Foley scandal

Josh Marshall is all over this story, and he sums up the issues nicely with his latest post. The GOP has plenty to answer for – what did the leadership know and when did they know it. This story has legs.

Jim Webb on Hardball

Here’s the video of Jim Webb’s recent appearance on Hardball. He’s on a roll.

Why has the mainstream media stopped covering the war in Iraq?

Since Dan Abrams took over programming at MSNBC, I’ve noticed two changes – lame documentaries on the schedule after 10 PM and very little coverage of the Iraq War.

It’s not quite as bad at CNN, but coverage of the deteriorating situation in Iraq no longer seems like a priority for the mainstream media. Once the war in Lebanon started, it seems like they shifted their correspondents, and all their coverage, to that conflict, but then never brought them back. Perhaps it’s a cost issue. Perhaps they’re too obsessed with ratings. Either way, they are abdicating their responsibilities . . . again.

I wonder if Abrams watches “Hardball” with Chris Matthews. Matthews blasted the media tonight for ignoring the carnage in Iraq, and pointing out how this is playing into the GOP’s strategy to distract the public from the war.

Speaking of Matthews, Jim Webb was on tonight and gave the best interview I’ve ever seen him give. Matthews tried to get him to discuss George Allen’s current problems with the truth, but Webb scolded Matthews and made him focus on the issues. He gave a very clear explanation of what needed to be done in Iraq. I hope Virginians were able to see this performance.

Hysterical reactions to Pope’s statements

This is getting to be ridiculous. Radical Muslims are calling for the Pope’s death? And our government thinks we can create Jeffersonian democracies in the Middle East?

Frist sneaks gambling provision into military bill

Do we really need the government to ban online gambling? We’re in the middle of a war, and this is what the GOP leadership has decided to push as a priority.

Senator Bill Frist is trying to sneak the provision to prohibit people from using credit cards to settle Internet gambling debts.

Is anyone in Congress willing to protect our liberties? Certianly not the GOP. The religious right would ban everything fun if they had their way. The Democrats aren’t much better. They don’t want to ban this stuff, but they’re gutless and afraid to stand up to the religious nuts in this country. Just look at the Terry Schiavo fiasco.

Bin Laden not a top priority for Bush

This is amazing. Osama Bin Laden is responsible for nearly 3,000 American deaths on 9/11, yet catching or killing him is “not a high priority” for George W. Bush in the war on terror? Bush also said “Bin Laden doesn’t fit with the administration’s strategy for combating terrorism.”

Great new ad

VoteVets.org has a powerful new ad targeting George Allen and his failure to vote for improved body armor for our troops in Iraq. The ad is very simple yet very effective.

The organization is raising money so they can continue to show the ad and to create similar ads targeting other Senators who voted against this important protection.

The bottom line is this – when our government sent these troops to Iraq, many of them were not given the ncessary body armor to protect them. Many soldiers had to purchase this body armor on their own because the government would not foot the bill. Many units also did not have armored humvees.

This is a disgrace, and it undermines the chest-thumping claims of patriotism by the Bush Administration and the GOP cheering section. It’s time to hold them accountable.

Jim Webb has closed the gap in Virginia. This ad might help him score a huge upset and help the Democrats take over the Senate.

Bush’s political speech

Richard Wolffe and Holly Bailey of Newsweek posted an excellent article explaining how Bush’s 9/11 address to the nation last night in prime time fits into his political strategy. Money quote:

The most important hallmark is a passive-aggressive strategy—to land a punch without looking like you’re in a fight. So Bush took the high road of patriotism, as he called for Democrats to stop opposing his policies in Iraq and elsewhere. “Winning this war will require the determined efforts of a unified country,” Bush said, “and we must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us.”

Nothing in his speech, and nothing outside it, suggests that President Bush is ready to meet his critics half-way in setting aside their differences. In the president’s view, the people playing politics—and dividing the nation—are those who oppose his approach. That may not be explicitly partisan politics, but it is political debate dressed up in patriotic clothes.

Earlier in the speech, he was more explicit about the most important of those differences: about how to end the military operations in Iraq.

Bush’s rhetorical strategy is twofold: first, issue a statement of fact about your own position; second, caricature your opponents to look foolish. First the statement of fact: “We’re training Iraqi troops so they can defend their nation. We’re helping Iraq’s unity government grow in strength and serve its people. We will not leave until this work is done,” he explained.

Second, the caricature: “Whatever mistakes have been made in Iraq, the worst mistake would be to think that if we pulled out, the terrorists would leave us alone,” he said. “They will not leave us alone. They will follow us.”

Are there any senior Democrats who have said that troops should leave Iraq in the hope that “terrorists would leave us alone?” The Democratic argument is that troops should leave Iraq either to encourage Iraqis to take control, or simply to avoid greater casualties in what looks like a low-grade civil war.

They nailed it. When you break it down, it becomes apparant how offensive this strategy can be.

Now, instead of complaining about the tactics, the Democrats need to fight back. They need to challenge his statements and hit back hard.

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