Mark Shields, of The News Hour and CNN talking head fame, writes in "Democrats owe a debt to Dean": [Dean's] opponents for the Democratic nomination are indebted to Howard Dean for making them better and sharper candidates.
Dr. Dean nearly performed a vertebrae transplant on his rivals, with challenges like, "Most importantly, I want my party to stand up for what we believe in again," and, "The deal I'm going to make you is this: If you make me the Democratic nominee, I'll make you proud to be Democrats again," and, "If you're going to defend the president's tax cuts and if you're going to defend the president's war, I frankly don't think we can beat George Bush by being Bush Lite."
For millions of Democrats dispirited by their party's fear in the 2002 campaign at being branded by Bush as "soft on terrorism," Howard Dean gave them hope that they were not alone. It was Dean, according to my notes, who condemned "companies (that) are leaving the country to avoid paying taxes or to avoid paying people livable wages.
I got an e-mail from a reader suggesting that maybe the REAL reasons Dean screamed are the same ones that should have us all screaming: *the 2 million unemployed workers. *the 500+ U.S. soldiers dead. *the 10,000 U.S. soldiers who have been evacuated from Iraq for wounds, sickness or mental distress. *the lose of America’s credibility abroad. *the two trillion dollar deficit. *the $7 Billion that is missing from the No Child Left Behind Bill. *the “Clear Skies Initiative” that allows more polution into the air. *the 41,000,000 people in this country who go to bed without healthcare. *the $120 million Bush has collected in special interest money. *the hope that is slipping out of our democratic system.
This is well worth the read. Artois' transcripts show the idiocy of pseudo-journalists Lisa Meyes and Paula Zahn. Dean's chief Trippi calls Zahn on her bullshit. Sorry to be crass, but as my Uncle Dave said of another journalist: "Her brains are in her boobs."
Nation's Mayors Say Security Funds Lacking: [excerpt] The U.S. Conference of Mayors released a survey of 215 cities that found 76 percent have yet to receive any of the $1.5 billion in federal homeland security funds designated for "first responder" teams such as police and fire departments.
Study Published by Army Criticizes War on Terror: [excerpt] A scathing new report published by the Army War College broadly criticizes the Bush administration's handling of the war on terrorism, accusing it of taking a detour into an "unnecessary" war in Iraq and pursuing an "unrealistic" quest against terrorism that may lead to U.S. wars with states that pose no serious threat.
Annan Warns of Narrow Focus on Terrorism: [excerpt] U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned the United States and other rich countries Friday that a too-narrow focus on fighting terrorism could worsen global tensions and threaten human rights.
My impressions from "out there" in blogland is that Wes Clark is not the black horse, but the extra horse. He's becoming many Dems' 2nd choice. Once Kerry clobbered Dean in Iowa, Clark--who up until then was emerging as the "anti-Dean"--seemed a bit superfluous. But his case for the presidency is unique.
Clark has been a leader at the highest levels. As the Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, he was Eisenhower's heir--the highest-level military diplomat and decision-maker dealing directly with our allies' leaders. He helped set policy and strategy; he dealt with everything from military intelligence to the concerns of the common soldier, and he commanded billions of dollars of American resources, human, material, and intellectual.
Clark is a brilliant man, a Rhodes scholar who has expertise in several fields, including alternative energy and economics--the former of which comes from his recent work as a private businessman, the second of which from his studies at Oxford.
Clark is electable. Rove-Cheney-Bush can't make Clark look soft on national defense or terrorism. He's a Southerner, which could help the Democrats win "red" states in the South. He's attractive and likable; he has a definite buoyancy about him, and is a good motivator. Also, he is also a Vietnam vet who was wounded in battle and decorated for heroism.
Clark is in the spirit of FDR and Truman, someone who harks back to a muscular Democratic Party. He is bold in his criticisms of the Bush Administration and exposes the GOP's would-be monopoly on defense and patriotism as a lie. He's pro-choice; he has a great progressive taxation plan, and has plans for universal preschool and the expansion of domestic service opportunities, which would match the skills of Americanvolunteers with projects for the needy nationwide....like the Peace Corps, only for home.
Whether Clark is the Democrats' nominee or not, the Dems would be fools to let him go. Democrats want--need--more leaders like Wes Clark.
I'm disgusted with mainstream American media's political coverage. "Journalists" on TV especially are vapid, lazy sensationalizers. Karl Rove's correct that they're now just another special interest. It's crucial we all play watchdog. Report media irresponsibility toCampaignDesk.org, and read today's column in The Seattle Times.
Wow--a lot to think about post-Iowa. (And what a great victory speech by Kerry!)
Could this be: More evidence of the continued weakening of unions in America, because Dean and Gephardt got the lion's share of the union endorsements and both placed a miserable 3rd & 4th in Iowa, perhaps because too many unions have become less about workers' rights and more about exploitation of the members by leaders desperate to hold onto their offices?
(Answer: Not necessarily; Iowa was just one--and the earliest--contest for these Democratic candidates. Don't be too quick to draw sweeping conclusions.)
Could this be: Evidence that rhetoric--in the classical (& good) sense--isn't dead &/OR that the reality of America as an increasingly 3rd-world-like economically lopsided nation is getting though to voters, because John Edwards placed a strong 2nd in Iowa, but only after becoming, in the last month, a populist with a fantastic stump speech that is positive insofar as it stresses unifying America, but populist insofar as it also speaks both of "lifting up" the growing % of Americans in poverty and curtailing the power of the shrinking mega-elite cabal, the 1%, who own nearly 50% of all of America's wealth?
(Answer: [see above].) Could this be: Evidence that the Internet, Dean's special weapon, is better for fundraising than for organizing, or that the enthusiasm of young people sitting behind computers doesn't translate into real efforts and real votes?
(Answer: [see above].) Could this be:the beginning of the end of Howard Dean, despite the fact that his chances in New Hampshire are much better, since he's from the region and created a strong organization there many months ago? (Answer: [see above].)
Could this be:the end of the ending of Al Gore?Fat lot of good his endorsement seemed to do for Dean.
(Answer: [see above].)
Could this be:the beginning of the end of Wesley Clark, since Kerry is surging and is also a vet (though arguably cut from the failed Dukakis mold--not a Southerner, someone arguably lacking the "common touch"), despite the fact the Clark--like Kerry--was prematurely written off once before as a viable candidate?
James Sterngold in the San Francisco Chronicle: when VP Cheney spoke this week to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, he stressed "the increasing prospects of a major new terrorist attack and the extraordinary responses that are required." He didn't specify what extraordinary responses were in mind on the domestic front, but he "said Bush was establishing, as Truman had, a new structure for a new long-term war and spreading the military into new areas of the globe."