Sunday, October 15, 2006

Big Dog Bares His Teeth

Clinton says Republican extremists divided country

By Kay Henderson

DES MOINES, Iowa (Reuters) - Former President Bill Clinton told Iowa's Democratic Party faithful on Saturday that the actions of "an extreme sliver" of the Republican Party have backfired and "profoundly divided" the country.

"We've got a big responsibility. Forget about 2008. Forget about the politics. Just go out and find somebody and look them dead in the eye and say 'You know, this is not right'...This is America," Clinton said. "We can do better and this year, it's a job that Democrats have to do alone."
In other words, as has always happened in the past, Republicans fuck up, trash the place, and leave it to the Democrats to fix things and pay the hotel tab. It's been this way for almost a century now, which is why we had a Democratic congress for 40 years.

One can only hope the Dems learned from their decade-long exile, but I digress.
Republicans, who control the White House and Congress, Clinton charged "paint themselves as pure and the rest of us who don't agree with them as stained" in order to divide the country and stay in power.

"People know things are out of whack, that fundamentally the order of, the rhythm of public life and our common life as Americans has been severely disturbed," he said.
Again, Republicans pray the problems will go away. Anyone who's raised a kid knows that problems don't go away, they have to be solved, or they only get worse.

One thing I loved about Clinton's policies (when he could get them passed or when he could issue an executive order) was that they looked forward, not to the present, not who could make the most short term off the government. He solved a budget deficit by shifting the tax burden around and imposing more on those who could afford it while easing it on those less able to. The policies he created built an economy, boosted by investment in new technologies and newer, smarter ways of doing things, where everyone benefitted: jobs, housing values, lower interest rates, better currency exchanges making for a better trade deficit, and so on.

And he did it with only minimal preaching to family values, without turning the country into a moral morass. The asshat Republicans did that for him, to our unending regret and shame. We were better off with a president who was getting his pole smoked than one who smoked the Poles in a war they should never have been fighting.

But Bubba gives his buddy Joe Lieberman some wiggle room too:
"You cannot blame the entire Republican party for this reason. The entire government of the United States, the Congress, the White House and increasingly the courts for the last six years has been in the total control not of the Republican party but of the most ideological, the most right wing, the most extreme sliver of the Republican Party."
True, there are good decent men running as Republicans, moderate men who in a better, less strident world, might even get my endorsement: Lincoln Chaffee springs to mind, so does Chris Shays, although his unexpected melt-down this week made my hair curl, a very tough task.

But our country, our world, our lives are in peril here, and as with any treatment of a cancer on the body politic, it seems that some healthy tissue must die in order to rid us of the threat.

So a quick update on some key races around the country: Rasmussen Reports shows that Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey has taken a slim lead (42-39) over Republican Tom Kean Jr. in his bid for re-election. Keep in mind that Rasmussen skews heavily conservative (they really average out a series of other polls (including Fox News, of all people), and had Kean up by as many as four points even just a month ago. Reuters called this race for Menendez a week ago, showing him with a comfortable ten point lead.

Rasmussen calls the Tenesee race between Harold Ford Jr and Bob "Corky" Corker as being a dead heat (to be precise, Ford holds a two point lead, 48-46, but with a margin of error of 4.5%. Which if I'm not mistaken is higher than any other poll I've seen conducted. Reuters' MOE is just about 4%. Reuters calls this race a toss-up, with 40% preferring each man, and 18% undecided. Rasmussen shows the undecided vote as emphatically lower and many more voters claiming they've settled on their choice now. I think we can call this one for Ford, but by the thinnest of margins. Does Tennessee allow Diebold machines?

C. "Moremonetary" Burns in Montana remains mired, 7 points in back of Democrat Jon Tester in his re-election bid.

Overall, Rassmussen is reporting that the Senate right now is a toss-up, with the Dems picking up three seats for a total of 48, the Republicans losing three to drop down to 49, with three races close enough to be deemed toss ups: Menendez, The Ford/Corker race, and surprisingly, the McCaskill/Talent race in Missouri, which Reuters called for Talent (43-39, with only 11% undecided).

The Democrats need to win two out of three of the toss-ups, and hold onto their gains, and they will control the Senate.

More bad news for the GOP: In the lowest display of confidence in the United States’ position in the war on terror since Rasmussen Reports began polling on the subject two years ago, just 31% of American adults say the U.S. and its allies are winning the War on Terror. That’s a 10-point drop since the last poll taken in the days immediately following the fifth anniversary of 9/11. Considering Bush's campaign talks on the hustings have been about how he has depicted Democrats as soft on terrorism and accused them of pushing a "cut-and-run" approach to Iraq by calling for a U.S. troop withdrawal timetable he has refused to set, this undercuts his message by quite a bit.