Scott's Soapbox

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Meaning of Christmas

Nice story here about a secret Santa who has been spreading cheer in the form of holiday cash handouts to the less fortunate for years now. Now he is being forced to use some more of his own funds for his own cancer treatment. Hopefully he will find generosity towards him that matches his own generosity of spirit.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Dems won! What Do They Do Now?

So by now we all know that the Democrats won both houses of congress, Bush's approval rating has reached a new low (Newsweek has him at 31%), and people voted overwhelmingly for...well...something, right? People turned out to vote, in short, for change. For non-specific change, but change nonetheless. There was a mix of issues- Iraq, corruption, Katrina, deficit spending, the (while numerically good in some ways) still uncertain economy. People were not happy, and voted for the most part against the Republicans, rather than for the Democrats. Be honest, you may wish it wasn't, but you know it's true. Not too many people went to the polls and thought, "Gee, Iraq seems to be going pretty well, and I'm very proud of our response to Katrina, and it seems like the Bush administration is just so competent and on top of everything. However, I really want an increase in the minimum wage, and the personality of Harry Reid is just so appealing, that I think I'll vote Democratic."

Anyway, the Democrats woke up Wednesday morning and found themselves in charge. There are a few different strategies they can take while dealing with their newfound power, as well as with the President who still has that veto pen he's been so loathe to use. An interesting debate has developed at TNR on this part, with Peter Beinart arguing for obstructionism, Michelle Cottle for productive bipartisanship. I am with Michelle on this, except I would be a little more agressive than she is being. I think Peter has miscalculated what the public expects from the Dems- which is progress and at least some accomplishment. I also read a lot about what this strategems mean for 2008, and not a lot about what is best for the country. So what should they do?

Of course, they have not nearly enough votes to override a Bush veto, and hence this limits their options somewhat in passing their dream agenda. But this actually strenghens their 2008 position if they can combine some compromises to get achievement, while also forcing Bush to veto things and draw lines against them in the sand. Do they Republicans really want to run in 2008 as against the minimum wage? Against lobbying and ethics reform? Against a balanced budget? I think there are compromises to be made where they can be: immigration, education, et cetera. On the other hand, they would be best suited politically by sending up certain bills clean- without any controversial measures added on- for Bush to veto. This lets the public know exactly where the two parties stand, and serves both the country and the Democratic party well.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Not to Gloat, But....

I (and Larry Sabato) did pick every single senate race correctly. Kudos to me.

Felt Like Summer Today!

It was sunny and in the mid-60s today, hence, I was...

What a beautiful song for a beautiful day! With I think the best voice in pop music today, Fran Healy of Travis.

Lincoln Chaffee, RINO no longer?

For years, very moderate Republican senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island has been regarded as a RINO (Republican In Name Only) by many republicans. Pre-election, Franklin Foer, the editor of TNR sugessted, in a piece called "Linc bats his eyelashes" giving a first hand report of one voter who Chafee had told that he might not be a Republican for much longer. Many of the commenters thought this was just pre-election posturing. Well this morning the news broke that the now defeated Chafee is considering making the switch after all. From MSNBC:

“I haven’t made any decisions. I just haven’t even thought about where my place is,” Chafee said at a news conference. When pressed on whether his comments indicated he might leave the GOP, he replied: “That’s fair.”

Come on in Lincoln, the water's lovely.

Landscapers Refuse to Work for Gay Couple

Ok, so maybe this doesn't seem like the biggest deal in the world. But what if it was a black couple, mixed-race couple, Jewish couple, Muslim couple, et cetera. Discrimination towards any is discrimination towards all. I hope this is rectified both in the marketplace and through the legal system. I know I would get another lawn care service...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Collected Poetry of Don Rumsfeld

As a tribute to soon to be ex-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Slate has reposted some of his more interesting comments, all in the unique style of delivery which is his own. Although he may have forgotten to come up with a plan to occupy Iraq after the invasion, and sure, he may have helped make torture official US policy...but, at least his press conferences were interesting.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Karl Rove's Election Day Surprise

Britney Spears is getting divorced! This was the best he could do?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Larry Sabato's Predictions

He is not exactly known as a friend to the Democrats, but I agree with every single Senate prediction here.

The House races, I cannot even pretend to know enough, but in Ohio I would be very surprised to unseat Jean Schmidt (though I would love it) and I agree Mary Jo Kilroy takes out House #4 Deborah Pryce. Kilroy's operation has been all over GOTV efforts- with yesterday bringing me two live calls, and a Bill Clinton robocall, today Ted Strickland on autodial and another live person. Plus signs, signs everywhere. Her gorund operation is much better than anything seen by the Dems in 2004, and I think she'll pull it off. She leads 1-0 in my home.

Video of Clinton's Speech- Late Breaking

Late's not the best quality (looks like shot with a phone, not the CNN pipeline feed I watched live, but here it is...


Here's the choice tomorrow, the same one we faced in 1992. As Bill Clinton phrased it then, "Change Vs. More of the Same." More catastrophic incompetence, more fiscal irresponsibility, more expansion of executive power, more choosing of party ahead of country, more choosing fear versus hope, more divide-and-conquer politics rather than honest attempts to persuade, more intellectual dishonesty over actual debate. The country has been given two main messages this season, both ugly. The Democrats marry each candidate next to Bush and feature prominently what percentage of time the incumbent Republican voted with the president. The Republicans have little to offer but to say that the Democrats are even worse.

Bill Clinton while campaigning in Virginia today for Jim Webb told a little story which I listened to while laughing at the sad truth behind it. He said (paraphrasing- cannot find transcript):
"Imagine I'm on their side for a second. (crowd boos) No no, come on. What is their message this time- well, sorry we never caught Osama bin Laden, sorry Iraq seems to be not going well, I wish we had never appointed that guy from the Horse Commission to be head of FEMA before Katrina hit, I know we've spent all this money and rang up a huge deficit. But if the Democrats get into power, they'll mess up even worse. They are going to tax you back into the poorhouse. But while you're on the way to the poorhouse, you'll see a terrorist at every street corner. And when you turn to run from the terrorist, you'll trip over an illegal immigrant who just got off the boat and doesn't speak the language and is here for your job. If you keep on running, you might crash right into a gay wedding."
The crowd laughed and applauded because they knew this was sad but true. Theirs has been the politics of fear- fear of terrorism, fear of illegal immigrants, fear of higher taxes, fear of homosexuals, fear of (as it is so often) the "other."
Don't believe me? Take a look at this mailer from (via TPM) the New York Republican Party below.

If the Democrats win, some dark-skinned person will rape your nice white daughter. When they take a break from "destroying" our values. Well, many of America's best values are destroyed more by that piece of literature than by an increase in the minimum wage, universal health care, and a change in policy in Iraq. These last few years have not exactly been a watershed for American values. We torture, we lie, deny and stand by when questioned about it. It's our way or the highway, and if the rest of the world or if some Americans do not like it, screw them. They must not be "on the team" or they don't "share our values." There's that word again...values. That image above is one of the ugliest things I have ever seen in American politics. As Andrew wrote today (in a post called "Even Lower") after viewing the image above- "You know what? I just found out nothing about Democratic values. But I learned a hell of a lot more about Republican ones."

Me too. Tomorrow, please vote for change. If you cannot bring yourself to vote for your Democratic nominee, abstain. But please don't reward this record, this Administration, and these tactics.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Ad #2

Same Guy, same nodding...