Sunday, December 31, 2006

WaPo: A Long List of No-Shows for Ford Rites

On Wednesday, I wondered, (along with Dave Winer) whether not attending the Ford lying-in-state would make John Edwards look bad. Nah. According to the Washington Post skipping the Ford service was a very popular choice among the Washington elite. The current President skipped it. Only three of the Supremes showed, and about ten senators and thirty-five Congress members. Rumsfeld and Baker didn't make it either. The Post said Tom Foley was there. But it also identified him as "former speaker."

As for the public:
Capitol police erected barriers to contain thousands, but by mid-afternoon yesterday, only 20 people were in line -- providing a luxurious person-to-portable-toilet ratio of 1:1.
Mickeleh's Take: This was just the prelims. The big service will be on Tuesday. With no football games competing.

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Who's Mickeleh?

I've been getting some new visitors based on a post and some comments I made about John Edwards announcement and Scoble's coverage thereof. Thanks for dropping by, and welcome.

If you came here with more interest in technology than, you might find my other blog, Mickeleh's Take more to your taste.

This is my news and politics blog. I cross-posted the John Edwards /Robert Scoble in both blogs because it was both a tech and a political story.

Shel Israel, noted the lack of profile information here, inspiring my one and only New Year's resolution: I resolve to work on my profile. If I get very ambitious, I may get around to telling the story of how James Bond got me my job at Apple, how Groucho got me on the radio, how Robin Williams got me a gig at Paramount writing sitcoms--unbeknownst to any of them.

But for now, here's a sketch:

I'm Michael Markman. Not the only Michael Markman, so I'm blogging as Mickeleh, which is a Yiddish-style diminutive for Michael (accent on the first syllable, as in Michelob or piccolo).

Went to Bronx Science--before Dave Winer, to Columbia--with Bill Campbell.

Ran Apple creative services and worldwide corporate advertising sometime during the Jobs interregnum. (best campaign: "What's on your Powerbook")

Spent the first bubble consulting (mostly for clients that ended the century in acquisitions, in chapter 11 or under indictment.) Many of those gigs were with Michael Witlin Associates.

Was creative director at Digeo for development of the Moxi U-I. (we won two Emmy awards so far. Nominated for a third.) Though I have left the company, I contract with them to post on behalf of Moxi under the name MoxiGuy.

I've had an ongoing sideline with Peter Hirshberg doing serio-comic presentations on tech marketing, social media, which we've given at TED, AlwaysOn, The WSJ D-Conference, and the Computer Science Museum. The Long Tail video, inspired by Chris Anderson's book, is one of the artifacts of that collaboration. (Thanks to Robert Scoble for persuading me to post it to YouTube. It's now approaching 400,000 views.)

But enough about me. Let's talk about you. Happiest of New Years to you all. More peace in the world, more love in our lives, and may we grasp all the liquidity events we seek.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Larisa Alexandrovna: The Saddam Hanging in Strategic Context

Juan Cole has posted a Guest Op-Ed from Larisa Alexandrovna that puts the Saddam execution into a context of a grand strategy that's setting up our next military fiasco with Iran.

Mickeleh's Take: I hope Alexandrovna is completely cuckoo about this, but it certainly is of a piece with the strangely grim affect of the war cabinet yesterday, our detaining Iranian diplomats visiting Iraq, Lieberman's belicose op-ed in this morning's Washington Post, which mentions Iran seven times, and Sy Hersh's reporting on the Bush Iran plans in the New Yorker.

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TPM on the Hanging: "It's a job, for once, that these folks can actually see through to completion."

Joshua Micah Marshall finds the hanging of a piece with all of the other staged events that mark the Bush war.
This whole endeavor, from the very start, has been about taking tawdry, cheap acts and dressing them up in a papier-mache grandeur -- phony victory celebrations, ersatz democratization, reconstruction headed up by toadies, con artists and grifters. And this is no different. Hanging Saddam is easy. It's a job, for once, that these folks can actually see through to completion. So this execution, ironically and pathetically, becomes a stand-in for the failures, incompetence and general betrayal of country on every other front that President Bush has brought us.

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Is Bush Just Waiting For The Hanging?

You have to wonder why Bush, after all this time, is still fumbling for, er, working on a strategy for Iraq. The pre-Christmas policy announcement has been postponed. Could it be that Bush is waiting for the hanging so he can point to yet another corner turned? Does he expect that stretching Saddam's neck will give him a long-sought uptick in public approval? Not likely. We're at a point where any news from Iraq is just another reminder of the magnitude of the Bush fiasco.

Bush and advisers meet the press yesterday at Crawford. Said Bush, "I'm making good progress toward coming up with a plan that we think will help us achieve our objective." Said the advisers, nothing.

The most eloquent expressions in yesterday's press meet and photo op were the grim faces, downcast eyes, and pursed lips of the War President's War Cabinet. Bush himself, if you saw any of the TV coverage, was in his head-lowered, sighing, shruggy mode. Did not inspire confidence.

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The Bush Line on Iraq Morphs

Did you notice how the Bush line has shifted from "We're making progress on Iraq" to "We're making progress on a plan"?

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Herblock Bears Witness to Ford

September 11, 1974
The best documentation we have of the unravelling of the Nixon presidency is Herblock's compendium of his Watergate cartoons, Herblock, Special Report.

Big thanks to poputonian for resurrecting what Herblock said at the time about Ford's pardoning Nixon. Rather than ending our "long national nightmare," the pardon ensured that "the idea of some divine right of Presidents went on." We are all suffering from the Bush administration's embrace of that notion.

Amazon has links to about fifty used copies of the long out-of-print Herblock masterpiece. And they're dirt cheap. How little we value our prophets.

The Washington Post has a gallery of Herblock online.

Mickeleh's Take: There are details which have all but evaporated from the collective memory of mainstream media. It's worth our time to read them and remember.

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John Edwards, The Demo

Edwards insight into high-tech marketing is much deeper than just reaching out to Scoble and popping up on YouTube and Rocketboom. Every candidate this cycle is will be wooing bloggers and throwing campaign videos up onto the net.

Here's the brilliant innovation of the Edwards campaign: he's conducting an open, public, empirical test of his own leadership abilities. He's giving us a demo. That's a high wire act. No net. If it works, it evolves into a public beta of the John Edwards presidency.

The operational definition of a leader is someone with followers. So here's Edwards saying, hey let's get busy and start getting things done now instead of waiting until the election. If people get busy, Edwards is a leader. Kennedy famously challenged the country to, "Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country." But that was in the inaugural address, not the campaign.

Edwards isn't asking for the order on election day. He's asking for it today. And the ask isn't just, "send me money." It's start making things better. If people respond, Edwards will have delivered an irrefutable demonstration of his leadership.

Unless, of course, the only actions he proposes are like the first one: "holding your own local 'Citizens' Launch' event."

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More: Memeorandum, Techmeme

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

John Edwards Falls into a Time Trap

Dave Winer astutely notes that John Edwards timing for his presidential bid (expected tomorrow) has run smack up against Geral Ford lying in state. Edward will be sounding his hollow "One Nation" theme on a day when there will clearly be two nations: the one paying respects to a genial former president and the other listening to a guy say, "elect me!"

The two early leaders in the run for the Democratic nomination, Senators Clinton and Obama will gain gravitas points by "not" campaigning (Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink.)

Edwards may have hoped that announcing during a slow news week would gain him an uncontested spotlight. But his timing would have been sub-optimal even without the Ford's passing. There's a reason people avoid making announcements during the week between Christmas and New Years: nobody's paying attention.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Power is back... Cable (including Broadband) is out

Downtown Kirkland is swimming in free Wi-Fi. I'm currently online at Kahili Coffee. At the table behind me is a guy who may have been completely traumatized by the blackout. He's typing on a manual portable typewriter (Smith-Corona). Clack-clack. Clack-clack-clack. To hell with electricity.

My internet connection is wireless. But I'm getting wired. Da-da-bum.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Holding good thoughts for Sen. Johnson

The latest bulletin on Sen. Tim Johnson comes from Adm. John Eisold, the Capitol attending physicisan: "No further surgical intervention has been required."

This could either be very good news or very bad news.

I'm holding good and prayerful thoughts for the Senator, his family, and the future of the Supreme Court.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

This is Our President

I'm sure you don't need yet another anecdote to help you define the character of our President. So, take this as a reinforcement. if you didn't see it on TPM or The Hill, here it is. If you did, then, with apologies, here it is again:

At a private reception held at the White House with newly elected lawmakers shortly after the election, Bush asked Webb how his son, a Marine lance corporal serving in Iraq, was doing.

Webb responded that he really wanted to see his son brought back home, said a person who heard about the exchange from Webb.

“I didn’t ask you that, I asked how he’s doing,” Bush retorted, according to the source.

Webb confessed that he was so angered by this that he was tempted to slug the commander-in-chief, reported the source, but of course didn’t. It’s safe to say, however, that Bush and Webb won’t be taking any overseas trips together anytime soon.

Mickeleh's Take: It's gonna be a long two years.

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Bush: Half a Billion for Brain Whores to Whitewash His Fiasco

Why does the worst president ever need the most expensive presidential library ever? At least half the money will be funding brain whores (more politely known as tank thinkers) who will work at spinning up a silk purse or two out of the mountain of pig's ears that are Bush's unvarnished legacy. Thomas DeFrank, who broke the story in the New York Daily News writes:
Bush's institute will hire conservative scholars and "give them money to write papers and books favorable to the President's policies," one Bush insider said.... "It's a stretch," said another source briefed on the plans. "It's so much bigger than anything that's been tried before. But the more you have, the more influence [on history] you can exert.
Half a billion is a lot of money. More than it took run his losing campaign in the first place and to elect the summabitch in the second place. Who gives that much of a sh*t about his legacy? DeFrank says, "Bush loyalists have already identified wealthy heiresses, Arab nations and captains of industry as potential 'mega' donors." And, of course, proud Texans.

Megadonations are $20 million dollars each. Anonymously. You gotta wonder what a $20 million piece of baksheesh gets you from a lame duck White House. We'll only find out if we press to make the donors public.

Keith Olbermann and Arianna Huffington kicked it around on Countdown yesterday. (video)

Shakespeare's Take: Here’s the smell of the blood still; all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh! (Macbeth Act V, Scene 1)

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

R.J. Eskow Offers Michael Richards Career Advice: Stop Apologizing

Reviewing the record for Glenn Beck (CNN Headline) and Michael Wiener "Savage" (MSNBC), R. J. Eskow makes the case that hate-speech is a job-qualification for working in cable news.

Mickeleh's Take: MSNBC cleaned house of "Savage," though he still has many radio outlets. Time for CNN to show Beck the door.

Much Ado About Pelosi's Forehead

Is the press focusing too much on whether Nancy Pelosi's forehead has been chemically immobilized? Is there a double standard that forces women to hold back time while men can remain both sexy and powerful as they age naturally? And if there is such a double-standard, is it strictly a guy thing or are women complicit in perpetuating it.

Melinda Henneberg on Huffington Post picks up on a recent Maureen Dowd column that reports Ted Olson (whose Clinton-bashing wife was spared futher aging by dying in a hijacked plane on 9/11) was making jokes about the state of the faces of Speaker-elect Pelosi and Senator Clinton.
The new Congress could amuse itself, he said, by “searching for any sign of movement in Speaker Pelosi's forehead.” The Senate, he added, would be entertained by “the expressionless, Pelosi-like forehead of Sen. Clinton.”
Henneberg calls Dowd on playing the same sexist card. Later in the same column, Dowd says Pelosi throws like a girl.

Mickeleh's Take: It ain't just women who are dinged on superficial appearance and vanity issues. Try these Google searches: Kerry Botox, Giuliani comb-over, John Edwards hair, Al Gore wardrobe.

An Even Better Take: Liberal Comment points out why we should be thankful that they're going after the Botox. They can't attack Pelosi on the issues because the public backs her on the issues. (We won and they lost, remember.) All they have left are the superficial smears.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Here's One They've Stopped Asking

The ghastly news from Iraq yesterday—more than 200 dead in Shiite Sadr City folowed by revenge killings and burning alive of Sunni's—brings to mind a question I haven't heard from the war apologists lately: "Do you think Iraq would be better off with Saddam still in power?"

Mickeleh's Take: Well, do ya, punk? Some "last throes," eh, Cheney? Still not a civil war? Are there no penalties that apply to the neo-con cabal that dreamed up the groundless fantasy that toppling Saddam would engender a peaceful democratic middle-east and sold that line to Bush? Please answer if you know.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tom Hayden: Some Hope on Iraq

Tom Hayden in Huffington Post offers the first peek into what the admininistration's post-Rummy Iraq strategy might be.

Mickeleh's Take: Maybe the grownups are really in charge. But to believe that, you have to disregard everything that President Bush has ever said on Iraq.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Fake News Channel Preps Fake News "comedy"

Here's the key market insight that Roger Ailes (not the good one), used to build the Fox News Channel: there's a right-wing audience for a "news" presentation that confirms their world-view, one that's slanted even more to the right than CNN.

He's now applying that insight to comedy: there's an audience unserved by the fake news and truthy comedy stylings of Stewart and Colbert.

And where does he turn for talent to meet the comic yearnings of the Fox News audience? Yes, to the producers of Laura Ingraham's favorite pop torturer, Jack Bauer. The Hollywood Reporter says Joel Surnow and Manny Coto of 24, originally pitched the show to Fox (If I Did It) Broadcasting, who passed.

The still-untitled show is created by Ned Rice, whose writing credits include Politically Incorrect and Late Late Show with Craig Fergusen.

Mickeleh's Take: Fox News demos are old (and fading). A hep new comedy is just what they need, you know, for kids!

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

"Hoyer beats Murtha" Hits the Spin Cycle

Fox News:
Hoyer Wins House Majority Leader Race, Giving Pelosi First Setback

Huffington Post:
Murtha Loses... But It's Still a Victory for Pelosi

Arianna Huffington points out that Murtha still remains the moral leader for Dems on Iraq policy. She dismisses the notion that this is a setback for Speaker Pelosi, who backed Murtha.
Even though her guy lost, this was still a big win for her. A victory for taking a stand -- and for her leadership. Because that's what real leaders do, they take stands. They listen to their hearts and follow their gut. If you only jump into the fights you're sure you can win -- notches in the W column that will look good on your political resume -- you're a hack, not someone who can move the party and the country forward. It's not about trying to have a spotless record; it's about knowing which battles are worth fighting, whatever the outcome.

It bodes well for Pelosi that was willing to spend her political capital right off the bat -- especially on the issue that will define her time at the helm. Far too many modern politicians save their political capital until it's lost all its value.

Mickeleh's Take: What she said.

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Guardian: Bush wants a big push for Victory in Iraq

From Robert Bolt's Academy Award winning screenplay for Lawrence of Arabia:

Lawrence has been tortured (raped?) by the Turkish Bey in Deraa. Back in Jerusalem he tells General Allenby that he want to stop fighting, but Allenby has other plans for Lawrence.
You're an important part of the Big Push!

I don't want to be part of your big push!!

What in hell do you want, Lawrence?

I've told you -- I just want my ration of common humanity.

The American voters have just demanded our ration of common humanity, but Bush wants us to be part of his Big Push. David Kurtz on TPM quotes extensively from a Guardian report on the Bush plan. (This, apparently, has been developed in parallel with the famed Baker Iraq Study Group).

According to the Guardian, the four pillars of the strategy are
  • Increase US troop levels by up to 20,000 to secure Baghdad and allow redeployments elsewhere in Iraq

  • Focus on regional cooperation with international conference and/or direct diplomatic involvement of countries such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia

  • Revive reconciliation process between Sunni, Shia and others

  • Increased resources from Congress to fund training and equipment of Iraqi security forces
For more on this, see

Update (8:53 am): Dave Winer reminds us, "When you watch Baker in motion, don't think he's working for you. He's working for the Bush family, and more broadly, the Republican Party, Corporate America and the defense industry."

Mickeleh's Take: I used to work with a client who asked, at the start of every project, "How will we know if we've won?" Bush still thinks he can snatch victory from the jaws of fiasco. But he's never been able to the that question. "How will we know if we've won?"

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

WA-08: Burner Concedes; Reichert Takes One Last Swipe

Last night, the AP called the WA-08 Congressional Race for freshman GOP incumbent Dave Reichert. Democratic candidate Darcy Burner called Reichert last night to concede, and then followed up with a public meeting with her supporters this morning.

Reichert's reaction, according to the Seattle Times, : "I am a little surprised it was as tough as it was, because of the inexperience of my opponent. The national environment played a significantly higher role, and had more of an impact, than I expected it to play." (During the campaign, Reichert had stressed Burner's inexperience as a key reason not to vote for her.)

Meanwhile, the bloggers who supported Burner weighed in with strong expressions of gratitude for her run--and pointed to her strong showing despite starting from near-zero name recognition.

Kos hopes Burner will run again. NPI reminds us how hard it is to take down an incumbent. David Kurtz at TPM points out that Darcy's impressive race caught the attention of national Dems. Daniel Kirkdorffer says Reichert claimed much greater independence from Bush than the warrants, essentially pulling a fast one on the voters. Darryl Holman reminds us that Burner's strong showing forced the GOP to spend heavily to defend Reichert's seat, pulling resources away from other races where Democrats prevailed.

Mickeleh's Take: I wish Darcy had won. I'm proud of the showing she made. But, frankly, both sides in this race spent -- including the DCCC and RCCC--way too much money on obnoxious TV advertising. There has to be a better way to run elections.

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Glenn Greenwald: The Military Commissions Act in Action

Glenn Greenwald outlines the actions of the Bush administration against Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri. Arrested in 2001, declared an "enemy combattant" in 2003 just before his trial began, al-Marri is still being held. He has no ability to communicate to the outside world, not even to his lawyers. He's not charged with a crime. He has no recourse. His detainment is indefinite. The Justice Department now claims that this is justified by the Military Commissions Act.

Jack Balkin (Knight Professor of Constitutional Law and the First Amendment at Yale Law School) argues:
The government's argument is a fairly straightforward application of one of the worst features of the Military Commissions Act of 2006-- the elimination of habeas corpus rights for non-citizens within the United States when the government chooses to brand them enemy combatants. I've argued that this provision is unconstitutional, but no court has yet ruled on the question
See also, Jayne Lyn Stahl, "What Part of Outrage Don't They Understand?"

Mickeleh's Take: Now that the president's approval rating is down to 33%, and now that they control a majority of both House and Senate, the Democrats should find the courage and honor to change the law and restore our commitment to Habeas Corpus. Do we have to wait for the Supreme Court to recognize its unconstitutionality?

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Let's not let the Robo-calls slide

After the cheering fades, let's remember the nasty dirty tricks. The fliers and bumper-stickers where Steele mascaraded as a Democrat. The districts where harrassing, repeat robo-calls pissed off voters. And then there were calls that threatened voters with arrest if they showed up to vote.

Overall, the Democratic tide was strong enough to win despite the crap that Republicans threw at the voters. But TPM Muckraker notes that in seven close races Dems lost. And it's reasonable to investigate whether the Republicrap prevailed.

Mickeleh's Take: What will it take to get the Republicans to play fair? More prosecutions? New laws? So much for the "values" party. Is cheating permitted in the Bible?

Molly Ivins: Press has no standing to preach "etiquette" to Democrats

Molly Ivins has been on to George W. Bush longer than most of us. So it's worth paying attention when she warns Democrats on falling too easily for media calls that they have to play nice with Bush and the Republicans.
"... after 12 years of tolerating lying, cheating and corruption, the press is prepared to lecture Democrats on how to behave with bipartisan manners. Given Bush's record with the truth, this bipartisanship sounds like a bad idea on its face... "
All well and good for Pelosi to start with the low-hanging fruit of the first 100 hours. That's what all the Democratic talking heads have been pounding home on the talk shows. (Minimum wage, negotiated prices for prescription drugs, implementing 9/11 Commission recommendations, cutting subsidies to oil companies, and reducing student loans.) But Ivins urges the Democrats not to roll over on the main event: the war.
"Then we get to the real meat of this election. There are all manner of shuffle steps and politically shrewd thing for the D's to do. But now is not the time to be clever. The Democrats won this election because we are involved in a disastrous war"
Mickeleh's Take: Bush showed how eager he is to reciprocate Democratic offers of cooperation by putting the Bolton nomination and the warrantless wiretap legislation on the agenda for the current lame-duck Congress. Bolton looks to be DOA (Thank you, Sen Chafee). Warrantless wiretaps deserves an early death. Bush has enormous power, but he's lost the power to set the agenda for Congress--unless the Democrats foolishly give it back to him.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cheney's New Job Desciption: Pitcher of Warm Piss*

We'll get some glimpses of the backstage saga of Rummy's canning in the weeklies, with a detailed story in books that are published six months to a year from now. But we're already hearing that Cheney opposed it and yet it happened anyway.

How is that possible? Pick one:
  1. W. stood up to his shadow-president and took the reins of government.
  2. The real shadow government (Bush Sr? Wall Street? Scowcroft? Consigliere Baker?) stepped in and said enough is enough.
I favor 2. (see Maureen Dowd, which you can today because Times Select is free this week).

Mickeleh's Take: Either way, the Cheney-Rumsfeld axis of evil is smashed. I'm not going all Mission Accomplished here, but surely the world is be better off with Cheney demoted from shadow president to vice president. which, as John Nance Garner famously said,"isn't worth a pitehcr of warm piss." The thrall is gone. No guarantees that we'll find a good way out of this mess, but at least we've voided the guarantee that we won't.

*Update (1:58 PM) I had originally listed this as "bucket of warm spit." But I learned in woids comment that spit was but a euphemism. A little more Googling finds a split between "bucket" and "pitcher."

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Official Unofficial Virginia Vote Talley

You can watch this cliff-hanger here. You'll notice that there are more than 26,000 votes sitting in the talley of some idiot Green Party puke.

Mickeleh's Take: I, for one, am completely fed up with the Green Party. I try not to call names. But I make exceptions for the pukes who run on the Green Party ticket.

Update: (from the AP)
The new AP count showed Webb with 1,172,538 votes and Allen with 1,165,302, a difference of 7,236. Virginia has had two statewide vote recounts in modern history, but both resulted in vote changes of no more than a few hundred votes.

An adviser to Allen, speaking on condition of anonymity because his boss had not formally decided to end the campaign, said the senator wanted to wait until most of canvassing was completed before announcing his decision, possibly as early as Thursday evening.

When you're ready to sober up from your victory celebrations, read this.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance. Tristero explains.
Bush will start testing the new Congress as soon as he can. He will claim the power to do something beyond the normal range of the Executive, and it will be nothing anyone should make a constitutional crisis over. Congress will let him get away with it.

Mickeleh's Take: Bush took a conciliatory tone today, but there is a huge body of "singular executive" doctrine floating around his presidency. Congressional Democrats--and all of us--should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.

Darryl: Three announcements that might have helped the GOP

Darryl, over at Hominid Views points to three post-election announcements that might have helped the GOP had they come earlier: Rummy, Denny, and Britney.

Josh: Bush was for Rumsfeld before he was against him

Good quip from Joshua Micah Marshall.

Bye-bye Rummy

AP reports that Rumsfeld is stepping down. Thank you America. Thank you Ned. Thank you Cindy.

Mickeleh's Take: But what if Bush taps Lieberman to replace him?... and the Republican governor of Conncecticut replaces Joe with a Republican? Nah. Not gonna happen. The President nominates Bob Gates.

Did Harold Ford Just Call the Republicans Devils?

Harold Ford closed his concession speech by reminding his supporters not to be bitter and angry. He quoted and repeated something that Paul wrote to the Ephesians.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, and powers...
Hmm. That verse goes on to conclude:
"...against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." —Ephesians 6:12

Principalities and powers in this context are fallen angels, followers of Satan.

Mickeleh's Take: It's gonna be fun to see Dems master the dog-whistle language of scripture.

Thank You America. Thank You Ned. Thank you Cindy

This much is clear. The country issued a loud and resounding rebuke to Bush, Republican corruption, and the War. The Democrats will have the House by a comfortable margin, a substantial gain (and possibly control) in the Senate, a majority of governorships and statehouse power to undo much of the Republican gerrymandering lock-in.

The count is still in process, the recounts haven't started and the first salvos in the next rounds of our political battle have already been fired. While, the White House congratulated Pelosi and Emanuel and offered cooperation, Bush allies were quick to proclaim the power to obstruct any Democratic agenda. Within the Democratic party there will be a fierce battle to frame and claim the victory. (See Arianna Huffington and Christy Hardin Smith.)

But before I get into the next round, I want to thank America for taking away the President's rubber stamp.

And I want to thank Ned Lamont and his fierce Netroots supporters (Matt Stoller, Firedoglake, Howie Klein, Kos, Arianna, and many others) for forcing the spotlight onto the war. By the end of the campaign virtually all Democrats had made opposition to the Bush war policy central to their message. But that was painfully slow in coming. Immediately after 9/11, Rove began to wrap Bush in the mantle of protector and the drumbeat begain to wrap him in the mantle of War President. It was a strategy that paralized Democrats in 2002 and 2004. The Republicans were counting on it again in 2006, making it the centerpiece of Bush rhetoric through the closing weekend of the campaign..

It took the Connecticut primary and Ned's resounding defeat of Joe Lieberman to make it clear to Democrats across the board that it was safe to stand up to Bush on Iraq. By the end, even Lieberman was stressing his independence from Bush and Rummy on Iraq policy. Even Lieberman. Though Ned Lamont lost his bid for a Senate seat, I credit him for a huge role in giving the Democrats permission to take on the Commander in Chief.

A final thank you to Cindy Sheehan for forcing the mainstream media to cover opposition to the War

Mickeleh's Take: Go ahead, Nancy. I think it's safe now to order the new drapes for your new office. And when that's done and you have your 100-hour program behind you, please remember to do what's possible and what's necessary to move the White House to a change the course.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Greg Palast: How They Stole the Election

Sobering view from Greg Palast of three vote stealing tactics that tilt the election to the Republicans and give them a 4.5 million vote advantage before the first ballot is counted
  1. Denied Registrations. This happened to my sister on her first attempt to register this year. She was told there was a mismatch in her SS number and driver's license. But it's especially focused on black and Hispanic voters.
  2. Turned away (the ID game). New this year thanks to a new federal law and squads of trained GOP poll watchers focused, again, on black and Hispanic precincts. Do the Dems have enough poll-watchers to watch the Republican poll-watchers?
  3. Spoiled Votes. Ballots improperly marked or ballots from machines that don't record votes simply aren't counted. Sounds like an equal opportunity issue, but, once again, it's historically more likely in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. Says Greg, "Funny, but paper ballots with in-precinct scanners don't go rotten on Black voters. Maybe that's why Republican Secretaries of State have installed so few of them."
Greg's Take:
It's true you can't win with 51% of the vote anymore. So just get over it. The regime's sneak attack via vote suppression will only net them 4.5 million votes, about 5% of the total. You should be able to beat that blindfolded. If you can't get 55%, then you're just a bunch of crybaby pussycats who don't deserve to win back America.
Mickeleh's Take: Vote and get others to vote. No more blogging for me today. That's what I'm off to do.

Voter Suppression. Again

Why is it that Republicans find it perfectly legitimate to cheat on elections? Year after year. It's all in good fun to tell likely Democratic voters that they'll be arrested if they try to vote. Or to send them to the wrong polling place. Or to ring their phones till midnight. Or tie up polling places in frivolous challenges.

All it gets them is a mild tsk-tsk.

Latest outrage: right wing talk radio host Laura Ingram has urged her listeners to tie up the Democratic voter hotlines so that folks with legitimate issues won't be able to get through.

There ought to be a law. Apparently there are, but the penalties are just chalked up to the cost of doing business.

But more than that.. there ought to be honor. There ought to be enough voters who are outraged by this behavior to deny Republicans elective office.

Republican is a failed brand. Anyone using it should lose.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Guest Blogger, HildaB

Back in the 04 primary race, I found myself on the email list of HildaB. She regularly mailed to a large list from her AOL account.

In April of 04 the emails stopped. But I got a new one this afternoon. Hilda has given me permission to post it here. (The opening a close are for all of us. The middle part is for New York voters)
11/7 - VOTE as though your future depends upon it - 'cause it does!

Tomorrow, at long last - or too soon? - is election day. There's this optimism that the Democrats are going to take enough seats in the House and, possibly, the Senate to become a majority. The following is my message and I approve it.

HildaB erstwhile Plat du Jour.

Tomorrow's outcome depends upon you - your single vote does count as does those of your family, friends, neighbors and business associates; that's how votes adds up. A huge Democratic turnout is the skeleton key to Democratic success and we need you to turn it in the right direction.

Our complacency is the friend of the Republicans and they're not taking their voters for granted.
The following are some Democratic challengers to Republican incumbents in our State.

BKLYN/STATEN ISLAND: 13TH CD: The House Republican conservative incumbent is Vito Fossella; always in lockstep with Bush on issues ranging from Iraq to the privatization of Social Security. Mr. Fossella has been exposed by the NYDaily News and the SI Advance for his corruption and affiliation with Jack Abramoff. Stephen Harrison is our Democratic challenger. Steve is smart, knowledgeable, politically active and progressive. From the get-go, Steve has been against Bush's invasion of Iraq.

: Another conservative Republican, Sue Kelly is being challenged by JOHN Hall. John is a progressive Democrat and another who has opposed the Iraq invasion from the beginning.

: House conservative Republican John Sweeney is being challenged by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand. Smart, savvy and has been involved in our Party for quite some time. She'll make a great House Rep. and, I believe, the only (non-incumbent) woman running in New York.

: Incumbent Sherwood Boehlert is retiring and we have a great Democrat running, former DA Michael Arcurri.

First term and, yet again, conservative Republican Randy Kuhl is being challenged by Eric Massa. Eric is a Vietnam Veteran and has been extremely active within our Party. As with all the above mentioned challengers, Eric is a strong Democratic candidate based on his activism, progressive philosophy and wartime experience (at least he doesn't have to don a costume).

Each one of these Democratic challengers can win. But, truth be told, not without your help. Sadly, especially during mid-term elections, turnout is very low, in New York and nationally. Another truth, unless we take control of the House, we will not recover from the harm created by Bush and his in-lock-step Congress. There will be another push to privatize Social Security, there will be more families losing every thing because of medical needs with recourse to a fairbankruptcy law. And more and even worse will contaminate our future. If anyone thinks that our huge deficit can't get worse; picture this - China calls in its U.S. Treasury Bonds!!!

I am sending this message to my very, very large 'e' address book. I can only hope that I make even a little impact in contributing to a really big Democratic turnout. Actually, there is a good possibility that independents and Republicans will vote for a change. I know that politically, I'm taking to the 'congregation', but each of you are, individually and collectively, so important that I had to get this message out - and I still approve and hope that you do too.


Mickeleh's Take: Hilda is right. Our future does depend on voting tomorrow.

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Bush Snubs Harris. Crist Snubs Bush.

Solidarity. President Bush went to Florida today to campaign for Republicans. But GOP candidate for Governor, Charlie Crist ran to the other side of the state rather than appear with him. Meanwhile the President had no room at his rally for the GOP candidate for Senate, Katherine Harris.

Mickeleh's Take: There's a Chinese restaurant in my neighborhood with a dish they call "Sauteed Happy Family." It probably sounds better in the original Chinese. But here on the eve of the election, the Republicans are sure looking like a sauteed happy family. Is this the way Rove planned it?

The Robo-call Scandal Goes Unreported

This weekend, the progressive blogosphere has lit up with reports of harrassing and vote-suppressing robo-calls from Republican operatives. Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo seems to have taken the lead in pulling together reports from around the country, but you'll find coverage on Atrios, Kos, Left-Coster, Huffington Post,

In many cases the technique is to call with "information about [Democratic Candidate Name]." leading people to expect that it's from the Democratic candidate. The calls are repeatedly dialed to the point where recipients are enraged.

In some cases, however, the calling is the lowest form of dirty trick--threatening people that they will be prosecuted if they vote, or sending them erroneous information about their polling place. Here's a sample:
"This message is for Timothy Daly. This is the Virginia Elections Commission. We've determined you are registered in New York to vote. Therefore, you will not be allowed to cast your vote on Tuesday. If you do show up, you will be charged criminally.
According to Kos, "Daly has been registered to vote in Virginia since 1998, and he has voted for the last several cycles with no problem. He has filed a criminal complaint with the Commonwealth's attorney in Arlington."

Online Journal
calls this, "Rove's last minute tactic to steal the election." He's cleverly postponed his "October Surprise" until November when there's no time to respond.

Rahm Emmanuel has been on the phone with journalists trying to get coverage if this outrage, but so far, Rolling Stone is one of the few national news sources to report on Rahm's complaint (As if Rolling Stone is the first place we turn for political news). There's scant coverage elsewhere.

It's even made its way into the Washington 5th Congressional District race of Peter Goldmark.

For more information and advice on responding to Robo-calls, check out this Diary on Daily Kos.

Josh Marshall
put it this way:
Only one party has a nationwide campaign to deliver millions of intentionally-harassing calls disguised to appear that they're from the opposite party. That party is the Republican party. And the calls are funded by the NRCC -- the House GOP election committee.

It's the party of election subversion. Deal with it.
Mickeleh's Take: The cable outlets much prefer to promote their election coverage by having their anchors and analysts endlessly interview each other about what will happen tomorrow. As for what's actually happening today, it's less interesting to them. I'll bet Keith covers it. Considering that this story has been building for the past three days, it's a scandal that It is so under-reported.

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Kos weighs in with predictions

The weekend talk shows were dominated by the bloviators offering predictins for the outcome. Solid consensus the Dems take the House. Splits on the Senate. This morning Kos weighs in with his calls. Cautiously optimistic on a two-house sweep. Hugely confident of a wave in the house.

Bog Geiger has a race-by-race rundown that predicts Democrats will gain the six seats they need to take the Senate.

Mickeleh's Take: What do I know? Whatever happens is just the prelude to some very ugly battles ahead. The White House will not quietly cave on anything. The Wurlitzer is ready to keep up a heavy barrage against the Dems. And, there's a dust-up a-brewin' inside the Democratic party between the centrist Rahm Emanuel wing and what Dean used to call the Democratic wing of the Democratic party. Whether Dems win or lose there will be ongoing battle for the soul of the party. No rest for the committed.

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New GOP lie-language: "common-sense judges"

Yesterday on CBS Face the Nation, Joe Biden agreed that a Democratic-controlled Senate would change the kind of appointees that Bush would be able to clear for the Supreme Court. Biden said we wouldn't see more right-wing judges like Roberts and Alito. Frist put it this wasy... we wouldn't see any more "common-sense" judges like Roberts and Alito.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

When Joe Lieberman Calls

Mickeleh's Take: One of the best video mashups of the campaign.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Man Bites Dog. Bush Speaks Truth.

Thanks to Oliver Willis for posting this to YouTube.

Lewis Black's Nightmare Weekend

In his HBO comedy special, Red, White, and Screwed, Lewis Black was furious that the accelerating pace of Bush and GOP screw-ups was getting beyond him. "I don't even have a Ports of Dubai joke and we're on to immigration."

I feel his pain. The big wow finish to the Republican campaign to retain the House and Senate is spewing out more death, dishonor, and GOP dismay than anyone can track. Although Hotline makes a valiant effort.
  • Iraq is a bloodbath and Cheney is still cheerleading for the Bush Strategy.
  • The military press is united in calling for Rumsfeld's resignation (Has that ever happened?)
  • GOP Bush's pastor faces some big allegations and some minor admissions.
  • They're trying to spin the nuke cookbook on the Web fiasco
  • Three thumb drives with codes for defeating the locks on our Nukes got loose from Los Alamos
  • Bush can only speak in public in parts of Texas and Georgia
  • Baghdad is locked down for the announcement of the Hussein verdict. (And an American soldier is in enemy hands.)
  • The latest wave of polling shows a good chance of a Democratic sweep of both houses.
  • Newsweek says the Repubs are Looking for a Lifeboat
  • Washington Post says Repubs are desperate to hold the Senate
  • Dave Johnson says even the Kerry kerfuffle helped the dems
And what's left for the Republicans to couner all this? Looks like there still are a few doses of fear in the dispensary. Fox News has scheduled a "fear-mongering" marathon.

Mickeleh's Take: It's not in the bag. If you have any time to spare between now and the polls closing, spend it with the phone bank. It's a work-at-home get-out-the-vote program that targets the tight races with good lists. Give em a few hours. Please.

Warnings about Web Nuke Plans Ignored

Shades of the summer of 2001. Plenty of pre-9/11 warnings were floating through the system. Some of them even made it to Condi's office and into Bush's vacationing hands. (Condi's job title at the time was, um, National Security Advisor. Bush was still only President, not yet War President. I'm not sure whether he had the title of The Decider at that point. But, title or no, he decided to do nothing.)

Likewise, warnings about the exposure of dangerous nuclear secrets, were sloshing around the bureaucracy.
said scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California last month had protested some of the weapons papers on the site to the National Nuclear Security Administration, an arm of the Department of Energy that runs the nation’s nuclear arms laboratories. The objections “never perked up to senior management,” the official said. “They stayed at the midlevels.
Warnings about two of the most sensitive documents were taken down last month. But the rest remained publicly available until the Times blew the whistle Thursday night. The Times story lists several examples of warning raised and ignored.

The web gambit for captured docs was a calculated and acknowedged risk urged by the chairs of the Senate and House Select Committees on Intelligence, Pat Roberts (R Kansas) and Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R MI-02), . Roberts is the guy who has been keeping the lid on his Committee's investigation into pre-war intelligence. Hoekstra is the guy who stood next to Sen. Rick Santorum to proclaim they had found Saddam's WMD.

Whatever their impact on the security of the United States, at least their own seats are safe this year. Roberts is not up for re-election until2008. Hoekstra has never polled less than 60% of the vote in his district. This faces, Kimon Kotos, the same Democratic sacrificial lamb this year that he faced in 2004. The vote then was Hoekstra: 225,343 vs. Kotos: 94,040. That's 69.3% vs. 28.9% (the remainder going to third-parties). Kotos is hoping to do better this year. Maybe the GOP meltdown and these new revelations about Hoekstra's role may give him an added boost. But he's not on anyone's radar as a competitive challenger.

Mickeleh's Take: Hoekstra will hold his seat, but lose his chairmanship when the Dems sweep the house. Memo to Rahm (or his successor at the DCCC): recruit strong candidates everywhere.

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KO: How the Republicans Gave Away the Keys to the Atomic Store to Backstop a Talking Point

Mickeleh's Take: The gay pastor story seems to be dominating the news. But this was the big one. Watch through to the interview with Joseph Cirincione. "...a text-book case of what happens when you politicize intelligence...We gave terrorists and other nations a roadmap on how to build a nuclear bomb... This is a case of congressional ideologues, of zealots thinking that they can't trust our own intelligence officials..."

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Republican Response to Security Breach

My prediction of how the Republicans would respond to the Times' revelation that the administration posted the recipe for an A-bomb was wrong.

The correct answer is: "See, this proves Saddam was a threat! We were right to invade."

U.S. Puts Recipe for A-Bomb Online. In Arabic. (NYT)

This isn't the Onion. It's the New York Times!

Remember Condi's, "We don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud"?

So, why did the Bush administration post detailed notes for building a nuclear bomb in Arabic?

Why? Because the administration caved to pressure by Congressional Republicans (memo to voters: vote them out!) to post an archive of secret documents seized in Iraq, hoping to use the wisdom of crowds to uncover evidence for WMDs.
"The campaign for the online archive was mounted by conservative publications and politicians, who said that the nation’s spy agencies had failed adequately to analyze the 48,000 boxes of documents seized since the March 2003 invasion. With the public increasingly skeptical about the rationale and conduct of the war, the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence committees argued that wide analysis and translation of the documents — most of them in Arabic — would reinvigorate the search for clues that Mr. Hussein had resumed his unconventional arms programs in the years before the invasion. American search teams never found such evidence."
Mickeleh's Take: Will this story get more play or less than the Kerry kerfuffle? Prediction: The Republican line will be "How dare the Times expose this breach of security! Do they want the terrorists to win?"

For more on this story: Oliver Wills, Christy Hardin Smith (Firedog Lake), Digby,

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Halloween Kerry Takes off His Leader Costume

For Halloween, Kerry dressed up as a strong leader and spoke with strength. Today, he took off the costume, put on his flip-flops and apologized. He's back to his accustomed role of being out-spun and out-maneuvered by Bush and the fair-weather democrats.

Mickeleh's Take: Ford and McCaskill, if you win--and I hope you do--please show more spine in the Senate than you did in piling on Kerry. Hilary, I noticed and will remember the cheap shot you threw at Kerry.
Deep breath. Pep-talk time again: The upside of this incident is that it keeps Iraq in the spotlight. The other upside is that we learn early that for all his smarts and virtues, Kerry is not the guy I want carrying our banner in 2008. He might have been yesterday. But not today. Halloween is over.

Jane Hamsher to John Kerry: How to Handle a GOP Attack

Using the Kerry kerfuffle as a text, Jane Hamsher on Firedoglake offers some simple advice on how to avoid falling into the traps set by the Republican.

Mickeleh's Take: Every Dem and Dem supporter should enroll immediately in Janes short remedial brush-up in case you get asked (on or off TV).

Because of Iraq

This ad is from It will run on CNN and Fox through Nov. 7.

Another POV on Bush vs. Kerry's botched joke

I have second thoughts about my previous post.

Maybe the Bush interpretation of what Kerry said wasn't a calculated ploy.

On Kos, DarkSyd reminds us of the service record of Bush and his apologists.

Mickeleh's Take: Maybe when Bush thought Kerry really meant that if students aren't good in school, they'll be shipped off to war, it was simply the way Bush and his team felt about service in Viet Nam: You only go to war if you're too stupid to get out of it. No wonder Colin Powell didn't fit in with that gang.

Kerry Won Keith; Elsewhere the Snow Job Prevails

Dave Winer quotes Keith Olbermann's best quip last night about Kerry's botched joke on the White House:
"Kerry called them stupid and they were too stupid to know he called them stupid."
Sorry, but if we believe that, then we're too stupid to know that they knew he wasn't talking about the troops.

The Bush communications strategy has long been to make up false Democratic positions and then ridicule them. They make 'em up out of whole cloth: The Democrats oppose interrogating terrorists. Their strategy is to wait until we're attacked again. They'll raise your taxes across the board.

How much more so when Kerry hands them the material. The Bush communications team is venal, not stupid. They just assume we're stupid. And the media is stupid. Which it apparently is.

Mickeleh's Take: I love that Kerry promptly hit back with force and speed. But if you want to know who won this round, consider that Bush will speak every day until election day, and Kerry has canceled upcoming appearances. Looking to 2008, Kerry won himself points for hitting back fast, lost as many for once again getting his lines wrong in the first place. He needs to stick to gravitas and leave levity to the pros.

Dave Winer points out the upside to this flap: "Every time [Bush] opens his mouth and gets on TV that keeps the focus on Iraq, and the basic weakness of the Republicans..."

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Comcast Knows What Liberals Watch

According to Comcast, Fox News is for conservatives, CNN is for independents, and MSNBC is (oops!) also for conservatives.

Comcast Spotlight, the ad sales division of my cable provider, is currently running a commercial to pitch candidates and issue advocates on the benefits of (you guessed it) buying time on Comcast.

To help political advertisers reach the right viewers, they conveniently provide this simple sorting:

  • TV Land
  • Comedy Central
  • Bravo
  • Discovery
  • BET
  • The History Channel
  • Fox News
  • A&E
  • CMT
  • VH1
  • Spike
  • HGTV
  • CNN
  • TLC
Mickeleh's Take: It's a relief to have Comcast confirm what we already know: there is no news network for liberals. Unless you count Comedy Central. (Don't these guys know about Keith Olbermann?)

Kerry Actually Hits Back in the Same News Cycle

Yesterday, Kerry botched a line intended as a joke on the White House. Today, Tony Snow, in another example of the desperation of the GOP, deliberately misconstrued Kerry's line as an attack on the troops and demanded an apology.

Here's the man-bites-dog sequel: Kerry hit back hard, strong, and, most remarkably, fast. He got his reply out there in the same news cycle as the attack. Let's see what play TV news gives him.

Mickeleh's Take: I like these new Democrats.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Olbermann's Obit for "Stay the Course"

After a week in the archives, the Countdown staff has pulled even more clips, allowing Keith Olbermann to offer a fitting, heartfelt Eulogy for "Stay the Course." If you have Keith on Moxi or other DVR... It's at the close of the show. If not, wait a short interval and someone will have it online.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

GOP Osama Ad vs. Johnson Daisy Ad: Where is the Love?

Last week, the GOP paid its own good money to rebroadcast the same Al Qaeda messages that they criticized the news media for airing in the first place. It's shameful but not surprising that the GOP would become a paid echo-chamber for Al Qaeda talking points. After all both Al Qaeda and the GOP operate under the banner, "Fear is our most important product."

People have compared the GOP ad to the seminal Daisy spot created by Tony Schwartz at Doyle, Dane Bernbach for Lyndon Johnon's campaign against Goldwater in 1964. (Watch it on YouTube.)

The GOP even borrowed the copy line, "these are the stakes." from Daisy.

But they only borrowed the beginning of the line. What Johnson actually said in the voice-over to Daisy was this:
"These are the stakes: to make a world in which all of God's children can live or go into the dark. We must either love each other or we must die."
Johnson's rhetoric was about "all God's children," and "love." The GOP rhetoric is all about naming and nicknaming enemies that only they can protect us from, (terrorists, axis of evil, Islamofascists, defeatocrats, cut-and-runners).

Furthermore, the implication of the GOP ad is this: if we don't vote for them, Osama will use the bomb. Whereas the implication of the Johnson ad was this: if we didn't vote for him, the U.S. might use the bomb.

Think about that. Imagine in today's climate that you could run on the fear that the U.S. might do the wrong thing. Democrats today are even skittish about denouncing torture lest they reinforce the Republican accusation that Dems are weak.

Copy and rhetoric aside, there's another measure of the difference between the two spots. The GOP ad ignores all of the deeper wisdom about powerful communications that makes Daisy effective. Tony Schwartz discusses Daisy in, The Responsive Chord:
I believe television spots function well as electronic posters for a candidate; i.e., they create auditory and visual stimuli that can evoke a voter's deeply held feelings. Indeed, the best political commercials are similar to Roschach patterns. They provide a context for him to express these feelings...

Many people, especially the Repubicans, shouted that the spot accused Senator Goldwater of being trigger-happy. But nowhere in the spot is Goldwater mentioned. There is not even an indirect reference to Goldwater. Indeed, someone unfamiliar with the political climate in 1963 and viewing the spot today will not perceive any allusion at all to Goldwater... The commercial evoked a deep feeling in many people that Goldwater might actually use nuclear weapons. This mistrust was not in the Daisy spot. It was in the people who viewed the commercial.
Schwartz built his advertising around resonance. He belived that the audience already had more information than an advertiser could cram into a commercial. The best strategy of a communicator is not to pour things into the audience, but to call up what is already there.

Are there any resonant Democratic TV spots today? Which ones do you think work this way?

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Opposition Research

Here's a handy list of press coverage of some of our opponents. If you'd like to add something like this to your blog--and for a discussion of why you might, click over to this Chris Bowers' entry on MyDD. And this one.

--WA-Sen: Mike McGavick
--WA-08: Dave Reichert

-AZ-Sen: Jon Kyl
--AZ-01: Rick Renzi
--AZ-05: J.D. Hayworth
--CA-04: John Doolittle
--CA-11: Richard Pombo
--CA-50: Brian Bilbray
--CO-04: Marilyn Musgrave
--CO-05: Doug Lamborn
--CO-07: Rick O'Donnell
--CT-04: Christopher Shays
--FL-13: Vernon Buchanan
--FL-16: Joe Negron
--FL-22: Clay Shaw
--ID-01: Bill Sali
--IL-06: Peter Roskam
--IL-10: Mark Kirk
--IL-14: Dennis Hastert
--IN-02: Chris Chocola
--IN-08: John Hostettler
--IA-01: Mike Whalen
--KS-02: Jim Ryun
--KY-03: Anne Northup
--KY-04: Geoff Davis
--MD-Sen: Michael Steele
--MN-01: Gil Gutknecht
--MN-06: Michele Bachmann
--MO-Sen: Jim Talent
--MT-Sen: Conrad Burns
--NV-03: Jon Porter
--NH-02: Charlie Bass
--NJ-07: Mike Ferguson
--NM-01: Heather Wilson
--NY-03: Peter King
--NY-20: John Sweeney
--NY-26: Tom Reynolds
--NY-29: Randy Kuhl
--NC-08: Robin Hayes
--NC-11: Charles Taylor
--OH-01: Steve Chabot
--OH-02: Jean Schmidt
--OH-15: Deborah Pryce
--OH-18: Joy Padgett
--PA-04: Melissa Hart
--PA-07: Curt Weldon
--PA-08: Mike Fitzpatrick
--PA-10: Don Sherwood
--RI-Sen: Lincoln Chafee
--TN-Sen: Bob Corker
--VA-Sen: George Allen
--VA-10: Frank Wolf

Jon Stewart Took the Night Off

The Bush "We've never been, 'cut and run'" lie got a free pass from Jon Stewart, whose on break this week. Fortunately, it's a bit that's so easy, lots of other folks are doing the montage. Still, I miss seeing the take wehre Jon digs the heels of his hands into his eyes and goes, "Wha....?"

Monday, October 23, 2006

Polermo: What Republicans Will Be Voting For

Good piece of polemical writing nails the disintegration of the Republican coalition.

Stay the Course... Flunk the Course

Jon Stewart has me so well conditioned, that immediately when I heard Pres. Bush tell George Stephanopolous "Listen, we've never been, 'stay the course,' George," I immediately ran a Daily Show clip-bonanza in my head. "we've never been, 'stay the course," followed by cut after cut after cut of Bush being, "stay the course" and maybe the great Amen Chorus echoing."

Think Progress has assembled a rough cut, The upstairs clip is Dan Bartlet saying, it's never been "stay the course." The downstairs clip is the one that ran in my head. Bush and Snow trading choruses of "Stay the Course." Think Progress lacks the crisp comic timing we've learned to expect of the Daily Show, and we don't have Stewart's comic takes to punch it up. But it's all there. And worth watching.

So, now that obvious has already been done, what will Stewart's crew do tonight to top it?

It was no slip of the tongue, by the way. Bush, Bartlett, and Snow in quick succession claimed that Oceana has never been at war with Eastasia.

Mickeleh's Take: Looks like the White House is cutting and running from staying the course. I guess that makes 'em flip floppers. Maybe GWB is remembering back to college days, where you didn't have to stay the course if you feared flunking. Maybe GWB is remembering when it was possible to drop the course without penalty.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Gore Vidal: Two Generations to Undo Bush Damage

Lyn Davis Lear reports on a dinner conversation with Gore Vidal. His grim view is that it will take at least two generations to undo "the last six years of damage to the nation." Vidal also shared his (realistic? paranoid?) view on why the White House remains "upbeat" about the upcoming election: "the Bush-Cheney henchmen could simply call on martial law."

Mickeleh's Take: Vidal is optimistic about the recovery. The repairs won't begin in the next two years. But, if martial law is not declared and Democrats take one or both houses, the rate of damage may slow. As for the many scenarios circulating for how the Republicans will steal the upcoming election, best to ignore them (for now). If progressives believe that voting is futile, that's a guaranteed loss. If you have any time to spare, volunteer for a Democratic get out the vote operation.

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Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ask Yourself the Questions Posed by Bush

When Bush signed the Military Commissions Act into law he used, as Jeffrey Feldman points out, the frame of history. The same frame that led him to call the carnage of Iraq "a comma." Bush has faith that, ultimately, all his actions will have a good outcome, despite what temporary inconveniences they may create along the way. It's a wonderfully liberating way to look at the world. If Iraq's woes are healed any time in any distant future, then Bush can claim credit for having paved the way. I suppose Hitler could similarly claim credit for putting Germany on a path to its current democratic prosperity.

It's a completely consequence-free view of action. The way Bush sees it, the game is never lost, because it's never completed. There will always be more innings.

Bush looked back from a distant history when the U.S. will have defeated the evil-doers to justify his sacking of rights that have been part of our tradition since the Magna Carta.

Yet, with the distance of history, the questions will be narrowed and few: Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?

Let me propose a narrow view. Let's take those two questions out of the eschatological framework in which Bush posed them. Let's take them very literally and shine a cold light of irony on them.

It was Keith Olbermann who first called attention to the fact that those questions rightly point back to Bush himself.

We'll learn the answer on Nov. 7.

"Did this generation of Americans take the threat seriously?"

"Did we do what it takes to defeat the threat?"

Can you give more time and/or more money to defeat the Republican candidates for Senate, House, Governor, and Secretary of State?

Please, take the Bush threat seriously. And please, do what it takes to defeat it.