NEW EVIDENCE: Huckabee knew Dumond was serial rapist

Many progressives are familiar with the case of Wayne Dumond, the convicted rapist who was paroled at Governor Mike Huckabee's urging and went on to rape and kill again.  Dumond was in jail for raping a distant cousin of Bill Clinton's, and a vocal right-wing campaign had claimed Dumond was innocent and urged Huckabee to pardon him.  The story has, thankfully for those who value the truth, been making its way into the mainstream media more often of late.

Just this past Sunday, Huckabee repeated his oft-heard excuse that there was no way anyone could have predicted Dumond might be a threat to other women if he was released:

While on the campaign trail, Huckabee has claimed that he supported the 1999 release of Wayne Dumond because, at the time, he had no good reason to believe that the man represented a further threat to the public. Thanks to Huckabee's intervention, conducted in concert with a right-wing tabloid campaign on Dumond's behalf, Dumond was let out of prison 25 years before his sentence would have ended.

"There's nothing any of us could ever do," Huckabee said Sunday on CNN when asked to reflect on the horrific outcome caused by the prisoner's release. "None of us could've predicted what [Dumond] could've done when he got out."

But superstar investigative reporter Murray Waas has put the lie to Huckabee's excuses.  Waas has made public, for the first time, confidential Arkansas government records proving that Huckabee knew Dumond was a serial rapist - including letters from other rape victims of Dumond, begging Huckabee not to grant parole to Dumond.

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Obama and the Unicorn of Bipartisanship

I really want to like Barack Obama, because he's right on so many things, but he constantly frustrates me when it comes to his constant invocations of bipartisanship as the solution to everything.

People look at me strangely when I say this.  Don't you realize people want a united country, they ask.  Don't you see that only the crazy netroots are constantly longing for partisan attacks?

Paul Krugman touched on my point in today's column when he said "Mr. Obama's Social Security mistake was, in fact, exactly what you'd expect from a candidate who promises to transcend partisanship in an age when that's neither possible nor desirable." But maybe domestic policy isn't the best place to demonstrate the impossibility of bipartisanship today.  Instead, I want to talk about a different example, from last night's debate, that I think really crystallizes the point I'm trying to make.

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Dodd: Hillary Can't Get UHC Passed

Chris Dodd apparently has a new ad out, which Marc Ambinder calls "The Gentle, Easy, All-In-Good-Collegial-Spirit Negative Ad." The subject is health care:

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The War on Terror Is A Bumper Sticker

It was May 23, 2007, in a speech before the Council on Foreign Relations, that John Edwards first called the War on Terror a "bumper sticker."

Many Democrats cheered him for finally acknowledging that the Bush Administration's "War on Terror" is not a mission designed to keep us safer, but a slogan designed to quell dissent and to justify not only the disastrous war in Iraq but any number of abuses of our civil liberties as Americans.  Don't question our Commander-in-Chief, we've heard over and over, we're at war.

Republicans, ironically enough, confirmed the importance of the "War on Terror" as a political slogan by rallying to its defense, deploying the predictable smear that Edwards must be soft on terrorism because he doesn't agree with Republican framing on the subject.  And some Democrats - either because they supported a different candidate or because they were fearful of appearing weak on national security as a party - hastened to enable the Republican talking points and disavow Edwards' statements.

But now we have confirmation that Edwards was, in fact, exactly right - confirmation straight from the chief architect of the Iraq War himself, Donald Rumsfeld:

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Has Hillary-Hate Lost Its Zing?

It's commonly accepted that Hillary Clinton's candidacy has the potential to unify the Republican base like no other.  If Hillary is the candidate, the argument goes, they'll forget about Rudy's views on abortion, Romney's flip-flops, and all the rest; they'll march to the polls like a bunch of wingnut zombies to make sure Hillary loses.

But is the conventional wisdom actually true?  And even if it is, should it actually concern us?  An insightful and analytical article by libertarian Dave Weigel in The American Conservative concludes that Hillary-hate has worn out its welcome - and that Republicans are headed for disaster in 2008 if they offer nothing but the same old attacks on Hillary.

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No Smear Left Behind

A little history to set the stage.  Long before the word "macaca" entered the public discourse, Jim Webb had to win a bruising primary in order to win the right to face George Allen.  In the closing days of the primary campaign, Webb's opponent, Virginia businessman Harris Miller, chose to make a desperate accusation of anti-semitism against Webb in a response to flagging poll numbers.

Neither I nor any other Jewish person I talked to saw any merit whatsoever in these accusations of anti-semitism, and you might say we know it when we see it.  But even though Webb went on to win the primary, the reverberations were felt.  Predictably, Allen's campaign made it an issue in the general election, arguing "even Democrat Harris Miller says..." And as we all know, Webb ended up winning by a mere handful of votes.  This manufactured issue, thrown out there at the last minute by a nearly defeated primary opponent, could have easily cost the Democratic Primary its majority in the U.S. Senate.

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Some factual information on today's Iran vote

There's been a lot of discussion of today's vote on the Kyl-Lieberman Amendment concerning Iran.  Some people think it's no big deal, some people think it's equivalent to another war vote.

I don't expect to resolve these disagreements but I do want to provide some factual information regarding what the amendment actually means.  In particular, a lot of people seem to be wondering what exactly it means for the Senate to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a "terrorist organization." Does it mean we can bomb them, does it mean Republicans can run ads putting their pictures next to pictures of Democratic candidates, what's the actual legal effect?

I wanted to write this diary to answer some of those questions, for people interested in details.  If you simply care about whether Clinton sucks or Obama sucks or Edwards sucks, this might not be the diary for you.

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Kerry hits hard on the budget

John Kerry gave what was billed as a "major speech" on the budget today at the Center for National Policy in Washington, D.C.

We all know this budget as the monstrosity that has given us drilling in ANWR and massive cuts to Amtrak funding, among other outrages.  Meanwhile the Senate refuses to spend money to fight terrorism by funding first- responders or to provide adequate health care for veterans.

What's just as bad is the trickery and dishonesty concealed within the budget.  Bush apparently plans to cut the deficit in much the same way as Enron balanced the books.  Funding for continuing operations in Iraq is a major line-item, naturally - so let's just leave it out of the budget, to make the numbers better!

Republicans are clearly the party of fiscal irresponsibility, and the public needs to understand that there is only one party they can trust to balance the national checkbook.  People may disagree on the substantive choices of what programs to cut, but everyone agrees that the government should be honest and not cook the books.

John Kerry made many of the most important points regarding this budget in his speech, reproduced below.  Do you suppose anyone out there is listening?

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