Friday Talking Points [Vol. 6]

[ Posted Friday, October 19th, 2007 – 17:15 UTC ]

Welcome to the sixth installment of the weekly suggestions for Democrats who are likely to appear on this weekend's chat shows. Previous installments can be seen at the new Talking Points archive on my site.

Before we get to the talking points themselves, attention must be paid to the worst and the best Democrats from last week. For balance, we initiate the "Most Impressive Democrat of the Week" (otherwise known as the "Golden Backbone Award") -- although I honestly can't promise I will be handing this award out every week. The rule shall be: if no Democrat impresses me, then no award for that week shall be given.



Senator Chris Dodd wins the inaugural MIDOTW award for showing how Democrats are supposed to behave. He has tossed down the gauntlet on the wiretapping bill working its way through the Senate, and will put a "hold" on any bill which comes out of committee that provides amnesty for telecommunications companies which have broken wiretapping laws in the past by cooperating with Big Brother and just meekly handing over data without a warrant to compel them.

Well done Senator Dodd! The first ever Golden Backbone is yours in a landslide!

[Congratulate Dodd on his Senate contact page to let him know you appreciate his efforts.]




There were quite a few contenders for this prize this week. The first was the few Democrats in the House who voted with Bush on the SCHIP veto override vote. Finishing out the week was Senate Majority Doormat... oh, sorry, "Leader" Harry Reid, who (in response to Chris Dodd's "hold" threat) was rumored to be thinking about ignoring Dodd's hold and bringing the bill to the floor anyway. While such backstabbing behavior would almost guarantee a win for MDDOTW, it has not happened yet, and I haven't even seen a solid quote from Reid on the issue yet. So if rumors prove to be true, there will be a MDDOTW award in Reid's future, but for now I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.

In between these two was yet another example of Democrats taking perfectly good political leverage against the White House and just throwing it away unused. Senator Charles Schumer, who sits on the Judiciary Committee announced before the hearing had even begun that President Bush's nominee for Attorney General Mukasey was a shoo-in to be approved by the Senate. Aiding and abetting in this display of jellyfishitude was Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, who also publicly agreed that Mukasey would likely have no trouble being confirmed. Both these statements earn a tie for the shame and infamy of this week's MDDOTW award.

You don't start a political showdown by telling the other side they've already won! How many times do I have to say this? If you signal: "It doesn't matter what your answers are in your hearing, you're golden," then the nominee hears: "Don't even bother answering our questions, just demur and obfuscate to your heart's content."


[Contact Schumer on his Senate contact page and Leahy via his email ( to let them know what you think of their actions.]

OK, with that out of the way, onward to this week's list.


Democratic Talking Points

Volume 6 (10/19/07)


1   Lame duck

Bush walked right into this one. He got the "kiss of death" question during this week's press conference: "Are you still relevant?" The reason this is the kiss of death in Washington is that if the question is even asked, you're already toast.

Democrats should pick up on this, and keep using it until Inaugural Day 2009. "Well, our lame duck president," "Bush is a lame duck and should realize it and join with congressional Democrats to get some things done before he leaves office," "Is Bush a lame duck? Well, if it quacks like a duck...."


2   Playing politics

Republicans are already on the attack with this one, and it needs to be forcefully met with a counterattack. "Bush is playing politics with children's health," "Republicans say they want bipartisanship, but when we try to work with them we find all they really want to do is play politics," "Republicans can play politics by obstructing Democrats, but they will pay the price at the polls next year as a direct result."


3   Show me the language

The House's inability to override Bush's veto on the SCHIP bill is going to be a big subject of conversation this week. To counter Republican spin and lies, challenge interviewers or Republicans on their talking points. "$83,000 a year? That's ridiculous. Please show me the language where this bill says that." "This bill insures illegal immigrants? Show me the language in this bill which approves that."

Republicans, all the way up to President Bush, have been basically lying about what the bill actually does, and they need to be called on these distortions of reality -- strongly. "Show me the language!"


4   "After all, you can just go to an emergency room."

[This item is a repeat from a previous Friday Talking Points column.]

"To show you how oblivious Bush is to the health care crisis in this country, let me read you what he said recently: 'No one goes without health care in America. After all, you just go to an emergency room.' The ignorance and indifference this shows is just stunning. I guess Jim Hightower was right when he said 'George Bush was born on third base thinking he had hit a triple.' "

Seriously, that quote from Bush should be tattooed on the brain of every Democrat who appears this weekend. That quote should be repeated so often we all get sick of hearing it. Over and over and over again. It shows the massive gap between how Bush sees health insurance, and how normal Americans do.


5   Smearing children, or throwing mud at children, or even the politics of personal destruction

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell needs to be ferociously attacked this weekend. A staffer of his sent a few emails out smearing the Democrats' spokeschild for SCHIP as being too rich to deserve health insurance. The only problem is, they got all their facts wrong. They quickly sent out emails disavowing the attack, but the damage had already been done. McConnell was quoted publicly saying his office had nothing to do with the smear job, but later it was proven that the emails did indeed come from his office.

This one's so easy, the text just writes itself. All quotes need to be delivered in high dudgeon mode: "Republicans can't argue their position on SCHIP because it is indefensible, so instead they did what they always do -- attack the messenger. Only in this case, the messenger was a 12 year old boy. This shows once again that Republicans have no new ideas except their tired old politics of personal destruction. Senator McConnell should be ashamed of himself."


6   Culture of death

Susan Orr is President Bush's new appointee to the position of Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs, who oversees family planning issues. The problem is, she's a rabid anti-women's-health-rights ideologue straight from Family Research Council. Here's a quote from her: "It's not about choice. It's not about health care. It's about making everyone collaborators with the culture of death."

Again, this one write itself. "President Bush has shown once again that he is more interested in making points with the extreme right wing of his party than with health care. His appointee to distribute public health funds for education on family planning has been quoted saying contraceptives somehow contribute to the 'culture of death' (whatever that is). Bush needs to reconsider this appointment and name someone who is not a proven ideologue and who actually cares about women's reproductive health.


7   World War III

Not content with the hyperbole he used to build up to the Iraq war ("the smoking gun may come in the form of a mushroom cloud"), Bush outdid himself during his press conference, by stating that America may need to attack Iran in order to prevent World War III. This is terrifying on many levels, and needs to be spotlighted by any Democrat who wants to stop Bush's march to war against Iran (before he leaves office).

"You know, I'm just like any other American, I get awfully nervous when the President of the United States talks casually about 'World War III' in any context. Attacking Iran may well start World War III, but Bush seems to somehow think that if we don't attack Iran it will start a world war. The president needs to study some history before making rash statements like this in public."


[Thanks to CWCunningham, our resident cartoonist, for coming up with the snazzy graphics. The column's still a work in progress, but it's getting there slowly....]


Cross-posted at The Huffington Post


-- Chris Weigant


15 Comments on “Friday Talking Points [Vol. 6]”

  1. [1] 
    Michael Gass wrote:

    I emailed both Schumer and Leahy... here is a reprint:

    Dear Senator,

    In 2006 America stood up as a nation and, despite gerrymandered districting that favored Republicans, handed Congress to the Democratic Party. Make no mistake Senator, it took Democratic voters, Independent voters AND pissed off conservatives to do that.

    Since 2006, the Democratic "leaders" in Congress seem to be holding a contest to see who can roll over onto the back first for the GOP! WTF!

    Understand this Senator... the American people handed control of Congress to the Democrats and they can take it away from you just as we took it away from the GOP.

    Find your balls and go use our tax dollars to buy yourself a spine or you and your colleagues will feel the wrath of America in 2008 at the polls just as the GOP felt it at the polls in 2008.

    At the moment, Senator, you are an embarrassment. The polls, which place your Congress below President 24%, is proof of just what an embarrassment you are. So, find your balls and spine or your gravy train on our tax dollars will end at the polls in 2008. America has had it with being lied to, being used, and being forced to watch idiots drive our country further into the dirt.

    (feel free to plagarize it)

    [Chris Weigant responds:]

    OK, I can't resist. Don't forget to include a link!



  2. [2] 
    benskull wrote:

    Well played sir.

  3. [3] 
    Michale wrote:

    >Attacking Iran may well start World War III

    And NOT attacking Iran may ALSO start WWIII...

    The only difference is that, in the latter scenario, Iran has nuclear weapons...

    Surely ya'all can see the logic of preventing a nuclear armed Iran from coming into existence, no??

    Or let me ask it this way. Would you support an attack on Iran if the following conditions were met:

    1. It has been proven beyond ANY shadow of doubt that Iran's intent is to acquire nuclear weapons.

    2. All possible diplomatic and covert options have been exhausted..


  4. [4] 
    CDub wrote:

    Michale wrote:

    Or let me ask it this way. Would you support an attack on Iran if the following conditions were met:

    1. It has been proven beyond ANY shadow of doubt that Iran's intent is to acquire nuclear weapons.

    2. All possible diplomatic and covert options have been exhausted..

    1. Depends on who supplies the 'proof'. So far, the only ones who think Iran is trying to build a bomb are the same ones who said they had 'proof' of WMD's in Iraq. Same lie, or have you already forgotten that.

    2. Not a single diplomatic effort has been made by the same ones who made no diplomatic efforts with Iraq, or have you already forgotten that.

    A president who is losing 2 wars simultaneously should not be talking about starting another unprovoked war, but I'll bet he's already forgotten that.

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:


    If you are not going to ANSWER my question, why do you go to such lengths to DODGE the question??

    1. If it has been proven beyond ANY shadow of doubt by a panel made up of Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha, Cindy Sheehan, Al Franken, Harry Reid and Chris Weigant, that Iran's intent is to acquire nuclear weapons....


    2. If all diplomatic options have been tried and failed by the above same panel......

    ..... would you then support attacks on Iran....


  6. [6] 
    PlacitasRoy wrote:

    “If it has been proven beyond ANY shadow of doubt by a panel made up of Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha, Cindy Sheehan, Al Franken, Harry Reid and Chris Weigant, that Iran's intent is to acquire nuclear weapons…...AND. If all diplomatic options have been tried and failed by the above same panel……would you then support attacks on Iran…."

    NO. No more than I would have supported attacking Iraq if it was shown they intended to fly plywood drones across the sea and attack the good old USA.

    Frankly I don't care what they intend to do If they don't have the capabilities to do it, their intent is irrelevant. Ask the question a few years from now when they MIGHT be coming close to having the capability, and my answer might be different.

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    OK Good point...

    Let's go there...

    If it has been proven beyond ANY shadow of doubt by a panel made up of Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha, Cindy Sheehan, Al Franken, Harry Reid and Chris Weigant, that Iran's intent is to acquire nuclear weapons....

    AND the afore mentioned panel has concluded that Iran is within 6 months of having several fully functional nuclear weapons...

    AND all diplomatic options have been tried and failed by the above same panel.

    Given all of the afore, would you then support attacks on Iran....


  8. [8] 
    Michale wrote:

    By the by, thank you Roy.. It's nice to actually get a straight answer now and again.. :D


  9. [9] 
    CDub wrote:

    My answer remains the same.

  10. [10] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Michale -

    Wow. I'd be on that panel just to get some autographs!

    Heh heh.


  11. [11] 
    Michale wrote:


    You mean your NON-Answer remains the same.

    I expected nothing more..


    I really felt I had to apologize to you. Putting you on the same panel with Cindy Sheehan wasn't really proper of me..

    But just think of the cat fights with her and Pelosi in close proximity.. :^)


  12. [12] 
    PlacitasRoy wrote:

    CDub - I think you just got insulted. I'm sure you have as much passion and common sense as Cindy. You probably have more courage than Pelosi& reid. Doubt if you have the comedic ability of Franken and might probably can't match his intecual wit....but then again not many people do.

    Michale-Following Dubya's lead....change the goal posts.

  13. [13] 
    CDub wrote:

    I should have chosen a different screen name. On another site, my screen name is over 20 characters, seemed clever at the time, but typing it out got old.

    When I signed up here, I hadn't noticed that Chris signs his stuff CW, and then comes CWCunningham ... oh well, at least it's easy to type.

    PlacitasRoy wrote:

    CDub - I think you just got insulted.

    I'd agree, though I think you were talking to Chris.
    As Michale said elsewhere, he's offensive because he's defending himself, I assume it's the people who find him offensive that he thinks are attacking him.

    If the 'Never gonna happen' scenario in Michale's question ever did come about, I'd feel good about Franken and Weigant on diplomacy. Murtha, Pelosi and Reid were all in a position to change policy, but I don't have a good feeling that they've really tried very hard. As for Sheehan, what's she doing there? A last minute replacement for Giulliani when he discovered a scheduling conflict (church bake sale)?

  14. [14] 
    Michale wrote:


    Actually, it's not so much changing the goal posts..
    I am just following your own advice..

    >Ask the question a few years from
    >now when they MIGHT be coming close
    >to having the capability, and my
    >answer might be different.

    So, let us postulate that it is a few years from now.. Iran is within 6 months of completing several nuclear weapons..

    Is your answer any different???


  15. [15] 
    PlacitasRoy wrote:

    It isn;t a few years from now. ain't going to be a few years from now until a few years from. But the answer would probably be the same.

    A few years from now I'll keep it in mind that "Iran has an economy the size of Finland's and an annual defense budget of around $4.8 billion. It has not invaded a country since the late 18th century. The United States has a GDP that is 68 times larger and defense expenditures that are 110 times greater. Israel and every Arab country (except Syria and Iraq) are quietly or actively allied against Iran."

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