October 12, 2006
Congressional Candidate Runs for the Border with Elephant, Band
Trying to get an elephant and a mariachi band across the U.S.-Mexico border is one way to get some attention for your Congressional campaign:
Reports of an elephant crossing the river or people trying to smuggle an elephant across were rampant Tuesday while an elaborate political stunt was taking shape near the mouth of the Rio Grande.
Too bad Bhakta is getting trounced in the money race. He's certainly creative.
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
October 11, 2006
Vote in the Straw Poll
It's straw poll time. Take a moment from the current elections and choose who you want for the GOP nomination in 2008. I'm leaning Gingrich right now and am seriously considering Giuliani--if only he'd fix his partial-birth abortion stance.
October 10, 2006
David Zucker's Spiked Anti-Democrats Ad
The GOP may not want to run this hard-hitting yet funny David Zucker ad, but I have no qualms. With North Korea's recent nuclear test it's fitting.
"Video: The Zucker Ad; Flashback: Zucker Ad Goofed on Kerry in 2004"
October 07, 2006
Haven't Seen Green-Doyle II Yet
I put baseball and Battlestar Galactica ahead of the second Green-Doyle debate. It serves them right for putting a second debate on a Friday night. I guess neither candidate wants voters to actually see them discuss issues. Later today I'll try to watch the video (if I find a site that has it; nothing at WisPolitics) and offer my thoughts.
October 05, 2006
Foley IM was "Prank"
Drudge reports that the Mark Foley instant message that forced him to resign was "part of an online prank."
According to two people close to former congressional page Jordan Edmund, the now famous lurid AOL Instant Message exchanges that led to the resignation of Mark Foley were part of an online prank that by mistake got into the hands of enemy political operatives, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal.
UPDATE: There's a perception that I'm trying to defend Foley. Not at all. The IMs with Edmund could have been a prank on Edmund's part, with Foley still being a sexual predator who didn't deserve to hold office. Foley fell for the joke because he refused to control his impulses. That makes him more like that of an animal than a human.
October 03, 2006
Page Wasn't "Warned" About Foley
It's important to know what happened and what didn't with Mark Foley. ABC News reported a former page remembers being "warned" about Foley. That former page, Matthew Loraditch, has clarified his statement:
Firstly, as to the ABC "Warned" story, while I may have inadvertently used the word, "warned," in communication, I can assure you it was not intended. The fact of the matter is in an informal situation a supervisor mentioned that Foley was a bit odd or flaky and did not connote by tone or otherwise that he should be avoided.
It's certainly possible the supervisor didn't warn Loraditch because higher-ups told him not too.
I wonder about this paragraph from the NY Times:
Matthew Loraditch, who worked as a page with Ms. Gallo and Mr. McDonald in 2001 and 2002, said a supervisor had once casually mentioned that Mr. Foley “was odd” and that he later saw sexually explicit text messages that Mr. Foley had sent to two former pages after they left the program.
Another former page, Patrick MacDonald also later learned "Mr. Foley had sexually explicit Internet conversations with several pages who had left the program." When did these two learn about the messages? Was it with the rest of the country last week, or was it weeks, months, or years ago? What did they do with this information? Did they contact anyone in the page program?
In Loraditch's statement he also defends the House page program's concern for page's safety:
Thirdly, I have stressed several key points in my contact with media that all situations with Mr. Foley occurred after we had finished our service as pages. That if anything had happed while we were in Washington, it would have been dealt with. That I have full faith and trust that any of the supervisors and staff we worked with would have properly dealt with any situation like the current one.
So, Foley might have been clever enough to merely make friends with pages when they worked in the Capitol. He might have been "window shopping." After the pages left the program did he made his horrendous electronic approaches. It's still creepy and disgusting, but Foley might have remember privious House page scandals and thought his approach was safer.
"ABC News Versus NY Times"
October 02, 2006
Hastert Now Key to Congressional Election
Jib offers some good reasons why the Mark Foley scandal could seriously hurt Republicans in November. Much will depend on how much Speaker Hastert knew about Foley's disgusting communications with House pages. Drudge reports the Washington Times will call for his resignation. I think this was the breaking point for Tony Blankley and company. What we know is Hastert knew about odd e-mails. There's no evidence yet that he knew about the sexually explicit instant messages. With government spending rising faster than if Democrats were running the Congress along with the horrible prescription drug entitlement getting through the House the Times editorialists think enough is enough. Conservative values and ideas aren't advancing along with "inept performance", thus it's time for a leadership change.
If we learn Hastert knew more than he's let on and failed to protect pages the Times won't be the only ones calling for his head. That distain could translate into disgust among the GOP base who will prefer staying at home than dirtying themselves by voting for them. In the next few days Speaker Dennis Hastert has the hopes of a GOP House of Representatives in his hands. Foley claiming responsibility and running off to alcohol rehab won't help his party.
"Why Foley Could Be a Problem on November 7th"
What Hath McCain-Feingold Wrought?
Campaign finance "reformers" want to limit campaign spending and hold politicians more accountable. To them political speech and the money that buys the ads required to advance a message in our high-powered media age "corrupt" government. But what has the
When the state's government imposed a 9.5-cents-per-gallon increase in the gas tax, John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur of station KVI began advocating repeal by initiative. Proponents of repeal put up a Web site, hoping to raise 1,000 volunteers and $25,000. In two days they had 6,500 and $87,000. Needing 224,880 signatures to put repeal on the ballot, they got 400,996.
Will writes, "As a result, attempts to use campaign regulations to silence opponents are becoming a routine part of vicious political combat." Just ask Rep. Mark Green. Such tactics are the cornerstone to Gov. Doyle's re-election campaign.
Thanks, President Bush.
First, it's the commercials, then radio talkers, then the local newspapers. As the internet becomes more influential and important in the mediasphere websites and webloggers (professional and amateur) will be the next targets. Sen. John McCain would love to silence the DailyKos crowd if he nabs the GOP Presidential nomination just like Sen. Russ Feingold would love to shut up Matt Drudge.
Blue Crab Boulevard writes about the ominous time we now live in:
This is the disaster that McCain-Feingold hath wrought. This is what the men who would be president think of your right to say what you want politically. There is a horrible stifling effect here where people can be silenced by creative application of campaign laws. We are headed down an ugly road - and everyone, left or right should be frightened by this. Far from being the way the left will gain power. In the long run this will be the tool that crushes them.
Campaign speech restriction isn't about Left or Right; it's about right and wrong. It's about the right to unfettered political speech and how wrong it is for McCain, Feingold, and the "reformers" (with plenty of help from President Bush) to squelch it.
"Speechless in Seattle"
Foley Talking about "Sickos"
From the Pot Calling the Kettle Black Department:
Ex-Congressman Mark Foley had the audacity to go on America's Most Wanted and talk about "these sickos," criminals preying on kids.
October 01, 2006
Foley Scandal Could Damage Like Dems Bank Scandal
The Mark Foley scandal could be to the House GOP what the House bank scandal was to House Democrats in 1992. At the time Rep. Newt Gingrich, then House Minority Whip, used the scandal to tar Democrats for corruption and incompetent management of the House. It was part of Gingrich's plan to paint the Democrats as out-of-touch, arrogant political fossils who no longer deserved to run the House. Rush Limbaugh and talk radio latched onto the story and bludgeoned anyone in its path.
The Foley scandal as the potential to seriously harm Republicans. The scandal could hurt Republicans by undercutting two foundations of their leadership. First, Republicans are known as the "law and order" party. They're the ones who want to be tough on crime and criminals and lambast liberals for being too soft. It could turn out House GOP leaders were too soft on an alleged lawbreaker in their caucus who was allowed to be the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. Second, the Foley story argues against Republicans being the party better able to protect Americans generally. Security moms (and dads) could look at what's happening on Capitol Hill and ask, "Why didn't they do something about that pervert?"
There's also the question of the GOP's management skills. ABC News quotes two political analysts:
"It's a basic management issue," Torie Clarke, a former Republican Party operative, said on "This Week." "Republicans are in charge of the House and this looks like a House out of order."
I can see the Democratic Congressional ads: "Why vote for a Republican? They run things so badly they let a pedophile stalk children."
The Foley story has more potential for damage than Bob Woodward's State of Denial. With the book Woodward pieces together a lot of information that was already in public. It won't change minds. Bush backers will say Woodward is part of the liberal MSM that hates the President and is trying to get back into good graces for previous books that spoke well of the President. With the Foley story there's still more to be learned. Reporters are digging into what Speaker Hastert and Majority Leader Boehner knew and when they knew it--which could have been as far back as 2001. In Hastert's case there seems to be some confusion about if he knew about the creepy but not graphic e-mails and the disgusting IM message [PDF]. They'll also look into what the FBI did when they first received information about Foley's disturbing e-mails. Using Owen Robinson and dad29 as any indication of how rank-and-file conservatives feel the GOP could take a serious hit from their base. That's bad news with about a month left before Election Day. Hastert asking the Justice Department to investgate Foley and any possible cover-up is the right thing to do, but it makes for lousy political timing.
"Foley Scandal Sends Tremors Through Other House Races"
Tom Maguire wonders about the source of the electronic messages and who fed them to the media.
September 29, 2006
Good Riddance to Sicko Congressman
The hot, steamy news out of D.C. is Congressman Mark Foley resigning from his seat when news got out about sexually explicit instant messages [PDF] between him and a teenager.
You have to be very twisted to converse like he did and think you'd never get caught. It's even more twisted knowing Foley worked to pass laws to protect children from online predators.
Here's what we learned: 1.) if you have sick, twisted sexual fantasies, keep them to yourself or get professional help, but don't get elected to Congress; 2.) make sure you know how to delete potentially problematic IM conversations to prevent future embarrassment; 3.) to parents, the online sicko stalking your child might be a Congressman.
"Mark Foley's "Outreach" To Youths At Risk Of Being Hot"
"US Rep. Mark Foley Resigns From Congress"
"The Sexually Explicit Internet Messages That Led to Fla. Rep. Foley's Resignation"
September 26, 2006
Bush Signs Transparency Bill
Today, President Bush signed the Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 which, to use President Bush's words, will "create a website that will list the federal government's grants and contracts." Webloggers will love sifting through that looking for waste and possible corruption. Webloggers like Ace, N.Z. Bear, Mary Katherine Ham and others worked hard to get this legislation past. They weren't forgotten because some of them were invited to the signing ceremony. Even though I wasn't writing anything on it I was still rooting for them. Congratulations all.
"Bloggers Gather at White House for Pork Bill Signing"
"President Bush Signs Spending Transparency Bill"
September 20, 2006
Big Payoff if Rightroots Goal is Met
If you haven't donated to the Rightroots campaign you only have a few hours left. Over $100,000 have already been raised. The goal is to get 100 people to donate to a slate of good conservative candidates. As an added incentive if the goal is reached the RNC will send out a fundraising email to its massive list. So pick a candidate with fewer than 100 donors and give. I'll be helping State Speaker John Gard keep Wisconsin's 8th Congressional District in GOP hands.
"The Rightroots 15 days Challenge -- 8 1/2 Hours To Go"
September 14, 2006
Dumb Mr. Ney
Rep. Bob Ney isn't the smartest political cookie. If he wanted to plead guilty he should have done it a few weeks ago when voters were still on vacations and not thinking of November elections. He now lets Democrats take a few shots at the GOP's "culture of corruption" when people are actually paying attention.
"Rep. Bob Ney Expected To Plead Guilty To Criminal Charge"
September 13, 2006
Bill Bops with the Blogosphere
You can't say Bill Clinton is a dumb politician. He met with a group of Lefty webloggers at his Harlem office. I'm certain he would have pressed the flesh (figuratively and literally) with webloggers if they were running around when he was President. And better than most pols he fed them. With a little food we're easily bought.
September 07, 2006
The Current State of GOP Presidential Candidates
Stephen Bainbridge thinks some GOP candidate will try "outflank Bush to the right." He uses Newt Gingrich's muscular talk about the war as an example. I hope someone does this--Guiliani would be a good bet for tough war talk--because there's no current candidate that inspires me. Sen. John McCain hates political free speech, Sen. George Allen shoots a little too much from the hip and isn't agile enough to clean up his mess, and the other people who potentially could jump in have little name recognition to even inspire a political junkie like me. Newt has his problems, temperment and management style, but he's a man who's not afraid to think big.
"Gingrich Flanking Bush to the Right"
September 06, 2006
Donate to John Gard and Rightroots Candidates
It's after Labor Day when political campaigns traditionally lurch into high gear. This year is no different. Through enough political mistakes the GOP is poised to lose one or both house of Congress. Right-wing webloggers don't want to see this happen. So Rightroots was created to help get more conservatives elected to Congress. With webloggers like John Hawkins, "Captain Ed" Morrisey, and Erick Erickson backing the effort you can be assured the Rightroots candidates are good conservatives.
Today begins the Rightroots 15-Day Challenge. The goal is to get 100 new donors for each of the selected Rightroots candidates by 09.20. Wisconsin State Assembly Speaker John Gard is one of them. Gard has a pack of Democrats fighting it out to challenge him in the general election. John will need all the help he can get to keep Rep. Mark Green's seat in GOP hands. I urge you to give a few dollars to Gard as well as to some of the other Rightroots candidates.
"Time Is Running Out"
August 28, 2006
A Scary Lineup of Potential House Chairman
In politics you have a better chance of winning when you're for a candidate rather than again the opponent. (That may be Rep. Mark Green's downfall against Gov. Jim Doyle.) However, the idea of Reps. Barney Frank, Charles B. Rangel, and the ancient John D. Dingell as chairmen of House committees gives me the chills. If the Democrats capture the House there will be lots of pressure from the far Left for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to let new Judiciary Chairman John Conyers impeach President Bush. If you want to see that vote for the Democrats in November. If you don't start doling out some cash to the GOP. The Rightroots candidates are a good place to start.
"Prospective New House Chairman"
August 26, 2006
Christopher Hitchens Flips Off Bill Maher's Audience
Christopher Hitchens doesn't give a damn who he ticks off. He says what he thinks and mocks those who deserve it. On Bill Maher's boring HBO version of Politically Incorrect, Real Time, Hitchens made the case that Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the one who wants World War III. Maher's audience preferred ripping on President Bush. Hitchens pointed out their lack of seriousness and gave them the finger.
"Hitchens Gives the Finger to Maher's Audience for 'Frivolous' Jeering of Bush" [via Dean's World]
August 25, 2006
Just Add Two Letters
A pet peeve of mine with Republicans is calling their opponents members of the "Democrat" Party instead of the "Democratic" Party. The latter is correct and more polite since it is the name of the party. Every time I hear it used by Republicans and their supporters I shake my head knowing how petty and childish it sounds. It's a form of disrespect.
What set me off was a statement from J.B. Van Hollen:
Statement from JB Van Hollen, regarding remarks made at the Democrat AG Debate in Milwaukee Thursday:
"Democrat" was used as an adjective twice. Once in the headline and once in the statement itself.
A Republican consultant tells me "it's a base thing, and we're in a primary." It's not been my experience that that GOP base routinely uses the term "Democrat" Party. The average conservative GOP voters I've been with will call their opponents, "Lefties," "liberals," and "left-wing wackos" but not members of the "Democrat" Party. Who uses that are the politicos: campaign workers and political staff who eat, drink, and sleep politics.
The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg calls "Democrat" Party a "slur" and notes its long history. It's not a slur. It's just some pointless needling that adds no value in political debate. It's just silly.
Van Hollen's campaign didn't do anything by nixing the ic's except to irritate Falk, Lautenschlager, and Wisconsin Democrats. The Republican operatives might have laughed a little, but all they did was egg on their opponents. Some people will be turned off at those such a petty game.
Let me steal some words from uber conservative William F. Buckley. One the use of "Democrat" Party he wrote, "It has the effect of injecting politics into language, and that should be avoided." Words are used for politics, but that doesn't mean our words should be political. The personal isn't the political, and we'll be a little more sane if we remember that.
I yearn more greater political civility and seriousness. A small step to improvement is using proper names. Two letters can mean a lot.
Do you use the term "Democrat" Party? Why?
August 23, 2006
McCain Loading Up for Presidential Run
Sen. John McCain is building a formidable collection of political consultants for one, last run for the Presidency. A host of Bush-Cheney people has jumped on the "Straight Talk Express" (assuming McCain revives the name for his bus) plus a very interesting name: Nicco Mele, the webmaster for the failed 2004 Howard Dean, M.D. campaign.
Organizationally McCain is far ahead of any other GOP Presidential contender. Sure, no one has officially entered the race, and things will really take shape after November's elections, but conservatives should really start thinking about who they should back and begin organizing talent or else the default GOP nominee will be McCain.
"Exclusive: McCain's Web Team. And Nicco Mele."
GOP Focuses on Kos
Take Free Republic squared and mix it with acid-laden grape Koolaid.
Tee Bee forgot "smart." Kos is a pretty big smart jerk.
You know you're doing something well to deserve such attention from one of the two major parties.
"The Kos Rhetorical"
August 22, 2006
Web Ads Help Lobbyists Find Activists
Internet technology is changing the political game. The Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum reports on how the cost of finding activists has diminished because of fine-tuned web advertising:
The first thing you need to know is that the Internet can be watched very closely. OnPoint/DDC's offices in Old Town are filled with cubicles of computer experts who are in near-constant contact with thousands of display advertisements on Web sites. These experts can see when commercials are clicked on -- and when they're not.
Campaign finance reform/First Amendment restriction maven Micah L. Sifry mocks the advocates found on game and puzzle sites:
In other words, people who tend to be informed about health care are less likely to want to give up their right to sue a bad doctor than others.
Or maybe those that go to health sites care a little more about finding some answers to their current ailment; while game and puzzle fans are more likely to be abstract thinkers who care more about large systems like health care delivery.
Such sophistication by moneyed interests may depress those who see internet political advocacy through utopian glasses. But using Daily Kos as an example we see how nobodies grabbed the new technology and became a political force. Computers and the internet are levelling technologies. With plenty of creativity, passion, and a lot of luck unknowns can shake the political tree for both good and ill.
"Targeting Likely Advocates With Web Ads"
August 09, 2006
Ace hands out some good lines about the ever-expanding head of Mr. Kos after Ned Lamont's primary victory:
He's out for blood. Lieberman must be stripped of all committee memberships, immediately, etc.
"The Kosfather Puts Out A Contract On Lieberman"
August 04, 2006
Lamont Runs Far, Far Away from Unhinged Weblog Supporters
The man who wants to beat Sen. Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont doesn't "know anything about the blogs" after one of his most fervent supporters Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake posted an altered image of Lieberman in blackface on The Huffington Post.
That's interesting since webloggers have driven the anti-war Left nationwide into a fury to end Lieberman's pro-war "Joe-mentum." Daily Kos and the gang the Townhouse gang have raised money for Lamont, helped him with his online presence, helped make Lamont video weblogs, and even got in his first campaign commercial.
Lamont doesn't "know anything about the blogs?" Huh, his campaign would be nothing without them.
UPDATE: As noted my regular reader DJ Hamsher issued a psuedo-apology. She wrote, "I sincerely apologize to anyone who was genuinely offended by the choice of images accompanying my blog post today on the Huffington Post." It's fake because she didn't really apologize she's just sorry anyone took offense at Sen. Lieberman in blackface. It would be like me telling an irrate customer at the bookstore, "I'm sorry you feel that way." Hamsher doesn't feel bad about the racist picture, she's just bothered that it tarred Lamont.
July 13, 2006
Source of DeLay Image in Democrats Ad
Human Events thinks they found who made the Tom DeLay mug shot for a Democratic fundraising ad:
HUMAN EVENTS has discovered the ad came from Chickenhead Productions, a questionable website that also runs websites such as SexIsForFags.com, IronHymen.com, NRA-KKK.org, FratBeat.com and WHITEHOUSE.org.
"Doctored DeLay Mug Came From Chickenhead"
July 12, 2006
Democratic Ad Uses Dead Soldier Images
There's steam rising from the right blogosphere over a new Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraising ad.
It's a dismal ad. The first half of depressing images of the real world didn't make up for the idyllic, hopeful images in the second half. When I see Rep. Nancy Pelosi I don't get a warm feeling in my heart.
As for the picture of flag-draped caskets that's reality. People are dying, and Democratic supporters want it to stop even if it means abandoning Iraq. The picture doesn't show anything graphic. I don't see that picture anymore exploitative than Republicans using pictures from the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sep. 11, 2001.
What's interesting is the Tom Delay "mug shot." That's fake since this is the actual picture:
At the bottom of the fake mug shot there's a prisoner number: "91108GOP." I'd like to know the "clever" story behind choosing that.
Allahpundit won't "throw stones when it comes to using images of fallen soldiers to make a political point." Still, he doesn't like either party using the images of soldiers in coffins:
But I wouldn’t support Republicans putting it in a campaign ad, for the same reason I think it’s cheap and crass of the DCCC to have added coffins to the mix here. I think it boils down to good ol’ fashioned suspicion of politicians: the priority for most of them is getting (re-)elected and I don’t want anyone’s remains being exploited for that sort of personal profit.
The ad is not great since it's devoid of any ideas, but I wouldn't give myself a heart attack over it.
July 11, 2006
Robert Novak Talks
Robert Novak, the man who first mentioned Valarie Plame as working for the CIA finally speaks. Jay Tea at Wizbang sums it up well. Two interesting notes: Novak got Plame's name out of Who's Who in America. An unnamed source told him that Joe Wilson's wife sent him to Niger.
"Novak Finally Spills His Guts on Plame"
July 04, 2006
America's Unilateral Gift
230 years ago our Founding Fathers declared the 13 colonies to be free and independent states. That was the greatest unilateral action in world history. The Founders didn't ask Great Britain to be independent. The colonists had grievances and tried to address them within the confines of the British Empire. She failed to heed their cries over taxation, representative government, and the rule of law. As Thomas Jefferson wrote,
Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
The Founders' answer to tyranny was the breaking of bonds:
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
There was no request to France, Spain, Russia, or any other nation mediation. The Founders knew what was right and just and acted. They declared independence then wondered if they could get international help--eventually from France. That unilateral act created the United States. In the 230 years that have passed she has become a shining beacon of liberty, opportunity, and prosperity.
When someone complains about American unilateralism tell them they'd still be British subjects without it. Unilateralism: America's gift that keeps on giving.
June 26, 2006
Limbaugh Caught with Viagra
Talk radio king Rush Limbaugh has another drug problem on his hands:
Limbaugh was returning on a flight from the Dominican Republic when customs officials found a Viagra prescription that did not bear his name. Instead, the bottle of pills had the names of two doctors on it according to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.
Being in possession of an illegal prescription could affect the plea deal he made last April.
Limbaugh's lawyer Roy Black says it's a case of mislabeling on the pill bottle:
While going through routine Customs inspection of luggage at Palm Beach International Airport upon his return from an international trip, Rush Limbaugh was detained by customs agents after they noticed a non-narcotic prescription drug, which had been prescribed by Mr. Limbaugh's treating physician but labeled as being issued to the physician rather than Mr. Limbaugh for privacy purposes. After a brief interview, Mr. Limbaugh was permitted to continue on his journey.
June 19, 2006
Robert Kennedy Wants to Sue over 2004 Election
Based on the momentum Robert Kennedy, Jr. got from his Rolling Stone piece claiming President Bush stole the 2004 election he's in talks with lawyers to file lawsuits:
PRWeek: Is there a next step?
Waste your time and money. Be my guest.
June 16, 2006
Congressman Gets Away with Hitting an Officer
Rep. Cynthia McKinney won't be charged with anything for hitting a Capitol Police officer last March:
The grand jury had been considering the case since shortly after the March 29 incident, which has led to much discussion on Capitol Hill about race and the conduct of lawmakers and the officers who protect them.
Even Rep. Patrick Kennedy (yes, a Kennedy!) took some responsbility for his actions. With McKinney the best we can hope for is someone beats her in the primaries or general election.
"Rep. McKinney Won't Be Charged in Scuffle"
June 12, 2006
Lavish Spending at Kos Party
Tim Blair has fun with Susan G's lauding of herself and her fellow YearlyKos attendees.
Their gathering was full of tin-foil-wearers who sat through a national security panel lead by Arianna Huffington. Your average Kossite might be off kilter the fearless leader is damn smart and shouldn't be underestimated. He's found a way to get Presidential candidates to commiserate with webloggers while spending thousands of dollars on Vegas parties. What Kos doesn't understand is that's not the best way to spend campaign dollars. He writes, "And in politics, $100K is pocket change. Better spend it on a blogger party where the candidate socialized with regular people than on bullshit television ads or crappy consultants." If all you want is the wacked-out weblog vote for the Democratic nomination then blowing money on a Kos party will help. But the 90% of the electorate that doesn't obsess over politics on the internet can be swayed through paid ads.
"Warner's Stratosphere Party"
It's refreshing when a politician doesn't use political-speak and says what he means. I give you Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) at Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner:
When I become chairman [of a House appropriations subcommittee], I'm going to earmark the shit out of it.
Moran may be one of the few Congressmen to be so expicit, but I'm confident he's not the only one waiting to use positions to send largess to their districts.
When it comes to earmarks and bloated budgets the GOP has been an embarassment. "Tossing the bums out" and handing power to the Democrats might not be the wisest thing either.
"Moran: Democratic Majority Means More Money for 8th District"
June 09, 2006
Kos' Remote Online Political World
One should be amazed at the cockiness of Markos Moulitsas, but one must have lots of chutzpah and ego to run a weblog so dominant it deserved its own convention. Bryon York gives us some nuggets from Kos' keynote:
We’re only four years old, from the early days when bloggers like Atrios and Jerome Armstrong at MyDD inspired bloggers like me and countless others to stop railing at the television, stop throwing pillows at Hannity and Colmes, stop complaining about Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, stop complaining about the pathetic so-called liberals who were supposedly speaking for us in Washington, DC, and take what we felt, that passion and that energy, and start using it online.”
Like many webloggers Kos fails to realize most normal people don't read weblogs. They're still getting their news from television, newspapers, and magazines. I know that's sad, but it's reality--something Kos has a hard time dealing with.
Kos talked about Lefty "netroots" "victories:" Howard Dean, M.D in 2003; Dean, M.D. as DNC chairman; Paul Hackett. Out of those three only one was a winner: Chairman Dean. His track record backing winning candidates is pretty poor. 1-19 is pretty removed from reality. Yet that doesn't stop the Kossites from fawning over their leader. Can you say "cult of personality?"
"The Two Worlds of the Liberal Blogosphere"
June 08, 2006
Coulter Challenging Victimhood
What's really bizarro is I'm defending Ann Coulter. What's next, me defending Michael Moore?
On Today Coulter took on the Oprah-fication of culture and how liberals use victimhood as a political weapon. Curt from Flopping Aces writes,
A small number of widows have made claim to a moral authority on the War against Terror. They cannot be questioned because their husbands died…..give me a effin break. Why must everyone tiptoe around these things?
In 2004 the Jersey Girls endorsed Sen. John Kerry. When you step into the political ring expect to be challenged and don't use your status as victim as a shield.
In a similar fashion I care little for what Debra Burlingame, wife of the pilot whose jet slammed into the Pentagon, has to say. What qualifications does she offer other than having the unfortunate luck of having her husband killed by Islamists?
In Coulter's case her track record of indefensible, over-the-top statements reduces her effectiveness when she does make a valid point. Ace of Spades writes,
Persuasive. Hey, she's not one of the country's foremost polemicists for nothing.
June 07, 2006
Coulter Started a Catfight
The "Jersey Girls," the women Ann Coulter chided yesterday on Today shoot back:
"I'd like her to meet my daughter and tell her how anyone could enjoy their father's death," said Kristen Breitweiser, one of four widows known as the "Jersey Girls."
"Massive Chip on Her Coulter"
Brian Bilbray beat Francine Busby by 4.5%. If Busby had not told an audience that "You don't need papers for voting," it would have been a closer race and would really tell us something about November's mid-term elections. As it is a Republican won a Republican seat by a comfortable margin. The Democrats are sure to be concerned if there really is an anti-GOP groundswell. Republicans better not become complacent and think the fall elections won't be as tough as the conventional wisdom thinks.
Matthew Hoy has more.
Then Kevin Binversie lets us know Kos finally backed a winner. He's still 1-19.
"Bilbray Defeats Busby"
Bilbray Ahead in Early Count
In the much-watched California 50th Congressional race Republican Brian Bilbray leads Democrat Francine Busby 49.82% to 44.71% with 56% of the vote counted. Busby sounded like she was loosing a little confidence:
“Tonight we have made history by sending that message for change ... it's time for Congress to work for us,” Busby told cheering supporters at the D Street Bar and Grill in Encinitas. “This will send a message and put the wind in the sails to take us to victory in November.
Since this special election will only fill the remaining six months of Duke Cunningham's term both candidates will oppose each other again in November. National momentum and party confidence weighs on this race.
"Bilbray Stakes out Early Lead Against Busby"
June 06, 2006
California Special Election to Fill Cunningham Seat
There's an election in California today. Democrat Francine Busby and Republican Brian Bilbray are fighting for disgraced Congressman Duke Cunningham's seat. Matthew Hoy was so ticked at the GOP he endorsed Busby. He now calls it the "kiss of death."
"Kiss of Death"
Weld Drops Out
Bill Weld won't have to face charges of being a New York carpetbagger. He ended his bid in the governor's race. Either way State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer's strategy of campaign via lawsuit is working and he'll beat anyone the GOP throws at him.
Because I despise how Spitzer treated Strong Financial, forced the company to be sold, and caused hundreds of Wisconsin jobs to be lost I urge you to donate to John Faso. If he has a shot at beating Spitzer he'll need all the money he can get.
"Former Mass. Gov. Weld Drops out of New York Race"
June 05, 2006
Patrick Kennedy On the Loose
Beware Washington, D.C. drivers, pedestrians, and police. Rep. Patrick Kennedy left rehab at the Mayo Clinic and heading back to the capital.
"Patrick Kennedy Out of Rehab"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
Kennedy's Fantasy World
Salon (yes, Salon!) takes a shotgun to Robert Kennedy, Jr.'s claim the GOP stole the 2004 election.
Any talk about voter supression in 2004 has no credibility with me without at least briefly mentioning the Milwaukee tire slashings, actual documented and prosecuted voter supression. A search through Kennedy's article brought up nothing. There's no need for me to wade through pages of conspiracy theories and partisan bitterness.
June 01, 2006
A legislator in Taiwan created chaos by eating a piece of legislation. Odd you say? Well, part of Congress was shut down last week due to a construction noise that sounded like gunfire.
"Comparative Legislative Procedures"
May 31, 2006
Veteran Sues Michael Moore
Michael Moore is getting sued by an Iraq War vet Peter Damon who claims the rotund director used a video clip of him without permission.
I wondered why the $85 million lawsuit was filed now. Later on in the NY Post story I have my answer:
Lawyer Dennis Lynch said he took the case last year and they held off filing the lawsuit in a bid to settle the matter.
May 30, 2006
Policy Advisor Doctors Text
Karl Zinsmeister, President Bush's new domestic policy advisor admits he fiddled around with an interview with a news weekly and posted the edited version on his magazine's website. Here is the original version from the Syracuse New Times, and here's the doctored version on The American Enterprise website.
Zinsmeister told the Washington Post he edited it to correct errors. However, he wrote this to the New Times reporter Justin Park,
I really appreciate your professionalism and kindness. You wrote it straight up, which is the best and hardest kind of journalism. Let me know when I can next help out your journalism.
If Zinsmeister felt there were errors with the interview he had a great opportunity to make them known.
Zinsmeister engaged in intellectual dishonesty. Obviously he was embarassed with some of his words. He could have not published the article on his magazine's website letting it sink into the information quicksand or he could have added his comments after the unedited version. Zinsmeister took the "foolish" route.
Still, Zinsmeister will be just a policy advisor. He will be offering policy suggestions to the President. He won't be running a bureaucracy or implementing regulations. This is a stain on his writing and editing reputation, nothing more.
"New Policy Adviser Admits Altering Text"
"Questions Arising Over Quotations Of Zinsmeister"
May 24, 2006
Congressmen Concerned about FBI Raid
From a PR standpoint it's a bad idea for Congress to claim the FBI as part of the Executive Branch can't search a Congressman's office. There's a "speech and debate" clause protecting Congressman but it's not like diplomatic immunity which deals with questions of sovereignty. Appearing to protect a Congressman accused of bribery and others involved with Jack Abramoff's escapades won't help an already disliked Congress going into November's elections.
"F.B.I. Raid Divides G.O.P. Lawmakers and White House"
"Now They’re Worried about Sep of Powers?"
May 23, 2006
Lloyd Bentsen, R.I.P.
Former Texas Senator, Vice-Presidential candidate, and Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen died. I remember him best for his dig at Dan Quayle:
In the Oct. 5, 1988, vice presidential debate, Quayle said: "I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency."
"Former Democratic Sen. Lloyd Bentsen Dies"
May 22, 2006
A Political Butterfly Effect
The National Hurricane Center predicts 15 hurricanes this season. How much do they stand behind their prediction? Let's ask them how much money they want to bet. I'll bet you it wouldn't be much.
Then we have David Paulison, the guy temporarily running FEMA telling people, "We have to be able to take care of ourselves for the first 72 hours. What it does when we don't take care of ourselves is stop our first responders in the street from helping those really in need." If people had those expectation pre-Katrina there wouldn't have been such a loss of confidence in governmental leaders, especially the President. A better public attitude toward the federal government would mean better (but not great) poll numbers for Bush and the GOP Congress. Better poll numbers would mean a slightly better attitude among conservatives and not as much talk about a November electoral debacle.
In describing chaos theory it's been said a butterfly can cause a hurricane. Taking it to its absurdity that butterfly could cause the impeachment of a President.
"Experts: Hurricane Season Won't Match '05"
May 19, 2006
Once upon a time Congressmen and Senators stood before their respective bodies and quoted from great thinkers like Cicero, Montesquieu, Washington, and Jefferson. My how have times changed. Behold the Capitol Police's favorite Congressman, Cynthia McKinney:
Ms. McKINNEY. Mr. Chairman, the Congressional Black Caucus budget is a better statement for our country’s values. Educators are asking for a fully funded No Child Left Behind because America’s children are being left behind; seniors deserve accessible health care, but Medicare part D is leaving everyone confused; and veterans are only asking to receive the health care that recruiters promised them and that they deserve. But, you know, Tupac observed a long time ago that there’s money for war, but we can’t feed the poor.
"Come Back To Us, Cynthia McKinney"
May 18, 2006
Photo ID for Federal Elections
Sen. Mitch McConnell has an amendment to the immigration bill that would require voters to show photo ID before casting a ballot in a federal election. Since I don't think showing an ID is such a burden I have no problem with it.
Of course you will soon hear Democrats scream "disenfranchisement."
May 05, 2006
Patrick Kennedy Goes to Rehab
A responsible politician with a history of substance abuse would not only go into rehab but resign his office and stop embarassing his constituents. But Rep. Patrick Kennedy isn't responsible. He's a Kennedy. They think must be in office or in Patrick's words, "I need to stay in the fight." Other than his inner demons what has he been fighting? What has he accomplished? I hope Patrick finally gets the help he needs to get his life together.
"Rep Kennedy Seeking Addiction Treatment"
"Breaking News: Rep. Patrick Kennedy to Enter Rehab"
May 02, 2006
Plame Worked on Iran Nuke Issue
James Joyner comments on the story that Valarie Plame was working on Iranian nuclear issues when she was outed by Bob Novak:
Whoever blew her identity–and it’s far from clear that Rove was the first to do so, even discounting the fact that Aldridge Aimes had already done so years before–ruined whatever prospects she had for returning to work as an undercover officer in the future. That’s a bad thing. Depending on intent and the sequence of events, it’s also illegal. Peter Fitgerald and company are working on that angle as we speak. As Matt Drudge would say, it’s “DEVELOPING . . . ”
"Plame Working on Iran WMD When Outed"
April 29, 2006
McCain Proud to Limit Free Speech
What will I do should Sen. John McCain get the 2008 GOP Presidential nomination? He told Don Imus:
I would rather have a clean government than one where quote First Amendment rights are being respected, that has become corrupt. If I had my choice, I'd rather have the clean government.
Think he was taken out of context? Watch the video.
The guy has it backwards. More money goes into campaigns and lobbying when the government intrudes too much. Limit government, pulling back its influence in too many parts of our lives, then you'll see a reduction in activities designed to steer Leviathan in particular directions.
April 24, 2006
Malkin Mania Goes Overboard
Internet "civility" has reached a new low:
After nationally syndicated columnist and blogger Michelle Malkin posted the e-mail addresses and phone numbers of three members of Students Against War, they received a flood of obscene and harassing messages from around the country, including death threats. When a liberal Web site, in retaliation, published Malkin's cell phone number and home address, a full-blown blog war ensued.
Let's realize the SAW press release was on the organization's website. The students did a lousy job keeping their contact information private if that was their intention. If I were Malkin I would have removed the phone numbers and e-mails upon knowing the students were leaving death threats. As being the target of such threats I would think Malkin would understand. She didn't remove the information which made her behavior ill-mannered to say the least. That doesn't excuse Lefties publishing Malkin's phone number and home address that she never publicized. Now, she feels the need to make big changes in her life. Will that shut her up? No, it will only embolden her.
A lot of people acted in a very uncivilized manner. Such behavior makes all the participants looks nasty and brutish. Like most tit-for-tats there is no winner, and no one comes out looking clean.
Was McCarthy Played the Fool?
The funny thing about Mary McCarthy getting fired for leaking classified information to the Washington Post's Dana Priest is the information about CIA secret prisons and kidnappings might not be true:
Investigations into reports that US agents shipped prisoners through European airports to secret detention centers have produced no evidence of illegal CIA activities, the European Union's antiterrorism coordinator said yesterday.
Do you think McCarthy felt a lump the size of the Titanic drop in her stomach when she read that story?
Was McCarthy set up? Was the secret prison story made up to find CIA leaks? Is this part of a plan to clean house in the CIA?
April 23, 2006
The Watermelon Holiday
Jib reminds us that Earth Day coincides with Vladimir Lenin's birthday. Coincidence? I think not. Think of 04.22 as a day for watermelons. You know, those who are green on the outside and red on the inside. Their chief spokesman is ex-Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev now head of Green Cross International. Wow, another coincidence.
"April 22: Holiest of Days for Leftist Whack Jobs"
April 20, 2006
Going for the Trekkie Vote
George Takai, AKA Star Trek's Sulu, was in Madison Tuesday talking about gay rights as a spokesman for the Human Rights Campaign.
George spoke before a large group at the Humanities building on u-w's campus. He talked about his own relationship that has lasted almost 20 years. The campaign stopped in Wisconsin because of this fall's vote on the marriage amendment. Since he came out and started appearing on TV shows and discussing equality, he's received a lot of positive feedback from all kinds of people.
"Mr. Sulu For Equality"
April 10, 2006
Go to Rally, Get Credit
Some schools hand require their students to do some kind of community service. I'm not fond that political activity can be used to satisfy the requirement. I'm certainly not pleased simply attending an immigration rally will do it:
Montgomery County public school officials are awarding community-service credits to students who participate today in a pro-immigration rally on the Mall, angering some residents, who say the school system is supporting illegal activity.
Forced volunteering is repugnant to me; it immediately stops being a generous donation of one's time. That being said, teaching literacy, building homes for the homeless, and comforting sick kids all rise to a higher socially-important level than spending a few hours at a rally supporting people who broke the law.
If the Washington, D.C. rally is anything like the one in Dallas it will end up being a recruitment party for Democrats.
In Madison, WI State Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager won't be getting any school credit, but she will be pandering to illegal aliens and their supporters. Strange from a woman who was elected to enforce the law.
"Schools Draw Fire for Offering Credits for Protest"
April 09, 2006
MJS Continues to Oppose Free Speech
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board is consistent...consistently against free speech. They want limits on hard money, soft money, and now donations to 527s:
Our take: Whomever the 527s favored, their role was in dire need of regulation. The House bill reasonably limits donors to $25,000 yearly for partisan voter mobilization and $5,000 yearly for direct expenditures on federal elections.
Slowly but surely their future desire for restrictions will amount to public financing of campaigns and advocacy. In other words socialized free speech.
Want to talk about hypocrisy? It's hypocritical for the editorial board to want to limit the political speech of you and me but won't accept similar limits to themselves. You don't ever read them call for the government to limit the speech of the press. They don't even do it voluntarily. But see, they're the vaunted press. You, me, and those that donate to candidates and political organizations we're the bad guys. We're the evil special interests.
"Hypocrisy Abounds in Debate Over 527 Groups"
April 07, 2006
Wish I Were In D.C.
Being in nation's capital means you get to hang out with professional poker players who aren't fond of stupid bills that would ban online poker games.
"Poker with Jesus"
Karl Rove Told Me to Write This--Not!
There has been no mention of President Bush allowing Scooter Libby to "leak" until now because I don't think it's much of a story. If the President (or anyone he allows) can't declassify material then no one can. Voters had a chance to hold him accountable in 2004, and if the Congress is so upset with him they can try to impeach and remove him from office. That's how the system works. If you don't like it amend the constitution. If you don't want to do that waste your time putting anti-war measures on local ballots.
April 03, 2006
I'm So Ashamed
I only pump out 12.9 tons of CO2 a year. I'll have to start me a big family and get me one of those Hummers.
[via Shark and Shephard]
April 01, 2006
McKinney's Horrendous Hair
Call me superficial but I would have arrested Rep. Cynthia McKinney for that awful hairdo. Homeless chic isn't hip even in Washington, D.C., a beggar's paradise.
And don't get me started about her wild eyes. A mugger confronting her in a dark alley would run away screaming.
March 28, 2006
On Barbara Bush's Earmarked Donation
This is a brief follow-up to a post a few days ago on Barbara Bush's conditional donation of software to some Houston schools. It's garnered plenty of comments.
If the software is donated directly or the cash equivilent is donated to the relief fund Bush can claim both as deductions. In fact, according to my accountant, it would have been better tax-wise if she bought the software from Neil Bush's Ignite! Learning instead of donating cash. Bush's action is not self-maximizing. Plus, it wouldn't have been as noticable and not launched Bush bashers into a tizzy.
March 27, 2006
Sullivan Attacks Former First Lady
Andrew Sullivan extends his Bush bashing to former First Lady Barbara Bush. She directed a portion of a donation to a Hurricane Katrina relief fund to be used to buy educational software from her son Neil Bush's company Ignite Learning. That has "forced" Sullivan to dub Barbara "Marie Antoinette." How is this different from Bush buying the software from Ignite and donating it directly to Houston schools? There isn't a difference, and I think there would be no story if she had done that.
Let's take off our cynical glasses for one moment. Maybe Barbara Bush thinks Ignite's "Curriculum On Wheels" is a good product. Maybe she loves her son and thinks he's doing something important and helpful. It's sad to see some are at the point where anything a certain family does can only be self-aggrandizement. For people like Sullivan the Bush family is guilty until proven innocent.
"Katrina Donation Ignites Debate"
March 26, 2006
Censuring for Dollars
Sen. Feingold isn't the only Senator to use a Bush censure as a pretense for political fundraising.
March 25, 2006
Some Advice for the Immigration Demonstrators
To those who don't want tougher federal laws on illegal immigration, like the thousands who demonstrated in Los Angeles, I have some advice:
These two actions will earn you sympathy with a public that understands the universal desire to better one's self but is tired of law-breaking and its costs.
"Immigration Bill Sparks Protests, Bush Plea"
March 22, 2006
American for Prosperity (AFP) will announce tomorrow a nationwide bus tour to expose pork barrel spending. "The Ending Earmarks Express" will "roll out of Washington, DC, on April 7 and visit the sites of some of the nation’s most egregious and wasteful earmarks. Our inaugural swing in early April is largely scheduled, but we're planning to crisscross the nation until Congress passes real earmark reform." Embarassing wasteful spending politicians sounds like fun and is a good idea. (The green and gold logo is also a nice touch.)
March 21, 2006
Rich Liberal Raises NJ Taxes
It must be nice to be rich like New Jersey governor Jon Corzine. That way you can raise taxes to compensate for runaway state spending while not feeling the pain those taxes put on less-prosperous citizens.
There's a reason liberals are called "tax and spenders." It's because they are.
"Corzine to Hike Sales Tax in NJ Budget"
March 14, 2006
Federal Dole Increases Under Bush
President Bush's "compassionate conservatism" has amounted to more spending, higher deficits, and bigger government. Add this to the his legacy:
A USA TODAY analysis of 25 major government programs found that enrollment increased an average of 17% in the programs from 2000 to 2005. The nation's population grew 5% during that time. (Related: Federal entitlements have changed)
Lefties should love this. Government is growing, and more people are getting "aid." But Bush-haters' blinders prevent them from seeing that growth in government.
For conservatives like me we're happy with President Bush's tax cuts. However, we now know that the "starving the beast" approach to shrinking government hasn't worked.
"Federal Aid Programs Expand at Record Rate"
George Clooney: Despised by the Left
Clooney had this to say in a Huffpo Entry:
Before I could even write something on the idiocy of Clooney's statements, the liberals did it for me.
If Clooney can't even be accepted by the loons allowed to post on Huffpo, then he's got it bad. Who's going to go see his movies anymore?
March 13, 2006
Democrats Afraid of Feingold Embarassment
Sen. Bill Frist decided to call Sen. Russ Feingold's bluff and bring to a vote his motion to censure President Bush. Feingold's party cried foul:
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, moments ago, made a unanimous consent motion that the Senate vote on the resolution tonight. Maryland Democrat Paul Sarbanes rose to object to the motion. Frist then motioned to vote on the resolution again tomorrow. Sarbanes objected, saying no vote should take place on the resolution until Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid had cleared the timing.
Senate Democrats want it all: increased pressure on President Bush over Iraq and inflaming emotions of the Bush-hating Left to reap campaign funds for the fall's elections. Yet when it comes down to it, they don't want a vote that would make it apparent they don't want to fight a tough war against Islamism. They saw the embarassment after the House voted against Rep. John Murtha's call to retreat from Iraq and don't want it repeated just to advance the political career of an out-there Senator from Wisconsin.
Just because one claims Sen. Feingold's resolution is "moderate and reasonable" doesn't make it so. Reasonableness hasn't come much from a man who ran roughshod over citizens' free speech rights, AKA McCain-Feingold. The one who should be censured if Feingold for squelching political speech.
March 12, 2006
Wisconsin: Lagging Behind with Doyle
This makes Wisconsin look a little pathetic.
The article goes on to describe states across the country which are considering tax and expenditure limitations (TELs) or tax cuts, including such conservative bastions such as New York, Maine, and New Mexico.
All these states "revolting" against unfair taxation, and the best we can do is a weak, loophole laden Taxpayer Protection Amendment? Pathetic.
Also, doesn't this signal for successful elections for the GOP in the upcoming mid-term elections? With such adverse reactions to taxes, and such welcoming reactions to tax limits, shouldn't that go hand-in-hand with the election of conservatives?
Feingold Wants President Censured
Sen. Russ Feingold wants to take advantage of President Bush's low poll numbers and appear to be a leader to far-Left Democrats in preparation for a Presidential run. So he drops into ABC's This Week to call for President Bush's censure:
U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold this morning called for the censure of President Bush for what the senator called the "illegal wiretapping" of Americans.
Even with the GOP's mutiny on the ports deal censure is dead in the water. That changes if the Senate swings to the Democrats in November. However, Feingold is playing to to the Kos-Left. He's tending those roots since as a Senator from a smaller state he doesn't have an instant base of support. In short, he's pandering to his base.
"Feingold Calls for Bush's Censure"
UPDATE: Owen Robinson doesn't let me down:
Feingold’s call for Censure is an immature swipe from a Senator who feels powerless and marginalized - and not without some justification. It is an obvious attention seeking maneuver and fund-raising ploy.
"Feingold Wants to Censure Bush"
March 09, 2006
Doyle: Not Liberal Enough?
According to Madison's Cap Times, Governor Jim Doyle is not liberal enough.
In what world would voters in Wisconsin ever elect a Governor Barrett or a Governor Falk? Reasonable Democrats know that to win an election, they must assume at least some semblances of a Republican or conservative agenda, whether genuine or not.
At least Nichols is not blind to the blatantly obvious truth. Doyle is vulnerable, but not because of his lack of liberal ideas, but because of his ethics and his continual vetoes of bills passed in bi-partisan fashion that the people of Wisconsin support. However, Nichols excuses his actions,
So ethical issues are acceptable in the Democratic party as long as they don't get "worse." Democrats are prepared to overlook his serious ethical misdeeds in lieu of having an "aggressively conservative" Governor. Nichols is wrong, however: Doyle, if things stay as they are, will absolutely not prevail over either Mark Green or Scott Walker. In the poll released yesterday, Mark Green is tied with Jim Doyle.
If anything, Nichols' article shows the weakness of Doyle's reelection bid-the far left is willing to abandon him, Democrats feel "unconnected" to him, and moderates and independents are tired of his administration.
Republicans, on the other hand, are more than willing to fight for their nominee, whomever it may be.
March 08, 2006
A lot of right-wing people aren't happy with the President. I agree with many of their complaints. As for me I'm ticked off at Congressional Republicans who like to demogogue the Dubai Ports World deal. The biggest bozo is Rep. Jerry Lewis (how fitting):
"This is a national security issue," said Rep. Jerry Lewis, the chairman of the House panel, adding that the legislation would "keep America's ports in American hands."
Rep. Lewis needs better staff or gentle smack to the back of his head. DPW is buying a British company. If the deal is stopped the British company will still be handling loading and unloading at many U.S. ports. Also, in no way does the DPW deal hand over ports to anyone. Ports are owned by local governments. U.S. ports would never be in Dubai's (or any other nation's) hands.
Glenn Reynolds isn't pleased either.
"GOP House Panel Votes to Block Ports Deal"
UPDATE: If Rep. Lewis were smart (and judging my his quote above he isn't) he'd have Larry Johnson testify about security deficiencies at DPW-run ports. This is the first serious piece of evidence against the ports deal.
New Poll for Wisconsin
Strategic Vision has released new poll results for Wisconsin.
Owen at Boots and Sabers has extensive thoughts on the results.
I point out two key points at Right off the Shore.
Charlie Sykes sums it up.
Xoff throws his two cents in.
No Confidence in Dean?
Bill Crawford points out this story that shows a schism developing among even the far-left crowd. Ickes' group is pooling money to create a voter information database, to try to combat the GOP's incredibly successful efforts in this area.
Is it possible that they have awoken from their drunken stupor following their loss in 2004 to realize they have given control of their party to a lunatic? On second thought, the financier behind this "split" is Soros...not exactly the most level-headed, grounded person you'll ever meet.
They're Gonna Regret It!
Them's fightin' words. Newly elected Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia has proven that the relationship between the governor and the legislature will be strained, at best.
I can see why they voted against this guy--he is, apparently, tied closely to unions, and has, "compared the right-to-work law to segregation and plantation work."
February 28, 2006
More on Cheney Resignation
James Joyner doubts the Cheney rumor because
if the rationale for dumping Cheney is that he is a political liability, then why wait until after the only remaining election that directly impacts this president? The GOP could certainly use a boost to help ensure that it retains a majority in both Houses of Congress. Whatever buzz a new vice president would generate--and even a historic double like Condi Rice would generate only limited buzz--would long have dissipated by November 2008.
"Cheney to Resign after Midterm Elections?"
February 21, 2006
Bush Standing Firm on Ports Deal
I "misunderestimated" my President. He won't cave on letting Dubai Ports World run six U.S. ports. He even threatened to veto Congress' attempt to stop it. That would be his first veto ever. He told reporters it isn't about politics, it's about policy. More telling is his concern about "mixed messages:"
And the message is, it's okay for a British company, but a Middle Eastern company -- maybe we ought not to deal the same way. It's a mixed message.
At the White House Bush said,
[Dubai Ports World] is a company that has played by the rules, has been cooperative with the United States, from a country that's an ally on the war on terror, and it would send a terrible signal to friends and allies not to let this transaction go through.
Bush pretty much called opponents anti-Arab. And since I've seen nothing substantial from opponents I think the President is right. The best New Jersey Governor John Corzine could offer was a "deep, deep feeling this is the wrong direction for our nation to take."
Let's step away from all the posturing. This is a payoff to the United Arab Emirates for being an ally in the Islamist War. In the Middle East we need as many friends as we can get. Plus, connecting the region into the Core is vital for U.S. security. Hopefully the administration will be watching Dubai Ports World closely just to assuage concerns. Opponents of the ports deal will have to find something of substance, a pattern of security lapses for example, to kill the deal.
"Bush Shrugs Off Objections to Port Deal"
UPDATE II: Kevin @ Lakeshore Laments isn't troubled by the deal. He bases it on real-world experience, something most bloviators have little of. Both he and Bryan Preston @ JunkYardBlog are freaked Jimmy Carter came out for it.
February 17, 2006
Reading the incident report on Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting accident reinforces my belief that some nefarious plot took place last Saturday night.
The delay in Cheney talking to local police is due to Kenedy County Sheriff Ramon Salinas realizing the accident was just that and ordered a deputy to the Armstrong Ranch the next morning. If there was a cover-up why did the Secret Service call Sheriff Salinas again asking if a deputy would be coming out Saturday night?
In the incident report Vice President Cheney told a deputy he thought Harry Whittington was "approximately 30 yards" from him. After watching this video that probably wasn't the case. Call me a schill for the Bushies but a reasonable explanation is Cheney's bad at estimating distance. I'm bad at it. I know I could call 30 feet 30 yards.
Ultimately the biggest problem of any conspiracy and cover-up is too many people have to keep quiet. In this case the hunting party, the ranch owners, the Secret Service, the local sheriff, and hospitals where Whittington was treated all have to be on it.
"Debunking Cheneygate Myths"
February 16, 2006
Secret Earmark Meeting
American for Prosperity sources say a secret meeting of the Appropriations Committee Task Force on Earmark Reform may be happening even as we speak. Why are they hiding? What are they doing behind our backs to "reform" earmarks that bloat an already huge federal budget? The GOP better get its act together. Pissing off the base is the path to defeat in November.
The idea that Vice President Cheney would resign or be booted from the administration over a hunting accident is crazy. I don't care if a smart person like Virginia Postrel thinks that way. So I'm going to pretty much ignore the talk even though I'm amazed at how the story moved from "Cheney accidentally shoots a man" to "Cheney must go."
Still there is something interesting. Jim Geraghty wonders who would replace Cheney if he were to resign. With that decision President Bush could immediately sort out who had the inside track to the GOP nomination in 2004. It would also give a strong hint of what he wants his legacy to be. If Bush picked Rudy Giuliani it would mean fighting the Islamists and terrorism. If Sen. Sam Brownback were picked it would mean social conservatism would be what he'd want to be remembered for.
Here are some interesting choices:
"Peggy Noonan's Fun Thought Exercise: Who Would Replace Cheney?"
Congress Gets Free Porn
Larry Flynt is a very weird man.
"How Representative Can They Be If They All Turn Down Free Porn?"
Blast from the Past
Dana Milbank's hunter gear is just part of a MSM tradition.
February 14, 2006
Someone Tell PETA
Work on a Kos commercial is underway:
We need people for the commercial, people who look like the Democratic Party -- workers in hard hats, moms with kids, men and women in business suits, hippies, young and old, all colors, enviro types, college professors, young women, someone in a wheelchair, etc.
Ok, so the donkey's safe. It's the cast that's being exploited:
You'd get paid $1. [Will it be a shiny, politically correct Sacagawea coin?] But I'll get a personalized signed book to everyone who is in the commercial. You'll also get fed. And I suspect it'll be fun hanging out and chatting. I'll be there most of the day.
You'd have to pay me a lot to endure listening to Markos "Screw Them" Moulitsas.
Markos better be in the commercial. I've never seen an ass pull (or kick) another ass before. I wonder how much CGI they'll use to pull that trick? It should give Lord of the Rings a run for its money.
"Let Me Get this Straight - Your Book Ad features Someone Kicking a Donkey?"
The Brady's Poor Sense of Humor
Here's supposedly what James and Sarah Brady (of Brady Bill fame) said about the "Cheney's Got a Gun" incident:
James and Sarah Brady made comments today related to Vice President Cheney's reportedly accidental shooting yesterday in Texas.
I say "supposedly" because it has to be a joke. What person with a modicum of P.R. sense would let such insulting drivel be released? In no way does it advance the (incorrect) agenda of gun control and only serves to inflame your opponents.
But it's not a joke:
Sarah and Jim Brady, founders of a leading gun control group, had sharp comments for Vice President Dick Cheney as news of his weekend hunting mishap spread.
Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms executive director Joe Waldron said, "[The Bradys] have raised dancing in blood to a fine art."
That's what Mary Jo Kopechne would think.
Get your's now.
February 10, 2006
No Bills No Pay
Sen. George Allen wants Congressmen not to get paid if they can't get spending bills passed on time. Ed Frank of Americans for Prosperity writes,
I'm an Allen fan, but it seems to me that the problem isn't that spending bills aren't getting passed quickly enough - it's that they're too large. And the threat of not getting paid seems like it would lead to LESS discipline - not more. I'd rather have Senators fight it out for spending restraint rather than vote for a bad bill so they can get paid.
"Sen. Allen: Withhold Congressional Pay?"
February 04, 2006
Listen to Peggy Noonan in First TAM Podcast
Behold! I give you the first episode of Speak, TAM's podcast. I got comfortable using Audacity and even added ID3 tags to the mp3 file. It's a long show, 1:23, but that's because I didn't edit any of Noonan's remarks and didn't play with the bit rate enough. The sound quality is pretty good even though I only used an iRiver iFP-780 to record it.
The real bear was hosting. I tried uploading the big file (33 mb) to OurMedia with no success. It would be simpler if I could just FTP to my account. Instead, I'm taking a bandwidth risk and putting the first show on my web server. I should be safe since only a handful of people will download the show.
Here's the RSS feed: http://www.theamericanmind.com/podcast/rss.xml
Here's the URL for the mp3 if you just want to download it: http://www.theamericanmind.com/podcast/speak001_02_03_2006.mp3
I went to all this trouble because I want to podcast from CPAC next week, and for once I'm preparing ahead of time. The RSS feed should stay the same while I look into some podcast hosting solutions like Libsyn. Of course with links in the RRS feed you shouldn't care where episodes of Speak are located.
Please leave feedback. Tell me if you had trouble downloading the show or hearing the show. (It worked for me using iTunes.) I also want to know if you liked listening to the talk and respond to what Noonan said. I may hunt for future speeches to record. Leave a comment in this post or e-mail me at sean--at--theamericanmind--dot--com.
February 03, 2006
Peggy Noonan at Ripon
Despite the return of winter to Wisconsin Peggy Noonan did speak at Ripon College's "Ethics in Media" conference. I'm working on the write up as we speak, and hope to have a special treat for you.
For those attending tomorrow besides Fred Barnes speaking Charlie Sykes will be part of a panel discussing "The Role of the Public."
February 02, 2006
Boehner New Majority Leader
Rep. John Boehner became the new House Majority Leader on the second ballot. Rep. Roy Blunt, who claimed he had enough votes to get the job, couldn't get majority on the first ballot. That allowed supporters of Rep. John Shadegg to back Boehner instead of DeLay Lite.
Boehner now must get serious reforms passed through the House. Part of it should be some lobby reform. But nothing will squelch the desire of special interests to get tax perks or government benefits than reducing the size and scope of the federal government. If she weren't involved with everything from supporting milk prices, to tariffs, to funding pet projects, to how much water you toilet can use Washington, D.C.'s lobbying industry wouldn't be so active. A Missoula Missoulian editorial put it:
Congress wields immense power through its ability to tax and appropriate money, redistribute wealth and to impose regulation on every aspect of commerce and life. This power corrupts. Obtaining money from the government is worth a lot to various interests. So is obtaining exemptions to taxes or regulations, or to have regulations put in place benefiting one's interests. It's worth so much that individuals, businesses, industries and associations are willing to invest huge sums obtaining beneficial treatment from the government. There is more money and more power involved in this equation to overwhelm the integrity of most mere mortals.
Boehner must have the strength and political skill to re-kindle the shrink government fire that blazed inside the 1994 Republicans. Conservatives will be watching. Conservative webloggers will talking.
James Joyner is loaded to the max with links and blogosphere reaction.
"Rep. Boehner Elected House Majority Leader"
February 01, 2006
State of the Union 2006
Reading a State of the Union speech feels more productive than actually watching it. Rarely do these speeches lay out a big idea. Most of the time they're lists of items put together by policy wonks and politicos then massaged into respectible prose by speechwriters. Most of the items don't even become laws or policy. Some are immediately ignored as soon as they pass through the President's mouth. And the best part is I can ignore all the applause.
President Bush's second State of the Union speech had nothing startling. There was no new philosophy put forward. Bush attempted to advance many of the same ideas from previous years: entitlement reform; tax cuts; and staying the course in the Islamist War. One thing that was different from last year's speech was Bush went back to donning a blue tie.
On controversial NSA eavesdropping that included American citizens President Bush did move away from the defense he uttered when the NY Times broke the story:
So to prevent another attack -- based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute -- I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program to aggressively pursue the international communications of suspected al Qaeda operatives and affiliates to and from America. Previous Presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have, and federal courts have approved the use of that authority. Appropriate members of Congress have been kept informed. The terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with al Qaeda, we want to know about it, because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.
After failing last year to get anything done on Social Security reform the President again talked about entitlements:
So tonight, I ask you to join me in creating a commission to examine the full impact of baby boom retirements on Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This commission should include members of Congress of both parties, and offer bipartisan solutions. We need to put aside partisan politics and work together and get this problem solved.
Great, another commission that will publish a report no one will read and will only be discussed on News Hour.
Democrats showed a lack of class when they applauded not acting on any proposal to salvage Social Security. David J. at ResurrectionSong wrote,
Here’s the fact: Social Security (and all of our big, scary entitlement programs) are a serious growing threat to the long-term well being of our country. There should be no celebrating the fact that we couldn’t find the right solution to the problem, there should be a renewed interest in finding the right solution and a disappointment that we couldn’t create the right framework for attacking the problem. Seriously, folks, our growing entitlement spending is as big a problem (and, arguably, it qualifies as a national security issue) as radical Islamic terrorists. It doesn’t have the immediate sense of threat, I admit, but the problem grows more and more difficult to handle with each passing year.
Illegal immigration concerns much of the populace. The President delivered an entire paragraph on the subject:
Keeping America competitive requires an immigration system that upholds our laws, reflects our values, and serves the interests of our economy. Our nation needs orderly and secure borders. To meet this goal, we must have stronger immigration enforcement and border protection. And we must have a rational, humane guest worker program that rejects amnesty, allows temporary jobs for people who seek them legally, and reduces smuggling and crime at the border.
Like the botched Miers nomination Bush is listening to his conservative base--not always a good thing. We now see the full effect of the Minutemen Project.
On energy the President spat out conventional wisdom. He said, "America is addicted to oil, which is often imported from unstable parts of the world. The best way to break this addiction is through technology." Actually, the best way to change people's behavior is to change their incentives. Gas at over $2 a gallon is driving buyers to look for more fuel-efficent vehicles and encouraging car manufactuers to develop gas-electric hybrids and hydrogen-powered products. Prices in a free market will do more to ease America's "addiction" than Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative. At least he mentioned nukes. The time has come to drive out the nation's irrational fear of that cleaner, bountiful energy source.
On taxes, the President called Congress to make his tax cuts permanent. If it doesn't taxpayers will be hit hard with big tax increases. On the flipside unless this President is willing to veto bloated spending bills than go beyond the government's constitutional authority then we'll sink into more and more debt.
In his laundry list there was only one item of significence to pro-lifers. President Bush wants Congress to "to pass legislation to prohibit the most egregious abuses of medical research: human cloning in all its forms, creating or implanting embryos for experiments, creating human-animal hybrids, and buying, selling, or patenting human embryos." Despite his truth when he declared, "Human life is a gift from our Creator -- and that gift should never be discarded, devalued or put up for sale," the feds should only regulate the interstate commerce aspects of human cloning. Like abortion, these decisions should be left to the individual states.
No mention of China. Interesting. Beijing mustn't have been pleased.
Someone needs to shake up the State of the Union speech. The laundry list is cliche, the applause are cliche, and the required mention of someone in the gallery is cliche. Given the audience watching the State of the Union Presidents should either advance a grand vision or flesh out new ideas; or else just do like President Jefferson did and send a written statement to Congress and let the talking heads save their breath.
"President Bush Delivers State of the Union Address"
January 31, 2006
Holding Off on SotU Response
Instead of watching a replay of the State of the Union speech I'll be catching up with yesterday's 24. I did catch part of Virginia governor Tim Kaine's speech was pretty good. It was full of good spirit and moderate in temperment. He impressed me.
January 29, 2006
Kennedy Joines the Kosites
It's complete. Kos owns the Democratic Party. Like Hamas in Palestine he's going to have a hell of a time managing things.
[via Baseball Crank]
Sheehan Still Considering a Senate Run
An Alito filibuster might not be enough to keep Cindy Sheehan from running for the U.S. Senate:
Sheehan said running in the Democratic primary would help make a broader point.
Please! Please! Please! Run, Cindy run!
Seriously, other than sheer entertainment value a Cindy Sheehan run for California Senator would be immediately dead in the water. She's a kook who hangs around Hugo Chavez and Harry Belafonte. She'd grab the votes of only the Joel Steins of California and not those who still love their country but have become disillusion over the Iraq War. Plus the California GOP has shown no ability to field a credible state-wide candidate who isn't a celebrity.
"Cindy Sheehan May Challenge Calif. Senator"
"Gifts From The Left"
January 28, 2006
Diane, We Want the Kook to Run
Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), for the love of webloggers and comedians do not filibuster Judge Alito. We want to watch Cindy Sheehan and her band of Hugo Chavez-loving pinkos try to unseat you. It won't succeed, but think of our entertainment value. Cindy will be able to produce enough wacky quotes to keep webloggers and the Daily Show busy for months.
"Sheehan to Feinstein: Filibuster Alito, Or I'll Run Against You"
UPDATE: Sen. Feinstein let me down:
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted against Alito's nomination, said she will vote against ending debate Monday, a procedure known as cloture.
So much potential entertainment swept away by one statement. *SIGH*
Thanks go to Kevin Binversie @ Lakeshore Laments for the tip.
January 16, 2006
Tee Bee honors Dr. Martin Luther King. Orrin Judd points out the quality of MLK's opponents had something to do with his achievements.
"MLK and His Dream Today"
January 14, 2006
Signing on the Bottom Line
I'm adding my name to this online petition:
We are bloggers with boatloads of opinions, and none of us come close to agreeing with any other one of us all of the time. But we do agree on this: The new leadership in the House of Representatives needs to be thoroughly and transparently free of the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandals, and beyond that, of undue influence of K Street.
The big problem with the GOP in Washington is they only talk about limited government. Pork barrel spending and Jack Abramoff are only symptoms of the disease that is Big Government. I hope that the new House Majority Leader will push legislation and spending that aligns with the government's constitutional duties.
January 13, 2006
Anti-Kennedy Column Spiked
Radio yapper and weblogger Kevin McCullough (who I met at CPAC 2005) had his latest column spiked by World Net Daily. They told him it was too "violent." All Kevin did was write was Sen. Ted Kennedy "needs a beating." If you read the whole thing you'll know Kevin's point. As he puts it, "What do I look like - a liberal?"
Odd that WND, not known for their timidity when it comes to bashing the Left, held back.
"Why Ted Kennedy Deserves a Beating..."
January 06, 2006
Robertson's Comments: "Bizarre"
Bravo to Bob Schieffer and CBS News for not using Pat Robertson's comment that Ariel Sharon's stroke was God's wrath as representative of conservative evangelical Christians. Brian Montopoli questioned Schieffer:
I asked "Evening News" host Bob Schieffer for his thoughts on Robertson and whether he thought there were others who better represent evangelicals.
January 05, 2006
BDS in Full Effect
Bush Derangement Syndrome has flared up after the West Virginia coal mine deaths. Ed Garvey [via Charlie Sykes] blames Bush for the Sago mine accident by accusing him of appointing cronies to weaken safety regulations. Scott Shields denies blaming Bush (he did) and accused him of advancing "bad policy that habitually favors profit over people."
Pat Robertson: Moronic Knob
Pat Robertson shot off his mouth (again) by claiming Ariel Sharon's stroke was God's wrath for handing over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians. Robertson said, "The prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who, quote, 'divide my land.' God considers this land to be his."
I found the passage Robertson refers to:
I will gather all nations
Not being as Bibically well-versed as Robertson but capable of reading within some context I conclude he's got the meaning of the verse backwards. God will enter judgement against "all nations," not Israel, because they scattered the Israelites and divided the land. Who knows if this was in reference to events near Joel's time rather than the Apocalypse. One must be careful when quoting prophesy. You can get burned or look like a fool. Oh, wait. This is Pat Robertson we're talking about. He's already a fool. Only now he sounds like Iran's crazy President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Word of advice: Pat, turn the 700 Club into a video podcast. There will be less of a chance of me running into any more of your crazy remarks.
"Robertson Blamed Sharon Stroke on Policy of 'Dividing God's Land'"
January 03, 2006
Coal Mine Accident is Bush's Fault
The West Virginia coal mine tragedy, it's Bush's fault because "he didn't do anything to prevent it." I guess George Bush "doesn't care about" coal miners either.
Abramoff Plea Bargans
The Jack Abramoff has the potential to deliver a sledgehammer blow the Congressional Republicans. He may have worked (and I'm using that term lightly) with Democrats, but his history is with the GOP. Now that he's pled guilty to fraud charges and will cooperate with prosecutors. I haven't read much on what he's been up to, but Abramoff's activities eerily resemble the pay-to-play scandals that are surrounding Gov. Jim Doyle and put Chuck Chvala in jail.
Damage will be done to the Republicans if the corruption is extensive. That means either a lot of Congressmen and/or Senators traded votes for campaign contributions and/or gifts, or a few leaders get caught. Until today, I've never heard of House Administration Committee chairman Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), so if he goes to trial it doesn't hurt the GOP too much. Tom DeLay doesn't hurt either because he's no longer in leadership and doesn't look to return. Now, if more important committee chairman, Majority Leaders, or even House Speaker Dennis Hasstert then the Democrats can (correctly) label the GOP the "Party of Corruption." Big ideas won't be the talk on the campaign trail. Instead "character," "integrity," and "gotcha-journalism" will reign throughout this year's Congressional elections.
Around the 'sphere, The Political Teen caught Chris Matthews calling Abramoff "satan." John Matthews at NewsBusters noticed the NY Times "forgot" Abramoff lobbied Democrats including Senators Tom Daschle and Harry Reid. Mustang Bobby hands the whole scandal to the GOP: "No, this baby is all theirs." Augustine at RedState divides Republicans into the "Do as you're told" kind and the "Do what's right."
"Abramoff Pleads Guilty, will Cooperate"
December 31, 2005
Roger Scruton Interviewed
Before you get all wild and crazy this New Year's Eve here's an interview with conservative philospher Roger Scruton from last month on the 25th anniversary of his book The Meaning of Conservatism.
"The Joy of Conservatism: An Interview with Roger Scruton"
December 30, 2005
Majority Approve NSA Eavesdropping
64% of respondents in a Rassmussen poll approve of the government being "allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States."
So what? Something being right and wrong, constitutionality or unconstitutionality doesn't depend on public opinion. It only means President Bush's opponents won't be able to turn the NSA story into a damaging political attack.
"64% Approve Of NSA Intercepts"
December 29, 2005
Presidential Power in Wartime
If, as news accounts suggest, the action was part of Vice President Cheney’s campaign to strengthen the executive against the legislature, it is not a warranted adjustment in the balancing of liberty and security, but an act arrogance that the administrationcan ill afford when it needs the support of moderates in perilous times.
I wonder how Cheney could make his case that the President's powers have been unconstitutionally limited unless he had a tangible example at hand. Think tanks and scholars have argued about the constitutionality of such laws as the War Powers Act and how much Congress can limit a President (beyond funding) for years, but it's all remained theoretical. Presidents ignore it, and Congress hasn't gone to court to enforce it. If Cheney and the rest of the administration pre-Sep. 11 had argued Presidential power during wartime was as broad as they claim it would have been only a small story, and debate would have been minimal.
From my plain reading of the constitution (something very old fashioned) I think Cheney and John Yoo make a reasonable case. Congress shouldn't be able to run roughshod over the President, and the courts have their limited place as well. However, to get things done with Congress the administration needs to explain itself and retain the "support of moderates in perilous times," the most important part of Nye's post. From recent history, we know Dick Cheney is not best generator of goodwill on Capitol Hill.
UPDATE: If you don't know if you should buy Yoo's book download his 2004 paper "War, Responsibility, and the Age of Terrorism." I'm about a third through it and it's fascinating reading.
Breaking News in the Valarie Plame Case
Valarie Plame's and Joe Wilson's 5-year-old son spilled the beans and told reporters, "My daddy's famous, my mommy's a secret spy." No word if Peter Fitzgerald will ask a grand jury to indict him.
"CIA Couple Outed by 5-Year-Old Son"
December 19, 2005
Since this is ultimately a political issue Bush bashers will have a problem. They can't argue the government has no right to ever secretly intercept communications without a warrant because any reasonable person could imagine a (non-24) scenerio. A few days into the story and already Bush critics are digging into line-by-line analysis of FISA law. I can already see people's eyes glazing over.
At worst the President can be accused of overzealous prosecution against terrorists. Now, if it comes out that the NSA, FBI, or the Defense Department is found to be spying on political enemies (and I don't consider the recent DoD revelation to be such) then it becomes Nixonian. The public will tolerate, to an extent, actions done with good intentions. They will not tolerate using government power for personal or political gain.
Steven Taylor makes a good point:
In terms of reaching understanding, the sad part is that it seems to me that too many on the left are prepared to assume evil and too many on the right are automatically predisposed to assume good. It is rather difficult to have a cogent policy debate in such a context, is it not?
Also, we don't have a full understanding of how the spying program operates and what the thinking of all the participants is. The program may be constitutionally "reasonable" but as James Joyner asks why wasn't a FISA court warrant gotten after the fact. Ann Althouse hopes upcoming Congressional hearings will shed more light on this including "the question of who blew the secret and why." RedState.org's Leon H. writes that the case of President Bush violating the law "is anything but the slam dunk the media and the Democrats (sorry for being redundant) are making it out to be."
One more thing: if is see someone slap a "-gate" onto this story I'll puke. Think of something original.
"Purposely Misquoting FISA to Defend the Bush Administration"
"Much Ado About Nothing"
"Update on FISA Question"
Patriot Act Abuse
Earlier this week, I was chastised for making the point that no one has come forward with any claims of abuse of the Patriot Act. DJ said that's because people are legally prevented from talking about it. But when has that ever stopped the ACLU or the NY Times? You'd think the former would have listed examples of abuse in its talking points. The latter went to the Supreme Court to defend their right to publish the Pentagon Papers. Also, something being "classified" didn't stop the Times from telling the world (and terrorists) about the NSA monitoring their conversations with people inside the U.S.
But don't take my word for it. Here's FBI Agent Timothy Fuhrman from the Salt Lake City office:
The record is clear - since the inception of the Patriot Act there has not been one finding that the FBI has ever misused the authority granted to it by the Patriot Act.
"FBI Has Never Misused Authority Granted in the Patriot Act"
December 16, 2005
Patriot Act Filibustered
The Senate couldn't defeat a filibuster by Sens. Larry Craig (R-ID) and Russ Feingold (D-WI) that would extend provisions of the Patriot Act.
In a related note one of the elements of the House-Senate compromise includes tightening "restrictions on cold medications that can be cooked into methamphetamine and increases penalties on methamphetamine production and trafficking." Give me a break. Al Qaeda is too busy building bombs to care about cold medication. More creeping government.
"Senate Rejects Extension of Patriot Act"
UPDATE: JunkYardBlog makes an important point:
PATRIOT hasn’t resulted in any—not one—of the legions of abuses many people feared with varying degrees of reasonableness.
UPDATE II: Sen. Feingold posted at TPMCafe just after the cloture vote failed.
December 09, 2005
Does anyone remember President H.W. Bush speaking before international leaders (or the general public for that matter) and bashing his successor? When I was working in the Twin Cities in 1998 President H.W. Bush was the keynote speaker at a fundraising dinner for the Minnesota Family Council. In preparation for the event we were told he wouldn't criticize President Clinton. He didn't think such public acts were appropriate for an ex-President. That's class, something the most recent ex-Prez doesn't have.
"Clinton Says Bush Is 'Flat Wrong' on Kyoto"
UPDATE: Amy Ridenour's husband reports from Montreal.
December 08, 2005
Helping Out Scooter
The NY Sun editorial board is urging readers to donate to Scooter Libby's legal defense fund. I won't be. While I think it's ridiculous for Patrick Fitzgerald to prosecute Libby for lying about a crime he can't prove (a la Martha Stewart) I won't condone Libby's lying to investigators and a grand jury.
Tom Maguire almost endorses it.
"A Season for Giving"
December 06, 2005
What did I learn from Pajamas Medias Blogjam on partisan polarization? Debating it causes a lot of it.
"Are Left-Right Politics Becoming too Polarized?"
"Intellectual Lap Dancer"
Arianna Huffington, always the attention-grabber, gets profiled in Vanity Fair. My favorite line is when someone refers to her as an "intellectual lap dancer."
December 02, 2005
Is Trouble Brewing in the White House?
According to Insight President Bush and Vice President Cheney have a strained relationship, and it all has to to with Iraq:
The sources said the indictment and resignation of Lewis "Scooter" Libby marked the final straw in the deterioration of relations between President Bush and Mr. Cheney. They said Bush aides expect that any trial of Mr. Libby, Mr. Cheney's long-time chief of staff, would open a closet of skeletons regarding such issues as Iraq, the CIA and the conduct of White House aides.
This story is one annonymous on top of another. So I'm taking it with a grain of salt.
Add this to Steve Clemons [via MEJ] pushing the rumor that Barbara Bush wants changes in the White House. "Watch for a lot to change right after the State of the Union address, I've been told," Clemons writes.
"Bush Takes Cheney Out of the Loop on National Security"
November 29, 2005
How Nice of Them
How beholden to labor unions is the Democratic Party? Very.
The Democratic National Committee plans to hold a meeting of about 400 people in New Orleans early next year as a way to express confidence in the city's future after Hurricane Katrina, officials said.
Other than in government, labor unions have been dying yet they still control the Democratic Party.
"Democrats to Hold Meeting in New Orleans"
November 24, 2005
Hugh Hewitt's Presidential Straw Poll
We're not even to the 2006 mid-term elections but Hugh Hewitt is running a Presidential straw poll. Vote so we can see who TAM readers are leaning toward.
November 21, 2005
Armitage Under the Microscope
Is Richard Armitage Bob Woodward's Deep Throat II? Tom Maguire has the analysis.
"Sources of Confusion"
November 16, 2005
Fitzgerald Questions Woodward
Bob Woodward, the only guest you should bother watching on Larry King*, was questioned for two hours by Patrick Fitzgerald. This was a depostion in a law office, not before a grand jury although Woodward believes he testified before one. As far a I know a new grand jury hasn't been convienced, but Woodward's testimony could just be read to a new one. This doesn't appear to be a deposition in preparation for Scooter Libby's trial. Maybe it's both; I don't know much about legal procedure other than what I've seen on Law & Order.
Woodward's part of the story helps Libby a little:
William Jeffress Jr., one of Libby's lawyers, said yesterday that Woodward's testimony undermines Fitzgerald's public claims about his client and raises questions about what else the prosecutor may not know. Libby has said he learned Plame's identity from NBC's Tim Russert.
Still, Woodward doesn't exonerate Libby. As Tom Maguire points out:
As to the specifics of the Libby indictment, a bold prosecutor might press ahead - arguably, Libby's statement that he believed he was hearing about Plame for the first time when he spoke to Russert is still false, and arguably, Libby's assertions that he sourced his knowledge to other reporters when he spoke to Miller and Cooper are also false.
"Woodward Was Told of Plame More Than Two Years Ago"
"Woodward Testifies in CIA Leak Probe"
*You do have to put up with Woodward's valium-induced state. The man could sit in a Georgtown Starbucks pumping down espressos all day and still put you to sleep after three minutes of talking to him.
November 08, 2005
Democrats Sweep Governors Races
With his big bankroll and bigger name it really would have been news if Sen. John Corzine lost in the New Jersey governor race to Doug Forrester. In Virginia Lt. Gov Tim Kaine beat Jerry Kilgore. In that race President Bush only campaigned for Kilgore Monday night. With the President's popularity tanking the Kilgore campaign probably didn't want him anywhere near him until the last moment to turn out the base. On the plus side as Kos notes the Democrats held both seats.
Power Line's Paul Mirengoff doesn't see the Virginia race as an example of national Democratic strength:
The Democrats will trumpet this win as evidence that they are on the comeback trail. They may very well be on that trail, but this race provides no good evidence of it. Kaine won because Democratic governor Mark Warner is extraordinarily popular (his approval rating is around 70 percent). There are no national implications here, unless the Dems are wise enough to run Warner for president in 2008, and they aren't. Recall too that Warner was elected governor in 2001 at a time when President Bush's popularity was at an all time high. And the Dems elected two governors in Virginia during the Reagan years. This race has never been tied to, or reflective of, national politics.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is disappointed:
Disappointing that the Republican candidates were somewhat lame (more than "somewhat" in New Jersey). Disappointing that the conventional wisdom on the Bush administration for a while now will be something like the Googlebombed Google "failure" read. This too will pass, however, I'm fairly certain. Still, the champagne popping is all on the Left tonight on the East Coast, anyway. (I don't have high expectations in Cali, but I'll hold onto hope on parental notification until it's over.) Republicans are more scotch tonight.
What this tells the President and the GOP is they have to get their act together. Domestically we see that compassionate conservatism ended up being big government conservatism. That has to change. Enough with the spending spree, fight to retain tax cuts, develop a new pitch for private Social Security accounts, and finally veto a bill. Disappoint the base, and they'll not show up to vote.
On the war front, the President has to find a way to cut through the negativity surrounding Iraq. The place has gone from authoritarian rule to constitutional democracy in three years! That's something to be proud of. Bush needs to go into campaign mode. Stop sending Karen Hughs globe-trotting. Bring her back into the White House to develop effective messages to encourage Americans that their first opinions of the Iraq War were the right ones.
I have two big suggestions: 1.) get Condi Rice out of the State Department. Influence in the administration means access to the President. As National Security Advisor Rice has better, faster access to the President than she does as Secretary of State. She'd do a better job helping her boss if she wasn't busy dealing with the institutional morass at Foggy Bottom. If this means having Dick Cheney retire and putting Condi in as VP so be it. 2.) Find out how distracted Karl Rove is with the Fitzgerald investigation or see if he's tired. Working in an administration really wears people down. Being the target of a special prosecutor makes it even more stressful. For the 2006 Congressional elections Bush needs a completely focused Rove or else he's a two-year lame duck. If Karl can't cut it dump him. Bring in Ken Mehlman or even your dad's political wizard James Baker. Baker's probably too old, but the point is to get talented strategists who are willing to bleed through 2006.
"Democrats Win Gov. Races in N.J., Va."
November 05, 2005
Critical Days for Rove
If it weren't Sen. Trent Lott calling for Karl Rove to lose his policy-making position in the White House I'd say signs are there for the Architect's demotion. White House staffers with access to classified material will attend ethics meetings by order of President Bush.
There's also this trial balloon floated in the Washington Post:
Some senior aides have privately discussed whether it is politically tenable for Rove to remain in the White House even if he is not charged. Others raised the possibility of Rove apologizing for his role, especially for telling White House spokesman Scott McClellan and Bush that he was not involved in the leak. McClellan relayed Rove's denial to the public.
I see Rove offering a mea culpa in a few days. The response to it will determine his status in the White House.
"Bush Orders Staff to Attend Ethics Briefings"
October 29, 2005
Message from the Afterlife
[via the Commissar]
October 28, 2005
Do you smell that? That's Scooter Libby as toast.
Lying to investigators and to a grand jury is a crime. Those who commit it should be prosecuted and punished. There's no need for me to defend Libby. If I did what he's accused of doing I'd be going to jail. No pity for Libby.
The indictment deals with lying and perjury. It doesn't get to the heart of the Plame story. Who told Bob Novak about Plame? Tom Maguire guesses it was Ari Fleischer. Was Plame covert? Fitzgerald said her status was classified, but there wasn't enough for him to charge Libby with that crime. Bob Woodward told Larry King that there was no damage. Libby isn't accused of talking to Novak. Libby talked to Judy Miller who, ironically, didn't write a story about Plame.
"Cheney Adviser Indicted in CIA Leak Case"
UPDATE: Cheney's office and Rep. Jack Kingston issued releases on Scooter's resignation.
Ace questions why Fitzgerald took two years to see if a crime was even committed:
And so here we are. No crime was committed BEFORE the investigation, so he indicts someone on five charges (?) for statements made in the course of the investigation.
That gives this a Martha Stewart feel.
October 26, 2005
Indictments on the Valarie Plame case are rumored to be coming. I'll say it again: Scooter Libby is toast. Not for blowing the cover of a secret agent, (A real covert agent told the Washington Times, "She made no bones about the fact that she was an agency employee and her husband was a diplomat.") but for lying to investigators. It will be a Martha Stewart prosecution where Libby will be accused of lying about a crime the prosecution can't prove happened. Or he could have lied to a grand jury which is a big, no huge, no-no.
If Libby lied to a grand jury I want to see him do the perp walk. Then I'd like to see more about Joe Wilson's self-aggrandizement and lies that started this whole mess.
"'Indictments Coming Tomorrow; Targets Received Letters Today'"
October 25, 2005
On the Miers nomination Robert at Watchman's Words asks,
When it comes to the subject of loyalty and support, who owes whom? To what degree does a President owe his supporters the fulfillment of his campaign promises? To what degree do a President's supporters owe him their support when he does not (or appears to not) fulfill those promises? Who bears the responsibility for a split in ranks--the leader or the followers?
A key principle in politics is prudence. Sometimes a political promise can't be kept because of changing situations. Maybe the reason Harriet Miers was picked was because all President Bush's other choices declined. If that's the case the President should have done some serious thinking to find a way to make the nomination process less politically charged.
A politician is selected by his constituents for his judgement. He is not a rubber stamp of the public's will. The politician shouldn't come to his decision based on opinion polls. He's in office to use his mind and mouth to do what he thinks is right. The constituents have the opportunity to judge him at election tim or if the politician is really bad by recall.
Similarly, constituents must use prudence in determining if the politician has broken a campaign promise and for what reason. The constituents have to examine whether the political, economic, or cultural environment has changed to make the promise impossible to fulfill or to drain the politician's reserve of political capital so as to make him unless in tackling other issues. Few politicians run solely on one issue. Likewise, most voters don't care only about one issue. It becomes a process of weighing the costs and benefits of addressing particular issues.
For both sides communication is key. The politician needs to convey why he's doing what he's doing in a way his constituents can accept (but not always in a way to tip off his political opponents). Constituents need keep their eyes on the politician and let him know when they opprove or disapprove of his actions. Handling this give-and-take is part of what makes politics an art rather than a science.
"Which Way Does the Arrow of Responsibility Point?"
October 20, 2005
The Hammer Turns Himself In
"Now Ronnie Earle has the mugshot he wanted," DeGuerin said, referring to the Travis County district attorney who brought the charges. DeLay and his lawyer have accused the district attorney of trying to make headlines for himself.
What a grin. You'd never think this was a mug shot. He's always the politician.
Here's a question to those who think DeLay is a scoundrel: assuming he's guilty of all the crimes Ronnie Earle accuses him of does he deserve life imprisonment? Seriously, is political corruption on par with murder or rape?
"Lawmaker DeLay Arrested, Charged in Texas"
Sen. Judd Gregg won the lottery, but he's not going to Disneyworld.
"NH Sen. Gregg Wins Portion of Powerball, to Donate to Father’s Charity"
October 17, 2005
Bloomberg has a lengthy article on the possibility Vice President Dick Cheney is the target of the Valarie Plame investigation. Maybe this is why Lynne Cheney told Time her husband won't be running for President in 2008.
What we see more sure of is Lewis "Scooter" Libby's indictment. He wrote a letter to NY Times reporter Judith Miller that could be construed at trying to guide her grand jury testimony:
Miller, 57, said she went to jail rather than testify because, unlike other reporters, she didn't feel Libby had given her specific and voluntary permission to speak about their confidential conversations. She relented when Libby contacted her by telephone and letter last month, saying he had always expected her to testify.
The Plame story began when Bob Novak mentioned the CIA operative in a column. The special prosecutor has been busy trying to get some reporters to testify while Novak has flown below the radar. He's been pretty quiet. If Libby or even Karl Rove ends up being indicted will that unlock Novak? He's the one I'm most interested in hearing.
A new interesting angle is Joe Wilson considering suing the White House after Patrick Fitzgerald finishes his work:
In an interview yesterday, Wilson said that once the criminal questions are settled, he and his wife may file a civil lawsuit against Bush, Cheney and others seeking damages for the alleged harm done to Plame's career.
This issue will be dogging President Bush et al until he's out of office.
October 12, 2005
Scooter is Toast
Vice President Cheney's chief of staff Scooter Libby sure looks like he obstructed justice to me. Another instance of the cover up being worse than the crime (if any):
In two appearances before the federal grand jury investigating the leak of a covert CIA operative's name, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, did not disclose a crucial conversation that he had with New York Times reporter Judith Miller in June 2003 about the operative, Valerie Plame, according to sources with firsthand knowledge of his sworn testimony.
Even worse for Libby is the possibility he really didn't want Judith Miller to testify and allowed her to sit in jail for 85 days. If true, that's low, really low. I say Scooter's overstayed his welcome.
Tom Maguire sees nothing good for Libby in this. It's either "bad" or "really bad."
October 08, 2005
ScrappleFace asks, "What Would Kristol Do?"
Miller's Notes Confiscated
NY Times reporter Judith Miller gave Patrick Fitzgerald June 2003 notes from a conversation with Dick Cheney's chief of staff Scooter Libby. The conversation took place a month before Joe Wilson wrote his op-ed accusing President Bush of lying about Iraq's pursuit of uranium in Africa. Reuters' Adam Entous writes,
A column by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times on May 6, 2003 may have been the trigger for the interest by Cheney's office, the sources said.
This looks like spinning went out of control. Libby wanted to make sure reporters knew the CIA was behind Wilson's trip. Did Libby state Valarie Plame worked for the CIA? Probably, but that's because it was common knowledge in Washington. Her name is in Who's Who in America. Odd for a secret agent. It just took Bob Novak a few calls and some synapses to fire to put it together.
But that might not matter. Outing Plame may not be the crime Fitzgerald uses for indictments. He might just use a good, old-fashioned espionage charge.
Conspiracy or espionage. Either way Bush and Cheney better start some quiet job searches for some post-indictment openings.
"Reporter Turns Over Notes in CIA Leak Case"
October 04, 2005
Hello, I'm a Social Liberal
According to this political test I'm a "capitalist." I'm right there with Thomas Jefferson and *ack* Ted Nugent. More specifically I'm a "social liberal" and an "economic conservative." The social liberal description is misleading. I think a lot of culture is crap, but I just don't want laws passed prevent people from consuming crap. How about calling me a classical liberal curmudgeon or a pro-life, free-marketer?
[via Classical Values]
UPDATE: I'm right there with Owen and Jed of Boots & Sabers. Nice company to be in.
September 28, 2005
Conservatives rejected Rep. Dreier as interim Majority Leader.
DeLay, according to several GOP sources, knew that House rules would give him no choice but to step down immediately. But he made clear to Hastert, his longtime friend and protege, that he was determined to fight the charges and return to power as soon as possible.
Rep. Roy Blunt is DeLay's replacement for now. Reuters is reporting [via TPM] that he and Dreier will "share some leadership responsibilities." It's nice to see conservative Republicans are feisty and getting tired of the current leadership. They have a little momentum. Let's hope they can turn that into getting some real spending cuts passed. That should create a positive loop with the grassroots. As with anything in Washington, I'm preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.
The Hammer Got Nailed
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay was indicted by a Texas grand jury for campaign finance violations. James Joyner utters the maxim that a "prosecutor could persuade a grand jury to 'indict a ham sandwich.'" The Texas Democratic prosecutor Ronnie Earle has a history of putting partisanship above ethics while also taking down prominent Democrats. Mark Levin read the indictment and writes,
Moreover, not only is there no information about DeLay committing acts in furtherance of a conspiracy, there's no information about DeLay entering into a conspiracy. I honestly believe that unless there's more, this is an egregious abuse of prosecutorial power. It's a disgrace. I understand that not everything has to be contained in an indictment, but how about something!
House Speaker Dennis Hasstert will install Rep. David Dreier has DeLay's temporary replacement. If Dreier is more conducive to spending cuts and real fiscal sanity (yeah right!) I wouldn't mind DeLay riding into the sunset permanently. The GOP doesn't need a stained leader who's been admonished by the ethics committee. DeLay's claim to fame is his redistricting of Texas that will help the Republicans hold on to the House at least through 2006. He's a hardball pol who's now let his quest for continued power interfere with advancing conservative principles. I definitely don't want GOP leaders browbeating their conservative members:
In private meetings last week, GOP leaders sharply criticized rank-and-file Republicans for taking issue with the surge in spending, pleading instead for unity. But neither the public relations offensive nor the private upbraiding has quieted conservatives.
"DeLay Indicted in Campaign Finance Probe"
"Tom Delay Indicted by Texas Grand Jury"
"Ton DeLay Indicted"
September 12, 2005
A Perfect Storm
By the post title I don't mean Hurricane Katrina. I mean the circumstances lining up for significant GOP losses in November 2006. Whether it's true or not there is a perception reinforced by a MSM not inclined toward President Bush that the federal government failed Gulf Coast residents by not acting fast enough (compared to what no one says). Even though most people aren't thinking about the political ramifications of Katrina the constant chorus of "Bush failed!" could become tar on GOP Congressional candidates. An effect of Katrina's path of destruction is the new federal spending already passed or soon to be to help rebuild. Fiscal conservatives don't want rebuilding costs added to a large federal deficit. The response from other Republicans is less than encouraging:
In closed-door meetings, fiscal conservatives have begged their colleagues not to put the cost of disaster relief on the government credit card for future generations to carry.
The Bush coalition has always been tenuous. What's bound the Right wing together has been the Islamist War and tax cuts. Budget hawks and constitutionalists have been upset with No Child Left Behind, the Medicare drug entitlement, and the bloated highway bill. Free traders have gotten ticked at Bush's steel tariffs. Libertarians found fault with stem cell research policy and Bush's gay marriage stance. Yet the Islamist attacks on Sep. 11, 2001 forced all parts of the coalition to put their smaller concerns aside in the name of national security.
In a way, President Bush is a "victim" of winning a second term. Thomas Barnett sees a flaw in Bush's CEO-as-commander-in-chief approach:
But also because his CEO-like faith in delegated authority wore out its welcome. Notice how the CEO presidencies do well for the first term, with the A Team hot off the election, and then they start sucking as the B Team starts rising to the top posts? In some places, like Defense, the talent pool is deep enough (especially for the Republicans), but elsewhere . . . and FEMA is just so elsewhere.
Working in D.C. with any significant authority takes so much out of people. Workaholics love it, but dealing with agencies, Congress, and the press becomes a marathon. It's not surprise there is change over from one term to the next. (It's even more amazing that Donald Rumsfeld decided to stay on at DoD.)
Upsetting a part of the base combined with second-string bureaucrats means Karl Rove has his work cut out for him in maintaining the GOP majority.
Election Day 2006 is way too far away. So much could happen between now and then. In another post Barnett notes that the mid-term elections won't take place in a vacuum.
The discounting on this presidency has begun internationally.
Democratic victory would cause further discounting of the Bush Presidency. Foreign leaders would figure the Democrats had the momentum in claiming the White House in 2008--something I think they'll do anyway. Get ready for divided government in a few years. If GOP defeat (look at the Senate; the gerrymandered House is safe) does happen next year many pundits will look back to Katrina's aftermath. I'll be looking even further to that awful Medicare drug entitlement.
"Fiscal Conservatives Riled"
August 22, 2005
Radio Blogger noticed a DirectTV typo(?) about Sen. Chuck Hagel. He also points out a fact about the Senator who loves preening before the Washington, D.C. press corps:
The problem is, within Republican circles, he is neither important nor influential.
He's just plain annoying. He's a wanna-be John McCain but without the history of being tortured by Communists.
Fitch gets graphic with what he thinks of Hagel.
"Senator Chuck Hagel, Democrat???"
August 16, 2005
Re-Hashing Mary Cheney
There's enough interest in Mary Cheney that I'll link to some of my posts on the subject:
August 05, 2005
Outed in 2002
The Plame Scandal is over. Forget all the work the special prosecutor is doing. There's no way Karl Rove or anyone will get convicted since Valarie Plame is listed in Who's Who in America under Joseph Wilson's entry. If I could find who Wilson's wife was by going to the library then she wasn't much of a "secret" agent.
"Joseph Wilson's "Who's Who In America" Entry"
July 19, 2005
No More Needs to Be Said
President Bush lowered his standard for firing someone involved with Valarie Plame's outing? Kevin Whited knows otherwise. Those darn facts get in the way.
"What Pledge Did The President Qualify?"
Here's an interesting passage from an Eric Cohen essay on embryonic research:
In the age of modern science, therefore, we must confront the fact that nature is both orderly and absurd: Nature is orderly, in the sense that we can understand how many biological systems work and how they fail, and we can often use this rational knowledge to fix them. But nature is absurd, in the sense that sickness strikes some individuals and not others for no apparent reason—a fact made dramatically clear by the young faces in the cancer ward.
I think this dovetails with my evolution/creationism post from last week. I hold dearly to the idea of God's mystery in the universe. I wrote,
I take the story of Genesis on faith. The Lord works in mysterious ways. Being able scientifically to "prove" God's existence or His ability to mold the world robs faith of its importance.
With reason Man can grasp a portion of nature's order. It's the absurdity that throws us off. All of us seek to understand the world around us. But reason has its limits. As F.A. Hayek writes,
[T]he liberal is very much aware that we do not know all the answers and that he is not sure that the answers he has are certainly the rights ones or even that we can find all the answers.
Many of us just need to accept the fact that we won't find what we're looking for.
"The Tragedy of Equality"
July 17, 2005
Super Fast Plame Game Update
First it was Scooter Libby, then Karl Rove, then the media, now back to Scooter Libby.
"Reporter: Top Cheney Aide Among Sources"
July 11, 2005
Ben Adler of The New Republic asked some prominent conservatives about their views of evolution and intelligent design. Rarely have I stepped into the evolution/creationsim debate found in many corners of the internet. I'm not a prominent conservative--at least not yet--but I'll answer the questions asked.
Whether he personally believes in evolution: I draw a distinction between micro-evolution and macro-evolution. I believe evolutionary processes are taking place right now that allow species to better adapt to their environments. That would explain the host of variations of birds Darwin found on the Galapagos Islands.
That doesn't mean I accept the idea that man evolved from apes or the earth is billions of years old. That is macro-evolution. It's possible that's exactly what happened. But it is also possible God created the world in six days and did it in such a way to make it appear macro-evolution was the process. That would explain evolution's explanatory power.
Such a view can't be proven or disproven. Thus it really isn't a scientific question for me. I take the story of Genesis on faith. The Lord works in mysterious ways. Being able scientifically to "prove" God's existence or His ability to mold the world robs faith of its importance.
What he thinks of intelligent design: I only know its general premise: that many biological parts had to evolve simultaneously in order for the whole to work. ID might explain some things. I don't know enough about it to say it's pure Bible-thumping ignorance. But I don't need ID to bolster my faith in a universe of God's creation.
Whether intelligent design or a similar critique should be taught in public schools: I spent eight years in a small Lutheran grade school. I was taught creationism. I was also exposed to evolutionary theory and the Big Bang theory. The exposure didn't damage my faith, and it made me aware that other people have a different worldview. When I went to a public high school my faith was secure so even though I was being taught evolution I still clung to my faith. Children in public schools won't be unfairly indoctrinated by being exposed to creationism or intelligent design.
Whether schools should leave open the possibility that man was created by God in his present form: This question should ultimately be decided by each individual school district. I'd hope a school I sent my children too would leave open that possibility. But I'm not sure I'd be really worried if they didn't. In the end, I would try my best to teach my children about God's power and His creation.
How evolution should be taught in public schools: Evolutionary theory has to be taught since it is the dominant approach in the biological sciences. But there shouldn't be an anti-religious bias taught. Opponents to evolution shouldn't be considered knee-jerk anti-science types (unless they actually are). But from much that I remember of grade school and high school science evolution was so dominant. More was made of learning about the structures of plants, animals, stars, etc. How photosynthesis worked. DNA's structure. Teleological questions weren't very prominent.
The question is quite moot to me since I hope to educate my children in a parochial school where creationsim will be taught and far away from such loud debates.
July 10, 2005
Rove was Plame Source
Time reporter Matt Cooper's source was indeed Karl Rove. Lawrence O'Donnell was actually right! John Hinderaker at Power Line gets into why Rove probably didn't break the law. It hinges on whether Rove knew Plame was an agent. On September 29 2003, Clifford May wrote,
We don't know how "secret" Plame was. We do know she's Vanity Fair's favorite version of James Bond.
More striking is Rove gave Cooper permission to tell the grand jury investigating the Valarie Plame leak that he was Cooper's source. Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, wouldn't have let that happen if he really thought Rove was in legal trouble. And we know without the consent Cooper would have refused to cooperate and gone to jail just like Judith Miller.
President Bush will take some heat. Newspaper editorial pages, pundits, crazed, Bush-hating webloggers (even some more moderate ones), will all demand Karl Rove be fired. This news will actually take the spotlight off of the London bombing investigation. Hinderaker concludes his post:
Rove presumably told the President that he was one of the sources of the Plame information long ago. It is interesting that Bush didn't take the path of least resistance and ease Rove out of the administration at the end of his first term. The President's reputation for loyalty to has aides is certainly well-deserved.
Rove will stay on at least to drive Bush haters crazy.
"Closing in on Karl"
July 05, 2005
Did Someone Secede from the Union?
The one member of the DailyKos Community has issued a Declaration of Independence. This is a hilarious document ripping off Thomas Jefferson while injecting over-the-top rhetoric that makes DailyKos an occasionally interesting read. Much of this is tongue-in-cheek. Kos isn't advocating secession. Heck, I don't think this post even made the DailyKos front page. Still, it's always enlightening to enter the mind of a flaky Bush basher. Let's get started with a rare TAM fisking:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people continue to be created equally, that we are still endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Every politically correct, liberal interest group had to be mentioned. Saying "people" isn't enough. That's not "inclusive."
But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such an Administration, and to provide new Guards for their future security.Yes, and this Kossite had his chance. It was the 2004 Presidential election, and his guy lost!
Such has been the patient sufferance of these United States; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the current President is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over this Nation.Did you know we're living under a tyranny? Well, according to Freedom House, as of 2003 (PDF), the United States was considered a "free" nation along with France, Germany, and Canada. The Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal index of economic freedom also considers the U.S. to be "free." But why let evidence get in the way of a good polemic?
Let's get to some of the grievances:
He has caused legislative bodies to meet at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of denying them their right to assemble in order to cow them into compliance with his measures.
I'm not sure what this is about. Did Bush convene Congress in Albuquerque without me knowing about it?
He has endeavoured to prevent the Citizens of these States from finding Gainful Employment; for that purpose Outsourcing Work to Foreign NationsThis is liberal economics in action. The faux-Jefferson thinks President Bush can create and destroy jobs at will. The corallary is with a stroke of the pen (or a call to Halliburton) American jobs would not move overseas.
For quartering large bodies of armed troops in Iraq and Afghanistan:Well, there is that war that's being fought. Oh wait, the Kossites think the Islamist War is a farce. It's merely a way to impose an American empire on the rest of the world.
For cutting off Fair Trade with all parts of the world:Hey, something I can kind of agree with. But from the hyperbole you'd think Smoot-Harley rose up from the grave.
For cutting Taxes from the wealthy of us without our Consent:I consented. A majority in both houses of Congress consented according to the constitutional process. And by the way, everybody who pays taxes got a tax cut.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring a Mandate and waging an Illegal War against the world.An illegal war in the eyes of France, Germany, Russia, the U.N. and Saddam but all of them were corrupted by the Oil-for-Food scandal.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts burnt our towns, and destroyed the Ozone.This is my second-favorite grievance. Remember all those stories about towns burned by President Bush's rampaging, Halliburton hordes? And what about Bush's ozone-eating machine--probably invented by Halliburton? Yeah, neither do I.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of Mercenaries to contradict the works of our own Troops, while committing circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.With the MSM pretty negative on Iraq you'd think we'd hear all about the cruelties of the hired Halliburton Visigoths plundering Baghdad.
Then there's the declaration of independence:
We, therefore, Members of the DailyKos Community within the United States of America, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the Bush Administration, and that all political connection between them and the United States of America, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to Impeach, conclude Peace contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do.
What are covered by "these United Colonies?" Is it the blue states? Or the urban archipelgo? How much land do federal troops have to occupy to bring the secessionists back into line?
And these people are part of a so-called "reality-based community?"
"A Revised Declaration of Independence"
July 01, 2005
A Long, Hot Summer
Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor today created the first opening on the high court in almost a decade by sending her retirement letter to President Bush. O'Connor was a swing vote so prepare to see both the Right and Left fight trench warfare to fight for and against Bush's upcoming nominee. One Kossak is already getting his side fired up. Orin Kerr thinks her O'Connor's retirment "may shift the Court a lot less than people think" while Ann Althouse thinks a strong conservative would push Justice Kennedy to the Left.
We will see what dirt Bush's opponents will dig up on the person, whether Senate Democrats "Bork" the nominee, and Sen. John "Maverick" McCain can forge another Senate compromise like he did a few weeks back. Who will first find "extraordinary circumstances" and try to block the nomination? This will be one of the toughest, most exciting nominations in Supreme Court history. Todd Zywicki uses some quick public choice econ to guess it will be a tough fight whoever Bush picks.
So, it seems to me, the Bush Administration would be smart to simply nominate the best person that they want, and not be tricked into thinking that they can somehow avoid a nasty confirmation battle by nominating someone with a more "moderate" perception.
On the wild rumor front, Erick at Redstate.org says Sen. John Cornyn's name is floating around. We will be hearing a lot of this.
"Bush Asks Senate for Fairness on High Court Opening"
"Justice Sandra Day O'Connor Retiring"
UPDATE: Scared Monkeys has a quick and dirty linkfest.
The NY Times has a list of some possible nominees.
Names will be floating around all weekend. I'm guessing Bush won't make a decision until he comes back from G8 meetings.
June 27, 2005
Busy Day at the Supreme Court
A bunch of Supreme Court rulings came down today. I'm going to wait a few more hours to gather more than instant analysis. The Ten Commandments rulings seemed odd. Oh the power of one justice. The file-sharing ruling seems reasonable, but I've never supported intellectual property anarchy on the internet. Lyle Denniston already has some interesting thoughts. I'm pleased with the ruling allowing cable companies to decide who can use their networks. (It's interesting that Justice Scalia dissented.) But who's to say government couldn't just claim them under eminent domain from last week's Kelo ruling?
What I find most interesting is no word that Chief Justice Rehnquist has stepped down. Court watchers expect that to happen with the presumption that all hell will break loose in D.C. over his replacement. I don't think there will be a hard, ideological fight. Rehnquinst is a conservative. Presumably President Bush would nominate a conservative to replace him. Liberals wouldn't be concerned the court would swing widely to the right. Now, if O'Connor, Kennedy, or one of the liberals retired we'd really see forces amassed on both sides.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin's post reminds me the court didn't rule that there was a special reporter's exemption for keeping confidential sources. It's good to know this court didn't weigh into the impossible task of defining a reporter.
June 26, 2005
Move Those Houses, We Have a Stadium to Build
The expansive Kelo ruling from last week is finding a beneficiary in Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. I'm sure that's exactly what John Paul Stevens was thinking when he wrote his opinion.
"Eminent Domain Ruling Affects Dallas Cowboys Stadium"
June 25, 2005
Cheney was in Colorado Hospital...But for What?
Arianna Huffington claims Vice President Dick Cheney went to the cardiac center of a Colorado hospital. The White House says he went to see an orthopedic surgeon. Huffington doesn't name any names of people who gave her bits of information. I'm wary until somebody comes out publicly.
But if it Cheney did have a heart problem why would the White House now hide it? It's common knowledge (and a easy joke).
"Huffington: Cheney Hospitalized"
June 24, 2005
Harsh Attack on Property Rights
In yesterday's much talked about Supreme Court decision Kelo v. City of New London Justice John Paul Stevens used these fateful words:
Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted function of government. Clearly, there is no basis for exempting economic development from our traditionally broad understanding of public purpose.
And with that negative liberty was severely damaged.
The purpose of the constitution is to limit what the government can do. The Fifth Amendment clearly states that "private property [cannot] be taken for public use without just compensation." The court has just decided that taking citizens' land and handing it over to monied interests to boost local tax revenues amounts to "public use."
"Economic development" is a very loose term. To use more of Stevens' words it can be anything that "serves a public purpose." It could mean redistributing land in order to raise property values. It could mean taking land to build a sports stadium in order to boost a city's national status. City planners, local government officials, and land developers will fine plenty of new, creative ideas to take advantage of this ruling.
Kelo has greatly strengthened the heavy hand of government. I could feel sympathy with the majority if they had used a states' rights or subsidiarity argument. One could interrpret the Fifth Amendment as applying solely to the federal government. (I don't know how well that would have been done given U.S. legal history.) Stevens et al didn't do that. They made it quite clear local governments have a wide scope to rearrange the ownership of private property as they see fit.
A few things could be done to halt this expansion of government. State and local laws could be changed to limit eminent domain powers. An amendment to the U.S. constitution limiting eminent domain is also a possibility. With the prospects of a Human Life Amendment being sent to the states virtually nil even with the GOP in control of both houses of Congress such an amendment should garner serious effort. Such an amendment could even bring in liberals. Instead of trying to outlaw flag burning a private property amendment should be the focus of Congress' constitutional work.
"Justices Uphold Taking Property for Developing"
"A Win for Big Government"
"SCOTUS: *!@%$@#$ Property Rights"
June 22, 2005
A Waste of Time
With lots of pressing issues I'm sure the House of Representatives really boosted their public approval ratings by passing the flag burning amendment. This thing won't pass the Senate. What part of the GOP coalition is harping for this? A flag amendment won't get us to victory in the Islamist War. The amendment won't help get us to private Social Security accounts.
The flag burning issue has been around for about 15 years. An amendment has never gotten close to going to the states for ratification. Some conservatives just don't know when to stop.
Let me make this perfectly clear: I don't like the burning of the American flag in protest. But that doesn't mean I think a constitutional amendment is needed. I also think Congress needs to get their priorities straight.
"House Approves Move to Outlaw Flag Burning"
UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg considers this a "yawner."
UPDATE II: Jay Reding calls it "simply a demonstration of Congress' misplaced priorities."
June 20, 2005
Why Durbin Won't Fall
If we want to use the Sen. Trent Lott standard then it's a no-brainer that Sen. Durbin should leave his Minority Whip post for comparing Gitmo to Nazi death camps and the Soviet Gulag. (You'd think he would have learned from beating Amnesty International took a few weeks ago.) It would be sufficent punishment plus it would be good politics for the Democrats.
It won't happen. In Lott's case he would have remained Majority Leader as long as the White House approved. When it said Sen. Bill Frist was an acceptable replacement Lott was doomed. But what's interesting is that Frist was the White House's man not simply because he'd end the beating the GOP was taking. The White House wanted Frist because they wanted the Medicare drug expansion put into law. From Major Garrett's The Enduring Revolution:
The White House did not abandon Lott immediately after the ensuing uproar began. It gave Lott several days to remedy the situation, in fact. But Lott handled the matter clumsily and only made matters worse. Finally, the White House sent word that Lott could be replaced--but only if the replacement was Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee. This instruction reflected the president's commitment to winning the fight over the Medicare drug benefit. Frist was the only physician in the Senate, a world-famous lung and heart transplant surgeon who spoke with an unrivaled credibility on all matters of health care policy and politics. What's more, Bush knew that Lott was not well versed on the Medicare issue, and he doubted whether he could rely on Lott to support an imperfect compromise. So with the White House's support, Frist--who had been elected in the 1994 revolution and had held no Senate leadership roles before--leapfrogged over all his colleagues to supplant Lott and take control of the GOP agenda. Not surprisingly, when he became Senate majority leader he said his top priority in 2003 was the passage of a Medicare drug benefit." (pg. 265)
Lott was not only expendable but his demotion helped advance the President's agenda. In Durbin's case I don't see any tactical benefit in his removal. In fact, demoting him could harm the Democrats. With the rise of Howard Dean, M.D. as DNC chairman we know activist Democrats are angry. A good portion of them probably completely agree with Durbin's comments. They don't want him dumped because he's talking tough and taking the fight to the Republicans. Durbin is scheduled to be on the same stage as Dr. Dean in a "Paint the Nation Blue" fundraiser in Washington, D.C. As Patrick Ruffini puts it, "They're actually bragging about this? That's just bad form." But the Bush-haters, MoveOn.org, and Kos followers will scream bloody murder if Durbin if forced to fall on his sword. Durbin will survive.
"Learning from Trent Lott"
"A Better Idea Than Censure?"
"Durbin's Gitmo Remarks Draw Fire Back in Illinois"
"Durbin Tries to Quell Anger over Remarks"
June 18, 2005
Dean Counters Israel Bashers
We now know Howard Dean, M.D. will draw the rhetorical line at anti-semitism:
A handful of people at Democratic National Headquarters distributed material critical of Israel during a public forum questioning the Bush administration's Iraq policy, drawing an angry response and charges of anti-Semitism from party chairman Howard Dean on Friday.
Who were the people passing out the anti-Israel material? Were they employees of the DNC? If so will Dr. Dean fire them? I think a few names should be named so a little public shame can come down on these people.
Now let's go to Dr. Dean's statement. It's good he denounced the material. But I'm confused. Using a pejorative phrase like "white Christian party" is ok but don't bash Israel. In the world of Howard Dean, M.D. Jewish is good but white Christian is bad. How about black Christians? Are they good or bad? By the way most blacks vote we know that answer.
"Dean Condemns 'Anti-Semitic Literature'"
June 14, 2005
Griffith Confirmed by Senate
Thomas Griffith, nominee to the D.C. Court of Appeals was confirmed by a 73-24 vote in the Senate. Griffith's name wasn't on the filibuster compromise list. He wasn't very controversial. The only real issue with Griffith was some trouble with bar licenses. We'll see if the compromise holds if (or when) William Meyers and Henry Saad come up for a vote.
"Senate Confirms a Sixth Bush Judicial Nominee"
June 06, 2005
Judge Won't Overturn Washington Governor's Election
Although Judge John Bridges found, in Andy McDonald's words, "many irregularities" it wasn't enough proof for him to void Gov. Christine Gregoire's victory over Dino Rossi last November. He contends that voters have the power to change laws to make sure elections are run better. This brings this response from an e-mailer to Michelle Malkin:
So, these other bloggers may be advocating better organization next time and better get-out-the-vote efforts, but as long they allow people who will lie, cheat and steal to count the votes, the honest folk will never win.
May 31, 2005
Sen. John McCain may be the de facto leader of the Senate but there will have to be some big, unexpected political shifts for him to win the GOP nomination in 2008--still way too soon to talk about.
His minuses for winning the Presidency include:
On the plus side:
The way candidates are lining up the Senate curse may mean little. I can't think of a non-Senator from either party who is preparing to run and has a legitimate shot. But we aren't even up to the 2006 Congressional races. So lots can and will happen. One thing is for sure. Sen. McCain will not be getting TAM's endorsement--for whatever that's worth.
"The Worst That Could Happen"
UPDATE II: Mickey Kaus (why can't the man use some real weblog software?) thinks McCain should run as an independent. He thinks he'd immediately have a based of frustrated Perot voters (whose wack jobs who ran the Reform Party?). But McCain isn't wealthy. Who would fund his campaign? Maybe he'd hire the Howard Dean, M.D. net fundraising team. Just don't hire the loons that blew through his $40 million.
May 27, 2005
Hillary's Finance Man Acquitted
It's unfair to call David Rosen, Sen. Hillary Clinton's former national finance director a "bagman" when he got acquited for lying to the feds. Charges of lying to the government can be very dicey. Look at Martha Stewart. I like Michelle Malkin as much as the next conservative, but she succoms to excessive Clinton hating.
"Former Aide to Sen. Clinton Acquitted"
Thune's Opposition Means Another Frist Test
The Pentagon's latest list of military base closings has pushed one GOP Senator to oppose John Bolton's nomination. Could someone tell Sen. Frist to tell Sen. Thune that there's no way Ellsworth Air Force Base will survive if Bolton loses by one vote? That's how a tough, no hold barred majority leader would behave.
"Thune Says He Will Oppose Bolton Nomination"
May 26, 2005
Taylor on the Filibuster Deal
Professor Taylor, who supports the "nuclear option," put together a fine analysis of the filibuster compromise. My only addition is to say again that this deal only postponed the final battle. When a conservative Supreme Court nominee has a chance at replacing a liberal on the court then we'll see even more fire and passion. Read it all and "welcome to democracy" messy as it is.
"On the Senate Compromise"
May 25, 2005
Oh, Professor, I'm not buying a t-shirt.
[via Glenn Reynolds]
That's what Red does in this post. I tried to watch Sean Hannity interview McCain tonight, but after 10 seconds of them gushing over the film Faith of My Fathers I got ill.
"Media Love Fest with John McCain"
UPDATE: Farrah has more on the egomaniacal Sen. McCain. If he wants the 2008 nomination he'll have to soon strongly back a GOP challenger to Gov. Janet Napolitano and hope that person wins. Or else McCain will inflame GOP activists when Napolitano names a Democrat to sit in his Senate seat.
[UGH! I can't believe I just mentioned the 2008 race. I'm still exhausted from last fall.]
"McCain 2008 Fantasy"
The MSM is a little slow in realizing Monday night's filibuster compromise only delayed, not stopped, the final battle. TAM readers already knew that Monday night.
"Justice Choice Could Rekindle Filibuster Fight in the Senate"
May 24, 2005
The Dust Settles on the Compromise
A day has pasted since the filibuster deal, and I'm still not ticked. All the deal did was end the fight temporarily. Democrats could start up another filibuster as soon as they felt "extraordinary circumstances" existed. Then Republicans could call the deal off. Sen. Graham said,
One of the major elements of the deal makes clear that if one of my seven Democratic colleagues decides to filibuster in the future because of an ‘extraordinary circumstance,’ I retain the right to vote for a rules change. It’s my hope we never get to that point.
The result is three nominees get a vote, and Senate tradition still stands. That's better than getting no nominees a vote and possibly seeing a political disaster with the "nuclear option" losing because of Republicans.
What we do know is both parties' Senate leadership are quite weak. Neither Sens. Frist nor Reid have a firm grasp on their caucuses. I wonder if this show of strength by the "Filibuster 14" will move beyond the judicial battle.
"About that Filibuster Compromise..."
UPDATE: As this Cox & Forkum cartoon demonstrates Senate Democrats may turn trivial things into "extrodinary circumstances." It will require some intestinal fortitude by all Republican Senators. But that was needed anyway before the compromise. This will really come to a head when President Bush makes his first Supreme Court nomination that replaces a liberal justice.
Times' Reaction to Filibuster Deal
The Washington Times echos the anger in the conservative blogosphere with a few quotes from angry conservatives who consider the deal a "sellout." I liked the jab at Sen. McCain's vanity at the end of the story (emphasis mine):
Moments earlier as the deal was about to be announced, several Republicans offered the lectern to Mr. Byrd, who demurred, waiting instead for "his turn."
"7 Republicans Abandon GOP on Filibuster"
I think part of the concern many in the rightwing blogosphere have with last night's filibuster deal is they don't think the "moderate" Senate Republicans will hold Democrats accountable. Should the Dems employ their "extraordinary circumstances" phrase for something not extraordinary McCain and his gang will have to call the deal null and void. That's not a sure thing since the whole premise of the deal was to avoid the "nuclear option." But as Pejman Yousefzadeh writes,
Again, this deal could go sour if Republicans do not follow up on any breach. But that is and could be the case for any deal. In the meantime, Republicans have gained three new judicial appointments, a Supreme Court appointment that is free from a filibuster, boxed the Democrats in on what would be considered a reasonable filibuster and still kept the option to eliminate the filibuster on the table.
Like I've said before this issue isn't done. It's only been postponed.
May 23, 2005
Lott Couldn't Have Done Worse
Stephen Bainbridge points out that rightwing webloggers aren't sounding very conservative when it comes to the judicial filibuster. And he uses Russel Kirk (a man I'm guessing most conservatives have never read) to back him up. I haven't gone on record on the "nuclear option." What I have said is this mess shows what a mistake it was to make Sen. Bill Frist majority leader. I wonder if Sen. Trent Lott, warts and all, could have not gotten us to this moment.
"More on The Filibuster Deal"
Deal Brings in Cooling Off Period
You go see a movie and big political news breaks out. There's a deal on President Bush's judicial nominations. Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor will all get their confirmation votes. William Meyers and Henry Saad remain in limbo. Democratic signatories promise to only filibuster in "extrordinary circumstances" while their GOP counterparts promise not to change the rules. All that goes out the window as soon as an "extreme" nominee to the Supreme Court is named.
There's already a lot of GOP bashing coming from the right side of the blogosphere. I'm with Ed Whelan that "this MOU marks only a very temporary cooling off." I also agree with Whelan that these "moderates" (Sen. Byrd was one of the signatories) have misconstrued the initially vague "advice and consent" clause. In no way are those GOP signatories conservative. Their reading of the constitution ignores the two hundred years of tradition where the President nominates and the Senate either votes up or down as their form of advice and consent. Instead they choose to conserve the filibuster, an object with a lesser hold (via The Commissar) in American political tradition. (John Dean takes a different viewpoint by advocating more involvement by the Senate. But no one has ever claimed he was a conservative.)
"Senators Avert Showdown Over Filibusters"
UPDATE: Viking Pundit calls it "a minor, if temporary, win for the Republicans."
To say Patrick is upset is an understatement.
Owen isn't happy either.
Kevin calls it a "very bad deal."
Jib thinks the GOP base will lash out in 2006, presumbably by not showing up at the polls.
May 22, 2005
Don't "Egg" Me On
Karl Rove wins people over through their stomachs? When does the guy have time to cook when he's Black Berrying half the administration? This puffery is about as light as his highly-whisked "eggies."
May 15, 2005
Sen. Bill Frist has said he will bring up Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown to a vote this week. With that we may see the end of the Democrats' historic judicial filibuster. Amy Ridenour posted a history of the filibuster provided to her by the Senate
This is Frist's big moment. Should Senate Democrats force his hand and he fails to change Senate rules, he should immediately step down as majority leader--and he can forget about his Presidential aspirations.
"Judicial Face-Off Hinges on Seven"
May 03, 2005
Rangel's Folly Continues
Rep. Charlie Rangel has had long enough to fix his Social Security poll. Over 24 hours has past since I spotted the problem. With the speed of blogosphere buzz his campaign has to know the "error" has been made public. I insert those scare quotes because I think Rangel is using his poll to mislead. At the minimum the poll could have been taken down. It hasn't which brings out the cynic in me.
May 02, 2005
Now, I could loudly shout how Rep. Charlie Rangel is lying to the American public with his messed up Social Security poll. You know if a Republican would have made this error Oliver Willis and Daily Kos would gleefully fuming at how the "GOP is using a push poll to pull one over on the American people." Instead, I'll just sit back and laugh at the poor employee who will get an earful for their mistake.*
"Rangeling Social Security Numbers"
* Now, if Rangel doesn't get his poll fixed and starts using the poll's result he's going to get hell from me. This is his only warning.
April 30, 2005
Favorite Political Websites
John Hawkins asks and I answer. If I could only read 20 political websites here's what they would be (in no particular order):
UPDATE: How could I forget Patrick's My View of the World? Well, it's on here now.
April 28, 2005
Leading for a Change
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is actually doing something productive for the conservative cause:
Frist, the Senate majority leader, said he would "guarantee" up to 100 hours to debate any nominee to the appeals courts or U.S. Supreme Court. But Frist also said he would require that they all get a confirmation vote, meaning filibusters against these candidates would be banned.
Hopefully Frist has told Reid this is the best deal he's going to get. If Democrats don't go along Senate rules will simply be changed. 100 hours of debate is a long time. With the slow pace of the Senate that could be weeks or months. That's plenty of time for an opposition to make its case to the American people. Heck, there hasn't been any debate on the John Bolton nomination and it was close to going down.
Who are more important than Reid are the squishy Republicans Frist hasn't been able to keep in line. The Democrats won't go for any deal if they know a few Republicans are around to trash it.
"Republican Leader Offers Compromise on Judges"
April 26, 2005
527s: Out; C4s: In
527s may have been cool last year, but if the "527 Reform Act of 2005," a Sen. John McCain product, gets passed we'll all be talking about plastic explosives. Byron York sees C4s as the next stage in the never ending cat-and-mouse game between political campaign contributors and the free speech squelchers who think money is evil. I see them as having double the explosive power of Coke's C2.
A Very Short History of the Filibuster
Does Sen. Harry Reid even read the constitution? Because he sure doesn't know the filibuster isn't in it. But why bother when using the words "constitutional checks and balances" are good talking points?
There is widespread concern about throwing away 200 years of constitutional checks and balances in order to get seven judges on the bench who previously could not achieve bipartisan consensus.
Reid needs to read the Commissar's post where is actually does some research.
With all this talk of "nuclear" and "constitutional" options, I googled the question of filibustering judicial nominees and noted here a few factual and historical details.
Republicans aren't off the hook either. A Supreme Court justice was filibustered in 1968.
The Commissar writes:
To sum up, the delaying of judicial nominees seems to be just one more aspect of increasing polarization over the past few decades. Perhaps unfortunate, but real. While the environment may be more partisan, there's nothing to suggest that this change in Senate rules is a constitutional matter, one way or the other.
"Top Senate Democrat Has Plan to Stop Filibuster Ban"
April 25, 2005
Reid Showing His Hand
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is looking down the proverbial tunnel and sees a good chance of the end to the judicial filibuster. He knows there are at least 50 votes (plus VP Cheney's tiebreaker) to change Senate rules--not constitutional checks and balances like Lefty activists want you to believe. Thus he wants to negotiate a deal.
At the same time he offers to clear two nominees to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals for approval, officials said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., wants a third appointee to be replaced by an alternative who is preferred by Michigan's two Democratic senators.
This deal is just talk, part of on going negotiations. Before I rip on Sen. Frist anymore than I have I want to know if the Senate Majority Leader is actually contemplating letting Senators choose federal judicial appointments. Such a change would be a far more radical change than the ending of judicial filibusters. As Captain Ed writes,
Frist may agree to let two Democrats from Michigan pick judges from their own provincial preferences, eliminating a presidential prerogative and fundamentally changing the balance of power even more significantly than the obstructionist filibusters ever did.
Should Frist cave to Reid by accepting this deal as-is Captain Ed and I won't be the only ones strongly calling for Frist's ouster. This is make-or-break time for the Tennessee Senator.
"Frist, Reid Work on Compromise on Judge Approvals"
April 24, 2005
In the mind of Washington Post staff writer (definitely not acting like much of a journalist) Robin Givhan John Bolton's hair problem isn't with what's on his face. It's what's on his head.
John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, desperately needs a haircut. It does not have to be a $600 Sally Hershberger cut. Bolton simply needs the basics. Tidy the curling, unruly locks at the nape of his neck, tame the volume at the crown, reel in the wings flapping above his ears, and broker a compromise between his sand-colored mop and his snow-colored mustache.
Only in D.C. could someone write something so inconsequential and have it published in a major newspaper.
Rod Grams Not Running for Senate
Rod Grams isn't going to run for Mark Dayton's Minnesota Senate seat. That's a bummer. As a College Republican in 1994, I worked hard in Duluth, MN to get him elected. Having him actually pushing for the dismantling of a federal department (energy) was beautiful for a small-goverment guy like me. It was too bad personal family problems led to him only serving one term.
Rep. Mark Kennedy is running for the seat so I'm not worried a RINO will win. I'd freak if Rep. Jim Ramstead was the leading GOP candidate. It would have been hard for Grams to win the seat. Minnesota voters might have looked on him as a political retread. In 1996, Rudy Boschwitz, one of the more spaced out pols I've ever met, tried to snatch his Senate seat from Paul Wellstone, and that didn't work out.
"For Minnesota, No Senator Grams II"
Michelle Malkin asks, "What do you call a squishy Republican?"
My answer: Sen. Bill Frist.
Quinton on Facial Hair
Jeff Quinton looks at South Carolina politicians and facial hair. Based on this if you want to run for office shave off the 'tasche.
"Facial Hair and Political Viability"
Mean isn't Bad
Ann Althouse adds meaness to the facial hair theme that might stop John Bolton from being U.N. ambassador.
Meanness is a trait in great American leaders. Our nation has benefited from it. If Americans didn't want mean we wouldn't have had Generals Patton and MacArthur leading troops to victory in WWII. The populism of Andrew Jackson would have been snuffed out immediately in American political life. Abraham Lincoln's passionate defense of the union had to have some element of spite toward the confederacy.
This worrying about how nice Bolton is feels a lot like the squimishness Marquette University officials had toward the College Republicans' Adopt-a-Sniper table a few months ago. They like the benefits from warriors and not-so-nice officials, but they don't want to admit to themselves the unclean process the benefits come from.
"Should We Screen Out Mean?"
April 23, 2005
John Bolton's facial hair may be the reason he doesn't become U.N. ambassador. Joe Gandelman has the details.
"Is Bolton Nomination Doomed By The 'Weird Facial Hair Curse'?"
April 22, 2005
What to Do About a Out-of-Control Judiciary?
So far, I have no answer to confronting a judiciary that ignores the constitution other than call for Sen. Frist to be replaced. While today's "loose" interpretation of the constitution by the courts may be unprecedented in U.S. history Congress imposing its will on the judiciary would also be unprecedented. Two prominent conservatives are telling the GOP-led Congress to watch it. Like I said I have few answers to relieve my frustration.
"Conservative Backlash on Judicial Fight"
Next Majority Leader
Don't think I was blowing smoke when I called for Sen. Bill Frist's ouster. At Redstate I have a poll (along the left side) asking who you think should be the next Senate Majority Leader. Ugh! John McCain is tied for the lead.
April 20, 2005
A Possible DeLay Explanation
K. J. Lopez received an e-mail that might explain what Rep. Tom DeLay was getting at about judges using the internet for research. That can't be what DeLay meant. His Wikipedia bio doesn't mention any law education so I'm guessing he has an educated laymen's knowledge of the law.
UPDATE: Stephen Bainbridge tries to figure out what DeLay meant:
In any event, where Delay really goes off the rails is in criticizing Kennedy for doing research on the Internet. Why not criticize him for using Lexis and Westlaw while he was at it? To be sure, appellate judges generally should not do an independent investigation of the facts of the case. But judges properly take judicial notice of relevant facts they discover through independent inquiry, cases and other legal authorities they find on their own, and so on. Unless DeLay can show that Kennedy is using the Internet to do an improper investigation of the facts of specific cases before him, this comment transcends mere asininity and achieves true imbecility.
He then calls for DeLay to be thrown "to the wolves." I'd consider it, but I want to know who'd replace him. The House GOP doesn't need to get stuck with their own version of Bill Frist.
We Asked For It
When Sen. Trent Lott made his stupid Strom Thurmond remarks that cost him his leadership post I heard nothing about how the lack of experience in his replacement, Sen. Bill Frist, would affect the GOP. I admit I thought it was good for Lott to move aside. However, I wouldn't have backed Frist knowing then how ineffective the Tennessee Senator would be. Frist demonstrates his lack of political savy with his inability to get President Bush's judicial nominations passed and John Bolton through the Foreign Relations Committee. Even more surprising is that the bogged down judicial nominations cost Tom Daschle his Senate seat, and a Republican stopped the Bolton nomination. I'll state it bluntly: the GOP made a mistake in elevating Frist to majority leader. He doesn't have the hardball political skills needed to beat the Democrats. Frist's ineptitude has pushed some to withhold their political contributions to GOP Senators. In order to salvage anything of his legislative agenda the President needs to tell Frist he had his chance. Replacing management is what Bush did when he was running the Texas Rangers, and items like Social Security reform and conservative judicial nominations are way more important.
UPDATE: In the words of one Beltway Buzz reader: "What impotence."
April 19, 2005
The Stress is Getting to Him
Justice Kennedy made me wince when he used international law as the basis for some of his opinions. However, Majority Leader Tom DeLay looks like a total goofball when he complained Kennedy did research on the internet. Egads! The horror! Using a computer to gather information? Heaven forbid! I have no idea why DeLay finds that so "outrageous." Why would doing research using the computerized Lexis-Nexis would be okay, but using the internet not? Unless DeLay's goofy enough to think Supreme Court justices should have to open law books. Me thinks he's losing it. This feels a lot like the time when former Speaker Newt Gingrich complained about having to fly in the back of Air Force One to Israel in 1995. Newt losing his cool was a sign President Clinton was winning the political battle over the budget. DeLay may soon see defeat.
"DeLay Slams Supreme Court Justice"
Redstate.org is passionate about promoting conservatism. It's on its way to becoming a political power house. But to be really effective they need our support.
April 18, 2005
Hunting Down Heritage
On the posible misdeeds by the Heritage Foundation Erick Erickson puts together as plausible a theory as Time or the Washington Post. But guess which one the tv talking heads will use to bash Republicans?
"Let’s Get DeLay, And Heritage, And Feulner, And, And, And . . ."
April 13, 2005
Another Congressman Hired Family
The attacks on Rep. Tom DeLay for paying family members with campaign contributions will quickly and quietly end with the news that Rep. Bernie Sanders paid two families members for campaign work. You know they aren't the only two.
"More Democratic DeLay Hypocrisy Surfaces"
UPDATE: Yup, I was right. DeLay and Sanders weren't the only ones.
April 12, 2005
Overreaction to Bad Art
Must have been a quiet day for the Chicago branch of the Secret Service. Two agents decided to question a bunch of artists about a piece showing a gun pointed at President Bush's head.
How does that constitute a threat to the President? What it demonstrates is some Chicago artists are so full of Bush-hate they abandon any attempt at making a serious artistic statement. It's their version of "shock and awe." Well, I'm shocked the Secret Service even bothered with such awful art.
"Art Show Features Plane Hitting Sears Tower and Bush w/Gun to Head"
April 11, 2005
La Shawn Barber is supportive of the Minuteman Project and notes that it has actually reduced the number of illegals crossing the border into Arizona. She also points out that citizens volunteering to monitor the border has caused government officials to take border security more seriously.
I still think it's weird a bunch of people are out in the desert playing border patrol officer. I'm surprised there has been no confrontations between coyotes (human smugglers) and Minutemen.
"Minuteman Project A Success"
April 10, 2005
RINO Want's DeLay Tossed
Rep. Chris Shays gets lots of attention for bucking conservative ideas of his fellow Republicans. He's getting plenty of press now for calling for Rep. Tom DeLay's removal as Majority Leader. Whether DeLay should stay or go is one question but few Republicans will care what Shays says. But Shays will be praised by Lefties as "reasonable, responsible" Republican.
"Shays: DeLay Should Quit As House Leader"
April 03, 2005
Why Lott Was Given the Boot
Conventional wisdom has it that the White House wanted then-majority leader Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) replaced to end the embarassment stupid Strom Thurmond remarks caused. According to Major Garrett in his new book The Enduring Revolution the real reason was the White House wanted Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) to lead the way in the Senate to get President Bush's Medicare drug benefit passed. Garrett writes,
The White House did not abandon Lott immediately after the ensuing uproar began. It gave Lott several days to remedy the situation, in fact. But Lott handled the matter clumsily and only made matters worse. Finally, the White House sent word that Lott could be replaced--but only if the replacement was Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee. This instruction reflected the president's commitment to winning the fight over the Medicare drug benefit. Frist was the only physician in the Senate, a world-famous lung and heart transplant surgeon who spoke with an unrivaled credibility on all matters of health care policy and politics. What's more, Bush knew that Lott was not well versed on the Medicare issue, and he doubted whether he could rely on Lott to support an imperfect compromise. So with the White House's support, Frist--who had been elected in the 1994 revolution and had held no Senate leadership roles before--leapfrogged over all his colleagues to supplant Lott and take control of the GOP agenda. Not surprisingly, when he became Senate majority leader he said his top priority in 2003 was the passage of a Medicare drug benefit." (pg. 265)
Wow! I wonder if people like Glenn Reynolds, Josh Chafetz, Daniel Drezner, and myself would have supported Frist as Lott's replacement if we knew that installing Frist would lead directly to the creation of the largest government entitlement since the Great Society?
John Hawkins is also worried about the noted attacks on conservative speakers.
I don't want any speakers attacked. Not Buchanan, not Coulter, not Chomsky, not even Michael Moore (though he'd probably start eating the pie tossed at him). Barbarians toss food at speakers who they don't agree with. We are not barbarians, we are Americans.
"You're Running Towards Stage With A Pie In Your Hand? Then You Should Be Treated Like A Threat"
April 01, 2005
Berger's Slap on the Wrist
Forget what I wrote that Sandy Berger "will be punished about as harshly as Martha Stewart." Martha got a life sentence compared to Berger's "punishment."
Under terms negotiated by Berger's attorneys and the Justice Department, he has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine and accept a three-year suspension of his national security clearance.
Berger will admit he not only took classified documents out of the National Archive but destroyed some in his office. And in three years he'll get back his national security clearance. How convenient since 2009 is the earliest a Democratic administration could be running the White House.
Till the end of time there will be questions of what Berger and the Clinton administration really knew about al Qaeda's threat to the U.S. Berger's destruction of documents guarantees those questions will never be fully answered.
Another Attack on Conservative Speaker
Pat Buchanan was attacked with a bottle of salad dressing during a speech a Western Michigan University. When taken with the pie attack on Bill Kristol in Indiana and the pie attack on Ann Coulter at the University of Arizona we see a disturbing pattern developing. Lefty radicals are so afraid of some speech they feel they must attack the speaker. In the Buchanan incident the mohawk-coifed attacker was only charged with a misdemeanor. That salad dressing could have easily been acid, and Buchanan could have been disfigured for life. Is a conservative speaker going to have to get killed or severely injured before police decide to throw the book at an attacker? Buchanan is wrong to not press charges. Such attacks are beyond rude, they're dangerous.
March 31, 2005
Sandy Berger: Crook
Sandy Berger could get a maximum of one year in jail and slapped with a $100,000 fine for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of unauthorized removal of classified documents from the National Archives. The guy stuffed them into his pants and socks. One wonders who he was trying to protect. His ex-boss, Bill Clinton? Or his possible future boss, John Kerry?
For such a blatant abuse of power and the public trust and who knows what damage to national security Berger will be punished about as harshly as Martha Stewart. Nice if you can get away with it, and Berger pretty much did.
"Berger Cops To Misdemeanor"
"Ex-Clinton Adviser to Admit Taking Documents"
March 30, 2005
The Reason Behind Operation: Full Court Press
MSNBC's Brock Meeks missed the boat on the border patrol's new effort to stop illegals from coming into Arizona from Mexico. There's plenty of material on what the border patrol will do and whether it will be successful, but Meeks misses the reason why "Operation: Full Court Press" [NOTE: Homeland Security needs to borrow those military people who make cool operation names like "Operation: Iraqi Freedom."] started this week. The Minuteman Project starts Friday. Washington heard the "airhorn." Bryan Preston also thinks the MS-13 threat against Minuteman participants may also have something to do with the personel boost.
Will Operation: Full Court Press stop citizens from patroling the border? No, because one operation won't immediately win back trust.
UPDATE: How dumb does this Homeland Security spokesman think we are?
More than 500 additional Border Patrol agents are being assigned to beef up patrols along the Arizona-Mexico border, with as many as 150 to 200 officers already headed there, federal officials and others said Tuesday.
"U.S. Adds 500 to Patrol Ariz. Border" [via Right Voices]
March 28, 2005
The Birth of a Political Philosophy
Ramesh Ponnuru notices Andrew Sullivan is attempting a one-man conservative purge. Since conservatism, as all political philosophies, is built by many minds, it would be better and more honest of him to call his philosophy "Sullivanism."
The Immigrant Song
When spending a little time in Arizona like I did a few weeks ago you quickly feel how important immigration issues are there. You step out of your hotel room, go to a gas station, turn on the radio, and read billboards. You come into contact with Spanish. You talk with locals about the news of the day and soon illegal immigration will enter the conversation. Illegals are putting tremendous burdens on social services and police forces. On the positive side they provide cheaper labor to companies--imagine a $150/night Motel 6 room in Phoenix. Arizonans are fed up with illegals crossing the border. Voters passed Proposition 200 which requires people to prove they are citizens before voting or receiving government benefits.
I sympathize with those who have witnessed decades of law-breaking. I understand those who are mad at the federal government for failing to secure the border, but then I read people like Project Arkansas Now's Joe McCutchen declaring the U.S. "a Third World dumping ground." The not-so-subtle racism is also demonstrated with The Minuteman Project where volunteer Arizonans will go to the U.S.-Mexico border 04.01.05 to help the border patrol watch for illegal aliens crossing into the U.S. Organizers' fears are posted on their website:
At the current rate of invasion the United States will be completely over run with ILLEGAL aliens by the year 2025...only 21 years away. ILLEGAL aliens and their offspring will be the dominant population in the U.S. and will have made such inroads into the political and social systems that "they" will have more influence than our Constitution over how the U.S. is governed. The ugly consequence of an ignored U.S. Constitution is already taking place.
I wonder if this isn't so much fear of illegal immigrants as much as immigrants in general. I suspect if the current numbers entering illegally were actually legal these people would still be decrying the "Third World trash" coming to the U.S.
For the most part, I'm a free borders guy. Just like the freeflow of capital, goods, and services, I support the freeflow of labor. A better allocation of economic resources displaces some but benefits society as a whole.
This doesn't mean I support closing down the boarder patrol, turning a blind eye to illegals crossing the border, or supporting President Bush's new immigration ideas. A pre-requisite of a nation-state is to deliniate the geographical area of itself. A nation-state can't exist if no one knows where it begins and where it ends. For self-defense purposes a nation-state has to be able and willing to defend its borders. It has to be protected from invading armies and terrorist cells. In addition having a class of lawbreakers living comfortably within the nation-state insults the rule of law. Those who broke the law to come to the U.S. have proven they don't respect its immigration laws. What other laws will they flout because they're inconvienent?
The Minuteman Project is an airhorn to Washington, D.C. Something has gone seriously wrong along the border if citizens are willing to guard the border themselves. (I bet most will scurry away after some wacko gets into a shootout with someone on the Mexican side of the border.) The borders have to be strengthened, illegals have to be denied benefits, and employers have to be punished for knowingly hiring illegals. U.S. laws have to be enforced or they become meaningless along with the nation-state.
In support of immigration I back ditching the restrictions on things like H-1B visas. If an employer wants to bring someone from outside the U.S. to work let them. Let that worker pass unheeded and legally past a customs agent so we have a record of who's come in. There should be no limit to the number of legal immigrants into the U.S. Nor should an employer or employee have to prove their techical skills are needed. The federal government shouldn't be in the business of centrally planning high tech labor. More people means more possibilities for new, innovative ideas. That means a great chance of a better life for all Americans. As long as they are willing to obey our laws we should welcome anyone from anywhere.
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
March 26, 2005
Sullivan Taking Advantage
Andrew Sullivan thinks he's Bill Buckley at National Review in the 1960s. Then Buckley kicked the John Birch Society out of the conservative movement. Sullivan is using the Terri Schiavo case to do the same to some Christians. Bashing instead of seriously engaging a significant part of the conservative movement won't revive conservatism--whatever that means.
[via Professor Bainbridge]
March 21, 2005
Fighting Ashcroft but Not Castro
A library in Vermillion, South Dakota along with library associations in Latvia, Poland, and the Czech Republic are doing something the American Library Association refuses to do: support independent libraries in Cuba. Nat Hentoff writes,
What has made this signal of solidarity against repression most notable is that this small town in South Dakota has not only defied Castro but has also shown the hypocrisy of the national American Library Association—the largest organization of librarians in the world—whose governing council last year overwhelmingly defeated an amendment from one of its members to demand that Castro immediately release the 10 independent librarians, along with the other 65 "prisoners of conscience," as Amnesty International has described them.
"A U.S. Library vs. Fidel"
March 08, 2005
Oh, do we miss the raving of Theresa Heinz Kerry. In Seattle, she made some remarks that would fit well with the Democratic Underground crowd. She's paranoid about vote counting methods:
Heinz Kerry is openly skeptical about results from November's election, particularly in sections of the country where optical scanners were used to record votes.
Notice she offer no evidence of any fraud. Just fears.
She also freaked out about Republicans spending "$90 million to destroy [John Kerry's] reputation."
Another Republican Wimping Out
Add Sen. Lindsay Graham to the list of squimish Republicans backing away from private Scocial Security accounts. Graham said Bush's plan was being "oversold and tremendously demagogued."
That doesn't mean you back away from granting people more freedom. It means you have to use better, more persuasive arguments. The President isn't giving up. He's continuing his townhall/infomercials. He's in campaign mode with or without Graham.
"Senator Suggests Social Security Compromise"
March 07, 2005
I knew Garance Franke-Ruta was working on a weblogging piece for The American Prospect. At CPAC Mike Krempasky was preparing to get hit by the liberal journalist. He was going around asking for tape recorders to record the reporter. So I'm not surprised she conveniently chopped up one of his quotes.
Butchering a quote is bad enough, but Ms. Franke-Ruta can't even get her facts right. In her piece she writes,
Only 23 blogs were known to exist at the beginning of 1999.
I put together this list of webloggers toiling away in 1999:
Then if you consider Dave Winer was hosting weblogs through his editthispage.com site it's safe to say there were a few hundred to a few thousand weblogs in 1999. All Ms. Franke-Ruta would have done was to talk to one of the old school webloggers like Winer (or me) to find that out.
So take her article with a grain of salt. Franke-Ruta's quest to find a Vast Right-Wing Weblogging conspiracy may be as complete as her weblog history.
UPDATE: Mike Krempasky, the main target of Franke-Ruta's hit piece hands out quite a fisking.
March 05, 2005
Bradley Smith Interviewed
March 04, 2005
Dare I say it? Wonkette actually adds a little insight to something other than anal sex. Her post on the Sen. Byrd Hitler flap shows D.C. pols have tossed around the Hitler/Nazi label for years.
There are times when the Nazis are a good analogy and times when they aren't. A few centuries ago the Founding Fathers used analogies from Ancient Greece and Rome. I'm sure they compared their oppoents' plans to ancient atrocities. Using such analogies should not be immediately discounted because an evil person or group is brought up. Listeners need to look at the context.
When Sen. Gramm compared a Democratic tax plan to Nazi Germany law he probably crossed a line. When the public thinks of Nazi Germany economic collectivism--though accurate--doesn't come to mind. Rep. King's use of a Nazi prison guard when talking about abortion is better than Gramm's utterance. In the opinion of many abortion is on par with the Holocaust. Sen. Sessions' use of "Nazi Germany's abuses of science" when discussing stem cell research also seems legit.
In Sen. Byrd's case I don't think it was very effective. Byrd thinks using the "nuclear option" to get President Bush's judicial nominations passed is wrong, but few will be able to see how that has anything to do with Nazi Germany. Byrd shouldn't be punished for comparing Republicans to Nazis. He should be razzed for being unpersuasive. Being an explicator of classics he should have stuck to those analogies.
"Robert Byrd: Behind the Times"
March 02, 2005
Send this to Howard Dean, M.D.
With this "Open Letter to Democrats" we have a serious Democratic approach to national security. In one aspect, increasing the Army and Marines, these Democrats are moving to the right of the Bush administration. These Democrats understand knee-jerk anti-Bushism is bad policy and bad politics. Debating national security from the pro-force side is good for Democrats, Republicans who always need real competition, and the country.
The problem politically for these "Truman Democrats" is twofold. First, it is too close to the GOP's position. While not simply GOP-lite, the Democrats have no track record in recent memory for being for a strong defense. Whether this is true or not that's the public perception. Second, out of the twelve people who signed the letter I've only heard of Bob Kerrey. John Kerry, John Edwards, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, or Howard Dean aren't on the list. Why should anyone take this movement seriously when few have signed on?
[via Dean's World]
February 17, 2005
Here's what The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin thinks about the possibility of Jeff Gannon being a tool of the White House to expose Valarie Plame:
Did Guckert actually ever get access to an internal CIA memo related to the Plame case? It seems unlikely.
If the Left wants to waste their energy on Gannon, fine by me.
UPDATE: Kevin at Wizbang organizes all the Gannon accusations and why they're false. 'Nuff said.
February 12, 2005
Spending Cut Details
For the lesser-read Saturday newscycle the Bush administration let loose their ideas for budget cuts. The AP has a few examples:
A few examples of the new recommendations:
Now, we will begin to hear howling from Congressmen and interest groups about how "draconian" the Bush administration is. Of course, we don't know if these are real cuts or just decreases in spending increases. Washington math can be a confusing thing.
"White House Details Proposed Spending Cuts"
February 09, 2005
Dayton Not Seeking Reelection
Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton will not run for reelection in 2006. Jay Reding opines that Republicans Rep. Mark Kennedy or Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer have good shots at taking the seat. Power Line's Hindrocket thinks Vance Opperman and Mike Ciresi have shots at keeping the seat in Democratic hands.
February 08, 2005
Jail for Jammer
A political operative was convicted and sentenced for voter supression, and he was doing it for the GOP. You're reading this on TAM not because I've become a Republican basher but to demonstration my intellectual honesty. It's safe to assume you didn't read much about the Democratic tire slashers on certain Lefty weblogs.
"GOP Consultant Sentenced in Phone Jamming"
February 06, 2005
The date of the Super Bowl changes from year to year. One thing that won't ever change is 02.06 will always be Ronald Reagan's birthday. Last June, I wrote,
The first picture is Reagan as the embodiment of America. He's weathered, a man who's been working on his land. He looks like he's had his share of a good day's work. The denim jacket is like what you'd see anybody in the West wearing. The grin on his face is that of the optimist. He's a man who looks at the bright side of events and people. Reagan lifted America's spirits when it needed it the most.
Trey Jackson has put together a tribute of photos and links. There's still over four hours until kickoff. That's plenty of time to remember the Gipper.
"Happy Birthday, Mr. President"
February 03, 2005
Semi-Live Posting on SOTU
Below are my notes from watching the State of the Union. Here's the text if you want to read along. I haven't read any other analysis. I'm just treating this as a stream of conscious text. Expect weirdness. That's just the way my brain thinks. Take this for what it's worth.
State of the Union 2005:
Bush went with the red power tie; Cheney has burgundy; Hastert a gold tie; Kerry dons a pink tie
Feingold, Jeffords, and Clinton sat together
For the first time, I've noticed lots of grey in the mirror (Bush says "a lot of grey")
Is Charlie Rangle doing homework at a table?
will submit a budget that holds spending growth to below inflation
"Taxpayers' dollars must be spent wisely or not at all." Must see action, not just words.
protect small biz from "junk lawsuits;" "pass legal reforms this year"
Expand health savings accounts
Grassley looks like Mr. Rodgers in his red sweater
He just had to mention crappy ethanol.
"Social Security was a great moral success of the 20th Century." I beg to differ.
Handled well the Democratic moans and groans about Social Security's problems.
Wants to make part of Social Security an actual property right the government can never take away.
Personal accounts still have a paternalistic feel.
I support these accounts. They're far from perfect. Ideally I want to be allowed to opt out of S.S. That won't happen. The government needs my payroll taxes to pay retirees.
"Must strive to build a culture of life."
"To build a culture of life, we must also ensure that scientific advances always serve human dignity, not take advantage of some lives for the benefit of others.
We should all be able to agree on some clear standards. I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not created for experimentation or grown for body parts and that human life is never bought or sold as a commodity." [Must think about that because selling organs would help with current shortages.]
Wants to start a three-year program to stop men from going into gangs. Oh, boy. I can see that idea dropped by the wayside.
Great, there's a one-armed soldier in the gallery. Sob story to come I'm sure.
Am I the only one to think Bush's "force of human freedom" line is a bit oxymoronic?
I can see how some conseratives feel "the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world" is unconservative.
It sounds like Bush has internalized some of Thomas Barnett's thinking about connecting the Gap with the Core.
It also sounds like Bush has consumed R. J. Rummel.
Wants $300 million for Palestinian reforms. That's money going down a sewer.
Good Bush's is calling out Saudi Arabia and Egypt to become more democratic.
It took Bush this long to finally make the case for the Iraq War that combined Saddam as a threat and the need for increased human liberty to forge peace.
I want our troops to get the job done--get Iraq on its feet--then come home.
Here we come to sob story time...
The hug of the soldier's mother and the Iraqi woman was the image of the night. Very moving.
February 02, 2005
Today, not only is it Groundhog Day but it's also the 100th birthday of Ayn Rand. While I don't consider Atlas Shrugged to be a literary masterpiece I do know her ideas have been much more influential than whether a rodent sees his shadow or not.
"Ayn Rand's Contribution to the Cause of Freedom"
"Groundhog Day Wonderful Tradition"
"'Jimmy The Groundhog' Makes Prediction"
February 01, 2005
Same-Sex vs. Pro-Life Amendment
Since Andrew Sullivan is going on a weblog hiatus to write a book he'll soon be off the TAM blogroll--not that I've read much of him in the last year. He askes a question brought up by Jon Rauch.
The Senate Republicans have vowed to push their anti-gay marriage amendment, even though it won't stand a chance of getting the necessary 67 votes. The point is political and rhetorical. They are trying to build momentum, raise money, and keep the cause of banning same-sex unions alive. So why not push an anti-abortion amendment instead? They have one such amendment on hand. Both proposed amendments are allegedly against judicial meddling. Both will fail. But one deals with a much graver issue, by the religious right's reckoning - an immense loss of human life, rather than the grave evil of two human beings committing to one another for life. So why this priority? Surely, abortion is a more important matter than same-sex marriage - even for the religious right. Or is it?
I would think that Rauch, who has read lots of Mancur Olson, and Sullivan who had a Ph.D. in political science would see the politics of this action. There already is a pro-life advocacy industry. There's National Right to Life, Pro-Life Action League, the outrageous Operation Rescue, and a host of other groups. Over 30 years of Supreme Court-sanctioned abortion have given pro-lifers plenty of time to build a base of financial supporters and volunteers. Same-sex marriage is a very recent issue. The infrastructure to fight it is still unformed. A push for a same-sex constitutional amendment over a pro-life amendment is a tool to form that opposition. So while neither amendment has a chance of passing the Senate the same-sex marriage one would send a stronger message by rallying the masses.
"Why not an Anti-Abortion Amendment?"
January 28, 2005
A Big Question
Steven Taylor's post gets to the heart of Man as a political animal. Does a universal human nature exist? Taylor writes,
This debate is fundamental to the debate between those who believe that only in a context of freedom can human beings truly flourish and those who believe that a sufficiently well crafted application of the mind can design the “best” state.
Different sides of many political discussions on ideas big and small can come down to the participants' view of this question.
"On Human Nature"
January 27, 2005
Feeding from the Trough
Amy Ridenour points out that pundits and journalists aren't the only ones who have conflicts of interest when it comes to government contracts. She writes,
Journalists aren't special (sorry, journalists!). If you should disclose a possible conflict of interest when writing an opinion column, you sure as heck should if you are testifying before Congress.
"Federal Payola: Journalists Aren't Special"
January 25, 2005
Guess I'm not "Normal"
Matthew Yglesias writes about paternalism. His position in a nutshell: he's not opposed to it. Paternalism to him is a pragmatic solution to a problem.
He does try to mix up different kinds of paternalism and shove them all under the same umbrella. He does this with both government social programs and voluntary charity ventures.
He also defines paternalism on the individual level as "trying to dissuade people from making bad choices about their lives." The key word is "dussuade." Paternalism is about taking control of another person's actions so they do what's "best" for them. The thinking being that individual isn't making good decisions so the paternalist must take over. Paternalism is beyond persuasion, it's about coercion. I can try to get someone to act in a way I feel is best. That isn't paternalism, that's attempted persuation. If I somehow force that person to do what I think is best, that's paternalism.
What set me off to writing this post was this Yglesias passage (my emphasis):
If, like a normal person, you think it's legitimate -- and, indeed, obligatory -- to use the coercive power of the state in order to help people, then you should also find it obligatory to deploy the coercive power of the state for paternalistic purposes when pragmatically appropriate.
Yglesias' "normal" people don't include libertarians, classical liberals, many conservatives, and probably a good number of the electorate. Also realize that Yglesias' sphere of legitimate uses of state power is so broad as to no way call it "limited"--the word is no where in his post. With the pragamtism he brings to the table state power would be unlimited in Yglesias' ideal America as long as it helped people.
I feel it's safe to say that Yglesias is a Parfitian--he praises one of his books. It's also safe to say he isn't a Hayekian like I am. Thus Yglesias' analysis doesn't take into account the "use of knowlege in society" (a title of Hayek's most important work). Understanding of this and any social problem would benefit from examining the depth and breath of knowledge available to individuals involved. We would better realize that wanting to do good and having enough resources at hand isn't enough to solve social problems. What is important is to understand that individuals use scattered bits of knowledge and limited views of the world to make their decisions.
January 23, 2005
DailyKos Take Down
Markos Moulitsas, A.K.A. DailyKos, argued against New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary. A New Hampshire professor takes him apart by delving into Kos' weblog archives.
"Reformist Democrats Still Need NH Primary"
January 18, 2005
Social Security and the Democrats: Then and Now
President Bill Clinton in 1998:
Today, Social Security is sound, but a demographic crisis is looming. By 2030, there will be twice as many elderly as there are today, with only two people working for every person drawing Social Security. After 2032, contributions from payroll taxes will only cover 75 cents on the dollar of current benefits. So we must act, and act now, to save Social Security.
Senate Minority Leader Harry on This Week last Sunday:
Here's a crisis that doesn't exist. If I had a mortgage on my home for 40 years and I knew I could make the payments every month, would that be a crisis? The answer is no. We have no crisis. For the next 50 years, people on Social Security, if we do nothing, will draw a hundred percent of their benefits. Even after the 50 years if we decide to do nothing congressionally they can still draw 80% of their benefits. That's not a crisis.
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
January 13, 2005
Beating Bush on SS
The New Republic's Ryan Lizza writes about how united Democrats are to even partial privatization of Social Security. He then offer some lessons from the HillaryCare debacle.
Lizza's article was about what Democrats should do, but what will kill any chance of Social Security reform is Republican weakness. The GOP controls both houses of Congress as well as the White House. They don't need any Democratic votes to pass the legislation. They might need Democrats to avoid a Senate filibuster, but parlimentary rules could avoid that. President Bush's problem is getting weak-kneed Republicans like Rep. Rob Simmons to support him. He said, "Why stir up a political hornet’s nest ... when there is no urgency? When does the program go belly up? 2042. I will be dead by then."
So I see the chance of partial privatization to get passed as less than 50%. Reform probably won't happen until the Baby Boomers squeeze out all the built-up surpluses. Only when checks are threatened will Congress act.
January 12, 2005
Bush's Age Gap
Old people don't like President Bush's Social Security plan as much a young people. No surprise. That gap might be what gets squimish Congressional Republicans to stop the President's efforts.
"Age Gap May be Trouble for Bush"
January 07, 2005
Advice to Washington State GOP
It isn't just in Chicago where dead people vote. In Seattle (King County) we know of at least eight people who "voted" after dying. That's incredible dedication. What civic devotion to not let something like death get in the way of casting a ballot.
Enough with the sarcasm. From my limited following of the Washington State governor's race there's little chance the GOP will be able to force a revote. What the party must do is collect all the voting horror stories combine them with all the stories about Democratic misgoverning and get ready for the next elections. Their motto should be "Remember King County!" It should be used against any Democratic candidate who defended the governor's race results. If the GOP does it right they could smash the Democratics to damage them for a decade.
January 05, 2005
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has some explaining to do. First, what happened to the turkeys a local Michigan food pantry gave to his staff to donate to the needy? It's been days since Conyers' office promised an accounting. All that's been heard is silence. Second, if the turkeys didn't go to the needy what kind of operation are you running that steals from a food pantry during Christmas? Until these questions are answered Conyers has no integrity to question anything about "compassionate conservatism."
James Dobson, head of the evangelical power house Focus on the Family, is getting political, really political. He sent a letter to his supporters threatening to go after six Democratic Senators if they tried to stop social conservative candidates from getting on the Supreme Court. Dobson has no qualms about getting knee-deep in politics. He told the NY Times, "I can't go back, nor do I want to."
I wonder if he'll turn into a conservative Christian windbag like Jerry Fallwell. I also worry he'll turn Focus on the Family into a conservative version of the NAACP.
"Evangelical Leader Threatens to Use His Political Muscle Against Some Democrats"
December 15, 2004
What's In Rudy's Closet?
Even though Bernard Kerik is no long in line to joining the Bush Administration we're learning just how corrupt he was. How did all this get past a very efficient Bush opperation other than simply taking the word of Rudy Gulliani?
Since we do know that New York City doesn't have the cleanest of governments what's in Rudy's closet (if anything)? If he wants to be taken as a serious 2008 Presidential contender he needs to run against Hillary in 2006 or do something that allows the press and his enemies to flush up his dirty laundry. It would too sweet for the Democrats to dig some really good stuff up after Rudy secured the nomination.
December 11, 2004
Kerik Gets Baird
Bernard Kerik withdrew his name for Homeland Security security because he employed an illigal immigrant as a nanny. It's a tough loss for the country.
"Kerik Withdraws His Name for Top DHS Job"
December 10, 2004
A Whole Lot of Nuttin'
Dean Esmay makes the Washington Post's Dana Milbank look like a rube who never learned anything about modern American history.
But to seriously address the point these Bush critics make I'll use a cliche: Don't judge a book by its cover. Appearance isn't what demonstrates America's continued civilian leadership of the country. It's who's accountable. President Bush was elected President by American voters not generals and admirals. Running around in a bomber jacket or flight suit doesn't change who the commander-in-chief reports to. No matter what he wears he's still bound by the constitution.
"Presidents & Pseudo-Military Garb"
December 08, 2004
Shaking Up the Left
No, David, you're not the last weblogger to comment on Peter Beinert's piece on a new liberal foreign policy. It's a little obnoxious for a conservative like me to pontificate about what liberals should do. I'd be a little perturbed reading a Lefty offering the Right advice. But if Democrats and liberals continue on their present course the nation will be stuck with a one-sided debate. A smart, intellectually honest Democratic Party is good for the GOP and good for the country. So here are some of my thoughts.
Had history taken a different course, this new brand of liberalism might have expanded beyond a narrow foreign policy elite. The war in Afghanistan, while unlike Kosovo a war of self-defense, once again brought the Western democracies together against a deeply illiberal foe. Had that war, rather than the war in Iraq, become the defining event of the post-September 11 era, the "re-education" about U.S. power, and about the new totalitarian threat from the Muslim world that had transformed Kerry's advisers, might have trickled down to the party's liberal base, transforming it as well.
In a backhanded way Beinart blames the Bush administration for the Democratic base not fully supporting the Islamic War. But maybe it was the unrealistic expectations they have toward war. Democrats fail to comprehend how amazing the victories in Afghanistan and Iraq were. In both cases it only took weeks to topple nations and liberate their peoples. As an added bonus there were few Allied causalties. When you put the 1000+ troops that have died during the Iraq War and in post-war operations into historical context you see Iraq has been one of the least-bloody military operations in American history.
Beinert goes on:
Kerry was a flawed candidate, but he was not the fundamental problem. The fundamental problem was the party's liberal base, which would have refused to nominate anyone who proposed redefining the Democratic Party in the way the ADA did in 1947. The challenge for Democrats today is not to find a different kind of presidential candidate. It is to transform the party at its grassroots so that a different kind of presidential candidate can emerge. That means abandoning the unity-at-all-costs ethos that governed American liberalism in 2004. And it requires a sustained battle to wrest the Democratic Party from the heirs of Henry Wallace. In the party today, two such heirs loom largest: Michael Moore and MoveOn.
Beinart will be disappointed in Oliver Willis' Brand Democrat campaign. For Willis it isn't about changing the party, just marketing it better to American voters. In fact, Willis writes, "Howard Dean was right. Peter Beinart, The New Republic, The DLC, and all the pro-Iraq war liberal hawks were wrong, wrong, wrong." Oddly, Willis endorses Howard Dean, M.D. for DNC chairman. Somehow, I don't think he's the greatest salesman for the Democrats.
Beinart sees little hope in Democrats getting their act together until the base realizes America is in a war. That means more than a tiny portion of Democratic delegates have to rate terrorism or defense as their number one issue.
One can only hope that many Democrats take Beinart's ideas to heart. I would love to see my country united, both Left and Right, in the fight against Islamism. A more unified U.S. could be better understood by a cynical Europe and Middle East. Domestic unity could inspire more international unity. In short, foreign policy unity could shorten the long war with Islamist totalitarianism. Doves and hawks, liberals and conservaties, Democrats and Republicans, all want that.
"A Fighting Faith"
Clinton Sells Out to the Chinese Again
The search engine Accoona donated an "undisclosed amount" to Bill Clinton's foundation. In return he gave them some publicity and a hope that they "all make lots of money."
"Bill Clinton Helps Launch Search Engine"
December 07, 2004
I Had Hope
In a first "final" draft the less-liberal Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) appeared to be moving its party down a sensible path that would better encompass the worldview of Red America. In a commentary they laid out the slimey nature of the Iraq Oil-for-Food program and the ties to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. In the final paragraph there is a call for Annan to "step aside." I, like many others, took that to mean the DLC stood next to Sen. Norm Coleman is calling for new U.N. leadership. We were wrong. The DLC published a note before their piece they really meant Annan should get out of the way and let Paul Volker do his investigative work.
Going after the biggest financial scandal in world history would have been perfect for a self-avowed "centrist" organization to better connect with fair-minded swing voters. That they haven't means even the "moderate" Democrats have a ways to go to win over the Red States.
Moore: I Saved the Democrats
When Michael Moore appeared clean-shaven and in a suit on Jay Leno one could have thought he was dealing well with President Bush's victory. In that appearance Moore talked about how Republicans won because they were better storytellers than the Democrats. As deeply as the rotund filmmaker could think Moore is expanding on that opinion by arguing that the Democrats need to align themselves more closely to Hollywood. Because that "is where they need to come to learn how to tell a story."
He even went further by claiming Hollywood stopped a bloody Democratic defeat:
What Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bruce Springsteen and MoveOn and all the other people that were working during this election, what we did was we prevented a Bush landslide.
My conclusion is Moore is still suffering post-election shock. He was suffering from it on Jay Leno, and he's still suffering it today. There's denial and there's delusion. Moore's suffering from the latter. Depending on who the Democrats choose for their next party chairman we know if the donkey party is suffering too.
"Moore Denies He Hurt Kerry’s Campaign"
December 02, 2004
Bush's Leftover Cash
John Kerry wasn't the only one with left-over campaign cash:
While Bush gave millions to the RNC for other campaigns Kerry's stinginess forced the Democrats to borrow money. Better money management is another reason Bush beat Kerry.
"Bush Finished Campaign With Millions"
December 01, 2004
A Case for Corzine
Patrick Ruffini suspects there's Presidential aspirations in the mind of Sen. John Corzine (D-NJ). As he writes, "Why give up a Senate-seat for life after just one term for a term-limited job [New Jersey governor] that doesn't have the best track record of enhancing reputations?" (Maybe Corzine wants the job so he can hang out with Ahhnold!) Ruffini then goes on to offer some possible reasons a Corzine candidacy would make sense.
However, he ignores Corzine's most glaring problem. He's a Northeastern liberal. Recent political history has shown that that type of candidate hasn't won the Presidency since JFK. The governor's angle is good. A Governor Corzine would have an actual governing record to run on. Lengthy, complicated explanations about Senate voting records could be called "old news." Could even a Blue State liberal governor be able to relate to the hopes and fears of Red Staters? Michael Dukakis certainly couldn't.
No, Democrats have to look away from the Northeast for their next nominee. I see Sen. Evan Bayh as the perfect nominee. He's from Indiana, is a moderate, and has executive experience from when he was governor. But does he have the personality and desire? More importantly, do the hard core Democrats that will choose the nominee like him?
November 28, 2004
The work done by some reporters may shut up Keith "Go Back to Sports" Olbermann, but I guarantee you years from now some Lefties will passionately believe Karl Rove did something to steal Florida.
"Bush Wins, Again..."
November 20, 2004
Intelligence Bill Dies
The reconfiguring of intelligence agencies failed to pass Congress today. Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi can blame this "failure" on Republicans who "control the House, the Senate, and the White House." But let's be serious. This was a lame duck Congress who only really needed to pass a spending bill and increase the debt ceiling. In the big picture waiting a few months for the next Congress to pass an intelligence reform will not do damage.
"Rebellious Republicans Derail 9/11 Reform"
November 18, 2004
After reading Peggy Noonan's latest column I feel better about not posting as much as I did during the election. My traffic's down, but time should always be made for "ssssshhhhhhhh."
November 15, 2004
Chicks DO Love Dick
W may stand for Women, but they really dig Cheney.
"Dick Cheney's Shock And Awe"
Colin Powell is resigning along with a bunch of other cabinet members. One surprise is that so many stayed so long in the administration. Another surprise is who hasn't turned in his resignation--HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson. It's been rumored he has no love for Washington, D.C. Some Thompson supporters tried to get his name into consideration to be the next president of the University of Wisconsin system. That didn't happen. There has been speculation Thompson would challenge either Russ Feingold or Herb Kohl for a U.S. Senate seat. Obviously, he didn't take on Feingold, but if he loathing of D.C. is true he won't be targeting Kohl. What will Tommy Do?
As for cabinet replacements the big buzz is Condi Rice as the new Secretary of State. Hopefully she would transform that it from the weak-willed institution it's been for decades.
"Sources: Powell Resigns - Three Other Cabinet Members to Resign"
"The Cabinet Empties"
November 14, 2004
Egg Foo Carville.
James Carville can be a loud-mouthed jerk, but he does have a sense of humor. That's probably why he's such a darn-good political consultant.
"Let's Gloat Some More"
Frist's Choice Words
I don't see how Sen. Arlen Specter doesn't become Judiciary Chairman. After a solid set of victories, the last thing the GOP needs to do is start a civil war. That being said Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist warned Specter that he's part of a governing coalition. On Fox News Sunday he said, "I would expect Chairman Specter ... if it's Chairman Specter ... to have a strong predisposition to supporting that nominee sent over by President Bush." He also warned Specter he better tow the party line by being "responsible to the feelings, the wishes, the beliefs, the values, the procedures that are held by ... the Republican committee members."
Unless Specter says something stupid between now and when Senate Republicans choose committee chairman he'll get his leadership position. Unlike Sen. John Kerry, Specter's Senate record is his best defense. Even though he's pro-abortion Specter has never opposed any of President Bush's judicial nominees. He also strongly supported Clarence Thomas' nomination, but did vote against Robert Bork.
November 13, 2004
Some of Each
November 09, 2004
Square Peg, Round Hole
Barbara Streisand decided to stuff a Thomas Jefferson quote into today's world. Ironcially, the part she snipped out of the quote counters some of her fellow Lefties' desire to secede.
"Streisand Dowdifies Jefferson"
Way Too Soon
My goal right now is to get out of this mild post-election weblogging funk. Worrying about a possible President Hillary won't help.
But the guy who created the weblog did get some free publicity.
How Valuable Were "Values?"
Steven Taylor writes, "As such, I would argue that far, far, far too much is being made, on both sides, of the significance of the “moral values” number." He claims the term is quite nebulous and wasn't the issue of the campaign. He's along the same lines as me.
"The 'Values' Question"
November 06, 2004
One thing depressed Lefties can do to deal with President Bush's re-election is dump the "reality-based [fill-in-the-blank]" line. It's insulting toward the people you will need next election to vote for your candidates.
Pulling Back the Curtins
If you're too cheap or lazy to buy yourself the post-election issue of Newsweek, Kevin's got the links for you. I'm about half-way through it and am astounded at how chaotic the Democratic campaigns were. Sen. John Kerry was on his cell phone so much asking for political advice that staffers took way his phone twice. He was so desparate for Sen. John McCain to join his ticket that Kerry offered to make him VP and Secretary of Defense.
Populist, anti-war, screaming Lefty Howard Dean, M.D. would have imploded whether or not he uttered the "Dean Scream." Dean, M.D. and his campaign manager Joe Trippi were at odds already in October. Even then Trippi didn't think Dean, M.D. was ready for prime time.
"Inside Campaign 2004"
November 04, 2004
Losers' First Reaction: Bigotry
Bitterness and vitrol from the Left became bigotry toward Christians. I'd like to think that such mean-spiritedness rests solely with pundits and webloggers. Unfortunately, I saw an ugly side to my Kerry-supporting co-workers today. One person declared "crazy people" were the ones who supported the state referendums defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Two others joked that Bush voters had to pray in the voting booth before making their pick. All these people don't understand the role of faith in many people's lives. Red staters have found a way to allow both reason and religion to co-exist.
Garry Wills derides Red Staters as those who believe more in the Virgin Birth than Darwinian evolution. He thinks they have abandoned the Enlightenment. He tries to make it appear the rubes that voted for Bush believe the world is flat and the earth is the center of the universe.
What does he base this on? An exit poll where 22% of respondents said "moral values" were the number one concern on their minds. For Wills and the Left that means gay marriage. However, that term is very nebulous. Truthfulness and integrity are also moral issues and they were part of the messages of both campaigns. Kerry Edwards relentlessly accused President Bush of misleading the nation into war. The two Johns also pounded on the administration for favoring the rich over everyone else. The anti-Bush 527s used plenty of moral imagry. They didn't think the President was wrong on Iraq and other issues. Rather, he was evil. The President in turn used his character as an advantage. Bush blasted Kerry on his flip-flops and vacillations. Bush questioned Kerry's integrity. Did Bush's faith and moral appearance play to his base? No question. Is that what decided the election? We don't know yet. Michael Van Winkle concurs: "we don't know what 'values' means [to] those few respondents." [That means I'm not leaping to Joe Carter's conclusion that this election was a "wake-up call" to the rest of America that isn't evangelical.]
Mark Hasty has some good thoughts on how the Democrats can win over "Red America." I want to add another. Demeaning and belittling those who voted another way from you will not make them as open to you in the next election. It's stupid to insult those you're trying to persuade. It also doesn't follow the fine example John Kerry set in his concession speech:
We are required now to work together for the good of our country. In the days ahead, we must find common cause. We must join in common effort without remorse or recrimination, without anger or rancor. America is in need of unity and longing for a larger measure of compassion.
I admit I've been gloating, but I've kept it to my Bush-backing friends. It's not that I'm better than anyone else. I just know I wouldn't want that done toward me if the tables were turned. My guide I fail often is the Golden Rule. Nashing of teeth is all right. Just realize we're all still Americans and (baring any succession) are stuck with each other.
"The Liberal Elites Really do Hate the Rest of Us"
November 03, 2004
The Two Sides of Moby
After reading this, I thought Moby was being gracious--dissapointed but gracious.
Later, he calls for succession.
OK, It's Done
I don't think he'd like the company he now joins.
Iowa: Twice as Nice
Two reasons Iowa is cool:
Some Post-Election Reaction
Andrew Sullivan, who backed Kerry mostly on the gay marriage issue, has gone back to supporting the President.
I've been more than a little frustrated by the president's handling of this war in the past year; but we have to draw a line under that now. The past is the past. And George W. Bush is our president. He deserves a fresh start, a chance to prove himself again, and the constructive criticism of those of us who decided to back his opponent. He needs our prayers and our support for the enormous tasks still ahead of him. He has mine. Unequivocally.
I hope the Democrats take Kos' advice and have Howard Dean, M.D. lead their party. That should insure continued Republican victories.
"Terry Out. Get Howard in."
Michael Moore continues to be a disgusting pig.
Michael Totten found other reaction. Some is old fashioned handwringing. Some is a sign the deep-seated hatred for Bush will continue.
As for my reaction, it will be a little while. I was up to 5am today. I'm just taking it easy savoring the victory and doing some non-politics stuff. One reason I'm really glad this is all over is I can get back to some serious reading. Some potentially great books have come out or will come out this year, and I want to get through some of them to give them a shot at a coveted TAM Book Award.
Bush Wins Ohio
At least Fox News is calling it. By their count that means the President only needs one more electoral vote to retain the Presidency.
As for Wisconsin, Kerry leads by about 22,000 votes. Waukesha County, a GOP stronghold is giving Bush a 120,000 vote edge which makes up for the 100,000 vote advantage for Kerry in Milwaukee County.
November 02, 2004
I'm off to door knock. Bush supporters, get out there and vote. Then find two other people who were wavering for Bush, and get them to vote. Kerry Edwards supporters, take a long, long nap. ;-)
This is when all hell breaks loose. The real battle has begun.
Can we stop now?
"Bush Wins Dixville Notch"
November 01, 2004
There are two good items (among many) in today's "Best of the Web." First, we have a Democrat using the Bush twins to assault the President. Then James Taranto found a streak that bodes well for the President:
Speaking of courts, Republicans who are superstitious about sports and politics can take comfort in another trend: Every time the Minneapolis or Los Angeles Lakers have gone to the NBA finals in an election year, win or lose--and it's happened seven times before, in 1952, 1968, 1972, 1980, 1984, 1988 and 2000--a Republican has gone to the White House. This year, of course, the Lakers lost to the Detroit Pistons in five games. The Pistons (then of Fort Wayne, Ind.) were also in the finals in 1956, the only year a Republican won the presidency without the Lakers making it to the finals.
Voodoo is in the Air
It's Halloween so it's the perfect time to accept the supernatural. The Washington Redskins lost to my beloved Green Bay Packers. If history holds then Sen. John Kerry will be the next President of the United States.
Which streak has more power: the Weekly Reader poll or the Washington Redskins? And how will the Halloween mask streak fit in?
"Kerry Claims Victory after Redskins' Loss"
"Packers Win -- Kerry’s in!"
"The Pack & Skins"
October 29, 2004
Cheney to Hawaii
Vice President Cheney going to Hawaii is part of the last-minute game. A few polls have shown Bush tied or within reach of Kerry. By having Cheney go to the island state he may force Kerry Edwards to pump some cash into ads there. The only thing better would be Cheney's visit scaring Kerry or Edwards enough to visit themselves. I give 10-1 odds Bush nabs Hawaii, but precious Kerry Edwards money or time may get drained from better targets like Iowa, Ohio, or Wisconsin.
There could still be a Bush Beach Bash, but I don't want to see either Dick or Lynne in swimwear.
October 28, 2004
No Aloha for Bush
It doesn't sound like Bush will go to Hawaii. A speech at Pearl Harbor would be a stunning visual, but I still like my idea of a Bush Beach Bash starring the twins.
"Reaction to the Hawaii Idea"
Hollywood liberal/Bush supporter, David Zucker made the Milwaukee media rounds and has a brief interview in the Journal Sentinel.
"David Zucker 'Takes Five'"
October 27, 2004
The New JibJab
Let's all chill out and laugh to "Political Bohemian Rhapsody."
[via California Yankee]
October 26, 2004
"And Don't Call Me 'Shirley'"
David Zucker is a rare species, a Bush backer in Hollywood. The Wisconsin native will be on Charlie Sykes' radio program tomorrow morning.
Early Voting and Exit Polls
Nine percent of voters have already cast their ballots. I wonder how this will effect the exit polls the networks use to determine who wins a state. In 2000, the networks' consortium messed up badly allowing some networks to declare AlGore the winner of Florida only to change it to undecided later. What this means is that when networks do declare Bush or Kerry a winner of a particular state take it with a grain of salt until substantial vote counts come in.
Bush's Stopping This Time
Later today, President Bush will arrive in Cuba City, WI. It's a small town he snubbed last May by zipping through the "City of Presidents." In August, Sen. Kerry took time to stop there zinging the President in the process. Today, President Bush is one-upping Kerry by holding a rally in the town's high school.
Back in 1992, President George H. W. Bush was doing a whistle stop campaign through Wisconsin. He was to past through my humble little Allenton. Plenty of locals gathered around the railroad tracks hoping he'd stop and say a few words. The train came from the south, and those of us with signs began holding them up. The closer the train got the more excited we became. The train entered town but offered no sign of stopping. We began shouting and waving anyway. The President just rolled through Allenton with the man himself waving from the back of the train.
I understood at the time that President Bush couldn't stop everywhere, but I wonder how I would have voted had he stopped. In 1992, my first Presidential election, I voted for Ross Perot. (Feel free to make fun of me. I'm man enough to admit my most embarassing Presidential vote was my first.)
"Bush Visiting Cuba City, and this Time He'll Stop"
October 25, 2004
Some Fate is on Bush's Side
If you believe in Presidential election fate then you feel good about President Bush's re-election. Weekly Reader asked readers to vote for President and they choose Bush. Since the magazine's first poll in 1956 it has correctly picked the winner in the election.
Now, all political junkies' eyes fall on the Green Bay Packers-Washington Redskins game.
If the Redskins lose or tie the game before the presidential election, the party in the White House gets ousted. A Redskins win is a win for the incumbent party, too. At least, that’s how it has played out in the past 18 presidential elections.
There's mixed opinion in Las Vegas. The Stardust and MGM-Mirage are making Washington the favorite while Stations has made Green Bay a two-point favorite. With three starters very questionable to play next Sunday the Packers will soon be the consensus underdogs.
I have a dilemma: Do I support my President and root for the Redskins or test fate and root for my beloved Packers? I have no animosity against Joe Gibbs and any player on the Washington roster. It's not like I'd be rooting for the Vikings or the Bears. Or do I be like Rep. Mark Green and hope this strange streak is snapped?
Vote by Issue
After answering all 20 questions of the Vote by Issue Quiz I discovered I agreed most with President Bush. In a fairly close second place was the Libertarian Party's nut candidate Michael Badnarik. It feels good to know I'm not just voting for the party but for the man as well.
October 24, 2004
Bush Leads in Hawaii
In one poll, President Bush is tied with Sen. Kerry in Hawaii. Hawaii! This is not a good sign for Kerry if he's having trouble in a long-standing Democratic stronghold.
The campaigns are at a point where funds are dwindling, yet they don't want any left over. Stategists are pouring over polls electoral vote maps to best allocate cash. Gamesmanship is being played. Last week, the President gave a speech in New Jersey, a state that should be safe for Kerry. It's close there giving the President an opening to turn a blue state red. Buy even more importantly Bush's visit may have forced Kerry Edwards to spend more money than they wanted to in a "safe" state preventing that money from going to real battleground states like Ohio and Florida. Bush probably won't get either New Jersey or Hawaii, but scaring his opponent into putting resources there could be beneficial in the overall "strategery."
If Bush wants to take a longshot at winning Hawaii and can't fit the long Air Force One flight into his schedule he should send the twins. A beach party for Bush would draw attention, especially if Jenna and Barbara turned it into a bikini bash.
President Bush is the consensus pick of the right wing blogosphere. The Iowa Electronic Markets agrees. I hope they're not resting on their prognosticating laurels and are planning on getting as many people as they can to vote for Bush on Election Day.
"Right-Of-Center Bloggers Make Their Predictions For The 2004 Elections"
October 23, 2004
Real Voter Intimidation
Democrats have plans to make up voter intimidation even if non exist. In Florida, we see the real thing.
One woman who voted early in Boca Raton, at the Southwest County Regional Library, complained that as she stood in line, two men behind her were "trashing our president," Fletcher said, declining to identify the woman. She tried to ignore them. Then the man touched her arm and said, "Who are you voting for?"
Unlike the Dems, the GOP doesn't need to pretend.
October 22, 2004
Behold, the Toast-O-Meter. Steven Taylor's take on the Presidential race.
October 21, 2004
This is sure to garner some (hopefully) clever jokes, but I think these Bush-Cheney pumpkins are neat. The best part is they're Wisconsin creations.
"Bush-Cheney Pumpkin Carving!"
Athletes for Bush
With razor-thin margins in many state races any edge a campaign can find will be used. The Bush-Cheney campaign pulled out their sports card. Here's the list of athletic Bush backers:
If I had known that two Houston Astros were pro-Bush I would have rooted for them tonight even though Phil Garner has no right to manage any team in the World Series.
Unlike the pro-GOP actors at the national convention, Bush-Cheney didn't get stuck with a lot of second-tier talent--although a water polo players counts as third-tier in my book. These are about as intellectually valuable as the Hollywood crowd backing John Kerry. What does it say about an undecided voter that moves to President Bush because of Kerri Strug?
The trend in national polls favors Bush. However, that doesn't really matter since the Electoral College is picks the President. With lots of states still in play an intelligent observer should say it's too close to call, but I'm not one of those.
"Election 2004 By The Numbers"
October 20, 2004
Democratic Scare Tactics
The closer we get to Election Day means we'll be seeing more racially-charged scare tactics. Will James Byrd's ghost rise up to haunt the President? Don't be surprised if we do.
Wisconsin Prisoners Voting
One would expect government officials to care about possible voter fraud. That's not the case in Dane and Racine Counties when it comes to prisoners in their jails.
In Wisconsin, one cannot vote if they're serving a sentence including parole. Those serving time in jail for misdemeanors can still vote. The NAACP is setting up prisoners with absentee ballots. The problem is no one is checking to make sure the prisoners are eligible. Sharon Christensen a Madison deputy city clerk told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "If they fill out the form and they sign it, they are stating they meet the eligibility requirements. If someone knows different, they could challenge that on election day." Madison, a strong Democratic enclave, is taking the word of convicted criminals. The city government will make no effort to ensure the legitimacy of the vote.
Rick Graber, Wisconsin GOP chairman, was correct when he said, "If this is not being monitored, if people are not closely watching this, people who are not allowed to vote will be given the right to vote."
Critics could claim that the possibility for this kind of voter fraud is slim. However, the Journal Sentinel reports differently:
A Journal Sentinel investigation after the 2000 presidential election found that at least 361 felons voted while they were still under state supervision in Milwaukee. Three men were charged with illegal voting after the stories ran, but those charges were later dismissed after prosecutors were unable to prove the three knew it was illegal for felons to vote.
"NAACP Defends Its Effort to Register Voters in Jails"
Kudos go to Tom Held and Tom Kertscher for working on this story. I'm as guilty as most of the blogosphere for ripping on the media at the drop of a hat (or fake memo). When good, important investigation is done, it should be praised.
Missouri's Mega Voter Rolls
Colorado isn't the only state with weird voter registration numbers:
A record 4.2 million Missourians are registered to vote on Nov. 2 — a figure so high that election officials acknowledge it likely is inflated by a large number of people who are registered more than once.
"State Voter Rolls at Record Levels, Lists Likely Inflated"
October 19, 2004
Crowded Colorado Rolls
From the Denver Post:
Colorado's swollen voter rolls have passed the 3 million mark, but as many as 55,000 names appear in the secretary of state's voter list more than once.
This is an open opportunity for voter fraud. I've figured out the tactic. Clerks get flooded with new voter registrations. County and state offices run out of time to completely clean the voter rolls. Come Election Day, illegal voters run around trying to vote more than once. If they're turned away at one polling place, they go to another or fill out a provisional ballot. If the election goes their way, the Left smiles on a job well done. If the election results are close enough they scream about voter suppression and incompetent maintanence of voter rolls. The lawyers then take over.
What this means is Bush backers have to get out and vote and drag as many Bush voters with them to the polls. Because "if it's not close, they can't cheat."
"Repeats Fill Voter Rolls"
"Ashley's Story" may be the most powerful Presidential ad of the season. It's poignant, moving, and touching. Sappy and Oprah-esque, yes, but you have no soul if you aren't moved after watching it.
The second ad is from the College Republicans. I'm plugging it because 1) I used to be one; and 2) there's some smart leadership running the show. Using the CRs as another 527-type conduit to promote Bush is just good strategy. As for the ad, there's potential there with the goofy pictures of Kerry, but the narrator sounds flat and the visuals overall look cheap. It's a good demo, but not ready for primetime. Some donations would help them out.
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
A Washington Post story on voter registration makes me feel better about GOP GOTV efforts.
After spending millions of dollars and untold energy to register voters this year, Republicans and Democrats are running neck and neck in registration drives in five battleground states, while Democrats have made notable gains in two others, a survey of recent figures suggests.
The paper notes that this doesn't necessarily mean registration means more votes for either party. It does mean the GOP is finally doing what it takes to find new voters. It may mean the GOP's GOTV operation (the best I've ever seen it) will complete with the veteran operations of the Democrats, labor unions, and other Lefty organizations.
From Where It All Started
The heart of Bush hatred may lie in Austin, Texas. The amazing Andrew Ferguson, The Weekly Standard's best writer, went to the state capital and found this jumble of connections:
For our purposes, however, what was most interesting about the 60 Minutes imbroglio was the light it shed on the tiny, hermetic world of Texas Bush-hating. Rather himself--perhaps the world's most prominent Texas Bush-hater--has a daughter, Robin, who is an activist in, and future contender for the chairmanship of, Austin's Travis County Democratic party, which Rather once helped raise money for and whose chairman at that time, David Van Os, now serves as the attorney for Bill Burkett, who gave 60 Minutes the bogus documents and who has worked as a source for James C. Moore, who discovered the Austin4Kerry tape and whose book, Bush's Brain, was co-written by Wayne Slater, Austin bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News, whose News colleague, Mark Wrolstad, is married to Mapes, who produced the 60 Minutes segment and who knew Moore when both were TV reporters in Houston, where Mapes still lives. It's dizzying to think what Bush-haters would do with this web of intimacies if they were on the other side. (And inevitably, Rather-haters have tried to spin a controversy here, too, with elaborate box charts spreading across anti-Kerry sites on the Internet.)
That's more incestuous than the right side of the blogosphere.
Ferguson see a parallel between Bush hatred and Clinton hatred. They both sprung from geography:
Republicans learned this lesson themselves, suffering a lengthy, and equally pointless and debilitating, epidemic of Clinton-hating for most of the 1990s, when it bubbled up from the fever swamps of Arkansas and laid waste to vast stretches of the national party. Like Clinton-hating, Bush hatred is the creature of a marginalized mentality--the irritable gesture of the perennial loser.
"The Birthplace of Bush Paranoia"
October 18, 2004
Look Who Endored Bush
Pat Buchanan writes,
If Bush loses, his conversion to neoconservatism, the Arian heresy of the American Right, will have killed his presidency. Yet, in the contest between Bush and Kerry, I am compelled to endorse the president of the United States. Why? Because, while Bush and Kerry are both wrong on Iraq, Sharon, NAFTA, the WTO, open borders, affirmative action, amnesty, free trade, foreign aid, and Big Government, Bush is right on taxes, judges, sovereignty, and values. Kerry is right on nothing.
Not glowing but I'm sure the President will take it anyway--just not publically.
October 16, 2004
Newsweek Poll: Reader Beware
Newsweek's poll gives President Bush a 50-44% advantage among likely voters. Since Newsweek has a track record of wacked-out polls with poor methodology I'm not going to do backflips over this.
"Too Close to Call"
October 15, 2004
Partisan Tempers Flaring
USA Today lists a few of the many voting shenanigans going on before Election Day. Included is Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett's request for 938,000 ballots from Milwaukee County. Wisconsin's largest city only has 596,974.
For more on voter fraud, visit Bill Hobbs' weblog.
"Election Protests Already Started"
October 14, 2004
How Christian Conservatives Think
Dean Esmay gets us into the Christian Conservative mind:
Mind you, I'm no conservative. I considered myself one for a brief while, but it was long ago. And I'm not a Christian. Yet I understand the mindset pretty well. I'm not sure how to explain this, but I can only say that anyone who snickers over Mary Cheney and thinks that she's a liability among Bush's conservative Christian base is simply failing to understand how conservative Christians think. What those folks really think when confronted with such information is one of two things:
So, Dean thinks Christian conservatives are upset campaign propriety has been breeched. Conservatives in general believe all human activities require limits to prevent anarchy. The term "ordered liberty" comes to mind. In political economy that means the conservative (generally) argues for government limited by a constitution. In the social realm, stigma and shame are used to shape tradition. Since I know of no recent Presidential election where a candidate used the private life of an opponent's child, Kerry Edwards' breech is history in the making.
"Failure To Understand Your Enemy's Mind Is A Devastating Weakness"
Imagine if John Kemp, circa 1996, said, "And I think if you were to talk to Bill Clinton's daughter, who is one ugly girl, she would tell you that she's being who she was, she's being who she was born as." There would be outrage.
"Politicizing Presidential Children: Mary Cheney Edition"
Elizabeth Edwards Makes Things Worse
John Edwards' wife, Elizabeth, decided to play pop psychologist by saying Lynne Cheney "overreacted to this and treated it as if it's shameful to have this discussion. I think that's a very sad state of affairs. ... I think that it indicates a certain degree of shame with respect to her daughter's sexual preferences. ... It makes me really sad that that's Lynne's response."
Imagine what Mrs. Edwards would have said had President Bush used her daughter as an example in favor of abstinence-based sex education. I have to make this clear because people like Oliver Willis have a hard time understanding my posts. I don't know anything about Cate Edwards' sex life, and I don't want to. It's none of my business, and it would be wrong if Bush had invoked her name.
Remember Democrats were screaming during the Clinton impeachment that digging into someone's private sex life for political gain was wrong. For them it's only wrong if Republicans are doing it. Kerry invoking Mary Cheney is one example, and Illinois media's successful attack on Jack Ryan is another.
There's been an unwritten rule that candidates' children are off limits. Kerry Edwards has decided all rules are made to be broken in order to achieve victory. It may work, but by doing so he will have failed to bring the nation together.
"Bush Official: Debates Gave Lift to Kerry"
UPDATE: Cam Edwards writes:
My original thought was that this wasn't going to play well with women. I don't think this going to play well with parents in general.
UPDATE II: Rosemary Esmay writes,
It doesn't matter that she's "out". Using your opponent's child for a political gain is just rude. Lynn Cheney is rightly angry about it and I would be too. Kerry and Edwards should be ashamed of themselves.
Oliver Willis engages in dishonest word manipulation. Unless he's become psychic or a stalker the man has no idea how I feel about homosexuality or my relations to gays and lesbians. Even though the post Oliver addresses is the next one below here's the pertinent paragraph:
A real low blow came when Sen. Kerry brought up Mary Cheney's sexuality. He decided to tell the world that she was a lesbian and used her to try to score political points. In this election Kerry Edwards has decided that the sex life of someone with no bearing on the race is an issue. This is from a party that cried foul when Bill Clinton's sexual acts in the oval office became a political issue. It's Democratic hypocrisy plain and simple. Should the personal lives of Kerry's daughters now be an issue? Should we bring up any strange fetishes Teresa Heinz Kerry might have?
I assumed reasonable people would imply that I didn't want such tawdry details brought up in the election. Let me make it clearer for those, like Oliver, who only see the worst in conservatives: using the personal lives of candidates' relatives crosses a line. Mary Cheney isn't running for office. She doesn't deserve to have her sex life dropped into the campaign. This is attention she doesn't need.
Let's look at the facts: in two debates Kerry Edwards has used the sexuality of a non-candidate as a political prop. Few people know Dick Cheney has a daughter let alone that she's a lesbian. The point of the tactic was to scare homophobic Republicans--who do exist just like intolerant Democrats exist. In the words of Mary Beth Cahill, a Kerry Edwards spokesman, someone's sex life is "fair game" in the campaign. This is from a party that wailed on the GOP for using Bill Clinton's sex life against him.
There's been times I could have accused Oliver of anti-Americanism. His critiques of the Bush administration have been over-the-top on many occasions. I haven't. I'll admit I called him a "Bush basher." I don't think I've said worse. (If so, let me know and a correction can be made.)
In private conversation Oliver has said he considers me one of the saner weblogers on the right side of the blogosphere. You'd never know it from some of his recent posts. Such flippant accusations of bigotry don't add to the political discussion. In the past, I've tried to handle any misunderstanding between Oliver and me in a private manner. Public, personal shoutfests can lead to even more strained relations that the rest of the world has no reason to see. Our civil conversations haven't translated to more civil writing on his website. I'm disappointed. Oliver's better than that.
I'm not the only one upset with a woman's sex life as a political prop. Lynne Cheney isn't happy about Kerry's remark either, saying "he is not a good man." Oddly, last night, Kerry told voters he would do all he could to bridge the nation's partisan divide. I guess that doesn't count in the election.
"The Mary Cheney 'Issue'"
UPDATE: James Joyner has other blogospheric reaction.
October 13, 2004
Post-Debate III Spin
There had to have been more excitement in the Houston-St. Louis baseball game. Tonight's debate was dry, full of wonkish policy details. Kerry sounded like the know-it-all, well-prepared debate veteran we know he is. One would come away thinking policy was all Kerry thought about. Such technocratic habits can be a blessing because he's well versed on the issues but also a curse because a technocrat's inclination is bigger government.
President Bush held his own with facts and figures of his own. He mentioned how many times Kerry voted to increase taxes (98 times). Kerry had no defense. Bush mentioned how few bills Kerry got into law. Kerry disputed that number. Kerry voted 277 times to waive budget caps that would have reduced the deficit. Kerry offered no defense. Bush brought up Kerry's "global test." The Senator's response wasn't to disavow the term, but to state multiple times that he wouldn't give foreign nations a veto on U.S. action. Too bad for Kerry that his global test fell into a long pattern of putting internationalism ahead of U.S. interests. Finally, the President made Kerry try to defend his political past. Bush could have been more forceful and more focused but put Kerry on the defensive.
My initial view was Kerry won again on style. The man is a seasoned debater who can easily go from any question asked into his talking point and attack against the President. On the issues, the substance, Bush won. Kerry talked about plans he can't pay for, better foreign relations he can't be sure of, higher taxes on the most productive members of the economy. While doing this he barely mentioned anything he accomplished in a long career as Massachussets Senator.
To get into some Kerry specifics, he again said he's increase the army by two divisions without noting that doing so doesn't come by simply hiring 40,000 more troops. He claimed he'd bring health care costs down by increased federal government involvement yet people would still have heath care freedom. Anytime the government gets involved they exert control. Then on the minimum wage, Kerry thought that simply increasing it would lift the incomes of millions of women. That's static economic thinking. The Law of Demand is clear: when prices go up demand for something goes down. That happens with oil, baseball cards, and wages. Unless employers see a corresponding increase in labor value, an increased minimum wage just takes away from their bottom line. A rise in the minimum wage WITHOUT an increase in workers' productivity results in increased unemployment.
What was striking tonght was Kerry's demagogery. He blamed the President for the highly polarized political climate, but didn't admit the role Democrats have played. Kerry was the man who let Michael Moore sit in a box with President Jimmy Carter at his party's national convention in Boston. Kerry blamed the President for poor relations with the NAACP without mentioned the hateful remarks and actions by that organization's leadership. Kerry said Bush "turned his back on the wellness of America." I guess it's the President's fault there's so much obesity.
To Kerry, the President's call for partial privatization of Social Security is an "invitation to disaster." He claims Bush is responsible for a "separate and unequal school system." The Senator even went so far as to compare the President to fictional mob boss Tony Soprano.
A real low blow came when Sen. Kerry brought up Mary Cheney's sexuality. He decided to tell the world that she was a lesbian and used her to try to score political points. In this election Kerry Edwards has decided that the sex life of someone with no bearing on the race is an issue. This is from a party that cried foul when Bill Clinton's sexual acts in the oval office became a political issue. It's Democratic hypocrisy plain and simple. Should the personal lives of Kerry's daughters now be an issue? Should we bring up any strange fetishes Teresa Heinz Kerry might have?
Kerry's cynical use of Mary Cheney could be the negative meme coming out of this debate. Fox News' Carl Cameron reported that there were groans by reporters in Tempe when Kerry brought up Ms. Cheney. Morton Kondracke was appalled and called it a "low blow." This could put Kerry Edwards on the defensive for a day or two.
This was President Bush's best performance and Sen. Kerry once again showed he was the stylistically-superior debater. If you go by expectations, then Bush won because domestic issues was supposed to be Kerry's strong point. He offered his ideas, but had to defend them from the liberal, big government label. Bush had lowered expectations with his history of below-average speaking, yet he confronted Kerry with his Senate record (got him on his "no" vote on the Persian Gulf War) and made him defend it. Bush's tenacity only emboldens his supporters. Since getting one's base to the polls is key to victory this year I give President Bush a slight victory.
I will update this post with other post-debate reaction. Feel free to trackback this post, leave your link as a comment, or e-mail me.
I'm done. Good night.
Tonight's debate is on domestic policy. That means we'll be hearing lots on taxes and health care. President Bush has an advantage on the former and Sen. Kerry on the latter. It may sound like I'm lowering my expectations for Bush, but Kerry has been polling better on the economy. And with this two solid performances already I expect him to do well again.
I wonder how many people will watch the whole thing since two baseball playoff games will be on simultaneously. Bush may again go with his tactic of repeating talking points over and over to those viewers bouncing in and out. That's not wise because the MSM post-game reporting is very important. Having them tell their audience that the President was repetitive won't make a great impression.
Let me repeat again that this election will come down to voter turnout and which candidate gets their base out to vote. To rally his base, Bush will have to point out the long liberal record of Kerry in the Senate. He'll have to make it clear Kerry has a history of voting for tax increases. On health care, he'll have to convince voters that Kerry's health care plans is a big government plan that will cost too much and only make the situation worse.
But the President can't merely scare the voters into thinking Kerry is too liberal to be President. Bush should offer his vision of the future. At the GOP convention he called it the "opportunity society." Medical Savings Accounts, personal retirement accounts as part of Social Security, and permanent tax cuts will bring more choice to individual's lives. On all these, Bush will fight off Kerry's relentless call for taxing the rich. He'll have to hammer on the point that Kerry thinks the rich are those that make more than $200,000 a year. Many people make than and more and don't feel rich.
Stylistically, neither candidate needs to raise their voices like they both did during last Friday night's debate. Bush may be frustrated with how the Left has demonized him, but Kerry isn't an ogre, and he isn't evil. Treating Kerry (and moderator Bob Scheiffer) in a respectful manner with plenty of his Texas warmth will only do him well.
Like the previous debates, I won't be covering it live. I will be taking notes, but if you want to leave comments while watching feel free, and I'll try to pop in when I can.
"The Final Debate: What Each Candidate Must Do (With Roundup)"
October 12, 2004
While watching the story notice who admitted to committing fraud? Two blacks. Also notice the multilingual sign on ACORN's building. This operation's goal is to register as many Democratic-leaning voters as possible. ACORN and their Project Vote affiliate don't register people in conservative areas. They're strictly a blue state operation focusing on minorities and the poor.
Intellectually dishonest people like Oliver Willis can believe I long for the days of Jim Crow (I wasn't even born yet), but I will continue to point out the ways the Left is attempting to rig the election.
Who knows how many people have registered falsely? Who knows how many have already voted using absentee ballots? Who knows how many people will show up to multiple polling places and vote more than once on Election Day? Just like the Sep. 11 attacks showed how our airline network was vulnerable to terrorist attack Nov. 2 may show how vulnerable our election system is to election theft.
Colorado Bush Rally
Speaking of pictures, a TAM reader sent me some from a Janesville, WI Bush rally last month.
Scandal in South Dakota
In South Dakota an absentee voting scandal erupted involving the nephew of GOP candidate Rep. John Thune. The state GOP GOTV operation resigned. In a close race like this a scandal could tip the election to Daschle.
To follow this important and close Senate race, there are few better places than the Daschle v. Thune weblog.
"State GOP Staffers Step Down Amid Probe"
Contrasting Styles on the Stump
The Washington Post compares the events of both Bush and Kerry:
The Republican faithful love their candidate; the Democratic faithful have less such enthusiasm for Kerry but know he is their vessel for defeating Bush -- about which they are passionate.
One Kerry supporter said, "It's not the guy, it's the policies." An ex-Deaniac said, "George Bush has blown it for me." (Did this man ever support Bush?)
Part of this is campaign strategy. Rove's plan has been to excite the GOP base. He thinks that will bring victory. Kerry may think his base--the ABB (Anyone But Bush) crowd--has no where to go so he can target undecideds. But Kerry might be focusing on swing voters because he's assuming labor unions and other Lefty groups will take care of the GOTV operation. Since the GOP doesn't have a history of great GOTV (other than some evangelical churches) Bush-Cheney has to do do much of it internally. I give Kerry a slight edge, but I've written before that this is the most impressive GOTV effort by the GOP I've ever seen.
"Diverse Tactics on the Stump"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
October 11, 2004
Turnout, Turnout, Turnout
Michael Barone writes that this election "is about turnout." It's not a startling observation since we know how polarized and agitated many people are. But I'm glad someone smarter than me is agreeing with me.
Speaking of boosting turnout for the President, this weekend is a Walk for the President where volunteers go door to door to remind their fellow citizens how important it is to vote. This is easily the most active GOP GOTV I've ever seen. We'll see how well it works on Election Day.
October 10, 2004
Sing Along Everyone
Here's another JibJab hit.
October 08, 2004
Post-Debate II Spin
This will be quick because I didn't take notes tonight. Bush was more aggressive. At times he was too aggressive stepping on Kerry's last words and arguing with Charlie Gibson. But the aggression showed the passion of his beliefs. For years, he's had to put up with loud, abusive critics. Now, he can finally and forcefully defend himself. Even undecided voters should know by now Bush means what he says and knows where he stands.
With Kerry is was all about his "plans." Anyone can say they have a plan. Anyone can have a plan. What Kerry lacked was the ability to say what he will do when his plan has to be changed. France and Germany won't go into Iraq for any reason. Yet Kerry still talks about building alliances. Kerry talks about his health care and budget plans, but won't admit he can't pay for them all without either raising taxes or running even larger deficits than the current President.
In the expectations game--which I hate--Bush won because many people thought he did so poorly in Debate I. I call it a draw, but Bush has plenty to add to his stump speech.
In the scope of the whole race, this debate has less importance than even this week's Vice Presidential event. That's because this debate was held on a Friday night. A good tactic to get something into the papers without much attention is to release it on a Friday afternoon or evening. Saturday papers are the least read. Weekend newscasts are the least watched. Saturday college football, Sunday NFL games, and baseball playoffs will distract people until Monday. By then this debate will be old news.
This election will hinge on turnout. Bush succeeded in reassuring his base that he can fight. Kerry hasn't let up. This will be close to the end.
For blogospheric reaction here's a short list:
Line of the Night
"Need some wood?" --President Bush
Expect President Bush to get hit by the MSM and Kerry Edwards for this morning's employment numbers. But remember Ed Moltzen's keen point about the 5.4% unemployment rate:
That's also the same unemployment rate President Clinton had when he ran for re-election in 1996.
October 07, 2004
Possible Florida Fraud
Something's fishy when lots of photocopied voter registration forms come in with the party marked GOP from an area traditionally Democratic, but that's what happened in Leon County, Florida.
October 06, 2004
Jerkyness is Bipartisan
I'm feeling awfully evenhanded tonight. Running Scared has examples of bad GOP behavior. I guess I better update my previous post: EVERYBODY, CHILL OUT! We're all still stuck with each other after the election is over.
More Post-VP Debate Reaction
Kerry and Edwards denigrate and demean the leadership of Prime Minister Allawi and those Iraqis who have died fighting against terrorists and those still loyal to the Saddam Hussein tyranny. Is this really surprising behavior from Kerry? After all when he returned from Viet Nam in the 1970s he called the soldiers left behind a bunch of war criminals. Kerry always seems to have a knife aimed at your back.
From Bill Hobbs:
Edwards comes off as a slightly more serious Dan Quayle - too young, too eager and too inexperienced to lead the world's most important nation in a critical time of war.
From Peppermint Patty:
If John Edwards babysat my children, he'd entertain them and make them smile for a while, and then they'd think he was kind a dopey in a good way and start ignoring him as he jumped around in that clown suit with that big smile and hope he'd just go watch TV so they wouldn't have to be nice to him. They'd be pretty relieved when I came home because anyone that chipper is just damned annoying after a while.
And Cox & Forkum "draw" blood on John Edwards.
It feels a little inside baseballish but here's a great quote from Dick Cheney:
Now if they couldn't stand up to the pressures that Howard Dean represented, how can we expect them to stand up to al Qaeda?
Bush-Cheney has a winner if they can tie Dean to Kerry then hammer Kerry with his flip-flops. There's makings of a good commerical there.
"Help Is On the Way"
Democrats, Chill Out
It's only an election for pete's sake!
If John Kerry wanted to look Presidential and have a "Sista Soulja" moment he should denouce them, say he doesn't want their vote, and urge restraint.
UPDATE: Add West Allis, WI to the list of victims of Democratic attacks.
More than 50 demonstrators supporting Democrat presidential candidate John Kerry stormed a Republican campaign office in West Allis at mid-day today, trespassing, creating a disturbance through the use of a bullhorn in the office and then refusing to leave when asked.
I forgot to mention that in the Orlando tv story it's mentioned that the two protests/attacks were coordinated nationwide. That might be criminal conspiracy.
I have an answer to any angry Republicans who want to fight fire with fire: Don't. Too many of us are tense enough all ready. Don't start playing tit-for-tat. Someone will get hurt or killed.
Post-VP Debate Spin
This Vice Presidential debate was not vital to either campaign. Few voters go to the polls and make their decision based on who the VP would be. George Bush and John Kerry are the ones voters are deciding between. The role of this debate was for both campaigns to hone arguments that will be used later in the campaign and to maintain or regain momentum. Kerry seems to have "won" the first debate mostly because many Republicans were dissapointed in the President's performance. (I wasn't since I declared it a draw.) The polls (except for the goofy Newsweek one) remained almost the same before and after.
I'm going to agree with Fred Barnes' post-debate reaction. He thought Dick Cheney won when discussing foreign policy, but John Edwards did well when talk came back to domestic issues. That's not a surprise. Both men were good at stating their cases in the areas their campaigns have been focusing on.
First on foreign policy, especially Iraq, Edwards was on the offensive. He attacked Cheney for claiming there was a Iraq connection to the Sep. 11 attacks. Cheney responded by saying he made no such connection. Instead, he's emphasised again and again Saddam's connection to terrorist organizations. In Cheney's defense, Sep. 11 Commission Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton went further than the Vice President when he said, "[T]here were contacts between al Qaeda and Iraq going back clear to the early 1990s when Osama bin Laden was in Sudan, then when he was In Afghanistan. I don't think there's any dispute about that."
Cheney later said Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's people had assistance from Saddam, were in Baghdad before the war, and are still there. That was in response to Edwards' use of a story saying the CIA isn't so sure about Zarqawi's connections to al Qaeda. Let's be reasonable: Zarqawi didn't have to be directly connected to Osama bin Laden or take orders from him. The man is a known Islamist terrorist who is currently trying to keep Iraq from her God-given liberty.
Edwards used 20-20 hindsight to criticize the Bush administration. The best way to evaluate whether President Bush did the right thing is to put oneself in his shoes. On Sep. 11, 2001, the nation was attacked by Islamist terrorists. The President quickly attacked al Qaeda in Afghanistan and toppled the Taliban. But the President was thinking beyond just Osama bin Laden. He realized that the global environment changed. Theats existed that weren't realized before the September attacks. It wasn't enough to just go to Afghanistan. Places where rogue nations mixed with Islamist terrorists were potential hotspots. Saddam's Iraq had a track record of defying the international community. They invaded two neighbors and used WMD. Saddam allowed Abu Nidal to stay in his country and gave money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. Terrorist connections combined with a history of WMD and aggression made Saddam a threat in the post-Sep. 11 world. No one argued otherwise, not John Kerry or John Edwards.
Intelligence isn't perfect. Sometimes it's really, really wrong. In the question of if Saddam had WMD, the world intelligence community was wrong, because no one argued before the war that Saddam didn't have WMD. The question was how to deal with them.
The President had to act with the intelligence at hand. No one, not John Kerry or John Edwards, can wave a magic wand and give the pre-war President Bush all that we know today. If one could then we wouldn't be arguing about Iraq, because we probably wouldn't be there. An intellectually honest arguement would understand what the President knew then. That's something Kerry Edwards can't and won't do.
Reasonable people can disagree on whether Bush should have invaded Iraq. But we do know he acted. We still don't know how a Kerry Edwards administration would fight the Islamist War. Kerry's "global test" came up tonight, and Edwards couldn't defend it. He did state that Kerry would go out and kill those to want to attack us. However, he couldn't explain what a global test was and how it would apply in Kerry's decision-making process. The most he could explain was it had something to do with U.S. international credibility.
If so, how about this scenerio: a suitcase-sized nuclear weapon is detonated in Columbus, Ohio killing 50,000 people. U.S. intelligence indicates the culprits were Islamists headquartered in Armenia. However, the intel isn't rock solid. It's based upon incomplete phone records, e-mails, and informants who aren't entirely trustworthy. Despite the problems with the information, the intelligence community is very sure Armenian Islamists were behind the attack. A President Kerry takes this information to the Russians, French, Germans, etc. They look at it, but don't buy it. They may not dispute any of it, but have political positions of their own to maintain--certainly Russia would. For whatever reason the international community doesn't accept the U.S.'s conclusion. What does President Kerry do? I don't think this information meets Kerry's global test, yet just about every American is screaming for vengence. Would Kerry invade Chechnya? Would he nuke the place? We don't know what a President Kerry would do, and that should frighten all Americans. Edwards could have sat right up and said those two words were a mistake, but he didn't. Not saying much says a lot about John Kerry's foreign policy views.
On how things were going in Iraq, Edwards said things were going poorly, and the public knew things were going poorly because of what they saw and read in the media. What the Senator fails to realize is the MSM is just a window upon reality. It doesn't display everything. When you take into account that much (not all) of the MSM has a strong "news as entertainment" element along with a Leftist bias one should conclude that a complete picture isn't shown. There is a lot of good being done is Iraq that's left off the front pages of newspapers and ignored as top stories on newscasts.
An arguement from the foreign policy discussion that I think will last beyond the expiration date of this debate was Cheney accusing Kerry Edwards of politicizing their Iraq votes in response to the surge of Howard Dean. Publically, the doctor is seen as the firebrand Bush basher who was leading an anti-war crusade only to flame out with his "Dean Scream." It demonstrates the political (mis)calculations the Democratic ticket has made.
When it came to domestic issues, John Edwards was in full stride. He delivered parts of his stump speech but not sounding like that's what he was doing. He emphasised health care tonight. Edwards even answered a question on AIDS among black American women by talking about health care as a whole. There was plenty of talk from him about the problems, but his solution was standard Lefy big government. All Cheney responded with was with the administration's Medicare bill that pays for prescription drugs--a compassionate conservative version of big government--and how lawyers run amuck are causing costs to go up. He didn't go after Edwards and tie him to socialized medicine A.K.A. HillaryCare.
At one point, Edwards admitted there were "too many lawsuits." Cheney, at least, could have built upon that. To Cheney's credit he did make the case that excessive lawsuits are causing malpractice insurance to skyrocket and force doctors to avoid high-risk patients.
No surprise that taxes came up as an issue. Dick Cheney defended the Bush tax cuts and pointed out all the times John Kerry voted to raise taxes. John Edwards talked about how Kerry would raise taxes on those making more than $200,000 a year. Mark that down, because Edwards stated before millions of people that if his ticket won, taxes would go up. Cheney spoke of the impact of such a tax hike. Many small business would fall into Kerry Edwards' version of the affluent. A tax hike on them would prevent them from growing their enterprises and hiring more people. In short, the Democrats' tax increase would be a job killer. And Edwards complained about all the jobs losses during the Bush administration. (The Washington Post has already declared both candidates' arguments to be misleading.)
There were some some fireworks. Much more than at last Thursday's debate between Senator John Kerry and President George W. Bush. One was an interesting back and forth had on Halliburton, the company Dick Cheney used to run. John Edwards went off on the no-bid contract the company got to provide services for the military in Iraq. Edwards went on to mention all the criminal problems the company is dealing with (bribery, cooked books, deals with Iran and Libya) in an attempt to smear Cheney by association.
The Vice President countered it by calling it a "smoke screen." Edwards didn't attempt to connect any crime to Cheney. It was merely mudslinging that FactCheck.org doesn't buy.
Cheney zinged Edwards by pointing out how little Kerry Edwards has been doing anything in the Senate. He said, "Your hometown newspaper has taken to calling you 'Senator Gone.'" Then he said that he presided over the Senate but "The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight."
Who won? I give the edge to Cheney because he dealt with the election's most important issue, the Islamist War, in a serious way. Cheney reinforced the attitude that the Bush administration would be steadfast in fighting the war and would have no hesitation in striking back at America's enemies. Edwards was good on domestic issues using stories to connect policy with everyday life. However, in Edwards' America you'd think it was the Great Depression redux. Everyone is out of work. Jobs are going overseas. Nobody has health care. Edwards used to speak about Two Americas. Tonight, it seemed only the downtrodden one existed. Most importantly for Edwards, he didn't clarify Kerry's foreign policy vision, especially his global test. Inconsistent leadership could bring serious harm to the United States. For showing consistency and toughness, Cheney won tonight. As for the election, the debate reinforced the conventional wisdom: If the Islamist War remains the most important issue Bush wins. If somehow it moves to the back burner, then Kerry will be the next resident of the White House.
Transcript: Vice Presidential Debate"
"Cheney and Edwards Go Toe to Toe"
UPDATE: If you slogged throught this much-too-long analysis of an event that won't affect the campaign much, then you're a full-fledged political junkie who needs for to read. Here you go:
October 05, 2004
What do you have to say about tonght's VP debate? Leave a comment. I'm working on my analysis right now. If you want something to read, Allah is collecting blogospheric reaction.
Dumping the Draft
The House GOP is playing smart politics by bringing up Rep. Charlie Rangle's (D-NY) bill to reinstate the draft. Let me underscore the importance of this. Charlie Rangle, a Democrat, is sponsoring a bill to bring back the draft. Republicans aren't sponsoring this, and the Bush administration has said time and again that they have no plans to draft anyone.
Will this stop John Kerry and the Bush bashing crowd from lying to college kids about this? Probably not, but it will shine the light on their false charges.
"House Set to Crush Bill to Reinstitute the Draft"
October 03, 2004
Speaking of Kerry's "global test" Bush-Cheney has a new ad.
Bush's numbers are taking a dive on the Iowa Electronic Markets. Much of it coming from the drop in the "Bush with at least 52% of the popular vote" future. But as King pointed out to me in an e-mail the IEM has such little volume a $30 trade can significantly move the market.
On TradeSports Bush's numbers are diving as well. However, Kerry's haven't gone up as steeply.
This comes on the newest Newsweek poll giving Kerry a 47%-45% lead among registered voters. That may explain Bush's dramatic drop on the markets. However, Bush's constant refrain about Kerry's "global test" may be giving traders pause.
Should we be surprised the media will call this a close race? Not if you've been reading TAM enough.
"The Race is On"
October 01, 2004
It's too early to know who got the best out of last night's debate. Unfortunately for Kerry, an early indicator shows he won the debate, but made up little ground on Bush. The Iowa Electronic Markets have both candidates up, and on TradeSports Bush was slightly up as of this morning.
UPDATE: Now we're starting to see that the IEM thought Kerry won. The gap is still large, but it's a positive for Kerry Edwards.
An Angry President
Jonathan Last has a second thought about last night's debate:
The problem for Bush was that he looked a bit like the angry Al Gore from that 2000 debate. He sighed and made strange noises. He was tart and, at times, peevish. The message he seemed to be projecting was, Hey, I'm trying to protect the free world against nut-ball terrorists and you want me to debate this guy? Just go ahead and vote for me already.
I think the President let his emotions get the better of him. For years he's put up with some horrible verbal abuse. He's been compared to a chimp and Hitler. Some claim he's only a figurehead with Dick Cheney pulling his strings. He's endured so much over-the-top rhetoric from AlGore, Howard Dean, and now John Kerry. When you're fighting a war that you believe is in the defense of the nation and your opponent calls it a "colossal failure" it's understandable to be angry. It's just risky to display that anger in front of 55 million viewers.
President of the United States has to be the world's loneliest job. Only four other people alive have any idea what it's like, and only one knows about being a President at war. When Bush mentioned over and over that the Iraq War and occupation was "hard work" he meant what the troops there were doing. The term can also be applied to his efforts. The easy thing to do would have been to continue passing worthless U.N. resolutions that Saddam would ignore. It's hard to act against world opinion and send American men and women to a far-off land to fight and maybe die.
While Bush's opponents should offer him a little empathy no one should feel sorry for the man. He wanted the job and got it.
And the Market Says...
The morning after the first Presidential debate and the Iowa Electronic Markets have Bush rising, but Kerry is too.
Only Hugh Hewitt said Bush whupped Kerry. The other blogospheric reaction considered the debate a draw. That feeling is echoed by a Reuters focus group in New Hampshire and a group of readers of the Journal Sentinel. Both Kerry and Bush supports saw enough good things in their man. Kerry won on debating style and appearance (he ditched the orange) while Bush got points for his common man connecting and warmth.
What's very interesting is Der Spiegel picked Bush as the winner.
"Focus Group Gives Slight Edge to Kerry"
"Reaction: Area Voters Weigh in on Debate"
September 30, 2004
I'll try to be as objective as I can even though I'm a big Bush backer who has already called the race for him.
The only winner tonight was the American voter who got to hear the differences between Bush and Kerry. Since this debate was on foreign affairs one would have expected the President to dominate. That didn't happen. John Kerry talked tough and pointed out the contrasts of the candidates. While looking Presidential he made some outrageous statements. He called the Iraq War a "colossal error of misjudgement." Kerry said Bush "made a mistake in invading Iraq" even though he voted for the war. He insulted the Brits, Aussies, Poles, and other members the alliance in Iraq.
Kerry has a plan to "win the peace" in Iraq. The only specific part mentioned was a summit to get allies to commit troops and funds. He still has the delusion that France and Germany will go into Iraq after some Kerry sweet talking. It won't happen, Kerry knows it, but has no Plan B--which should really be Plan A. And he complains of the Bush administration's lack of planning.
There was substantial back and forth on North Korea. Kerry practically blamed Bush for North Korea new nuclear weapons. No mention was made of the Bill Clinton's and Jimmy Carter's failed agreement. A difference between the candidates was Bush's multilateral talks versus Kerry's bilateral talks (along with multilateral).
Kerry criticized backing down in Fallujah, but you know he would have been the first to complain had the marines gone in and suffered tremendous causalties along with the deaths of untold Iraqi civilians.
Kerry did some pandering by mentioning Ohio, Iowa, and Wisconsin (twice).
He talked about tax cuts for the rich even though the debate was about foreign policy. He said, "We didn't need that tax cut." If Kerry Edwards wants to stop talking about Iraq and talk about taxes, fine by me.
Kerry had some weird moments. Only one of the candidates made reference to Ronald Reagan, and it wasn't President Bush. I guess Kerry thinks there are some disgruntled conservatives out there who'd want to vote for him if they could be convinced Kerry was strong on defense.
There was an obligatory Halliburton reference that only kooks and hard-core Bush haters would understand. Also kooky was was the claim that the U.S. is building 14 permanent bases in Iraq. Where did that come from?
The Massachusetts Senator mentioned weapons of mass destruction crossing borders but didn't say which borders. Iraq? The U.S.?
Kerry also announced the President had the right to engage in pre-emptive attacks. Deaniacs and Kerry's anti-war supporters must have just cringed when hearing that. I bet the wish the Dean Scream never happened.
But the strangest comment from Kerry was his idea of U.S. military intervention passing a "global test." Does that mean France has veto power over future wars that are in the U.S. interest? Does that mean U.N. Security Council is needed before U.S. troops step foot in a foreign land? Does Kerry really care about national sovereignty? Those two words bring up a whole host of questions. Kerry's goal was to sound firm and steady, but such a nebulous concept sounds like a foundation made of sand.
The slouching President did a fine job of reiterating his stump speech points. If you heard his acceptance speech at the GOP convention earlier this month or been to one of his campaign rallies you know what he said. "Steady leadership" and "hard work" were mentioned over and over and over. Too much for my blood, but then the President wasn't trying to win over a Bush-backing political junkie like me.
The President defended his Iraq War decision by saying that in a post-Sept. 11 world a leader can't sit back and react to an attack. He said he went to the U.N. to give Saddam one last chance. In the President's mind Saddam failed his last chance and had to go.
To use a football analogy Bush played a soft zone not allowing Kerry to make the big play. The President could have blitzed more often and hammer at Kerry for voting for the $87 billion military package before he voted against it. He only mentioned it once allowing Kerry to reply that he sometimes messed up his words. The problem wasn't the words, it was the action of voting against the aid. Bush go after him for that.
Another example is when Kerry offered Iran nuclear fuel and a test to make sure it was only being used for peaceful purposes. Bush should have went after him by questioning why a petroleum-rich country needed a nuclear reactor. A country with a history of sponsoring terrorism cannot have a nuke. Bush just let the comment pass.
There was something that bothered me about both candidates. When asked what the #1 foreign policy issue is Kerry said nuclear proliferation while Bush said WMD in the hands of terrorist networks. They're both wrong. The #1 issue is defeating the Islamist ideology. WMD are just tools to attack. Like Communism Islamism is an America-opposing ideology. Islamism is the root of al Qaeda and the Sep. 11 attacks. Destroy (or marginalize) the Islamists and WMD proliferation becomes less consequential though still important.
The final result is a draw which prolongs Kerry's campaign. If Bush was trying to make a final kill it didn't happen tonight.
The MSM spin is Kerry looked Presidential, that he energized his base by going toe-to-toe with the President on Bush's top issue, and the polls will narrow because of the debate. Well, the polls will narrow if the MSM decides a closer race would get viewers more interested in news coverage. Recall the newly-named TAM's first rule of thumb of news consumption: News is entertainment.
Allah is collecting blogospheric reaction and expect updates when I find interesting post-debate commentary.
TAM's Debate Coverage
The Pre-Debate Score
On the Iowa Electronic Markets President Bush is leading Sen. Kerry, but the lead has narrowed over the last few days. Traders must think Bush was overvalued at the $0.74 level. Tune into TAM tomorrow to see if the debate effected this prediction market.
Stolen Honor, the documentary "how John Kerry's actions during the Vietnam era impacted the treatment of American soldiers and POWs" is available for sale and also pay-per-view on the internet. You would have thought Michael Moore would have thought of this.
September 29, 2004
Voter Fraud Central
Bill Hobbs is collecting voter fraud information. The first pattern I'm noticing is there's plenty of activity in the battleground states of Ohio and Wisconsin. Bush definitely need Ohio, while Kerry has to have Wisconsin.
September 26, 2004
Colonel Ed Morrisey's Claim
President Bush volunterred to go to Vietnam? With anything that happened 30+ years ago, we need something more than one man's word. Did Bush sign anything? Has he made that claim? Have others publically said something similar?
UPDATE: Because of Penraker's good hunting we now know that Col. Morrisey's claim backs up Bush's assertion that he volunteered for Palace Alert. Morrisey didn't mention the program but the reasons Bush wasn't accepted matches Morrisey's reason of why Bush didn't go to Vietnam.
The words from Kerry Edwards and Nancy Pelosi aren't those of a party that believes they're winning voters' hearts and minds. Kerry Edwards released an add decrying the Bush campaign's "despicable politics." It was in response to a 527 ad showing Mohammad Atta, Osama bin Laden, and Saddam Hussein then asking, "Would you trust Kerry against these fanatic killers?"
In the Democrats weekly radio address, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the Iraq War a "grotesque mistake." Does that mean she would prefer Saddam still brutalizing Iraqis while waiting for U.N. to melt away so he can rebuild his WMD stockpile? Unlike Kerry, Pelosi didn't vote for the Iraq War resolution or the $87 billion supplemental.
"Kerry Ad Labels Bush Politics 'Despicable'"
"Pelosi Calls Iraq War 'Grotesque Mistake'"
What Money Will Get You
Oh to be in Boston and know a few rich conservatives.
"Donate to the RNC, Get Your Photo with Hotties"
September 24, 2004
Bush Defends Allawi
President Bush was back in Wisconsin again. In Janesville, he told his audience, "This brave man came to our country to talk about how he's risking his life for a free Iraq, which helps America. And Senator Kerry held a press conference and questioned Mr. Allawi's credibility. You can't lead this country if your ally in Iraq feels like you question his credibility."
[Notice the AP gave a byline to the story in contrast to the "boo" story when Bush was in West Allis.]
"Bush: Kerry Wrongly Questioned Allawi"
September 23, 2004
Election Cheating Has Begun
An outfit called the "New Voter Project" claims to be nonpartisan but is being bankrolled and staffed by leftists. The organization is already active in Wisconsin and already involved in trouble. Thousands of "voters" registered by this group in the last few weeks have submitted registration forms without the legally required proof of identification. This has forced village and city clerks all over the region to send out notices asking for the information. Why would so many of these forms be filled out without identification?
I'm predicting a Bush win. Nevertheless, Bush backers have to work hard to get as many people to vote for the President as possible. As Hugh Hewitt's book puts it, "If It's Not Close They Can't Cheat."
Rove, Cork It!
What's Karl Rove thinking? He was bragging to the Washington Times on how the Bush campaign is taking battleground states off the board and how the battle is being pushed to states considered safe for John Kerry.
This cocky attitude could make the Republican base complacent. Those Bush supporters who back Bush solely because of foreign policy (i.e. pro-war libertarians) may may vote for someone else (besides Kerry) or not show up a the polls knowing Bush is a lock to win.
We haven't even had one debate and Rove is dancing on Kerry Edwards' grave. This race is still close, and turnout will be the key to victory. That means Rove should find more ways to keep people excited about President Bush instead of bragging to reporters.
Or this is a complex plot by the man some call an "evil genius."
"Rove Touts Bush Headway in Key Areas"
September 19, 2004
What Else Does Burkett "Have?"
While going through Bill Burkett's posts to a Texas Democrat e-mail list, this one piqued my curiosity:
If CBS News would have gotten away with using fake documents as fact, would Burkett (if he is the source) have struck again with more documents?
Graham on Bush
The note-taking Senator Bob Graham had these nice words for President Bush:
I think he was doing his job. It happened in this case that doing his job does have political gain. But I think it's important for the chief executive of the nation to indicate national solidarity in support of those victims of a major tragedy.
"Graham Tours Areas Hit Hard by Hurricane Frances"
September 17, 2004
What Were They Thinking?
One of the keys to winning political campaigns is the effective use of money. For example, you don't want to run tax ads when the voters think you have no credibility on that issue. The DNC thought they had an opening with the Killian memos reviving questions about President Bush's National Guard service. The "Fortunate Son" video was their ticket to regaining momentum. Too bad, it hasn't worked. All that time, money, and precious news cycles wasted on a story where only 27% of Democrats think the issue is "very" important. One would have thought a little about the effectiveness of such a tactic instead of shooting from the hip. It's another sign of Democratic desparation.
Even if the Gallup poll is correct I expect a tightening. The news from Charles Duelfer's report that Iraq had no WMD will make people wonder if the war was worth it. And if Kerry Edwards can put together a consistent, coherent message that should pull the numbers back their way.
"Memogate Hurting Kerry?"
September 16, 2004
So Ben Barnes is corrupt and took a bribe to keep silent. That really adds to his credibility.
"Payola for Bush"
September 14, 2004
"A False Ad"
A MoveOn.org ad is another example of the Left's desparation. It's so over-the-top FactCheck.org (not a water carrier for Bush) went so far as to write,
This latest ad from Moveon PAC is about as misleading as it can be. Through words, graphics and sound effects, it invites viewers to think that the expiration of the ban on 19 semiautomatic assault weapons will allow people legally to buy fully automatic machine guns that can fire "up to 300 rounds per minute." That's false.
"A False Ad About Assault Weapons"
September 12, 2004
Missing the Point
Steven is correct that some are focusing on the technological ability of a 1973 typwriter to create a document that looks exactly like one made in 2004. Too many wild assumptions have to made to consider the Killian memos to be legit.
However, Steven is incorrect on a more important point. While discussing the possible political ramifications he writes,
Again, I think that the main story here is a media story with two major components: the sloppiness (and perhaps partisanship) of CBS and the MSM v. blogs in terms of fact-checking and in this case, actual reporting (bloggers have done leg-work, like that noted above, and have interviewed experts of relevances).
Dan Rather and CBS News are fools. They've demonstrated that. What needs to be focused on is who gave CBS News the memos. Is the American Spectator correct in that they came via the Democratic National Committee? Did the Kerry campaign know about these memos? Who is this "retired military officer" mentioned by TAS? What did John Kerry know and when did he know it? It's imperative to know if who tried to sabatoge the Presidential election?
Since the documents' fakeness has been soundly determined the focus must center on who did this?
"I’m 99.99% Convinced: The Killian Docs are Forgeries"
September 11, 2004
1st. Amendment? What 1st. Amendment?
King found an example of the "tolerance" of some Kerry supporters.
"Pro-Bush Yard Signs Evoke Protest in Duluth"
MNF's Right-Wing Agenda
In David Brock's world, in every dark corner is a conservative ready to spew his talking points. I wonder if George Soros thinks he's getting his money's worth when Media Matters goes after Monday Night Football's Al Michaels?
At least now I have more reason to watch MNF.
"GOP Talking Point Echoed During ABC Coverage of NFL Season Opener"
September 10, 2004
The Smoking Gun that Wasn't
THE story is the extremely questionable documents CBS News used to go after President Bush. Because of the power of the blogosphere I don't need to get into the details of fonts, typesets, or typewriters used and available in the 1970s. That's the power of the link.
Why didn't the White House immediately call the memos fake? Their existence doesn't really affect their re-election strategy. Unlike Sen. Kerry President Bush isn't running on his military record. He's running on four years as President where he's had to deal with a war and a terrorist-induced recession. Rove and the gang are viewing Bush's National Guard duty as history that has little bearing on events today. Notice that they've been consistent on this. They haven't leaped to the SwiftVets' claims and attacked Kerry's Vietnam war record. Why bother when Kerry's Senatorial past and mish-mash of statements are enough to use against him?
Next, I'll speculate about the after effects of this hoax. It would take some mental gymnastics to think this was a GOP set up. Is Karl Rove or one of his minions cleaver enough to create the memos then get them into the hands of a Kerry supporter or directly to 60 Minutes? Such an idea seems too far fetched. So Rove setting up the Kerry campaign and a liberal news institution is checked off my list of possibilities.
Could this be the product of someone inside the Kerry campaign? Susan Estrich wrote about how the Democrats now had to play dirty, but would they risk the integrity of their campaign on a hoax? Sure, poll numbers are heading in the wrong direction, but there's two months left. Too many things could happen in this race. With the sudden inclusion of ex-Clintonites, the campaign may be panicking. Proposing a hoax and executing it is possible, but not likely. A hail mary already? There's too much downside, and they can't be that desparate...yet.
The most plausible guilty party is a cold blooded Bush
60 Minutes MUST come clean and disclose how they got these documents. (Why they didn't is just plain poor journalism.) Who gave them these and how did they claim to have come upon them? This is their Jayson Blair. If they do as poorly in dealing with it high-ups at CBS News will be gone--even Dan Rather.
As for the political fallout, this only helps Bush and hurts Kerry. Even if we find out Kerry Edwards had nothing to do with this hoax they will be tarred as dirty players. This is just like many feel the Bush campaign has something to do with the SwiftVets. Many voters will look at this attempt at stealing the election and vote for Bush even if they hold their noses while doing it.
With CBS News' reputation in tatters expect the mainstream media to write lots of stories on what went wrong. Don't be surprised if the news process story is written about more than who forged the memos.
"60 Minutes Documents on Bush Might Be Fake"
"Is It a Hoax?"
September 08, 2004
My Head Hurts
Campaign finance law may be as esoteric and complicated as the NFL salary cap. I'm pretty sure some of the details of this previous post on campaign finance "reform" are wrong. I say this because it appears a political action committee (PAC), unlike 527s, can run ads inside the 60-day barrier. The big difference between the two structures is a PAC has a $5000/year contribution limit from individuals, political parties, and other PACs. 527s don't have such a limit, but this is part of the controversy surrounding these organizations.
Let's face it: the idea of a group of concerned citizens expressing their political voice is being buried in minutia. The only people who have the means to get around these laws are the well-off who not only have the resources to buy radio and television ads but to pay for lawyers to take on the FEC. Campaign finance "reformers" have created this legalistic maze to get the money out of politics and reduce public cyncism. They've certainly failed on the first part, and requiring a specialized lawyer just to exercise one's First Amendment rights certainly won't ease the second.
"MoveOn.org PAC FEC Filings"
UPDATE: Nick Gillespie talked to FEC chairman Bradley Smith. He clears up some of my confusion. So some groups could continue as the did before while other must stop. It all depends on what pieces of paper they filled out.
September 07, 2004
Traditionally, Labor Day is the start of the general Presidential election. But for us political junkies we've been following this circus since late-2003. Taegan Goddard has the latest scorecard.
"Where the Race Stands"
September 06, 2004
Cocaine Charge Revived
It's sad to say I was correct though I'm not surprised.
Mockery of Campaign Finance "Reform"
The McCain-Feingold bell has rung and we're now in the 60-day period before an election where some (probably most) 527s can't run television and radio ads. That doesn't prevent them from advertising because the exception to the law includes "any printed communication, direct mail, voter guides, or the Internet." N. Z. Bear notes correctly that it will be wise for 527s to buy ads on weblogs. (The banner ad is dead; long live BlogAds!)
Here's how ridiculous First Amendment Restriction law has gotten. A certain category of people who voluntarily pooled their money no longer can mention a particular candidate in radio or television ad. However, there's nothing to stop a George Soros or a Richard Mellon-Scaife from spending millions to bash the candidate of their choice. The media is also not restricted. So in theory, a pro-Kerry 527 could produce an ad solely for the internet. It could then be picked up by one of the cable news channels and given tons of free, unregulated publicity. Does this make any sense? In this manner of restricting free speech the rich and the media have become more empowered while the rest of us are silenced.
Democrats like Russ Feingold claim they're for the little guy. Their actions here speak otherwise. The other mastermind of the First Amendment Restriction law, John McCain may not be too happy about the consequences. During his speech at the Republican National Convention he made no mention of his bill even to praise President Bush in signing it.
"Campaign Finance Reform: 60-Day Window is Here"
The Wide Range of Polls
The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll gives President Bush a seven-point lead over John Kerry. Bush's 52%-45% advantage means that, according to this alphabet soup poll, the GOP convention provided a two-point bounce. That's tiny which recinforces the conventional wisdom that post-convention bounces would be minimal because most voters are firmly entrenched with a candidate.
Based on his stump speech Friday, Bush doesn't believe he has a double-digit lead. While making all his arguments he emphasised how important it was for supporters to make phone calls and knock on doors to help him win. He's not campaigning so hard to reach out to undecideds. He's trying to rally the base. Based on this poll the convention did just that.
For the first time this year, self-reported enthusiasm among Republicans about voting exceeded that of Democrats, implying that the convention mobilized the GOP base.
California Yankee links to Rasmussen for an explanation of why their poll differs so much from the apparently outlying TIME and Newsweek polls. Then in the always interesting Iowa Electronic Markets, Bush leads Kerry in both markets.
Telling It Like It Is
A DFL (Democratic Farmer Labor) candidate for House is running against an incumbent DFL'er for Minnesota's 8th Congressional District Seat.
A political newcomer is trying to defeat one of the longest-sitting members of the U.S. House of Representatives to represent much of northern Minnesota.
Ho hum, pretty vanilla. First question: What amount of money will be considered enough to "improve education"? Someone get back to me on that one.
But here candidate Johnson expresses where he differs from Congressman Oberstar on the core DFL issues:
Johnson said he differs from Oberstar on guns, saying he identifies himself with the positions of the National Rifle Association as opposed to Oberstar's voting record in favor of gun control.
I find it interesting that the St. Cloud Times article (by the way, the St Cloud Times has never heard of permalinks, so you have today to see this article) would go so far as to say that a candidate is pro-abortion, and the other anti-abortion, as opposed to the "pro-choice" and "pro-life" monikers.
St. Cloud is located in Stearns County, which is Minnesota's Catholic Hotbed(tm), loaded for bear with pro-life residents. Could this be a way to sway the primary voters? They aren't in Stearns County; Stearns is in the 6th Congressional District . The 8th Congressional District includes two counties, Morrison and Mille Lacs, that are in the SCT reading area, so I imagine that is why the paper covered this story, but I'm not as sure if those counties are as full of Catholic, pro-life voters that Stearns is.
Imagine if Kerry was Way Behind
I should have read this post sooner so I could have wrote Bush bashers are already trying to revive the cocaine charge.
September 05, 2004
Digging into the Past
What's "dirty" about pointing out your opponent's voting record or past activities? Sure, I admit there's a line that shouldn't be crossed. Kinky yet legal sexual proclivities, unsual habits, and odd but unknown physical features shouldn't be a part of the public debate unless you can make a reasonable case that it affects the election today.
Suppose for the sake of argument that President Bush was indeed AWOL while serving in the National Guard. That fact in and of itself shouldn't disqualify the man from being re-elected. Not coming clean about the fact certainly can be used by Bush's opponents to build a case of untrustworthiness.
The same can be said about John Kerry. Suppose everything the SwiftVets say about him are true. Suppose Kerry had a plan all along to pump up his Vietnam War achievements for his own political advancement. I would argue that that wouldn't disqualify him for President today if he wouldn't have based his entire campaign on his war service. Kerry would have had decades to lay bare what actually happened in Vietnam, just as Bush would have all that time to come clean about his AWOL.
What I'm trying to get at is both the AWOL accusation and the SwiftVets charges are long long ago (but not in a galaxy far far away). We should realize that people do make mistakes. There are skeletons in all of our closets. We really learn about one's character from how they deal with their failings.
How long ago do we go into someone's past? Enough voters thought President Clinton's draft dodging was far enough in the past to not stop them from putting him in the White House twice. With John Kerry, I think it's appropriate to deeply examine his Senate voting record to glean insight into what policies he would implement if elected President. But if you think a vote in the Cold War 80s should have little bearing on Kerry in the Sep. 11 00s there is his schizophrenic votes and comments on the Iraq War.
There's no hard and fast rule. But one thing's for sure: it's not enough to just expose someone's past failing. You have to connect it to the actions and/or character of the person today.
"In fund-raising, one of the first things you do is go to close friends and family," said Dinah Dale, the Dayton campaign's finance director.
Okay, I understand the ex-wife giving money to his campaign to keep him in Washington, as opposed to him being closer to her in Minnesota fulltime if he weren't re-elected. But what's up with the rest of the family? What do they know that we don't know? Even his kid, giving the maximum $4000 so that Dad doesn't come back to Minnesota full time.
This should be a harbinger for other Minnesotans, that the family wants him to stay in Washington.
September 04, 2004
The Democratic smear campaign has begun. Jay Reding analyzes this desparate attempt at regaining momentum. It will only get uglier the closer we get to Election Day. I expect a cocaine accusation to pop up like in 2000.
"George Jr. Sent out of Texas by Father as a 'Drunken Liability'"
Most Think Bush Will Win
Here's another interesting poll. But with two months until Election Day, anything can happen to change people's opinions. Kerry supporters and the Anyone But Bush crowd shouldn't be dispondent, nor should the Bush backers get cocky.
September 03, 2004
More on the "Booing"
I just talked with my sister who was also at the Bush rally today. She didn't hear any booing when Bush mentioned Clinton. She saw and heard people around her mumbling. Whether is was negative or just wondering what happen to him, she doesn't know. Is there one person who will step forward and claim he heard booing?
From the first-hand reports and the audio, the AP really blew it. (I also better get some help because I'm hearing things.) Not offering a retraction or correction this many hours after the event goes way beyond sloppy journalism. It's malpractice.
"The Associated Press Makes It Up"
UPDATE: Here's a mission for some enterprising TAM reader: call up the AP's Milwaukee office tomorrow and ask who was assigned to cover the Bush rally. If they won't tell you, politely ask for their supervisor. Like poor customer service departments, find someone who can help you. Then find out who the reporter was and when a very public correction will be published. Here's the info for the Milwaukee bureau:
918 N. 4th St.
I'd do it, but I'm working tomorrow. I'm pretty sure my boss wouldn't want me to be doing investigative reporting on Barnes & Noble's time.
"Booing the AP"
UPDATE II: The Journal Sentinel had two reporters covering the rally. Neither of them mention any boos. They noticed what lines got the most applause so we should be confident they were really paying attention.
"Bush Vows to Win Wisconsin"
Badger State is Bush Country
The second stop for the President and First Lady after a successful GOP convention in NYC was at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis, WI just next door to Milwaukee. At the rally the President proudly accepted the endorsements of both the Milwaukee Firefighters union and the Milwaukee Police union. National unions may be backing Kerry, but there are some grassroots groups with the courage to defy the groupthink. Bush also took a jab at John Kerry for mangling Lambeau Field.
Bush's speech repeated many of the lines and most of the themes from last night's acceptance speech. If you heard him last night you weren't surprised with what he said today. What was different was the ratio between domestic and foreign policy was almost 50/50. That seemed like more emphasis on his domestic agenda than in his acceptance speech. Some of it had to do with today's release of new jobs data showing 144,000 new jobs were created in August which marked a full year of monthly job growth. Adjustments to the June and July figures show 59,000 additional new jobs were created in those two months. [You Big Mouth, You! has lots of jobs charts to see what progress has been made.] He talked about medical savings accounts and partial privatization of Social Security--dressed up in compassionate conservative rhetoric. He only offered a few sentences about education.
On foreign policy, Bush spoke of his administration's accomplishments in the Islamist War. Afghanistan and Iraq are free from oppressive rulers with national elections to take place in months. Al Qaeda is on the run and being destroyed. Bush defended his decision to invade Iraq by giving his audience the context of his decision. The world knew the awful history of Saddam's Iraq. The world thought he still had WMD--that's why U.N. sanctions were still in place. Given the Sep. 11 attacks a policy of reacting to threats instead of being proactive meant more Americans would probably die. President Bush weighed all this and determined that Saddam had to go.
Bush couched the invasions of both Iraq and Afghanistan as means to long-term American security. Bush said that free nations are peaceful nations. The best chance for Americans to be safe from the Islamist threat is a relentless pursuit of liberty worldwide.
The blogospheric buzz about the West Allis event is whether some of the audience booed upon hearing news President Clinton was in the hospital. Before diving into his new stump speech the President asked us all to keep him and his family in our prayers. The exposition hall filled with polite claps, but I'm pretty sure I heard some boos. Not many, only a few. None can be heard on this audio clip, and Lisa didn't hear any either so maybe I was hearing things. Maybe it was the sound of those annoying thunder sticks. If there were boos shame on them!
I could bore you with talk of the other speakers, but they were either forgettable (Rep. Tom Petri) or just plain bad (State Treasurer Jack Voight). The star was President Bush, and he didn't leave anyone there disappointed.
Below the fold are some pics I took, and here are Lisa's.
UPDATE: Lisa bossed The Man (I like that nickname) around and helped a little old lady.
The lines were long to see the President. We had to wait hours.
Part of wait was because of the security. The Secret Service had to try out my new digital camera. Either he wanted to get one for himself, or he had to make sure it was what it was.
Laura introduces her husband.
The Man himself.
If the TIME poll is correct, I don't know what I'm talking about. It wouldn't be the first time either. That this also means is Kerry's support is weak. After weeks of getting his Vietnam War record challenged and a week of speeches devoted to pointing out his liberal Senate record some Kerry supporters have changed their minds and are backing the President. With nine weeks to go a lot can happen in a campaign. The convention has given Bush another shot at the Kerry leaners. He will have to build on his momentum. These swing voters are probably fickle.
[Sung to the Tune of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz]
"It's Off to See the President
The wonderful President of the United States."
I'll stop now.
Will report later.
"President to Speak Friday in West Allis"
Maybe I'm too cautious or too conservative (and is that bad?) but even with how well the GOP did with their convention I don't see Bush getting a big bounce. Like the conventional wisdom, I see the electorate as highly polarized with few undecided voters out there. It's anecdotal, but I'm seeing people get politically active that haven't before. Lots of people see this as a very important election.
If I'm right and Bush/Kerry remain virtually deadlocked until November then Get Out The Vote will be hugely important. The GOP is putting together their most ambitious program yet, but historically the Democrats have won the GOTV battle with help from labor unions and liberal activist groups.
September 01, 2004
Firemen for Bush
John Kerry may have a national union endorsement, but President Bush received the support of Milwaukee's firefighters.
August 31, 2004
Bush Headed to Wisconsin
President Bush will be at State Fair Park the day after accepting his party's nomination. Here are the details:
The day after the Republican National Convention ends, President George W. Bush will return to Wisconsin.
August 28, 2004
The Weirdos Have Arrived
The protesters have taken NYC. There are the Elephants Against Republicans--politicizing Ground Zero in a way Bush-bashers screamed against earlier this year; the coward (note the covered face) who equates President Bush with Satan; an anti-Starbucks protester who looks like he had one too many espressos; and a bunch of bikers for protesting something.
This will only get better. I hope some enterprising weblogger in NYC finds some really ridiculous protesters for all the world to see. Even better, someone should have a "Mumia Scorecard" to keep track of all the signs, t-shirts, and chants for the cop killer.
Suppose the protesters make the GOP convention into a replay of the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968. Which candidate benefits? In 1968 it was Nixon who used the law and order angle to persuade skiddish voters. If NYC 2004 were to be like Chicago 1968 John Kerry would appear to benefit, right? No. Chaos (or appearances of chaos) plays to Bush's strength. He's been running on the theme of steady leadership in a time of international chaos. Sep. 11 brought the chaos of terrorism home to the U.S., and Bush responded strongly by invading Afghanistan and Iraq. Kerry has floundered his way into looking like a political opportunist always jumping to the side that is most advantageous. The RNC has made a very convincing case that Kerry stood on both sides of the Iraq War depending on how best it positioned him for his run at the White House. That's a far cry from steady hand of the President. Advantage: Bush.
August 26, 2004
Go Right Ahead, Oliver
Maybe Oliver Willis can convince David Brock to put some of the money he got from George Soros into trying to disbar John O'Neill. (It were sure beat paying those people to watch Fox News all day.) I'm sure O'Neill wouldn't back down since he dared John Kerry to sue him for libel.
"Should John O'Neill Be Disbarred/Punished?"
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Alice Cooper says some LOL stuff on those rockers for Kerry:
To me, that's treason. I call it treason against rock 'n' roll because rock is the antithesis of politics. Rock should never be in bed with politics.
"Alice Cooper: Anti-Bush Acts Treasonous Morons" [via The Volokh Conspiracy]
UPDATE: Some people were quick on the trigger and only read part of Cooper's statement. He had to clarify that the rockers for Kerry are guilty of "treason against rock and roll," not the U.S.
Can You Do This with Powerpoint?
If a goofy, convoluted chart is good enough for the NY Times, it's good enough for NRO.
August 25, 2004
Coordination or Legal Advice?
In a AP story about the lawyer who is helping the Swiftvets while working for Bush-Cheney is this:
Lawyers on the Democratic side are also representing both the campaign or party and outside groups running ads in the presidential race. Ginsberg's dual role has drawn attention because of an ad the Swift Boat Veterans group ran accusing Kerry of exaggerating his Vietnam War record, an issue that has dominated the campaign since early August.
And here's an example:
Joe Sandler, a lawyer for the DNC and a group running anti-Bush ads, MoveOn.org, said there is nothing wrong with serving in both roles at once.
Someone should tell Sen. Max Cleland to stuff it with his hypocritical grandstanding.
"Lawyer Advising Vets Quits Bush Campaign"
UPDATE: N. Z. Bear documents how another lawyer is tied into the Democrats and MoveOn.org. Will either Mr. Sandler or Mr. Reiff be resigning anytime soon? Will there even be pressure on them to? [via Wizbang]
August 19, 2004
After Captain Ed's reporting of a Minnesota Bush event, I want G.W. to get back to SE Wisconsin soon so I can see him.
"Bush Ignites St. Paul, Norm Coleman Provides The Match"
August 18, 2004
I'm Sensing a Pattern
One Democratic U.S. Senator fibbing on his Vietnam service record is an anomaly. Two [and here] makes it awfully suspicious. Is there another Democrat with an inflated war record dumb enough to challenge the blogosphere?
August 14, 2004
Great Bush Ad
The Bush campaign has a new ad (click on "Victory"), and it's the best one I've seen from them yet. It's timely (Olympics), succinct (only one message), and powerful.
Expect the Democrats to yell that the ad's title is as accurate as the "Mission Accomplished" sign on the U.S.S. Lincoln.
August 13, 2004
And they're usually a lot less perfect if they're making political commercials. FactCheck.org points out the inaccuracies of a DNC ad.
"DNC Ad Says Bush Lost Manufacturing Jobs"
August 12, 2004
All Hell Would Break Loose
Because I knew you were losing sleep over a possible Electoral College mess, here's some gory details of such a scenerio I wondered about.
August 11, 2004
An Appraisal of Keyes
Erick Erickson thinks "Keyes is good for conservatives because he is unashamed to be one. But, he will hurt the Republicans and the conservative movement in particular because he is unwilling to play the role he has assigned himself – that of a politician."
Keyes is an orator from a by-gone era. But that passion and directness will fall short with the voters. A comparison can be made with Reagan. The Gipper didn't fall back on tough moral positions, but he had a more human way of making his case. He used empathy over bombast.
And since you're already reading Erickson, here's a disturbing piece of truly hardball politics.
"Alan Keyes -- The Right Disaster"
August 10, 2004
A Potential Mess
Here's Scott Elliott's latest "Election Projection." Kerry would win. However, if just one state, Florida, switched from Kerry to Bush (possible since Kerry leads by 3.12%) there would be a tie and the election would be thrown into the House of Representatives. Imagine the screaming from the Left if Kerry got won the popular vote but tied the Electoral vote only to lose in the House? It'd be four more years of further partisan acrimony.
Keyes Comes Out Swinging
The Illinois Senate race is already fun to watch. Alan Keyes came out swinging by calling Barack Obama's abortion stance is the "slaveholder's position." No white candidate would be able to say that.
In other news, Obama said there will be debates, but not the seven he promised ex-GOP candidate Jack Ryan. I'm not surprised. Keyes isn't going to win, and I'm sure he knows it. Keyes wants as many debates as possible to force Obama to take stands that may hurt him politically in the future. If Obama's future is bright this campaign be what opponents dig through to find a flaw.
"Keyes: Obama Holds 'Slaveholder's' View"
August 09, 2004
By the Sweat of Alan's Brow
I'm a fan of Alan Keyes (just not enough to back him for President in 2000), but he's going to get creamed by Obama. So, a sweat-soaked napkin of his has no appeal to me.
[via Jeff Quinton]
August 08, 2004
Three Ringy Dingies
Alan Keyes will make the Illinois Senate race fun to watch, but he's going to get crushed. I bring this up because Michael Van Winkle is running the Obama Truth Squad to ask the "questions Illinois media won't."
August 07, 2004
It Got Ugly in Missouri
Professor Bainbridge found another uncivil clash between Bush and Kerry supporters. Add this to the one in Milwaukee. It's sad to say, but it's only going to get worse. It might benefit Kerry and Bush to make a public statement demanding decent behavior from their supporters.
August 06, 2004
A Possible Explanation
The source of Bush hatred may be the "images of the president as a young adult."
August 05, 2004
For Future Reference
Blasting the Boss
Russell Roberts did a better job than I could responding to Bruce Springsteen's NY Times op-ed. All I will add is that when you take Springsteen's Vote for Change tour (more accurately the Anti-Bush Tour) add in the Soros-financed 527s and the Democratic Party it makes President Bush's record-breaking fundraising look small. Bush will need all the help we can give him so I'm asking you to donate as much as you can.
"Inequality and the Boss"
Here's quite the Bush blunder when speaking on the defense bill today:
Third, this bill meets our commitment to America's Armed Forces by preparing them to meet the threats of tomorrow. Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we. We must never stop thinking about how best to defend our country when we all must always be forward-thinking.
CNN's Inside Politics did a whole story on slip of the tongue, and I'm sure Bush bashers will find some creative ways to glorify it.
After reading this a few times I think it may have been a mistake in the written text. The sentence before the goofy one has the same structure. But since Bush has had a history of being a malaprop that shouldn't be assumed.
I sympathize with the man, because I mess up my words all the time. There have even been times where I was thinking one thing and said something completely different. Then I wonder why people are looking at me strangely. I guess Bush's and my brains are connected so well to our mouths.
[via The WOW Report]
The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan announces today that she is stepping aside to volunteer her time in the next few months to ensure President Bush is re-elected.
I am going to take three months' unpaid leave from The Wall Street Journal and attempt to support the Republican Party in the coming and crucial election. (Every four years everyone says "this is the most important election of my lifetime," but this year I believe it is true.) I'm going to give whatever advice and encouragement I have in terms of strategy, approach, message--I hate that word--and issues. No one has asked me to do this, and I do it as a volunteer, not for a salary but simply to give my time to help what I think is the more helpful side. This will take a bite out of my finances but I can do it. Actually most of us, when we die, wind up with a few thousand dollars in the bank. We should have spent it! I am going to spend mine now.
Ms. Noonan is quite articulate, and I look forward to see what discourse develops as she enters the campaign.
August 03, 2004
Rock Stars Against Bush
It's bad enough that most major newspapers, news channels, and magazines are filled with those who want President Bush to lose. Now, we find out some of the biggest names in pop music will be performing in battleground states in support of John Kerry. Anyone who didn't think this was a culture war before should think so now or get their head examined.
P.S. With all this media opposed to Republicans and conservatives the Left still has the audacity to complain about Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and the Washington Times.
"Springsteen, R.E.M. to Rock for Political Change"
Keyes vs. Obama?
Alan Keyes might throw in his hat against Barack Obama. He'd be one heck of a long shot, but the debates would be absolutely riveting.
"Alan Keyes to take on Barack Obama?"
August 02, 2004
Pass Me the Butter
Steven Taylor has a post-DNC Toast-O-Meter for you.
July 29, 2004
Something Nice About the Dems
July 28, 2004
Two Can Play This Game
Being the married man with kids, I'm not surprised Kevin noticed Cate Edwards. (I see a little of Jackie O. in her. The delegates must have swooned over her.) I wish I could give you pictures of Alexandra and Vanessa Kerry, Karenna and Kristin Gore, as well as Cate. Instead, I'll give you this story on the "cover-girl Democratic daughters."
"The Party's Girls: Daughters Debut"
July 25, 2004
Hurrah for Toast!
Steven Taylor's Toast-O-Meter is back.
[I shouldn't be this happy. Now, I have competition in the Kerry-related linkfest market. A buyout might be in order. I wonder if Steven accepts Krispy Kremes as payment? And do anti-trust laws cover weblogs?]
A Tale of Two Men
One man surprised troops in a far off land and had Thanksgiving dinner with them.
Another surprised reporters because "The idea of missing a Yankees - Red Sox series right before a convention is unacceptable."
Take it however you'd like.
"Kerry Arrives in Boston Early"
"Kerry Makes Surprise Visit to Boston"
July 24, 2004
The Only Numbers that Count
Going into the Democratic Convention Bush leads Kerry in the all-important electoral vote count. There's still too much time until Election Day to pay much attention to polls, but one thing's for sure: because of the Electoral College any national poll is meaningless--ask AlGore. It all comes down to individual states.
"Bush Leads Kerry in Electoral Votes"
Will There Be Justice?
Today it is reported that the Anoka County attorney will not bring any charges against her. Though she was cited and was acting in Hennepin County, the Hennepin County Attorney, Amy Klobuchar, opted to not get involved as she and Phyllis have worked together in the past.
The case was referred to the Hennepin County attorney's office, which declined the case on possible conflict-of-interest grounds and referred it to the Anoka County attorney. As a member of the Minneapolis legislative delegation, Kahn frequently works with Hennepin County officials. On Friday, Anoka County officials said the case was at most a misdemeanor theft, which the New Hope city attorney would have to review.
Hopefully the city of
July 23, 2004
Michael Moore: Liar
Readers should know I don't toss around the label "liar" loosely, but that's what Michael Moore did with some creative Photoshopping.
"Moore F9/11 Lies"
What Democrats Will Do
What if Phyllis Kahn was a Republican?
State Rep. Phyllis Kahn, a 32-year veteran from Minneapolis and a key figure in the DFL House caucus, was stopped by New Hope police earlier this week after a citizen complained that she was removing a Republican House member's campaign literature from doorsteps and replacing it with a DFL opponent's material.
If this was a Republican removing DFL literature, the candidate would have their booking photo all over the news. Well, perhaps I am too cynical.
July 21, 2004
Understatement of the Day
On Bush bashing by celebrities, there's this graph from USA Today (emphasis mine):
Fahrenheit 9/11 has further rallied celebs, many who ''aren't deep intellectual thinkers,'' Brinkley says.
Who owns the office door? The faculty? Or the University? The short answer is that this sort of thing is Constitutionally protected free-speech.
In my time at The University of Minnesota - Duluth I got the distinct impression from similar adornments that some of the faculty were environmentalists, or supporters of gay "rights," for example. What is a student who is offended or disagrees with the pronouncements of the professor supposed to do?
At UMD I was able to work my schedule so that for certain classes taught by some of these faculty members, I wouldn't have to be in there for 12 weeks to be subjected to their ideology, which did come out in the class. Because some things I am so opposed to I wouldn't have been able to keep my mouth shut.
Timing is Everything
Like the Democrats, Captain Ed wonders about the timing of Sandy Berger's investigation.
"Trousergate Timing Gets More Curious"
July 20, 2004
C-Log asked for some suggestions for a new MoveOn.org slogan. They're all right, but I think TAM readers can do better. Think hard and give me your best shot.
This movement started at the "peace" rallies in the San Francisco area last year, when Kfir Alfia and Alan Lipton walked amongst the rally with signs that many there didn't seem to understand.
Stop by the PW website, get yourself a PW t-shirt. Once I am gainfully employed, its something I am going to do.
SEAN'S UPDATE: Last year TAM interviewed Kfir Alfia.
July 19, 2004
Left Suing Fox News
Two (actually three) can play this game. Someone should file suit against Common Cause to argue that their name is misleading. They advocate a left-wing agenda that isn't "common" to all Americans. Someone should also sue MoveOn.org because they're not "moving on" past the Iraq War.
Give me a break.
"Advocacy Groups Challenge Fox News Slogan"
July 15, 2004
Must See Chat
The Thune ad starring his teenage daughters ("Fresh Start") is the best political add I've seen all year. It's funny, cute, and has a positive message. Unless your a rabid Daschle supporter (there must be a joke in there) it's impossible to come away without smiling. Great stuff. Now, when do we see an ad staring the Bush twins?
To the dirty old men and horney teenagers: Sorry, I don't care if you think the Thune daughters are hot. I'll save that for women at least college-age [and here]. I do have a feeling a lot of women swoon over Thune. If I were female (or gay) I would.
[via Power Line]
I was cringing enough with the idea of "Iron" Mike Ditka as a Senate candidate. Now, I drop my head in shame for the idea of "Sweaty" Teddy Nugent.
[via Oliver Willis]
Surprise News Of The Day
John Kerry is going to court the NAACP, after Bush chose not to speak to them.
"I will be a president who talks with everyone those who agree with me and those who don't," Kerry says in remarks prepared for delivery Thursday in Philadelphia before the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Wow, Mr. Kerry. Sounds like you're all open-minded and stuff.
Why wouldn't Bush speak to the NAACP? Let's see:
1. Bush has not spoken to the NAACP since he was campaigning in 2000. He was angered when, during that race, the NAACP National Voter Fund ran an ad that portrayed Bush as unsympathetic to the dragging death of James Byrd in Texas.
Sounds simple to me. The DFL Party here in Minnesota doesn't call me to solicit my funds or my time for their candidates. Why not? It's simple; I don't support them. Why would they waste their time and money asking me for money/time/votes when they know it's not coming. It's the same reason Bush wouldn't speak there. The NAACP has trash-talked President Bush for 4 years; why would he think that the best use of his time would be to address their assembly?
Famed Chicago Bear Mike Ditka has opted to not the enter the race as the GOP Candidate for United States Senator from Illinois.
"There was a moment when I said, God, I'd like to take this and run with it, and then I said, you know, put your head on straight and think about what you're getting into," Ditka said outside his restaurant.
Bully for Mike. The public eye is something I'm not willing to withstand. Some can, and as head coach a Super Bowl Champion team, he certainly could withstand some pressure. But that was in football, a sport that he personally excelled in as a player before he coached, whereas politics is an entirely different animal.
July 14, 2004
Hangin' With the Prez
Lisa found President Bush and waved to him. He waved back. Too bad she has no pictures as proof.
"The Greatest Fish Story Ever Told"
July 13, 2004
Wow! A TAM link to Lew Rockwell's site that isn't a Paleowatch. It's about some ugly "sausage-making" that went on last week in the House of Representatives.
"Re: The Party of Big Government (the Full Story)"
STOP THE PRESSES!
Al Franken is changing the name of his radio show.
Al Franken's radio show, "The O'Franken Factor," is changing its name to "The Al Franken Show."
Why is this news? Okay, I fell into the trap myself by writing about it, but WHAT'S THE STORY? No new hosts, no new listeners, no change in airtime. If Laura Ingraham changed the name of her show, would it get national press? Doubt it.
July 11, 2004
The Kerry Sisters vs. the Bush Twins is a hit on this sex weblog. I'll add another contest to the silly season that is the Presidential race. Who has the better cookie recipe: Laura Bush or Teresa Heinz Kerry? Oatmeal-Chocolate Chunk vs. Pumpkin Spice.
"The Great Bush-Kerry Bake-Off"
July 09, 2004
He Was Joking
California Education Secretary Richard Riordan made a dumb joke by quipping that a six-year old girl's name meant "stupid dirty girl." Watch the video and you'll see it was a (failed) attempt at humor. Get off Riordan's back.
"Stupid, Inappropriate Commissioner"
July 08, 2004
The Michigan GOP is helping Ralph Nader get on the ballot. All's fair in love and elections, I guess.
"Michigan GOP Gathers Names for Nader"
WELCOME CNN READERS!!!
Forget issues for a moment. Take a break from debating the virtues of invading Iraq and whether correct national building is taking place. Ignore if taxes should be raised or lowered. Take a break from arguing the virtues of Social Security reform. This Maxim-ized TAM post asks an important question: "Who's hotter?"
The Kerry sisters
or the Bush twins?
For the record, Alexandra Kerry looks much better when her clothes aren't transparent.
UPDATE: Here's another (better) Bush twins photo. If you find some more of either set of women, let me know.
And Kevin at Wizbang is doing his Florida election impersonation and has the ballot.
UPDATE II: Drudge posted this picture of Jenna walking with her dad.
Now, we need some more Kerry sisters pics for balance.
UPDATE III: Here are more Bush twins photos, and am still looking for more Kerry sisters pics.
UPDATE IV: Tech Law Advisor sent me this nice pic of Jenna. Hello Kerry fans, I need some pics of Vanessa and Alexandra.
UPDATE V: Barbara has joined her father on the campaign trail.
UPDATE VI: I've posted the Bush twin Vogue photos. Nice. Very nice. I think we have a winner.
UPDATE VII: Wait! The Kerrys are back in the running with these shots from the DNC.
July 07, 2004
Advice to RNC
Conservative North Carolinian John Hood recommends the national GOP lay off the John Edwards-as-trial-lawyer meme. That's because swing voters "admire lawyers more than they do the CEOs and HMO bureaucrats being sued." Instead, the GOP should focus on Edwards' liberal voting record, calling it "Massachusetts-like."
"The Edwardian Confrontation"
UPDATE: Hood is probably right, but Jim Pinkerton's column on Edwards and the trial lawyers makes me burn. A very harmful Democratic constituency is taken hold of that party.
"John Edwards and the Strangest Mutation of Liberalism Yet"
July 06, 2004
Jon Lauck of Daschle v. Thune discovered the two-facedness of Sen. Tom Daschle.
"Hypocrisy Watch: Daschle Embraces Moore in DC, Denies It in South Dakota"
[I'm sure others did the same thing. I just happened to spot Oliver's error first.]
That Was Fast
The DNC as already countered the Bush McCain ad.
[via Oliver Willis]
July 03, 2004
What a way to get pumped up for July 4th.
"Asking" for a Tax Hike
In all his rambling about how Republicans are starving kids and kicking them out of after-school programs, Bill Clinton told a Rainbow/PUSH audience that Democrats wanted to "ask the 200,000 Americans who paid income taxes on more than a million dollars to reduce their tax cut -- listen to this -- from $88,000 to $83,000 a year. That would give us a billion dollars a year" (emphasis mine). It's a nice bit of rhetoric, but Clinton knows darn well raising taxes doesn't involve asking anyone. It's coercion plain and simple. Whether it's justified coercion is debatable, but what isn't contestable is whether a tax hike is voluntary.
"Clinton Says He's 'Most Important Person in the World' to GOP"
July 02, 2004
Sun Myung Moon had an "interesting" ceremony last March in a Senate building where he declared himself "messiah." Add this weirdness to his penchant for mass weddings and other cult stuff involving his Unification Church.
For me, Moon has always been an uncomfortable element of American Conservatism. He owns the Washington Times and UPI. I've never come across evidence of manipulation from Moon. I'm sure other media outlets have looked and would just love to break that story.
It doesn't take much creativity to weave a conspiracy tale with Moon in the center. However, if there really was a conspiracy wouldn't a prominent conservative expose him? William F. Buckley had a row with the John Birch Society that protected the nascent movement from becoming infected with outlandish conspiracy beliefs. A conservative movement run by a Korean wacko wouldn't be too endearing to the American public.
In this case, this bit of very odd smoke doesn't lead to much of a fire.
"Moonie Leader 'Crowned' in Senate"
June 30, 2004
Democrat at GOP Convention
I can understand Oliver irritation. Sen. Zell Miller speaking at the GOP convention would be like Sen. John McCain speaking at the Dems' bash. Do Democrats use the lable DINO (Democrat In Name Only, analogous to RINO)? If not they should because Miller fits it perfectly. Miller isn't running for re-election anyway, so going all the way and becoming a full-fledged Republican shouldn't be any trouble.
"Zell, Go Away"
June 29, 2004
When Stealing Isn't Stealing
I was going to excoriate Bill Hobbs for advocating blatant theft by paying to see another movie while sneaking into Fahrenheit 9/11, but Michael Moore doesn't care. But don't bother going to the theater when you can download it and watch it at home (with plenty of strong spirits close at hand).
If Moore really wanted everyone to see his movie why doesn't he offer free showings? If that's too much how about giving the film to theaters for free hoping they would show it at a reduced cost. (Competition between theaters would force down ticket prices.) Such thought is a little too sophisticated for someone like Moore.
June 28, 2004
The End of an Era
Here's one last "I'm on vacation link" :-(. Godfather of the modern conservative movement, William F. Buckley has moved his ownership of National Review to a trustee board. Hopefully, for America, the board guides NR to at least another 50 years of intellectual service.
"National Review Founder Says It's Time to Leave Stage"
Door To Door
A door knocking lefty stopped by James Lileks's pad to ask him to vote for her candidate. James gave her a little economics lesson which she didn't like.
Scroll down towards the bottom to pick up the story.
June 26, 2004
Who Said It?
Steve From Norway cites some examples of Algore's extreme rhetoric.
Another classic example is the: "Who Said It? Algore or The Unabomber?" quiz.
John Kerry is coming to Minnesota on the 4th of July weekend. To Cloquet, Minnesota of all places. Cloquet has one of the greatest 4th of July parades around (the others being Delano, Minnesota and Brainerd, Minnesota). It is also Cloquet's Centennial Celebration this year.
Back to Kerry: Carlton County, of which Cloquet is located in, lost three Marines in the span of a week earlier this year. So that is touted as one reason that he is coming North.
Quote of the article:
"The keys to this election are going to be reaching out to swing voters and motivating the base," said Duluth City Councilor Donny Ness, a Democrat.
Wow, Donny. That's real insightful. Quite a bold statement.
Carving out time in Kerry's schedule for a stop in rural Minnesota over the Fourth of July weekend shows how serious Democrats are about trying to carry the state, considered one of several Midwestern battlegrounds, Ness said. Kerry will also make appearances in Wisconsin and Iowa over the weekend.(Bold emphasis mine)
The DFL never had to "try to carry the state;" it was theirs for the taking. In Reagan's 1984 landside, Minnesota was the lone state going for Mondale. But in recent years, Minnesota has been slowly moving towards, at least, the center. Four of Eight Congressional Seats are Republican, and of the Four that are DFL, one is a "Blue Dog Democrat" and another has a pro-gun, pro-life Democrat.
Minnesota is led by a Republican Governor and Minnesota's Statehouse is overwhelmingly Republican. The State Senate is still controlled by DFL'ers but that could hopefully change, especially in light of their obstructionist tactics in the last session. The Senate is not up for re-election until next year, however. 1/2 of the Minnesota Senate should be up for election every other year; perhaps that can come up in legislation next year.
Minnesota is a battleground, and could go for George W. Bush in the upcoming election.
June 24, 2004
I think this poll is an amalgamation of confusion, demagoguery and skillful nuance. I think it should make the usual suspects happy for a little while.
Souring attitudes toward the war could present challenges to President Bush, who plans to keep thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq even after the handover of power. While he has linked the war to the fight against terror, 55% of those polled now say that the war has increased U.S. vulnerability to terrorism.
Sounds like the same gobbledygook coming out of Terry McAuliffe's mouth...
"The American people are losing confidence" in the war, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said in a conference call arranged by the Kerry campaign. She said Bush has a "credibility issue" over the failure to find weapons of mass destruction or ties between the Sept. 11 attackers and Saddam Hussein.
I find it convenient that this withered hag ignores her former boss and his veep were on the WMD bandwagon when they were in power...now, it's a failure. And I'd like to see some proof George Bush linked 9/11 with Hussein.
June 22, 2004
Like flies on stink
The Left is infatuated with polls...from justifying their lives to telling them whether their candidates are popular or not. They can't seem to live without some pollster telling them what's up and what's down.
The Dream Team
Nader/Camejo 2004...it just rolls of the tongue.
East Bay businessman, Green Party stalwart could give independent a boost
Either this headline was written by someone who is optimistic about this dynamic duo or it was tongue in cheek. How exactly does one socialist give another socialist a boost?
June 21, 2004
If Dick Cheney were to drop out of the VP race, Hindrocket's suggestion of Sen. Joe Lieberman as his replacement would be smart and ground-shaking.
Too bad it wouldn't happen. Remember how Lieberman changed from the moderate Democratic Senator to the solid liberal running mate to AlGore in 2000?
"Not All Democrats Have Gone Crazy"
June 17, 2004
Here's some alternate history. I'll bet a dozen Krispy Kremes this never happens.
"Clinton Suspends Book Tour, Keeps Spotlight on Kerry"
Arnold Kling has a great essay on the Left's political tactics, Corruption and Compassion. I want to look at the Corruption tactic more closely. On it, Kling writes:
In each case, the Left can genuinely point to something wrong: corporate executives ripping off shareholders and others; cancer and obesity; inability to find weapons stockpiles; mistreatment of prisoners. They then proceed to personalize the issue, blaming President George Bush for the Enron scandal (since it involved Texas and oil), blaming Big Tobacco and Big Food, and blaming "the neocons" for the intelligence failures and prisoner abuses.
What value is there in claiming President Bush lied about WMD in Iraq? Critics have ignored the important difference between lying and being wrong. If the President lied about Iraq's WMD then Bill Clinton, AlGore, and the U.N. lied too. They use this tactic to instill fear, uncertainty, and doubt about the President. It's a classic smear job.
What value is there in linking Bush/Cheney to Haliburton unless there some real proof bribery is taking place? All that does is breed public cynicism and distrust toward all public officials (they can't all be bad). Again, another smear job.
What value was there for Eliot Spitzer to go after Strong Capital Management, and force it to settle for a huge fine? The end result was the sale of the company and the loss of hundreds of Wisconsin jobs. Spitzer gets the good press for his run for higher office, but a community far way from New York's Attorney General pays the price. Plus, investors become more skeptical about mutual fund companies even though few can explain how Richard Strong's trades harmed any of his investors.
We have an example of substance-free smearing today. John Kerry said the Sep. 11 commission report of no collaboration between al Qaeda and Iraq "proves" Bush "rushed to war." By liberating Iraq, Kerry said the administration let Afghanistan and al Qaeda go by the wayside. But here's the most important part of the story in relation to the Left's Corruption tactic:
Asked what Bush's true motivation was for attacking Saddam's government, Kerry said that is a question for the administration.
Kerry's tactic is two-fold: 1.) He's trying to make the Bush campaign play defense; 2.) He's perpetuating the meme that Bush went to war for nefarious reasons. It's destructive cynicism to gain political advantage. It doesn't move any debate forward. Kerry doesn't promote himself, he just tears his opponent down.
Cynicism is an ugly feeling. Looking through such glasses makes the world look bleak and hopeless. Everyone must have their own hidden agendas. Trust no one. That wasn't the spirit of Ronald Reagan. He had a way of always looking toward the shining city on a hill. He found a way to successfully (but not perfectly) balance idealism with hard ball politics. While the bipartisanship of the 1980s is a myth, we need to reject ugly, sardonic politics.
"The Left's Tactical Weapons"
June 16, 2004
On the Reagan Ad
As I expected, Oliver Willis rips the Right on the Reagan ad.
In his first post, Oliver doesn't see the parallel between the Cold War and the Islamist War. To put it simply, they're both about direct threats to the U.S. The ad argues that since Sen. Kerry wasn't right about fighting communism why should we trust him fighting Islamists? It's a question Kerry will probably not answer nor see the need to answer. Oliver then blames Reagan for creating the embryo that would become al Qaeda. This is his version of blowback, a thin attempt at blaming the victims for Sep. 11.
In his second post, Oliver points out that the Club for Growth will postpone airing the Reagan ad for a week. He then can't help himself and rants that "Voters reject naked extremist right-wing ideology!" with regards to the Specter-Toomey race. The Club for Growth is so "extreme" as to follow in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan. Their advocacy of limited government and lower taxes is the same message The Gipper used to win two elections. Either large majorities of Americans have "extremist right-wing ideology" or Oliver let his knee-jerk anti-conservatism clouds his judgement.
Training Camp for Protesters
To add to my NYC protest post, here's a story on summer classes for protesters. Here are some of the activities planned to exercise their free speech rights:
Organizers won't publicly disclose their plans for civil disobedience. But activists describe sit-ins and blockades at delegate hotels, pie-throwing at high-level officials, and street theater outside Broadway shows attended by convention-goers. A man who calls himself Jonny America plans to mimic Paul Revere's ride along Lexington Avenue, shouting "the Republicans are coming, the Republicans are coming!"
"Classes Train GOP Convention Protesters"
June 15, 2004
Reagan Starring in Ad
Club for Growth made an anti-Kerry ad using the late Ronald Reagan speaking at the Berlin Wall. Joanne Drake, spokeman for the Reagan family, said, "No one has requested the permission to use his image in an ad, nor would we feel it appropriate to give such permission at this juncture." I don't know what the law says about this, but something doesn't seem right. Reagan was a public figure, and his Berlin Wall speech was a public event. Reagan wanted the world to hear his request to Mikhail Gorbachev to "Tear down this wall!" But in the same ad Club for Growth uses footage from John Kerry testifying before the Senate soon after he returned from Vietnam and President Bush's powerful words at Ground Zero. It's okay to use these clips, but not Reagans? Why? Other then Reagan being dead is the difference?
Then there's this ridiculous paragraph from the AP story:
The Reagan family's spokeswoman said Tuesday that permission is needed for anyone to use Reagan's likeness in an ad because doing so implies that he endorsed one candidate over another.
I won't go off on Ms. Drake because I don't know what she told the reporter, but what intellectually honest person would think Reagan would back Kerry if he were alive and was of sound mind?
I now await Oliver Willis to rip the Club for Growth and conservatives in general for "exploiting" the image of a dead man.
"Conservative Campaign Ad Features Reagan"
Protesters Protesting Already
We're two months away from the GOP convention and the anti-Bush/anti-America protesters are already crying foul. Up to the convention we'll hear them complaining about how their rights are being squashed because they won't be able to protest in whatever way they want to. Then during the convention they'll complain about the evil police stifling their speech--Mike Bloomberg, NYC's GOP mayor will be the key to this part of the conspiracy. After the convention they'll use all the "abuse" they endured to persuade people not to vote for Bush.
"NY Convention Protesters Say Rights Threatened"
June 06, 2004
Ronald Reagan, R.I.P.
Here's one way to remember Ronald Reagan:
And here's another:
The first picture is Reagan as the embodiment of America. He's weathered, a man who's been working on his land. He looks like he's had his share of a good day's work. The denim jacket is like what you'd see anybody in the West wearing. The grin on his face is that of the optimist. He's a man who looks at the bright side of events and people. Reagan lifted America's spirits when it needed it the most.
The second picture shows Reagan's playful side. He never took himself too seriously. The times he made a self-deprecating remark are legion.
Like all people, Ronald Reagan was more complicated than these two pictures suggest. But they are iconic of Reagan as ordinary American and jovial soul.
Today is the 60th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. To honor Reagan and the men who risked their lives to save civilization read Reagan's speeches he gave at the 40th anniversary.
"Remarks at a Ceremony Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, D-Day (Pointe De Hoc)"
"Remarks at a United States-France Ceremony Commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Normandy Invasion, D-Day"
June 04, 2004
Must Mend Fences
I'm not sure what President Bush can do to regain the trust of limited government conservative and libertarian voters. I'm supporting the President because I think he'll do a better job in fighting the war, and I strongly support his tax policies. I've cringed every time he's signed a spending bill that expands the government, but if Kerry were in office taxes would be higher, he wouldn't be as tough in fighting the war, and government would be expanding.
In politics, the perfect is the enemy of the good. On the domestic side, other than taxes, Bush hasn't even been that good. However, he's better than the alternative. It's not a ringing endorsement, but it's enough to get to work really hard for Bush's reelection.
"Some Big Conservative Donors, Unhappy With Bush, Say They Won't Back His Campaign"
What a Party
June 01, 2004
Get Someone on This
Oliver Willis has a great idea: a politics channel. It'd be C-SPAN without the boring stuff. Imagine color commentary to the debates in the British House of Commons? But if it happened my TiVo might burn out from all the use.
"The Politics Network"
Time has found an e-mail that links Vice President Cheney's office to a Halliburton contract. The Pentagon says the coordination with Cheney's office was to give them a "heads-up" on possible controversy. Sounds reasonable? Expect Bush bashers put the most cynical spin on it as possible. A more reasonable mind would wait for more information.
May 31, 2004
Which Way Should They Go?
Doug Allen at Catallarchy.net offers two choices for the Libertarian Party: promote a common sense, more moderate libertarian platform that would push the GOP away from their big government/big spending habits; or push for the creation of a libertarian paradise immediately alienating millions of voters who see little but anarchy, chaos, and hardship because they have no exposure to a non-statist polity. So far, those who left comments are split.
As for me, I'm not a LP member and probably never will be--their pledge to renounce the "initiation of force" and their mish-mash over abortion have stopped me from signing up. I would hope the LP could become a serious political force to keep the GOP honest, especially on spending.
"Baby Steps or Cold Turkey"
May 30, 2004
T. J. Rodgers Interviewed
Let me finish up this very quiet day of posting with an interview with the always-outspoken CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, T. J. Rodger. He rips on politicians, praises the division of labor, and may be the only CEO of a big company to mention Ayn Rand. Rodgers' disgust with President Bush, I think, is a good example of what libertarian (small "l") voters are thinking:
Are you planning to vote for President Bush in November?
"Chip off the Block"
May 29, 2004
Liberal Webloggers Go Wild
Here's what you get when two of the smartest Lefty webloggers leave their good sense at the door:
May 27, 2004
More MM Misleading
Republican pollster Frank Luntz means little to me. I ignore pollsters and have found him dull when he's done live focus groups for MSNBC. So why do I care about a Media Matters post on him? Because it's another example of MM's "gotcha" tactics that amount to little. Given the post's title, "GOP pollster Luntz revealed Limbaugh's role in new survey" you'd think Rush organized some evil plot. Let me summarize the post: Rush asked Luntz to do a poll to see if Democrats preferred Sen. Hillary Clinton over Sen. John Kerry as their Presidential nominee. Luntz did it and released the results. MM then notes that Luntz has a checkered history (because he refused to release his Contract of America data), and he has admitted to releasing favorable poll results.
My response: Who cares? MM provides no evidence that this poll was manipulated in any way. That would require real research. The easist thing to do would be to just do a poll. If there's evidence that Luntz cooked the books then I'd like to know.
So, Andrew Seifter, the post's writer, has no argument against Luntz's poll. He just gives us some of the pollster's past with a few quotes from television and radio. But before calling it a day, Seifter has to mention that Luntz is an adjunct fellow with the Hudson Institute and did polling work for David Horowitz. In "progressive"/liberal circles, Horowitz's apostasy is unforgivable so linking Luntz to him smears him. Since Seifter really has nothing on Luntz he decides to do the guilt-by-association thing MM is becoming known for.
"GOP Pollster Luntz Revealed Limbaugh's Role in New Survey"
After watching some clips of AlGore's speech I don't know what he said or how he said it to get James Joyner to write,
I don’t know whether the bitterness of his narrow defeat in 2000 finally pushed him over the edge or if this is just the latest iteration of Gore’s never-ending quest for a personality, but I’m thankful this loon isn’t in charge of our nuclear arsenal.
AlGore was angry and full of righteous indignation, yes, where did he lose it? I disagreed with most of his speech, but didn't notice a Dean-like wacko moment. His bombast may be a change from the wooden, boring, Kerry-like personna he mostly displayed as a Senator and Vice President, but his book Earth in the Balance showed he could go off the deep end when it came to the environment.
P.S. Yes, you just experienced a mild defense of AlGore. No need to adjust your browser. Don't send the paramedics my way. I'm just fine.
"Al Gore Unglued"
Why the RNC bothers with Don King, I don't know. But to Oliver donating to the Republicans disqualifies you from being a part of black outreach (notice the scare quotes around the post's title). We shouldn't be surprised that a black Republican would help her party. What should the RNC have done, find a black Democrat to help them persuade blacks to vote for the GOP?
Maybe I'm missing something.
May 26, 2004
Next Target: Lomborg
Bjorn Lomborg joins Patrick Michaels in criticising The Day After Tomorrow and those who are using the movie's premise to affect public policy. Expect an attack on Lomborg's funding and other suspicious connections by Media Matters at any moment.
Laura Kipnis wrote this about Media Matters founder and ex-conservative David Brock:
So, what to make of his new role, once again flinging accusations at those loathed former accusers—including, incidentally, at another showy and annoying political apostate, David Horowitz, himself a frequent and acerbic critic of Brock's? Is there a political—or perhaps psychopolitical—lesson in all this? The most obvious one is that political apostasy has really gone downhill, intellectually speaking, if it's come to this. Consider the first generation of neocons: Whatever you think of their ideas, at least they had ideas. Brock, by contrast, has one tune on autoplay: Conservatives lie. OK, maybe they do, but this isn't a political idea, it's political melodrama, peopled by villains and heroes. And this same brand of black-and-white thinking has propelled Brock's journalism from the start—along with an alarming amount of projection to cap it off.
Kipnis "wishes Brock could finally move on, rather than mucking around in this endless circle of accusation and 'gotcha' games." The only thing that's changed about Brock is where he's tossing his bombs.
Has Oliver Willis or anyone at Media Matters even read any of Patrick Michaels' books on climate change? For a guy who's supposedly in bed with energy companies Michaels doesn't discount man-made climate change. Here are two passages from Michaels' and Robert Balling, Jr.'s (presumably another lackey of the "Trash the Earth" lobby) book The Satanic Gases:
For the record, we too believe that there is a human influence on the climate. But, to put it simply, the effect is just not all that bad. (p. 21)
One thing concerning global warming about which there is no debate is the notion that human activity has augmented the earth's natural greenhouse effect. The magnitude of this change, coupled with a deficit of predicted warming, is what fuels the core of the argument that global warming is an overblown issue. (p. 30)
Notice that neither Oliver nor Media Matters engage with Michaels' arguments. That would require doing more than some Google or Nexis searches. Instead, they just cynically throw mud the way many people of all ideologies do with opinions they disagree with. Being funded by energy companies doesn't mean Michaels is a public policy mercenary anymore than MoveOn.org can be accuse of being in George Soros' pocket.
May 21, 2004
Air America, the liberal talk network that's suppose to be the antithesis of mean, nasty, uncaring conservative talk radio never provided Chicago staffers health insurance while taking money out of their paychecks to pay for it.
"Air America's Slide Ignored by Liberal Press"
May 20, 2004
Less Than Even Money
Paul at Wizbang notes that bettors give President Bush the edge over Kerry. Over at the Iowa Electronic Markets traders have been predicting a Bush victory since February with Kerry closing the gap in the past few weeks. When people have something on the line they have a penchant for using available information more efficiently. When to combine all the disparate, scattered knowlege from lots of individuals you end up with a form of collective wisdom. It's not infallible because individuals are fallible, but this market system is the same mechanism we use to allocate just about all our good and services in a fairly efficient manner.
For more on the importance of individual knowledge there's Friedrich Hayek's indispensable paper "The Use of Knowledge in Society."
UPDATE: James Carville and Stan Greenberg have a different prediction: "...the odds against him [Bush]. He is more likely to lose than win." Let's hope I can remember to go back to this post on Election Day to see who was correct two very smart political consultants or collective wisdom.
May 15, 2004
Wack the Prez
That's what would "work" for Air America's Randi Rhodes.
"It Works for Her"
May 10, 2004
How the Past Touches Today
Stephen Taylor has an outstanding post that doesn't have anything to do with Abu Ghraib, Iraq, the Middle East, or terrorism. He thinks out loud about how we should look at the Conferacy and its symbols.
"Why I Care About the Civil War Issue"
May 04, 2004
The Real Demon of Campaign Finance "Reform"
Steven Taylor writes:
Campaign finance legislation is almost always motivated by the misguided notions that 1) money in politics is bad (it's not, it is a neutral fact of life), 2) that money can be taken out of politics (it can't--politics is, by definition, about money), and 3) that good intentions trump reality (they don't).
Why campaign finance "reform" will continue to be around is the public's notion that contributions are the equivalent to bribery. Since both parties attack each other by linking contributions to political actions it will take an immense education effort to turn public opinion. It's fine to state again and again that McCain-Feingold and other types of reforms don't work and restrict legitimate free speech, but it doesn't address the idea that bribery is ruling the halls of Congress. The latter meme is the one political speech advocates need to attack.
April 27, 2004
Bummer. It was close, but close only counts [fill in with your favorite cliche here]. The Corner reports that Specter won with 15,000 votes.
"Specter Ekes Out Win in Pa. Primary"
April 15, 2004
Not really, but this is something I'd love to hear.
"Bush Admits Mistakes, Apologizes"
P is for perpetual motion. As in the constant jabs and counter jabs between President Bush's critics and defenders. It's an election year so what else should we expect.
First, we have Oliver Willis still not understanding the difference between lying and being wrong. Bush wasn't even sure about the figure. He said, "By the way, they found, I think, 50 tons of mustard gas, I believe it was, in a turkey farm, only because he was willing to disclose where the mustard gas was. But that made the world safer" [emphasis mine]. In that situation, he should have just said that mustard gas was found. It was an error, not deception. Heck, there's a politician he likes who made a similar mistake, and I didn't jump on him for being a lying bastard.
Then we have the Heritage Foundation's Helle Dale's and James Phillips' response that pre-Sept. 11 intelligence agencies should have prevented the deadly attacks:
The point Dr. Rice hammered home is worth repeating here: Before September 11, there was no political will to reinvent the way intelligence was collected and shared between agencies within and without the United States. "The problem was that for a country that had not been attacked on its territory in a major way in almost 200 years," she said, "there were lots of structural impediments to those [changes].... Those changes should have been made over a long period of time."
"Setting the Record Straight: Condoleezza Rice and the 9/11 Commission"
April 13, 2004
Post Press Conference
President Bush's resolve was unmistakable tonight. Critics will call it pig-headedness while supporters (like me) will call it standing firm. Here's Oliver Willis' rather obnoxious live-blogging, and Michele offers up some material from the Bush choir [via OTB].
I need football season to start soon so I find something reasonable on Oliver's weblog. At his rate, he'll be spewing something Kos-like by the GOP convention in NYC.
April 07, 2004
About a week into the life of Air America and according to Steve Verdon it isn't getting any better.
April 01, 2004
Predict the Death of Air America
Paul, part of the Wizbang guest gang, is running a contest where you can guess when Air America goes flat line. I'm guessing 02.02.2005.
March 29, 2004
Weekend Pundit and Dean both think people will be killed at the party conventions. I hope not, but with the virulent anti-Bush fury kindled by a Presidential candiate along with Net-powered organizing tools also used to some significant effect by that same candidate angry people will be out in force. I predict no protesters will die at the conventions. From my brief Google research, I found no report of anyone killed during the anti-WTO riots in Seattle, and that's the worst-case scenerio I'd imagine in Boston and NYC.
March 22, 2004
More on McCain Comment
There's some local reaction to John McCain's Kerry-coddling last Friday. Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb wants some of that McCain "straight talk" the former Presidential candidate mentions often. For instance, Robb wants to know what was the overheated rhetoric that upset McCain. It didn't come from Vice President Dick Cheney because, as Robb writes, "I'm not sure Cheney is capable of inflamed rhetoric." If examining a Senator's past voting record isn't the "kind of rhetoric" that is "helpful in educating and helping the American people make a choice" then what would the senior Senator from Arizona prefer?
"McCain's Spin on Kerry Defies 'Straight Talking'"
March 21, 2004
McCain's Big Mouth
So, Friday was my first non-travel day on vacation. I was all set to relax, watch baseball, and let nothing bother me. Unfortunately, I bought that day's Arizona Republic and what was on the front page but Sen. John McCain stabbing his President and party in the back. I can respect McCain's opinion that Sen. John Kerry isn't soft on defense (his voting record proves otherwise), but he didn't have to state his displeasure publically. McCain is also not pleased with tactics of the Presidential campaigns. He said they're "not helpful in educating and helping the American people make a choice." The Arizona Senator provided no specifics to what he called "the most negative campaign earlier than I've ever seen" (you can thank the Democrats for moving up and compressing the primaries). Instead, McCain wants the candidates to talk about "Medicare, Social Security, education, what we're going to do about the deficit and overspending."
McCain's comments make little sense. He doesn't want to criticize Kerry, yet being a loyal Republican, he still backs President Bush. Why does McCain support Bush? Why does he want him to win over his friend? McCain didn't explain. McCain also wants the most important issue, national security, to be removed from the Presidential debate. Does he actually think there's little difference between Bush and Kerry when it comes to the Islamist War? The candidates have found plenty to disagree about.
What McCain has been silent about is the unintended consequences of his campaign finance/First Amendment restriction law. He hasn't said anything about the rise of the 527s or the George Soros pouring millions of his personal fortune into anti-Bush groups. I thought McCain wanted to get money out of politics. How come neither he nor Sen. Russ Feingold have taken responsibility for the distortion of political speech?
"McCain Backs Kerry Defense Record"
March 18, 2004
Cuba and the Election
There are cracks in Florida's Cuban-American voting block. Some of these usually steadfast Republican voters say they'll vote for Sen. John Kerry. With Florida a toss-up state again in this year's election it could mean Bush defeat.
These Cuban-Americans say Bush hasn't done anything to forward the end of Castro's brutal regime. But after 40+ years opposing both Democratic and Republican Presidents only the Grim Reaper will end Castro's reign. These people seem too removed from reality. Castro, with his bloody resume known to all, doesn't threaten the U.S. like Islamists. Sep. 11, 2001 not only changed the U.S.'s approach to the Middle East and Europe, it also changed its focus. Islamism threatened to kill millions and topple our way of life. Since the Cuban Missile Crisis, Castro hasn't been that kind of threat.
I feel for the Cuban-American community. When Janet Reno and President Clinton allowed armed police to rip little Elian Gonzalez from a loving, free family and sent him to the communist prison island, it was an assault on all freedom-loving Americans. But even then I realized that American foreign policy toward Cuba had to change. The status quo of a unilateral embargo wasn't freeing a single Cuban. Instead, it has helped Castro rally Cubans against the Yanqui.
Do Cuban-Americans really think Sen. John Kerry will be tougher than President Bush? He didn't vote for Helms-Burton, but told a Florida audience he did. He told Tim Russert he wouldn't life sanctions, but then told the Miami Herald that some sanctions should be eased because "the isolation that in my judgment helps Castro." On the Elian Gonzalez affair, there's more circus-like contortions. Kerry didn't agree with sending Elian back to Cuba, but wanted him reunited with his father.
Many Cuban-Americans have lost faith in both parties. Maybe instead of blaming Presidents they should re-examine their premises.
"Cuban-Americans Look Beyond Bush"
"Kerry's Stances on Cuba Open to Attack"
March 10, 2004
Low Primary Turnout
Democrats may not be as revved up as Terry McAuliffe thinks:
At the height of this year's presidential primaries, on Feb. 20, Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe declared that "people are turning out in record numbers" -- even though in the Virginia primary 10 days earlier, the 7.5 percent of Democrats who voted failed to match the only previous Democratic primary, and the figure was well below the 13.2 percent of Republicans who voted in their party's 2000 primary.
I can understand Kerry not generating passion, but the whole Dean, M.D. aura was about bringing dissatisfied voters back to the polls. That didn't happen.
March 09, 2004
That was my score on the Libertarian Purity Test. According to the results I'm "a medium-core libertarian, probably self-consciously so. Your friends probably encourage you to quit talking about your views so much." That seems about right.
[via Professor Bainbridge]
Sep. 11 As Talking Point
Democrats have complained how President Bush "exploited" the Sep. 11 attacks in his first set of campaign ads. The widows complaining on television sound too much alike and too much like prepared talking heads. Have the Bush haters stooped so low? Listen and come to your own conclusion. Then read this Debra Saunders column where she points out that one group that loudly complained, September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, is being helped by MoveOn.org.
"Tough One: 9/11 Families Coached"
March 07, 2004
Why Didn't I Think of This?
For years I've been irritated when a politician (of any party) or a talking head yapped on about what the "American People" thought or speaks for them. Now, there's a website tracking this irritating, yet common, tic.
March 04, 2004
Anger over Bush Commercials
Some families of Sep. 11th victims as well as Democrats are upset that President Bush used some clips of Ground Zero in his new campaign ads. Watch them yourself and see if he really was exploiting the deaths of three thousand people. They were tastefully done. There were no pictures of the planes crashing into the twin towers, and there weren't any shots of the towers crashing down.
To critics it seems Sep. 11 has to fall into the memory hole, or only victims and their families have the right to use those horrible images. Lucy Willett said, "He [Bush] should not be allowed to use those images at all." That's poppycock! Sep. 11 was an attack on all Americans. It attacked our way of life, our freedom, and our prosperity. All who witnessed those horrible events will forever be scarred. All Americans have a claim on those images and memories. Also, that fateful day changed America's foreign policy in a profound way. The post-Cold War era ended, and the nation was at war. Our national innocence was lost when we realized there were people out there with the desire and capability to kill thousands of our fellow citizens. President Bush saw this change and reacted decisively. No longer was international terrorism looked at as a task for law enforcement. No longer would the U.S. tolerate nations that harbored and helped terrorists. Because of al-Qaeda's alliance with the Taliban, Afghanistan became the first point of response. That nation's people were liberated from oppressive rule. Next came Saddam Hussein's Iraq. She too was liberated. Libya read the writing on the wall and gave up its WMD development instead of risking being another causalty to Bush's muscular anti-terrorism strategy. In any evaluation and defense of the President's first term, Sep. 11 plays the pivotal role.
For an off-beat, yet correct perspective, read Michele's post. Now, let's take Bush's critics to their logical extreme. If Bush can't use Sep. 11 images, then John Kerry has to stop mentioning his Vietnam War record. No longer should either candidate use women, children, grandmothers, grandfathers, dogs, cats, baseball games, picnics, American flags, eagles, soldiers, policemen, cars, trucks, trees, sappy West Wing-type string arrangements, celebrities, mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers, clouds, flowers, bugs, newspaper headlines, or anything else as a means of persuation. The only ads that should run are 30 seconds of static with only the candidate blandly reciting a portion of his platform. (In the case of Kerry, he can't help but speak blandly.) Not even a whisp of "exploitation" or "manipulation" should be allowed because voters are nothing more than helpless sheep incapable of analyzing what they're watching.
"Sept. 11 Families Outraged by Bush Campaign Ad"
February 23, 2004
Stupid Education Secretary
After dealing with the NEA for years as a school superintendent and Secretary of Education, I'd be frustrated with their Washington, D.C. lobbyists who oppose any non-liberal reform of public education. That being said, Ron Paige was over the line in telling governors that "the NEA is a terrorist organization." During this time of war, labling anyone that is the equivalent of calling the group traitors. No matter how misguided and wrong the NEA is, they don't strive for the violent destruction of Americans and our way of life. I'll go so far as to claim that Paige isn't taking the Islamic War seriously if he's jokingly calling his political opposition, "terrorists." By calling the NEA terrorists, Paige and the administration look like the side that's outrageous. The NEA is about to sue the federal government for not properly funding education. Since education is part of the budget that's ballooned since President Bush has been in office, a suit seeking even more money should seem ridiculous. Paige's terrorist comment only gives the NEA sympathy.
Paige issued an "apology" [via Drudge]:
It was an inappropriate choice of words to describe the obstructionist scare tactics the NEA's Washington lobbyists have employed against No Child Left Behind's historic education reforms. I also said, as I have repeatedly, that our nation's teachers, who have dedicated their lives to service in the classroom, are the real soldiers of democracy, whereas the NEA's high-priced Washington lobbyists have made no secret that they will fight against bringing real, rock-solid improvements in the way we educate all our children regardless of skin color, accent or where they live. But, as one who grew up on the receiving end of insensitive remarks, I should have chosen my words better.
I take it as another jab at the NEA instead of not seriously using the word "terrorist." This shows to me that Paige might not have the temperment to get things done in D.C. After his tasteless joke, it will be even harder to deal with the NEA, and that's to the detriment of the kids he wants so hard to help.
Does the White House have to send out a memo telling cabinet members that only real terrorists should be called "terrorists?" You would think individuals in an administration in an election year would realize any and all comments can be politically dangerous.
"Paige Apologizes for Teachers Union Quip"
Army Helicopter Grounded
The Comanche, the "centerpiece of the U.S. Army's aviation modernization plan," got the ax. Add that to Rumsfeld ending the Crusader program. The Defense department also has the F/A-22 Raptor in their cost-cutting sights.
Defense Tech has a note on how much killing the program will cost the government.
"Army to End Comanche Helicopter Program"
February 18, 2004
Kerry's Anti-War Lies
Oliver Willis wonders about the attacks on Sen. John Kerry for his anti-war activities after returning from Vietnam a war hero. If Kerry would have just returned to the states and publically protested the need for American troops there or on the effectiveness of the military strategy, that would be one thing. But what Kerry did as a member of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War was advance falsehoods about war crimes. I'd like to say things have changed for Kerry, but at Sunday's debate he labeled the Vietnam War as "Nixon's war" ignoring the facts that President Eisenhower first sent military advisors to South Vietnam with more troops sent by Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon.
If so many atrocities took place in Vietnam, Kerry wouldn't have needed to lie. On the campaign trail, he proudly wears his own bloody shirt in as cynical a manner as his anti-war Senate testimony.
"Vetting the Vet Record"
February 15, 2004
I've been slow to get to it and biased, but I think the Bush ad going after Kerry on special interest money is really good. Too long, but good.
Like the other debates, this one didn't have fur flying and few attacks at each other. Gov. Doyle was happy that the debate was positive and "cordial." But thank goodness for Al Sharpton. It would have been a real snoozer until Al called President Bush a liar. And coming from Al "Tawana Brawley" Sharpton it's very ironic. He then claimed Bush had either deliberately lied about the Iraq War or has "some kind of crazy, psychological breakdown."
The closest we had to a real, engaged exchange was when Sen. John Edwards pointed out that candidates shouldn't promise the world:
One thing, though, I want us to be very careful about, you know, I listen to candidates talk about health care. They say, "Oh, we're going to cover 97 percent. Everybody is going to be covered. All the kids are going to be covered. We're going to give you all these tax cuts for the middle class, and oh, by the way, we're also going to balance the budget in the next four years."
But then after saying this, he touted how he wants to begin lifting 35 million Americans above the poverty line. How much will that cost when he also wants to start down the path of universal health care?
What the debate didn't do is stop the Kerry monster. I saw no reason for Kerry supporters to drop him for Dean or Edwards.
I noticed a problem with any of the candidates when it comes to the general election. All these candidates don't see the Islamist War as the most important issue facing the country. President Bush does when he calls himself a "war President." It doesn't matter if people are employed if they're killed by a nuclear, chemical, or biological weapon. Plus, it's hard to get people to take risks on starting a businesses that would create more jobs when the fear of a terrorist attack is on peoples' minds. Defending the nation has to be the primary mission of the President.
Porphyrogenitus beat me to Kerry's Vietnam as "Nixon's War" quip.
Transcript of tonight's debate.
Wisconsin Debate Coverage
Click below to follow my raw coverage of the Wisconsin debate.
UPDATE: Welcome InstaPundit readers. Glenn, thanks for the link.
Kerry gets question on Bush's National Guard duty:
"Not qualified to answer." Bush hasn't learned lessons of Vietnam War. Bush "rushed" to war. Have suggested to Democrats to stop using the AWOL charge.
Edwards: "Disconnect" between what administration told country about war, and what was found. [Not right.]
Borger: Stupid process question about how Bush is using Dean's criticism of Kerry in a commercial.
Dean: President Bush is "looting the American treasury" in drug and energy bills. Weird references to old Wisconsin politicians like Bob LaFollite and William Proxmire.
Kerry: Fought against "Nixon's war" in Vietnam.
Kerry, in vague reference to the Drudge affair rumor, will stand up to any attack. He vaguely blaming Republicans for the rumor, "resorting to the personal."
Sharpton: "Where's bin Laden?" "Why didn't we put all our energies into finding him?" Iraq is a "distraction" to the war on terrorism. Iraq is an "imagined threat."
Wisconsin has lost 90,000 manufacturing jobs since the 1990s.
Kerry: Bush administration has refused to used trade side agreements. Doesn't regret signing NAFTA, but regrets lack of enforcement.
120 day review of all trade agreements. Won't sign Central American and Free Trade for the Americas trage agreements unless it has
Edwards: Opposes NAFTA. He'll "stand up and fight" for those lost jobs, but offered nothing of substance.
Dean: Free trade agreements are justified. Labor and environmental rights haven't been "globalized." What does that mean? Dean willing to force people to pay more for goods by dumping bad trade agreements.
Kucinich: Would dump NAFTA and the WTO and go back to bilateral trade agreements based on workers' rights.
Sharpton: Would cancel NAFTA too. Was against it in the beginning. "Indecent" to pay foreign workers such low wages.
Edwards: "Some of these jobs are gone." Will wake up everyday in the White House to fight for jobs.
Dean: Middle class never got tax cuts. Repealing Bush tax cuts don't amount to a tax increase. Thinks balancing the budgets would create jobs.
Kucinich: Number one domestic priority is creating a "non-profit" health care system.
Kerry: Will tax the rich and close loopholes to pay for 97% of all Americans in three years. Extend Congressional health care plan to everyone.
Edwards: Wants states to import drugs from Canada. Can only afford to "start down road to universal health care." Have to lift 35 million out of poverty.
Holt asks hard question about Kerry's waivering on No Child Left Behind and PATRIOT ACT.
Kerry: Bills isn't the problem, bad enforcemnt and John Ashcroft are the problems. Won't promise to balance the budget, because he doesn't think it can be done.
Kucinich: "Create wealth by putting people to work."
Sharpton: Vouchers don't help everyone. [Just means vouchers should be extended to all.]
Kerry: Would have government pay for 4-year in-state tuition if person works in local community for 2 years.
Dean: Supported Gulf War I, Afghanistan, and Bosnia. Congressmen and Senators are responsible for sending troops to war. National Guardsmen and reservists shouldn't spend 12 months in combat. [How else to have enough troops to fight?]
Kerry: "President choose the wrong way" to fight the Iraq War. Doesn't think Bush did enough to build international backing. [What about the many countries who joined the coalition? Interested more in process over knocking off Saddam and his threat.]
Edwards: Accepts responsibility for voting for the war. We're fighting the war alone. [Once again, what about the Brits, the Poles, and others.] Thinks NATO could and should guard Iraq boarders while Americans focus on the Sunni Triangle.
Kucinich: Thinks the administration knew Iraq had nothing to do with the Islamist War. "President lied to American people" about the war. Doesn't know why. [Got applause for his anti-war stance.]
Sharpton: "Clearly he lied." "Absolutely it was a lie." "Why do people lie? Because they are liars?" [Doesn't know the difference between lying and just being wrong. Sharpton then got a bunch of cheers.]
Dean: Gave three trillion dollars to his pals. Administration hasn't bought enriched uranium. Still stands behind his "America isn't safer with Saddam's capture" statement. Capturing bin Laden would make America safer. Bush hasn't gone after him and al-Qaeda.
Kerry: Sees himself first as a jobs President. Bush has ignored North Korea. Has ignored AIDS. Will develop more global cooperation on fighting terrorism.
Kucinich: Iraq War "wasn't necessary." Will dump all nuclear weapons and hog-tie the country with international treaties.
Dean: Ends don't justify the means with regard to Iraq. "We don't know how history will just the war in Iraq."
Kerry: Used affirmative action while prosectutor in Massachusetts.
Sharpton: Fought all his life for diversity. [Including Tawana Brawly?] Thinks D.C. Congressional representation is a civil right issue.
Kerry: Personally believes marriage is between a man and a woman, but is for civil unions and partnership rights. Let states decide their own policies. [Smells of moral relativism.]
Edwards: Has "seen up close" how losing a job effects people. Kerry and Dean have "good hearts."
Sharpton: Rich can be compassionate; poor can be cold-hearted. "Clarance Thomas is my color but not my kind." [Not black enough?]
Another Gloria Borger lame process question.
Dean: Will support Kerry if/when he gets the nomination. "We have changed the face of campaigning." Won't owe anyone anything if sent to D.C. [Would Dean be happy with a rich, Perot-type to self fund a winning campaign?]
Kucinich: Got the E Pluribis Unum translation right; better than AlGore.
Kerry: He said the most boring "I'm a fighter" I've ever heard.
February 13, 2004
Bush's Guard Records
Another question: What are the Democrats really looking for by demanding to see every scrap of paper dealing with President Bush's National Guard service? They might just be desparate and have no particular item in mind. However, I'm guessing they're trying to dig into Bush's wild days when rumor has it he had a drinking problem. Heck, they might just be trying to find some hint that Bush was arrested on a cocaine charge. Whatever it is the Democrats are looking for, Steve Verdon is right, it is a "fishing expedition."
February 12, 2004
Meta Thoughts on Kerry "Affair"
Only in the blogosphere can webloggers constantly complain about John Kerry's affair. By doing so they just perpetuate the story.
What's with Wesley Clark? Will he actually endorse a man who he has tried to destory? What's he up to?
Will the Deaniacs go crazy thinking their bird is more like a phoenix than a waterfowl?
What's going to happen at Sunday's debate? The Wisconsin primary now is important again.
When I look at Bush's "AWOL" and Kerry's "affair" it reminds me of the really nasty politics of the 19th century. The American body politic survived those times, and it will survive this one.
Some reporters have acknowledged that Wesley Clark (Weasley in the Kerry campaign) said off the record that Sen. John Kerry has an "intern problem." Yet in the Plame affair the White House is accused of trying to pass on information to a number of reporters. None of them have come forward to admit to the White House leak. Some sense of honor in the journalist crowd. Since Clark is a has-been candidate his confidence can be violated, but when it comes to access to the White House all lips are sealed. Am I missing something besides the fact that the whole Kerry affair (pun intended) is a hoax?
No offense to Michele, a top-notch weblogger, but how can she write that she has no idea what the Presidential candidates stand for? Being a weblogger, she reads lots of stuff everyday. Heck, she even helps run a news weblog where part of it is devoted to covering the Presidential election. Sure, the stands of all the candidates aren't firmly spelled out. We don't know every candidates' position on every issue. We probably aren't happy with the positions of our favorite candidates. However, we certainly can get a pretty good idea of what they are for by reading the newspapers and browsing through campaign websites.
"On Special Request: Electioneering, V.2"
UPDATE: I want to be fair to Michele. She reminded me that the post I linked to was from pre-primary season. What got me worked up about it is I've heard the comment from people that they don't know what the candidates stand for. If all they hear about the campaign is the junk on tv news I can understand, but all you have to do is read a newspaper a few times a week to be fairly up to speed. I can't stand whining when there's an easy solution in plain sight.
February 10, 2004
Who you gonna call? Steven "PoliBlog" Taylor. He takes on some political myths and comes out triumphant.
"Political Myth Busting"
February 04, 2004
Bashing Bush from the Right
John Hawkins on ripping on President Bush:
But, that doesn't mean we should hold our tongues when Bush, on certain issues at least, acts more like Ted Kennedy than Ronald Reagan. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm a conservative first and a Republican second and if conservatism is best served by going after a Republican, it doesn't bother me one bit to do it.
The point about criticizing the President is to nudge him into getting his act together. I'm sure if the choice is between Sen. John Kerry and President Bush, Hawkins will vote for the latter. He, like me, hopes he doesn't have to hold his nose doing it.
"Conservatives Should Criticize Bush When He Deserves It"
February 03, 2004
After the 2000 election I take exit polls with a small grain of salt. That being said, here are some from Political Wire:
South Carolina: Edwards 44, Kerry 30, Sharpton 10
Kerry's doing well, Edwards has plenty of fight in him, and Dr. Dean is being crushed. Guess that's what happens when you abandon today's states to make a last-stand in Wisconsin.
Pickin' a Fight
John Cole just blasts Joshua Micah Marshall over the President Bush AWOL claim.
"The Weird World of Josh Marshall"
January 26, 2004
[via Heh. Indeed.]
January 25, 2004
If Weekend Pundit's informal, unscientific diner poll is any indication, there are a lot of New Hampshire voters who don't know who to vote for yet. WP writes,
The undecideds wield considerable power, being able to make or break a candidate's campaign with a simple vote. They can confound the pollsters and turn a frontrunner into an almostwas in a single day. It's happened in the past, so it can happen again. And we must remember one thing – the only poll that counts is the one that takes place on Tuesday. All of the others decide nothing, though you might have a tough time convincing some of the media of that.
This diner talk is making me hungry. I'm off to make some eggs.
"Latest Paugus Diner Poll© Results"
If this week's Toast-O-Meter is anything like last week's read it then forget everything because the New Hampshire primary will be as surprising as the Iowa caucuses. Not to pick on Steven for going out on a limb and making a prediction (I made one last fall that looks to have ended my hopes of future fame as a political prognosticator.) here's what he wrote about Sen. John Edwards' chances in Iowa:
That leaves fourth for Edwards, despite the Des Moines Register endorsement. Who bases their voting on newspaper endorsements?
Edwards took second and became the surprise story of the race.
"The Pre-NH Toast-O-Meter"
January 24, 2004
Bad Vibes for Kerry?
January 23, 2004
"I Need Some Ribs"
Posting the transcript is great, but having the audio (if any exists) would be priceless.
January 20, 2004
I'd add that Dean sounded even nuttier listening to it on NPR this morning than he seemed on television last night. If Bob Novak thinks you're over-the-top then, brother, you're over-the-top.
Look for a new Duck Hunt tomorrow. I want to give the blogosphere some more time to put together some really good material. If you have something you think is good send me an e-mail.
January 18, 2004
Two More Years of "Dr. No"
Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) faces no competition this November.
"Two of Three Baytown Districts Uncontested"
January 14, 2004
Dems Bush Hatred
Here's proof that Democrats are just plain irrational in their dislike towards President Bush. A poll was taken on the public's opinion of a mission to Mars. Here's the important quote:
Just over half of Democrats' opposed the plan by "the United States." Once it was identified as a "Bush administration" plan, Democrats opposed it by a 2-to-1 margin.
"AP Poll: Bush Space Plans Get Lukewarm Reception"
Hell Hath No Fury Like Celebrities Spurned
Even though more evidence is hardly needed, here's more pure partisan vitrol directed at President Bush. MoveOn.org, the Deaniacs, and the Left will not win in November with reactionary anger. Americans are an optimistic people who prefer candidates advocating proactive ideas instead of reactive rants.
January 12, 2004
Rush: Victim in the War on Drugs
The ACLU has jumped to Rush Limbaugh's behalf to protect his medical privacy rights. ACLU executive director Anthony Romero said, "Limbaugh's case demonstrates that the 'War on Drugs' is not working." The civil liberties organization has a history of aiding people who oppose much of their activities. Maybe this will allow Rush to say something nice about them on his radio show.
"Strange Bedfellows? ACLU Supports Rush Limbaugh"
Betsy has plenty of good points on Paul O'Neill's "revelations."
January 09, 2004
Pass Me the Butter
Steven Taylor's latest Toast-O-Meter is up for your reading pleasure.
December 26, 2003
Graham Goes No. 2
December 22, 2003
Why is This News?
Even the NY Times reporter admits President Bush's parties are "standard seasonal events, with many of the same guests and much the same menu year after year, no matter the president." Is this just to make Bush appear to be a man out of touch with most Americans while living it up with people who have special access to him? Will Howard the Duck be using elements of this story in his irritatingly populist rhetoric?
December 17, 2003
Card Pulls No Punches
This is amazing, hard-hitting stuff by Orson Scott Card. In essence, he calls Howard the Duck, and the anti-war Democrats "unpatriotic." He also bashes the media for their "yes-but" approach to coverage of the war and economy. Some of this criticism could also be applied to a few Left-wing weblogs.
December 16, 2003
Lieberman Plucks Duck
Sen. Joe Leiberman (D-CT) isn't letting up on Howard the Duck. Today, in New Hampshire, he said,
He seems to believe if you are just against everything, that's enough. Against removing Saddam Hussein, against middle-class tax cuts, against knocking down the walls of protection around the world so we can sell more products made in America. Dr. Dean has become Dr. No.
"Lieberman Sharpens Criticism of Howard Dean's Foreign Policy"
December 12, 2003
John Cole wants to be "one of the first people arrested next year for violating" the BCRA. I've joined up with Matthew Hoy and wonder if FEC agents are armed?
December 11, 2003
What a Plan
Matthew Hoy wants to challenge the BCRA (McCain-Feingold Free Speech Restriction Act). Here's his plan:
My suggestion is to somehow pool enough money, via donations or some other method (I'm a poor journalist), and run a 30-second ad during primetime on CNN either just before the Super Tuesday primaries or the November general election. We'll need to rope in some legal assistance, but the challenge to the high court's "logic" will be how exactly are we corrupting the political system by our 30-second electioneering communication? How and why would any politician feel indebted to us for our single ad aired during the FEC's blackout period?
Count this weblogger in as long as it doesn't cost too much--I'm a poor bookseller.
December 10, 2003
On the Battleline
The American Conservative Union is fed up with the spending spree of President Bush and the GOP Congress. An editorial goes so far as to call the Republican Party the "nation's new welfare state party." They're also fed up with conservative journals like National Review and The Weekly Standard who the ACU thinks aren't holding the GOP to task.
The ACU's response is to start a new conserative magazine, Conservative Battleline Online. It's a mouthful but an important mouthful in the fight for smaller, limited government. The idea is good. I just hope its focus is on advancing conservative ideas rather than being a weapon in a conservative civil war.
Free Speech Restricted
What part of "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech" didn't a majority of Supreme Court justices understand? For some analysis, check out the Volokh Conspiracy [here, here, here, and here]. Rick Hasen is distressed at the Court's "cursory dismissal of First Amendment arguments." Since Hasen is an election law specialist, his weblog is loaded with relevant posts. Read 'em and weep--for the First Amendment.
With the opinion weighing in a over 90,000 words (by Eugene Volokh's count) really good evaluations will take a while.
"Campaign Finance Law's Key Parts Upheld"
December 08, 2003
Charles Krauthammer, being a doctor, has "discovered" a new psychiatric condition: Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS). It's just like Bush fever only he has a proper definition:
the acute onset of paranoia in otherwise normal people in reaction to the policies, the presidency -- nay -- the very existence of George W. Bush.
Those afflicted with BDS (no need to name names) may respond that Krauthammer is just another neocon using his pen to further American empire. Or they may explain that the President himself is the cause of BDS.
Duck, M.D. will never admit to having BDS. His explanation will be that as a doctor (as mentioned on all his press releases) he knows his health pretty well. Well, just like lawyers shouldn't represent themselves in court, doctors may not notice certain symptoms like wacked-out paranoia. Here's an example:
Diane Rehm: "Why do you think he (Bush) is suppressing that (Sept. 11) report?''
Someone better call a vet and send him to Burlington, stat. [Get it? Vet? Duck? Oh forget it!]
December 07, 2003
ABC, CNN, FNC, and NRA?
The NRA as news organization. I love the idea. With the costs of information distribution constantly going down (it's getting the public's attention that's expensive) any can (and does) become a news organization. In the NRA's case, they already are because they publish some magazines.
One of the unintended consequences of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance (free speech restriction) law is its own destruction.
Oliver Has Bush Fever
In the comments to this John Cole post, Oliver Willis actually defends a despicable Dennis Kucinich ad that said the Iraq War wasn't about Iraqi liberation or America's self-defense but to fatten the pockets of Bush's rich friends. But realize, anti-conservative views have gotten so off-the-wall that he's labled Reagan fans "GOP Jihadis."
I don't know what's gotten into Oliver. He's smart, writes well, and is a great, entertaining part of the blogosphere. It's just that he's gone (figuratively) crazy with Bush anger.
Don't Underestimate this Man
Anyone who thinks President Bush is a political doofus has to look at the sheer genius of what he pulled off last week. Last Tuesday, he goes to Pittsburgh, Steel City, and pulls in lots of campaign money. While doing this, he's deciding whether to dump steel tariffs that would have resulted in a trade war with the EU. Later in the week, Bush scraps the tariffs (pun intended) with loud opposition from steel workers in the crucial states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia. Then Friday, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that steel industry executives believe the end of the tariffs won't hurt their industry.
Bush averts a trade war, rakes in a boatload of campaign funds, and the industry he protected ends up being ok (it still doesn't justify the tariffs in the first place). Sometimes is better to be lucky than good, but the President read this situation perfectly.
December 06, 2003
What's Republican About Her?
Elisabeth Hasselbeck is cute and all--let me rephrase that, she's very cute--but what makes her a Republican babe? Has she ticked off Barbara Walters by being a cheerleader for President Bush while co-hosting The View?
And no, just because she's not on The View I'm not programming it into the TiVo.
[via The Evangelical Outpost]
December 04, 2003
Bush Bashing Babes
One could take this site to be opposed to lesbianism. Instead, it's just Bush bashing with lots of skin.
Reilly at Right Voices just goes off on these ladies.
Foot Still in Mouth
Oliver isn't apologizing for his crass and flippant "jihad" description of gung-ho Ronald Reagan fans. I didn't expect one. He actually thinks comparing Reagan fans to terrorist killers is stating a fact. The fact is if Reagan fans don't get the Gipper on the dime they won't strap bombs onto themselves, board a bus, and blow themselves up like real jihadis do. If Oliver can't see this obvious distinction than it just shows he's willing to put rabid, unthinking, uncivil partisanship above reasoned, highly opinionated discourse. He's better than that.
Interestingly, it's alright for Oliver to equate Reagan fans with Muslim terrorists, but he feels the need to point out vicious statements by persons with opposing ideologies. Something about a pot, a kettle, and the color black comes to mind.
Then there are the commentors to his "GOP jihad" post. It seems Grover Norquist is the Osama bin Laden of the "GOP Jihad." Since when is the pursuit of radically smaller government on par with Islamism? These comments are perfect for the Democratic Underground. Oliver and those wacked-out commentators need to take this Susan Estrich column to heart.
Finally, I have a question: Is the GOP Jihad a spin off of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, or is it an independent offshoot? Do I have to get two membership cards?
I have one and only one comment on the nonsense spewing from Bush bashers over his now famous Thanksgiving Day picture: Wouldn't you rather have your picture taken with a gorgeous, real (just not eaten) turkey than with some poultry sitting in a pot at a buffet? 90% of us have the aesthetic sense to know a good visual like that.
That is all.
December 02, 2003
Bush's Improving Poll Numbers
Like the economy, President Bush's polls numbers are coming out of the doldrums. You know Bush is doing some good political work when his approval rate from Democrats is 55%.
December 01, 2003
Weasley is Fiscally Irresponsible
Duck, M.D. is a spendthrift and Weasley Clark isn't any better. He's wants to spend $30 billion to fight diseases in foreign countries. Imagine how much he'll have to throw at Americans so as to not have it appear he cares more about foreigners than the natives.
"Clark Proposes $30 Billion Plan"
Stephen Green declared T.R. Fehrenbach's op-ed "required reading." It's good because it goes into the mind of our (conservative's) political opponents. The summary of the piece goes like this: conservatives/Republicans are beating liberals/Democrats because the former focus on strategic thinking and the pursuit of innovative ideas. Liberals/Dems instead are "long for office." This makes them become fixated on putting "together winning coalitions, not a generation from now, but today."
This difference can be seen from conservative intellectual history. After FDR's political victories in implementing his New Deal, many conservatives felt that even if their ideas were better they wouldn't be put into effect. Folks like Albert Jay Nock reserved their thoughts for the "Remnant" who would keep conservative ideas alive until there was ever a time society would accept them. They were a pessimistic lot.
Compare this to the Democrats/liberals. After the New Deal, they were the major political power for over 40 years. Running government and winning elections became their sole (and important) talent.
Now, the tide has turned. Liberals/Democrats have to create their own idea factories while conservatives/Republicans have to learn how govern in a conservative way that doesn't bust the bank. Historically, we're in a political transition period (one that started in 1994 with Newt Gingrich), and like many moments of change, they can be quite messy.
"Democrats Should Learn from Conservatives"
November 30, 2003
Clark Can't Make Up Mind about Faith
We shouldn't be surprised that Weasley Clark couldn't make up his mind about whether he supported the war in Iraq or whether the Bush administration is doing a good job. He's about as wavering on his Bush bashing as he is on his faith. This from the LA Times:
Clark, who supports abortion rights, was born Jewish, raised Protestant and converted to Catholicism as an adult. He attends a Presbyterian church, but hasn't given up Catholicism. Clark describes himself as "pro-choice" and has said during the campaign that "homosexuality is not a sin."
"Church May Penalize Politicians" [via Professor Bainbridge]
Dennis Not Just Done, Fried
Rep. Dennis Kucinich's constituents should seriously question the sanity of their representative. Matthew Stinson points out that fictional characters have endorsed him for President. Yesterday, I swear I heard one of the cats say "Kucinich," but that was probably just bad fish.
November 28, 2003
Sign of the Apocalypse
I think Oliver and I agree on something.
Reagan having the guts to not abandon SDI in Reykjavik was braver than a secret flight to a military base.
"Bush Visit, Update"
Bush Bashing Prediction
Bush bashers' cynicism is so predictable Matthew Stinson already knows what they would say:
I can see the blog posts now: "Bush's memorial service is a PR stunt because he didn't invite Democratic leaders. That makes it look like Bush cares more about honoring the military than Democrats."
"Ending a Big Lie"
November 24, 2003
Howard the Duck, M.D. isn't the only Dem with Southern problems as James Joyner points out.
"The Solid South"
November 21, 2003
GOP Ad Hits Dems Hard
The RNC must be pretty sure Howard the Duck will get the Democratic nomination. It's first commercial doesn't address the recovering economy or tax cuts. Instead, it defends President Bush's "policy of preemptive self-defense."
[via Jeff Jarvis]
November 19, 2003
A Bush Bashing Compulsion
Oliver Willis just can't stop his knee-jerk Bush bashing. In a post on FirstEnergy's blame in the East Coast blackout, he had to note that some company executives raised money for President Bush. I'm sure if he could, Oliver would blame Bush for his dog catching a cold.
He and Duck, M.D. are a perfect match.
"Cause, Meet Effect"
November 11, 2003
Andrew Sullivan offers some damning reasons why Wealsey Clark shouldn't be President.
"At War With Himself"
Soros: Old Moneybags
How can the GOP be considered the party of the rich when rich people like George Soros, Peter Lewis, Rob Glaser, and Rob McKay donated millions to Left-wing groups for the sole purpose of defeating President Bush? Will we be reading Paul Krugman questioning the "real" reasons these people handing out such large sums? Will Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) or Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) publicly be outraged at rich people pouring millions into politics?
Randall Fitzgerald's Mugged by the State is one of those books that will make you mad. It's full of stories of people who run smack-dab into abusive government employees. A man had $19,000 confiscated because a drug-sniffing dog detects some illegal substance on it. The man was never charged from a crime, but the police kept the money. A farmer is forced by the EPA to protect an endangered snail that came onto his land. These are just two outrageous tales mentioned in Radley Balko's review.
Really thinking big Weasley.
Clark is the only candidate who proposed a new memorial to honor the men and women who fought and died in wars not yet memorialized in our nation's capital. Clark supports a tribute to all Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, including those who served in Panama, Somalia, Iraq and many other places around the globe.
A new veteran's memorial is all well and good, but it's micro-policy in the Clinton mold. Since Weasley's campaign is simply anti-war without big ideas pandering to veterans is the way to go.
November 10, 2003
Some states are canceling their Presidential primaries or are replacing them with caucuses in 2004. With the primaries becoming so front-loaded, some states feel holding one would be a waste of money and wouldn't add to the Presidential race. Curtis Gans, director of the Committee for the Study of the American Electorate, is concerned with the move to caucuses because "fewer voters will participate because [caucuses] are more complex." This unintended effect of front-loaded primaries may return more power to political parites to choose candidates. For a number of years, I've thought it strange that people who never participate in party functions or even associate themselves with a particular party could help pick a party's candidate. Republicans should pick the Republican candidate for office; Democrats should pick Democrats; Libertarians should pick Libertarians, etc. We are allowed free association in the U.S. A corollary to that is groups have the right to govern themselves and decide who will publically represent them. Voters don't pick the heads of the RNC, DNC, or state parties. They shouldn't pick
But the argument in favor of open primaries is that the more people who participate the better. Oh, really? In the AP story, about 20% of registered voters vote in primaries. Open primaries still are a guild for party activists.
If we are to continue the primary system, we should either move toward a national primary like James Joyner suggests or make the parties shoulder the costs of holding primaries (another Joyner suggestion).
"Several States Move to Cancel Primaries"
November 09, 2003
Marshall Gets Fisked
"Josh Marshall, Cowards and Memos"
"One Man's 'Special' Interest..."
Stephen Taylor on the Duck's populist rhetoric:
For one thing, Bush has raised a lot of his money in individual contributions, like Dean, and even if he hadn't, groups are limited to $5k, so it isn't like, as suggested, interest groups are "flooding" the campaign (it takes a lot of $2k and $5k contributions to reach $100 million). For another, one man's "special" interest is another's "vital" interest (in other words, an interest is only "special" if it isn't mine).
"Dean Eschews Matching Funds"
November 08, 2003
Shift to the Right
At least one more election is needed to see if Fred Barnes' theory of a Republican realignment is legit. But last week's elections and some poll data support him.
Dave Winer is watching how candidates are using weblogs. He's has some advice for them. It's too months old, but still relevent since the campaigns are still learning.
"Tips for Candidates re Weblogs"
November 07, 2003
Someone should tell me when I'm in a race to the center. I would have leaped into a wormhole back to my own ideological dimension. My opinions have developed from years of reading and thinking through things. I'm way too young to be wise, but I think I'm pretty knowlegable when it comes to politics. My political economic beliefs have aligned me closest to the Right, and I'm not ashamed of that. It's a distinguished intellectual fraternity I'm associated with. I have no need to claim some moral high ground by calling myself a "centrist."
Try this: instead of positioning yourself based on some liberals and conservatives examine the situation and come to your own conclusion. By definition the center is constantly moving based on changes at the two poles. Develop an ideology and defend it.
"Pop-Quiz for the Blogosphere"
November 06, 2003
More on South Park Republicans
Kevin Holtsberry comments on Brian Anderson's "South Park Republicanism":
In the same way I insist to the paleocons that a respect for Abraham Lincoln doesn’t mean you are a closet liberal, I must insist that a dislike for liberal sentimentality and political correctness run amok does not make you conservative. The middle must hold. Their will always be some tension between libertarian inspired “leave me alone” type arguments and the traditionalist devotion to faith, family, and the ordered society but if we begin to see “South Park” Republicans as conservative then we will have lost the meaning of that word in an important sense.
This echoes my concerns about the evolution of conservatism:
This group of truly neoconservatives accepts a live-and-let-live approach to homosexuals (include me on that) along with coarser language and pre-marital sex. It's an objection to "the image of conservatives as uptight squares—crusty old men or nerdy kids in blue blazers" as on college student told Anderson. Discarding conservative stereotypes is all well and good. I'm a prime example. I worry that this 21th Century conservatism has internalized much of the Left, morally harmful parts of the Culture War. I also worry that conservatives will become morally lax to the point where groping women (in Arnold Schwarzenegger's case) is looked at as a slight flaw.
"South Park Conservatism?"
Southern Fried Duck
Howard Dean now is doing penance for his Confederate flag remark. The result is more South bashing. Here's Matthew Stinson's response:
After all, what Dean is demanding is nothing less than for a veil of ignorance to descend whenever a Southerner enters a voting booth. Every faction in American politics has a bundle of legislative priorities, and it is both the beauty and the intent of our representative system that these priorities are distilled down into a form that shifts public policy incrementally, rather than radically. However, Dean is asking Southerners to give up some of their legislative priorities before they're moderated by our governmental institutions, which is a guarantee that Southerners will feel socially and culturally alienated from the political process. This makes Dean's solicitation unrealistic at best and evidence of prejudice at worst.
The Duck's comment again supports Sen. Zell Miller's (D-GA) analysis:
Howard Dean knows about as much about the South as a hog knows about Sunday. This must be his Southern strategy. And I can tell you right now, that that’s the same kind of stereotype, that’s the same kind of character trait that I write about in this book. I write about in this book in 1988 Michael Dukakis coming to Georgia and having this rally, and they had all these bales of hay stashed around here and there, like it was some kind of set from the television show “Hee Haw.” That’s not what the South is. The South right now, if you took its economy, it would be the third largest in the world, next to the United States as a whole and next to Japan. Fifty-five hundred African-Americans right now hold office in the South. In Georgia we have several statewide elected officials who are African-American and who were elected last year in a race where a senator and a governor were being defeated. They were being elected in a state that’s 70 percent white. This is not the South that Howard Dean thinks it is. Sure, we drive pickups, but on the back of those pickups, you see a lot of American flags. It’s the most patriotic region in the country. And you see hardworking individuals that want to instill values in their children, and you see a very, very strong work ethic in the South. He doesn’t understand the South.
As today's Wall Street Journal editorial notes, Dean's typically Democratic approach to Southern voters has resulted in "nine of 12 Southern statehouses" in the hands of the GOP.
"Dean's Confederate Veil of Ignorance"
November 05, 2003
Duck Feels Pain
In New York, Howard the Duck said,
I regret the pain that I have caused, but I will tell you there is no easy way to do this and there will be pain as we discuss it and we must face this together hand in hand as Dr. (Martin Luther) King and Abraham Lincoln asked us to do.
The only pain the Duck is feeling is political. He insulted Southerners by stereotyping them all as racist hicks, and can't take the heat from his fellow Democrats when called on it. If no one said a thing about this flap, the Duck wouldn't be feeling any thing.
"Remarks from New York’s Cooper Union"
Letting His Flock Decide
Howard the Duck will let his followers decide if he should take federal matching funds for his campaign (along with the spending restrictions). Is this how he would run his administration? Would a President Duck collect votes on how to address policy questions through e-mail, weblog comments, and web polls? This is actually worse than when President Clinton acted based on polls and focus groups. If the Duck is so fond of direct democracy he should declare his stance out loud and in public so we can all decide if such a radical change in governance is warranted.
What Dean is doing is the opposite of leadership. He's not leading, he's following the will of his public. The wind of public opinion can shift quickly. It can also be quite incoherent. That's when leaders are needed to make tough decisions. This experiment not only proves the Duck has no understanding of 3000+ years of Western political thought. It proves he doesn't have the moral strength to lead his supporters let alone a superpower.
"Howard Dean's Political Suicide?"
UPDATE: After a little more thought and reading the Duck's e-mail I figured out that "letting the people decide" is his way of getting out of his promise to "take public financing and would make it an issue if other Democrats didn't." If he thinks he'd be hog-tied and at a disadvantage by accepting public funds, then he should have the guts to say so. If his followers vote to not take the money and he fails to make up for the lost $19 million, then he can blame them. This isn't leadership. It's the Duck's way of having a scape goat.
"Dean Keeps Options Open on Campaign Funds"
UPDATE II: To further support my claim that the Duck is using this poll to wiggle out of his promise, there's this paragraph from the NY Times:
One person close to the Dean campaign described the polling, which will be conducted Thursday and Friday mainly through an elaborate secure Internet system, as a way to provide political cover for abandoning the system.
"Dean Considers Plan to Forgo Public Financing" [via Political Wire]
November 03, 2003
To those who think President Bush is a liar, I offer you this essay by Keith Burgess-Jackson where he writes,
Those who say that President Bush lied should be specific not only about the nature of the falsehood but about the evidence for his deceitfulness. Both the objective and the subjective components of lying must be established. It is not enough that the falsehood work to the president's advantage. That may be relevant to whether he lied (it may supply a motive), but it is far from sufficient. Not everything good that happens to a person is the product of a plan, after all. I am not suggesting that the evidentiary standard should be "beyond a reasonable doubt," for that reflects the high value our society places on individual liberty. Better that ten guilty people be acquitted, we say, than that one innocent person be convicted. Nobody (to my knowledge) is trying to put the president in prison. But it seems equally clear to me that the civil standard of "proof by a preponderance of the evidence" is inadequate. Shouldn't the president of the United States be given the benefit of the doubt? Isn't the president entitled to a thumb, if not a whole hand, on the evidentiary scale?
Along those same lines, I'll repeat what I've written about Iraqi WMDs: one can be wrong about a situation without lying or misleading.
"Logic Cop Asks, 'Is Bush a Liar?'"
My Favorite Democrat
Here are some excerpts from Sen. Zell Miller on Meet the Press.
On the Democratic Presidential candidates:
I respect all of them, and they’re good and decent people, but they are so far afield in wherever they’re going in this campaign. I mean, here they have adopted the worst possible features of the McGovern campaign. That is, get out, at any cost. Give up, come home, quit. And, the worst possible feature of the Mondale campaign, raise taxes. Tim, I was there in 1972 at Miami Beach when—here you had this crowd, chanting about the president of the United States, “Liar, liar, liar.” And they had on these T-shirts, “Make love, not war.” And Willie Brown was going around, shouting, “Let my people go.” And then in the wee morning hours, they nominated George McGovern. He carried one state, one single, solitary state. And I was there in 1984 at San Francisco when Walter Mondale looked out and told the nation, “I’m going to raise your taxes.” What? Goodness gracious, that’s not the way to campaign. He carried one single, solitary state. They have managed, except a, somewhat, Lieberman, Gephardt, a little exception—they have managed to make this a double feature of the worst of the Democratic Party.
On Howard the Duck:
Howard Dean knows about as much about the South as a hog knows about Sunday. This must be his Southern strategy. And I can tell you right now, that that’s the same kind of stereotype, that’s the same kind of character trait that I write about in this book. I write about in this book in 1988 Michael Dukakis coming to Georgia and having this rally, and they had all these bales of hay stashed around here and there, like it was some kind of set from the television show “Hee Haw.” That’s not what the South is. The South right now, if you took its economy, it would be the third largest in the world, next to the United States as a whole and next to Japan. Fifty-five hundred African-Americans right now hold office in the South. In Georgia we have several statewide elected officials who are African-American and who were elected last year in a race where a senator and a governor were being defeated. They were being elected in a state that’s 70 percent white. This is not the South that Howard Dean thinks it is. Sure, we drive pickups, but on the back of those pickups, you see a lot of American flags. It’s the most patriotic region in the country. And you see hardworking individuals that want to instill values in their children, and you see a very, very strong work ethic in the South. He doesn’t understand the South.
And my favorite excerpt, on Weasley Clark:
Well, as you know, Tim, there’ve been 12, I think, generals been elected president of the United States. Only one of them has been a Democrat; 1828, Andrew Jackson. And with all due respect to Wesley [Clark], he is no “Old Hickory.” I can tell you that. I have a tremendous respect for anyone who wears the uniform, anyone who has been shot at by our enemies. But when your last boss, in this case General Hugh Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that you lack integrity, that’s a pretty strong indictment. No integrity? I mean, how would you like to be taking that reference around whenever you’re looking for a new job?
November 01, 2003
Stick to Our Text
When the Supreme Court starts consistently going to the text of the constitution for its rulings, then they should be allowed to scan through international law. Remember, Justice O'Connor and friends are on the United States Supreme Court, not the United Nations Court, the European Union Court, or the World Court.
"Sandy Baby, The Supreme Court Isn't A Part Of The State Department"
October 30, 2003
Union to Back Duck
Howard the Duck is about to get the endorsement of SEIU, the largest member union of the AFL-CIO further securing his place as Democratic front-runner. This may be a crushing blow to Gephardt who is counting on union support to help him win the nomination.
October 29, 2003
Our First Square Metrosexual President
Howard the Duck declared himself a "metrosexual" in Colorado. No word yet on what shirt and tie combo will be the in thing for winter or when he's getting his hair highlighted.
October 28, 2003
Hey, GOP dudes! David Brooks writes that you're acting like the Dems did in their heyday when they were the Congressional majority. And guess what? He's right!
"True Believers, Please Rise"
October 27, 2003
Duck Doesn't Trump Plato
Anyone who thinks the Howard the Duck campaign is some kind of innovation in democracy has drunk too much of the Kool-Aid. It's a decentralized marketing campaign pushing a candidate as the product. The same techniques used in Burlington, VT could be used to sell soda, cookies, or software. That's not bad since I'd be really scared at what socialistic pap Duck supporters could conjure up. His campaign isn't about generating governing ideas from the bottom up. The Revolution won't be televised or broadcast over the Net, and Howard Dean doesn't turn 3000 years of political study on its head.
"Joe Trippi's Killer App"
October 26, 2003
No one tries to understand the other. No one wants to discuss. No one wants a healthy debate. Everyone just wants to throw mud and start fights. That's the thing that annoys me the most - sites that obviously post material that is specifically designed to start an argument or a controversy. And when the controversy begins, anyone who takes the opposite side is made to feel like a traitor.
Sounds like the blogosphere is looking like the talking heads on cable news. This is a good lesson to learn: it isn't the institutions or technology, it's the people.
The only way I can respond to her confusion about not "belong[ing] anywhere if my only choices are the left or the right" is to tell her that no one's purely on the either end (or corner). I'm on the Right but I oppose the death penalty. That doesn't make me a moderate or a (non-classical) liberal. Any seriously thinking person won't walk in step with any ideology. Don't be afraid of a label. That's just a way our brains organize knowledge. We still have to think in order to understand the world around us. In many ways, you define the label, not the other way around.
October 25, 2003
Frank J on moderates:
There is now a Centrist Coalition blog. I hate moderates... much more than even liberals. I bet Satan is a moderate; the best way to get evil accepted is to package it with some good. That's what moderates do; they're always like, "Oh! I'm so special because I don't take a firm stance on issues, and I see value in everyone's viewpoints." I bet right now a moderate is reading this and partially agreeing with it. Damn you!
"Bite-Sized Wisdom..." [via Blaster]
One Step Closer to Better Self Defense
Yesterday, the Wisconsin State Senate passed a bill allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons. It now goes to the State Assembly then to Gov. Jim Doyle. He will probably veto it. Senate Minority Leader Jon Erpenbach doesn't expect the veto to be overturned.
"Senate OKs Concealed Weapons"
Duck Will Get Nomination
I'm just going to say it. No longer will I keep my Howard the Duck prediction all to myself. I predict Howard Dean will win the Democratic Presidential nomination. And no, I'm not just writing this because he's kicking Sen. Kerry's butt in New Hampshire. I'm picking him because he's generated the most passion with Democratic partisans. Weasley Clark had his moment, but he's faded. The rest of them have elicited any excitement or buzz. That's why the Duck is winning in the money campaign and in the polls.
The general election is too far away with too much that could happen to make a serious prediction. My gut feeling is President Bush would beat the Duck, but I wouldn't expect a Mondale or McGovern-type landslide.
A Conversation in Montana
mtpolitics.net got a great scoop. Democratic candidate for governor, Brian Schweitzer left a comment on the weblog which will lead to a multi-post conversation. The first question deals with higher education. This may be a blogosphere first where the candidate engages the weblogger and not the other way around.
"Interview With Brian Schweitzer"
October 24, 2003
Duck Sighting on ESPN
October 23, 2003
College Kids Going Republican
Fred Barnes has more ammunition for his claim of a political realignment. A Harvard University survey found more college students consider themselves Republican than Democrat (while Independents outnumber both), and 61% approve of President Bush as President.
"National Briefing: Education"
October 21, 2003
Duck is Still All Wet
Steve Verdon notes that Howard Dean is great at criticizing President Bush, but when it comes to a possible solution to the Social Security problem he offers only "vague pleasantries."
"Dean's Sleight of Hand"
October 15, 2003
The New York Observer reports that AlGore's new network will be called VTV. What will the V stand for? Victory? Video? Venom? Or just Very dumb?
UPDATE: We have an answer. Steve of Norway said the V stands for "Vociferous." Perfect for Mr. Tree.
Watch Me, I'm a Tree
Great, the AlGore channel. A network devoted to shows like Julia Butterfly Hill on location in tree houses around the world; SUV Update where the suburbanite's favorite vehicle is bashed while the show's host drives one himself; The Joe Conason Right-Wing Lies Hour where Joe and guests harp on Ann Coulter and Fox News every night; and AlGore's commentaries, sure to put the most hyperactive ADD sufferer to sleep. To fill in the rest of the time there will be live satellite pictures of earth from space. This is sure to be Must-See TV.
Democratic Presidential candidates must just love him.
This is why you have to love the Democrats. Just when the eight remaining original candidates for the Democratic nomination for President got out from under the California recall, they had to deal with Wesley Clark. Just when they thought they had a handle on General Wes, here comes Al Gore. Again.
"The Gore Cable Network"
October 13, 2003
The Second Superpower Scares Me
I'm finally getting my post-BloggerCon thoughts written down, but it's still a ways away from completion. To let you know what I'm contemplating I'll link to Jim Moore's essay on how the Internet is the catalyst for the creation of a movement the rivals the U.S. But it could threaten liberty. Listening to Moore at BloggerCon [webcast is here] gave me an eery feeling that I was listening to a 21th Century Robespierre. After reading his essay, my fear has only been strengthened. Moore is calling for his "Second Superpower" to transend the nation-state. This reeks of transnational progressivism.
"The Second Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head"
October 10, 2003
Arnold's Win Isn't Revolutionary
Greg Easterbrook backs me up that Arnold's victory doesn't change the political make-up of California or the country:
In the last generation California has swung from super-liberal to ultra-conservative to establishment Republican to supposed Democratic permanent lock (political analysts were saying this just one year ago!) to, now, the first cybernetic governor--who does not represent any vast, sweeping shift either. He represents only what he is: a popular guy who won a gimmicky event at a time voters were ticked off. Remember how recently Jesse Ventura was supposed to totally, utterly transform state politics?
It's like the scare that came from Le Pen's second place win in France's Presidential primary last year. He only got 17% of the vote, was later crushed by Jaques Chirac in the general election, and people freaked out. Such bad instant analysis may be ok to fill up some spare time, but it's valueless compared to perspective.
New Politics on the Left Coast
This writer isn't the type to declare the political tides have shifted after on election, and one strange one at that. Unlike Roger Simon, I won't say the two-party system is receding. But Joel Kotkin's demographic analysis of the California recall hints at a new California politics. If true, expect the two parties to adjust their messages and approach new constituencies. Don't expect one or both of them to dry up and blow away.
Battle of the Weblogs
John Cole covers a magazine weblog spat where Tapped's Richard Just calls a private school's ad in National Review racist. Jonah Goldberg responds.
Maybe Tapped writers should go back to posting anonymously.
"The Corner V. Tapped"
October 09, 2003
Dems Think Arnold's an Empty Suit
If Schwarzenegger is to fix California government's problems he's going to need the help of a Democratic-controlled legislature. From State Senator Sheila Kuehl's comments that doesn't look promising. The Dems don't respect the governor-elect at all:
He will be received civilly. We have received everyone civilly. I don’t know if everybody is going to go to the State of the State (speech). Because frankly I don’t think there is going to be a lot of content that anyone’s interested in. What’s this guy got to say to us about the state of the state? Nothing.
October 08, 2003
How Clarke Can Win
Charlie Sykes looks at how Milwaukee could elect conservative David Clarke as the city's first black mayor.
"White Voters, Black Candidates"
Hasta La Vista Davis
After Arnold ever gets around to speaking, I'll be popping the only movie political watchers should be watching, Total Recall.
"Davis Loses; Schwarzenegger Wins"
October 07, 2003
GW's Campaign Weblog
At BloggerCon there was a session on Presidential campaign weblogs. All the panelists were Democrats because Bush-Cheney 2004 didn't have one. I even mentioned that I was dissappointed so far with Bush-Cheney's Internet efforts. That's surprising since Patrick Ruffini, the campaign's webmaster, used the weblog medium to great effect.
But I spoke too soon Saturday. In my inbox was a link to the campaign's new weblog. For a new weblog it's not bad. I'm happy to know that it isn't being used to repackage press releases. There's only one post on a campaign event. The rest are links to news stories and opinion pieces the support the Bush-Cheney agenda. The weblog doesn't accept comments. It might not be that the campaign doesn't care about supporters' feedback so much as they've seen the Duck weblog and don't know how to handle a conversation that large. (At BC, the chief weblogger for the Duck said they were getting 2000 comments a day.) So it's being used as another way to get their message out (there is even a RSS feed!) instead of as a community organizer.
New Republican Party
Daniel Weintraub posted a picture of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dee Snider at an Arnold rally. He entitled the post, "The New Republican Party?" On a certain level it is. Arnold, Snider (or even Ted Nugent) aren't your stereotypical, staid Republican. Personally, I don't subscribe to the cliche GOP look. This picture is not what comes into your mind when you think of a conservative Republican. [Yes, I did the Hot or Not thing. That dirty laundry is now out in the open.] Back in college there were a few years where I, at most, got two haircuts in a year. (Eye, can you confirm that?) So with the long hair and the goatee I called myself the Human Hairball. Thankfully, there are no pictures of those years floating around the Net, but with this mention that will change. At College Republican state conventions (college politicos' excuse to satisfy their politics addictions while getting drunk at the same time) I took it as a badge of honor to be one of the few CRs with an earring. I thought (and still think) that too many members of the party are too straight-laced. Of the two major parties, the GOP is the freedom party. Even in the last decade I've noticed a greater live and let live tolerance from party folk.
Unlike the Democrats, we openly discuss the abortion issue at meetings. The GOP is more accepting of heterodox opinions. In my case, I oppose the death penalty and tried to remove pro-death penalty resolutions from CR platforms. (Again, the Eye can confirm.) I was a distinct minority, yet tolerated. So from the standpoint of issues, the GOP is accomdating. Yet when it comes to personal appearance they take the subdued approach.
If the allegations against Schwarzenegger that he's a serial groper are true, do Republicans want that in a party leader? Is the New GOP such a big tent that even sexual assaulters have a place at the table? (Boy, would Sen. Bob Packwood be mad. He was a few years too early.) It's not good for the GOP to accept that attitude of a California Republican woman who said, "In the '70s, if I wasn't groped, I was offended!" It sure looks hypocritical to accept Arnold's wandering hands while condeming President Clinton's "unique" use of a cigar.
On this I'm in agreement with Tom McClintock. If it's true Arnold did violate the rights of women as recently as 2000, then he has no business as California governor. He can still be a Republican and work to get Republicans elected, but the GOP has no use for a person who habitually ignores the equal freedom of others.
"The New Republican Party?"
October 05, 2003
A Reason to Vote
Here's why Tobacco Road Fogey (thanks for the link) will vote:
I intend to make the leftists dig up at least one more homeless person to bribe and drive back and forth to the polls. The FogeyWife feels the same way, so that doubles the cost to the Democrats to cancel our votes.
Since the marginal value of a vote is close to zero, less economicaly rational reasons are needed. Making the opposition work that much harder sounds good to me.
"The Letter of the Day is P..."
October 01, 2003
New Hampshire or Bust
The Free State Project has decided what state to take over for libertarianism.
Drum roll please...
And the winner is...
Granite state realtors can't wait for all the new business.
And He Can't Count
Julian Sanchez on my favorite Democratic Presidential candidate:
The header on the website of longshot candidate Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) is now referring to him as "the original blogger," which is an interesting way to describe his longstanding OCD habit of cataloging his every bowel movement for posterity in small notebooks. Does that make loons who've wandered the streets for years talking to voices in the air "the original cell phone users"?
"The Original Nutbag"
September 30, 2003
Luskin on Plame/Wilson
Think about the sequence of events. Novak talks to administration officials who tell him about Plame. He has the integrity to call someone at CIA to confirm his risky story before he runs with it -- and they confirmed it! Instead of saying "Valerie who? We've never heard of anyone named Valerie" or simply that "We don't answer media inquiries about CIA personnel" -- the CIA itself confirmed it, and in so doing the CIA itself leaked it.
We're three days into this and still no more real information. And I thought the Internet shortened news cycles.
The Demise of a Scandal
At this point, though, the scandal (to my mind, at least) has become less about the wrongdoings of specific officials (whether senior or not) than it is about the president's lack of desire to get to the bottom of things.
If that's all this is then this will go away in a few days leaving Bush bashers praying for something to nail him on.
September 29, 2003
Plame/Wilson: DC Smoke and Mirrors
To use McGehee's words, "not only is there no 'there' there, there isn't even a 'there' for "there" to be there, or not be there. Uh, so there." Bob Novak, who started the whole story with a forgotten column back in July declares, "'Nobody in the Bush administration called me to leak this." [via Drudge] According to Novak's CIA source, Plame wasn't a spy or running a covert operation.
Since the CIA turned the Plame/Wilson incident into a scandal by releasing the letter asking the Justice Department to look into whether laws were broken, CIA chief George Tenet moves right into my crosshairs. Did he authorized the sent letter? Did he know about it? If so, what's his agenda? Is he ticked he had to take the rap for the African uranium mention in the State of the Union?
Much of this depends on what the Washington Post describes as "administration officials." Somehow the reader has to distinguish this from "White House officials." If you read these stories quickly (like 90% of readers do) you'll interchange them.
Let's look with a wider scope. Why did President Bush retain Tenet from the Clinton administration? Why didn't Tenet resign or get fired after the Sep. 11 attacks? (I know of no one who got fired at all.)
Then there's Joe Wilson's role. What was the thinking of Vice President Cheney's staff to send a man antagonistic to the administration to check out an intelligence lead? His "investigation" amounted to tea parties at the U.S. embassy in Niger. The key here is Wilson's wife. From what's known so far this guy wouldn't be able to find out whether the uranium story was true or not, but his wife would know much more. If she starts talking all of DC will be listening.
What we do know is someone wanted to bring attention onto Plume. Novak says the CIA didn't want her name mentioned but didn't tell him it would "endanger her or anybody else." What they may have told him (but not mentioned by Novak) is the information wasn't life or death. Telling the world Plume's true identity and occupation would damage the intelligence pipeline, but no one's life was on the line. That's just speculation. DC is world all to its own where the Machiavellian tactics would turn the greatest idealist into a cold cynic.
But Plume might not have the secret job we've been led to believe. If her identity was to be kept secret then why does Wilson's bio on the Middle East Institute website mention his wife by name? [via Pejmanesque] With a simple Google search her connection to a former U.S. government official could be assertained.
As for Bush bashers, they now have to wipe up a lot of drool. They must have thought they finally got that poor-talking, born again, Texas business dork.
"Bush Aides Say They'll Cooperate With Probe Into Intelligence Leak"
September 26, 2003
California Issue Quiz
If I were a California voter (poor me), a nifty new KQED website would be helpful. Their Vote By Issue Quiz forces you to pick an issue position without knowing which candidate it's from. I'm most closely aligned with Tom McClintock. If California McClintock supporters take this quiz will it just harden their support for him or throw them into another struggle of weighing electability versus ideology?
Weasley Used to Like GOP
Drudge reports that Weasley Clark used to be pretty good at praising Republicans, especially President Bush. Does that drive die-hard Dems towards the Duck because they seek party purity?
September 24, 2003
Defending the Duck
TAM isn't in the business of defending the Duck. He's fully capable of bloviating about his record and policy statements. What I have to point out is that this critical website of the Duck, Waffle Powered Howard (cleaver title) is intellectually dishonest. For instance, WPH quotes the Duck in 1993 as saying Medicare is "one of the worst federal programs ever." To "prove" the Duck waffled, there is a link to the candidate's position on healthcare. Medicare isn't mentioned on the page. Then there is the difference between the Duck's death penalty position in 1992 and 2003. That's 11 years. Anybody's mind can change on an issue during that time. What would it say about the Duck (or any candidate) if he hasn't changed his mind on any policy positions after living in the real world for 10+ years? It doesn't matter what party he comes from, I don't want leaders to have calcified minds incapable of excepting new ideas or opinions.
WPH does have some better examples of the Duck changing his mind for political purposes. In 10.02, he said it was possible the U.S. might have to invade Iraq unilaterally, but in March, the Duck complained about Democrats not attacking President Bush on the Iraq War. Also, the Duck said in June that the Social Security retirement age could possibly be raised to 68. In an August debate, the Duck said he didn't favor one.
[via Balloon Juice]
September 23, 2003
The White House has no record of Wesley Clark calling Karl Rove. Clark just got into the Presidential race, and he's already fibbing. But since when did lying ever stop and Arkansas Democrat from running for President?
September 22, 2003
Fuel Cell Fantasy
Schwarzenegger played to Californians' environmental sympathies with a plan to build hydrogen fueling stations every 20 miles on California interstates. Arnold, you're state is suffering from a $38 billion hole in the budget. How are you going to pay for this? Then there's the problem of where the energy will come from to get the hydrogen. It will be hard to cut air pollution by 50% if the fuel that used to go into cars was used to get hydrogen. He should have pushed for nukes.
"Schwarzenegger Says He Will Push Fuel Cell Cars"
Best Political Websites
To add to the latest John "VH1 of the blogosphere" Hawkins' list are my selections of the best political websites:
I've given you my list, discuss.
"Right-Of-Center Bloggers Select Their Favorite Political Websites"
September 17, 2003
Good Stuff at RWN
Then there's John Hawkins' interview with Nobel Prize-winner Milton Friedman. It's full of insights from a man who doesn't sound like he's 90+ years old.
September 16, 2003
Don't Jamal Lewis to Democracy
No wonder Stephen Green considers this Fareed Zakaria piece "required reading." It's a sensible argument why we shouldn't give into France, Germany, and the U.N. and get an elected Iraqi government running ASAP. Zakaria writes,
Popular sovereignty is a great thing, but a constitutional process is greater still. The French know this. The French Revolution emphasized popular sovereignty with little regard to limitations on state power. The American founding, by contrast, was obsessed with constitution-making. Both countries got to genuine democracy. But in France it took two centuries, five republics, two empires and one dictatorship to get there. Surely we want to do it better in Iraq.
A problem I have with the Bush administration over Iraq is the constant talk about an democratic Iraq. Just a democracy is not what's needed there. What's needed is a government that respects its citizens' rights and allows them to live free and productive lives. Democracy is arguably a necessary condition* to that but it isn't sufficient. A limited, functioning government is what Iraqis and the region needs.
"Don't Rush to Disaster"
*Hong Kong had no democracy while under British rule. Yet, it was one of the most free places on earth.
P.S. I hope someone gets this post's title. I have a feeling it's too cleaver by half.
A D.C. Lesson
Here's what should be learned from the Senate's gutting of DARPA's budget: when you hire a person, John Poindexter, who has had really bad relations with the Congress, expect Capitol Hill to hang him when he tosses out even the tiniest piece of rope.
"Darpa's Ditziness Dents Budget"
September 15, 2003
Good Old Paper and Pencil
Here's Iain Murray's suggestion on the Ninth Circuit court's ruling:
The answer is not postponement, but an eradication of the cause of the discrepancy. Let the election go ahead, as required by the State Constitution, but have it done with good old paper and pencil. If the paper and pencil system works for a larger electorate in the UK, why can't it work here, even with the longer ballot paper (see my 2000 Denver Post article here)? You can postpone the initiatives to March, fine. Just don't mess around with postponing elections on the basis of technological quibbles. That's a serious breach of the most basic democratic principles, it seems to me.
I'd prefer going way back in time, and use the ancient Greek's pebbles.
In a related note, I've heard more than one news network call the Ninth Circuit, the "most liberal in the nation." No, I didn't hear it on Fox News. Isn't that blatant bias?
Ninth Circle of Hell
The wacky Ninth Circuit does it again. Today, the most liberal appeals court in the nation ruled the California recall election had to be postponed because some counties were going to use punch ballots. The court divined from that punch ballots are unconstitutional.
How long did "unconstitutional" elections take place just because the ballot was in punch form? Do we invalidate the thousands of previous elections that used punch ballots? Hindrocket at Power Line asks the same questions.
What would the court have preferred? Give all voters a scrap of paper and a pencil to write their choices down? How about going back to ancient Greece and give every voter colored rocks? Or how about getting rid of the silent ballot entirely, and just make voters declare their choices by voice?
In the AP story, the court sided with an ACLU argument that punch ballots are prone to error. Well, since humans are fallible, any ballots can result in mistakes.
Here's Daniel Weintraub's first thoughts about the decision:
In the rush to evaluate the potential effect of delaying the election until March, don't overlook the short-term effects that will be present no matter what the Supremes do with the Ninth Circuit Court decision. One is voter anger or frustration. I predict that the California electorate will be most unhappy with judicial intervention in their election. They might want to take that anger out on the closest institution, which right now would be the governor's office. Another effect is to force the candidates to campaign in a sort of suspended animation, with voters perceiving that there is a delay even as the candidates have to assume that the election will go forward on schedule. The court fight itself will overwhelm all other issues in the race for the next few days, and the position the candidates take in the legal battle could well end up becoming important in the campaign itself should it resume quickly.
For quality linkage, Greg Ransom is tops. He points out that the judges who made the ruling were all appointed by Democrats. Combine that with Justene Adamec at Calblog who noticed that by moving the recall election to March 2, 2004, it comes just in time for the Democratic primary.
On a deviously funny note, Xrql (some weird hacker name?) found this hidden provision in the constitution:
No state shall ... use punch card ballots... in any specially-called election against a Democrat incumbent. Nothing in this section shall preclude such state from using punch card ballots to re-elect said Democrat in a regularly scheduled election.
Steven has used punch ballots and did all right. But he does have a PhD.
"Appeals Court Delays Calif. Recall Vote"
UPDATE: Steven has come to the most logical conclusion from the Ninth Circuit's decision.
Also, James notes that Gore v. Bush should have little bearing on the use of punch ballots:
The trouble is, the per curiam decision doesn't say that punch card ballots are unconstitutional, just differential standards of doing manual recounts on them.
UPDATE 2: Eugene Volokh makes an excellent point that switching to a new voting system would have its share of problems. Wouldn't that be ruled unconstitutional according to the Ninth Circuit's reasoning? [via A Fearful Symmetry]
September 13, 2003
Dumb Sen. Murray
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) thought it would be a good idea to have a fund-raising event while her fellow Senators were taking part in Sep. 11 memorial events. Then when criticized, she had the gall to say, "I don't think anybody should politicize any part of any moment of that day -- ever."
September 12, 2003
How Times Have Changed
To show you how much the GOP now dominates the South, here's a little anecdote from Lt. Smash's tour of the Georgia governor's mansion:
We started at the Georgia Governor’s Mansion, also known as “The House That Lester Built.”
September 09, 2003
Will Sen. Cracker Run for Reelection?
Will Sen. Bob Graham Cracker (D-FL) do the politically stupid thing and not run for reelection to the Senate? Will he pull a Sen. Edwards and make it even harder for the Dems to retake the Senate? Since the guy can't understand numbers he probably doesn't realize how far back he is in the polls.
September 08, 2003
Duck All Wet on Trade
ZombyBoy has declared it Howard Dean Week. His first post is on the Duck's stance on trade. ZombyBoy writes,
Anyone who expects Dean to be a president that would help the economy rise from its current doldrums would do well to consider what the effects of such a wrong-headed policy would be, and anyone who is a proponent of free markets and free trade would do well to consider just how Dean would act in office to stifle free trade.
"Dean Week Kick-Off"
Edwards Won't Run for Re-election
Steven calls Sen. John Edwards' (D-NC) decision "bold and stupid." It settl