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Today marks the premiere of a new experiment for The Fix -- a discussion group called "Voting Blocs."

Voting Blocs is part of a broader effort to create a home for thoughtful discussion on the Post's Web site. Other groups have already been launched by columnists E.J. Dionne and Gene Robinson among others -- and we view it as a continuation of The Fix's "Wag the Blog" feature.

One of the most important parts of building The Fix community is a willingness to talk to one another about the political issues of the day. Voting Blocs allows you to go deeper on any given issues and carry on a conversation over a week, a month or a year.

We'll be updated Voting Blocs several times a week with new discussion starters. At any given time there will be several e-conversations in progress so make sure to check back early and often.

The kickoff post in Voting Blocs focuses on the gains Democrats made in the suburbs in 2006. Is it a short-term gain based on public disaffection for the war in Iraq and President Bush or a long-term trend that will reshape coming electoral strategy?

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 4, 2007; 5:38 PM ET
 
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Comments

El Capitan is correct - national security trumps everything else. Dems still don't hold their own with that issue, although the Repubs have taken a huge hit as well. I still think the country is ready for independents to have a strong showing - people are more interested in competence and merit than they are with party affiliation, and to many people, party affiliation is a turn off on both sides of the aisle. But to El Capitan's point, Dems are on very shaky ground and demographic changes are not working in their favor.

Posted by: Chris | June 6, 2007 2:36 AM | Report abuse

I'll ignore digressions on the Iraq war and answer the original question. I believe the Dems are on shaky ground and their victory last year could prove to be nothing more than a flash in the political pan. I have always maintained that he future of the Democratic party rests hugely on how they handle the most pressing issues at this moment in time, particularly the war. If they are perceived as ultimately weak on the war, which they were elected to end, it will end them instead. I thoroughly believe that if shaky Dem voters (those dissatisfied with Republican policies enough to switch sides for a minute to vote Democrat in '06) will find their way back to the flock and give their own party another chance, especially as the Reps try to reestablish their conservative credentials in the presidential race. To summarize, it still depends on how they handle themselves from this point out whether or not they can establish a long term trend in their favor. I could have written a 5000 word piece on this, so take my brevity for what it's worth...

Posted by: El Capitan | June 5, 2007 11:59 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: corsiingleseijn | June 5, 2007 6:06 PM | Report abuse

I say we just make George emperor, dissolve the House and stop this electoral nonsense. It saves a bunch of money, and we won't have to worry what anyone out there thinks.

Stay the Course!

Posted by: Dick C. | June 5, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Razorback, Bokonon, James CH and Mark, I appreciate your warm reply to my comments and serious questions following. When I look at members of congress, the Senate and even people running for President I wonder if they are just pandering for votes with proposed policy or are they actually that out of touch with reality in terms of dealing with foreign policy? Many of you people come on here and talk about Republicans this and Democrats that...I just don't get it. I do see why experts on particular subjects are hired to make (advise) policy for the President, however. I thought Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden were the most honest Democrats in the race concerning the war until Hillary voted against funds for the troops now in Iraq a month ago. That vote wasn't sincere and was politically motivated. I do believe, however, she is very much in tune with how the world operates more so than she would like to admit to many of the left wingers who will vote in the primary. She's a very intelligent woman, and Biden also knows how the world really works or he wouldn't vote as he does and say things he says about how to best deal with the war. On the Republican side, McCain and Brownback makes the most sense to me. Romney making his statement that he would double the size of Gitmo just isn't helpful. Again...pandering or is he that out of touch? It is my hope and prayer that Democrats and Republican's will speak frankly and honestly about this nation's foreign policy, at least this subject and stop politicizing it so much. IT strikes me oddly that Brownback and Biden have very similar plans for soothing the conflict in Iraq by creating a 3 state nation. This would give Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds a place to live, oil wealth to live on and a freedom to lead their own existence, all in democratic form. This is a unique idea that just may get everyone to the table...it may even work. McCain believes in a unity government, that can be created first my reconstruction of the nation and enough troops to control territories and limit violence. I believe he is sincere and would do what it takes to ensure success. Hillary Clinton, despite her new tone of "get up and get out", knows better. She seems to also believe in a unity government. Her refusal to apologize for war authorization and other statements she makes proves it. I believe she would be delicate with the situation. However, I believe she would bend over backward to please people that can't be pleased. As for the rest of the field, empty political rhetoric or either they are so out of touch with international affairs they should be taking a course on world cultures, not running for office.

As for the question of where the resources will come from if something else happens, this is a great question. In terms of natural disasters, the military reserves from each state is largely still around to handle these types of situations. States are also allowed to borrow help from other states, at their request. Granted, much of our National Guard is in Iraq. Some of our Reserve soldiers are there, but most of the Reserve soldiers are still here. This would handle, largely, the natural disaster portion of the question. On the other hand, if we were attacked or if war broke out in another portion of the world that forced our hand we would be in a pickle. For one thing, we could send troops currently based in Germany, Japan and other foreign nations. If that wasn't enough, we may have to start looking at re-instituting the draft. Even then, issues like how quickly can we train someone for war and have everyone advanced enough technologically to fight the war would be tough issues. It almost appears that we may as well go ahead and re-institute the draft now. That is a very unpopular view, and so politicians go around saying "we have no need for a draft" and so forth. But, judging by circumstances were in, we may well need it for the coming years. Any ideas from anyone? The typical "withdraw from Iraq" isn't a viable option, for reasons listed earlier. If you really think I'm totally wrong and it would be okay if we just left Iraq, please tell me why you believe this and how you think it could work. I look forward to more discussion on this subject.

Posted by: reason | June 5, 2007 1:20 PM | Report abuse

The system doesn't seem all that bad. One major complaint I wuld have is that there is no link on individual topics to the home group discussion page on any of them. You either have to hit the back button or be creative to get home. Another group that I was interested in browsing but not joining the only way I could figure to get to the main page was to join the group and then unjoin.

Also it might be of interest to have a link as a sidebar to the blog. THis might actually filter out some of the imposters posting at the very least by requiring logging in to the post. Can a troublesome off topic spammer be either id or IP blocked from that forum like they can't from this forum because it's a log in? Only in the case of outright racism?

Posted by: bluemeanies | June 5, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

God Bless America that we have a two party system. When elected officials from the controlling party get too fat and arogant and forget they were elected to represent WE THE PEOPLE, then WE THE PEOPLE can exert our right to vote and change the controlling party in hopes that they will honor their pledge to make America a better place for WE THE PEOPLE.

Before going to the election booth, each voter needs to study the issues and candidates thoroughly. Votes should be cast based upon an intellectual analysis of the candidates'intellect and ability.

History is the best teacher. From history we learn not to repeat the same mistakes in the future; we learn how to make the right decisions; and we learn about the qualities in some of our greatest Presidents. Lincoln was highly intelligent, FDR brought people of opposing views to his cabinet so that he could hear arguments from both sides in order to make the best decisions. Do we see any of these qualities in those running for office today? Yes, Barak Obama has the intelligence of Lincoln, the ability of FDR to work with both sides of an issue and the charisma of JFK.

As WE THE PEOPLE, we must remember that our role in America is not only to vote, but we must take some responsibility for our lives and those of our fellow citizens who are down trodden. We don't want higher taxes yet we expect so many government services. How can WE THE PEOPLE, expect so much yet not want to pay or help by volunteering for community service?

Posted by: andrea | June 5, 2007 12:18 PM | Report abuse

oops, that's "mourning". sorry. ptbgop

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 12:14 PM | Report abuse

May I offer my most sincere condolences to the family of Wyoming Sen. Craig Thomas, and to the people of the state of Wyoming who are morning the loss of their three-term senator. Sen. Thomas' distinguished career included four years of service in the Marine Corps.

"Wyoming had no greater advocate, taxpayers had no greater watchdog, and rural America had no greater defender than Craig Thomas," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said last night.

Posted by: proudtobeGOP | June 5, 2007 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Going back to the ORIGINAL topic of the question... I believe that the trend toward the Democratic Party is long-term. Take a look at the voting preferences: a clear majority of voters are now self-identifying as Democrats. A huge number of young people registered for the 2004 election, and I believe the nationwide statistics were that over 60% registered as Democrats. It's my experience that whatever party a person first registers as, they will tend to stay with that party for many years to come. In my own neighborhood, a very upscale one, I worked as a poll judge last year. While the votes in my district went nearly 2/3 Republican in 2004, they were less than 55% Republican in 2006. Yes, that's still a majority-- but a similar trend was seen all over Maryland, leading to the loss of an incumbent popular Republican governor. I also noted a number of people who, during the primary, when asked what their registration was (ONLY to make sure they were registered accurately, NOT to intimidate!!!), commented that they'd switched from R to D. Not a single person switched from D to R.

Correctly or not, the PERCEPTION is that the R Party is "for the rich," are greedy for profit regardless of destruction of the environment, have kowtowed to a religious bloc that is felt to be pushing its own brand of beliefs on all Americans, and couldn't care less about the actual soldiers who are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan-- only about the interests of the oil companies. My own particular cause is the environment, and I see a continual destruction under this administration (for those who want more details, I would suggest you check out www.grist.org). The majority of Americans now oppose this terrible war, and at present, I believe every one of the Republican candidates support our continued presence there. Ergo, I do not believe that any of them can possibly win the general election in Nov. 2008. I don't care if the two candidates are Hillary Clinton and Rudy Guiliani-- whoever wins the D nomination will still crush the R candidate. I think Bush II did very major long-term damage to the R Party.

I will admit that I am a very partisan Democrat. However, please note that I've managed to write this without ANY ad hominem attacks, and I believe that I've been objective. For the record, I posted a few comments back late last year, and then someone else started posting rather nasty comments under my name. If you see a comment by "Dee" with misspellings, poor grammar, or rants-- please know that it's NOT me. I'm interested in thoughtful discussion ONLY, not namecalling.

Posted by: Dee | June 5, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

1] Does anyone who frequents this blog have an authoritative citation to the cost of subcontracted defense services that were previously performed by DOD personnel, either in or out of uniform?

2] Does anyone have access to valid cost estimates of returning to the former practice?

3] If a significant cost saving can be achieved by returning service provision to employed personnel, is the justification for contracting out the work that contracting does not permanently "bloat" the payroll at DOD?

4] In other words, was one assumption about contracting that the term of necessary services would be less than, say, two years?

If you can cite me to a source or sources, I would appreciate it.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | June 5, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

An alleged plot to blow up fuel tanks and pipelines at New York's JFK airport had little chance of success, according to safety experts, who have questioned whether the plot ever posed a real threat.

US authorities said Saturday they had averted an attack that could have resulted in "unfathomable damage, deaths, and destruction," and charged four alleged Islamic radicals with conspiracy to cause an explosion at the airport.

But according to the experts, it would have been next to impossible to cause an explosion in the jet fuel tanks and pipeline. Furthermore, the plotters seem to have lacked the explosives and financial backing to carry out the attack.

John Goglia, a former member of National Transportation Safety Board, said that if the plot had ever been carried out, it would likely have sparked a fire but little else, and certainly not the mass carnage authorities described.

"You could definitely reach the tank, definitely start the fire, but to get the kind of explosion that they were thinking that they were going to get... this is virtually impossible to do," he told AFP.

The fuel pipelines around the airport would similarly burn, rather than explode, because they are a full of fuel and unable to mix with enough oxygen.

"We had a number of fires in the US. All that happens is a big fire," he said. "It won't blow up, it will only burn."

Posted by: more fear mongering | June 5, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

How are the GOP candidates dealing with the terror issue? Not very well says Newsweek's Fareed Zakaria:

"More troubling than any of Bush's rhetoric is that of the Republicans who wish to succeed him. 'They hate you!' says Rudy Giuliani in his new role as fearmonger in chief, relentlessly reminding audiences of all the nasty people out there. 'They don't want you to be in this college!' he recently warned an audience at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. 'Or you, or you, or you,' he said, reportedly jabbing his finger at students.

Posted by: rudy's a nutcase | June 5, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse


Adjust font size:


MUSCAT, Oman (AP) -- A cyclone expected to be the strongest storm ever recorded in the Arabian Peninsula churned toward the oil-rich Gulf on Tuesday, forcing thousands of residents of Oman's coastal towns to flee their homes.

Its affect on the region's oil installations was unclear with the storm expected to skirt or lose strength before hitting the most important installations in the Persian Gulf off of Saudi Arabia and southern Iran.

But oil analysts said it could delay the loading of tankers in the Gulf depending on its path -- something that could cause a spike in oil prices.

Posted by: oh my | June 5, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I think the answer is, it depends. It depends on whether the Democrats adhere to the promises they made about bringing the war to some kind of reasonable conclusion within a reasonable time, and action on some of the promises they made about cleaning up the mess the Republicans left behind. I am both a suburbanite and a Democrat and I can tell you that our friends and neighbors who have historically voted Republican were willing to give the Democrats A CHANCE...I just don't see the lurch to the Democrats that some others see. My neighbors will be more than willing to vote Republican again if the Dems don't produce.

Posted by: dradich | June 5, 2007 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Drindl, I am as progressive as anyone, but it's just for that reason that I have a huge problem with Hillary and her decision-making process. To cast a vote that serious and not to do all the research possible before casting it, and then to tweak one's position as it is thought necessary to maximize support is a little too cynical for me. I am certainly old enough to doubt anyone's claim to be a pure idealist, but I also know that we won't get what we don't ask for, and I don't think it's too much to ask that a political decision of this magnitude be made primarily - I am realistic enough not to say "only," but I think we have to demand that important political decisions be made primarily for the good of the country, and only to a lesser extent for the good of the decision-maker him or herself. I do not mean to excuse others who vote hastily or selfishly/shortsightedly, but Hillary Clinton is a candidate for president who is presenting herself in a way that is less than honest.

Posted by: the Rev. Dr. Gould | June 5, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

You are absolutely right Holly.

Medicare is operating with a 2% administrative overhead; and in a position to seriously negotiate for lower prices (once the drug industry lobbyist connections are broken)

National Healthcare modeled on this platform could be just as efficient and cost effective. What private HMO can claim admin overhead of only 2%? Maybe all of them could if they weren't paying the CEO's so many millions of dollars to find ways to deny claims

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Military chiefs have drawn up plans to withdraw all British troops within a year. "The new timetable, which would see nearly all 5,500 British troops return home by next May," suggests "withdrawing almost all troops, leaving only a small number of teams in the south to advise Iraqi military forces."

"Afghan President Hamid Karzai gave Iran his full embrace Monday, saying it has been his country's 'very close friend,' even as U.S. officials meeting with him here repeated their accusation that Iranian-made weapons were flowing to Taliban fighters."

Freshman Rep. Steve Kagen (D-WI) issued a statement calling on newly indicted Rep. William Jefferson (D-LA) to "consider resigning for the good of Congress and for the good of the nation.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Joe Scarborough, former R representative, who resigned quickly after his young female aide was found dead:

SCARBOROUGH: Have you seen Fred Thompson's wife?
CRAWFORD: Oh, yeah.
SCARBOROUGH: You think she thinks she works the pole?
CRAWFORD: That's what a Hollywood career will do for you, I guess.
SCARBOROUGH: What do you mean?
CRAWFORD: You get wives like that.
SCARBOROUGH: I mean, look at that guy. God bless him, I love his voice. But I mean, you know. He ain't Robert Redford in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."
CRAWFORD: Well I would like to see him back into politics because I think he's a lousy actor.'

Posted by: r's and women -- messed up | June 5, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

The recent FCC crackdown on "fleeting vulgarities" has always struck me as little more than ludicrously misguided prudery, so I'm happy to see that an Appeals Court has struck it down. The court's reasoning is just a cherry stuck on top: The judges said vulgar words are just as often used out of frustration or excitement, and not to convey any broader obscene meaning. "In recent times even the top leaders of our government have used variants of these expletives in a manner that no reasonable person would believe referenced sexual or excretory organs or activities."

Posted by: funny | June 5, 2007 10:23 AM | Report abuse

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is to be sentenced Tuesday on convictions for perjury and obstruction of justice related to the leak of a covert CIA operative's identity to the media.

Posted by: YES! | June 5, 2007 10:19 AM | Report abuse

'Government can NEVER do services as well as profit motivated industry. '

That is an assumption which has never been supported by any facts. Profit-motivated industry is motivated by one thing --profits. Not to do a good job, not to care how it turns out, not to serve the public's needs. And a crony capitialism situation, where well-connected contractors [like Halliburton] continue to get contracts no matter how shoddily they perform and how much they charge [ therby nullifying the whole concept of competition and 'free markets'] a disastrous outcome is virtually guaranteed.

Posted by: Holly | June 5, 2007 10:13 AM | Report abuse

My sense it is a long term trend. Slow but long term.

With the 20-30 somethings coming of age, my sense is that the Bush Administration's adversarial approach to personal rights and indifference to privacy issues (other than their own when faced with an investigation) may have done what no politician has done- Put a crack in their political indifference.

Also,folks my generation (the 50 somethings) realize how hollow the conservative big-business centric approach is for 92.4% of us and are starting to realize that social stability and equanimity is at the heart of our Democracy.

Big losers will be conservative Christians (charismatic religion is a bit like hot fudge...a little goes a long way and gets boring if it becomes a steady diet) and Adam Smith free marketeers.

Posted by: chi town hustler | June 5, 2007 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Lots of interesting stuff here. Your issues depend a great deal on your economic and educational situation. While there are Republicans who try to buy votes by sounding like Democrats, its a very dangerous road to follow. Government can NEVER do services as well as profit motivated industry. There are functions and services that are not supported by the economic models of supply and demand or profit motivation and must be Government managed.
The GAO came out with their annual report that says that if we continue with deficit spending and an international deficit then we can expect an economic collapse.
If we want increased services then we will have to have increased taxes. We must have a balanced budget. Uncle Sam must stop buying votes with gimme programs and we need to support US business and export more then we import or we are going to suffer greatly in the future.
When Government give's us something it will always cost either in taxes or freedoms.

Posted by: Rick Bunn | June 5, 2007 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I saw the NYTimes magazine, but did not read it -- for the simple reason that I am fed up with the hostility the Times, and other major papers-- including the WaPo, exhibit toward the Clintons. The whole cover of the mag was embllazoned with the words -- 'Hillary's War' -- excuse me, wtf? Remind me who started this war again?

I don't know what Hillary knew when, or whether it was true, and neither does any of you. I don't know why she voted why she did. But it's over now. The question is, how do we best manage to salvage the mess we've made in the middle east?

That story is a great example of the way the right-leaning media savages every Democrat, while letting Republicans skate. They've never had a cover that said, 'Bush's War' have they? Not on your life. And they never will. Or an article about what Rudy REALLY did on 9/11 and the aftermath and the enormous profits he's reaped at the expense of those who actually cleaned up ground zero -- you won't see that either.
Because it's all about Big Business, and they and Republicans have a mutual love affair.

Now I have to exempt CC from this, because I think he's a little too enthusastic for Clinton -- I think because he wants the presidential election to be a contest between a woman in pants and a man in a dress -- you know what I'm sayin.

Posted by: drindl | June 5, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Cavewoman

Posted by: Kyle | June 5, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Re: Mark in Austin - on track

I understand what you are saying - and I actually think there is an enormous opening for independent candidates to disregard the two party monopoly on politics - most certainly in the suburbs of Chicago/Philly/NYC - my point about the blog topic was I don't think there were as many pick ups in the suburbs as many people presume. Certainly in Conn. and NJ the rep. lost there footing - but here in Chicago, none of the suburban republican seats changed party - and Rep. Bean is a two term Dem in a natural republican seat. After the next census, hers is perhaps the most vulnerable seat, because IL will lose at least one seat. The saving grace for us Dems is that we have a firm hold on the state house.

A lot of the pick ups came in seats in republican upstate NY and in NC - those seats are very competitive - and take away Iraq and redistrict with only 5% more republics in a district (very easy to do in a lot of these districts) and the Dems still struggle to reach a majority.

As a veteran, the Dem party better do more than play lip service to VA issues. We only had three vets out over 50 win. America doesn't really honor our Vets - look what they did to Paul Hackett - and he was the one who had the courage to start what Rahm Emmanual takes credit for.

Posted by: Chris | June 5, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

The comment quality looks better over at EJ Dionne's place. EJD is a fabulous columnist btw. Regardless, the whole setup looks a bit elaborate which is offputting. But maybe others like it.

Posted by: Golgi | June 5, 2007 9:33 AM | Report abuse

For all you gopies, from a rightwing blog:

'The thing that most worries me about this is that the Moonbats may have been right all along.

Bush is a tard and everything they said about him being 1) a moron, 2) a Big Business shill, 3) an autocrat "holding court" in the White House, and 4) having only a nodding acquaintence with reality...

What if it's all true?'

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:32 AM | Report abuse

To "Sunday NY Times magazine," yes I read that, too, and it has made me much less likely to support Clinton for president. Like almost everyone else, I loved the '90's, but that was her husband, and anyway the '90's are over. In order to do the job right, the next president is going to have to make many decisions which are NOT necessarily going to be that popular - our culture has been about gratification and easy living for too long, and now we have to do the hard work to get our fiscal house in order, to save our environment (to the extent that we still can), to rebuild our education system, to try to get the world off the belligerent Bush track and back onto a more diplomatic track... I have seen almost 60 years of American history in my lifetime, and I have to tell you, in some ways we keep making the same mistakes. In order to move forward at all, we have to try a different approach.

Posted by: the Rev. Dr. Gould | June 5, 2007 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Kyle, your contribution is not only childish and weird, it's confusing and it isn't even funny. Also, having gotten the same inanity from a Romney supporter named "Mike" yesterday, I suspect it to be a Romney strategy. If so, I have even less respect for ol' Mitty, if that's possible. Grow up a little, huh?

Drindl, I think you're absolutely right. Thompson is a public persona whose face most of America knows already, and the GOP wants to use it to sell their agenda - much as they did with Reagan in 1980 and the current clown in 2000.

Posted by: Bokonon | June 5, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

I think Kyle, is like, you know, 10 or something... and if he's older, he's, um, special needs..

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Bokonon, it sure looks to me like Thompson feels like a savior to a lot of the core Bush supporters. Probably because he's an actor like Reagan -- Rove will provide the script, and he'll do what he's told. But unlike Bush, he can speak English.

And with the fascination we have as a culture with celebrity-- how could he lose? He can use Parish Hilton as a running mate -- she's about the same age as his wife and has even better name recognition than him -- to guarantee the youth vote.

He can even manage to control his facial muscles so he won''t involuntarily smirk like Bush or snarl like Cheney.

Posted by: drindl | June 5, 2007 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Do nothing Caaaaaaaaptain Caaaaaavwoman!

Posted by: Kyle | June 5, 2007 9:09 AM | Report abuse

What does Fred Thompson's campaign staff and the current Bush-Cheney White House staff have in common? They're all basically the same people!

If you loved eight fun-filled years under Bush-Cheney, just imagine how much better it will be with all the same corrupt f•ckups, but with the addition of an old divorced actor who has cancer. The following legendary GOP operatives are already signed up for the Fred Thompson Juggernaut, even though he's not officially announcing until July 4.

George P. Bush, the child of Jeb who isn't a crackhead
Michael Turk, internets chief for the Bush 43 campaigns.
Thomas J. Collamore from the Bush 41/Reagan administrations.
David M. McIntosh, another GHWB/Reagan guy.
Mary Matalin, sinister information minister for Bush 41 and current Cheney henchwoman.
Lawrence B. Lindsey, economics guy for Bush 41.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 9:01 AM | Report abuse

'Fred Thompson has picked up the support of George Bush -- George Prescott Bush, son of Jeb. George P. Bush is contributing to Thompson's committee and recruiting others to do the same, CNN reports. His father Jeb is widely believed to be a supporter of Mitt Romney.'

Thompson looks to be the Second Coming of Bush -- lots of former bushies donating and volunteering for him.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:56 AM | Report abuse

Hey, does anyone think Hagel would agree to be part of a bipartisan ticket? there was some talk of Hagel with Mike Bloomberg, who isn't REALLY a Republican...

Posted by: the Rev. Dr. Gould | June 5, 2007 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Off topic, next.

Bokonon and Reason continued a thread from another post that I think included Proud and Blarg. I have a "wee" contribution.

Alawi has suggested that the one "benchmark" that must be achieved is the inclusion of the Sunni Arabs to their reasonable satisfaction, and that will take bringing Saudi Arabia to the table. He thinks the "proxy war" between the Saudis and Iran can be averted through diplomacy with both, and continuing pressure on the weak government in Bagdad.

He thinks without that one issue resolved, there will be a perpetual, spreading, civil war with or without our troops in the middle, but with that one issue resolved, a visible US presence would be counterproductive. So he suggests that one benchmark should be time-tabled into funding by the US, and that would actually push the government to reach the resolution they talked of right after the second set of elections.

Personally, I have favored keeping significant troops only in the Kurdish north for more than a year now, assuming they would be welcome to help maintain pipeline security and could "mediate" with Turkey. But that is because of my extreme skepticism about the depth of the reservoir of good will between Sunnis and Shiites.

I only know what I read in the Intelligence Estimates, when they are released on the web, years after they were made.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | June 5, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Anonymous, doesn't it seem like conservatives are so anxious for Fred Thompson to start running that they're giving him a "bye" on the debate? and instead he gets free airtime with sycophantic Hannity and 90-pound weakling Holmes, and gets to criticize / comment on the debaters without their being able to respond?

Posted by: Bokonon | June 5, 2007 8:51 AM | Report abuse

'Mike Huckabee took a swipe at the impending candidacy of Fred Thompson, telling a New Hampshire crowd it was "what we might call the Mighty Mouse candidacy. You know: here I come to save the day. And in the end voters are not necessarily looking for Mighty Mouse to fly in, they are looking for somebody who stands their ground and goes the distance."

Mighty Mouse? How long since that was on the air? 40 years? Does anyone else remember it?

Posted by: Holly | June 5, 2007 8:48 AM | Report abuse


The New Republic has a fascinating piece on the political evolution of Chuck Hagel. In 2002, Hagel was a strong conservative who was only somewhat skeptical of the approaching Iraq War, and voted to authorize it. Nowadays, he remains a conservative but is a staunch opponent of the war. "Hagel began to believe that the United States had gone to war in Vietnam and had continued fighting partly for narrow political reasons -- to avoid being impeached, in Johnson's case, or to avoid being 'the first American president to lose a war,' in Richard Nixon's words..." John B. Judis writes. "Sometime in the last year, Hagel began to apply these conclusions to Iraq."

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:45 AM | Report abuse

Thompson Getting Post-Debate Platform On Fox Tomorrow
Fred Thompson won't be at tomorrow night's CNN Republican debate, but he will get a platform all to himself -- as a special guest on Fox News' Hannity & Colmes, doing post-debate commentary. And this is all perfectly ethical...

Posted by: Anonymous | June 5, 2007 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Well, for one thing, it depends on who the presidential candidates - who will be the nominal leaders of their respective parties - will be. I have to tell you, after reading the story on Hillary this Sunday in the NYTimes magazine, I hope she is not the Democratic nominee. Lylepink, if you're out there, you need to read this. You might say it's 'HillaryHate' or whatever, but read it. It's a picture of Hillary consciously playing politics both with the initial Iraq war vote - before which she didn't bother to read the 90-PAGE N.I.E. (I mean, 90 pages is nothing! and Bob Graham of Florida DID bother to read it, and he's no dove, but it changed his vote!) - and after which she spun her vote/support for Bush at least three different ways before arriving at her current position. This is a picture of a hard-charging, ambitious woman for whom making the right decision apparently means "for my political future," rather than "for the good of the country."
Everyone should read this before voting for Hillary. She is an extremely intelligent woman, yes, but her priorities, at least to my mind, are not where they should be.
I really hope to be able to vote for Gore/Obama next year... I now may not be able to support Hillary unless the alternative is far far worse, e.g. Romney, Gingrich, or one of the Jesus freaks.

Posted by: Sunday NY Times magazine about Hillary...! | June 5, 2007 8:37 AM | Report abuse

on - track: I recall that demographers believed, in the 1960s, that movement to the suburbs coincided with a perceptible move toward the Rs by the former city dwellers, and that movement to the South in the 1970s coincided with a perceptible move toward the Rs from the former northerners. But the Parties are different now; and I think I see the following small trends.

I suspect that the movement tends to be away from the one-issue local R Parties to independent voting - for example, the teaching of "Creationism" fractured local R voting in Kansas.

I think the increasing presence of retired senior Army and Navy officers in D politics is a result of this Administration's neglect of the military - if the Ds can become the Party that speaks more clearly for the military and veterans it will be significant for many years, until the pendulum swings back if/when the Ds again become the Party that pays mere lip service to these issues.

There are many other small trends that appear, if only "through a glass darkly", but no development in it of itself cries out that suburban voters will be captured by either Party, in the long run.

Posted by: Mark in Austin | June 5, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

MikeB, you claim Razor is beyond any rational discussion, but he's the one asking for proof, references, etc. to Cassandra's over-the-top comments.

You're the one calling names and throwing bombs (the Government cares more for corporations than its citizens? Please...)

Posted by: JD | June 5, 2007 8:16 AM | Report abuse

I think it's a wash. There were not a lot of 'gains' made in the Suburbs of Chicago - and in Philly, those will be vulnerable when the redistricting is done after the census. Many of the larger states in the Midwest and NE will be loosing numbers in the congressional delegations from their states - and many of the western and southern states will be gaining. I don't have a lot of faith in the ability of the state legislatures in the west and south to be able to consolidate enough dems in and around the major cities to make these districts truly competitive. I also think that the republicans in the NE will find their footing and be more competitive once Bush is gone. The nation politically seems divided 50/50 - and the Dem base is heavily concentrated in our urban centers. Not enough of the current Dem members are willing to jeopardize their seats by integrating more of the suburbs into their districts - and there for, we still will not have enough competitive districts to offset the gains of the western and southern states after the decades census.

Posted by: Chris | June 5, 2007 4:42 AM | Report abuse

Short term. Political parties are surprisingly resilient. As long as the war is on, Democrats will have that advantage with suburban voters, but when it ends, disenchanted Republican leaners will eventually come home. Parties shift and change with the times, The Republican party of today is a socially conservative big government party different from its roots.

Posted by: Blaster | June 5, 2007 3:24 AM | Report abuse

The Republican Party should rename itself the War and Corruption Party and the Democratic Party should rename itself The Abortion Party.

The whole thing is nothing but a charade.

Posted by: Jan | June 5, 2007 12:52 AM | Report abuse

Razor,

I could get behind your idea of sitting on the sidelines while the Iraqis have their civil war, but I have one or two questions:

1) How do we get the Saudis to stop aiding the Sunnis, and how do we get Iran to stop aiding the Shiites?

2) What do we do if we don't like the winners? What if the jihadists win (not an unlikely scenario)? Aren't we back to square one in that case?

I'm a liberal Democrat who is disgusted with the sniping that Kucinich and the far left are doing in regards to the party leadership and Iraq. If I hear that fraction of a man say "The money's in the pipeline to bring the troops home" one more time, I might just snap.

Does anyone think that Bush is not crazy enough to leave the troops in Iraq, even if we cut off funding? He'll leave them there, then blame the Democrats for leaving them high and dry.

How is it that so many supposedly educated people can't come to the same conclusion I have, Barack Obama has, and even Hillary has: U.S. troops will be in Iraq even after the next president takes the Oath.

What humanitarian (or for that matter, just a decent human being) would be willing to leave the millions of innocent Iraqi men, women, and God knows children to fend for themselves while the country is torn apart by a civil war that we instigated?

Do we have to pull back a little? Yes.

Do we need to bring the Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds to the negotiating table. Yes.

Does that mean that we might be stuck negotiating with people who have killed U.S. troops? Probably.

Do we do whatever is necessary to keep al Qaeda out? Absolutely.

I have no hope that more troops will stabilize Iraq. That ship sailed in 2003. Let's try to untangle the diplomatic knot in Iraq, and start reducing our presence.

Posted by: JamesCH | June 5, 2007 12:31 AM | Report abuse

reason, thank you for a frank discussion. I'm not sure if I'm on board with your reasoning, but I can understand and respect it. It's all very theoretical, however... what about the ground reality that we have already spent 1.5 trillion dollars in Iraq, with no end in sight? I am very much afraid that we will continue to pour money down a black hole because no one will admit that the cost to US credibility, troop strength, and FINANCES has gotten to be too much to bear. Our credit / checkbook - I don't understand how we are able to operate under such staggering debt for so long, but sooner or later the piper will have to be paid, and what happens then? Also, do we choose from here on out only to pay attention to Iraq? Because I can think of several other urgent situations that could develop in the world, and I'm sure you can too - e.g. North Korea sends troops south across the border, China invades Taiwan, Russia re-occupies the former Soviet republics, another major Al Qaeda attack, another hurricane/tornado/flood/whatever (in the US or abroad)... you see what I mean? Even with Katrina, we saw how response to even a domestic disaster that was somewhat predicted can be bungled if our attention/finances/manpower are all invested elsewhere. This is a serious question...

Posted by: Bokonon | June 4, 2007 10:06 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra,
Funny post. On the assumption that people want government smaller, be financially responsible, clean up corruption and make the US safer, people may be dissatisfied with Republicans but which of those would Democrats fix? Smaller government? The part of the debate i watched was the socialized medicine part that ALL said they were for. Be financially responsible? The current Democratic congress is bypassing its own rules they established in January and plan on passing 36,000 earmark requests with NO debate or review. And there is the previously mentioned socialized medicine ideas that need to be paid for. Clean up corruption. One name for you - William Jefferson. He's the one that took a 100,000 dollar bribe that the FBI found it in his freezer. Make the US safer. How? Democrats are against the following: the Patriot act, Gitmo, agressive questioning of prisoners, scanning phone calls, protecting the US borders, treating terrorist as people we are at war with, profiling people that look like terrorists. And on and on. The republicans performance has been less than stellar but the alternatives are worse. That pendulum will swing just far enough left until enough people get hit upside the head with it.

Posted by: Dave! | June 4, 2007 9:41 PM | Report abuse

Ok, I rambled on topic over there for a while. It would be a good thing if that forum can work as intended and not turn into a cut & pasters paradise. Having seen the readers of this blog and other internet forums of various kinds degenerate I'm not terribly optimistic.

Posted by: bluemeanies | June 4, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

MikeB wants the government to make private employers pay more to union members (he favorite special interest group) and is to dense to realize that when you raise labor costs, you increase prices of the goods people buy.

Even MikeB wont say he wants to ban forieng cars though.

Posted by: Razorback | June 4, 2007 7:43 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra - You are quite correct, but it is the case that *most* politician's put the interests of corporations ahead of U.S. citizens. Razorback can simply be ignored. He is a charter member of the Flat Earth Society of Economics and any proof, any rational discussion, is completely beyond his ability to comprehend. And, remember, most of those "foreign" corporations are actually parts of U.Sl. corporations gone multinational as protective coloration.

Posted by: MikeB | June 4, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Cassandra says:

"and that the R's put the interests of foreign corporations above those of US citizens."

Do you have any factual basis for that statement?

Have you considered the interests of consumers? Business and labor both benefit from high prices, which hurt consumers. A trade policy that allows consumers to choose if they want to buy from the low cost provider is putting consumers first, not business.

Posted by: Razorback | June 4, 2007 6:35 PM | Report abuse

If we maintain a regional presence and let it be known that terrorist enclaves will not be tolerated, what is wrong with letting them have there own civil war, if that is what they want, and the US sitting on the sidelines?

We can manage the "epic negative consequences" without being in the middle of a civil war.

Posted by: Razorback | June 4, 2007 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Blarg posted: this is a conversation from "Winners and Losers of Democratic Debate."

"What is our job in Iraq? How do we know when that job is done? Are there any circumstances under which we should leave before the job is done?

If you've given any thought at all to your position on the Iraq War, you can answer my questions. So do it."

Blarg, I'll gladly give you answers to these questions. I will start by saying that I'm a Naval Reservist and I hate the thought of politicizing a war, where people lose their lives for gain and loss to a campaign. It sickens me, for those who do it in every party. War isn't a game, it's real. People really fight and die. For those of you who don't realize it, wake up.

Now, the following is my view on the questions asked.

Our job in Iraq was to militarily take out Saddam Hussein, flush out his military and secure the nation. We have taken out Saddam and his regime. That is, we have taken out a major sponsor of terrorism, a brutal regime that brutalizes their own people and a major enemy of Israel. After this, we have learned historically that only through freedom can hearts be changed over generations. So, with those goals accomplished we turned to attempting to allow the Iraqi's to create a democratic government and rule their own nation. When we attempted to help the Iraqi's implement this system, foreign terrorist groups saw the opportunity to travel from the Iranian and Syrian borders, hoping to chase off America and be the new rulers of Iraq. To complicate this issue, they are 2 different factions. Shiites are coming in from Iran, with Iranian support and Sunnis come in from Syria. They are, right now, uniting against America to chase us off. The moment that happens, they will begin slaughtering the people that has risked their lives turning to democracy and trying to make this work for the good of Iraq. These people will be slain, and then the Shiites from Iran will fight the Sunnis from Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Emirates and most the rest of the Islamic world for control of Iraq, their oil and their people. So now, with this set-back, our goal must be to have enough troops to gain control of the nation and keep control of the nation militarily until the Iraqi military can do this on it's own. To do this, the government will need a military strong enough to combat terrorists and keep them out of the nation. They will also need political talks with Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Iran and the rest of the Middle East to keep afloat. All of these nations also have problems with terrorist groups, and may be able to help Iraq deal with these issues. Also, to help us train and equip the Iraqi military well enough to accomplish these goals.

This is how we know the job is accomplished enough for us to leave Iraq: when the Iraqi military and police forces are equipped, trained and currently patrolling it's own streets and neighborhoods.

No, there are no circumstances in which we can afford to leave before these objectives are settled. This would likely cause a showdown for Iraq between the Middle East,possibly with the world taking sides. I don't know if we have any foreign diplomats or doctor's in foreign studies on this blog, but I'm interested to hear what you all think about this. If we pull out of Iraq, I believe, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Kuwait and the United Emirates will militarily help the Sunnis while Iran will help the Shiites. Iran will then use it's relationships with Russia, Venezuela and China to try and get their military support for the goal of overthrowing the Sunni coalition and owning more oil. If this happened, it would likely force America's hand to re-enter the conflict as well as most of the world. Oil interests tend to do that, agree? This conflict would be one of epic proportions, and could easily become a world war. We do not want this to happen, and that's why failure in Iraq isn't an option.

These are answers to your questions, Blarg. There are no easy answers to an end to this conflict...but we must succeed or face epic consequences. Right now securing and rebuilding Iraq, building a strong Iraqi military and police force and working to help Iraq gain support from it's neighbors to live freely and fight terror is success

Posted by: reason | June 4, 2007 6:22 PM | Report abuse

it's too bad the only life I have is on this blog, where I continue to post the same harangues, under no name but saying EXACTLY the same things --all day, every day. how truly pathetic I am.

I wasn't smart enough for Kos so I have to come here. If I insult enough cons they will consider letting me come back.

I'll be here all night if you want to bicker. I'll go find something to cut and paste and then I'll be right back. Wait for me.

Posted by: Anonymous | June 4, 2007 6:04 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a long term trend, due not only to dissatisfaction with Bush and the war, but with disappointment with the 'conservative' movement. A lot of people thought that republican rule would make the government smaller, but 12 years of a republican congress and 7 of a republican president has only grown it gigantically. They thought republicans would be fnancially responsible, but here we are with a gigantic deficit. They thought republicans would clean up government, but they can see that it's more corrupt now than ever.

They can also see that we are not safer, that the only modern attack on our soil happened under a republican president who paid no attention to waarnings about terrorism, and that the R's put the interests of foreign corporations above those of US citizens. The pendulum always swings back and forth in this country, and it is again.

Posted by: Cassandra | June 4, 2007 6:01 PM | Report abuse

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