Nixon Was Bad

McGovern Campaign Button Collection
available from Dakota Wesleyan University

It may seem like an obvious statement, but it’s actually just a fragment of the subtitle in Senator George McGovern’s Washington Post op-ed today, advocating the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney.

I believe we have a chance to heal the wounds the nation has suffered in the opening decade of the 21st century. This recovery may take a generation and will depend on the election of a series of rational presidents and Congresses. At age 85, I won’t be around to witness the completion of the difficult rebuilding of our sorely damaged country, but I’d like to hold on long enough to see the healing begin.

There has never been a day in my adult life when I would not have sacrificed that life to save the United States from genuine danger, such as the ones we faced when I served as a bomber pilot in World War II. We must be a great nation because from time to time, we make gigantic blunders, but so far, we have survived and recovered.

Believe on, George. Believe on. (h/t Atrios)

The Drunk Joke Always Slays

A comment from yours truly at a Daily Kos diary about Elizabeth Edwards’s appearance with Chris Matthews, where he complained about trial lawyers (quote is approximate but accurate overall):

PA (15+ / 0-)

Chris: “Ya canneven finna — hic — finna bartenner in Pennsylvannia annymor cuzzu the trial — hic — liars. Did annywun ever tell you you hadda priddy face?”

I think there will be a staggering loss of human life out of all proportion to the stakes involved… Sen. George McGovern, March 1965

by darrelplant on Fri Jan 04, 2008 at 03:50:26 PM PST

Unity Über Alles

As Dennis Perrin notes, Democrats can’t seem to get enough of Barack Obama‘s Iowa victory speech.

We have been a nation adrift too long. We have been without leadership too long. We have had divided and deadlocked government too long. We have been governed by veto too long. We have suffered enough at the hands of a tired and worn-out administration without new ideas, without youth or vitality, without vision and without the confidence of the American people. There is a fear that our best years are behind us. But I say to you that our nation’s best is still ahead.

Our country has lived through a time of torment. It is now a time for healing. We want to have faith again. We want to be proud again. We just want the truth again.

It is time for the people to run the government, and not the other way around.

It is the time to honor and strengthen our families and our neighborhoods and our diverse cultures and customs.

We need a Democratic President and a Congress to work in harmony for a change, with mutual respect for a change. And next year we are going to have that new leadership. You can depend on it!

It is time for America to move and to speak not with boasting and belligerence but with a quiet strength, to depend in world affairs not merely on the size of an arsenal but on the nobility of ideas, and to govern at home not by confusion and crisis but with grace and imagination and common sense.

It is time for us to take a new look at our own government, to strip away the secrecy, to expose the unwarranted pressure of lobbyists, to eliminate waste, to release our civil servants from bureaucratic chaos, to provide tough management, and always to remember that in any town or city the mayor, the governor, and the President represent exactly the same constituents.

Barack Obama? Or Jimmy Carter?

Speeches aren’t enough. They’re important in the election phase, but as with Kennedy and Carter, they aren’t necessarily an indicator of how someone will actually govern or the kinds of policies they’ll pursue.

I’d vote for Obama in a heartbeat over Clinton, but whoever takes over next year is going to have a tough job rolling back the 15 years of “legacy” the Republicans have piled up since they took the House in ’94. It’s going to take a lot of partisanship to do that, and I worry that — as happened with Carter in the post-Watergate era — that will go by the wayside and a few years down the road we’ll end up with something equivalent to the Reagan Revolution.

For I Know That the Hypnotized Never Lie

Back in August, at Senator Ron Wyden’s Town Hall on Iraq, I asked him if he trusted the Bush administration. To my face, he didn’t explicitly say so, but he did imply it with his recitation of an old Russian phrase “Trust but verify”.

Wyden’s staff at the time tried to make the point to others that “On Iraq, Iran, and civil liberties, Sen. Wyden trusts Bush as far as he can throw Karl Rove.”

But the impression, for me, is hard to shake even after five months and the beginnning of a new year. Because this letter arrived yesterday, in response to a note of mine about warrantless wiretapping to the senator’s office.

December 12, 2007

Dear Mr. Plant:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the revelations that President Bush authorized various government agencies to spy on American citizens. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

Like most Oregonians, I was stunned to hear the Administration admit that the President directed the National Security Agency (NSA to eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls without first getting a warrant. Although I am a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, this program’s existence had been withheld from me for years.

It goes on like that.

You could construe that second paragraph as saying that Wyden was surprised to hear Bush publicly acknowledging the existence of the program that had been kept from Wyden for years, but even that doesn’t seem all that unlikely to this Oregonian, when the government has defended interrogation methods considered torture by the Geneva Conventions, invaded Iraq without any real proof of WMDs, and screwed New Orleans over.

No, to me it sounds like an admission of shock over the administration’s actions — after years of duplicity and brazen violation of the Constitution — from someone who still seems to be giving them the benefit of his trust.

What possible purpose does saying that he was “stunned” serve? Apart from making him look clueless when he’s supposed to be the one providing oversight of the world’s largest intelligence-gathering apparatus?

Take the stunning poll at Loaded Orygun.

Get Me the Hospital Rankings, Stat!

Joe Rojas-Burke wraps up his story on attempts by insurers to turn patients needing critical care for heart attacks and strokes into “thrift-minded consumers” with this quote: “Magnusson, the OHSU physician, said public reporting of quality rankings is likely to produce at least one fast result: ‘Those places that don’t score well will take steps to improve their performance and move up in ratings.'”

Another possibility is that hospitals will simply attempt to tweak the system to give the illusion of an improvement in performance and move up in the ratings, in the same way college rankings are manipulated. And what could be more fair than ratings compiled by a nonprofit (oddly enough, unnamed in the article) “joined” by “ten of Oregon’s largest health insurers”?

Inside Charlie Wilson

Les AuCoin has an interesting take on his former defense appropriations committee-mate Charlie Wilson at Blue Oregon today.

A major point in AuCoin’s tale is that WIlson “was a social and economic liberal who defied his Bible-thumping conservative district and its history of racial bigotry. He was a strong supporter of civil rights, minimum wage increases, Medicaid, and anti-poverty programs.” He supported abortion rights, the ERA, and progressive economic issues.

But on the matter of foreign policy, he was a complete and total hawk, supporting Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza prior to his Afghan adventure. Like so many other Democrats, Wilson was more than willing to fight ideological battles with as many dollars and foreign lives as he could throw at it.

New Year, Square One

No job, no skills, no money, no nothing

No nothing ’cause I want it for free [Dirt cheap!]

Want it for free, all that is coming to me

So I look real hard for somebody to blame [Someone to blame!]

Somebody to blame or an easy way out [Easy way out!]

An easy way out ’cause it ain’t much fun [No fun!]

The place that starts with a square and ends with a one

What can you do? You get what’s given to you

Square one, here I come, here I come square one

You get what’s given to you

Square one, here I come, here I come square one

–The Hives, “Square One Here I Come”