Get Your Blog Up

“This administration is populated by people who’ve spent their careers bashing government. They’re not just small-government conservatives—they’re Grover Norquist, strangle-it-in-the-bathtub conservatives. It’s a cognitive disconnect for them to be able to do something well in an arena that they have so derided and reviled all these years.”

Senator Hillary Clinton

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Blogging hiatus

It's another few days off for me. I should be back in limited action starting after the weekend.

With all this time off, I feel just like Congress.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Brown out in Rhode Island

Matt Brown has stepped aside in Rhode Island Senate campaign. He announced today that fundraising wasn't going as well as he hoped, and he would be unable to hang in the campaign.

He (and you) has since backed Sheldon Whitehouse for Senate. You can help out here.

Continued Snow

One last thing on the hiring of Tony Snow. The problem with the Bush agenda isn't the spokesperson or the message. It's reality. And unless Tony Snow comes to the position with a machine that can warp space and time, I'm not sure why this change is going to make that much of a difference to the President's numbers.

The only way this change makes a difference is if Snow can change policy, and change it to something that Americans actually like. If he can manage that, he should run in 2008.

Taking it from the troops

The Senate voted Wednesday to divert some of the money President Bush requested for the war in Iraq to instead increase patrols against illegal immigrants on the nation's borders and provide the Coast Guard with new boats and helicopters.

An amendment cutting Bush's Iraq request by $1.3 billion to pay for new Border Patrol agents, aircraft and some fencing at border crossings widely used by illegal immigrants was adopted on 59-39 vote.

While the border security funds had sweeping support, Democrats and Republicans argued over whether the cuts to Pentagon war funds would harm troops on the ground in Iraq. The cuts, offered by Judd Gregg, R-N.H., trim Bush's request for the war by almost 3% but don't specify how.

An amendment by Harry Reid which would have funded the increase in border security funds without cutting Pentagon funding failed on what appears to be a mostly party line vote.

I don't think an ad about cutting funding from the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan is going to go over very well in vulnerable Republican districts, no matter where the funding goes. It seems like a real gamble to choose border security over troops in battle, especially when there was the opportunity not to make that choice at all.

*UPDATE* The Carpetbagger points out the President's threat of veto to the bill funding the troops because it spends to much is exactly the kind of thing that the Bush campaign railed on John Kerry for. What a difference two years makes.

I personally wonder if GOP polling now shows that cutting spending and border security is more politically viable than supporting the troops. That's what this action seems to say.

Forecast: Snow

The White House hopes that bringing in the conservative commentator will smooth the at-times combative relationship between the administration and press corps, which deteriorated during McClellan's tenure.

The "conservative commentator" is Tony Snow, announced this morning as the new press secretary. Why this will help the combative relationship is beyond me.

The problem is not the guy at the podium so much but what it is he's saying (or not saying). From what I've read and heard, the press pool generally liked Scott McClellan as a person, but they were upset at his lack of forthcoming and his inability to provide a straight, honest answer - something that is required of a press secretary when things are going bad.

If Tony will be honest and forthcoming about situations in the White House, then perhaps things will change. But I'm not holding my breath.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Good for the goose

Fire Pat Roberts.

The end of magic?

Aren't there better things for science to be doing than this?

More Snow

If this is true, it sounds like FOX News' Tony Snow simply wants to take his radio show over to the White House and do it from there. And the White house needs so much help, they may sign on anyway. Which will do wonders for Bush's numbers when it comes to conservatives, but probably won't do much to change the mind of people who know better about Tony Snow.

*UPDATE* Will the press corps have a field day with this? I hope so. And I'm beginning to think that Tony Snow won't be the man that gets picked, but that this is all a front.

Cutting gas taxes

This time, Democrats propose a tax cut which will help the average American:
Democrats are set to introduce a measure that would create a "federal gas tax holiday" by eliminating the federal tax on gas and diesel for sixty days, RAW STORY has learned.

The measure, proposed by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), would reduce the cost of gas by $0.184 per gallon and the cost of diesel by $0.244 per gallon. The move, aides say, will provide $100 million dollars per day in relief.

The savings will be made up by cutting almost half of the 14.5 billion dollars in tax breaks the energy industry received in the latest energy bill that the President praised upon signing.

Certainly no one would cry at the loss of tax breaks to big oil, but the problem with something like this is that it's a short term solution to a long term problem. The public will enjoy sixty days of lower fuel costs, but will once again be up in arms when the tax holiday ends.

Now Democrats do have a longer term plan, and rather than proposing short term fixes, they should be talking up the ideas that it contains. Even if they don't, I will. Read about it here.

Paying at the pump

Erza writes:
This isn't about price gouging, it's about increased instability in and demand for a finite product. Bush and the Republican Congress want credit for doing something, so they'll hold some show hearings. But as the days get longer and the summer months, with their high gas prices, arrive, a couple photo-ops won't do much to distract voters from pump prices nearing $4.

And it's true. Sure the theatrics from the President this morning may produce a short term drop of a couple cents a gallon and be the lipstick that makes it look like he cares, but when nothing comes of it, Republicans are still left holding a bag of angry, cash strapped voters wondering why they are left to suffer high gas prices while Exxon sets another record quarter of profits. It's not going to him, the GOP, or the average American much long term good.

NY Dem calls for state budget transparancy

The Senate's Democratic minority on Tuesday threatened to end this year's pork-barrel and other discretionary spending worth hundreds of millions of dollars unless the Republicans who control the chamber detail the spending before a floor vote.

"The non-identified slush fund stops here," said Democratic Sen. Eric Schneiderman of New York City.

Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said Monday that there was no time to detail the spending in bills Tuesday. Bruno hoped to follow the Democrat-led Assembly in overriding Gov. George Pataki's vetoes of $2.9 billion in spending Tuesday, including tax breaks. Bruno, however, said negotiations would continue with Senate Minority Leader David Paterson, who had called for the disclosure before he directs his members to vote to override Pataki's veto of the "member items" and "memorandums of understanding."

I'm interested to see how this works out.

To heck with the environment

We've got an election to win:
President Bush on Tuesday ordered a temporary suspension of environmental rules for gasoline, making it easier for refiners to meet demand and possibly dampen prices at the pump. He also halted for the summer the purchase of crude oil for the government's emergency reserve.

The moves came as political pressure intensified on Bush to do something about gasoline prices that are expected to stay high throughout the summer.

The emergency reserve business isn't going to do much. When Clinton released oil from it years back, the drop in gas prices was negligible. And as one conservative member of Pajama's Media wrote when Dems called for a release in May of 2004, "[r]eleasing oil from the SPR for the sole purpose of lowering gas prices is a dumb idea, plain and simple."

And you can guess who called the reserve, "an insurance policy meant for sudden disruptions of the oil supply or for war. It should not be used for short-term political gain ... at the expense of national security."

It's too obvious, isn't it?

What worries me about the ease on environmental standards is that, with a decrease in prices and without any indications that oil prices will ease long term, it will become harder and harder to justify putting the standards back in place. It's the same kind of logic used for the President's temporary tax cuts. To make them temporary at the time was sound because if nothing happened, they would automatically be repealed. But who's going to campaign later on repealing all the tax cuts? No one. The same goes for this temporary easing of environmental standards.

And who cares if you can't breathe, as long as you can drive your new Hummer where ever you want to go, right?

Monday, April 24, 2006

At least they know he's qualified

Sources close to the White House said Monday that Fox anchor Tony Snow is likely to accept the job as White House press secretary, succeeding Scott McClellan.

Some people like to take on new challenges with their life, Tony Snow is comfortable with what he does.

Read about Snow here.

In which the President and I agree and disagree in a matter of minutes

It happens sometimes. Go figure:
Massive deportation of the people here is unrealistic. It's just not going to work. You can hear people out there hollering it's going to work. It's not going to work. It just -- and so therefore, what do we do with people who are here? And this is one of the really important questions Congress is going to have to deal with.

A few seconds later, we diverge once more:
I thought the Senate had an interesting approach by saying that if you've been here for five years or less, you're treated one way, and five years or more, you're treated another. It's just an interesting concept that people need to think through about what to do with people that have been here for quite a period of time.

It's not an "interesting approach," it's just assigning an arbitrary point. Someone who has been here for five years without a job or family, he deserves to stay while the mother of two children born in America and working hard, but only here four years doesn't? Are you really going to be a strong American simply because you've been here longer?

The answer of course is no. If you are going to let one group stay, you should let them all work on staying. And if you are going to send some of them back, work out a way so they all go back. But don't reward folks who got over her a day earlier because they could afford their coyote sooner or they swam faster. Either figure out a better arbitrary point, like serving in the military, family roots, and hard work, or tear it up altogether and start anew. Reward those who've made America better, not just those who found a better way to get to America.

NHL playoffs: Rangers/Devils

I'm a fan of the Rangers, but I can't say I'm a fan of these moves:

1) Kevin Weekes to start over Lundquivst. Sure the Henrik gave up 6 goals, but five of them were on the power play, and most of those were into an open net. The Rangers on D were awful. Unless something is physically wrong with Lundquivst, let him play. He'll need the playoff experience for next year. Why not this year? Well...

2) There is no reason at all, especially when your team is down four goals late in the third, to put Jaromir Jagr on the ice for a pentaly kill. Jagr's not there to kill penalties. He's not there for defense. He's there to score. And you could argue that if he gets a shorthanded goal, the Rangers could rally. But then I would argue if he gets hurt, the Rangers a short on hope for the rest of the series.

Going into this series I was hopeful for the upset over the Devils, but so far I'm the only one getting upset. It does not look good for the boys in blue.

Ricky's choice

When it comes to choosing between guaranteed funding for veterans or tax cuts for the wealthy, the Republican incumbent from Pennsylvania Rick Santorum chooses "B":
...[O]n March 16, Santorum voted against an amendment to a budget bill that would have provided steady funding for veterans health care, a move that did not sit well with Haswell.

According to a description on the U.S. Senate's Web site, the amendment - introduced by U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D. - would have provided "an assured stream of funding for veterans health care that will take into account the annual changes in the veterans population and inflation to be paid for by restoring the pre-2001 top rate for income over $1 million, closing corporate tax loopholes and delaying tax cuts for the wealthy."

The Haswell mentioned is president of Beaver County's Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 862 and a district director for the Vietnam Veterans of America. And he's not very happy:
Haswell said he's been trying to get an answer from Santorum's people on why the senator rejected the amendment, but his calls have been ignored. Consequently, he pulled out of the Veterans for Santorum, saying he can't campaign for someone who "votes against veterans" then can't take the time to explain himself.

"The veterans deserve answers," Haswell said," and that's all I'm asking for."

Not just the veterans, but the voters, too.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


So, um, I guess I'm taking about a week or so off. Sorry I didn't mention it sooner.

I'll be back around Monday, April 24th, with an occasional post for good measure until then.

Keep it real, keep it tight.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Cheney's refund

I understand the mathemetics of the whole thing, but it still seems odd that the Cheney's refund is greater than the amount they reported as income.

And I wonder what a check from the IRS for $1.9 million dollars looks like.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Enough of the box

Nice to see some officials realizing that, while Wal-Mart and Target may bring jobs, the focus should be on industry that will provide better wages and health care:
...Jack Kyser of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. lays some of the blame on the big-box planning model. He says we do not need - repeat, IX-NAY -— any more Targets and Kmarts, or any other Coliseum-size discount joints.

Not only do those places devour what little land is still available, but the jobs they provide are lousy, and it's not as if consumers have nowhere else to turn for tube socks and toilet paper. City officials would be smarter, Kyser says, if they used scarce land to build jobs in expected growth industries like technology, international trade and engineering.

Not only would the worker benefit, but so would the local economy as the worker spent his new wages in the community. It's a winning situation for everyone. Everyone except for Wal-Mart and Target, that is.

Why does Arnold hate preschool kids?

Just askin'.

Those biological trailers

It's fair to say that this latest story doesn't mean Bush lied, but it is safe to say that the administration continues to be dogged by stories that prove they were more than willing to cherry-pick intelligence. Becuase despite on the ground evidence to the contrary, Bush and company expressed great confidence that they had found mobile weapons laboratories:
The technical team's findings had no apparent impact on the intelligence agencies' public statements on the trailers. A day after the team's report was transmitted to Washington -- May 28, 2003 -- the CIA publicly released its first formal assessment of the trailers, reflecting the views of its Washington analysts. That white paper, which also bore the DIA seal, contended that U.S. officials were "confident" that the trailers were used for "mobile biological weapons production."

Throughout the summer and fall of 2003, the trailers became simply "mobile biological laboratories" in speeches and press statements by administration officials. In late June, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell declared that the "confidence level is increasing" that the trailers were intended for biowarfare. In September, Vice President Cheney pronounced the trailers to be "mobile biological facilities," and said they could have been used to produce anthrax or smallpox.

By autumn, leaders of the Iraqi Survey Group were publicly expressing doubts about the trailers in news reports. David Kay, the group's first leader, told Congress on Oct. 2 that he had found no banned weapons in Iraq and was unable to verify the claim that the disputed trailers were weapons labs. Still, as late as February 2004, then-CIA Director George J. Tenet continued to assert that the mobile-labs theory remained plausible. Although there was "no consensus" among intelligence officials, the trailers "could be made to work" as weapons labs, he said in a speech Feb. 5.

Tenet, now a faculty member at Georgetown's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, declined to comment for this story.

Kay, in an interview, said senior CIA officials had advised him upon accepting the survey group's leadership in June 2003 that some experts in the DIA were "backsliding" on whether the trailers were weapons labs. But Kay said he was not apprised of the technical team's findings until late 2003, near the end of his time as the group's leader.

"If I had known that we had such a team in Iraq," Kay said, "I would certainly have given their findings more weight."

So no, Bush didn't lie. There was evidence there, but there was also eye-witness accounts that disputed that evidence. And rather than give that any creedence, the administration trumpeted loudly they had what they needed to justify the war.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It the economy... oh.

Republicans also think that talking up the economy will aid their cause in November. This isn't going to help:
Gas prices will be higher this spring and summer than last year, and news of any developing hurricanes and tropical storms could send them rising more late this summer, a federal government report said today.

That's especially bad news for consumers in the Washington region, where gas prices have jumped 18 percent during the past month and are higher than the national average.

Nationally, regular gas will average $2.62 per gallon during the "summer" period -- from now until Sept. 30 -- up 25 cents from the same period last year, the Energy Information Administration reported.

Gas here is already over $3/gallon, and the only thing keeping rumbling down is the fact that it's been high for so long.

People are resigned to paying a lot for gasoline - there's little they can do about it. But it's not going to help their personal finance picture become rosier than it is, and that's a problem for the ruling party come election time.

The next great political debate

MiniKiss vs Tiny Kiss.


As reported yesterday, Republicans are hoping to use taxes as a rallying point for their base. The first shot has been fired in Ohio, where the GOP faces strong candidates for both Governor and Senate:
State and national GOP leaders will target the fiscal voting records of Democratic lawmakers Sherrod Brown and Ted Strickland with a press-release flurry this week, in advance of the April 17 deadline to file federal income taxes.

Representatives from the Ohio Republican Party and the National Republican Senatorial Committee said they'll attack Mr. Strickland, the Democratic front-runner for governor, and Mr. Brown, the party's presumptive U.S. Senate nominee, over votes for Clinton-era tax increases and against some of President Bush's tax cuts.

I'm sure, however, that residents of Ohio will remember the booming economy and balanced budgets that were brought about by the Clinton era hikes, and the not so rosy outcome of the subsequent Bush taxes cuts.

Check out this quote, too:
"Strickland has got quite a record," said John McClelland, a state GOP spokesman. "He's a tax-and-spender."

As opposed to Republicans, who are simply spenders. Which will cause a need for taxes later. Or cuts in programs people have come to rely on. Either way, it's much less responsible than balancing a budget and paying for spending.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Strong on... taxes?

When in doubt, try the classics:
Burdened by an unpopular war and divisions over immigration and other issues, Republicans are turning to an old standby -— taxes - to unite the party and boost its prospects in the midterm elections.

From Washington to Sacramento, strategists say the issue can help put the GOP back on offense while energizing Republican loyalists, whose turnout is crucial to the party's November success.

"Tax issues are a fundamental divide between Republicans and Democrats," said Carl Forti, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee. The GOP effort to make President Bush's tax cuts permanent "is going to be a big issue in House races" nationwide, Forti said.

I've wondered to myself how it would play if Democrats pointed out repeatedly that Bush was the one that called for temporary tax cuts in the first place, and if he'd made them permanent from the get-go, you wouldn't have the looming possibility of a hike.

But Republicans in general need to wake up and read the polls. There is one category that they do better than Democrats on, and that is terrorism. Not taxes, not the economy, not Iraq (which means it's not a part of terrorism, I guess?). The war on terror. And I'm interested to see the effects of the President's or at least his staff's willingness to declassify documents purely for political gain.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Whem meat become failure

Instead of a bill that was meant to charge up the base, Republicans now have to deal with the fallout of being unable to pass a bill at all. And they spent so much time trying to get everyone so angry.

Democrats may want to point out when the Senate is wasting time on amendments to the Constitution that they know won't pass (flag burning, gay marriage...), they could be reworking and supplying the country with an actual immigration plan.

Drip, drip

The revelation that President Bush authorized former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to divulge classified information about Iraq fits a pattern of selective leaks of secret intelligence to further the administration's political agenda.

Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other top officials have reacted angrily at unauthorized leaks, such as the exposure of a domestic wiretapping program and a network of secret CIA prisons, both of which are now the subject of far-reaching investigations.

But secret information that supports their policies, particularly about the Iraq war, has surfaced everywhere from the U.N. Security Council to major newspapers and magazines. Much of the information that the administration leaked or declassified, however, has proved to be incomplete, exaggerated, incorrect or fabricated.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Good news from the home state

Hopefully this translates to big changes in November:
Weary from a string of scandals and bad economic news, a majority of likely voters want Democrats to retake control of Ohio government, according to a new poll released Wednesday.

Republican fatigue is particularly evident among the Democrats surveyed. But 62 percent of the important swing voters said they'd like to end the GOP dominance that began 15 years ago, according to a telephone poll of likely primary voters conducted by the University of Akron's Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics.

What happened while I was out

This was the big news today:
A former White House aide under indictment for obstructing a leak probe, I. Lewis Libby, testified to a grand jury that he gave information from a closely-guarded "National Intelligence Estimate" on Iraq to a New York Times reporter in 2003 with the specific permission of President Bush, according to a new court filing from the special prosecutor in the case.

The court papers from the prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, do not suggest that Mr. Bush violated any law or rule. However, the new disclosure could be awkward for the president because it places him, for the first time, directly in a chain of events that led to a meeting where prosecutors contend the identity of a CIA employee, Valerie Plame, was provided to a reporter.

Glenn Greewald posts and sums up:
I honestly don't know what to make of all this, but any way you slice it, it seems pretty dodgy. Hopefully our esteemed Washington press corps will now start asking some questions.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

No, no, no!

A thousand times no:
State Treasurer Phil Angelides sharply attacked Democratic rival Steve Westly on Wednesday for the first time in the gubernatorial primary campaign as polls show Westly increasing in popularity among voters.

Angelides portrayed Westly, the state controller, as the "sidekick" of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger while addressing an Oak Park crowd of more than 100 supporters, including his family. He added that Westly has "gone back and forth on the issue of (raising) taxes" and has offered "no plausible plan" to pay for increases in education funding.

"On the tough fights that have faced this state, too often Steve Westly cuts and runs," Angelides said. "He does what's easy, not what's right."

If this is all you have, Phil, then please, drop out of the race. I know I've supported you up until now, but attacks are only going to give Arnold's side free fodder for the fall. It's just a bad idea.

Tougher on immigration

Let me see if I have this right. The way to appear tough on immigration for the hardline conservatives is to vote for a weaker version of Kennedy/McCain?
While the McCain-Kennedy plan would apply equally to all immigrants who arrived in the United States before January 2004, the Hagel-Martinez proposal would make people who arrived between January 2001 and January 2004 climb steeper hurdles to obtain legal status.

Neither plan offers legalization to immigrants who have entered the country illegally since January 2004.

The estimated 3 million illegal immigrants who have been in the country two to five years would have to go to one of 16 designated points of entry within the next three years and apply to stay legally as a temporary worker. But they would be given no guarantee of getting permanent residency or citizenship.

The big difference then, is for those who have been here since '01. They would more than likely remain illegals, because they won't want to go back to the border. So the "tough on illegals stance" means that five years in the country deserves the same thing that's been decried as "amnesty", but 4 years and 360 days doesn't. Oh, and the bill wouldn't have a Democrat's name attached to it either, even though it's roughly the same idea.

Sounds way tough to me.

Setting the bar at five years or three years is just an arbitrary point. It's still going to have an adverse impact on families that now have legal sons and daughters here in the country, and we shouldn't tear them apart. So I say, if the bill passes April 10th, make that the day of denial.

Getting serious on illegal immigration

Here's a chance for Senate Democrats to step up and shine:
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and 13 other governors pressed federal lawmakers Wednesday to find money to reimburse states for the cost of jailing illegal immigrants - something that costs California more than $750 million a year.

President Bush's budget request for 2007 proposed killing the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program. Bush has deleted the program in past years but Congress has not gone along. Lawmakers found $405 million for the program in 2006 -— about 40 percent of that goes to California.

Talking about being tough on immigration only to deny funds to programs that help keep illegals off the street seems a bit backward to me. If immigration really is a national problem, it should not fall on the states to foot this bill.

Both the House and the Senate bill would deny this funding cut, which is good. But if Democrats are against it, then it would do them good to stand up and say so. It's an issue that looks tough and makes the President look week.

A nickname I can get behind

Bay News 9:
Before the game Gov. Jeb Bush and California's Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had a wager on the game.

At Tuesday's meeting between Bush and the Florida Cabinet, Agriculture Commissioner Charles Bronson called Schwarzenegger the "Losinator."

I look forward to rolling that one out in November as well.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Another dead heat for CA Governor

The Public Policy Institue poll must be an outlier, because another poll just out shows Arnold in a neck and neck race(PDF) with both Steve Westly and Phil Angelides.

Internals actually show that moderates and independents both favor Westly over Angelides, so maybe he is more electable after all.

Either way, one of them needs to step up their name recognition numbers, or else California may decide to stick with Arnold rather than risk an unknown.

Immigration compromise?

Initially, I'm okay with the idea of a time determined legalization plan in the Senate's immigration bill, but it's still going to have the effect of tearing some families apart.

Perhaps in addition to the five year window, you make exceptions for those who have children born here in the United States and are therefore legal citizens.

After all, does the Republican party want to be seen as a group who tears families apart? Probably not.

Again, all of these new rules are worthless without actual enforcement, which I still don't see happening. But in a perfect world, I'd be happy to see a compromise that allows families to stay together to be reached.

Good news for DeLay

If, as talking heads on the right suggested, the case against Tom DeLay was pure politics, and DeLay has dropped out of his race, then surely it's just a matter of time before the charges against Tom are dismissed, right?

After all, Prosecutor Ronnie Earle has done his job and gotten rid of Tommy boy, so now there's no reason to waste taxpayers money and go ahead with this sham trial anymore, right?

And that's probably why DeLay really stepped down in the first place. He's not worried about the fallout from two of his aides agreeing to work with prosecutors while admitting wrong doing, he probably just realized that once he quits, there's no reason for Democrats to go after him anymore. It's not like he really broke the law.


Monday, April 03, 2006

DeLay drops out

Rep. Tom DeLay will drop out of his re-election race, two Republican congressional sources told CNN Monday.

DeLay was forced to step down as House majority leader last year after being indicted in his home state of Texas.

DeLay told Time magazine Monday that he and his wife, Christine, had been prepared for an election battle, but that he decided Wednesday to spare his suburban Houston district the mudfest to come.

Makes you wonder what's about to come out, doesn't it?

Letting Bush be Bush

This might have worked when Bush was still views as an honest and trustworthy leader. But now that a majority of Americans feel otherwise, and a majority feel he's out of touch with common America, it's not going to do much good. It will be viewed simply as an attempt to shore up failing numbers.

Without a reason to feel otherwise, American views on the President aren't going to change much. Bush can be Bush all he wants now, and it's not going to help his that much. Or, as Harry Reid puts it:
"The president can give all the speeches he wants but nothing will change the fact that his Iraq policy is wrong," said Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

Giving up on hearts and minds

I expect as we get further away from the days of "chocolates and flowers," we'll see more stories like this one:
A reconstruction contract for the building of 142 primary health centers across Iraq is running out of money, after two years and roughly $200 million, with no more than 20 clinics now expected to be completed, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says.

The contract, awarded to U.S. construction giant Parsons Inc. in the flush, early days of reconstruction in Iraq, was expected to lay the foundation of a modern health care system for the country, putting quality medical care within reach of all Iraqis.

Parsons, according to the Corps, will walk away from more than 120 clinics that on average are two-thirds finished.

And it's not like there isn't a need for health care in the country, either.

Shake up?

All this talk about replacing a few guys in the Bush administration with other guys that have been in the Bush administration for years doesn't sound like much of a shake up to me. It sounds like rewarding mediocrity to me.

This talk of change is part of a more orchestrated plea by Republicans to get Bush to tout the "strong economy" that they see.

I'm not sure how that's going to work. Either people feel good about the economy or they don't. You can't tell someone that they are doing better than they are, and as long as their are worries about job loses and health care costs, no one's going to feel very safe about their future. And instead of focusing on those issues and turning Americans to their side, the GOP has made it harder for the average man to declare bankruptcy in case of medical disasters, denied them protections against the credit card industry, and are now focused on illegal immigration as opposed to health care solutions.

It's enough to make one think that Republicans don't really care about the working man.