Sunday: It’s not Republicans I’m worried about

Premature empoppulation?

Paul Krugman writes a post about the Republican party, which seems to be churning out more and more unorthodox candidates as it searches desperately for the magic bullet.  He mocks Pawlenty’s opposition to fiat currencies.  In general, the post sounds like a lot of left blogosphere types who are counting on Republicans to be so messed up that they turn off the electorate.

But that’s because lefties tend to ignore human nature, including their own.

There is a lot of economic pressure on Americans right now and I’m betting that many of them will swap something they hold dear for immediate relief of stress.  By the time the 2012 election rolls around, the Great Recession will be four years old and many families will be ruined by joblessness, no health benefits and foreclosure.  I have no doubt that Republicans WANT it that way.  They are going to keep Obama’s minimal accomplishments to even more of a minimum.  Obama, in turn, is cooperating because as the master strategist he was reported to be, he isn’t.  And he doesn’t use the bully pulpit well either.  Oh, and he hasn’t ended the wars, created a jobs program, truly reformed health care, equalized pay between the sexes, enforced the suspension of DADT or any of the other things he said he did that he really didn’t but thinks we aren’t paying attention to call him on it.

We’re paying attention.

Nevertheless, Republicans have a weird way of rallying the troops.  I wouldn’t count them out. My gut feeling is that voters who tend to go Republican are itching for an alternative to Obama.  What I see happening is that the coalition that Obama cobbled together in 2008 isn’t going to hold together.  I’ve read many posts on  the web that suggest that AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka was just bluffing on Friday when he promised to create an independent labor movement.  It was more of the “where else are you going to go?” crap.  If I were Democrats, I’d take Trumka’s threat more seriously because there are a lot of working people who are disgusted with both parties right now.  And Democrats only have to look to Canada to see how the next election may play out if Democrats continue to leave so many voters on the table.

Democrats have learned nothing from Jon Corzine’s defeat to Chris Christie, Martha Coakley’s defeat by Scott Brown  and Blanche Lincoln’s primary struggle.  It wasn’t a sudden last minute increase in the number of Republicans to the polls that did these lukewarm Democrats in.  It was adherence to a party line that didn’t accommodate the base.  Republicans didn’t turn out so much as Democrats stayed home.  Those elections were warnings to Democrats that they are not heeding.

If I were the Democrats, I wouldn’t be nuking the popcorn yet.

In Defense of the “Emily’s List candidate”

(note from Dkat:  Please welcome our own Wonk the Vote to the front page)

Yesterday on MSNBC during the Ed Shoutz hour, before the big election results were in, Ed posed the following question throughout his show: Is the Massachusetts senate race a referendum on Obama? One of his guests was Salon editor Joan Walsh. With a straight face Joan said that “this is not any kind of a referendum on President Obama, it is a referendum on Martha Coakley.”

After the race was called for Scott Brown, Walsh was on MSNBC again and went further out of her way to take the low road, saying “feminists need to put on their grown-up pants” and “take their lumps.”

Meanwhile, Paul Begala over on CNN one-upped Walsh, chastising Coakley for running “the worst campaign from a Democrat that we’ve seen since I don’t know when… Ms. Coakley mocked Brown for going out to Fenway Park where they were having a hockey game outdoors, and shaking hands. She mocked him for that. She said Curt Schilling, for goodness sakes, was a Yankee fan. You know, just on and on.”

Looking at the actual substance and context of what Coakley said about Fenway Park, it was a sarcastic response to the dismissive notion that she was wasting her time at the inauguration of Kimberly Driscoll, the mayor of Salem. (For the record, Coakley won Salem, 53% to 46%). Still, it was a foot-in-the-mouth remark that did not help her win the PR battle, no doubt. Her “Curt Schilling…another Yankee” gaffe did her no favors, either, and her spokesperson trying to pass that remark off as a “very, very deadpan joke” only highlighted the fact that her campaign was desperate by that point.

None of these missteps, no matter how clumsy they were, is what cost her the election, though.

What these missteps did was reinforce a caricature of Coakley that emerged only after she reversed her position on health reform and said she would vote for the current bill as it stands. That flip was her original electoral sin. THAT was the essence of her “bad campaign.” Once she did that she was up against a tidal wave of voter disaffection that ripped apart her every comment and her every move, and she responded poorly to it. She instantly turned into a deer caught in the headlights, and it wasn’t because she didn’t have it in her to be a good senator or to run a good campaign.

The Obama apologists want to play the Blame Emily’s List card. They think shaming feminists–telling them that Martha ran a a bad campaign so suck it up–is the Get Out of Jail free card for Obama and the rest of the Democrats.

When will the Activist Left work together to support Women when they Make Good in Politics?

There is more to Martha Coakley than the one-dimensional cartoon that Begala and the rest of the mainstream media would like viewers to believe. She is a hard-working woman who has been in public service for 20 years. She is not a poor little lady who doesn’t understand politics, nor is she an elitist shrew who thinks it’s beneath her to connect with voters. She understood the politics of the primary race very well and connected with voters then, even as Caroline Kennedy was saying one of Coakley’s opponents winning would be amazing.

The “bad candidate” rationale for what happened in Massachusetts is inadequate as an explanation, and so is the “local issues” excuse. Emily’s List produced a winning primary candidate (they backed the candidate who won the popular vote in the 2008 primaries too for that matter). It’s the Obama Era of the Democratic party that has created bad electoral conditions for Democratic nominees and made it difficult for liberals to stand on principle. (Even the socialist in the U.S. Senate voted for Obama’s health insurance scam. Way to discredit the right-wing canard that Obama’s terrible policies are synonymous with socialism.)

The one surefire way to avoid becoming the target of local backlash against Obama is to run against Obama’s policies–and in today’s environment where the activist left is split up along deep fault lines (“submit to party unity or else you’re a certain class of politician, voter, or woman”), Democratic nominees do not have the benefit of a ready-made independent fundraising network to take on the Obama machine during a general election yet. Of course they could try to build one, but either way it is an uphill battle and there is no easy path to victory whatever they choose.

The “new kinda politics” that progressives were so giddy about in 2008 is exactly what strong-armed Coakley to cave and reverse her initial position that she would vote against Obamacare. And, we saw the result of that last night. The seat occupied by Ted Kennedy for 47 years has gone to a Republican who won by running against the signature “reform” effort of Barack Obama. Obama has dropped the torch that Kennedy passed to him in 2008. Whether he or any of the Democrats can pick it back up remains to be seen, but it wouldn’t hurt the Obama apologists to take their own lumps and learn from the mistakes the Democrats have made. Either that or they will need to put on their grown-up Depends before they watch the returns in November.

Oh, For Cryan Out Loud! Do Dems REALLY Want Coakley To Win???

Along with all of the other email I got yesterday from Senators John Kerry, Chris Dodd, Bob Menendez, some DNC ijits and Barack Obama, urging me to help support Martha Coakley, I got yet *another* email from Joseph Cryan, the New Jersey Democratic Party Chair. (Note to Cryan: after the 2008 RBC meeting, I asked to be removed from the Democratic party roster. You can take me off your email list, thank you very much.)

So, the Democrats are in full panic mode if they are going to these lengths to get Coakley elected. Oh, yes you are, guys. You’re having an “Oh, $hit!” moment. Because, let’s face it, if you can’t get a liberal Democrat elected in Massachusetts, what the hell is that saying about your party and the Lightbringer you forced on the rest of us to lead us into the era of “Hope and Change!™”?

But look at the content of Cryan’s email:

What can we do to help? Please commit to helping the cause by clicking here: http://my.barackobama.com/CoakleyN2N

You can call voters in Massachusetts and help Martha Coakley continue Senator Ted Kennedy’s remarkable legacy.

As Massachusetts’ first woman senator, Martha Coakley will help advance Kennedy’s legacy – fighting for equal rights, a strong economy, and our families and communities. Without her vote, health care won’t happen.

Ok, here’s the problem with this appeal.  First of all, it makes it look like the entire Democratic party is owned by myBarackObama.  It is not.  Massachusetts and New Jersey did not vote for Obama in the primary of 2008.  He was rammed down our throats until we choked on him and only Massachusetts was actually allowed to cast some of their delegate votes for Hillary at the convention.  If you want our support, putting the Unity Pony’s name on the URL was a baaaad move. (and let me add that I have spoken to a LOT of people, many of them social conservatives, who really wish Hillary Clinton was our president right now.)  Secondly, and this is tied to the first problem, no one likes the health care reform bills proposed by the House or the Senate with Obama’s blessing.  We’re not just talking about Republicans and people who watch Fox News.  They’re going to vote for Brown anyway.  No, we’re talking about Democrats.  Democrats do not like this bill.  In fact, many of them hate this bill.  HATE IT.  And they hate it because it wasn’t written with Democratic principles in mind, which is why, if it passes, it will be a reflection of Barack Obama’s lousy negotiation skills and Max Baucus and friends dismissive attitudes towards Democratic voters who put them in office to Change!™ things.

Democrats hate this bill on so many levels that it’s really hard to know where to begin but let’s just start with the latest travesty, the union exemption from the excise tax.  Do you party people know how damaging that’s going to be to the public perception of unions?  Once again, the White House makes concessions to one group, that is only doing its job to represent its constituents, something Congressional reps should try for a change, and the result is that everyone else who happens to have decent, but not luxurious health care bennies at work will take a hit.  The optics of this whole thing are wrong in so many ways that I can’t believe the party would even let this happen.  Now, you’ve got working people fighting with each other and hating the party’s guts.

You’ve written a bill that locks average struggling people into insurance policies, forbids the vast majority of them from shopping around for better deals, bent over backwards to kiss the asses of the evangelicals on the issue of women’s reproductive rights, imposed an excise tax on those policies with the anticipated result that the benefits themselves will be trimmed for working people and you’ve made everyone mad at the unions for just doing their jobs.  Try to get their endorsement after this once the blowback from non-union people hits them.   You forced them into the untenable position of looking like special interests when they are really just trying to protect the workers who gave up wage increases for better health benefits.  Suddenly, they look like the bad guys.  And now you send out letters to Democrats who haven’t been the least little bit interested in the ridiculous Tea Party movement asking them to help support Coakley for the very same reasons that voters in Massachusetts are pissed off at her.

Have you Democratic big wigs completely lost the plot??

I would LOVE to see another woman in the Senate but I sure am glad I’m not voting in Tuesday’s election.  If I were living in Massachusetts, I’d be seeing so much red when I went to the polls, Brown would win by a landslide.

If you really want Coakley to win, take my advice: Table the health care reform bills and go back to the drawing board.  Take the bills out of contention and Coakley *may* have a fighting chance.  I know that the longer you wait to pass it, the more the Republican message machine will make it harder to pass.  But if it’s already a bill nobody wants, not even your friends, then the Wurlitzer isn’t doing as much damage as you’re doing to yourselves.  Table it, fix it and try again later.  Better later than never.  We’ve got employment issues and a broken economy.  You’re going to need all 60 votes.  Take HCR off the table, tell Michelle Obama to register as a lobbyist for for-profit hospitals just to make it official and start all over again.  Make the announcement today before it’s too late.  This is Massachusetts where the residents are already living with a health care system imposed on them by the state that is very much like the one you want to hang on the rest of us.  There are far more registered Democrats in Massachusetts than there are in other states.  If they are willing to vote in a Republican, it’s not because they bought the “big government” schtick.  It’s because they don’t buy the post-partisan, across-the-aisle, “let’s put everything on the table and negotiate our principles” away, Unity Pony type Democratic way of doing things.

And stop the frickin’ emails already.

Martha Coakley and the Despicable Democratic Spin Meisters

The Dems are fashioning a pre-emptive strike in advance of Martha Coakley’s potentially disastrous loss on Tuesday.  Let the record show that the Democrats are starting to parrot the Fox News pundits.  From the NY Times this morning comes these tasty tidbits to savor:

“It comes from the fact that Obama as president has had to deal with all these major crises he inherited: the banks, fiscal stimulus,” said Senator Paul G. Kirk Jr., the Democrat who holds the Massachusetts seat on an interim basis pending the special election. “But for many people it was like, ‘Jeez, how much government are we getting here?’ That might have given them pause.”

and…

Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, said the atmosphere was a serious threat to Democrats. “I do think there’s a chance that Congressional elites mistook their mandate,” Mr. Bayh said. “I don’t think the American people last year voted for higher taxes, higher deficits and a more intrusive government. But there’s a perception that that is what they are getting.”

I love this stuff.

Presumably, the 2008 primary voters of Massachusetts realized that Obama would inherit a lot of crap from his predecessor.  This is not news to them.  That’s probably why they didn’t vote for him. Maybe it’s just me but when I was written off by my own party as an inconvenient vote, a rage simmered in me just waiting for an opportunity to strike back.  Maybe, if Jon Corzine had acted like a real Democrat and had spent his four year term making the NJ tax system fairer, he would have gotten a second chance.  But Corzine wasn’t done in by more Republicans voting so much as he failed to get Democrats to the polls.  You can call it an enthusiasm gap if you want.

Or you can parrot the Republican line and say that people are objecting to more big government.  {{snort!}} Yes, that may be the perception that they’re getting because that is the perception that Democrats like Bayh are promoting.  But if that’s true, why the heck is my email account cluttered up with appeal after appeal for money for Coakley in Massachusetts.  I mean, don’t Democrats want government that works for voters?  So, they are saying one thing to the cable news audience and another thing to their (former) Democratic base?  Whoda thunkit?

Could you Democrats just cut the crap already?

If Martha Coakley loses on Tuesday it will be because she succumbed to a trait common to most tragic heros: arrogance.  Everyone thought that she was a shoe in when she won the primary, including the candidate herself.  What she is instead is a very bad politician.  Politics requires some showmanship.  You have to be able to read your audience.  But Martha Coakley is stupidly honest about what she thinks of her sucker voters.  She roped in her liberal Massachusetts constituents by presenting her liberal credentials in the primary and then did a 180 on them a short time later by embracing the health care reform act.  She signalled in advance that she didn’t really give a damn about what her liberal constituents thought.

Martha didn’t have to do this.  This is Massachusetts.  Democrats outnumber Republicans by millions.  It remains a mystery why she tacked right in a state where tacking right is a non-starter.  I can’t imagine what DC Democrats thought they could get from it unless they wanted her to lose.  But then, why all of the appeals for cash?  Why the sense of panic and desperation?  What nitwit in Washington thought it was a good idea for Coakley to broadcast the fact that she was going to screw her voters?  The loyalty pledge to Obama and the powers that back him up has finally met its match.

I wouldn’t presume to tell Massachusetts how to vote on Tuesday and they’re not looking for me for guidance anyway.  But we can look at the likely outcome.  It’s going to be Democrats that determine this thing, either by defection or by staying home.  If they elect Scott Brown, they send a potent message to the party and the country that they’re sick and tired of being jerked around by Democrats In Name Only that pretend to share their values but are really beholden to a small evil group to which no one they know belongs.  That gives national Democrats about 10 months to get their shit together and quit playing games.

If they vote for Coakley, even if the outcome is close, they signal to Washington that they are perfectly willing to be suckers but they end up with a woman who will get them closer to that 30% critical mass of female legislators that will eventually have the power to tell the Rahm Emannuel types to go take a long walk on a short pier when it comes to selling out their gender for the sake of some uber shmoozer’s political reputation. Unfortunately, that 30% level is still a loonnnng way off. Still, going forward is a potent argument.

But it Coakley loses on Tuesday, the Democrats would be wise to yank the Kirks and Bayhs from the airwaves.  The base won’t be buying it anymore.

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Saturday Morning News and Views

Good Morning Conflucians!!! There’s a lot happening in the world today. I’ll share the stories I’ve been reading, and you can add your own links in the comments.


HAITI EARTHQUAKE

The situation is very desperate in Haiti. Tensions Mount in Haiti as Situation Grows Desperate

Haiti’s capital is now devoid of a functioning police force. When the earthquake struck, it destroyed the city’s prison, allowing thousands of inmates to escape.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton travels to Haiti Saturday to get a first-hand look at relief efforts, days after tens of thousands of people were killed, and many other left homeless.

Clinton plans to meet with Haitian President René Preval and other officials, along with members of the U.S. government team on the ground.

Clinton said she will limit her visit to the confines of the airport so as not to disrupt relief efforts. Secretary Clinton said she planned to take relief supplies with her and that later, the same aircraft will carry Americans and others being evacuated.


Haiti earthquake: President Preval says country like a war zone

Haitian President Rene Preval said: “The damage I have seen here can be compared to the damage you would see if the country was bombed for 15 days. It is like in a war.”

The 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated much of the hilly coastal city on Tuesday also collapsed the elegant presidential palace and his own home.

Authorities in Haiti, already the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, are saying they believe the death toll will be between 100,000 and 200,000 and that three-quarters of the city will need to be rebuilt.

I’ve been listening to CNN on XM radio, and I have to say I have new found respect for Sanjay Gupta. He and his CNN crew were at a hospital last night when all the UN doctors and nurses were ordered to leave because of security concerns. Gupta stayed and worked on injured people through the night, then cancelled his show this morning in order to keep working.

The anchors filling in for Gupta had Gen. Honore on–he was instrumental in the Katrina efforts. Gen. Honore said the UN needed to “suck it up” and realize that saving lives is more important than security in this critical time. He also said that dropping bundles from helicopters would be better than nothing for now. He seemed disgusted that the UN is so risk averse.


SCOTT RITTER ARRESTED IN INTERNET CHILD SEX STING

I saw this story yesterday, and I just didn’t know what to think. Well known writer and former U.N. Weapons inspector Scott Ritter was caught in a child sex sting and was arrested in November, but the news has just come out. He had been caught in a sting in 2001, and liberal bloggers blew it off as the Bush administration trying to shut Ritter up. But he was caught again a couple of years later, and again now. So apparently, the guy has been fooling around with teenage girls on the internet all this time. People are really strange.

Former Chief U.N. Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter Nabbed in Teen Sex Sting


Ex-U.N. Weapons Inspector Is Charged in Child-Sex Sting

Cop who catches perverts

Here is a blog post by Justin Raimondo after Ritter was arrested for the second time in 2003

Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector who quit in 1998 and now says the U.S. is intent on manufacturing phony “evidence” of arms violations as a pretext for war, is the victim of what may be the sleaziest set-up job in recent history, a smearing so foul that it makes the Clinton crowd look like a bunch of amateurs. The news that he may have been arrested, in June 2001, as the result of an internet sex sting, in which an undercover cop posing as a sixteen-year-old girl lured him into “sex chat” over the internet, came to light in a very strange way. A local newspaper, the Daily Gazette, of Schenectady, New York, was first to pick up the dirt, which apparently came to light when an assistant district attorney was fired for settling the case and not informing the D.A. According to the Gazette:

“Police and prosecutors have declined to discuss the case, which involved at least one class B misdemeanor, because it was adjourned in contemplation of dismissal and ordered sealed by a Colonie Town Court justice. The Daily Gazette’s request for access to the arrest report was denied by the Colonie town attorney’s office, which ruled disclosure was barred under the state Freedom of Information Law.”

So the police just happened to conduct a “sex sting” operation against the one man who had exposed the lies of our war-mad rulers from the inside. On the eve of war, as hundreds of thousands protest in the streets, this staunch Republican and solid family man who has become one of the War Party’s most formidable enemies is suddenly “exposed” as a child molester.

Apparently, sometimes the person caught in a sting is actually guilty, even if he is a famous person who spoke truth to power. As I said earlier, people are strange.


MASSACHUSETTS SPECIAL ELECTION

The Democrats brought out the big guns–including Bill Clinton–for Martha Coakley yesterday, and now she seems to be embracing the Kennedy legacy that she avoided during the primary.

Martha Coakley waves as Bill Clinton hugs Rep. Jim McGovern

Coakley hopes for historic win in Kennedy seat bid

For much of her campaign, Martha Coakley steered clear of the Kennedy mystique, methodically crafting a low-key campaign to fill the late Edward Kennedy’s U.S. Senate seat the way the seasoned prosecutor would build a case in court.

But with the wheels threatening to come off the campaign and a double-digit lead eroding to a dead heat in the polls, Coakley, the state’s attorney general, is banking that a deep-seated loyalty to Kennedy among Massachusetts Democrats will be enough to propel her to victory.

Coakley has publicly accepted the endorsement of Kennedy’s widow, Vicki Kennedy, and nephew, the former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy. Vicki Kennedy has also made a fundraising appeal and cut a television ad on Coakley’s behalf.

The Republicans responded by trotting out Rudy Giuliani to stump for Scott Brown: Rudy Giuliani joins Scott Brown, slams Martha Coakley on terrorism

Former New York City mayor and GOP stalwart Rudy Giuliani hammered Attorney General Martha Coakley on terrorism during a raucous campaign stop in the North End today where he revved up Scott Brown’s surging campaign.

“His election, I believe, will send a signal and I believe a very dramatic one, that we are going in the wrong direction on terrorism,” Giuliani said of Brown.

Coakley has come under fire from the opposition for comments she made about terrorists deserting Afghanistan for Pakistan and Yemen during Monday’s debate.

Coakley is opposed to President Obama’s plans to increase troop levels in Afghanistan. Brown supports the troop build-up and has sharpened his focus on terrorism in recent days

Democrats countered that Brown voted against giving financial assistance to 9/11 rescue workers.

This morning, nearly every website I’ve clicked on has Scott Brown ads at the top. His campaign has reportedly raked in $1 million per day every day this week.

Tomorrow, President Obama is coming to Massachusetts to help Coakley–at least she hopes he will help. It’s hard to know, because some of the people he needs to shore up support with are working class independents who voted for Hillary Clinton in the Massachusetts presidential primary.


OBAMA PAL CASS SUNSTEIN AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH

Here’s one more strange story. It seems that Obama’s chief of Information and Regulatory Affairs Cass Sunstein wants to stop Americans from speculating about conspiracies. Here is Joseph Cannon’s take on this story.

Legal scholar Cass Sunstein is Obama’s Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. In 2008, he co-wrote an odd and disturbing paper on conspiracy theories, which you can read here. Here’s the gist:

The existence of both domestic and foreign conspiracy theories, we suggest, is no trivial matter, posing real risks to the government’s antiterrorism policies, whatever the latter may be.

“Government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action.

Of course, it never occurred to this nitwit that using conspiratorial methods to fight conspiracy theories is a lot like fighting a house fire by spraying it with gasoline.

Glenn Greenwald also commented on the story yesterday

In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-”independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites — as well as other activist groups — which advocate views that Sunstein deems “false conspiracy theories” about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens’ faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. The paper’s abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here.

Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.” He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government). This program would target those advocating false “conspiracy theories,” which they define to mean: “an attempt to explain an event or practice by reference to the machinations of powerful people, who have also managed to conceal their role.”

So what are you reading?

HAVE A SPECTACULAR SATURDAY!!!!!!!!

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Martha Coakley Wins Democratic Nomination for Senator from Massachusetts!

It’s over already. So far, Martha Coakley has won nearly twice as many votes as her closest opponent, Michael Capuano, who had the full support of the Obama contingent of the Democratic Party. Tonight the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party has won in Massachusetts.

The story isn’t on-line yet, but on the New England Cable News Network, there is a check by Coakley’s name! We are one step closer to having a woman Senator from Massachusetts for the first time in the state’s history.

To make the victory even more more sweet, Coakley was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton, and stuck with her right up to the Convention. She fought to have Florida and Michigan’s votes counted. She was the only candidate who ran on her own without invoking Ted Kennedy every five minutes, and she was the only candidate who refused to support the health care “reform” bill if that meant limitations on women’s right to choose when to have a child.

From Politico: Coakley Wins

With 82 percent of precincts reporting, Coakley holds a commanding 47 to 27 percent lead over Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Mass.). Community service activist Alan Khazei lags well behind in third place with 13 percent of the vote and Boston Celtics co-owner Steven Pagliuca is in fourth place with 12 percent.

Coakley won nearly every municipality across the state, though narrowly trails Capuano in the city of Boston. Capuano also carried the academic hub of Cambridge and his home base of Somerville.

And John Kerry had the nerve to steal Hillary’s line:

Added Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.): “Tonight the glass ceiling in Massachusetts politics was smashed into a thousand pieces.”

This announcement was just posted on Coakley’s website:

The polls have closed, the voters have spoken, and I am so delighted to tell you that tonight, with great honor and humility, I will accept the Democratic Party nomination to the United States Senate.

I am so grateful for your support in this campaign. With focus, grit, hard work, optimism, enthusiasm, commitment, and a sense of humor, you made tonight possible.

Last week at a 1208 Countdown stop in South Hadley, I spoke with a young man in a wheelchair. He asked me why many buildings in Massachusetts didn’t have full access for those with disabilities. My response was, frankly, we haven’t done as well as we should. I told him that it was just one of the reasons I admired Senator Ted Kennedy: because he worked tirelessly to make life as fair as possible for everyone. That young man gave me a mug with some text from Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass”:

“There is no use trying,” said Alice, “one can’t believe impossible things.”

“I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

From the bottom of my heart, I want to offer a sincere thank you to you, your families, and all those across this great Commonwealth, from the Berkshires to Boston, from Peabody to Provincetown, who worked so hard for these past months to make this victory possible!

You helped me convince the voters to send a different kind of leader to Washington, one who can see all the possibilities and who will get to work on those problems that have seemed impossible to change.

(More at link)

“Check or Checkmate” – Will Clinton Win in the End?

Keep your enemies close?

Dakinikat found this terrific op-ed by Colleen O’Connor at San Diego News Network, and posted a link to it in the previous thread. I thought it was so on-point that it deserved a post of its own. O’Connor describes the Obama-Clinton competition as a chess game, and argues that although Hillary lost the battle for the Democratic nomination for President, she is besting Obama and all of her other opponents for the nomination today.

The patient, wily, and deft player often triumphs more frequently than the flashy, lightening quick one.

A grand master will pick off the pawns as they cross into enemy territory and then concentrate on checking the King.

The Queen has the greatest maneuverability of all the chess pieces. She can be the most lethal.

The King, by contrast, is often barricaded behind a wall of defenders, with little room to escape-save in a bold and risky fashion.

The King is dying. Long live the Queen.

Quietly, and under almost everyone’s radar, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been vanquishing her foes, while President Barack Obama has been multiplying his.

Furthermore, she has been paying off her debts, while Obama has been multiplying his (and the country’s) I.O.U.s.

Obama is down in the polls. Clinton is up. He is losing his liberal base and taking heat on health care, the wars, broken promises, gate crashers, the bailouts, and a grand design that leaves his base behind.

And O’Connor points out that Hillary is poised for another victory tomorrow if her early supporter Martha Coakley wins the nomination as Ted Kennedy’s replacement in the Senate. Obama’s supporters have all endorsed Coakley’s opponent Michael Capuano, but Coakley still has a comfortable lead in the polls. Today, she got a very big endorsement–from Bill Clinton.

If Coakley wins, O’Connor points out, it will be the second time the Clintons have bested the Kennedys in a race to fill a vacated Senate seat–remember the demise of Princess Caroline Kennedy?

There is much much more in this excellent, well-argued op-ed. Please read the whole thing and then come back here to discuss it. We aren’t surprised that Hillary is still going strong, are we fellow Conflucians?

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Friday Mid-Morning News and Views

For me the biggest news of the day comes from Jeremy Scahill’s revelations about the relationship between Blackwater (aka Xe) head Eric Prince and the CIA. According to Scahill Prince has been working as a CIA asset for years, and that Blackwater contractors with U.S. backing are effectively engaging in a covert war in Pakistan.

In addition, Scahill revealed that there are more than 100,000 contractors in Afghanistan now in addition to the 100,000 U.S. military troops who will be there after Obama’s latest troop “surge.” Scahill wrote the cover story for this week’s The Nation. Unfortunately the story is not yet available on-line to non-subscribers. However Scahill did appear on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC program last night. Here is the video.

A few days ago, Scahill also talked about his latest Blackwater research in an interview with Laura Flanders:

There is also a major story on Eric Prince in the January issue of Vanity Fair.

I put myself and my company at the C.I.A.’s disposal for some very risky missions,” says Erik Prince as he surveys his heavily fortified, 7,000-acre compound in rural Moyock, North Carolina. “But when it became politically expedient to do so, someone threw me under the bus.” Prince—the founder of Blackwater, the world’s most notorious private military contractor—is royally steamed. He wants to vent. And he wants you to hear him vent.

I haven’t had time to read the full interview yet. I hope to get to it over the weekend.


In other news….

Top Congressional Researcher on Afghanistan Fired

The top congressional official who oversees research on foreign policy and defense issues, including the war in Afghanistan, has been fired from his job after publishing a newspaper op-ed criticizing the Obama administration’s recent decision about bringing Guantánamo detainees to trial.

Morris Davis, the assistant director of the Congressional Research Service’s foreign policy and defense division and the former chief prosecutor of the U.S. military commissions, says that the American Civil Liberties Union plans to challenge his dismissal in a letter to CRS’s longtime director, Daniel Mulhollan, on Friday. The letter will contend that Mulhollan violated Davis’s First Amendment rights to free speech by firing him and will threaten the service with a lawsuit if he is not reinstated, says an ACLU spokeswoman.

Politico thinks the Massachusetts Senate Race is boring Could that be because a woman–Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley–is leading the race by double digits? Politico seems disappointed that there are no Kennedys in the race. Massachusetts citizens are more interested in electing a Senator who will be responsive to their needs than having a celebrity studded primary.

Get this–according to Politico, Michael Capuano, Coakley’s nearest rival, is terrified of a “Rick Lazio moment.”

“We all learned from his mistake,” Capuano said in an interview of the former New York congressman’s debate badgering of Hillary Clinton, which has become political shorthand for what male candidates ought not to do against female opponents. “There are certain rules of engagement.”

It’s not just debates where the gender issue has surfaced — it hangs over the campaign because of the otherwise liberal state’s not-so-progressive history when it comes to women candidates….

…in last year’s historic Democratic presidential primary, much of the state’s political establishment — including the governor and both senators — rallied behind the man over the woman.

“That left a bad taste in women’s mouths,” said Marsh, adding that it seems to be playing out again this year, with nearly all of the men in the House delegation backing their colleague.

Oh really? Izzat so. Poor Mikey C., getting beat up by woman because of the “rules of engagement.”

Also from Politico, a number of opinion leaders weigh in on whether Ben Bernacke should get four more years as head of the Fed.

President Obama is running some PR operation and calling it a “jobs summit,” but The New York Times reports that there won’t be any money to speak of to back up any job creation effort by the administration. That’s as to be expected–unlimited funds for bankers and war, while middle-class, working-class, and poor Americans can go f**k themselves.

Mr. Obama said he would entertain “every demonstrably good idea” for creating jobs, but he cautioned that “our resources are limited.”

The president said he would announce some new ideas of his own next week. One of those, he indicated when he participated in a discussion group on clean energy, would be a program of weatherization incentives for homeowners and small businesses modeled on the popular “cash for clunkers” program.

What about the people who have lost their houses Mr. President–and the people who were already homeless? What kind of weatherization program will you recommend for them. I can’t wait for the big speech!

The Wall Street Journal reports that Allentown, PA workers and business people may not welcome President Obama’s “Main Street tour” with open arms.


Main Street Tour Faces Frosty Greeting

When President Barack Obama launches a multicity tour Friday to take Main Street’s temperature, he will likely get a cool reception from business leaders and workers here who say he hasn’t delivered.

Swing voters in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley helped Mr. Obama win this pivotal, populous state. But the region’s jobless rate inched up another half percentage point in October to 9.8%. About 41,000 people are out of work, the highest number since 1984.

Finally, here’s a “just for fun” story:


Cat Cams: What DO Cats Do Home Alone?

Fifty house cats were given collar cameras that took a photo every 15 minutes. The results put a digital dent in some human theories about catnapping.

Based on the photos, about 22 percent of the cats’ time was spent looking out of windows, 12 percent was used to interact with other family pets and 8 percent was spent climbing on chairs or kitty condos. Just 6 percent of their hours were spent sleeping.

What are you reading this morning? Please post links in the comments.


HAVE A FABULOUS FRIDAY!!!!

Martha Coakley for President Open Thread

I can’t reload that earlier thread anymore, so here’s a new one. From The Boston Globe:

Coakley: I oppose more US troops to Afghanistan

The Democratic front-runner in the race to succeed the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy issued a statement saying, “I believe we should begin the process of bringing our troops home.”

Coakley has said repeatedly she trusted President Barack Obama but would wait to hear him make his case if he wanted to increase the U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.

Yet two days before Obama is scheduled to address the nation on the subject, Coakley said “based on what I know now,” she does not support a troop increase….

Coakley said she is “very concerned” the case for more troops still has not been made. And she believes there is no evidence Afghan President Hamid Karzai “is a legitimate or trustworthy partner.”

We need a President with guts. Of course the last time we had a President who had the courage to speak up to the generals, he was shot down on the street in Dallas.

Ray McGovern at Truthout:

as he studied the options, cost and likely outcomes, Kennedy came to see U.S. intervention in Vietnam as a fool’s errand. Few Americans are aware that, just before he was assassinated, Kennedy had decided to pull all troops out of Vietnam by 1965.

The Pentagon was hell bent on thwarting such plans, and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara found it an uphill struggle to enforce the President’s will on the top brass. Senior military officers were experts at “slow-rolling” politicians who favored a course that the Pentagon didn’t like.
When in May 1962 Kennedy ordered up a contingency troop-withdrawal plan, it took more than a year for the military brass to draw one up.

[....]

Assistant Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff, to whom fell the task of announcing President Kennedy’s death on Nov. 22, 1963, told James Douglass, author of JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, that Kennedy’s mind was fixed on Vietnam the day before. Instead of rehearsing for a press conference that day, Kennedy told Kilduff:

“I’ve just been given a list of the most recent casualties in Vietnam. We’re losing too damned many people over there. It’s time for us to get out. The Vietnamese are not fighting for themselves. We’re the ones who are doing the fighting.
“After I come back from Texas, that’s going to change. There is no reason for us to lose another man over there. Vietnam is not worth another American life.”

Kennedy never returned from Texas and the war went on. Sadly, Obama is no John Kennedy.

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Martha Coakley is a Shoo-In for the Massachusetts Senate Nomination!!

nancy_pelosi

Angry about being upstaged by Coakley?

Breaking News from Politico: Pelosi Endorses Capuano!

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will be endorsing Rep. Michael Capuano in the Massachusetts Senate special election, choosing her House colleague over Attorney General Martha Coakley, who is seeking to become the first female senator in the state.

Pelosi will be heading to Boston tomorrow morning to make the formal endorsement….

In her statement, Pelosi noted Capuano’s support for the historic health care legislation that she shepherded through the House. Coakley said she opposed the legislation that passed through the House because it contained a provision restricting federal funds from going to abortion providers.

Coakley

Martha Coakley for President!! **

Coakley was way ahead of all the other candidates anyway, but now that sex-traitor* Nancy Pelosi has endorsed her challenger, Martha can’t possibly lose!

Go Martha Go!! You can contribute to Coakley’s campaign here.

 

 

This is an open thread.

* h/t Dakinikat for the “sex-traitor” terminology
** h/t Quixote for the “Martha Coakley for President” idea

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