Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Happy New Year!

The Sydney Harbor Bridge is a blaze with fireworks as the clock ticks over to a new year during celebrations on Thursday , Jan. 1, 2004. Thousands of locals flocked to the harbor to watch the annual fireworks display.

I hope everyone has a great (and safe) 2004. -E
Wednesdays are for W

Today's the day that some fellow bloggers and I remind readers the important stakes of the 2004 Presidential race. As I've noted before, I want Americans to support President Bush not as the "lesser of two evils" but as a true leader during trying times.

During his tenure, the Bush Administration has eradicated one of the most brutal regimes in the world in Afghanistan, uprooted the worst tyrant of modern times in Iraq, reformed Medicare, and guided the U.S. out of recession and into a recovery on par with the days of Reagan.

With a record like that, why bother to bash Howard Dean? Bush's record stands for itself. You can stand with the President by donating or volunteering to help in his re-election. Much thanks.
Jobs are coming back, Krugman should consider another line of work

One of my long-standing criticisms of Paul Krugman is that, as an economist, his columns are curiously bereft of actual numbers and statistics (as compared to, say, Robert Samuelson of the WashPost). So in late October, I made a point of noting this benchmark established by Krugman: “And unless we start to see serious job growth — by which I mean increases in payroll employment of more than 200,000 a month — consumer spending will eventually slide, and bring growth down with it.”

Here’s a report from Bloomberg today: “US jobless claims fall to nearly 3-year low

Dec. 31 (Bloomberg) -- The number of Americans filing first- time applications for state unemployment benefits fell to 339,000 last week, the lowest in almost three years, suggesting job prospects are improving.

The economy is projected to grow at a 4 percent annual pace this quarter following an 8.2 percent rate from July through September that was the strongest in almost 20 years, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed earlier this month by Bloomberg News. It's forecast to grow 4.4 percent in 2004, the most since it expanded 4.5 percent in 1999, according to the survey.

The expanding economy will probably add an average of 200,000 jobs a month in 2004, according to a forecast by UBS' O'Sullivan.

With the economy improving, soon Krugman will be reduced to complaining about the redesigned $20 bill.

Bonus: Tim Blair calls Krugman "terrifying."

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Two sides of Bush hatred

Occasionally, the Washington Post will have “dueling editorials” where a common theme shares a joined title. Today it was Robert Samuelson vs. E.J. Dionne in (respectively): Bush-Hatred: Fearful Loathing… …or Rational Response.

Here’s Dionne’s reasoning for hating the President:

So what went wrong? Unrequited bipartisanship. Implicitly, the Democrats expected that the new situation would produce a new Bush, less partisan and less ideological. For a few months after the attacks, that was the Bush who showed up to work every day. He and the Democrats did a lot of business together, and the country seemed happy.

It could not last, because Bush didn't want to be Dwight D. Eisenhower, a nonpartisan leader who unified the country without being much help to his party. Ticket splitting began in a big way during the 1950s when millions of Democrats went for Ike but stuck with their party on the rest of the ballot. Bush wanted to realign the country and create a Republican majority for bold conservative policies at home and abroad.
[Emphasis added]

So the leader of the Republican party wanted to *gasp* forward conservative policies!?! And create a Republican majority? The fiend! I had no idea.

This is naiveté presented as outrage. The deeper truth is that Democrats believed that the close 2000 election gave Bush no mandate to lead and therefore he should do nothing. This is why Democrats believe they have the right to block judicial nominees on the flimsiest grounds. It explains the rise of Howard Dean who stokes the fires of Florida and solemnly vows to rescind all the Bush tax cuts in an orgy of realignment.

But, as Robert Samuelson notes, what really twists the balls of the Democrats and feeds the Bush hatred is that he’s persistently successful:

In the end, Bush hating says more about the haters than the hated -- and here, too, the parallels with Clinton are strong. This hatred embodies much fear and insecurity. The anti-Clinton fanatics hated him not simply because he occasionally lied, committed adultery or exhibited an air of intellectual superiority. What really infuriated them was that he kept succeeding -- he won reelection, his approval ratings stayed high -- and that diminished their standing. If Clinton was approved, they must be disapproved.

Ditto for Bush. If he succeeded less, he'd be hated less. His fiercest detractors don't loathe him merely because they think he's mediocre, hypocritical and simplistic. What they truly resent is that his popularity suggests that the country might be more like him than it is like them. They fear he's exiling them politically. On one level, their embrace of hatred aims to make others share their outrage; but on another level, it's a self-indulgent declaration of moral superiority -- something that makes them feel better about themselves. Either way, it represents another dreary chapter in the continuing coarsening of public discourse.
[Emph. added]

After Clinton was re-elected in 1996, I resigned myself to four more years of a Democrat in the White House. But at no point (honest) did I question the wisdom of the American people. After all, the economy was in good shape and there were no foreign endeavors threatening American shores. But nowadays whenever I read the left-leaning blogs or news sources, there’s this ossified belief that if America votes to re-elect President Bush it will be for a whole host of reasons – anything except that America actually agrees with the Bush Administration’s policies. There’s a liberal hauteur that farmers in Kansas or gun-owners in Alabama can’t possibly know what’s good for the country. They’re duped and brainwashed, fooled and suckered into voting Republican. And when voters from Oregon to Florida choose to re-elect Bush in 2004, the Barbra Streisands and Paul Krugmans will silently bow their heads and wonder why everyone in America is so stupid.

Extra: Polipundit declares Dionne's analysis (regarding 2004) the "dumbest prediction of the year."
Duck Season points the way to this LA Times article stating that a Rudy Giuliani/Hillary Clinton steel cage match is in the works for 2006. Obviously, Hillary without her Senate seat would make things more difficult for a 2008 Presidential run. Heh.
Personal interlude: Tonight I picked up “The Best of Jackson Browne” at Newbury Comics. Guess what: no “Lawyers in Love” or “Boulevard.” What a crock. I grabbed it because it was in the cheap used CD bin and it had “The Pretender.”
The Blame for Bam

I've been pretty worked up about the earthquake in Iran and the fact that over half of the people who once lived in Bam are now dead. It didn't have to happen. Today on the Corner, Clifford May summed up my feelings perfectly:

Yes, there’s been a terrible tragedy in Iran. But the politically incorrect truth is that this was not simply a “natural disaster” or an ‘act of God.” The earthquake that hit the eastern part of that country on the last weekend in 2003 need not have taken tens of thousands of lives. It was no secret that the region was prone to earthquakes. It is no secret that un-reinforced mud-brick buildings would, in case of a severe temblor, bury people alive. The leaders of a poor country could claim that they hadn’t the resources to do anything about that -- that they could not, for example, afford to reinforce existing structures or build new structures that could withstand temblors. But Iran is oil-rich and has had plenty of money to lavish on nuclear weapons programs and on such terrorist groups as Hezbollah. Were Iran a democracy, its mullahs would be held to account, at least at the ballot box.

I've heard it said that the United States cannot impose a democracy on Iraq. But today in Bam over 40,000 lie dead because there is no impetus for a better world in an Islamic theocracy. And, yes, I'm looking at you Saudi Arabia.

Extra: Amir Taheri has more in the NY Post.
Time to play: "Guess the Issue"

President Bush has failed us again - again! - declares Presidential hopeless John Kerry: "When we hear statistics like these and when we know how to turn them around, it is flatly unacceptable and irresponsible for the president of the United States to simply look the other way."

Willful insensivity, cries Senator Icarus! But can you guess the issue?

A.) Raisin Bran puts in "two scoops" of raisins, but they're pretty small raisins.
B.) The Boston Red Sox haven't won a World Series in a long time - no fair!
C.) People are eating less ketchup
D.) Lots of Americans have asthma

Sure, it's not on the top of the list of voter issues, but Kerry needs to find a niche.
Everything I say is a lie: Matthew Hoy has an awful post on Paul Krugman's Alternate Universe where we all live in squalor and the unemployment rate is really 37% because we all stopped looking for work.
Back home - so much to catch up on

I'm trying, I'm trying. Let's start with this quote by Joe Lieberman from the Wash Post story: "Lieberman: Dean will 'melt' under GOP attacks"

"I've got some news for Howard Dean," Lieberman added. "The primary campaign is a warm-up compared to what George Bush and Karl Rove have waiting for him. . . . He's going to melt in a minute once the Republicans start going after him."

On this I agree with Joe and I think the prime forum for the Dean meltdown will be the debates. Bush will be standing there with his "aw, shucks" attitude, a healthy economy, and a safer country thanks to the overthrow of two brutal regimes. Dean will be flailing his arms, desperate to convince voters that Bush is the most 'reckless' President in history. It just won't work.
Thoughts on the ride back to W.Mass. from Pennsylvania

I passed one billboard that caught my eye: it read "How PA lawyers view medical patients" and featured a baby with the label "Potential lawsuit" stamped across its torso. On the bottom of the billboard was the slogan "Stop lawsuit abuse."

I immediately thought of DB from Medical Rants, who didn't disappoint with a post linked to: "AMA vows united voice in battle for tort reform."

Monday, December 29, 2003

A movie review shorter than the title

"The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" was awesome. A classic story paired with modern F/X. Can't get enough? OK, nerds, point your browser here: Return of the King Geeky Observation List
Endless love

As I’ve said many times before, I love Terry McAuliffe. I don’t think there has been a better friend to the GOP than the unctuous Clinton acolyte. Democrats keep losing elections and he smiles on “Meet the Press” and says ludicrous things like “we gained seats in the New Jersey legislature.”

So why is Howard Dean picking a fight with the Democratic National Committee chair? Steven the Poliblogger says that Dean is being “whiny.” (Matt Stinson chimes in also). The obvious answer is that Dean is trying to “freeze the clock” and get Democrats to rally around him even before the first primary vote is cast. But I think there’s an ulterior motive in Howard’s demonizing of Terry McAuliffe. After taking on the Republicans, Dean wants to fight against the Democratic establishment also. It seems to me that Dean is trying to set himself up as the “forbidden love” of the Democratic Party. The rank and file cannot deny him because otherwise they’re just a tool of the “old” Democratic party. Essentially Dean is saying: “You squares can go with another DNC-approved candidate, or you can rock the casbah with me!”

Or how about this for a campaign slogan: “Howard Dean: Let’s lose with dignity!”

Saturday, December 27, 2003

Howard Dean: Dream candidate

For the Republicans, that is. From Fox News:

Asked how he would persuade people who were not opposed to the war to vote for him instead of President Bush, Dean responded, "By going after him on terrorism, where he's really weak."

Please, Howard, make this election a referendum on national security and the war on terrorism. Throw Dubya into that briar patch.
Wagging tongues that should be silent: Andrew Sullivan has his Sontag, Von Hoffman, and Begala awards posted. Outrageous nonsense from the past year.

Friday, December 26, 2003

The function of government and earthquakes

A lesson lost on the theocracies of the Middle East is that government does not exist primarily to provide religious instruction or advance the Islamic cause. The function of government, at its most basic level, is to protect its citizens. It's why we put "life" first when we talk about "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

And to all you Democratic Underground types who propose that America is the true axis of evil, I'll submit this comparison:

Earthquake in California measures 6.5 on the Richter scale: 2 dead
Earthquake in Iran measures 6.3 on the Richter scale: 20,000 dead (and counting)
Roger the Angry Cyclist is, well, angry. He has a much longer follow-up to my Derrick Jackson rant along with some other good stuff in a spurt of writing. Must have been the egg nog. Check out the "Tilting at Windmills" post on John Kerry's flip-flop-flub on wind power.
Steven the Poliblogger has the latest Toast-O-Meter up with lotsa links. Dean continues to lead for the chance to get trounced by Bush.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

I triple dog dare you to have a wonderful holiday!

Merry Christmas everyone! We had a wonderful morning here with a shiny new bike and Cranium Cadoo. Santa must have classified the boys - inexplicably - as "nice."

Posting will be spotty to non-existent over the next week or so as we visit friends and relatives. Here's hoping that you all have a great holiday season. Don't get stuck in traffic!



Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Quotes of the Year via Tim Blair

An extremely comprehensive list of the past year's statements and mis-statements (mostly the latter by Australian leftists). I flipped to the December quotes (natch) and copied two of my favorites:

• "I'd better call my lawyer." -- George W. Bush, following suggestions that banning Germany, France, Russia and Canada from bidding for Iraqi contracts might violate international law

• "I will do whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid." -- Col. Gaddafi, in phone call to Silvio Berlusconi

A tribute to U.S. troops

Here's the appropriate salute to American soldiers far from home this holiday season: "Pause to pray for Americans fighting terrorism" by Caspar W. Weinberger, Peter Schweizer and Wynton C. Hall in today's USA Today.

Many Americans will be forgoing holiday celebrations with their families this season to serve in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. We need to give them their due recognition for their efforts in the war on terror. As we gather with our families this holiday season, let us pray for those who cannot celebrate with theirs.

Right on.
Humor break: The least essential albums of 2003, according to the Onion.
Denial ain't just a river in Egypt: Kerry mortgages his house and loans his own campaign $6.4 million
Derrick Jackson, unbelievable asshat

In an article titled “Against the war, for the soldiers” the Boston Globe columnist disguises East-coast condescension as faux concern, concluding with this unreal graf:

When you can, take a hard look at the Iraqi man, woman, or child your gun is pointed at. You are in Iraq under the orders of the commander in chief. I cannot do anything about that. What I can wish for is that even as many Christians prepare to sing "Peace on earth, goodwill to men," that you find a way, one soldier at a time, to bring it to Iraq. I pray that babies stop killing babies.

Jackson could have stopped and his column would have been merely execrable. That final sentence – I’d like to hear somebody argue otherwise – brands American soldiers as baby killers. Merry Christmas, dickwad.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Don’t Stop Dean

I agree! Here’s William Safire in the NY Times:

There are now three de facto political parties in the U.S. In order of present strength, these are:

(1) The Republican Party, in control of all three branches of government and most of the statehouses, fat and sassy because the economy is rising and the war is being won.

(2) The Dean-Internet Party, its Bush-despising base so energized as to be frenetic, its leader happy to be the apostle of anger, its bandwidth bandwagon gaining momentum with each pulse of its cursing cursor.

(3) The Old Democratic Party, its base off base, its leadership fractured, its third-way ideology — vainly espoused by the Clintonian Democratic Leadership Council — a lost cause without a rebel voice.

Safire fears that if Dean is not the Democrats' nominee, he’ll split off as a third-party spoiler (Nader was a piker!) and help the GOP to tighten its iron grip across America! Yes! [evil laughter]
Breaking News: Malvo gets life in prison. Here's the shocked reaction on Free Republic as the verdict was announced.
"People here are totally confused. They don’t understand how crime can keep rising in this Muslim society" - The side-comments (in yellow) are priceless in this Rantburg post: “Saudis confront soaring crime.” Nicely done.
Ben Domenech has an extensive list of 2003 Quotes of the Year.
Chris at Signifying Nothing has more on “Anger and the Democrats
Angry Dean fills out his “Enemies” list

The papers and the Net are full of stories today about how Howard Dean has channeled anger into a potent political force. However, his scorched-earth campaign seems to be pulling in the disaffected Left while alienating moderate Democrats. His attacks on “Washington Democrats” and Bill Clinton are not endearing him to the rank-and-file. Here’s a brief roundup:

The Great Surrender” by David Brooks – “But in the Democratic race, the Dean campaign has all the loathing and the passion.”
Changing the Tone in Washington” by Brendan Miniter – “Mr. Dean offers anger, not mature solutions.
Jihoward: Howard Dean, Suicide Bomber” by William Saletan – “Dean’s jihad is even crazier than Gore’s. It’s almost completely undisciplined.”

And my favorite: “Dean’s campaign depends on enemies” by Thomas Oliphant – “What is so fascinating, however, is that this need for enemies – for a domestic equivalent of people playing footsy with Bush on Iraq – overrode mature judgment. Dean’s words make sense only as an attack.”

Dean’s enemy list grows longer by the day: first it was the Bush administration, followed by “Washington Democrats”, and now Bill Clinton. Why all the anger? My theory is that an emasculated Democratic Party is looking for a fighter, a white knight, a hero and Howard Dean fits the bill by appealing to the worst instincts in people: hate and fear. Eric Hoffer wrote about the unifying effect of hatred in his great manifesto “The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements”:

"Hatred is the most accessible and comprehensive of all unifying agents… Mass movements can rise and spread without belief in a God, but never without a belief in a devil."

A couple of readers have E-mailed to warn me to avoid overconfidence about Dubya’s re-election. My feeling is that (assuming Dean is the nominee) Dean’s podium-pounding will translate very poorly into the general election. As Saletan noted (link above) Al Gore’s divisive “People versus the Powerful” call for class warfare was a “demonstrable failure.” There’s no reason to believe that Dean’s negativism will help him beyond the primaries, especially in the face of an improving economy and foreign policy successes. If Howard Dean is the Democrats’ product, I doubt there will be many buyers in 2004.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Everybody loves Dubya

From tomorrow's WashPost: "Bush Gets Year-End Boost in Approval"

The poll also shows former Vermont governor Howard Dean surging ahead of his rivals in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination, cementing his status as the party's front-runner a month before the first major contests, in Iowa and New Hampshire. But when matched against the president, Dean fares badly, both in a hypothetical trial heat and on who is trusted to handle both national security and domestic issues. Even many Democrats said they still know little about Dean or his views.

Red Rover, Red Rover, please send Dean over!

The poll findings show why many Democrats are nervous about Dean as a potential candidate against Bush. They also underscore the concern within the party that, because of the heavily front-loaded primary and caucus calendar, a Democratic nominee may effectively be picked before party activists outside a few early states have had a chance to evaluate the candidates and participate in the decision.

If I may add: this was a system designed by DNC chair Terry McAuliffe to front load the primaries and pick a candidate quickly so Democrats could "rally round" before the general election. Instead, the Dems are going to blind-grab a candidate without much debate; the whole process is breeding resentment and fracturing the party. So I'll say it once again: thank heaven for Terry McAuliffe.

As a candidate in the general election, Dean starts well behind Bush in the public's estimation. In an early test of strength, 55 percent of those surveyed said that if the election were held today, they would vote to reelect the president, and 37 percent said they would favor Dean. No other Democrat was tested against Bush in the Post-ABC poll.

"No other Democrat" was tested? OK!

Dean's Democratic rivals have warned that the former governor's lack of foreign policy experience would hurt him in a general election against Bush, and when asked in the poll whether they trusted the president or Dean more to handle national security and the war on terrorism, 67 percent said Bush and 21 percent Dean. Even on the kind of domestic issues that normally favor Democrats, such as Social Security, health care and education, Bush bests Dean by 50 percent to 39 percent.

So Bush leads on domestic policy, foreign policy, the economy, the war on terrorism, Social Security, education, and health care. However, Dean leads on anger, conspiracy theories, endorsements by former vice presidents, and the all-important United Nations vote. This is going to be a squeaker of 1984 proportions.
As Roy Orbison would croon: “It’s over, it’s over, it’s OOOO-VER!”

Back in the summer, things weren’t going so hot for John Kerry. He was heading nowhere in Iowa and falling further behind Dean in New Hampshire. So he hit upon the brilliant tactic of re-launching his campaign in South Carolina with the anticipation that this early primary state would be a “firewall” where he could claim victory and keep his campaign going. At the time, Tony Blankley didn’t think much of this idea:

South Carolina is not going to be John Kerry's firewall -- but a firestorm. A strategy for a New England liberal to lose in New Hampshire and win in South Carolina is not a strategy at all. It is a delusion. Politically speaking, Sen. Kerry is campaigning while dead.

Here are the latest S.C. numbers, via Hedgehog Report. Senator Splunge is ahead of…Kucinich. That’s it. Oof.
Man Arrested at Miami Airport With Razor Blade in Shoe

Bad Bad Leroy Brown is in custody.

(This concludes today's obscure cultural reference joke.)
Me neither: Robert Tagorda on Why John Kerry Will Never Get My Vote
Boo-freakin’-hoo: Just what is the purpose of this “news” story: “Democrats forced to work on margins”? The thesis seems to be that since Republicans control the White House and Congress, the influence of the Democrats on legislation has been marginalized. No kidding, WashPost. Not until the 17th paragraph do we see this equal time statement: “The out-of-power party normally plays a secondary role in such negotiations, and Democrats were not shy about exercising their majority-party powers to relegate Republicans to the sidelines when they were in control.” But now that the GOP holds the reins, it's "no fair!" Crybabys.
2 good 2 excerpt: Robert Novak on “The Democrats Dean Dilemma” and Noemie Emery on “The Gore Curse.”
Do you want Howard Dean in charge of national security? [shudder]

Here’s Kate O’Beirne on the Capital Gang this past weekend:

And I submit he's [Howard Dean] worse than an anti-war candidate at the time of war, announcing this week that he might have gone to war with Iraq if the U.N. gave us permission, which is an incredible outrage. He's worse than an anti-war candidate. John Kerry's pointing out that he's not even a credible anti-war candidate because he's been all over the map! He was saying that -- well over a year ago that of course Saddam Hussein's a threat. Now he says we're no safer. He's making these sort of almost deranged comments on national security. Republicans are now saying to each other, Maybe we ought to lay off Howard Dean for fear the Democrats come to their senses before -- before it's too late. That's how, out there, they're increasingly seeing Howard Dean.”

Since the Democrats view everything the Bush administration does through a political prism, I’m waiting to see how they spin the Homeland Security shift to orange status. My guess is they’ll portray it as a ploy to re-focus attention on security matters where Republicans have more credibility (with good reason).

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Time gets it right: The American Soldier is “Person of the Year

They swept across Iraq and conquered it in 21 days. They stand guard on streets pot-holed with skepticism and rancor. They caught Saddam Hussein. They are the face of America, its might and good will, in a region unused to democracy. The U.S. G.I. is TIME's Person of the Year.

Good call. God bless 'em.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

I wonder if this is part of the "Transformation of the American Family"

Who knew that being "Joined at the Heart" required Doritos and Bob Marley CDs? Dude!
Plastic Turkeys - Tim Blair has a huge amount of great stuff up today, including the latest inductees to the G.O.B.B.L.E.s - that's right, go now.
The Toast-O-Meter gets a little more verbose every week. Steven the Poliblogger really links it up proper. Anyway, check out this week’s edition.
"We never - NEVER! - stop working for you!" - I got the wife a cell phone for Christmas to replace her ancient phone. I tried to cancel the account via the Verizon website but there is absolutely no information whatsoever on their web page. They will, however, help you find a million different ways to pay your bill (automatic transfer makes it easy!). So Verizon isn't lying when they say they'll never stop working for you. Just stay away from their "All you CAN eat" restaurant.
No free speech please, we’re Democrats

Via Instapundit comes this story of comment censorship on the Democratic National Committee’s web log (partial excerpt):

I posted a second response comment [on the DNC blog], very lucid, no ranting or profanity. Immediately following my second comment, a new poster who identified himself as a Democrat opined that if the Dems could merely offer up a candidate with a credible National Security agenda, he would happily vote for him/her. As of 8 o'clock this evening, both of my comments have been deleted from the blog and my login has been disabled. They even pulled the comment from the registered Democrat in search of a viable candidate. This is their idea of tolerance, inclusion, The Party of the People. They should be selling some nice brownshirts at the DNC online giftshop.

I knew this day would come. A couple of months ago, after the launch of the George W. Bush re-election website, the rabble at the DNC Blog complained bitterly about how the GWB Blog doesn’t allow for comments. Here’s the original post (I saved it just for this day) about the Bush Blog and at least one apropos statement:

Actually, what would be typical for that crowd is to allow comments until you say something off message, at whcich time they erase your posts and block your IP address. Now that would be a Republican blog.

Oh sweet irony! Actually, that's the perfect definition of the Democratic blog, Mike D. And before you bemoan the comment block on the GWB Blog, allow me to paraphrase a famous proverb: Better to block comments and be labeled a censor, than to delete comments and remove all doubt.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Miller is right: Dean is wrong. The Islamofascist autocrats are losing.
Viking Pundit gets results! Three days after this post, Daily Kos updates the Poll Watch. Lots of green arrows UP for President Bush’s approval.
He’s got the tragic touch

Via Business Week Online’s Washington Outlook:

The surprise Al Gore endorsement gave Howard Dean's campaign for President a push -- but was it in the right direction? A Dec. 11-14 Gallup Poll found that 9% of independents are more likely to vote for Dean now that he has Gore's blessing. But 24% said the ex-Veep's support made them less likely to choose Dean.

There’s also a longer story about the prospects for the Dems in the South. Or lack thereof.
Randall Parker at Parapundit does some top-notch digging and finds who sold arms to Iraq from 1973-2002. The Soviet Union (yes, the USSR) was #1 by far; guess what country was #2, mon amis. Oui!
Senator Splunge goes into hock – FauxPolitik comments: “John Kerry has missed, it seems, his last opportunity to withdraw from the Democratic nomination race with a scrap of dignity left.”
The Dean backlash begins

Even as Howard Dean climbed in the Dem polls, there were whispers about his temper and undisciplined remarks. But now the capture of Saddam Hussein and Dean’s defense of his foreign policy stance has ignited a low-simmer panic among the Democrats that intensifies when they view the Bush-Dean matchup numbers. So it’s not at all surprising to see this story in the NY Times: “Some Democrats uneasy about Dean as the nominee.”

Meanwhile, over the pond at the British magazine The Economist, they’re saying it might be time to go “Back to the Drawing Board”:

Perhaps Al Gore really is cursed. Last week this column argued that his endorsement made Howard Dean look unstoppable. Then a diabolus ex machina appeared to throw a weighty obstacle in the good doctor's path. The unearthing of Saddam Hussein has not only left Dr Dean looking visibly discombobulated; it has also relaunched the search for an alternative Democrat to take on George Bush. It may be hard to overhaul the former Vermont governor so late in the day, but that has not stopped the Anyone But Dean lot marching into action again.

It’ll sure be fun to watch.
The Patio Pundit doesn’t think much of John Kerry’s “plan” for Iraq. Meanwhile, the Boston Globe has a headline titled: “Kerry makes gains in new N.H. poll” which means to say that he now has a snowball’s chance in Tucson.
Outside the Beltway has an abridged Howard Fineman column of why Bush will win re-election.
Even better: via Moe Freedman - "Dems in US sad - Ha!" (Also suggested: "Media shuns - sad")
If I could figure out where to put the “H”, “Saddam Hussein” is an anagram of “Dems sad in USA

Anyway, here’s Michael Kinsley with the Donks reaction:

The Democratic presidential candidates woke up Sunday morning to learn that U.S. forces had captured Saddam Hussein. O joy! O joy! O [expletive]!

Also in the WashPost, Charles Krauthammer celebrates the de-mythifiction of the great pan-Arab strongman:

And then they find him cowering in a hole, disheveled, disoriented and dishonored. After making those underground tapes exhorting others to give their blood for Iraq and for him, his instantaneous reaction to discovery was hands-up surrender.
End of the myth. It is not just that he did not resist the soldiers with the guns. He did not even resist the medic with the tongue depressor.

Austin Bay gives a historical perspective in “Cascading Effects of Saddam’s Capture” and details why bringing Hussein down has far-reaching positive influence. Here’s my favorite excerpt:

Every Middle Eastern autocrat saw the haggard Saddam pulled from the hole. The message: America means to see this war through. To avoid Saddam’s fate means political liberalization. The Iranian mullahs are on notice.

Of course, all of this is utterly wasted on Paul Krugman, the skunk at the garden party. Today he sounds just like a Deaniac on the Democratic Underground. All is lost and those of us who think differently are just “waving the flag” to cover up the “truth.” Yeah, whatever. If Iraq turned into a full-functioning democracy tomorrow, Krugman would be complaining about the gerrymandering process.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

The Arab press explains why Saddam surrendered like a wimp

Al Bawaba: “Ousted Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, was betrayed by a relative who served as his personal bodygyard and who led US troops to the former leader's secret hideout after drugging him, a Jordanian newspaper reported Thursday, quoting a source close to the US-led occupation in Iraq.”

Comrade Howard Dean’s college classes

From Washington Whispers, via Political Wire

“History of the Soviet Union”
“Marxist Existentialism”
“Soviet Foreign Policy”
“Reason and Revolution”
“International Communism”
“Marxist Theory”
“Chinese Politics”

That would certainly help to explain all of Dean’s references to “The Soviet Union” during his Hardball appearance.

Here’s Rumsfeld echoing a Viking Pundit post - from NRO’s Impromptus:

Speaking of clear, angry, and just, did you catch Donald Rumsfeld on Saddam? He twitted him in the most humiliating fashion possible. Said Rummy, of our captive, "He had a pistol, but he's alive. That's got to tell you something about him. He's clearly not like the folks he gave $25,000 to, to go do suicide bombings and kill themselves and be done." Ouch, ouch: putting Saddam lower than those Palestinian girls (in many instances). Bravo, Rumsfeld.

From the home page of The Atlantic

They have this quote "For the Record":

"As Saddam Hussein retreats to his secret bed each night, he must know it will end badly for him. Any man who reads as much as he does, and who studies the dictators of modern history, knows that in the end they are all toppled and disdained." —Mark Bowden, in "Tales of the Tyrant," in the May 2002 Atlantic.

No search warrant? Put him back in the hole

Brian at Tomfoolery of the Highest Order predicted somebody would bitch about getting Saddam Hussein without a search warrant – he was right. Here’s the Boston Globe’s answer to Krugman, Derrick Jackson, burnishing those liberal credentials. Both the Angry Cyclist (natch) and Little Green Footballs have additional commentary.
I’ve pretty much given up on Paul Krugman as an agitated dunce. Robert Musil, however, keeps on stickin’ it to the man – very nice fisking.
Working retail in December – a horror story from Michele at A Small Victory
Let Dean be Dean

The WashPost has a blistering editorial today on Howard Dean’s foreign policy which includes this retort: “The argument that this tyrant was not a danger to the United States is not just unfounded but ludicrous.”

But then I went to the Hedgehog Report and saw that President Bush would beat Dean by over 20 points in the general election. In fact, Bush would beat Dean by a wider margin than any of the other major candidates. Suddenly, I felt defensive of the former governor. Let’s give him a chance to be the Democratic nominee.
Morning news roundup

Sometimes I peruse through the morning papers and there’s not much there. Today’s not one of those days. Lotsa lotsa good stuff:

Tom Friedman in “Moment of Truth” writes about the future of Iraq but takes the time to belittle the French: “History will also record that while the U.S. and Britain chose to be Saddam’s prosecutors, France chose to be his defense lawyer.”

The Boston Globe is reporting that John Kerry is now putting all his effort into Iowa and New Hampshire; he will visit no other primary states through January.

Jeff Jacoby writes on “Justice and Saddam Hussein” and opines that “there will be no justice for Iraq’s former ruler” because the extent of his crimes is so great there is no possible retribution. Warning: a graphic listing of those crimes is not for the faint of heart. However, Howard “I’m not sure if Iraq is better off” Dean should review.

“Saddam the Lion?” Ha-ha. In terms of demoralizing the Ba’athist old guard, the capture of a meek Saddam Hussein has done wonders. The WashPost reports the disbelief in “Iraqis Shocked, Shamed by Hussein’s Sullied Image.” Excerpt: “So when he learned that Hussein had emerged meekly from his burrow last weekend and surrendered to U.S. forces without firing a shot, Abu Yasser said he was aghast.” Good.

Also in the WashPost: “Dean’s Remarks Give Rivals Talking Points.” It would seem that Howard Dean…how to put this?...lies. A lot.

Robert Samuelson doesn’t think much of the Supreme Court’s recent decision on campaign finance reform in “Muzzling Speech.”

And Fouad Ajami in Opinion Journal has a “Tigris Chronicle” on how the Arab world has grappled with Saddam’s capture.
MIT Hack

A replica of the Wright brothers' plane is seen Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2003, atop the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Great Dome in Cambridge, Mass. Students at MIT paid tribute to the 100th anniversary of man's first powered flight Wednesday by perching the plane 150 feet high, atop the building. The rough replica, which appeared to be made of 2-by-4 wooden planks and some sort of plastic or cloth sheeting, was discovered by MIT police just after sunrise. Its wingspan was about 45 feet, said BobSales, a spokesman for MIT.

For more on the history of MIT “hacks” (pranks), go here.

Extra: Boston Globe story.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Weasel Clark and the angst of the Democrats

I try to avoid petty name-calling and childish banter on this page, but then I read something like this and I go ballistic:

"If I'd been president, I would have had Osama bin Laden by this time," Clark said at a news conference in Concord, New Hampshire, where he was campaigning for votes in the nation's first primary, January 27.

Geez, what a dick. Clark makes it sound like Bush forgot to pick up the dry cleaning or clean the garage. Why it's so simple, and *I* would have done it by now. With Saddam behind bars and a recovering economy, this is what the Democratic party is reduced to: demanding the capture of somebody whom I'm convinced is a coagulated stain on a cave wall.
There goes another conspiracy theory: Eye on the Left finds that DNA tests can indeed be performed in as little as twelve hours. So much for the latest DU “Bush Lied” endeavor.
Dr. Weevil updated his Ba’ath Poker page. Obviously, the Ace of Spades has been added.
The righteous indignation of Howard Dean….about bike paths

But as Mark Steyn editorializes, on other issues he’s not so committed:

There was a revealing moment on MSNBC the other night. Chris Matthews asked Dr. Dean whether Osama bin Laden should be tried in an American court or at The Hague. "I don't think it makes a lot of difference," said the governor airily. Mr. Matthews pressed once more. "It doesn't make a lot of difference to me," he said again. Some of us think what's left of Osama is already hard enough to scrape off the cave floor and put in a matchbox, never mind fly to the Netherlands. But, just for the sake of argument, his bloodiest crime was committed on American soil; American courts, unlike the international ones, would have the option of the death penalty. But Gov. Dean couldn't have been less interested. So how about Saddam? The Hague "suits me fine," he said, the very model of ennui. Saddam? Osama? Whatever, dude.

“Are you gonna make it all 220?”
Yeah…220, 221, whatever it takes
Good one! I laughed out loud at David Wissing’s characterization of the Pennsylvania polls: “Against the leading Democrats and John Kerry, Bush leads all of them

Poor Senator Splunge. The Pennsylvania poll is worth a look because that was a major state that Bush didn’t carry in 2000; he now leads every Democrat by at least 6%.
The continuing humor of the NY Times Corrections page

An article on Friday about the views of L. Paul Bremer III, the American administrator in Iraq, about the country's future misstated the weight of the bombs that United States forces have dropped recently on sites believed to harbor urban guerrillas. They are 500 pounds each, not 500 tons.

As Maxwell Smart might say: "Missed it by that much."
Wednesdays are for W

As Blogs for Bush notes today, George Soros and his cabal of Hollywood halfwits are poised to raise over $300 million to try to derail President Bush’s re-election. If you think the rhetoric of 2000 was bad (e.g. the execrable NAACP ads about Robert Byrd) then wait until the Howard Dean-impelled, blind anger of the Democrats bursts forth in 2004. Now is the time to support President Bush for the good and safety of our country. Visit the George W. Bush re-election web site and volunteer or donate. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Madeline goes bonkers - Matt Stinson, Country Store, and the Corner are all reporting on a conversation that Fox News commentator Mort Kondracke had with former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. She allegedly insinuated that we've captured Osama Bin Laden but Bush is waiting until before the election to announce it. I can't make this stuff up.
Daily Kos says: “What polls?”

On the right margin of Daily Kos is a section called “Poll Watch” that tracks President Bush’s approval/disapproval numbers. It hasn’t been updated for nearly a month; why is that? Let’s compare with the most recent approval/disapproval numbers via Real Clear Politics.

Daily Kos Fox News (11/18-19): 52% / 41% (+11)
Real Clear Politics Fox News (12/4-6): 52% / 34% (+18)

DK Gallup (11/14-16): 50% / 47% (+3)
RCP Gallup (12/5-7): 55% / 43% (+12)

DK NBC News/Wall Street Journal (11/8-10): 51% / 44% (+7)
RCP NBC/WSJ (12/13): 52% / 41% (+11)
RCP NBC/WSJ (12/15): 58% / 34% (+24)

Hey, like Polipundit, I don’t think these polls are all that meaningful and a year is a lifetime in politics. But if you’re going to have a poll watch, shouldn’t you be a little more honest in updating the numbers?
Dean on the defensive

From the Boston Globe: “A speed bump for Dean in capture of Saddam

I preferred Dean's more indecisive period just after Baghdad fell last April, when he confessed ambiguity when asked if the United States was better off with Saddam toppled from power. His more recent discovery of the view that it really is a good thing he's gone is more troubling because it raises the obvious question of how you can claim credit for having been against something whose main result you consider good.

And here’s David Brooks in today’s NYT:

Dean tried yesterday to show how sober and serious he could be. In fact, he has never appeared so much the dreamer, so clueless about the intellectual and cultural divides that really do confront us and with which real presidents have to grapple.

Tom Oliphant in the Globe makes the case that developments in Iraq could shake up the race in New Hampshire while Andrew Sullivan advises Joe Lieberman to make a strong case for his pro-war stance. Things could get interesting.
A rare moment of lucidity on the NYT Letters page

From today's paper:

To the Editor:
You report that "Saddam Hussein, once the all-powerful leader of Iraq, was arrested without a fight on Saturday night by American soldiers" (front page, Dec. 15).

Suicide bombers, take heed. Your leader did not follow his own advice. There is no honor in death. Man's natural instinct is to live — even if it means surrendering to the enemy.

Fight to live honorably, not to die as someone's pawn.

Well put.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Dean’s Pretzel Logic: Catching Saddam was a great thing I wouldn’t have done

I only half-caught Dean’s foreign policy speech but it must have interrupted a Fox News show called Day Side because afterward the host was asking people in the audience what they thought of Dean’s speech. The people queried seemed baffled and declared the speech “made no sense.” (I’ll try to find a transcript later.) It didn’t look like Dean made a good impression.

Update: OK, I found a little blurb where Dean said that it’s great that Saddam Hussein is in captivity, but it doesn’t change his policy on Iraq. That policy, by the way, was based on not doing anything to contain Saddam Hussein. Bravo, Governor!
Things just get worse and worse for Democrats: John Breaux to retire

They can forget about winning back the Senate; now the Democrats have to worry about losing their 40-seat filibuster machine.
And the Pats won yesterday! Duck Season has a picture from the Patriots-Jaguars game yesterday. Cool.
Like the script from a great movie

Sydney Morning Herald: "Let's negotiate, Saddam says"

But one of Saddam's arresting officers said yesterday that the dishevelled former dictator had immediately offered to negotiate when captured on Saturday night.

"He said: 'I'm Saddam Hussein, I'm the president of Iraq and I'm willing to negotiate'," recalled Major Brian Reed, operations officer for the first brigade of the Fourth Infantry Division.

Major Reed said he responded to Saddam: "President Bush sends his regards."

Quote of the day (so far!)
Yet another reason to love Bush

From the Washington Post story “For 14 long hours, keeping the secret

Bush told Rumsfeld that the capture must "be handled in a military fashion and be announced from Baghdad," a senior official said. Administration officials explained that they wanted the news to appear to be a victory for the Iraqi people rather than a personal triumph for Bush, who six months before the invasion called Hussein "a guy that tried to kill my dad," a reference to a 1993 assassination plot against former president George H.W. Bush.

Can you imagine Bill “The Big Me” Clinton doing the same?

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Survivor update

I'd like to write so much more, but I'm exhausted from the events of the day (that and shoveling snow). Let's just say that the second best thing to happen today was that bastard "Johnny Fairplay" only made it to #3. Sandra won Survivor with an overwhelming 6-1 vote over the insufferable Lil.
Andrew Sullivan finally posted some comments today. I liked this one best:

Taking Saddam alive - and giving him all the dignity of a bedraggled hobo - is about as big a propaganda victory as the forces against terror can hope to accomplish.

As Tom Brokaw noted this morning (paraphrasing T.S. Eliot): Saddam didn't go with a bang, he went with a whimper.
Weekend Pundit has “Thoughts on a Sunday Afternoon” including the foolhardy comments of John Kerry this morning.
United States Central Command has just updated their web page with this press release.
President Bush’s special day? They captured Saddam yesterday, December 13th, and that date stuck out in my mind. Three years ago, it was also the day that Al Gore gave his concession speech, effectively ending the contested 2000 election. Merry Christmas!
They knew last night: In his pre-MTP news appearances, Tim Russert said he attended some sort of holiday party last night and President Bush, VP Cheney, and CIA director George Tenet seemed "unusually festive." Unbelievably, the news held for at least a couple of hours. Now we all know.
President Bush will speak at noon today.
The morning news

My wife woke me up and said those four magical words: “They caught Saddam Hussein.” I leapt out of bed so quickly that my dog, who does not like sudden moves or loud noises, retreated to a corner. My heart, jolted out of sleep mode, started racing. This is just the greatest news.

There’s a powerful urging to gloat a little, to pour over recent statements by Democrats or the French, but I’m going to try to resist. (It’s hard, esp. after listening to John Kerry on Fox News this morning.) Right now I’m just going to pray that this leads to a collapse of insurgency action so that our troops can be a little safer. Then, I’m going to pray that Hussein gives up the weapons of mass destruction.

God bless the U.S. troops and the coalition forces. (More commentary later.)
Saddam Roundup: The Command Post has reports pouring in, NRO's Corner has ongoing commentary and Blogs for Bush has a very nice review of the blogosphere's reaction.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we got him"

Saddam Hussein captured by U.S. Forces
Saddam Hussein captured!
Update your links: Ryne McClaren and Ain't Done It have moved. While you're updating your blogroll, add Viking Pundit.
SNL gets it right too!

Am I living in Bizarro world? First the Washington Post slams Democrats, then Saturday Night Live has a skit with Al Gore “endorsing” Howard Dean and saying things like “only Howard Dean has the courage to massively raise taxes.” And I typed this dialogue in as it was spoken:

Gore impersonator: “As Paul Krugman said, George Bush is the worst leader of any nation on earth going back more than 500 years
Dean impersonator: “Really, worse than Hitler?”
Gore: “#3
Dean: “Pol Pot?”
Gore: “#6

Now that’s fair and balanced satire.
"Haven't you done enough harm to the party already?"

This political roundup in the Washington Post could have been written by the RNC. Wow, it’s brutal on the Democrats from Gore to Kerry.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Mark Steyn declares: "It's been a good year"

Twelve months ago, Saddam Hussein was sitting on his solid gold toilet. He’s now on the run, moving every few hours and unlikely ever again to feel even a standard black plastic seat against his bottom. His sons are dead, so there’s no possibility of dynastic succession. There has been a noticeable decline in the number of suicide bombings against Israel, suggesting the intifada is having some problems without its sugar daddy. Conversely, there’s been an increase in pressure on the Saudi Arabian and Iranian regimes.

I think the most striking thing about the past year is the new clarity. The United States is no longer going to turn a blind eye to terrorist states and Saudi back-channel funding of Islamofascism. Also, we're not going to say that our allies are allies when they don't do a single thing to help us when we ask (and, in fact, actively campaign against our goals). It's a new era of political incorrectness and it feels so good.

Friday, December 12, 2003

Past, present and future

Yesterday, George Will asked this rhetorical question:

For the July-September quarter, economic growth was 8.2 percent, the fastest since 1984, productivity growth was 9.4 percent, the fastest since 1983, and manufacturing reached its highest level since 1983. Is it pure coincidence that in 1983-84, as today, the nation was deep into the first term of a tax-cutting Republican administration?

Later in the day, the Conference Board seemed to answer it:

Revising its year-end economic forecast sharply upward, The Conference Board today projected that real GDP growth will hit 5.7% next year, making 2004 the best year economically in the last 20 years.

Of course, we all remember that 20 years ago Ronald Reagan squeaked out re-election over Walter Mondale. Will history repeat itself for the current Republican president? We’ll see!
The new Toast-O-Meter is up - yay!
Lots of Gore today

The Boston Globe: “Gore hurts Democrats with premature nod
Slate: “Why Al Gore was wrong to endorse Howard Dean
Krauthammer: “Gore’s role as Kingmaker
Al “I invented voice mail” Gore’s Lieberman snub

Via Betsy’s Page comes the “he said, she said” story behind how Al Gore failed to tell Joe Lieberman that he was endorsing Howard Dean. Karenna Gore Schiff describes how the former veep was trying to get Joe on the phone “the whole night.” Understandably, the Lieberman people see the story quite differently.

The Gore side sounds so phony. What, the Lieberman campaign doesn’t have answering machines, voice mail, cell phones, text messaging, fax machines, PDAs, BlackBerrys, or E-mail? No little pink pads reading “While you were out” lying about the campaign bus? Geez, the excuse is worse than the snub.
James Carville slams the Dean campaign – John Hawkins is there

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Survivor update – Grrrrrl Power rocks!

Lil, Darrah, and Sandra join forces to defeat evil
Burton wins reward and takes Jon to something with food (I didn’t watch) making the critical error of leaving the women together to plot. Finally, Sandra gets through to dopey Lil and church-mouse Darrah that their best strategy is to get rid of one of the men.

When the men return from food and rest, they realize their error because the women are putting on the worst acting performance since Jennifer Lopez in “Gigli.” “No, we didn’t talk to Sandra!” Knowing full well that all women do is gab and chatter, this causes a small panic between Burton and Jon who scramble to re-assemble alliances. Jon goes to Sandra and swears on his not-dead grandmother that he’ll carry her to the final three. Sandra swears on her kids that she’ll mumble..mumble..mumble. Only in confessional do we hear the whole thing: “I swore on my kids I’ll screw over Jon and Burton” Awesome!

Darrah wins immunity (third in a row!) and we see the men both vote “Lil.” Now I’m concerned because I know that bastard Mark Burnett likes to play with your head. But (hooray!) the chick-alliance holds and they kick off the strongest Survivor, Burton. With the Burton-Jon partnership gone, my feeling is that the empowered women will stick it to Jon next week unless he wins immunity. This seems an unlikely scenario since he has never won any challenge except for the one where he shamed everyone into rolling over because of his (not) dead grandmother.
When it's Lileks, do you even have to say "must read"?

Hooray! Mark at Random Nuclear Strikes found some non-Bleat Lileks today. Here's a longish excerpt:

Item! Dean, talking to Diane Rehm -- the Mother Teresa of Beltway radio -- excoriated Bush for undue privacy in the Sept. 11 investigation. It produced some "interesting" theories, Dean said, such as the idea that the Saudis warned Bush of the imminent attack. Very clever, this; it allowed Dean to move the charge from the fever swamps of Internet forums to the national spotlight. Did he believe it? Oh, no -- but it's interesting, he said, and can't be disproved. OK, then: Dr. Dean sealed his gubernatorial records, and this makes some suspect he was an abortionist who sold the sundered remains to Satanists for Black Mass rituals. Hey, it's an interesting theory. Until we see the records, who knows?

All these items are part of a disquieting trend: the mainstreaming of the extreme. Think of the GOP at the peak of its pique in the '90s. The Republicans didn't nominate a ranter who trafficked in "interesting" theories about Bill Clinton whacking Vince Foster for discovering the family coke ring. They nominated decent old Bob Dole, America's Poster Dad for erectile dysfunction. The party's nut jobs seethed in the margins -- which is why Bush could later win on the "Kinder-Gentler 2.0" program of compassionate conservatism. Republicans didn't want revenge so much as they wanted to win.

But the Democrats want revenge. For Florida. For Bush's refusal to let France and Germany decide American foreign policy. For invading poor, helpless, never-hurt-a-fly Iraq. For making the Dixie Chicks feel uncomfortable. Not for drilling in ANWR, but for wanting to. For this and a thousand other sins, Bush must pay -- and if al-Qaida detonates a nuke in the Baltimore harbor during President Dean's term, it'll be Bush's fault for toppling the fascists of Iraq without the approval of Syria and China.

Dow 10K - Dow closes above 10,000
Al Gore: Saboteur for the GOP?

Here’s a letter to the editor in today’s NYT:

To the Editor:
As a liberal Democrat, I'm dismayed that Al Gore, whose inept 2000 presidential campaign gave us George W. Bush in the White House, has acted to promote Mr. Bush's chances again by endorsing Howard Dean, whom a great many of us believe cannot win.

It was bad enough that Mr. Gore, in an era of peace and prosperity, still could not beat a lightweight like George Bush. Does Mr. Gore have to compromise our chances of regaining the White House next year as well?

Al’s got a gross of “Gore 2008” bumper stickers in his basement.
George Will has some questions

Most of them are on the Democrats’ views of unilateralism, but he concludes with this jab at Dean:

In the past nine presidential elections (1968-2000), the 11 states of the former Confederacy, plus Kentucky and Oklahoma, have awarded 1,385 electoral votes. Democratic candidates have won just 270 (20 percent) of them. Which Deanisms -- the war is bad, same-sex civil unions are good, Americans are undertaxed -- will be most helpful to Democrats down there?

How about "stop voting with your guns"? They'll love that one.
Senator Splunge tries comedy

Today’s NYT:

Faced with a presidential race suddenly recast by Al Gore's endorsement of Howard Dean, Senators Joseph I. Lieberman and John Kerry sharpened their attacks against Dr. Dean, with Mr. Kerry accusing him of inconsistency on the Iraq war and Mr. Lieberman saying Dr. Dean represented the party's past.

That’s killer material there.
Weaken the law and invite chaos

You would think that a decision to curtail first amendment rights would send the press into a fit of indignation. Instead, the papers today are downright giddy about the Supreme Court decision to uphold the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law. The consensus seems to be that political corruption is so rampant and detrimental to the American political body that any measure to slay this monster is welcome. The NY Times ran an editorial today titled “A campaign finance triumph” and blithely noted: “Given the choice of seeing the law as a restriction on speech or as a needed corrective to corruption in politics, the court came down firmly on the side of considering it a corrective.” The Washington Post believes that the ruling affirms “that the Constitution does not require a broken democracy in which the government is impotent in the face of a culture of influence peddling.”

“Broken democracy”??? America sits astride the world, the most dominant economic and military force in the history of the planet. This country is a paradise of opportunity and a destination for thousands of immigrants seeking a better life in a nation built on rights and laws. But now, for the first time ever, our lawmakers have decided that we can withstand a little less freedom to proscribe, in the Court’s words, “the ill effects of aggregated wealth on our political system.

Our legislators, President, and Supreme Court justices would have benefited from reviewing this dialogue from “A Man for All Seasons” before this crusade to destroy the Devil of “corruption”:

In his aptly-entitled play A Man for All Seasons, playwright Robert Bolt dramatizes a conversation between the impertinent William Roper and the discerning Thomas More. Roper, exasperated with the unwavering commitment of More to the rule of law, asks: "So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law?"

More responds:"Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?"

Roper, with all the sincerity of our own contemporary zealots of both the right and the left, retorts by exclaiming:"I'd cut down every law in England to do that!"

More replies: "Oh! And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you -- where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat! This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast -- man's laws, not God's -- and if you cut them down -- and you're just the man to do it -- do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of the law, for my own safety's sake."

The continuing humor of the NY Times corrections page

A front-page article on Wednesday about the Pentagon's decision to bar French, German and Russian companies from competing for reconstruction contracts in Iraq referred incorrectly to Germany's role on the United Nations Security Council. It is a temporary member, not a permanent one.

Right there on the front page. Tsk tsk tsk.
The Boston Globe’s sole conservative Jeff Jacoby has an opinion piece today that is highly critical of “The Party of Big Spenders.” Hint: it’s not the Democrats.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Bloggers think the Supreme Court has gone loopy

And there’s some fair criticism of Bush also for signing a campaign finance reform bill while under the assumption that the USSC would just overturn it anyway. That would have been a good time for a veto. (David Wissing: “Free Speech Limited” and Matthew Hoy: “This is a sad day for democracy in our country.” Power Line: “an abomination”)

No word yet from law professor and bloggus emeritus Glenn Reynolds, but Eugene Volokh (in a post titled “Newspapers are corporations, too") cites a passage from Clarence Thomas’ dissent where he warns: “The chilling endpoint of the Court’s reasoning is not difficult to foresee: outright regulation of the press.”

This terrible decision, this Pandora’s box, cannot be understated. Paging Nat Hentoff!

Final note from John Cole: “I am going to try to make sure that I am one of the first people arrested next year for violating this law.”
GMTA alert - Here's Dodd striking a similar chord: "What I cannot understand is how they also saw their way clear to upholding "restrictions on political ads in the weeks before an election." How regulating what people can say about a candidate for political office during an election campaign squares with the First Amendment is, frankly, incomprehensible to me."
Bizarro world update: Supreme Court restricts freedom of speech

Today the Supreme Court upheld much of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law: “Divided Court says Government can ban “Soft Money.” I have to say that as an amateur legal pundit, I’m a little stunned. The Court has always upheld that money equals speech for the same reasons that, say, the government could not restrict the press from spending whatever they wanted. But the political money/political speech argument is at least debatable. On this issue, however, I was completely floored:

“The court also voted 5-4 to uphold restrictions on political ads in the weeks before an election. The television and radio ads often feature harsh attacks by one politician against another or by groups running commercials against candidates.”

As the kids say: “Duh!” Of course political opponents attack each other in the run-up to an election. The Supreme Court has now decided when and how much we can spend on free speech; is it a matter of time before they decide what we can say?

This is a shameful, backwards opinion and a genuine erosion of first amendment rights. I can’t wait to read Justice Scalia’s comments and the next George Will article. (Question: does Scalia have to conclude his dissent with: “My name is Antonin Scalia and I approve of this dissent”?)
Liberal radio is on the air…and off - "Democrats' radio try sputters after 2 days" (Hat tip to Rantburg)
Rest in Peace: Only a handful of days after being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Wall Street Journal editor and Pulitzer Prize winner Robert L. Bartley died today at age 66.
A Simpsons/Futurama reference for every occasion

In response to this – “Europe tackles U.S. over Iraq contracts” – let me respond with this:

Horst: [threateningly] We Germans aren't all smiles und sunshine.
Burns: [recoils in mock horror] Oooh, the Germans are mad at me. I'm so scared! Oooh, the Germans!
[hiding behind Smithers] Uh oh, the Germans are going to get me!
Horst: Stop it!
Man 2: Stop, sir.
Burns: Don't let the Germans come after me. Oh no, the Germans are coming after me.
Man 2: Please stop the `pretending you are scared' game, please.
Horst: Stop it! Stop it!
Burns: [brief pause, then resumes] No! They're so big and strong!
Man 2: Stop it.
Horst: Stop it, Mr. Burns.
Man 2: Please stop pretending you are scared of us, please, now.
Burns: Oh, protect me from the Germans! The Germans...
Horst: Burns, STOP IT!

Extra: Moe sends over this wav file for fun. Thanks Moe!
In the words of Bender: “We’re boned

From Slate’s “Meet the Greedy Grandparents

Retirees eyeing this bounty feel no pangs of guilt, thanks to their unshakable conviction that they earned every dime by sweat and toil. In fact, economists Laurence Kotlikoff and Jagadeesh Gokhale say that a typical man reaching age 65 today will get a net windfall of more than $70,000 over his remaining years. A luckless 25-year-old, by contrast, can count on paying $322,000 more in payroll taxes than he will ever get back in benefits.

More like the “Grabbiest” Generation.
Wednesdays are for W

Yesterday on CNN, I caught a bit of what George Soros’ money is paying for: a commercial by MoveOn branding Bush as a Santa Claus for special interests. Now that Democrats are prevented from raking in large sums of cash from Hollywood millionaires, “advocacy” groups like MoveOn are the Dems best method of circumventing campaign finance laws. After watching this laughable ad, I was secretly hoping that Soros and Streisand continue to pour all their treasure into this feckless propaganda.


Help to counter the Dems circus sideshow by donating or giving your time to the campaign to re-elect President Bush. Also, visit or join Blogs for Bush and visit these bloggers who are supporting the “Wictory Wednesday” effort. Thank you.
Gore and Dean – birds of a feather

Here’s William Saletan on Dean’s performance last night:

Dean's problem is that his fibs are increasingly conspicuous. He accused Koppel of spending the debate's first 75 minutes on Iraq, a statement whose falsity was obvious to anyone who had watched from the beginning. Dean also blamed Fox News for having prompted him to talk about the "theory" that Bush had been warned beforehand about 9/11, when in fact Dean had broached that idea on NPR's Diane Rehm Show. Memo to Dean: Clean up your accuracy, or you'll go the way of the guy who just endorsed you.

Zing! The Boston Globe was also unimpressed. How’s this for a headline: “Dean mumbles and rambles.”
Terry McAuliffe: Human excrement

From yesterday’s edition of CNN’s Crossfire:

CARLSON: Terry, one of the reasons so many Washington Democrats don't like Howard Dean, apart from the fact he doesn't like them, is because they recognize he can't win because he's too radical.

Case in point, a week ago, a week and a half ago, he suggested, implied, that President Bush may have been informed about 9/11 ahead of time by the Saudis. He kept open that possibility. That's out of bounds and outrageous, isn't it?

MCAULIFFE: No, it's not.

I dislike Howard Dean for so many reasons, but one is that he has publicly stated that he wants to purge the DNC of Clintonites like Terry. Please, Howard, don’t do it!

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Great headline: "Dems Criticize Bush, Omit Facts Sometimes"

In other words: "Democrats Gripe and Lie"
Irrational exuberance?

Coming on the heels of the Dow’s brush with 10K today, Jane Galt has a great post on the 1990’s stock market and how our mindset changes when we avoid reality for too long. Meanwhile, Rob at Business Pundit wonders whether we’re seeing a real estate bubble now.
The answers are "No and yes"

The questions asked by Jonah Goldberg: "Am I nuts or is Terry McAuliffe the worst major party chairman in modern memory?"
Senior writer Dan Balz answered some questions for the WashPost on Election 2004: is Gore taking the Nixon route to the presidency and what’s up with Kerry’s campaign?
Fun with adjectives

Oh, I'm gettin' nuttin' for Christmas
Mommy and Daddy are mad.
I'm getting nuttin' for Christmas
'Cause I ain't been nuttin' but bad

Al Gore today: “Saddam Hussein is a bad guy”

Allegedly, Saddam put a tack on teacher’s chair, hid a frog in sister’s bed, and, oh yeah, murdered 61,000 Baghdadis.

Somebody snitched on him!
Gosh darn it, people like Bush

Here's Mort Kondracke: "2004 Shaping Up To Be McGovern Versus Reagan"

This looks to me like a deja vu presidential election, with the Democratic candidates all resembling their party's past losers and President Bush setting himself up for a 1972- or 1984-style landslide.

Kondracke also makes the case that, just like Reagan, Americans generally like President Bush as a person. This is going to contrast sharply with the angry Democratic base and their tempestuous, razor-tongued candidate Howard Dean.
Breathtaking cynicism on the Dean bandwagon

I'd like to write more about the Gore endorsement (just saw it on TV) but I have to run off this morning. But I will note this: although Al Gore eventually said that he agreed with Dean on the Iraq policy (we were helpfully informed that Saddam Hussein was a "bad man") Gore spent the first portion of his speech saying that his endorsement was based on the fact that Howard Dean energizes Democrats on the grass roots level.

That is, Al Gore endorsed Howard Dean not because of his policies but because Dean's campaign has a lot of momentum. Then the former VP offered up the "freeze the field" advice of "speak ill of no Democrats" - which is great advice if you're the front-runner.

Before the annoucement, Jonah Golberg noted: "More important, it underscores how unserious Al Gore has become on the war on terrorism." [Emphasis added] That adjective is one I use often for the Democrats and there has been nothing in their words or actions to disabuse me of that characterization.
Ramesh Ponnuru on the Corner: "Come to think of it, the Ds now have a candidate with McGovern's foreign policy, Mondale's domestic policy, Dukakis's regional background, and Gore's arrogance. How perfect is that?"

Monday, December 08, 2003

More on Gore from the Wash Post

"This is huge," said Donna Brazile, Gore's 2000 campaign manager. "This gives Dean the credibility he's been lacking, from someone from the inside of the party. This will give Dean a tremendous boost in locking down the nomination."

The Wash Post article hints that Gore may have endorsed Dean as a way to unify the Democratic party behind one candidate. (And what a candidate!) The flip side of that is Dean can look forward to almost a full year of Republican attacks.
The worst holiday season John Kerry ever had

How much worse can things get for Kerry? He leads in none of the early primary states and in New Hampshire he's fighting for second place (a distant second place, I might add.) His one hope to turn things around might have rested with Al Gore who has a biography nearly identical to Kerry's: both are sons of privilege raised in exclusive schools, both are Vietnam vets and U.S. Senators. I'm curious to hear Gore's rationale for backing Dean.

I know there's not a chance of this happening since campaigns tend to have their own inertia, but how great would it be if Kerry just calls it quits tomorrow? He's going to lose anyway, but if he bows out now he can do so with an iota of dignity. On the other hand, if Kerry goes out on that stage tomorrow night, he's going to unleash a firestorm of anti-Dean rhetoric that is going to make him look desperate and small. And you know that no matter what the others throw at Dean, he'll stand there like a stone Buddha. The game is over.

Oh yeah, him too: As Matt Welch reminds us, this is a huge snub for former VP man Joe Lieberman also.
Gore to endorse Dean - It might be too late but the final Dem debate in New Hampshire tomorrow night is going to be a drag-out, last-ditch, bare-knuckle brawl. This is the last chance the other candidates have to stop Dean.
Dow 10K approaches

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks look set to float upward next week, with the Dow closing in on the psychologically sensitive 10,000 level, as investors expect the Federal Reserve to leave interest rates unchanged at its Tuesday meeting, keeping the economy pumped with cheap money.
Fred Barnes explodes the Donks’ agitprop on patriotism: “The Last Refuge of the Democrats.” – “The claim that Democrats are targets of a political low blow by being labeled unpatriotic has become a Democratic refrain.”
Correction: Dodd's breaking my chops about Nader. If he runs in 2004, it will be his third try for the Presidency. Thank you, Miserable Failure.

(Thought I forgot, didn't you?)
Life imitates a Brady Bunch episode: Library book returned 94 years overdue.
Robert Tagorda has moved his Priorities to MT. Update your link.
Green upset in San Francisco?

After losing the governor’s mansion to the GOP in a humiliating recall election, California Democrats are flying in national figures to fend off a threat from the left. Green candidate Matt Gonzalez is within striking distance of winning the mayoral race in San Francisco, thus knocking off Willy Brown’s protégé Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom. Boots and Sabers welcomes the coming train wreck and American Prowler touches on the superficiality of SF voters.

A Green victory in San Francisco could (in my opinion) have national implications. First, if Gonzalez makes good on his promise to raise the minimum wage in Frisco to the “highest in the nation” it would be a dream for conservatives who would surely chart the flight of businesses from the Bay Area. Also, it would be intolerable for egomaniac Ralph Nader to be the second-best Green candidate in the country. A Gonzalez win could force Nader back into the limelight for a second run at the Presidency, which would be a huge boost for Bush’s re-election.

Extra: More on SF from Hedgehog Report and Rantburg.