“Barack Obama met with representatives from various draft campaigns, including RunObama, DraftObama.org, and DraftBarackin2008.com.” TechPresident notes: “The participants were moved by Obama’s frankness and willingness to talk about his campaign structure. From the RunObama blog, ‘I can’t think of any candidate that I’ve ever met who would sit down and not just go through the motions, but actually engage in a frank discussion about campaign structure and integration, to best harness all the energy out there surrounding him.’”
The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those who in time of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.
–attributed to Dante
America is great because she is good. If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.
–attributed to Alexis de Tocqueville
Global warming will change American life forever and end politics as we know it, probably within your lifetime. How might this play out?
In the best case, we immediately start changing how we use energy in order to preserve the health and well-being–the security–of the next fifty generations. The nation and the world embrace an aggressive multidecade, government-led effort to use existing and near-term clean-energy technologies.
The enabling strategy is energy efficiency–since that generates the savings that pays for the zero-carbon energy sources, like wind power and coal with carbon sequestration. Efficiency keeps the total cost low to consumers and businesses. For utilities, we need a California-style energy- efficiency effort nationwide. For cars and light trucks, we need serious federal standards for high-mileage hybrids that can be plugged into the electric grid. The goal of all these efforts: keeping global emissions at or below 29 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide (8 billion tons of carbon) for the next several decades–and keeping concentrations well below 550 ppm (a doubling of preindustrial levels) this century.
“Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-NM) acknowledged today that he contacted the U.S. attorney in Albuquerque last fall to inquire about the status of an ongoing corruption probe of Democrats, saying he regretted the call but ‘never pressured him nor threatened him in any way.’” DailyKos has the fall-out.
“American troops opened fire on a highway filled with civilian cars and bystanders today, American and Afghan officials said, in an incident that the Americans said left 16 civilians dead and 24 wounded as they fled the scene of a suicide car bombing in eastern Afghanistan. One American was also wounded.”
UPDATE: “Afghan journalists — some working for the Associated Press — covering the aftermath of a suicide bomb attack and shooting in eastern Afghanistan Sunday said U.S. troops deleted their photos and video and warned them not to publish or air any images of U.S. troops or a car where three Afghans were shot to death.”
All the mud-slinging from the right obscured the fact that rarely was the name of the current sitting president ever mentioned. Bush’s job approval rests at one of its lowest points — 29 percent. Moreover, his rating among conservatives has dropped 13 points since last fall. Now, 65 percent of his base says they approve of the way he is handling his job as president, compared with 78 percent last October.
A review of the prominent keynote speeches from speakers at the CPAC conference reveals that many of them view the Bush effect more as albatross than an advantage:
FORMER GOV. MITT ROMNEY: Mentions of Bush: 0. Mentions of Ronald Reagan: 2.
FORMER GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Mentions of Bush: 1. Mentions of Reagan: 0. In the sole reference, Huckabee said, “I supported the Bush tax cuts in 2001. I still support them today.”
SEN. SAM BROWNBACK: Mentions of Bush: 1. Mentions of Reagan: 2. The only reference Brownback made to Bush was when he said, “On Social Security — and President Bush, God bless him, started this debate and discussion [about] personal Social Security accounts.”
REP. DUNCAN HUNTER: Mentions of Bush: 0. Mentions of Reagan: 5.
RUDY GIULIANI: Mentions of Bush: 4. Mentions of Reagan: 15. One of Guiliani’s few references to Bush’s record was the following statement: “You’re going to succeed at some things, fail at others.”
In an interview, Army Secretary Francis Harvey, who resigned on Friday, “defended his decision to temporarily appoint” Lt. Gen. Kevin Kiley as Walter Reed’s commander. “He said Kiley called him a few days ago and lambasted The Washington Post’s series on the medical center. ‘He called me and said, “I’m willing to defend myself. … I want to have an opportunity to defend myself, and it was wrong and it was yellow journalism at its worst, and I plan on doing it. Trust me.”‘ Harvey said. ‘I said, “Okay, Kevin.”‘” Though Kiley will no longer oversee Walter Reed, he remains the Army’s top medical official.
Yes, it’s true, The Weekly Standard decided that the best candidate to assess the ongoing progress of the Bush/McCain/Kagan surge plan was Fred Kagan’s wife, Kimberly. Worse, Andrew Sullivan reports that she was on the planning team her husband put together to write the surge plan in the first place.
Since my primary area of interest in foreign policy, I’ve been facing something of a conundrum in looking at the Democratic primary candidates for the simple reason that, as best I can tell, stated foreign policy views during a presidential campaign have almost no relationship to things that happen in office. So you try to look a bit at personnel. I saw recently that Barack Obama had hired Dan Shapiro, formerly of Bill Nelson’s office, to be a consultant on Middle East issues but didn’t know what to make of that. Richard Silverstein, however, has a potential observation:
I would note that before joining the Obama campaign, Dan Shapiro served as Jewish outreach coordinator for Senator Bill Nelson. Nelson was one of the first U.S. senators to visit Bashar Assad in Syria and take home the message that Syria wants peace and negotiation with Israel. I don’t know what role, if any, Shapiro played on that trip. But I admired the guts it took for Nelson to buck our country’s declared policy of isolating Syria.
Again, though, for all we know Shapiro’s role in the trip was to advise Nelson not to do it so the significance of this is less than totally obvious. This leads me to recall that nobody seems to mention this, but former Rep. David Bonior, who’s gone to work for John Edwards, is not only a noted labor leader, but also quite possibly the Israel lobby’s least-liked legislator in recently history.
Ross Douthat mostly says everything that needs to be said, but let me just state it very clearly — the idea that Ronald Reagan’s charisma and sunny disposition won landslide victories for Barry Goldwater’s substantive views on the size and scope of government is false. Very false.
Reagan was, famously, the political beneficiary of a backlash against the liberalism of the 1960s and 1970s. The important thing to remember about this is that unless you think people were lashing back against the Peace Corps, this was a backlash entirely against programs that didn’t exist during Barry Goldwater’s 1964 campaign. It was only after Goldwater lost that “welfare as we knew it,” Medicare, Medicaid, major federal involvement in education, federal environmental policy, federal consumer safety regulations, affirmative action, etc. came into exist. Reagan’s political mobilization was aimed at a subset of this post-Goldwater flowering of big government. He didn’t tilt against Medicare, by far the biggest Great Society program. And he certainly didn’t campaign for the repeal of the New Deal (indeed, he repeatedly explicitly disavowed any intention of doing so).
The Goldwater-Reagan similarity is that they both led “conservative” factions of the GOP against “accommodationist” factions. But between 1964 and 1976 the country experienced a massive policy revolution that shifted the status quo way, way, way to the left of where it had been. Reagan then simultaneously shifted the GOP to the right of where Gerald Ford had initially positioned it while shifting the conservative movemenet to the left — to acceptance of a federal responsibility for retirement security and quality education, to acceptance of the Civil Rights Act (opposition to which was, of course, Goldwater’s only reliable vote-getter in ’64), and to acceptance of popular middle class entitlement programs.
Watch Max Blumenthal’s outstanding video: