NDN Blog

The Sound of a Campaign Crashing and Burning

I have to credit Dewine with keeping a straight face...

Meet Mr. Boehner

Republicans seem intent on running against Nancy Pelosi, even if most voters have never heard of her.  Maybe Democrats should be running against the man who is the likely next Republican leader in the House, Congressman John Boehner.  As best I can tell, Boehner has an egg timer in his head, and when it goes off he goes off, and says the most awful thing in he can think of on short notice.  Three of his most recent gems:

"I listen to my Democratic friends and I wonder if they’re more interested in protecting the terrorists than protecting the American people."

"Let's not blame what's happening in Iraq on Rumsfeld...The fact is, the generals on the ground are in charge, and he works closely with them and the president."

"If [John Kerry's] not going to apologize, we're going to beat him to death until he does."  Watch that one on ThinkProgress.

Boehner must be seeing internal numbers that say the American electorate is really responding to this Republican Congress that is long on polarizing rhetoric and scandals and short on accomplishment.  Anybody else think Boehner is drinking way too much of the Bush/Cheney/Rove politics of division flavored kool-aid? 

Baghdad (and Moktada al-Sadr) Calling

Something earth shattering happened in Baghdad yesterday, the US Army took orders from Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki and moved all US troops out of East and Central Baghdad, giving up on the search for a kidnapped American soldier.  Those troops had been holding radical Shiite Cleric Moktada al-Sadr's militia under siege in Sadr City, while conducting manhunts. 

The flow of events could not be clearer.  An American soldier was kidnapped by al-Sadr's anti-American insurgent militia; US troops did the right thing and sealed off his powerbase to apply pressure on al-Sadr; al-Sadr declared a general strike and pressured PM Maliki; with only token US consultation Maliki ordered US troops to abandon their positions, and US commanders followed those orders.

That means that the third attempt this year to secure Baghdad has ended in failure and it has been met with silence from the White House.  President Bush won't even stand up to the Iraqi Prime Minister, and his weakness and lack of a plan is putting American troops at risk.  But don't take my word for it, read Andrew Sullivan's take on this historic failure of leadership. 

7 Sad Attempts to Exploit the Immigration Issue

Great job by TNR cataloguing the Top Seven Worst Anti-Immigration Campaign Ads.  The common thread between all these ads is that they are all run by or in support of Republican candidates.  It'll be interesting to see how many of these candidates lose on election day.  As NDN and our allies have been arguing, demonizing Hispanics doesn't take anybody to the electoral promised land.  Watch some of what we're up against: 

And my favorite.

Fixing the Broken Branch

The Brookings Institute held an excellent event yesterday, with Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein (authors of the recently published The Broken Branch: How Congress is Failing America and How to Get It Back on Track) along with former Republican Congressman Vin Weber.  The event was moderated by Washington Post columnist EJ Dionne.

Rather then the usual bellyaching about the abysmal state of the legislative branch (although there was some of that) Mann and Ornstein diagnosed the problems and laid out steps that could be taken right now, or at least November 8th.

Some of the key points about where Congress has gone wrong:

-Congress is historically bad right now.  Congress is Article 1 of the Constitution (the longest article) and more time was spent on it then anything else worked on in Philadelphia.  Congress can and should be the lynchpin of our Democracy, instead it is a shadow of what the founding fathers intended.

-Congress is no longer a transformative body, but a parliamentary one that is limited to acting on ideas and initiatives that come from a tightly controlled leadership or, more often, the Executive branch.

-The endless fundraising, travel, campaigning and abandonment of rules and norms has led to short sessions, perfunctory committee and subcommittee review, much less minority party involvement and most disturbingly, the end of the traditions of deliberation, debate and amendment. 

-We are in the midst of maybe the most aggressive exertion of Presidential power in America's history, which would be fine if Congress would act in its own self-interest and provide checks and balances.  Unfortunately, party loyalty and ideology have resulted in a Congress that subordinates itself to the President, threatening our entire system of Government.

After hearing all this, I agreed with Orenstein when he said "16% of Americans approve of this Congress' performance.  All I want to know is, what medicines are those 16% taking?"

Fortunately, Orenstein, Mann and Weber gave us a look into what they would tell Nancy Pelosi to do to fix some of the most pressing problems:   

-Start with lobbying and ethics reform with teeth, to restore trust in the system.  And follow that with, as Republican Vin Weber said, "things that will make Republican squirm," like immigration reform and the minimum wage, which enjoy bipartisan support. 

-Ornstein was optimistic about Nancy Pelosi as Speaker saying that she would be "Speaker of the whole House" not "Speaker of the majority of the majority" like Hastert.

-The really gutsy thing to do would be to return to the rules and be willing to lose occasionally, by ending Republican practices like holding votes open all night to marshal one vote majorities, and allowing meaningful debate and reform again. 

-Pelosi should consult with Republicans, hold monthly meetings just to get talking again.  Weber used the language of armed conflict, calling this a "confidence building measure," showing just how bad bipartisan relations are on the Hill.

-Finally, the language of brinksmanship has to go.  Statements like Bush's recent line about a win for the terrorists being a win for the Democrats increases polarization and makes reform that much less likely.

Reciente encuesta demuestra que el pueblo Americano desea ver mas agentes de seguridad en las fronteras en vez de un muro de 700

NDN's Hispanic Strategy Center sends regular updates to Spanish language media outlets about the issues and campaigns that impact their communities.  The releases are reprinted in their entirety on our blog for our Spanish speaking readers, and you can read the latest below.  

Declaración del Centro de Estrategia Hispana del grupo progresivo demócrata  NDN denominado por sus siglas en ingles:

Reciente encuesta demuestra que el pueblo Americano desea ver mas agentes de seguridad en las fronteras en vez de un muro de 700 millas en la frontera de Estados Unidos y Méjico

Es evidente que la mayoría del pueblo americano desea soluciones verdaderas ante el tema de inmigración  - estos optan en apoyar un mayor número de agentes de seguridad en las fronteras antes que apoyar la construcción de un muro que cubrirá 700 millas en la frontera sur.  Esto fue demostrado en una encuesta realizada por la cadena de televisión CNN donde se dio a conocer que un 74 por ciento de los participantes apoyan aumentar agentes de seguridad en las fronteras sobre un 45 por ciento que apoyaron la construcción de un muro en las fronteras.  Nuevamente vemos que la estrategia de los republicanos continúa fracasando.   

La construcción de un muro que cubrirá 700 millas en la frontera sur entre Estados Unidos y Méjico fue firmada ayer por el Presidente Bush como un símbolo político que su partido esta a favor de aumentar la seguridad en la frontera.  Desafortunadamente, esta legislación no hace nada en realidad para resolver el problema de inmigración que enfrenta el país.  Es solo una táctica que necesitan los republicanos 11dias antes de las elecciones para tratar de demostrar alguna acción en cuanto la inmigración. 

Es el colmo que el mismo partido que se hizo famoso cuando el Presidente Reagan proclamó al Presidente de la Unión Soviética:  "!Señor Presidente, derrumbe este muro!" hablando del muro de Berlín, es ahora el mismo partido que apoya la construcción de un muro entre nuestro país y la frontera de un país aliado y amigo como supuestamente lo es Méjico. 

The Perfect Choice for Deputy Secretary of State?

For those of you who have been following our Campaign to Get Condi to Come Clean, there is a potentially interesting development on the horizon.  Secretary Rice is expected to name a new Deputy Secretary of State (a position that requires Senate confirmation) soon to replace Robert Zoellick, who left to become US Trade Representative.  One of the leading candidates is her close advisor and current Counselor to the State Department Philip Zelikow. 

Zelikow is at the center of the controversy over the July 10th, 2001 meeting between then National Security Advisor Rice and CIA director George Tenet, in which Bob Woodward describes warnings that "al-Qaeda was going to attack American interests, possibly in the United States itself."  Somehow that meeting, described by Tenet in sworn testimony to the 9/11 Commission, was left out of the 9/11 Commission's final report.  Philip Zelikow was Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission and was there when Tenet testified about the July 10th meeting.

NDN is calling for the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to reconvene and call back Secretary Rice and Zelikow to answer questions about these serious inconsistencies.  But short of that, a Zelikow confirmation hearing would provide another forum to get to the bottom of this question of national security and political cover-ups. 

Learn more about the candidates for Deputy Secretary of State in Steve Clemon's informative blog post here.

The Catholic Church and Immigration

A visit to the website of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc. (CLINIC), an affiliate of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, offers a fascinating look into official Church policy on immigration.  The introduction to their resources states: "Many proposals are currently pending in Congress and many more will likely be introduced that would allow certain undocumented persons to earn legal status in the United States."  This optimism belies their support for comprehensive immigration reform, but they are also taking steps to prepare for a post-reform America. 

CLINIC is providing advice and information in English and Spanish to documented and undocumented immigrants, as well as to non-profit groups and concerned Americans.  CLINIC advises that undocumented immigrants focus on proving "Identity, good moral character and physical presence or residency in the United States."  And there is information about how groups and individuals can become recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals to work on behalf of immigrants. 

CLINIC's work is a good reminder, as Simon talked about on C-SPAN this morning, that there is a diverse coalition that supports comprehensive immigration reform.  That is why NDN will continue to be a leader in the progressive, political effort to provide real solutions on immigration.   

Simon on C-SPAN and Air America

Wake up early and watch Simon on C-SPAN tomorrow at 8:00am.  He'll be talking about immigration and taking phone calls.

And at 10:30am Simon will on the Sam Seder Show on Air America Radio discussing NDN's Campaign to Get Condi to Come Clean


"He is exaggerating the effects of the disease...He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act."

- Rush Limbaugh on Michael J. Fox's ad for Claire McCaskill

Read more

Watch the ad

Syndicate content