David Kirkpatrick

April 9, 2009

Bush 43 truth commission

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:05 am

Talk of some type of truth commission looking into the Bush 43 administration’s use of torture is gaining currency. Particularly now that an international court has opened a probe into possible war crimes authorized by the Bush legal team.

Politico’s “The Arena” asked the question, “Legal commentator Stuart Taylor has proposed a Senate committee probe led by John McCain into Bush administration interrogation practices. Good idea? If not, what’s yours? On that subject, should the administration protest a Spanish investigation begun recently?”

The answers were varied and interesting.

Here’s a small sample from the second link.

Nothing surprising here:

Christine Pelosi, Attorney, author and Democratic activist:

We say the United States does not torture. Let’s prove it. A bipartisan, bicameral House-Senate effort by the key committees of jurisdiction to hold public hearings into the Bush practices and Obama proposals will suffice. They can operate independently as they currently do on the budget, the wars, and the TARP, or they could work together to consolidate witnesses and resources as the joint House-Senate Intelligence committees did after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Either way, they can start with a review of the alleged torture-authorizing memosauthored by Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel and other data at the heart of the matter that are currently being withheld by the Obama administration under secrecy and immunity claims. This oversight is Congress doing its job by and for the American people. We don’t need a special committee or a Spanish inquisition – just good old fashioned American accountability.

Pragmatic and reasonable:

Mickey Edwards, Princeton lecturer and former Republican congressman:

The issues involved — and they go far beyond interrogation and rendition — should be investigated in “the regular order

It’s not a matter of investigating the activities of “the Bush Administration,” a characterization that trivializes the question by turning it into a partisan issue, but of examining whether the United States government was guilty of misconduct and whether the executive branch violated the Constitution.
Viewing the issue in partisan or Administration-specific terms creates a predictably partisan choosing of sides.

The issues involved — and they go far beyond interrogation and rendition — should be investigated in “the regular order” either by appropriate legislative committees, performing their proper oversight duties, or by an ad hoc bipartisan legislative committee with co-chairs from the two political parties. In other words, the Congress should, at long last, do its job.

As for my fellow Republicans who oppose such an investigation, what can be said? Have we, who were the voice of limited government and the Constitution, now become the protectors of government, shielding it from the people and defending its abuses? Have we now become the very enemy we feared? Have we finally abandoned any pretense of being a party of principle? So it would appear.

And here’s a classic misdirection. What was that question again?

Bradley A. Blakeman, Republican strategist, consultant, entrepreneur:

On another note: Cuba visit just PR

I am sickened by the love fest that occurred between the Dictator Brothers, Raul and Fidel Castro and members of the Congressional Black Caucus who just returned from Cuba. They were taken in by these despots and sung their praises in Cuba and on their return to America. They are nothing but dupes, who were played like a fiddle by a regime who is brutal to their people. Their visit is nothing but a propaganda bonanza for Cuba’s internal and external uses. I assume they are planning their next tax payer paid junket to visit Chavez of Venezuela and Kin Jong il of North Korea.

It’s worth the time to go check out all the reactions, proposals, answers and non-answers from the various respondents.

November 25, 2008

I don’t think we learned much …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:54 am

that statement is a direct quote from an unnamed Republican senator from this Politico piece. That long walk in the wilderness looks pretty likely right now.

The election is still warm, but weeks have passed with no easing of the bad taste in the collective GOP mouths.

And Sarah Palin is still on a publicity tour thanks to a $3M PAC ad campaign. Until she’s no longer a viable “face” for the Republican Party, things will not improve.

From the link:

The Republican U.S. senator sits glumly across the restaurant table.

“I don’t think we have learned much from the election in terms of what people want to see,” he says. “We have the same gridlock.”

By the “same gridlock,” he means that party hard-liners, both Democrats and Republicans, will remain in control of the machinery of Congress. And that means more of the same. It means more politics as usual — especially in his party.

“We need someone who speaks from the center,” he says. “Sarah Palin is not the voice of our party.”

He talks a little about immigration. He is a moderate on immigration, which is to say he is out of step with most of his party. He says the Republican hard line on immigration hurt the party with Hispanics.

Barack Obama won about two-thirds of the Hispanic vote this year, up from the 53 percent that John Kerry won in 2004.

And the Republicans are very, very worried about the Hispanic vote. They see the African-American vote as largely gone, but the Hispanic vote was a possibility in future elections. If only Republicans knew how to appeal to Hispanic voters.

November 19, 2008

Clinton not a sure bet at State?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:40 am

Possibly if this Politico report is correct.

If nothing else Obama has totally covered his Hillary requirement in quite obviously seriously offering her the post. Placates her supporters and gives her little room for complaint with an Obama administration.

Sounds like health care is going to hit out of the box, and maybe Clinton wants to steer that project once again, but from inside the system this time. Get the bad taste of that experience in the first Bill term out of the way. At Foggy Bottom she’d have no real public role in any health care discussions.

From the link:

Hillary Rodham Clinton isn’t certain she would accept the Secretary of State post even if Barack Obama offers it to her, several people close to the former first lady say.

Press reports that portray Clinton as willing to accept the job – once the Obama transition team vets Bill Clinton’s philanthropic and business ventures – are inaccurate, one Clinton insider told Politico.

“A lot of the speculation and reporting is out ahead of the facts here,” said the person, who requested anonymity. “She is still weighing this, independent of President Clinton’s work.”

Clinton, the person said, remains deeply “torn” between the possibility of serving in Obama’s cabinet and remaining in the Senate to “help pass health care and work on a broad range of domestic issues.”

That comment jibes with what others close to Clinton have been saying since the Secretary of State chatter began last week: that Clinton is conflicted and the deal far from done, despite screaming headlines in outlets including the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper claiming the offer was made and accepted.

November 13, 2008

Gingrich on the GOP

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 11:42 pm

Not at a good place right now.

From the WSJ Political Perceptions blog link:

Republican hand-wringing about the state of the party after the election losses continues apace. “The Republican Party right now is like a midsize college team trying to play in the Superbowl,” Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tells Roger Simon of Politico. “It is pretty hard to say our losses were because of John McCain’s campaign. McCain performed way above plausibility compared to where the Republican president was in the polls. We have to look honestly at what went wrong.” Simon writes: “Gingrich said the fundraising capacity of the left in the last election proved astonishing and far outstripped what Republicans were able to gather…The question now, Gingrich went on, is whether Barack Obama intends to govern from the left or not. Simon says Gingrich’s bottom line is this: “Gingrich said that the best thing the Republican Party could do right now is stop worrying about the Republican Party. ‘We need to worry about the nation…Wal-Mart doesn’t get ahead by attacking Sears but by offering better value.’”


October 9, 2008

I think McCain’s candidacy is dead in the water anyway …

… but his economic plan socialist ploy isn’t helping him at all.

From the link:


John McCain’s surprise policy offering Tuesday night to have the government buy bad mortgages is bold, sweeping and, well, a bit perplexing to nearly everyone.

From economic experts to political pundits, from liberals to conservatives, the proposal has been greeted with a collective sense of puzzlement that is raising questions not only about the substance of the plan, but of the seeming hastiness surrounding its rollout.

The few details available about McCain’s American Homeownership Resurgence Plan give the impression the plan is “half-baked,” according to Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics.

“If you’re launching a major new initiative, usually you blitz the cable networks and really try to penetrate the public consciousness. I didn’t see that today,” he said Wednesday.

“It would really frighten me if he actually thought this was good policy,” said Dan Mitchell, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute. “I assume that it’s nothing but a desperation ploy” to show they are doing something “big and bold,” he said.

(I added the emphasis.)

July 25, 2008

Is the GOP racist?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:41 pm

This is an odd bit of blogging from a white Douglas MacKinnon at Politico. in a post titled, “GOP unfairly branded racist.” He lays out an argument of personal childhood poverty and comfort around black people, and how single, black mothers are some of the most conservative people he knows.

Here’s the source of his beef:

It is for that reason and more that I was so disappointed with Obama’s recent comments regarding Republicans and race. At a fundraiser in Florida before a majority African-American audience, the senator said, “We know what kind of campaign [Republicans are] going to run. They’re going to make you afraid. They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. ‘He’s young and inexperienced, and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?’”

And a Bob Herbert column is another source of disconcert:

And yet as much as I and other Republicans try to increase the dialogue, correct the record and derail the hateful rhetoric that divides us, others choose to deliberately ignore heartfelt efforts. As one example, last September, New York Times columnist Bob Herbert wrote a column titled “The Ugly Side of the GOP.”

In a somewhat rambling piece that was syndicated all over the nation, Herbert said, “Last week the Republicans showed once again just how anti-black their party really is.” Later in the column, he continued, “At the same time that the Republicans were killing congressional representation for D.C. residents, the major GOP candidates for president were offering a collective slap in the face to black voters nationally by refusing to participate in a long-scheduled, nationally televised debate focusing on issues important to minorities.”

I have no reason to doubt MacKinnon’s sincerity in hoping to bring more blacks to the GOP table, but the modern GOP was built squarely on the backs of Dixiecrats leaving the Democratic Party for the GOP after LBJ pushed through civil rights reforms.

(Update: It’s probably more fair to say LBJ pushed reforms after bowing to a strong bi-partisan Congressional coalition for civil rights, and when he realized it could be the shining star in his presidential legacy. At any rate, the Civil Rights Act of 1964wouldn’t have happened when it did if Johnson hadn’t strong-armed, something he always enjoyed, a few congressmen who would’ve voted against the legislation without a presidential prod.)

Since that time Republican operatives, both small- and big-time players in the backrooms, ran campaigns based on either frightening white voters to the polls or scaring black voters away from the polls. Lee Atwater was a master of the technique, to the point his disdain for this brand of politics was part of his deathbed “confession” for his life’s sins. The recently disgraced “architect,” Karl Rove, was no stranger to concept either, although he brought a new element into play. Because Rove cut his teeth in Texas where the Latino voting bloc was, and is, growing, he was much more selective on which shade of brown to precisely target.

Voter caging is a technique Rove’s minions used in the last election cycle and got busted for their efforts by Congress:

That would suggest that vote caging is a big deal. Is it?

Vote caging is an illegal trick to suppress minority voters (who tend to vote Democrat) by getting them knocked off the voter rolls if they fail to answer registered mail sent to homes they aren’t living at (because they are, say, at college or at war). The Republican National Committee reportedly stopped the practice following a consent decree in a 1986 case. Google the term and you’ll quickly arrive at the Wizard of Oz of caging, Greg Palast, investigative reporter and author of the wickedly funny Armed Madhouse: From Baghdad to New Orleans—Sordid Secrets and Strange Tales of a White House Gone Wild. Palast started reporting allegations of Republican vote caging for the BBC’s Newsnight in 2004.

Now I consider myself a staunchly independent voter. I happily vote Democratic or Republican depending on a number of factors. I know the GOP. I’ve been to GOP events. I have friends who remain solely dedicated to the GOP, even after the Bush regime’s two terms spent gutting all conservative principles from the party.

Not all Republicans are racist by any stretch, and I’d say the great majority are not prejudiced. But any writer who essays on his white-man-who’s-down-with-the-brown bona fides coupled with a strong support for the GOP and doesn’t point out that, yes, there is a sizable bloc within the party that will never vote for a black man or woman for any elected office based purely on the color of the candidate’s skin is either being disingenuous or is mentally challenged.

And when that writer, touting those “I know what’s real” credentials chooses to blast the first black candidate for US president for having the audacity to bring up he will be attacked because of his race, I think it’s time to tune that particular voice out of the conversation. 

Oh, and those conservative black mothers? Which party is it they almost always vote for — hmm, that would be the Demoratic Party.

March 22, 2008

Even Clinton’s staff knows the end is near

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:52 am

I have no idea why Clinton is continuing to campaign and tear the Democratic Party asunder. Even her staff hears the fat lady beginning to sing.

From the link:

Unless Clinton is able to at least win the primary popular vote — which also would take nothing less than an electoral miracle — and use that achievement to pressure superdelegates, she has only one scenario for victory. An African-American opponent and his backers would be told that, even though he won the contest with voters, the prize is going to someone else.

People who think that scenario is even remotely likely are living on another planet.

As it happens, many people inside Clinton’s campaign live right here on Earth. One important Clinton adviser estimated to Politico privately that she has no more than a 10 percent chance of winning her race against Barack Obama, an appraisal that was echoed by other operatives.

In other words: The notion of the Democratic contest being a dramatic cliffhanger is a game of make-believe.