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Monday, October 20, 2003

There’s a quality to Barbara Bush. A meanness in her eyes that pierces through the television screen--like the eye of the Devil when you happen to speak his name. Her attention is on you, and there’s nothing you can do to avoid her unholy wrath.

I think of this as the Bush team trots her and her hapless husband out to bash the Democratic candidates. She doesn’t have a lot of use for those nine candidates, those traitors, those collaborators with Saddam. Okay, she doesn’t go that far--but she does come close. I know she sees me through the television--separated by airwaves, fiber optic cable and time. She knows I support Howard Dean, and she hates me. She hates all Americans who are not onboard with her family dynasty--I’m not sure this has anything to do with politics; it probably has more to do with loyalty. Or fealty, rather.

I remember when I saw her interviewed on “The 700 Club” a few years ago (yes, I do indeed watch all the right wing talk shows -- such a bad atheist I am), where she said that the feet of the new President weren’t worthy of the hallowed halls of the White House. She wasn’t even referring to Monica-gate -- she was referring to the social class of William Jefferson Clinton. Apparently, being born into a family of New England elites is a pre-requisite for being President.

I wonder what Mrs. Bush would think of me -- liberal democrat, son of a common printer, educated thanks to the generosity of the welfare state (or rather, what was left of it in 1992). Would I meet her approval? Doubtful, very doubtful.

In other news, a front for the DLC has released a push poll to the press claiming that most Democrats in New Hampshire prefer a candidate who voted in favor of the war. This is especially interesting given that Howard Dean still commands a strong lead in New Hampshire. So how can this poll be accurate, then? Easy: deceptive questions.

For instance: “Do you support a candidate who voted against the $87 billion aid to Iraq, or one who voted it for the aid and is for supporting the troops.” I’m paraphrasing here, but you get the gist -- the question is manipulative. People who don’t support the $87 billion check to Iraq are not supporting the troops, so you’d better support the people who voted for the aid -- because they clearly are supporting the troops. It’s classic manipulation, and the press reports on it as if it’s fact. Of course no respondent would say they were against supporting the troops -- even if that's not what the question is really asking.

It’s not unlike the poll question that killed John McCain is South Carolina: “Would you vote for John McCain given the knowledge that he may have fathered an illegitimate black child.”

Yup, the DLC is up to some dirty tricks in New Hampshire -- the last thing they want is a Dean candidacy. Can the grassroots beat back the conservative Democratic establishment? Time will tell.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Last night, Tina and I discovered the future of television: HBO On Demand. For a mere $5 a month, we can now watch "Six Feet Under," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "the Sopranos" whenever we want. What's more, we can pause and fast forward and rewind to our heart's content -- all through the wonders of our digital cable box. I have no idea how this thing works (streaming MPEG?), but once people discover how cool it is, they'll never watch scheduled TV again. Heck, why buy TV shows on DVD when you can just access an On Demand database whenever you want? If CNN offered their programming this way, I could actually watch Crossfire -- a show I've sorely missed since they made the brilliant programming decision of moving it to 4:30 in the afternoon (smart guys, real smart).

It's been a very slow news day. Oh sure, Israel has virtually declared war on Syria and Arnold is probably going to win the recall and prove -- once and for all -- that Californians are completely mad, but other then that, there's not much of interest. The Washington Post has a story about how Dem's are criticizing Howard Dean for selling out to the NRA. Forget the fact that letting states create their own gun control laws makes perfect sense -- really, a small state like Vermont with low crime and a miniscule number of gun-related deaths should not suffer the same gun control laws as Washington, DC -- not that they've really done much in DC to stop the violence, anyway. There is the pesky issue of the right to bear arms -- if we start limiting one freedom, it opens the door on limiting others. I know a lot of people feel strongly about gun control -- I personally wonder why anyone would want to own something that's sole purpose is to end life -- but I think it's a choice best left up to the states themselves.

Friday, October 03, 2003

This morning I had the great pleasure of attending the Dean campaign rally at the Woodley Park Marriot in Washington. Why at a hotel? Well, the DNC was having their Fall meeting, which was attended by Howard Dean and the other candidates. However, although there were showings for Clark, Lieberman and Kucinich (there were also a few Gephardt and Kerry people, but hardly enough to be referred to as a “group”), Dean was the only candidate who rallied his troops, himself -- in fact, he was the only candidate who visited any of the Democratic supporters.

The Dean camp clearly had the biggest turnout, although the Clark people had a lot of signs set up on the ground to give the illusion of turnout -- signs which, I might add, still begged the electorate to “Draft Clark.” I’m not sure if the Clark people have heard, but the General is now an official candidate, though it is possible they’re trying to pretend that he’s not to keep themselves from owning up to the fact that General Clark is a carpetbagging Republican. Hey, but a guy who voted for both Reagan and Nixon is the kind of character the Democratic party needs as its standard bearer, right? There were also a lot of funny “Uncle Sam” style hats handed out, firming up in my mind that the Wesley Clark people are completely crazy.

Joe Lieberman paid a group of young Republicans to stand outside the hotel in their powder blue shirts and neat suits to masquerade as the “grassroots.” Something I just learned today: the name “Lieberman” is just as awkward in a chant as Joe himself is when asked to speak in front of people. No matter how much they tried, they all had trouble wrapping their tongues around the name of their guy. “Joe” might have worked better, but it didn’t occur to them -- probably because three years ago they were all out there chanting “Dubya.” The Lieberman staff really needs to give their interns a better script next time -- or at least indicate what the “grassroots” are supposed to do at a rally. When the four Dick Gephardt people tried to stand next to them, the Lieberman’s quickly chased them off.

As far as I can tell, the only Democrats out for Kerry were a hapless college kid with a huge sign, and two DNC attendees dressed in suits that openly mocked me for my Howard Dean t-shirt. As with the Lieberman supporters, I suspect that they’re on loan from the Harvard College Republicans. Haven’t you ever heard of the grassroots, boys? The fact that so many people are inspired by Dean to get involved in politics must surely scare them, or at the very least, make them feel uncomfortable.

Eventually I met up with some friends, and came inches away from shaking Howard’s hand (though my friend Brian was completely successful -- good work!). Dean is noticeably short in person, but his charisma makes you quickly forget. His five-minute speech was exciting and gracious -- you really do get the feeling that Howard is doing this for us and not for himself. He does a great job of invoking the names of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, as well as encouraging us to take the American flag back from the right-wing zealots and claim it as our own. It’s no wonder that the DNC (as well as the DLC) are terrified of him -- Dean is the real deal. And no matter how much stock they put into Clark, there’s no way they can change it.

Wednesday, October 01, 2003

It's been a full 16 days since my last entry -- many apologies. I've been quite overwhelmed getting a website up and coming.

So what's been happening since I last blogged? Well, Wesley Clark -- the carpet bagging General from Arkansas -- has entered the race. And why call him a "carpet bagger?" Well, despite appearances on "Meet the Press" which suggested that Clark was a longtime liberal, he in fact appeared at a Bush fundraiser praising the administration and admitted to voting for Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. The whole thing stinks of political opportunism.

Suffice it to say, we here at Restaurant Fuel continue to support -- and enthusiastically endorse -- Howard Dean. Of all the candidates in the Democratic lineup, he represents real change for the party and for the country. Sticking with someone like Clark will only continue to drive the party further to the right -- something we cannot allow to happen.

The other big story is that Robert Novak's infamous leak is leading to an "investigation" from the Ashcroft DoJ. Anyone hoping to see Novak pulled from CNN, or Karl Rove executed by firing squad should wake up to the harsh reality that this is not going to amount to anything. The Democrats spearheading this fight just don't have the political muscle to make the White House fess up to punishing Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame for standing up and telling the truth about yellowcake uranium. It does add a nice ding to the administration's armor, though. But will all the latest dings add up to some serious weaknesses? Only time will tell.

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