22 February 2008

Dear Dr. Dean

Well, I couldn't help it.

After thinking about the latest issues regarding Ickes' call - on behalf of Hillary Clinton - for the DNC to go back on its word and reverse last year's vote re: Florida and Michigan (a move that was subsequently agreed to by all Dem candidates), I had to write the DNC Chairman, Dr. Howard Dean and share my feelings about this matter.

I post it here for everyone's benefit, now that the DNC has received it and has had some time to digest it.

February 19, 2008
Howard Dean, M.D.
Chairman, Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington, DC 20003

Dear Dr. Dean:

I write you to share my concerns about a crucial debate and decision that, in my estimation, will dictate the future of the Democratic Party.

I am an Iraq War veteran, a former independent voter, and a newly minted member of the Democratic Party. I changed my affiliation on Feb. 10 in order to take part in the Maine caucus, and am very glad I took the time to participate in that process.

However, my newfound excitement at being a Democrat has been tempered in recent days, stemming from what appears to be a growing call from certain DNC members to overturn last year’s decisions by majority vote to strip Florida and Michigan of their delegates over those states’ early primaries in violation of established party rules and policies.

My concern is that the party, if it were to overturn the previous decision this far into the primary/caucus process, would send a signal that it cannot abide by its own decisions; such a move will be widely interpreted by members of both major parties – and the American public in general – as a signal that the DNC can’t enforce its own policies.

The backlash of such a move, I am convinced, will be catastrophic for this party. I believe it will drive Independents away from casting a vote for the Democratic candidate, and it will further polarize the Democratic Party itself. In light of the trying times we face - and the common belief that there needs to be a leadership change in Washington - this is not the time for a major rift to be opened among Democrats.

Furthermore, the opposition will exploit such a decision for maximum effect throughout the remainder of the campaign – including pointing to such a move as evidence that the DNC cannot abide by its own decisions and policies, therefore making the Democrats incapable of holding the highest office in the land.

We have seen what the opposition can do in terms of exploiting lies about others for political gain. I shudder to think what they can do with a situation like this, should it come to pass.

Our party cannot risk losing this election, and I’m convinced that if the DNC reverses its prior decision, such a result will become much more of a likelihood.

I’m speaking neither in support of (or on behalf of) nor against either major Democratic candidate for the presidential nomination. (I’d also like to add I am not actively involved in any campaign.)

I have my own preference, but the process of choosing our delegates and our nominee – and the integrity of that process, abiding by all previous DNC decisions – is more important to me.

And integrity is so sorely needed in Washington now, more than ever!

I’d also like to make clear that in no way do I seek to disenfranchise any voters in the primary process – but the decision has very publicly been made by the DNC. I submit that the DNC must abide by that decision, enforce it and choose a presidential candidate based on the will of the voters in the rest of the nation – whomever that candidate may be.

I write to you as a voter, a new party member, and a concerned American citizen who desperately seeks an alternative to the Republican party that since 2001 has put our nation’s military, economy and very future at risk with policies based on lies.

I respectfully submit that the DNC must remain bound to the decision it made last year regarding the 2008 presidential candidate nomination process.

Very Respectfully,


If I receive a reply, I'll let you know. If it's a form letter, rest assured I will send it back and demand - on behalf of all voters - an honest, original reply.

17 February 2008

The Ickes Shuffle!

Looks like one of Sen. Clinton's guard-dogs, Harold Ickes, a former deputy Chief of Staff for Bill Clinton and a current DNC member, is having a change of heart about the DNC's move to bar Florida and Michigan's delegates.

Let me get this straight: Ickes voted as a DNC member months ago to disallow those delegates after those states' parties committed scheduling violations for their primaries. He, along with other DNC bigwigs, including Howard Dean, vowed to uphold and enforce this decision.

So far, so good! But wait, there's more!

Now that Ickes is deep into the campaign as a member of the Clinton camp - and Clinton's certainly not having the easy time she so confidently predicted many months ago - he's now calling to overturn a national-level decision that he himself played a key role in authorizing?

WHOA! Back the truck up, Chief!

Isn't that a conflict of interest? Major-leaguer, big-time?

It's like voting to make something illegal, then pushing to have that rescinded or repealed when you realize your son or friend is about to get busted under that statute.

NOTE TO DNC: Wanna lose the election AGAIN? Go back on your word on this and see what happens. And we, America, cannot afford another four years of the current administration's policies.

If the Dems allow this, it will prove that the party has no real interest in the actual process of democracy. Yup, there's the democratic process, and then there's the Democratic process.

I truly believe, to my very core, that if the DNC reverses its previous decision with regard to Florida and Michigan, it will be suicidal to the party. The Democrats have struggled for years - a decade, really - to regain the sense of party unity of pre-1994.

The party has proven on many occasions since 2001 to have a limp dick when it comes to challenging the GOP, and flip flopping on this issue is not exactly the Viagra it so sorely needs now.

If the Democrats are to be trusted with the executive office, they had better adhere to their own decision - lest they prove that - like GWB and Co. - they are not capable of following the rules.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess I am a new Democrat (as of 10 FEB 08, the day of the Maine Caucuses).

The Dems will make the decision soon as to whether they keep me or lose me. It's not about Clinton/Obama. It's about enforcing party policy. Accountability, you might say.

Yes, I voted Obama. I cannot vote for someone who voted for the Iraq War, period. No way, no how. That includes Clinton and McCain.

***On a side note, this marks the 100th posting here. Yah, whoop-tee-friggen'-doo!
Geez, I better get with the program and start cranking out more here. I've been hanging out at VoteVets way too much - which is a good thing! Go check it out!

16 February 2008

When all else fails, PUNT! (Or run away!)

Have been reading with much amusement the extent to which our GOP members of Congress have been going lately to distance themselves of the pressing matters of the day.

Take, for example, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who has over the last couple weeks seemingly become a one-track guy: Going after the NFL over the 'Spygate' issue.

OK, for you non-football types: it was found that the N.E. Patriots had used videotape to spy on opponents and divine their coaching calls during games, which is a form of cheating. Yes, the Pats were properly punished.

At any rate, this happened in September...now that the snow flies and the Super Bowl is over, Specter - an ardent Eagles fan - seems to forget that there's a war or two going on, and is fixated on trying to force the NFL to punish the Pats further.

Two questions, Sen. Specter: A) Since when does Congress regulate the NFL's rules, and B) Don't you have, uh, more pressing needs to attend to?

Same goes for this whole sham of the baseball steroids hearings. This is a matter for MLB and the courts, NOT Congress! Seriously, gang, what's more important, Clemens taking a jab in the butt so he could win one more game, or the fact that our nation is still losing blood and traesure in Iraq?

But I save the best for last...

In the truest spirit of the GOP's reputation for toughness, most of the Republican House members decamped the House chamber Thursday in search of safe haven - led by Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) - when it became apparent that the Democratic majority was going to commit the ultimate act of treason:

They held Bush administration officials in contempt for REFUSING to tell the truth.

So, knowing that the motion would pass, Boehner bravely stood up to the challenge and led his fellow yellow elephants out of the room in "protest."

Mr. Boehner, that has got to be the all-time most pusillanimous, spineless, shameful thing I've ever seen on the House floor.

He and his colleagues, as I noted at VetVoice yesterday, have given a new meaning to the old phrase, "When the going gets tough, the 'tough' get going."

In their pants, apparently. Truth hurts, doesn't it? Go change your Depends, Boehner.

Shame on them. They abandoned their posts, and no longer deserve to be called leaders. Just try that in the military and see what happens.


08 February 2008

The 'Maine' event; voting problems?

Until yesterday, I was undecided...as to whether I would take the time to participate in the Maine Dem Caucus this Sunday.

Seriously, I thought things would be pretty cut-and-dried by then, so what would be the point, other than being able to say I participated in it.

Not so fast, all! As we all know, things are clear as mud right now, and apparently Maine just became a key state for both Sens. Obama and Clinton...so much so that BOTH of them will visit our fair state this Saturday.

What I'm saying to those of you in Maine and the other 20 or so states yet to caucus/primary, your vote apparently does matter, and I urge you to participate.

Who knew that my humble little state could suddenly matter? It's nice to know that my vote may actually mean something!

(As a colleague of mine recently quipped: "I'm gonna rock out with my caucus out!!!")

Am curious as to how many readers here have had problems with primaries/caucuses (waiting in line for hours, finding out that voter rolls were inaccurate, elections officials running out of ballots, etc.)

This is an issue that were all going to need to be hyper-aware of as we go through this process - especially those of you stationed in Iraq, A-stan, etc.

I had a pissing match with my local election board in 2004 while I was in Iraq - we received absentee ballots for the municipal elections a full week AFTER the election was over.

I sent mine back with a letter urging the board to get absentees ballots out to Iraq asap for the November elections, lest those of us defending the right to vote be disenfranchised in the process. (I got mine on time and was told that my vote for Kerry WAS counted in my county's results.)

I know it happened in 2004, and I think we can make a concerted effort to try and prevent that this year. Just a heads-up.

(Cross-posted at VetVoice.com)