The observations of a 50 something with lots of experience in politics, government, life and learning.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


want to hear this, but Tom Reilly has become a better campaigner.

And I think it's because of Deval Patrick.

When Reilly spoke to the Democratic State Convention in May, you maybe could have heard a car backfire, but you couldn't have heard a pin drop. He was dry, lawyer-like and generally boring.

DP lit up the room and he was the buzz of the day.

To give TR his due, he's not as dumb as he looks.

He spoke this afternoon to the State Committee and he had actually become a human being. Taking a page out of DP's playbook, he told about being the child of Irish immigrants, growing up in Springfield (lucky for him the meeting was in Pittsfield...) having his dad and two older brothers die when he was a young man and how local cops in the neighborhood took an interest in him and showed him there was an alternative to being a punk.

When he talked about issues, he kept it short and sweet. Public education, especially higher education. Those of us who are UMass alums (Professional MBA '98) cheered when he said he wanted to make our alma mater the equivalent of Ann Arbor or Berkeley. Health care, etc. All those good liberal causes. (Do I think he's going to give the same speech in the red counties? no, I think he'll emphasize being a tough DA but what does one expect?)

He looked fit and trim and relaxed. He looked like a human being. Now, he still wasn't TOTALLY comfortable around the crowd (he's managed by handlers) but it's a far sight better than it was a few months ago.

Am I giving up on DP? Not in the least. But as a member of the State Committee is was reassuring to know that the putative nominee at least can cut the mustard, something I thought he was incapable of just a few short months ago.

Competition, rather than coronation, can be to the benefit of the Party. Let's get in their and talk about issues and see what people are thinking!

Thursday, July 21, 2005


1. We have to admit that GWB outsmarted us in nominating John Roberts. He is a creature of the DC establishment and will be confirmed. Get over it.

2. LET'S MAKE SURE WE KEEP KARL AND SCOOTER ON THE FRONT PAGES! This nomination was timed brilliantly. Let's change the conversation. Or at least let's ask JR what he thinks about WH staff outing a CIA covert agent.

Friday, July 15, 2005


I know what the problem is. When baby boomers were growing up in the '50s and '60s, the standard catchphrase to motivate people was "In America, ANYONE can be President." The '80s joke was that, in fact, "anyone" was President. This was seen as a way of motivating middle-class tots, albeit white, male middle-class tots, but it was a motivator all the same. After all, we white females could aspire to marry "anyone" who was a potential Presidential candidate, and people of color could dream of someday dream of taking out the trash for "anyone" and being close to the seat of power.

So I give you this blurb from this morning's New York Times:

Pataki Will Test '08 Winds in IowaBy ADAM NAGOURNEYGov. George E. Pataki is headed to Iowa this weekend toexplore whether he should run for president in 2008. QUOTATION OF THE DAY -"We might do a country fair - I just love those. If we're going to be out there and there's one nearby, I want to do one."- GOV. GEORGE E. PATAKI, on a visit to Iowa.

So now that the rules have changed, and women can at least RUN for President (although we all know they can't raise money....) and I'm about as solidly baby boomer middle-class as you can get (pulled myself up by my bootstraps from the wrong side of the tracks in Shaker Heights, went to a Seven Sisters college on a scholarship, raised two perfect children in small town America, etc. etc. etc.) I think I might change my plans for a vacation on the Cape and "test the winds in Iowa."

After all, my friends Terry and Henry live there. I bet that they'd vote for me. And they probably have some friends. And some of their friends are from church, so when those friends hear that I am ALSO an Episcopalian (I know, not so popular as a Presidential religion these days...last Episcopalian was GHWB and look where that got us....) they will flock to my candidacy. Especially when they find out I ACTUALLY GO TO CHURCH AND NOT BECAUSE I'M TRYING TO IMPRESS PEOPLE!

OK, so I've got the Protestant Grinnell intellectuals in my corner. What next? OLD PEOPLE! I know more about Medicare than almost anyone in the U.S., certainly more than George Pataki. Once they hear my jokes -- "what's the best thing about being 104? No peer pressure!" -- I'll have them rolling in the aisles. And did you know that Iowa has one of the, if not THE, oldest populations in the U.S.? AHA!!! This is getting good.

Now, women. In the last election, the Governor's WIFE ended up being key to John Kerry's campaign. Women are the secret weapon obviously. And look at the effect that Debra Winger had! (Or was that Nebraska? I can never keep those Plains States straight. Not to worry. Will have staff to brief me on where I am...)

County Fairs? My brother lives in Geauga County OH. BIG SWING STATE! I went to school there! I've done the Geauga County Fair and the Redwood County Fair in CA and the Helena Stampede (which has actually been VERY favorably compared to the Calgary Stampede -- this is a direct quote from the lady in the tourist info booth in Helena in 1974 -- also the first place I saw an "Impeach Nixon" bumper sticker in the Heartland)in MT. The Governor of MT is considering a run....maybe he'd like to put me on as VP to balance the ticket? I'm not going to dismiss that out of hand. Perish the thought of the sin of hubris...

Gotta go. I have a fundraiser in NH this weekend. Six of my college friends are donating $10 each to pay for my gas to drive to Keene.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005


When I was a delegate to the 1992 Democratic Convention (on behalf of our beloved Paul Tsongas....) one of the "chants" that the delegates were asked to repeat over and over and over again (I believe during an acceptance speech by the VP nominee, Al Gore) was a call for the Bush I administration (which of course we're now considering in a whole new "gee, I guess he wasn't THAT bad....) to be defeated. The chant went "It's time for him to go!"

Well, if anything EVER pertained to Karl Rove, it's that phrase.

Let's put it this way....there was a public poll yesterday on AOL or Netscape or something asking whether KR leaked deliberately or inadvertantly or what. 87% of the respondents thought it was deliberate. You can't get that many people to vote for Motherhood and Apple Pie these days. Second question was "how damaging do you think this is?" Silly me voted with the 17% who answered "somewhat damaging" only because when you have a Teflon president, apparently it takes something more than mass torture, lying and givng out billion dollar contracts to your friends to make a dent. Well, I was definitely in the minority. Over 70% thought it was VERY damaging.

And now, from 1600 Penna Ave we have "silence" or "chose not to comment" or "avoided the question." Yeah, I'd avoid it if I had a felon sitting at my right hand....but that's just me.

SO CAN SOMEONE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME.....the Republicans got all bent out of shape during the Clinton scandals about a. something that had nothign to do with the health, welfare and security of the US, and b. discussions of "well, it depends on what you mean by 'is.'"

NOW ITS "WELL IT DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU DEFINE AS OUTING AN UNDERCOVER CIA AGENT. HE DIDN'T REFER TO HER BY NAME, JUST SAID IT WAS WILSON'S WIFE." Oh yeah, that makes it TOTALLY DIFFERENT. You'd have to have access to highly classified records to know the name of someone's wife. I mean, they shot all the neighbors because they were privy to information that was on deep background.

Like the Downing Street memo, this keeps reverberating with Watergate-like allusions. How is their stance any different from listening to Rosemary Woods describe how she could have inadvertantly erased 18 minutes of recording from a dictaphone tape? It all defies logic, reason and the willing suspension of disbelief.

AND THEN THERE'S RICK SANTORUM. Don't get me started. There is a group of Democrats here in Berkshire County who are hell-bent on getting rid of Rick. When they first proposed their scheme I was frankly underwhelmed. I believed that we had enough people right here in MA (and not all of them Republicans....) to take on and that our efforts should be more targeted.

I will now admit that I'm wrong. The man is a menace and an idiot. It's a matter of national security to hand him his head on a platter. He claims that the Boston priest scandal in the Catholic Church is the result of our liberal lifestyle. Ignoring for a moment, that the priests involved represented a philosophy which said only men could hold power, that homosexuality (at least other people's) was an unnatural act, birth control was an abomination and there was never any possible reason why someone should seek a civil divorce, I can't say that this was the hallmark of a liberal lifestyle.

But what is also the truth is that the highest per capita rate of sexual abuse in American dioceses occurred in Louisville KY. I know this because a dear friend of mine was the attorney for the plaintiffs in that case. So either Louisville is a hotbed of liberalism, or mint juleps are the work of the devil or horses encourage us to, well, ....I'm sorry but this is a family channel.

I need to get to the dentist so I have to calm down. I'd like to thank all my "readers" out there who said "why haven't you written about Karl Rove?" Didn't know I felt so strongly about these jerks. Thanks for asking. Keep the faith.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

What is the world coming to?

I know I "should" write about the bombings in London. They're horrible. Luckily I have heard that my four closest friends, Peter and Amy and David and Gayle are all ok (Gayle is actually in the US visiting her dad...) so that is a great joy. I tried to remember that when I walked in and saw that the puppy had eaten not ONE but THREE couch cushions.

But what I really want to write about is the Judith Miller thing. I'm sorry, and beat me with a wet noodle if I've lost my liberal credentials, but I don't think that she has any right under the constitution to protect someone who "outed" a CIA undercover agent. Those articles endangered Ms. Plame and her associates. I think wrapping yourself in the First Amendment in this case is inappropriate.

OK guys, let 'er rip.....

Saturday, July 02, 2005


And she's so upset about Sandra Day O'Connor leaving the Supreme Court that she decided to give us a freebie....she decided to tell us that Karl Rove was the rat who outted Valerie Plame. Is truth stranger than fiction? Is it possible we'll be rid of the evil bastard and that everyone who's been too scared to talk so far will finally open up? And that the right wingnuts will go back into their holes?

Friday, July 01, 2005

Don't Tread on Me

When I woke up this morning, I had forgotten how shocked I had been at a Letter to the Editor in yesterday's Berkshire Eagle. Only now did I remember, and felt compelled to address a letter to the editor. I don't know whether it will be printed, because they have a "30 day" rule, and I may have written more recently than that. Hope not.

A local Pittsfield resident stated that Democrats hate President Bush more than they love their country. I don't know whether to be angry, sad, disgusted or cynical. I guess I'm all of that or more.

When will this hatefulness end? Are we condemned to live in a century, or a country, where civil discourse is a mere remembrance? I weep.


Sometimes when someone says it better than you can, you need to point this out to people!

My friend Emily Carey Cronin sent this snippet from Molly Ivins who was one of the speakers at Haverford commencement weekend. ENJOY!

O.K. class of 2005. I would exhort you to go forth and change the world, but I think you've already been trained in that department. And I just want to refine the advice a little bit. Here's one of the things that you are going to have to remember as you attempt to save the world-I've been at it for several decades and so far no big visible effect-what you have to learn to do is have fun while trying to save the world. Now this is real, real important stuff. If you do not have fun while trying to save the world, you will get tired and cynical and burned out and become totally useless to everybody. Consequently, you really need to concentrate on how to make it fun, and in Texas we find that imagination and sometimes beer are quite helpful. In Texas, of course, liberals know how to survive hard times, and I pass along to you certain rules for going through hard times. In the first place, things are not getting worse, things have always been this bad. The long consoling perspective of history is always helpful. You will find that the people who were trying to save the world always thought that things were getting worse. Now, number two, things probably will get worse. That means that these are the good 'ole days, and think what a fool you will feel like in the future if you do not enjoy them now. Third, there is always, since we are the spiritual children of Puritans, the inviting possibility that adversity will improve our characters. I think this is something that needs to be worked on. I'm just going to tell you one story about how I think things should go. A few years back, the Texas legislature took a fit of communism and decided to recognize the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a state holiday. Now, don't panic; they kept confederate heroes day. It was a package deal. Nevertheless, there we were honoring Dr. King and as you can imagine it upset the Ku Klux Klan. They announced that they were coming to have a big rally and march in protest, and it's always a pain in the butt when the Klan comes to town. I realize that in civilized precincts like Haverford such things do not happen. I can tell you that it just makes your Jewish citizens get upset, your Black citizens get upset, skin head kids turn out on the sidewalk to cheer for them, people get into fistfights, everybody is mad at everybody for a good six months. So, if you are like myself, a civil-libertarian, naturally you have to stand up for the right of these blue-bellied nincompoops to spew whatever viscous dribble they want to because it's in the first amendment. This is a stand that will make you about as popular with your neighbors as a whore trying to get into the SMU school of theology. So, several of us gathered mournfully over a pitcher of beer one night and came up with what we thought was a better plan. And we do not have enough cluckers there in Austin to have a good rally; they had to be bused in from Waco and Viddar (?). They got off the buses wearing their little pointy hats on their little pointy heads. They were greeted by several thousand citizens of Austin lining both sides of Congress Avenue, who mooned them as they marched. Made a very nice effect, it was sort of like a wave in a baseball stadium. This is the kind of freedom fighting tactic I recommend to all of you, although I realize that in this part of the country it's a seasonally limited option.