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Friday, August 31, 2007

Politics, Betting, and the Union Thereof.

(Don't forget to vote for our meeting date!)

Some of you know that I enjoy following the online "predictive market" Intrade. For those of you unfamiliar, it allows you to bet on politics and current events by way of trading binary options. Yesterday I bought 100 contracts of Huckabee to win the Republican nomination, which cost me $35, and pays out $1000 if he wins the nomination.

It was a move that I've been thinking about for a while, born out of the idea that the Republicans have such a dreadful slate of presidential candidates. Romney? Giuliani? Old Man Thompson? (Old Man pictured with second wife). I can't get it out of my head that Republicans are just dying for a palatable candidate, and Huckabee seems to me to be able to fit that role. Click "There's more..." for the thinking behind it.

I have a hard time imagining Republicans nominating Giuliani or Romney, for the obvious reasons that they're transparently phony and were pro-choice until minutes before they formed their campaigns. McCain was the obvious choice, but we all know how that turned out. So they decided "Hey! What about Fred Thompson? Isn't he available or something? I like the pick-up truck he drives sometimes!" But I don't buy that either, or as Fred might say, "That dog won't hunt." By all accounts, Thompson is lazy and dull, which won't serve him well in a hot race for the nomination.

Huckabee's support has jumped since his second place Iowa straw poll finish. I think that a lot of the "anyone but those other assholes" voters were waiting to see who support would coalesce around. Huckabee went from 1% in Iowa to 14% after the straw poll. He's still trailing "those other assholes," but 14% is a top tier number.

The Republican nomination is a big wildcard to me though, and Huckabee still has an uphill climb. So here is my assesment of the points for and against his getting the nomination (Keep in mind, I win $1000 if he gets the nom.)

Pros: Governer of southern state, genuinlyculturally conservative, personable (although he needs to be careful about trying to be too funny. Anyone see him on Colbert?), enjoys good media relationships, and he has momentum after Iowa.

Cons: Economic populism may not be a winner with the GOP, he raised taxes in AR, he doesn't have the money/name ID/organization of those other assholes, he won't STFU about losing 100 lbs, and his son is kind of a handful.

I don't think it's likely that he gets the nomination, but I think he has more than a 3.5% chance, so I took those 30 to 1 odds.

Matt and Todd at MyDD are talking about it over at their places. What do you guys think? Would Huckabee have a better shot in the general than those other assholes? Or are they all doomed to get crushed by the blue wave in 08? Frankly, I think Romney would be the easiest to beat in the general. That guy beats himself


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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Meetings in the Fall Term

What days in the fall term are you UNABLE to attend meetings?

We are trying to pick a day of the week for our meetings, and if you would like to attend (and we would like you to), please let us know what days you can't make it. Please vote in the poll, and the day with the fewest conflicts will probably be our meeting day.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions or input.


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Friday, August 24, 2007

More Broken Promises from Republicans

So I was wondering if our dark side counterparts, the Drexel Republicans, have a website or a blog that I could check out, but all I could find was this old website. Alas, all of their officers seem to have graduated, their last meeting was in May(2002), and their next meeting is in October 2002, location TBA. I noticed a "Pictures" tab, and got really excited. I imagined a comedic treasure trove, with pictures of earnest looking young R's smiling and gladhanding state senators, next to pictures of those same young R's drinking champagne out of a boot and cursing brown people. I was hoping for this, but instead got this.

This section is under construction, will be back up soon.

Sigh. "Soon" would have been under 5 years. Just another broken promise from the GOP.

Of course, I know that there is, at least nominally, a College Repub group on campus, so if anyone knows if they have a website, please leave a comment.

Updated! Click "There's more..." for all the juicy details!

So from the comments, Bill gives us the DU College Repubs, hosted on the College Republican National Committee Website. As Bill points out, it's a pretty weak site: It's just an empty template. It features such gems as:
"The body paragraph is where the meat of the content item is. You can put pictures, charts, graphs, almost anything here. Explore with the editor to see how creative you can be. You can even put in smiley faces -[lame smiley omitted] - or an unsmiley one - [lame unsmiley omitted]."

The only actual content appear to be the footer, which lists the address of the DU repubs as "35XX Hamilton St. Apt 1F." Is that an office? I doubt it. I think I know whose address it is though.

So the search continues. Whoever finds a site with current content wins a pony. Leave your finds in the comments.

Updated again
How could Imiss this?
Become an Effective Conservative Warrior
Truer text was never written.


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Thursday, August 23, 2007

In which I yell at the City Paper

Today is thursday, which means that I read the new City Paper during lunch today. I'm a fan of the paper, which is easy, because it's free and it carries Tom Tomorrow. It's usually thin on articles, compared to the daily papers, but it makes up for it with several interesting short pieces, a cover story long enough to flesh out a local story that often goes undercovered, and typically excellent local reporting. So today I noticed they have a new feature (pheature?) called "Philly on the Potomac" that presumably keeps tabs on our congresscritters in DC. Good idea, I thought. It only took about three minutes to finish the piece and decide to blog about my frustrations.

The main thrust of the piece was how two local representatives were handling the Iraq war. Rep. Gerlach (R-6th) is portrayed as a moderate who is pressing Bush with "creative suggestions" about cleaning up the mess, while Rep. Sestak (D-7th) is reported to have spoken about Iraq at the Center for American Progress. The two following excerpts from the article are exactly the kind of lazy narrative that we have come to expect from reporters, and this is why there is such a huge demand for bloggers like Atrios to call them to account for it. Now, Paul Fain may be an otherwise excellent reporter, and I'm not familliar with the body of his work. This post is not about calling him out, because I see this kind of thing all over the place. Click "There's more..." and follow me below the fold.

The first excerpt is from the lede.

"Now, the area's lone Republican rep is also asking tough questions about the war."
The second is about Sestak.

"...Sestak, a Democrat who represents Media and Drexel Hill, told an audience at the Center for American Progress - a liberal think tank - that calls for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq are unrealistic."
So there's the narrative. Gerlach is a serious congressman, because he's bucking his party and asking "tough" questions and pressing "creative suggestions." Sestak's got the cred to talk about withdrawal as a democrat (he's a retired three-star admiral), but he has to set straight those crazy liberals who are calling for getting 160 thousand troops out of Iraq tomorrow.

The problem? This is the false dichotomy between irresponsible liberals who want all the troops out tomorrow, and responsible republicans who want to get out of Iraq, but only responsibly. In reality, though, those responsible, serious republicans (and their democratic enablers) aren't asking tough questions about how to leave. They're just stalling. They're kicking the can down the road, six months at a time, trying to buy time for Bush to come around (he won't) or for a magical pony to appear in Iraq.

Nobody that I can think of is advocating pulling all the troops out over the weekend. Everyone recognizes the logistical difficulties involved, that would mandate a withdrawal over at least a year. The problem is trying to get the emphasis on leaving, rather than staying while we wait for a pony to appear. Joe Sestak is exactly right when he discusses the logistical difficulties of getting out of Iraq, but to write the story as though liberals are arguing for overnight withdrawal is silly. None of the democratic candidates, not even Gravel, are arguing for a "precipitous" withdrawal. Everyone is arguing that we should FIGURE OUT HOW AND WHEN we will withdraw. Until the debate is about how and why, rather than if, we will be in Iraq indefinantly.

So when Gerlach puts forward his "creative suggestions" and his "tough questions" he isn't doing anything to alleviate the clusterfuck over there. He's just trying to buy himself political cover for this deeply unpopular mess. He's trying to postion himself as a responsible critic, which is a label that the media dishes out generously to hacks and shills alike.

Here is CAP's breakdown of Sestak's appearance. He laid out his vision for how to disengage American forces from the civil war in Iraq, and it's important to hear what he has to say. The fundamental reality that people need to recognize, however, is that until people stop pretending there's still a pony in Iraq, we'll be there forever, six months at a time.

Same shit, different day.

Blogger Novice Addendum:
For people unfamiliar with the pony references, it comes from this. Basically, fools look at Iraq and see a huge pile of shit, and they say "Boy, with all that horse manure, there must be a pony in there!" And so they keep digging.


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Friday, August 17, 2007

August Update

Hey Dems,

First of all I want to thank John and Jamie for adding a blog to our website. The goal is to have a blog where Drexel students can go and contribute to political issues here on our website.

There will be a meeting Monday, August 27th at 7:00 on the Third Floor of Ross Commons. We will be discussing the plans for the beginning of the year including T-shirt making, flyers, new student days, and events in the first weeks of school.

Finally, for those that are interested here is some information on a Hillary event happening soon in Philly. Although it's not free, it should be a great event!



I invite you to join our committee by becoming a Co-Chair of the Forum (commit to sell 25 tickets), or a Host (commit to sell 10 tickets).

Women's Forum $100 per person
10: 00 AM Registration
10: 30 AM Political Panel tba
11:00 AM Senator Clinton arrives

Luncheon with Senator Clinton $1000 per person, $2300 vip
Includes admission to earlier Women's Forum
12:00 VIP reception, photo and luncheon with Senator Clinton
12:30 Luncheon with Senator Clinton

You are welcome to the lunch if you sell 25 tickets.
You are welcome to the VIP reception and lunch if you sell 50 tickets or contribute $2300.

Invitations and pdfs should be ready by next week.

For more information, or to join us, please email me back at or

Thanks so much. Connie Williams


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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Giuliani's Foreign Policy

Rudy "9/11! 9/11! 9/11!" Giuliani "wrote" a long piece outlining his vision for Murican foreign policy, due out in the next issue of the journal Foreign Affairs. The piece went up free online the other day, and the reaction has been decidedly hostile. I think Steve White at TAPPED summed it up best.

"Rudy Giuliani's Foreign Affairs article is the dumbest/scariest thing I've read in a serious journal in quite some time. In fact, I almost regret reading it, as I could have spent my time doing something more intellectually engaging like punching myself in the face."

Long-story-short, Rudy doesn't think Bush has been committed enough to the neo-con vision of strength through global-transformation-by-the-sword concept. It's a mish-mash of lame conservative rhetorical flourishes ("America and its allies have made progress since that terrible day. We have responded forcefully to the Terrorists' War on Us, abandoning a decadelong -- and counterproductive -- strategy of defensive reaction in favor of a vigorous offense." Notice the capitalization of War On US. God I hope that doesn't catch on.) and insane proposals (gutting the UN, and then turning NATO into the UN, ruled by a domninant Murican military.)

He calls for increasing the size of the military by "a minimum of ten new combat brigades. ...We must also take a hard look at other requirements, especially in terms of submarines, modern long-range bombers, and in-flight refueling tankers." All so that we can credibly threaten the entire world with a US invasion. Oh, plus a missle defense shield.

Matt Yglesias discusses some of the political calculus behind the piece. I think he's right that Giuliani doesn't have the social conservative credibility that other candidates have to appeal to the base, and so instead he decided to "double down on neoconservative foreign policy." Norm Podhoretz is one of his advisors, naturally.

I'm hoping that the idea that Rudy is a moderate because he likes to feel pretty and used to be pro-choice is disappearing. I think that Rudy enjoys republican support primarily because republicans are desperate to have a chance in 08, and they think that Rudy is "electable." I don't know if this support will fade, but it's pretty clear that a large portion of republican primary voters aren't sold on Rudy yet. As he scrambles to the right with failed neo-con rhetoric and ideas, I think he is sowing the seeds of defeat in the general. Can you imagine how starkly different Obama's and Giuliani's visions for America's future will be?


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Monday, August 13, 2007

Dick Cheney Was Right

Of course, then 9/11 changed everything, and invading Iraq became the best idea evah. Now, after 4 and a half years, 3689 dead American soldiers, 27186 wounded American soldiers, 450 billion dollars spent, and god knows how many dead Iraqis, I think I can say this with confidence; Dick Cheney was right.

(Hat tip to CrookedTimber)


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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Obama and The GOP Straw Poll in Ames

Romney won the GOP straw poll in Ames, Iowa today. It was pretty much a forgone conclusion, as he was the only big campaign competing. He spent several million dollars, and if he had gotten any less than 30% he would be in big trouble. He got 31.6%. Mike Huckabee had the best day, as his second place finish puts him in good place to move into the top tier by the primaries.

But what does Obama have to do with the GOP straw poll? Well,
there's this. In this University of Iowa poll, respondents were asked:

"If the 2008 presidential election were held today, who would you vote for forpresident? Just tell me the name."

So the responses were broken down by self-identified republicans and democrats, and amongst the 355 Republicans, the responses were as follows:

Romney: 21.8%
Giuliani: 10%
Obama: 6.7%
Thompson: 5.2%
Mccain: 1.8%
No other candidate got more than 3%.
This poll has a high margin of error, 5.2%, but it's still suprising to me. Obama has more support amongst Republicans than all but Romney and Giuliani. This doesn't show that Obama is popular amongst Republicans, although he clearly has crossover appeal, as much as it shows how unethusiastic about their field Republicans are.

Bush and the GOP have done such a horrible job running this country, that voter sentiment is strongly against them. In this environment, no up-and-coming Republican politician would want to ruin his career by losing to Hillary/Obama/et al. in 2008. That leaves Republicans with only egomaniacal fools, and tired old men who can't wait any longer.

The Carpetbagger Report has more.


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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Obama vs. The Establishment

If you watched the debate on Tuesday but don't otherwise follow the horserace, you may have wondered what the heated exchange regarding Pakistan was about. If you missed the debate and don't know what I'm talking about, watch it here.

This is all about writing the narrative that Obama is naive and lacks sound foreign policy judgement. It's bullshit though, because the conflict is not about policy. It's an insider/outsider fight for control over a public impression, which in this case is credibility. Obama has the temerity to suggest that maybe the people who brought us the Iraq war shouldn't be taken so seriously anymore. Read the memo his campaign put out

Josh explains the political-meta behind this, and Matt argues convincingly why most of the "Foreign Policy Community" isn't worth a damn. Those two posts are required reading.

Obama +1


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Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Nutter Event @ Drexel


Democratic Nominee for
Mayor of Philadelphia

3:30-4:50 P.M.