Daily Kos

[I]t is one of the two best books I've read in years about the Democratic Party, its myriad problems and challenges -- Charlie Cook, National Journal

[A]n insightful guide to how the Democratic Party can retake power -- Peter Beinart, NY Times

Book tour :: Amazon :: B&N; :: Powell's :: Chelsea Green

Riot in Kabul Turns Deadly

Mon May 29, 2006 at 11:31:25 AM PDT

Not much US coverage on this, but our readers with friends or family in Afghanistan would probably like to know a hell of lot more:

BBC--The unrest began after a US military vehicle apparently lost control and smashed into at least 12 civilian cars during morning rush-hour in Kabul's northern suburbs. Hundreds of Afghans gathered after the accident, chanting "Death to America" and "Death to Karzai". They pelted the US military vehicles with stones before scattering when the shooting began. The protesters then headed for the city centre, towards the presidential palace and parliament, setting fire to police cars and police checkpoints. Bursts of heavy gunfire could also be heard close to the US embassy, whose staff were moved to a secure location.

There are scattered reports of anywhere between 1 and 100 Afghans killed or wounded. Latest reports don't seem to indicate if it's getting any worse or if it's settling down. I'll update if needed.

Midday open thread

Mon May 29, 2006 at 10:09:37 AM PDT

Here's hoping, this Memorial Day, that we see more happy pictures like these:

(From CNN's Coming Home special report.)

MT-Sen: race roundup

Mon May 29, 2006 at 10:02:16 AM PDT

After a sleepy start to this race, the stretch run has become hot, hot, hot. Some standout coverage on the race:

Montana blogger Matt Singer:

Here's how I see the policy differences:

  • Jon Tester supports health care for all. Morrison prefers our current "patchwork quilt" system.

  • Jon Tester opposes the bankruptcy bill, the energy bill, and CAFTA. John Morrison talks in Friedmanesque "earth is flat" platitudes about economic issues.

  • Jon Tester got contraceptive equity done in Montana and has a 100% from MT NARAL the last 3 legislative sessions. John Morrison campaigned on contraceptive equity then refused to act.

  • Jon Tester refused to endorse Montana's hate amendment and instructed his legislative candidates not to submit to the politics of hate and fear. John Morrison, without so much as a heads up to Montana PRIDE, didn't just endorse Montana's hate amendment, he encouraged other Democrats to do likewise, and told the press that marriage belongs to straight people.

  • Jon Tester has called for a withdrawal from Iraq and refocusing on the real enemy. John Morrison waffles on withdrawal and says simply that our policy should be encouraging the Iraqis to start a national oil company (a bit like having a health care policy of encouraging doctors to be nice to patients -- missing the mark on what really matters by such a long-shot, it ain't real).

Honestly, I think both of these guys have a decent shot of beating Burns this fall. But Morrison's got a lot of skeletons and may not be able to win in November. Even if he does, we all need to consider what the addition of another Democrat opposing real progress on Iraq, trade, choice, civil rights, energy, and health care will do to our party over the long term.

That's what this primary is about.

Courtney Lowery at New West:

First, while it seemed impossible at the outset, new finance reports show Tester outraised his democratic primary opponent in the last six months. But, as Chuck Johnson reports, that's still not enough to beat the coffers of the big guy: Burns.

Then, while Tester's rallies in both the Bitterroot and in Missoula reportedly drummed up some good additional support for the Big Sandy farmer this week, there is a movement afoot to drain support for Morrison from one of his perhaps best-bet constituencies. As Gwen Florio reports for the Great Falls Tribune today, four Democratic attorneys are asking their collegues to lend their votes and finances to Jon Tester. Two of the attorneys said they once were Morrison supporters but are now switching teams and encouraging others to do the same. Why? The scandal. Morrison's admitted affair with a woman who was engaged to a man the State Auditor's office later investigated is an achilles heel, they say. Morrison maintains the investigation into David Tacke was unaltered by the conflict.

Howie Klein, over at FDL, talks about the importance of Tester winning the Montana primary:

I want to tell you a little about Jon. But first I want to ask you to read what someone else has to say about him. John Rodwick is a guy in Montana who stumbled across Down With Tyranny a few months ago. He was cynical about the sorry state of politics-as-usual and I asked him to look into Jon’s campaign and to go meet him. Last week he did and his report is here. The word that comes up in John’s report– and in any report of first-hand experience with Tester– is "straight shooter." When I was running Reprise Records I sometimes would get so excited about an album that an artist delivered– more often than not, something from Green Day, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Wilco, Depeche Mode, Joni Mitchell– that I’d fantasize about going door to door with an iPod and asking people to just listen. I’m positive that if Jon Tester could just meet every one of Montana’s voters…

So who is this guy? I first started writing about him last July. My excitement has grown and grown as I’ve seen more of him in action. A 48 year old organic wheat farmer from Big Sandy and President of the State Senate, Jon announced his populist, progressive candidacy driving his tractor-trailer rig around Montana. He’s endorsed withdrawal from Iraq, a clean renewable energy policy (he actually sponsored a renewable energy standard in Montana), and is calling for expanded health care— including government funded health care for all children. He’s also endorsed a reasonable version of single-payer health insurance. Morrison (as a DLC shill) has more incommon with Burns on these issues than he has with Jon. Jon Tester’s stands on the issues are what I expect from every Democrat; unfortunately my expectations are shot down more than they are realized. That’s why when a strong and outspoken leader like Jon comes to the fore, I feel grateful… and eager to help in any small way I can.

This one is important folks. For those of you who cry about the DLC and its corrosive influence in DC, winning this primary would hasten the demise of what is already an organization in decline. For those of you who whine about Democrats without a spine, help get one of the good guys elected.

I am a firm believer in using primaries to fight our intra-party battles. Whoever wins this primary will get my unqualified support to take out Conrad Burns in November.

But let's make sure the best possible candidate for Montana and the nation gets the resources to win the primary and get a nice boost headed into the general election.

Support Jon Tester:


Which is it, "courage" or "cowardice"?

Mon May 29, 2006 at 09:46:03 AM PDT


Check out the headline in this piece by George Will. So, as I understand it, if, like Peter Beinart, you aggressively advocate for the Iraq War as a prime-fighting-age pundit, then refuse to enlist in the war you helped create the rationale for (and refuse to display even flippant concern for the blood-and-guts consequences of your advocacy), then admit you were wrong about the Iraq War, then chastise Democrats for not being more consistent on foreign policy and not more willing to indiscriminately bomb other countries - then, by Washington pundit standards, you are a "Democrat Who Will Fight for America."

And some people still wonder why most Americans see the Beltway's self-important pundit class as completely and totally out of touch with reality...

Atrios chimes in:

The willingness to send others off to die for a misguided war because you wet your pants after 9/11 is called "cowardice" not courage.

The biggest problem about people who talk about "fighting for America" is that they expect others to do the fighting. Few have the balls to actually do the hard work of "defending freedom".

Me, if I thought our way of life was truly being threatened by an external foe (be it "Islamofascists" or whatever), I wouldn't have any trouble re-enlisting to fight that threat. My moral compass would demand that I fight that war, to protect our way of life for my family.

Then again, I enlisted a first time. So I don't have a chickenhawk bone in my entire body.

In other words, I'm not a coward.

NC-11, NC-8: Shuler (D) leads Taylor, Kissell (D) sneaking up on Hayes

Mon May 29, 2006 at 09:27:38 AM PDT

Good news from North Carolina, where we have to strong House pickup opportunities. From the News-Observer:

Hayes, Taylor ailing?

Republicans are beginning to worry over two of their congressmen -- Robin Hayes and Charles Taylor -- whose polling numbers continue to fall.

Public Policy Polling of Raleigh found that voters in the 11th Congressional District prefer Democrat Heath Shuler over Taylor by a 46 percent to 42 percent margin. The survey of 687 likely voters was conducted May 22 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. Also showing Taylor's support slipping is a survey by Anzalone Liszt Research, Shuler's pollster, which shows Shuler up 45 percent to 43 percent in a survey taken May 9 to 13.

Stuart Rothenberg, an analyst who writes for Roll Call magazine in Washington, says the Taylor/Shuler race may be "the best evidence that the national GOP meltdown is affecting individual Republicans."

President Bush's popularity has fallen sharply in the district, and Taylor's numbers are following.

Hayes, the Concord Republican in the 8th Congressional District, has also seen his support drop, according to polls. Hayes faces Democrat Larry Kissell, who lives in Biscoe in Montgomery County, in the November election.

Having spent time in North Carolina for the book tour, I can say that local activists are fired up over these two races. Kissell, in particular, has really inspired people to work for his race. Shuler is a conservative Democrat, so the passion of support is a bit less than Kissell's, but the locals really want Taylor out and are doing the necessary work to make that happen

Open Thread

Mon May 29, 2006 at 06:24:48 AM PDT

Get it off your chest.

Open Thread and Diary Rescue

Sun May 28, 2006 at 08:41:17 PM PDT

There were many nice diaries on Memorial Day (and I expect there will be more tomorrow). Overlooked excellent pieces from the past 24 hours include:

Add your favorites from the day below and tell everyone about your holiday weekend!

Open Thread

Sun May 28, 2006 at 06:13:55 PM PDT

Get it off your chest.

BushWatch: What We Don't See on TV

Sun May 28, 2006 at 03:09:31 PM PDT

[Promoted by DHinMI]

President George W. Bush raised nearly half a million dollars for Representatives Jim Gerlach and Mike Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania last Wednesday at a $1000-per-ticket fund-raiser.  Here is what he said.

A battlefront in the war on terror is, of course, Iraq.  And people in our country are unsettled because of the war, and I understand that.  I fully understand why people in America are disquieted about what they're seeing on their TV screens.  There's a concern about whether or not we can win.  There's no doubt in my mind we will win...

The enemy cannot defeat us on the battlefield, but what they can do is put horrible images on our TV screens.

It is not what we are seeing on our TV screens that disquiets us.

Open Thread

Sun May 28, 2006 at 01:11:31 PM PDT

Seems as if everyone's out barbecuing ... have fun chatting away.

MT-Sen: Morrison, Tester tied

Sun May 28, 2006 at 07:56:38 AM PDT

Mason-Dixon. 5/22-24. (No trend lines)

Democratic Primary, MoE 6%

Morrison (D) 42
Tester (D) 41

General Election, MoE 4%

Burns (R) 42
Tester (D) 45

Burns (R) 41
Morrison (D) 48  

That's a big margin of error, but M-D is probably the most respected polling outfit in politics.

"The thing that strikes me is that Morrison is still better known than Tester, but Tester has a higher favorable rating with Democrats,'' said Brad Coker, managing director of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the poll. "Tester may have a little more upward mobility. He's pretty well-positioned for the primary. I think it's a close race, but if Tester won, it wouldn't surprise me.''

M-D also polled on the Burns and Morrison scandals, and both spell trouble for the respective candidates:

The poll asked voters if negative events involving Burns and Morrison affected their votes.

The Burns question read: "U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns has received campaign contributions from lobbyist Jack Abramoff, his associates and his clients more than any member of Congress. Critics say Burns promoted Abramoff's agenda, while Burns said he did nothing wrong. Does this controversy make you less likely to vote for Burns, or does it have no real effect on your voting decision?''

Forty-eight percent of voters said the Abramoff issue made them less likely to vote for Burns, while 44 percent it had no effect and 8 percent were unsure.

"The numbers on the Abramoff question tell you exactly why Conrad Burns is in trouble,'' pollster Coker said.

The Morrison question read: "Before he was elected state auditor, John Morrison had an extramarital affair with a woman who later married a man whom Morrison investigated for securities fraud. Critics say the man received special treatment because of Morrison's past relationship with his wife, while Morrison's defenders say the case was handled properly. Does this controversy make you less likely to vote for Morrison or does it have no real effect on your voting decision?''

Sixty-six percent of voters said the Morrison controversy would have no effect on their voting decision, while 29 percent said they were less likely to vote for Morrison and 5 percent were undecided.

"The Morrison issue didn't seem to cut quite as hard, but it's at about 30 percent,'' Coker said. "It's probably scared some Democrats too, They see an opportunity to beat Conrad Burns, and they're worried about Morrison's skeleton in the closet.''

Tester has said he's the only Democrat who can go toe-to-toe with Burns on the ethics issue.

Among Democrats, Tester has an amazing unfavorability rating of 1 percent. Morrison has an unfavorability rate among Democrats of 9 percent.

Open Thread

Sun May 28, 2006 at 06:49:27 AM PDT

Get it off your chest.

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