Category Archives: Democratic Party

Democrats Ready to Fold Once Again on War Funding…

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A quick spine check of the Democratic Party has revealed Jell-O once again…

Reprinted fron the Washington Post

By Jonathan Weisman

Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 5, 2007; Page A03  

Facing increasing evidence of military progress in Iraq, some Democratic congressional leaders are eyeing a shift in legislative strategy that would abandon a link between $50 billion in additional war funding sought by President Bush to a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops. Instead, they would tie the measure to political advances by the Iraqi government.

For nearly a year, Democrats have tried unsuccessfully to use war funds to push timelines for troop withdrawals, troop-training requirements, and prescribed periods of rest for weary soldiers and Marines.

Now, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.) is examining a new approach, releasing war funds in small increments, with further installments tied to specific performance measures for Iraq’s politicians. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) also is searching for a new approach and has been briefed on the idea of more explicitly tying funds to political progress.

The new thrust has divided Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill, some of whom say they will never approve additional funding for the Iraq war without troop-withdrawal timelines. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) remains skeptical, House Democratic leadership sources said, and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has vacillated between seeking compromise with Republicans and holding firmly to troop-withdrawal language.

“We’ve been through all that,” Reid said yesterday of the new approach, suggesting the war-funding issue will wait until January. “I just think we need to figure out some way to fund a government and move on to next year.”

The new approach contains considerable political risks for Democrats. If they choose to adopt realistic measurements of political progress, they would be signaling a willingness to leave U.S. combat troops in Iraq far longer than Democratic voters want, said Michael O’Hanlon, a Democratic defense analyst at the Brookings Institution.

None of the leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination is likely to embrace that, said O’Hanlon, who suspended his ties to the campaign of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) after he wrote that Bush’s troop buildup was yielding positive results.

On the other hand, the year-long struggle to mandate troop withdrawals shows no sign of progress. War funding will begin running dry by mid-February, leaving Democrats with the choice of withholding money for the war, providing the money without strings attached, or finding a new approach that can win bipartisan support.

The House approved a $50 billion war spending bill last month that would have tied additional funding to a goal of removing all combat troops from Iraq by December 2008, but it fell to a Republican filibuster in the Senate. Bush had promised to veto it anyway.

A separate war funding bill approved in the spring laid out political benchmarks for the Iraqis and demanded that the Bush administration return to Congress in September with an update on progress toward them. It showed that the Iraqi government was woefully short of meeting those goals.

The new approach will get an airing today when USA Todaypublishes an opinion piece by O’Hanlon. He argues that Democrats should receive more credit for the positive changes in Iraq and lays out a fresh set of benchmarks linked to the provision of funds.

O’Hanlon shook up the Iraq debate earlier this year when he co-wrote an opinion piece hailing the progress that has resulted from Bush’s troop buildup. It also suggested that Gen. David H. Petraeus‘s counterinsurgency strategy could stabilize Iraq.

He suggests, for instance, that Congress should judge political progress by how much money the central government in Baghdadis sharing with Iraq’s provinces, and should recognize the ongoing de facto amnesty that Iraq’s government is offering political opponents with the hiring of former insurgents as police officers and soldiers.

Emanuel suggested yesterday that the Bush administration’s diplomatic outreach to Syria, its engagement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the new intelligence estimate on Iran‘s nuclear capabilities stem in part from the changing political climate brought on by the Democratic Congress.

“Our troops at every step of the way have done an incredible job,” he told reporters. “And at every step of the way, the people that are responsible for a political strategy for Iraq have failed to deliver one. And our views on the funding is that what we need and what we’ve asked for from Day One is a set of benchmarks the Iraqis have to meet for Iraq.”

Business as usual huh? The Democrat’s position and strategy on the war in Iraq has been a disgrace. I am finished with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.  

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Hillary Trails Top GOP Candidates in Head-to-Head Polls…

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A new Zogby Poll says Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton trails five top Republican presidential contenders in general election head-to-head match-ups. This, with the previously reported numbers on Obama, may be the electability issue coming home to roost for the Clinton campaign, as her national support from this past summer appears to have evaporated.

I predicted this as far back as as two months ago here, here, here and she has only herself to blame.

Even Newt Gingrich is predicting an Obama win in Iowa. 

Clinton’s top Democratic rivals, in particular Barack Obama and John Edwards, both lead Republicans in hypothetical match-ups ahead of the Nov. 4, 2008, presidential election, according to the survey.

Clinton, a New York senator who has been at the top of the Democratic pack in national polls in the 2008 since June, however now, she trails Republican candidates Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, John McCain and Mike Huckabee by three to five percentage points in the direct matches.

Back in July, Clinton narrowly led McCain, and held a solid five-point lead over former New York Mayor Giuliani, a six-point lead over former Tennessee Sen. Thompson and a 10-point lead over former Massachusetts Gov. Romney.

Huckabee wasn’t even on the radar.

However, as she has wavered on immigration, the failed attempt to license illegal aliens in New York, and in nationally televised debates, her support has eroded…as it should. 

Why?

America wants a truthful President and a person who leads from a pulpit of what is right, not what is right for the pollsters.

We’ve had eight years of dishonesty and back paddling. People are starving for integrity in the Oval Office. They want someone to bring our country back from the edge of the cliff that George Bush has led us to. America has raised the bar and apparently Hillary is having a tough time getting over it.  These poll results come as other national polls show the race for the Democratic nomination tightening five weeks before the first contest in Iowa, which kicks off the state-by-state nomination battles in each party.

This is no way for the Clinton campaign to start on any level.

Many Democrats, including me on this blog and on my Internet radio show, have expressed concerns about the former first lady’s electability in a tight national race against Republicans. This survey slso showed Clinton not performing as well as Obama and Edwards among independents and younger voters – another ominous sign.

“The questions about her electability have always been there, but as we get close this suggests that is a problem,” Zogby said.

Obama, an Illinois senator, and Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, both hold narrow leads over the Republican contenders in the hypothetical 2008 match-ups.

“It all points to a very competitive general election at a time when many people think the Democrats are going to win the White House,” Zogby said.

The poll consisted of 9,355 people had a margin of error of plus or minus one percentage point. The interactive poll surveys individuals who have registered to take part in on-line polls.

Some have pointed out that the poll may be skewed, as Obama and Edwards supporters could be more active. However, several polls suggest the same trends and the data seems to be consistent.

I’ll say it again as I have been saying it for months…

Hillary Clinton is no lock for 2008 and in my opinion, she is not living up to her reputation as a tough campaigner. Her campaign is being run poorly and she almost sounds as though she believes the nomination is a coronation that has already been decided.

Not so Hillary…not so.

Democrats are looking for someone, anyone, with consistent positions on the issues and a solid platform that the Republicans cannot attack with a broadside shot and sink the whole ship! Hillary Clinton nor her campaign should be surprised at all that this is happening. People are beginning to pay attention as we get closer to Iowa and what they are discovering is that Hillary can’t make up her damn mind on just about anything.

I don’t know how much of a problem these numbers are this early, but if I was a betting man, I wouldn’t push all of my chips her way just yet.

Save the waffles for breakfast Hillary and choose your positions carefully, or Democratic caucus goers may choose them for you, in the form of Barack Obama.  

More 2008 Presidential Election News here…

Barack Obama Star Rising, Especially Against Conservatives in Head to Head Race…

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A closer look inside the numbers reveals that Barack Obama is quite legitimate when put head to head versus any Republican candidate in a national election.

This must have the Clinton camp at least mildly concerned as her almost daily recurrences of foot-in-mouth syndrome, coupled with her enormous unpopularity among male voters, could spell disaster for her campaign as the race grinds forward into 2008.

Obama has the personality, charm, as most importantly…cash, to go the distance. But more important than all of that is the one crucial question. Can he beat the Republicans, no matter who they throw at him. As of now, the answer appears to be yes.

Here is some recent poll data:

Head to Head 2007 Summary Aug Sep Oct Nov
Barack Obama 43.7 44.3 44.4 45.0
Rudy Giuliani 42.7 44.0 42.0 42.0
Margin 1.0 0.3 2.4 3.0
Head to Head 2007 Summary Sep Oct Nov
Barack Obama 48.5 45.3 49.0
Mitt Romney 38.5 35.7 37.7
Margin 10.0 9.7 11.3
Head to Head 2007 Summary Aug Sep Nov
Barack Obama 48.0 47.0 49.0
Mike Huckabee 39.0 38.0 38.0
Margin 9.0 9.0 11.0
Head to Head 2007 Summary Aug Sep Oct Nov
Barack Obama 44.5 43.0 43.7 46.0
John McCain 39.5 39.5 41.3 43.0
Margin 5.0 3.5 2.3 3.0
Head to Head 2007 Summary Aug Sep Oct Nov
Barack Obama 45.7 47.6 46.2 52.0
Fred Thompson 38.3 39.0 38.0 39.0
Margin 7.3 8.6 8.2 13.0

And what does Hillary have to say?

Hillary Rodham Clinton maintained Sunday that she’s the best candidate to win against Republicans, saying she has more experience battling the GOP than any other candidate in the Democratic field.

“I believe that I have a very good argument that I know more about beating Republicans than anybody else running. They’ve been after me for 15 years, and much to their dismay, I’m still standing,” she said in answer to a woman’s question about her electability. “I’m leading in all the polls, I’m beating them in state after state after state.”

“I think they have looked at the field and figured out who can best beat the Republicans,” Clinton said.

Barack Obama’s campaign weighed in, claiming he is the strongest candidate in the field.

“Throughout his career, Senator Obama has succeeded in bringing Democrats, Republicans and independents together to solve important problems like providing health care to families,” Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said.

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll showed Obama had 30 percent support among likely Iowa Democratic caucus-goers and Clinton had 26 percent. 

When asked about Obama’s lead in Iowa, Clinton, in typical Clinton style, completely reversed an earlier statement saying that she doesn’t pay much attention to polls, and acknowledged that it’s a competitive race.

“There have been a lot of polls, and frankly, I don’t pay much attention to any of them,” she said. Later, she acknowledged, “It is a much more competitive race (in Iowa) than it is in other parts of the country.”

When you’re looking in from the outside, it’s right there for anyone to see.

Obama may be a bit irregular and unpolished at times, but he is consistent. He’s candid, comes off as honest and tells you what is on his mind. (i.e. Yeah I inhaled, that was the point.)

If nothing else, Obama could move us over the hurdle of a White House that has been monopolized by recent Presidents who could lead but weren’t very good at controlling their collateral behavior, and others who simply couldn’t lead at all.

Ask five voters about Barack Obama, and you’re likely to get five different opinions: America’s not ready for a black president; America can’t afford not to have a black president; Barack Obama isn’t really black; Obama is fresh and honest, etc., etc. But no one can deny that he inspires comparisons, favorable or not, to John Kennedy, and has had significant primary fundraising success against the Hillary campaign finance machine. (When you have Oprah in your camp how can you lose?)

Obama is the only electable candidate running his campaign on universal health care, getting out of Iraq (the only electable candidate who didn’t want to get in), and as his bestselling book put it, embracing the “audacity of hope.” 

I have commented on the Shadow Democracy Radio Show and this blog in the past, and I will maintain, that Barack Obama is for real and if Hillary Clinton sits on her national poll numbers, she may very well find herself in second place come next Spring.

Obama and Clinton Tied in Iowa?

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As of today, polls show Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton in a statistical dead heat in Iowa (Obama up by 4 points with a 4 point margin of error).

Less than two months before the Iowa Caucasus, the Democratic race is still a toss up, with Edwards trailing close behind. This is according to a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll released Monday.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, is in the lead with 30 percent support from likely Iowa voters, followed closely by Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, who earned 26 percent. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards got 22 percent and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson earned 11 percent.

Clinton is the national front-runner, but has seen her lead drop in recent months, according to the poll.

In July, 50 percent of Iowans thought she had the best experience to be president, but in the poll released Monday, 38 percent said they thought she did. 

39 percent said they still thought she is the most electable candidate, with Obama in second in that category with 25 percent.

I believe the main reason for this sudden closing of the gap between Clinton and Obama is attributed to Hillary Clinton’s constant waffling on key issues. The latest incident involved the immigrant license program in New York. First she’s for it, then she’s not for it, then she understands why Spitzer wanted it, then when Spitzer drops the idea, she says she’s against it again!!!

Get a grip girl!

I’ve said it in other posts…pick a position for God’s sake and defend it! This constant back and forth is feeding an already tarnished reputation that has Hillary pegged as someone who can’t commit to a position – especially on tough issues.

The Democrats better wake up and realize that this nomination process is not a lock for Clinton, as I have been stating on this blog and my radio show for several months. We need a candidate that is dynamic, exciting, and can win next November, so we can progress on key issues. 

Hillary is looking less and less like that candidate everyday.  

King George Denied at Last!

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Chalk one up for the good guys. 

Last week, in his ongoing effort to quash any meaningful piece of legislation that the Democrats try to pass, George W. Bush’s veto of a popular water projects bill was overridden by the U.S. House of Representatives today. The veto will enact legislation that would authorize $23 billion for nearly 900 projects across the United States, including flood control, transportation upgrades and construction of new water control infrastructure.

The House voted 361-54 to override the president’s veto. The Senate is expected to take up the water bill as early as Wednesday.

Bush cited too much “pork-barrel” spending in the bill.

This coming from the president who is the unprecedented heavy-weight champion of the world of peacetime pork…

If a similar swell of support occurs in the Senate, it would mark the first time Congress has mustered enough votes to override King George. 

Bush has vetoed five bills during his time in office…four against Democrats of course.

The President chose to stand in the way of this bipartisan legislation, this overwhelming bipartisan legislation, in an attempt to claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer from Maryland. “This is the wrong bill to have done so.” 

“No one is surprised that this veto is over-ridden,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said. “We understand that members of Congress are going to support the projects in their districts. Budgeting is about making choices and defining priorities – it doesn’t mean you can have everything,” he said. “This bill doesn’t make the difficult choices; it says we can fund every idea out there.”

Yeah, $10 million for flood control in Mississippi and Louisiana is clearly unreasonable.

The bill would provide funding to do coastal restoration in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina and improve the Florida Everglades. It also would include new locks to speed up freight traffic on the Mississippi River. Farm and business groups have campaigned for years to expand navigational capacity on the upper Mississippi, where many of the locks and dams date from the Depression era, in order to remain competitive in the global agriculture trade market.

Again, unreasonable in the eyes of the Bush administration.

Bush and Democrats are at a seemingly unresolvable impass over the Iraq war, and have been playing political volleyball with SCHIP. This override, if for no other reason, has breathed some life back into our system of checks and balances but moreover, has demonstrated to King George that we are not heading down the slippery slope of dictatorial control yet…not yet.

Huge Labor Organization Drive in New York City Adds 28,000 New Members to UFT…Most Since 1960!

Providers celebrate the victory at UFT headquarters

Recently, home child care providers in New York City held an election with the goal of organizing and joining the United Federation of Teachers. The votes of the union election have been counted, and the results are in.

Yes to joining the UFT :8,382 votes
No to joining the UFT :96 votes
The effort took two years of organizing and a month-long get out the vote campaign, but the end result was worth it and serves as an event for organized labor in general. With this vote, the UFT gains 28,000 new members – making this organizing drive the largest labor organizing drive in New York City since 45,000 teachers joined the UFT in 1960.

The 28,000 home child care providers that chose to join a union, care for over 100,000 kids and they serve as the first educators for these kids, helping them with their reading and fine motor skills, as well as speech and homework. What did American business owners think this effort was worth? Their average salary is $19,000 a year with no pension, health insurance or paid sick days – making home child care providers in New York City among the lowest-paid workers in the region. That is why home child care providers voted overwhelmingly to join the UFT.

Provider Luz Alvarez tells her story:

Thank Heaven we finally have a union. I’ve been a provider for eight years and in that time I’ve had one vacation, which was to attend my daughter’s wedding. The union can help us go in and negotiate a salary and other benefits so we can take a vacation once a year or take a sick day without losing pay.

Americans better realize that unionizing is the only hope workers in this country have when it comes to leveraging their position against large corporations that only concern themselves with the bottom line and the whims of stockholders, and smaller greedy companies that clearly do not value what their employees do.

Workers must begin to utilize their collective strength to regain the respect they deserve or they will continue to be trampled by downward wage pressure and a global movement to replace higher paid American workers with lower paid and exploited foreign workers both domestically and abroad. Too often workers fell isolated and helpless in the face of management pressure that often results in intimidation, or job loss. As a nation of workers, we must reverse this trend.

Key roles in the New York City organizing drive were played by ACORN and New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. It is in this way, that is, building relationships with Democratic politicians and other labor organizations, that American labor can return to a level of respect and job security that they deserve. The predatory redistribution of wealth from greedy owners to needy workers is the first step in restoring a system that saw both workers and companies prosper during the post World War II era.

Anyone who says labor unions hurt business, only needs to look at the numbers.

From 1945 to the 1960s, union density in this country and corporate profitability increased steadily as unions and management worked together to build an environment of cooperation that resulted in a winning situation across the board.

Then came Reagan.

With the birth of the Neo-Con era, we saw open hostility toward unions, egged on by uninformed media pundits who simply want to protect the rich and exploit American workers.

Enough is enough. The conservative experiment is not working, in fact, it is slowly destroying the middle class as health-care costs sky-rocket, wages become depressed, job security drys up, and our education system falls to pieces.

Anyone who labels themselves as an ‘American’ must look out for labor. Only enemies of this nation and our way of life would look to destroy unions and the protections they offer the middle class. If this group includes conservatives, and I believe it does, then they are nothing more than treasonous leaches.

Support unions if you know which end is up…in the long run it is our only hope as middle class workers. 60% of your fellow workers want to…   

Democrats Must Stand Up to Bush on New War Funding Request for Many Reasons…

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The White House sent Congress a $189.3 billion request for funding for military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the broader war on terrorism in 2008. The request adds $42.3 billion to the administration’s original request of $141.7 billion to cover 2008 war costs. It also includes 5.3 billion dollars that had been previously approved for mine-resistant armored vehicles known as MRAPS.US defense secretary, Robert Gates, outlined the rational for the additional war funding in congressional testimony on September 26. Monday’s action by the White House marks the formal request with all of the documentation to justify it the numbers. Gates said the request would include $6 billion to maintain US “surge” forces in Iraq through July.Gates and the Bush administration may have justified the increase in funding regarding the necessary costs of a war of their making, but they have not justified the human cost. After the veto of the SCHIP legislation last week the Democrats, as I have mentioned in prior posts, need to press this president on his priorities. The Democrats, in good conscious, cannot approve additional war funding until Bush concedes on SCHIP. The health and well-beings of children in this country is at least as important as the lives of the troops. Moreover, if the Democrats approve this request, they will have ultimately proved once and for all that they are more concerned with politics than principle. Bush already has the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent people on his hands and has shown a blatant disregard for human life. Do the Democrats want to be his willing accomplices?It is time to take a stand. Bushes approval rating is down to 25% and continues to plummet. Congresses approval rating stands at 27%. Most Americans want war funding cut specifically. What are Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of these Democrats afraid of? Practically speaking, they have absolutely nothing to lose. They have talked the talk but nothing more. There is no way this country punishes the Democrats next Fall for pulling the war funding. The only thing they really need to be concerned about is how the right-wing spin machine will try to demonize them for the move. If they prepare for that predictable eventuality (which has already started really if you’re paying attention), then they should be able to do the right thing by the American people and still retain their political capital.

The Democrats were elected on a wave of anti-war sentiment. It is time to cash in the chips and deliver on what was promised…an end to this senseless war. But more importantly, Bush and the Republicans must understand that their arrogance and hubris can be restricted – if only to breath some life back into our system of checks-and-balances.     

Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats Fail Once Again…This Time on SCHIP…

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US congressional Democrats today have failed us again. Another piece of key legislation went up in smoke as the House failed in their attempt to override President George W. Bush’s veto in response to their bid to expand a health care program aimed at millions of poor children.

The House of Representatives backed the override vote by Democratic leaders by 273 votes to 156, but fell 13 votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to check Bush. Bush vetoed the bill on October 3, arguing it was a step towards “socialized medicine,” complaining it would be too expensive and would tempt some families now using private insurers to switch to government-funded coverage.

A CNN poll found this week that 61 percent of Americans though Congress should override the veto.

Democrats immediately ripped into Bush after the vote. Maybe they should have ripped into themselves.

Nancy Pelosi may go down in my mind as the worst Speaker of the House in history. If you need someone to engage in wonkish debate that results in nothing – she’s your gal! However, if you need someone to crack some political skulls and get a policy that 72% of the American people wanted to begin with (SCHIP) and 61% now want passed via override, then she’s not your horse. You’re probably saying…but Matt, the Democrats are doing everything they can! There’s not enough votes! Bush is heartless and a moron to boot! Blah. Blah. Blah. I say, how about a quick look back to the President’s ‘Medicare Perscription’ bill.

In 2003, Bush famously signed into law the most expensive health bill in our nation’s history. The Democrats wilted. That bill had a price tag of $400 billion over 10 years compared to SCHIP which would cost half that over the same amount of time. It almost didn’t pass as you might recall. Tom DeLay had to strong arm one fiscal conservative with a political threat against his son to get the necessary vote! The press learned later that the administration already knew that the price tag was being understated by over $100 billion, but the actuary with that information was being muzzled by his boss, so Congress might pass it anyway! Here’s the real kick in the head, the money spent on Bush’s ‘Pill Plan’ would line the pockets of pharmaceutical companies and HMOs, and in the end, some seniors saw an out of pocket cost increase! Some projections have a ten year cost on Bush’s Medicaid fiasco as high as $1 trillion! 

I WANT MY DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMEN AND SENATORS TO FIGHT LIKE REPUBLICANS DO…DIRTY!!!!

Enough of this political small talk. Enough Bush bashing. Nothing is going to change this knucklehead’s position on anything that the Democrats propose to help the middle class. I personally prefer RESULTS and so do the American people (take a look at Congresses approval rating). Instead what we got is another dropped ball. The Democrats do not twist arms like Republicans or they simply will not. The results have been monumentally disappointing.

Here is how they should respond.

The President’s beloved ‘No Child Left Behind’ bill is up for re-authorization shortly. The Democrats should make no mistake here. Stick it right up Bush’s ass. He needs Democratic votes to get it re-authorized. In no way should the Democrats cave on this. They are bashing Bush as heartless toward the needs of children and he will inevitably bash back, saying Democrats have abandoned the educational needs of our children.

So be it.

If this ass of a President wants to play obstruction pinball, then let’s play. At least we can claim stalemate. If the Democrats do cave in, that will be the last straw for me. I will personally begin an online campaign for the removal of Nancy Pelosi as speaker and I will also punish my party by crossing over for the first time in 2008. I am also prepared to support Cindy Sheehan’s Congressional election efforts.

There, I said it.

Some states have already run out of funds, and in instances children may be literally dying because their parents can’t afford the procedures they require. Get these people on the ball Nancy and let’s start doing the shit work we need to do, in order to get a win on something…anything…please! Dig for dirt, rat out Republicans if you have to. Play Tom Delay style ball. If the Republicans are willing to go over the hill with Bush then make them pay – all of them. No more ‘No Child Left Behind’, no more war funding, no more anything. It stops now.

So far, the Democrats as a whole have accomplished nothing. Personally, I’m tired of nothing.