Last night, NDN held a meet and greet with Congressman Patrick Murphy (PA-08). A rising star in the Democratic party and the first Iraq war veteran elected to Congress, Congressman Murphy discussed many issues with us: his efforts to bring a Green Manufacturing Zone to PA, the need to increase investment in high school science and engineering, how the US needs to regain its role as a leader in innovation, and of course his views on Iraq.
We at NDN greatly understand the role that soccer plays in the lives of many around the world. So we've been watching things play out after FIFA (international soccer's governing body) made the decision to ban international matches at altitudes higher than 2,500 meters. Time ran a fantastic article on how FIFA's decision has caused quite the stir in Latin America. As the article points out, "The decree rules out home games in at least five stadiums in Bolivia, two in Peru, one in Ecuador and one in Colombia."
The quickness with which Bolivia reacted to this certainly proves just how vital to people's lives the sport of soccer truly is. Press conferences were held, as were cabinet meetings and civic engagement activities like mass letter-writing campaigns. President Evo Morales even took to the fields and played matches in high-altitude stadiums in an attempt to disprove the medical report that provided the crux of FIFA's argument: that match play in these areas poses health risks to players unaccustomed to high-altitude levels.
The Time article then covered the amazing force that soccer is beyond the surfaces on which the sport is played:
Meanwhile, the unifying effect of the soccer snub certainly has its political advantages. "We can use this to overcome our regional differences," commented 16-year old Sandra Reyes, reflecting on the east vs. west internal conflict that threatens to tear apart her country.
"Yeah! We've got to unite by all playing more soccer," sang the chorus of teenagers surrounding Reyes. Clad in their school's soccer uniform, the youngsters had just spent the day watching their President take several long shots on goal.
AdAge highlights new Nielsen ratings on DVR usage. From the article:
Nielsen estimates that about 17% of U.S. households have DVRs, and that 42% of broadcast viewing within those homes occurs through some sort of DVR playback.
Nielsen also noted that among all U.S. households, including those without DVRs, 90% of all broadcast prime-time viewing among viewers 18 to 49 occurs live, meaning that 10% is seen via DVR playback. The impact of DVRs on cable and syndicated programming is lower, with 97% of all prime-time viewing on cable seen live and 98% of all syndicated programming seen live.
Peggy Noonan offers yet another take on the conservative crackup in today's Wall Street Journal. The most compelling graphs:
What political conservatives and on-the-ground Republicans must understand at this point is that they are not breaking with the White House on immigration. They are not resisting, fighting and thereby setting down a historical marker--"At this point the break became final." That's not what's happening. What conservatives and Republicans must recognize is that the White House has broken with them. What President Bush is doing, and has been doing for some time, is sundering a great political coalition. This is sad, and it holds implications not only for one political party but for the American future.
One of the things I have come to think the past few years is that the Bushes, father and son, though different in many ways, are great wasters of political inheritance. They throw it away as if they'd earned it and could do with it what they liked. Bush senior inherited a vibrant country and a party at peace with itself. He won the leadership of a party that had finally, at great cost, by 1980, fought itself through to unity and come together on shared principles. Mr. Bush won in 1988 by saying he would govern as Reagan had. Yet he did not understand he'd been elected to Reagan's third term. He thought he'd been elected because they liked him. And so he raised taxes, sundered a hard-won coalition, and found himself shocked to lose his party the presidency, and for eight long and consequential years. He had many virtues, but he wasted his inheritance.
Bush the younger came forward, presented himself as a conservative, garnered all the frustrated hopes of his party, turned them into victory, and not nine months later was handed a historical trauma that left his country rallied around him, lifting him, and his party bonded to him. He was disciplined and often daring, but in time he sundered the party that rallied to him, and broke his coalition into pieces. He threw away his inheritance. I do not understand such squandering.
Now conservatives and Republicans are going to have to win back their party. They are going to have to break from those who have already broken from them. This will require courage, serious thinking and an ability to do what psychologists used to call letting go. This will be painful, but it's time. It's more than time.
The most visable manifestation of this crackup is the extraordinary recent change in Party Identification. The reputable Pew Center just released a study showing that in the last five years, the country has moved from 43-43 D/R to 50-35, an extraordinary 15 percentage point shift. In many ways this the most important new data in politics today.
In the most recent edition of Foreign Affairs, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama offer contrasting visions for the future of US foreign policy. It's interesting to see what they agree on as well. Read about it here.
- John Edwards sent a letter to the FCC asking them to make the internet more available and affordable to Americans.
- Barack Obama encouraged Senator Chris Dodd - Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee - to hold a hearing on a bill he sponsored. Entitled the Shareholder Vote on Executive Compensation Act, the bill "would give shareholders an advisory vote on executive compensation and spur both increased transparency and public debate over pay packages." Dodd replied to Obama with this statement.
- According to his website, Chris Dodd just went on air in Iowa and New Hampshire. More to come...
- Bruce Ramsey from the Seattle Times says the GOP should listen to Ron Paul's message on Iraq.
- In an entry in the Huffington Post, Tom Edsall brings up a very interesting ad series that Ted Kennedy ran against Mitt Romney to regain the lead in the 1994 Senate race. Edsall wonders if something similar might surface during Romney's run at the White House.
For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.
In an interview with USA Today, Fred Thompson describes his decision to run and what his entrance to the field will look like given those already in it. From the interview:
"I can't remember exactly the point that I said, 'I'm going to do this,' " Thompson says, his 6-foot, 6-inch frame sprawled comfortably across a couch in a hotel suite. "But when I did, the thing that occurred to me: 'I'm going to tell people that I am thinking about it and see what kind of reaction I get to it.' "
His late start carries some problems but also "certain advantages," he says. "Nobody has maxed out to me" in contributions, he notes, and using the Internet already "has allowed me to be in the hunt, so to speak, without spending a dime."
"I feel some of the same feelings that I felt in the latter part of that '94 campaign about what is going on in the country today — only greater," says Thompson, citing public cynicism toward the Republican president and the new Democrat-controlled Congress. "You can't drive the truck all the way across the country, but since '94 other opportunities have opened up in terms of ways to communicate."
A candidate could use the Internet "to cut through the clutter and go right to the people," he says.
Reform was the theme of President Bush's speech in Glynco, GA. One might ask, though, if the President intended to focus solely on comprehensive immigration reform, or was he also focusing somewhat on the reform/modernization of the Republican Party? In addressing the progress of the Senate bill, the President was quick to address the many critics from his own party who have attacked the bill. (Perhaps the President has read the newspapers lately which have exposed the rift within the GOP over this issue.)
From the Glynco speech:
Amnesty is forgiveness for being here without any penalties -- that's what amnesty is. I oppose it. The authors -- many of the authors of this bill oppose it. This bill is not an amnesty bill. If you want to scare the American people, what you say is, the bill is an amnesty bill. It's not an amnesty bill. That's empty political rhetoric, trying to frighten our fellow citizens. People in Congress need the courage to go back to their districts and explain exactly what this bill is all about, in order to put comprehensive immigration reform in place.
This reform is complex. There's a lot of emotions around this issue. Convictions run deep. Those determined to find fault with this bill will always be able to look at a narrow slice of it and find something they don't like. If you want to kill the bill, if you don't want to do what's right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it, you can use it to frighten people. Or you can show leadership and solve this problem once and for all, so the people who wear the uniform in this crowd can do the job we expect them to do.
Now is the time for comprehensive immigration reform. Now is the time for members of both political parties to stand up and show courage, and take a leadership role and do what's right for America.
- ThinkProgress tells us that New York City firefighters and 9/11 family members are going to be on the campaign trail, making sure folks understand Rudy Giuliani's track record.
- Joe Biden released a new web video entitled "Home" that covers Iraq, specifically his efforts to increase Mine Resistant vehicle (MRAP) production.
- Alaska and Georgia are the latest states to move up their primary dates.
- Hillary Clinton's economic policy speech is available here. FYI - Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is expected to endorse Mrs. Clinton today in Los Angeles. The endorsement is worthwhile because it could help Clinton's campaign with Latino and voters.
- On the Latino front, Nueva Vista Media has launched an independent outreach campaign to promote Barack Obama in the Latino community. The campaign, "Amigos de Obama" will "focus on eligible Latino voters and the thousands that marched for immigration reform last year in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and other cities."
- At the All Things Digital Conference, John McCain discussed a wide range of topics: how he would choose the members of his Cabinet, Iran, ethanol, etc. Video below:
For more information on NDN's coverage of the 2008 Presidential election, click here.