Tuesday, November 30, 2004


Where's the Orange?

With today's resignation by Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge, quite a bit of attention has been drawn to his department. All day long there has been wide speculation as to who will be chosen to replace him. I've heard several names mentioned; Mitt Romney, Asa Hutchinson, Mike Leavitt, Rudy Giuliani, and even Joe Lieberman (I know, I laughed too). But I think that the media is missing something big here. Why aren't we at Orange alert?

Last summer, the nation's terror alert level was elevated to orange based upon what turned out to be out-dated intelligence. The Bush administration strongly defended the move and denied accusations that the warning was politically motivated. But nonetheless, the terror threat level was raised. Now yesterday, we saw the release of a new video featuring bin Laden aide Ayman al-Zawahiri who vowed to continue the fight against America and yet our threat level remains at yellow. According to Matt Lauer of the Today show, previous videos released by al-Zawahiri have been followed closely by an al Qaeda attack. He cited the Bali nightclub bombing and the recent bombing in Egypt as examples. So what gives? Here we have something tangible that has signaled attacks in the past, but we aren't raising the threat level. Does this make sense to anybody? Could it be that those terror alerts over the summer were really politically motivated? Or is our nation's safety being ignored now that the election is over? Neither one of these scenarios is too rosy.

What do you want to bet that nobody in the media will have the balls to ask this question? Wouldn't it be nice if the press would do it's job?

Monday, November 29, 2004


Quit It!

Two weeks ago, I made a few recommendations for the future of the Democratic party. The first suggestion was to get control of the political language. We need to stop talking about the Republican agenda and start setting the tone ourselves. Then yesterday, as I browsed Atrios' Eschaton, I was directed to a blog by Matthew Gross which contained what is quite possibly the perfect analogy of the current Democrat/Republican relationship. It equates the Democratic Party to an abused spouse with the Republicans as the abuser. It's really quite accurate and well worth the time to read it in full.

After reading this, I felt better about the direction of my party. It made me feel like I wasn't crazy. It was saying the same things as me, but in a much clearer way. I immediately e-mailed it to my friends and told many others about it. I was encouraged.

Then came this:

Quit it! This is why we lost the election. We are playing the game by their rules. For too long, we have let them define the terms of engagement and we are playing on their field. Until our leaders (unfortunately Edwards and Kery are looked at as our leaders until future notice) are willing to talk about something other than the Republican agenda, we will continue to lose ground. We need to stop talking about God and religion as though we are trying to catch up with the Republicans. Our values and morals are nothing to be ashamed of. Why do we act like the scolded child trying to make up for spilling juice on the carpet? Or, as the Mathew Gross article asks, why do we keep acting like the abused spouse? It appears as if we are sucking up. As long as we talk like we're the party of lesser morals, we are going to be perceived that way.

The Democratic party has long been the party of charity, mercy, compassion, and equality. To me, these are true values. Doing what is right for those who can't do for themselves is always an honorable endeavor. As Democrats, we should be proud of our legacy and promote it. Make the Republicans talk about our agenda. Put the burden on them and make them play catch up to us. We have accomplished many great things for our country. As Mr. Bush likes to say, "[We] have earned political capital." It's time we started spending it.

No more groveling. No more sucking up. No more following. From now on, we lead. When you talk to your conservative friends and relatives, be proud. We should never be ashamed of who we are or what we have done. We could all take a cue from Rush Limbaugh. Even though he is quite often wrong, he is proud of his party. We could use some of that pomposity.

Saturday, November 27, 2004


We Give!

The election's over. We've got no more use for him. You can read about it here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


Jesus - The Liberal Years (Part 1 of a Series)

Now that our country has found God, I thought that it might be appropriate for me to go back and examine the word of God a little closer. Maybe there's something that I could learn from the Bible and the teachings of Jesus that would help me better understand why many conservatives believe that George W. Bush was chosen by the almighty to be our leader.

What I found out (not really too surprising though) is that Jesus, the son of God, was a liberal. A true bleeding-heart, if you will. He believed in mercy, charity, and forgiveness. He valued peace, love, and loyalty. Interestingly enough, he also spurned those that would flaunt their faith, but that's for another day. So periodically, I thought it might be nice to share some of the words and deeds that the conservatives hold so dear.

For our first entry in what I hope will be a long series, I give you what sre known as The Beatitudes. Often referred to as the Sermon on the Mount, this is one of Jesus' more famous speeches. I'm sure most of you will recognize it. It comes from the book of Matthew 5:3-12

Now I ask you, does it sound like these things apply to our current leader? Is George Bush poor in spirit? Does he mourn? Is he meek? Does he hunger for righteousness? Is he merciful? Pure of heart? A peacemaker? The answer to all of these is no.

My favorite part is verse 11: "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me." In other words, blessed are those who are not hypocrites. (More on the hypocrisy of conservatism later.)

I wonder if the conservatives realize that they are embracing the words of the world's first true liberal. Ironic isn't it?

Sidenote:Tomorrow is Mrs. kissfan's birthday and a travel day due to the Thanksgiving holiday, so posting may be sporadic over the next couple of days. I hope to be checking in, but should return by Friday or Saturday for sure. Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2004


Deja Vu All Over Again

Despite Iran's claim that it has suspended its uranium enrichment program and has no nuclear weapons, George Bush says that "there must be verification." In other words, Georgieboy needs proof. Does this sound familiar? It should.

Last week I posted about the similarities between the current situation with Iran and pre-war Iraq. Both instances revolved around a rogue nation, nuclear weapons, deception, and defiance. In each case, Secretary Powell assured us that this was based upon reliable intelligence from reliable sources. And in both situations, the burden of proof was on the other country to prove that they had indeed disarmed.

So with all of the similarities, I'm taken back to a question that I asked before the invasion of Iraq: How does a country prove that it doesn't have something? I've often wondred how I, if put in a similar situation, would prove that I didn't have something. I could of course consent to a search of my property, but if my accuser believes that I'm lying, then he could say that I had hidden it somewhere else. So how does one prove that something doesn't exist? I would think that it would be rather difficult.

What I find most interesting about this situation is that if the roles were reversed, the United States wouldn't stand for it. In our country, the burden of proof falls on the accuser, not the accused. Apparently innocent until proven guilty only applies to Americans.

Sidenote: After the election, I came to the realization that if the Democrats are to regain control, that it has to start at the local levels. With that in mind, I set a number of goals for myself to become more active in my city and county. One of those goals is that I will write at least one letter to the editor of my local paper per month. Not a snarky, partisan letter, but one of common sense. Something that all clear thinking, decent Americans can agree with. Here's the first:

I urge everyone to get involved in some way. Whether it's by writing letters, volunteering with your local Democratic organization, or running for office yourself, you can make a difference. It has to start somewhere, and it may as well start with you.

Friday, November 19, 2004



How many times is Colin Powell going to step on his dick in public? In February, 2003, he metaphorically stomped on it in front of the UN Security Council as he presented our "solid" intelligence on Iraq. Then yesterday Powell told reporters an almost identical story about Iranian nuclear activity. But today we get this:

What's that saying they have in Tennessee? I know they have it in Texas. How's that go? "Fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again."

Don't be so sure there, Georgie boy.

Thursday, November 18, 2004


"Wolf! Wolf!"

Oh the tangled webs. I remember when Colin Powell brought credibility to the Bush administration. I remember the talking heads falling all over themselves, fawning at the feet of Secretary Powell. George Bush couldn't have picked a better man for the job, they said. But that was before he became a puppet for the regime. That was before the lies. When given the choice between loyalty to his party or personal integrity, he chose his party. Now his credibility is tarnished.

So you'll have to excuse my skepticism hear things like this:

Considering how solid our intelligence turned out to be on Iraq, I have to wonder about the validity of these claims. Everytime I read this, I get the overwhelming sense of deja-vu. The similarities to Iraq are stunning. According to Powell, Iran "had been actively working on delivery systems" capable of carrying a nuclear weapon. Does this sound familiar? It should, because he made a similar claim in his presentation to the Security Council stating, "These are missiles that Iraq wants in order to project power, to threaten, and to deliver chemical, biological and, if we let him, nuclear warheads. " He claims Iran has "a secret nuclear weapons program," and that "for 20 years the Iranians have been trying to hide things from the international community." He even spoke of centrifuges, uranium enrichment and plans for a bomb. And all of this is supported by the word of Iranian dissidents (not to be confused with Iraqi exiles). I feel as though I've fallen into a time warp where all the "q"s have been replaced by "n"s.

So I'm asking myself, could this really be happening again? Are they setting us up for another round? How many times are we going to be able to play the suspected WMD card before the rest of the global community stops paying attention? It would be extremely naive of us to think that our allies aren't going to be a little more cautious this time around. Are we prepared to handle the scrutiny?

For the sake of our country's reputation, Powell had better right this time. Our intelligence, despite no apparent improvements to the system, had better pan out. Another blunder like the one we're currently trying to control in Iraq could destroy our country's credibilty beyond it's already tattered state. I don't want to live in the country known around the world as the nation who cried wolf.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Take Me To Your Leader

In our quest to regain the Democrat's political standing, we've talked about controlling the language, controlling the issues, and today we're going to look at leadership. This is something the party seems to be lacking these days. I'm not too sure we're getting off on the right foot.

Why is it that the progressive party is run by the most unprogressive people? Tom Daschle? Terry McAullife? Mary-Beth Cahill? These people were the epitome of what was wrong with the Democrats. Seceral months back, I believe it was February, I recieved a survey in the mail from (then Presidential candidate) Howard Dean. The survey wanted my comments on how to improve the Democratic party. I responded by saying that we should stop trying to act like Republicans. I think I even called them Republicrats. Too many of our party's leaders are stuck thinking that we can peel off votes from the conservative base by acting like them. That's not going to happen. We shouldn't be in the business of conversion, but in the business of creation. We need to create new Democrats. One of the ways to do that is to define ourselves as something unique. Something that people who don't identify with the Republicans can relate to.

To do this, we need new leadership. Not just a leader for the DNC, but someone for the entire party. And no, it shouldn't be Hilary Clinton. Not only is she associated with the old Democratic party (Don't send me hate mail, I still love her and Bill), but she is so polarizing that her leadership would be compromised by trying to fend off criticism. No, we need someone fresh. Someone inspiring. We need someone like Barrack Obama. Unfortunately, he's busy. So who do we know that is fresh, inspiring, and not currently serving in politics?

The first person that comes to mind is Howard Dean. Is he a little unpredictable? Sure is! That's what we need right now. Someone we can count on to shake things up. He already has legions of followers willing to go along with him. He can debate on the issues (something Terry McAullife couldn't do). And he's not afraid to scream once in a while.

What we can't afford is another four years of the same old thing. This morning on the Today show, the new Senate minority leader, Harry Reid, kept talking about how he looks forward to "working with the President." Isn't this what we've been hearing for years now? Trying to be the party of good relations hasn't worked to our advantage. Does anybody remember Newt Gingrich? I hated the prick, but he fought Bill Clinton tooth & nail. Sure, it caused problems, but look where his party is now. They didn't get here by laying down and "working with the President." They fought hard. We need the same fire from our leadership.

Gingrich of course is gone from public service. He was so polarizing that he couldn't last too long. You know what they say, it's better to burn out than to fade away. Howard Dean could be that person. He could come in and light the fire, burn bright long enough to get us back on our feet and then step away knowing that he served his party well.

Any other ideas? I'd be glad to entertain them.

Tommorow we'll get back to the issues.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004



Yesterday I began talking about my ideas for the Democrats to get their foot back in the political door. The first thing I think they need to do is get control of the language. The second thing that I think they should do is get control of the issues.

As we witnessed in this latest election, real issues like jobs and the economy, the war in Iraq, the environment, and the deficit really don't mean jack shit any more. Unfortunately for us Democrats, the Republicans figured this out long before we did. I guess you can call us slow learners, but it's time we decided to wake the fuck up. For the past two election cycles (2002 & 2004) the Democrats have been focusing on real issues like those mentioned above while the Republicans have been driving wedges into our base. You see while we've been trying to preserve the environment and stabalize the economy and work for a successful end to the war in Iraq, the Republicans have been dividing the country with issues that play to a person's hatred. You know what I'm talking about: gay marriage, abortion, and God. Who cares that we've lost almost 1,200 men and women over bad intelligence? Who cares that our nation's corporations are polluting the air we breathe and the water we drink? And be honest, who really gives a shit that we squandered away trillions of dollars in budget surpluses? Everything will be fine as long as those God-hating, homo-loving, baby-killers can't tell us what to do. Right? Wrong! Because when the day is done, what's going to matter more, the fact that people are dying because they have no health care and can't afford prescription drugs or the fact that the two homosexuals down the street can't get a piece of paper saying they've made a commitment to each other? You see, the conservatives like to talk about the hatred of the left, but don't you be fooled for a minute. They hate too. They just hate different things.

So in order for the Democrats to regain some of their footing, I think we should actually take the conservatives' advice. We need to learn how to talk to middle America. Now I'm not suggesting that we put the principles of supply and demand or global warming into terms that they can understand. What I'm talking about is something that will play to America's hatred and fears. It's got to be something that will get the Nascar dads and the security moms all in a bunch.

You see, the Republicans have been really good about twisting liberal views into something almost satan-like. For instance, when a Democrat votes against a ban on late-term abortion solely because it makes no allowance for the health of the mother, the republicans say that he supports partial-birth abortions. Or when a Democrat votes against a supplemental funding bill for the troops because there's a proposal that offers a better way to finance it, he's labeled as someone who refuses to support our troops who are in harm's way. We can do this too. We can twist their positions.

So I suggest we start driving wedges. Drive a lot and drive 'em hard. We can't wait until 2006 rolls around to start fighting. We need to strike early and often. Anybody got any good suggestions for wedges?

Tomorrow: Leadership.

Monday, November 15, 2004


A New Beginning

A lot has happened over the last eleven days while I was on vacation. George W. Bush has claimed a mandate and political capital, Dick Cheney has entered and been released from the hospital, Yassar Arafat has died, Chief Justice Rehnquist has been revealed to have cancer, Fallujah has been invaded, and Powell and Ashcroft have resigned. Any one of these items would be worthy of its own post, but things are different these days. Now that the Republicans control the House, Senate, and White House; the Democrats have to focus on minimizing the damage they can do. I beleve that there are several ways that this can be done. Step number one is they have to control the language of politics.

These days it seems as though the Republicans have control of the political vocabulary. In this past election we heard about compassion, values, reform, resolve, and strength. They also spoke of waffles, liberals, flip-flops, and weakness. Each of these words was intended to create an image in the minds of voters. Democrats didn't have this. Oh, we had slogans. We had "Help Is On the Way." But it didn't conjure up the strength of a word like resolute. We had "Wrong War, Wrong Place, Wrong Time." But it didn't equate with the vileness of a word like liberal. No, we couldn't compete on the language level.

So how do we do this? How do we get control of the language?

For starters we have to start talking about ourselves. We spent the entire election cycle talking about what the Republicans were doing wrong. While it's important to draw the distinction between yourself and your opponent, we made them the focus of the election and they were all too happy to go along with it. We need to focus on what we as a party have done and would like to do. Make the opposition focus on our agenda, not the other way around.

Next, we have to be willing to attack when necessary. We have always tried to be the party that takes the high road, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the high road is a dead end. The American public is slowly but surely becoming "American Idolized." We aren't really as interested in seeing good performers as we are watching Simon and the others ridicule the bad ones. Americans like it when someone gets ridiculed because it makes them feel better about themselves. The Republicans won't hesitate to stoop to this level and as it stands now, we are going to have to fight them on their turf. So the language has to get tougher and the ridicule must get sharper.

And finally I think we need to control the labels. How did they get to be compassionate, while we're bleeding hearts? We need to dispell this notion of "compassionate" conservatism. When you look up compassion in the dictionary, it is defined as follows:

Now that's not the conservative party I know. In fact, that definition has more in common with the Democrats than the Republicans. So we need something to counter with. Anybody have any ideas for a new label for our party? The alliteration of compassionate and conservative makes it catchy, so we may want to start there. Something like Decisive Democrats. Hopefully someone can come up with something better.

Tomorrow we'll discuss wedge issues and how to use them to our advantage. (If we play our cards right, the conservatives may be giving us an opening.)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


Where Things Went Wrong (And How We Can Fix It)

First things first: This is not John Kerry's fault. He did not let anyone down. Kerry ran a noble, issues driven campaign worthy of the Presidency. Unfortunately, the issues don't mean as much as they used to. If anyone is to blame for John Kerry's loss, I blame the American population. Their lack of commitment to true American principles not only failed Senator Kerry, but the entire country.

The pundits have been saying all day that George W. Bush won this election on "morals." But what they aren't telling us is what those "morals" really are. Is it moral to purposely mislead voters about your opponent's record? Is it moral to purposely mislead voters about your own record? What about sending 1100+ soldiers to their death to defend us against a threat that didn't exist? How about gutting environmental policy? How about underfunding education? Do any of these qualify under the heading of "morals." Of course not.

Truth be told, we were done in by the three Fs: Fear, Fags, and Fetuses. A majority of Americans (apparently 51%) are either afraid of being attacked by terrorists, afraid of gays marrying, or are opposed to abortion. And according to the Republicans, liberals are obviously soft on terror, homo-loving, baby-killing heathens. I can't decide what's worse about this situation; Bush's intentional misrepresentation of our views or the bovine level intelligence of the American electorate that believes him. It's truly disheartening to know that over half of Americans are intolerant of basic civil liberties. I guess it's no wonder it took a hundred years after the Civil War to pass the Civil Rights Act.

I have to admit that I, like most Democrats, honestly felt like we had a chance to win this. As the night progressed I kept telling myself that things were alright. We were looking good. As long as we could win Ohio, we were going to be fine. Clearly, that didn't happen. So as I sat around today thinking about what happened, it occured to me that I, along with many others, have been approaching this from the wrong direction all along. We've been trying to decapitate the Republican Party just like we tried to decapitate Iraq and al Qaeda. (We know how well that's all working out.) But instead of trying to win from the top, we should be focusing on the bottom. When demolitionists bring down a building, they don't blow up the top floors, they blow up the foundation. We need to look at this situation fom the bottom up instead of the top down. That's the way you bring something down and ironically it's the way you build something up. When you build a house, you don't start with the roof, you start with the foundation. Without a good foundation, your house will not stand. As my grandfather used to tell me: "You can't build a mansion on the foundation for the shithouse."

You see, I've been looking at George W. Bush as the cause of our problems, but the truth is, he's only the symptom. The problem in this country isn't George W. Bush; the problem is the group that put him in power. They're the ones with the control. This is where we have to focus our energy and wrest away their power. We've heard all the talk about "grassroots" campaigns, but the true "grassroots" are right here in our local towns and cities. So let's look at this issue of the Presidency and try to solve a simpler problem. Break it down from one huge problem into several smaller issues. We get so focused on the Presidency every four years that we tend to forget where we get our real power. It's local. There are local elections all the time that get little to no attention. Get involved! Vote! Don't just turn out for the President, turn out for everything! Start by electing Democrats to your city's local positions like county board, clerk, mayor, city council, etc. Volunteer or run for these positions yourself. Local gets leverage within the county and from there we can focus on the state. Get involved with your state representative or senator. Donate money and time. This is where you get your leverage with the bigwigs. Without the states, the Federal government is limited. Next look at your federal elections like House and Senate races. This is where the national power is. Without the congress, the President is impotent. Then, and only then, can we focus on the top. If we take away the President's power, he's harmless. We have four years to work on this.

Just a couple last points tonight before I wrap it up. First, I want to respond to Mr. Bush's acceptance speech today. Mr. Bush, you said:

Mr. Bush, I say fuck you. You are not my President and from this day forward, I refuse to address you as such. You will not get my support and there is nothing you can do to earn it. You have lied to my country for the last four years and I will not stand for it any longer. You have shit on our Constitution and have destroyed our civil rights. It is my duty to restore my country to its once-great status and that can not be done while you occupy the lands highest office. I will fight you and your party tooth and nail for the next four years. I will do so in ways that you can not see but that you will feel. This is my promise to my country. I will not allow you or your party to tarnish my country's image uncontested. This is my country and I will defend it from you.

And finally, I am going to take a break from blogging. Over the last several months, I have devoted a great deal of time to staying atop this endeavor and I have done so at the expense of my family and my job. So for the rest of this week and all of next week, I am going on a blog-vacation. I plan to spend time with Mrs. kissfan and the little kissfans. Who knows, I may even decide to do some real work around the house. We'll have to wait and see. So until November 15, I wish everyone well and I urge you to get involved at the local level. Start small, we've got plenty of time to grow.




.........................................................? Ideas forming. New post to come later.

Monday, November 01, 2004


Making A Case For John F. Kerry

With only hours to go, I find it hard to believe that there is anybody left who is undecided about the Presidential election. Maybe that is because I have had my mind made up for quite some time now. I just don't understand how anyone could be undecided between these two strikingly different candidates. To me, it's like the difference between excruciating pain and a full-body massage. (Maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but you get the idea.) However, according to the pundits there are still a few people out there that haven't made up their minds. So, for those of you that may be leaning toward voting for the President, I offer you a list of things to consider. All of these things have happened during George W. Bush's four years in office.

I'll admit, everyone makes mistakes. I know I've made at least a handful today. The difference is that I am willing to admit my mistakes and nobody has died, lost their job or health care, slid into poverty, or been abused or tortured as a result of them. If only our President could say the same.

Critics have said that Democrats aren't really supporting Kerry as much as they're voting against George Bush. I disagree with that statement because I, for one, strongly support John Kerry. He is an intelligent man with a well thought-out plan for the future of our country. He has twenty years of experience at the federal level during which time he has become adept at the process of negotiating with other law-makers and foriegn leaders. He is deliberate in his decision making and does not rush to a conclusion without giving the situation a great deal of thought. And, when it is necessary, he has the presence of mind and the self confidence to change his views on a situation if new facts present themselves.

But I think we need to look back at the recent history of our elections. When George W. Bush was elected(?), was it because America fell in love with him or was it because a lot of people were fed up with Bill Clinton and, by association, Al Gore? What about when Clinton was elected in 1992? Was it because people adored him or because the country felt George H. W. Bush was out of touch? What about when Reagn defeated Carter, or when Carter defeated Ford? Did those elections turn on the swell of good feelings for the challenger or the disappointment with the current administration? I think that we can safely say that it is a little of both. So sure there is some dislike of our current President, but that's what elections are about. Does the man in office deserve another chance or not?

You see, often times an election is a lot like comparing apples to oranges. The incumbent has the experience of being the President and has a Presidential record to tout. Now the challenger may have a record, but it's not the same as that of the President. He hasn't had the opportunities or the experiences that a President has, so you have to ask yourself, "Has the President done a good enough job handling the situations he was presented with to deserve another four years?" I urge you to take a look at the list above. Our President can't think of a single mistake he has made and yet I can name twenty; each of which has cost someone their life, their paycheck, they're insurance, or their dignity.

America deserves a new start. The families that have lost husbands, sons, and daughters deserve someone who will tell them the truth about their situation. The workers who have lost their jobs and are unemployed or under-employed deserve a chance to regain their livlihood and their dignity. The people who have lost their healthcare deserve a chance to be healthy without having to forfeit their finacial status. And those children that have been left behind deserve a chance to go to a free school that has enough money to provide them with the educational opportunities to make them life-long learners and productive citizens.

George W. Bush has failed our country. He has failed our military, our middle class and poor, our seniors, our children, our future and the rest of the world. It's time for a change. John Kerry can provide that change. The best part about living in this country is that every four years we have the opportunity to change direction if we need to. I have never known of a time in our lives when a new direction was needed more.

As you go to the polls tomorrow, go with the knowledge that you can change the country's direction and set it along a new path. Don't allow anyone to tell you that your vote is not important. Don't allow anyone to tell you that your vote is not necessary. And never allow anyone to stifle your voice or deny your vote.

We can make a change in this country and it all starts tomorrow. As I cast my vote for John Kerry tomorrow, I do it with hope and optimism. I hope you will do the same.

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