“They’re Not Businesspeople … They Won’t Spend a Dime on Management”

So says Republican campaign finance lawyer Cleta Mitchell of the NRCC. It’s her excuse for why the NRCC didn’t take very basic measures to ensure that Christopher Ward didn’t steal from the campaign committees he worked with.

Whatever the excuse, the NRCC is now complaining, again, that they’re victims and therefore it’s very mean that the FEC will fine them for overstating their cash on hand because they had a corrupt treasurer.

The FEC remains paralyzed for the moment, the result of a lingering confirmation fight between the White House and Senate Democrats. But after acknowledging that there was a $740,000 difference between the fundraising numbers the committee reported and its actual cash on hand — a partial result of the alleged embezzlement by Christopher J. Ward — NRCC Chairman Tom Cole (R-Okla.) and a top outside lawyer are already angling for lenient treatment from the commission.

“Our working relationship with the FEC has been good,” Cole said last week. “We were the victims here.”

But the Politico article lays out all the things the NRCC did not do to prevent Ward from embezzling the money.

But a series of FEC guidelines issued last spring suggest the NRCC’s after-the-fact cooperation might not be enough. Under those guidelines, NRCC officials also must demonstrate that they did what they could to prevent the acts of malfeasance they allege.

The FEC established these “safe harbor” policy guidelines in April 2007 amid a spate of embezzlement cases. Commissioners wanted to help these victims of internal malfeasance avoid paying additional fines — provided that the victims took reasonable steps to protect themselves in the first place.

The safe harbor recommendations call for campaign committees to establish certain basic internal auditing controls to prevent misappropriations by an employee. These include: two signatures on any check in excess of $1,000, a sign-off by two people on all wire transfers and separate individuals handling the intake of and accounting for campaign funds.

The guidelines also call on committees to act quickly in disclosing their internal fundraising information to the correct federal authorities.

The NRCC, of course, deliberately unified all its accounts into one (incidentally, so did the DCCC, also apparently in response to BCRA). And the NRCC also gave Ward the ability to sign off on any checks–including those over $10,000.

Under Virginia Rep. Tom Davis and New York Rep. Thomas Reynolds, who chaired the committee from 1999 until the end of 2006, the NRCC waived rules requiring the executive committee — made up of elected leaders and rank-and-file Republican lawmakers — to sign off on expenditures exceeding $10,000, merged the various department budgets into a single account and rolled back a prohibition on committee staff earning an income from outside companies.

But these poor victimized "won’t spend a dime on management" Republicans want you to believe the $1,000,000 that disappeared from their accounts (allegedly–and I say that to emphasize that we no more know what Ward did than what the NRCC allowed him to do) in spite of their diligent efforts to prevent it from disappearing.

Uh huh.

98 replies
  1. PJEvans says:

    Aren’t these the same people who kept telling us how important it was that government be run like a business?
    And now they’ve demonstrated they can’t run a business any better than they run a government?

  2. bmaz says:

    Gee, I dunno, shouldn’t they be punished MORE harshly because they intentionally didn’t comply with clear requirements AND recklessly disregarded the “safe harbor” provisions designed for genuine victims? Just a thought…

  3. Jkat says:

    my immediate impression on reading that wuz: “oh bullshit” ..

    repubbies that AREN’T business people .. must be the delegation from neptune ..eh ??

  4. emptywheel says:

    Well, you’re assuming that they’re going to be able to convince the FEC they didn’t do this intentionally. I’m not yet convinced. (I’m going to download all these fricking accounts and take them with me on vacation and try to nail it down one way or another.)

    I just know they’re spending an awful lot of time calling themselves victims. And the record simply doesn’t support that claim.

    • bmaz says:

      I just know they’re spending an awful lot of time calling themselves victims. And the record simply doesn’t support that claim.

      Exactly right; and that was pretty much my point the other day in conjunction with the fact that the “investigation” seems to be affirmatively helping them do that by it’s slow path, failure to seize data, etc. hands off approach. It is tiresome and uncomfortable to have to keep saying stuff like this, but there is no way this would be how it would be handled if it were the DNCC I don’t think.

    • phred says:

      (I’m going to download all these fricking accounts and take them with me on vacation and try to nail it down one way or another.)

      You sure Mr. EW is on board with that? ; ) Don’t forget to have fun on vacation…

      As for Ward, I’ll be curious to see whether those accounts suggest he really is an embezzler or whether he is being set up to cover for a lot of Rethug shenanigans. I’m guessing the latter and if so, then I bet he’s already gotten a new nickname… Scooter.

  5. rapt says:

    “Tom Davis…waived the rules…” but it had to be for simply streamlining the process, not to give Ward a nice big drainhole for funds? Yeh.

  6. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Ms. Mitchell’s defense, that the NRCC are not monkeys or “business people”, and that “they won’t spend a dime on management”, let’s every government, charity and charitable board off the hook for embezzlement and other financial crimes.

    I realize that lawyers are supposed to zealously represent their clients, but isn’t there a “doesn’t pass the smell test” out there somewhere? Even if she’s putting that out to please the Base rather than as a serious defense in an administrative or court proceeding.

    • BlueStateRedHead says:

      Republican, the party of business since Hoover.

      Bush, the CEO harvard b. school MBA president and head of the party.

      and they are not businessmen?

      if aren’t businesslike enough to run a party, why trust them to run a country?

      Is there method to this madness or is it just hail mary Cya?

  7. TexasEllen says:

    Obviously, these folks never had the training provided by the Girl Scout Cookie school of learning how to do accounting.

  8. TexasEllen says:

    Perhaps we should just razz them for forgetting St. Ronnie’s “Trust but Verify” model.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Unless it’s headed by Brownie of Katrina fame, it’s hard to believe that the NRCC, used to handling lots of transactions and money, and expecting to handle a lot more, could accidentally put in place such shoddy internal controls. For one thing, the money might never get to its intended recipients and deprive them of victory. For another, its donors would dry up if they couldn’t prove where the money went.

    Moreover, the NRCC has ready access, on professional and volunteer bases, to some of the best accounting, audit and IT services in the country. They must have had to turn those resources away in order to invent what they came up with.

    The NRCC’s claim is reminiscent of the White House claiming that it “inadvertently” lost millions of e-mails on the days covering some of its most contentious actions. Smoke and mirrors. If it wasn’t an accident, it was intentional. Where does that leave us?

    • Synoia says:

      You are missing the point. This is how the republican do business, without controls (regulation).

  10. Hugh says:

    This is the entry on this from my scandals list.

    329. Call it irony. From 1995, Christopher Ward who promoted the Swift Boaters in the 2004 election worked at the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) whose job is to elect Republicans to the House. He was its treasurer from 2003 to July 2007, submitted the NRCC’s yearly audits to the FEC from 2002 through 2006, and remained on as a consultant, at least until he was fired on January 28, 2008. You see there was this one tiny problem. Ward had been faking the yearly audits down to forging the letterhead on them. Things were going swimmingly until Representative Mike Conaway (R-TX) who headed the NRCC’s audit committee and was a CPA, asked to meet with the NRCC’s auditors. Apparently no one at the NRCC had bothered to do this for the previous 4 years. Ward’s scam quickly began to unravel. On February 1, 2008, the NRCC contacted the FBI and arranged for its own audits. So far it has found that it is out some $990,000 in cash on hand for 2006 and $740,000 for 2007 plus another $200,000 on a line of credit. According to the Washington Post, Ward also served as treasurer on 83 individual committees of Republican candidates. Who knows what all went on with those. The sad lesson in all this is that there really is no honor among thieves.

    There appears to be a million missing from both 2006 and 2007. I don’t know if they have gone back to earlier years or not, and then there are all of those outside campaign committees. BTW most of the figures I found came from the NRCC site itself.

    • BlueStateRedHead says:

      Why the firing in August? I seem to remember knowing something then, but there can’t remember why/from whom. recollect something about turning soft money donations into hard ones….

      Can anyone help/

      • bmaz says:

        I think there was some GOP Congressman who was a CPA and started asking questions about audit reports or something back then. Not positive I have that right, but I think so…

    • watercarrier4diogenes says:

      EW goes on vacation. *cue spooky music* This never bodes well.

      ummm, daily March Madness Trash Talking threads by bmaz? Is ‘Zona in the field this year?

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Heh. WSU plays this Thursday night.
        Phones in WA, MT, ID, CO and CA have been buzzing with excitement (I can personally verify); game is being played in Denver.

      • bmaz says:

        And rOTL – There was going to be March Madness Trash Talk until the evil NCAA screwed the ASU Sun Devils out of a spot. The lowly pissant Arizona Wildcats did get in the dance, in spite of having a worse conference record in the Pac-10 and being swept in both games by the mighty Sun Devils this year. I will feed thin gruel to anyone even mentioning the damn tournament!

        • 4jkb4ia says:

          The only reason Arizona got in and Arizona St. did not was that Arizona had #1 strength of schedule and Arizona St. had awful strength of schedule. West Virginia can take ‘em.

      • skdadl says:

        ummm, daily March Madness Trash Talking threads by bmaz? Is ‘Zona in the field this year?

        I can do baseball. Ok: I can do AL baseball. But you won’t like it, because I do Blue Jays. If pressed, I can do Red Sox. And I have soft spots for Chicago and Kansas City. But that’s my limit. I cannot do football: are we in a football-safe zone yet? See, I don’t even know that.

  11. Jkat says:

    okay .. let’s take ms. mitchell at her word .. since a lack of business acumen is a now self-professed republican trait … then every declared republican with any kind of fudiciary function needs to be canned tomorrow..

    i’m sure democrat or independent people can be found to fill those slots ..

    as an ndependent .. keep open a hedge fund management position for me .. i promise i won’t lose any larger sum than the last guy at bear stearns .. i want his salary and his perks .. but i’ll forgo any bonus ..

    • BlueStateRedHead says:

      There are 7 thousand Bear/Sternes people available with the necessary skills and no jobs or pensions or savings.

      back tmr am for any answers that might come along.

      • Jkat says:

        hey Tx Red .. you can’t give my job to one of those BS folks .. they actually might know something about the job .. that wouldn’t be following the current status quo ..

  12. sailmaker says:

    I wonder if an audit will find Indian casino money, or bribes from the Marianas slavery/sweat shops, or lobbyist bribes for hiding Enron/Halliburton/Blackwater docs, or any number of other things I can’t think of off the top of my head. Just because WaywardWard stole the money doesn’t he didn’t launder it first. I’ll bet EW finds a few chestnuts while on vacation, although that will be a busman’s holiday for her.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      Ding! Ding! Ding!
      This would be my vote for ‘Ladies and Gents, we got us a winning idea here!”

  13. bmaz says:

    Here is how our government questions 15 year old arab boys:

    In a fresh document from the Guantánamo war court files, Canadian captive Omar Khadr alleges that he was repeatedly threatened with rape as an interrogation technique in Afghanistan and at U.S. Navy base in Cuba.

    ”On several occasions at Bagram, interrogators threatened to have me raped or sent to other countries like Egypt, Syria, Jordan or Israel to be raped,” he alleges in Item 23. By Item 55, he has been transferred to Guantánamo, and he is taken to interrogation with an Afghan man, who ”told me that I would be sent to Afghanistan and raped.” In Item 56, he says, an interrogator pulled his hair, spit in his face and threatened to bring in an Egyptian “to rape me.”

    The document also revisits old allegations — such as his description on arriving in Guantánamo, at age 16, and hearing someone in the military say, “Welcome to Israel.”

    Or his claim, investigated by the military, that in March 2003 guards splashed his prison camp uniform with Pine Sol and dragged him around an interrogation booth, like a human mop, because he had urinated on himself during a bout of shackled isolation.

    What sick pukes the Bush Administration are. I guess we should all just be happy that Khadr is still around, because, of course, many of the children captured by the US just disappear after the US threatens to torture and kill them to get their father to confess.

    • skdadl says:

      bmaz, save some of your spit for three Canadian prime ministers — three, count ‘em, but the current one especially — who have been either too scared (the first two, Liberals) or too gung-ho for anything your president wants to do (the current Con) to get Khadr out of Gitmo. We are worms for not getting him out.

      The Khadr family became an embarrassment to Jean Chrétien and the Liberals in the wake of 9/11 because Dad (whom Chrétien had helped to immigrate earlier) really was a bin Laden associate, and Dad and one of Omar’s older brothers were killed early in the first invasion. Then Mum got rude and ungrateful about Canada, and another older brother turned snitch, although no one has ever sorted that story out.

      All of that is, of course, irrelevant to what happened to a 15-yr-old kid, the evidence against whom is contradictory, who appears to have been tortured, and who is a Canadian national.

      We are worms.

  14. watercarrier4diogenes says:

    Stray thought on maybe why Cheney/McCain want us to stay in Iraq forever…

    We leave, the Sunni (and/or the Shia) immediately send a delegation to the Hague to file war-crimes charges.

  15. BlueStateRedHead says:

    cross posted at the lake.

    Sorry OT on an important Topic. But I have one chance and only one to get my signif other to watch the entire speech as he is at this point ‘primaried out’. So, I ask with apologies:
    I have the youtubie, but Mr. BSRH hates to watch things on my small screen.
    So, does anyone know if there are plans to rebroadcast the speech? ideally on a regular network . OK. that was a stupid thought. On cable?

    be back for an answer shortly.

  16. Jkat says:

    should’ve just threatened him with making him an intern to mark foley eh ..

    i hope we see prosecutions of these bastards .. thriwing them under the jail is too good for them …

    they’re un-american … and a disgrace to this once honorable nation ..

  17. JohnJ says:

    Totally OT but I had to say it somewhere. Did anyone see he clip of Chimpy from the Daily Show last night?

    Man, that dry drunk ain’t so dry anymore. His speech was slurred and “surging”. The last time I saw someone that bad was at the bar at closing.

    After being married to a hard core (a fifth a day) drunk, you get sensitive to the signs.

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      After your comment, I took a look at that clip, and if you’d not pointed out Bush’s slurriness, I’d have missed it. I tend to turn the sound off, but have noticed in the past year an odd, erratic staccato to the way he moves; I think something’s changed, because if you view old clips from 2000 you don’t see it as markedly. That lends some weight to your observation, IMHO. Worrying.

      I know someone who’s very active in AlAnon, and she gave me a lot of insight about GWBush. She was pretty compassionate about GWB, because alcoholism is a demon that she fights every single day, and I have enormous respect for her commitment, and also her insights. In her view, GWB is up against a real demon; there would be a lot of risk for him to relapse given his personality, drinking history (what she’s heard of it) and responsibilities.

      It’s interesting what some of us miss, and others see. All the more reason to be grateful for the Web.

      bmaz, those are the kindest words you’ve ever typed about our outstanding land grant university in Pullman. Like the Oregon schools, WSU finally had a shot at being more competitive when the NCAA changed recruiting rules so that the So Cal schools lost their recruiting lock on ‘all the best players’. I gather that WSU is a good school for a lot of athletes, and yeah, it’s kind of weird how many Samoans have gone through that rural college in the Palouse. But if you really want a competition, get an Idaho Vandal and a WSU Coug in the same room. Then duck!

    • BlueStateRedHead says:

      hope the signif other got help and you were not harmed.

      some believe they have him on meds to keep in one piece.

      whatever they do, they need to keep it up. There is that Veep creep who worries me more.

  18. watercarrier4diogenes says:

    I can do baseball. Ok: I can do AL baseball. But you won’t like it, because I do Blue Jays. If pressed, I can do Red Sox. And I have soft spots for Chicago and Kansas City. But that’s my limit. I cannot do football: are we in a football-safe zone yet? See, I don’t even know that.

    Sounds good to me, though I’d put the Red Sox over the Jays (and both after the Mariners).

    On the matter of football, though, NFL be damned, college spring practice is underway. I won’t say a word about USC, round or pig-bladder shaped ball, as bmaz is prolly still lurkin’ here and I’m not fond of thin gruel.

    • Mauimom says:

      On the matter of football, though, NFL be damned, college spring practice is underway. I won’t say a word about USC, round or pig-bladder shaped ball, as bmaz is prolly still lurkin’ here and I’m not fond of thin gruel.

      ‘Splain this please? [Son covers football for USC.]

      • bmaz says:

        Well that would have been aimed at me. I am still smarting from the drubbing that USC administered to my Sun Devils on Thanksgiving night. I could have stayed home and had a second round of food; but nooooo, the whole family went to the game to witness the shellacking. If ASU had won that game, they would have gone to the BCS Championship game; instead they got killed and didn’t even get into a BCS Bowl game at all. Tell your son it would have been a great and close game if ASU had not have been using what must have been pom pom girls for offensive linemen. USC’s defense spent more time in the ASU offensive backfield than ASU did. Other than that, it was a great game…..

      • bmaz says:

        I might also add that ASU hoops got reamed on a horrid offensive foul that took away the tying basket against USC in the last few seconds in the Pac-10 basketball tournament too, thus undoubtedly costing the Devils a berth in the NCAA Tournament. That doesn’t but me as much as the football drubbing though…

        • klynn says:

          hey bmaz,
          thanks for being willing to dialogue today. An interesting experience…Have lots of info on Ward from Ohio political blogs but cannot take the time to post. The past two hours have been difficult…My brother-in-law died…a young 45 years…

          • watercarrier4diogenes says:

            My condolences and best wishes, klynn. That’s terribly young for a life’s end.

              • bmaz says:

                Hey klynn, you Buckeyes are killing the Big Blue these days. You better watch out, Marcy is going to be mad as a hen on this one. Highly regarded prep quarterback Terrelle Pryor, the top high school QB prospect this year, says he will attend Ohio State over Michigan, who desperately needed him for Rich Rodriquez’s stretch offense; especially since the only returning QB from last year, Ryan Mallett transferred when Carr retired.

                • klynn says:


                  Thanks for some “trash talk” distraction. Trying to get my greening report done while also pulling information together on my brother-in-law, (he was only 10 months older than my husband– husband was born a preemie, thus the closeness in age.) Took a quick break here…Saw your post.

                  Yep, those Buckeyes are killing on recruiting. What a freshman class –and they are not done yet. Evidently a few more big names to announce…

                  At the ESPN site when you go (my link is just killing my tubes today so sorry I cannot get it to post) to the OSU roster, you should read the background on the two young men from Dublin Coffman High School, our area H.S. Ohio State has a great recruitment effort. The defense will continue to be strong — Jim Heacock is a “master” recruiter. Of course, with Pryor we are on our way in building our offensive game…

                  Thanks again for the “trash talk”…Yep, Marcy’s just going to have to “suck it up!” (I did type “suck” didn’t I…after yesterday that “s” key is SO close to the “f” key — goodness knows what I might type!) But hey, it’s all about context…

                  Oh, by the way. I found a superbly written argument on Supreme Court rulings which actually define television viewing as a 1st Amendment right. I’ll have to share it with you sometime…Would enjoy your take on it.

                • emptywheel says:

                  There were two guys in First CLass with me on the flight back to Detroit–I presume, from hearing their conversation that they’re scouts. Boy were they suggesting some underhandedness on the part of OSU (which I don’t really buy, but anyway).

                  Clearly feeling like they’re losing a lot of talent to OSU, in any case.

                  • bmaz says:

                    It was a stupid decision for the kid. He is perfect for Rodriquez’s offense, and Michigan needs him NOW; Ohio State runs a more traditional offense and the tape I saw of this kid shows him to have horrible pro set quarterbacking mechanics, he is a project for the OSU offense. I could see him going to Oregon, but why the hell he chose OSU over Michigan under his circumstances is beyond me.

                    • emptywheel says:

                      Well, the recruiters were suggesting that one gets a car thrown in when one commits to OSU. Again, I simply don’t buy that–Tressel is just too classy. Still, thta’s what the guys who appear to be losing to him seemed to be suggesting.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Well, FWIW, the WSU Cougars didn’t make it to the Rose Bowl from 1958 until… either the late 1980s or the 1990s. (Geez, hope noone in my family sees this comment; I’d be disowned for lapsing on the year-week-day specifics of the Coug Era of Misery.)

          The ‘Thanksgiving gang’ includes 3 generations of Cougs, and the mantra is that “To be a TRUE Cougar fan is to understand that you can be up 20 points in the 4th quarter with 2 minutes to go, and a first down on the other team’s 20-yard line, and still lose the damn game.”

          We’re accustomed to thin gruel.
          It also perhaps gives us the fortitude to persist in pushing for political change despite a politicized DoJ, 5,000,000 missing emails, Dickwad’s man-sized file cabinets, vaporizing Abramoff investigations, etc, etc, etc.

          So actually, Cougar football is in many respects good training for the seeming futility of calling bullshit on the deeply entrenched economic, political, and institutional advantages of Bu$hCo. Stoicism learned on the sidelines does assist one’s tolerance for watching political venalties.

          klynne, take care.
          Terribly difficult when something so unexpected occurs. Really reinforces that we’re all connected in strange ways.

          • bmaz says:

            Was the late 80s (maybe 87 or 88?) and the coach was none other than Dennis Erickson, now our coach. See we are like your nice cousins or something warm and fuzzy like that! Wazzou not that bad before then though; usually had the drop on the Oregon schools and sometimes Stanford and Cal too. ASU never liked the trip up there to Pullman, I know that. Had some killer quarterbacks – the Throwin Samoan, Mark Rypien, Tim Rosenbach. Not as nearly as bleak as you make it out to be.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              Probably because like any good football program, Cougar football is more cult than ‘entertainment’.

              I’m only a novice; just enough so that I don’t get disinherited, and still receive the tribe’s Christmas cards

  19. masaccio says:

    Boy, there is a great letter to the editor in the NYT today:

    You enabled the Iraq war with your cheerleading reportage, and you continue to provide a forum for its blinkered defenders, Richard Perle, Frederick Kagan, Danielle Pletka, Kenneth M. Pollack and L. Paul Bremer III.

    They were wrong at the beginning, and continue to be wrong. They hide their defective judgment behind excuses that someone stabbed them in the back, or that they were in good company in their disproven beliefs, and argue that we should forget about their history of failure and take their advice now.

    They are an insult to public discourse, but you continue to enable them.

    From Nashville, too.

    • watercarrier4diogenes says:

      Reminds me of a Bill Maher show I watched last year. I even made it one of my sig lines:

      best regards, watercarrier4diogenes

      I’m sorry, but shouldn’t there be a law or rule that says
      “If you f**k things up really badly you can no longer be called an expert”?
      – Tim Robbins while sitting next to Tom Friedman…
      on “Real Time With Bill Maher” 8/24/2007

  20. Dismayed says:

    Republicans always prefer to look incompetent, rather than guilty. Incompetence is the new black, had they ever been hip enough to wear black. A true believer stealing money? I doubt it, likely a cover for illegal Rove operations. How bad does what they were really doing have to be to make stealing from the constituents the lesser of two evils?

    Wow, these people. I mean, for the love of God. It never ends. Simply fucking amazing.

  21. Dismayed says:

    Wow! I just watched the Obama speech. Hillary and McCain should both just drop out now in recognition of the better man. He’s quite simply out of their league. They keep slinging monkey shit at him and he keeps standing tall and speaking clear and true. Seldom does such a class act enter public life.

    I can’t wait for him to be president. He’s truly amazing. And if he picks Edwards to run with him, my heads just flat going to explode. What a great year to be a dem. I’m framing my card.

    • watercarrier4diogenes says:

      From a comment tonight on Daily Kos’ Diary Rescue and Open Thread,

      Obama on Nightline tonight was amazing! He put to rest the lie that Rev Wright teaches black supremacy

      Now if we can just get that out in the real world beyond Nightline, though that’s a pretty prominent platform to be speaking from in and of itself. Too bad Edwards didn’t get that kind of visibility.

      • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

        Here’s what gives me hope:
        Jim Hightower’s blog, and the topics he covers: http://www.jimhightower.com/

        Then go over to what Jim Wallis’s blog has in posts for today, yesterday, and the past couple of days — fascinating. Here’s a brief intro from Jim Wallis today at http://blog.beliefnet.com/godspolitics/:

        It’s Not About Him Now—It’s About Us (by Jim Wallis)
        It was an amazing day, and, we may look back to conclude it was a historic day. Before Barack Obama’s speech yesterday, after the now infamous statements from his former pastor; the issue seemed to be a test of him. But after what may go down as one of the most significant addresses ever given about the history and future of race in America, the issue may now be a test of us. The examination of a candidate was transformed yesterday into an examination of a nation.

        What I find absolutely fascinating is that **some** of the evangelicals seem to be more insightful about the Black Churches than say… me, or the people that I hang out with. I know Obama supporters who are tone deaf to the kinds of dynamics that Wallis seems to understand and hear quite easily — and views as very legitimate topics.

        From the ‘populist’ perspective, Hightower has been talking about ag economics, oil corporations, etc for years now — he was Karl Rove’s first political target. I actually first heard about “Creation Care” from Hightower; who seems to have some good channels to the evangelical movement’s new ‘environmental’ emphasis.

        Now consider the ‘new’, ‘not-lockstep-for-the-GOP’ evangelical view that Jim Wallis articulates; he seems to have a very deep regard for black churches and their significance in this country.

        I honestly think that social shifts are happening at a deep, seismic level.

        As a Japanese friend of mine (who lives on a different part of the Big Earthquake Zone than I do) would say, ‘I think the basement is shaking’. FWIW, before an earthquake, and before a tsunami — especially a big, scary one — the first rumblings are so deep and low that you really hardly hear them. When they’re over, life is altered.
        I’m not advocating violence at all; it’s my hope that with enough talented leadership this nation can transition without civil war, or any of Naomi Wolf’s implications.

        To continue with analogies, I agree with bmaz that this longer campaign has been extremely valuable to Obama (and to Hilary, also, IMHO). It’s as if this campaign has evolved into a Campaign Dojo.

        Interesting to watch, especially with the aid of Emptywheel Sensei.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          By this:

          I know Obama supporters who are tone deaf to the kinds of dynamics that Wallis seems to understand and hear quite easily — and views as very legitimate topics.

          I simply meant that my more middle-upper-middle class, ‘professional’ friends don’t generally attend church, so the whole ‘what the black church says’ is kind of a foreign dialect to some of us.

          FWIW, I still have serious issues with Obama’s lack of experience administering a huge bureaucracy and little experience appointing people — but this speech yesterday sure has me thinking about him rather differently.

          And on the left, Jim Hightower, and on the right, Jim Wallis, are helping me tune in more fully to what I think Obama is really saying. It’s profound, that’s certain.

          It’s not just about him anymore, it IS ‘about us.’
          No matter who wins the election.

          Thx, for the long chance on the soapbox…

          klynn, thinking of you.
          JohnJ, hope the new job = good.

          • klynn says:

            Thank you!

            Interesting to watch, especially with the aid of Emptywheel Sensei.

            Loved that!

            but this speech yesterday sure has me thinking about him rather differently.

            And on the left, Jim Hightower, and on the right, Jim Wallis, are helping me tune in more fully to what I think Obama is really saying. It’s profound, that’s certain.


            spot on, as usual. This dialogue has been around for those of us working in urban development and cross cultural mediation for a long time…It’s time to “get it”. We’ll all “be here because of Ashley” as we start doing the work of a more perfect union.

        • bmaz says:

          Interesting to watch, especially with the aid of Emptywheel Sensei.

          Yes, EW would be the local sensei. I would be the local nonsensei.

    • BayStateLibrul says:

      Obama’s speech was a humdinger… Yeah think the citizenry will
      get the nuances, or just those crazy soundbites?
      Listened to it on my way back from Mohegan Sun.
      Why did I drive to Connecticut, when Massachusetts could have
      a Casino… and those wonderful slots… not to mention the
      tax revenues….

      • Dismayed says:

        I happend to be in a doctor’s office waiting on the other half to get some testing done – they were tuned into MSNBC around 1:00, and on MSNBC I thought they did an okay job of covering his speech. Longer sound bites and reasonable ones – then they went to PAT Fing Robertson to ask how Pat though he did, my teeth about fell out! Who on this plannet wouldn’t know how that pasty old douch though he did. “Well not very well said Pat” and then with no reason for not very well, went on to say how this is going to haunt him and to repeat the 2 degree or seperation (my notation not pat’s – he’s not that clever) association with Farrikan.

        That southern white racist pharacees – who gives a shit what he thinks. I was just livid, then the 700 club came on and it was all pat and how god gives back more money than you donate and all that clap trap nonsense. I didn’t know 700 club was on MSNBC during the day. I also didn’t know pat was a nutrition expert. Jesus H – Christmas. I could have lived my whole life without seeing that. I finally got up and turned it off. MSNBC and an hours of pat, Liberal Media, yeah. Excuse me I need to go puke, again.

  22. bmaz says:

    Obama is getting better and better, and I think a lot of it is the head to head with Clinton. Personally I do not yet buy into the clamor for it to be over “for the sake of unity” or whatever the claptrap is. Obama is getting seasoned and getting his legs, and he is getting progressively better at the debates too. Again, I think this is a result of the battle with Clinton. What is going on is a remarkable primary election; it’s a good thing.

    • kspena says:

      bmaz-I agree with you that Obama’s stage presence is getting better, but his world view has been very mature for a long time.

      • bmaz says:

        Al Gore’s “world view” was “very mature” and superb too I might add; but he was not particularly skilled in dealing with the harsh attacks and battle reality of the general election and we ended up with Bush as President. Irrespective of Obama’s world view and personal charisma, and there is a lot to be said and admired for both of those characteristics in Obama, he was not battle tested and not particularly strong or knowledgeable on details of many policy sets that are important; and his magnetic solo presence did not translate effectively into debate performance. In all those areas he has grown immeasurably as a result of the primary battle, and that continues to be the case. I am not engaging in the blogospherical heretic act of actually criticizing Obama, just pointing out how this process has been, and in my eyes, continues to be, healthy for him and his strength as a candidate in the general election. This claptrapping about how it is imperative for the primary to stop immediately and for all Democrats to kneel in fealty to Obama for the “sake of unity” is BS. Are there possible negative effects from letting the campaign continue, sure; there are also possible positive effects. It is a mixed bag, it is a political campaign, it is a good thing; let the candidates continue to take the case to the people and get them involved, in all the states, let the people vote; and then fight like hell for the winner. But hey, that is just my opinion.

        • 4jkb4ia says:

          But if he loses by 20 points in PA, it could be all over. PPP has got Hillary ahead by 26.
          I wish I knew somebody in the campaign to complain. Marc Ambinder!! has said that the Obama campaign does not want a revote in Michigan. For this you fight and sit on your supporters, even if he had to save his campaign with the speech today.

          • bmaz says:

            As I have said for some time now, I am fine with either candidate; but I am a stickler about this letting people vote and letting the votes count thing. To me, the meme that “well those are the rules, Michigan and Florida broke them and that is tough luck” doesn’t cut it. The individual voters in those states didn’t make those decisions and they should not be disenfranchised regardless of who did make the decisions. Something has to be done to fix that, and just splitting the delegates 50:50 so they can be “seated” is an asinine suggestion and doesn’t cut it. All that does is allow the bigwigs and party hacks that probably caused the fucking problem to go enjoy the convention and have a good time; it doesn’t make the people’s votes count because an even split removes whatever decisive will the people did/would have exercised. To me, at least, this is unacceptable.

            As to ASU, yeah I know what the supposed basis was; but that doesn’t really hold water if you want the best teams. Over the last 18 games of the season, ASU played the same exact schedule that U of A did, i.e. 2 games against every other Pac-10 team. What better discriminator is there? ASU was 9-9 but U of A was only 8-10 AND ASU won both head to head matchups, including the game at the end of the season in Tucson where U of A had all their players healthy and on the floor. Screw the early non-conference strength of schedule, under these facts you cannot take U of A and not take ASU and still say you wanted the best teams available.

            • Dismayed says:

              I do somewhat agree that the voters didn’t do this and thier voice should be heard, but the Obama camp has brought up some very real and reasonable concerns. That bell has been rung, my friend, and no one complained until Hillary fell behind by a hundred delegates.

              And there’s no way in hell, we can have those primaries with unvoted Republicans allowed to vote in them – for the exact and correct reasons stated by the Obama campaign.

              The only reasonable way this could be done would be with primaries or caucuses limited to voting by democrats registered at the time of the original primaries. I’m not sure if they register by party in either state, I think they don’t, and if that’s the case. The vote would have to be limited to actual party members.

              Hillary could give a damn about the voters in those states, the time for her to speak up for them passed long ago, before super tuesday. Obama’s concerns are very legitimate – and particularly in Florida the Republicans will make sure to disenfrancise the democratic voters just as they did to some extent here in Texas.

              The voters in those states knew what the punishment would be before those primaries were held. The DNC is a party organization, they set the rules for participation and the leaders of two states chose not to follow those rules. The voters went along without protest or debate. This is not about disenfranchisement. This is about effective governance within a party, and so far I’m proud of the DNC for sticking to their guns.

              I’m open if a fair way can be found to do it, but I’m afraid the ship has sailed – those states forfeted their right to participate in the national convention, their actions, not disenfranchisment. And I’m a little put out by the fact that people outside of Florida, and Campains all the sudden pretending to care about the poor disenfranchised Florida Democrats. Those Florida Democrats need to roll some heads inside their state organizations. Then they can come present a fair proposal and beg for mercy. Any thing else is just delegate hunting – you watch, Hillary will oppose any plan that keeps Republicans from voting in those primaries. Just watch.

              • bmaz says:

                Well, I think there were more people than you think carping about the whole deal as to both states; it just wasn’t in the media like it is now nor as critical as it is now. And granted not to the extent she is now, but I remember Clinton expressing displeasure over the Florida and Michigan mess before the primaries there. For all I know, Obama did too and I just don’t recall it. And secondly, the DNC is not exactly crystal clean on this either. New Hampshire jumped out of the position that was supposedly agreed upon, in order to maintain it’s self perceived right to be second in the order when the agreed upon schedule was for it to be 3rd in order this year. Their delegates were not stripped; their voters were not punished. Granted also that that violation is arguably distinguishable from Florida and Michigan; but by how much? So the DNC’s hands are not entirely clean either. And the whole original agreement that this crap emanated from was somewhat pushed and bullied by the petulant states of Iowa and New Hampshire, who think they have some god given right to be first and will noisily jack around any candidate that doesn’t kowtow to them. There is a whole lot of cluster in this fuck. And no one expected that it would matter; but guess what, it does now. Something should be done. I will support and work to elect whatever candidate is the nominee, no matter what because I cannot sanction another four years of GOP rule. But I will not respect the process, nor consider it fair, if everybody is not allowed to vote and have their votes counted. I don’t care if it is hard, I don’t care if it takes into June, I don’t care if it cost money; it is the right and proper thing to do. But that is just my opinion and I understand that many do not agree.

        • kspena says:

          bmaz, I agree with all you say. My point in saying that about ‘world view’ is two-fold. The first is that we are all full is ideas and preferences, likes and dislikes. And in the fullness of life as we live it are heaps of contridictions, and life goes on. In my experience it’s rare to see someone who has brought those ambivalences in one’s life to the light of day, thought through the contridictions, weighed their relative influence, sorted through the cross-currents of consequences to weave a coherent world view. That’s not to say there a static end in sight; rather it’s a constant work in progress.

          The other notable aspect of Obama’s world view is how expansive his horizons are. Most people live in a relatively narrow frame of the present. Obama’s horizon extends from the micro and macro of the present and sweeps in a reading of the past and the future on multiple levels. If nothing else he challanges us to extend our horizons and reach out for a more self-reflexive analysis of our place and our relations in the world.

          I don’t write this to endorse Obama as such; but rather to note and appreciate the intellectual work he has done.

          • bmaz says:

            And boy howdy do I agree with all that. I didn’t mean to come off prickly, and I may have. I actually like Obama a lot, even voted for him here; but i haver a bug in my butt over this almost whiny demand by a great many of his supporters that the primary has to end now for unity. I actually think almost the opposite, ie that it is good for the two to have to campaign in every state, to get people personally energized as opposed to just seeing TV stuff and to get them registered and to the polls. I also think that it is really enhancing Obama’s skills as a candidate/politician and is making sure that any things that could appear that might trip him up are cleared and aired now. For instance, the media would have been so kind on this pastor/church thing if it was just Obama and McCain and they sure as hell would not have given the happy happy joy joy response to his speech if it was head to head against McCain instead of Clinton. If he is to be our candidate, I want all of this played out and the experience and skill enrichment from doing so under his belt before the general election battles start. And, to be honest, i am interested in seeing all the states vote and be counted so as to really get a read on the demographic breakdowns on the popular vote, because I am not as sure as many are that there is as much disparity in support as is being made out. I am also a little full of mischief in that i would like to witness a multiple ballot floor fight and real honest to god convention that mattered for once instead of a pre-packaged show; and if such a thing happens, I am going up there to Denver to check it out!

  23. klynn says:


    watercarrier4diogenes @44, bmaz @45 and ROT @52,

    Thank you so much for your kind words…

    ROT, thank you for thoughtful, respectful dialogue in the previous thread.

  24. perris says:

    I will bring this up every single day until the man is released but



    he is the cog that will bring this administration down, he is the story that will land rove in jail

    yet since the 60 minutes broadcast, crickets




    why are there crickets, even here?

    we have to do something

    why are there crickets, even here?

    • BlueStateRedHead says:

      I have heard he is being beaten, but not seen the proof from him or his lawyers. if so, this is a complaint to be lodged (I hear Bmaz laughing) with the DOJ Inspector general, Glenn Fine.

      • perris says:

        and how would there be proof?

        doesn’t matter even if he is not being beaten, he is the cog that will bring the administration down, the cog that will land rove in jail

        why is he still encarcerated?

        off to work

  25. brantl says:

    There’s a distinction to be drawn between being business people, and being good business people…… If they were GOOD business people, why would they get out of business and into government? You have to wonder…..

  26. Neil says:

    Chairman Waxman requests documents from the Defense Department related to reports that at least 12 service members in Iraq have died as the result of accidental electrocutions attributable to faulty wiring. PDF

    • bmaz says:

      Go figure. One was electrocuted to death taking a shower, undoubtedly in the rancid water supplied by KBR/Halliburton. Hell of a way to go for an honorable soldier. Heckuva job Bushie! I’ll bet he is not even listed as a war casualty because his death wasn’t combat related, which probably screws his grieving family out of some benefit they deserve. I have no idea if the last sentence is true or not, but based upon the history of this Administration, why wouldn’t that be the case?

  27. Dismayed says:

    Fair enough, and I don’t disagree that those voters should be heard – BUT at this point and after Rush’s little call out I can’t support any plan that doesn’t limit eligable voters to legitimate democrats. And there is the problem. Leaving it open to non-dems and we know the Republicans will scew it in Clinton’s favor, but if you limit it to dems you leave out lots of truely moderate swing voters (again scewing to Clinton’s favor) that have a genuine will to select the dem candidate and would then vote for that candidate in November.

    No wonder Clinton supports re-votes – any way you go, this whole mess cuts in her favor. Bottom line – it’s a cluster, but it can’t be fixed. Perhaps the DNC could hire an unbiased firm to do a poll in secret, and then seat delegates accordingly – OH the howls that would bring.

    So how is it done. How can it be done to where those voters have a true and unstained voice. I don’t think it can, which leaves us perhaps better off just moving on.

    • bmaz says:

      Yeah, i don’t know. Just pisses the hell out of me though. How is this happening after 2000? Clinton should have said something a lot more forcefully early on when it might have mattered. I am sure their calculus at the time was there was no need. Heh, sometimes you put your chips on the wrong bet eh? I do think this is materially affecting the election though and to Clinton’s detriment big time. By my calculation, if there had been none of these issues, she probably wins Michigan and Florida enough that this thing is a dead heat right now. That is just a worthless guess, and I don’t really care which one wins, but it really bugs me that the whole thing is being skewed by this BS. What a mess.

  28. Dismayed says:

    It’s hard to say how they would have split. I think it would be closer, but a dead heat, I doubt. MI probably would have split, Fl would have gone to Hillary, but 100 delegates in her favor, no way. If they held it now, it would definately go more heavily to her than earlier, due to the Repub operation chaos influence.

    And here’s the thing. Anyone who would openly associate with such a deceitful group of people as the current republican party. This cross the lines and screw up the dem primary is just open dishonesty, illegal according to the laws in some states, and all in all petty, small, and malicious. They’ve become a goup of sociopaths. For such large numbers of people to be gleefully lead into unethical behavior is just galling.

    I’ve always said that the third reich is always with us. The right guy can always find enough followers willing to commit heinious acts. This pales in comparison, but it shows you how some people’s desire to follow is stronger than their internal desire to be ethical, or kind, or even to think.

    And yeah, a whole lot of people though Fl, and MI, and texas for that matter – wouldn’t matter. It’s all going to come down to the super delegates anyway. Those states wouldn’t have changed that. Honestly, I think the best thing to do is move on, If Hillary wasn’t so damned, “me first.” It wouldn’t be that big a deal. It was a low level hum, until Hill figured out she was losing and stirred the pot, putting her interest again ahead of he common good. I’ll vote for whomever is the dem nominee, but I sure hope it’s Barrack.

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