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Brad Friedman: Stop Whining and Start Leading

Posted on Jan 20, 2007

Brad Friedman

If Congress wants to be treated like a co-equal branch of government, it has to act like one, and Bush’s State of the Union address is the perfect time to start. At right, Sen. Jim Webb, who will deliver the Democratic response to the president’s speech.

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I don’t know how long the tradition of an opposition party response to the president’s State of the Union address has been going on. But for as long as I can recall, it has been a drab, embarrassing, cringe-worthy effort by whichever party found itself unlucky enough to not be in the White House.

Over the last six years, the Bush administration has run roughshod over its coequal congressional partners, stealing extraordinary power for itself at every turn with the shortsighted blessings of Republican chums in the House and Senate as an all-but-castrated Democratic Party stood quietly by in the background for the most part.

This year, the Dems have smartly tapped freshman Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) to deliver the Democratic response to Bush’s State of the Union address. No simpering softy he, Webb has already shown he has the stones to look Bush straight in the eye and deliver as good as he gets in the face of a classic Dubya bully-boy alpha-dog snarl.

But no matter how much clout, moral authority or gigantic balls the former Reagan Navy secretary and proud father of a son serving in Iraq may have, the conventional stagecraft of the SOTU and its Democratic/Republican response simply stacks the cards insurmountably against the opposition party and—as is likely again this year—only serves to reinforce a perceived, if undeserved, imbalance between the two parties and between two of the branches of government.


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Just moments after the predictable but rousing reception given to any president during a SOTU address—featuring long and loud applause break after applause break and the undeniable excitement of a speech delivered on live television to a packed and contentious house—there is no way that a one-camera opposition party response delivered in an all but empty room turned TV studio can ever hope to measure up to the pomp and circumstance of the president’s address. That fact would be true even if Superman was selected to deliver the opposition party response.

It’s time to make a change.

And it’s time for the Dems to take back just some of the White House’s self-proclaimed empirical majesty in the bargain.

With the Dems newly in control of both houses of Congress and with a healthy majority of the country now clearly backing them as the best hope for America’s future on virtually all fronts, and with a courageous man who knows how to kill before a live crowd, it’s time they push back and reclaim some of their rightful constitutional power—public perception being as integral to that power as almost anything else.

Controlling both the House and the Senate, the Dems can make the rules for both chambers on how Congress is to be run, as I understand it.

To that end, unless there is something more than merely “tradition” that I’m unaware of and that keeps them from doing so, the Dems ought to give Webb the same platform—the full joint session of Congress—to deliver their party’s response to the SOTU.

Webb should deliver his address to the same jampacked and receptive chamber on the floor of Congress that the president used ... and in which the opposition party, proudly owning majorities in both chambers of a co-equal branch of government, now deserves to lay out its vision for the country.

As president of the Senate, Dick Cheney, of course, should be invited to keep his seat during the address behind the podium and next to the speaker of the House. It’ll be up to him if he wishes to show the appropriate respect and to stay for the speech and join in the polite applause at appropriate moments, or if he chooses to shamefully abandon his post and leave the on-camera seat empty behind Webb as the senator gives his address to the same pomp, circumstance and applause breaks as afforded to his coequal executive branch representative just moments earlier.

For the first time in its history, the opposition response to the SOTU can be more than merely an embarrassing, limp, pro forma, predictable “hey, don’t forget about us!” rejoinder that the TV networks begrudgingly carry after most viewers have already changed the channel or moved on to other things. Instead, the response can truly carry the message—from a level playing field—of how the Democrats envision the brave new world and their plans for bettering the state of our union.

I believe all it would take is a decision by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to keep the joint session open after Bush’s address, and for the floor to then be given to Webb to deliver the party’s response to all in attendance. I hope that both will consider doing so.

The Democratic Party was placed into power last November to take back America. Webb is the perfect representation of that reclamation of power. The State of the Union address gives the Dems, via Webb’s response, the perfect moment to make their intentions crystal clear to the nation. But they need to give Webb the same field graciously granted to Bush.

In doing so, the Dems could finally show what they stand for—and that they will no longer be cowed—instead of merely and meekly serving as bit players and extras in background support for a grand show that Bush no longer deserves.

The battle for the balance of power in this country was long ago turned into a battle measured by which party is perceived by the country as “the toughest guy.” The Dems finally have such a tough guy in Jim Webb. And he’s ready to go. The way the Dems choose to use the golden opportunity before them will probably say as much about their ability to lead in a dangerous, threatening world as anything else. Will they now have the cajones to finally stand up to the GOP bully as embodied by George W. Bush to reclaim their equal time so long deserved? Or at least as afforded to them by the Constitution? We’ll soon find out.

Originally published at The Huffington Post and The BRAD BLOG.

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By John, January 30, 2007 at 6:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am glad all your friends feel better.  That is what war is really all about….feeling better as a individual.  Lalalalalalalal.

I didn’t ask for your time and I didn’t ask your permission.  You really need to come out of the clouds of self importance.

And thanks for telling me how I can spend my time.  Again another sign of how important you think you are.

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By Toby, January 29, 2007 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear John,
Read Comment #50240, I have answered that question.

I promised everyone I spoke to in the year running up to the election if they would register and vote they’d feel better. They did and they do. 

Now, I think I shall withdraw permission for you to control any more of my time.

Read another article. Post another thought. You have value ... use it in a constructive way.
It’s up to you.

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By John, January 29, 2007 at 11:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Toby when I read your post it reminded me of Seinfield…...yada yada yada. 

I will say to you a third time….what is YOUR plan to get the US out of Iraq.

Answer the question.  I will bet you told people the Dems had a plan before the elections.  What is your plan NOW!

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By Terry Sloth, January 29, 2007 at 9:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Get out of Iraq as quickly as possible.”

I agree with you—what we have running this government in both parties are a bunch of incompetent, lazy, selfish crooks.  They are too busy worrying about their perks, and how to keep their “cushy” jobs.  One hundred hours—that’s a joke, we will be in Iraq for 100 years.

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By Toby, January 29, 2007 at 9:30 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter) Post ...
Dear John,

I think I neglected to mention, I don’t have a plan ... never claimed to.
I don’t speak for the dems, never claimed to. Nor the repubs nor the liberals, lefties, righties, conservatives, radical christianalists, peaceniks, war-hawks, evangelicals, atheists ... or the military! (Have I left anyone out?) But I am a hopelessly incurable optimist.

Life’s not simple. So, having a sense of humor helps get through the day without getting pushed into a corner where you don’t belong. Also helps resisting giving someone else permission to control your life. I guess that’s why I’ll never be a ranting evangelical christianalist, or a republican for that matter.

I don’t have a plan. Nor a committee. Just one voice in a chorus of several million, and to that end I will do what I can to see results, because we all want to see the same thing. A quick end to this illegal war. And one that recognizes our troops deserve dignity, recognition and respect for honoring their oath. Maybe we’ll meet in the crowd when we are cheering our returning GI’s!

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By Toby, January 29, 2007 at 8:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear John,

Actually, I did read your plan as previously posted. I was hoping you would flesh it out a little. Perhaps some logistics. As you surely know, moving a hundred plus thousand people and all their equipment and support is a monumental job and does need a little better outline than “pack up all their equipment.” Obviously when we do get out ... and we will, those plans will have been made and ready to be put in place.

Given the monumental task of simply organizing this, things need to be a little better defined. I applaud you for your position on ending the war. That’s what we all want to see happen. Perhaps if we can stop challenging each other which is pointless and unproductive, we can direct our energy to putting pressure on congress to get these plans in the works. Date certain on deciding how best to do this, ordering plans be devised and put in place and then be ready to go ... date certain. That can be accomplished in a matter of weeks, once the plan of action is finalized.

I suspect there are those in the congress and even the Pentagon who are looking at this right now. For all we know, the logistics may already exist!

Needless to say, we are dealing with an administration that has problems with planning. And is absolutely incapable of listening to advise. When the congress finally decides to back up their non-binding position with something binding, cuts off the funding and forces a decision be made we might be one step closer. But given the record of the administration impeachment might, in the final analysis be the only thing that will stop the leadership that doesn’t lead and force leadership necessary to end this war.

Too long, I know. But maybe that will be what we are left with. So instead of writing me to vent your frustration, start phoning your rep and senators! Demand impeachment! Join an activist group, hit the street!

What we need to do is put so much pressure on congress they have no choice but to make this happen!

And finally, we need to stop this silly B.S. about left versus right, liberal versus conservative, dems versus repubs and recognize we should start acting like responsible AMERICANS! United in our goals, period!

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By John, January 27, 2007 at 10:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Toby try to keep up with the postings.  Here is my plan as I posted earlier.

Well since no one has a plan I offer mine and my plan is as good as anyones and better than the plans you Dems refuse to offer….ready….Leave now….pack up all our equipment that is worth taking and leave…..start today…be out in 100 dems love those kind of time lines….2-2 and half weeks we are gone…..leave the Iraqs to fight their own civil war and deal with their own country men as they have for centuries.  Leave… some of you will back me here but some won’t because if we left within 100 hours you’d say we need form a committee first to study the withdrawal and while you study American soliders would be killed AND you’d continue to blame Bush for the soldiers killed while YOU were coming up with a plan.
Get out of Iraq within a 100 hours.

Immediately drive all the troops to the nearest airports….fire on anyone who tries to stop them.  Have troops set up a mile from all airports and shoot anyone who trys to come near our airports.  Fly in our transport plans non-stop and remove our troops as quickly as possible. Leave all equipment we don’t need but destroy it just the same so the Iraqs can’t use it. Take what we can and leave the rest.  Get out of Iraq as quickly as possible.

Now I am glad I gave you a AM chuckle BUT I still don’t see where any Dem in Congress has proposed how to get us out….I do see they want to study how to get us out.  AND I don’t see YOUR PLAN to get us out.  What is it Toby?

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By Skruff, January 27, 2007 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t have a 100 hour plan, BUT what about a 1 month plan??

Set a plebiscite in Iraq for 10 days hense. ask the people a simple question:

Should the Us armed forces remain in Iraq?


Bush went to Iraq ostensibly to install “democracy” (sic) nothing could be more Democratic… Bush saves face and goes home. The D’s get to say it wouldn’t have happened without them… Everyone wins!

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By Toby, January 27, 2007 at 7:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear John,
Thank you. Thank you for starting my morning with a good chuckle. Goodness knows we could all use more of them!

Woe is me? Obviously you don’t know me very well.

Now, about that 100 hour plan. I am genuinely curious. Please define it. I would like to see how you propose accomplishing this. I think if it is actually viable and workable it might have some value. We could put it into circulation, and who knows?

So please, share your plan with us. An anxious world awaits your reply.

Thanks so much.

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By John, January 26, 2007 at 11:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Toby…..imagine your house is burning down and all you do it watch it burn and talk about bad building codes, bad house building techniques, bad decisions your wife made plugging in to many toasters, blenders etc…..instead of getting up and putting out the fire OR at least attempting to put out the fire you just stand their saying “I told you so” .....good luck saving your house.
I am not into wishful thinking but I am also not into sitting around pissing and moaning about how and why.  I deal with here and now.  Keep feeling impotent but your impotence is helping to get more soliders killed and wounded.  I have a plan.  You have “oh woe is me” strategy.

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By Toby, January 25, 2007 at 9:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When a civilian or group of civilians governing a nation make a conscious choice to use that nations military to deliberately attack a defenseless nation and thereby start a war of aggression, the responsibility for all deaths, all injuries, all damage and all destruction falls on the side of the aggressor. Period.

Therefore, the fault lies with the administration first for wanting the war, the congress second for allowing the war, the intelligence agencies third for manufacturing lies to justify the war and the American people for accepting the bad behavior of all three.

The military having taken an oath, honor their oath. They are there, we are not. They are victims of bad government, bad intelligence and a stupid citizenry.  How about we ask them the best way to end this? I’m sure there are many reading this who know someone over there ... or someone who has someone over there. Or, someone who has been there.

“Well it’s all pretty much FUBAR.”
“What’s my mission? To stay alive!”
“How do we get out of this mess? Damned if I know!”
“America’s not fighting a war, the Army’s fighting a war! America’s at the Mall!”

We know how the Generals who were on the ground feel, they have told us, which is why Bush has replaced or is replacing them. The sad thing about all of this is we presume because we say we support the troops we understand. We don’t. We don’t have a clue. You don’t John, and neither do I.

Maybe if every soldier put their gun down and started walking, right now ... this instant ... they could get out in a week or two, but 100 hours? That sir is not a plan. That’s wishful thinking.

Do I have a plan? No. I only have the simmering frustration of having said so many times back when it wasn’t popular, what would happen if Bush were allowed to start a war of aggression. I take no satisfaction in having been right.

And now, I have the growing frustration of recognizing our congress really isn’t any smarter for the experience of this horror in Iraq, because they are doing the SAME STUPID THING AGAIN!
Falling all over each other pushing for action against Iran ... WHICH DOESN’T HAVE A NUKE EITHER!


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By Moe Hare, January 25, 2007 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I agree—a meaningless non-binding resolution, what a bunch of “Uncle Sam SCAM.”  Impeach this incompetent president, stop funding the War—end this feudal farce.

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By Skruff, January 25, 2007 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ahh the name calling… I wondered how long it would take you.

“Liberal?” How do you know?
Do Liberals always oppose killing?

Do conservatives always support expensive, lost causes?

Are you old enough to remember Vietnam?  World War II?

The Conservatives were opposed to engaging in yet another “foreign adventure”  The Liberals (Roosvelt, Kennedy Johnson) were the “warriors”

How do you know who I supported in the last election?  Bush (according to the polls) got 52.5% of the popular vote, HOWEVER most recent polls put his support at 14% making him the most unpopular president since Hoover. 

Hill-the Shill supported the war effort.  Is she a Conservative?  George Bush Senior was opposed to the war from the beginnigg. Was he a conservative?

I ask that before labling folks whom you do not know, you might stop and think about the above questions.

I will tell you that I am opposed to welfare, and any mandated tithe to aid others. I am opposed to any restrictions on the Bill of Rights, particularly #s 1, 2, & 4.

I am opposed to government interference in business, personal actions (which do not directly effect others) and the affairs of foreign nations.

Government’s duties at the Federal level are constitutionaly limited to regulating, and facilitating interstate commerce, providing for the GENERAL welfare (by “General” I assume the whole population, not simply poor folks.) and defending our shores. I support the constitution.

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By John, January 25, 2007 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Even if you don’t care for Bush’s policies you still have to know he’s a decent man.  50 million people that many of you liberals don’t respect voted him into office.  You can’t honestly feel that 50 million of us are stupid while the other 49,999,999 are smart.  I have to feel that this war has kept Bush from many hours of sleep and provided many hours of angiush.  We tend to judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their actions. If a 100,000 Iraqs have died you don’t believe that the US Military and Bush killed them.  How do you not place at least some responsibility on the person with the bomb strapped on their body or the person who drives a car loaded with explosives into a crowded market. One of Bush’s many mistakes has been to not know his enemy and the fact is the people of the middle east have fought for 2000 years and will continue to fight each other for a long time.  We are not going to change that region ever.
I have repeatedly asked for the Democracts plan to end the war and I have steadily gotten responses of Bush did this and Bush did that and he’s an idiot.  Where is the plan?  Well since no one has a plan I offer mine and my plan is as good as anyones and better than the plans you Dems refuse to offer….ready….Leave now….pack up all our equipment that is worth taking and leave…..start today…be out in 100 dems love those kind of time lines….2-2 and half weeks we are gone…..leave the Iraqs to fight their own civil war and deal with their own country men as they have for centuries.  Leave… some of you will back me here but some won’t because if we left within 100 hours you’d say we need form a committee first to study the withdrawal and while you study American soliders would be killed AND you’d continue to blame Bush for the soldiers killed while YOU were coming up with a plan.
Get out of Iraq within a 100 hours.

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By Skruff, January 24, 2007 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Comment #49374 by John on 1/24 at 6:44 am

“I think he is truly a decent man”

How many death must one be responsible for before he is no longer a “decent” person?


“.....thanks for your reasoned response which I find lacking from many Truthdig posters who refuse to even consider a another point of view.”

I like to believe I consider “other views” Sometimes I reject them. 

I also like to believe that our civil employees are caught in a Shaksperian delemma rather than being pure evil… However, when one passes the 100,000 civilian murder mark?

Well suppose it was your mother, sister, wife daughter, son or brother caught (on their way to work) in a crossfire.

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By Toby, January 24, 2007 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

SOTU should be just that. A careful analysis of where we are. I can’t remember when the last time was that actually happened. But, I can remember ad nauseum the times SOTU has been nothing more than POMP, no circumstance just pomp. Since we have no royalty there is little excuse for this display.

Courtesy has it’s place, but when confronting the reality of hundreds of thousands of dead civilians, many of them innocent children, and the pain and anguish of thousands of families who have buried their sons and daughters, killed honoring their oath in Iraq and Afghanistan ... courtesy as far as I’m concerned should go right out the window.

Since the big issue in this country right now is the state of Bush’s war, ignoring it or glossing it over deserves no courtesy. But I cant say it as eloquently, or forcefully as Senator Webb did. If we weren’t mad as hell yesterday, we should be today! It falls to everyone to make sure Webbs speech reaches everyone we know, because while MSM will run SOTU over and over again ... they wont give the same “courtesy” to Webb.

There is no way any “New President” can undo the damage done in the past six years, in four or even eight years. We have two more years to go and little evidence that overall policy will change. The dems who now control congress run the risk of being blamed for any problems in place when the next election rolls around. Even though whatever they do is largely in response to problems created by the repub controlled congress they replaced! The truth is, no matter what happens in the next two years, the GOP will blame the dems and the public at large seemingly unable to remember anything for more than three months will accept that as true.

Wal-Mart will never open a store in Samoa. They’re after profit for their investors and corporation, not service to a small population. I dont believe minimum wage will force small business to close. That argument comes up every time minimum wage comes up, and has never proven out. The real culprits who drive small business out of business are BIG BUSINESS. Who continue getting break after break. Speaking of which, right now the minimum wage issue is hung up in the Senate because of a push for special tax breaks to offset fair wages.
“Democrats’ promise of a quick increase in the minimum wage ran aground Wednesday in the Senate, where lawmakers are insisting it include new tax breaks for restaurants and other businesses that rely on low-pay workers.”

Well we cant hurt them can we. Where would our college graduates find a job?

There really wasn’t anything new or notable last night.
Same B.S.
“In his last six State of the Union addresses, President Bush has addressed the need for a rational, comprehensive energy policy and the need to move toward greater energy independence. Yet America is now more dependent on foreign oil than when President Bush took office.” Congressman Jerry McNerney

And fresh new lies.
“A claim made by President Bush in his State of the Union speech last night, that an attack on an L.A. skyscraper had been averted, was universally debunked as a hoax by Mayors, CIA, FBI and NSA personnel and counter-terror experts nearly a year ago when it first surfaced.”
Paul Joseph Watson

And NO REAL SOLUTION, PLAN, STRATEGY or REAL JUSTIFICATION given for escalating the war in Iraq. NONE!

So, dear John. Whether or not the president is a decent man is not the issue. What has happened is. The simple fact that he refuses to acknowledge the sacrifice of our troops by honoring the returning dead with recognition when their bodies are unloaded at Dover every night says it all! This is what he thinks! This is contemptible! And as far as I’m concerned over-rides anything else the man says or does. The callousness that say’s our dead do not deserve public recognition and honor when they have given their lives in service, in HIS war defines who George W. Bush is.

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By John, January 24, 2007 at 7:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I think its nice that we worry more about the A. Somoans than we do the small business owners in the USA who will in many cases be forced to either let workers go because they can’t afford the new Minm. wage or close those businesses all together.  If its good enought for the USA its good enough for its territories.  Again if Wal-Mart opens a store there do you think they would have gotten the same considerations?  Ahhhh NO.

There is nothing wrong with a State of the Union speech where actual proper decorum is shown the leader of the country.  It was a lot better than I expected to be honest but as was explained by the commentators Nancy had sent out a directive to the Dems. to be on their best behavior.  Kinda like your mom use to tell you when you went out, in public only she did it to grown adults who she felt might not know better.  I find that sad.
I thought over-all Bush gave a better speech than I was expecting.  I think he is truly a decent man who is trying to lead but often has trouble getting his point across and many times refuses to consider other viewpoints.  What I don’t want to see is a 2 year Presidential campaign where we hear nothing but what Bush has done wrong.  Hasn’t that been well documented?  I concede he’s made monumental mistakes…so what will the new President DO to correct the mistakes and improve the USA.  What is going to be done to make us safer, provide more affordable health care, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and other problems.  I want to know what the next President plans to do about the Mexican economy so many of his citizens don’t have to come here to make a living and how the next President will handle Venazula, Korea, Iran , N. Korea and China….all pose signifigant threats to USA interests and world safety.
BTW Toby thanks for your reasoned response which I find lacking from many Truthdig posters who refuse to even consider a another point of view.

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By Toby, January 23, 2007 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear John, (Comment #49154)
My comments were directed to behavior I would like to see at the State Of The Union Address (SOTU). Period. Nothing more.

Of course we wont see what I would like to see.

We will see the same “decorum and dignity of the House” traditionally seen at this yearly performance ... if you want to call groveling and slathering decorum and dignity. And of course the standing ovation usually reserved for something truly upstanding, used to the point where we marvel they don’t miss their seats as they jump up and down.

And yes an occasional Boo would be nice.

None of that dear sir has anything to do with ending the war beyond letting POTUS know we know Congress knows and Congress knows we know and they need to get off their butts to do more than applaud a hollow speech which can in no way justify a failed policy being put forth by a failed administration that has and continues to deliberately pursue an unnecessary war that creates death and destruction and nothing more! Hope that cleared things up ... or maybe we’re both a little muddled now.

Which is just one more reason we should all question the sincerity of every wannabee president who comes out every day now and announces their candidacy and their position against the war! Clinton? Clinton was the candidate of choice by main stream media before she was a Senator, which should serve notice on all of us that the GOP planned it that way and are waiting in the wings with an attack campaign to destroy her like they tried to destroy Kerry, and everybody knows that ... except possibly her.

The ONLY candidate who deserves our support is Dennis Kucinich who has been up front about the war from day one! Day one being the day that the congress majority gave the president the right to over-ride their constitutional obligations.

And will any of that end the war? No.
If you have a better idea, would love to hear it!

Sorry if I misled you. Foolish me I thought that’s what Friedman’s article was about ... the SOTU, I mean.

Irregardless, by the time you read this, if you read this ... it will all be history!

Now, about American Samoa, Nancy and Tuna. There is always an exception that proves the rule. A little more time spent studying the unique problems Samoa and their canneries have instead of attacking the Speaker might be nice. Nobody wants to hurt Samoa or the Samoan people.

If you will check the congressional record, you will find U.S.Congressman Eni F.H. Faleomavaega’s (D Samoa) response on the floor of the House to the allegations you refer to regarding labor in the tuna canneries in American Samoa. Also on his website  (1/18/2007)

Also a good source:
“Understanding the GOP Shitstorm Over American Samoa”

But, you need to read it all to get a bit of understanding. And then go hunting for more.
Samoans exemption was at the request of Samoans Congressman and Governor, not because of Nancy. If the Samoans have a problem with the minimum wage, they should take it up with their elected officials.

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By George S Semsel, January 23, 2007 at 9:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Face it, folks. The Democrats don’t know how to act, and the people are helpless to do anything about it. Bush will do as he has done without more than token opposition. Now that they have some limited power, the Democrats are already lining up to see how they can best feather their own nests. Meantime, taxes will go up and purchasing power will continue to go down. No one in a position to do anything cares about “the people.”

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By John, January 23, 2007 at 7:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Toby is that the WAR EFFORT the Democrats ran on to win election and take control of Congress.  Is YOUR collective plan to end the war really to BOO and not clap or stand?  That is your plan? Please tell me its not. Please tell what exactly what the Democrats plan to push through Congress to end this war and get US troops out of harms way.  Honestly I expect the same old same old.  Here is why.  Democracts promised to raise the minimum wage.  And they did.  EXCEPT… America Somoa which houses the tuna industry and workers make $3.00 an hour.  Now why would we leave out AS which the US basically controls????? Could it possibly be because Nancy Pelosi’s district is the home of Del Monte which sells tuna?  I bet if AS had a Wal-Mart the wages for their workers would be the same as the rest of the USA.  Ahhhhhh so much for the Democracts and their new sense of ethics.  In this case the TUNA rots from the head down and this TUNA is named Nancy.  The fact of the matter is you Democraps/liberals got yourselves elected and now you are not going to do ONE god damn thing to end this war.  2 yrs from now as we watch H. Clinton (woman) accept the nomination along with Obama (black) as her Vice Presdental running mate you will again talk only about the BUSH White House and his failed policies and you will not offer ONE plan to end the war, one plan to stop illegal immigration and one plan to return this country to our rightful position as the leader of the free world.

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By GDAEman, January 23, 2007 at 4:58 am Link to this comment
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I call them “Cajones.” Do the Democrats have them?  Will Jim Webb have enough Cajones to stand up to the Democratic handlers and say what he really believes? It might be worth watching the State of the Union just for that.

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By Toby, January 22, 2007 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment
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There is only one way to send a powerful message!

(Well two actually)

(Well I guess maybe three)
LOUD BOO’S EVERY TIME 9/11/terror/9/11/terror/9/11/terror/9/11/terror’s BLOODY BODIES ARE DRAGGED ACROSS THE FLOOR!

Who wants to suggest who will be first to jump up?

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By John Hanks, January 22, 2007 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment
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The common citizen has enormous crackpot power.  I have been displaying signs by the road now for a couple of years (not in bad weather).  My car has been mildly vandalized twice and I have had signs stolen, but that means I am annoying the totalitarian bastards who want to make living in this country even more of a nightmare than it is.
The beauty is that I have no committees and I have no political parties to deal with.  I just deal in ideas, like “Rapture for Noone.  Jesus hates blockheads and phonies”, or “Socialisms turn big crooks into little crooks”.  (Plenty more)

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By John, January 22, 2007 at 10:44 am Link to this comment
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Okay Jimmy Webb will pull a George Allen.  The only difference between Jimmy and Allen is Allen shot himself in the foot BEFORE the election and Jimmy-Boy has done it SINCE his election and I expect more of the same from him.
On the topic of Presidential candidates Clinton and Bama…...I want to know what they plan to do to end the war.  I don’t want to know what Bush did or didn’t do go get us in this mess.  That is obvious and easy to debate….I want to know WHAT THE DEMOCRACTS AND THEIR PRESIDENTAL CANDIDATES AND THE LEADERS IN CONGRESS ARE GOING TO DO TO GET US OUT OF IRAQ.  ANY DEMOCRACT WHO VOTES TO ADD MORE TROOPS SHOULD RESIGN THEIR OFFICE.  THAT IS NOT WHAT YOU DEMOCRACTS RAN ON.  YOU RAN ON THE PREMISE YOU’D GET THE USA OUT OF THIS WAR.

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By dick, January 22, 2007 at 8:45 am Link to this comment
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The Congress is controlled by Israel, so far as middle east policy is concerned.  Congressional elections thus produce no change in that policy. In other affairs, the control is by the military and corporation ceos. Read “The Power Elite” by Mills. The voters have no influence whatsoever.

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By 127001, January 22, 2007 at 8:38 am Link to this comment
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I first caught this story when it was posted, and was so tempted to comment “great for another one who is willing to look a bully in the eye!” We need more people, not just politicians, who will stand up and look the bullies among us “in the eye” and say enough is enough. In case you haven’t noticed, the behavior has become societal. Perhaps its because of lifestyle stress or whatever, but it’s happening.

I liked the way this post started, then got rather lost in it. Seems to go a dozen ways at the same time.

Now my head is totally confused. Everyone took a different slant on it. I’m not saying this is bad (or good, or anything else).

But I’m totally lost.

I’m going to stick with the first part ... A dem to stand up and say “stop whining” by someone who will “look the bullies in the eye” and the last part, to have the Dems response immediately after the Twig has his say, while everyone is still there.

Wake ‘em up Webb!

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By Skruff, January 22, 2007 at 8:16 am Link to this comment
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Comment #48934 by Mad as Hell on 1/21 at 2:17 pm says:

“Whenever anyone is annoyed at Virginia’s election of absurd Republicans, let’s not forget that The Commonwealth is the only state in modern times to elect a Black governor”


Massachusetts has a “black” (sic) governor.
But you are right, MAssachusetts has also elected five nocount Republican Governors in a row…. Maybe it’s something about “Commonwealths!

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By Beth Lundeen, January 22, 2007 at 6:26 am Link to this comment
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I want the dems to stand and leave.

I want total, complete rejection and humiliation of the boy king.

George the Younger - Messianic Smurf.

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By lawlessone, January 21, 2007 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment
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I hope Senator Webb comments on the continuing embarrassment of Gitmo.

A Bush official, Charles Simpson the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs, announced last week a list of the law firms representing accused terrorists should be publicized and those firms ostracized on the grounds that providing such Constitution mandated right to counsel was tantamount to supporting terrorism.  Mr. Simpson’s overt desire was to try and punish such lawyers and their firms for defending our Bill of Rights. 

Bush’s arrogant cohorts like Mr. Simpson should be careful.  By that reasoning, we should also publicize a list of all Republican campaign contributors as being tantamount to supporters of graft, corruption, utter incompetence and, in the case of Mark Foley, apparent pedophilia. 

Besides, Bush officials might want to be insisting on the right to defense counsel themselves soon.

[more irreverence at]

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By Mad as Hell, January 21, 2007 at 3:17 pm Link to this comment
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Whenever anyone is annoyed at Virginia’s election of absurd Republicans, let’s not forget that The Commonwealth is the only state in modern times to elect a Black governor, and that this state, in response to “macaca”, tossed out the ignoramous frat boy (sound like a pres we know?) to elect a smart sensible, experienced guy who’s been There and done That.

This is a guy who when Mad King George dissed him came right back with a response the said “STFU you cowardly bullying frat boy. You don’t have the right to talk to a MAN like me like that!”  He also showed admirable restraint in not slugging the bozo as he deserved (not that I advocate assaulting the President of The United States).

Meanwhile the Democrats need to continually nullify the Rove Malevolent Mischief Machine, and a powerful rebuttal to the lie that will be the SOTU nonsense, delivered by a true mensch like Webb can go far.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, January 21, 2007 at 12:09 pm Link to this comment
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I think Americans have long been bored with the rhetoric.  Bush has defied everyone at every turn.  Let’s see just how much spine our venerable congress has.

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By Joe, January 21, 2007 at 11:11 am Link to this comment
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The State of the Union address has never been more than a public relations gimmick on a par with a corporate annual report. Certainly, this president will do his best (thanks to his writers and advisers) to put a good face on his actions and so-called plans, including the farce of “surging” in Iraq. Who believes him anymore, even when he is telling the truth? Can impeachment hearings be too far away?

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By GW=MCHammered, January 21, 2007 at 9:52 am Link to this comment
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There’s only one thing I need to hear from Congress:


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By moe, January 21, 2007 at 9:18 am Link to this comment
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The Democrats must strike and very hard while these assholes are down. They must show the public that brought them in that thay have the will and the resolve to fight until this cult of terror and greed is destroyed.

If they do so the country will stand behind them.

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By Bloggernista, January 21, 2007 at 8:17 am Link to this comment
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You’re damn right that its time for Democrats to stand up to Bush and the Repugs! In a six years Bush has bitchslapped Congress up and down the Beltway, issued signing statement after signing statement as if he is above the law and has destroyed our international reputation.

Nancy Pelosi has done a good job thus far of keeping the House Dems aligned with the 100 hours legislative agenda. But they must go further and the Senate has to stand strong,

And something, I don’t know what, has to be done about that slackdog turncoat Joe Lieberman. Any day now, I am expecting him to announce that he is no longer an “independent Democrat” and has joined the Repug party.

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By Druthers, January 21, 2007 at 5:42 am Link to this comment
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Are you really convinced the new Congress wants to function as an equal branch of government?
I hope I am wrong but, I doubt it.
Lobbies are too powerful, especially certain lobblies and elected officials sell out so eagerly.  How many citizens think they are represented by Congress?
Money corrupts completely.

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By John F. Butterfield, January 21, 2007 at 5:00 am Link to this comment
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I hope the Democrats will soon have some gifts for the opposition president and his administration.

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By Jaded Prole, January 21, 2007 at 4:50 am Link to this comment
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I don’t know that the Democrats stand for anything but their opportunism may turn up the heat on Bush as they try to distance themselves from his policies (to which they previously gave tepid support) and jockey for advantage in the next selection. Nevertheless, I look forward to Webb’s response to the State of the Union speech as he seems to have a spine and will no doubt fire some shots across the bow of this criminal ship of fools.

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By John, January 21, 2007 at 12:19 am Link to this comment
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If the best the dems have to offer in rebuttal of the Presidents policies is Jimmy Webb then the Dems are in REAL trouble.  A freshman senator who “has the stones” obviously means more experienced members of the Dem. party DON"T have the stones and don’t want to risk be found out.  Dem’s ran on getting out of IRAQ and haven’t done one thing to effect change EXCEPT to blame Bush.  The blame game is over and now is the time to put up or shut up and again the best you can do is a still wet behind the ears freshman senator.  No wonder your party continues to shoot themselves in the foot time after time.

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By Lefty, January 20, 2007 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment
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To Steve Hammons,


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By Socrates, January 20, 2007 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment
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The State of the Union Address is a constitutionally mandated function. Nowhere does the constitution mention opposition parties, or political parties at all, as a matter of fact. I would be disappointed to see the Speaker keep the floor open for any so-called “opposition response,” regardless of who is the president, as this would introduce into a constitutional exercise a repugnant vindication of the existence of political parties in the first place. That’s a suggestion as demeaning to the constitutional purpose of this function as the Republican attack on Bill Clinton was demeaning to the constitutional power of impeachment. Partisanship needs to play less, not more, of a role in our nation’s politics.

F**k the parties, and the elegant stage show they put on as we are all led down the prim-rose path to something far less worthy than we could otherwise achieve together as an informed and enlightened citizenry.

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By Moe Hare, January 20, 2007 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment
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“Will they now have the cajones to finally stand up to the GOP bully as embodied by George W. Bush to reclaim their equal time so long deserved?”

When I see it, I’ll believe!

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By Roadette Tonoware, January 20, 2007 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment
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This is a great idea. I agree: The semiotics of the empty room scream: “Who Cares?” I hope somebody brings it to Pelosi or Reid’s attention.

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By John Hanks, January 20, 2007 at 6:44 pm Link to this comment
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The way to lead is simply to say what you think, without spending a lot of time worrying about what others may think.

The American people are at least half of the problem.  The Republicans are crooks and suckers, and the rest of America is a bunch of lazy cowards.  You can start with that.

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By Michelle, January 20, 2007 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment
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WhoooWee! While I consider myself well read, if not over read, this is the first time anything I’ve pondered through came so close to inducing a spontaneous orgasm!

Thanks, i needed that.

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By Skruff, January 20, 2007 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment
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I don’t know what others are thinking, BUT I voted D in the last election simply because the D’s were not George Bush’s party.  I certinly do not have any hope of change. 

Cowardly Hill-the-Shill Clinton voted with GWB for the transfer of power you bemoan above.  Ditto Joe the Shmo Biden, \ My own congressman Mike Michaud, and the Darth Vader of the D party, Joe (D Israel) Lieberman. 

I would have voted for someone other than Michaud, but because our system effectively limits choices to the two major parties (when voting at the national level) I held my nose and voted Democratic.  The folks in Connecticut voted to retain the devil.

Down at the local village store, I don’t here strains of “Happy Days are Here Again, nor am I sure that New England (bluest of the blue States) will remain in the D column in 2008.  The message I heard locally (and as Tip O’Neil observed “All politics is local”)  the election “fired” (we don’t use removed from office down here) the incumbants, and come next election, the folks around here are likely to fire some more “employees”.

Unfortunately, too many folks see GWB and his henchmen as the problem… Someday maybe folks will get a handle on the fact that our systen regularly gives us choices between bad and super bad.

Maybe that is why so many folks don’t participate in the process..

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By Big Al, January 20, 2007 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment
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OK, so Webb can stand up to Bush.

But can he stand up to the Israel lobby?

Because if not, he can’t save us from more catastrophes - such as the war against Iran that Israel is demanding.

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By Christopher Robin, January 20, 2007 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment
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“The investigations by Congress into the Bush administration are beginning. It is going to get serious, and soon. It is quite possible people in the Bush administration, all the way to the top, will face criminal charges at some point.”

^I sure hope so. It would begin to restore my faith in the foundations of this country.

As for addressing the joint house? I don’t think they need that gimmick. One cutting consise speech can do more , than all the backdrops ,and flag waving can ever hope too.

Pity that Mr. Vidal is not delivering that democratic view. For he’d serve their heads on a plate with good humor and biting words.

Maybe outdoors on his patio, with wind tossled hair….in his voice that commands.
That would be worth tuning into, and the news outlets would certainly replay such a usual democratic response.

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By Quy Tran, January 20, 2007 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment
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Bush’s yearly State of Union address will be a buffoonery as usual. Just let him make more tragi-comedy for us to laughing and shedding tears. This year speech should have a huge picture of hanged Saddam Hussein to be shown at Bush background as a big celebration and milestone at his future graveyard.

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By Frank, January 20, 2007 at 11:37 am Link to this comment
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“It is quite possible people in the Bush administration, all the way to the top, will face criminal charges at some point.”

Well, if you really belive that…any chace you’d be interested in buying some beautiful ocean-front property in South Dakota?

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By Steve Hammons, January 20, 2007 at 9:39 am Link to this comment
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The investigations by Congress into the Bush administration are beginning. It is going to get serious, and soon. It is quite possible people in the Bush administration, all the way to the top, will face criminal charges at some point.

Related articles of interest:

Congressional inquiries on Iraq War can enhance honor and strength of America

By Steve Hammons
American Chronicle
November 9, 2006

-  -  -

New Congress must conduct necessary inquiries and investigations properly

By Steve Hammons
American Chronicle
October 19, 2006

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By DennisD, January 20, 2007 at 8:18 am Link to this comment
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“In doing so, the Dems may finally show what they stand for—- and that they will no longer be cowed—- instead of merely and meekly serving as bit players and extras in background support for a grand show which George W. Bush no longer deserves.”

The difference between standing for something and actually doing anything is where the rubber meets the road and how both parties have failed the citizens of this country miserably. Without action the words are meaningless no matter where they’re spoken. The Potomac Theater of the Absurd at it’s best.

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