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Leading With The Left
The daily view from the oasis

May 7, 2004 PERMALINK
The Buck Stops Where?
(posted May 7 1:30 AM ET)

Our big-shot White House correspondents can be such suckers.

An anonymous "senior administration official" goes to the NY Times, W. Post, LA Times and probably others, to spoon-feed the story that Bush was mildly displeased with Rumsfeld.

And they all swallow it whole.

"Extraordinary display of finger-pointing" said NYT! "A clash erupted between the White House and the Pentagon" said LA Times!

And the W. Post gave the party-line additional credence, saying it came from an official "who refused to be named so he could speak more candidly."

Please.

A few journos saw through this right away, in particular, National Journal's Alexis Simendinger and CNN's Ron Brownstein (who also works for the LA Times).

From CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight yesterday:

SIMENDINGER: The president's supposed dissatisfaction with Rumsfeld and the White House making that public was an effort to actually give Rumsfeld some protection.

He's supposed to go to Capitol Hill tomorrow. That was a strategic move to try to take the temperature down in Congress and try to give Rumsfeld some running room.

...

BROWNSTEIN: I thought what he was doing by putting out the story of him reprimanding Rumsfeld was trying to reestablishing the idea of the president being commander, exerting leadership here.

They're both right, in part.

Bush gets to give the appearance that he took action, while taking away the need for congressional GOPers to take shots.

The signal sent by chiding, then supporting, is: he's been punished enough, so lay off.

Furthermore, by making the basis of the chiding that he never saw the photos, Bush gets to deflect personal responsibility.

The problem for Bush is, the party-line story isn't so pat.

We know that:

1. Rummy told Bush about the investigation in general back in mid-January, according to the LA Times.

(Press Sec Scott McClellan, in the last two briefings, has been very evasive towards reporters trying to pin down a date on this.)

2. Just prior to that, top military commanders found out about the photos, and a yet-to-be-public video, according to the Balt. Sun. They told the Pentagon right away, and the evidence was locked away in Baghdad.

Gen. Mark Kimmitt reportedly told them, "The evidence is damaging and horrific."

3. Taking Rummy at face value, he didn't see the photos before they aired on CBS on April 28, though he said he looked into getting them at an unspecified date, and was told, "we didn't have any copies."

(UPDATE May 7 9:30 AM ET -- In today's NYT, the Pentagon said Rummy asked for the photos "within the last three or four weeks, around the time that...CBS...was preparing to broadcast [the] story...")

While Bush claims he didn't see, or even know about, the photos until CBS.

So all that means either one of two things.

1. Bush is just as guilty as Rumsfeld in being too passive about the investigation they were both aware of, avoiding learning too much to maintain plausible deniability.

2. Everyone saw and/or knew about the photos and video, and everyone's lying.

Either way, Rummy and Dubya are similarly culpable.

In turn, the heavy focus on Rummy's role, and the light focus on Dubya's, is out of whack.

But that is precisely what the White House wanted: steer attention away from Bush.

Sure, to do that, Rummy had to be on the hot seat today.

But they trust he can take the heat. (Hell, he may have offered himself up.)

Dems are being properly aggressive in demanding Rummy's resignation (even whipping up a quickie online petition).

But we should not lose sight of Bush in all this. There's nothing Rummy failed to do, that Bush didn't fail to do too.

May 6, 2004 PERMALINK
Cut Bush Off
(posted May 6 1 AM ET)

The Iraq tab is rising, as Dubya has now asked Congress to approve another $25B.

Although, by proposing the money go to a "contingency reserve fund," he refuses to detail to Congress how exactly the money will be spent, as some have pressed for.

Political Animal leapt ahead of the punditocracy in wondering how John Kerry will handle this vote.

LiberalOasis' bet, and hope, is that Kerry votes no.

This vote is the proverbial softball disguised as a hardball.

The knock on Kerry is that he's a flip-flopper, and says what people want to hear instead of his true beliefs.

And the Bushies have used Kerry's vote against the earlier $87B, after voting for the war resolution, to foster that impression.

Not to mention hit Kerry for being weak on defense.

But if Kerry votes against the $25B, he can turn all that on its head.

He can say:

1. "I voted against the last funding proposal because I felt to best support the troops, we shouldn't fund a failing strategy, and because it was fiscally irresponsible to spend so much without scaling back the tax cut for the wealthy.

"And the situation is the same today as it was then."

2. "I knew that vote would be twisted and distorted by the Bush-Cheney attack machine, but I did it anyway because it was the right thing to do.

"And I'm just as sure this vote will be featured in their next round of smear ads. But I wouldn't be supporting the troops if I let politics dictate my actions."

3. "One of the ads they ran said my previous vote meant I was against body armor for our troops.

"But as we heard recently from Iraq veteran Paul Rieckhoff, even though they got the money they asked for, 'our troops are still waiting for more body armor.'

"I believe the troops should get everything they need.

"But I have no reason to believe that cutting the Bush Administration another check with no questions asked, is going to get them what they need.

"Because it certainly hasn't yet.

"We don't need to stay the course. We need to correct the course. Congress should deny this funding request and demand a new plan."

What is Kerry's other option? Vote for it?

That's not only wrong on the merits, but would only bring about fresh charges of a flip-flop-flip.

Kerry could use an opportunity to show he can take a politically risky, principled stand. This is his chance.

May 5, 2004 PERMALINK
Establishment In Disarray
(posted May 5 1:15 AM ET)

From the NY Times:

[Colin Powell said] he hoped that Arabs and others would realize that the United States would punish the perpetrators of these abuses "in a way that the world can observe and watch" and thus set a different kind of example, of criminal actions being punished.

"The one thing you can be sure of is that justice will be done," Mr. Powell said.

From Reuters:

An Army official said one soldier was convicted of murder in the U.S. military justice system for shooting a prisoner to death in September 2003 at a detention center in Iraq[.]

[A]nd another prisoner was killed at the Abu Ghraib jail near Baghdad in November 2003 by a private contractor who worked as an interrogator for the CIA.

The soldier was reduced in rank to private and thrown out of the service but did not serve any jail time, the official said.

The official said the soldier shot the prisoner after the prisoner had thrown rocks at the soldier, and the soldier was found to have used excessive force.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said because the CIA contractor was not in the U.S. military no legal action was taken because of lack of jurisdiction, but Army officials referred the case to the Justice Department for possible action.

A homicide conviction with no prison sentence. And a mercenary murderer that no one knows yet what to do with.

Great examples of justice for Powell to show the Arab and Muslim world.

Overall, the prison abuse scandal has rocked the Establishment hard, leading to breakdowns in many areas.

In Iraq, how we begin to turn things around is even harder to figure out, with US credibility incinerated.

In Congress, GOP discipline is, at least for the moment, shot to hell.

Both GOP and Dem Senators we're flat pissed off yesterday, lashing out at the Pentagon for keeping them in the dark.

And Sen. Joe Biden (D-Most Days) even floated the possibility of high-level resignations (and privately mentioned Rumsfeld).

For his part, Rummy has been reduced to word-parsing:

I'm not a lawyer. My impression is that what has been charged thus far is abuse, which I believe technically is different from torture...

...I don't know if it is correct to say what you just said, that torture has taken place, or that there's been a conviction for torture.

And therefore I'm not going to address the torture word.

(For the record, Rummy is not even technically accurate, according to Rep. Jane Harman.)

And in the halls of the Beltway Right, clear marching orders are lacking.

More level-headed figures see the obligation to face facts, such as National Review's Jed Babbin, who recommends court-martial proceedings open to all media "even Al Jazeera".

Other conservatives are choosing to put their hard-hearts on their sleeves.

Take Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer, who said on May 3:

I think there has been a huge overreaction.

Look, obviously it was a terrible thing. It shouldn't have happened, and the people who did it are being punished.

But let's put it in context...there is no evidence of anyone being killed [sic]...our soldiers are being shot at every day for over a year.

A hundred and thirty thousand Americans: not a single rape [sic], not a single summary execution; that is unheard of in the annals of history. This has been the most human occupation in history.

And the fact is the Arabs are outraged over this. Where was the outrage when the four Americans in Fallujah were murdered and burned, and desecrated?...

...when I hear all of this Arab outrage, I see it as highly selective, highly anti-American, and highly hypocritical.

But the winner for most creative take on the scandal goes to Rush Limbaugh:

Have you people noticed who the torturers are? Women! The babes. The babes are meting out the torture...

...Marv Albert looking at those pictures would say, "Hey, that doesn't look so bad."

You know, if you really look at these pictures, I mean, I don't know if it's just me, but it looks like anything you'd see Madonna or Britney Spears do on stage.

Maybe you can get an NEA grant for something like this. I mean, this is something you can see at Lincoln Center from an NEA grant, maybe on Sex in the City: the Movie.

(Uh, is this what the media critics mean when they say right-wing radio is more focused on entertainment than Air America?)

Basically, the foreign-policy Establishment, the congressional Establishment, the right-wing Establishment all are in disarray.

Perhaps the political Establishment too.

Both the Kerry and Bush campaigns don't know how, or don't want, to handle the prison abuse scandal.

Obviously, Bush wants to talk about this a little as possible. CNN's Dana Bash reported:

...a notable omission from all public speeches has been any talk about the raging controversy over allegations of Iraqi prisoner abuse...

...He is sticking to his message, not answering questions that perhaps would throw him off his message.

In fact, that the president was scheduled to have reporters on his bus to answer some questions and get some pictures of the bus, but that was canceled.

Kerry's in a more complex position.

As he just kicked off his big ad buy, highlighting his life story and focusing on domestic issues, he doesn't want to overshadow that by commenting on the news of the day.

But the scandal also presents Kerry an opportunity to leverage his life story, to distinguish how he would handle Iraq differently than Bush.

He can remind voters that he knows what it's like to fight a guerrilla war where there's a systematic breakdown in how it's being conducted, and knows how to prevent Iraq from going down that terrible path.

And the current systematic breakdown is crystallized by the role of private contractors who don't fall under military rules.

But media attention of this aspect is sporadic.

(Even with today's homicide disclosure. Knight Ridder and the AP mentioned the mercenary murder as part of the story about Army investigations, but the NY Times and W. Post stories ignored it.)

Ideally, congressional Dems will push the private contractor issue to the surface (Sen. Ted Kennedy hinted at this yesterday) during the period while Kerry is introducing his story to the voters.

And once Kerry feels like his Vietnam experience is well-known and well-received by the public, he'll be in a good position to leverage it and hit the contractor issue hard.

That way, he's won't be just running on a bio, but on applicable life experience.

May 4, 2004 PERMALINK
Kerry's Ads Are Good
Now Quit Whining
(posted May 4 12:30 AM ET)

Kerry's new ads are good, the message is clear, and the ad buy is big.

This should do the job of introducing Kerry to the electorate on his terms, and hopefully, the secondary job of shutting up the ridiculous rising tide of whining from Beltway Dems.

(A suggestion: the next time the NY Times gets in touch, instead of complaining about how Kerry doesn't have enough surrogates, just be a damn surrogate.)

Why are they good? There are several reasons, but here are two key ones:

1. They reflect who he is, not some persona transplant.

Instead of ignoring the areas where Kerry's persona is criticized, or getting defensive about them, the ads confidently frame them in a positive context.

This is most notable, and most gutsy, in this line spoken by Kerry:

Both of my parents taught me about public service. I enlisted because I believed in service to country.

I thought it was important if you had a lot of privileges as I had had, to go to a great university like Yale, to give something back to your country.

The Bushies want to paint Kerry as a pampered elitist.

Yet Kerry is not only candid about his background, but the Yale move prompts reporters to note that's where Bush went too.

That not only subtly draws comparisons to how these two men from the same station in life dealt with Vietnam, but also helps undercut Bush's attempts to paint himself as more down-home than Kerry.

2. They push his military service hard

This may seem like an obvious thing to do, but keep in mind that the Bushies tried to psych Kerry out of doing it.

In March, Bush campaign spokesman Terry Holt said, "John Kerry's campaign seems to be summed up this way: I went to Vietnam, yadda, yadda, yadda, I want to be president."

But candidates need to do more than recite a list of issue positions. They need to communicate their underlying values.

As NY Times' Bill Keller once wrote, Bush understands this very well:

"Issues appeal rationally, but Reagan appealed way beyond the rational dimension," [GOP pollster Richard] Wirthlin recalls. "He tapped into values."

Thus while many voters found Reagan's specific positions too conservative, they voted for him anyway because he seemed to care about the kind of things they cared about, and they generally trusted him to do the right thing.

Bush, says Wirthlin, connects in the same way...

..."Bush instinctively, and Rove intellectually and tactically, knew they should not compete issue by issue," said a Republican strategist.

"Clinton and Gore had the edge. So you got a values campaign: 'an era of responsibility,' 'leave no child behind' and, of course, 'compassion.'"

Kerry's key value -- his willingness to put his life on the line in service to America -- is so unassailable, even the Bushies have to acknowledge it before attacking him.

It would simply be foolhardy not to make it the foundation that the campaign is built on.

Furthermore, even though there's plenty of right-wing yabber trying to sully his service that gets planted in the news, a $25 million ad buy is louder than all that.

And Karl Rove wouldn't dare attacking Kerry's war record in equivalently loud fashion, i.e. in ads.

In fact, the Bushies are pathetically straining to counter the messages in Kerry's ads.

This is the best Bush strategist Matthew Dowd could do yesterday:

From the W. Post:

In May of 2004, he's deciding he has to have a biography about himself?

A desperate, and idiotic, comment.

Regular voters won't care about timing. And political insiders know that no matter how long you've been in politics, most people don't know nothing about you.

And from the AP:

He seems to not want to talk about his 19-year record in the Senate...It doesn't seem he has any clear and consistent agenda for what he wants to do as president.

First off, this is just factually inaccurate, as one of the new ads does talk about highlights from his Senate career, and his earlier ads talked about his agenda.

But if he wants to complain that Kerry's ads aren't dry and wonky enough, hey, go right ahead.

Dowd works for a campaign that knows full well the importance of values.

And that's why they don't have much to say.

May 3, 2004 PERMALINK
The Sunday Talkshow Breakdown
A weekly feature of LiberalOasis
(posted May 3 1:15 AM ET)

On Friday, the media ate up the Bush attempt to minimize the Iraq prison abuse scandal as an isolated incident.

Sunday was different.

Sy Hersh's revelation in The New Yorker -- that a not-for-public-consumption Army report found "systemic problems" in the treatment of detainees at Abu Ghraib prison, including "sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses" -- could not be ignored.

The NY Times put Hersh's find on the front page, and the Sunday shows (which often look to the NYT front page for direction) followed suit.

Richard Myers, Chair of the Joint Chiefs, was hit with the Hersh story on ABC's This Week, CBS' Face The Nation and Fox News Sunday.

His take on the three-month old report? "I have not seen it yet."

This Week's George Stephanopolous was particularly incredulous, and pressed him fairly hard:

MYERS: As soon as we found out about those allegations, we sent a team over to look at -- not just in Abu Ghraib but theater-wide -- the conditions of all our detainees and how they were being handled, just to make sure it wasn't systematic.

And the reports back is that it is not systematic, but that work is still ongoing...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But Mr. Hersh did have this 53-page report from General [Antonio] Taguba...that certainly sounds systematic --

MYERS: I haven't seen that report and I prefer not to comment on something that I haven't seen. But I know what actions we took --

STEPHANOPOULOS: You haven't seen General Taguba's report?

MYERS: No, I have not seen it.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Why not?

MYERS: Well, like I said, I know what we did, and what we did was we got the Deputy Secretary of Defense to ask the Army to go look theater-wide at our detainee operations...

...

STEPHANOPOULOS: Can I just ask you why wouldn't you read a report like that?

This was a pretty serious matter, and he details, over 53 pages many instances of abuse, torture...humiliation of these prisoners -- it would suggest that perhaps you all didn't take it too seriously.

MYERS: Oh no, we take it very seriously. In fact, I was directly involved in setting up the theater-wide look at this issue.

I don't know about this report, I don't know about the reporting, and I'm not going to comment about it until I have a chance to read it and see what the context is.

Later on FTN, Myers added that he hadn't seen it yet because, "it's just working its way up the chain."

Hersh, on CNN's Late Edition, took Myers at his word:

I certainly believe him, which as far as I'm concerned, [is] more evidence of the kind of systematic breakdown we're talking about...

...I think it's a terrible thing for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to go on television -- one day after my story's out about a report that's making news all over the world -- ...to go on and say, "I haven't read it."...

...He's saying that the prisoner issue wasn't that important until just the other week.

Key to that systematic breakdown is the role of mercenaries/private contractors within the intelligence community.

Hersh, on CNN, summed it up:

Interrogation became the mantra, the thing that was essential.

And that was not run by the people of the military police running the prisons. That was run by the intelligence community, not only military, CIA and private contractors...

...The one thing you can do to an Arab man [is] to shame him...have a naked Arab walking in front of men...is shameful, having simulated homosexual sex acts is shameful.

It's all done to break down somebody before interrogation.

Do you think those kids [the soldiers] thought this up? It's inconceivable. The intelligence people had this done...

...not to excuse them. I would be shamed forever having participated in taking pictures.

But there was a lot of pressure on these people to get interrogation.

Amazingly, the only interviewer to push the mercenary angle yesterday was ABC's George Will:

WILL: Now, there are private contractors involved who don't go through this sensitivity training --

MYERS: Those weren't private contractors. Those were, in fact, were soldiers.

WILL: I understand, but there are private contractors involved in the interrogations.

And they may be -- it's going to be part of [the charged soldiers'] defense I gather -- the private contractors with military intelligence smiled upon this.

Why are we using private contractors in translation and interrogation?

MYERS: There are, certainly in translation, I think people are going to understand that we need the linguistic skills to handle these prisoners and handle the interrogations.

And that's what they do.

But they are always under the supervision of the US military, they're never on their own, and that's the point.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But are they subject now to military law? No.

MYERS: The civilians?

STEPHANOPOULOS: Yes.

MYERS: I'm not a lawyer, but usually not.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How would their abuses, if they were found, be dealt with?

MYERS: The same way we deal with any civilian abuses where you have contractors, we have contractors all over the world...and they're handled through the US court system.

Of course, most of those contractors "all over the world" are performing non-combat support functions, not likely to violate Geneva Convention rules.

Furthermore, former military officer Phillip Carter (of the blog Intel Dump) described in Slate the practical reality of prosecuting military contractors:

...while the Justice Department has jurisdiction to prosecute military contractors for actions overseas under a 2000 law, it may decline to do so as a result of limited resources and the fact that there is no U.S. attorney's office (yet) established in Iraq to govern U.S. civilian activities there.

The legal murkiness helps shield the contractors from effective discipline.

The Coalition Provisional Authority has decreed that contractors and other foreign personnel will not be subject to Iraqi criminal processes.

Yet, there's also no clear mandate for American jurisdiction.

And in the absence of any specific mandate telling military officials to clamp down on contractors, American prosecutors can simply decline to do so as a matter of discretion÷precisely what has happened on U.S. military deployments in the Balkans...

(Not so) shockingly, despite the lameness of Myers' spin, he was still able to get it out on the wires, thanks to an extremely misleading AP headline, "Army Probe Shows Abuse Is Not Widespread"

But overall, the spin job is looking like a failure.

First-hand tales of abuse from Iraqis, and more details of the Taguba report are far more likely to dominate the news today.

QUICK HIT

Set Those TiVos

Here's Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace, responding to Friday's edition of Nightline on ABC:

After listening to all the debate, and then watching the show, we think the folks at Nightline made a mistake this week:

Listing all the brave men and women who have died in Iraq, but without providing the context of what they want halfway around the world to do.

So next week, we here at Fox News Sunday are going to put together our own list.

A list of what we've accomplished there, through the blood, sweat and, yes, lives of our military.

We think the point is not just that those hundreds of troops died, but what they died for.

No comment necessary.

The Sandbox
Humor Column by Mark Spittle

The New American Devil's Dictionary: Part 3

ADAM SMITH: Generic term for any one of the damn Smiths.

AMBASSADOR: The formal and original spelling of a word meaning one who achieves greatness through threat of announcing one's illegitimate parentage. Now often shortened to "A BASTARD."

APATHY: A word now fallen into disuse due to a lack of concern for it.

ATHEISTS: People whose views are so potentially devastating by nature of the logic of their ideas, persuasive abilities and pure common sense that even in democracies their voices must be silenced, their role in society shunned, and their ability to serve in government outlawed. Typically known to eat the living, but may be seen feasting on corpses in times of drought.

BIAS: The means by which pundits convert otherwise excellent raw data into meaningless gossip.

COMPLACENCY: The skillful art of doing nothing while maintaining the pretense of doing very little.

DEADBEAT DAD: A father whose sperm is characterized by a unique genetic flaw that results in the inverse relationship between flagella speed and familial responsibility.

DESERTION: The fifth course 1st Lt. George W. Bush ordered at a restaurant to celebrate his 31st day away from the military without leave, thought to be a mousse.

EVIL: The actions of people who show the disrespectful arrogance of disagreeing with one's beliefs.

FAMILY VALUES: Once meaning the morals and ethics of the familial archetype; now considered to mean the accounting of one's inheritance.

FCC: Acronym standing for Federal Communication Commission, a government organ that spends taxpayer dollars censoring the word "organ."

FREE MARKET: Contrary to assumption, a rather expensive market.

FUCK: Considered the most obscene word in American English, it is rarely spoken in polite circles, but uttered with abandon at the nation's finest country club golf courses.

GRASSROOTS: In nature, the bits of plant life closest to the dirt, and therefore most difficult to see; in politics, the bits of humanity that are just as overlooked as their flora equivalents.

GROUND ZERO: A term once used to define the impact point of the fallen Twin Towers, but now taken to describe the means by which errant thinking is converted into national policy, through the expedient use of public despair.

HANNITY: A funny children's word which rhymes with sanity, but that's it.

HILLARY: Common mispronunciation of the quaint word PILLORY, a wooden device used to humiliate someone publicly.

INTELLECT: The portion of the human brain that has evolved most recently, and is therefore used the least effectively.

IS: A word that belies definition for all but Zen practitioners and independent counsels.

JOHN F. KERRY: A pale and awkwardly amateurish imitation of JOHN F. KENNEDY.

KEYNESIAN: An economic philosophy that requires government to take an active role in something it knows absolutely nothing about.

LAW: An element on the periodic table that bears amazing properties. It is flexible in almost all environments, but which will react to applied force depending on the user: for some, it will break without effort; for others, it cannot be broken no matter how much pressure is placed upon it. The basic properties are not yet fully understood, and a pure specimen has not yet been observed; largely theoretical.

LEGISLATION: A written account of the orgies of the damned.

LIBERATION: An act of pure irony in which a nation frees its neighbors from oppressions that are otherwise endorsed the home country, such as human rights abuses, fixed elections, violations of international law, constitutional neglect and religious intolerance.

MARXISTS: A dwindling group of political activists known primarily for their attempts to foist poor fashion sense and droll demeanor on society as a whole. Despite much public crying for revolution and other physical activities, Marxists are also most obvious by their dislike of exertion, a fact for which their declining numbers are almost singly responsible. Having begun to show similar tendencies, the Democratic Party is now largely considered Marxist.

MEDIA: The protagonist of Euripides' play, a creature that turns on its children and slays them, or any entity that consistently betrays those that need it most.

NADER: A contemporary contraction of the phrase "nay-sayer," or one who makes hay by saying nay all day, maybe for pay.

PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY: The responsibility one has for the consequences of one's actions, excepting those actions that are the result of advice from cabinet members, orders from superiors, voices from God, demands of shareholders, or campaign promises.

PRIVATIZATION: A movement to convert elements of the social contract into profitable enterprises for the individual. The term takes its name from the metaphoric sensation of being kicked in the privates.

PROLIFERATION: The expanding of any unwanted thing; in contemporary usage, the word applies to such things as nuclear weapons, communists, Chinese babies, Russian mail order brides or labor unions.

STOCK MARKET: The place in which souls are offered for sale.

UNFORTUNATE: Those that are not blessed with the same level of intelligence, grace, and humility as you or, more specifically, I.

VETERANS: A word used to describe patriots whose fifteen minutes are officially up.

WELFARE: Formerly a word used to define the state of concern for others, now used to describe the filthy, scum-ridden slackers who demand the attention, finances and support of others.

WORKING MOM: A person, usually but not specifically of the feminine sex, whom has found satisfaction in her ability to perform multiple tasks and responsibilities and thus boasts of her achievements incessantly; her remaining energies are typically expended by ignoring the same work contributed by women of previous generations, all of whom lacked the title.

For Part One, click here. For Part Two, click here.

Mark Spittle is one half of the political satire duo Spittle & Ink. He is a former Washington lobbyist and congressional assistant.

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