Sunday, September 30, 2007

Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, the Dada Party Candidate

Jeannemarie Devolites Davis has asked us to ignore the GOP label which will appear next to her name on the ballot. This is beyond negative campaigning which only seeks to discourage turnout; she's actually trying to attract voters by claiming she's an independent and not a Republican. I suppose there are voters out there who won't know that the term RINO or Republican In Name Only is an insult and not a term of praise, but would those voters be encouraged to vote for someone who, in effect, is saying "I'm not who I say I am?" I'd give her credit for resorting to the ultimate form of postmodern campaigning, if I thought this was deliberate. Then again, maybe she's practicing politics as an aural artform. If I hear the "message" described in this article - - I could very well be mesmerized enough to forget to vote.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

2009 Can't Come Soon Enough

Webb gave it a great shot today. I can't express how sad I am that he was done in by John Warner. The only explanation for Warner's terrible decision is that he wasn't wholly sincere in his pre-retirement announcement that a meaningful, albeit small, withdrawal was necessary. Once Warner did announce his retirement, he should have been more free, not less, to demonstrate his independence from Bush.

Bush's stance is, as it has been; he will not compromise, and he will not countenance a loss on any vote. At this point, the Dems would have to shut down funding for the war to accomplish any change. Alternatively, they could try to impeach and convict both Bush and Cheney. It just so happens that I'm in that still too small group who would favor such extreme actions. I challenge anyone who does disagree with Bush, but isn't willing to support those extreme actions, to shift focus to Congressional Republicans. While they don't have any more direct control over Bush than their Democratic counterparts, many of them have already begun their re-election campaigns.

My representative, Tom Davis, is waiting until after our state elections this November to officially announce his intentions for next year. People more knowledgeable than I predict that Davis will try to succeed John Warner in the U.S. Senate, and that Warner himself seeks that result. Davis has said absolutely nothing to discourage such talk. I also happen to be represented in the VA Senate by Davis' wife. Davis is campaigning vigorously for his wife. He's justifying a vote for his wife, in part, relying on his personal credibility. Davis has been anything but clear about where he stands on withdrawing our troops. I ask my fellow constituents of VA-11 to demand that Davis tell us where he stands on the war. If he won't clearly state that he would have voted with Webb today, it's fair to assume he'd act just like his mentor and the man he probably hopes to replace. That's unacceptable to me. I'm going to vote for Chap Petersen over Ms. Davis anyway, but I'd like to believe that on the most important issue facing us today, if someone siding with Bush asked me to vote for a particular person, I'd be highly inclined not to.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

John Warner's Valedictory Period May Be Over

I was trying to think of a term, analogous to a honeymoon period, to describe the way we were all supposed to say nice things about John Warner in the wake of his retirement announcement.

In any event, the Wall Street Journal has reported today that Warner is reconsidering his support for his VA colleague Jim Webb's proposal to require that our troops be given as much time off between tours as the length of their tours. I learned this from which reports that Warner is "reconsidering his position" in light of the administration's willingness to move closer to him on expediting some reduction in U.S. troop levels this year in Iraq. "It took a lot of convincing to make the first units come home before Christmas," Mr. Warner said. "There is a lot of importance in that."

This is patently a false rationale. Warner initially "broke" with Bush by saying that a symbolic number of troops needed to be withdrawn to make clear to the Iraqi government that our commitment is not open-ended. Bush's pledge to bring some troops home by this Christmas sends absolutely the opposite signal to Iraqi government. Between Gen. Petraeus' testimony and everything the Bush Administration has said since, it is clear that the only troops that are coming home are those that were going to have to come home anyway because the surge can't be sustained beyond the middle of next year.

So, can we please quit saying what a great independent statesman Warner is? Without even a re-election bid at stake, he's caving for, I guess, purely partisan reasons. Combining this with Sen. Majority Leader Reid's statement today that compromises with GOP Senators about Iraq are off the table, I fear that not only will John Warner not bring Tom Davis closer to the Dem position, Davis will vote with Bush yet again.

Corrected - If it's Tuesday, Tom Davis must be veering right again.

Yesterday, Vice President Cheney spoke on behalf of Rep. Graves (R-MO). Cheney took the opportunity to pep up the partisan crowd by trotting out the latest boogey man from the evil left,

I think it's worth arguing whether should have employed the rhyme "betray us" in an ad in the New York Times criticizing Gen. Petraeus. What's clearly not worth arguing is whether the Times gave some kind of benefit in the rate charged for the ad. In an report on Friday by Katharine Seelye, the Times itself explained that the rate says it paid was the usual rate for that kind of ad requested by the advertiser on a "standby" basis, i.e., no guarantee that it will run on the preferred date.

[The 9/24/07 Wash Post reports that the New York Times admitted it should have charged full price for the ad because the date of its running was promised to Moreover, the ad's content violated NYT policies on personal attacks. While I still think Tom Davis was grandstanding, in this case, it appears he was right.]

Here's what Cheney said yesterday: The attacks on Gen. Petraeus by in "ad space provided at subsidized rates in the New York Times last week were an outrage."

Today, Tom Davis wrote House Government Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman calling for hearings on "the New York Times's possible in-kind political contribution to in the form of a discounted advertising rate."

I can only guess that because the GOP can't directly tie the Democrats to, and because the GOP thinks that attacking only won't sufficiently rouse the rabble, the GOP wants to shift the focus to their longstanding presumed liberal enemy, the New York Times.

Can we please put to rest any notion that Tom Davis isn't, and hasn't been (see Schiavo subpoena), a reliable flunky for the worst kind of right-wing propaganda?

Arguably, Davis is simply signaling his willingness to lean hard to the right in anticipation of facing competition in next year's quest for the GOP nomination for John Warner's Senate seat. I don't think it matters what Davis' motivation is. Tom Davis is all too willing to talk and act contrary to the ideological sentiments of his constituents.

I'll end as I have in previous posts here. Tom Davis is literally running around campaigning for his wife to be re-elected to her VA Senate Seat. He's put off officially announcing his plans for next year. Tom and Jeannemarie Devolites Davis would like their mutual constituents to believe that they're moderate. Maybe Jeannemarie is more moderate than Tom. Maybe not. Regardless, Chap Petersen is clearly in the mainstream of a majority of his would-be constituents. A vote for Chap not only will give us a better State Senator next year, it will send an unmistakable signal to Tom Davis that we're fed up with entrenched politicians saying one thing and doing another.

Vote for change! Vote for Chap!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

"The Iraq war is largely about oil."

This ought to matter greatly, not only because it seems true, but also because of who said this: Alan Greenspan. I'd like to believe that this revelation will result in substantial changes soon in terms of our troops being withdrawn from Iraq. My hopes are not high. Bush would like to see a semi-permanent presence of around 50,000 troops somewhere in the region, probably in the massive bases built in Iraq. He analogized it to South Korea. I suppose in the fervor in the wake of 9/11, if Bush had described building a firewall against terrorists in the Middle East to last for decades, he still may have received bipartisan support. Even if everything had turned out just as it has, we might be exactly where we are today. Bush and the Republicans might even be less unpopular, because most people now suspect that Bush knew or should have known that Saddam had no WMD and that Bush knew or should have known that Saddam had nothing to do with 9/11. So, even if the invasion of Iraq created a front in the war on terror and terrorists in Iraq that had not been there before, most Americans might have accepted those costs as reasonable in an effort to protect our country from terrorism. What I shall never accept, however, is that most Americans would have accepted the costs, human, financial, and constitutional, if Bush said an invasion was necessary to secure access to oil. In fact, given the way Greenspan has self-servingly expressed other regrets about taxes and fiscal policy, I think it's fair to wonder if his revelation about oil isn't just the last available cover for the real reasons we invaded Iraq, which not only would have been unacceptable to most Americans but also would have been so outrageous to even suggest that the post-9/11 anger would have been redirected at Bush. I won't speculate, because I don't know, why we invaded Iraq, but it seems obvious to me that the only justifiable response by Congress is to take power away from Bush, at least by exercising control over funding, if not by impeachment. Any further delay at this point makes Congress complicit in at best the biggest mistake in U.S. foreign policy history and at worst major war crimes.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

John Edwards / Mark Warner / Chap Petersen

John Edwards is taking advantage of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's reticence. Tonight on MSNBC he's purchased two minutes to call for Congressional Democrats to refuse to give Bush any more money for the war without a fixed timetable for withdrawing our troops. I also understand that Edwards, going further than Clinton and Obama, thinks any residual troops should be those required for protecting our embassy and any humanitarian workers and no residual troops for the phony Global War on Terror or to train Iraqi troops.

As everyone now knows Mark Warner has announced that he will announce after this November's state elections that he will run to succeed John Warner in the U.S. Senate. VA Dems are ecstatic. VA Republicans are even more depressed than before and that's saying a lot. I'm confident that Mark Warner will use this period between now and this November to campaign vigorously for the most winnable seats for Dems.

Speaking of a very winnable seat for a Dem, I'm more excited than ever, and that's saying a lot, too, about the prospects of Chap Petersen winning his race against Jeannemarie Devolites Davis, a/k/a, Rep. Tom Davis' wife.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Obama and Hillary Again Tied on Our Future in Iraq.

Today, Barack Obama spoke on Iraq and released his plan for withdrawal. He and Hillary Clinton are now both for withdrawing our combat troops beginning now and ending sometime next year. It's now incumbent upon them to actually push legislation to accomplish this and not vote for anything less. It's also incumbent upon those of us who want Barack and Hillary to go even further even faster to push them to support legislation that matters, i.e., no more funding of anything but withdrawal. We also want more troops to be withdrawn, not just the combat troops, but virtually all the troops.

Monday, September 10, 2007

step backward tomorrow / step forward Wednesday?

It's not my VA Senate District, but I just found out District 39 Sen. Jay O'Brien is hosting a town hall meeting on "illegal immigration" tomorrow at Crestwood Elementary School. I encourage District 39 residents whose ugly sides haven't yet been captured by the anti-immigrant activists to show up to counter the haters.

On Wednesday, it's been reported that Barack Obama will give a major address on Iraq. Let's hope Hillary Clinton's movement toward meaningful and timely withdrawal as well as the chilly reception Petraeus and Crocker are getting today will spur Barack to move even further toward more meaningful and quicker withdrawal.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Hillary nudges ahead of Barack on Iraq

I guess I should have done a more thorough canvass of news sources before I asserted earlier today that neither Hillary nor Barack had shown any recent leadership on ending the war. Dailykos got an e-mail from the Clinton campaign in which Hillary says she's for an immediate redeployment ending no later than 12/31/08, and she vows to do all she can to move Bush in that direction. I went to her official campaign website and didn't see any reference to this, but I don't know why Kos would lie. Barack's official campaign website and the sources I've consulted still show no new word from him. For now, I have to give the edge to Hillary. Barack, the pressure's on. Here's a link to Kos' post -

Credit for Warner/Signs of Dem Life/ CHAP!

I've been remiss in not updating and not timely giving credit to our very own Sen. John Warner for not only sticking to his guns in breaking with Bush but also for helping move toward getting us out of Iraq. I think you almost have to give the lion's share of credit to Warner for Gen. Petraeus' recent statements about a small redeployment maybe even by the end of this year.

Speaking of recent statements, there have been very hopeful signs from the Dem Senate Leadership on Iraq. Sen. Maj. Leader Reid has vowed not to compromise for the sake of compromise, and Sen. Durbin has vowed to stop giving Bush blank checks on funding the war. Though neither Sens. Clinton nor Obama need to take a leadership role here for the sake of their Presidential campaigns, it'll be very interesting to see how quickly they rush to the head of the parade if next week's debate turns into an anti-war rout.

Finally, the most recent news is that within the hour I spotted none other than Chap Petersen going door-to-door in my Lake Braddock neighborhood. We had a nice, albeit brief chat in the middle of Olley Lane. In the off chance any of my neighbors actually read this blog or perhaps see this post over at Waldo's aggregator, Virginia Political Blogs, and you haven't had the pleasure of meeting the #1 candidate on the scene today, you're in for treat. Go Chap!