Are the Democrats any different than the GOP?

Not when it comes to incestuous backroom political machine dealing. It seems the Democrats haven’t come very far since the days of Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley (1902-1976).

In 2004, Dem leaders dumped a promising candidate in Governor Howard Dean, who created a buzz through his straight talk and Internet website, to go with horse face Senator John Kerry just because it seemed it was his turn.

This year in Ohio, state and national Democratic leaders forced a promising candidate, Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran, who came a close shave in defeating Republican Jean Schmidt in last summer’s special congressional election, to drop out of a Senate race against incumbent Senator Mike Dewine.

Who do they want? Rep. Sherrod Brown, who served 2 terms as Ohio Secretary of State in the 1980’s.

Paul Hackett charged that “behind-the-scenes machinations” by Schumer, D-N.Y., and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., cut off his campaign money to avoid a potential primary faceoff with Rep. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Hackett, a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Reserves, said he was quitting politics rather than take the party’s advice to run again for the House in Cincinnati’s suburbs.

“Thus ends my 11-month political career,” said Hackett, who gained a national profile with scathing attacks on President Bush as a “chicken hawk” – and by nearly defeating Republican Jean Schmidt in last summer’s special congressional election.

Ohio’s Hackett quits Senate race, politics 

So the new kid on the block gets shoved aside to maintain the old boy network.

Why have primaries at all? I mean if the party bosses decide who can run then a primary vote is just a formality.

Former Senator and one time Presidential candidate Gary Hart commented:

This is simply old politics at its worst. There is a party which hand-picks its candidates, decides who can and cannot run, directs money to the favorite candidate, and dictate terms. Up till now, that party has been the Republican party.

Now, it seems, my Democratic party is once again imitating the Republican party in a desperate effort to regain power. With the McGovern democratic reforms in the early 1970s, political bosses were diminished and grassroots voters were elevated. The theme was, Let the people decide.

Gary Hart: Pressuring Paul Hackett To Abandon Campaign is Old Politics at its Worst

It is yet another reason I see no worth in participating in party politics and is yet another proof that the US political system is broken.

Bush won? How the heck did that happen?

In my younger days, I had bullies causing me all sorts of problems. A favorite tactic that I fell for several times would be where the bully would act nice toward me for no apparent reason. Once I was sucked in – WHAM! – a sucker punch to the gut.

That is how I felt at 3:30 am on November 3rd when it was clear that George W. Bush would be getting a second term as President in the 2004 Presidential election.

Bush, who is an political idiot, who was accepted to Yale only as a legacy, who is ignorant of the rest of the world, who on the influence of neo-conservative fascists invaded Iraq to settle a score and force democracy on a culture who doesn’t know what that really is, who’s job approval rating has been below 50% for most of the year, who scored lower than challenger John Kerry in almost every category in a pre-election poll on November 1st, who claims God speaks to him in an obvious effort to pander to the country’s evangelical Christians, who’s “war on terrorism” is not a declared war and is in fact a war on our civil rights though the Patriot Act, and who is not trusted by a majority of the rest of the world – pulled off the most mind numbing election victory since Truman beat Dewey in 1948.

Not only did “Monkey Boy” win the Electoral College vote but also won the popular vote by almost 4 million.

The talking pinheads in the media noted 3 areas that helped him win. There continues to be a shift in population to the south and west from the Northeast and Midwest. A resurgence in religious belief. And the war on terrorism.

Very early in the morning on November 3rd with Ohio, Iowa, Nevada, and New Mexico still out, the math showed that if the states voted as they did in 2000, Bush would gain 7 electoral votes just from the population change since 2000. The population change was an issue in 2000 yet Al Gore won the popular vote so the population change was not a significant reason Bush won.

The pandering to the conservative religious voters in the rural breadbasket and south was also there in 2000. The Democrats knew that was a concern and that is why Gore picked Joe Lieberman, a Jewish conservative, to allow them to pander to cultural issues. Religion in 2004 was not a significant factor in Bush’s victory. Although it was more of a factor than the population shift.

The issue that seemed to tip the election, in my view, was the war on terror. Specifically the occupation of Iraq. The poll that showed Bush was not doing a good job overall and he didn’t plan the Iraq operation very well, also expressed the respondents idea that Iraq was part of the war on terror, the invasion was necessary, that the invasion made the US safer, and that Bush was the guy to finish the job. None of that is factually true. Iraq didn’t attack us. There was no reason in 2003 to invade and it has not made us safer. With the main terrorist ring leader Bin Laden on the loose, all the war in Iraq has done is created a hostile meat grinder for our young men and women in the military.

At one point late in the election season, most Republican talking heads were actually arguing that the Iraq war was a good thing because they would rather the terrorists kill innocents in Iraq than on US soil. Iraq is now a safety valve?

Yes, my head hurts too. Like I said, based on the feelings of the electorate, Bush shouldn’t have won. My hometown paper, The Columbus Dispatch, gave Bush their grudging endorsement based only on the fact that Bush was the current occupant.

How else can one explain the 5% gain Bush got from the women’s vote (48%) and the unchanged 23% of the gay/lesbian vote? Two groups, who’s issues Bush has been on the wrong side of during his first term, still supported the guy.

Some of my friends felt that John Kerry’s campaign failed to deal with the negative mud slinging flung Kerry’s way such as the Medal controversy and the Swift Boat Vets. That is not what brought the victory to Bush. The pre-election polls showed that voters respected Kerry’s service. The only issue they had with him was they didn’t really know who he was and what he stood for. In an effort not to piss anyone off the campaign tried to be all things to all people. Voters knew where Bush stood on the issues. His positions hadn’t changed in more than 3 years. It just so happened that his position on terrorism and Iraq matched enough of the electorate’s views to get him the victory.

Still it was the fact that almost 4 million people, who were educated enough to vote, voted against their best interest for reasons that have proven to be false under every challenge, that handed George W. Bush, his stunning victory. Their lack of rational decision making will not be a good time for the 55 million people who voted against Bush at least for the next 2 years and probably for the entire 2nd term.

What is next for the Democrats?

Bill Clinton. Not literarily him but a candidate with the same background.

The Dems will have to support someone who is from the south or west who is on the conservative side on value issues or who at least speaks their language. Someone from the Northeast, like Kerry, may be able to bring in the cash but outside of the urban areas they are simply unelectable.

There is a possibly that John McCain could run in 2008 for the GOP. I would vote for him because he is able to appear moderate while still supporting the GOP base. He would have the appeal of Reagan. The Democrats MUST be able to field a candidate with similar broad appeal. The days of Northeastern liberalism as a strong force in the Democratic party is over.

Bill Clinton started the New Democrats group that was able to get him elected twice to office and they did it by joining the liberal and conservative elements together. I remember my more liberal friends were livid about that because they believed that only a Dem who was a dyed in the wool liberal should lead the party. The elections of 2000 and 2004 shows that reasoning is false and they will continue to lose elections if they don’t try to build broad appeal.

The only thing those of us who supported Kerry can hope for is either the GOP playing their hand too far as they did with the Contract for America, an economy that goes all the way into the dumper, or a morass in Iraq with maybe a widening into Iran.

They need to focus in the short term on local and Congressional races.

Bush has edge in final NY Times poll even though it shows he has done a bad job overall

Today is the last day of the long 2004 Election season. Living in a “battleground” state has been interesting and tiring. Each of the Presidential candidates kept coming around about once a week for months. Each seems that neither want to let the other have the last visit as if that will matter.

I really feel that most who plan on voting have decided and are ready to draw the curtain in their booth.

I really doubt that a winner will be declared on Tuesday evening. We will have an idea who has the advantage but after the crap we went through in 2000, there will be probably a few weeks as each party tries to manage the problem votes toward their candidate through the court system.

The New York Times published their final poll Monday. If you read the detailed results (available as a PDF file on their website) it is strange. Of likely voters on November 2nd, a slim majority would vote for George Bush. (49 % for Bush and 46% for Kerry). Yet when reading the other questions Bush gets bad marks on handling the war in Iraq, the economy, job creation, and most feel the country is on the wrong track. Yet Bush would get their vote. Why? Because of the campaign against terrorism. Bush actually got good marks on that and people feel he would continue to do a good job although in another question people said the administration mucked things up and didn’t plan the Iraq invasion it well enough. Most thought that was a major part of the campaign against terrorism.

The only bad mark Kerry got was that people felt he said what people wanted to hear rather than what he truly believes. Other than that the respondents had good feelings about Kerry but they won’t vote for him.

The demographics of the sample was they were mostly white, republican, between 45 and 64, and had some college.

I’m not an expert but even though the sample would vote for Bush over Kerry because of one issue, I think the results show Kerry has the advantage. If voters balance their fears with the reason they are voting in the first place, Kerry could come out on top. You vote to pass judgement on how the current occupant of the White House is doing his/her job overall.

The poll results show that the sample would fail Bush on that overall evaluation. And THAT is how we should vote on November 2nd.

Desparate Bush looks for support in Findlay

President George Bush is a desperate man. Sen. John Kerry is nipping at his heels as the race for the White House steams to a conclusion. His ads have gone very negative. Republicans believe that name calling is a valid campaign tactic.

So what does one do to buck up a campaign in trouble? You hold a rally in a Republican strong hold like Findlay.

Bush landed Wednesday afternoon at the Findlay Municipal Airport in a smaller version of Air Force One and went to the rally held at the Hancock County Fairgrounds.

Surrounded by a partisan crowd of 15,000, shipped in for the photo op, Bush took off his jacket and spoke to the crowd.

It really doesn’t matter what he said because it was just a stump speech to those who plan to vote for him any way.

The site of the rally was at the South Grandstand, used during the county fair for truck pulls, the demolition derby, and musical groups like Phil Dirt and Dozers. There is also a track that use to be used for harness racing. The track was regraded, the light polls taken down (don’t really know why) and extra bleachers brought in on flatbed trailers. Those were the seats for the “crowd” seen behind Bush in the videos and photos.

Introducing the President was Democrat turn coat Sen. Zell Miller. That was an odd choice because the Democratic Party is a non-factor in Hancock County. George wasted Miller’s appearance.

According to the local paper The Courier:

There did not appear to be any John Kerry supporters in the crowd at the rally, and according to one report, they were refused admittance.

Because the rally was held on private property — at the Hancock County Fairgrounds — the Republican Party could legally deny admittance to anyone with Kerry signs or shirts.

That has been the common agenda of the Bush Campaign. Holding campaign rallies and only allowing loyal party members to attend. That way Bush can’t be challenged with signs or protests from those against him.

And except for the staging, the county taxpayers picked up the bill.

Originally posted on the blog “Hancock County Politics Unfiltered”

As election moves to homestretch, Bush team gets desperate

If are a regular reader of this blog (right?) then you will notice I had no comments about the 3rd Presidential Debate held on October 13th. Well, I skipped it. I had to work that night and didn’t get home until it was half over so I just didn’t watch it at all. I did read some of the transcript and a summary or two from non-biased sources but I avoided any and all spin masters. I like to form my own view thank you very much. I was happy to read that Senator John Kerry again cleaned Bush’s clock and looked far more Presidential than Bush ever has.

Now that there are 13 days until the election, the Bush Campaign is getting desperate.

They are now using the “Liberal” label on Kerry in almost every official campaign ad. Kerry is lumped in with the monolithic unnamed group “Liberals” who want to “ruin the country” as if George and his goons haven’t done that already.

The number of votes Kerry made that hurt “Americans” has gone up too. Last month he was accused of voting 98 times to raise taxes, now ads are claiming 350 votes to raise taxes. They ignore that Kerry voted for a balanced budget in the past and for laws forcing a balanced budget. He also voted to leave some taxes unchanged as states:

As we’ve reported multiple times before , the claim that Kerry voted 350 times “for higher taxes” is highly misleading. As we said on March 23: But in fact, Kerry has not voted 350 times for tax increases, something Bush campaign officials have falsely accused Kerry of on several occasions. On close examination, the Bush campaign�s list of Kerry�s votes for �higher taxes� is padded. It includes votes Kerry cast to leave taxes unchanged (when Republicans proposed cuts), and even votes in favor of alternative Democratic tax cuts that Bush aides characterized as �watered down.�

More recently, we debunked the Bush campaign’s improved claim that Kerry voted 98 times “for tax increases.” That number is still padded, including 43 votes on budget measures that only set targets and don’t actually legislate tax increases, as well as multiple votes regarding an individual bill.

Meanwhile yesterday, VP Dick “The Hatchetman” Cheney once again used the “fear” argument against Kerry, claiming that if Kerry is elected the “terrorists” would attack us. He feels Kerry isn’t tough enough to stand up to them. If you have seen the latest reports from Iraq, it looks like the “terrorists” aren’t afraid of Bush either.

The latest tangent issue is that John Kerry spoke French at a recent campaign event. The clip got heavy rotation on CNN and GOP spinners had a field day pointing out how liberal and out of touch Kerry is. So, what? Bush has spoken Spanish before at events. The problem the Republicans want us to see is to paint Kerry as French since we all know real “Americans” hate the French after they declined to help us invade Iraq and opposed our move at that the UN.

It just shows how desperate the Republicans are in what seems like a close vote come November 2nd. I think if the electorate really supported Bush and his policies as the GOP thinks we do, you would see it in the polls now. You don’t. That means that most people are rejecting Bush’s view of things.

I will leave you with a link to one of the funniest political websites I’ve seen so far this election: