Senator David Vitter, Family Man

July 10, 2007

TPM Cafe has posted video of David Vitter’s family values-centric campaign ads, filmed after Vitter patronized a prostitute in Washington, DC. It’s not quite a Mark Foley level of hypocrisy, but still pretty high.

By the way, TPM has a sweet redesign that they unveiled today.

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Barney Frank Calls ‘Em Like He Sees ‘Em

June 12, 2007

On Mitt Romney.


Bill Clinton, Still Outdoing Hillary

May 9, 2007

The juxtaposition of two Clinton stories struck me today.

First, Bill Clinton successfully negotiated price reductions in AIDS drugs for poor countries and the developing world.

Second, a compromise bill Hillary Clinton was working on fell apart and the Senate voted to block cheaper prescription drug imports to the United States.

Even though Hillary is the senator and presidential contender these days, her husband is still managing to outshine her by getting things done in areas where a mere senator’s efforts might be frustrated. How Bill’s penchant to accomplish things continues to play out in the campaign will be worth watching.


The Return of the “Democrat” Slur

May 2, 2007

Bush today:

The stakes are high, really high in Iraq. General Petraeus is beginning to carry out the strategy, yet the Democrat leaders in Congress have chosen this time to try to force a precipitous withdrawal. In other words, I was presented a bill last night that said, there’s a timetable, you had to leave — start leaving by July 1st and definitely be leaving by October 1st. That didn’t make any sense to me, to impose the will of politicians over the recommendations of our military commanders in the field. So I vetoed the bill. (Applause.)

I was expecting the White House’s written version of Bush’s remarks to use “Democratic” even though Bush said “Democrat” at the event, but it’s there in the text too. I guess he’s angry over the veto situation and resorting to name-calling again.

The repeated invocations of Petraeus and the charge that Democrats are tying the hands of the generals is really dumb too. First of all, plenty of great military minds opposed Bush’s Iraq plans, and they were shown the door. More fundamentally, though, I get the impression Bush has never heard the line that war is too important to be left to the generals. Deciding whether to make war or not is something that belongs in the control of civilian leaders, who are supposed to represent the public. The public wants out.

Another outrage in today’s speech is the “acceptable level of violence” standard.

Either we’ll succeed, or we won’t succeed. And the definition of success as I described is sectarian violence down. Success is not, no violence. There are parts of our own country that have got a certain level of violence to it. But success is a level of violence where the people feel comfortable about living their daily lives. And that’s what we’re trying to achieve.

Really? You mean there are parts of our country where there are suicide bombings, car bombs, sectarian killings, executions, torture, and the like that claim dozens or hundreds of lives in daily incidents? Remind me never to visit those places on vacation!


Sitting on the Iraq Fence

April 26, 2007

Here are some details on the House’s 218-208 vote on the Iraq funding bill that sets a timetable for withdrawal.

The 13 Democrats who broke ranks were a nearly equal mix of antiwar members, such as Reps. John Lewis of Georgia and Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, and so-called Blue Dog moderates, such as Reps. Jim Marshall of Georgia and Jim Matheson of Utah.

The two Republicans who supported the bill were Reps. Wayne Gilchrest of Maryland and Walter Jones of North Carolina. The two members voting present were Reps. Jo Ann Emerson, a Republican from Missouri, and Pete Stark, a California Democrat.

What is up with Emery and Stark? How can you vote “present” on the single biggest issue of the day?

I don’t see any statement tonight from Stark, but he voted “present” on a similar measure last month. He’s a member of the Out of Iraq Caucus, which seems to want to withdraw troops more rapidly than the bill would allow, hence his opposition to it. He didn’t vote against it like Kucinich et al, though, because he wanted the thing to be able to pass and put pressure on Bush while registering his misgivings with a “present” vote. That’s at least somewhat logically defensible.

By contrast, Emerson seems to want to have things both ways and doesn’t have the courage to pick a side. Here’s an excerpt from a statement she put out tonight.

“I cannot abide by the way this war is being conducted, but neither can I lend my support to a measure that politicizes the men and women in uniform so bravely serving our country,” Emerson said in a statement.

She said she hopes Congress can eventually pass a “meaningful” spending bill that “will both send a message of severe urgency to the Iraqi government and a message of encouragement to our troops.”

There’s no need to buy into the White House spin that setting a timetable for withdrawal “politicizes the men and women in uniform,” and doing so merely shows Emerson’s fear of being smeared if she voted yes. I also don’t know what other way Emerson has in mind to send a “message of severe urgency to the Iraqi government.” If she has any suggestions on how to fix things over there, she should let us all know.


Specter Mocks Gonzales Preparation

April 19, 2007

A recounting by Ana Marie Cox:

Specter makes a snarky remark about how, “I know you’ve prepared thoroughly for this hearing.”

AG [snippily, interrupting]: “I prepare for every hearing.”

Specter [huffing, shouting a bit]: “Do you prepare for press conferences?

AG [primly]: “I always try to be prepared.”

Specter: “Were you prepared for the press conference where you said you were never present for any deliberations?”

And… scene.

See hearing coverage at Firedoglake and TPMMuckraker.


We Heard You the First Time, George

April 10, 2007

President Bush, April 3, 2007:

The bottom line is this: Congress’s failure to fund our troops on the front lines will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines. And others could see their loved ones headed back to the war sooner than they need to. That is unacceptable to me, and I believe it is unacceptable to the American people.

President Bush, April 10, 2007:

The bottom line is this: Congress’s failure to fund our troops will mean that some of our military families could wait longer for their loved ones to return from the front lines. Others could see their loved ones headed back to war sooner than anticipated. This is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable to me, it’s unacceptable to our veterans, it’s unacceptable to our military families, and it’s unacceptable to many in this country.

Bush’s approach to this issue doesn’t seem to be evolving much over time. Does he think he will get his way if he just repeats the same thing over and over?