Tuesday, November 23, 2004



After 24 years, Dan Rather will be stepping down as CBS anchor, effective March 9, 2005. Also, see Whither Dan Rather, SF Chronicle editorial.
Note: I agree there will be a temptation, especially among Dan Rather's legion of rabid right-wing critics, to attribute his departure to the forged-documents scandal. I find it interesting that he is going out on this controversial note, because he spent his entire career vociferously chasing down and exposing the most corrupt politicians. This was a fight to the finish, and even with his mistake, knowing that he was trying to expose George W Bush in a realistic light is not something I consider to be evil. We're living in a time when too many media stars are licking the boots of the Bushites, and we got an unnecessary war handed to us because of it. Talk about lies! Rather's rushed mistake cost him - and only him. Bush's rushed lies to take us to the Iraq war have killed a hundred thousand, and the count is not yet final.

Our Moral Values, by George Lakoff, The Nation, November 18, 2004
"We came together because of our moral values: care and responsibility, fairness and equality, freedom and courage, fulfillment in life, opportunity and community, cooperation and trust, honesty and openness. These are traditional American values and principles, what we are proudest of in this country. The Democrats' failure was a failure to put forth our moral vision, celebrate our values and principles, and shout them out loud.."
[RELATED: Cast Away- Our Vanished Values- Where they went, and why—and how they might come back, by Michael Feingold, Village Voice, November 9th, 2004]

Intelligence Reform: If Not Now, When? (2 Letters to Editor, NYT)
Here, you'll find two letters to the NY Times editors.
The first is from Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband Ronald was killed in the terror attack in NYC on 9/11. She's disgusted. Can you blame her?

The second letter makes a point similar to my own on November 4. I had said: "President Bush wonders why Washington D.C .is bitter. He still wonders that, after four years? Is he daft? Is he that much of an overly sensitive boob? Does he not understand that he has had a direct effect on the DC mood and environment?"

Hugh Crossin from Walnut Creek, California says:
"In the third debate, President Bush expressed his disappointment at how partisan Washington politics has become. In this instance, when the "war on terror" is actually the subject, the president must either confront the Hastert-DeLay tactics or accept responsibility for the continuing, partisan disorder."

Americans Show Clear Concerns on Bush Agenda
By Adam Nagourney and Janet Elder, NYT, November 23, 2004
"[Bush] won despite the fact that Americans disapproved of his handling of the economy, foreign affairs and the war in Iraq. Americans now have a better opinion of the Democratic Party than of the Republican Party; 31 percent of respondents said they thought that evangelical Christians had too much influence over the administration; 66 percent said they thought big business had too much influence over the administration; 48 percent of the respondents said they believed four more years of a Bush presidency would divide the nation more than it would unite it; Americans were evenly divided on whether television, movies and books were including too many gay themes and characters; Americans said they opposed changing the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage, which Mr. Bush campaigned on in the final weeks of his campaign.."

Chasing Its Tale - The Chron gets scooped on Bush -- by one of its own, by Michael Serazio, Houston Press
"The gems that emerged from their conversations had Baker believing that he'd stumbled upon a "self-scoop" -- one that might even affect the election. According to Baker's report, Herskowitz said that Bush felt frustrated with his image as an "underachiever" compared to his father, that he had "failed" to complete his National Guard requirement during the Vietnam War and that his private business efforts had been "floundering." Perhaps most consequential: Herskowitz said that Bush had Iraq on his "to do" list as early as 1999. "[Bush] said, 'If I have a chance to invade…if I had that much capital, I'm not going to waste it,' " Baker writes, adding later that the ellipses were for a pause and not words omitted.."

Hawks push deep cuts in forces in Iraq, by Bryan Bender, Boston Globe, November 22, 2004
My Notes: Ken Adelman has shown himself to be a completely untrustworthy failure. Bush will cut and run, I'll bet. He knows his long-desired folly has been a sheer disaster. God forgive us for what we've done to Iraq- its infrastructure and its people. I predict these neoCons who got us into this mess and want us out of Iraq now will bring us to the brink of a new regime-changing war in Iran.

"..a report completed over the summer calling for a complete pullout next year has struck a chord...."Our large, direct presence has fueled the Iraqi insurgency as much as it has suppressed it," said Michael Vickers, a conservative-leaning Pentagon consultant and longtime senior CIA official who supported the war. Retired Army Major General William Nash, the former NATO commander in Bosnia, said: "I resigned from the 'we don't have enough troops in Iraq' club four months ago. We have too many now." ..President Bush has said the US military will stay "as long as necessary" to set the country 'on the path toward democracy'...Even leading war supporters such as Max Boot, an influential neoconservative thinker derided by critics as one of those who believe the United States must stick it out for an undetermined amount of time, contends that the US presence is beginning to threaten long-term goals..."Bush will surprise his opponents by disengaging from Iraq," predicted Edward Luttwak, a longtime Pentagon consultant who has argued that the push to create a democracy in Iraq will prove futile...Said Ken Adelman, a member of the Defense Policy Board who predicted the Iraq war would be a "cakewalk": "If there is a [stable] Iraqi government after January you can withdraw. I would be OK with that."

Josh Marshall's eagerness to find out more about who in the GOP caucus was for and who was against the "DeLay rule" -- the new rule allowing Tom DeLay (R-TX) and future indictees to continue in their House leadership roles after being indicted-- has caused him to do some great investigation. Read Talking Points Memo to update yourself on the developments as they occur.

Josh is also tenaciously keeping up with the "Istook amendment" story.

Petition: Draft Howard Dean for DNC Chair

Petition: Draft Howard Dean for DNC Chair

There is no substitute for the real thing.

Go here.

From an e-mail from the DraftHoward.com group:
"Here are some things that we need to remember as the debate goes on:

This is a contest between centrists. All of those being mentioned have centrist bona fides. Some pundits, egged on by a delighted GOP, insist on some ideological divide in our party -- but evidence of such a divide in scarce. Bill Clinton's two terms as president set the new paradigm for the Democratic Party and everyone in this race has followed his lead on innovative, moderate policy. As for Dean, centrist groups like the DLC praised Dean's re-election as Governor of Vermont.

This is a contest between the establishment and the reformers. We must decide between a party of insiders, lobbyists and consultants who want to keep the status quo, and a party that looks to real people, small donors and new ideas. Howard Dean -- who breathed new life into the party with his campaign -- is the candidate of reform. The people who oppose Dean believe that the party is on the right path. The insiders even admit that they don't want change: Rep. Bob Matsui, who chaired the DCCC this cycle, said recently, "We need someone who is part of the Democratic establishment. Someone who is more of a known quantity."

This contest has nothing to do with policy issues. The vast majority of Democrats — including Dean and virtually all of the other potential chairmen -- agree that we need health care for everyone, but not a single-payer, government-run system. And that we need to invest in schools, but only while balancing our budgets at the same time. And that the world's strongest military is much stronger when it leads a global alliance built on our moral leadership and sustained by trust and respect for America.

This is a contest about who we are. Are we a party that says, "We're for everything the president says, except for the truly horrible things"? Or are we a party that says "This is our agenda of new ideas and fundamental reform"? Do we hem and haw, and let Republicans dictate the terms of debate? Or do we define ourselves, our values and our ideas on our own terms? Do we worry, fear, and play defense? Or do we speak clearly, stand up for ourselves, and play offense?

We need a leader who will not only convince America that we are right — we need a leader who will inspire us to stand up for the fundamental values we know are right.

Make sure you forward this email to everyone you know who cares about the future of our party. And ask that they sign the petition:


You can also write to any DNC member about why we need to Draft Howard as our next leader. We have all the information on the site.

Please send along your ideas about how we can promote our cause and what you can do to help. Thank you so much for joining and I will be in touch again soon.

Kevin Thurman