Iowa Presidential Watch
Holding the Democrats accountable


February 2, 2006

"All my worst fears about the Democratic response to the State of the Union address being given by Virginia Gov Kaine were realized tonight when he completely failed to take on the president on his greatest vulnerability -- the war in Iraq," wrote Arianna Huffington on her blog.

Regarding Democrats not standing during the State of the Union Speech: "It seemed a metaphor for the Democratic Party: We don't know where to stand or what to stand for, and in fact we're not good at standing for anything anyway, but at least we know we can't stand Republicans." – writes Peggy Noonan.

"The president's State of the Union Address will be little noted and not long remembered. There was a sense that he was talking at, not to, the country." – writes Peggy Noonan.


J U S T   P O L I T I C S


Sheehan receives apology

Capitol Police dropped a charge of unlawful conduct against anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan on Wednesday and apologized for ejecting her from the State of the Union address for wearing a t-shirt with a war message.

Sheehan's t-shirt read "2245 Dead. How many more?" She was charged with a misdemeanor for violating the District of Columbia's code against unlawful or disruptive conduct on any part of the Capitol grounds.

Washington Post cartoon

Cartoonist Tom Toole’s cartoon that portrays a wounded soldier who has lost his arms, legs and has head wounds being diagnosed by Dr. Rumsfeld as "battle hardened." That cartoon received the unanimous ire of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a written letter to the Post.

Here is the letter:

We were extremely disappointed to see the Jan. 29 editorial cartoon by Tom Toles.

Using the likeness of a service member who has lost his arms and legs in war as the central theme of a cartoon was beyond tasteless. Editorial cartoons are often designed to exaggerate issues, and The Post is obviously free to address any topic, including the state of readiness of the armed forces. However, The Post and Mr. Toles have done a disservice to readers and to The Post's reputation by using such a callous depiction of those who volunteered to defend this nation and, as a result, suffered traumatic and life-altering wounds.

Those who visit wounded veterans in hospitals have found lives profoundly changed by pain and loss. They also have found brave men and women with a sense of purpose and selfless commitment that causes battle-hardened warriors to pause.

While The Post and some of its readers may not agree with the war or its conduct, these men and women and their families are owed the decency of not having a cartoon make light of their tremendous physical sacrifices.

As the joint chiefs, we rarely put our hand to one letter, but we cannot let this reprehensible cartoon go unanswered.

Alito liberal?

Death row inmate Michael Taylor had his stay of execution upheld by the new Associate Justice Samuel Alito. In his decision, he broke with Chief Justice John Roberts, Anthony Scalia and Clarence Thomas who favored allowing the state of Missouri to execute Taylor by lethal injection. Taylor’s lawyers are arguing that execution by lethal injection is cruel and unusual punishment.

Taylor was convicted of killing 15-year-old Ann Harrison, who was waiting for a school bus when he and an accomplice kidnapped her in 1989.

Democrat TV

The Democrat National Committee has once again brought back their online television network. It is good news for Republicans as it is sure to offend and make Democrats look ….well, like Democrats.

Nothing spells Democrats more than sarcasm, and the first pilot show does that in spades. The first spot is probably supposed to be a spoof on Fox News and The O’Reilly Factor... it's hard to tell. Maybe it's just a spoof on the fact middle Americans think their culture is under attack from gay marriages, euthanasia and liberals in general.

In some way, the show spoofs Christmas and even uses sexual images of Victoria's Secret underwear angels in a gratuitous fashion. However, the Democrats cannot help but going to their roots and defending pot smoking and gays and lesbians in their spoof of the War on Christmas.

I urge you to visit Democrat TV soon before Howard Dean entirely bankrupts the Democrat Party! This slice of Americana may not last long.

Danforth rising

The Washington Post offers a lengthy interview with former Senator Jack Danforth (R-MO), and his belief that the religious right in the Republican Party has gone too far:

"It won't stand the light of day," Danforth says in one of several conversations. "The more people think about it, the more people will resist it. People do not want a sectarian political party, including a lot of people who are traditional Republicans."

Danforth, the heir to the Ralston Purina fortune, is an ordained Episcopal priest who states that it was the Republicans' approach to the Terry Schiavo case that put him over the top – along with their opposition to Gay marriage.

During his policital career, Danforth was often ridiculed by secularists and nicknamed St. Jack:

When asked in 1991 to respond to critics who used "St. Jack" as a pejorative to suggest sanctimony, he told a Post interviewer, "I think anyone who felt that he was, you know, Mr. Wonderful, with an agenda that is the God-given agenda for the country to be accomplished at all costs -- he would be both sick and ineffective."

There are two closing quotes in the article that are certain to stimulate thought and discussion in political circles:

"Moderation is no more an ideology than pastel is a color. It's just a muted version of something else," says Pitney, a politics professor at Claremont McKenna College. "The moderates need to learn that the conservatives have the upper hand. But the conservatives need to learn that the moderates are there, too, and that the Republican majority is not so large that they can do without the moderates' support."


"We do believe God has a side, that he's not a moderate or relativist on everything," says [Richard] Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. "I'm not a prophet. They may convince the American people they're right. We may continue to convince the American people we're right. I'd be happy to debate John or Jimmy anytime, anywhere."

Iowa update

Former Senator Tom Daschle visited Iowa yesterday and immersed himself in Iowa’s politics by endorsing Secretary of State Chet Culver in Iowa’s Democrat primary race for governor. Chet is the son of former U.S. Senator John Culver.

The unspoken favored candidate of current Governor Tom Vilsack is Michael Blouin.

Daschle also told Iowans that they may decide whether the House of Representatives goes Democrat in 2006.

Iowa has a bipartisan redistricting plan that makes its Congressional Districts some of the most competitive in the country. Iowa’s first and third districts are in the top of the nation’s political parties’ targets.

Iowa's 1st District in Eastern Iowa is viewed as a top Democrat target, with Republican Rep. Jim Nussle not seeking re-election.

Iowa's 3rd District in Central Iowa is considered a top Republican target with Democrat Leonard Boswell, a five-term incumbent, facing a challenge from Iowa Senate President Jeff Lamberti. Boswell’s health problems and Lamberti’s strengths have moved this race to competitive.

Lost files

NewsMax reports that there may be missing files related to the prosecution of Scooter Libby:

The prosecutor in the criminal case against Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff said in a Jan. 23 letter that not all e-mail was archived in 2003, the year the Bush administration exposed the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame.

Today is the day

Today is the day for the election in the Republican Conference for a new Majority Leader between Representatives Roy Blunt, John Boehner and John Shadegg. Few are calling the race, but most believe that Blunt will win.


Boehner elected over Blunt!

In an unexpected turn, U.S. Rep. John Boehner of Ohio has won the position of Majority Leader over Rep. Roy Blunt today. The vote was 122-209.

Blunt – who took over the position after Tom DeLay stepped down -- will remain in leadership as majority whip. [LINK]

Zeifman: Ted Kennedy has disgraced himself

Former Democratic Chief Counsel Jerry Zeifman has penned an op-ed (online at NewsMax) that claims, " has disgraced himself and our party by misusing his position on the Senate Judiciary Committee to achieve self-serving partisan ends."

Referencing Kennedy's embarrassing performance as a member of the Judiciary Committee during the Samuel Alito hearings, Zeifman accuses Kennedy of " using filibusters to polarize the Senate along party lines thus denying the confirmation of qualified conservative judges."

It is a thoughtful and well-written piece, describing the beginnings of the filibuster (during the Civil War) and outlines Kennedy's complete reversal on the filibuster tactic... from abhorrence to championing its usage.

Hollywood Idiot Story of the day:
Alec Baldwin, um, speaks out

NewsMax offer this story on the latest antics of actor Alec Baldwin*:

Hollywood Democrat Alec Baldwin is blasting his party's Senators for failing to block Samuel Alito confirmation to the Supreme Court, saying he's appalled that Sen. Ted Kennedy and other liberals could muster only 25 of the 41 votes needed mount a successful filibuster.

The problem is there are too many "chicken-bleep Democrats in the Senate," the agitated actor told the New York Daily News.

Baldwin then turns his verbal efforts on Zell Miller. Well, let's just say that Alec doesn't like Zell, either.

* Baldwin is the actor lampooned as the head of the F.A.G. (Film Actors Guild) in the movie "Team America."



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