Ad Exhorts Schwarzenegger to ‘Be a Hero’ and Sign Gay Marriage Bill

Equality California has a very effective ad up that calls on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign the Marriage Equality Act, the historic first-ever bill legalizing gay marriage to be passed a state legislature.

Schwarzenegger is tanking in the polls. His only remaining support comes from the hard right, so the chances are slim he will make history by signing the bill, even though he is liberal on gay rights.

The ad goes after the governor where he lives by aligning signing the act with the groundbreaking Civil Rights records of President John Kennedy and Sen. Robert Kennedy, his uncles by marriage to Maria Shriver. The ad also associates vetoing the bill with George Wallace, the late governor of Alabama, who was a segregationist icon and vocal opponent of Civil Rights.

Here’s the script:

(Voice Over) Those who have made America great are the ones who have brought America together – who have stood for fairness and against discrimination.

Now Governor Schwarzenegger will make a decision for which he will forever be remembered.

He can stand up for the basic rights of all Californians and sign the Marriage Equality Act.

Or he can stand with the forces of discrimination.

Governor, the choice is yours.

Text in the final frame addresses Schwarzenegger’s former career as an action movie star: “Governor, Be a Hero.”

PA07: Dem Iraq War Vet to Take on Rep. Curt Weldon

Rep. Curt Weldon (R-PA) is a particularly odious Republican, so it is heartening to learn that Bryan Lentz, a Democratic war vet, is taking him on in the 2006 elections.

Here is a bit of what we learned from the Lentz for Congress website:

Bryan Lentz is a native son of southeastern Pennsylvania, where the 7th District is located. He is a decorated Army veteran who served with distinction in the Iraq War and with MFO and NATO peacekeeping missions in the Sinai Peninsula and Bosnia, where he oversaw millions of dollars in infrastructure development, including the first-ever Russian, Romanian, Muslim and Serbian joint bridge and road projects. Among his official commendations are the War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal and the Bronze Star.

“Bryan will work tirelessly to roll back the Bush agenda and restore accountability and responsibility in Washington, DC.”

In Iraq, Bryan commanded a civil affairs unit responsible for rebuilding the infrastructure in Mosul. His experience on the ground makes him a sharp and reliable critic of the Bush administration’s failure to plan properly for the war and the rebuilding effort.

In his civilian life, Bryan served for six years as a prosecutor with the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, where he earned a tough reputation for his wide-ranging prosecution of gang members, rapists, and other violent offenders. Since 1999, Bryan has worked as an attorney in private practice.

UPDATE: We plan to do a profile of Paul Scoles too, and have contacted him by email. The story on Bryan Lentz is part of our coverage of Democratic Iraq war vets who are running for Congress. We strongly support any candidate who can beat Curt Weldon. – Jon

Schwarzenegger Finds That the Numbers Are Against Him

In a state where barely one in three voters is a registered Republican, Schwarzenegger has no choice but to reach beyond his party base.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has gotten himself into what appears to be a no-win situation. He’s put his political future on the line by forcing voters to hold a special election to vote on a rack of propositions dealing with issues that very few people care about. This move has cost him the support of decided majorities of both Democrats and swing voters in poll after poll.

He still retains the support of the GOP base but there aren’t enough registered Republicans in California to win an election. The bind he’s in is caused by the fact that he can’t afford to lose the support of this base under any circumstances, so he must dance to the rightwing agenda, even on issues where he himself hold centristl views:

Schwarzenegger’s challenge was on clear display over the weekend. On Saturday in Orange County, he roused a state Republican convention crowd with tough talk on blocking higher taxes, battling “union bosses” in Sacramento and stopping illegal immigrants from getting driver’s licenses.

On Sunday in South Los Angeles, the Republican governor adjusted his message. Speaking to parishioners at a black church, he played up his wife’s Kennedy family pedigree, government aid to fight poverty and the struggle for “equal education.”

In a state where barely one in three voters is a registered Republican, Schwarzenegger has no choice but to reach beyond his party base.

But with the Nov. 8 special election just over seven weeks away, he must find a way to do that without turning off conservatives, his only strong bloc of support after months of declining popularity. This raises the question: How much of a Republican can Schwarzenegger afford to be…?

In the recall, candidates ran with no party labels. Schwarzenegger’s Hollywood fame made him an instant favorite. With no record as an elected official, he was easily able to define himself as a centrist in sync with mainstream California, a fiscal conservative with moderate-to-liberal views on such social issues as abortion, guns and gay rights.

Pro-War Rally Draws Small Crowd

Associated Press

Support for U.S. troops fighting abroad mixed with anger toward anti-war demonstrators at home as hundreds of people, far fewer than organizers had expected, rallied Sunday on the National Mall just a day after a massive protest against the war in Iraq…

About 400 people gathered near a stage on an eastern segment of the mall, a large patchwork American flag serving as a backdrop. Amid banners and signs proclaiming support for U.S. troops, several speakers hailed the effort to bring democracy to Iraq and Afghanistan and denounced those who protest it.

Investigating the Pentagon’s Top Investigator

Scandal magnets: On Sept. 10, the Pentagon’s Inspector General Joseph Schmitz resigned amid accusations of ethics violations that are breath-taking, even by current-day conservative standards:

Schmitz slowed or blocked investigations of senior Bush administration officials, spent taxpayer money on pet projects and accepted gifts that may have violated ethics guidelines, according to interviews with current and former senior officials in the inspector general’s office, congressional investigators and a review of internal e-mail and other documents.

The accusations against Schmitz are so egregious that even Republicans in Congress – who have rigorously shunned their oversight duties when it comes to Bush Administration scandals – have launched an investigation. He is also the target of an inquiry by the President’s Council on Integrity and Efficiency, which sounds like an administration whitewash panel.

When Schmitz resigned earlier this month he took a job with the parent company of defense contractor Blackwater USA, the security mercenaries who are patrolling New Orleans and Baghdad right now.

Who Is Joe Schmitz?

Joe Schmitz is a member of controversial conservative family. His father, John G. Schmitz, was a congressman from Orange County, CA, and a member of the John Birch Society, whose views were so extreme that he believed that Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan were liberals. In 1972, he ran for president as a member of George Wallace’s (barely) crypto-racist American Indepentent Party but his campaign was derailed when “an infant boy was treated at an Orange County hospital for having hair tied so tightly around his penis that it was almost severed. The baby was placed in protective custody, and the court demanded that the baby’s father step forward. It turned out that Schmitz, a purported defender of family values, was the father. The baby’s mother, a 43-year-old German immigrant, was his mistress and had two children by the former Congressman. This scandal effectively ended his career.”

The former DoD IG’s sister is even more infamous. She is Mary Kay Letourneau, the Washington state teacher and mother of four whose affair with her underage student, Vili Fualaau, sent her to prison. (After serving her time, Mary Kay married Fualaau.)


President Bush Looked ‘Puffy’ and ‘Seemed Cranky and Fidgety’

We were not the only ones that thought President Bush looked hung over at a photo op at the Northern Command center Saturday morning:

The president didn’t look all that relieved or happy, however. His eyes were puffy from lack of sleep (he had been awakened all through the night with bulletins), and he seemed cranky and fidgety. A group of reporters and photographers had been summoned by White House handlers to capture a photo op of the commander in chief at his post. Bush stared at them balefully. He rocked back and forth in his chair, furiously at times, asked no questions and took no notes. It almost seemed as though he resented having to strike a pose for the press.