Saturday, November 29, 2008

Help Jim Martin Win In Georgia!

The December 2nd run-off for the US Senate seat in Georgia is coming down to the wire. Democrat Jim Martin is in a tight race to unseat incumbent Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss. The outcome of this race is critical to the Democrats' hopes of winning sixty seats in the Senate. 

ElectBlue urges all of our readers to pitch in and help Martin win. No matter where you live, you can make phone calls to Georgia voters by clicking here and signing up to help. You can also make a financial contribution to the Martin campaign by clicking here.

Let's help Jim Martin win!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

President-Elect Obama's Weekly Radio/YouTube Address

President-elect Obama delivers his weekly radio/YouTube address to the nation today (Thanksgiving Day) rather than in the usual Saturday morning time slot:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving From ElectBlue!

We at ElectBlue hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Exactly the right tone for this holiday season is struck by the President-elect and his family as they volunteered earlier today at a Chicago food bank for the less fortunate.

Now that is leadership we can believe in!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Gallup: Confidence in President-elect Obama Remains Sky High

Three weeks out from the election, in the midst of the worst economic crisis in eighty years and with a transition team working at warp speed, President-elect Obama maintains an extraordinary level of support from the American people. 

In spite of unprecedented media coverage of the transition and the fastest-paced naming of important staff and cabinet members in history, the President-elect enjoys wide-ranging support from nearly two-thirds of Americans. 

The latest Gallup poll shows that 65% of those surveyed indicated confidence that Obama will be a good or great President. Only 28% of those questioned expressed a lack of confidence in the President-elect's ability to do a good job. 

These numbers, a three-day rolling average ending yesterday, are unchanged from the day after his election.

2010: US Senate Races


706 days until the 2010 election. Who's ready for some polling data?

For those who just can't wait, here's a list of the 34 Class III Senators who are up for reelection in 2010 (2004 vote % to the right). There will also be one special election in Delaware where Tim Kaufman has opened the door for Beau Biden by indicating that he will not run in '10. Delaware Governor, Ruth Minner, appointed Kaufman (Joe Biden's replacement) as the nation's newest Senator yesterday.

Democrats will have the upper hand once again in 2010 and already have a few Republicans in their crosshairs. Martinez (FL), Vitter (LA) and Bunning (KY) all look vulnerable (especially Martinez). Kansas, believe it or not, could also become a target for Democrats if Governor Kathleen Sebelius runs for that open seat.

ElectBlue will continue to monitor these races and update you as information becomes available..even if it is only 2008.

Bennett, Robert F. (R-UT) - 69%
Bond, Christopher S. (R-MO) - 56%
Brownback, Sam (R-KS) - 69% (retiring) 
Bunning, Jim (R-KY) - 51% (expect many contenders during the  Democratic primary)
Burr, Richard (R-NC) - 52% (following Dole's footsteps?)
Coburn, Tom (R-OK) - 53%
Crapo, Mike (R-ID) - 99%
DeMint, Jim (R-SC) - 54%
Grassley, Chuck (R-IA) - 70% (Grassley is 77 years old. Retiring? Vilsack? He's not in running for Ag. Sec.)
Gregg, Judd (R-NH) - 66%
Isakson, Johnny (R-GA) - 58%

Martinez, Mel (R-FL) - 50% (A Bushy  with very low approval numbers)
**Martinez update 12/2/08 - *Won't run in 2010* *Jeb Bush considering?*

McCain, John (R-AZ) - 77% (appears safe now with Gov. Napolitano out of the mix)
Murkowski, Lisa (R-AK) - 49% (safe for GOP, even if convicted of multiple felonies)
Shelby, Richard C. (R-AL) - 68%
Specter, Arlen (R-PA) - 53% (retiring? Chris Matthews?)
Thune, John (R-SD) - 51%
Vitter, David (R-LA) - 51% (good strategy - female opponent ?)
Voinovich, George V. (R-OH) - 64% (Mike DeWine?)

Bayh, Evan (D-IN) - 62%
Boxer, Barbara (D-CA) - 58% (vs. Schwarzenegger?)
Dodd, Christopher J. (D-CT) -66%
Dorgan, Byron L. (D-ND)
Feingold, Russell D. (D-WI)
Inouye, Daniel K. (D-HI) - 76% (will be 86 in 2010. Gov Linda Lingle?)
Kaufman, Tim (D-DE) - appointed 2008 (special election to fill rest of term)
Leahy, Patrick J. (D-VT)
Lincoln, Blanche L. (D-AR) - 56%
Mikulski, Barbara A. (D-MD) - 65%
Murray, Patty (D-WA)
? Barack Obama's replacement ? (D-IL) - 70%
Reid, Harry (D-NV)
Salazar, Ken (D-CO) - 51%
Schumer, Charles E. (D-NY)
Wyden, Ron (D-OR)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Status of Forces: A Mutually Agreed To Agreement

Only a few days after President Bush admitted making a mistake in 2003 by claiming "Mission Accomplished," White House Press Secretary, Dana Perino, cited the approval of a new security agreement between the US and Iraq as a reason to celebrate.
"This is a mutually agreed to agreement (sic). And that is one of the things that is different about an arbitrary date for withdrawal, when you want -- when you say you're going to leave, win or lose. We believe that the conditions are such now that we are able to celebrate the victory that we've had so far, and establish both a strategic framework agreement, which is a much broader document and talks about all sorts of cooperation that we'll have with Iraq from here on out -- from trade and health care and exchanges on science, and a real strong bilateral agreement that you would hope we would have with any of our allies."
Is this the English translation?  The mutually agreed to agreement?  This as opposed to the unilaterally unagreed to agreement or the agreed to non-agreement? But are we surprised? These are the same people who brought us the Iraq War (WMD and links to al-Qaeda).

The proposed Status of Forces Agreement is not a done deal yet.  The Iraqi Parliament will vote on the agreement next week on whether or not to set a firm deadline for American troop withdraw by December 2011 as well as place restrictions on the US military and their location within the country. A U.N. resolution which expires on December 31st would make it illegal for American soldiers to occupy Iraq unless the Parliament ratifies the deal.

Not everyone is happy about the proposal however. Thousands of Moqtada al-Sadr followers rallied in the streets of Baghdad yesterday protesting the new agreement, calling it a "surrender to American interests." Some were seen holding signs that read, "No, no to the agreement of humiliation." The protesters also stomped and burned an effigy of President Bush in Firdos Square(top picture below), the same location where American soldiers toppled the statue of Saddam Hussein five years ago (bottom picture).

So much for celebrating the victory, right? Not that Bush would take advice from anyone, but maybe he should have listened to Petraeus when he said this back in September. 

President-Elect Obama's Weekly Address

Here you go. President-elect Obama's weekly radio/YouTube address.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Details of Gore Effort on Behalf of GA's Jim Martin

As we reported earlier this week, former Vice-President Al Gore will appear in Atlanta on Sunday, November 23rd, to boost the US Senate campaign of Democrat Jim Martin.  Gore will host a fundraiser at Atlanta's Mason-Murer Fine Arts Auditorium from 7pm to 9pm Sunday evening. 

Martin is facing incumbent Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss in a run-off election on December 2nd. Early voting for this election is already under way. Voter turnout, always important, is seen by most observers as particularly critical in this run-off. 

The run-off election for the US Senate seat was mandated by Georgia law when neither candidate got more than 50% of the votes in the general election on November 4th.

Israeli President: Obama Gives Peace A Chance

In an interview today with The Times of London, Israeli President - and former Prime Minister - Shimon Peres says that the election of Barack Obama brings a "chance" of diplomatic dialogue between the Jewish state and its arch-enemy Iran. Peres believes that moving Iran away from its implacable hostility to Israel is critical to eventually securing an overall settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Although the office of Israeli President is largely ceremonial, Mr. Peres is one of Israel's most senior statesmen and is widely respected across the country's broad ideological spectrum. His views on foreign policy issues in particular carry a lot of weight in Israel and around the world. Mr. Peres won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994.

Peres indicated that he believes the President-elect can bring the vehemently anti-Israeli government of Iranian mullahs to the negotiating table provided that Mr. Obama can garner sufficient support from the broader international community. A key factor in getting Iran into productive and meaningful talks about the future of the Middle East, according to Peres, will the "new politial climate" created by Barack Obama's election to the US Presidency. Economic issues, particularly the falling price of oil, will also provide more incentive for Iran to get serious about assuming a more responsible role in international relations. 

"If there will be a united policy on Iran and there is a new [lower] price for oil then Iran will have to come to terms with a proportionate reality of our times," said President Peres.

From your lips to God's ears, Mr. President!

Hillary Clinton: "Keep Going"

It's been more than two months already since Hillary spoke these words at the convention. Allow me to reminisce this unforgettable moment.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Cymru Am Byth: Wales Forever!

Metro Nashville Councilman Eric Crafton, Mr. English-Only himself, would most likely not be happy with this bit of news from the European Union. Today, Welsh became the twenty-second tongue to be recognized by the EU as one of its co-official, or minority, languages. 

Such recognition confers mostly symbolic status on the ancient language while enabling some business and governmental transactions to be legally conducted in Welsh. The Welsh language is part of the larger family of Celtic tongues which includes Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic and Breton. It has a rich literary and historic tradition, including a strong association with the legendary tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Welsh is currently the mother tongue of more than 600,000 people, most of them living in the British principality of Wales. I guess the 'English-only' advocates in Wales have failed completely as the entire area has been under English rule since the Middle Ages. Mr. Crafton's peculiarly monolithic notion of cultural and linguistic exclusion just never took hold in Merry Olde England. A good thing, that.

Several million Americans, many of them in the South, can trace at least some Welsh ancestry in their backgrounds. Interestingly, the most common surname in the US, Jones, is of Welsh origin. Six hundred thousand people, by the way, is slightly more than the current population of Davidson County. 

Losing Their Minds - Republican Anti-Intellectualism

A brilliant piece today in The Economist points out one glaring reason why Republicans were kicked to the curb in 2008.  
"There are any number of reasons for the Republican Party’s defeat on November 4th. But high on the list is the fact that the party lost the battle for brains. Barack Obama won college graduates by two points, a group that George Bush won by six points four years ago. He won voters with postgraduate degrees by 18 points. And he won voters with a household income of more than $200,000—many of whom will get thumped by his tax increases—by six points. John McCain did best among uneducated voters in Appalachia and the South."
Of course, it's difficult to have this discussion without pointing out McCain's choice for VP and her credentials.
"Mr McCain, once the chattering classes’ favourite Republican, refused to grapple with the intricacies of the financial meltdown, preferring instead to look for cartoonish villains. And in a desperate attempt to serve boob bait to Bubba, he appointed Sarah Palin to his ticket, a woman who took five years to get a degree in journalism, and who was apparently unaware of some of the most rudimentary facts about international politics."
What follows here reminds me of what Christine Todd Whitman wrote a few days ago when she openly admitted that her party is being held hostage by a group of "social fundamentalists." The Economist piece goes on to say:
"Why is this happening? One reason is that conservative brawn has lost patience with brains of all kinds, conservative or liberal. Many conservatives—particularly lower-income ones—are consumed with elemental fury about everything from immigration to liberal do-gooders. They take their opinions from talk-radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and the deeply unsubtle Sean Hannity. And they regard Mrs Palin’s apparent ignorance not as a problem but as a badge of honour."
Moderate, pro-intelligent Republicans have a fight on their hands. I'm afraid they're going to lose the battle against a highly enthused, zealous (sometimes paranoid) group of nuts to their far right. They don't give up easy (and they're buying up all the guns).  The fight is on in the Republican party. It's the traditionalists who believe the party will win elections in the future by taking a step to the right versus reformers, like Todd Whitman, urging the party to "end its self-imposed captivity to social fundamentalists."

The crash of the GOP wasn't hard to predict after eight years Bush incompetence, fueled by GOP control for most of Bush's term. Republicans obviously need CHANGE they can believe in too; although I doubt they will stand up to the neo-cons who've been driving the party. I stand by my words from October.
"Republicans need change they can believe in too. They won't find it anytime soon with leaders like John McCain and George Bush who have made a smoldering ruin of the Grand Old Party. Until new leadership emerges and rejects the lunatics who can be heard every day on the radio and television, they will continue to marginalize themselves out of major party politics."

No Harmony in Music City

On the heels of their most crushing election defeat since Reconstruction, you'd think that the (few) Tennessee Democrats remaining in elective office would try to make nice -- at least to each other, at least in public. 

Think again. 

Both Sean Braisted and The Nashville Scene's Jeff Woods are reporting that Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen is letting it be known that he doesn't trust TN State Representative Gary Odom (D-Nashville). Odom is fighting to retain a key leadership position (which will now be Minority Leader) of the Volunteer State's House Democratic caucus. Bredesen is seen as a supporter of soon-to-be-former Houser Speaker Jimmy Naifeh (D-Covington) for the Minority Leader job since Naifeh will lose his Speaker of the House position when the GOP takes control in January.

News of this discord came to light in a story by the Associated Press, citing emails from the governor's office expressing "trust issues" with Odom. Sending an email to the AP was a sure-fire way to keep the dispute out of the public eye - not!  Bredesen and Odom apparently have long standing bad blood between them, dating back to the days when both served in Nashville's Metro Government.

Maybe we're looking at this the wrong way, but having a public food fight between Tennessee's Democratic Governor and a top-ranking Democrat in the state legislature just doesn't seem like a good plan.

Update (Nov.21): According to The Nashville Tennessean, State Rep. Craig Fitzhugh (D-Ripley) will challenge Odom for the Minority Leader post. Fitzhugh appears to have the support of Gov. Bredesen. Rep. Naifeh's plans, if any, for a leadership position in the new TN House are unclear at this point.

What the GOP is Selling, Americans Aren't Buying

A brand new poll from Gallup indicates that public approval of the Republican Party is at an all-time low. Worse yet, Americans now give the GOP the highest disapproval rating since Gallup began measuring that number over fifteen years ago.

When asked if they have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion of the Republican Party, only 34% indicated their approval while a stunning 61% of those surveyed said they disapprove of the GOP.

These numbers represent a significant deterioration in the party's position from a similar survey conducted as recently as mid-October.  That poll found that the Republicans' approval rating was 40% and its disapproval mark was 53%. Bad, meet worse. 

The survey, released today, was conducted November 13-16. The numbers present a daunting challenge for Republican leaders trying to figure out how to recover and rebuild from their huge losses in the general election less than three weeks ago. 

Clearly, it won't be an easy task.

Gallup: Overwhelming Majority of Americans Support Madame Secretary

According to a newly-released Gallup Poll, an overwhelming majority of Americans like the idea of Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) becoming the next Secretary of State

In the survey conducted on November 18th, some 57% of those questioned indicated they favor the idea of Clinton serving as President-elect Obama's top diplomat. 

Only 30% said they opposed the notion of the junior Senator from New York being in charge of the State Department.

Looks like Hillary has a big green light from the American people! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Aye of Newt

Now comes this from Newt Gingrich, in a recent appearance on Bill-O The Clown's Comedy Hour, a prime-time feature of Faux News:

"I think there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, to use harassment. I think it is prepared to use the government if it can get control of it. I think that it is a very dangerous threat to anybody who believes in traditional religion.”

Newt Gingrich is, of course, a prominent Republican, a former US Representative from Georgia and a former Speaker of the House (1995-1999). He has long been the darling of GOP right-wingers. In spite of obviously knowing little about fascism, he is widely regarded in conservative circles as something of an intellectual and is often considered one of the movement's most profound thinkers.

Mr. Gingrich is a tireless advocate of the sanctity of marriage and family values. He has been married three times... and divorced twice. He is also an admitted liar, cheater, adulterer and hypocrite. Quite the poster boy for today's Republican Party...

Worsening Bush Recession Drives DJIA Below 8000

Investor worries over the deepening recession of Republican President George W. Bush caused the Dow Jones Industrial Average to shed more than 400 points today. 

The bellwether market index ended the day below the 8,000 level for the first time in more than five years.

You're doing one heckuva job, Bushie!

Seven Score and Five Years Ago Today

The morning of November 19, 1863, dawned cold and damp in Gettysburg, PA. A thin misty fog hung over the nearby rolling fields and steep hills which had been the scene of one of the nation's bloodiest tragedies only a few months before. 

By noon on that November day, however, the sun had broken through the low clouds. A large crowd had gathered to hear President Lincoln and other dignitaries dedicate a portion of that historic battlefield as a national cemetery.

Lincoln's speech was by far the shortest of the day, but perhaps more than any other address by any sitting President before or since, it captured the very essence of the American experiment in democracy. As our nation prepares for yet another huge step forward in the long march towards fulfilling its promise, Lincoln's words bear repeating on this, the 145th anniversary of their initial utterance:

Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate, we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us; that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom and that government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Engagement is not appeasement and diplomacy is not retreat."

-- Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), 
speaking today at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies


Lee Stranahan, writing this evening for The Huffington Post, sums up the feelings and hopes of many progressive bloggers. Batting down the idea that we in the "liberal blogosphere" are somehow up in arms over President-elect Obama's decisions to show leniency to Joe Lieberman and to appoint Senator Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State, Stranahan notes:

"Speaking for my tiny little chunk of the liberal blogosphere, I don't like Joe Lieberman. I was disgusted by Hillary's campaign. And I couldn't be happier with Obama's decisions." [emphasis mine]

Stranahan continues: "You see, I took all that talk about new politics seriously. In speech after speech, Obama said we had to move past 'the smallness of our politics' and he didn't single out Republicans. He didn't say the smallness of their politics. The smallness has been in both parties..." [emphasis in the original]

Mr. Stranahan concludes: "...Obama is showing confidence in the idea he ran on; that America was ready for not just new policies but for a whole new approach to governing. It's the biggest possible change I can imagine. It's not just good politics. It isn't some clever move. It's what those better angels that Obama kept mentioning look like. No wonder it's confusing to so many people of all ideological stripes.."

That is exactly why so many of us believe in, and voted for, Barack Obama. Over the past couple of decades, we all have been entangled in the smallness of our partisan politics. It will be hard - very hard - to break out of that habit, but it will be worth the effort to try. It is, at the very least, an uplifting experience to watch our new President-elect's attempts to take us there.

Al Gore to Campaign for Jim Martin in GA Senate Run-Off

Various well-placed sources are indicating that former Vice-President Al Gore will hit the campaign trail this weekend on behalf of Jim Martin, Democratic challenger to incumbent Georgia Senator, Republican Saxby Chambliss. The two were forced into a run-off, scheduled for December 2nd, after neither candidate garnered the necessary 50% of the vote in the November 4th general election.

Although details concerning Gore's campaign swing through the Peach State are still sketchy, the best information we have at the moment is that Mr. Gore will appear with Martin on Sunday, November 23rd, most likely in Atlanta. 

We will post more details about Gore's efforts on behalf of Martin as we get them.


Breaking News: Begich Wins Alaska Senate Race!

Anchorage Mayor, Democrat Mark Begich has won his race to unseat incumbent Republican, and convicted felon, Ted Stevens in the seemingly endless Alaska Senate contest. 

Nate Silver, of, has concluded that Begich will be the winner of the Alaska contest when the few remaining votes are counted. 

As of this writing, Begich has stretched his lead over Stevens to 2,374 votes, with fewer than 15,000 ballots still to be counted. Most importantly, nearly all of the outstanding votes are from pro-Begich areas of the Last Frontier state.

We at ElectBlue concur with the awesomely brilliant analysis of Mr. Silver. We congratulate Senator-elect Begich on his victory. 

Well done, Mark!  (and Nate!)

Nutmeg Joe Keeps His Big Committee Chairmanship


So, I'm not at all happy about Senate Democrats deciding to let Joe Lieberman (I-CT) keep his Chairmanship of the important Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. It seems to me that Jiltin' Joe deserved some meaningful punishment for his over-the-top negative comments about President-elect Obama during the political campaign just ended. Elections do - or should have - consequences as Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) famously said when the Democrats recaptured the Senate in 2006.

Even if we put aside his non-stop stumping for Republican Presidential candidate John McCain, Lieberman's nasty and untrue insinuations that Obama might be some sort of Marxist or that Obama wanted American troops to be defeated on the battlefield were outrageous. The Senator from the Nutmeg State needs to recant those assertions and apologize to the President-elect. It's not likely to happen of course, but it's what a decent man would do.

All that said, I'm trying to make the best I can of the Senate Democrats' decision today. As a practical matter, we Democrats do need Lieberman if we are to have any chance of getting to a sixty seat majority in the Senate. Given ElectBlue's unyielding focus on obtaining that 60-seat majority in the US Senate this year, it would be pretty inconsistent of us to trash totally the notion of allowing Joe to retain some of his privileges for voting with Democratic majority. Without him that magical (though largely symbolic) number just won't happen. In politics, symbolism does matter.

Additionally, it is the clear desire of President-elect Obama to mend fences with Lieberman and to move on from the harsh rhetoric of the campaign. Our new President-to-be deserves some slack now and then. He needs all the help we can reasonably give him for the tough times ahead. So I guess I shouldn't be feeling so nauseous about today's developments, re: Lieberman. Still, I do feel a bit sick to my stomach. Maybe more than a bit, to be honest.

In spite of being an unabashed progressive, I like to think of myself of being a 'Big Tent' kind of Democrat. You know, a guy who sees room in the Party for a range of views even on some very important issues. However, this Lieberman thing challenges my faith in the Big Tent idea. It's not the fact that he is so strongly for the Iraq war or that his anti-terrorism shtick borders on xenophobia or even that he brandishes his religion like a sword in the town square of public discourse. 

No, it's more than differences over policy positions that cause me such agita about Mr. Lieberman. You know, here it is: I just don't trust him. On some visceral, gut level I often find myself wondering just what Joe Lieberman's real priorities are. What does this man really stand for? Somewhere in his talk, in his loquacious pontifications there is something that makes me ask myself: "who does this man really represent?". It's that uncertainty that makes me always just a little queasy when I think about Jiltin' Joe

So, alright, I'll try to get over it. I sure as hell will feel much better about the Lieberman thing if we win all three still unresolved Senate races: Alaska, Minnesota and Georgia. Having Senators Begich, Franken and Martin on Capitol Hill next year would go a long way towards settling my uneasy stomach.

Florida 2010: Martinez In Deep Trouble

Republican Senator Mel Martinez woke up this morning to some bad news. He's in deep trouble according to a Quinnipiac poll released this morning. Just 43% of Floridians approve of the job Martinez is doing and only 36% say they would vote for him if the election were held today. 

Charlie Crist's approval rating remains high (68%) although just 50% of Floridians today say they would vote for him if the election were held today.

Monday, November 17, 2008

UK Newspaper: It's A Done Deal

One of Great Britain's most respected and reliable newspapers, The Guardian, says it has learned that Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has been offered and will accept the position of Secretary of State in President-elect Obama's cabinet. 

Speculation about the potential appointment has been rampant since sources in the Obama transition team confirmed that the two former rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination met secretly last week in Chicago. Clinton's staff has also confirmed that the Senator and the President-elect did meet last Thursday. To date, however, there had been no independent confirmation that the job had been definitely offered to, or accepted by, Senator Clinton.

Much of the American mainstream media's attention to this story has centered around the (perceived) difficulty of throughly vetting Senator Clinton's husband, the former President. You just have to wonder how much more 'vetting' a person who served two terms as President really needs.  Oh well...

What The Other Side Is Thinking...

Our favorite right-wing website, the aptly named Right Wing News, has conducted a survey in which several hundred right-wing bloggers were asked to name their favorite, and least favorite, Republicans. The only rule: the persons named must be "living or nearly living" (sic).  Here are the results:

#R Bloggers 10 Least FavoriteR Bloggers 10 Favorites
1John McCainSarah Palin
2Ted StevensRush Limbaugh
3Peggy NoonanBobby Jindal
4Colin PowellFred Thompson
5Arlen SpecterNewt Gingrich
6Chuck HagelMark Steyn
7Ron PaulMichelle Malkin
8Pat BuchananMichael Steele
9Mike HuckabeeThomas Sowell
10Arnold SchwarzeneggerAnn Coulter

I don't think I could add anything to this treasure-trove of collective wisdom... 

h/t: OpenLeft 

Hank Williams Jr. Plans Run For US Senate

The last thing Tennessee needs.  Just when you thought things couldn't get worse.


Today is Howard Dean's sixtieth birthday!  All of us at ElectBlue wish a very heartfelt Happy Birthday to Governor Dean

His tenure as Chair of the Democratic National Committee has been one of the most successful in decades. He has earned the gratitude of progressives all over America and deserves a special acknowledgment on this important milestone in his personal life.

Job well done, Doctor!

Newest TV Ad from GA's Martin: Out of the Park

Democratic candidate for the US Senate from GA, Jim Martin, has released his latest television spot. It's called 'America Is Back' and it's a doozy!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." 

-- Sir Winston S. Churchill

Tough Times for Tennessee Democrats

While President-elect Barack Obama was leading the Democratic Party to sweeping victories in most of the country on November 4th, the oldest political party on earth was suffering crushing defeats in the Volunteer State. Not only did PE Obama underperform Sen. John Kerry's anemic 2004 numbers in Tennessee, the Democratic challenger (Bob Tuke) for the US Senate seat held by Republican Lamar Alexander was utterly humiliated in one of the worst thrashings a serious Democratic candidate for state-wide office has ever endured in the land of Andrew Jackson.

Even more devastating to Democrats in TN, the Republicans seized control of both houses of the state legislature for the first time since Reconstruction. The defeats suffered by Democrats spanned the state, with stunning losses in all three of Tennessee's historic "grand divisions" (East, Middle and West). With redistricting looming after the 2010 census, GOP control of the legislature most likely portends even more future electoral losses for Tennessee Democrats.

As a dyed-in-the-wool, double-dipped, true-believing, yellow-dog Democrat, it is very painful for me to admit this, but the magnitude of the catastrophe which befell the Tennessee Democratic Party (TNDP) twelve days ago is nothing short of breathtaking. Much more hurtful is the realization that this need not have happened. Although Tennessee is deep in the Red Belt, Democrats can win in these states. TNDP officials' whining about Tennessee's strong Republican leanings and their gnashing of teeth about the steep demographic challenges we face won't cut it. 

Just look around at our neighboring states, every one of them as ruby-red as Tennessee. In KY, NC, VA, GA and even MS, Democrats ran credible state and local campaigns in 2008. Democratic candidates won US Senate and gubernatorial races in VA and NC, forced a run-off in the GA Senate contest and ran valiant state wide campaigns for the US Senate in KY and MS. Why couldn't Tennessee Democrats manage to do the same?

The sad, awful truth is that the TNDP has become the captive of an inept, corrupt, power-hungry network of good old boys determined to hold on to their idea of political relevance no matter what. Compounding their incompetence and greed, many of the leaders of the TNDP are in fact DINOs (Democrats In Name Only), fleeing in terror at any mention by the Republicans of hot-button issues like God, guns or gays. Many of these DINOs pay only lip-service to the national Democratic Party, it's leaders and its core beliefs. They've sold their souls to the Republican donors who largely fund their campaigns these days. A state political party that has lost its moral fiber is living on borrowed time.

On November 4th, time ran out and the "no matter what" happened.  The TNDP has been shown the door by the voters of Tennessee. As disheartening as election day was, this is no time for Tennessee Democrats to give up. Instead, it's time to start over. Tennessee Democrats should look at this electoral debacle as an opportunity for rebirth, re-commitment and a renewal of our moral courage. 

We can - and should - forgive the unhelpful, tepid endorsement of the Obama-Biden ticket by our sitting Democratic governor (Phil Bredesen) and a post-election cheap shot at progressive bloggers by the head of the TNDP (Gray Sasser). Even the TNDP's disgraceful persecution of a Democratic state senator (Rosalind Kurita), who dared defy the Party big-wigs, can be put behind us. Focusing on the sins of the past will not get us where we need to be. Let us just hope that they are lessons learned.

So, take heart. There are, indeed, some signs of hope. In the chaotic days since the election, it seems that all of the top officials of the TNDP have decided to resign in the near future. A good thing, that. Moreover, Tennessee Democrats are blessed with some leaders of real courage and conviction. US Representatives Jim Cooper and Steve Cohen come to mind. We also have two nationally prominent Democrats who can help lead their native state's party out of the wilderness: former Vice-President Al Gore and former US Representative Harold Ford, Jr., who now heads the Democratic Leadership Council. Both of these fine men can, and should, provide much-needed guidance to a state party that has lost its way -- and nearly everything else. 

With a new leadership team at the helm, a sincere outreach to all of the key Democratic constituencies (including progressive bloggers), a genuine effort to be inclusive and a complete break with the good old boy politics of the past, the TNDP can return to being the vibrant, competitive party it once was. Anything less, I fear, will only lead to decades more of disappointing Novembers for Tennessee Democrats. (See this related post.)

Check out these Tennessee Blogs for more on this topic:

Bill Clinton to Campaign for Jim Martin in GA

Former President Bill Clinton will campaign Wednesday in Atlanta for US Senate candidate Jim Martin, according to a press release from the Martin Campaign. The former President is a strong supporter of Martin, having stumped for him in the general election. Martin faces incumbent Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss in a December 2nd run-off since neither man garnered 50% of the vote in the November 4th election, as required by Georgia law.

"I am honored to have President Clinton join me in Georgia once again and proud to have the support of such a tireless advocate for the middle class," Jim Martin said. "President Clinton and I share a common goal of helping President-elect Obama fix our economy and get our country working for middle class Georgians again."

ElectBlue strongly supports Jim Martin for Senator and urges our readers to contribute to his run-off campaign in whatever they can.

Obama's First Video Address

President-Elect Obama will be communicating every week with the nation in a radio/video address. Say goodbye to radio only. Obama will continue his weekly address in video format throughout his presidency.

Two Not-So-Trivial Political Questions

Question #1: When was the last time Democrats won more than fifty percent of the votes cast for members of the US House of Representatives?  

Answer: November 4, 2008.

Question #2: When was the last time Republicans won more than fifty percent of the votes cast for members of the US House of Representatives?

Answer: November 5, 1946. 

Yes, you're reading that correctly. The Republican Party has not won a majority of votes cast in US House races in more than sixty years

So much for all the blather about America being a center-right country.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Martin TV Ad Hits Chambliss Hard

This is a brand new television ad on behalf of Jim Martin, Democratic candidate in the GA Senate run-off against incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss. This ad is courtesy of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). Very effective!

What Happens When You Listen to Right-Wing Talk Radio...

...from cartoonist, Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant

h/t: TMV

Friday, November 14, 2008

Another Historic First for America

This afternoon, the Pentagon announced the promotion of Ann E. Dunwoody to the rank of four-star General.  General Dunwoody is the first woman in the history of the US military to attain the rank of full General. She is a native of New York and has served in the Army since she was commissioned as a second Lieutenant in 1975.

General Dunwoody, 55, holds graduate degrees in national resource strategy and logistics management. She will be in charge of the Army's Global Materiel Command which is responsible for equiping, arming and outfitting US soldiers around the world. 

ElectBlue congratulates General Dunwoody on her promotion and her historic achievement for women. 

Bush Recession Gets Much Worse In October

As reported by Bloomberg News, retail sales in the US declined 2.8% in October, the largest one-month drop on record. Even worse, the decline in consumer buying was broad-based, cutting across virtually all segments of the economy.  Coming on the heels of the September collapse of the financial industry and the sharp rise in the unemployment rate in October, today's bleak economic news leaves little doubt that the Bush Recession is very bad and getting worse by the minute.

The current Republican Administration's reckless spending, irresponsible tax cuts for super-wealthy individuals and big corporations and its gross lack of regulatory oversight have finally yielded the inevitable -- and totally predictable -- results. The American economy is in shambles and sinking ever closer to depression-level territory with each passing day. Very tough times lie ahead.

President-elect Obama will no doubt be facing an even more dire economic situation when he takes the oath of office in the third week January next year. There is no real hope that the lame-duck Congress and the lame-duck President can, or will, take the tough measures necessary to begin a recovery. With only a one-seat Democratic majority in the Senate (and that's counting Mr. Unreliable, Joe Lieberman) and a disengaged, unresponsive Republican President, nothing of any real substance is likely to be enacted into law before February or March of 2009. It is going to be a long, slow crawl back from the edge of the economic abyss.

As progressives, it is important that we keep the mainstream media honest in their reporting about how we got into this mess and who is responsible for it. The chattering classes will, I fear, be all too willing to parrot the right wing wackos' efforts to blame the Democrats and President-elect Obama. Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity have already started down that path. They will certainly soon be followed by other wingnuts. Many in the mainstream media will be sorely tempted to take the bait because it is easy (no work involved) and simplistic (requires no real understanding of the issues).  

We can't let that happen.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Updated Update In Alaska

Begich extends his lead to 814. More updates as they come in from the Alaska Division of Elections.  At least 15,000 questioned ballots and 20,000 absentee mail-in ballots are still uncounted.  Many of these ballots are thought to come from pro-Begich precincts.

Current total concludes today's counting.
Begich 132,196
Stevens 131,382