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October 4, 2005

06:24
The Moose analyses the divide among the faithful.

Ironically, the Miers nomination has not resulted in a fissure among Democrats but among the conservative faithful. In fact, Democrats are reveling over the Republican imbroglio over the Miers nomination.

There are two distinct camps among the righties over Harriet - the fawning faithful and the reality based conservatives. The fawning faithful are largely faith-based. The leader of this camp is Dr. Dobson who has given his qualified blessing to the nomination. However, the critical thinker of this faction is Marvin Olasky, a controversial figure who created a brief storm in 2000 suggesting that three Jewish journalists comprised a "religion of Zeus."

Olasky provided the key comment on Miers on his blog,

"Miers has been a member of Valley View Christian Church in Dallas for 25 years, where Hecht has been an elder. He calls it a "conservative evangelical church... in the vernacular, fundamentalist, but the media have used that word to tar us." He says she was on the missions committee for ten years, taught children in Sunday School, made coffee, brought donuts: "Nothing she's asked to do in church is beneath her." On abortion, choosing his words carefully for an on-the-record statement, he says "her personal views are consistent with that of evangelical Christians... You can tell a lot about her from her decade of service in a conservative church."

In sum, Olasky is making the point that Miers is kosher because she is an Evangelical Christian. That was also a key factor for W. in receiving that community's blessing in 2000. It is the critical element for Miers now.

The faith based Miers supporters are also comprised of Republicans who will accept anything that W. does merely on... faith. That group is diminishing in numbers as the President increasingly disappoints the faithful.

In contrast to the faith-based righties are the reality based conservatives whose views are represented by Bill Kristol and most of the folks at the National Review. They look at Miers' credentials and pedigree and are repelled by the nomination. Note these comments by Jonah Goldberg,

"If nominating an evangelical pushes Democratic buttons, shame on the Democrats for having their buttons pushable on such a thing.

No, my only real objection is that she doesn't seem to be overwhelmingly qualified for the job. Surely, there are more qualified evangelical judicial conservatives out there, including female ones. The problem with being under-qualified, aside from the obvious points about merit, is that it gives Democrats a good reason not to take the bait the White House is trying to lay out for them."

The Moose delights in this divide.
Source: Bull Moose
Categories: Politics

October 3, 2005

09:25
The Moose urges the donkey to heighten the contradictions among Republicans. The Democrats must respond wisely and strategically to the Miers nomination. While certainly not embracing the nomination, Democrats should take the opportunity to drive a wedge between the right and the President. The Miers pick is clearly a reflection of the President's weakness. One can only wonder what other
Source: Bull Moose
Categories: Politics
07:58
The Moose is enjoying himself like a hog in slop. Already the howls are being heard on the right! From the American Spectator site, "Just spoke with a staffer for a conservative member of the Judiciary Committee whose boss is extremely unhappy about the nomination of Harriet Miers. "We heard her name. We made it clear that she was unacceptable as a nominee on the basis of qualifications and
Source: Bull Moose
Categories: Politics
07:12
The Moose observes that this Administration is at least consistent in its devotion to cronyism. The right cannot be happy this morning. The President chose friendship over ideology in his selection of Harriet Miers. There has to be a tremendous let-down among the conservatives who were at least expecting a Scalia or Thomas in a skirt. Instead, they got a buddy of the President who is an
Source: Bull Moose
Categories: Politics

September 30, 2005

07:16
While grazing in Lafayette Park, the Moose came upon the following memo from a Senior White House official to an operative.

To: Wormwood
Fr: K.R.

I am somewhat reluctant to put this brief directive in writing for reasons that will become obvious. My dear servant, you have been with me in good times and bad, but we have reached the bottom of the barrel. I will acknowledge my errors. Social Security privatization was a mistake - I over-reached after the election. The Schiavo matter was a fiasco - sometimes I can get carried away in my subservience to the base.

There are other events outside even my control - Iraq and Katrina. But, why did I succumb to the POTUS' insistence that he pursue his mountain-bike obsession for five weeks in Crawford? And then I was stricken with kidney stones when our leader desperately needed direction. Oh, the Gods have been unmerciful.

And, of course, I have the Plame prosecutor breathing down my back. With all of this aggravation , Frist's blind trust can see and the Bugman is bagged! The fates have not been kind.

That is why I am now driven to this plot - which even by my standards is low-down, audacious and devious. I now believe that it would be in the long term interests of the cause to temporarily lose control of the House of Representatives - and you must do all in your power to accomplish this task. Hear me out.

The House Republicans have become an albatross around our necks. They have the distinct aroma of corruption. Better to lose them in '06 and allow the liberal face of the Democratic Party to come front and center. Just as our House Republicans over-reached in '95 and '96, the same will happen with the House Democrats. Losing the House in '94 was perhaps the best thing that happened to Clinton's re-election chances in '96. Similarly, in '08, we will run against the threat of liberals controlling the federal government once again. This sacrifice will make it easier for the party to retain the White House and perhaps regain the House.

I realize, dear Wormwood, that this appears to be a desperate plot. But, we do indeed live in desperate times!
Source: Bull Moose
Categories: Politics

September 29, 2005

07:00
The Moose gets ahead of himself.

Although he is not predicting it, the Moose suggests that the Democrats could possibly win back control over the House of Representatives and maybe even the Senate. It is still a significant stretch for the donkey to score a knock-out in '06 and Democrats should certainly not be smitten with irrational exuberance.

But each day, as yesterday revealed, the Congressional Republicans more and more resemble the House Democrats of a decade ago - an entrenched crony establishment out of touch with the country and even their own principles. The popularity numbers of the Congressional GOP are in the tank. Democrats have a significant lead in most generic Congressional match-ups with the Republicans.

It could happen, but it is not inevitable. The Moose's mantra is that the Democrats must offer a reform agenda that appeals to both independents and even disaffected Republicans. The party must begin moving beyond Bush-hatred and forge a plan for governance that provides a glimpse of what Democratic leadership would look like. They have time to accomplish this task, but they should not dither.

In 1993 and 1994, Newt had the insight that the Republicans alone could not win back Congress. That is why he built alliances with the independent Perot forces. He embraced the balanced budget amendment, congressional reforms and term limits. He transcended narrow conservative ideology and embraced a broader agenda (although he did not govern that way).

Learn from Newt!

Now is the time of maximum Republican vulnerability. Democrats must exploit divisions within the GOP ranks. Seize the issue of fiscal responsibility.

Yes, the GOP is the party of corruption, cronyism and incompetence. But, the voters certainly do not yet see the Democrats as the Party of Reform and Competence.

Of course much could change in the next year. And even if the Democrats capture the House (and/or the Senate), there is a danger that they could become hostage to their interest groups and over-reach as the Republicans did in '95 and '96. The '94 Republican victory led paradoxically to the Democratic triumph in '96 - a powerful lesson.

By all means celebrate the Republican travails. But, get to work on offering an attractive alternative for progressive, reform governance.
Source: Bull Moose
Categories: Politics

September 28, 2005

11:47
The Moose notes the end of the "revolution". Tom DeLay will not return as Majority Leader of the House of Representatives. Whatever the outcome of his upcoming trial, he is finished as a Republican Leader. He sealed his doom when he suggested that there was no more fat to be cut out of the federal government. His right wing base both outside and inside the House will now be far less likely to
Source: Bull Moose
Categories: Politics
07:20
The Moose suggests that Ms. Sheehan should offer some contrition. Cindy Sheehan should climb off her high horse and offer an apology to someone she slandered. First, she should be cut a lot of slack. Ms. Sheehan suffered an incalculable loss. However, she has discredited her cause by her associations with radicals, her extremist statements about Israel and her arguments even against the
Source: Bull Moose
Categories: Politics

September 27, 2005

07:23
The Moose, M.S.W. abhors lovers quarrels.

It's time that W. rekindle the romance in his life. No, the problem is not with Laura but with the wing nuts. The right thinks he's been seeing other women - Ms. Big Government Conservatism, Katrina and Rita. The broken hearted righties no longer swoon over W's swagger.

Bush has become the conservatives' Carter - a hapless President wandering aimlessly adrift across the country from disaster to to disaster. W. has even told us to drive less to conserve gasoline (which is not a bad idea but it has to infuriate the Hummer- loving right). It is only a matter of time that Jimmy Bush urges us to turn down the thermostat. Will George W. Carter address the nation in a cardigan and bemoan a national malaise?

President Bush is lavishing billions and billions on his new lovers and the right is mighty jealous. He is showering them with agricultural subsidies, pork and promises of a great society. And the conservatives are just getting a few scraps off the dinner table - a few vouchers here and there.

They don't feel loved. They feel taken for granted. They are so upset, that they wrote him a near Dear John note as an editorial in the National Review,

"If Bush doesn't take decisive steps to try to offset the billions of new Katrina spending, the forecast will be: Danger, more softening ahead. Never in the Bush years has conservative discontent been so high, nor so justified. With a few false moves in the crucial weeks ahead, Bush could see even more of the life-blood squeezed from his presidency."

Ouch!

Ever since W's Katrina speech, the right feels like a lover scorned. Even their favorite exterminator, Tom DeLay, broke their hearts when he proclaimed that there was no more fat in the government and the crusade to shrink the government is over. If the President offers a moderate for the O'Connor vacancy, this marriage is destined for divorce court. To quell this break-up, the President must nominate a right wing lady.

The Moose wrote almost a year ago before the election,

"...what the Moose is observing is that the left now has that hungry look while the right is increasingly fat and lazy feasting on the fruits of power. Yesterday's conservative revolutionaries are today's fat cat lobbyists. And many right-wingers have merely become sycophants and shills for the Republican power brokers.

"Come to think of it - maybe the best thing for the right would be a Kerry victory! Divided government was just swell for conservatives in the nineties - they had a dynamic movement, restrained spending, entitlement reform, tax cuts and a balanced budget. Conservative brethren - consider Kerry - he can return the good old days!"

If you administered some sodium pentothol to some conservatives, you get the sense that they would admit that they'd be better off with a Kerry Presidency. Iraq would be his mess. They could assume the role of an aggrieved opposition and hold the line against spending. Direct mail fundrasing would soar. However, now that their man-child Bush is stumbling, they are in a funk with nowhere to turn. And conservative governance is on the verge of being discredited by the trifecta of cronyism, corruption and incompetence. Ronald Reagan is no longer the symbol of conservative governance, but rather Casino Jack Abramoff and his dear pal the Bugman.

Progressives should heighten the contradictions within conservatism by joining with them in attacking the Bushie and DeLay big spenders. The left should also embrace a program of slashing pork barrel spending, ag and energy subsidies and the transportation bill. Join the right in rolling back the Medicare Drug bill and propose a targeted program for low income seniors - this is a marvelous opportunity for a marriage of strange (and estranged) bedfellows.

The Moose, brandishing some counseling expertise with a Masters of Social Work, has some advice for the scorned lovers of the right - if you don't want to be taken for granted, play hard to get. Threaten W. and Rove to withhold the love they have always expected. Practice abstinence when they whisper sweet nothings in your ear.

Righties - you do your best when you're single and can play the field.
Source: Bull Moose
Categories: Politics

September 26, 2005

07:40

Please indulge a rather irascible Moose who has something he wants to get off his chest (or antlers).

The Moose left the Republican Party because it is subservient to money power. It was an obscenity when the Bushies cuts taxes during wartime because they must aid the wealthy. It is a travesty that some Democrats who view themselves as a future President cannot take a break from partisan warfare because they must appease liberal special interests.

The donkey has little appeal and the Moose will remain as independent Bull Mooser because it is clear, with a few notable exceptions, that the Democrats remain hostage to liberal special interest groups. He is probably not alone in that belief.

The Roberts nomination is not the end all and be all of politics, but it has provided some valuable insight about the state of the Democratic Party. Everyone knows Roberts is eminently qualified for this position. Everyone knows that he is not a Thomas or a Scalia. Everyone knows that he is a clone of Rehnquist. He will not change the composition of the court.

A number of Democrats will vote to confirm Roberts. Yet, every Democratic Senator who aspires to be President, save one, will oppose his nomination. Why? For the simple reason that the interest groups who are influential in the primaries are calling the tune.

Is that too harsh? Ask yourself - would any of these Presidential wannabes want the rigid ideological standard that they apply to Roberts to be applied to a nominee they would offer for the court if they were given the opportunity? Would they suddenly depart from the precedent that has been set since Bork and urge their nominees to answer everything directly and completely that they are asked by the Senate? Don't think so. Honesty is often the first victim of ambition.

Want to understand the dynamic of this nomination? Exhibit A -

"He got the message loud and clear, didn't he?" Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, said of Mr. Reid on Tuesday."

It is rare these days for a Democrat to win the White House. It was twelve years before the last Democrat won. And it will be at least eight years before the next possible victory. In 1992, Bill Clinton allayed the fears of the America that Democrats were subservient to liberal special interests. And he won.

In the next three years, there will probably be other opportunities for Democrats to prove their mettle. But on the Roberts test, they largely failed to show they were more than a party that is solely animated for hatred for everything Bush.

At the moment, the GOP is increasingly desperate straits. The devious machinations of Karl Rove cannot save the party. The Republican hard money advantage cannot rescue it. The GOP nose dive will not be reversed by its vaunted message machine.

The only force that can save the Republican Party is the Democratic Party.

Source: Bull Moose
Categories: Politics

September 23, 2005

19:32
The Moose observes that the Roberts nomination has resulted in strange bedfellows.

Yesterday, Senator Feingold defied the special interests powers that be in the Democratic Presidential primaries. Once again, the Senator from Wisconsin bravely stood for principle. Oh, if more would follow his lead.

Defying the wishes of those who may be potentially among his most ardent supporters in a Presidential campaign, Senator Feingold voted for Roberts. That's the deal about politicians of principle - they sometimes disappoint the partisans - but they don't betray their own conscience.

Over the years, the Moose has come to admire Senator Feingold - although he has deep differences with him on a range of issues, including the war and the Patriot Act. He was unafraid to stand up to many in the Democratic establishment in support of campaign finance reform. The Senator did not make many friends - he just did the right thing.

Senator Feingold's statement on his vote should be must reading for Democrats. The good Senator sagely remarked,

"History has shown that control of the White House, and with it the power to shape the courts, never stays for too long with one party. When my party retakes the White House, there may very well be a Democratic John Roberts nominated to the Court, a man or woman with outstanding qualifications, highly respected by virtually everyone in the legal community, and perhaps with a paper trail of political experience or service on the progressive side of the ideological spectrum. When that day comes, and it will, that will be the test for this Committee and the Senate. And, in the end, it is one of the central reasons I will vote to confirm Judge John Roberts to be perhaps the last Chief Justice of the United States in my lifetime."

Maybe someday a Democratic President will select a Supreme Court nominee. When that day comes, Rus Feingold has made his/her job easier.

As a very wise Mooseketeer remarked, "Someone needs to tell Democrats that if they don’t like Bush’s appointments they need to start winning some elections and stop kvetching when Bush appoints people they don’t like."
Source: Bull Moose
Categories: Politics
08:49
The Moose wonders whether Martha Stewart is providing financial planning for the Senate Majority Leader.

The Associated Press,

"When Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist asked a trustee to sell all his stock in his family's hospital corporation, a large-scale sell-off by HCA Inc. insiders was under way.

"Shares of the Nashville, Tenn. -based hospital company were near a 52-week peak in June when Frist and HCA insiders were selling off their shares -- just about a month before the price dropped."
Source: Bull Moose
Categories: Politics
07:25
The Moose prays for his people.

As Rita bears down on the Texas coast, the Moose's thoughts are turned toward home. As part of the Lone Star State diaspora, the Moose's heart is still deep in the heart of Texas.

While all the talk is rightly about the impending hurricane, let us first reflect on some positive news. The spirit of Sam Houston independent style politics is alive and well! Kinky Friedman is well on his way to the Governor's mansion. The first Bill Hillsman commercial has been released - must see TV. A highly unscientific but encouraging San Antonio Express-News on-line poll shows the Kinkster in the lead -

"If the election were today, who would get your vote for Texas governor?Kinky Friedman 32.6%Chris Bell 24.8%Rick Perry 15.9%Carole Keeton Strayhorn 15.8%Someone else 10.9%"

And the mainstream press is increasingly taking Kinky's candidacy seriously (seriously!). From the Houston Chronicle,

"Republican activist Betty Sterquell, 77, of Amarillo, said there are Friedman bumper stickers across her city. Sterquell attended her first gubernatorial inauguration in 1939 for another singer-turned-politician, "Pappy" Lee O'Daniel.

"We all thought he was goofy with his 'Pass the biscuits, Pappy' and his Light Crust Doughboys, and he just walked away with it," Sterquell said.

"Everybody is laughing about (Friedman), but they say he could probably do just about as well as the people who are there now," she said.

Friedman said he thinks people are desperate for a change from politics as usual.

"I'm not as serious as the people I'm meeting," he said. "They're taking me seriously."

The Moose believes that the nation benefits from healthy political parties. However, at the moment, both appear to be in a sad shape. The GOP is the party of cronyism, corruption and (in)competence. The Democrats are only animated by a blind rage against Bush. Statesmenship and thoughtfulness are rare occurrences.

A Kinkster victory in '06 would shake the political world. It would send distinct message to the Republican and Democratic elites that the folks are tired of partisan business as usual. And it also might prod the '08 Presidential candidates to reach out to the center that is not represented by either party.

Who knows, it might even inspire a Bull Moose type candidacy. And that is yet another reason why the Moose is rooting for the Kinkster.

But far, far more important than politics is the safety of Texas . All of our prayers and wishes are extended to the Moose's beloved home state and its neighbor as Texas girds itself for the coming storm.

May God protect the people of Texas and Louisiana.
Source: Bull Moose
Categories: Politics

September 22, 2005

07:19
The Moose praises a Solon. It is not often that a politician from either party surprises the conventional wisdom and votes his conscience even though it could carry a political price. The ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee did just that yesterday when he indicated that he would support the President's nominee for Chief Justice. Senator Leahy pleasantly and bravely defied the special
Source: Bull Moose
Categories: Politics

September 21, 2005

07:25
The Moose wonders whether the donkey has more to say than nada on judges?

While everyone knows that Democrats oppose Bush judicial nominees, does anyone know where the Party stands on the role of the courts? Are they happy with judges circumventing legislative bodies on issues such as gay marriage and the pledge? Why should progressives cede the issue of judicial activism to the right? After all, Democrats are supposedly the party of the people. Yet, the right has been able to seize the mantle of judicial populism.

Of course, there are unique cases when the Court should defy the "majority" to uphold a democratic principle - Brown v. Board is an example of such a heroic decision. But, that does not mean that as a rule the Court should transform itself into a super legislative branch.

Bill Galston made this point in an illuminating piece in Blueprint a few months ago,

"The judiciary is supposed to be a check on the legislature, not an alternative source of legislation. In recent decades, however, Democrats have failed to preserve this distinction carefully enough, and they've paid for their carelessness. We should not assume that because the people reject Republican attacks on an independent judiciary, they support Democrats' understanding of the judiciary's role in our republic. The politically resonant attack on Democrats as elitists reflects, in part, an unwise reliance on the courts to do what Democrats could not accomplish -- not readily, perhaps not at all -- through the legislative branch...

"...Brown exemplifies not constitutional jurisprudence, but rather constitutional statesmanship of the highest order. As such, it was an exceptional act, reserved for a question that goes to the core of our national history and identity. It should not be regarded as a template for judicial action in less extraordinary circumstances."

It is particularly unfortunate that the left cedes the issue of judicial over-reach to the right because it enables conservatives to promote a judicial agenda that favors money power. The courts' intervention on hot button cultural issues is what garners the anger of many middle and low income Americans who would otherwise be attracted to an progressive economic message.

However, lefties have become far too reliant on the judiciary to settle issues such as abortion, gay marriage and church-state matters. It is easy for Republicans to characterize Democrats as elitists who rely on the least democratic branch of government to pursue liberal social engineering.

Ironically, it would be disastrous to the Republican political coalition if the Court actually overturned Roe. It would tear the Party apart as the issue would return to the states. While Republicans have given lip service to protecting the "culture of life", the actual right to an abortion has not truly been in jeopardy. That would change if Roe was negated and many Republican moderates and women would leave the party.

Maybe, an increasingly conservative court will force progressives to take their case to the people. A little while back David von Drehle wrote a perceptive piece in the Washington Post on the courts and liberalism,

"In earlier times, when the courts were a conservative force in American government, progressives knew how to take their case to the voters. They had no alternative. The reforms of a century ago -- trust-busting, workers' rights, women's suffrage and so on -- came via the ballot box. Conservative courts could have the same effect now."

Democrats need to forge a judicial message other than just "no." The Party has no discernible legal philosophy other than the expansion of "rights" by any means necessary. The only other thing that the American people identify with the Democrats is their reflective opposition to Bush's nominees for the court. Both parties are hostage to the interest groups. Consider this quote from the New York Times about the aftermath of an interest group meeting with the Senate Minority Leader,

"He got the message loud and clear, didn't he?" Kim Gandy, president of the National Organization for Women, said of Mr. Reid on Tuesday."

What about consulting the folks who are in the check-out line at Wal-Mart and Target? The American people can only be perplexed by the near Pavlovian opposition to Roberts. How believable will the opposition be if the next nominee is truly a threat to the Republic? There are precious few statesmen and a slew of predictable panderers to parochial partisan interest groups.

Democrats might consider trusting the people again.

Source: Bull Moose
Categories: Politics