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This is What Democracy Looks Like
Today's Note From a Madman
Monday, November 27, 2006
The "Get-Out-of-Baghdad" Bandwagon is Filling Up
In another case of "A day late and a dollar short", this Associate Press headline caught my eye:
Lawmakers' faith in
Welcome to the party! The rest of us have been here for quite some time.
In anticipation that the Iraq Study Group, headed by James "Elections: Can we steal one for you?" Baker and former US Representative and 9/11 commissioner Lee Hamilton, might actually come out with a new idea on how to save face while getting our troops out of the Bush-Quagmire in Iraq, some politicos are jumping on the "This is a mess" bandwagon.
Today's newest member is Senator Chuck Hagel (REPUBLICAN-NE)
who has made overtones prior to today about what's going on in
"If the president fails to build a bipartisan
foundation for an exit strategy,
Just a reminder to you about Senator Hagel. he's the guy who owned the voting machine company whose machines were used in his own election, which he barely won, for his flat-square state seat.
I guess it's true: I'd rather be lucky than good, too.
Now, to be fair to senator Hagel, he has to walk a fine line between speaking the truth and kissing the collective butts of the far right, without whom he doesn't stand a chance at staying in his seat. All of this goes along with the probability that Hagel will be throwing his hat in the 2008 GOP presidential sweepstakes very soon. It's my bet that he's looking more for the VP title than the number one spot. good luck wrestling that one away from Jeb, Chuck.
And, get this, the Baker-Hamilton commission might recommend
"it's not too late for the
Why that sounds like "cut and run", doesn't it?
But Senator Chuck is right. After all, if now isn't the right time, and, as we
can all assume, that
"The vast majority of the citizens here want to live in a peaceful secure city. That's what their desire is,"
-Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, a spokesman for coalition
The vast majority of the citizens better get off their vast majority asses and start making some noise.
What the General doesn't want to call the conflict in
Prime Minister Malaki owes his political life to the like of
Muqtadr al-Sadr, the young cleric with the darn-best militia in the southern
This is a very stable government,"
Does anyone else remember Baghdad Bob? He was the guy telling us all that the "Americans are on the run" and that "the streets are running red with their blood"? I wonder if Mouwafak al-Rubaie is related to him?
Remember: Denial (The Nile) is not just a river in
"We have misunderstood, misread, mis-planned and
mismanaged our honorable intentions in
You're giving the Bushies too much credit Senator Chuck.
Rumsfeld okayed abuses says former
Former U.S. Army Brigadier General Janis Karpinski told Spain's El Pais newspaper she had seen a letter apparently signed by Rumsfeld which allowed civilian contractors to use techniques such as sleep deprivation during interrogation.
..."The handwritten signature was above his printed name and in the same handwriting in the margin was written: "Make sure this is accomplished"," she told Saturday's El Pais.
... Rumsfeld also
authorized the army to break the Geneva Conventions by not registering all
prisoners, Karpinski said, explaining how she raised the case of one
unregistered inmate with an aide to former
[According to Karpinski,] "We received a message from the Pentagon, from the Defense Secretary, ordering us to hold the prisoner without registering him. I now know this happened on various occasions."
Our feckless media is saying very little about this. Rumsfeld was already indicted in
NEW WOMEN, NEW POLITICS
by Victoria A. Brownworth
copyright c 2006, Journal-Register Newspapers, Inc.
For those who don’t know just how major that is, the Speaker is second in line to the presidency, after the Vice President. This means if Vice President Cheney accidentally shoots President Bush and himself while grouse hunting, Pelosi would become president.
ground-breaking election to this third-most important post in American
government has encouraged those who want the next president of the
In 1979, the
While there have
always been female rulers–Queens throughout history–the ascendancy of women
into elected power politics has been surprisingly slow. There are currently six
female Presidents: in
election as House Speaker, the
Despite the advances of feminism and women’s rights over the past few decades, however, politics has remained a largely male enclave. Women won the right to vote less than 100 years ago, in 1920, with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Yet, women’s acceptance into the realm of political power has been slow, barred by misperceptions about how women think and act. Many men and some women still believe that women are ruled by emotions, rather than rational thought, and therefore are too mercurial and volatile to lead. The election of Pelosi begins to disabuse people of that misconception.
Women first became
seriously engaged in politics in
The twin goals of
abolition and women’s suffrage became inextricably linked. In 1848 in
Several hundred women
and 40 men attended the
The years between
1848 and 1920, however, were fraught with struggle for women. Despite advances
in the social arena by women, the right to vote–and the right to hold political
office–remained frustratingly out of reach. Victoria Woodhull, a journalist and
stockbroker, ran for President on the Equal Rights Party ticket in 1887. But it
wasn’t until 1917, that the first woman was elected to a position in the
Sen. Margaret Chase Smith (R-ME) was the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress, having first replaced her husband in the House, when he was dying. She was also the first woman to be nominated by another member of Congress to run for President in 1964. (She withdrew her nomination for Barry Goldwater.) In 1972, Rep. Shirley Chisholm, who in 1968 had become the first African-American woman to serve in Congress, became the first woman to run for president on a major ticket, on the ballot in all the Democratic primaries.
In 1978, Nancy Kassenbaum (R-KS) became the first woman ever to be elected to the Senate who was not filling out a term previously held by her husband (like Caraway and Smith had done).
A decade ago there
were only four women in the Senate. But the improved numbers are still not
adequate and these gains for women are not what they could be. The
However, despite this lag, with the most recent election, there are now more women in the Congress than ever before. When the 110th Congress convenes in January, there will be 16 female senators and 72 female representatives. (possibly 74–two contested seats will not be decided until a run-off election in December; in addition three women serve as Delegates to the House from Washington, D.C. and the U.S. protectorates of Guam and the Virgin Islands).
In a Congress with 535 seats, 16 percent held by women is hardly commensurate with the demographics of women in the country.
Resistance to the concept of female leadership is deeply ingrained in the American political psyche. The majority of women currently serving in Congress have been there for many years; Pelosi was first elected in 1987. But the cynicism regarding *how* women will lead remains.
Since Pelosi was elected Speaker, the pundits have focused more attention on her than on the President. Pelosi succeeds Republican Dennis Hastert, whose final months as Speaker have been marred by what several Congressional aides have stated was his cover-up of the Mark Foley scandal. Foley is the Republican Congressman who was alleged to have engaged in on-line sexual exchanges with several male pages working in the Capitol.
Pelosi has set several goals for her new Congress, first and foremost among them, ethics. Hastert’s 109th Congress was roundly viewed as one of the most corrupt in decades, with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay having to step down due to indictments and several other Republican members of Congress facing either indictments or jail terms.
But regardless of the
agenda she has set, Pelosi still must face the reality of sexism in
Dowd’s sexist rant
refers to Pelosi’s decision to back Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha for Majority
Leader. Murtha, who served in two wars, has been one of the most outspoken
members of Congress in his opposition to the war on
Murtha lost the election bid to Steny Hoyer (D-MD).
Hoyer had been
Pelosi’s opposition for House Minority Leader in 2001 and has, on occasion,
been less than supportive of Pelosi’s agenda. Pelosi and Murtha are friends and
share similar views on the tone politics should be taking in
Does her decision to choose someone who supports her versus someone who has not always been supportive mean that Pelosi “throws like a girl?”
I can’t remember anyone ever saying that about, say, George Bush, who has made it a policy to appoint people who support his agenda--much like any other political leader. if anything, Pelosi's actions signal she's throwing like a man.
Politics is agenda based. If women are in high-level politics, they will have the same need for loyal supporters as men. Focusing on Pelosi’s gender is beside the point.
Except for many it *is* the point.
Nearly every story written about Pelosi since her election has centered on her looks, her clothes, her manner and way down the line, her political agenda.
This is a woman who
has been involved in politics twice as long as the current president of the
But the problem of women in politics runs deeper than Pelosi, who is by all accounts a likable diplomat who gets stuff done–which already means she’s the polar opposite of Hastert, who presided over the most contentious and lackluster Congress in the past 50 years.
discuss Hillary Clinton as a possible/probable candidate for president, they
complain that she’s “not likable.” Yet among her very divergent constituents in
The standards for women in politics are different from men. Where a level of charismatic sexiness and good looks are essentials for men running for office, women are expected to be staid and unflatteringly plain. Women who speak out are still viewed through a different prism than men. It is still a regrettable political truism that when a man speaks his mind he’s considered a leader and forward thinker and when a woman does it she’s viewed as pushy and shrill.
And yet it is women
who are leading the fight for change on all the major social issues in
Pelosi intends to
change the face of
Pelosi has been a
unifying force in the Democratic Party, bringing members together on key issues
and votes. Pelosi is also well-known for her ability to organize. She has
intense focus on issues and is excellent at mobilizing her party to get things
done. She has set a formidable agenda for the next month, including raising the
minimum wage and setting a time table for withdrawal from
What Pelosi represents is the changing face of women in American politics. Smart, savvy, as astute a politician as any man in Congress, Pelosi is not someone who filled in a vacated seat, like so many of her foremothers in Congress.
And Pelosi is creating
another path for women in
In 2008, it is likely that there will be a woman running for President and that the candidate will be Hillary Clinton, who has proven herself to be a born politician, like Pelosi.
Do women lead differently than men? Indira Gandhi followed in many of the footsteps of her father, Indian Prime Minister Nehru. Thatcher carved her own place in British history–utterly altering many stalwart conventions of the British political system.
Are women better at
keeping nations out of wars? Gandhi was, Thatcher, who led the
What is definitive,
however, is that women represent both change in government and visionary
thinking. Madeleine Albright was the first woman Secretary of State in the
Pelosi has explained what she expects to achieve as Speaker in the next few months, and given her record of mediation and diplomacy, it is likely she will achieve many of the goals she has set. Under Pelosi and the new Democratic leadership, more women are expected to hold higher positions on committees as well. This too will add to the momentum for a female president in 2008.
In response to, "They (Republicans) do, however, hold one big chip: They have more than 40 (49, to be exact) GOP votes left in the Senate which allows their agenda that filibuster which they bought, along with their GOP senators," Eddie Konczal writes:
I thought Republicans wanted to get rid of the filibuster earlier this year! Wouldn't it be the height of hypocrisy for them to use it?