April 07, 2005
WSJ/NBC Poll: Divisions in GOP
April 6 poll. Within the GOP: "After winning re-election on the strength of support from nine in 10 Republican voters, the president is seeing significant chunks of that base balk at major initiatives, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows. One-third of Republicans say Democrats in Congress should prevent Mr. Bush and party leaders from "going too far in pushing their agenda," and 41% oppose eliminating filibusters against Mr. Bush's judicial nominees -- the "nuclear option" that Senate Republican leaders are considering. The Schiavo case has opened another rift. Though Mr. Bush and Republican congressional leaders acted to maximize the opportunity for reinserting Ms. Schiavo's feeding tube, 39% of Republicans said removing the tube was "the right thing to do," while 48% said it was wrong. About 18% of Republicans say they lost respect for Mr. Bush on the issue and 41% lost respect for Congress."
Overall approval: "The latest poll shows that Mr. Bush retains huge Republican support in general. His overall approval rating remains at the middling levels he has registered for more than a year, slipping slightly to 48% from 50% in February. But fully 87% of Republicans approve of his job performance, and 88% express positive views about him personally."
Social Security: "Different elements of the party, however, are balking at specific items on the president's agenda. On his centerpiece initiative of Social Security, for instance, 32% of Republicans call it "a bad idea" to let workers invest payroll taxes in the stock markets ... resistance among Democrats and senior citizens has driven overall opposition to 55% from the 50% recorded on the eve of his second inauguration."
Filibuster: "resistance among rank-and-file Republicans is even higher. Four in 10 say the option of filibusters should be preserved."
March 30, 2005
GOP Suppresses Cheney Talk Transcripts
From the Progress Report:
As you know, the GOP has put a tight grip on their Social Security events.
SUPPRESSING TRANSCRIPTS OF CHENEY EVENTS: Vice President Cheney participated in two "townhall" events last Thursday – one in Battle Creek, Michigan, and one in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Contrary to its standard practice, the White House has not released the transcripts. Press coverage of the event suggests the reason. In Battle Creek, Cheney was joined on the stage by Rep. Joe Schwarz (R-MI) who said before the event that "he was not convinced that allowing personal retirement accounts will help solve the problem." At the Pittsburgh event, "Cheney pointed to the experience of federal workers who have the option of placing part of their retirement savings in somewhat similar accounts." But Kim Miller, a resident of Mt. Lebanon, PA, "said that she had been a federal employee and invested in the Thrift Savings Plan, 'and I didn't do well at all.'" Cheney's Social Security events from last Monday and Tuesday, which apparently were more under control, are available on the White House website.
March 24, 2005
Bill Frist and Pulling the Plug
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who has championed the "rescue" of Terri Schiavo, is a renowned heart surgeon who has pulled the plug on a "regular basis," his office acknowledged yesterday.This is pretty much his motivation - and not medical:
But Frist (R-Tenn.) ended life support only when the patient was ruled brain-dead, and he is convinced Schiavo is not brain-dead.
"He certainly has a lot of clinical experience" in the withdrawal of life support, said Frist spokeswoman Amy Call.
Frist, the driving force behind the Senate bill to move Schiavo's case to federal court and a likely 2008 presidential candidate, is under fire for declaring she is not brain-dead after reviewing a video of Schiavo.
"On a regular basis, he's dealt with a diagnosis of brain death," Call said defending Frist, a heart and general surgeon.
Medical ethicists like Dr. Kenneth Prager, chairman of the Medical Ethics Committee at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, say it's "inappropriate" for Frist to make an armchair diagnosis. "A diagnosis should be made bedside by a neurologist. He's not a neurologist, and he wasn't bedside," Prager said.
For Bill Frist, Terri Schiavo came along at an opportune moment. After inspecting some videotapes made by her parents, the doctor announced that the examinations by court-appointed physicians were erroneous in concluding that Schiavo has been in a persistent vegetative state for the past 15 years. He may also have concluded that if getting the jump on the 2008 Republican presidential field required issuing a preposterous diagnosis, that was a small price to pay. Frist isn't running for Neurologist in Chief, after all.
March 18, 2005
When Dumb Politicians Make Bad Metaphors
Republican lawmakers, trying to convince a skeptical public about the wisdom of their Social Security proposals, decided yesterday that it was time to roll out a new metaphor.Oooops.
Their choice: a brown 1935 Ford three-window Coupe, which House GOP leaders ordered driven onto a sidewalk outside the Capitol. House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas (R-Calif.) and a few colleagues stood in front of the antique, built the same year Franklin D. Roosevelt built Social Security, and likened the two.
“I wouldn’t be caught dead in a 1935 automobile,” said Rep. Patrick T. McHenry (N.C.), vice chairman of the House Republican Conference’s PR effort on Social Security. “And I want to make sure we have an updated system of Social Security, because that’s America’s investment vehicle.”
But the car’s owner, Henry Dubois, a retired government worker from Virginia, said McHenry’s metaphor was off. “I didn’t like that comment,” he said, opening the hood to reveal a gleaming ‘41 Mercury hot-rod engine that was completely rebuilt two years ago. “It’s in very good shape for a 1935,” Dubois said, putting the Coupe’s value at around $20,000. “It’s been improved with an updated engine, so it keeps up with traffic."
January 29, 2005
Where In the World Is VP Dick Cheney?
Can you spot him?
January 22, 2005
Oh, it's so cliche for a 21-year old college kid to say this, but yeah, I really hate the FCC.
December 17, 2004
Republican on Republican Action re: Lott
From CNN, many Republicans are asking critical questions of Rummy; Sen. Collins, for example:
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, has joined other Republicans in criticizing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.And it doesn't stop at her:
Collins, R-Maine, fired off a tough letter Wednesday to Rumsfeld, describing his remarks about the lack of "up-armored" Humvees in war zones as "troubling."
"I am very concerned that it appears the Pentagon failed to do everything in its power to increase production" of the vehicles, Collins wrote.
"The Department of Defense still has been unable to ensure that our troops have the equipment they need to perform their mission as safely as possible."
McCain said he has "no confidence" in the defense secretary and told The Associated Press, "There are very strong differences of opinion between myself and Secretary Rumsfeld" on the issue of troop strength in Iraq. (Full story)And here's Gen. Schwarzkopf:
The Pentagon said this month that it was dispatching an additional 1,500 troops to Iraq and extending the stays of more than 10,000 others to bolster security ahead of the January elections. The moves will bring the number of American forces in Iraq from nearly 140,000 to an all-time high of about 150,000, the Pentagon said.
Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, joined the Republicans who -- while not asking for Rumsfeld's resignation -- want a change.
"I'm not a fan of Secretary Rumsfeld," Lott told the Biloxi Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, according to the AP. "I don't think he listens enough to his uniformed officers."
Schwarzkopf, interviewed on MSNBC-TV’s “Hardball,” chided Rumsfeld for his reply to a soldier in Kuwait over the lack of armor on many military vehicles used in Iraq.But GOP spinmeister Sean Hannity says he's A-OK - and defends him with distortions!
“I was very, very disappointed — no, let me put it stronger — I was angry by the words of the secretary of defense when he laid it all on the Army, as if he, as the secretary of defense, didn’t have anything to do with the Army and the Army was over there doing it themselves, screwing up,” Schwarzkopf said.
Schwarzkopf, a registered independent who campaigned for Bush in the last two presidential elections, has previously criticized Rumsfeld on several occasions as arrogant and out of touch with troops on the ground.
December 16, 2004
Log-cabin Republican indeed; NYT:
Was Abraham Lincoln a gay American?
The subject of the 16th president's sexuality has been debated among scholars for years. They cite his troubled marriage to Mary Todd and his youthful friendship with Joshua Speed, who shared his bed for four years. Now, in a new book, C.A. Tripp says that Lincoln had a homosexual relationship with the captain of his bodyguards, David Derickson, who shared his bed whenever Mary Todd was away.
The book, "The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln," is to be published next month by Free Press. Tripp is a psychologist, influential gay writer and former sex researcher for Alfred Kinsey, the pioneering U.S. sex researcher. In the book, Tripp tries to resolve the issue of Lincoln's sexuality once and for all.
November 10, 2004
Possible Replacements for Ashcroft
As Ashcroft has departed, leaving for other opportunities to lose to dead guys, who will replace him as the most vilified member of the cabinet? LAT names a few:
Among the publicly identified contenders for Ashcroft's job are former Deputy Atty. Gen. Larry D. Thompson, now an executive with PepsiCo, and White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales. Thompson would be the nation's first African American attorney general, and Gonzales the first Latino.Talk Left says Thompson is a good pick. Here's that notorious WashTimes:
Other possible replacements include former Montana Gov. Marc Racicot, chairman of the 2004 presidential campaign; former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani; and former Alabama Atty. Gen. William H. Pryor Jr., whom Bush named to the federal appellate bench as a recess appointment this year.
A shortlist of potential replacements for Mr. Ashcroft includes Mr. Racicot, White House General Counsel Al Gonzales, Deputy Attorney General James B. Comey, U.S. Attorney Paul J. McNulty in Virginia and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.Giuliani is being mentioned far and wide for a spot, but I'm not sure why he'd want to take such a lightning rod position when he has teflon status in the media.
Update: Alberto Gonzales
November 07, 2004
[Mother Jones] Being Ralph Reed:
[Mother Jones] Being Ralph Reed: "The man who mobilized the religious right puts his conservative connections to work for business"
Reed's value to corporate America has been enhanced by his close ties to the Bush administration and especially to Karl Rove, the president's chief political guru. Not long after Century Strategies started, Rove reportedly helped Reed land an Enron contract worth at least $300,000 to help build support for energy deregulation. Century Strategies did voter-mobilization work for the Bush campaign and the Republican National Committee in 2000; it has been retained again this year for similar projects.