K Street No Longer Shunning Democrats

Here’s yet another sign that the Republicans are losing their grip on power. They previously engaged in the K Street Project to force lobbying firms to hire Republicans only or lose their influence with government. This threat only worked when Republicans were firmly in control. Now that it appears increasingly likely that Democrats will retake at least one house of Congress, the Washington Post reports a change on K Street. They write, “In what lobbyists are calling a harbinger of possible upheaval on Capitol Hill, many who make a living influencing government have gone from mostly shunning Democrats to aggressively recruiting them as lobbyists over the past six months or so.”

Deputy Prime Minister of Great Britain: Bush is Crap

The Independent reports that John Prescott, deputy Prime Minister of Great Britain, describes the Bush Administration as crap. He also condemned the “cowboy” President. I bet we can guess how he would answer the earlier question today of “Is Bush an Idiot?”

Bush’s Approval Remains Low in Multiple Polls

This fall’s elections will be largely a referendum on the Bush Administration. Whether the Republicans can hold on to control of Congress depends partially upon whether Bush can rebound. In 2004 George Bush trailed John Kerry but took the lead in August primarily with negative campaigning. Dick Cheney and other Republicans have certainly gone negative lately, but it does not seem to be helping the Republicans this time.

I recently reported on the Harris Poll, the AP-Ipsos Poll, and the Fox News Poll which all showed low approval for Bush and the Republicans. More polls are out with the same results. Zogby shows a drop in Bush’s approval of two percent over the last three weeks with his current approval at 34%.

The CBS News Poll shows Bush’s approval rating at 36%, unchanged from one month ago. After years of Republican propaganda, a majority continues to believe that the Republicans handle terrorism better than Democrats, but at least Democrats have taken a lead on being considered better at handling Iraq. While Republicans have used terrorism to justify the war in Iraq, only nine percent now believe the war has reduced the threat of terrorism. (Josh Marshall has an interesting post on Iraq and terrorism today).

The Fix looks at all the recent polls, finding “the national environment is clearly slanted in Democrats’ favor at the moment and barring some sort of major national event will stay that way all the way through November. A slanted playing field has the capacity to bring normally non-competitive Republican-held seats into play — widening Democrats’ margin for error if they hope to take back the House.”

Dick DeVos Shows Lack of Respect for Coast Guard; Blasted by Grand Haven Tribune

Dick DeVos, who has lost his lead over Jennifer Granholm, was the target of an editorial in the Grand Haven Tribune. Every year Grand Haven has a parade to honor the United States Coast Guard. This year Dick DeVos used the event to campaign, even after his request to be present was denied by the festival organizers:

But it’s still the Coast Guard Festival and we shouldn’t forget about the intent of the celebration.

That’s why we find it upsetting that some candidates for political offices felt the need to campaign in Grand Haven during the festival.

Gubernatorial candidate Dick DeVos and U.S. Senate candidate Mike Bouchard, both Republicans, were two candidates who were in town during the festival stumping for votes.

DeVos representatives, in fact, had asked if they could participate in the Grand Parade.

Festival Director Michael Smith denied them permission. The festival’s policy is that any candidate seeking office can’t be part of the parade. Incumbents are allowed to participate in the parade.

DeVos’ people found a way to circumvent the rule by walking the parade route prior to the parade. DeVos worked the crowd like any good politician would.

We believe that DeVos’ appearance at the parade was inappropriate. He should have found another time to visit our city.

The festival should be void of politics. We’re honoring the men and women of the Coast Guard – not people seeking political office.

Recent posts on Dick DeVos here and here. Two years ago supporters of John Kerry were given permission to appear in the Coast Guard Parade and entered a float of John Kerry’s swift boat to honor the Coast Guard. My report, along with a photograph (which had also been included on the official Kerry campaign blog), is below the fold.


Granholm Retakes Lead over DeVos

Jennifer Granholm has taken a narrow lead over Dick DeVos in the race for Governor of Michigan. Rasmussen Reports shows her leading 47% to 46%. The Detroit News has released a new poll showing her leading 50% to 47%.

This is not only an issue of concern for Michigan residents. DeVos is a far right wing extremist who has his sights on the Senate and the White House. I recently discussed DeVos here.

Update: Dick DeVos Shows Lack of Respect for Coast Guard; Blasted by Grand Haven Tribune

Is Bush an Idiot?

Bush Idiot

Joe Scarborbough did a segment asking the question, “Is Bush an idiot?” Crooks and Liars has the video. Listing the Bushisms makes George Bush an easy target. Joe Gandelman has his theory on how Bush wound up reading Camus (think Sea World) and argues that mocking Presidents is the American way.

More seriously, I think idiot is the wrong word. In terms of political skills, George Bush is an intelligent man. The problem is that he shows a serious lack of intellectual curiosity. He has simplistic answers for problems without bothering to investigate the full background. (I’ll give one example from a recent post at DemBloggers under the fold.) Added to this we have Bush accepting the anti-scientific flat-earth philosophy of the religious right, and therefore we have a President who is incapable of making intelligent decisions about the problems we face.

Update: Joe Scarborough follows up on his story at Huffington Post. After reviewing Bush’s faults, Scarborough sums up (remember, from a conservative viewpoint):

So does it matter in the end whether our president is articulate and intelligent?

You bet your life, it does. I’m not saying we need to elect a dork like Michael Dukakis, who famously spent vacations at the beach reading books on Swedish land use or was so overwhelmed with the details of the old SALT treaties that he would sulk off to bed depressed.

But when America is fighting a global war on terror where the battle is for hearts and minds instead of beachheads and landing strips, we need a leader who can explain to friend and foe alike why America is in Iraq, why we keep sending arms to Israel and why liberal democracy really is preferable to Islamic fascism.

Right now, George W. Bush is not that leader.


Ned Lamont: The Democrats Mean Business

Ned Lamont is best known for his differing views with Joe Lieberman on the war. As an opponent of the war, he is often labeled as someone from the far left, with one’s position on the war trumping all other views in the minds of some. It is often forgotten that Lamont is also a businessmen who hardly sounds like a far left radical. With Democrats often representing the fiscally conservtive viewpoint, in contrast to the wasteful policies of the GOP (along with support of crony capitalism which is as far from true capitalism as socialism), it is important for Democrats to write about business. Today Lamont writes about how his business experience has influenced his campaign in The Wall Street Journal:

Here are the four lessons of my business life that I talked about every day on the campaign trail, and that have resonated with Connecticut Democrats:

• First, entrepreneurs are frugal beasts, because the bottom line means everything. In Connecticut, voters are convinced that Washington has utterly lost touch with fiscal reality. We talked about irresponsible budget policies that have driven the annual federal deficit above $300 billion and the debt ceiling to $9 trillion. Meanwhile, the government is spending $250 million a day on an unprovoked war in Iraq while starving needed social investment at home. I am a fiscal conservative and our people want their government to be sparing and sensible with their tax dollars.

• Second, entrepreneurs invest in human resources. Our business strives to pay good wages and provide good health benefits so that we can attract employees that give us an edge in a competitive marketplace. Well-trained and well-cared-for people are essential for every business these days, particularly in a global economy. It’s getting harder and harder for American businesses to compete on price, but we innovate and change better than any economy on the planet. The quality of our work force is one of America’s competitive advantages–if our education system fails our children and our employers, we’ll lose the future.

That’s why I talked about my work as a volunteer teacher in the Bridgeport public schools, which can’t afford to be open later than 2:30 p.m., schools that send children home to an empty house. That’s why my campaign offered a strong alternative to standardized tests and No Child Left Behind. That’s why I believe in an employer-based health-care system that covers everyone, and providing tax benefits to small businesses so they can provide insurance without risking bankruptcy.

• Third, in a market-driven economy, entrepreneurs can never lose touch with what customers, suppliers and workers are saying. A great strength of our campaign is that we embraced the grassroots and netroots, suburbs and inner cities, and used the most advanced technology to empower our door-knockers and activists. We listened hard and respectfully to what voters told us, and gave them the confidence to trust someone new.

• Finally, entrepreneurs are pragmatic. Unlike some politicians, we don’t draw a false strength from closed minds, and we don’t step on the accelerator when the car is headed off the cliff.

George Bush and Camus

Maureen Dowd, like Slate yesterday, finds it interesting that George Bush is reading Camus:

It takes a while to adjust to the idea of W., who has created chaos trying to impose moral order on the globe, perusing Camus, who wrote about the eternal frustration of moral order in human affairs. What does W., the archenemy of absurdity as a view of life, kindle to in C., the apostle of absurdity as a view of life? What can W., the born-again monogamist, spark to in C., the amorous atheist? In some ways, Mr. Bush is supremely not a Camus man. Camus hated the blindness caused by ideology, and Mr. Bush wallows in it. Camus celebrated lucidity while the president keeps seeing only what he wants to see.

Mr. Bush’s life has been premised on his confidence that he will always be insulated from the consequences and the cruelties of existence, unlike Meursault. W. or his people always work to change fate, whether it’s an election or the Middle East.

If you think about it long enough, though, it begins to make a sort of wacky sense.

“The Stranger” is about the emotionally detached Meursault, who makes a lot of bad decisions and pre-emptively kills an Arab in the sand. Get it? Camus’s protagonist moves through an opaque, obscure and violent world that is indifferent to his beliefs and desires. Get it?

If there was ever a moment when this president could regard the unanticipated consequences of his actions, behold the world littered with the very opposite of what he intended for it and appreciate the gritty stoicism of the philosophy of absurdism, this is it. Iraq in civil war. Al Qaeda metastasizing and plotting. Hezbollah, Iran and Syria knitting closer, celebrating a “victory” in standing up to Israel, the U.S. and Britain, and mocking W.’s plan for a “new Middle East.” The North Koreans luxuriating in their nuclear capability. Chávez becoming the new Castro on a global scale.

Thomas Friedman Responds to Dick Cheney’s Contemptible Comments

Thomas Friedman, who for too long was too much of a chearleader for the war, continues to question the poor leadership of the Republicans. He is more realistic than Dick Cheney with regards to the meaning of Ned Lamont’s victory over Joe Lieberman:

. . .the Democratic mainstream is nowhere near as dovish as critics depict. Truth be told, some of the most constructive, on-the-money criticism over the past three years about how to rescue Iraq or improve the broader “war on terrorism” has come from Democrats, like Joe Biden, Carl Levin, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry and Bill Clinton.

Friedman finally realizes that the real problem is the Republicans:

What should really worry the country is not whether the Democrats are being dragged to the left by antiwar activists who haven’t thought a whit about the larger struggle we’re in. What should worry the country is that the Bush team and the Republican Party, which control all the levers of power and claim to have thought only about this larger struggle, are in total denial about where their strategy has led.

Friedman finds Dick Cheney’s recent comments contemptible, and has some questions for Cheney:

Not only is there no honest self-criticism among Republicans, but — and this is truly contemptible — you have Dick Cheney & Friends focusing their public remarks on why Mr. Lamont’s defeat of Mr. Lieberman only proves that Democrats do not understand that we are in a titanic struggle with “Islamic fascists” and are therefore unfit to lead.

Oh, really? Well, I just have one question for Mr. Cheney: If we’re in such a titanic struggle with radical Islam, and if getting Iraq right is at the center of that struggle, why did you “tough guys” fight the Iraq war with the Rumsfeld Doctrine — just enough troops to lose — and not the Powell Doctrine of overwhelming force to create the necessary foundation of any democracy-building project, which is security? How could you send so few troops to fight such an important war when it was obvious that without security Iraqis would fall back on their tribal militias?

Mr. Cheney, if we’re in a titanic struggle with Islamic fascists, why have you and President Bush resisted any serious effort to get Americans to conserve energy? Why do you refuse to push higher mileage standards for U.S. automakers or a gasoline tax that would curb our imports of oil? Here we are in the biggest struggle of our lives and we are funding both sides — the U.S. military with our tax dollars and the radical Islamists and the governments and charities that support them with our gasoline purchases — and you won’t lift a finger to change that. Why? Because it might impose pain on the oil companies and auto lobbies that fund the G.O.P., or require some sacrifice by Americans.

Mr. Cheney, if we’re in a titanic struggle with Islamic fascists, why do you constantly use the “war on terrorism” as a wedge issue in domestic politics to frighten voters away from Democrats. How are we going to sustain such a large, long-term struggle if we are a divided country?