Hagan live blog: Postmortem - I

It’s great to be here! This is my first chat in this format, so please bear with me. And please accept my apologies if my typing is a little slow for everyone.

I’m especially excited because I know that even though we may not always see eye to eye on the issues, I believe this community is an important voice in the party and I really respect the role the netroots plays in shaping the national debate.

I firmly believe that Senator Dole is among the only Republicans up for re-election this year with a national profile that Democrats across the country can rally against, and I don’t doubt for a second that Democrats here and across North Carolina will do everything in our power to give her that pair of Ruby Red Slippers and finally give North Carolina a voice in Washington!

So let’s get started…

She was doing fine here, but she had to go and use that damned "Ruby Slippers" joke.

It's tired, Sen. Hagan. Tired and lame. When it was fresh, it was only mildly amusing. After the nth hundred repetition it is not only tired and lame, it acquires a Limbaughesque quality that makes you seem petty and small.

Since the Greensboro News & record even made pointed reference to it in there article on Sunday, you would think she would drop this shtick.

First, a little historical preface...

On Friday, our nation will pause to remember a tragic anniversary: on April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. King's legacy on issues of civil rights and social justice (esp. with regard to Vietnam) warrant particular remembrance during this critical time in our nation's history. But it's also worth noting this fact: for the last few years of his life, the FBI illegally wiretapped King's home, office and, since J. Edgar Hoover was feeling particularly vindictive, hotel rooms...all because of King's suspected ties to Communists.

It was because of Hoover's actions against King (and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference) that Congress enacted restrictions on wiretapping (specifically, the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act (FISA)).

Fast forward to present day and you have the Bush administration asking Congress to provide immunity for telecommunication companies who abet the government in wiretapping. The restrictions, passed after King's bugging became public, are being disregarded today.

I haven't heard you speak on the issue directly--only second-hand reports via bloggers and a mention in the News & Record, but now that you're here, I'd love to hear from you directly.

Sen. Hagan, what is your position on teleco immunity?

Here I was thinking FISA wouldn’t come up!

Apparently the issue is causing her problems. Since bloggers have been the only group covering it (until Sunday's mention in the Greensboro N&R a month after the fact), this is a significant comment.

At a time of grave national security concerns, the Bush Administration told the telecoms it needed information to protect the nation and they responded. The companies did not benefit, they did what was asked of them. The Administration was the bad actor here, and we must hold them accountable, but we need to move forward and keep America safe. Washington is broken, we all know that, and arguing over who did what isn’t going to help prevent another terrorist attack. The recently passed House bill was a good compromise to find out what the Bush Administration did to get that information and I hope the Senate will pass it and the President will sign it. Our top priority should be to pass a straightforward bill that keeps us safe while ensuring the rule of law, accountability and court oversight.

I know some folks may disagree with me, and I respect that.

I begin to wonder whether Ms. Hagan has actually READ the FISA laws and the news coverage about what the telcos did.

The companies were well aware they were being asked to break the law. Qwest understood this, since they asked for a warrant. It is beyond the pale to think that the company lawyers weren't involved in this request.

To say the companies "did not benefit" is naive in the extreme. First, the telcos knew that if they played ball, lucrative government contracts loomed, contracts worth billions. Second, they were PAID to conduct these wiretaps, evidenced by the fact that when the DoJ didn't pay the phone bill, they cut off the wiretaps.

What price national security? Apparently an unpaid phone bill will about cover the tab.

Also, as I have pointed out, the wiretapping was going on BEFORE 9/11, so the argument about the compelling need of thwarting a nascent terrorist attack is bogus.

How has all of this work out for the telcos so far? The only CEO to refuse to go along with the illegal program, Joseph Nacchio, is in jail for insider trading and fraud, while the other three telcos who went along with the felonies now have the DoJ, the "president", and most of congress, lobbying for immunity from prosecution for the telcos.

Hmmm...

Also, does Sen. Hagan actually believe that, given everything we have learned bout the Bush administration, these wiretaps were never used for political purposes? I wonder what we would learn if we dug into the background of the Eliot Spitzer wiretaps. The new FISA law allows open season on the very information that "tripped up" Spitzer.

Worse still, we hear all the same fear-mongering words that we hear every damn time Bush opens his mouth on the issue.

"...keep America safe..."
"...arguing over who did what isn’t going to help prevent another terrorist attack."
"pass a straightforward bill that keeps us safe"

These are all phrases tinged with fear, designed to compel obedience without thought. They are straight out of the GOP play book.

First, thank you Senator Hagan for participating in this liveblog.

Senator Dole has not supported any legislation before her that would extend civil rights to LGBT citizens. What are your positions on matters under consideration in the U.S. Senate that will profoundly affect gay and lesbian taxpaying citizens here in NC. Below is legislation already introduced or about to be introduced that you would cast a vote on during your term if elected.

1. Federal hate crimes legislation. Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (H.R. 1592 / S. 1105).

2. Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). One version has already passed the House. It would prohibit discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation. Gender identity is included in the other version of the bill.

3. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal, which would allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. This has been introduced in the House and will likely be introduced in the Senate.

4. The Uniting American Families Act (H.R. 2221, S. 1328), that would enable an American citizen to petition for immigration sponsorship for a same-sex partner, and the INS would treat the relationships between opposite and same-sex couples in the same manner under the immigration code.

***

LGBT voters and allies in the NC (as well as thousands of my readers around the country) would also like to know your positions on these civil rights issues...

* Regarding civil marriage. In her consistent position in favor of restricting rights of LGBT citizens, Senator Dole voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment in 1996.

During a Feb. 25 forum at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, you conveyed to attendees that the definition of marriage should be left up to state law.
- How is that reconciled with 1967's Loving v. Virginia, a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that invalidated state bans on interracial marriages? Should that have been left a state matter?
- Would you be in favor of overturning the federal Defense of Marriage Act in full?

* What legal rights should tax-paying gay and lesbian couples NOT have access to if you believe that extending civil marriage is inappropriate at this time. Do you believe that there should not be parity with opposite-sex married couples regarding:
- inheritance rights
- hospital visitation rights
- equal pension and health care benefits
- and the over 1,100 other legal protections government affords couples via civil, not religious, marriage?

Pam asked very detailed and very specific questions. She was very careful to document each of her points, providing links to the specific bills in question. Sen. Hagan could have examine these laws and decided if she would vote for them.

The most important issue Pam meticulously lays out, is Hagan's previous statement that the definition of marriage be left up to the state, not the federal government. Pam points out that the same argument was made in the Loving vs. Virgina in 1967 about laws prohibiting racial intermarriage. In that case, the SCOTUS rejected this argument. She then asks whether that decision was correct in Hagan's opinion.

Based on Hagan's statement that the definition of marriage is a state matter, this was an opportunity for Sen. Hagan to re-examine her statement.

At this point, Sen. Hagan could have answered in several ways and garnered respect, if not agreement, with her views.

1) The issue should have been left to the state. While I disagree with and would have fought to overturn the state law in question, it was still a matter that should not have been overturned by the SCOTUS.

2) I see your point by bringing up this case. While I think the court was correct in overturning the decision, I personally make a moral distinction between this situation, and the racial issues in Loving.

I support equal rights for gays and lesbians, and support civil unions affording all the legal protections of marriage, but I think marriage is a religious issue, and not a civil issue for the government to decide.

3) Upon reflection, I see the point you are trying to make. In fairness, I cannot take one stand on Loving, and a completely opposite one on gay marriage, as this would be hypocritical. So, I would oppose DOMA and support legislation overturning state-based legislation prohibiting gay marriage.

Any of those answers would have been honest, and worthy of respect.

Instead we get a general dance around the question.

Pam - I’m close to John Edwards on this

John Edwards isn't here, and is not running for the NC Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate, you are. Even so, what does "close to John Edwards" actaully mean?

I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and that it’s fundamentally a state issue the federal government has no business getting involved in.

Then, by definition, you would have opposed the Loving decision and believe the state should have the right to outlaw interracial marriage.

Since you didn't address the question asked, you leave us with no alternative but to infer the answer from your (non)answer.

But I take a back seat to no one when it comes to equal opportunity and fairness.

Except, apparently, when it comes to gays and lesbians. Since you say this is a state issue, not a federal one, you are saying, in essence, that you are perfectly willing to allow the NC legislature to discriminate against gays and lesbians. So, while you may "take a back seat to no one when it comes to equal opportunity and fairness", you don't seem to plan on driving to the same destination as the rest of us.

Now before I am accused of twisting your words, I point out that by answering the question as you did, you tacitly invite us to parse your answer. If you had answered Pam's very deliberate and precise question with a deliberate and precise answer, no parsing would be required.

I oppose ANY form of discrimination and I believe that partnerships should be protected when it comes to financial issues, hospital visits, employment, and housing issues.

But you just said, "I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and that it’s fundamentally a state issue the federal government has no business getting involved in." This means you are favoring discrimination as long as you don't have to be on record voting for it.

I begin to see why you are leaving the state senate. Since this question is currently pending, you would be in a hell of quandary, since your would have to take a stand on the issue one way of the other.

Pam, bless her, was far more classy than me in this. Since Hagan pretty much gave a non-answer, Pam simply chose to accept it as an endorsement of the bills in question and pointedly asked Sen. Hagan to confirm this view.

Scharrison asked about earmarks, how do you feel about U.S. legislators directing Federal tax dollars to specific private companies back home, outside of the standard, regulated bidding process? Would you support the idea of directing said funds back to North Carolina, and then requiring an open (to the public) bidding process before the actual contract is awarded?

When I’m in the U.S. Senate, I pledge to post the earmarks I obtain for North Carolina on my website. Furthermore, I believe we need to have an open, transparent system that allows sunshine into the process. Advocating on behalf of your district or state is what you’re elected to do; funding a ‘Bridge to Nowhere’ is not. Special interests projects like $13.5 million for the World Toilet Summit has no business in our federal budget.

Excellent answer. Straight and to the point. I could quibble that she didn't say "where" she would post them, but I'll give her full marks for this question.

Nationally 37 million Americans live in poverty. In North Carolina around 15% of our state live in poverty, including a depressingly high number of children.

What steps would you take to reduce poverty, and how would it rank in the rest of the priorities that you will have on your plate if elected?

In North Carolina, we’ve done things right. We provided health insurance for thousands of kids after Elizabeth Dole voted no and President Bush vetoed the SCHIP bill. We’ve raised the minimum wage in-state while the federal minimum wage has lagged behind. We’ve created a pilot program which allows folks to borrow money to pay their mortgage if they lose their job.

But the sad reality is that for some people, this is still not enough. We have such pockets of poverty in this state and such communities of wealth. As I’m driving through the state, that’s abundantly clear. We need to do more to increase the number of people in the middle class, and importantly, keep them from falling out of the middle class. In this economy, we need to help families buy homes and stay in them. We need to increase educational opportunities, as we’ve done at our state’s 59 community colleges, and expand access to health care.

One of the committees I’d like to sit on in the Senate is the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee (HELP) which has broad oversight over these issues. They’ve been important to me here in the state Senate, and they will obviously continue to be important to me in the U.S. Senate.

Poverty. She's apparently agin it.

Nice generalities, but she didn't answer the question of what priority poverty would hold in her agenda.

Also, everyone here is aware of how Dole voted on SCHIP. As distasteful as it may seem, BlueNC is one of those "partisan" groups that the Republicans keep saying voters are sick of, so no one here is voting for Dole.

Part II, tomorrow.

Comments

You really need to be careful

I know you aren't here to be objective. That's obvious, but you will be embarrassed if someone decides to dissect the Neal live-blog the way you have Kay Hagan's.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

I intend to take on Neal's as well

Fair, is fair.

I'll let folks judge the results.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

The thing is, Betsy, Kosh isn't the only one who noticed these.

especially the dance around the LGBT issues. The difference between Kosh and me is that I'm writing to the campaign to ask for clarification.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

That's fine, Linda

but before anyone looks at unanswered questions and accuses her of ignoring them I hope they will check out Neal's live-blog first. He left more unanswered than she did and he was in friendly territory.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

I do think Jim Neal should do another live-blog

I would love to see him address a similar set of questions. The questions in general in Sen. Hagan's blog seemed to be more well-formed and specific. It would provide a better side-by-side comparison of the candidates.

On a semi-related topic, I posted this in the post-liveblog spin thread, but perhaps folks can address it here:

One of the challenges of live blogging for candidates is the ability to give answers of substance in real time when you only have an hour. It would be a nice idea to have a follow-up thread for readers who requested and received additional information from the candidates about questions that received thin answers in the liveblog. This could serve as a resource for people looking for more fleshed-out responses and could be linked to the original liveblog post.

Also -- for moderators, do we know how many of the politicians who have participated in the live blog are doing the typing themselves or dictating to an aide? Personally I don't care who's typing, what matters is that the answers are coming from the candidate, who is ultimately responsible for what goes out under his/her name. [My advice to candidates who aren't speedy typists is to delegate it to the fastest keyboardist in your shop so you can answer more questions (and give more detail).]

One more suggestion for the road -- has BlueNC considered using CoverItLive for the liveblogs? It's embeddable code; I've used it and it's much faster for comment/response, and it archives the entire liveblog and the moderators have the ability to approve/decline any comments before they are posted, enabling "civility control."

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

I don't know how many of them do their own typing

when I've spoken to the few I've set up, I've advised them to have their fastest typists on hand, because a few seconds can seem like ages in internet time. I've even offered to type for one if she needed me to. CoverItLive looks wonderful; I almost wish we'd known about it before the Gov. "debate". We might have been able to make it more of an actual debate. And I like being able to use "civility control".

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

Jim is always welcome to live-blog here

I have quite a few under negotiation, so if anyone sets this up please check with me first for a date. I do not have everything on the calendar and I don't want to pull the rug out from under the others we have in the works.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Pam, about coveritlive

I've had a couple people suggest other software like coveritlive. As James said "If you build it, we will come." So, I'm thinking of building it!!! I'm thinking about an open-thread try out later this week to see what people think.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

do it robert!

It would be great if it worked. Let me know when you're going to try it.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

Greg has already downloaded and fiddled with it

You can check with him to see what his impression is.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Relax, B.

If you want me to, I'll go back to Jim's blog and ask him to answer them. Most of us understand the pace of these things and how difficult it is to get to all the questions and answer completely in the short amount of time, especially when the questions just keep coming and coming. I don't have a problem with questions left unanswered on a liveblog - I just want to know some of the answers, so I'm following up.

Are you going to tell me to be careful, too?

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

I am relaxed.....

no need to be condescending.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

AN IDEA: Why not just have them answer each other's questions?

Someone (someone special, that is) compile all the questions and answers from both live blogs. Because of the length, questions could be divided into subjects foreign and domestic and separate threads created.

Then, we pitch the idea to both campaigns as "The Rebuttal Round" and both can go back and answer the questions from the other's original liveblog thread.

The beauty of this idea is that both candidates will have the opportunity to be in the position of answering first and rebutting. Even-Steven. Threads organized by subject matter, not by candidate. Thereby removing the appearance and temptation of loyalty pile-ons.

Oh, and only the candidates can post. No feedback from the peanut gallery.

Frank Eaton

Sooper Genius.

It sounds like a good idea, Frank. I wonder if they'd go for it.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors

fabulous idea

I think this would be a great way to create a very enjoyable and informative issues-based debate for voters. It would put the candidates squarely on the spot and by the comparison force specific answers to questions we've raised.

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

--
Pam Spaulding
Durham, NC USA

Pam's House Blend
www.pamshouseblend.com

As a peanut

in the gallery, I support Frank Eaton's idea.

"It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit." - Harry Truman

"They took all the trees and put them in a tree museum Then they charged the people a dollar 'n a half just to see 'em. Don't it always seem to go that you don't know what you've got till it's gone? They paved paradise and put up a parking lot."

Me too, and

I actually wouldn't mind the candidate live-blogs being closed except to the candidate and staff AFTER they are over.

One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn't have to understand something to feel it. - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Jesus Swept ticked me off. Too short. I loved the characters and then POOF it was over.
-me

It's all or nothing

Can't just close/open it for a few....



***************************
Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Excellent idea

I would love to see this.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

I am up for it...

I think this is a great idea, Frank, and would love to discuss these issues in such a format. How should we proceed, James?
Best
Jim Neal

Such a great idea! It would

Such a great idea! It would help to dispel any notions that one candidate got treated more or less fairly, and give both candidates an opportunity to overcome the temporal limits of the liveblog format. Most importantly, we could get more answers/clarifications. But I'm not entirely sure I understand what you're proposing: do you mean that each can only answer the others' questions, or that both would be answering the combined questions from both liveblogs? I'm more in favor of the latter set-up. I think you should send the compiled list of all questions from both/all liveblogs to both/all candidates, in case the original liveblogger wanted to extend or clarify any original answers, or to answer any remaining questions from the session. This could also help balance the "rebutter's" position, if the original liveblogger left a lot of unanswered questions, or if the original liveblogger got nothing but "fluff." The "combined questions from all sessions" format would give all the candidates the chance both to respond to the opposition and to fill in the holes from their own sessions - more like a debate format.

I think this proposal for follow-up is good, too, in that "grouping" similar questions would allow the candidates to speak to the gist of the issues, rather than having to respond to what might be more a reflection of the poster's particular way of asking it. I say this because I saw several references to a "hostile environment" on other threads. I'm pretty new here as a poster (have been reading this blog for a while), and I wonder if that was what was really intended or if there are just certain limitations to the format. I know that I intended to ask a difficult, but not a hostile, question. I guess there are jerks everywhere, but I suspect that most people who would take the time to post a question at a liveblog session here aren't really "hostile" as much as impassioned. Grouping questions by subject might let you get to the heart of the question and around some of the wording issues that might unfortunately obscure the legitimacy of the question itself.

As someone who is new to this blog, but not to liveblogging, I have to say that I was a bit disappointed in the format of yesterday's session (though not the content!). I had trouble figuring out how the posting system here worked, where and how to ask my question, etc. I only got to ask my question near the end, and it was too late for Sen. Hagan to really answer. But looking back over the thread, it seems like there were a set of "related" questions that didn't really get answered, either. The proposed follow-up plan would give an opportunity to answer the question, while hopefully removing any potential sense of "hostility" through the grouping of like questions. Perhaps most importantly, it would prove revealing if the candidate still avoided the question without the time/blogging constraints excuse.

The reason it was a bit confusing is that

we had to close the original thread due to an influx of hostile questions.

Normally folks post questions ahead of time and the candidates will reply to those questions. This was Kay's first blogging experience and I must not have done a great job explaining the comment system, but there was also a problem created by the order of questions being so different from the original thread. It made it seem like she was skipping over more questions than she actually was. The hour goes by quickly, so it was best for her to answer the questions that she already had prepared answers for.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Oops wrong thread for that comment

n/t

Progressives are the true conservatives.

A Few Thoughts

I have a few thoughts on this post, but perhaps the most significant point is this: I am an undecided voter and your post did not help me. If anything, your snark made me more sympathetic to Hagan's cause. Your post had a lot of legitimate substance, but when you pepper it with unnecessarily antagonistic language, you really do lose your audience. And, as someone who's now trying desperately to get off the fence, that disappoints me.

Additionally, a few other thoughts:

1. I admit to being fully engrossed in the presidential contest and not nearly engaged enough in North Carolina races, so I actually hadn't heard the "damn 'Ruby Slippers' joke" before. I found it chuckle-worthy and certainly did not find it tired or lame.

2. On my FISA question, the thing that you found to be "a significant comment," that is when Hagan said, "Here I was thinking FISA wouldn’t come up," I found to be pretty blatant sarcasm. Not sure how you missed that...

[Sidenote: For the record, I asked the FISA question because it's probably the single greatest impediment to my supporting Hagan and was the reason I had been leaning in Neal's direction.]

3. It's worth noting that she answered the gay marriage question. She may not have given the answer any of us wanted to hear (myself included), but I'll give her a little bit of credit for answering it. If she wanted to be calculating, she could have just avoided the question all together like others--cough, gubernatorial candidates, cough--have done.

4. I think it's pretty clear that "close to John Edwards" means that her views are in line with what Sen. Edwards has said. Basically, it's "if you're okay with his views [as a lot of people on BlueNC are] then you're okay with me." It was a pretty political answer, yes, but I think the implication was pretty clear.

5. Note to all future livebloggers: I'm not here to be pandered to--it's okay if we disagree.

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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

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There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

Thank you for this

I didn't do a very good job of responding to the aftemath of the live-blog. I was frazzled and tired from juggling a lot of stuff I'm not used to and I simply didn't handle this well. He also lost me with the ruby slipper comment and sarcasm, so I needed to wait until I had time to wade through again. I love sarcasm and I can certainly dish it out, so I was more than willing to come back and read it again. Fortunately, your post sums up my feelings and I don't have to put together a thoughtful response. FISA wasn't the only thing holding me back, but it certainly is important.



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Vote Democratic, the ass you save may be your own.

Thanks for the input.

I have a few thoughts on this post, but perhaps the most significant point is this: I am an undecided voter and your post did not help me. If anything, your snark made me more sympathetic to Hagan's cause. Your post had a lot of legitimate substance, but when you pepper it with unnecessarily antagonistic language, you really do lose your audience. And, as someone who's now trying desperately to get off the fence, that disappoints me.

These are legitimate criticisms, and I am getting mixed responses. Some like it, some don't.

I am a pretty cynical person. Politicians always like to leave the impression they are "just ordinary folk". This is aggravating because most of them AREN'T. Most are also totally disconnected from the realities that you and I face every day.

When they run for office, they then try and pretend to be hip, and "current" when they generally aren't. They crack jokes when they are bad at it, they give speeches other people wrote.

This annoys me, and I call them on it.

This style of writing doesn't please everyone, but if I stop being myself, then I am playing their game.

I am sorry my information is not helpful to you because of my writing style. I can tell you that I put a lot of work into what I write and am meticulous about my citations and sources.

My research and commentary over the years has pissed off a lot of people (Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and any number of election directors to name a few), but my facts were SOLID.

1. I admit to being fully engrossed in the presidential contest and not nearly engaged enough in North Carolina races, so I actually hadn't heard the "damn 'Ruby Slippers' joke" before. I found it chuckle-worthy and certainly did not find it tired or lame.

As I said, it was amusing the first few times, but she used it at EVERY appearance. She used it so much, the N&R pointedly remarked on it. Now this practice was not so bad in the days before 24 hours news, blogs, The Daily Show, Google, and YouTube, but it is a stupid practice today, and you will get nailed for it.

Don't think it is over used?

Click here:

http://www.google.com/search?q=ruby+red+slipper+dole+hagan&ie=utf-8&oe=u...

Do consider the fact that political candidates pay thousands of dollars for advice I am handing out here for free.

2. On my FISA question, the thing that you found to be "a significant comment," that is when Hagan said, "Here I was thinking FISA wouldn’t come up," I found to be pretty blatant sarcasm. Not sure how you missed that...

I didn't. I know it was sarcasm, I was just commenting that the sarcasm was significant, since it meant she was annoyed, meaning it was sticking. Bloggers did the leg work on this, not the corporate media.

Thanks for asking the FISA question.

3. It's worth noting that she answered the gay marriage question. She may not have given the answer any of us wanted to hear (myself included), but I'll give her a little bit of credit for answering it. If she wanted to be calculating, she could have just avoided the question all together like others--cough, gubernatorial candidates, cough--have done.

Perhaps, but I don't feel she answered the question Pam asked. I then meticulously recapped Pam's question and the ramifications of the various ways it could have been addressed. The core of Pam's post was the contradiction in Hagan's stand on gay marriage "being up to states". Pam cited Loving vs. Virgina and pointedly invited Ms. Hagan to carefully consider her statement.

Hagan avoided addressing the contradiction inherent in her statement.

To date, Pam has yet to hear back from Hagan on her followup. This lends credence to my view that she AVOIDED answering the questions asked.

4. I think it's pretty clear that "close to John Edwards" means that her views are in line with what Sen. Edwards has said. Basically, it's "if you're okay with his views [as a lot of people on BlueNC are] then you're okay with me." It was a pretty political answer, yes, but I think the implication was pretty clear.

I understand what she said, but the problem is it isn't a satisfactory answer. Such an answer leaves her free to disavow any part of gay rights at some future date. How? She simply says "I said I was "close to John Edwards", and this is an area where we differ. A very useful rhetorical tool to have.

She made a statement which invited the listener to assume she agrees with them, while not actually doing so. The implications are anything BUT clear.

Pam Spaulding did not ask general questions (Do you support gay rights?). Crafty woman that she is, she asked very detailed, very specific questions, that Hagan avoided answering specifically.

5. Note to all future livebloggers: I'm not here to be pandered to--it's okay if we disagree.

And I am cool with that as well. Give me a damned straight answer and ditch the spin and verbal gymnastics.

Again, I appreciate your time addressing my efforts.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Sure...

I am a pretty cynical person

No?! Really? I never would have guessed.

My research and commentary over the years has pissed off a lot of people (Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia and any number of election directors to name a few), but my facts were SOLID.

You missed my point, but nice name dropping.

As I said, it was amusing the first few times, but she used it at EVERY appearance

My point was, simply, that I hadn't heard it and that it'd be nice if you made some allowance for those of us who hadn't heard it. Based on what you've said, it's part of her stump speech, all politicians have it and repeat it ad nauseam to those of us that follow them closely

And I'm not sure how the "red slippers" thing is any different from the "Where's Liddy?" meme the NCDP used earlier last year. I didn't hear any criticism then--the response here was generally positive, if I recall right.

I know it was sarcasm, I was just commenting that the sarcasm was significant, since it meant she was annoyed, meaning it was sticking.

I didn't take it that way at all, but I guess when you're looking for something to be pissed off about more often than not you'll find it...and, surprise, you did.

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

----
There are people in every time and every land who want to stop history in its tracks. They fear the future, mistrust the present, and invoke the security of the comfortable past which, in fact, never existed. - Robert F. Kennedy

On second thoughts....

Interesting.

When you first responded to my post with your criticism, I took the time to read what you wrote, then address each of your comments, point-by-point (something Ms. Hagan and most politicians never do, I might add).

Now you might have chosen to respond in kind, engaging me a discussion of substance which, who knows, might had been educational for both of us.

Instead, you chose to post in a manner meant to mock my style. I can only surmise that I was supposed to get angry, then respond archly in low dudgeon (I'm fresh out of high dudgeon at the mo') about your mockery. Then you would spring your trap, capping my indignant riposte with a stinging "Well, now you know how Kay Hagan felt!!.

Stunned by this unexpected turn of the table, I would be awash with remorse, and would embrace this heartwarming lesson on empathy and respecting other people's feeling. Cue the woodwind and string sections, a swell of music and hugs for everyone!

Wait, I must dry my eyes.

Uh, no.

Instead I went back an re-read your original criticism and found myself rather puzzled by your logic.

I am an undecided voter and your post did not help me. If anything, your snark made me more sympathetic to Hagan's cause. Your post had a lot of legitimate substance, but when you pepper it with unnecessarily antagonistic language, you really do lose your audience. And, as someone who's now trying desperately to get off the fence, that disappoints me.

So, what you are saying here, in essence is:

While your comments on Sen. Hagan's answers had merit, and while I too am very concerned about her support of the FISA bill and its immunity provision, I am inclined to completely disregard your substantive points and my own misgivings because I don't like your style of writing.

Oooooo-kay.

I might also point out that it is rather churlish of you to tell me that while you think my comments have substance, you would like them better if I wrote in a manner you approved of.

Look sunshine, my comments are provided free of charge, where is, as is.

There are people that you can approach who would be quite happy to do anything your lil ol' heart desired, including call you "Daddy", and do it for a modest fee.

These people are called "reporters".

It would seem to me that you have four choices as regards the problem you have with the tone of my writing:

1) Stop reading it. After all, I'm an asshole, and life is too short to waste reading the opinions of assholes.

2) Take the approach I take with Bill Maher, and shows like South Park. Sure, people like Maher, and Parker & Stone can be assholes, but since they also can be entertaining and informative, you can filter out the snark and watch for those useful tidbits.

3) Give in to the Snarky Side of The Force™ and enjoy the ride. Life is too serious to be lived seriously.

4) Stop reading blogs because they have a lot of people who write in ways you don't like. Just eat the nummies the corporate media and the politicians spoon feed you.

As to how I write, it a religious thing with me.

I y'am what I y'am.

- Popeye 3:16

Liberalism as a badge of honor!
No apologies, no excuses.

Hagan and Gay Marriage.

4. I think it's pretty clear that "close to John Edwards" means that her views are in line with what Sen. Edwards has said. Basically, it's "if you're okay with his views [as a lot of people on BlueNC are] then you're okay with me." It was a pretty political answer, yes, but I think the implication was pretty clear.

I thought that was a dodge, and a calculated one at that. Pam's questions were posted ahead of time, with specific references to specific laws. Ms. Hagan invoked John Edwards' name to try and get out of answering whether she thought a certain portion of her constituents deserved equal protection under the law.

But then, that was one of the few things I wasn't okay with about John Edwards, either.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi
Pointing at Naked Emperors