Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Cheney "Met With Nearly Complete Silence"

Hat tip to Needlenose for
the Cheney/Pombo photo
This afternoon, the Los Angeles Times published its account of Vice President Dick Cheney’s fundraising trip through California on behalf of three Republican Congressional candidates, including Richard Pombo. It contained the following report from inside Stockton’s Fox/Bob Hope Theater last night:
Cheney stuck to his practiced role as administration cheerleader and stiletto-wielding partisan. He lauded the economy's performance under President Bush and said the country is a safer and stronger place thanks to Bush's "sound decisions" over the past five years. He called the administration's warrantless wiretapping program "absolutely vital in saving American lives."

And he all but accused Democrats of lending aid and comfort to terrorists, saying advocates of "a sudden withdrawal from Iraq are counseling the very kind of retreat that Osama bin Laden has been predicting and counting on."

The response was strikingly subdued, given the loyalties of his audiences. In Stockton, there were cheers and whoops as Cheney reeled off a tickertape of upbeat economic statistics. But his lengthy defense of the war in Iraq, his insistence "we are on the offense" and "have a clear plan for victory," was met with nearly complete silence.
So what are we to make of this stony response by the hard-core, big-buck Republican donors in CA-11?

Way back in October, Steve Filson addressed the San Ramon Valley Democratic Club and said, "It's about electability. If we wave the anti-war flag, we will lose. If we are too progressive, we will lose again." Now, there has been considerable debate since then, on this blog and elsewhere, over the question of whether Democrats in historically conservative-leaning districts should dare to call for either immediate or timed withdrawal from Iraq. Arguably, Filson has predicated his entire candidacy on his unwillingness to withdraw troops from Iraq until there is a “functional, inclusive, non-sectarian Iraqi government with an Iraqi military force able to quell domestic threats.” I mean, the ostensible raison d’etre for Ellen Tauscher, Rahm Emanuel and the DCCC to have inserted Filson into this race was the calculation that his “moderate/centrist” political views would appeal to conservative voters in CA-11. Since, in reality, just about the only substantive ideological daylight to be found between Steve Filson and Jerry McNerney is in their differing approaches to the Iraq War, we must assume that it is Filson’s refusal to “cut and run” that defines him as a “moderate."

But implicit in this debate has been the conventional wisdom that a majority Republican district encompassing a considerable portion of California’s Central Valley would be reluctant to support a candidate who was opposed to the continued indefinite presence of American troops in Iraq. Conventional wisdom has told Democrats that in order to win in a Republican-leaning district, we must camouflage our values. But what if the conventional wisdom is not just a little wrong, but a lot wrong?

Let me repeat this just for effect: “[Cheney’s] lengthy defense of the war in Iraq, his insistence ‘we are on the offense’ and ‘have a clear plan for victory,’ was met with nearly complete silence.” Silence from Republican supporters who had just paid $500 to be in the room with Cheney and Pombo. Now, if the Republican fat-cats are unhappy with the status quo in Iraq, where do you suppose the regular Republicans and the 15% Decline to States stand? Folks, it could be a whole new world out there, especially if Democrats find the courage to stand strong for their core beliefs and ideas instead of watering them down in the vague hope of broadening their appeal.


Blogger Matt said...

Here's another relevant quote from the LA Times piece (emphasis mine):

Asked his opinion of Cheney, Richard Solarz, a 58-year-old physicist who lives in Pombo's district, replied: "Ummm … Uh … " He gripped his chardonnay. He paused. "I wish we weren't in Iraq," he finally said.

I recognized the name Richard Solarz from the AP report on the Cheney fundraiser. Here's what the AP article had to say about Richard Solarz:

Richard Solarz, a physicist from the upscale Bay Area suburb of Danville, gave $500 to attend Pombo’s fundraiser.

Pombo, he said, is approachable and plainspoken. He also supports him because of his seniority in Congress. “People don’t realize how important that is,” he said.

Now I'm not even going to pretend that this guy is in the universe of persuadable voters. Still I think it's interesting that a Republican from Danville (and a Pombo supporter to boot) seems more anti-war than the only credible Democrat from Danville.

1:04 AM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger CF said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:39 AM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger CF said...

Guys and gals -

I really think you are oversimplifying the difficult and complicated situation in Iraq (as well as Filson's stance on it).

Nationally, many arguments on the conflict seem to settle into two radically extreme stances - the Rumsfeld/Cheney "stay the same course no matter what" vs. the Murtha/Sheehan "get out now." Both of these "plans" seem to be short on thought and long on emotion/ideology, and this polarized discussion isn't going to get us anywhere. The war in Iraq is a HORRIBLE situation, and most (including Filson and the quoted Richard Solarz) wish that the administration did not bring us there.

What is absent from the discussion in this country is critical analysis of other options - such as a unique formation of an Iraqi government and infrastructure alongside gradual troop withdrawal as advocated by Sen. Joe Biden and Leslie Gelb. (link)

Respected people like Gen. Tony Zinni (certainly a popular guy on DailyKos) have been critical of the Bush and Rumsfeld duo - but also recognize the catastrophic consquences of a hasty withdrawal (Listen Here).

Filson is not the only one who doesn't want to abruptly and irresponsibly withdraw all of our troops from Iraq. So before you falsely paint Filson as "pro-war," understand that he feels (as he has stated in public and on his website) the administration has bungled this war from day one, and there needs to be critical thought before fixing what has been done. There is a desperate need to end our involvement in Iraq, but ending it requires balancing the safety of our troops and the safety of the region (and impact on world security).

5:48 AM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...


I fully intend to respond to this in a larger post on the main page, but I want to make a couple comments here.

1) The fact that you characterize the Murtha Plan as "get out now" demonstrates that you are insufficiently familiar with the basic policy issues at hand to comment on them with much authority.

2) I reject your assertion that the Murtha Plan is "short on though and long on emotion/ideology." The Murtha Plan stems from the recognition of the basic fact that we cannot win the war in Iraq militarily. You are free to believe that this recognition presupposes a lack of analysis or sufficient thought, but your repetitive assertions to that effect certainly do not advance the discourse. And frankly, I think they betray a fundamental weakness in your position. Essentially you have created a straw argument in which those who disagree with you are simply superficial thinkers who don't have the intellectual fortitude to think things through. The Murtha Plan isn't something Murtha came to by reading it in a fortune cookie. It is a rational response to the belief that this war cannot be won militarily. And this belief is a rational conclusion given the evidence that exists.

3) Can you please stop characterizing those who favor a public timetable for withdrawal "irresponsible"?

If you think we have a responsibility to let our men and women in the Armed Services fight and die in Iraq, then by all means sign up and go risk your life and limb for your beliefs. I will pray for your safety and hope you don't get PTSD like one of my best friends. I will anxiously await your safe return and hope that you come back without any fingers burned off or blown off, that you have your sight and your hearing, that your nose is still attached to your face, and that you didn't do anything in the fog of war that will haunt you until the day you die.

But you know some of us think we have a responsibility to the members of the Armed Forces who are in harms way because of the decisions of our political leaders. And some of us even recognize a responsibility to the Iraqis. And there might even be a few of us who think (maybe that's not the right word because, after all, how good are we at thinking?) that this war in Iraq is making us less safer here. You know, we've spent hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq, and some of us think that our time and resources might be better spent doing something other than trying to put humpty dumpty back together again.

6:34 AM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger CF said...

1) From a press release from Rep. Murtha:

"My plan calls:

To immediately (emphasis added) redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces.
To create a quick reaction force in the region.
To create an over- the- horizon presence of Marines.
To diplomatically pursue security and stability in Iraq

This war needs to be personalized. As I said before I have visited with the severely wounded of this war. They are suffering.

Because we in Congress are charged with sending our sons and daughters into battle, it is our responsibility, our OBLIGATION to speak out for them. That’s why I am speaking out.

Our military has done everything that has been asked of them, the U.S. can not accomplish anything further in Iraq militarily. IT IS TIME TO BRING THEM HOME (emphasis added)."

I may have oversimplified, but did I misinterpret that?

2) True, I should not have lumped Murtha into the Sheehan/Bush/Rumsfeld camp regarding "lack of thought." I guess I was referencing more to Bush/Rumsfeld ideology and Sheehan emotion. I still believe that we have a responsibility to extricate ourselves from Iraq while leaving behind a viable government and infrastructure. We owe it to the troops that have given their blood, sweat, and tears, to the Iraqis that are desperate for stability and freedom, and to the Americans here at home who want a safer life. We differ on whether a stable Iraq means security here, and whether troop presence offers security there - and that isn't going to change for either of us.

3) Yes, that was a glib comment on my part. I will let people make their own opinions.

As I said before, action is required. I am sorry for your friend - PTSD is a tragic consequence of war. In a perfect world, we would have never have been there in Iraq. I never supported the decision to go to battle in Iraq. This administration made a bad situation worse. As I said before, Gen. Zinni, Sen. Biden, Steve Filson, and I believe a hasty withdrawal at this point would only push the situation farther away from stability and safety for Iraqis and the region. I never claimed to be an authority on this incredibly complex subject. I only wanted to bring attention to various alternatives to the situation in Iraq - alternatives that I believe can help bridge between the extreme Sheehans and Cheneys of this country.

7:13 AM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous just wondering said...

I'm just wondering how many mothers (myself included) would be offended (as I am) by being lumped together with Cindy Sheehan in being called an extremist. I'm also wondering if there is any more "extreme" emotional suffering a mother can have in life than losing a son.

I'm also wondering if just not agreeing with a Filson position gets you an "extremist" tag.

Seems to me that Pombo and his ilk are the extremists. Cindy is a grieving mother that wants to see that no more mothers suffer like she has, and if they do, it oughtta be for a true noble cause.

7:31 AM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger CF said...

Sorry, I forgot that the word was such a no-no around these parts. By extreme I only mean at the end of a spectrum - in this case of troop withdrawal (Sheehan 100% for immediate withdrawal, Cheney 0% for immediate withdrawal). I don't think mourning over the loss of a son is an extreme reaction, it is a completely normal and justified one. Sorry for any confusion.

7:40 AM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger Matt said...


I appreciate your response although I think we still differ on the substance of the debate.

But with respect to the Murtha Plan, I think you need to understand that the GOP proposed a phony resolution nominally in line with the Murtha Plan that called for the troops to come home imediately. This GOP resolution omitted the caveats within the Murtha Plan, which are that the withdrawal should be consistent with the safety of the troops and that it should happen as quickly as practicable. There is a big difference between what the GOP proposed (to make the Dems look bad, not because the GOP supported the resolution) and what Murtha proposed. The difference in broad strokes is between simply evacuating the area (the GOP sham resolution) and unilaterally withdrawing in an organized and coordinated fashion. Furthermore, I think there is an implicit difference in the time frame people associate with the different plans. It would be consistent with Murtha's plan to make the decision today to have all of the troops out of Iraq within the next nine to twelve months. Thus, Murtha does not necessarily want to abbreviate the normal process of withdrawal, he simply wants to initiate it. And since the process will of necessity take some time, the various actors in Iraq will have a chance to prepare for life without the American military presence in the country. And since a lot of the actors in Iraq have a lot to lose if the American withdrawal results in a complete power vacuum, the fact that we have unilaterally initiated the process of withdrawal will incentivize those actors within Iraq to get their act together before we leave.

Also, FWIW, Murtha's Plan includes the presence of an over-the-horizon Marines rapid response force. Thus, we would retain some ability to project force into Iraq without keeping troops stationed within the borders of Iraq.

8:26 AM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous mariposa said...

CF is suspect. I dismiss the entire comment based on the "Sheehan/Murtha comment.

Hey, CF your slip is showing.

Sheehan is entitled to her opinion, and a has a place of validity. She experiences this war at a heart wrenching and life changing level: a mother who has lost a child.

Murtha is entitled to and has earned a label of expert. To toss them into the same bag is a technique to devalue both arguments. You call it the "Sheehan/Murtha" camp.

Your language and the angle from which you argue attempts to devalue and diminish both of these positions.

At some point...don't you think people are going to tire from this attempt at manipulation? I know I do...

9:19 AM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger CF said...

Uh, I am not trying to manipulate anyone. I regret throwing Murtha and Cindy Sheehan in the same boat. I never claimed that Sheehan isn't entitled to her opinion, or that Murtha is not an expert. I simply don't agree with what either wants to do.

I solely wanted to do the following:

- Counter the claim that Filson is pro-war or Matt's implied claim that "wishes that we were in Iraq."

- Present differing viewpoints (Sen. Joe Biden and General Tony Zinni) on how we can manage to get ourselves out of this bungled mess in Iraq without abandoning the Iraqi people or creating a situation even worse that the one we have now.

11:08 AM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous mariposa said...

Well CF, it is either manipulative or passive agressive. Both are dubious.

11:26 AM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boring!!!! yawn.....
Isnt there anything more interesting to talk about? What about the two new shiny expensive, effective mailers the DCCC just paid for on behalf of Filson? They really are going to come in and buy this race.

9:03 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait, are you guys talking about the same John Murtha who voted against an amendment that would have provided money for prosthetics research for our troops?

6:58 AM, May 25, 2006  
Blogger JLou said...

It goes without saying, but the mailers were not paid for by the DCCC (nor could they be, if my understanding of election law is correct).

9:26 AM, May 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. 2% of a buck again (and compared to Rahmbo, I really am a cheapskate)

After all, "jlou", you misunderstand what the DCCC can do for a candidate, or against their candidate's opponent in terms of the moolabomb they can drop as shown by these Form 24 submittals since just mid-April

1) George Wilson, running in OH-06 (Strickland's seat) got a nice assist of over $612,746 in IE moola, and

2) Francine Busby, running for the Dukester's old seat against Bilbray in CA-50, was tossed (sit down, people, sit down) over $1,413,399 (yes, you read that right -- more than what the Dickster himself has raised in net contributions) in IE moola from the Rahmster

3) Unfortunately, Filson, running in a contested Democratic primary (so the DCCC really shouldn't interfere, unlike the open contests such as CA-50) only got $5,600 in bluebacks (like greenbacks, but with donkeys on the back)

4) So, yes, Virginia, AND "jlou", the DCCC can most certainly help, but most likely not with those mailers you see on the site for Our Man on his Mission...

Your hard-earned DCCC donations at work (and they rag on Dean for HIS spending!)

$.02 out.

11:52 AM, May 25, 2006  
Blogger JLou said...

$0.02 --

You're right; I only meant that with independent expenditures, it has to be shown that the candidate's campaign and the independent group are not working together at all. The Filson mailers were designed and paid for by the Filson campaign; the DCCC couldn't have paid for them. I didn't mean to suggest that the DCCC doesn't help candidates with cash, either earmarked or IE.

Incidentally, I assume that the $5,600 the DCCC spent in CA-11 was for their anti-Pombo billboard campaign (http://www.dccc.org/pombo/contestvote/). It helped both McNerney and Filson insofar as it attacked Pombo.

- J.

1:10 PM, May 25, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one might argue that the DCCC has paid for everything in the filson campaign.

after all, without the DCCC and elected support of tauscher, pelosi, etc., filson wouldn't have a nickel to his name.

1:48 PM, May 25, 2006  
Blogger JLou said...

The DCCC helps those who help themselves.

2:14 PM, May 25, 2006  
Blogger babaloo said...

Jlou --
You say, “The DCCC helps those who help themselves.”

An interesting play on “The Gods help those who help themselves.”

Now, it seems obvious that Steve Filson thinks of the DCCC as “gods,” and it seems even more obvious that Rahm Emanuel, Ellen Tauscher, and the DCCC think of themselves as gods. And woe to those Democrats who refuse to bow down before their power and worship them.

Of course, in literature the first time the phrase "The Gods help those who help themselves" appears is in the Aesop fable, ”Hercules and the Waggoner.” Now, maybe I just don’t understand the fable, but it seems to me like Aesop’s point was that the waggoner would be better served by working to solve his own problem than praying for the gods to rescue him.

And, you know, I kind of like that interpretation. Instead of praying, “O, DCCC, help me in this my hour of distress,” Democrats in CA-11 have taken matters into their own hands and are helping themselves.

And all they’ve ever asked is that the gods don’t interfere.

3:59 PM, May 25, 2006  
Anonymous Rocky Balboa said...

Yo all youse guys.

Rocky here. I jist wanna say dat at least dis here discussion is mostly civil, radder den duh usual Dem vs Dem diatoms.

Rocky don't know enough about dis Iraq ting - daesn't dat woid "Murtha" mean death in Spanish? Rocky mostly tink its time for our boys to come home as soon as possible, cuz dere's been enough Murtha over dere alreddy. Youse all gotta know what I mean, right?

Dat's one of duh reasons why Rocky and Adrian both supportin McNerney cuz he ain't afraid to come right out and say what he stands for. Wit all do respect Mr cf and Pretty Goil, it seem a little bit like Pretty Boy is trying to avoid taking a clear stand. Isn't dat what youse bobblin talkin heads call a waffle cone?

But don't get Rocky wrong, cuz Rocky appreciate dat Rickey decided to start takin on ButtaPombO radder den his fellow Dems or duh guys on dis blot which is a good ting. Rocky wanna say tanks Mr cf and Pretty Goil fer tawking to dat bum and gettin him to clean up his act and do sumtin constructive in duh two weeks remainin before duh here electron.

Rocky out. Good to hear from you Mr $.02 old buddy! And tanks fer answerin my question on duh Fightin Repug. Rocky like dat "Citrus Pete" name. You got dat woid patented? Can Rocky use it wit proper retribution?

6:27 PM, May 25, 2006  
Blogger JLou said...

Rocky -- There's a difference between waffling and nuance. I respect that there are those who disagree with Filson's position -- there are no easy answers in Iraq and I don't think anyone can claim to know for sure what it's going to take to fix what we broke. But I take issue with the statement that Filson is waffling or avoiding taking a clear stance. Filson's position on Iraq hasn't changed.

He went into this race knowing that his stance on Iraq wasn't going to be the easiest one to sell in a Democratic primary...but it's what he actually believes is the responsible and right thing to do; he has not run from it for the sake of political expediency -- surely that takes some courage too?

Babaloo -- interesting that the "God helps those..." phrase is not actually biblical. Who knew? Anyway, I was just trying to needle "anonymous." ;)

- J.

8:45 PM, May 25, 2006  
Anonymous Rocky Balboa said...

Yo Pretty Goil,

Tanks for takin tissue wit Rocky's woids cuz its only wen you disagree wit sum one dat youse ever really loin sumtin, you know what I mean? Rocky also appreciates duh fact dat like Mr cf you disagree wit Rocky in a respectable way, so you oins his respect in return. It look like Pretty Boy did a good job raisin his kids so he can't be as bad as I taught he wuz on account of duh company he wuz keepin, but at least now he's keepin dis company off of dis here blot. Or he put a Pampers on him, which is the same ting.

Actually, Rocky don't claim to have all duh answers to the $64,000 questions dat wrecked Iwreq either. Maybe yer right and Pretty Boy is takin an honest stand and maybe Rocky shouln't oughta be calling Filson a waffle cone.

Accordianly, Rocky gonna retread dat statement.

Rocky out.

9:33 AM, May 26, 2006  

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