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Howard Dean and the 2006 Elections November 9, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in bush administration, politics.

With Sen. George Allen’s concession speech today, the Democrats have officially taken over the House and Senate. The Democrats were able to pull off wins in many red states that were wrote-off in 2004: Virginia and Montana to name a couple. No single person deserves more credit for this victory than Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

Governor Dean had faced harsh criticism for his “50 State Plan,” which hoped to make the Democrats more competitive in states considered to be solid red. Dean began building grassroots infrastructure in all 50 states to the ire of many beltway Democrats who wanted more money for close races. Dean was stubborn… and it paid off.

Although Dems were optimistic even a few months before the election, they had failed to predict kicking out many of the Republican incumbents who were ousted on Tuesday. Without Dean’s infrastructure already on the ground in these conservative states, it is entirely possible that the party would not have realized the potential to pick up these states and districts until it was too late to catch up. Because the personnel was trained and on the ground, the grassroots could kick into action instead of spending weeks on administrative organizing. Many of the Democrats in the conservative districts won by a very narrow margin… would they have pulled it off without the “50 State Plan”?

Other Democrats deserve a lot of credit also, including Rep. Nancy Pelosi. But it was the vision of Howard Dean (and the other architects of the “50 State Plan”) that helped create such a healthy Democratic margin in the House, and he most likely set the Democrats up to succeed in 2008. With Democratic governors now in the majority, the party will have great infrastructure in place for the presidential election.

It has been an extraordinary couple of days. Optimism has returned to us alienated progressives! It’ll be nice talking about health care, minimum wage and ethics reform instead of the Federal Marriage Amendment, English as the official language and a flag burning amendment. What a joke the last Congress was. Now let’s hope both the Democrats and Bush can work together to get something done.

Check out my earlier post which talks more about Dean’s “50 State Plan”.


Political Activists, Not True Models of Christianity, At Liberty Sunday October 16, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in anti-gay activists, lgbt Issues, marriage equality, politics, religion distorted.

Anti-gay Family Research Council held a “Liberty Sunday” event this last weekend in hopes of rallying social conservative voters by attacking gay and lesbian people and their lives. It seems ridiculous that spending over an hour attacking a small group of people would be considered as a way to mobilize voters, but anti-gay activists believe it is a tested and proven method.

I know it is almost cliche to say this now, but why are these allegedly Christian political activists focusing on attacking gay people when they could use those resources and platforms to fight for causes that are truly Christian: helping America’s poor, encouraging a fair health care system and providing relief to the people of Sudan. The Family Research Council was able to gather dozens of influential conservative Christians and politicians: Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Focus on the Family’s James Dobson, American Family Association’s Don Wildmon. When is the last time these conservative leaders gathered to support a cause that would actually help people, or a cause that truly lives up to Jesus’ teachings? It doesn’t happen… and it doesn’t happen because these men are political activists, not representatives of Christianity.

Included below are some statements from speakers at Liberty Sunday. With all the issues facing America and the world, do these leaders sound like Christians looking out for the betterment of God’s world? You can decide…

Bishop Wellington Boone, Wellington Boone Ministries:

My wife said to me, well okay then, if sodomites, because they are not gays, it’s a misnomer, they’re sodomites. There were sodomy laws all over this country from 1600’s and it was one time a capital offense, how could we make it a capital offense?.. The Bible! If God calls homosexuality an abomination, if he calls it a vile affection, if he calls it wickedness, I can’t call it inappropriate behavior. So, if this is just a small matter, then let two women go on an island. All women, if you’re a sodomite go on an island and stay by yourself, all women and then put all the men on another island… I called this whole idea of trying to get rights and trying to get on the African American’s side, I called it the rape of the civil rights movement.

Don Wildmon, American Family Association:

The day will come when they’re walking in your church and if you say one thing wrong or bad about homosexuality they will walk in your church and they will shut you up and you will be arrested for a hate crime. That sounds far removed, but it is the truth.

Kris Mineau, Massachusetts Family Institute:

The leadership in this state is beholden to the homosexual lobbyist. Homosexual money is flooding into the state to deny citizens the right to vote and to deny our freedom of speech.

Let me remind you, dear readers, that Focus on the Family alone has a higher budget than all the national LGBT organizations combined. It is absurd to think that the majority of lobbyist money flooding a state is from the LGBT movement… anti-gay activists have a tremendous financial advantage in every way.

Just as David Kuo, author of the new book Tempting Faith, worries: “the name of God is being destroyed in the name of politics.”

Howard Dean’s Vision October 4, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in politics.

While Sen. John Kerry stumped around blue states with a rather bland agenda during the 2004 Democratic primaries, Vermont Gov. Howard Dean had captured the imagination and idealism of America’s youth. His no bullshit, less pandering approach convinced the more liberal Democrats that it was time for change… that speaking out against President Bush’s failed and corrupt policies was both good politics and morally sound.

This excitement and hopefulness came to an abrupt halt, however, because of a momentary rush of excitement that was over-analyzed and unfairly treated by the media. Dean’s now infamous ‘yelp’ had officially ended his campaign for the presidency. Despite my disgust over voters who feel a one-time shriek is less forgivable than lying to put American troops into combat, most of us young liberals were thankful for the time Dean shared with us.

Little did we know that Howard Dean would reenter the national scene so quickly. Just a few short months after the 2004 elections, in February 2005, Howard Dean was selected as chairman of the Democratic National Committee (despite reservations from many of the Washington elite). His new position at national headquarters would include a function beyond fundraising and handshaking… he was setting out a new vision for the Democratic Party.

Upon taking office, Dean criticized the Party’s focus on Blue and Purple (swing) states at the cost of completely ignoring Red states. Because copious amounts of money was poured into battleground states like Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin, states like North Carolina, Louisiana and Colorado were rarely if ever visited by Democratic presidential candidates and received little help from the DNC.

In comes Howard Dean and the “50 State Plan”. Dean realized, and continues to understand, that many poor white southerners are voting against their own interests because they somehow see the GOP as the party of GOD. Absurd as it seems, Dean and his allies realize that overturning this ill-conceived notion of Republicans-as-Christ could go a long way towards rebuilding the party in the South and West. After-all, does it really make sense that rural southerners are voting for the Republicans who gave tax-cuts to the super-rich, billions of dollars to a failed Iraq war policy and botched both response and recovery after Hurricane Katrina?

Howard Dean and his allies realize southerners should not be voting Republican, and that issues like same-sex marriage, flag-burning and English as the official language should not outweigh issues that promote the health and well-being of their families and country.

Southern states are most definitely winnable, but it will take a vision that extends beyond 2006 and 2008. As a recent New York Times Magazine article points out, Howard Dean’s 50 state vision is quite controversial among Democratic insiders. Dean has his allies, but he also has his enemies (or opponents, to put it more tactfully). His opponents ask why Dean is providing funds for additional campaign staff in Alaska when there are much more competitive districts in Pennsylvania or elsewhere. On its face, it seems to make little to no sense, but Dean truly has a vision for the party.

His vision includes building a Democratic party that may be willing to take minor setbacks right now in order to strengthen itself for the future. Democrats may not win Alaska in the next few years, but with a strong ground campaign they could succeed in 2012 (especially if Republicans remain as arrogant as they currently are). Although his critics believe it is important to win elections to build the party, the Clinton era proved that winning big elections means nothing to the long-term success of the party. America currently has a federal government dominated by conservatives – the legislative branch, executive branch and even the judicial branch (look at Bush v. Gore, for example). And this is right after one of the Democratic party’s most popular presidents left office (so much for party-building via winning elections).

Howard Dean wants to prove that the Democratic party is the values party, not Republicans. While GOP tax cuts help the rich, middle and lower class Americans continue to struggle with rising healthcare costs and the threat of “privatized” social security. It is time for Democrats to stand up to the Republican party’s claim on so-called “values”, and in the long-term Democrats can win the reddest of the red states. It will take time, and defeat could be a temporary result, but the Democratic party will never return to its heyday unless it plans for the future instead of just the next election.

Bush as Devil, No Way. Clinton as Devil, Okay. September 26, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in anti-gay activists, politics, religion distorted.

Last week, Democrats and Republicans united in condemning Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez for referring to George Bush as the devil. It was a nice change to see both parties agreeing on an issue, albeit a trivial one, but all Americans realize referring to our leaders as Satan is inappropriate.

After a full week’s coverage of Chávez’s statements on cable news programs, a nutjob nearly on the same-level as Chávez equated another American politician with the devil. Actually, this nutjob held the devil in higher regard.

At the extreme-right Values Voters Summit last weekend, anti-gay formerly pro-segregation preacher Jerry Falwell told the audience that Christians would vote for Satan himself before voting for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. Here’s his soundbite:

I certainly hope that Hillary is the candidate. She has $300 million so far. But I hope she’s the candidate. Because nothing will energize my [constituency] like Hillary Clinton. If Lucifer ran, he wouldn’t.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the fundamentalist audience erupted in applause after his statement claiming his base would support the devil over Clinton. It seems odd that the arch-nemesis of God himself, Satan, would be held in higher esteem than little old Hillary Clinton. Knowing Falwell and his followers, however, they probably can find some Bible passage to distort in support of his statement.

So why the outrage over some bum from Venezuela taking a crack at President Bush, but no outrage at an alleged “religious leader” for making nearly the same comment about a U.S. senator? Where is this “liberal media” I keep hearing about? Just remember… Jerry Falwell and his friends represent the “base” the Republicans are always trying to please through tax-cuts for the rich and banning same-sex marriage.

Liberals Love Adultery, Conservatives Love Incest September 23, 2006

Posted by newsfittopost in anti-gay activists, politics, right-wing lies.

Kevin McCullough was frothing at the mouth as he wrote his latest WingNutDaily (thanks Pam!) article about liberals and their love for adultery. In his now routine eagerness to find an example or two and call it a pattern, McCullough claims all liberals love adultery because Bill Clinton, Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson and former N.J. Gov. Jim McGreevey are all liberal.

The most important item to note is that openly gay Bishop Gene Robinson never committed adultery, despite what McCullough claims. Robinson has been with partner Mark Andrews since 1989, but was divorced three years before after telling his wife he could not change his sexual orientation (him and his ex-wife remain close). McCullough is an ass for spreading rumors about Robinson, a man of God who not only did not commit adultery, but was honest with his ex-wife about his “homosexual inclinations” before they were even married.

When it comes to Bill Clinton and Jim McGreevey, there is little doubt that they did commit adultery. Republicans spent millions in taxpayer money to prove Clinton had, and McGreevey apologized for it while resigning from the state’s highest office. McCullough claims liberals’ love for Clinton and McGreevey proves liberals also love adultery, but his characterizations are a mixture of generalizations, distortions and flat-out lies.

Bill Clinton is indisputably loved by the left. If McCullough believes that also means the left loves adultery (an almost laughable correlation), so be it. But he also claims liberals love Jim McGreevey, pointing out his appearances on Oprah and the Today show. Apparently McCullough has not picked up a newspaper or turned on television in weeks, however, because the vast majority of liberals have been far from embracing McGreevey. Nearly all lesbian and gay organizations have refused to comment on McGreevey and traditionally “liberal” media such as The New York Times, Los Angles Times and Washington Post have reported that McGreevey has received a cold reception from both conservatives and liberals. But McCullough chooses to ignore these reports to help further a point that cannot be furthered without bold-faced lies and mischaracterizations.

So McCullough has found his one example of the left loving adultery: Bill Clinton. For the sake of fairness, we will take a look at some conservative heroes to see if we can mischaracterize conservatives as loving immoral actions. Conservative favorite and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has been married three times and divorced his second wife while she was in the hospital recovering from cancer surgery. Then there is former Oregon Christian Coalition leader Lou Beres, who has admitted to molesting his own daughter, their friends and his sister-in-law. And several-times-divorced conservative favorite Rush Limbaugh has been charged with illegally obtaining prescription drugs in between his oh-so-common tirades against illegal drug use.

If we are to use the same standard of honesty as McCullough, it is quite fair to say conservatives love divorce, incest, molestation and illegal drug use just as much as liberals love adultery. However I do not believe conservatives love these “sins”, because as liberals know, there is no reason to hate someone just because they have made mistakes in the past (although incest and molestation are difficult to forgive). Just as liberal hero Bill Clinton has not always been on the moral high-road, many conservative heroes have fallen from the moral wagon to carry out actions that are unacceptable for most Americans (minus the divorce thing).

The intellectual dishonesty (or just dishonesty) McCullough engages in is astounding. It should be criticized by any conservative or liberal who does not want to be characterized by the actions of all people who happen to share the same ideology. It seems like common sense, but when you are dealing with idiots like Kevin McCullough, common sense always seems to be outweighed by lies and distortions.