Thursday, November 29, 2007

From the White House--Rosie Scenario Has Left the Building

So, it seems that the White House today stopped blaming the "liberal media" for the state of our economy, shifting instead to the housing slump and the resulting tightening of credit. What everyone else already knew.

Despite pretty low unemployment historically speaking, and moderate growth for the past few years, the vast majority of Americans (78% of respondents in a recent Gallup poll) say the economy is getting worse. Apparently, the 13% who said the economy is getting better all work at the White House.

Regular people are worried about high gas prices, skyrocketing health care costs, and paying their ARM mortgages. Until today, the only complaint about the economy from Republicans is that the media doesn't cover all the great stuff going on. That would be because there isn't any unless you are already doing pretty well.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Krusee Makes it Official (He Couldn't Win)

Ah, I love those Austin-area state rep districts. Remember the redistricting that made a 100% Democratic Travis County delegation into a 3-3 split one? Well, its back to 6-0, courtesy of a few districts moving our way, and a-whole-lotta Republican stumbling.

And who could forget the Rose vs. Green matchup! Green barely beat Rhodes in '99, then went on to lose a close one a few years later in a district that, while Republican on paper, clearly wasn't hardcore territory. Add in Keel quitting to run for a bench, throw in a few R's getting beat in Dallas and Houston areas, and you're getting downright close to a Democratic takeover in the House.

I was paying fairly close attention to a handful of competitive state rep races around the state, and I don't recall anyone ever mentioning the Krusee race as close. I think most of us were pretty surprised to see how poorly he ran that year, and after that he had a big ol' bullseye on his back.

So I have a question about the current Republican strategy of a member quitting so they can call a special election to fill the seat with hopes of holding it: How's that working for ya?

1. Donna Howard: D pickup in special over "formidible" Ben Benztin by 16 points
2. Kirk England: won close special as Repub, D pickup after switching
3. Dan Barlett: Led field going into Dec 18 runoff, potential D pickup

Friday, November 23, 2007

Bush Photo Hall of Shame

Sorry for taking a couple of days off, you know how hard it is to do anything not holiday-related during the holidays (especially when people are coming over.)

As I do every Thanksgiving for the past few years, I found myself thinking about the photo to the left, which got plenty of run around the country and led to a nice bump in the President's poll numbers. It wasn't until a couple of weeks later that word got out that this wasn't a Thanksgiving feast the President was carrying out to the soldiers, but rather a plastic centerpiece he'd picked up from the table specifically to take pictures.
(Tim Sloan/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images from

Then, in that stream-of-consciousness I often find myself wandering around in, I starting to think of all the other infamous photos this President has taken in which the truth later came to light. "Mission Accomplished" came to mind, starting with turning the aircraft carrier so San Diego couldn't be seen in the background, leaving the impression that they were well out at sea (it was San Diego, wasn't it?), to the flightsuit, culminating trimphantly in the photo to the right.
(AP, from

What are some of your favorites?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Welcome to WWLBJD!

Welcome to this first, and long-awaited, entry to my new blog space, WWLBJD! Here we will ask, and sometimes attempt to answer, the questions many of us have about how in the world our cart went off in the ditch and how in the hell we're gonna dig it out.

I first want to thank my adorable and multi-talented wife for pushing me to get my ideas down (three years ago, or was it four?!), and for all of you who have encouraged me when I've discussed this with you (Muse, Tatcho, you know who you are.) I'm really excited to have a venue where I can share my ideas and y'all can respond by praising my intelligence, creativity, profundity, or originality (hell, I'll even take compliments on my spelling.)

Ya know, I have wondered for the past several years, while I worked in campaigns, city halls, and state capitols in the great state of Texas and around the country (which I still do) how our "leaders" have gotten it so wrong for so long, and how it is that some in the media either don't get it or refuse to see it because the story doesn't fit neatly into some pre-determined narrative.

I can't tell you how discouraging it was for me, as a Gore operative on the Texas Truth Squad in 2000, to go from swing state to swing state pleading with voters not to let Bush do to the country what he'd done to Texas (something he promised to do, among other things--more on that later), armed with ample evidence of incompetence and carelessness, only to read the next day in the local newspaper that "Democrats say...(Bush is a joke, or whatever)." Of course, using the disclaimer "Democrats say..." instantly tainted as partisan our legitimate criticism, rather than using the more accurate, "Evidence suggests Gov. Bush is a joke." That's when I decided that journalistic balance wasn't "balance" at all in the physical sense of the word, just a device to give a story a point and a counterpoint, no matter how absurd (or plainly false) one of the points may be. Here's an extreme example: Democrats say the world is round, while Republicans claim that the world is actually flat. It reminds me of a scene in the classic 1993 political domentary The War Room, in which James Carville complains about a charge that the numbers in the Clinton economic plan "don't add up." I don't remember the exact quote, but paraphrasing here, Carville responds that if the Clinton camp says that 2+2=5, and the Bush campaign says 2+2=5 million, the media will say that they're both wrong.

I have to say that we had some successes that year; the one I'm most proud of was Gore's 5,000 vote margin in Wisconsin, where several of us had spent about a month before the election in persuasion and GOTV mode. I remember coming home to Houston the day after the election, with only a couple of hours of sleep, not knowing who the president was going to be. How horrifying it is to sit here typing this seven years later while that same incompetent mismanages his way into the history books while the one who got more votes collects an Oscar and the Nobel Prize.

So, I look forward to reading your takes on my takes, as well as takes all your own. And feel free to disagree, just don't be disagreeable.

Oh, yeah, a word about our name, What Would LBJ Do? As a Texas Democrat, I have always admired Lyndon Johnson and the way he got 'er done in DC as Senate Majority Leader, while Mr. Sam presided over the other chamber, and as President, the war notwithstanding (by the way, what is it with presidents from Texas and pointless war, anyway? Oh, right, Bush isn't really a Texan, I forgot.) The name "Landslide" is also a shout-out to our Hill Country President, what with that 87-vote margin in the 1948 Senate race and all (wasn't it really a landslide in Box 13, though?)