GOP unveils stage for convention

(Crossposted from Democratic Convention Watch)

The GOP released a model of the stage for their 2016 convention.

A couple of thoughts:

  1. Because it’s a model, I don’t think releasing it achieved the effect they desired. It kind of looks like a middle-school panorama project.
  2. It looks like a standard convention stage. Anyone expecting anything dramatically different for a Trump convention won’t find it here.

[Read more…]

Congresspersons’ Syria Dilemma

Crossposted from Democratic Convention Watch.

There are a lot of “whip counts” on the House of Representatives, indicating a firm "nay" on intervening in Syria. From the Senate whip count, it appears that there are more undecideds than anything else. That this may well change after President Barack Obama's Tuesday night address, but from reports it seems that the American people are overwhelmingly opposed to any action in Syria, except humanitarian aid and diplomacy, which will tend to make Reps. wary of voting "yea."

The Senate will vote first, which potentially precludes a House vote. The first thing to note is that the Senate, and some members of the House, know a lot more about what is going on in Syria then we do. That is why they call them "classified briefings," and they may be the reason that so many Senators are undecided. 

More after the jump.

Some believe it is imperative to bomb Syria, and their reasons are simple: Chemical weapons cannot be tolerated; reining president Bashar al-Assad will use them again if we do not stop him; and we are the United States, so it is our responsibility to lead the world. 

Others are so war weary, that they do not care about the chemical weapons. They just see the situation as a way to get embroiled in 10 years of yet another war in the Middle East, with the potential to spread outside of Syria, and possibly into a World War III. 

If I had to prognosticate, I would believe we will bomb, beginning on Sunday, Sept. 15. In addition to bombing, we will surgically remove Assad and his regime. 

But what I am interested in is the party politics going forward. We have been saying since 2009 that the Republican Party is imploding, and there is a huge schism caused by the rise of the Tea Party. And this is another rift for them: the GOP has always been the party of war, of neocons, and of the military-industrial complex. The "daddy" party, if you will. If they all vote “nay,” or enough of them do to preclude congressional concurrence, Obama can certainly still bomb, and if it is successful, that wing of the party is in trouble for 2016. In every debate they would get asked, "Why didn't you stand up for America?"

A different set of problems presents itself for the Democrats. All House Democrats, and a lot of Democratic Senators, will be running next year. Into their calculus is certainly whether they would want to be seen as standing with or against the President on the issue. If the bombing turns into a war, voting "yea" would hurt them. However, voting "nay" before a successful bombing would mean a lot of explaining to the rank and file during any primaries, and possibly problems raising money down the road.

The decision that each member of Congress makes will not be simple. While some people are incredibly hawkish, and would vote “yea” for any  military action; and while the Democratic leadership is obligated to vote with the President; this is a vote of conscience, not of party.  For the first time since he has been in office (since 2001), my Congressman sent me an email, asking my opinion as to go or no-go. I am pretty sure that this email went to every email address in the district that his office could get its hands on. I understand that a lot of Reps. have been reaching out, in addition to taking calls. 

The countrywide discussion is a good thing. I am sorry that not every country has this sort of verbal intercourse prior to every potential military action. There may be options which will solve the problem of chemical weapons without causing additional deaths. 

My personal preference is to seek a diplomatic solution, and failing that, to arm the moderate rebels, and not the jihadists. It is also important to lead a humanitarian relief effort for the Syrian refugees in Jordan, Turkey, Greece, and the other countries to which they have escaped. I do not see an upside to the bombing — only potential disasters. But that is just one girl's opinion. What is yours?

Wrapping Up 2012


Crossposted from Democratic Convention Watch.

The best year in review piece I've seen came from Dave Barry. You can read it here, and you really should. Where else could you see gems like this:

In labor news, Chicago teachers go on strike over controversial proposed contract changes that would allow the school board to terminate teachers who have passed away. Meanwhile, the NFL comes under increasing pressure to settle the referee strike following a game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Tennessee Titans in which the replacement refs call four balks and three traveling violations, and ultimately declare that the winner is the Green Bay Packers. At the end of the month the strike is settled, and the replacement refs move on to their new role as Florida elections officials.

 More after the jump.

We close the year with sad health news for two famous pols. George HW Bush is 88 years old, has Parkinson's, and breathing trouble. It doesn't look good for longevity. Hillary Clinton is at NY Presbyterian with a blood clot found after her fall-induced concussion. This is not her first blood clot. Shame on those right wing wacko pundits who claimed she was faking. We wish the best for Secretary Clinton.

The 112th Congress is ending. Tom Brokaw said it best yesterday on Meet the Press when he said that the real problem is that 75% of districts have been redistricted so that they're bulletproof. I hope that America wakes up to this, and changes the system by which we redistrict to non-partisan methods, and jungle primaries, so that we have a shot at a legitimate House. 

Aside from the House, it has been a good political year. This was the year that dark money failed, that liberals won the hearts, minds, and votes of a majority of Americans across the board. My personal goal for 2013 is to turn Pennsylvania blue at the local level, and position the state (block by block, town by town, county by county) to win back Harrisburg in 2014. Tall order for one as vertically challenged as myself, but I believe I'll have lots of help! And besides, there's this from some post on Facebook:

It's impossible, said pride.
It's risky, said experience.
It's pointless, said reason.
Give it a try, whispered the heart.

Happy coming 2013. The dream endures.

Remembering 9/11

Drybones: September 11, 2001

Crossposted from Democratic Convention Watch

On this 11th anniversary of the fall of the towers, the attack on the Pentagon and the downing of the plane in Western Pennsylvania, we are ALL Americans attacked. The DCW team bows its collective head in remembrance of those lost and injured, and of the brave men and women who did all they could in the aftermath.

While this should not be a day for politics, there is new information that the Bush neo-cons were apprised not just in August, but also in May of 2001 that Bin Laden was planning an attack on American soil. Rumsfeld and company chose to believe that Saddam Hussein was the greater threat. Read here. Think of everything that went wrong AFTER 9/11, the unnecessary war in Iraq, the ineptitude in chasing down Bin Laden by the Bushies, the intolerance directed against innocents. Remember it today, act on it November 6th.

Matt and I are Native New Yorkers, and Oreo is originally from the 'burbs. We grew up with the Towers being part of everyday life. Huge, a giant shadow, but just part of what we knew. I personally remember being a kid and going on school trips to see its construction. To those memories, there is this from Dan Meth.

We wish you peace on this sad anniversary. 


Why Rick Santorum Doesn’t Give Up

Crossposted from Democratic Convention Watch

Matt has the song. We all see the writing on the wall. So why doesn't Santorum just hang it up? It's not because he can't do math: despite his “grandson of a coal miner” “man of the people” demeanor and antipathy for higher education, he's got a BA in Political Science, and MBA and a law degree. Not to mention a professional delegate guy. And it's not just that he knows that if Mittens gets 100% of the delegates from this point forward Romney still won't seal the deal until May 26th. Losing a few and that point moves to June 20th. It's that there is every reason for him to keep going.

Rick is an ideologue and a theocrat, and he's only 53. 53 is a problem if you're looking for work as a regular person, but relatively young in politics. And he's got 9 mouths to feed. His wife, despite having been a neo-natal nurse, and having attended law school, does not work. It should be noted that his youngest daughter has a fatal malformation called Trisomy 18, requiring a lot of medical attention, which he does not need private insurance for as he and his family are covered under the retired-Senator insurance policy courtesy of us, the taxpayers.

Rick keeps going because making it to August gives him more gravitas with his base after the election. It raises the amount he can charge for speeches. It gives him more material for his upcoming book. Mostly, though, he'd be the first “pure” conservative to make it to the end of the slog, all the way to the convention. He'll get national speaking time. He has a huge amount of grassroots support in the wacko right base, he's their first national candidate who can read. (Aside from Sarah Palin, who can't, or at least doesn't.) In the fight for the soul of what's left of the Republican party, Santorum emerges from this election cycle as head of the head of the far right wing. 

The fight for the GOP won't end with Obama's re-election in November. The base will say “we lost because Mitt wasn't a true conservative. With a true conservative, we would have won.” And then Rick can keep running for 2016, spewing lies and rancor for 4 more years. He will be able to get up in front of audiences and say, truthfully (which is rare) that he gave it everything he and Foster Friess had. There is no down side to Rick continuing to run. He won't get the veep spot: if they want a Pennsylvanian Pat Toomey is the better choice. But even Pat is behind Rubio and McDonnell. But he's got to do something with the next decade before he can collect his multiple government pensions: and heading the wacko wing is a good choice for him.

Voting Rights and the Iowa Caucus

This year, the GOP is working to capture key voting demographics: Students, the poor and seniorsDoc Jess writes:

As the Republicans keep up the pressure to deny suffrage to the young, the elderly, the poor and minorities, keep in mind that you don’t need ID to vote in the Iowa Republican caucuses. You just need a registered Republican to vouch for you. You can show up, declare that you want to participate, and then participate. Remember, states control voting laws for their states, and primaries and caucuses are designed by the party in each state. If you’re still wavering on the question of racism in the GOP, this should be your final impetus to understand that to be a Republican is to be a racist.