Archive | 8:42 pm

How A Democrat Can Get the Military Vote

24 May

Seven impressive soldiers tell the Democratic party what it needs to do to get their votes. Finally, here’s some subject-matter experts for Democrats to embrace, instead of and  (I agree with , who also has video).

I was most impressed, and not in any particular order, by :

I still care deeply about the social issues that I learned to care about during my first tour on active duty. In 2008, I will pay close attention to health care, immigration, and taxation, because I think they have a profound effect on my life and our country. What concerns me most, however, is that for the past seven years our nation has drifted rudderless through the war on terrorism. The “preventive war” doctrine proved such a bust in Iraq that today we have no strategy. In the absence of guidance from the White House, decisions about military strategy and resources are being made in a vacuum. In 2008, then, I will be looking for the candidate who articulates a viable national security strategy, and shows me the ability to implement it in a responsive and flexible way that restores America’s place in the world and keeps us safe. I think, given what I’ve seen of the presidential field so far, that candidate will be a Democrat.


Lastly, I have a problem with al-Qaeda. We might have been diverted from fighting al-Qaeda in Afghanistan with the invasion of Iraq in 2003, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t also fighting al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia. I cannot give my vote to anyone who would advocate withdrawal in the face of our sworn enemies. Unfortunately, that’s what leading Democrats are doing, and why they’re unlikely to get my support. Whoever comes forward and owns the “withdrawal vote” in 2008 can be sure to lose mine. The Democrat who can gain my vote will be the one who comes forward with a plan to win.


The destruction of the Army and Marine Corps stemmed from a failure of the Bush administration—its greatest failure: the inability to articulate or even understand what kind of war we’re fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. As any student of Clausewitz can tell you, if you fail to understand the nature of the war you’re fighting, you’re doomed before the first shot is fired.

And, :

For any Democratic candidate genuinely interested in making inroads with the military, learning about the perspectives of enlisted soldiers and lower-ranking officers—not admirals and generals—will be essential. With any luck, such a candidate will come away convinced of the need for greater accountability from the upper ranks, echoing down through subordinate leaders and across to civilian counterparts. At the very least, he or she will begin to grasp the extent of the military’s problems today. And anyone who does that—and who can offer some hope of reenergizing the spirit of American service that the military represents— wins.

This is some of the best writing on what Democrats need to hear—America needs a security policy, not feel-good medicine.


No Progress in Florida

24 May

It’s back to paper for Florida:

The law does away with ATM-style touch-screen voting machines in 15 counties, including Lake and Sumter. Instead, voters will use paper ballots that are run through scanning machines and can be recounted in close elections.

Florida’s elections process has been under klieg lights since 2000, when irregular results from punch-card ballots left the presidency in limbo and made Palm Beach County’s butterfly ballot fodder for late-night comedians. George W. Bush eventually defeated Al Gore by 537 votes in Florida.

Palm Beach made the switch to touch-screen machines in 2002—and almost immediately set off a campaign by U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, and others to replace the electronic system with paper ballots.

Last fall, a Sarasota-area congressional election raised more fears about electronic voting, when touch screens recorded more than 18,000 blank votes in Sarasota County.

Crist, who made elections reform an early priority, basked in bipartisan praise Monday for ending the paper-trail fight.

The federal government will cover the roughly $28 million cost to switch to optical-scan devices. Touch-screen machines will still be used during Florida’s new Jan. 29 presidential-preference primary, but paper ballots must be in place by the fall 2008 elections, with one exception. Touch screens still can be used for disabled voters until 2012.

Florida’s Jan. 29 presidential primary would be ahead of all other states except for caucuses in Iowa and Nevada, county conventions in Wyoming and the New Hampshire primary.

I’m still infuriated about . I mail in absentee ballots, so I always use paper. I’m glad Florida will try not to elect the wrong guy in 2008, but then it could flatten every candidates’ momentum by starting a trend toward voting in 2007. By November, 2008, the only candidates anyone cares for will be on Survivor. On the other hand, Florida’s actions could be a boon for write-ins. The lists will be huge, and the competition to be on the top, fierce. Probably, the winner will sneak past the post by a slim plurality.

Thanks, Sunshine!

The Rangel Maneuver

24 May

The US House Ways and Means Committee is putting another nail into the KORUS FTA:

U.S. law requires the White House to give 90-days notice before signing a free trade agreement.

U.S. and South Korea trade negotiators raced to complete the deal by early April so President George W. Bush could give the required notice for the agreement to be signed before the White House’s trade promotion authority expires on July 1.

That legislation allows the White House to negotiate deals that Congress must approve or reject without making changes. Had the deal not been struck in time, it would not receive that protection when moving through Congress.

USTR’s failure to release publicly the full text has aroused suspicions that some details are still being negotiated. However, it often takes the trade office a long time between reaching an agreement and posting the final text.

it looks like this bout of managed trade will falter on account of a technicality.

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