Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Blue Dogs Threatening to Hold Up GI Bill

Speaking of the Blue Dogs that Jane Harman is so proud to be a member of, it's really shameful that they're threatening to hold up passage of the Iraq war funding bill not because of the well over hundred billion to continue the quagmire occupation in Iraq that's not paid for, but over the couple billion for a GI Bill that's been attached to it.

Jane Harman is of course quoted in the article (is there an article about Blue Dogs where she isn't quoted?), and she doesn't seem to be very bothered. (Has she ever spoken out against Blue Dogs?)
“Hopefully, it will be worked out,” said Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.), a Blue Dog member. “There are conversations going on right now.”
Considering she's got a press release supporting the bill on her official website in which she's quoted saying
Our troops should be welcomed back as heroes and provided the smoothest possible transition to civilian life. Free college education is the least we can do
you'd think she could at least muster up a little opposition to her fellow Blue Dogs subjecting this program to "pay-as-you-go" rules after giving the Iraq war and its hundreds of billions in emergency supplementals a free pass.

It's a foregone conclusion that Pelosi's going to give Bush what he wants on the war funding. At a minimum, veterans should get a real GI bill out of it. Why can't Jane Harman understand the importance of that?


Jane Harman & This Solid Blue District, What a Mismatch

Harman's DCCC Dues Unpaid, from The Hill. You see, she's apparently angered that she was passed over by Nance Pelosi for the House Intelligence Committee, so she's taking it out on the DCCC.

But that doesn't mean she isn't supporting Democrats. According to The Hill, she's donating to Dems who fit her mold - Bush Dogs - namely, Heath Shuler and Melissa Bean:

The campaigns of Reps. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.), Melissa Bean (D-Ill.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have received the most from Harman as of March 31, each taking in $4,000.
This is the same Heath Shuler who sponsored anti-immigrant legislation, pushed by anti-immigrant Republicans like Tom Tancredo. I wonder how well represented all the first and second generation immigrants in the country would feel about Harman giving all that dough to Shuler after that.

If you recall (use the Tags for Jane Harman on my previous points if you don't), Harman was the first Dem out of the box to argue for retroactive immunity for telcos for spying on us illegally, weakening the Democratic push against such a move by the administration. Well, she backed off when the winds were blowing against her. But low and behold, she's working in the background here, and it kind of sounds like she's still angling to give Bush what he wants.

While Pelosi is wisely in no hurry to "compromise" with the Senate, which has passed a version of the FISA bill that gives retro immunity...
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has stepped back from the FISA talks and let Hoyer spearhead House talks with the Senate and executive branch. Some Democrats say privately that she has not shown much urgency to reach agreement with the White House.
...Harman says she doesn't want to give "blank check" immunity, but is pushing forward with Hoyer on getting a reconciled bill with the Senate nonetheless, instead of insisting on a clean bill that only has the technical things that supposedly need to be fixed:
“A number of Blue Dogs are working on a compromise between the House and the Senate,” said Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), a member of the Blue Dog Coalition and the former ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. “I’m working with Hoyer and working with others.

“Some other Blue Dogs are involved,” she added. “Blue Dogs are 47 votes; 47 votes will determine how this comes out.”

Harman acknowledged, however, that there is a split in the Blue Dog Coalition and that some members support a Senate-crafted overhaul of FISA while she and others say it gives “blank check” immunity to telecommunications companies that turned over customer data to intelligence authorities.
That last sentence is misleading, because in her mind, you can put nice-sounding but meaningless language to protect civil liberties in the bill as a fig leaf, and that prevents it from being a "blank check".

And note that she's thrilled that the Blue Dogs get to dictate what happens in the House. She so often runs to the press to brag about how the Blue Dogs can force Democratic leadership in the House to do what they want. Sadly for Democrats and the nation, what she says is true.

Getting more Democrats into the House and Senate is not enough. They need to be solid Democrats who will vote with the party when it really counts.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

Doctor Who Does Night at the Roxbury

Sorry if you're not a Doctor Who fan, as the below won't make any sense for you. (I'm actually figuring out how to upload pictures, but I'm using it as an excuse to put this up)

Now that I'm talking SNL, I have to link to this skit.

Let Howard Dean Go On Chris Wallace's Show Every Day

There aren't many Democrats who are quick enough and willing to be fully prepped to do well in 'interviews' with Fox. Howard Dean has proved himself in the past, and he's done it again.

Here's the evidence:

Clip One

Clip Two

Chris Wallace wants Dean to admit that he's misrepresenting what McCain said. Not only did he not agree, but he backed it up with facts to show that was bull and he did so in quick fashion so that he'd have the rest of his time to pound McCain using his best material that might sway some viewers.

This is a game that Dean knows how to play: regardless of the question you're given, you deal with it in the first 5 seconds, and then get on to what you really want to talk about. Dean was relentless. I may be missing some of the interview from those clips, but I doubt he was not up to the task of parrying Wallace's garbage.

I'm trying to think who else would be up to the task of going up against Fox. As far as Democratic electeds/party figures, none come to mind. Of talking heads, I'd go with Cliff Schecter or Rachel Maddow.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Missing in the Discussion about Gas Tax Cut Proposals

Of course Clinton's support of a temporary gas tax cut is a pander that will just enrich oil companies, and that's bad enough.

But what's really bad about it is that she's copycatting off of John McCain and she's taking his lead on his proposal.

If McCain never had this proposal, then there's absolutely no chance that Clinton would have suggested this.

That's what worst about what Clinton's doing: she's engaging in Republican-lite me-too-ism, and it suggests she's embracing the idea that Republicans are right and need to be copied in order to be successful.