Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Webb Wins, Allen Next

Webb - 53.49%
Miller - 46.51%
(99.88% reported)

Stafford County, VA Results

Harris Miller Letter from Raising Kaine

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I have decided that I will be voting for Miller on Tuesday. I have listened to the debates, reviewed the campaign literature, scoured their web sites, and have made my decision that Miller is the person who can defeat Allen in November. A primary reason for voting for Miller is the fact that he knows how to run a quality campaign. The Webb camp has stumbled through various gaffes, including the cartoon debacle. Miller believes so much in his own campaign that he is willing to put his own money into his campaign and, trust me, it will take a lot of cash and some self-funding to defeat Allen in November. Webb is wealthy, having published numerous books and writing, at least, one screenplay. Despite his wealth, he has complained about not having the money to send out direct mailings and to launch TV and radio ads. He simply doesn’t believe in his campaign as much as Miller.

I believe the fact that Miller was a lobbyist makes no difference anymore. National Democrats have tried unsuccessfully recently to capitalize on the Republican lead “culture of corruption” in DC. Miller has a clear plan to enact lobbying reform, which includes getting rid of special interest projects, prohibit ANY gifts to Senators or Congressmen, and to provide public funding for television campaigns. With Miller as our Senator there will be no more free lunches for George Allen – who might I add can afford his own lunch.

In the California special election a Republican lobbyist was elected, despite National Democrats pushing the “culture of corruption” argument. Actually, a major reason for the loss was putting forward an unseasoned candidate, anointed by the National Democrats, who made comments on illegal immigration that derailed her campaign in the final days. Miller has a clear plan on immigration while Webb has called the immigration problem “complex” and doesn’t have a well thought-out plan. I think that the National Democrats should stay out of Virginia politics, the questions all Virginians should be asking themselves is what has National Democrats won lately? Virginia State Democrats have come out in droves in support for Miller; they are the ones who know how to win elections.

On the issue of Iraq, Miller believes we were mislead and wants to get our troops home as soon as possible. In fact, he is the only candidate that believes that Rumsfeld should be fired. Webb was an early critic, but refuses to hold officials accountable.

I would argue that Webb is a one-issue candidate who needs a lot more seasoning. The Washington Post has called Miller “the better-briefed, better-focused and more thoughtful” candidate. Webb has admitted publicly that he doesn’t have the breadth of knowledge that Miller has on a wide variety of issues, but would surround himself by experts who would help him make decisions. Webb sounds like our Republican President; we know how well that has worked for our country.

I fear that Webb will be labeled as a flip-flopper, much the same way Kerry was during the failed 2004 campaign. Webb voted for Bush before he opposed him. He voted for Allen before he opposed him. The policies both of them espoused and the results that followed shouldn’t surprise anyone, including Webb who supported them.

Simply put, a victory for Miller is a victory for Virginia. Miller is Allen’s worst nightmare. A victory on Tuesday is the first step to a victory in November.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

This is going to be my last post about this stupid cartoon that the Webb campaign sent out. Webb’s campaign plain and simple screwed up. Let me once again reiterate my position on this cartoon. I am not an expert, unlike the respected experts quoted in the Free Lance Star newspaper, on what would constitute an “anti-Semitic” cartoon. I only know what I know, which is that this cartoon is of poor taste and insensitive. The “anti-Semitic” rhetoric is being promulgated by Webb’s over the top army of bloggers who seem to overwhelming any online source that is the least bit critical of their candidate. Continuing their verbal assaults on Miller is only adding to and keeping alive this story. I have no intention of trying to convince these bloggers that what they are doing is morally wrong; it seems to me that they have lost their objectivity a long time ago. Despite the efforts of certain bloggers to muddy the waters, I will fully support whichever candidate emerges victorious on Tuesday.

Friday, June 09, 2006

It seems that I missed all the fireworks between the Webb and Miller campaigns while I was at work all day. Let me start off by saying that I am thoroughly dismayed and may abstain from this Tuesday’s primary. I was very pleased when Webb offered his apology to Miller for the rather insensitive and inappropriate cartoon. When I read that he apologized, I was all willing to forgive him and cast a vote for him on Tuesday. Webb could not just stop and move on to the next issue. He claims that Miller played the race card by distorting his views on affirmative action. This left the impression that the cartoon was some kind of payback.

Webb had so much potential, but has certainly proved that he has no clue on how to run a campaign. His overzealous army of bloggers from day one initiated a campaign of name calling and insults lobbed at Miller. They appear to now claim that this whole cartoon gaffe’s response was a well orchestrated conspiracy by the Miller camp. Are you kidding me? Bloggers have been covering this story about a week or so. People need to understand that reporters are regularly following the blogosphere – I think CNN has a segment every day now. So if you place an inappropriate cartoon on a blog you can bet it will eventually be picked up by someone. In this case, the Free Lance Star picked it up. I believe the extreme right-winger Shaun Kenney started writing about the whole Jewish angle when Webb called Miller the “anti-Christ of outsourcing,” during the Norfolk debate. I am certainly NO big fan of Kenney who resides in the Free Lance Star’s circulation area. The Free Lance Star appears to be the first paper to really cover this story and relied on experts in the field for their analysis. One expert contended that the cartoon was “replete with anti-Semitic stereotypes.” If various experts are contending that the cartoon contained such stereotypes, what are Miller and his camp to think? If people have a problem with Miller’s response to this insensitive cartoon, why don’t they call the experts and complain about the analysis?

This cartoon should never have been an issue, since Webb and his camp should have nipped this in the bud from day one. It seems to me that they should have issued some sort of statement, demanding that notlarrysabato.typepad.com remove this cartoon immediately. Since Webb’s name was on it authorizing it, this should have been quite simple. Not to mention that Webb’s own people seem to dominate and run that blog. Next, he should have fired the individual responsible for this cartoon immediately. The claim is that he was some young overeager volunteer. I took a second look at the cartoon and noticed that the person who signed it was “J Stanley.” I decided to do a quick web search using Google where I plugged in “Stanley VA Democrat.” Much to my surprise, at the bottom of the first page was a link to the Franklin Democratic Committee. I clicked on that link and was shocked. It appears that there is a Joe Stanley who is the chair of the Franklin Democratic Committee. I have no idea if this is the person who created the cartoon, but it surely is an interesting twist.

I have been saying throughout this post that the cartoon was very insensitive. In fact, the “anti-Semitic” claims aside, the rhetoric used and caricatures are simply in poor taste and the Webb camp should have stopped this from going out on that alone.

I realize that a lot of Webb supporters are angry over fliers distributed through the mail from Miller. Miller, in just about every flier, quoted Webb on things he has said in the past. I don’t see how that is the same as the cartoon. I can certainly see how negatives about Webb can be deduced by the various quotes. The cartoon seemed beyond anything that I’ve received from the Miller camp in this entire campaign.

The real losers in this whole debace are us Democrats in Virginia. Are combined goal should have been voting George Allen out of office. Now whoever wins this race will be damaged from this brutal Primary. I hope that whoever wins this Primary can repair and unite the Virginia Democratic Party, so we can all achieve what should be our main goal. That is beating George Allen in November!

Let me start out by saying how disappointed I am with my fellow bloggers at notlarrysabato.typead.com, www.raisingkaine.com, and elsewhere throughout the blogosphere. It is important to note that notlarrysabato and raisingkaine include bloggers that are working on the Jim Webb campaign.

I have been a loyal Democrat all of my life and find the personal attacks of Harris Miller very distasteful. I have been very much undecided on whom to support in the June 13 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate, although I had been leaning towards Jim Webb.

The latest controversy involves a cartoon distributed by the Webb campaign, which some have accused of being “anti-Semitic.” I am deeply troubled not only by the cartoon, but also by the repeated use of the term "anti-Christ of outsourcing” throughout this campaign by Mr. Webb. The fact is that after this comment was first made by Mr. Webb it upset and angered some Jews and non-Jews alike. Regardless of who used this term first, this is not kindergarten, the fact that groups of individuals were upset by this comment should have been enough for Mr. Webb to stop referring to Mr. Miller in these terms. Instead, they have continued to refer to him as the “anti-Christ of outsourcing,” which has drawn some to claim that the Mr. Webb was being “anti-Semitic.” I would instead argue that Mr. Webb was simply being insensitive. Now the cartoon combined with the “anti-Christ of outsourcing” comment, in my mind, seems to weaken my argument of simple insensitivity and strengthen claims of “anti-Semitism.”

I did a little digging on the Internet to see for myself if I could find some examples of cartoons used by the Nazis as propaganda against the Jews. What I discovered was quite damming to my initial feeling of simple insensitivity.

Here is the picture that appeared in the Free Lance Star yesterday:

Here is a Nazi propaganda cartoon from Der Stürmer:

I believe that Mr. Webb has truly crossed the line of decency. I am very dismayed by this as I truly was encouraged, at the beginning, by his candidacy and the prospects of him defeating George Allen. Here are some additional Nazi propaganda cartoons that I found that seem to exploit several other stereotypes of Jews that were exploited by the flyer distributed by the Webb campaign:

I believe, as a lifelong Democrat, if I supported Mr. Webb I would simply be a hypocrite to the things I have stood for all of my life. Whether this was a deliberate act, we will never know. The right thing for Mr. Webb to do right now is publicly apologize to Mr. Miller and all of those offended by this cartoon and his continued comments. I hope that other Democrats do not forget the values that we stand for as a party.

Here is some expert commentary on this from the Free Lance Star newspaper

"That doesn't look so good. There's no question to me that's replete with anti-Semitic stereotypes," said Mark Feldstein, an associate professor of media and public affairs at George Washington University. "I'm not someone who readily cries anti-Semitism, but I think it's hard to look at this and not see a number of anti-Semitic stereotypes plugged into this ad, from the hook nose to the 'antichrist' to the money-grubbing character."

Bruce Newman, a professor of marketing at DePaul University and editor of the Journal of Political Marketing, said it reminded him of 1930s German propaganda, where the Jewish character was subtly made out to be the thieving villain.

"It very much crosses the line," said Newman, who is Jewish. "I'm speaking with my professional hat on now. It's a modern-day caricature of the quote-unquote villain, the one who's out to make life difficult and hurt people in the town. I've seen literature from those days and this offends me quite a bit."

University of Virginia political analyst Larry Sabato said the flier wasn't really any worse than other campaign literature he'd seen in hotly contested races.

"I think that's a real stretch to call that anti-Semitic, and I'm not usually inclined to give candidates the benefit of the doubt," Sabato said.

Later today I will try and post my impression of the debate between Mr. Miller and Mr. Webb on Hardball last night and on WTOP radio.