Dreams Of Stopping Clinton In 2016

We have a long time go to until the 2016 presidential election, but political reporting in this country is obsessed with presidential elections and we are going to continue to see a lot of stories centered around the media’s pick as front runners. As I discussed yesterday, Hillary Clinton is a stronger front runner for her party’s nomination than Chris Christie, especially following the recent scandal.It is notable that early front runners rarely win the Democratic nomination, excluding sitting presidents and sometimes the last vice president. While Hillary Clinton is currently in a strong position to overcome the obstacles faced by front runners, she faces problems including the desire of the media to run “man bites dog” stories and highlight any potential political liability. The media will concentrate on a variety of ABC stories (Anyone But Christie and Anyone But Clinton.

There are two stories along these lines today. Michael Crowley has written about Clinton’s hawkish views, which many Democratic voters are likely to disagree with:

As Secretary of State, Clinton backed a bold escalation of the Afghanistan war. She pressed Obama to arm the Syrian rebels, and later endorsed air strikes against the Assad regime. She backed intervention in Libya, and her State Department helped enable Obama’s expansion of lethal drone strikes. In fact, Clinton may have been the administration’s most reliable advocate for military action. On at least three crucial issues—Afghanistan, Libya, and the bin Laden raid—Clinton took a more aggressive line than Gates, a Bush-appointed Republican.

Former administration officials also tell TIME that Clinton was an advocate for maintaining a residual troop force after the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq—an issue of renewed interest given al Qaeda’s resurgence there. They also describe her as skeptical of diplomacy with Iran, and firmly opposed to talk of a “containment” policy that would be an alternative to military action should negotiations with Tehran fail.

Recent comparisons of Secretary of State John Kerry’s frenetic globe-trotting to Clinton’s arguably modest diplomatic achievements have tended to overlook this less visible aspect of her tenure. But no assessment of her time in Obama’s administration would be complete without noting the way Clinton hewed to the liberal hawk philosophy she adopted during her husband’s presidency in the 1990s, and which contributed, less happily, to her 2002 vote to authorize force against Iraq. “The Democratic party has two wings—a pacifist wing and a Scoop Jackson wing. And I think she is clearly in the Scoop Jackson wing,” says former Democratic Congresswoman Jane Harman, now director of the Wilson Center. (Jackson, a Cold War-era Democratic Senator from Washington state, mixed progressive domestic politics with staunch anti-communism, support for a strong military, and backing for the Vietnam War.)

Crowley gave further details on Clinton’s hawkish record and then concluded:
But at a time when fewer Americans support an active U.S. role in foreign affairs, Clinton’s comfort with the harder side of American power could be a vulnerability. A liberal primary challenger might well reprise Barack Obama’s 2007 line that Hillary’s record amounts to “Bush-Cheney lite.” One potential contender, Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, has already been zinging her over her 2002 Iraq vote. “When George Bush got a bunch of [Democrats] to vote for that war, I was just shaking my head in Montana,” he said recently. Whether such attacks will hold even a fraction of the valence they did at the Iraq war’s peak remains to be seen.
I fear that changes are not good for a liberal primary challenger to accomplish what Obama did in 2008 in terms of winning the nomination, but Clinton just might be defeated in the Iowa caucuses. CNN looked at the problems Clinton faces in Iowa, despite lack of a credible challenger at this time:

Yet despite having the Democratic establishment at her back, there remains a palpable sense of unease with Clinton in grass-roots corners of the party, even as those very same activists promise to support her if no one else runs.

Part of that restraint is ideological. Iowa’s Democratic caucus-goers remain as dovish as they were in 2008, when Clinton’s support for the Iraq war badly damaged her standing on the left. Clinton helped wind down that same war as Obama’s secretary of state, but she is now linked to his national security apparatus, which has expanded drone attacks overseas and broadened intelligence gathering with controversial surveillance and data collection techniques.

And at a time when progressives feel emboldened to confront issues like income inequality and wage stagnation, Clinton, who delivered paid speeches last year to two prominent private equity firms as well as a group that actively lobbied against the Affordable Care Act, is perceived by some as too close to the deficit-obsessed worlds of Wall Street and official Washington…

Clinton is also susceptible to some of the same whimsical Democratic impulses that propelled Obama to his stunning Iowa victory in 2008. “Democrats love an underdog and we love a story,” is how Meyer put it. With a gleaming resume and the potential to make history as the country’s first female president, Clinton has a powerful story to tell. But she is hardly an underdog.

Some party leaders warned Clinton against reprising the same kind of heavy-handed front-running behavior that rankled so many Iowa activists — not to mention the media — during her 2008 effort.

“I don’t know if she has learned that lesson,” said Jean Pardee, the Iowa Democratic Party’s 2nd District vice chair. “The problem with so much of her staff was that they were all sort of higher class than the mere peasants that they had to campaign with. Everyone was kept at arm’s length by the staff, although a couple of key ones were pretty good. That’s a lesson that should be hopefully learned. But when it comes to human nature, maybe that’s not possible.”

Clinton must also confront the who’s-on-deck inclinations of the Democratic caucus-goer. Unlike Republicans, who have a habit of nominating loyal soldiers who have waited for their turn, Iowa Democrats have a tendency to search for someone new. The last time the party nominated an obvious heir-apparent was 2000, but Al Gore first had to beat back an unexpectedly fierce primary challenge from Bill Bradley on the left.

George Appleby, an attorney and lobbyist in Des Moines who supported Bradley and copped to a “pristine record of picking the wrong guy” in every caucus since 1976 until he backed Obama in 2008, described Clinton as “strong” and “brilliant.”

But he said liberals are suffering from an acute case of “Clinton fatigue.” He named O’Malley, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner and Secretary of State John Kerry, the 2004 Iowa caucus winner, as Democrats he’s keeping an eye on.

“Hillary would make a great president,” Appleby said. “She is the odds-on-favorite. But I don’t think she is necessarily going to be the nominee, or going to win Iowa. Sometimes people have been around forever, and there is time for some new blood.”

I’ve previously expressed my preference for current Secretary of State John Kerry over his predecessor and found it interesting to actually see his name come up as a possibility. Unfortunately I find it unlikely he can repeat what Richard Nixon did in the Republican Party, and  in a different era, and win the Democratic nomination after once losing the presidency. He loses out on the “tendency to search for someone new.”

In addition, it is difficulty to run while being Secretary of State. He cannot campaign for other members of his party as Nixon did to obtain support. Nor can he participate in the current “invisible primary” to raise money and develop the framework of a campaign. I can only see two possible ways that Kerry can win the Democratic nomination. One would be if he does something major of historical proportions, such as succeeding in his attempts to broker a peace agreement in the middle east. This would also have to occur early enough for Kerry to then step down and actually run. The other would be if Clinton either decides not to run, or her campaign is seriously derailed, and nobody is able to win enough support to make a credible front runner. The chances of stopping Clinton would be better if another liberal candidate could obtain sufficient support to make a serious run, and at this point I don’t see anyone doing this. Any chance Al Gore is still interested? There is a long way to go and perhaps we will see some new blood.

Gates Describes Obama’s Approach Towards The Military As “Pitch Perfect” On Book Tour

When I cited the negative headline and mixed quotations in Bob Woodward’s account of the memoir recently written by Robert Gates, I suspected that the negative tone was largely due to Woodward’s strong anti-Obama bias. Now that Gates has started giving television interviews and has seen the media account, he is not being as critical of Obama as suggested by Woodward. This account is of his appearance on the Today Show:

Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates clarified claims he supposedly made about President Obama’s commitment to the military surge in Afghanistan, saying Monday he “absolutely believed” the commander-in-chief supported the mission at the time.

Gates told TODAY’s Matt Lauer that the president fully supported the November 2009 surge but began to have reservations by the following spring.

“But as late as December 2010, he was still saying we were on the right track in Afghanistan,” he said. “So it was in our private conversations that he would express these reservations about whether it was working. But the decisions were right, and I believe that he believed it would work. “

Gates has been under fire for statements made in his new memoir, “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War,” that suggested Obama lacked commitment to decisions he made about his strategy in Afghanistan.

In his memoir, Gates had also wrote “I believe Obama was right in each of these decisions” when discussing Afghanistan. He described Obama’s approach towards the military as “pitch perfect” in an interview with NPR which also described Obama’s suspicion of the military’s desire to increase troops in Afghanistan:

INSKEEP: I sense, in listening to you talk, Mr. Secretary, and having read this book, that you’re trying very hard to give a nuanced portrait of the president and others around him. So I want to stipulate here you do speak highly of his decision-making ability. You actually compare his decision-making process to that of Abraham Lincoln. You say that he was very kind to you personally, that he made many very strong decisions. But at the same time, even on occasions when he agrees with you, when you recount stories in the book of inside meetings you seem to be bothered by his attitude, the way that he phrases things when it comes to the United States military. What was the problem that you saw between this president and the military?

GATES: Well, I think that — first of all, I think that the president’s approach towards the military, particularly right after he was elected and initially, was pitch perfect. He — and I will say also Mrs. Obama’s interactions with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with troops and so on, was exactly right, and there was never any question of their support, their affection, their respect for the troops.

I think that — I think that what got things a little bit — well, what started to get things off track was the military leadership pressing for a substantial increase in the number of troops literally days within — after the inauguration. And the feeling on the part of the vice president and others that the military was trying to box the president in and, as they would put it, jam him into making a big decision in terms of an increase of nearly — of some 20,000 troops —

INSKEEP: In Afghanistan.

GATES: — in Afghanistan within days, if not weeks, of becoming president. And I think that that attitude of suspicion of what the military was trying to do had its roots in that — in that discussion in February and March of 2009. And when it came to Afghanistan, and Iraq for that matter but mainly Afghanistan, fed a suspicion that the military was always trying to box the president in and force him into significant troop increases and so on.

And so there was this feeling — and because of various public comments made by senior military officials, by the chairman, by General Petraeus later, by General McChrystal and others, the feeling that they were trying publicly to put the president in a position where he had no alternative but to approve what they wanted. And as I write in the book, looking back I always tried at the time to persuade the president that this was no plot, that the military didn’t have a plan, if you will, to try and box him in. And, frankly, I don’t think I was ever able to persuade him that that was not the case, again primarily when it came to Afghanistan.

A president who both makes the right decisions and has some skepticism as to military recommendations for increasing troops is exactly what we want, and one reason why we have civilian leadership of the military.

Ron Fournier Defends Obama From Reports Of Criticism By Robert Gates

Yesterday I questioned whether all readers would see the memoirs of Robert Gates the same way as Bob Woodward, who has a long-standing anti-Obama bias.  Ron Fournier had the same impression as I had yesterday. While Woodward’s story reports negative comments from Gates about Barack Obama’s skepticism about the war in Afghanistan, Gates also wrote “I believe Obama was right in each of these decisions.” If Obama made the right decisions after questioning Gates and showing skepticism towards military recommendations, it sounds like he was doing the right thing. Fournier wrote:

In what Bob Woodward called a “harsh” judgment of President Obama, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates writes of the commander-in-chief adding troops to Afghanistan over the objections of his political team, second-guessing that decision, and never quite trusting his generals. “For him,” Gates writes in his memoir, “it’s all about getting out.”

To that I say, bravo. While excerpts of Gates’s books are being interpreted as embarrassing for Obama, I’m looking forward to reading the memoir in full—and expect to come away more impressed with the president than his Defense chief.

Consider first what the memoir says about Gates himself. Criticism of a sitting president from a former Cabinet member is rare and should be taken with a grain of salt. In a breach of propriety that raises questions about his integrity, the excerpts reveal Gates to be surprisingly petty at times, such as when he complains about spending cuts at the Pentagon and the lack of notice about Obama’s decision to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy toward gays serving in the military.

Then remember why Obama was elected in 2008. He reflected the nation’s ambivalence toward war, promising to pull out of Iraq and wean Afghanistan from U.S. dependence. His predecessor, President George W. Bush, waged war on Iraq under false pretenses and with a lack of skepticism toward neoconservatives in his war Cabinet, led by Vice President Dick Cheney. Initially, anyway, he deferred to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his generals. Famously calling himself “The Decider,” Bush rarely revisited a decision, and earned a reputation for stubbornness…

If military commanders were shown disrespect or given obstacles to fighting war, that would be one thing. But if they were questioned and challenged and kept in check, it is another. Isn’t that the president’s job?

Robert Gates Memoir Critical Of Obama Administration On Afghanistan (But Was Their Skepticism Towards War Really A Bad Thing?)

Robert Gates is receiving a lot of attention today for his memoir entitled Duty. I suspect that this will have limited long-term impact, but for now it provides a source for lots of quotes both positive and negative about Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden. We must also take into consideration that the initial report comes from Bob Woodward, who has not been all that reliable in recent years and his selected quotes may or may not be representative of what Gates wrote in the entire memoir. Plus it is not necessarily a bad thing for civilian politicians to show skepticism of military action which might be upsetting to someone with a more military background. Gates is not necessarily correct in his assessment of all matters. For example, Max Fisher writes that Gates was wrong on the most important issue he faced in failing to see the opportunity for peace with the former Soviet Union under Mikhail Gorbachev. Gates certainly got in wrong in arguing that Gorbachev was not a reformer.

While the headline of the story reports negative comments from Gates about Barack Obama’s skepticism and lack of interest continuing the war in Afghanistan, Gates also wrote “I believe Obama was right in each of these decisions.”It is hardly a surprise that Obama had mixed feelings about that war which he inherited.

Comments that Hillary Clinton opposed the surge on political grounds might be politically harmful, especially if  used to support the narrative that Clinton lacks principle and is guided by political expediency (not that considering the views of the public is necessarily a bad thing). On the other hand he also wrote this about Clinton: “I found her smart, idealistic but pragmatic, tough-minded, indefatigable, funny, a very valuable colleague, and a superb representative of the United States all over the world.” I can already see this quote in Clinton campaign ads.

Gates was hardest on Joe Biden, complaining about his  “aggressive, suspicious, and sometimes condescending and insulting questioning of our military leaders.” Another account of the book in The New York Times quotes Gates as writing, “I think he has been wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.” I think that that with the current anti-war mood of the country, the portrayal of Biden as a major skeptic of the Afghanistan war might wind up doing him far more good than such a broad-based attack.

Afghanistan Planning To Resume Public Stoning As Punishment For Adultery

Attacking Afghanistan made far more sense than to attack Iraq as George Bush did following the 9/11 attack. * I could see an attack to disrupt al Qaeda and was happy to see bin Laden killed, but questioned if we would see any long-term benefits from installing a government there. This somewhat confirms my skepticism–Afghanistan is now planning to restore the Taliban policy of stoning women for adultery:

Afghanistan is planning to reintroduce public stoning as punishment for adultery 12 years after the Taliban was ousted from power, according to a new draft penal code.

The move has shocked human rights campaigners and will dismay donors who have poured billions of pounds into the country for reconstruction.

It will be viewed as another backwards step at the end of a year that has seen women’s rights undermined, with a slew of legislation and murders of prominent women.

Human Rights Watch called for international donors to withhold funding if the government goes ahead with the plan.

“It is absolutely shocking that 12 years after the fall of the Taliban government, the Karzai administration might bring back stoning as a punishment,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at HRW…

As repulsive as both groups are, stoning is far worse than the forced vaginal probes and restrictions on reproductive rights which are supported by the American Taliban.

(* I would hope that by now the whole Truther line that 9/11 was an inside job by the Bush administration instead of a terrorist act by al Qaeda has been forgotten. In case anyone is still interested in that nonsense, Noam Chomsky has recently joined many others in debunking that conspiracy theory. Chomsky mocked “people around who spend an hour on the Internet and think they know a lot physics.” On the other hand, that is how the Internet works. How many other people on the far right with no knowledge of biology or climate science are coming up with arguments against evolution and global warming?)

SciFi Weekend: There Are No Monsters In The White House (Doctor Who); Torchwood; Fringe; The Event; No Ordinary Family; How District 9 Should Have Ended

A brief prequel for the upcoming season has been released (video above), including Richard Nixon claiming, “There are no monsters in the White House.”

A long-lost episode of Doctor Who written by Douglas Adams, Shada, returns. The episode was never aired as it was not completed due to a television strike. The Guardian reports that a novelization based upon the planned episode is going to be released next March:

The story features the Time Lord coming to Earth with assistant Romana (Lalla Ward) to visit Professor Chronotis, who has absconded from Gallifrey, the Doctor’s home planet, and now lives quietly at Cambridge college St Cedd’s. (The Doctor: “When I was on the river I heard the strange babble of inhuman voices, didn’t you, Romana?” Professor Chronotis: “Oh, probably undergraduates talking to each other, I expect.”)

Chronotis has brought with him the most powerful book in the universe, The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey – which, in a typical touch of Adams bathos, turns out to have been borrowed from his study by a student. Evil scientist Skagra, an escapee from prison planet Shada, is on its trail.

Large parts of the story had already been filmed on location in Cambridge before industrial action at the BBC brought production to a halt. The drama was never finished, and in the summer of 1980 Shada was abandoned – although various later projects attempted to resurrect it.

Douglas Adams’s Doctor Who series are among the very few which have never been novelised, reportedly because the author wanted to do them himself but was always too busy. Gareth Roberts, a prolific Doctor Who scriptwriter, has now been given the job.

Publisher BBC Books declared the book “a holy grail” for Time Lord fans. Editorial director Albert De Petrillo said: “Douglas Adams’s serials for Doctor Who are considered by many to be some of the best the show has ever produced. Shada is a funny, scary, surprising and utterly terrific story, and we’re thrilled to be publishing the first fully realised version of this Doctor Who adventure as Douglas originally conceived it.”

Blastr has a guided tour to explain how the TARDIS works.

The premiere date for Torchwood has been released by Starz. The show will begin July 8. I am not surprised that the initial rumors of a July 1 start date were false considering how many American viewers might be traveling for the 4th. Those at Cannes will get to see an early promotion, along with two stars, John Barrowman and Bill Pullman, and executive producer Julie Gardner.

The big news of the week is that Fringe was renewed for a fourth season. Has the Friday night course ended? This week Fringe returned to the alternate universe. Having an alternate universe makes it easier to invent one of those television disease which provides exactly the dilemma which is desired for the story line. In this case we found that Fauxlivia has a viral/genetic disease (Fringe never has been great on actual science) which might require her to abort her baby to save her life. She was abducted by people who accelerated her pregnancy so that the baby developed more quickly than the virus could do harm, allowing both mother and baby to live.

For a while it wasn’t clear as to the motives of those who captured Fauxlivia, and it was never answered whether saving Fauxlivia along with the baby was also a goal or just a fortunate result. It turned out that Walternate was behind it all in order to save his grandson. Apparently the birth of this baby was also a major event with the Observers keeping a close watch. At the end, one Observer announces, “It is happening.” Unfortunately the show now goes on a hiatus, with very little left from American genre shows.

On the other American genre shows still airing, The Event is quickly turning into yet another alien invasion show. They decided to give up the flashbacks because  fans did not like them. I’m not so sure that the show still even has any fans, but the problem was not that there were flashbacks, but that they were handled so badly. This is in contrast to  Lost which was able to have two meaningful story lines per episode with the far more effective use of flashbacks. 

No Ordinary Family has an episode featuring time travel this week after Stephanie received an injection from Dr. King which increased her speed allowing her to travel through time. We all know that when someone on a science fiction television show goes forward in time and sees what is happening with them they will never just find themselves sitting on a couch watching television. It’s the same phenomenon which ensured that when anyone had a FlashForward they usually would up seeing something of monumental importance.

And, finally, the video above shows how District 9 should have ended.

WikiLeaks Reports on Afghanistan Might Not Be The Pentagon Papers, But They Might Influence Policy

So far it appears that the release of reports on Afghanistan by WikiLeaks has no smoking guns and contains nothing which will harm U.S. national security or harm the troops. A comparison to the Pentagon Papers was inevitable, even if there are major differences here. The leaked papers do not demonstrate dishonesty on the part of either George Bush or Barack Obama regarding Afghanistan comparable to what was revealed about American leaders regarding Vietnam. The Obama administration might complain about the leaks (as we would expect any administration to) but we are not going to see the type of battle to suppress them which Richard Nixon engaged in over the Pentagon Papers.

This does not mean that the leaks will not have an effect. The publicity might still revive the debate over why we are in Afghanistan and whether it serves U.S. interests to remain. John Kerry, a leading critic of the Vietnam war (as well as an opponent of the Iraq war before it began, despite the attempt of 2004 primary opponents to distort his record), had this comment:

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) released the following statement this evening in response to the New York Times story on the leak of classified documents concerning Afghanistan and Pakistan:

“However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious questions about the reality of America’s policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan. Those policies are at a critical stage and these documents may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to get the policy right more urgent.”

I doubt we will see open battle between the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the Obama administration as there was been Democrats and the Nixon administration in the later days of the Vietnam war, although the committee might raise some uncomfortable questions for the administration. I suspect it is more likely that if Kerry turns against this war he might have some success in making Obama reconsider.

Sarah Palin Rejects Separation of Church and State

Back in 2007 I had a post debunking John McCain’s claim that the United States was founded as a Christian nation. This is an area where he agreed with his 2008 running mate. Steven Benen reports that Sarah Palin has made this and several other similar mistakes.  She believes that America needs to get back to its Christian roots and rejected any notion that “God should be separated from the state.” She believes that the Founding Fathers, who promoted the principle of separation of church and state, were opposed to one of their  most important ideas.

Palin also suggested that suggests religious people necessarily also reject separation of church in state. Actually it has often been religious people who understood the importance of separation of church and state to guarantee their right to worship as they wished.

Benen commented:

The amusing aspect of this is the notion that the United States would return to its roots with support for National Day of Prayer observances. That’s backwards — Thomas Jefferson and James Madison explicitly rejected state-sponsored prayer days. I’ll look forward to the conservative explanation of how the Founding Fathers were godless socialists.

I also can’t wait to hear how right-wing voices who want smaller government believe it’s appropriate for the federal government to issue decrees encouraging private American citizens to engage in worship.

But far less amusing is the fact that Palin and others of her radical ilk reject any notion that “God should be separated from the state.” It’s the 21st century, for crying out loud. There are some countries that endorse Palin’s worldview and intermix God and government — Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Afghanistan under Taliban rule come to mind — but they’re generally not countries the United States tries to emulate.

The separation of church and state has long been a concept that all Americans could embrace, and has served as a model for nations around the world to follow. For Palin to publicly denounce this bedrock American principle suggests she might actually be getting worse…

If anyone this conspicuously unintelligent has ever sought national office, I can’t think of who he/she is.

Personally I don’t find any of this surprising considering how Palin ignored the separation of church and state as Governor of Alaska.

Update: Crooks & Liars has video along with a discussion of Palin’s association with the Prayer Warriors.

Republicans Promise A Free Lunch

Right wingers love to talk about being fiscally conservative, but what they are really concerned about is avoiding taxes regardless of what needs to be spent to maintain the infrastructure of this country. They are even willing to look past wasteful spending by Republicans as long as they borrow the money instead of increasing taxes. Bob Herbert points out how the Republicans are the party of the free lunch:

The Republican Party is not simply the “just-say-no” party. It’s also a shameless advocate of the free lunch. Ronald Reagan famously told us he could jack up defense spending, cut taxes and balance the federal budget all at the same time.

George W. Bush put two big wars on a credit card. And now we have the perennially clownish Newt Gingrich, in an embarrassing rant against President Obama, assuring the deluded G.O.P. faithful that, yes, the party can indeed bring down the federal deficit while cutting taxes.

The Great Recession and the debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan have not been savage enough to reintroduce the G.O.P. to reality.

The right wing noise machine does a tremendous job of shielding their followers from the reality as they are oblivious to the fact that the deficit is primarily the fault of George Bush, not Barack Obama–who has a far record for cutting spending than the Republicans. Many also falsely believe that Obama raised their taxes when he actually cut their taxes.

The right wing puts a tremendous amount of money into paying people to spread the party line, often in the guise of “think tanks.” There are some organizations which do try to counter right wing misinformation. Herbert devotes a large portion of his column to reporting on an organization which I have not heard much about, but perhaps should look into further:

The liberal or progressive community was slow to counter the remarkable effectiveness of this intellectual offensive from the right. But during the 1990s and into the early-2000s, that began to change. And one of the progressive organizations that has done a really good job (but has never been particularly well known) is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary.

Demos, headquartered in New York City, grew out of a series of meetings of scholars, activists, journalists and elected officials who were concerned about the ever-increasing influence of the right on public policy. “The thinking was that there should be more moderate, liberal and left-of-center voices,” said Miles Rapoport, the group’s president. The group was formed in 2000, a year that would later see the disputed election that gave the presidency to Mr. Bush.

One of the problems with making taxes even more unpopular than they would naturally be is that this makes it difficult to raise money on necessary infrastructure. Conservatives often see themselves as succeeding purely based upon their own efforts without acknowledging the necessary infrastructure which makes economic success possible. Last night Kos was joking on Twitter:

Why do teabagger use gov’t created internet? They should stick to private one. What was it called? Oh yeah. AOL. How’d that work out?

You government hating cons, gotta stick with (old school) AOL, Prodigy, or Compuserve. Otherwise, you’re a hypocrite.

Of course conservatives will continue to use the government created internet and go along with all the government programs which help them, or which they desire such as the Iraq war, as long as they think they can get away with getting a free lunch.

David Letterman’s Top Ten Highlights of President Obama’s Trip To Afghanistan

David Letterman’s Top Ten Highlights of President Obama’s Trip To Afghanistan

10. The welcoming chants of “Death to America!”
9.   Using miles to get bumped up to business class
8.   Picking up sexy negligee for Michelle at “Mahboba’s Secret”
7.   Playing a little 1-on-1 with Hamid Karzai
6.   Seeing “Hot Tub Time Machine” dubbed in Pashto
5.   Military demonstration on new secret weapon: ground-to-air-goat
4.   The splendor of Kabul in the springtime
3.   Catching Jon Lovitz at new Kandahar comedy club “Laffghanistan”
2.   Spotting a confused John McCain arguing with a falafel
1.   Leaving Afghanistan