Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Know your US Senators, part 9 of 10: Salazar through Stevens

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Ken Salazar
Junior Senator from Colorado
Party: Democratic
Assumed Office: 2005
Age: 53
Pros: It has been very nice to see Colorado turning blue over the past few years; first Hispanic Senator since 1977 (along with Mel Martinez).
Cons: Big Lieberman backer for some bizarre reason, and there’s just about nobody on this planet I like less than Joe right now. What does CT law say about traitorous Senators, anyway? Can’t we Gray Davis the guy?

Bernie Sanders
Junior Senator from Vermont
Party: Independent (Democratic Socialist)
Assumed Office: 2007
Age: 66
Pros: Thanks to the great, pot-infused state of Vermont, we have a socialist Brooklyn Jew Senator.
Cons: If only he were also black and gay and blind and a dwarf who doesn’t speak any English. But don’t worry, the way things are in Vermont I fully expect to see that in the next six years.

Chuck Schumer
Senior Senator from New York
Party: Democratic
Assumed Office: 1999
Age: 57
Pros: High-ranking, dependably liberal establishment Dem who knows how to get himself on TV.
Cons: From yesterday’s WaPo: “‘Wait until Schumer stops talking,’ Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested to [DNC Chairman Howard] Dean. ‘That’ll be a long wait,’ Dean replied. Then began the meeting.” Just in case you didn’t get that: the guy doesn’t shut up.

Jeff Sessions
Junior Senator from Alabama
Party: Republican
Assumed Office: 1997
Age: 61
Pros: Like Peel Sessions, except with less good music and more cutting down forests and torturing brown people.
Cons: CQ Press: ”According to sworn statements by Justice Department lawyers, Sessions called the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union ‘un-American’ and ‘communist-inspired’ and said they ‘force civil rights down the throats of people.’ He also reportedly said of the Ku Klux Klan, ‘I used to think they’re OK,’ until learning that some Klan members were ‘pot smokers.’” But look, folks, his name is Jefferson and he’s from Alabama, what do you want?

Richard Shelby
Senior Senator from Alabama
Party: Republican
Assumed Office: 1987
Age: 74
Pros: Now here’s the more moderate Alabama Senator: an anti-environmentalist, classified information-leaking abortion opponent… but he opposed Robert Bork in 1987! And that is more than enough to make Dick look like Bernie Sanders next to Jeff Sessions.
Cons: One of the last courageous defenders of Big Tobacco.

Gordon Smith
Junior Senator from Oregon
Party: Republican
Assumed Office: 1997
Age: 56
Pros: Decent chance of being ousted this year by Democrat Jeff Merkley, in what would have to be a particularly painful Republican loss.
Cons: Supported racist buffoon Trent Lott in his doomed quest to not get tossed as Senate Republican leader; has that horrible, creepy Mormon hair thing going.

Olympia Snowe
Senior Senator from Maine
Party: Republican
Assumed Office: 1995
Age: 61
Pros: Highest approval rating of any Senator in her home state, because the Republicans voters like best don’t actually vote Republican.
Cons: Despite her rather awesome record on abortion rights and gay rights, Snowe is weirdly nutty on certain things, including flag burning; are we really still worried about people burning a fucking flag? Also, useless on Iraq, where being a true “moderate” might have meant something.

Arlen Specter
Senior Senator from Pennsylvania
Party: Republican
Assumed Office: 1981
Age: 78
Pros: Has balanced his work with his cancer battle quite heroically in his advanced age; historically was pretty reasonable on key issues, much to his party’s dismay.
Cons: Can somebody let Arlen know the Senate really doesn’t need to be involved in fucking Spygate? I mean, sorry the Eagles suck, Senator, but Christ. The Superbowl is over, the Patriots lost, I think it’s time we come together as a nation and move on.

Debbie Stabenow
Junior Senator from Michigan
Party: Democratic
Assumed Office: 2001
Age: 58
Pros: Chairperson of the Democratic Steering Committee; so far she seems to be steering quite well, at least compared to whoever the last guy was, who must have steered about as well as a four year old playing Mario Kart.
Cons: Michigan Dem husband and executive VP of radio debacle Air America Tom Athans recently caught in a prostitution sting. And really, there is just no excuse for that when your wife is this hot.

Ted Stevens
Senior Senator from Alaska
Party: Republican
Assumed Office: 1968
Age: 84
Pros: “Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got… an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday, I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially. [...] They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes. And if you don’t understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it’s going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.”
Cons: Senator Bridge-to-Nowhere has had a long and horrible career, perhaps wasting more tax dollars than any of his colleagues could ever dream of wasting. But this is it… 2008 is the year. Vote Begich, Alaska, and be redeemed.

Next time: THE THRILLING CONCLUSION! Almost a full year coming, it’s Know Your US Senators, part 10: Sununu through Wyden. Be there.

Update: Fixed the link problem plaguing this entry.

The Obama-McCain electoral map, and Obama’s running mate choices

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Today the McCain v. Obama race is officially underway. Conventional wisdom throughout the media is saying this is Obama’s race to lose. Let’s see, from a polling perspective, how true or false that wisdom is today. And yes, this is basically just an update on my post from a few weeks ago looking at the electoral map. (more…)

Why Joe Lieberman needs to be purged from the Democratic Party

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

Essential reading at DailyKos regarding Joementum’s spectacularly dangerous and arrogant stupidity. Connecticut Democrats kicked him out of the party once, and it’s time now for Senate leadership to take similar action. We just can’t tolerate this kind of thing in an election year.

Obama and the Swing States

Friday, May 9th, 2008

For all Democrats concerned about Barack Obama’s chances in November, I have some good news: the electoral map is in our favor this year. I know that goes against what every pundit and DLC member (and your own brain if you lived through 2000 and 2004) tells you, but it’s true. As long as Barack Obama can win the states that ought to be expected to go for any Democrat, his odds at winning the general are clearly better than McCain’s. Details below… (more…)

McCain vs. Obama on foreign policy experience

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

Today is a key day to test the waters and see how McCain’s campaign will come out swinging against Barack Obama, now (finally) the media-ordained Democratic nominee for President. Predictably, McCain’s been out working the “my foreign policy experience versus yours” line. I think this is a huge winner for the Democrats, as we’ve now expected it should be since at least 2003. Obama ought to take advantage and respond from a position of strength; I would suggest using the phrase, “A Foreign Policy of Responsibility.” Nothing new, I know, but this point needs to be hammered again and again. We all know the last thing Obama needs is unsolicited speechwriting. But here’s a possible example to flesh out this idea:

John McCain likes to compare his foreign policy experience to mine. Obviously the issue of the next President’s foreign policy is going to be of the most serious importance to all Americans. The stakes associated with this issue are far too high for us to reduce the debate to “Candidate A has this much foreign policy experience while Candidate B has this much.” What really matters here is: what model of foreign policy will each of us bring to the White House? John McCain brings with him a good amount of experience in the policy of ill-conceived war, and the dangerously outdated model of “act now, think later.” I’ll be the first to admit he probably has more bullet points on his resume than I do under “The Bush-Cheney version of Foreign Policy.” What I will bring to Washington is a new foreign policy, adapted to the realities of the post-September 11th and post-Iraq War world. A foreign policy of diplomacy, and dealing with terrorism as a global problem that concerns all civilized societies; a policy of strength and true homeland security, putting the safety of all Americans before political and ideological vendettas; a policy of leadership by example, to remind the rest of the world why the United States of America is to be admired, not feared. And don’t think I’ll be going it alone when I get to the Oval Office. I will be bringing with me some of the greatest minds in foreign policy, and I am not too proud to tell you I will consult with experts regardless of their political affilation when making the kinds of decisions that affect Americans at home and our brave troops overseas. Make no mistake — I will act swiftly and directly to counter any threat to our great nation. But I do not subscribe to the Bush-Cheney model of going it alone now and dealing with whatever consequences occur as a result later. I fear John McCain’s foreign policy will be a continuation of that Bush-Cheney model. Mine will be a foreign policy of responsibility.

My point here is to frame this foreign policy debate right from the get-go, because McCain is eager to harp on this and there’s really no reason it should be anything but a huge winner for Obama. Take away the frame of the GOP as the “party of adults” by contrasting the Bush/McCain foreign policy with a responsible one (and also take advantage of the opportunity to improve the media-distorted popular image of Obama’s patriotism).