Archive for January, 2006

State of the Union Blogging

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

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A SOTU play by play.

8:05 p.m. CST–Watching the Cabinet file in. He shall be greeted like a king, as is appropriate these days. I think we should go back to the Jeffersonian SOTU–a simple letter. Oh well.

Listening to the prattle of the reporters as they kill time waiting on King George.

Oh there’s nerdy new Justice Alito. How nice.

Congresspersons glad-handing each other and the Cabinet.

Sen. Tom Coburn is joshing with McCain.

Cindy Sheehan has been arrested. Nice.

8:11 King George appears! His royal dimwittedness strides into the room. Cut to a shot of Laura with the human props which will undoubtedly be referred to in his speech. (What, no Chalabi this time?)

Dollar Bill Frist is behind King George…as is Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

The King greets the Joint Chiefs, hands off his speech to the Veep and Speaker…who presents the President to a round of applause.

Yawn.

John Kerry is sitting next to Sen. Feinstein.

The King speaks…

…about the loss of Coretta Scott King. Um, now the news cameras focus on the few black members of Congress.

The King is humbled to be there. Truly, we are humble to have such a president. Yeah.

8:17 Lecturing about keeping a civil tone??? From the employer of Karl Rove? Sigh. Downhill already, George.

8:18 First mention of Sept. 11. Wow, that was fast. Going to his ace in the hole already.

Cut to shot of McCain, who looks constipated.

“More than half of the people of our world live in democratic nations,” does this include the U.S.?

8:21 Tarists. They hate us because of our freedom, you know. (Alito looks uncomfortable and is not applauding much.)

8:22 “there is no honor in retreat” (unless you are hanging out in the Alabama National Guard.)

Rep. Rangel remains seated during obligatory standing ovation.

8:25 “we are winning”. Uh huh.

8:26 “there is a difference between responsible criticism…and defeatism” You wish. And another “support the war or you do not support the troops” moment.

8:29 Speech prop #1: Trotting out the members of a fallen soldier. God bless him and them, but I wish presidents would not use this cheap method of propaganda in their speeches.

8:31 more boilerplate about freedom and liberty.

8:31 Gentle criticism of Egypt’s political system.

8:32 Hamas.

8:32 Saudi Arabian reform? Hmm.

8:33 Now Iran…a nation held hostage by a radical elite… First mispronunciation of the word “nuclear.”

and a direct word to the people of Iran…

8:34 fighting disease and spreading hope…

[at this point I start thinking of how great Bill Clinton is at fighting AIDS in Africa.]

8:36 He asks to reauthorize the PATRIOT Act. It appears that redneck Ben Nelson of Nebraska is the only Demo standing to applaud that…

8:37 Ballsy. He is admitting he broke the law to spy on Americans. Is he under oath? The Repubs stand and cheer, the Demos respectfully sit on their hands.

8:39 He trots out shopworn phrase “freedom is on the march.” So is my dinner.

8:40 Claims our economy is good. 4.6 million new jobs? Yeah, at McDonalds.

Did you know our economy is the envy of the world? Yeah…the third world.

8:41 Pro immigrant. Hell, even I agree with him on that. Cripes, that feels weird.

8:42 Thirty seconds later… he lost me…he wants more tax relief for the rich. “Make the tax cuts permanent.” Oh please. Doing that and nickel and diming social programs is immoral.

8:44 Now he is saying he wants to cut programs. America, are you listening?

Earmark reform and passage of the old “Line Item Veto”! I am getting nostalgic.

8:45 Nice Clinton joke. But we are not messing with Social Security. Big laughs from the Demos and boos from the Repugs. Nice smackdown, Demos!

(When the camera shows Congress, I look for Joe Lieberman and Dan Boren and a few others…oh wait, they are sitting with the Democrats. Must be the only time they do.)

8:49 Healthcare for all…I have an idea…single payer universal healthcare, ya dumbass! Here he goes again with the risky schemes…health savings accounts. Oh please.

8:50 Addicted to oil? You oughta know. Advanced Energy Initiative…hmmm…coal plants, solar and wind and NUKULAR energy. Hybrid cars…hydrogen, ethanol from wood chips…oh that will please the corn industry no end.

Replace 75% of Middle East oil imports by 2025. I’ll believe that when I see it.

8:55 No Child Left Behind…train more teachers. Great idea but I suspect it is an unfunded mandate just as NCLB is.

8:58 Hey pessimists! He will prove you wrong, again!

8:59 Introduction of Justice Roberts and Sammy Boy. Better not legislate from the bench, guys. You have been warned by King George.

9:00 No cloning. No science.

9:01 Public trust is important. So How about releasing the photos of you with Jack Abramoff and firing Karl Rove?

9:02 Laura is introduced after he talks about compassion and love and other Brokeback stuff.

9:03 Touting love to New Orleans. Tell it to the folks in the storm ravaged areas who are still waiting for Brownie.

9:04 Faith based AIDS prevention.

9:05 Lincoln, King, FDR…he subtly puts himself in their company. It does not stick.

9:06 May God Bless America.

It is over. He smirks, drinks his water, shakes hands, signs autographs, and makes his way out of the chamber.

62 paragraphs.

Interrupted 58 times for applause or demonstrations.

Platitudes and attitudes. The usual. To quote another Bush: we are still “in deep doo doo.”

And now, the uninspired choice for the Democratic response…

Vidal: President Jonah

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Posted on Jan. 24, 2006

By Gore Vidal

While contemplating the ill-starred presidency of G.W. Bush, I looked about for some sort of divine analogy. As usual, when in need of enlightenment, I fell upon the Holy Bible, authorized King James version of 1611; turning by chance to the Book of Jonah, I read that Jonah, who, like Bush, chats with God, had suffered a falling out with the Almighty and thus became a jinx dogged by luck so bad that a cruise liner, thanks to his presence aboard, was about to sink in a storm at sea. Once the crew had determined that Jonah, a passenger, was the jinx, they threw him overboard and—Lo!—the storm abated. The three days and nights he subsequently spent in the belly of a nauseous whale must have seemed like a serious jinx to the digestion-challenged whale who extruded him much as the decent opinion of mankind has done to Bush.

Originally, God wanted Jonah to give hell to Nineveh, whose people, God noted disdainfully, “cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand,” so like the people of Baghdad who cannot fathom what democracy has to do with their destruction by the Cheney-Bush cabal. But the analogy becomes eerily precise when it comes to the hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico at a time when a president is not only incompetent but plainly jinxed by whatever faith he cringes before. Witness the ongoing screw-up of prescription drugs./archives/date/2006/01/gvidal_300.jpg
Who knows what other disasters are in store for us thanks to the curse he is under? As the sailors fed the original Jonah to a whale, thus lifting the storm that was about to drown them, perhaps we the people can persuade President Jonah to retire to his other Eden in Crawford, Texas, taking his jinx with him. We deserve a rest. Plainly, so does he. Look at Nixon’s radiant features after his resignation! One can see former President Jonah in his sumptuous library happily catering to faith-based fans with animated scriptures rooted in “The Simpsons.”
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Dark Days…But Is There Hope?

Tuesday, January 31st, 2006

Check out what Kos said about Alito.

EXCERPT:
We lost the cloture vote, but that was — despite some of your best wishes — a pre-ordained conclusion. But that doesn’t mean we lost on the bigger picture.

What you guys accomplished the last week was amazing — the outpouring of emails, letters, faxes, and phone calls was unprecedented for the netroots and particularly surprising given how weak our issue groups organized against Alito. We should’ve played a supporting role to strong efforts by NARAL, People for the American Way, and others. Instead, we ended up being pretty much the entire effort.

But say what you will about blogs and the netroots, we are not effective organizers for this type of large-scale effort, with an opposition wielding tens of millions of dollars. That we got this much accomplished in the fact of that is simply incredible.

So we are now on the map. The Alito vote may have fizzled, but you better believe the Dem establishment knows we exist. So what’s next? Well, we channel that energy into doing something that would’ve improved our chances to stop Alito — getting more Democrats elected to the Senate. And the more likely the chances of success in something like this, the more likely senators are to join the bandwagon.

Nowhere is it written that the American empire goes on forever.

Monday, January 30th, 2006

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Some Experts on Global Warming Foresee ‘Tipping Point’ When It Is Too Late to Act

Monday, January 30th, 2006

Debate on Climate Shifts to Issue of Irreparable Change

Now that most scientists agree human activity is causing Earth to warm, the central debate has shifted to whether climate change is progressing so rapidly that, within decades, humans may be helpless to slow or reverse the trend.

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This “tipping point” scenario has begun to consume many prominent researchers in the United States and abroad, because the answer could determine how drastically countries need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years. While scientists remain uncertain when such a point might occur, many say it is urgent that policymakers cut global carbon dioxide emissions in half over the next 50 years or risk the triggering of changes that would be irreversible.

Could this theory play a role in why W is dragging his feet on this?

EXCERPT:

Many Christian fundamentalists feel that concern for the future of our planet is irrelevant, because it has no future. They believe we are living in the End Time, when the son of God will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire. They may also believe, along with millions of other Christian fundamentalists, that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed — even hastened — as a sign of the coming Apocalypse.

Poll: Weak Ratings Confront Bush Ahead of State of Union

Sunday, January 29th, 2006


War Fatigue, Ethics Concerns Impact Approval Rating

By GARY LANGER

Jan. 29, 2006 — - A weakened George W. Bush faces the nation in his 5th State of the Union address beset by war fatigue, persistent discontent on the economy and other domestic issues, ethics concerns and rising interest in Democratic alternatives in this midterm election year.

Bush’s bottom-line job rating — 42 percent of Americans approve of his work, 56 percent disapprove — is the worst for a president entering his sixth year in office since Watergate hammered Richard Nixon. And Bush’s is not a single-issue problem: More than half disapprove of his work in eight out of nine areas tested in this ABC News/Washington Post poll, from Iraq to immigration to health care.

Sampling, data collection and tabulation for this poll were done by TNS.

Some views look better for Bush. Nearly two-thirds of Americans say the country’s safer now than it was before Sept. 11, 2001, in many ways the fundamental demand of his presidency. Fifty-three percent still believe the war in Iraq has improved long-term U.S. security, its most basic rationale. And the president has won himself some daylight on the issue of warrantless wiretaps; 56 percent now call them justified.

But his challenges are many. Bush’s overall approval rating has failed to sustain a slight gain last month from his career lows last fall — it’s 10 points lower than a year ago, on the eve of his second inauguration.

Start of Sixth-Year Approval Ratings
Job Approval Rating
President:
Bush 42%
Clinton: 60%
Reagan 65%
Nixon 26%
Eisenhower 58%
Truman 45%

On Iraq, 55 percent say the war was not worth fighting and 60 percent disapprove of how Bush is handling it. On the deficit, 64 percent disapprove of his work; on health care 60 percent; on immigration 57 percent; on ethics 56 percent (see separate Jan. 27 analysis on ethics). Six in 10 say the economy’s hurting. Six in 10 don’t think Bush understands their problems. Fifty-three percent don’t see him as honest and trustworthy.

OPPOSITION — Bush’s problems clearly benefit the opposition: Americans — by a 16-point margin, 51 to 35 percent — now say the country should go in the direction in which the Democrats want to lead, rather than follow Bush. That’s a 10-point drop for the president from a year ago, and the Democrats’ first head-to-head majority of his presidency.

The Republican Party is feeling the pinch as well. The Democrats lead them by 14 points, 51 to 37 percent, in trust to handle the nation’s main problems, the first Democratic majority on this question since 1992. And the Democrats hold a 16-point lead in 2006 congressional election preferences, 54 to 38 percent among registered voters, their best since 1984.

Independents — quintessential swing voters — prefer the Democrats’ direction over Bush’s by 51 to 27 percent, and favor the Democrat over the Republican in congressional races by 54 to 31 percent (the latter result is among independents who’re registered to vote.).

Whether this shifts many seats in the elections 10 months off is far from assured. Not only are the powers of incumbency immense, there’s also no broad anti-incumbency sentiment in the country; indeed 64 percent approve of their own representative’s work.

Still, some underlying shifts may give the Republicans pause, perhaps less for 2006 than for 2008 (admittedly a political lifetime away). The Democrats have narrowed the gap as the party with stronger leaders, now trailing by six points versus 16 points last fall. They lead by 16 points as the party with “better ideas.” And they’ve held or improved their advantage over the Republicans in public trust to handle issues as disparate as the economy (now an 18-point Democratic lead), Iraq and lobbying reform.

Handling the nation’s response to terrorism is still the Republicans’ best issue — both Bush’s and his party’s — albeit by far less of a margin than in the past: Fifty-two percent now approve of Bush’s work on terrorism (pale compared with his career-average 68 percent) and the Republicans hold a scant five-point lead over the Democrats in trust to handle it (down from a peak 36-point lead three years ago).

Even with these weaker assessments, dealing with terrorism remains the wellspring of the president’s support (and it’s clearly the issue that got him re-elected). When he addresses the nation Tuesday night — and when his party goes to the people in November — it’s certain to be central to their message.

ISSUES — It helps Bush and his party that terrorism continues to be one of the top items on the public’s agenda; 59 percent say it should be one of the highest priorities for Bush and Congress, putting it alongside the situation in Iraq, cited by 60 percent. There are vast partisan differences in those two top issue choices: Seventy-nine percent of Republicans call terrorism a “highest priority” issue; that falls to about half of independents and Democrats alike (53 and 49 percent, respectively). And 70 percent of Republicans call Iraq top priority, compared with 51 percent of Democrats.

Rated the Highest Priority
All Dems. Ind. Repub.
Iraq 60% 51% 63% 70%
Terrorism 59% 49% 53% 79%
Health care 53% 58% 57% 43
Economy 52% 54% 54% 44%
Education 47% 53% 47% 38%

Less govt. spending 43% 41% 48% 41%

Social Security 41% 50% 41% 31%

Budget deficit 38% 42% 40% 32%

Disaster Prep. 36% 41% 35% 30%

Rx for elderly 32% 39% 34% 18%

Immigration 27% 22% 27% 34%

Taxes 27% 32% 28% 19%

Global Warming 26% 36% 30% 10%

Lobbying Reform 16% 17% 18% 13%

Democrats, by contrast, are much more likely than Republicans to give top-priority mention to domestic issues such as social security, education, health care and prescription drug benefits. Lobbying reform, it’s worth noting, comes out last on the list. That doesn’t mean it’s unimportant, just not a “highest” priority, probably because people are less apt to see it as impacting them directly.

IRAQ — In one notable change, approval of Bush’s performance on Iraq has dropped back after a short-lived gain following the recent elections there. His approval rating went from 36 percent before the mid-December elections to 46 percent immediately afterward; now it’s back down to 39 percent. The change came mainly among Republicans; their approval of Bush’s handling of Iraq is down 11 points in this poll.

NSA — A better result for Bush, noted above, is the apparent lack of traction for critics of the warrantless NSA wiretaps. A clear majority now says such wiretaps are acceptable, 56 percent, compared with 43 percent who call them unacceptable. That compares with a closer 51 to 47 percent split earlier this month.

In what may be a related result, there’s also been an advance, albeit just to 50 percent, in the number of Americans who express confidence in the government’s ability to prevent future terrorist attacks. This confidence is far higher among Republicans (71 percent) than it is among either independents or Democrats (45 and 40 percent, respectively.)

Still, the change on NSA wiretaps came equally among Republicans and independents; both now are eight points more likely to call such wiretaps acceptable. It’s a small gain for Bush and his party — but one of the few they have cause to celebrate.

Methodology
This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone Jan. 23-26, 2006, among a random national sample of 1,002 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Penn.

NBC News PR Department Gets Down and Dirty…

Friday, January 27th, 2006

01.27.2006

Somebody’s feeling the heat…

How else to explain the widely-off-the-mark responses from NBC’s PR department in Lloyd Grove’s column to our reporting on Russert’s multitude of journalistic ethical conflicts.

Instead of dealing with the charges head on, the media giant and its Washington bureau chief Tim Russert have astonishingly decided to get down and dirty, dredging up and faxing to at least one reporter a 12-year-old false claim that I hired a private detective to snoop on Russert’s wife Maureen Orth while she was preparing a hit piece on me for Vanity Fair in 1994.

I’ve denied this ludicrous charge, put forward without a shred of evidence many times before — including directly to Russert during the ‘96 GOP convention in San Diego. But that’s not the point. The point is that instead of addressing the issue of his failure to come clean with his audience on a host of ethical questions, Russert has turned the NBC publicity machine into a vehicle for sleaze and rumor-mongering.

How can one of the major news organizations in the world condone this abysmal behavior? Doesn’t NBC News have ethical guidelines when it comes to this kind of thing? (And incidentally, why does NBC News refuse to publish its ethical guidelines, claiming that they are an internal document?)

Look, I know NBC News and Russert would much prefer to debate hoary charges against me rather than the real issues at hand. So let me remind them what those issues are.

Russert refuses to come clean with his audience about his role in Plamegate. He is a participant. He was interviewed under oath by Fitzgerald. But he continued to report on Plamegate as if he were a disinterested observer rather than a major player. And he still refuses to come clean and explain why he fought to keep from testifying in front of the Plamegate grand jury about his fateful chat with Scooter Libby — even after Libby signed a waiver allowing him to do so.

Plamegate is the perfect segue to another unanswered question. How can someone with these ethical issues go and speak on ethics in the media, as Russert is about to do at Ripon College in Wisconsin next Thursday? And why is NBC refusing to disclose what his speaking fee is?

Russert’s latest ethical lapse is his unseemly use of Meet the Press to promote James Carville’s new XM radio sports show while refusing to come clean about the fact that Carville’s co-host is Russert’s college-age son, Luke.

NBC News’ diversionary strategy might have worked in the days before blogs started holding the MSM’s feet to the fire. But not anymore. One thing is for sure: the Huffington Post and many others in the blogosphere will keep asking the questions Tim Russert doesn’t want to answer.

Stop Alito.

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

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Save the Constitution.

Send a message NOW.

Samuel Alito’s record is clear, and so is the threat posed by his nomination: presidential power unchecked by judicial oversight; Congress stripped of much of its ability to protect the environment; Americans stripped of their right to privacy and subject to abuses of corporate and government power.

I understand that the filibuster is not a tool to be used trivially. Alito is not a trivial threat. Tell your senator to stand up for the Senate, stand up for the Constitution, and stand up for we, the people. Contact them NOW to ask them to filibuster Samuel Alito’s nomination to the United States Supreme Court.

REP. ISTOOK TOOK $159,219 FROM BIG PHARMA

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

After Abramoff/DeLay Scandals Voters Demand Rep Istook Support Real Corruption Reform with Teeth

REP. ISTOOK TOOK $159,219 FROM BIG PHARMA, VOTED FOR NEW MEDICARE PRESCRIPTION DRUG BENEFIT

MoveOn Members Launch Petition Drive at 2 PM at Bricktown Ballpark to Stop Corruption First

[Oklahoma City, OK)– At a petition drive in Bricktown, MoveOn.org Political Action demands Representative Istook stop corruption first, when he returns to Washington. This petition event is one of more than 100 events taking place across the country.

Several Republicans have recently been indicted or accused of corrupt business in Washington. Republicans like Jack Abramoff, Representative Tom DeLay, Representative Bob Ney, Senator Bill Frist and former Cheney Chief of Staff Scooter Libby are all either under investigation, have stepped down from their post, or currently under indictment.

“Corruption has infiltrated the Republican Party, and we are feeling the effects every day with laws like the new Medicare prescription drug benefit,” said “Cheryl Crichley, Moveon Member. “We are demanding Rep.Istook give back the $159,213 he took from the drug and insurance companies before voting for the Medicare prescription drug benefit. We are counting on Rep. Istook to separate himself from the culture of corruption in Washington.”

MoveOn members are calling on congress to pass real corruption reform that will:

Toughen and enforce ethics rules and punish violators;
Rein in lobbyists including a ban on all gifts, gravel and free meals;
Require transparency and reporting; and
Support public financing of elections.

Event Details:

Who: MoveOn members and citizens in Oklahoma City gather petitions to
Stop Corruption

Where: NW Corner of Bricktown Ballpark - Mickey Mantle statue
(South of Sheridan on Mickey Mantle Drive)

When: SATURDAY, January 28, 2006, 2 PM

Excellent visuals. Contact: Darla Shelden 405/840-0244 405/623-0882

Repub Lawmaker Fires Gun in Capitol

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

What an idiot. I recall an event in Oklahoma a few years ago when wingnut Republican State Rep. Pope was caught with a gun on the House Floor. He was widely ridiculed for his paranoia and lack of common sense. He’s also–though not solely for this reason–no longer a state rep. Maybe this guy will meet the same end…give him more time at home to play with his guns.

Va. Delegate Accidentally Discharges Gun

Va. Delegate Accidentally Discharges Gun

By Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 26, 2006; 1:42 PM

RICHMOND, Jan. 26 — A Virginia lawmaker accidentally discharged a handgun in his General Assembly office Thursday morning, firing a bullet into a bulletproof vest that was hanging on the wall of his office. No one was hurt.

Del. John S. “Jack” Reid (R-Henrico) apologized to his colleagues on the floor of the House of Delegates Thursday afternoon, saying that “everyone has a right to feel safe here.”

Reid said he has a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon and regularly brings his gun to the legislative session. But he said he usually ejects the cartridge that holds the gun’s bullets and carries that separately in his pocket.

As he was doing that Thursday morning at about 9:15, he said, the gun went off. At that time, the nine-story General Assembly building was filled with lawmakers conducting committee meetings and lobbyists, citizens and reporters.

Reid, a former school principal in Henrico County outside of Richmond, said he was given a bulletproof vest several years ago “as a joke” by the Henrico police. “That absorbed it. It did not breach the office in any way,” he said.

He told lawmakers that he immediately reported the incident to the Capitol police as an accident. Before speaking about it on the House floor, Reid informed his Republican colleagues privately and then asked for a brief closed-door session with House Democrats to inform them as well.

“I want to apologize to the members of this body,” he said.

Virginia law allows anyone with a legally-obtained concealed-weapons permit to carry their guns into any state building except courtrooms. There is no list that indicates how many lawmakers actually carry their weapons to their offices, committee meetings or to the debates on the floor.

The General Assembly building and the state’s executive office building, where the governor’s office is, are protected by metal detectors that the public must walk through. But lawmakers and staff are allowed to walk around them. The Capitol is under renovation and the General Assembly is meeting this year in temporary quarters in the executive office building.

Other lawmakers said they were stunned to find out that Reid carried a gun and even more surprised to hear it had gone off in the busy building.

“He had no business bringing it into the General Assembly,” said Sen. Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax), a frequent critic of guns. “I think guns should be banned for all these government buildings.”

Asked whether any of his colleagues in the Senate carried weapons, Saslaw said, “I don’t think any in the Senate, but I’m not sure.”

Reid said he would hold a news conference to answer further questions after the House finishes its floor session later Thursday afternoon.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company

Bush the Incompetent

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

Bush the Incompetent

By Harold Meyerson
Wednesday, January 25, 2006; A19

Incompetence is not one of the seven deadly sins, and it’s hardly the worst attribute that can be ascribed to George W. Bush. But it is this president’s defining attribute. Historians, looking back at the hash that his administration has made of his war in Iraq, his response to Hurricane Katrina and his Medicare drug plan, will have to grapple with how one president could so cosmically botch so many big things — particularly when most of them were the president’s own initiatives.

In numbing profusion, the newspapers are filled with litanies of screw-ups. Yesterday’s New York Times brought news of the first official assessment of our reconstruction efforts in Iraq, in which the government’s special inspector general depicted a policy beset, as Times reporter James Glanz put it, “by gross understaffing, a lack of technical expertise, bureaucratic infighting [and] secrecy.” At one point, rebuilding efforts were divided, bewilderingly and counterproductively, between the Army Corps of Engineers and, for projects involving water, the Navy. That’s when you’d think a president would make clear in no uncertain terms that bureaucratic turf battles would not be allowed to impede Iraq’s reconstruction. But then, the president had no guiding vision for how to rebuild Iraq — indeed, he went to war believing that such an undertaking really wouldn’t require much in the way of American treasure and American lives.
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Al Gore–Your Country Needs You

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

NYO - Cover Story 1

“If we get to a situation where it’s Hillary Clinton and nobody has really filled the space [Mr. Gore] is currently forging, it’ll be hard for him not to run,” said David Sirota, a Democratic strategist and blogger who has worked with Mr. Gore since he left office.

Mr. Peretz said he didn’t think Mr. Gore has decided whether or not to run for President again, though he could see The New Republic—despite its differences on the war—becoming a “Gore Democrat” organ again.

“If there is a groundswell, he would be able to get back in the game,” he said. “There certainly is no groundswell for what’s-his-name Vilsack or Evan Bayh. There’s no groundswell for The Madam. This group depresses people.”