Democrats need to focus

While I let myself get over-excited, over-involved and over-stimulated by all the interesting political sideshows of late (Schiavo, DeLay, Frist's nuclear option), I think we need to refocus our energies on whats really important (politically)

In 2005, we've got governor races in NJ and VA.  More importantly, we need to retain control of the NJ legislature and regain control of the General Assembly and State Senate in VA.

In 2006, we will need to ensure the reelection of 13 governors (AZ, IL, KS, ME, MI, NH, NM, OK, OR, PA, TN, WI, and WY) and retain the governorship in IA.  

Its also critical we fight (and oust) Republicans governors seeking reeclection in CA, GA, AL, HI, MD, MA, MN, NY, RI, SC, VT and TX.  Plus, we've got to win politically important open GOP held governorships in FL, CO, and OH.

And as important as winning the vast majority of the 36 governorships is in 2006, we cannot forget the importance of making gains in state legislatures:

In TN, we need to regain the State Senate

In 2004, we lost the State Houses in GA, IN and OK.  Its essential to regain them.

In IA and MN, we're very close to controlling the State Senates (tied and two shy repectively).  

Governors serve 4 years and State Senators usually serve 4 years as well.  In 200, the Democrats virtaully assured 10 years of GOP control of Congress by not be more agressive in state legislature races.  

The current split between democrast and republicans in state legislatures is fairly even by head counts, but the GOP has the edge in total control of both State Legislatures in 19 States.  Of those states, AZ, VA, FL, IN, GA, MI, OH, PA, MO, TX,  and WI will be determining the geography of roughly 150-160 congressional districts. In IA, MN, KY, TN, and NY (where another 50-65 congressional districts will be drawn), the difference is winning fewer than 10 races (In KY, 4 seats retakes the St. Senate, in TN, 2 seats retakes the St. Senate, in NY, 5 seats takes the St. Senate, in MN, 2 seats takes the St. House, and in IA an increase of 1 seta in ether chamber will result in Democratic control.)  

If the Democrats improve the the political make-ups in state legislatures and win the key governorships (OH, PA, NY, CA, TX, GA, FL, WI, MI, and IL), we will not be mired in another 10 years of minority status.  

I don't think it helps to have a political analysts look back following the 2008 election and say "Not only did they lose theWhite House, but the political math has alll but screwed them out of controlling Congress for another decade..." I'd much rather here "The GOP's service to the Religious Right has cost them the White House and the US Senate and given gains made this year and in 2006, the Democrats are well positioned to retake control of the House." 

If you want to end filibusters

Play it to the bone

No Unanimous Consent for ANYTHING!  This is the way to fight the nuclear option.

Its time to force Frist's hand.  Schedule a vote on the nuclear option or have a "Hypocrite Sunday" (where you admit to the Dobson/FRC crowd all the Republican filibusters against Democratic nominees and how with the nuclear option you'll never have that right again).  If he refuses to schedule a vote or permanently withdraw the threat, the Democrats need to turn the Senate into a turtle walking up a piece of grease sheet metal.  Better still the Democrats should offer it (The sooner we get the Republicans on record opposing judicial filibusters the better!)

Which Republicans are against the Nuclear Option

I've have Collins, Snowe (bothy Maine) and McCain (AZ) against the Republican nuclear option with Hagel (NE), Chafee (RI), Graham (SC), Warner (VA), and Specter (PA) on the fence on not "on board with Frist" 

Also Nelson (FL) is considered a potential  bailer for the Democrats.

Does anyone have a better head count or a more certain one?

Chris et al Doesn't the nuclear option effectively gut the Judiciary Committee

Conservatives were extremely nervous to learn that newly reelected Senator Specter (moderate to liberal Republican) would likely be chairing the Judiciary Committee.  Given his pro-choice position and his stance against judges who would come in ready to overturn Roe v. Wade, the GOP needed to pursue a method of neutering Specter if he were to refuse to report nominations out of the Judiciary Committee.

When Clinton was in the White House, the Republican Majority hid behind "the nomination hadn't be reported out and/or the Committee hadn't held hearings yet" During W's reign, the Republicans were frustrated by nominations that couldn't come to a floor vote (due to filibusters).  

The problem isn't filibusters.  Republicans are fairly sure they might get 60 votes on most nominees (face facts, by and large, they will.)  The problem is that without Chairman Hatch reporting nominations out of Commitee, the Republicans need a means to fight anyone who opposes them.  This means wresting control of judicial nominations from the Judiciary Committee and its Chairman.  

It wouldn't happen all the time, but whenever the Religious Right and Ultra-conservatives have a nominee that could only muster 51 or 52 votes, they're going to want the means to confirm judges without the media circus that defines nominations these days.  "Quick and quiet before any realizes what just happened." Specter won't report out a nominee or refuses to schedule hearings, call it a filibuster and quote the new rule "filibusters are out of order on judicial nominees".   The nuclear option allows Senators to ask for a floor vote once they have 51 votes.  

If you really want to defeat the nuclear option (I don't --- see my most recent post), call Specter's office and tell him "You've waited 24 years to Chair this Committee and now the ultra-conservatives want to take away your authority to review judicial nominees" His number is 202-224-4254.  Oh, he's had a myriad of health problems (Hodgekins, brain cancer, etc.) so don't reminder his party's right wing is trying to castrate him now that he's the Cock of the Walk.

Lets support the "nuclear option"

You need reasons: Lawrence Tribe, Mark Tushnet, Larry Kramer, Michael Perry, Akhil Amar, Ronald Dworkin, Susan Estrich, Erwin Chemerinsky, Pamela Kargan, Drew Days III, Richard Fallon, Lani Guinier, Kenneth Karst, Frank Michelman, Eric Schnapper.   These law professors currently haven't got a snowball chance in hell of being a federal judge, and they know it.  

If the nuclear option is the rule, we get our judges in. PERIOD.  No Judiciary Committee bottlenecks, no stalling, no "holds".  Just some old fashioned "You had your turn, now its mine" styled revenge.  This list is only the tip of the iceberg; every liberal federal judge, excorciated by the Political and Religious Right, can be nominated by a Democratic President for Appellate Courts and the Supreme Court.

Normally, I'd be in the trenches fighting this maneuver with all my might.  But the Democrats have never shown the ability to play really political hardball. If they were, there would be full page newspaper ads, tv commercials and radio spots accusing virtually every Republican member of the Senate of being a hippocrite.  Local Democratic pols would be feeding local news the line by line, nominee by nominee, filibuster by filibuster actions taken by their Senators and asking (to the camera), "Why did he filibuster then, if he thought it was unfair, undemocratic, and obstructionist?"

I've told my Senators (Santorum and Specter)that I support this maneuver.  I want liberals (real ones) to get our turn.  With the nuclear option, liberal judges will not get run through the political meat grinder, there won't be a lengthy media circus, there will be little or no opportunity for political backlash.  You run the nominee by your party ahead of time, ensure you have 51 votes, and them its full steam ahead to confirmation.  In fact, the Judicary Committee's role will be unnecessary

Let's get serious and stop worrying about the nuclear option and focus on what's important: getting the additional 6 seats we need in the Senate in 2006 and electing a Democratic President in 2008.  And if the REpublicans rediscover tradition and the "original intent" of the Framers to use the Senate to prevent Tyranny by the Majority, we need to parade out their words, floor votes, fundraising, and political activism to get the nuclear option passed, reprint it all in the Congressional Record,deliver copies to their Seante office and invite them to eat their words.

Some thoughts after reflection

  1. Forget fighting voter intimidation, we need to fight to protect voter registration  - The real quest, over the next 12 months and the next two years, is to ensure every one of our voters is legally registered to vote.  As important as fighting voter intimidation, protecting everyone's legal right to vote and providing legal protection at the polls is, we need to fight the day to day problem.  Ken Blackwell and Katherine Harris won in 2000 and 2004 by making the problem last minute.  Federal judes are not interested in last minute legal todos.  Give them a pattern and a trail of documents and their hands are forced, we get an order in equity that makes voting easier.

  2. In 2006, we need to focus on governorships and statehouses --- The 2006 and 2008 state races will determine how redistricting will go in 2010.  We need to squeeze the radical right by making backroom deals impossible and putting ourselves in the position to make maps where it counts (i.e. CA, NY, PA, OH, IL, TX, FL and anywhere else where the map can gain more competitive or safe seats for progressives to run in)

  3. Its time to fight for political reform --- It is inane that the two most powerful players in vote counting in 2000 and 2004 (Ken Blackwell and Katherine Harris) were not simply the Secretaries of State of battleground states but chairs of the Bush Cheney campaign.  They were in position to do the dirty work without question for months and years.  This is wrong and we ought to make the job a political neutral zone by making it non-partisan as a matter of federal law.  Of course, if the GOP wants to oppose this, then tuirnabout is fairplay and the importance of iem 2 becomes readily apparent.

  4. Fight every battle --- in 2004, we only fought 398 out of 435 House races.  This frees up a lot of cash for close races elsewhere.  A credible campaign can be run on less than $50k.  The DSCC and state party operations must put field operations in every candidates hand.  Nothing less is acceptable

  5. Its time to hire Ted and Louise  --- In 1993, two liberal Democratica ctots played the role of a couple considering Health Care Reform.  We need them to point out how in 10 years the GOP Congress has achieved nothing and as a result the pooor, the working class and the middle class have suffered.   I cannot fathom why this was not done this year but we must start attacking not one but five do nothing Congresses

  6.  Make their agenda the issue --- In 1984, the GOP had a ball with the Dems platform.  We need to make every member of the GOP defend the idiocy of the radical right and force them to reject the same or change parties.  The dynamic of playing independent and being a party loyalist will create the fractures and tension we need to succeed.

Commit yourselves now to WORKING

  1. Vote
  2. Work the polls
  3. make the calls on election day to those who have not voted yet
  4. Do not let anyone challenge voters through intimidation, lies, or threats of criminal prosecution (most state AGs agree, the only legitimate challenge is that you aren't registered to vote)
  5. STOP BLOGGING. Staying on-line is not helping at this point (its political onanism actually)

I will be working in Chester County PA for the next 60 hours or so.....see you all early wednesday morning

Kerry is running victory ads in PA

These are the ads where Kerry speaks to a crowd about tax breaks for outsourcing and they applaud.  Reagan ran these type ads in several states in 1984 (Michigan comes to mind) and Clinton ran these about a dozen states in 1996.  The ads are designed to keep the base pumped while lowering the overall ad buy in those states.  The ad is usually a sign the candidate is operating outside the margin or error.  Has anyone outside of PA/NJ seen this ad?

Fighting Sinclair Broadcasting

What KE04 should do is buy 2 minutes of air time at the front of the broadcast and 3 minutes at the end.

The pre-propaganda two minutes RUN A TEST PATTERN

Run the Band of Brothers stuff at the end of of program

The worst lie of the night

China doesn't want the US to engage North Korea in bilateral talks.

That is precisely what China support.  China doesn't believe or think that bilateral talks between the US and North Korea will disrupt/destroy/incapacitate etc. the 6 party summit there.  Sen. Joe Biden (D-Delaware) was all over this after the debate.

In four years, North Korea built and implemented a nuclear military capability....because Bush was distracted by a non-threat in Iraq; nothing was done to prevent it.

Now Bush is lieing and calaiming China doesn't want us to stop North Korea.


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