Bull Moose

The Bull Moose advocates a progressive poltics of national greatness that promotes a strong national defense, economic fainess, political reform and national service.


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9 years 31 weeks ago

January 10, 2006

The Moose Intelligence Service retrieves a diary entry from a former high Republican official. Dear Diary, The ingratitude of it all! I help them maintain their majority. I hooked them up with donors and corporate flights home. I fed them. I cared for them. I promoted their wacky causes. I carried the POTUS' water. And now, I am eliminated like a cockroach in an infested kitchen! Woe is me. I
Categories: Politics
The Moose welcomes a healthy debate in the DLC Zoo. The always erudite and eloquent New Donkey differs with the Moose on the NSA eavesdropping matter. Without belaboring the matter, the Moose continues to believe that the President had authority both under Article II of the Constitution and the Authorization for the Use of Force passed by Congress to conduct the interception of enemy
Categories: Politics

January 9, 2006

The Moose continues to believe that the NSA eavesdropping program was just swell.

After hearing the various arguments pro and con on the controversial program, the Moose only wishes President Bush and other Presidents had earlier ignored FISA and had extensively and aggressively tapped into electronic data of terrorist suspects' communications to the United States. Of course, prior to 9/11 there was no great imperative to sidestep FISA.

It is interesting that no prominent opponent of the program has called for its elimination. Some objectors are playing with the "I" word, but even they are not suggesting that we shut down this nefarious threat to our freedoms.

There is an entirely valid point that we should update our laws to monitor this type of eavesdropping. That is a difficult task, but it is worth exploring. We are in for the long haul in this war against Jihadism, and we must think anew. There may be a better way to implement checks and balances in light of this new threat.

But, we should be grateful to the President and General Hayden, rather than outraged that they refused to be hampered by FISA and implemented the interception of vital military intelligence from the enemy. Any President, Republican or Democrat, worth his salt would have done the same. No President is above the law nor immune from the responsibility from defending the citizens of the United States.

A dangerous and frightening complacency has fallen upon the land. There is little concern about the continuing terrorist threat. The Senate delays passing an extension of the Patriot Act while civil liberties attorneys bicker about dotting the i's and crossing the t's. In some quarters, the Jihadist threat has been replaced by the Bushie threat.

The word has gone out - a CNN reporter might have been eavesdropped upon! Why should we be all that concerned about a dirty bomb or Iranians with nukes when a warrantless NSA might have detected enemies' call to the States! The Constitution is being shredded! If this crowd had been around during the Civil War or WWII,, surely they would have submitted the articles of impeachment on Lincoln and FDR for their manifold Constitutional transgressions.

Joe Klein's column in this week's Time Magazine is must reading particularly for all Democrats.

He writes,

"For too many liberals, all secret intelligence activities are "fruit," and bitter fruit at that. The government is presumed guilty of illegal electronic eavesdropping until proven innocent. This sort of civil-liberties fetishism is a hangover from the Vietnam era, when the Nixon Administration wildly exceeded all bounds of legality—spying on antiwar protesters and civil rights leaders...

"At the very least, the Administration should have acted, with alacrity, to update the federal intelligence laws to include the powerful new technologies developed by the NSA. But these concerns pale before the importance of the program. It would have been a scandal if the NSA had not been using these tools to track down the bad guys. There is evidence that the information harvested helped foil several plots and disrupt al-Qaeda operations...

"There is also evidence, according to U.S. intelligence officials, that since the New York Times broke the story, the terrorists have modified their behavior, hampering our efforts to keep track of them—but also, on the plus side, hampering their ability to communicate with one another."

Klein trenchantly concludes,

"In fact, liberal Democrats are about as far from the American mainstream on these issues as Republicans were when they invaded the privacy of Terri Schiavo's family in the right-to-die case last year.

"But there is a difference. National security is a far more important issue, and until the Democrats make clear that they will err on the side of aggressiveness in the war against al-Qaeda, they will probably not regain the majority in Congress or the country."

If there is evidence that the NSA program was a Nixonian dirty tricks operation, everything would change. But, absent that revelation, the Moose is pleased that the Administration was doing everything possible to thwart another attack. Facile comparisons with Nixon are silly and inappropriate when there is absolutely no proof of a domestic political spy scheme.

There will never be a Democratic President until the American people believe that the donkey will be as or more forceful than the Republicans in combating the Jihadists. And when that arrives, a Democratic President may rue the day when his party sought to tie the hands of the Chief Executive. Some Democratic Senators who aspire to that office should keep that in mind as they grill Sam Alito over the next couple of weeks.

The Moose is a Hamiltonian mammal and is comforted that there was energy in the Executive on this one.

Categories: Politics

January 6, 2006

The Moose extols the political value of non-partisanship.

The always thoughtful and perceptive editor of the New Republic, Peter Beinart, has written a thought provoking piece on lefty rage against Senator Lieberman

Explaining Lieberman hatred, Beinart writes,

"But, politically, rhetorical differences matter. In fact, they are at the heart of Lieberman-hatred. Lieberman's heresy isn't ideological; it's temperamental. He loathes confrontation, he exudes goodwill toward all; he takes it as an article of faith that what binds us together as Americans is more important than what divides us, always. He is chronically happy with American life. During the 2004 campaign, he wanted to be liked by Al Sharpton, and he was. Today, he wants to be liked by George W. Bush, and he is."

It is a commentary on American politics that a politician who "exudes goodwill" excites hate from a faction of his own party. This is exactly why more and more Americans don't identify with either party and abhor the current state of politics. However, increasingly politicians from both parties pander to the haters and the activists loathe the uniters. Undoubtedly, the fair-minded Beinart will earn the enraged opprobrium of the left wing fever swamp with his balanced piece.

Beinart, goes on to criticize Senator Lieberman for shunning partisanship,

"Behind Lieberman's obsession with national unity is his deep conviction that the United States is at war--not just in Iraq, but around the world. The war on terrorism is his prism for viewing Bush. And it drains away his anger at the president's misdeeds, because they always pale in comparison to those of America's true enemy...

"What both Lieberman and the Lieberman-haters have lost is what the great social democratic critic Irving Howe called "two-sided politics." Liberals are engaged in two different struggles--one against illiberalism at home, the other against an even more profound illiberalism abroad. Both must be fought with passion. Neither can be subsumed. Each must be sometimes compromised for the sake of the other. It is that moral tension--more than Bush-hatred, and more than wartime unity--that defines the liberal spirit. Let's hope both Lieberman and his critics recapture it in the days ahead."

The Moose, however, rejects the moral equivalence argument between Lieberman and his critics. Partisan politicians are a dime a dozen - there are plenty of voices to excoriate the Bushies. What is rare is a courageous statesman like Joe Lieberman who "obsessively" puts country before party. We need more of them. In fact, the Moose's prime critique of President Bush is that he failed to forge a new politics of national unity after 9/11. With the continuing threats in the world, America desperately needs more politicians like Lieberman who focus on unity rather than division.

Actually, it would be healthy for the Democratic Party to be seen as occasionally playing the role of "non-partisan" partisans. While Republican popularity is plummeting, the American people don't exactly perceive the Democrats as a day at the beach.

It appears to the Moose that the Democrats of '06 are a mirror image of the Republicans of '98. The elephants of '98 were obsessed with Clinton rage just as the donkeys of '06 are inflamed by Bush rage. And to the surprise of the GOP, they were not rewarded at the polls in '98 for their hatred. Clinton rage then was as unlovely as Bush hatred is now.

So, perhaps the Democrats could benefit from a little "non-partisan partisanship." Democrats - help make the American people believe that you always put country before party. It may earn you political rewards.

And let us praise Joe Lieberman for exuding goodwill.
Categories: Politics

January 5, 2006

The Moose offers a service to recipients of Jack Abramoff's largesse.

The Moose is a constructive mammal. That is why he is now accepting stained campaign contributions from Casino Jack to politicians ranging from the President of the United States to the Governor of Maryland.

It's easy and simple. Just have your Campaign Treasurer click the "Support the Bull Moose" link on the right. You might even receive a personalized "thank you" note and autographed photo from the Moose.

The Moose always seeks to help those in need.
Categories: Politics
The Moose condemns bi-partisan comity.

Well, not exactly. As Mooseketeers know, this mammal is generally strongly supportive of Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives coming together in constructive dialog. We need more de-polarization across party and ideological lines.

With one exception.

Yesterday, Al Gore made a presentation at Grover Norquist's infamous Wednesday Breakfast group. The Moose applauds Vice President Gore for his visionary work on global warming. And he is impressed that he is reaching out to potentially hostile conservative audiences with his message.

However, it is unfortunate that the Vice President would give legitimacy to Grover's group. The Moose has a little history with that function. He vividly recalls in the mid-nineties when Abramoff's clients would display their wares at the Wednesday confab. It was at that place where the conservative movement was distorted with the convergence of money and power. It reflects the worst combination of K Street and DeLayism.

For the record, Grover's meeting is the perhaps the most over-rated event in the nation's capital. It is primarily a right wing and K Street show and tell noshfest for lobbyists and functionaries. Little is done or accomplished other than contributing to global warming with hot air and the deforestation of America with the distribution of endless right wing broadsides.

On a related matter, the Moose is deeply disturbed that some of the conservative faithful are abandoning the Bug Man at his time of need. It was only a few short months ago, that the right wing rallied in a massive dinner saluting Tom DeLay as their leader. Now, they are headed for

for the tall grass when it is getting hot for Casino Jack's golfing buddy. Deeply distressing!

With the forthcoming Abramoff confession, maybe the next major cause of conservatism will soon be the Prison Ministry. Perhaps, Charles Colson will be a staple at future Grover Wednesday confabs. As a convenience, future Wednesday get-togethers could be held in the waiting room at the Federal Court House.

There are plenty of fine conservative venues at which the Vice President could have brought his message. Grover's place is not one of them.

Now, back to bi-partisan harmony...
Categories: Politics
The Moose congratulates the University of Texas - NCAA Football National Champions.

It just goes to show, don't believe the hype. The Eyes of Texas are certainly upon you! The Moose is kvelling over Vince Young who delivered the most storied and heroic perfomance in the history of the college game. Sam Houston must be proud of his progeny.

And he will even be prouder when the Lone Star State elects U of T alum Kinky as her new Governor!

The Longhorns and Kinky - perfect together!
Categories: Politics
The Moose congratulates the University of Texas - NCAA Football National Champions. It just goes to show, don't believe the hype. The Eyes of Texas are certainly upon you! Sam Houston must be proud of his progeny. And he will even be prouder when the Lone Star State elects U of T alum Kinky as her new Governor! The Longhorns and Kinky - perfect together!
Categories: Politics

January 4, 2006

In a "Swiftian" spirit, the Moose urges politicians to completely ignore the blogosphere.

The blogs are sometimes informative, usually entertaining and almost always - with a few exceptions - predictable partisan bile. As a blogger himself, the Moose has a vested interest in the medium, but he does not worship at the altar of his mouse.

The Moose previously wrote,

"... it is a delusion to believe that the blogosphere is representative of anything but the hundreds of thousands of scribblers that join in this marvelous medium and the few millions of good folks who read it. The Moose is always struck by how few people actually read a blog or even are familiar with their existence - even those who are politically active.

...The blogosphere is generally an ideological hothouse that does not reflect the everyday thoughts of Americans. In that way, it is much like talk radio."

Politicians should only pay attention to the bloggers with the understanding that they usually represent the most fevered and extreme elements of their base. Particularly Democratic politicians should largely ignore them. Democrats need less preaching to the choir and more persuasion and conversion of those who have left the flock or belong to another congregation.

To take a random example, the last thing in the world a Democratic leader should do is to attend a convention of blog readers (that would apply to an assembly of Mooseketeers, as well) - they should use their precious time speaking to VFW conventions, sermonizing at mega-churches and attending NASCAR races. Democrats are a minority party and they must evangelize and proselytize and not pander to the zealots among their flock.

Republicans became the majority party by preaching to non-traditional GOP groups. Democratic leaders should follow that example.

And don't pay too much attention to those of us who pound on keyboards.

Note - to see a profile of the Moose look here.
Categories: Politics
The Moose fears that the righteous ones have lost their religion.

Oh, ye of little faith. It appears that the Bible Believers are about to have the book thrown at them - and it's not the good book. Casino Jack, who previously might have consulted the Talmud to justify his role as a gonif with the Indian Tribes, will have plenty of prison time to read the Talmudic commentaries to discover how he went wrong.

Meanwhile, Righteous Ralph Reed has yet to have a "Come to Jesus" moment about his role in the Abramoff rip-off. Of course, Brother Ralph claims that he was only the piano player in the Abramoff bordello. The Moose, however, begs to differ. From his personal experience, the Moose knows that Brother Ralph is both a very savvy sinner and he was extremely close to Casino Jack from back in the days when they were idealistic revolutionaries. It is only a matter of time that Ralph will have to get right with the Lord.

And Parishioner Tom DeLay must have realized that he was sinning in River City. And we all know that the Good Lord has touched the Bugman's heart. What can explain his wayward ways?

The Moose suggests that the Brothers in the Lord have rejected several admonitions in the Decalogue. Although it may offend some church-state absolutists, the Moose recommends a crash Decalogue program in D.C. Post them everywhere. Mandatory ten commandment training for all Members, staff, and lobbyists! Forget about "reform" legislation - enforce the Ten Commandments!

This may sound extreme - but clearly we must wash the stain of Satan away from the nation's capital. And will someone please say, Amen!
Categories: Politics

January 3, 2006

An empathetic Moose has declared today as "Hug an Elephant day."

This may be a very stressful and traumatic twenty-four hours for many a D.C. Republican. It appears that old Casino Jack Abramoff could agree to a plea deal and flip on his former comrades. If he starts singing, a lot of righteous right wingers could be in deep, deep, doo-doo.

You will be able to see the stress on the faces of the Republicans as wander nervously on the Hill and speak softly to one another of their misdeeds on behalf of Jack. "All of this tsouris for a junket to the Marianas" they will wail! After all, what's a few hundred grand between friends?These Republicans have been stricken with Abramoff Seizure Syndrome.

The symptoms of this Syndrome are belated contrition, heart palpitations and nervous sweats. They suddenly lose their appetite while dining at the Capital Grille when a federal attorney appears. They suffer from a sudden loss of memory that they ever had any dealings with the Casino Jack or his powerful pal, the Bugman.

The Moose is a kinder and gentler mammal. He feels the pain of his former comrades. A decade ago, everything was possible - smaller government, smash the state, all power to the people! And it has all come crashing down at a skybox at the MCI Center. Woe is they!

So, if you see a elephant today - give them a hug - they're going to need it if Jack is singing to the feds! The halls of the Hill are alive with music!
Categories: Politics
The Moose celebrates a Texas enlistment in the ranks of the independent.

One tough Texas grandma has abandoned the ranks of the GOP and that may be good news for the Kinkster's crusade to become Chief Executive of the Lone Star State. The AP reports,

"Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn turned her back on the Republican Party and announced Monday she will run for governor as an independent.

The move allows Strayhorn to escape a potentially ugly primary battle against Gov. Rick Perry. The GOP primary is set for March 7."

This action by the mama of W's press flack may make it easier for Kinky to obtain the necessary ballot signatures since those who sign the petitions cannot vote in the Republican or Democratic primaries. Now, it appears there will only be a Democratic primary. Moreover, the more the merrier - a wide open four-way race may make it easier for the Kinkster to sneak in as the first independent Texas Governor since the great Sam Houston.

The Moose's fondest hope is that more elephants and donkeys abandon their parties and "think like Sam." While Strayhorn is Kinky's competitor, her defection may prompt more and more Texas voters to think outside the box and visualize an independent Governor.

If we could only do that on the national stage!
Categories: Politics

January 2, 2006

The Moose fears that our elites are ignoring the persisting peril.

Increasingly, the political and opinion class has a pre-9/11 feel to it. A broad swath of our media and political elites has more fear of a Nixonian presence in the Oval Office than a Jihadist threat to our security. That is not to dismiss legitimate concerns over civil liberties. During a time of war, there will always be a proper debate over security versus privacy.

However, there is increasing sentiment that we are no longer at war. Well, not exactly - clearly we are at war in Iraq. And according to some, the Bush Administration is conducting a relenting attack on our liberties. One Senate Democratic leader even crowed that the party had "killed" the Patriot Act.

But, what seems lost is the reality that Jihadists seek to attack within the borders of the United States. We are becoming a complacent nation - at least that is true of part of our opinion and political leaders. There is increasing talk that the threat from al-Qaeda was overblown and exaggerated. A large portion of the fault lies with the Bush Administration which decided that after 9/11 it would be business as usual at home. There would be no call to sacrifice except from our brave and heroic troops and their families. There was no serious effort to address the problem of energy independence or expansion of the military. Tax cuts were the supreme domestic imperative.

And of course, there was no effort at national unity. And so today, we are a polarized nation with Democrats assuming that Bush is a modern day Nixon and Republicans believing that Democrats are "stab in the back" traitors.

But, if one listens to most of the Democrats, the major threat to America lurks in the Oval Office. While the D's could enjoy gains in this year's congressional elections. expect the soft on defense label to stick on the party as it enters the '08 Presidential campaign unless the eventual nominee challenges the left base of the party. More self inflicted damage on national security has been imposed on the party in the past month than in the last two decades.

However, politics should not be the animating concern of the moment. The Moose fears that soon we will again be forced to deal with the reality of the fact that this remains a very dangerous world. The most immediate threat to our complacency is likely to be Iran which is a nation on the verge of nuclear capability governed by an insane anti-Semite who does not hide his ambition to wipe Israel off the map. While Russia is arming Teheran to the teeth, the Bush Administration has no clear strategy to deal with this threat from this charter member of the famed axis of evil. And the Democrats are too preoccupied with appeasing their left base to pay much attention to the matter.

The Moose has faith that, at the end of the day, the clear majority of the American people will not view the continuing danger through a partisan prism. They will recognize that the President made a close call on the surveillance issue, but it was not made out of venality. They will also believe that there was a great intelligence failure concerning Saddam's weapons and there was incompetence in the occupation, but that premature withdrawal would be disastrous.

And even if our elites are forgetting, the American people will recognize that this is hardly a time to relax our guard.
Categories: Politics

December 30, 2005

The Moose offers one 2006 prediction.

Governor Kinky Friedman

Categories: Politics

December 29, 2005


The Moose rambles during his holiday repose.

There is a legitimate and important debate underway on the authority for the President's eavesdropping program. There are strong arguments that the President should have sought authorization from the FISA Court for the surveillance. However, in the Moose's view, it is out-of-bounds to suggest that the President was attempting a tyrannical seizure of power. Contrary to the not too subtle suggestion in the fevered ACLU ad in today's New York Times, this is not Watergate. Aging baby-boomers don't need to get their fraying Impeach Nixon shirts out of the closet just yet. There is no evidence, for instance, that President exploited the program to spy on domestic opponents or to assist in his re-election. If he did, it would be an entirely different matter.

Both the Constitution's clause granting war powers to the President and the Congress' authorization of the use of force against Al Qaeda appear to be sufficient to justify the program. The detection of phone calls between terrorist suspects and contacts in America constitute legitimate war activities in this new type of conflict. Establishing probable cause and justification might have been impracticable with the need to immediately mine hundreds of calls and electronic communications. And there are certainly precedents for warrantless searches.

In virtually every war, there has been a push and pull between the Executive and Congress over war time power. For instance, prior to World War II, many assert that FDR brazenly circumvented the Neutrality Act to defend our allies. Imagine how the ACLU crowd would have treated FDR's action - Dictator, Tyrant, Criminal! Come to think of it, the Taft Republicans of that day did employ similar invective. And so today, we have the rantings of the Taft Democrats.

In a conflict between Article II and FISA, the Constitutional war making powers of the Presidency are likely to prevail. And if there was ever a case for "energy in the Executive" it was the pressing Presidential duty to detect terrorists after 9/11, regardless of whether that Chief Executive was a Republican, Democrat or Vegetarian.

Lefties are availing themselves to bash Bush, and would not likely object if a Democratic President implemented an eavesdropping program. If we do not thwart the plans of the Jihadists, there will be far greater threats to our freedoms, our liberties and our lives.

If the Members of Congress who were briefed on the eavesdropping matter truly believed that the President was violating both the Constitution and the law, then a mere letter to file was far from sufficient. They should have made this a matter of critical importance - a closed meeting of the Intelligence Committee, if not the Senate was in order. House Members should have broken down the door of the Speaker and demanded action.

Now that the program has been revealed, it is lame for those briefed Members to suggest that this is a Constitutional and legal travesty. Even though this is a secret program, they might have gone public because the rule of law was in jeopardy.

Similarly, the Senate overwhelmingly approved the Patriot Act in the aftermath of 9/11. Now that memories have faded, almost all Democratic Senators, who once supported the legislation, stopped a modified version of the bill which accommodated many civil libertarian concerns.

It appears that we have an entirely new category of politicians -the "hindsight heroes". They express disgust at those same policies that they either supported or did not strenuously object to until after they become unpopular with the Democratic base. That is also true of many who once supported the war, but have now discovered religion. And entering their ranks are those esteemed current and former Members who didn't exactly "set their hair on fire" when they learned about the eavesdropping are suggesting that we have arrived at a constitutional crisis. As others have pointed out, so far none of the objectors have actually called for a termination of the program.

At least Russ Feingold opposed the war and the Patriot Act from the beginning. He is as consistent as he is courageous (while wrong-headed). It was also particularly gutsy of him to be the only '08 Democratic aspirant to have voted for John Roberts. If the left has a standard-bearer, Feingold is an admirable advocate in contrast to some of his "sunshine" colleagues.

Perhaps the wrong judgment was made about circumventing FISA. But, this was a decision made on the basis that FISA was not structured to deal with hundreds of real time intercepts that demand immediate action. One is free to quibble with that judgment. But this action was taken with the knowledge of the leaders of both parties. Somehow, the Moose does not recall President Nixon briefing Democratic leaders as he implemented the plumbers program.

If lefties and some libertarians want to oppose the eavesdropping because they are privacy absolutists, fine. But don't suggest that the President has defiled the Constitution and broken the law. Sometimes judgments are right or wrong and not illegal or unconstitutional. The Moose acknowledges that he is deferential to Presidential powers during wartime. And this President has far from stretched the boundaries of precedents established by past Commanders-in-Chief.

We have two great parties in America. One is in thrall to big money. The other is under the control of left wing "new politics," upper middle class, and highly educated activists. The primary domestic objective of the contemporary GOP is to comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted. However, the primary objective of the National Democratic Party is not to address the anxieties of the middle class or poor working Americans but rather to relieve the fevered anxieties of the ACLU, Hollywood funders and puerile bloggers.

The lesson of the last election that national security matters most has been lost on the donkeys. They are in danger of becoming the 9/10 Democrats. Increasingly, they appear to resemble pre-Clinton Democrats of the seventies and eighties when they were animated by the new class liberalism, particularly on foreign policy, rather than New Democratic centrism.

There is a great need for a serious opposition party to critique the Administration's ineptitude in Iraq or its hapless policy toward the growing threat in Iran. During the Cold War, great Democrats like JFK and Scoop offered a more hawkish alternative to the Republicans.

Unfortunately, too many of the National Democrats play the role of modern Robert Taft/Henry Wallacites in the war against terror. Of course, there are some notable exceptions - but they are a distinct minority in a party that is animated by full-throated Bush rage. The great, and possibly only hope of the Democrats, is that the Governors assert power within the party. Maybe, they can reinvigorate the long dormant JFK wing of the party.

What Peter Beinart perceptively wrote over a year ago is even more true today,

"But there is little liberal passion to win the struggle against Al Qaeda--even though totalitarian Islam has killed thousands of Americans and aims to kill millions; and even though, if it gained power, its efforts to force every aspect of life into conformity with a barbaric interpretation of Islam would reign terror upon women, religious minorities, and anyone in the Muslim world with a thirst for modernity or freedom.

"When liberals talk about America's new era, the discussion is largely negative--against the Iraq war, against restrictions on civil liberties, against America's worsening reputation in the world. In sharp contrast to the first years of the cold war, post-September 11 liberalism has produced leaders and institutions--most notably Michael Moore and MoveOn--that do not put the struggle against America's new totalitarian foe at the center of their hopes for a better world."

The Moose would readily sign up for the Democratic Party of FDR, Truman, JFK, LBJ and Scoop. Alas, it doesn't exist and there is no sign that it will return anytime soon. And it is hard to believe that any of those great Democrats would recognize their party. Neither party represents their followers. Progressive hawks dwell in a political Diaspora. If only there was a party that both advocates universal health care coverage and universal coverage from a Jihadist attack.A party that can combat both global warming and global terrorism. A party that can be serious both about fighting poverty and Islamic extremism.

The Moose is not exactly holding his breath waiting for such a party to emerge. That is why he will remain a cheerful independent grazing in the vital center of American politics.

Anyway, enough of this rambling disquisition. Happy New Year!

Categories: Politics

December 28, 2005

The Moose admires Ed Koch.

Many years ago when the Moose was a student at N.Y.U. he went to visit his Congressman about the war in Viet Nam. Rather than being treated to the usual blather about "hearing your concerns", the Congressman rather abruptly said, "Why are you wasting your time coming to see me? You know I'm with you and here's a New York City flag pin, and be on your way."

At first, the Moose was a bit taken aback by the brusque reception, but then he realized that it was a waste of time for both of us. That Congressman was the future Mayor of the Big Apple, Ed Koch. The Moose has always had a soft spot for the Hizzhonor. Although he was not the perfect mayor, he revived the city's spirits and pulled it out of the ditch. Ed Koch was a refreshing politician - direct and a straight talker.

The Moose also is fond of the Ed Koch because he represents the type of Democrat with whom he identifies. Koch epitomizes a Democrat who advocates a strong safety net and a sturdy web of national security - a progressive hawk. Koch is an old school Truman, JFK, Scoop Democrat.

The Moose was reminded of why he likes Koch by this piece on Real Clear Politics. In decrying the latest GOP budget cuts, Mayor Ed writes,

"I deplore fascism, socialism and communism. I'm a believer in the capitalist system that allows you, subject to reasonable restraints and taxes, to use for your own benefit and that of your family your personal abilities -- the skill of your hands and the power of your brain.

"But I also believe just as firmly in fairness, which requires us to help those who need government assistance. It's not fair that those with the necessary ability should be denied the opportunity to pursue a higher education because they were born into the homes of financially poor parents. The country needs their talents. It is simply wrong that people should suffer because the country’s legislators favor helping those already better off. They are so shameless they have even eliminated subsidies intended to help poor families with their heating bills."

After all those years, Mayor Koch's passion still fiercely burns. He is funny, tough and no nonsense. He represents the best of the Big Apple.

And Ed Koch is a throw back to a Democratic tradition that is badly in need of a revival.
Categories: Politics

December 27, 2005

The budget bill explains why the Moose is not a Republican.

The Moose left the GOP because it is committed to comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted. That reality is reflected in the recently passed budget bill. In order to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy, pork barrel spending and the resultant deficit, the GOP eager beavers in Congress slashed programs for low income Americans.

E.J. Dionne ably documents the Republican plutocratic behavior in today's Washington Post. He writes,

"Lord knows, a housecleaning in the Capitol is definitely in order. But the Abramoff scandal is just part of the corruption of our political system. There is another level of special-interest influence that cannot be handled by prosecutors: Only the voters can render a judgment on a politics of favoritism that has created a new Gilded Age. It's clear that the national government has placed itself squarely on the side of the wealthy, the privileged and the connected...

"Rarely does a single action by Congress serve as so powerful an example of how the system is working. The recent budget bill, which squeaked through the House and Senate just before Christmas, is a road map of insider dealing. It shows that when choices have to be made, the interests of the poor and the middle class fall before the wishes of interest groups with powerful lobbies and awesome piles of campaign money to distribute."

Particularly egregious are the cuts in the Medicaid program. At a time when Republicans have no aversion to government spending when it assists their corporate masters or aids in their re-election efforts, it is an outrage and a travesty that the least among us are forced to bear the burden.

Philosophically, the Moose favors a strong safety net and a sturdy web of national security. Folks who held these views used to comprise the mainstream of the Democratic Party. We need a party that is willing both to fight poverty and our terrorist foe with equal passion.

More on that later...
Categories: Politics

December 26, 2005

What is the perfect Chanukah gift for the Texian Moose hoops fan who has it all?

One of the Moose’s earliest sports memory was watching the 1966 NCCA Basketball Championship on his black and white television in Waco. That Championship game pitted the Kentucky Wildcats against the Texas Western Miners.

What was significant about that game was that Texas Western (now known as the University of Texas at El Paso) started five African American players. That was a first in a championship game. And it was an inspiration for that 13 year old in Waco when Texas Western won the game and became the National Champions.

In those days, it was rare in Texas or in the South for a college team to be integrated, much less to have an all African American starting line-up. And Kentucky, led by the reactionary and legendary Coach Adolph Rupp, was the perfect foil for the Miners. In contrast, Texas Western was coached by the equally legendary Don Haskins who was a basketball visionary.

In commemoration of the forty year anniversary of the Texas Western victory, Disney will soon release the movie Glory Road. The Moose avidly looks forward to the movie about an event and a team that was an inspiration to him.

And what about the Chanukah present for the hard to please Moose? Mrs. Moose gave him a bright orange Texas Western College cap which he will proudly wear to the release of Glory Road on January 13th.

Go Miners!
Categories: Politics

December 23, 2005

The intrepid Moose Intelligence Service once again discovers a top secret White House document.

To: Wormwood

Fr: K.R.

My dear servant, you have earned a holiday bonus and more as a result of your work in recent weeks. I must admit that my faith waned a couple of months ago as our dear leader's poll numbers were plummeting without a net. The Harriet fiasco was mishandled without my input from the beginning. Operation "Finger Scooter" was successful, but the ramifications hurt our popularity further. And events in Iraq appeared ominous.

And then we set our plan in motion - and how our adversary cooperated! Indulge me for quoting Voltaire, but he put it so very well -

"I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: “O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.” And God granted it."

From the moment that I insinuated you into the hierarchy of the Democratic Party, I knew you could achieve my nefarious ends. You helped elect the Chairman. You urged the Democrats to take the most extreme position on the war - we can't win laced with a call for immediate withdrawal (nice touch with the "redeployment" euphemism).

And as the year ends, our dear leader is surging in the polls. The 'eavesdropping" leak to the New York Times prompted the Democrats to take the bait and stage a tantrum. Is this kind fate the result of our own genius or our adversaries' profound stupidity?

Please, please encourage Democrats to invoke the "I" word. After all, impeachment worked so well for the Republicans back in the '90s. And in this instance, Democrats are going after this President on national security grounds - I can hardly believe my fortune! And thanks for maneuvering the D's into resisting the renewal of the Patriot Act so we are guaranteed a debate over national security in an election year . Have they completely forgotten what we did to them in '02?

Lord, what have I done to deserve such kind fate?

Of course, not all is holiday joy and mirth. That pesky prosecutor is still on my tail, but I believe my consigliere has thrown enough monkey dust in his view to foil an indictment. And then there is the matter of Mr. Abramoff. This is indeed a problem for us. His tentacles touch the entire Republican establishment. When and if he talks, many of our valuable allies are endangered.

That is why it is so imperative that you continue to encourage the Democrats to indulge their dovish, ACLU tendencies. We must divert attention from our ethical lapses to their national security weaknesses. Alas, you know this well and you are ably implementing the plan.

Dear servant, you are well deserving of my praise and accolades! Best wishes for a nefarious new year!

* The Moose wishes the Mooseketeers a happy holiday and a Bully! new year. He will take a short hiatus to regenerate his antlers.
Categories: Politics