking the Democratic nomination for President.

The AP story may be found here:

Monday Morning Clacker will be sitting down with Senator Edwards in New Hampshire tomorrow and will have more details about his candidacy at that time.

Greenmountainpolitics1 would like to thank Edwards' One America Foundation for the above picture of the Senator, which Clacker lifted from their website. Clacker would remind everyone that he makes no money from this website.

His girlfriend would be happy to substantiate that claim.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Adam Nagourney Slams The Door On Clinton And Obama Running For President In 2008?

I almost missed this one. Shudder the thought.

Adam Nagourney's piece in today's New York Times takes a look at how presidential candidates are announcing their intentions earlier and earlier in their race for the White House:

It's a throw-away "I can't believe I'm working the week between Christmas and New Years" puff piece (Nogourney, a man who I wish I could call even a distant acquaintance of mine but cannot because he would deny it, is one of the best political journalists in the business. But I think even he would admit its been a slow week).

However, buried at the end of the piece was this WHOPPER:

"There may be a few stop-the-presses surprises lurking out there. There is still a smidgen of doubt about the candidacy of Mr. Obama, who is spending the week in Hawaii with his family discussing his future, and even a small smidgen of doubt about Mr. Clinton."
"Smidgen of doubt"?

Nagourney is a head-cheerleader for the Gang of 500. When people talk about "conventional wisdom" they are talking about "what Adam held forth about at last Tuesday's cocktail party off Foxhall Lane".

Up until this morning, conventional wisdom held that Hillary and Obama were already off and running.

Does Adam know something we don't?

I'm guessing yes, but I'll bet he doesn't even know what he knows yet.

I just can't see the Democratic Party letting Hillary and Obama get in:

John McCain's '08 Advantage

Today's Washington Times Inside Politics column has a blurb worth noting during this slow week between Christmas and New Years -

"Despite a flurry of reports that Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani are surging in the 2008 presidential primary race, many Republican strategists believe that Sen. John McCain remains in firm control of the contest," Paul Bedard writes in the Washington Whispers column of U.S. News & World Report.

'He's doing everything right, has the funding, and is ready to take on the opponents,' says one GOP adviser to the White House.

Another key Republican political strategist says that it is significant that none of the opponents have so far taken shots at McCain: 'They are leaving him alone; nobody's gone after him, and that's crazy.'

"Over the past week, strategists in interviews have laid out McCain's advantages over the competition. First, he has huge name recognition and a good reputation. Second, he has the ability to outraise most of his opponents. And third, he is well organized in key primary and caucus states and has built an aggressive staff.

In fact, the strategists see the fingerprints of the McCain campaign in recent stories about how Romney has moved to grab the conservative mantle by switching his positions on gays and abortion."
Take a shot at McCain? At Johnny Mac?

Why would potential VP candidates want to take a shot at their potential employer?

Besides, have you ever seen John Weaver professionally gut a man? Ask Grover Norquist what it feels like.

The GOP should have nominated McCain in 2000. They decided not to. Would anyone like to debate Bush's last 6 years in office?

If McCain stays healthy I don't see how he doesn't get the Republican nomination.

If he stays healthy.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Why John Edwards Should Be The Democratic Nominee For President In 2008

This post might also be tittled, "Why Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama should not be the Democratic nominee for President in 2008."

Hillary Clinton is accomplished and smart. The fact that she is female, I believe, is an asset to her political ambitions.

She can raise money.

As First Lady, she survived (even thrived?) the level of scrutiny that candidates for President endure from a international press corps. In 08', only McCain and Edwards have had their personal closets rooted through so thoroughly.

If Hillary were to run she would have the greatest Democratic strategist of her generation, Bill Clinton, as her campaign manager. No one is better than Bubba (but a few are equal).

It doesn't matter.

If Hillary 08' really makes a run for it, and I do not think she does (exploratory campaigns do not count), she would take the Northeast and West Coast states.

That does not take her to the 270 electoral votes that she needs to be President.

To crack 270 she has to pick up electoral votes in the Great Lakes-Mississippi River region, the near West and Southwest, Pennsylvania and/or Florida.

She won't.

Hillary, love her or hate her, has 100% name ID nationwide. In all 50 states her favorable/unfavorable are set in stone.

There is nothing (and I mean NOTHING) that you, me, the guy walking his dog down the street will see/read/hear about Hillary that will make them change their mind about her. That goes for the people that love her as well as the people who despise her.

It does not matter who the Republican nominee is (sorry John McCain). Hillary doesn't get to 270. The electoral math just doesn't add up in the battleground states.

The Democratic Party would be foolish to let her run because if she runs, she will get the nomination and is guaranteed to lose the general.

She would even beat Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination, which is a shame because I really like Barack Obama.

Not that it matters because Brack Obama isn't going to be President in 08'.

Not yet.

It's not that he's black. This country is most likely ready for a black President.

Its not that he's not smart enough. Obama is really smart. I mean, really, really smart. And telegenic and articulate, which are both key ingredients of the modern presidency.

It's because Obama doesn't really stand for anything. Not yet. He's too young.

We love Obama because he is fresh and so unlike 99% of our other politicians. We like him because he is honest (stupid land deals in Illinois aside). We like him because he seems to be the most like us.

Which is the problem. Obama-mania is really all about us (its always about us, we're Americans). We project our hopes and dreams upon him because, by standing for nothing in particular, Obama stands for everything. Like us.

Standing for everything is very dangerous under the white hot lights of a Presidential campaign. Standing for everything is not a winning campaign strategy.

And, as my very good friend Mark Halperin said, "If you animate forces who do not feel a strong enough bond with you, the mob that had your back can become the mob at your door."

Just ask Howard Dean.

Which leaves us with John Edwards. And, to be honest, he's not a bad choice for the Democrats in 08'.

In fact, he is a pretty cagey choice. If the Democrats would only wake up and smell the coffee.

Edwards is very smart, as smart as Hillary and Obama.

Edwards can raise money. Maybe not with the ease of Hillary and Obama, but he will raise enough to be competitive.

America already knows about his skeletons and Edwards knows that we know. He survived 04''s election scrutiny with his reputation relatively intact. This is a huge advantage.

Edwards is able to get to 270 electoral votes. This automatically makes him better than Hillary.

Edwards is already laying campaign groundwork in the key states. He is picking up staff, volunteers and endorsements so much so that he feels comfortable announcing his candidacy next week - well before Hillary and Obama.

But, what I like most about Edwards is his campaign platform - "The Two Americas".

Very cagey. Very kitchen-table oriented.

When Edwards talks about the gulf between the haves and the have nots, he makes people believe that he is going to do something about it.

Edwards' campaign is going to resonate.

Let's hope that the Democratic Party is smart enough to pay attention.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Mitt Romney's Campaign Staff Is Second Rate, No, I'm Not Kidding

The Gang of 500 has spent some serious news print loving on Love's campaign staff.

Some pundits have even dismissed Romney's flip-flop problems as "not serious" because the "quality of his staff" will "carry the day".


How might my betters in the mainstream media explain this nugget from yesterday's AP article titled, "Romney Set For Presidential Announcement":

As soon as the week of Jan. 8, Romney will hold a ceremony to officially declare
his candidacy, said the adviser, a top aide who spoke on condition of anonymity
in advance of the official filing.
The timing is somewhat dependent
on when Sen. John McCain of Arizona makes an expected announcement about his own campaign for the GOP nomination, the Romney aide said
. McCain has formed a presidential exploratory committee but held off declaring his candidacy.

Full story can be found here:

Romney's schedule is dependent on what McCain does?

McCain is the 500 pound guerrilla and other candidates are watching him and planning around what he does.

But, Romney's "top aid" admitting this fact in the press makes Romney look weak and foolish.

Busch league. And, there is still the problem of the flip-flops.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Arnold Schwarzenegger Goes Green And That's Good For John McCain

John Pomfret's story, "Schwarzenegger As Environmentalist" from today's Washington Post is here:

The story is fairly typical of what reporters have been printing about the Terminator of late - former slumping Republican Governor of Blue state goes "Green" and is now more popular than sliced bread.

Note to national reporters who cover the Terminator: Don't forget to mention the Governor's smoking tent outside his office. Everyone else has.

There was an interesting nugget in Pomfret's story however.

Schwarzenegger asserted that his embrace of the issue has helped prompt
other Republicans to change their tune on the environment. Republican
presidential hopefuls have reached out to Schwarzenegger's team to talk about
global warming, an aide noted.
With Schwarzenegger's poll numbers it will come as no surprise to anyone that Republican presidential hopefuls are reaching out to him. What is more interesting is that those hopefuls want to talk about global warming.

Is the Republican party starting to get it?

Let's hope so.

The issues surrounding global warming will be of great concern to independent voters in 08'.

"Going green", if explained correctly, has mass appeal to huge swaths of the voting public. Finding alternative sources of fuel is good for our national security (the conservatives like), good for our environment (the liberals like) and good for our economy (which everyone likes).

John McCain knows all this already, which is why he has championed global warming in the Republican caucus.

If you're a likely primary voter who lives in New Hampshire and you didn't know about John McCain's work on the environment, you soon will.

However, Schwarzenegger already knows all about his good friend John McCain's stance on global warming. He likes what he sees.

It will be that much sweeter for Schwarzenegger when makes his first trip as California's newest Senator to McCain's White House in 2010.

Friday, December 22, 2006

"No comment!" Governor Romney Visits New Hampshire

To be honest, for a candidate that is currently bleeding from every single orifice, Governor Big Love looks damn good.

However, Love needs to work on actually answering New Hampshire's questions as I detail here:

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fundraising Race - Governor Huckabee As Good At Raising Money As He Is At Losing Weight?

Just got tipped by a 08' campaign staffer...

The rumor around the campfire is that Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee is having more success raising money for a potential GOP Presidential run than anyone (including Huckabee) thought he would. It seems that the Former Southern Fat Boy is hiring campaign staff at a good clip and shipping them down to Arkansas.

Good for him. Some call him the "darkhorse" candidate of 08'.

Not yet, but we'll see.

Monday Morning Clacker Attends Governor Big Love’s Secret Group Event, Kicks Off The 08’ NH Primary By Understanding Love’s Need For Secrecy

I am a satirist. I have opinions. I tell people all about them.

With a keen eye and powerful pen I unleash my thoughts upon the world and watch as she laughs in return.

For the next 56 weeks I will be living a satirist’s dream – full access to the NH Presidential Primary’s Freak Show. I plan on covering it all. Hell, I’m planning on bathing in it.

I smell Pulitzer.

Today I took a big step toward that elusive prize. Today I came face-to-face with a man who I have come to call Governor Big Love.

It turns out that Governor Romney, his staff fearing “overexposure”, had snuck into town for a series of small group events. For reasons that I still cannot quite figure out, I received an invitation to attend his event.

Greenmountainpolitics1 has not been kind to Big Love. I have never considered Romney to be the “top-tier” Presidential candidate that the Gang of 500 has made him out to be.

Romney’s problems are well documented here - The Big Dig fiasco/Kerry Healey’s loss/ Love’s ongoing fight with the Boston Globe/illegal immigrants at work in the Governor’s mansion/Love’s relationship with Jerry “whoops, I guess he doesn’t actually support me” Falwell/his shifting position on abortion (which he admits)/his shifting position on homosexual marriage (which he denies)/the upcoming Warren Jeffs’s Trial/and the fact that Love is a Mormon from Massachusetts trying to make it through the South Carolina Primary.

I haven’t seen this much campaign baggage since Bob Dole tumbled off a podium and made snow angels in front of the entire press corps in 1996.

Though my mind is made up regarding Love’s chances for securing the Republican nomination, my mind is not closed to being changed.

Satirists are many things. Close-minded is not one of them.

That is how I found myself inside the Puritan Conference Center this afternoon basking in Governor Big Love’s love. And, to be fair, there is a lot of Love to love.

Romney is really good looking. He is really articulate. He really saved the 2002 Winter Olympics (Right? I wasn’t really paying attention). He really is a Governor. He seems to really like people and spends an enormous amount of his time at his events shaking hands and kissing babies.

Love seems to be really electable.

But, just when it looks like you might go steady with Big Love, you remember his flip-flops, missteps and screw-ups.

And, it hurts.

To top it off, right when it seems Love would be unable to make the idea of you and he going steady more remote - he gives his stump speech.

And, now you want to cry.

How is it that a man who is a legitimate contender for the Office of the President of the United States has absolutely nothing to say?

And I mean - Nothing. To. Say.

Because once Love gets outside the 2002 Winter Olympics, Massachusetts health care reform, his love of his family, his love for America’s troops and his “conversion” to a pro-life position, you hear crickets.

I’m not making that up. I heard crickets in the Puritan Convention Center this afternoon.

The following is an actual excerpt from the Q and A Love fielded at the event:

Q: What do you think we should do about Iraq?
Love: No comment. I won’t make comment until I decide to run for President.
MMC Comment on Love’s Comment: What? Even my 10-year old sister has an opinion on Iraq.

Q: Do you think we should put more American troops into Iraq?
Love: No comment.
MMC Comment on Love’s Comment: See above

Q: Is your recent National Review Online interview accurate about your views on gay marriage and abortion? (Note: I’m fairly sure that this was a planted question)
Love: Yes, everyone should read the article, which can be found online. I have always been a strong defender of traditional marriage and, while my position on abortion has changed, I don’t think I flip-flopped on the issue.
MMC Comment on Love’s Position: Bullshit and Bullshit. Now I know why National Review Online put a “this reporter has a pro-Romney bent” disclaimer on the article.

Q: About the upcoming Massachusetts inauguration…
Love and MMC: Zzz.

After that I headed to the buffet table to ponder what Love’s hype was really all about.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

See The Film Red State Voices, Screening December 22nd On VPT At 10pm, Warning: Film Will NOT Fit Peter Freyne's View Of The World

Neal and David asked me to post this. I haven't seen their film yet, but I checked out their website for a preview. It looks great.
We need more stuff like this.

From their website:

Red State Voices, a film by Neal Weiner will be showing on Vermont
Public Television at 10pm on December 22nd 2006

America is in the midst of a social and political crisis rooted in
conflicting ideologies. Whichever side of the fence your on, this
documentary is the perfect first step towards mutual understanding and
a dialogue that might bring reconciliation and progress. Red State
Voices explores the thoughts and attitudes of those who have been
demonized by the left, glorified by the right, and trivialized by the

They turned the 2004 election for Bush. Bigots? Zealots? Dupes? A
philosophy professor from blue Vermont goes south to find out who these
people really are.

He questions 10 of them ~ black and white; men and
women; secular, Christian and Jewish. They talk about abortion,
homosexuality, and gender; relativism, tolerance, selfishness, and

These articulate people allow the camera into their homes. We
see their kitchens, their books, the pictures on their walls. The
results may not change your mind, but they are likely to surprise you.


Governor Mitt Romney Will Hereby Be Known As Governor Big Love

Don Imus found fame and fortune in part by calling people such as the Vice President of the United States "Porkchop".

It just fits.

I too am seeking that same fame and fortune. Governor Mitt Romney will hereby be known as "Governor Big Love".

Get it?

Major Breaking News: Giuliani Launches Exploratory Website, Still No Way He Is Running For President

Rudy Giuliani has just launched his exploratory website -

Its actually pretty damn good. It has lots more info on it than say, oh, John McCain's website.

I like Hiz Honor. He's a freaky closet liberal just like I am.

There is still no way that he actually runs for President. But he's going to sell A LOT of books.

In The Spirit of Christmas I Help The Anti-War Establishment Solve A Problem They Did Not Know They Had With A Solution They Never Thought Of

If you care deeply about re-deploying our troops to end the War in Iraq and you do not know who Rob Portman is, you are not paying enough attention.

Rob Portman is the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget and is responsible for keeping the Executive Branch's books.

Yesterday Portman released the official White House estimate of what the War in Iraq will cost in FY 2007. According to OMB, the War in Iraq will cost American taxpayers $110 billion dollars next year. Or, a little more than $2 billion a week.

$2 billion a week does not seem to buy you a whole lot of democracy these days, as anyone reading today's paper will tell you.

As people know, I was against the War from the beginning. However, for a variety of reasons I now favor putting more troops into Iraq to try and stabilize it. That conversation is not the purpose of this post.

This purpose of this post is to "suggest" to the Anti-War Establishment (a.k.a. the Congressional Class of 2006) a plan that will, I believe, help them side step the political train wreck currently barreling towards them.

Why do this? Sour grapes?


First, its Christmas.

Second, If, and this is a BIG if, the Anti-War Establishment actually does what I suggest then that outcome will be better for America’s future than will the outcome that will (probably) occur if America puts more troops into Iraq.

Therefore, and assuming someone with some authority actually reads what I’ve written; I’m suggesting all this for the good of my country.

Also, I like letting my opinions be known. Why else would I keep a Blog?

The political problem facing the Anti-War Establishment is as follows –

You won the 06' election after offering the voters "a new direction in Iraq". You will start work in January. The New York Times will write a glowing “First 100 Hours” editorial. Everything will be great.

And then the wheels come off. In a hurry.

In January, The President will announce that he is putting in twenty to thirty thousand more troops into Iraq. He will also announce that the current military is not large enough to fight the War on Terror and he is therefore going to increase the overall size of the military.

I'm calling it Bush's "Double Fuck You" to the 2006 voters. Bush will respond to your outrage by taking a nap.

Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, your leaders, will announce that they are "reluctantly" going along with the President's plan.

Behind closed doors they will lecture you on "The Presidential Election in 08'”, the need to be perceived as "strong on national security" and will repeatedly use the expression "the ends justify our means". You will want to scream.

To keep you on board they will beg and they will plead. And when they are done with that they will threaten.

They will tell you that if you submit a bill cutting off funding for the War In Iraq (which is the only way troops are coming home) your ass is grass and Pelosi is the (very nicely coiffed) lawn mower.

Remember, Pelosi didn’t become the first female Speaker of the House because she smells nice and has really, really cute grandkids.

You will come to realize that many of you aren't going to be around after the 08' election if you go along with your leadership and "cave" to the White House on Iraq. Allowing more troops to go to Iraq is not the new direction the voters were thinking about when they elected you.

To add a sense of urgency to this political problem, your freshly hired communications director, who hasn’t even officially started yet, is already telling you about letters to the editor popping up in the local newspapers questioning when you are going to “bring our boys home like you promised”.

It’s a jam alright. But, in Washington, every jam is a potential political opportunity – if you can stand the squeeze it takes to get out.

To get out of this pickle you first have to defy your own leadership and put forward a bill cutting off funding for the War in Iraq. You will not survive re-election in 08’ if you do not. It will be the hardest thing you have ever done in your professional career.

Official Washington will go absolutely bananas the moment you drop that bill in the House and Senate hopper. Hold on tight.

Every mainstream Democrat running for President will beat on the Anti-War Establishment like a drum. “Well Mr. Leher, while I agree with trying to end the War in Iraq as quickly as possible, I just can’t see cutting off funding for our troops.”

Every Republican running for President will gleefully skewer you. “That’s right Mr. O’Reilly, I think they hate our country. And, while I can’t prove it, I heard his mother is a whore.”

It’s always darkest right before it’s pitch black. And, just when you think that it can’t get any worse, it will. You will be cut-off by your own leadership.

Quietly, behind the scenes, Grandma Pelosi will kneecap you. It will hurt.

Hey, no one claimed taming the Military Industrial Complex was going to be easy. Taking them on means that you are (probably) soft of national security and (probably) don’t care about our troops.

And you’re just a silly little peacenik don’t forget.

But, just when the boys at Lockheed think they have “got you, smashed you and made an example of you” you fire your next two shots.

You may even scream, “Right back at you baby!” as you pull the (legislative) trigger.

This is where Rob Portman becomes your best friend because, since you voted against funding the war, you have (in theory) $110 billion dollars that has not yet been spent to work with.

And I’m going to tell you (this is MY Blog after all) how to spend that money to not only save your peacenik hides, but also maximize your political capitol and REALLY move this country forward -

The $110 billion should be used to fund two significant pieces of legislation.

The first bill would provide full funding for every single program that the Department of Veterans Affairs needs/wants/thinks they might want/isn’t sure they want but it couldn’t hurt to have/knows they don’t need or want but it would be cool, I guess, to have it just in case/and everything else that might be left.

“Mr. Leher, contrary to what others have been saying on your program, I love our troops. I love them so much I’m bringing them home and I’m taking care of them when they get here.”

Overnight the Anti-War Establishment becomes the political darling of the pro-military crowd. Politics makes strange bedfellows. You have successfully neutralized the “anti-troop” argument the other side is made. Cheney probably has a stroke. Imagine that.

But that’s only the first $10 billion or so. You still have $100 billion to play with.

The next bill you should propose with Portman’s billions is legislation creating a “NASA type program to move America and the world off of fossils fuels as an energy source”.

Everyone ran on this idea in 06’. Now you have the funding to actually start doing it.

The Feds only spent $3 billion on alternative energy research last year. How much more could they do with another $97 billion?

And, after telling the Military Industrial Complex to take a flying leap, telling the oil companies to do the same will be a walk in the park (and many of you will actually enjoy it).

To maximize your position (good policy makes great politics) use language like: “While ending our dependence on fossil fuels is good for our economy and our environment, we are most immediately concerned with ending our dependence on unstable foreign regimes. We never want to have to send our troops to places like Iraq again.”

Take that crazy Arabs! The Anti-War Establishment has just become the new authority on national security policy. Imagine that.

That’s all there is to it. Sometimes it really is that easy. If you have leaders that can lead.

As I wrote in an earlier post, I don’t think the Anti-War Establishment has the moxie to actually go through with this. I think you all cave to Grandma Pelosi and then get whipped in 08’ (which is why I’m sticking with the more troops in Iraq strategy).

However, if the Congressional Class of 2006 proves me wrong…

Well, not only will you have proved the great Monday Morning Clacker wrong, but you will have ended up keeping your campaign promise and served you country with honor.

I’d think about voting for that.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Former VT GOP Operatives Nathan Rice and Tim Lennon Leave Politics For The Private Sector? Yeah, It's A Slow Holiday News Cycle

GreenMountainPolitics1 prides itself on writing interesting political commentary that the whole world wakes up every morning just waiting to read.

However, sometimes we fall short. Far short.

Hey, its the holidays. Pass the Sweetbread.

In the holiday tradition, I am passing along two pieces of info that I was just "tipped". It goes down easy. Just like mom's turkey.

It seems that Nathan Rice, Martha Rainville's former campaign manager, is flirting with the idea of joining Halliburton.

Yes, that Halliburton.

Good for him. You own a car, where do you think that gasoline comes from?

Not to be outdone Tim Lennon, Rich Tarrant's former campaign manager, is flirting to. After the election Mr. Lennon moved west and opened up a chain of Planet Fitness Gyms. His traveling companion was a nice young lady he picked up one night while she was working at the Burlington Hooters Resturant.

Holiday smooth boys and girls. Holiday smooth.

You heard it here first.

An Open Letter To My Friends In The Vermont Press Corps

I like you guys (and gals). Most of you are hard working, decent and fair reporters. And those of you that are not, well, you print outrageous things that make me laugh and so I consider us even.

The good, the bad and the ugly of the 2006 election is behind us. There were winners. There were losers. And there were casualties who are just now trying to get back into the game. God bless all of them.

I think that we can all agree that the Iraq War was the deciding topic of the Vermont U.S. House Race. The candidate that won the election, Peter Welch, promised to take America in a "new direction in Iraq" and "hold President Bush accountable".

Not surprisingly, you and your brethren seemed to like writing about the Iraq War. No question was too small and no candidate answer too complete to remove the topic from your queue.

My personal favorite were questions that dealt in hypothetical hypotheticals. Such as: "Candidate X, if you knew what you know today and if you were a Member of Congress when the vote to authorize the President to go to war was taken, how would you have voted?"

No doubt valuable questions from the valued Fourth Estate.

My purpose with this tongue-in-cheek open letter is not to pick a fight with you. You buy your ink by the barrel, have teams of corporate lawyers just waiting to pounce and I have more than enough skeletons in my closet that I would like to see stay there thank you very much.

My purpose of this letter is to ask a simple question of you. Three days ago it became public that President Bush is planning on sending between twenty and thirty thousand more American troops into Iraq and I want to know what does our Vermont delegation think about this?

What does the anti-war candidate Peter Welch, a man who just today had two large news articles and one large editorial discussing the freshman's take on the DC housing market, have to say about this?

Twenty to thirty thousand more troops? Not only is this a radical development in the Iraq War as a whole, but is this the "new direction" that Peter promised the voters?

We won't know until you ask him and write about it.

Look, its hard for me to. Its hard for me to believe that one of our Senators is Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. One of our Senators was labeled by USA Today as "one of the most important members of the Senate". And our freshman Congressman is on the Rules Committee, which is as inside-the-beltway as you can get.

All three are "shot callers". Our delegation has the power to raise a big stink over the current troop increase the President is calling for if they so choose.

Help our delegation stay honest. You don't have to go back to the hypothetical hypotheticals. But less comment on the real estate market and more comment on how our elected officials are keeping their campaign promises would be appreciated.

Many thanks and merry Christmas!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Giuliani Sputtering In New Hampshire And That's Ok With Giuliani

I never thought that Giuliani would actually run for President (exploratory committees do not count). One reason for Giuliani's hesitation might be his love of dressing up in drag, which can be seen here in this YouTube clip:

That shit don't play in South Carolina son.

However, if Hiz Honnor was to run, he would need to have a dynamite showing in the New Hampshire Primary. Why? For a variety of reasons but mostly because New Hampshire favors "maverick/independent" candidates (Giuliani is a very moderate conservative) more than the other primary/straw poll states.

If Giuliani can't win in New Hampshire he isn't going to win the nomination. And everybody knows it.

Which is why today's Blog rumor that Giuliani has hired Jeff Semprini to be his New Hampshire campaign manager is so, well, its so telling. gets FULL credit for breaking the story just like I (hopefully) get full credit for breaking the story that Giuliani is trying (still?) to hire consultant David Carney to handle New Hampshire:

From everything I hear, Jeff is a really nice kid. And, his dad Wayne Semprini is the former head of the Republican Party in New Hampshire (who decided to step down after the 06' bloodbath).

However, from everything I hear, Jeff isn't really presidential management material. By most accounts, he's the type of guy you hire to raise name ID, sell more books and raise your security firm's profile. He fits in nicely with an "all show and no go" attitude.

But that's OK because, on the inside, Giuliani isn't planning on going anywhere.

Randy Brock To Head Vermont's Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration?

Was just "tipped" that Randy Brock, Vermont's current (until the recount against Tom Salmon is official) State Auditor, is being looked at to head BISCHA.

I don't know Brock personally but he has a sterling reputation as a hardworking and able public servant. I think we would all be glad to see him stay in public service if he were to lose to Salmon.

Speaking of Salmon, I like Salmon. I've liked him ever since I saw him standing by himself on a Burlington street corner waving a "Salmon for Auditor" sign as the 5pm September traffic rolled by. The guy wanted to win. Bad. Now it looks like he has.

Good for him.

Mitt Romney And The Warren Jeffs' Trial - Must See Court TV Not Good For Governor Big Love

The Gang of 500 considers Mitt Romney to be a top-tier Presidential candidate. I believe the Gang's consensus opinion about Governor Big Love is wrong and I explain why here:

If Romney's (mostly) self-inflicted wounds aren't terrible enough Warren Jeffs, a polygamist church leader accused of forcing a 14-year-old girl to marry his older cousin in 2001, is about to stand trial on charges of rape by accomplice.

The Jeffs's trial will have a profoundly negative impact on the candidacy of Mitt Romney. I cannot understand why more political operatives are not talking about this.

Jeffs is the leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS) FLDS traces its roots to early Mormon theology and the practice of plural marriage. FLDS members consider Jeffs a "prophet of God with dominion over their salvation". It's not surprising then that Jeffs also considers himself a prophet of God and plans on proving that fact, and his innocence, at his trial.

Warren Jeffs has nothing to do with Mitt Romney. The mainstream Mormon church, which Governor Big Love is a part of, has next to nothing to do with Jeffs's FLDS sect.

It will not matter one bit.

The organic Freak Show about to start in a St. George, Utah courtroom has everything: A psycho cult leader/oppressed followers who talk to the press/child rape/child brides/weirdo interviews with "former" FLDS members on Larry King Live/Jon Krakauer discussing "Under the Banner of Heaven" on Oprah/24-hour trial coverage on Court TV. On and on.

The trial will continue for several months. The New Hampshire Primary is 56 weeks away.

How can we expect Governor Big Love to explain the nuances of his Mormon faith when he is still unable to explain the generalities of his religion?

We do not.

This trial will hurt him. Terribly.

John Weaver Gives Grover Norquist Some "Straight Talk" As Robert Novak Tries Desperately To Prove That He's Still Relevant

Grover Norquist, the "anti-tax activist" who doubles as a wing-nut conservative with delusions of grandeur almost surpassing my own, announced recently that U.S. Senator John McCain had reached out to him to end their long feud.

This was, unfortunately for Norquist, news to John McCain, who responded to Norquist's claims by asking his top political advisor, John 'The Sledgehammer' Weaver, to "take care of it".

"I think (Norquist) is just lonely with (disgraced lobbyist) Jack Abramoff gone to prison," said Sledgehammer to Roll Call, casually kicking one of Norquist's testicles up into his stomach.

"I think that he's probably just sad, lonely and delusional. Only when he has pimped himself enough with reporters does his name even come up," concluded Sledgehammer, kicking Norquist's second testicle even further up into his stomach.

You mess with the bull and you are bound to get the horns. The Roll Call account of the flap can be found here:

Robert Novack, the aging columnist who managed to isolate just about everyone with his Valerie Plame behavior, ran the Sledgehammer/Norquist story in his column today. It can be found here:

Novack added new "spin" to the story by claiming that "others" in the McCain operation "questioned the language" Weaver used to slap down Norquist (no one questioned the assertion).


"Others" in the McCain operation telling Robert 'Radioactive Blabbermouth' Novack that they "questioned" Weaver's judgement?

I don't think so.

First, McCain's operation is like a large family where the top staff all know and like one another. They are famous for being able to keep their disagreements "in the family".

This is quite different from Mitt Romney's operation. Governor Big Love's internal disagreements are often fought out "on the record". One would think that a man who can juggle multiple wives could handle multiple egotistical staff but it turns out not.

Second, it's John Weaver. He didn't get the nickname "Sledgehammer" for nothing. It's a lesson that some in official Washington continue to learn the hard way.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Peter Welch's Iraq Problem

As the Iraq Study Group suggested he do, President Bush is getting ready to send twenty thousand or more American troops into Iraq.

The New York Times has the story here:

I think that sending more troops into Iraq is our last (and only) real option. My thoughts on this can be found here:

This development represents a serious political problem for Vermont's newly elected Congressman Peter Welch. Welch ran for Congress on the "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" platform, promised voters he would "hold President Bush accountable" and would create a timetable for troop withdrawal.

Of course I could be wrong. Congressman Welch might be flying high without a care in the world. But here is why I don't think that I am.

An interesting statistic from the 2006 House race between Martha Rainville and Peter Welch that no one has talked much about is that polling shows that when Rainville lost on election day her "favorables" were HIGHER than Welch's and her "negatives" were LOWER than Welch's.

On election day more people liked Martha Rainville than liked Peter Welch and more people disliked Peter Welch than disliked Martha Rainville.

However, in 2006 it just didn't matter. Rainville still lost.

She lost because Peter's "I'm mad as hell" message deeply resonated with a state that was, well, mad as hell about the President and the war. Nothing else mattered in the race.

Carolyn Dwyer's talked about the Welch/Rainville race with Phil Baruth in last weekend's Vermont Guardian. Carolyn is a savvy operator who knows her business and the state of Vermont. I will concede that she is correct in many (but not all) of her critiques of Martha's campaign.

However, if she is being honest, she will admit (both teams were looking at essentially the same polling data) that on election day 2006 the less popular candidate won. And since she is so savvy and honest, she knows why this polling is significant. And she understands that Congressman Welch is fast approaching a series of decisions that will greatly influence his chances for re-election in 2008.

The great irony of the 2006 mid-terms is that this country - sick of war, sick of the President and sick of Donald Rumsfeld - voted to "throw the bums out" and give control of Congress back to the Democrats so we can "move Iraq in a new direction". The voters, for all that hard work, are going to get "twenty thousand or more troops into Iraq".

If it wasn't so sad I would be laughing my ass off.

Which brings us back to Welch (and the Democratic Congress in general). If I am a betting man, I am betting that when Vermonters held their noses and voted for Welch's "new direction in Iraq" over a candidate they actually liked the voters DID NOT think that they were voting for sending twenty thousand or more American troops into Baghdad.

Unfortunately, for Peter, that's just what the headlines are reading.

It's an open secret. President Bush does not give a Texas hoot about Welch, Nancy Pelosi, Republicans, people who worked for his father or anybody else. Bush is on a mission from God, and by God he is going to finish what he started in Iraq.

President Bush isn't going to pull troops out of Iraq. The only way American troops are coming out of Iraq is if the Democratic Congress cuts off funding for the war.

Let me repeat that again so that everyone reading this is clear - The only way American troops are coming home from Iraq is if the Democrats cut off funding for the war. The Democrats have this power.

So, what's the big deal? Democrats were elected to "change the course in Iraq". Why do just that?

Because rage is easy and leadership is always harder than you think. Always.

Me, I'm easy and opinionated. I'm betting that the Democrats don't have the guts to cut off funding. I'm betting that they are too worried that they will be labeled "soft on national security" going into the 2008 Presidential race. I'm betting that they're betting voters will have forgotten their 06' rage by 08'. I'm betting Pelosi really begins to like the view from the Speaker's office. I'm betting that all the Democrat talk about "changing the course in Iraq" was just that, talk.

I'm betting.

Who should be more upset about this? A moderate Republican who believed fiercely that Martha Rainville was far superior to Peter Welch? Or an anti-war/anti-Bush voter who fiercely wanted to believe that Welch was the real deal?

"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" is a tough sell when Rumsfeld is gone, the Democrats control Congress and you sit on the Rules Committee, which is the most powerful, inside baseball committee in the House.

The letters to the editor have already started. This is going to be interesting.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Harry Reid May Be Many Things But One Thing He Is Not Is A Doctor

Senator Johnson's recent stroke is no laughing matter. Everyone, no matter their political stripe, wishes the Senator a speedy recovery.

However, when life brings tears she (usually) also brings laughs. And, laughs in Senator Johnson's case came to us courtesy of Senator Reid.

After a visit yesterday to see Senator Johnson in the hospital Reid announced, "To me he looked really good. He looked terrific!"

You can view the Real Player clip here:

Reid is talking about a man who is unconscious, unresponsive and has just returned from surgery that cut his head wide-open and scrambled his brains.

Reid's comments beg the question - What would someone in "poor shape" look like?

Trouble In Paradise? Looks Like Senator Leahy and Senator-elect Sanders' Honeymoon Is Over

I go back and forth about how "great" a U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy is. I sometimes find that Senator Pat's politics are just not my politics. However, there is no doubt that Senator Leahy has worked hard to serve Vermont and our country over the course of his career in the U.S. Senate. And, since Senator Pat's approval ratings are north of 70%, he's in no danger of paying attention to what I think about his politics anyway.

I do not suffer the same ambiguity when it comes to Senator-elect Sanders. I do not like Senator-elect Sanders personally, nor do I think that his politics are any good either. Not for Vermont. Not for this country.

Not that it matters. This question was asked and answered during the 2006 election, and my opinion of Senator-elect Sanders was the minority opinion - the very minority opinion. So we don't need to get into all that all over again.

Though I don't care for Sanders, I do know one or two people who operate in his orbit. I don't think that this is so strange. I like all sorts of people from different walks of life. I've found that sometimes some of them actually like me back, which is always nice.

I was chatting with a Sanders' orbiter the other day when the subject of Senator Leahy came up. According to my friend, Senator Leahy is having a hard time reminding Senator-elect Sanders that seniority matters in the U.S. Senate and that Senator Leahy is the senior Senator from Vermont, not Sanders. There has been quite a bit of friction already, especially among members of the two staffs.

On the one hand this is interesting because USA Today just named Sanders one of the most important Senators in the U.S. Senate as a freshman! And, soon-to-be Chairman Leahy cut some serious deals to help get Sanders to where he is today, which Leahy would be loathe to let either of them forget. They are both media darlings. They both like what they see when they gaze upon their respective mirrors in the morning. The potential for fireworks is high

On the other hand Leahy knows Sanders, has for years. We all have. How can any of this be surprising no matter how silly it gets in the press?

This Sanders' orbiter is not well-placed enough to actually "be in the room" when Vermont's two Senators sit down for a real back and forth. But he is well-placed enough to know that relationship between the two staffs is "not good" and "getting worse". There have been examples of botched joint press releases, local media spotlight hogging and "his staff stole my seat in the lunchroom."

This will be interesting.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee For President?

I was just "tipped" that at the Manchester, NH GOP meeting last night Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee had volunteers/supporters "on the ground".

Looks like the former southern fat boy (and successful Governor) is really thinking about getting in.

Good for him. More grist for McCain's mill.

A Tip Of My Cap To Phil Baruth

Master Scribe of the Liberal Dinner Party Set.

Monday Morning Clacker Wakes Up With a Bad Case of Blogger "Over-Speculatitis", Runs Through Brattleboro Screaming, "Shumlin for Gov in 08!"

With a nod towards Terri Hallenbeck (I've learned that it's very important to cite your sources), I awoke this morning with a raging case of over-speculatitis regarding the 2008 Vermont Governor's race.

Thankfully, my case of over-speculatitis was not so severe as to cloud my good judgement and force me to make completely insane predictions such as Estes 08', or Salmon 08' or even Dunne 08'. I leave crazy talk like that to the less balanced of the Blog World. You know who your are. Take your meds.

My prediction for Governor 08' is Peter Shumlin. As far as I am concerned he has best positioned himself for the Democratic nomination and would be (if Douglas retires after this term) the general election front-runner as well.

Why incoming Vermont Senate Pro Tempore Peter Shumlin you ask? Good question.

First, Senator Shumlin proved to fellow Democrats that he's still got "juice" and can stand the squeeze when he edged out John Campbell for Senate President. If Senator Campbell, who is savvy himself when it comes to legislative knife fighting, has an 80 mph fastball, Shumlin's got a 100 mph fastball.

So, less than 1 month into his new, old job, Senator Shumlin is an official member of the Gang of 3. The other two gang members are, of course, Governor Douglas and Speaker Symington. And, this Gang of 3 will set the entire political agenda for the state of Vermont over the next 2 years.

Oh, so you're a Vermont House/Senate/Mayor/Select Board/Police Chief/Fire Chief/City Councilman/Reporter/Blogger? Nobody cares. Go talk to the Gang of 3.

The Gang of 3 are savvy enough to realize that they must have at least the appearance of hanging together to "get things done at the Capitol" in this new age of bi-partisanship or the voters will hang them separately in 2008.

So Speaker Symington, who holds the "real" power with a veto-proof majority in the House, sat down with our beloved Governor Douglas, who holds the "public opinion" power, after the election and pledged to work together on the issues that Vermonters care about.

(Note to Douglas: Symington likes where she is sitting better than where you are sitting. Its going to be a loooong session for you Governor.)

And the issues that they said Vermonters care about? Primarily property taxes.

But 2 is not 3. Where was Senate President Shumlin on the issue of property tax relief?

"On that issue I'm as lukewarm as a baby's bottle," said Shumlin when attacked for comment by the news media outside of the statehouse.

Just kidding. First, Shumlin is more likely to attack the news media than the other way around. Second, the incoming Senate President did say that property tax relief was important.

But, and this is of paramount importance, before Shumlin is talking property taxes he is talking global warming and how Vermont will do its (small) part to combat carbon emissions.

Shummy is going green. And why shouldn't he? Green is the new red, white and blue.

Look, maybe Shumlin got into global warming because, "I went hunting this year and I should have been wearing my fatigues but instead I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt."

Or, maybe the guy who was a private citizen up until a month ago and is now the 2nd most powerful man in the state, knows what Bill Clinton (who is the greatest politician in the Democratic Party hands down) knows. Going Green in 06' is the perfect issue to take you to the top in 08'.

Moving America away from fossil fuels is good for our environment (Democrats like), it is good for our national security (Republicans like) and it is good for our economy (which everybody likes). Toss in the fact that ending our appetite for fossil fuels will be a major issue in the 08' presidential race and Shumlin's proposed agenda is starting to look mighty savvy.

Is it a slam dunk for Shummy? No way. There are many hurdles (not the least of which is Douglas retiring in 08' because there ain't no one in Vermont who is beating that guy). But, the Senator has shown that he still knows the Potomac two-step. And, if a few things break his way...

Just you watch.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Way Forward in Iraq - Yeah It Sucks

I was against the Iraq invasion from the start.

In fact, I was so against the Iraq invasion that it cost me a job as a CIA analyst. I wanted to serve my country after college and the CIA was where I wanted to do it. Unfortunately, I was just finishing (rather successfully I might add) the final round of my CIA job interview/testing process (a process that took me almost 2 years to complete) when President Bush let fly with a decapitation strike on Baghdad.

I was at Langley when the strike happened. The invasion of Iraq began while I sitting in CIA's crappy cafeteria watching Fox News (Fox was on everywhere I went in the building). I was waiting to give a final interview to a CIA shrink to prove that I was not a nut. The job was mine.

It never happened. I proved I was a nut.

I walked into the shrink's office (slender, well dressed and attractive young lady) loaded for bear. I was so angry I was shaking. I couldn't believe that Bush had actually done it. But I never yelled. Not once. That would have landed me in a drab room with some Virginia Farm Boys that I knew I didn't want to talk to.

Talking barely above a whisper I started the conversation off with, "This agency gets $6 billion a year to spend any way it wants. $6 billion! With no Congressional oversight! All CIA is supposed to do is give good intelligence and not let the policy makers push it around when your analysis doesn't support their policy! Saddam is not a clear and present danger to our national security interests. Why are we fighting this war?"

I worked in some stuff about Cheney being a "loon" who "lost his goddamned mind after 9/11". I cited Scowcroft’s Op-ed in the Journal, Friedman from the Times, Brzezinski's articles in everything. I told her "Iraq is a mess that we don't need and we certainly do not want."

This went on for about 20 minutes. Then I got up, calmly shook her hand and left. That interview is on tape somewhere in the basement of that agency. I got a form letter 1-week letter in the mail terminating my application.

My point is that we all had positions on the war back then, so what? We are there. Now what?

There are 3 options. They all suck.

They are: Stay the Course. Withdraw tomorrow. Put in More Troops.

Before I get to that let me throw out some facts (these are MY facts, but they are still facts).

Fact: Unfortunately, for us, this country is addicted to fossil fuels. Fully 1/3 of the world's proven oil reserves reside in and around Iraq.

Fact: Unfortunately, for us, Iraq's well being has became tied to our national security interests with this shitty little war. We broke it and so we bought it. Saddam went out when America came in (smart W, very fucking smart).

Fact: Unfortunately, for us, if America pulls out of Iraq now or in the foreseeable future Iraq will fall to extremist elements who would then control a large chunk of the world's oil reserve. That would not be good.

Fact: Rummy is gone and the Democrats control both Chambers of Congress. The Democrats can't force the President to withdraw from Iraq, but they can vote to cut off funding for the war.

Fact: Democrats are no more and no less "weak" on national security than are the Republicans. There are too many idiots in both parties.

This brings us back to our 3 options.

I think everyone is AGAINST staying the course in Iraq (with the small exception of those hunkered down in the West Wing of the White House). I'm not even going to bring that option up.

So, who is in favor of a troop pullout? Or, what the Democrats (and some Republicans) REALLY have to consider is who is in favor of cutting off funding for the war because cutting off funding is the only way a pullout is going to happen.

If you think Bush is leaving Iraq without the Congress yanking the money you haven’t been paying attention for the last 6 years.

Democrats, you talked a lot of garbage about this when you were running for office a month ago (a troop pullout, not cutting off funding).

"If I'm elected I'm going to hold President Bush accountable!" yelled Vermont Democratic candidate Peter Welch (now a Congressman) on the campaign trail. "We need a new direction in Iraq! I'm going to provide that!"

Get ready to start voting against funding the troops Congressman.

Rummy is gone and the Democrats control both Chambers of Congress. There is no other way to bring our troops home than to cut off funding. Squirm, dance and jabber all you want but if you stand for a troop withdrawel then you stand for cutting off funding.

“Cut off funding for our troops?” said now-Congressman Welch when his advisors broke him the bad news while showing him the very real and very sobering statistics of what happens to the global price of crude when Iraq goes into the extremist shitter, “I can’t do that. There has to be another way!”

There is. It's the final and only real option. It's the John McCain option. But even the Great John McCain can't make the option any better than it is (although he has guts for championing it).

Put more American troops into Iraq. Stabilze the country with overwhelming brute force. Restore diplomatic talks with Syria and Iran as well as do every other thing that the Baker-Hamilton report recommended the President and Congress do.

Yes, it sucks. Yes, the chance for success is slim. Yes, we have no other option.

That's the rub folks (and this is the truest thing in here): If you are not in favor of “staying the course” in Iraq and you are not in favor of cutting off funding for our troops then by default you are in favor of putting in more troops.

If this idea make you sick to your stomach ask yourself how sick $8/gallon gasoline would make you feel. If you're still sick to your stomach then you must be in favor of a $4 "Patriot Tax" on all gasoline to fund alternative fuel source development. If you are in favor of that you are a great American. If you are in favor of that and you make less than $50,000/year you are a true patriot.

God Bless You.

Why is Rudy Giuliani Wearing A Dress?

Just kidding!

Not about Giuliani wearing a dress of course which, if you click on title of my post, will take you straight to the YouTube clip of His Honor dressed to the nines in female clothing. He looks great. And, as an added bonus, Donald Trump even buries his hair weaved mug deep in the Mayor's tits.

The joke IS about the question, "Why is Rudy Giuliani wearing a dress?" The question is a "joke" because everyone already knows the answer. Its similar to asking the question, "Why did the chicken cross the road?"

Get it?

So, Why is Rudy Giuliani wearing a dress? Why because he's a freaky closet liberal who likes to do freaky closet liberal things!

And God bless him for that! I'm a freaky closet liberal myself.

However, I'm not considering running for the conservative nomination for President.

Get it?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Mitt Romney Goes "Seoul Searching" While The Gang of 500 Gets Caught Off Base

Stop me if you have heard this joke about Mitt Romney and abortion - "When it comes to the subject of abortion, Governor Romney is not only pro-choice, he is multiple choice."

I've heard senior staff from two other potential presidential campaigns tell that joke, and both times the joke got big laughs. I even took the joke out for a test drive myself, at a Vermont dinner party, and the guests looked at me like I was crazy. Vermonters have better things to do than handicap presidential elections two years out.

We laugh at the joke because it is true. Mitt Romney's stance on the issue of abortion is all over the place. Even Mitt's strongest supporters will admit this.

We laugh also because the joke is relevant. Mitt Romney is a presidential contender and sits right behind John McCain in the polls. If Mitt weren’t a potential front-runner you wouldn't hear any jokes about him. You don't hear anyone making jokes about John Cox do you?

Who is John Cox? Exactly my point.

What I don't get is why Mitt is still considered a "top-tier" candidate? Or, as I like to say around these parts to other political operatives, "When is Mitt going to hit the panic button on his campaign?"

Don't get me wrong; there is a lot of Mitt to like. He is young, good looking, rich, comes from good stock, saved the Olympics, and was a Republican Governor who passed universal health care legislation. All in all Mitt is the kind of guy that you would want your daughter to date (so long as he agreed that she would be the ONLY daughter he was dating at the time).

But is he ready for primetime presidential smash mouth politics? No, in my humble opinion and flying in face of the consensus opinion of the Gang of 500, Mitt is not.

Forget for a minute about the never, NEVER ending "Big Dig" mess that occurred while he was the Governor of Massachusetts (although I will grant you that the family of that Boston commuter crushed by a three ton chunk of falling tunnel while on her way to work will not forget and neither will John Weaver).

Forget the fact that Kerry Healey's campaign to replace Mitt as Governor fell apart because Mitt was out campaigning for President and that the Massachusetts Republican Party is so angry about it that they will not return Romney's calls.

Forget that fact that last week the Boston Globe, the paper that Mitt decided to pick a fight with a month ago and has been paying for it ever since with terrible press, ran 4 columns of print about how illegal immigrants hired to work in Mitt's backyard were greeted every morning with, "Buenos Dias!" from the Governor. Accompanying the article was a picture the men, stripped to the waste, toiling in some garden (never, ever pick a fight with an organization that buys ink by the barrel). I suppose it will be tough for Romney to attack McCain's stance on illegal immigration after that article.

Forget the fact that Mitt recently told a reporter that "Jerry Falwell supports me in the primary," which isn't true. The exaggeration forced Falwell's camp to put out an immediate press release saying that Falwell told Mitt no such thing.

Forget the fact that Mitt, whose only previous foreign policy credentials included "summers in New Hampshire and winters in Utah" has been trying to "burnish" his foreign policy experience with trips abroad and is currently Seoul searching in South Korea.

Of course, his current trip overseas would have nothing to do with the Iraq Study Group report, which Mitt has yet to comment on. When Mitt doesn't want to take on the President but he also doesn't want to take on public opinion he takes off. Nice.

You can forget about all these little things (I will stress again that John Weaver and his team of op-research guys aren't going to forget, but we can) but even after all that you still have two huge problems, and they both begin with the letter M - Mormonism and Massachusetts. Neither one of those two words is popular with Republican primary voters and Mitt is the walking, talking embodiment of both.

Mitt has done almost nothing to calm primary voters about the fact he is a Massachusetts Mormon and the clock is ticking (its about to speed up when Warren Jeffs, a Mormon cult leader accused of raping 11 year olds, goes on trial next year. Think 24-hour Court TV news cycles for 6 months about how Mormons marry and rape multiple child brides against their will. Should wrap up right before the New Hampshire Primary. YIKES!).

All in all the gang of 500 has it wrong. It is not the first time and it will not be the last time. Mitt just is not a first tier candidate. It remains to be seen if he is even a second tier candidate.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

McCain Gets Terry Nelson, Giuliani Gets David Carney???

Team McCain announced today that if the Senator decides to run for President (in other words, if McCain/Weaver/Salter/Dennehy/Nelson continue to do what they have been doing for the last 6 years) Senator McCain has formally asked Terry Nelson to take over the day-to-day operations of his presidential campaign.

I cannot claim to know Terry Nelson and I doubt that he would claim to know me. However, from everything I have read about Mr. Nelson it seems as through the formal hiring of his services through the 08' presidential race fits in nicely with McCain/Weaver's plan for total primary domination.

Not to be outdone by Team McCain, Rudy Giuliani, a potential primary opponent of Senator McCain's, today announced that his PAC has hired the New Hampshire services of David Carney of Norway Hill Associates to help "explore" a potential run in 08'.

Actually, I'm making up that last announcement.

However, I HAVE been hearing rumors that Giuliani's PAC has hired Carney and that both are sitting on the information for a date uncertain (it’s my Blog, I can post rumors if I want).

This information came to me second hand and (supposedly) originated with a failed former campaign manager from the 06' cycle who is now managing a Planet Fitness in Colorado. Guess who, don’t sue.

Carney was part of Bush 2000 efforts in New Hampshire and recently ran Vermont's Rich Tarrant’s failed Senate bid against Bernie Sanders. David is also the lead consultant for Texas Governor Rick Perry.

If true, Giuliani would be the third Republican primary candidate to have staff in New Hampshire along with Senator McCain and Governor Pataki.

Stand by for shit to get silly.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Team McCain Throws DC Holiday Bash and Has The Gang of 500 Purring Like Well-Fed Alley Cats

Ok, we can all admit that suburban Ohio voters do not particularly care about a holiday party thrown in Washington DC. Rural voters in Florida probably care less, even if its a Straight Talking U.S. Senator in one of DC’s finest galleries, The Corcoran, throwing the holiday party in question.

However, as important as Florida and Ohio voters are to an electoral map strategy, there is another political constituency almost as important for statesmen who might harbor presidential ambitions. This "other" constituency just happens to be much, much smaller. And, it happens to like parties. Especially parties in Washington DC.

This constituency, of course, is the so called "Gang of 500" - a wonderfully diverse, smart and slightly smug group of journalists, political operatives, money men (and woman), lawyers, lobbyists and government types who live, work and play within 10 blocks of downtown DC and Manhattan (except for Drudge, who lives in Miami and Governor Schwarzenegger's people who live in CaliFORNia). This small group plays a large part in setting the political agenda of a presidential election, especially two years out from the election when "real" voters aren't paying attention.

The Gang lives inside-baseball because it is all they know. And, right now, the inside-baseball money is sorting out who is up and who is down in the 08' presidential election.

"Yip-yip-yip!" Monday Morning Clackers all of them. But very, very, VERY important clackers at that.

Which is why all the potential presidential contenders in 08' are courting the Gang of 500. Which is also why any Romney/Giuliani/Clinton/Obama/Kerry/Biden supporters who happened to make it inside the McCain holiday party at the Corcoran last Tuesday night and saw Senator McCain and his wife, Cindy McCain (who looked terrific), basking in the love of a huge percentage of the Gang of 500 (plus another 400 people just like you and me) probably felt like Santa had just left a lump of coal in their stocking.

Too bad for them. The crab cakes were wonderful and the booze was free. I even met my hero, David Brooks, and got to chat with him briefly. One Gang member down, 499 to go.

As I left the Corcoran that night one could only think that McCain/Weaver/Salter/Dennehy/Nelson know how to throw a bitching party. It might not matter to the Ohio suburbs, but it does matter. These guys are playing to win.

Back After The 06' Bloodletting & Ready to Rumble In 08'!

Ever since the GOP's mid-term "thumping" last month I have spent my days trying to figure out how Hastert/Frist/Bush/Rove/Cheney/Rumsfeld could have gotten it oh so achingly wrong.

I imagine that the Gang of 6's election year platform of increased federal spending, staying the course in Iraq, anti-gay marriage/anti-flag burning amendments and ethics "reform" far weaker than anything the Democrats tried to move in the final years before their Congressional empire collapsed in the early 90s, always had the POSSIBILITY of rallying the troops.

But, only if you were working in an Oval Office/Capitol Hill/Pentagon/Undisclosed Location bubble surrounded by "Yes-Men" advisers who are living their lives as though the great media cycles of 2002 were on a never ending loop.


The Gang of 6 has become the Gang of 3 Lame Ducks.


The good news for everyone else is that 08' is right around the corner. Why dwell in the past?