Archive for November 11th, 2008
When Howard Dean, fresh off a bid for the Democratic presidential nomination that ended with a scream, announced that he would seek the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee, the right-wing echo chamber exploded with delight.
Asserting that Dean would forever consign Democrats to also-ran status, radio ranter Rush Limbaugh shouted: “Please, make him chairman. Please! Please! Please!”
Political strategist turned Fox News blowhard Dick Morris was pithier, declaring that: “In choosing their new national leader, the Democratic Party is publishing a… succinct suicide note. It reads ‘Chairman Howard Dean.'”
That was in early 2005, when Republicans controlled the presidency, enjoyed solid majorities in both chambers of the Congress and were on the march at the local and state government levels. Democrats seemed directionless and dysfunctional, and White House political czar Karl Rove was talking about how America was realigning as a permanently conservative nation.
While other Democratic leaders talked tactics and considered compromises, Dean promised to “show up and fight.”
“The Democratic Party will not win elections or build a lasting majority solely by changing its rhetoric, nor will we win by adopting the other side’s positions,” the former governor of Vermont said when he announced his candidacy for the party job. “We must say what we mean — and mean real change when we say it.”
That scared some folks. But not the 477 members of the Democratic National Committee. The DNC members refused to accept the counsel of Limbaugh and Morris, or that of the Washington-insider Democrats who feared Dean’s edgy approach and swore that the party could not sustain a 50-state strategy.
Dean was elected, and he immediately began throwing punches.
In his first weeks as DNC chair, Dean …
The pot roast is coming along nicely, smelling tasty. Using thyme was a good idea. As usual, the roast has released a lot of juice, so I just added 1/2 cup of Middle Eastern couscous (the spherical couscous) to soak up the juice and provide some carbs with the meal.
Two days after Barack Obama became the first African-American to be voted into the White House, the percentage of black voters who view American society as fair and decent jumped 18 points to 42% (see crosstabs).
Just a month earlier, only 24% of black voters viewed American society as fair and decent.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that nearly half of black voters (46%) still believe society is unfair and discriminatory, but that’s down from 64% in early October. The latest results represent the most positive outlook found among black voters since August, when 53% said they view American society as fair and decent. That month Obama became the first African-American presidential candidate of a major U.S. politial party.
While the opinion of black voters has changed considerably over the past month, the overall population’s has changed little. Sixty-five percent (65%) of voters view society as fair and decent compared to 64% in October.
Democratic voters’ optimism also has grown over the past month, from 47% who viewed society as fair and decent in October to 53% who say the same now.
Another recent Rasmussen survey found that 70% of African-American voters think relations between blacks and whites are …
In terms of personnel moves in the administration, it’s a bit opaque as to what’s going on. But in terms of committees and Congress, the personnel changes translate directly into policy, which makes the fight between progressive Henry Waxman and the union conservative John Dingell over the Chairmanship of the Energy and Commerce committee so consequential.The E&C committee is one of the big three committees in the House – the Ways and Means committee, which handles tax issues, and the Appropriations Committee, which handles spending, are the others. E&C regulates health care, the internet and telecom (including net neutrality), trade, media policy, energy, consumer protections, and climate change, and is sort of the honeypot for corporate interests and lobbying. Waxman is making a major play to take the committee leadership away from Dingell because Dingell, who is from Michigan and represents the auto industry, is basically refusing to get serious on climate change legislation.
John Dingell, as per the usual rules of seniority, is the Chairman of the committee. Though he has recently admitted climate change exists, he’s done so grudgingly, and put forward wholly inadequate plans to cap greenhouse gas emissions along with his coal-state colleague, Rick Boucher. Pelosi considers climate change a national emergency, and so tried to undermine Dingell in 2006 by creating a select committee on global warming without legislative authority headed by his former protege, Ed Markey of Massachusetts. Dingell had a number of unkind words about that committee, like “We should probably name it the committee on world travel and junkets”, “”We’re just empowering a bunch of enthusiastic amateurs to go around and make speeches and make commitments that will be very difficult to honor”, and “I’m unaware of anything they will do that will be of any value.”It was a gutsy move by Pelosi, but …
It uses an ultracapacitor instead of batteries, so it will recharge completely in 90 seconds. Expensive, but delightful. The Lightning Flashlight.