Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

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Thursday, May 01, 2008
Politics round-up, May 1st
Economists weigh in on the Clinton-McCain gas tax holiday plan and give it the thumbs down:
Backing up Obama's position against Clinton's proposal to suspend the 18.4-cent-per-gallon tax for the summer is a slew of economists who argue that the proposal, first offered by Sen. John McCain, the presumptive GOP nominee, would be counterproductive. They argue that cutting the tax would drive up demand for gas at a time when the supply is tight, which would mean that the price at the pump would drop by much less than 18 cents per gallon.

The tax suspension would, as a result, cut into the highway trust fund that the tax supports, a loss of about $9 billion over the summer, but also result in fatter profit margins for oil companies. Clinton says she would replace the lost revenue by raising taxes on the oil industry.

Harvard professor N. Gregory Mankiw, who has written a best-selling textbook on economics, said what he teaches is different from what Clinton and McCain are saying about gas taxes. "What you learn in Economics 101 is that if producers can't produce much more, when you cut the tax on that good the tax is kept . . . by the suppliers and is not passed on to consumers," he said.

Meanwhile, the White House finally takes the blame for something ... no, not the piss poor economy, that's all Congress' fault. But that Mission Accomplished banner? All us...

Despite tightening poll numbers (these, too) and the media's continuing Jeremiah Wright obsession, Barack Obama picks up some new support today, and his guy doesn't make any reference to his testicles... former DNC chair Joe Andrew may need to harden his own, however, since the former Clinton appointee says he expects the Clinton "attack dogs to come after him."
He anticipates the Clinton campaign "will use the same words and the same language to attack me that Republicans used to attack me when I was DNC chair and I was defending Bill Clinton."

"I say this as a longtime participant in old politics," he says. "I've sparred with everyone from Lee Atwater to Karl Rove."

Andrew points out that he was in charge during a rather tumultuous time for the party — during impeachment and the Florida recount.

"The same words will come out of the [Clinton campaign's] surrogates' mouths to attack me that the Republicans used — and that demonstrates the very hypocrisy of the old politics," he says. "We need to unite the party. You can actually be for someone without being against someone else."

And just to illustrate how lowbrow our politics has become, Obama is down to explaining that he grew up poorer than Hillary Clinton and John McCain.

And now for your fun video clip of the day: "Hillary vs. the Coffee Maker"

She's so down-home, ain't she?


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posted by JReid @ 10:24 AM  
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Mission accomplished
Mission accomplished, indeed.
George W. Bush has succeeded in making a horse's ass out of himself four years running, maintaining a consistent record of failure in Iraq, of mendacity and stubbornness at home, of using American troops and pawns and props the world over, and of cementing in stone, his place as the most incompetent and worst president in U.S. history.

Today, on the four year anniversary of his infamous flight suit adventure aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln (an affair so staged and false it was actually prissy, and after which his administration very crisply blamed the troops for hanging that ridiculous banner, produced by the White House, oh, and media, before you get to haughty today, some of us remember how Glorious you thought the flight suit thing was at the time ... Chris Matthews...) Mr. Bush vetoed legislation that would have funded the troops, funded increased mental and physical health care for those wounded in his useless war in Iraq (and the forgotten war in Afghanistan), given those troops the body armor, and the rest, they should have been entitled to from the beginning, and given the American people the timeline that 7 in 10 of us -- the citizens of this country -- have made clear that we want.
When this war began, Bush told us that we were going in with some 30 allied countries: a "coalition of the willing," that actually meant more than 150,000 American troops, 11,000 brits, 1,200 or so Aussies, the scatterlings of the old Soviet empire and a smattering of technicians and mechanics from here and there, a scad waving at us from the ground as we flew over their tiny states, plus really strong "tally hos" from the rest... (yes, and not a single Arab country.) The war was swift, and successful, lasting just 41 days, as our troops marched relentlessly towards Baghdad, benching the Saddam Hussein government, and handing a free country to his formerly repressed people, who promptly began to trash, loot and blow it up, and that was before the civil war. In seven more months, Saddam would be captured. The following June, an interim government would be in place. Another year on, the first of three elections, followed by three prime ministers (shuffled at the whim of the Bush administration, rather than the Iraqi people...) endless newfangled surges, revamped strategies, tweaks and milestones: Zarqawi killed, Saddam hanged, and on and on and on. In the meantime, there were darker milestones: Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, the bombing of the Golden Mosque, and about that hanging...

Today, there have been 3,622 coalition casualties in the war, 3,351 from the U.S. There have been 117 in this month alone, 107 U.S. That's versus just 92 coalition including 65 U.S. combat deaths on this day four years ago, on the day the war supposedly ended.

How much damage can one man do to a military, to a country? And can he yet do more?

Sadly, the answer to the last question is yes. George W. Bush seems determined to keep on damaging this country, this military, and Iraq, until his last damned day in office, and probably beyond.

Happy fourth anniversary of Mission Accomplished, George W. Bush. I'd say I hope you can sleep tonight, but unfortunately, I know all too well that you're going to sleep like a baby. You're just that kind of guy.

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posted by JReid @ 8:52 PM  
Where were you?
Four years ago, I was right where I am today: against the Iraq war. From the Miami Herald, April 3, 2003:
Posted on Thu, Apr. 03, 2003


Against a senseless war

I am about the same age as Army Specialist Shoshana Johnson, who is at the upper end of the age range of Americans fighting in Iraq. Johnson was taken prisoner by Iraqis when she and her convoy took a wrong turn on the road to Baghdad.

I don't pretend to speak for everybody my age but do know that most of us are ambivalent about this war. Even the hard-core Republicans I know are more fiercely supportive of President Bush than they are coherent or persuasive in explaining why our soldiers and Marines have been sent to fight and die thousands of miles away.

Weapons of mass destruction? Haven't seen 'em. To stop Iraq from getting nukes? Two words: forged documents. Two more: North Korea. Preventing another Sept. 11? Go after Osama bin Laden. Avenging the Kurds? 20 years too late. Liberating the Iraqi people? They are not cooperating. Enforcing U.N. resolutions? Give me a break.

Many of us are still shaken from Sept. 11, but there is no proof that Saddam Hussein was involved in it. Despite Bush's mantra -- ''Saddam is an evil man who gassed his own people and who must be disarmed for the sake of peace'' -- many of us don't think that it's worth the lives of our soldiers to topple the Iraqi dictator.

Americans like me respect the military, because unlike those who advocated this war, we tend to know people who joined up -- public-school kids who did ROTC in high school and who enlisted for good jobs, pay for college or to get some direction and discipline in life. Conquering the world was definitely not a reason. Even the most anti-war people see our military as dedicated professionals who aren't at all culpable for the political policies that they are duty-bound to implement.

So what's the disconnect?

• Maybe it's the creepy, neoconservative crowd whose decade-long determination to go to war makes the whole exercise look suspect.

• Maybe it's time to bring back the draft. Unless we all have a friend or family member in the Gulf, Americans have surprisingly little at stake in this war. For many young people, it's just another TV reality show -- great graphics, banging soundtrack and ''embedded'' reporters becoming the next superstars. But this reality show is full of real tragedy, real dying and real suffering, on both sides. The question is: Without the prospect of being whisked off to the front lines, how deeply will the generation that grew up on Mortal Kombat feel it?

• Maybe it's the fact that while a war with potentially dire consequences for the world is raging in Iraq, the United States isn't on much of a war footing. We're told to go about our business. We don't even sweat the orange alerts anymore; they've become background noise.

When we get tired of watching the MOABs lighting up Baghdad, we can watch undeployed soldier Scott Grayson belt one out for a chance to get signed by Simon Cowell (the bad Brit to Tony Blair's good, dutiful one). For all its great coverage at the beginning of the war, MTV hasn't pre-empted The Real World, and BET is still booty-shaking and bling-blinging for all but 30 minutes a day.

There are no calls for sacrifice, no war bonds or rations (in fact, if we make enough dough, we're even getting a tax cut) and no exhortations from our leaders to get involved. The people most inclined to get involved -- on the anti-war side -- are being told to quiet down. Meanwhile, the two major parties are busy dolling out the post-Hussein spoils to their corporate friends -- and Specialist Johnson and other young soldiers are still waiting to be rescued.

America is about to produce a whole new generation of grizzled war veterans in their 20s and 30s. This Greatest Generation might turn into the Most Cynical Generation as well.

As proud I am to never have been fooled by the Bushies, I'm still damned sorry I wasn't wrong. The cost to this country and our military has been too great for it to all have been for nothing.

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posted by JReid @ 7:53 PM  
ReidBlog: The Obama Interview
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"I am for enhanced interrogation. I don't believe waterboarding is torture... I'll do it. I'll do it for charity." -- Sean Hannity
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