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The fall 2006 semester officially starts next week, and all of us here at Georgetown Dems HQ are getting ready for another busy election season. Before we move on, though, I'd be honored if you would join me for a walk down memory lane with my favorite political clips of summer 2006. Without further ado...


5) George Allen and the macaca. What, exactly, is a macaca? Well, depending on who you ask, it's either a macaque, a horrible racial slur, or a Spanglish abbreviation for "shithead." (By the way, you know a Senator is in trouble when his alibi is that he just meant to call the guy a shithead.) Either way, it's one of the worst Republican political gaffes of the summer-- and that makes for great entertainment.

4) Ted Stevens' A Series of Unfortunate Tubes. In all fairness, I don't see why it's such a big deal that Ted Stevens doesn't understand how the internets work. Republicans have never been on the cutting edge of hip, and back when Senator Stevens was our age (circa 1835), the only way to communicate probably was through a series of tubes (though dump trucks weren't introduced until the 20th century). Nevertheless, it's a pretty damn stupid statement, and the remix is one of this summer's classics. (The original is funny, too, if rambling old Republicans are your kind of thing.)

3) Arnold's Neighborhood. Yeah, it's a brazen attack video by a campaign we know and love, but it's just too funny not to include. And you won't be able to stop humming the tune for days. Laugh at Ken Von Lay at your own peril, though-- you just might end up going to hell.


2) Brad Miller's Fiesta. Think nobody can put immigration, gay marriage, flag burning, and unadulterated bigotry into a coherent 60 second spot? Think again. This is the funniest, most absurd radio ad of the summer, and one of the most ridiculous attack ads you'll ever see. You might have trouble believing it, but this ad is not a joke-- and neither is Vernon Robinson's newest offering. While the second ad is a little less funny, it makes a convincing case for why Republicans should never get into the recording industry.

1) The Lamont Bear Ad. Far and away, my favorite political clip of the summer. If you needed another reason for why Joe Lieberman crashed and burned in the primary, look no further than this truly awful ad. The good news: if Lieberman loses, his team has a bright future in Saturday morning television. GRRRR!

(Note: All Colbert Report and Daily Show clips are automatically disqualified, since there are just too many good ones for me to post here.)

What other clips did I miss? Let me know in the comments.

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Who Killed the Electric Car? hasn't gotten nearly the amount of hype as Gore's 'glorified powerpoint presentation', but I saw it this weekend and I want to recommend it. The film is about an hour and a half and explores the 5 years in which the United States manufactured high-quality electric cars (that could reach over 80 mph and were the same size as normal cars) and then destroyed them all. It also explains the massive limitations of the types of fuel-efficiency in which we are currently investing - hydrogren and hybrids.

The film impressed me and stressed the importance of enviromental sustainability (something that I sometimes forget amidst other important issues...). A popular website (www.ev1.org) highlights some of the issues, but I definitely suggest checking out the film. Not only is it narrarated by our favorite President, Martin Sheen, but there are a few clips of Mr. Ralph Nader discussing green stuff (not to mention quite a bit of healthy, Bush-environmental-policy bashing).

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I know there will be a lot of pontificating on this race. Certainly the media has no idea what they're talking about when they cover this race, since most report on it from Washngton, DC, not Darien or Norwalk.

I spent the last 48 hours in Fairfield County, CT. I worked on the Lamont campaign. I went door-to-door, I sat for hours in the phone bank, I stood in front of Joe Lieberman's synagogue, Agudath Sholom, from 5:30 am till 1:00 pm, and got a sunburn to boot. Through all of this, I met a lot of Connecticut voters, and what I found was phenomenal.

First, those who supported Senator Lieberman were very angry and obnoxious to me. Many of his supporters came up to me and started yelling at me for supporting Ned Lamont. One supporter even told me that "you left-wing Democrats are what's bad for this country." Yes, that's right, not pollution, poverty, war, terrorism, or intolerance, but "left-wing Democrats" are what's worst for this country. I was appalled. I was disappointed in these Democrats. But I courteously tried to convince people that Ned Lamont was the right man for the job. And for Ned's supporters, including a whole bunch of very nice old ladies who adored me, Ned was the right man. One 84-year old woman from Stamford came up to me and told me she had never missed a school board, primary, or general election since 1944. She told me that while she didn't hate Joe, she really like that Ned Lamont, a fresh face, was getting into politics to change things.

Another woman I met, from Fairfield, told me that she hadn't seen Joe Lieberman since 1996. She told me shen hadn't heard of an event or a meeting with Joe Lieberman since then, ten years ago. This wasn't a nobody either. She was a Democratic committeewoman from Fairfield and has been very active in Fairfield and Connecticut Democratic politics since 1990. She said that most people she knew were never crazy about Joe Lieberman, especially because in his first election to the Senate in 1988, Joe Lieberman won by running to the right of Republican Senator Lowell Weicker. This woman told me she was thrilled to have a candidate who actually challenged Joe Lieberman for the first time in his career.

I met several hundred Nutmeggers during my time in CT. What I found was that people want change. It's not just "left-wing Democrats." People are tired of the cynical politics of division, fear, and half-measures. It's not left vs. center vs. right. It's about people who want to make this a better country by changing the way we do things vs. those who want to keep things the way they are.

Put me in the camp that supports change. I think Joe Lieberman has done a lot of good in his time in the Senate. But Ned Lamont won last night to change things. For the good of the party and the good of the country, Joe should accept that choice and support Ned as we work to change the system. Joe can choose to be a force for change or he can continue a quest to hold on to power. I hope he makes the right choice.

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As soon as I got into the office this morning, I logged onto the Dems blog to see that Ben beat me to the punch. I can’t say much beyond Ben’s (very true) analysis, so I’ll keep it short.

Just a friendly reminder not to overanalyze the Amazing Race. A lot of pundits and bloggers have been using the Lieberman-Lamont primary showdown as bellwhether of events to come, so it seems prudent to remember that Connecticut is an overwhelmingly blue state—Joementum or not—and is in no way indicative of the nation as a whole. I would argue that it isn’t even representative of the national party, since moderate elements like the DLC aren’t going away any time soon, no matter what Markos Moulitsas might hope.

In the end, Nutmeg State politics are certainly interesting. But my advice? Don’t get caught up in the overblown netroots hype and draw conclusions from this (fairly unique) incident.

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Now that he has defeated Mr. Lieberman, Ned Lamont needs our support more than ever since, as expected, Mr. Lieberman has decided to leave the Democratic party and run as an independent. I think that Lieberman is the epitome of the old Democratic Party, which prided itself on weak candidates who were too concerned with getting reelected to put their foot down and stand firm on an issue. Lieberman is not only weak, but he is boring, and he panders. Most of all, however, is that he is conservative.

His conservatism stems from a number of issues. He says he was held to a litmus test in this election. If the issue at question were his vote for the Bush/Cheney/Lieberman energy policy, I could understand. I could even understand if the issue at question was his support for reinserting the feeding tube into Terri Sciavo (one of the ONLY democrats to vote for the preposterous bill). However, the issue at stake is not his energy vote, or Terri Schiavo, or his support for any of the other issues that he has voted with the Republicans on…except one. It is the Iraq War. Whatever your feelings for why we went in (although I still do not think there is a legitimate excuse), his continued support for the Administration’s failed war and his condemnation of his (former) Democratic colleagues for their disapproval of the war is despicable.

Joe Lieberman is not being held to account for his support of a conservative issue; he is being held to account for his support of THE conservative issue. He has been lauded as “Bush’s favorite Democrat” and Bush himself has on numerous occasions called on Democrats to be more like Joe Lieberman. He has expressed his love for party and the need for Democrats to have an honest, moderate voice. I believe moderation is fine, but I believe we have many moderates in the Democratic Party and I still consider many of them Democrats, not a distinction that can still hold for Lieberman. When I hear Joe Lieberman express his continuing support for George Bush’s policies in Iraq, and his disapproval for those who oppose the war (joining Bush in calling them unpatriotic), I cannot distinguish him from any other Republican in office.

Finally, Joe Lieberman was so in line with the Democratic Party platform and had such loyalty, that when he lost, as he stated throughout the campaign, he fled the Democratic Party and has decided to run as an independent. Good riddance says I. We must be firm; we must been unwavering. Most of all, we must love our party. Vote Lamont in November.

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Yet another reason to kick the GOP out of Congress:

On Thursday, August 3rd, the Senate voted 56-42 to reject a bill (it needed 60 votes to pass) that would have reduced the estate tax for multimillionaires while raising the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 over the next three years. On July 29th, the House voted in favor of such a bill. In what appears to be another campaign tactic, the Republicans tried to entice the Democrats into passing a cut on the estate tax, which would have given the Republicans a much-needed election year victory, while simultaneously silencing Democratic candidates’ charges that the Republicans have not done enough to ease the average American citizen's financial burdens. The Democrats, however, did not bite, and many Senators believe that citizens will see right through the Republicans’ tactics. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) said, “This is a cynical ploy on the part of the Republican leadership in an election year,” and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) stated that “the American people won’t fall for it.”

If the Republicans hope to appeal to an American public disillusioned by the Iraq war and rising inflation, cutting taxes for the wealthy is not the smartest route to follow.

See http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14176214/ for more information.

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I'm here in the Norwalk office of the Ned Lamont for Senate campaign. The energy is amazing. Dozens of volunteers have been in and out of the office for hours and tomorrow looks like a very energized day. This will be a close primary. The latest Q-poll shows this as a six point race, with Lamont ahead. We're confident of victory here, but it will depend on turnout.

Whatever you think of this race, what is happening in CT today is democracy at its finest. People, in massive numbers, are gettg involved in the political process and talking about important policy questions. I believe turnout will be extremely high tomorrow, and it should break records. We as Democrats should continue to support this beautiful process of democracy by encouraging more people to get involved and engaged.

Anyway, I'm off now to elect Ned Lamont, whom I just met (he's a really nice guy, and surprisingly not awkward at all). Everyone should watch the news tomorrow, it will be exciting.

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I'd like to share my recent experience with our neighbors to the north. This weekend, I traveled to Detroit as part of my fellowship with the YP4 and FLLA program. When I arrived in my hotel room in the GM Center, I realized that Windsor was merely across a river. I knew I needed to take advantage of this during my free time Saturday night and four other fellows decided that they would join me in my international experience.

I had been to Canada once before, but had needed a birth certificate and ID. This time, I was told, I needed only my driver's license. So, around 11pm on Saturday, five FLLA fellows got into a cab and headed for the border. Of course, we all had IDs, because we had just flown to Detroit the day before. All of us except for me, because (as I found after I had left the U.S. and entered Canadian customs) I had left my only identification in my carry-on luggage - not the purse I was carrying.

After about 20 minutes of inspections and ID checks (of my friends), I was officially allowed into Canada. At this point, I had two choices: head back to the border in hopes that the U.S. patrol would allow me back in since I'd only been gone a half hour or have some fun in Canada and worry about entering after the night was over. I chose the latter; I knew it would be difficult to get back in and I'd already paid for a cab to get there!

At about 3:00 am, the five of us decided to go back to the homeland. After waiting about a half hour in line with the rest of the underage Americans leaving after the bars had closed, we reached the customs gate. I quickly explained to the officer that I did not have any identification, but that she could search my purse and see my credit card if it would help me to get into the country.

After being explained to that it was the fault of ID-less people like me that we can't keep our borders safe, jokes to my friends that I was a terrorist/illegal alien, and about 5 minutes of background checks - I realized what a good idea it was to stay and have fun, when I was let back into the country. Now, I'm not sure if it was my exhaustion-induced, slight southern accent, my white skin, my companions all clearing the test, or a combination of the three, but I absolutely should not have been let across the border so easily. My bag, from the store at which I had considered buying Cuban cigars as souvenirs, was not even searched.

Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful that I was allowed to get back to Detroit that night (not that Canada isn't a wonderful country), but I'm appalled at the ease with which I entered the U.S.A. The officer was correct; I could have been a terrorist or illegal alien. I could have hidden bombs in the trunk of my cab without anyone knowing, as it was not checked (though it was checked while entering Canada). This experience has led me to believe that perhaps our borders are no safer than they were five years ago; as I said, when I went to Canada 6 years ago, I needed not only my ID, but my birth certificate too. I'm not sure what the answer is, but until we have actual secure borders we can't claim we've made our country safer and we're just paying customs officers to talk to border-crossers. This is a bipartisan issue that needs to be talked about; we're not being snobby Americans if we have a secure border, everyone does it and it's just plain good policy. I mean, seriously, it's easier to enter the United States than it is to enter Canada? O, Canada, what irony.

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