Dependable Erection

Wednesday, February 06, 2008


Dear Barry,
Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are done. John McCain will be the Republican nominee -- he's the only one with a reasonable path to the nomination.

So how do we beat him? We stand up -- right now -- start fighting, and show the American people that he's not who they think he is.

We can't wait for Hillary or Barack to win the nomination. Now that the Republicans have a candidate, the dollars are starting to pour in from special interests who will do anything to beat the Democratic nominee. They're just waiting for us to decide so they can start smearing.

Here's what U.S. News and World Report recently reported about how the RNC is getting ready...
[RNC Chairman Mike] Duncan and his aides want to be ready to go on the offensive against the Democratic nominee presumptive in an effort to define the opposition candidate on GOP terms. Opposition research is already well along, and the plan is for surrogates to talk to the media around the country while a TV ad campaign in key states and media markets as soon as the Democratic nominee is determined.

We must be ready to fight back, and fight back hard, today.

Now that we know our opponent, it's time to build a national effort on the programs you and I have worked so hard to create over the last four years - from our cutting-edge technology to our voter protection programs, it's time to shift gears.

I need you to contribute $25, $50, or $100 to help us fight John McCain right now:


John McCain is a media darling, but don't trust his carefully-crafted image - he's worked for years to brand himself. From Iraq to health care, Social Security to special interest tax cuts to ethics, he's promising nothing more than a third Bush term.

After championing campaign finance reform and ethics legislation to score political points, he now has a staggering amount of lobbyists involved in every aspect of his campaign. In fact, two of the top three sources for John McCain's campaign cash are D.C. lobbying firms, and he looked the other way as Jack Abramoff bought and paid for the Republican Party and the Culture of Corruption.

On immigration reform, he's run as far to the right as he can, aligning himself with the most extreme elements of the Republican Party.

On the war, McCain scoffed at Bush's call to leave troops in Iraq for 50 years, saying "Make it a hundred!"

On a woman's right to choose, McCain has vowed to appoint judges who would overturn Roe v. Wade.

On the economy, one of the issues that the American people care most about, McCain has said: "I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated."

We can't afford four more years with a President who drives the economy into the ground. We can't afford four more years with a President who fights an endless war in Iraq. We can't afford four more years with a President who gives tax cuts to companies who ship jobs overseas; with a President who can't get every American the health care they deserve; with a President we just can't trust.

I don't just want to beat John McCain - I want it to be a landslide. If you're as committed as I am, I need you to make a contribution today:


Only the Democratic Party is legally allowed to spend unlimited amounts of money to back our nominee and tell the real story about John McCain. We proved that our strategy worked in 2006, and it will work again this fall.

Help us today:


Let's get going,

Howard Dean



  • You mean I can't spend a billion dollars bitching about McCain or Huckabee (or Clinton or Obama, for that matter)? Wait -- I can, but only by donating it to the Democrats (or Republicans or the party du jour? Ok, never mind.

    By Blogger Joseph H., at 3:31 PM  

  • So Howard Dean wants to "tell the truth about John McCain"?

    I don't mean to be a wiseass, but all pro-McCain retorts will go like this: "So, Howard, what were YOU doing during Vietnam?"


    By Blogger David, at 5:26 PM  

  • So fucking what?

    First off, Howard Dean isn't running for office. Second, we know what John Kerry was doing during the Vietnam War, and it didn't slow these fuckers down one bit.

    Quite honestly, that's all they've got is fear and lies and manipulation. If we let that stop us from telling the truth, we deserve to lose.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 5:50 PM  

  • What truth? That Clinton and Obama are dead centrists with barely a hair between them ideologically? That McCain is barely different? That just about nothing is going to change when one of these clowns gets elected?

    By Blogger DurhamFood, at 7:08 PM  

  • i'm not ashamed or embarrassed to say that after the past 8 years, a centrist would be a relief.

    on the other hand, i don't think even durhamfood would try to argue that McCain is really a centrist. Just because Limbaugh doesn't like him doesn't mean he's not as right wing as they come.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 8:31 PM  

  • He's a centrist on quite a few issues. While he's talking conservative now, he doesn't really give a shit about most central conservative issues, which is why conservatives are merely resigned to him, rather than actually liking him.

    Look, Lieberman endorsed him, and it wasn't so long ago that Lieberman and the Clintons were best buddies...

    PS I don't have any liking for the man, but nor do I have any for Obama or Clinton.

    By Blogger DurhamFood, at 10:09 PM  

  • The bottom line for is that one of those three (McCain, Clinton, Obama) is going to be the next president of the United States.

    Maybe from your perspective, there wouldn't be any difference in their presidencies.

    I don't see it that way.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 8:09 AM  

  • Yep, one of the three will indeed be president. I don't really see many differences.

    Looking at the campaign up until now, it's been extremely thin on policies - all the talk has been about who is more appealing to various groups, without any real discussion of actual differences. On the Democrat side, I think this is fundamentally due to the lack of difference between Obama and Clinton. McCain hasn't really offered much either.

    What exactly are the differences in your view?

    All of them will keep troops in Iraq for the foreseeable future, none of them really want to do anything about the current state of abortion laws, none of them want to get out of Afghanistan, none of them are planning to do anything but fully and blindly support Israel, all of them will continue to talk tough about Iran and do nothing, all of them will eventually close Guantanamo (which would happen anyway, sooner or later), all of them will maintain NAFTA, all of them will keep immigration policy more-or-less as it is, none of them will seriously work towards repealing the Patriot act, etc etc

    Some of these things are good and some bad, but they're all the status quo, possibly with some minor embellishments one way or the other.

    By Blogger DurhamFood, at 9:41 AM  

  • I think you're mistaken on both Iraq and on immigration policy, as well as on the abortion issue, which are enough for me to have a distinct preference.

    Then there's the intangible "change is possible" effect that either an Obama or Clinton presidency would have on the country. Granted, i think that effect would probably be more pronounced with a President Obama, based on the familiarity with Clinton and the near-certainty that the far-right will simply pick up where it left off 8 years ago in attacking both her and her husband.

    McCain's already said he's committed to a permanent (100 year) presence in Iraq. Both Democratic candidates have stated otherwise. Whether they follow through on that if elected of course is questionable.

    On issues like the minimum wage the difference between the parties is miles wide.

    Will either Democratic candidate usher in the Utopia we've been waiting for? Of course not.

    But the improvement over what we have now, or what we might have under a President McCain is enough to justify working to make it happen.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 9:49 AM  

  • Iraq: Both Obama and Clinton have said they'll keep troops there at least until 2013. Look for that to stretch further, fast. I seriously doubt anyone is going to pull troops out any time soon. There's too much to protect. On the other hand, McCain's '100 years' nonsense is simply grandstanding and positioning. He can't make that call, whether or not he's elected.

    Immigration policy: None of them have real ideological ties to any given immigration policy. McCain's record is very much in the middle on this, which is one reason the right-wing of his party hates him.

    Abortion: no chance of any changes. Sure, there may be some supreme court appointments, but it's very unlikely that any of them will appoint anything but middle-ground consensus candidates.

    Minimum wage: granted, to some extent. Honestly however, the entire policy of minimum wage is defunct and has been shown over and over again to entrench poverty. None of them have committed to a variable regional living wage, nor are they likely to even try to move in that direction.

    As for "the intangible "change is possible" effect": I see exactly how much difference that's made since the Democrats were elected! Do you really see intangible possibilities as serious reasons to bother picking one of these clowns?

    By Blogger DurhamFood, at 10:05 AM  

  • The short answer is yes. The longer answer will have to wait till i have some more time this evening.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 10:55 AM  

  • That Barry thinks Obama and Clinton are "centrist" tells us all we need to know about him. Hey Barry, give us an example of a national figure who's further to the left.

    Obama: Most Liberal Senator In 2007

    By Brian Friel, Richard E. Cohen and Kirk Victor, National Journal
    © National Journal Group Inc.
    Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008

    Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was the most liberal senator in 2007, according to National Journal's 27th annual vote ratings. The insurgent presidential candidate shifted further to the left last year in the run-up to the primaries, after ranking as the 16th- and 10th-most-liberal during his first two years in the Senate.

    Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., the other front-runner in the Democratic presidential race, also shifted to the left last year. She ranked as the 16th-most-liberal senator in the 2007 ratings, a computer-assisted analysis that used 99 key Senate votes, selected by NJ reporters and editors, to place every senator on a liberal-to-conservative scale in each of three issue categories. In 2006, Clinton was the 32nd-most-liberal senator.

    In their yearlong race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Obama and Clinton have had strikingly similar voting records. Of the 267 measures on which both senators cast votes in 2007, the two differed on only 10. "The policy differences between Clinton and Obama are so slight they are almost nonexistent to the average voter," said Richard Lau, a Rutgers University political scientist.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:15 PM  

  • Feingold.

    That you think Obama and Clinton are on the left tells us that you are a fucking moron™.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 1:21 PM  

  • Bernie Sanders might be a little further left than Obama or Clinton as well.

    And i'm pretty sure that when John Kerry and John Edwards were running in 2004, they were the furthest fucking lefty moonbats ever to seek national office. And God forbid Ted Kennedy should ever give a speech. Then he would be the most fucking lefty ever, wouldn't he?

    You fucking morons™ just think you can throw "lefty" around at everyone who scares you because they have a certain, i don't know, sanity about their policies and everyone who doesn't know the SWP from a hole in the ground will rally around your big daddy savior.

    That time has passed.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 1:27 PM  

  • Liberal and left are not in any way the same thing. In most of the world 'liberal' refers to the center-right, which on a classical scale, is where both Clinton and Obama are, with McCain slightly to the right.

    That study, by the way, is complete bullshit. Read the methodology...

    Bernie Sanders is probably closer to being on the left than anyone else in the Senate. Still, he'd be in the pretty mild social democrat category in most of the world.

    By Blogger DurhamFood, at 1:52 PM  

  • I can tell I hit the nail on the head. From Barry, I got two posts and four profanities. (I keep score).

    In the past, liberal actually meant something positive. Today, "liberal" is just a polite word for socialist. Go ahead and tell me how Obama and Clinton are not socialists. It's telling that Barry would define socialists as "centrists". I guess you have to be an anarchist to be left of that.

    And Barry's in no position to complain about labels being hung on people.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:57 PM  

  • er. Huh?

    By Blogger DurhamFood, at 4:57 PM  

  • By the way, most anarchists aren't leftists, at least they wouldn't define themselves as being on the left. Read some history.

    While you're at it, go read Socialist Worker. Notice how Obama and Clinton are ripped to shreds on every page. I know a lot of socialists, and not a single one of them would put themselves in the same camp as either of those two clowns.

    By Blogger DurhamFood, at 5:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Joseph H., at 8:29 PM  

  • Whatever. We've got a planned economy either way: it's just different people doing the planning.

    I think it is possible to distinguish between (say) Clinton, Huckabee, McCain, Obama, and Paul; the distinctions don't seem to matter much except to those who are hung up on party or single-issue voting anyway.

    I wouldn't bother bringing in definitions of classical liberal, or differentiating between anarchist flavors, or even separating Commies and Socialists. Races should be decided by the primaries, like they used to be in the bad old days. Don't bring any personal feelings. Stick to Democrat Good; Republican Bad. Or is it the other way around? I can never keep it straight. :/

    By Blogger Joseph H., at 9:02 PM  

  • No, no, no. You got it all wrong. Democrat purple, republican maroon. Then we all get eaten by lions.

    By Blogger DurhamFood, at 9:33 PM  

  • Good: I know how to defend myself against a tiger: with a banana!

    By Blogger Joseph H., at 11:40 PM  

  • Well, i know how to defend myself against someone armed with a banana.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 8:20 AM  

  • Well, i know how to defend myself against someone armed with a banana.

    If the produce managers from Harris Teeter ever revolt, I want to be with you, Barry.

    By Anonymous Maura, at 8:49 AM  

  • One thing about McCain, Barry, he sure makes you wanna cuss!

    My only minor point (post 2 on this thread) is that McCain has undeniable crossover appeal, and his personal courage during Vietnam is only part of it.

    I'm with Durham Food here in that McCain is basically a centrist, and not significantly more right wing than a Clinton (or possibly Obama) administration.

    I can't get too worked up over the choice between these three--all, including McCain, are improvements over Bush, but none of them will bring about a real transformation of the type proposed by a genuine left (which is not the same as an electable left).

    Have a home brew,

    By Blogger David, at 2:45 PM  

  • Couple of points.

    One - everything y'all are saying about "no difference between McCain and Clinton/Obama" is, word for word, verbatim to things that i said in 1980 about Reagan v Carter. I ended up voting for Barry Commoner (Citizens Party) in that election.

    Two - everything y'all are saying about no difference between McCain and Clinton/Obama" is, word for word, verbatim to things other people said about Bush v Gore.

    I was wrong in 1980. Lots of other people were wrong in 2000. In 1980 i remember sitting with Mitchell Cohen of the Red Balloon Collective on election night, and he said "Ronald Reagan's election will be the best thing that ever happened to the American Left."

    He was wrong.

    Let's not make the same mistake in 2008, OK? There is a difference between the two parties. Democrats may not be bringing us the Socialist utopia. But nobody else is, either.

    Republicans suck. Democrats suck less. Sucks less is better.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 6:56 PM  

  • I'm not saying there's "no" difference between McCain and the Dems. Of course there is, and I don't expect to be voting for McCain, even if he's running against the only marginally more appealing Hillary.

    But McCain isn't the anti-Christ, either. The fact that the movement conservatives don't like him is a big plus in my book.

    Dwayne Powell captured this nicely in his cartoon today:

    By Anonymous David, at 7:35 PM  

  • "Rush Limbaugh doesn't like him" or "Ann Coulte thinks he sucks" are not reasons to look favorably on John McCain, in my book.

    Both of them stand to do very well under either a Clinton or Obama presidency.

    John "Let's stay in Iraq for a hundred years" McCain would be a disaster for the US, dwarfed in magnitude only by the current administration. Joe Lieberman thinks that he'd be a good president. 'Nuff said.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 7:43 PM  

  • It's your blog, you win!


    By Anonymous David, at 10:02 PM  

  • Can't say as i'm trying to win anything, David. But i really thought that the last eight years should have convinced us that "there's no difference between" whoever's running is a fallacy. The Democrats may not have the same vision of the world that i do, but at least i can live in the world they envision. I can't say the same for the Republicans.

    Oh, and anonymous - as long as we're keeping score, here's number 5. Go fuck yourself. You wanna come trolling around here to see if you can get under my skin? Don't bet on it.

    i can ignore you without breaking a sweat.

    By Blogger Barry Ragin, at 10:22 PM  

  • Well, I look at Hillary, for example, and I see more of the Clinton years--a virtual paradise compared to the last seven years of Bushdom, to be sure--an era of widening inequality, failed efforts at reform and ugly, trivial but deadly partison brawling.

    So I have no great hopes for the Democratic candidate, whoever it turns out to be, and I have trouble girding my loins for a Manichean struggle between the Dem candidate and John McCain, who is the most acceptable candidate the Republicans could have nominated out of their field (which itself is a cause for optimism). Remember that McCain a) championed an effort to get soft money out of politics, b) challenged the Bushies on torture, c) doesn't hate Mexicans.

    Still, as I said, just because he doesn't make my blood boil doesn't mean I'm going to vote for him.

    By the way, it's not just Ann Coulter and Rush who don't like McCain. How about these guys:

    "I would not vote for John McCain under any circumstances." --James Dobson

    "McCain has done more to hurt the Republican party than any elected official I know of." --Tom Delay

    By Blogger David, at 4:36 PM  

  • What I would like to know is how would Barry describe the best candidate. List what policies or changes you would like to see in America.

    I have yet to decide on whom I will vote for but some individual repeating the mantra "change" does nothing for me. What change and how may help.

    If any of the presidential candidates support the fair tax idea they will gain my support. That is with the assumption that they do not bring religion or ethnic grandstanding into the equation.

    By Blogger TrinityRez, at 11:34 PM  

  • you demand to know what Barry wants so you can vote for whoever represents the opposite qualities?

    By Blogger MK, at 8:50 AM  

  • MK where did I exactly say that? I do not have the best memory in the world but I do not remember saying that exactly.

    I am just curious what Barry wants out of America. I am sure that we maybe on the opposite end of the political divide but I am not going to allow him to determine my choice.

    By Blogger TrinityRez, at 11:12 AM  

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