Thursday morning notes of interest

The Democratic Leadership Council’s New Dem Dispatch attempts to put the current crisis in the Middle East into perspective, and offers the following steps the international community should take if they want Israel to stop short in removing Israel the terrorist threat:

(1) Make it clear it repudiates the rejectionist claim that Israel has no right to exist as a Jewish State and condemns terrorism against Israel just as it does terrorism against any other state.

(2) Find a way to enforce the long-standing UN mandate that Hezbollah be disarmed.

(3) Intensify pressure against Hamas to recognize Israel and reject terrorism if it wants to be regarded as a legitimate governing party.

(4) Isolate and sanction Iran and Syria until such time as they stop serving as staging grounds and paymasters for rejectionist terrorism.

Speaking of the DLC, their national conversation event is scheduled in Denver this weekend, and they’re in the news.

The Washington Times has a piece this morning, Clinton Blueprint Called A Winner, as does the Christian Science Monitor:

“It is always tough in America to be a centrist,” says Al From, chief executive of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC).

From should know.  

He and Bruce Reed, the DLC’s president, recently wrote an Op-Ed piece in the Washington Post urging Democrats looking for victory in the 2006 and 2008 elections to embrace Clintonism. The pair described that philosophy as “a tough minded attempt to modernize liberalism and solve the nation’s problems.”

But much of the energy in the Democratic party is not coming from centrist forces like the DLC, but rather from a strong, anti-war, liberal wing. When asked about that phenomenon, From said, “We live in a period when political passions are higher, the amount of civility in politics, at least in Washington, is diminished, and that tends to drive people on the extremes who make the most noise…. It is a very simple factor. If the Democrats want to win the White House in 2008, we are going to have to expand the reach of this party. We are going to have to win in areas where the Republicans won last time. That’s pretty simple and it is hard to see [how] narrowing our approach will improve that.”

From took a swipe at liberal bloggers who have been critical of the Iraq war stance taken by the standard bearer for Clintonism – New York Democratic Senator Hillary Clinton.

“Energy is always good for a political party,” From said. “But so is taking positions that have a broad appeal to the country. The vitriol, the tone, the vindictiveness of some of the blogoshphere I don’t think is very helpful. Because this is a country that has big problems. And to the degree the blogosphere on both sides tends to polarize the debate … that is not good. But the energy is important and we will see over the long haul what the impact is.”

Ruben Navarrette Jr., of the San Diego Union-Tribune has a great op-ed on the state of American politics that includes one passage Donkey Digest is declaring gospel.

LOOKING AT next month’s Democratic primary in Connecticut, much more is at stake than whether U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman can survive the toughest fight of his political career.

The bigger issue is the future of an American political system that is as broken as broken gets. In both parties, politics have become all or nothing. The extremists are running things, and they’re out to punish anyone in the middle of the road or less than 100 percent committed to the cause — whatever it is.

It’s not just moderates and centrists who are on the chopping block. It’s anyone whose politics are too nuanced or complicated to fit in a 30-second television ad. It’s anyone who is going against the grain with unpopular views, or telling the faithful what they need to hear as opposed to what they want to hear. And it’s anyone who appears, on any issue, to have crossed the playground to consort with the enemy.

Freshman Sen. John Thune, the Republican hero two years ago for ousting the Senate Democratic leader, said Wednesday that if he were running this year, he’d distance himself from President Bush and his agenda.

Here’s a couple of dueling Bill Clinton articles for you having to do with certain states of mind.  You’ll understand…

First, from the Associated Press:

A man was accused Wednesday in an indictment of making threats against former President Clinton.  Three employees at the Edwards Chiropractic Clinic told investigators they heard Williford threaten to “bust a cap,” or shoot, Clinton, according to an affidavit.

During an interview with Secret Service agents, Williford denied threatening Clinton but said he believed Clinton was “a communist mole for the Red Chinese…

Second, this from the Arkansas News Bureau, on Bill Clinton’s mental condition:

A psychologist who teaches at Johns Hopkins University came to Little Rock last week to work on his book that will propose that Bill Clinton has a mental condition that’s actually an element of historic greatness.

The author, John Gartner, contended in a previous book that Americans have achieved inordinate wealth because ours is a nation of people who had the gumption to take chances. From that heritage, his theory goes, we have seen the spread of a gene that causes the occasional person to have chemical and brain wave actions called hypomanic.

That means low manic, and it is not considered a disease, like manic-depressive. It’s just a thing, like a hot temper or grouchiness.

The hypomanic person, as Gartner explained, lives in a place of high brilliance with low insanity not far away. His condition impels him to invention, innovation, entrepreneurial venture, maybe even the presidency.

He tends to be charismatic. He also tends to have a stuck accelerator. He’s impulsive, risk-taking, perhaps sexually indiscreet, given to grandiosity, unconfined by convention and consumed excitedly with ideas, some great, some absurd.



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