Friday, March 17, 2006

Censure: We've already won the debate.

The hot topic of the past little while has been Feingold's Censure movement. There's a good diary here about the frameshop of the Censure debate--and that's important and good knowledge. Politically, I think it's pretty much agreed among the Kos community that we should get behind the idea and support it as much as we can. But lost in the debate and activism about getting the Censure idea supported, however, has been one fundamental basic fact:

We've already won the debate on it.

As I've explained before, I work in marketing and advertising. The key point of advertising is making sure that name of your product or service stays in the front of the public mind--and it doesn't really even matter whether you describe the quality of the service or product you're selling.

If you don't believe me, why don't you go to your TV right now and count the number of ads you see that give absolutely no description of the product whatsoever. Ads for soft drinks are a perfect example of this. What's being sold isn't so much a product--they rarely actually talk about the taste of Coke, Pepsi or Mountain Dew. What's being sold is an image. And even if you think an ad is completely over the top or outrageous, ask yourself how many times you've asked someone, "did you see the ad for X? Isn't it (insert appropriate adjective here)?" Marketing departments know that even bad advertising can be effective, as long as it keeps the product in the forefront.

The same holds true for the Censure resolution--and it just goes to show that Democrats should have gone on the offensive years ago rather than being afraid. The truth is that the more proactive and daring a measure, the more press coverage it'll get, and the more time the other party will mandatorily have to spend on defense.

That's exactly what's happening with the brave idea of introducing a censure resolution. The fact is that now, the center of debate or discussion is no longer focusing on whether Democrats are traitors. We are no longer being forced to defend our patriotism. Now, the question is far different--the question is, "should we censure the President for his crimes or should we not?" The mere fact that this is the center of debate--and that our craven media is willing to host this debate because of Bush's low poll numbers--is already a victory for our side.

But the totality of this victory goes well beyond the fact that we're talking about. The Republicans have dedicated themselves so totally to offense that--to use a sports analogy in honor of March Madnees--they've forgotten that you can't run a fast break when you don't have the ball! Let's take what Frist had to say about Feingold's motion:

FRIST: George, what was interesting in listening to my good friend-Russ, is that he mentioned protecting the American people only one time, and although you went to politics a little bit later, I think it's a crazy political move and I think it in part is a political move because here we are, the Republican Party, the leadership in the Congress, supporting the President of the US as Commander in Chief, who is out there fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban and Osama bin Laden and the people who have sworn, have sworn to destroy Western civilization and all the families listening to us. And they're out now attacking, at least today, through this proposed censure vote, out attacking our Commander in Chief. Doesn’t make sense."

(Hat tip to Crooks and Liars for the transcript)

Frist, in his response to Feingold, has shown just how thoroughly we have won the debate about censure. Frist doesn't come out and say that the Bush doesn't deserve to be censured. He doesn't come out and say that Bush's surveillance programs are entirely legal, and that therefore there should be no debate on censure. Frist's position is essentially this:

We don't censure a wartime president for illegal activity.

Now, when you think about it, you'll realize that IN HIS ARGUMENT, BILL FRIST DID NOT QUESTION THE NOTION THAT GEORGE BUSH HAS COMMITTED CRIMES IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

The Republicans will continue to resort to this attack--the attack they've used so often to squelch debate--because it's the only line they know. The reason it's the only line they know is because all they know is offense. When you're on offense--on top of the game, with high approval ratings--it's a very effective tactic to completely sidestep the debate on the merits of various actions and ideas because if you're on top and able to impose your will, no debate is good debate.

But if your approval ratings are down and your agenda is pretty much shot for the time being, the same strategy doesn't work so well. There's a huge difference between

"criticizing the President during wartime abets our enemies."

"censuring the President for his illegal activity abets our enemies."

There's a HUGE difference there. The first idea plays right into their hands--but the second idea plays right into ours. And praise be to Feingold, it's working.

What do the rest of the Democrats need to learn from this?

To keep on swinging and not be afraid--because that's the only way to prove that we're an alternative.

[Cross-posted on Daily Kos]

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Winning hearts and minds

Another raid by U.S. forces flattens a house and leaves 11 dead, mostly women and children.

But Colin Powell, George Bush and every other war-supporting neocon out there doesn't have to worry about this. No, you see, what will really create anger on the Arab street is the fact that our lawmakers are protesting a multi-billion dollar macro-economic deal to sell our port operations to some oil sheikhs.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Lieberman supports rapists' rights! Lamont, anyone?

I think we all know how much Lieberman has turned into a Bush-worshipping neocon when it comes to foreign policy. But it appears that he has now become comfortable with the theocon element of conservatism as well.

I knew he supported the Iraq war, but I didn't know that he also supported rapists' rights.

At issue is a proposed bill in Connecticut that would require hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims.

One would expect that emergency contraception would be one of the first things on the mind of a hospital that is treating a victim of rape, but the New Haven Register reports that fully one-fifth of the hospitals in Connecticut refuse EC to rape victims.

So what's Lieberman's take on the bill? As quoted by the Register:

Lieberman said he believes hospitals that refuse to give contraceptives to rape victims for "principled reasons" shouldn't be forced to do so. "In Connecticut, it shouldn't take more than a short ride to get to another hospital," he said.


That's right. Good ol' Joe thinks we should force victims of Bill Napoli's wet dream to either drive themselves, or be driven, if our morally upstanding religious hospital is kind enough to give the poor girl a ride, to the nearest hospital where they actually can get the medical treatment they need to stop themselves from conceiving the child of their savage attackers.

For the record, the current Republican governor of Connecticut opposes the bill, while her Democratic challengers all staunchly support it.

This bill isn't about denial of religious freedom. It's about ensuring medical care that a decent respect for the opinion of mankind would consider sensible, appropriate and expected.

The Register also has an interesting quote concerning Lieberman's opposition to the bill:

This fight isn't exclusively being drawn along party lines.


Unfortunately, the Register has it wrong. You see, Joe Lieberman is a Republican in every sense. I can't believe I actually voted for this man to be Vice-President. And I can't believe Al Gore picked him.

Regardless, we all know what we can do: NED LAMONT!! And if you feel like contributing to Ned, my ActBlue box is on the sidebar.

[Cross-posted at Daily Kos]

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Vernon Robinson: The black Jesse Helms

Introducing Vernon Robinson--the black Jesse Helms. He's running for Congress in North Carolina's 13th district. This guy is really something else. If you don't believe me, why don't you check out his latest campaign ad:

(Picture and video courtesy of WFMU radio)

You'll think this ad is a parody. A joke. But you'd be wrong.

Maverick, my ass.

(Photo credit to Mark Kleimann and Jane Hamsher)

Does this look like a maverick straight-shooter to you? This picture alone should disqualify him from receiving a single Democratic vote should he prostrate himself enough before the BushCultists to win a primary election.

Personally, this picture reminds me of something else--Leviticus 20:13. Because there seems to be a lot more going on here than meets the eye.