Thursday, December 16, 2004

Democrats head West

Interesting post over at Kos that talks about a growing Democratic presence in the West (both Mountain and Southwest).

It's intriguing to note the potential for large Democratic appeal in states that are thought of as inherently Republican, such as Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. The Republican ideals that have long appealed out West have been the Libertarian way. These are people who want small government and big guns (ie Ruby Ridge) and for a long time Republicans kept the Libertarian vote in the coalition. Perhaps the only issue that the Dems really had out West was the environment. In the past few years, the environemental issue has become an even stronger Democratic issue as Bush gutted the EPA.

So why does this bode well for Democrats? There are two main forces working against the Republicans right now and both are a result of their large power. 1) They view their main support as the Bible Belt and 2) Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

It's very hard to keep a large coalition happy. The fundamentalist base wants to use their power over governement to exercise control over culture. The FCC is inherently opposed to Libertarian ideals of limited government. Every time that the government tries to exercise control over free speech they let down their Libertarian supporters while rallying their base.

Additionally, they're the ones in control. The Patriot Act is fraught with problems but it is a necessary piece of legislation and would have been passed (in similar form) no matter who was in control of Washington. However, as the opposition party, the Dems have more freedom to dissent against the elements of the Patriot Act they oppose. As the outsider party, the Democrats are beginning to shake their reputation as the party of big government as they challenge Republican abuses. Which brings us to the second point:

Absolute power corrupts... As Republicans become more and more entrenched in DC they have a larger stake in preserving the status quo and even expanding the government. It is becoming increasingly difficult for Republicans to claim that they believe in small government when they've now controlled all three branches for 4 years and the government continues to grow. This is not to say that they're all corrupt or evil or lied about their intentions - but it does give the opportunity to shift the paradigm of the tax and spend liberal to debt spending conservatives.

Additionally, the current state of DC allows the Democrats to become real reformers. Challenging the ways of the government and the inherent corruption and abuses. They can be mavericks on this, a character that appeals out West and throughout the NorthEast.

It's very hard to keep a large coalition happy and the Republicans seem to have cast their lot with the fundamentalists which gives the Democrats a great opportunity to move towards the Libertarians and the West to pick them off. Additionally, I feel that the Libertarian ideals really coincides with so called 'financially conservative dems' - no longer a small faction.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Bernard, Rudy, George and Joe

It appears that conflicts of interest with Bernard Kerik were the tip of the iceberg. Kerik didn't pull out because of a 'nanny' problem. He's got ties to mobsters, sexual harassment allegations, and a defaulted loan - all in his recent past. Nanny is a code word. Not to mention, she 'left' the country 2 weeks ago, which tells me that he thought that by sending her away - he could weather the storm.

So assuming this was Rudy's call, and it clearly had his support - where does it leave him? Bush (if nothing else) is a loyal guy - so I don't expect to see him bansihed during this administration, but I think this effectively ends Rudy's political career. For one, this gives more fodder to the Conservatives to attack him with during any Republican primary. And two, if this is one of Rudy's best friends - do you really believe that Rudy doesn't have similar skeletons in his closet? At the least, Rudy's business partner was a known associate of mobsters. Unsavory to say the least.

And where does this leave the President? First off, it was Alberto Gonzales who is supposed to vet all cabinet level appointments. If this was any indication, I don't expect to see Gonzales to be any more effective at Attorney General than Ashcroft was. However, I don't think you can really blame Gonzales for this oversight - this is just symptomatic of the way Bush has always done business. He doesn't just value his own judgement of friends/associates over what others say - he values his judgements to the exclusion of what other say. 'Loyalty' , 'character' and character type are his chief concerns and then he tries to bend reality to fit his judgements. Kerik definitely had the loyalty and character type that Bush wanted.

So this brings us to the recircling rumors about Joe Lieberman taking the post of Director of Homeland Security. Lieberman has always taken an interest in national defense (perhaps above all other issues), he is a Democratic Senator from a state with a Republican Governor, and he's up for a shoo-in re-election in 2 years. Appointing Lieberman to be the Director would allow Connecticut to get a Republican Senator (via Gubernatorial appointment), shifting the balance even further Republican in the Senate and giving the Republicans a chance to hold the seat in 2006 (power of incumbency). Not to mention, Lieberman is eminently qualified. However, Bush doesn't care about such things as qualifications, and he's so confident in his 'mandate' that he probably won't be too concerned with one vote here or there. He wants a buddy to run this department. Someone who speaks his language. Not a Jew from the Northeast.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Giuliani's Payback?


Being in New York, I've run into a lot of people who are surprised at how completely Rudy Giuliani bent over for the Bush campaign and totally compromised himself in the eyes of many moderates. Especially given the fact that Giuliani will never be a Republican candidate for president (being pro-choice and living with a gay couple are enough to eliminate anyone from viability), it was hard to figure why he was such a cheap whore. Ahhh, but he wasn't cheap.

Yesterday we learned the news that Bernard Kerik will be the next head of Homeland Security. This would be the same Bernard Kerik who is a Senior VP at Giuliani Partners. Ahh, the same Kerik who ran Iraq police and we know what a good job he did there. (Do you even need me to link to the articles?)

Interesting timing that Kerik gets his appointment the same day Giuliani opens a new financial consulting branch to his company.

UPDATED: Just found this nugget regarding an investment by Giuliani and co: "Giuliani Partners said it hopes to help build new markets for the products in the homeland security, law enforcement and first-responder markets."

GWB: You're welcome, Rudy!