The Right-Wing Smear Machine Cranks Up

I think we all know it — next year the Republican Party is going to run as dirty an election campaign as we’ve ever seen in this country. I’ve seen it first hand, and their shadowy front-groups are going to be out in force. And it won’t just be the Presidential race, but the entire apparatus of the Republican Party will use the same right wing “Swift-Boat” style attack tactics in every race at every level. And in the run-up to 08, it’s already happening in a state legislative race in New Jersey. Unfortunately, the term “Swift-Boating” which should apply only to the boats and sailors we knew and loved, has taken on a whole new meaning today. It pains … Continue reading

Playing Chicken with Children’s Health Care

If there’s anybody left who doubts that “compassionate conservatism” is an Orwellian smokescreen for the same old Republican policies, listen to this: After promising he’d work on “expanding health care for children,” the President has now unilaterally declared war on a successful, wildly popular program that gives health care to millions of low-income kids. Democrats see a successful program, S-CHIP, and they see 11 million kids still uninsured in the richest country in the world, and they want to build on what works and expand it. Makes sense, right? But this White House is so hell-bent on denying the Democratic Congress a victory, the President’s threatening to veto health care for kids. This is the same guy who never met … Continue reading

A Step Forward on Energy

I’m a bit bleary eyed admittedly after midnight votes, and about to do an event in Boston on the energy fight, but I just wanted to come here and tell you how good it feels to have gotten something good done in the Senate instead of just stopping bad things from happening. A year ago I was battling to stop drilling in ANWR. Last night – finally — after years of battling and five years after we introduced the Kerry-McCain legislation to raise fuel efficiency standards — we’ve accomplished something in the Senate on fuel efficiency standards. This is something that never would’ve happened with Bill Frist as the Majority Leader, but with Harry Reid leading the Senate we were … Continue reading

Time for Action On Energy

I just wanted to drop by The Democratic Daily to give all of you an update on the energy bill. To no one’s surprise, the Republicans are throwing sand in the gears and trying to block any meaningful progress. The energy bill, as it stands, is not nearly strong enough, so there are a number of amendments that must be adopted to give us a bill that actually gets us started on that path of dealing with our energy crisis and our climate crisis. When we tried to bring up the Bingaman amendment last night that requires the use of alternative energy sources, the Republicans in the Senate simply refused to vote up-or-down on it, essentially demanding that the amendment … Continue reading

Time to Take the Fight To Them

I came here last week to ask you to join me in defending Harry Reid from the attacks of the right. And it’s important to do that because our party needs us to stick up for each other. But it’s not enough to defend. I used to always say that I was tired of life in the minority in the Senate because I was tired of just stopping bad things from happening, I wanted to make things happen that reflected the hopes and aspirations of the people I cared about. So now we have this Democratic Majority which a lot of folks fought and scrapped and gave their all to build – so I know I’m not alone here when … Continue reading

Standing With Harry Reid

They’re at it again. When I supported Speaker Pelosi when she was attacked by the right-wing, I said, “They thrive on destroying our leaders – we can’t let them.” I take no pride in my prognostication. Now they’re going after my friend and Majority Leader Harry Reid. And once again, it’s up to us to defend him. There’s a very strange dynamic at play right now. When I talk to a people on my book tour, and when I take part in online discussions or calls with bloggers, I see an America that is sick and tired of politicians in Washington who refuse to change course in Iraq; an America that doesn’t believe the words that comes out of Dick … Continue reading

The “Retreatican Party?”

So Bill Frist wants the Taliban to be a part of the government in Afghanistan? If we can’t beat them, join them? Reading the coverage of Bill Frist’s trip to Afghanistan, there’s a lot to say. I could say it’s Dr. Frist’s worst diagnosis since the public spectacle of his Terri Schiavo diagnosis on the Senate floor. I could say that Bill Frist who once pathetically labeled Democrats who are right about Iraq the “Defeatocrat Party,” is now the Senate’s leading spokesperson for those who are dead wrong on Afghanistan – the “Retreaticans.” But all of that would do a disservice to just how profoundly wrong Sen. Frist is about Afghanistan, and how little leadership he’s providing when he just … Continue reading

Not A Forgotten War

As I spent the last weeks working and writing on national security, what jumped out at me over and over is that while I believe we are slowly, painfully forcing a better debate on Iraq, the war we began in Afghanistan after 9/11 has become kind of a forgotten war — even though it is the real epicenter of the terror threat. I was struck by how much in meeting after meeting I heard that Afghanistan was falling apart. But where’s the sense of urgency? I’ve tried to pull together that picture as best as I could — and a specific — no fooling around — get tough policy for Afghanistan to rescue this effort. I’m talking about it today … Continue reading