Friday, August 19, 2005

Step away for a day and look what happens...

I wasn't around at all yesterday but boy look's like I missed a good time over at Colorado Pols.

First they wrote a story about the SurveyUSA poll that I had commented on Wednesday afternoon. Of course they cited Colorado Luis and not me but hey, at least they got the story.

And then they ran a story about Bill Ritter fighting back against the outright lies of the anti-growth crowd. Specifically the fuzzy math that John Andrews has employed in his latest ad campaign. That piece seems to have generated quite the buzz with over 150 comments, should make for some choice reading this morning...

Good stuff, perhaps as labor day comes and goes the political season will heat up out here in Colorado.

527's are outpacing their 2004 fundraising efforts...

It looks like the 527's are gearing up to make some noise in 2006. From The Hill,

Soft-money political committees are well ahead of their fundraising pace for the 2004 election cycle, raising more than $48 million in the first six months of this year, according to a review of fundraising totals

Known as 527 groups, after a section of the tax code, the 30 groups that raised the most this election cycle have raised $48.3 million through the end of June, putting them on pace to raise at least twice that much by the end of the year.

The 527's levelled the electoral playing field for Democrats in 2004. The Democrats had a distinct fundraising advantage and thus far that advantage is holding firm,

Of the 30 groups that have raised the most money this year, 19 are either clearly affiliated with labor unions or allied with the Democratic Party. Only eight of the groups were clearly allied with the Republican Party.

The Democratic-leaning groups raised more than $28 million through the end of June. The eight Republican-allied groups raised $18.2 million.

Iraq worries continued...

That growing sentiment that I talked about earlier isn't just a figment of my adled-liberal mind. Indeed the GOP is probably going to be running scared from the war in the 2006 elections. GOP candidates are no longer towing the administrations line and are straying from the talking points on Iraq in an attempt to save their electoral hides.

From Wednesday's New York Times,

A stream of bad news out of Iraq, echoed at home by polls that show growing impatience with the war and rising disapproval of President Bush's Iraq policies, is stirring political concern in Republican circles, party officials said Wednesday...

..."There is just no enthusiasm for this war," said Representative John J. Duncan Jr., a Tennessee Republican who opposes the war. "Nobody is happy about it. It certainly is not going to help Republican candidates, I can tell you that much."

Representative Wayne T. Gilchrest, a Maryland Republican who originally supported the war but has since turned against it, said he had encountered "a lot of Republicans grousing about the situation as a whole and how they have to respond to a lot of questions back home."

"I have been to a lot of funerals," Mr. Gilchrest said.


Who said it?

"We are seen as occupiers, we are targets. We have got to get out. I don't think we can sustain our current policy, nor do I think we should"



Who said it? Russ Feingold? Howard Dean? Cindy Sheehan?

Republican Chuck Hagel.

He also drew parallels between Iraq and Vietnam this week,

Iraq and Vietnam still have more differences than similarities, he said, but "there is a parallel emerging."

"The longer we stay in Iraq, the more similarities will start to develop, meaning essentially that we are getting more and more bogged down, taking more and more casualties, more and more heated dissension and debate in the United States," Hagel said.



In the last couple of days both Russ Feingold and Chuck Hagel have advocated withdraw with Feingodl pinpointing an exact date (Dec 31, 2006). Both of these men are considering runs for the Presidency and both are positioning themselves as anti-war candidates, coincidence? I think not - Independents and Democrats are solidly against the war and there is a growing sentiment amongst Republican's to get out as soon as possible. Feingold is a progressive Democrat and Hagel is a bit of a maverick Republican but I don't think they are trying to appeal to fringe elements within their respective parties. Their is a burgeoning sentiment in this country that Iraq has not made us safer and has not been worth the costs in American lives and Feingold and Hagel are astute politicians who are tapping into that sentiment.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

New SurveyUSA 50 State Presidential Poll

SurveyUSA has just released a new Presidential Approval Rating poll. They have Bush at 41% Approve to 55% Disapprove, a new low for the President. The President is currently at 45%-53% here in Colorado and you can see the Colorado Tracking Poll here.

MyDD has done some more in-depth analysis that I highly recommend you read.
Here is an eye-opening fact about the Survey USA 50-state tracking released today: in every single state, Independent approval of Bush was closer to Democratic approval of Bush than Independent approval of Bush was to Republican approval of Bush. That was the case in every state. Fifty out of fifty. Massachusetts and Utah. California and Alabama. New York and Idaho. In every single state in the country, Independents were more in line with Democrats than they were with Republicans.

Bush's approval is higher than his disapproval in just 10 of the states that he won in 2004. In 21 states he is even or behind, including....

Georgia -4%
Kansas -4%
S.. Carolina -6%
Florida -9%
Tennessee -9%
Kentucky -11%
Missouri -20%
Ohio -23%

I wouldn't want to be Republican running for Congress in any of those states....

Bosnia anyone?

Quotes from when Clinton when committed troops to Bosnia. Thanks to Kos..

"You can support the troops but not the president."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years."
--Joe Scarborough (R-FL)

"Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?"
--Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99

"[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy."
--Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)

"American foreign policy is now one huge big mystery. Simply put, the administration is trying to lead the world with a feel-good foreign policy."
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy."
--Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of George W Bush

"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
--Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)

"I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national interests are at stake. There was no strategic plan for war when the President started this thing, and there still is no plan today"
--Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)

"Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is."
--Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Colorado Pols on Paccione's lackluster start

I've been complaining for a while now that State Rep Angie Paccione needs to quit being so indecisive and state her intentions one way or another regarding Colorado's 4th Congressional District. Her public statements have been wishy-washy at best, she comes off as indecisive and unwilling to commit.

Today the good folks over at Colorado Pols chimed in on the issue...

If the Presidential election of 2004 proved anything, it's that voters gravitiate to a candidate they perceive to be a strong leader. Paccione is not only indecisive, she's putting herself right out there and saying, "Hey, I can't make up my mind at all - YOU tell me what to do!" Even when Paccione gets a chance to speak out against Musgrave, as she did when the latter announced her re-election last week, she fumbles the punt.


The Pols then turned to Paccione's weak recent comments in the Denver Post last week, which I criticised in a post last week.

Needless to say I'm in complete agreement with the Pols on this one...

USA Today chimes in on Roberts and the right to privacy..

Good stuff from USA Today

Three current justices — William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — have questioned whether a right to privacy exists. The court doesn't need a fourth, not least because the anti-privacy argument is a denial of history and basic American values.

In fact, the right to privacy is older than the republic, protected in the Constitution and affirmed repeatedly in a century of court rulings before the abortion controversy. Though the word privacy isn't in the Constitution, the “right to be let alone,” as Justice Louis Brandeis put it, permeates the document.


I've been saying for a few weeks that if Roberts doesn't believe in a right to privacy he doesn't belong on the court. Aside from the abortion debate the right to privacy is fundamental in American life and it must be protected. Good to see the mainstream media catching on...

Monday, August 15, 2005

Bill Richardson in 2008?

The Los Angeles Times and Salon.com have both run favorable profiles of the New Mexico Governor recently. I highly recommend both...

Los Angeles Times: A New New Democrat Looks West and Forward

Salon.com: What You See Is What You Get

Karl lied to the FBI

Karl, Karl, Karl, tsk, tsk, tsk. You can lie, parse, and obfuscate to the American electorate but don't mess with the FBI. From today's Village Voice

Justice Department officials made the crucial decision in late 2003 to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the leak of the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame in large part because investigators had begun to specifically question the veracity of accounts provided to them by White House deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, according to senior law enforcement officials...

...investigators firmly believed that Rove had withheld important information from them during that FBI interview...

...During his initial interview with the FBI, in the fall of 2003, Rove did not disclose that he had ever discussed Plame with Time magazine correspondent Matthew Cooper, according to two legal sources with firsthand knowledge of the matter. Federal investigators were also skeptical of claims by Rove that he had only first learned of Plame's employment with the CIA from a journalist, even though he also claimed he could not specifically recall the name of the journalist...

...from the very earliest days of the criminal probe, federal investigators had a strong belief and body of evidence that Rove and perhaps other officials might be misleading them.

What did we fight this war for?

Really, ask yourself that question. First it was for WMD's and vengeance for Saddam's involvement in the 9/11 attacks... but neither of those worked out so it was on to plan B. We were supposed to be liberators, freeing the Iraqi people from Saddam Hussein and creating a friendly, secular, and democratic state in the Middle East. Looks like we're going to have to find another reason...

From today's Washington Post
The United States no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges, U.S. officials say...

...Many of Baghdad's 6 million people go without electricity for days in 120-degree heat. Parents fearful of kidnapping are keeping children indoors.

Barbers post signs saying they do not shave men, after months of barbers being killed by religious extremists. Ethnic or religious-based militias police the northern and southern portions of Iraq. Analysts estimate that in the whole of Iraq, unemployment is 50 percent to 65 percent...

... the document on which Iraq's future is to be built will require laws to be compliant with Islam. Kurds and Shiites are expecting de facto long-term political privileges. And women's rights will not be as firmly entrenched as Washington has tried to insist, U.S. officials and Iraq analysts say.

"We set out to establish a democracy, but we're slowly realizing we will have some form of Islamic republic," said another U.S. official familiar with policymaking from the beginning, who like some others interviewed would speak candidly only on the condition of anonymity. "That process is being repeated all over."


Last week I quoted at length from Irving Kristol's Confessions Of A Neo-Conservative, in which Mr. Kristol blasted those who were only concerned with the mechanisms and machinery of democracy and not the underlying quality of life, keep that in mind while you read this passage. The Washington Post continues,

"We are definitely cutting corners and lowering our ambitions in democracy building," said Larry Diamond, a Stanford University democracy expert who worked with the U.S. occupation government and wrote the book "Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq."

"Under pressure to get a constitution done, they've lowered their own ambitions in terms of getting a document that is going to be very far-reaching and democratic. We also don't have the time to go through the process we envisioned when we wrote the interim constitution -- to build a democratic culture and consensus through debate over a permanent constitution," he said.


I'd love to hear from the Bush apologists on this one. From here it looks as though 1,853 American soldiers have given their lives to establish an anti-woman, anti-Israeli, Islamist state. This administration has handled this war with breathtaking incompetency and now the chickens are coming home to roost. Congratulations George W. Bush, if you're goal was to create a new client state for Iran then sir all I have to say is Mission Accomplished.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Denver Young Dems president's take on the Gov's race

The Denver Young Dems just recieved this email from DYD President Andrew Luxen.

Yesterday afternoon, with the Rutt Bridges bombshell announcement that he
was withdrawing from the race for governor, everything changed. This, the
biggest political news of the cycle thus far, means that there is only one
declared Democrat for governor and the otherwise narrow field has suddenly
widened.

Why should you care?

You should care because the people who climb into the race now are likely to
be in for the long haul. That means that if state Senate President Joan
Fitz-Gerald, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper or U.S. Senator Ken Salazar
decide to jump in, they most likely will defer to one another and one will
become the instant favorite to win the August 2006 Democratic primary.

Currently, former Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter is the other
announced Democratic candidate.

So who's it going to be?

The blogs and political gossip is a flurry with who should run, who
shouldn't and why. Here's my take:

SEN. FITZ-GERALD: (
http://www.thismatters.org/FitzGeraldInfo.html)

YES RUN: A fiery and devoted liberal, she has the tenacity to lead across
the aisle and thoroughly understands Colorado. Plus, she helped engineer
the Dems takeover of the state House and Senate in 2004.

NO RUN: Some people dislike her aggressive approach and think she should
run for U.S. Rep. Mark Udall's CD2 seat in 2008 when Mr. Udall runs for U.S.
Senate. Plus, Ms. Fitz-Gerald would likely have to resign her Senate
presidency to run, if not her seat itself. Her current term is up in 2006
and she is eligible to run for one additional state Senate term.


MAYOR HICKENLOOPER: (
http://www.drafthick.com)

YES RUN: With over 90% approval ratings, two separate, major ballot measure
victories (1A and FastTracks) and the sort of populist appeal that William
Jennings Bryan only dreamed of, Mr. Hickenlooper is the rockstar of Colorado
Democratic politics. Plus, he wins crossover votes because of his extensive
business background.

NO RUN: He has only been the Denver mayor for two years and held no previous
political office. Mr. Hickenlooper has stated that he is content with his
current job and couldn't imagine a better one. Also, it seems that his
wife isn't too keen on the idea of a statewide race.


U.S. SENATOR SALAZAR: (
http://salazar.senate.gov)

YES RUN: Mr. Salazar is a proven winner statewide. He won handily in a
state that went to Mr. Bush in 2004, won two terms as Colorado attorney
general statewide and is beloved on the West Slope. If he won, he would get
to appoint his successor to the Senate seat for two years, until a special
election could be held in 2008 (two state-wide U.S. Senate races at once?!).
That keeps the seat in Dem hands.

NO RUN: He just got a new job as senator. Why would he want to come back
and do another statewide race so soon, when he hasn't had a real opportunity
to effect change for Colorado in DC?


MR. RITTER: (
http://www.hhlaw.com/site/showbio.aspx?Show=7192)

YES RUN: His long experience as a Denver prosecutor and early campaigning
both work in Mr. Ritter’s favor. He has been riding the summer county fair
circuit and meeting people across the state.

NO RUN: Personally, he is anti-choice, which he says won’t impact any
decisions he would make as governor. The left in Colorado would likely run
a candidate further to the left than Mr. Ritter, making it tough for him to
emerge victorious from a Democratic primary. Plus, he may have little name
recognition outside of Denver.



Thanks for reading,

Andrew Luxen
President
Denver Young Democrats
(http://www.denveryoungdems.org)

Big Oil isn't interested in ANWR, but Vincent Carroll is...

In today's Rocky Mountain News editorial page editor Vincent Carroll write a piece entitled "Oil Obstructionists". Carroll claims that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is being held up by obstructionists. Carroll writes,

To the obstructionists who oppose increased energy production - not just in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge but also on the continental shelf of the lower 48, in western Colorado and indeed just about anywhere with genuine promise - pumping more oil and natural gas is never the answer.


Which obstructionists would those be Mr. Carroll? Big oil has stated that they are simply not interested in drilling in ANWR. From the New York Times on February 21, 2005

Once allied, the administration and the oil industry are now far apart on the issue. The major oil companies are largely uninterested in drilling in the refuge, skeptical about the potential there. Even the plan's most optimistic backers agree that any oil from the refuge would meet only a tiny fraction of America's needs...

...Whether that battle will be worthwhile, though, is not clear. Neither advocates nor critics can answer a crucial question: how much oil lies beneath the wilderness where the administration wants to permit drilling?

Advocates cite a 1998 government study that estimated the part of the refuge proposed for drilling might hold 10 billion barrels of oil. But only one test well has been drilled, in the 1980's, and its results are one of the industry's most closely guarded secrets.

A Bush adviser says the major oil companies have a dimmer view of the refuge's prospects than the administration does. "If the government gave them the leases for free they wouldn't take them," said the adviser, who would speak only anonymously because of his position. "No oil company really cares about ANWR," the adviser said, using an acronym for the refuge, pronounced "an-war."

Wayne Kelley, who worked in Alaska as a petroleum engineer for Halliburton, the oil services corporation, and is now managing director of RSK, an oil consulting company, said the refuge's potential could "only be determined by drilling."

"The enthusiasm of government officials about ANWR exceeds that of industry because oil companies are driven by market forces, investing resources in direct proportion to the economic potential, and the evidence so far about ANWR is not promising," Mr. Kelley said...

...ExxonMobil also has shown little public enthusiasm for the refuge. Lee R. Raymond, the chairman and chief executive, said in an television interview last December, "I don't know if there is anything in ANWR or not."


The fight over ANWR is not about America's present oil needs, as evidenced by the complete lack of interest in ANWR by America's big oil companies. Instead ANWR is a purely political battle, it's a chance for the Bush administration to flex their muscle and prove that they can drill anywhere they want. To pretend that ANWR is somehow the end all of our oil needs is just absurd, just ask the big oil companies.

Bridges out...

So Rutt Bridges has dropped out of the Governor's race. A couple of thoughts...

1. That's the end of Bridges political career. This is the 2nd time he's dropped out of a race and I'm afraid that it's 2 strikes and you're out. Bridges will continue to be a voice within the Party on policy matters thanks to his Big Horn Institute but his days as a candidate are over.

2. I have to believe that someone else with a big name is going to enter this race and that's why Bridges dropped out. When Bridges dropped out of the Senate race it was to make way for Ken Salazar, are witnessing something similiar? I would anticipate that if an announcement from another candidate is forthcoming it would come on Monday

I know Bridges is claiming that this decision was borne out of his aversion to campaigning and I appreciate him getting out now instead of stringing us along but did he just now realize that campaigning wasn't for him?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Independence Institute editorials in the two dailys

Both the Denver Post and the Rockymountain News ran editorials today about the II and the court challenge to the group's 501(c)3 status. Not suprisingly the Post comes out in favor of more transparency from the II and the Rocky defends the II and buy's Caldera's talking points hook. line and sinker.

The content of the two editorial's is really secondary to the point that the legitimacy of the II is now being questioned by the Post and is having to be defended by the Rocky. In the arena of public opinion when you have to go on the defensive - especially when that defense involves citing obscure tax laws and drawing legalistic distinctions - you are losing the fight.

The de-legitimization of the II has begun...

Musgrave: Running Scared

The Denver Post has a piece this morning on Marilyn Musgrave, specifically the fact that she's running away from the Gay Marriage Amendment she wasted her first term hawking to the American people. Musgrave is extremely vulnerable and one of the reasons why is that she spent so much of her time in Washington D.C. working for the fringe right on social issues instead of working for the people in her district who actually elected her.

State Rep Angie Paccionne chimes in with her two cents,
"It's quite convenient, considering that she might have a challenger in '06 who might give her a run for her money," said state Rep. Angie Paccione, D-Fort Collins, who is considered the most likely Democrat to mount such a challenge.


I have to say Angie, if you're running then run. Paccionne's choice of language here certainly isn't going to do anything to inspire the Democrats in the CD-4. She might have a challenger? Who might give her a run for her money?

Angie, it's time to get off the fence and run and start talking and acting like a winner.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Report: "The Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere"

A new report was out today on the political blogosphere and the emergence of the progressive blogosphere. It can be found here.

Here's an intro that the Swing State Project put together
,
Two guys well-known in the blogging world, Chris Bowers and Matt Stoller, have authored a report for the New Politics Insitute about the progressive blogosphere - sort of like a primer for establishment-types not wholly familiar with the warp and woof of blogistan, but also packed with a lot of information that even experienced bloggers will find interesting.

It's a great read, highly recommended.

Denver Post goes after Bob Novak...

I didn't really expect to see this when I looked at the Denver Post this morning, but there it is. The Denver Post calling Bob Novak to the carpet,

It's time for Robert Novak to give a public accounting of what led up to his 2003 newspaper column in which he revealed the identity of a heretofore clandestine CIA operative, Valerie Plame...

...
It's clear the 74-year-old Novak is tied up in knots. Last week he was put on leave by CNN after uttering a barnyard epithet during an exchange on an unrelated political matter. He stalked off the program just before host Ed Henry was to question him about the Plame leak.

Novak reportedly told Henry beforehand, "My lawyer said I cannot answer any specific questions about this case until it is resolved, which I hope is very soon." Novak put his toe in the water Aug. 1 and should complete his public explanation now.


The good folks over at Colorado Pols have asked repeatedley throughout the Rove-scandal just how it would play in Colorado. Up until this point the scandal really hadn't taken on a local flavor; no one from our Congressional delegation had commented (save for Ken Salazar), none of the candidates had commented. While today's editorial is hardly earth shattering it does, for the first time, make the Rove scandal an issue in Colorado. It's still too early to say that the Rove-scandal will drag down the GOP ticket in 2006 in Colorado but the door may have just been opened.

Beauprez on C&D: All talking points, no substance..

Peter Blake's column in this morning's Rocky Mountain News is quite the eye opener. It appears that Bob Beauprez is doing all that he can to prevent Marc Holtzman from staking out a claim as the Anti-C&D GOP Gubernatorial candidate.

In Blake's column Beauprez spews forth talking point after talking point, sounding more and more like the all talk no substance Holtzman every day.

Government has to respond just like private business when there's a downturn, he said: "Be more efficient, defer purchases and do without."

As for C and D, "If we need a fix, this isn't the fix."

Is it bad "if government has to do what families and businesses have to do?" he asked.


It will be interesting to see if Governor Owens reacts as voraciously to these latest comments from Beauprez as he did to similiar comments by Holtzman last week.Specifically,

And so I ask Holtzman and others who oppose Referendums C and D: Where in next year's budget will you cut $400 million? How will you fix the long-term fiscal problem we face? Tell us now before we vote on Nov. 1.

Colorado's budget problems cannot be solved by mere "belt-tightening." I understand belt-tightening. As governor, I have implemented more than $1 billion in budget cuts during my administration. But you can only go so far before you start to affect essential services.


The Governor has shown no inclination to retreat from a debate amongst his own party members on C&D, will he keep the pressure on and go after Beauprez?