Tuesday, September 20, 2005

John Edwards' Speech at Center for American Progress

John Edwards' Speech at Center for American Progress

Restoring the American Dream
An excerpt from my guest-blog at the One America blog:

John Edwards assures us that a war on Poverty is not a futile one. He envisions what he calls the Working Society, where every American who works hard should have tangible rewards to show for it, whether it's a home, a savings account, a chance to get ahead, an education, a safe neighborhood, or easier access to a job. It is based upon the principle that no one succeeds on their own and it strengthens our national community by making the pact that, if you're willing to hold up your end of the bargain, the Working Society will make sure you are able to get ahead, and not just get by.

What I appreciate most about Sen. Edwards is that, unlike any Democrat today, he has forwarded concrete ideas that will make a real difference in the personal lives of so many poor and hard-working Americans who aren't looking for a hand-out, but are instead willing, responsible, and enthusiastic partners in the Working Society. The ideas he brings to us are not ideas to benefit the poor alone; they are for all of us - one America. With our eyes focused upon a higher purpose and a new social compact, we will be a stronger national community.

I wish to end with some lines from a song that increased my own awareness of Poverty many years ago, and it reinforces John Edwards' hope to see fewer Americans living "just a bank account away" from the American dream. It's by one of my favorite songwriters, Nanci Griffith:

Can you spare the time?
Can you spare a dime?
Can you look me in the eye?
I'm down 'n' out
And I am lonely
Do you ever think of me on
No. I don't live
Across the water
Hey, I live right here
On this corner
...just a bank account away from

- from the song Down 'N' Outer by Nanci Griffith


See Ezra Klein's Been A Long Time Since I Had This Feeling

Comments in the media:

Thomas Oliphant: Edwards got it right about poverty [Boston Globe]

Dan Balz uses the angle that the Edwards speech was one of three recent public appearances (Bill Clinton, Edwards, Kerry) that was an opportunity to criticize the handling of Katrina'a aftermath. While that may be so, in part, I would be disappointed to think that's the main point that most people might take away about Edwards' speech after reading the Washington Post article. The speech was brimming with new ideas, something you rarely see (or hear about) in the Democratic party these days. I noticed that Tracey Schmitt, press secretary for the Republican National Committee, had accused Edwards of attempting to politicize the tragedy along the Gulf Coast. It looks like Dan Balz wrote his piece all around the RNC fear. I think we miss a lot of constructive ideas when politics get in the way, but that's how the big show goes on, I suppose.

Chaos In Iraq Today

Chaos In Iraq Today

This is opening up a can of worms. I'd be remiss not to bring it to your attention.

In the WSJ, Yochi J. Dreazen says that new doubts are being raised about the U.S.-led coalition's strategy for pacifying southern Iraq by giving free rein to Shiite religious militias with ties to neighboring Iran.

Juan Cole says the NYT has the only version that makes any sense.

A spokesman for Moqtada al-Sadr has accused Abu Musab al-Zarqawi of dividing Shiites.

The British papers are mulling over what this means - and what comes next.

The Telegraph has asked the public for their comments - do they see a civil war in Iraq today?

Dem Leadership Should Take This Advice

Dem Leadership Should Take This Advice
Markos had some words for Dem leadership that I found to be excellent advice.
Iraq is only going to get worse. There is little danger in calling for a troop withdrawl upon approval of the Iraqi Constitution. Most Americans don't expect us to hold Iraq's hand for the long-term. It's their country, they're going to have to survive on their own. While "we broke it, we fix it" has its moral attractiveness, fact is we can't fix it. Only Iraq can, and we must let them do so..We also need the money and troops to help rebuild the gulf coast and prepare for the next big disaster. Katrina was definitely not the last we'll face.
Serious Democrats cannot take a muddled approach to Iraq. "Staying the course" is a phrase that has become meaningless to Americans, who are not stupid and can see that "the course" has produced disastrous results, and we have not learned from these mistakes because the president won't admit he made any. Polls show that Americans are afraid and non-trusting on the issue of this war. They need to hear that there is, indeed, a timetable for bringing our troops back. More than that, Americans are caring people, and they know we've gone in and bombed the hell out of Iraq - and we aren't the kind of society that would run from an obligation to assist in rebuilding the country. Like it or not, Bush committed us to this mess and we will never regain any international respect if we break a nation and fail to assist in fixing a new infrastructure.
The window of opportunity is not closed. Most Democrats can support a pull-out now and escape appearances of pandering (especially with Katrina as cover). But if they wait until next year as Iraq burns hotter and public support for the war falls further, and suddenly announce a big turnabout on the war, they will be every bit the panderers they appear to be. And if they continue supporting the war, they'll simply be supporting a failed adventure with no hope of success..In other words, Democrats can still get ahead of the issue, or they'll be on the wrong side of history next year. But that window of opportunity is closing fast.
Now is the time. Now. Now. Now. Before anti-war protestors clash with pro-war supporters. Before things in Iraq get worse. Before FOX News and National Review morph the public's opinion of you into silent supporters of "the course" and we send more soldiers to die. Americans are intelligent and intuitive people. Trust them. They'll trust you if you do.

Read Kos' entire post on this issue.

Sheehan Manhandled by Authorities at Peaceful NYC Rally

Sheehan Manhandled by Authorities at Peaceful NYC Rally

I picked this one up from Common Ills. It appears that Cindy Sheehan was manhandled yesterday by the New York City authorities.

I attended a Bring Them Home Now rally last week, and I can tell you, in no uncertain terms, that these people are intelligent, introspective, and they do not promote any kind of violence. In Syracuse, some of the speakers engaged those in the crowd who had oppositional beliefs with respect and entertained their concerns.

I'm disgusted that the authorities would have treated Mrs. Sheehan in this manner, whether or not the paperwork had been properly filed.

Posse Comitatus Revisited

Posse Comitatus
"The Dims will raise a great cry against this in an attempt to style themselves defenders of liberty."

- Freeper quote, exposing the fear that surrounds the Bush administration's revisiting of the Posse Comitatus Act.
I can just hear Gore Vidal saying, "I told you so." We cannot allow the Bush administration to turn us into a banana republic with a wealth-filthy class on one side of a divide, a deep canyon in between, and the rest of us on the other side - with our own military policing our side. That's a sickening thought.
"Americans need to rethink how to protect the country curtailing the rights and the privileges of the free society that we defend."

- Gore Vidal

*tip o' the hat to Pam Spaulding on the Freeper quote

Bob Livingston Boggles Minds

Bob Livingston Boggles Minds
...with his absurd finger-pointing

At Think Progress, Judd exposes former Congressman Bob Livingston for the boob he appears to be. Still blaming Clinton - for things he's never had control over. I got this tip from Andrew Sullivan, who calls it mind boggling.

Five years into the Clnton Presidency -
"I would like to note that the current economic expansion is now entering its seventh year. That makes it already a long upswing by historical standards. And yet, looking ahead, the prospects for sustaining the expansion are quite favorable."

- Alan Greenspan, March 20, 1997
Those were the days.

Clinton Disappoints on Iraq

Clinton Disappoints on Iraq

I believe that Bill Clinton was one of the best presidents this country has ever had. He was an excellent diplomat, and I saw him being a very good diplomat yesterday at exactly the when he shouldn't have been. I thought that former President Clinton was far too careful yesterday when he was interviewed about the Iraq war by Tim Russert on Meet the Press. In an atmosphere where I don't just suspect, but I know that I (and all Americans) have been lied to - flat out and bold faced - by our President, platitudes, soft criticism, and wimpy rationalizations just don't engender my trust or warrant my respect. Those who care about America understand that America is worth fighting for. I want a man or woman of firm and undeniable conviction to say the words to Tim Russert or George Stephanopoulos which give clear indication and acknowledgement that we've been bamboozled on Iraq - that it's clearly a disaster - and that we must change the course - and not throw one more troop's body to the Iraqi civil war until we can show that we're capable of cooperating with international allies to organize a protective force for innocent citizens while their burgeoning democracy is "growing up".

Bill Clinton didn't do that. If you ask me, he looked like a bowl of cold pablum.

I was disappointed in his performance. What he did gives every one of the right wingnuts who tried to destroy his own presidency the ammunition to continue to attack Democrats of conviction - like his own VP Al Gore.

Arianna Huffington commented on her belief that Russert dropped the ball and how National Review moved in to take Clinton's cold pablum on Iraq and spin it into more of Bush's Fools' Gold.

There's a fallacy about this being the first time one former American President has publically criticized the incumbent President. It's being spread by Powerline, and it stems from an AFP report with an overdramatic (and decidedly false) headline ["Clinton launches withering attack on Bush"] :
"Breaking with tradition under which US presidents mute criticisms of their successors, Clinton said the Bush administration had decided to invade Iraq "virtually alone and before UN inspections were completed, with no real urgency, no evidence that there were weapons of mass destruction."
First of all, that's not a "withering attack." It's the damned TRUTH. Only a fool or a blind partisan couldn't tell the difference.

John Hinderaker speaks of the public criticism, saying, "This has never happened before," which is totally false. High-profile blogger should be careful about disseminating obvious disinformation.


UPDATE: Arianna has more on this today (Sept 20). See Bill Clinton's Muddled Attempt to Own the Middle