by Alicia Long
As ABC News put it – Today was D-day for Senator Joe Lieberman.
The Democratic caucus voted today to keep Senator Joe Lieberman chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. As punishment, however, the dems stripped him of his chairmanship of a minor Senate subcommittee. Lieberman talks with reporters after the 43-13 vote:
Via Daily Kos: Governor Dean commented on Lieberman during a conference call this afternoon:
John Aravosis: (In re: the Lieberman vote) what do recommend that we tell our readers . . . when so many issues that come up that Democrats cave time after time? They keep feeling like we’re getting more Democrats and we’re going to have even more Democrats to cave next time.
Dean: You know, we’re going to find that out. This is the big test for us. Now we have a president. There’s no excuse for voting for stuff that you don’t think is in the best interest of the country anymore, for not standing up for what you believe. We have a president who is going to lead us and you all get to judge whether we’re leading you in the right direction or not. I think for the most part we will….
One of the things that happens when you have a party that takes over the government after it’s been out of power for a while is you cannot satisfy everybody at your end of the political spectrum all of the time…. And this is where I was talking about the restraint, is making the decision about what’s really worth fighting for and having the big fight inside the party and what’s not worth fighting for and you have to decide what that is. One of the things that will come up early inside the blogosphere is the issue of when to get out of Iraq…. Now we have, when Barack Obama takes office, are we going to get out in July of 2010, which is 18 months, or are we going to get out at the end of 2011 which is what Bush and the Iraqis have already agreed to.
I don’t know what the right answer is. Do we want to go to the mat over an additional 18 months in Iraq? I don’t know that either, but I do know that we want a strong president to deliver health care and renewable energy and i”m not sure we want to attack the president if that becomes and issue. SO you see what I was saying about tradeoffs. You have to make the decisions. We’re never going to get anybody who is a hundred percent with us on every issue…. But the question is what are willing to go to war on with each other over and what are we going to say, ok, this is an important issue there’s some disagreement, but we can’t let this distract us from climate change or health insurance or whatever other issues are….
What I’m saying here is along comes Lieberman. He behaved very badly during the campaign and did some things that inside the club are unforgivable. So if you run and get a mandate for reconciliation is your first act to kick this guy out of the party? Well, people of my generation think yeah, damn right we should. But in this new spirit of reconciliation, which is why I think Barack Obama got elected by 66 percent of the under 35 vote, maybe if not (unintelligible) I’m very willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the Senators and to Barack Obama on that one. Do we want to have a big fight over what happens to Joe Lieberman? I don’t think so. I think we want to have a big fight about whether we have a decent health insurance program or a renewable energy program.
Jane Hamsher: With all due respect Governor Dean, we were just told to go screw ourselves, that our concerns for Barack Obama and our concern about the war and everything else that we fought so hard for within the Democratic party is meaningless and that Joe being happy and giving in to his threats–and he did threaten Democrats in his press conference–is more important than we are. And so I don’t think it was a matter of reconciliation. I think we were told to go Cheney ourselves.
Dean: I haven’t seen the blogs about this because this just happened but I’m sure the sentiment online is one of outrage. But I would line up with Barack. I don’t think you were told to go screw yourselves at all. I think he has got to now practice what he preaches during two years of campaigns if he wants to bring America together and as objectionable as Joe’s behavior was, and frankly unprincipled, I don’t think that this is the thing that should divide us. And I don’t think it’s about his votes for FISA or anything else. I think it’s about what kind of a tone do we want to send. Do we want a purge as the first thing we do? I don’t think so.
One thing is for sure. The Democrats really seem to be sucking up to Lieberman. But at the same time, why should petty party politics be a reason for giving a senior senator the boot? Don’t get me wrong… I don’t like Joe Lieberman. I think he is a backstabbing hypocrite. But at the same time, Dean is right. If the Democrats are going to put the right foot in front of the left, let’s leave old resentments at the door. If Lieberman doesn’t straighten up, they can give him the boot later. Give him a chance to be the good Democrat we all know he can be (or will be).
By Matt Knipple
I decided to concentrate my most recent blog on voting, in particular early voting. After going out and performing exit polls on the many people that showed up it got me thinking about the rest of the states and how popular or unpopular early voting is. To my surprise, as pointed out by this CNN article, early voting isn’t even in every state and in some states that it does occur in, you must have a valid reason to not show up to the polls and may have to get signatures from notaries and so on to prove you cannot make the election date to vote. Here is a video showing people lining up to register and cast an absentee ballot in Ohio. It was contested by Republicans saying that people may be performing voter fraud:
In my opinion early voting should be mandated in all the states in America. I feel as if people were able to cast mail-in ballots and go to the polls throughout the week prior to actual election day, there would be a much higher turnout at the polls and more people would be encouraged to vote.
If you click on this link, it takes you to an interactive map of all the states that have early polls and all that do not. To my surprise, only 25 states have early polling with data available, six states have early polling with no data available, and the rest of the states do not have early polling. In Colorado, early voting data shows, as of October 31, that 365,054 in-person ballots have been cast and 1,112,782 mail-in ballots have been cast. That means a total of 1,477,836 have voted so far, which is roughly 30% of Colorado’s entire population, which also means an even higher percentage of actual voters have turned out since the entire population of Colorado will not and cannot vote.
Here is another video talking about the early voting going on in Ohio (you may have to watch a commercial at the beginning that sponsor’s the video, sorry).
After watching these videos and reading the article, it amazes me why some states do not have early voting. It seems like it would benefit all of the states and the United States as a whole, to have early voting to get more people out. In states like New York, it would really benefit them as they have a huge, dense population that it seems pretty unrealistic to get all of those people out to vote on one day. It would be much more efficient to have early voting and it would give America a clearer answer as to who people wanted as a President because more people, in my opinion, would be inclined to vote.
You’ve seen the campaign ads on television starting to come out where the Presidential candidates (John McCain and Barack Obama) give their stances on issues that are important in America today. The campaign ads have not been all about the issues, though, and have began to turn into a smear campaign, almost exclusively from John McCain’s end.
Here is the famous Paris Hilton/Britney Spears negative campaign ad against Barack Obama:
With the polls tightening (click on the link and the poll is about halfway down the page) to a one point lead for Obama, people are starting to believe that Barack should try to start running negative ads attacking McCain in order to get his slightly larger lead back (the same CNN poll ran a day earlier had Obama with a 3 point lead and a 6 point lead six days prior).
It seems as if Barack Obama may be turning away from the positive campaign he pledged to run and is now taking his shot at running some negative campaign ads (though they are a lot tamer than McCain’s video I embedded above). Here is the most “negative” campaign ad I have seen from Obama’s end:
My take on this is that if the negative ads posed by McCain’s team are helping him get the polls closer, then Barack Obama has nothing left to do but start his own smear campaign. People have said this is exactly what McCain needs to do to have a shot at winning this election and it seems as if it may be working. Barack is going to have to start getting nasty in this campaign for him to keep his lead even if that means he goes against his previous words saying he would run a positive campaign.
Also here is a video of Obama pledging to run a positive campaign:
If he wants to keep a positive campaign going there is one way he can keep his lead from shrinking. He needs to take all these negative campaign ads that John McCain’s camp keeps running and turn them in his favor. In other words, keep reiterating to the people so they know he is the candidate for change and is not going to join in on all of the smear campaign tactics and show the people that this is a candidate trying to use desperate measures in order to keep his party alive.
He is trying to be new and fresh by running this positive campaign and needs to show the people of America that McCain is doing the status-quo politician smear campaign and prove to the people that these things are not true. He needs to be himself and just rise above what McCain is doing.
In short, Barack Obama should get angry over all the things being said about him in McCain’s ads and start his own little smear campaign in order to make his lead in the polls grow larger again. After all it would not be that difficult, all he would have to do is show an image of McCain hugging the current president and that in and of itself would make his lead in the polls increase by a few points. He could keep his positive campaign running, as I said, and still win but, I feel this is a more efficient way of going at it. Making McCain look bad and showing the Republicans as bad people will make Barack’s run for the presidency as easy as it could get (all of this is coming from a Republican planning on voting for McCain).