Contemporary politicians who are struggling to determine when the time will be right to start talking about withdrawing troops from Iraq would do well to borrow a page from former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson, D-Wisconsin.
In the spring of 1964, when only about 16,500 U.S. troops were present in the country as "advisers," and when no one had heard of the Gulf of Tonkin, Nelson was asked by a television reporter to discuss the U.S. presence in southeast Asia. Nelson responded by suggesting that President Lyndon Johnson should reconsider the decision to commit troops to the region, arguing that the time had come to "set some timetable for withdrawal from the situation."
The Wisconsin senator completely rejected the notion that any good would result from an escalation in the U.S. role in the troubled country.
Twenty-five years after the gender gap first appeared as a factor in American politics, it's worth reflecting on whether as some in the GOP said after last November's election the gap has shrunk to the vanishing point.
Let's be clear: The gender gap didn't disappear in 2004, but it diminished significantly. John Kerry narrowly won the women's vote last year when he defeated Bush by a margin of 51 percent to 48 percent. Contrast this to the 2000 presidential election, in which Al Gore ended up with an 11-point margin over Bush among women voters.
Which begs the question: Is the gender gap a thing of the past? The short answer is a resounding "no."
In his recent Nation web piece, "Profiles in Cowardice," William Greider rightly took aim at Democrats who may be "preparing to take a dive on the issue they have righteously hammered for four years--repeal of the estate tax."
If any more evidence was needed that Dems need to hang tough on this defining issue, they should read David Cay Johnston's stunning, and inexplicably buried New York Times article "Few Wealthy Farmers Owe Estate Taxes, Report Says." (In my edition it was published on page A 30.)
Johnston is America's premier journalist on the inequities of Bush's tax policies. His clear reporting has consistently exposed how the working class is getting screwed by an Administration which gives hundreds of billions in tax breaks to the wealthiest one percent, while cutting back on health care, education, affordable housing, veterans' needs and programs for everyone else.
Conservative radio and television personalities in the United States were unsettled after last week's bombings in London -- not because of the terrorist attack on a major western city, but because too few Londoners were willing to serve as props to support the right-wing ranting of the Americans. After one stoic Brit, who had blood on the side of his face, calmly described climbing out of a smoke-filled subway station, a Fox anchor exclaimed, "That man's obviously in shock."
Actually, the man appeared to be completely in control of his faculties, as did the British journalists who appeared that evening on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor." Host Bill O'Reilly, the king of the hysterics, had a hard time with the Brits, who simply were not as feverish as he had hoped -- and who were genuinely bemused when he started ranting about how much he hated Britain's highly regarded Guardian newspaper.
O'Reilly, like too many other American radio and television commentators, expected the British attacks to provide a new opportunity to hype support for the war in Iraq, gripe about "open borders" and generally spin sorrow and fear into political gold for the conservative cause.
On Friday, newsrooms nationwide were abuzz with rumors that Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist was set to announce his resignation, only one week after his colleague Sandra Day O'Connor had given President Bush his first Supreme Court vacancy. Rehnquist hasn't done it yet but is still widely expected to do so, maybe as early as tomorrow.
O'Connor's resignation alone has already ignited an epic struggle over the direction of the Court with the future of legal abortions, affirmative action for minority groups, government aid to religious schools and other issues that have long divided US society potentially at stake.
In anticipation of Bush meeting with Senate leaders to discuss potential new nominees, IndependentCourt.org, a project of the Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary, drafted an open letter signed by more than 75 national organizations, stressing the importance of meaningful consultation with both parties as well as the critical--and legitimate--role the Senate should play in the confirmation process. Click here to read the full text of the letter and, if you agree with it, click here to add your name to the list of signatories.