Monday, July 23, 2007

Mark Green: Let Him Wait

Sen. John Kerry is standing up against rank cronyism and political payback by temporarily blocking soundly-thumped GOP gubernatorial candidate Mark Green from being an ambassador to Tanzania. His action putting a senatorial hold on the nomination has blocked the reward-for-running action for now, but Junior Bush, whose handlers never really cared much for advice-and-consent, will just appoint him during the August recess anyway. Although the Green appointment has somehow won the support of the entire Wisconsin congressional delegation (in a typical display of Democrat-only bipartisanship), Green presided over the most negative campaign in Wisconsin history and hardly deserves to be rewarded for his down-and-dirty efforts. But Kerry’s courageous use of his senatorial privilege at least delays the Greening of Tanzania for a couple of weeks, after which Green can return to Wisconsin, with extra unearned credentials, to poison our political environment again.

Having written that temporarily abandoned paragraph this weekend, it was interesting to see John Nichols coming out four-square for Green's nomination in the Cap Times Monday morning. Nichols is one of the most effective and important progressive voices, not only in Wisconsin, but nationally through frequent columns in The Nation and elsewhere and his service as a too-little-used talking head on cable TV shows. I can’t remember ever disagreeing with anything he has written and I’ll assume that he has some cocktail-circuit contact or knowledge about Green personally that somehow overcomes his appalling public record. But Nichols is still wrong about this. Mark Green is an empty suit who should remain in the closet.

Mark Green’s public career has consisted of being a useful idiot for others with actual (bad) ideas. He was Felon (yet, still free) Scooter Jensen’s lapdog in the State Assembly. He was Bush and Delay’s lapdog while in Congress for eight years. And, finally, he was the willing shill for the WMC and the state GOP as the figurehead for most negative campaign for governor in Wisconsin history.

Green, according to Nichols, "got very serious when the discussion turned to issues relating to Africa". So what? If he was really serious about African issues before or coming out of law school, there were numerous areas of legal and other work that he could have gone into to put that supposed commitment to work instead of being a useful political stooge for people like Jensen and Delay. According to Nichols, Green is graciously passing up a chance to take his House seat back in ‘08. I don’t know why Nichols thinks that return to Washington is such a sure thing, but I can’t think of anyone who would pass up a cushy resume-enhancer like "ambassador" to anywhere over the much-harder work and schedule of a congressman – especially a cipher like Green, who was a do-nothing boot-licker last time he was there and would return with the GOP in the minority and a Democrat in the White House.

Amazingly, Nichols thinks Green would actually have some impact on Bush administration policies not in Tanzania, but in Darfur, Sudan. Wha? Bush has done nothing about the crisis for years and now Ambassador Green is going to charge in to save the day? Even if he wanted to (which he might) or he was capable of it (doubtful), what ambassador in the history of the top-down Bush administration has even had a significant impact on any policy, anywhere? Nichols knows better than most how the Bush administration works. Why he thinks anything would be different with Mark Green in Tanzania is beyond me.

Let’s assume that Mark Green is a wonderful guy on the subject of Africa. Fine. But the role he has played as a partisan hack should disqualify him from anything "diplomatic", much less a politically-rewarded ambassadorship. If Mark Green wants to work in the foreign service, he can get the training and pay his dues like the many other talented, dedicated people in that field.

John Nichols supporting Green’s appointment is sort of like Cal Thomas praising a Democratic president for nominating, oh, say, Howard Dean as ambassador to...anywhere. The difference is that Thomas would never do it and a progressive like Nichols would and did. Like Al Gore graciously acceding to the theft of the Florida vote in 2000, we sometimes give Republicans more credit than they deserve. In Green’s case, he has done nothing publicly to deserve the sort of bipartisan support he has received.

He’ll get his damned ambassadorship when Bush once again flaunts the will of Congress and does the recess appointment. Let him wait.


Xoff said...

Nichols had some good things to say about Green during the gov's race, too. He seems to like him personally.

I don't know about you, but I have a hard time separating the personal from the political. Green's performance as a politician far outweighs any redeeming personal qualities he may have.

I guess that's why I don't have many Republican friends.

Anonymous said...

Where was your outrage when Rick Graber was named Ambassador to the Czech Republic? Or is your hatred only focused on Green?

I find it funny how you claim that Green ran the dirtiest campaign ever as if Doyle ran absolutely no negative. Whatever! Or how about the trumped up campaign finance issue that Doyle was able to get into the race even though after the race it was deemed lawful for Green to tranfer money just like Barrett did when he ran for Mayor? Talk about dirty campaigning!

And Xoff, it's not a surprise that you don't have many Republican friends...Democrats are unable to see past someone's politics to make judgements on them.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on an exemplary hatchet job. So much bitterness, so little rational argument (other than your own personal animus). Nothing but hyperbole and vitriol.

Perhaps just maybe the entire Wisconsin congressional delegation isn't wrong, and perhaps former Congressman Green just might have the desirable characteristics to serve as an able ambassador. Ever think of that?

Patrick said...

One of your most boring and repetitive posts yet. Look, you gotta get a grip, Mike. Mark Green did his best to serve the state. Unfortunately, if you can't learn to look beyond your emotions then maybe this isn't the thing for you. Everyone who doesn't agree with you--or has the audacity to challenge one of your lefty heroes--isn't a mindless zombie. Mark Green wouldn't be interested in Tanzania if he didn't want to SERVE there. And if he has bi-partisan support, he should get the appointment.

But you're really handicapped by your hatred of the right; that's the distrubing thing. Whatever happened to those progressive values of tolerance, goodwill, sportsmanship? Green served in the Senate, ran for gov., and lost. Can't you be big enough to let him get on with it?

Why does every conservative have to be your enemy, your personal enemy? Hell, Bonds can cheat and defraud baseball and you'll celebrate his false achievment, but nothing good can come from Green? Pathetic.

Mike Plaisted said...


I love the sense of entitlement the right has for anyone except those who really need someting. I should "let him get on with it"? Why would that be? He has been nothing but a political shill for Jensen, Delay and Bush. Hasn't he done enough damage at the public trough already?

There is nothing personal about it. I don't know the guy and wouldn't get personal even if I did (not like the right does with Hillary, Bill, Edwards, Sheehan and anyone else they can get their slimy hands on). Every comment is based on his record, or extreme lack thereof. He's an empty suit and he chooses to be. There is nothing personal about that, although I do hold him personally responsible for the sins of Bush, Jensen, et. al.

I don't hate the right, but I do hate what they do. One of the greatest cannards in the wing-nut talking points is that lefties are so driven by their "hatred" of Bush or the right that they will do or say anything to get him or them. What a joke. I couldn't care less about Bush the person and, except for being the figurehead, he is responsible for very little of the bad things that his handlers do in his name. By attributing "hate" to me, you avoid the substance of the issues. But you lose on substance, so, I can see why you do it.


Bitter? No. Look at the polls -- we've won the battle of ideas -- what is there to be bitter about?

No rational argument? OK, here's something that's actually in the post. If Mark Green wants to help Africa so much, why didn't he or why doesn't he get trained and enter the foriegn service like everyone else who has those interests? Why does he think he should just be handed an ambassadorship just because of his service as a political hack in Wisconsi and Washington? Discuss.

Anonymous said...

Then why don't you write the same article about Rick Graber and his lack of experience to be an ambassador in the Czech Republic??

You and your fellow wing-nut lefites don't hate Bush??? Really?? Then why do you all still bring up the 2000 and 2004 elections and pretend like they were stolen from you????

Mike Plaisted said...


Fine. Rick Graber is a political, wealthy contributor, tireless slug-for-us, unqualified, disgraceful ambassador appointment. I thought it but didn't write it when it happened because there was no hold put on the nomination and there wasn't any point to it. It was just as bad as Green's appointment or worse, since I don't think Graber spent any time or showed any interest in the Czech Republic previously. Or maybe he did, and I don't care. Now you can tell me how wrong I am about that one.

Why do we bring up the 2000 and (less so) the 2004 election? Because we love honest democracy and all we wanted was a fair recount, maybe? Because the attitude of the Bushies was so remarkably arrogant and the Supreme Court was so remarkably accomodating? It was the most outrageous hijacking of democracy in America in history. What are we supposed to do, forget about it just like we are supposed to forget about how we got lied into Iraq?

Again, it has nothing to do with "hatred" of Bush -- no one I know takes him seriously enough to get that emotional about him. It's about the continuing string of disasters that have been vistited upon us for the past 7 years by his handlers --- disasters that the next president will have to spend one whole term just trying to correct the damage.

Guess what -- try as you might, you don't get to define us, as Bush haters or anything else. We'll define ourselves, always on substance, and always with the goal of a better future for us and our children.

Anonymous said...

OK, Mike, I'll bite on your invitation to "discuss." (that sounds just a bit too much like my old law school professors):

"Bitter?" You are right. Bitter isn't the right word. "Petty" is. Setting aside your claim of apparent victory in the "battle of ideas" (forever no doubt), I think it is clear from your piece that you are clearly miffed about Green's having lost the election and still getting a nomination as an ambassador. Perhaps you would be happier if, in addition to being denied an ambassadorship, he were labeled an enemy of all free people and forced to endure public opprobrium for the rest of his life for the various grave injustices you have conjured up?

"If Mark Green wants to help Africa so much, why didn't he or why doesn't he get trained and enter the foriegn service like everyone else who has those interests? Why does he think he should just be handed an ambassadorship just because of his service as a political hack in Wisconsi and Washington? Discuss."

No Mike, that's not a rational argument, it's a red herring. The question at hand is Mark Green's qualification and ability to serve the U.S. as an ambassador to Tanzania (in which an understanding U.S. policy and decision-making as a member of Congress (not to mention his experience in Africa) is a desirable qualification), NOT as a career foreign service bureaucrat. His ability or desire to, as you call it, "help" Africa just isn't relevant to his appointment as an ambassador, helpful though it may be. No federal law or provision in the Constitution requires that ambassadors be career foreign service diplomats. Perhaps the Dems will next champion that cause?

By the way, I note that you seem to approve of Senator Kerry's gatekeeping criteria for ambassadorships. I would wager (although I haven't researched his voting record on it) that Senator Kerry has himself voted for a fair number of the "political" ambassador nominations, so isn't it a bit disingenuous on his part to adopt this philosophy regarding such nominations now?

Anonymous said...

And a "better future fir us and our children" to you is higher taxes, socialized medicine, Darfur saved, federally subsidized breakfast, lunch, and dinner for children, abortions on-demand, human embryo stem-cell destruction, and a Bush impeachment. What a wonderful world! Where can I sign up?!?!?

I just still laugh at wing-nut liberals like you who are still fuming mad over the 2000 and 2004 elections. In your mind there's just no way a republican could have won, especially after 8 idyllic years of the Clinton regime.

Your party claims to be the party that welcomes everyone and claims that you are the uniters, not the dividers yet you're the ones set to nominate one of the most divisive political figures in modern day politics. I know many a democrat who will never vote for Hillary.

Mike Plaisted said...

Anony 8:42:

Hey, I said you don't get to define us! Yet we get the litany of "higher taxes, socialized medicine" etc. Does that kind of phony exageration make you feel better, or what's the point? Can you guys do anything except demonize the opponent? How about addressing the actual issues? Oh, come on, just once?

Actually, there is a way the Bush handlers might have legitimized their boy president in 2000 -- just allow a recount. Bush might have won -- the post-election surveys by the press were kind of split on the likely outcome -- he might have made it. But you couldn't take that chance, could you? Nope, Katherine Harris took her 485-vote margin and ran home. Hey, whatever happened to her?

Anony 6:45:

"No federal law or provision in the Constitution requires that ambassadors be career foreign service diplomats." Well, thanks for stating the obvious -- now what? Who's next, Tom Delay? He's still got some time before he goes to jail. I think there are some US Attorneys looking for work, let's get them out there. Is this statement -- like so many conveniently conclusory statements from the Bushies -- meant to shut off debate about anyone? I mean, Bush could appoint his dog to an ambassadorship -- does that mean he should?

The bottom line is -- why do you think that Mark Green is entitled to this post? Why is questioning it such an outrage to you? You know that you will find fault with any appointment the next president makes. I look forward to your comity and deference when Hillary appoints Ed Garvey to Green's former post. No? What's the difference?

patrick said...

Mike: Wake up. The wisconsin Dems have proposed 1.8 billion in new taxes and socialized medicine. Seems like a pretty accurate statement. How is it phony exageration? How can you deny what you are?

Along with the other things, I'd add to the list that your party is the party of endless investigation, but little progress. Pelosi and the gang have a lower approval rating than Bush or even the last republican congress. So much for ideas, so much for substance.

The left couldn't find a progressive idea if it bit them in the butt. Perhaps I'm unfair? Maybe you could refresh my mind on all that substance....

Anonymous said...

Mike, please explain to me how you are NOT in support of socialized medicine and higher taxes, especially on the rich (it's not fair that they have all that money! I want some too!).

I'm not defining you, just merely pointing out what your party has supported time and time again.

Mike Plaisted said...

I am very much for universal health care, single-payer would be best. Canada works. I think calling it "socialized medicine" is a deliberately McCarthyite attempt to demean it. Whatever we put together will be uniquely American.

I am against the extension of most of the the Bush tax cuts, so I suppose you will call that an increase, the result of the cynical set-up of the cuts in the first place.

As for the rest of your description of our proposed "wonderful world", it is deliberately simplistic and inaccurate. "Abortion on demand" and "human embryo stem-cell destruction" are loaded phrases, substituting for the right to choose and stem-cell research.

Are you in favor of the Iraq invasion or are you in favor of killing innocent Iraqi civilians? Same thing. Do you support the "terroist survailance program" or do you support the wholesale wiretapping of U.S. citizens? Again, same thing.

Can you discuss choice or stem-cells on the merits or will you continue to demonize ideas by language? Again, we get to define our own issues. You are stuck with yours.

Anonymous said...

You're right Mike, it is "choice," it's choosing life or death. What part of "abortion on demand" is inaccurate? Stem-cell research is a precursor to them being destroyed so again, how am I wrong??

And you are so completely off base in your comparison with fighting a war. The MAIN result of embryonic stem cell research is the destruction of said stem cells. When we invaded Iraq we did NOT target civilians. We targeted military installments, buildings, and soldiers. It's sad that the Hussein Iraqi government decided to use civilians as human shields every chance they did.

Why is it that whenever I ask any Canadian citizen about their "universal" health care system they always say the same's nice to have government pay for it but we have to wait a long time to get even basic services and the overall quality is nothing compared to the U.S. And they're a nation with a fraction of our population!! Why do all liberals just love it when government provides them with everything?? I never understood this plank of the democrat platform.

Why is it that you, Mike, only determine a human life based on two factors:

1) When the child breaches the mother's womb
2) When the child is actually wanted by the mother/father and has not yet breached the womb

In any other situation you determine it to be an expendable life.