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This is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

Wednesday, December 13, 2006



I know... I know... Either I'm an hour early or a day late and a dollar short. Up until now, I haven't been a proponent of impeachment for President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. I had several reasons. For one thing, I didn't want to GOP to call the Democrats "obstructionists". Had anyone on the blue side of the aisle even think about impeaching President Bush, here would have been a line of Republicans waiting to call that legislator just that. You could hear the echoes of those sentiments even now:

"We're not getting the work of the American people done,"
"The other party (because someone told them not to say 'Democrats') are on a vendetta"
"The 'Liberals' are out of control!"

It would happen and it will happen. But we must throw this caution to the wind. Bush has got to go. It's not just his inability to recognize failure when it stares him in the face. That is not an impeachable offense. It's all of the lying that led us up to this point and his stead-fast refusal to accept advice or institute change. Everybody's wrong at some point in their lives or in their jobs and admitting that there is a problem is sometimes necessary. Never more so has that been apparent than now.

If President Bush was a drunk in need of some help, it would have been wise for him to have received that help either from organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous, church groups or the Salvation Army. But he couldn't even do that! n mush the same way he refuses to admit failure, he attacked his drug and alcohol problem. They call a man like GW, who quit without help and is now suffering the consequences of his addiction "Dry Drunks". I submit that President Bush isn't only a "Dry Drunk" when it comes to his substance and alcohol abuses, but he is a "Dry Drunk" when it comes to his self-perceived role as commander in Chief.

Any Chief Executive Officer, or someone in power, will tell you that it's better to learn from admitted mistakes than it is to repeat those same mistakes over and over again. For example, when Bush was initially presented with a war plan, he kept on telling "Rummy" and the Generals that he wanted a smaller, quicker force, probably at the advice of the "Sec-Def" himself, with help from "The Veep". If we didn't know then, we certainly know now that they were all wrong. But to keep up with this stupidity and not attempt a corrective course is even worse.

Remember that this is the "Triple-D" administration: Denial, Distraction and Deny some more.

First, you have to deny everything, even in the face of the truth. Just tell the American people that everything is going fine in Iraq. It's the media's fault for showing that same gunman shooting that same gun over and over and over again.

Next, you Distract. They're going to kill the dead woman! Let's make an issue of it. Or am I the only one who remembers Terri Schiavo? It took a woman who didn't stand a chance to make Bush come back from his umpteenth Crawford vacation, but when New Orleans was dieing, he had more important things to do.

Even when James Baker, the guy who got you elected in the first place, tells you that things aren't going well, simply dent some more. Tell us all that we have to stay the course, even if you do change the words a bit. ("We'll stand down when they stand up.")

Today, the president took some questions after a meeting with Senior Defense Department officials. Some of the answers to reporters' questions will floor you:

Q: As you've gone through that extensive process, have you heard any new ideas at all, anything that would change your thinking?
BUSH: I've heard some ideas that would lead to defeat, and I reject those ideas -- ideas such as leaving before the job is done... I've heard interesting ideas. I won't share them with you because I want to make sure I continue to collect those ideas and put them together in a strategy.
MADMAN: I'll take that as a "No". After all, this president only wants to hear the ideas that he has already thought of. Those are the same ideas that, if the president has his way, will make this Iraq conflict generational and put our children and grandchildren in harm's way.

BUSH: I put off my speech -- actually, I was quite flexible about when I was going to give my speech, to begin with -- and one of the main reasons why is I really do want the new Secretary of Defense to have time to get to know people and hear people and be a part of this deliberation. And he will not be sworn in until next Monday.
MADMAN: So let me get this straight. If new Sec-Def Gates has a great idea to end the violence in Iraq, you didn't want to hear it until Monday? What happens if Monday comes and the war ends? What will you say to the families of the troops who will die from today through the beginning of next week? "Sorry folks. But Secretary Gates was still on vacation."

BUSH: Today I heard from some opinions that matter a lot to me, and these are the opinions of those who wear the uniform. These generals have spent a lot of time thinking about this issue.
MADMAN: Remember that the Generals were the ones Bush wouldn't listen to at the beginning of this whole affair. The list includes former Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki; former CENTCOM Commander, General Anthony Zinni; and former commander of the troops on the ground during the Iraqi invasion, General David McKiernan. had a General the temerity to speak his mind even just a few short months ago, they were either forced into retirement, demoted or both.

BUSH: And I repeat, if we lose our nerve, if we're not steadfast in our determination to help the Iraqi government succeed, we will be handing Iraq over to an enemy that would do us harm, the consequences of which -- of leaving Iraq before the job is done, for example, would be grave for the American citizens.
MADMAN: Sounds like "Stay the Course" to me. How about you?

BUSH: As we learned on September the 11th, the enemy has got the capacity to strike us. And there's no doubt in my mind a failure in Iraq would make it more likely the enemy would strike us.
MADMAN: And here's the topper. Bush just can't let throwing al-Qaeda and Iraq together. If there is any tie between al-Qaeda and Iraq today, it's only because President Bush's poor leadership, judgment and a consistent lack of planning has helped put them there. And allowing the loss of more American lives as al-Qaeda target practice isn't going to help the situation there at all.

It's time to ask the world for help; get half a million troops in there; get the tribal leaders involved on policing their own territories, and nation; and getting our troops out of there and out of harm's way.

Every time that President Bush opens his mouth, lies come out. he has put this nation in great jeopardy and he, along with Vice President Dick Cheney, must go. it's time to look at the evidence and start impeachment proceedings. It's time to show all of America, and the rest of the world, that we know how to take back control of our nation and our national policies.

Better late than never.

-Noah Greenberg

Reagan's Laws, Kennedy’s Laws, and Clinton’s Laws

I’ve been reading Joe Klein's “Politics Lost.” Beginning with Bobbie Kennedy’s 1968 campaign for President, to Kerry / Bush 2004, it holds tremendous lessons for the Democrats.

On April 4, 1968, the day that Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, Tennessee, Kennedy was in Indianapolis, Indiana. At the time white people did not go to the inner city. Even the police did not go to the inner city. And they advised him not to go to the planned event. Kennedy went. He spoke to the crowd. Slowly, without pandering. Kennedy, broke the news of King's death to a large gathering of African Americans in Indianapolis, Indiana.

He arrived to find the people in an upbeat mood, anticipating the excitement of a Kennedy appearance. He climbed onto the platform, and realizing they did not know, broke the news. He didn’t pander. And there were no riots in Indianapolis as there were in other inner cities.

Committed as we are to republican democracy, Democrats believe in campaigning on the issues. The Republicans, when talking to the ‘Reagan Democrats’ and Religious communities can’t discuss the real meat and potato GOP issues – lowering capital gains taxes, providing subsidies to very large corporations, so they focus on the emotions. Hence what Klein calls "Reagan's Law:"

"Persuade through Reason, Motivate through Emotion."

This echoes my friend Jeff Callahan, a sales trainer, who says "The decision to buy is ALWAYS emotional!" "Further," he adds, "the emotional decision is also ALWAYS rationalized! We rationally justify emotional decisions.” And he adds “It's a lot easier to sell pain relief than pleasure."

How Bush almost beat Gore in the General Election of 2000:

The Republicans ask the voters to answer three basic questions:

1 Is he a strong leader?
2 Can I trust him?
3 Does he care about people like me?

Of course the real questions are:

1 Does he project the image of a strong leader?
2 Would I buy a used car from this man (then hate myself in the morning)?
3 Does he SEEM to care about people like me?

While Gore was held back by his warring teams of handlers, pollsters, and consultants, Bush was propelled by Rove to project this folksy guy you would want to have a beer with, a guy you could trust with your babies, your money, your young daughter, your son, your wife, your momma's social security check. We progressives were saying ‘wait, there’s more to politics than who do you want to have a beer with.’ And the Reagan / Bush Republicanistas were saying no there’s not, ‘not during the campaign, bubba.’

But Reagan's Law could also be called Clinton's Law. And Clinton doesn't patronize. He wouldn't say anything as idiotic as "trees pollute" or "the SS was the victim of the Nazis." On Nov. 5, 2006, he told speaking to a largely minority audience in Newark, he used the word "shtick." "It's their shtick… My enemy is a slug." I wouldn't use "shtick" with white people in southern Jersey or anywhere outside of NYC or LA.

Three Basic Questions Republicanistas ask the voters

1 Is he a strong leader?
2 Can I trust him?
3 Does he care about people like me?

Come to think of it, when applied to Clinton, voters answered an enthusiastic ‘yes’ to the questions about trust and caring. And to all 3, if you substitute "charismatic" for "strong leader." Voters answered yes to all three, when applied to John Kennedy, Bobbie Kennedy, and Johnson, in ‘64.

Looking to 2008, voters will answer that Barak Obama can be trusted and cares but I don’t know if he can project the image of a strong leader. If you believe that "tough prosecutor" equals "strong leader" then Rudy Giuliani is a strong leader. But people don’t trust him and won’t believe that he cares. Hillary Clinton is a strong woman. She does care and she can be trusted. But half of the progressives would prefer someone else – Dean, Gore, Kucinich, Feingold – so she will not inspire them. The Republicanistas don’t like strong and intelligent women. Hillary is educated, strong and powerful. Half of the far right will not see her as a leader, to put it mildly, (their shtick is that women should be barefoot, pregnant and subservient, not educated and powerful) The half that believes in ‘the Gospel according to Limbaugh’ will follow his drug induced ravings that she is the Progressive Anti-Christ du jour. McCain is the best the GOP has. Hopefully Giuliani or Brownback will destroy McCain the way Bush did in 2000.

And think about the races since 1976 with these questions in mind. Carter beat Ford, Reagan beat Carter and then Mondale, Bush Sr. Beat Dukakis, Clinton beat Bush and then Dole, and Bush Jr. almost beat Gore in the popular vote, and beat Kerry in ’04.

I was originally going to call this “Reagan’s Laws.” But I much prefer “Kennedy’s Laws and Clinton’s”:

Don’t pander.

Speak to the heart, and the brain.

Care, and Lead.

-Larry Furman

Remember the work of our Vets. See Jim North's website at:

www.TheOnlineCampaign.com and check http://blog.myspace.com/millionvetmarch

Send your comments to: NationalView@aol.com or comments@nationalview.org

-Noah Greenberg