Saturday, January 31, 2004

Classless Warfare has a delicious piece of gossip about the expecting Gwyneth Paltrow: she doesn’t want her child “raised” in the “over-patriotic” U.S.A. but her pal Madonna said that British hospitals are no good, so guess where Gwyneth will give birth to her baby?

No. Not France.
Sunlight is a disinfectant

From John Kerry's stump speech:

One choice is fundamental: I’m running for President so you will have a President who’s on your side, and who will take on the powerful interests that stand in your way.

From today's WashPost: "Kerry Leads in Lobby Money"

Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who has made a fight against corporate special interests a centerpiece of his front-running campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, has raised more money from paid lobbyists than any other senator over the past 15 years, federal records show.

Drip drip drip...the truth is coming out, Senator.
The pre-Feb. 3rd Toast-O-Meter is up at Poliblog. Toasty good.

Friday, January 30, 2004

Go Patriots!

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady chats with coach Bill Belichick during practice warmups.

I got "9" (Pats) and "5" (Panths) in the office pool. Bleah.
A whole lot of nothin’

From the WashPost: “Kerry defends record against rivals, Republicans

Kerry's Senate record also came under attack from Dean, whose campaign put out a list of "lowlights" of his tenure. The statement said that only nine of 371 bills Kerry sponsored became law, and that six of those were "of a ceremonial nature."

So three “real” laws in 19 years = less than one law every Senate term. What a fighter!
Even more fun!

From Business 2.0: The 101 dumbest moments in business, 2003 edition

#20: After years of bombarding Web surfers with annoying pop-up ads, wireless camera maker X10 files for bankruptcy in October, listing debts of more than $10 million. Among the parties stiffed: AOL, Google, Yahoo, and, which won $4 million in a lawsuit against X10 shortly before the bankruptcy filing.

That one's my fave.
Funniest concluding paragraph of the day: Moe urged me to check out the end of this story about that exploding whale in Taiwan. So I did...what an experience.
Funniest headline of the day: 'Flight risk' bolts from court
While attorneys debate his immediate incarceration before a judge, Raymond Jessi Snyder makes a short-lived escape. (Via Fark)
The truth will out

Here’s Mort Kondracke in “Comeback Kerry now faces intense scrutiny of record”:

Although in speeches he claims to have "fought for" various causes in Congress, it's hard to name a major piece of legislation that bears his name.

. . . . . . .

The Boston Globe observed last year that in 1984, Kerry said he would cancel the B-1 bomber and the B-2 stealth bomber; the Apache helicopter; the Patriot missile; F-15, F-14 and Harrier jets; and the Aegis air-defense cruiser.

The Globe also reported that he advocated cuts in other systems, including the Abrams tank, Bradley fighting vehicle and Tomahawk missile, all critical to U.S. military success in Afghanistan and Iraq.

And while Kerry legitimately surrounds himself with fellow Vietnam War veterans and protests GOP cuts in veterans' programs, opponents point out that he never sought an appointment to the Veterans' Affairs Committee, where he could have had an impact on policy.

Too low-profile, right Senator?
How to run against Kerry

Andrew Sullivan thinks that the “liberal” attack is passĂ©, and it’s much better to attack Kerry for being all over the map on any given issue: “Make him look weak and vacillating rather than extreme and liberal.”

Ah, the “Senator Splunge” strategy. I approve, but I would also throw in a heaping reminder of Kerry’s less-than-stellar legislative career. At every campaign stop, every speech, he’s always fighting fighting fighting for Americans…yet the fight stops short of introducing legislation to help. (You know, his job.) Even Kerry must realize his vulnerability on this issue since he tried to paper it over in last night’s South Carolina debate:

And one of the things that happens in Congress is, you can in fact write a bill, but if you're smart about it, you can get your bill passed on someone else's bill and it doesn't carry your name.

If you’re smart about it”….like me! To which Mickey Kaus retorts:

Ah, so Kerry was a backroom legislative genius, he just kept all his achievements hidden! That's so like him!

This is a vulnerability for Kerry: when he says he “led the fight” for an issue, just what exactly does that mean? Had lunch with the bill’s sponsor? Made a speech on the Senate floor? Voted for an amendment? It’s all so unclear and therefore damaging to Kerry in a time when clarity is a highly-valued commodity.
Matthew Hoy incinerates Krugman today with a tremendous buuuuuurn on a certain Carnegie report. Honestly, I can’t read that guy anymore (Krugman I mean! Hoy’s great.)
Least surprising headline of the day: Medicare Drug Cost Estimate Increases
The Big Me speaks

This guy has absolutely no humility:

Kerry has won the first two Democratic contests in Iowa and New Hampshire. But Clinton said the race is far from over, and the Democrats have "got a good field."

"You may know what's going to happen, but I don't," he told reporters. "I like all these people. I admire them. They made a contribution to whatever good I was able to do for the American people, and I'm not going to get involved in it."


Thursday, January 29, 2004

Pre-debate predictions

The Democrats are debating in South Carolina tonight:

1.) Kerry will say "That dog won't hunt"
2.) Dean will condemn "Washington Insiders"
3.) Edwards will be nice
4.) Sharpton will say that Democrats want blacks to be a mistress but "won't take us home to Mom."
5.) Kerry will say "I don't need a lesson" or "I don't need any lectures" or something like that when pressed. Vietnam will be mentioned soon afterward.
An embarrassment of riches

That’s how the Economist characterizes the issues on which Karl Rove can work over John F’n Kerry based on his Senate career. The list includes my favorite angle of attack (emphasized here):

Mr Rove has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to tagging the senator as a tax-and-spend paleoliberal who believes in coddling drug addicts, abolishing the death penalty and protecting partial-birth abortion. Mr Kerry has offended against Americans' God-given right to cheap petrol by advocating a 50-cent increase on the tax on it; he has also called for steep cuts in funding for the FBI and restrictions on the CIA.

When you’re sitting on the Ketchup Fortune, you don’t mind the extra expense when your driver tops off the Suburban.
Ripped back to reality: Seven American soldiers killed in Afghanistan blast
Hey Eric! Check it out: 316.7 - I swatted that penguin good!

Corked bat version? The same game found here has a penguin that flies much further (score: 481 on a single try).
Senator Splunge says: I’m for/against the war (circle one)

The New Republic digs up some letters Kerry sent to one constituent in regards to the 1991 Gulf War…and he’s not being indecisive!
Everyone believed it

Jeff Jacoby has a column today titled “A just war, with or without WMD” with this passage:

Even Saddam's own military officers believed there were stockpiles of illegal weapons. In its Page 1 story on Kay's findings, The New York Times noted that while "no Special Republican Guard units had chemical or biological weapons . . . all of the officers believed that some other Special Republican Guard unit had chemical weapons. `They all said they didn't have it, but they thought other units had it,' Dr. Kay said." For those of us who never believed that the case for toppling Saddam depended primarily on his possession of unconventional weapons, the fact that he no longer possessed them changes very little. The war was right and proper because Saddam was a homicidal dictator who ruled with staggering brutality, because he provided support to international terrorists, and because Ba'athist Iraq was a threat to its neighbors.

Make no mistake: this is still an intelligence failure. But, honestly, if everybody in Iraq believed there were weapons programs – just that somebody else was working on them – this is the kind of chatter the CIA depends on to make a conclusion. Plus, there’s the fact that Hussein used chemical weapons against the Kurds and nobody believed he would willfully give up his stockpiles.
Mickey Kaus notes that on every issue, John Kerry claims he “fights hard” but Kaus calls his bluff on welfare reform.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

I say, old chap, your hoop game is somewhat sub-par

Macalester College makes the chilling statement that "freedom of expression does not include the right to intentionally and maliciously aggravate, intimidate, ridicule or humiliate another person."

Check your local college at
Killing time in the Senate

Via Betsy’s Page, here’s a part of an internal memo from the Kerry staff

8. You'll be tempted to ask the research shop to get you a memo on The Candidate's achievements in Congress. Save yourself some time and don't.


Update: Thanks to Eric Berlin, who pointed out that the memo was a spoof.
Speaking of that Western Mass station: they're having an online poll asking "Would you be willing to pay higher taxes in order to avoid further budget cuts?" You know what to do....
Wednesdays are for W

Just now on my local Western Massachusetts TV station, an older man (apparently a Dean supporter) said about Kerry that [paraphrasing] “He’s been in the Senate for a long time but he hasn’t done much.” He’s not wrong. Kerry has been a moth to the camera lights and has sat on many high-profile investigations, but he’s done almost nothing for Massachusetts or the country:

Asked what he has accomplished during his 19 years in the Senate, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry gives a lengthy answer but has a short list of laws that bear his name.

So in nearly twenty years, he’s introduced almost no legislation and (when he votes) Kerry has been a rubber stamp for Ted Kennedy, voting with the senior senator nearly 100% of the time. If you want to see what some of those votes were, see PoliPundit’s post on Blogs for Bush.

Now’s the time to volunteer or donate to the George W. Bush re-election effort. Also, if you want to join the lengthy “Wictory Wednesday” blogroll, click here. It's important. Thanks.
Mickey Kaus on the unlikable Senator Splunge

Reporters dread the idea of spending the next six months covering Kerry (the expression "Shoot me now" was heard when his picture came on the screen). The only way out--the only way to make the race interesting--is to present voters with a ... fuller picture of the New Hampshire winner. ... CeCi Connolly, our nation turns it's lonely eyes to you! Doesn't Kerry remind you of ... Al Gore? I think he does! ... And why do I feel the Democrats are due for the worst case of Buyer's Remorse in the modern history of the country!

Seriously, you have to wonder about the depth of support for a candidate who only two months ago was trailing in every poll in his home state (scroll down to Massachusetts).
In case you missed it: John Edwards was on the Today show and Lauer asked him if he would consider a vice-presidential role, such as Kerry-Edwards. Edwards said "no."

Not so emphatically, mind you, that he couldn't change his mind later, but "no."

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Updated results before I go to bed: KDCEL (although C & E are extremely close with 82% reporting). Nobody picked that combination in my prediction list. Eh.

Here’s a minor shocker: President Bush got only 200 fewer votes than Sharpton.
Let’s get ready to rumble

Another blurb from that New Republic article:

Like I said, I see no reason to believe Kerry can take a punch.

Which closely mirrors my comment here about the thin-skinned Senator:

Take note when he is cornered in a debate: reflexively Kerry will bring up Vietnam as a means to shut off attack.

Now here’s Mark Steyn on how the Dems settled for Kerry and foreshadowing the pummeling he’s about to see now that he’s the bona-fide front runner:

When the unknown becomes known, his numbers slide and the media and the Dems go off in search of a new white knight. Last week, things were so desperate that the only fellow left for the white-knight role was John Kerry, Vietnam veteran and spouse of ketchup heiress Theresa Heinz. Hitherto, the somnolent Kerry had been written off as remote and detached, but these are small sins next to angry (Dean) and kooky (Clark). The Ketchup Kid is a default choice, the least unwhite knight. In the weeks ahead, he too will become known.

"What are you guys doing?
Puttin’ on the foil, coach!"
Remember when Triumph was on Leno and said….

The poop I made in the dressing room had more heat than John Kerry”? I miss those days.

But I digress…What’s the lesson for tonight? As this New Republic piece details (abridged somewhat on the Corner), the Democrats are truly a party without an ideology. In the past they’ve been characterized (correctly) as a collection of special interests, but tonight it became clear that the Donks are out for blood and they’ll pick anybody who demonstrates the most “electability.”

Look at the Dean surge and collapse. He had the money, then he got the endorsements, then he got the magazine covers: it was all so easy. But looking back, the Democrats really didn’t give a damn that he was the only one who “stood up” to President Bush while every other “Washington Democrat” voted for war in Iraq. All they cared about was the “Big Mo” and Dean had it.

Electable electable electable – confederate flag gaffe – still electable – Iowa loss – still electable – “Yeahhhhh!” – KERRY, we were with you all along!

Simply put, the Dems would have nominated Sharpton if he had been the most “electable.” Take note Senator Splunge: your support is a mile wide and an inch deep.
Early N.H. whispers: Rich Lowry says Kerry, Dean, Clark/Edwards (tied), and Lieberman. The Wonkette has a Deep Throat working somewhere and confirms this order.
Has there ever been an economist more insouciant about actual numbers?

Whew…Krugman’s really on a bender today. If his column was a man walking down the street, mothers would be shielding their children and crossing the street in a quick trot. The Krugman article would be muttering to itself, raving like a Lyndon Larouche pamphlet, and making no sense whatsoever. This paragraphed Bowery Bum would grab men roughly by the lapels and scream: “The End is Near!”

For you see, only Paul Krugman – the ever-perceptive! – can see the gathering dangers around us:

And this was part of a larger con. What's playing out in America right now is the bait-and-switch strategy known on the right as "starve the beast." The ultimate goal is to slash government programs that help the poor and the middle class, and use the savings to cut taxes for the rich. But the public would never vote for that.

So the right has used deceptive salesmanship to undermine tax enforcement and push through upper-income tax cuts.
And now that deficits have emerged, the right insists that they are the result of runaway spending, which must be curbed.

Foolish humans! Can’t you see the fiendish plans the Republican have put in motion?

It’s all about the tax cuts for the “rich” says Krugman along with a willful curtailing of tax enforcement. That’s the only thing driving up the deficit to record levels. All that so-called “spending”? – an illusion!

Is domestic spending really exploding? Think about it: farm subsidies aside, which domestic programs have received lavish budget increases over the last three years? Education? Don't be silly: No Child Left Behind is rapidly turning into a sick joke.

Surely even Paul Krugman has heard of the Internet (aka the “Web”). Sometimes when you’re looking for statistics to shore up an argument, the “Web” is just the ticket! Look at what I found in about twenty seconds of searching: the Department of Education budgets for the last 25 years.

Dept. of Education appropriations in 2000 (last Clinton budget): $38.4 billion
Dept. of Ed spending in 2001 (first Bush budget): $42.1 billion (+10%)
Dept. of Ed spending in 2002: $56.2 billion (+33%)
Dept. of Ed spending in 2003: $63.2 billion (+12%)
Total increase from 2000-2003: +65%

Is this “exploding” spending? Krugman says “Don’t be silly.”
What media bias?

The continuing humor of the NY Times Corrections page:

Because of an editing error, a front-page article yesterday about David A. Kay, the C.I.A.'s former weapons inspector, misstated his view of whether the agency's analysts had been pressured by the Bush administration to tailor their prewar intelligence reports about Iraq's weapons programs to conform to a White House political agenda. Mr. Kay said he believed that there was no such pressure, not that there was.

Was, wasn't, "whatever" says the Times.
When campaign stops go wrong

Heard about this on NPR last night, but Country Store has some details. John Edwards made a campaign stop at a bowling alley...during league night. The regulars were not happy with the throng gathered for a political rally.

Monday, January 26, 2004

Will it be KD or DK?

Wow! Lots of predictions on New Hampshire keep rollin' in (below). Voting starts at midnight at Dixville Notch. (Full list updated 1/27 8:30 AM)
Senator Splunge says the South can "Go to hell!" Daniel Drezner responds: "John Kerry, Political Idiot."
Pundits pulverize plutocrats’ populist positions

The anti-business backlash begins with Andrew Sullivan, commenting on an “awful” John Kerry speech on C-Span:

I must say I find his Shrum-populism sad and dumb at the same time - the pathetic demonization of drug companies, and the vapid citation of Enron and Worldcom in whatever context he feels like dumping on Bush, to name a couple of examples.

Which sets off Professor Bainbridge:

Personally, I am getting very tired of plutocrat populists like Al Gore, John Kerry, and John Edwards (or, for that matter, Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan). As for Gore and Kerry, it's hard to believe people from their privileged backgrounds are really populists down deep. As for all of them, they can afford to be populists. Being zillionaires all, they can afford to pay the high marginal tax rates they propose. Not that they will, of course, since they can also afford to hire tax wizards to shield most of their income. Instead, it is those who are doing fairly well but aren't rich that will bear the burden of paying for all their fancy programs.

And the Business Pundit follows up with a Fortune magazine quote about how the Democrats’ are addicted to demonizing “Big Business.”

There is an implication by some that business should exist to provide jobs and health care, and that profit is a bad thing because it only benefits the rich.

Of course, if you hold company stock or have a 401(k), you’re not quite so anti-business when your investments rise on strong profits.
New Hampshire predictions

Back by popular demand – updated 1/27 3:30PM EST

Viking Pundit: KDELC
Captains Quarters: KDEC
Tomfoolery: KDELC
Boots and Sabers: KDLEC
California Yankee: KDECL
Election Projection: KDECL
Insignificant Thoughts: KDE
Ryne McClaren: KDECL
Between the Coasts: KEDLC
Evangelical Outpost: KCED
Ipse Dixit: DEKLC
Eric Berlin: KDELC
Political Junkie: KDELC
Bush Blog (Josh): DKLEC
Politburo Diktat: CKDEL
Mark Kilmer: KEDCL
Slant Point: KDEC
PoliBlog: DKELC
Independent Thinker: KDECL
Prof. Bainbridge: KDECL
Robert Tagorda: KDECL
Dan Drezner: KDELC
Duck Season: DKELC
Radley Balko: KDECL
Andrew Sullivan: KDE
Hedgehog Report: KDECL
Chip Griffin: KEDLC
John J. Miller: KDECL
Mark Steyn: KDELC
Zonitics: KDLEC
FauxPolitik: KDECL

This post is CLOSED - results are trickling in....

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Obscure culture alert: Today, a song from my earlier days that was not in the top ten, escaped the black hole of radio programming and came through on my tinny Subaru speakers. I was transported back to junior high and I slowly mouthed the lyrics. It was….it was…holy crap, it was “Pilot of the Airwaves” by one-hit wonder Charlie Dore! (peaked at #13 in 1980)

Pilot of the airwaves
Here is my request
You don’t have to play it
But I hope you’ll do your best

This was followed up later by a guest voice appearance of Thomas Pynchon on The Simpsons. Crazy.
New Hampshire predictions: Since it was so popular last week for Iowa, I'm going to compile blogger predictions for the N.H. primary. I'll make my usual rounds (for example, I see that the Captain has already guessed KDEC) but if you'd like to Email your prediction, I'd be happy to add it to the list.

I'll get the ball rolling: I'm saying KDELC. So I guess my big "surprise" prediction is that Clark will finish behind Joe Lieberman who has been largely ignored since Iowa. Meanwhile, Clark has been making one gaffe after another (he was awful on "Meet the Press" this morning.)

Bonus: John McLaughlin ("The McLaughlin Report") predicted a Dean-Kerry finish in New Hampshire.
A Zionist plot? – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has an online poll asking “Who is your choice from the Democratic national candidates?” Joe Lieberman (!) is leading with 57%. Hahahahahaha!!!! (Hat tip to Free Republic)
Awesome! Opportunity lands on Mars and sends pictures. Martians keep looking at each other and saying: “Now what was that?”
On loathing Kerry

Via Instapundit comes this Mickey Kaus post (with many like-minded links) on why Kerry generates a viscerally negative response from people and pundits. Here’s Kaus:

But I think Kerry's problem isn't simple, run-of-the-mill calculating opportunism. It's more comically transparent calculating opportunism, of which his Jewish "epiphany" is a good illustration. In other words, his opportunistic zig-zagging is so instantaneous and shameless -- changing week-to-week in the case of Iraq -- that it becomes counterproductive, losing Kerry the benefit the opportunism is supposed to gain. [Emphasis in original]

But I like this characterization from a Boston magazine article (no link available):

…thin-skinned panderer who poses as a courageous, post-partisan freethinker on issues such as education and campaign finance reform, but bails out when the going gets tough.

After watching Kerry these past months, I entirely agree with the thin-skinned part. Take note when he is cornered in a debate: reflexively Kerry will bring up Vietnam as a means to shut off attack. Many times I’ve heard the following: “I don’t need a lesson in (patriotism, killing, courage, national security) from the likes of (Howard Dean, George Bush, William Weld).” This outburst usually has the same halting response as Ronald Reagan’s “I paid for this microphone” blast.

When Karl Rove finally releases the hounds on Kerry (assuming he’s the nominee), Senator Splunge will start blurting out “Vietnam” like somebody with Tourette’s Syndrome. After ten months of that, even Teresa will ask him to shut up.
William F. Buckley on John F. Kerry

Already, Candidate Kerry has voted in the direction of retreat, when he refused to approve the supplementary appropriations requested by Bush. If, when summer comes, the Iraqi engagement is still equivocal, will he treat it as he did Vietnam, as the embodiment of U.S. hate and fear and hypocrisy? Isn't the voter entitled to wonder about the reliability of a President Kerry who deemed past U.S. commitments transitory, en route to becoming dishonorable?

In other words: Senator Splunge. Whatever you want to hear, right now, is Kerry's response.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

Run Ralph Run: it looks like Ralph Nader is still making up his mind on whether to run. I think Ralph should run and let America decide (heh heh heh).
Miserable failure miserable failure miserable failure
Americans for Democratic Action provides statistical proof: Kerry is more liberal than Kennedy
All shook up - NOT: Follow the links in this post from Terpsboy for some Etch-A-Sketch art. That's some wild stuff there, much better than my "sailboat".
All is lost! Kerry defeats Bush!

That’s the screamer from this Newsweek poll; that tool of the right wing Fox News merely states “Kerry closes in on Bush.”

I would keep the champagne corks unpopped at the DNC. In my opinion, the surge in Kerry’s numbers reflect a single advantage: he didn’t yelp a wacky primal scream after the Iowa caucuses. Other than that, what do Americans know about Senator Splunge?

The NY Times had an article today on some of Kerry’s past positions, but the New Republic had some killer material. Here’s one issue that I think could be devastating for Kerry in the general election:

Senator Kerry describes himself as a deficit hawk, so, in 1994, he was furious when the deficit-busting Concord Coalition gave him a failing grade of 29 percent for fiscal responsibility. In a blustery response to the Globe's Jill Zuckman, he complained (with justification) that the Coalition's methodology had made him look less responsible than he really is: "It doesn't reflect ... my support for a 50-cent increase in the gas tax." He was right. It didn't. But, once the Globe corrected that omission, Weld took the opportunity to blast Kerry's support for a 50-cent increase in the gas tax almost daily during the Senate race.

Fifty cents a gallon! [Disclaimer: I commute >100 miles a day.] Consider that the governor of California was just recalled in no small part due to his support for a car excise tax, one that Schwarzenegger quickly repealed after taking office. Lesson: don’t screw with people’s cars. Of course the Kerry campaign will disavow such a steep tax now, but are Americans willing to let a President Kerry into office and take that risk? I think not.

Those popularity numbers for Kerry are the ceiling. Once the Rove machine starts humming, and the other unsavory details of Kerry’s left-of-Kennedy voting record come to light, he’ll be coming back to earth like Icarus.
Don't take New Hampshire for "Granite"

Sorry about that. Steven has the pre-N.H. Toast-O-Meter up a little late: he had to glue a lot of croutons together since Iowa. And the PoliPundit says that tracking polls are near-useless in New Hampshire where they missed the John McCain surge last time by 18 points.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Farewell, Captain Kangaroo

May your heaven be free of ping-pong balls.
Syria in the crosshairs? Tom Paine at Silent Running speculates on hitting Hizbollah and the consequences for “Young Frankenstein” (Assad).
Western Massachusetts update - See why Roger Kimball is saying: “They don’t call it the People’s Republic of Amherst for nothing.”
Sports interlude: The top 10 most preposterous opening ceremonies (via Fark)
Fight Club

Here’s part of the transcript from last night’s Dem debate:

KERRY: I look forward to that fight, and I particularly want to have that debate with this president. I am a veteran. I fought in a war. I've been a prosecutor. I've sent people to jail for the rest of their life. I have, as a lieutenant governor, helped to fight to create a national plan on acid rain to protect our rivers and lakes and streams for the future. As a senator, I've stood up for years and fought for fairness.

Now here’s the opening of a WashPost article: “Senate Passes Funding as Democrats Relent”:

The Senate approved a long-overdue $328 billion bill to fund most federal agencies yesterday after Democrats abandoned a fight over overtime pay, food labeling and other contentious issues that had held up the legislation.

Not voting on HR 2673: Kerry, Edwards, Lieberman

Must have been somebody else's fight....
Roger hates Derrick Jackson

But he’s gotta love this article today: “Kerry still needs to explain war vote

Kerry boasted in the debate how during the Vietnam War, he and his fellow veterans told Nixon, "Mr. President, you sent us 8,000 miles away to fight, die and sleep in the jungles of Vietnam. We've earned the right to sleep on the Mall and talk to our senators and congressmen." We will know we have a truly different Democrat when Kerry apologizes for his role in sending men and women thousands of miles away to sleep and die in another war America did not have to fight.

Kerry had a good debate last night (so I hear) but this continued line of “I was duped!” always sounds weak and contrived.
"Switch to Decaf" - Political Wire has Howard Dean's top 10 list of "How I can turn things around" from Letterman.
Brit Hume for President

Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe thought he had the best performance last night, and it’s pretty clear he thought Clark had the worst: “Clark was awful -- whiny and defensive and acting nothing at all like a former four-star general.”

And, as if you didn’t need another reason to reject Clark, there’s this: his favorite record is “Journey’s Greatest Hits.” Ugh.

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Didn't I just say that?

From Fox News: "Kerry-Kennedy Ties Not Just Geographic"

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Kerry may stress a centrist stance while trying to woo primary voters on the campaign trail, but his voting record resembles that of one of the most liberal lawmakers in the Senate — chief backer and Massachusetts' Democratic dean, Edward Kennedy.

"He's a dyed-in-the-wool liberal. He's pretty much textbook, as liberal as you can get," said Tripp Baird, director of Senate relations for the conservative Heritage Foundation. "I don't care how you slice and dice his voting record, there is no way he is going to be able to avoid it."

Advantage: Viking Pundit!
The Economist on the SOTU address

Here are the concluding paragraphs of the Economist’s review:

If the state of the union is any guide, all this means that Mr Bush is planning to run on his record. With the economy rebounding, broad public support for the war on terror and big reforms in education and health under his belt, that may be understandable. But there is a risk. It is all very well claiming credit for, say, progress in Iraq, but this says nothing about the problems of transferring sovereignty in that country. It is fine to boast about the recovery, but this fails to address the problems of the soaring budget deficit in the short term. By refusing to offer some new theme for a second term, Mr Bush will find it harder to reply to such criticisms.

But perhaps there will be a theme. Arguably, there has to be. If Mr Bush were to win, his second term would end on the verge of the baby boomers' retirement. It would be a last, last chance to solve the great problem of American domestic politics: reform of the entitlement programmes of Social Security and health care. That may be the unspoken subject of the 2004 campaign.

Lest we forget that Sword of Damocles hanging over future generations, here’s a refresher from today’s Boston Globe:

Some economists project that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, together with defense costs and interest on the national debt, will crowd out all other government commitments from the budget within eight years. By 2028, according to some estimates, the Social Security surplus the government uses to finance other programs will swing into deficit. By 2030, without significant changes, Social Security will rise to nearly 6 percent of GDP from 4.2 percent.

One of my great complaints about Bill Clinton is that as a lame-duck President and a Democrat, he had a unique opportunity to reform entitlements and avoid the sharp benefit cuts and/or massive tax increases that must follow if nothing is done. But, of course, he was “busy” with other stuff and it felt so much better to demagogue the Republicans if they had the temerity to suggest changes in the cornerstone of Democratic statism. It is my fervent hope that Bush finds the fortitude in his second term to make unpopular but necessary changes to entitlement programs before they engulf us all.

Extra: The Atlantic has “The $45 Trillion Problem
The Village Voice: Mondo New Hampshire

Kerry: “Buoyed by cheers from his supporters and a growing scrum of cameras and reporters, Kerry offered up a pitiful list of ideas that don't amount to a hill of beans: Let's buy drugs from Canada, and be nicer to veterans—at the very least let them see a doctor once in awhile. And hey, let's not give too much power to the special interests. While the New Hampshire voters who fought their way to seats in the college theater received the senator with politeness and attention, they issued few cheers, and greeted his statements with light applause. Kerry's lackluster speech may well have been due to laryngitis and tiredness. Whatever the case, he looked like a wind-up doll.”

Clark: “Yesterday Clark continued to run around like a chicken with its head cut off. Clark is now referring to himself as "General Smith Goes to Washington," and saying things like: "I'm the only one who has pitched in a major league game, and I can throw a 95-mile-per-hour fastball."”
(Gotcha Applause) – Matthew Hoy has a belated, but incisive, analysis of the State of the Union address and the Democratic response.
Mickey Kaus on Kerry

My favorite line: “[He’s] narcissistically theatrical in his staged indignation

And: “Bill Clinton was long-winded, but he passed the do-you-want-this-person-in-your-living-room test. I find it unimaginable that Americans could stand to listen to Kerry for 4 months, let alone 4 years. I'm hoping the voters of New Hampshire won't be able to take 4 days.”

That’s why I’m holding off on the pronouncement of Dean’s demise. There’s a debate tonight in Concord, Dean has a Diane Sawyer interview scheduled which will surely be all sweetness and light. (Watch for the bemused look on Dean’s face as Sawyer plays back the infamous “Yeaaaahhhh!” speech.) Dean still has plenty of cash and support; who knows how the race will change now that Gephardt’s out and Clark is imploding with increasingly bizarre remarks.
"War is the remedy that our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want." – William Tecumseh Sherman

“The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States, and war is what they got.” – George W. Bush

Extra: Victor Davis Hanson also makes an apt Civil War comparison in “The Election of 1864” – “Advantage: Commander-in-Chief
Ted Kennedy by Proxy

Via PoliPundit comes this Byron York article titled “AWOL in the fight against George W. Bush” that examines John Kerry’s voting record. I think it bears out my assertion yesterday that Kerry votes with Teddy “nearly 100% of the time.”

CQ found that in 2003, Kerry voted with Kennedy 93 percent of the time on roll-call votes in which both men were present. While that might seem like a lot, it was, historically, a rather low number for Kerry; who voted with Kennedy 100 percent of the time on key votes in 2001, 1999, 1998, 1993, 1992, 1989, 1988, 1987, 1986, and 1985, according to a Republican analysis of CQ's designated key votes from those years.

Now here’s the “rest of the story”: Kerry is more liberal than Kennedy

There are other indicators that Kerry's liberalism, when he is present for votes, matches or even exceeds Kennedy's and those of other liberal icons in the Senate. For example, Kerry has earned a lifetime rating of 93 from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action, which selects key votes each year and rates lawmakers according to a perfect liberal score of 100. Kerry's rating puts him in league with Kennedy, whose lifetime score is a slightly less-liberal 88, and other liberals like Vermont's Patrick Leahy, with 93, and California's Barbara Boxer, with 96.

As the Boston Globe reveals today, Kerry has been trying to retool his far left-wing image by breaking with Kennedy on some key votes this past year:

In anticipation of a long-considered presidential run, Kerry took deliberate steps over the years to shed the liberal New England label that is political poison in other parts of the country. In a speech at Yale University in 1992, he broke from standard liberal dogma by declaring affirmative action to be flawed. In 1995, he voted for a landmark welfare reform package at that the time was labeled "legislative child abuse" by Senator Edward M. Kennedy. In 1998, he gave another speech billed as a dramatic break with Democratic doctrine in which he proposed ending the teacher tenure system. His vote for the Iraq war resolution, which again put him at odds with Kennedy, is also viewed locally in terms of a desire to position himself as a centrist in a general election.

This is certainly all a ruse for his Presidential campaign. Kerry will revert to his 93% liberal rating the minute he wins or loses the election.
What Iowa means for the war on terrorism

Tom Friedman of the NY Times is thrilled about Howard Dean’s defeat in Iowa since it means the “Blair Democrats” understand the importance of the war on terrorism and a real alternative to the Bush policy in Iraq may emerge. Here’s the key passage about “what the real war on terrorism is about”:

First, this notion, put forward by Mr. Dean and Al Gore, that the war in Iraq has diverted us from the real war on "terrorists" is just wrong. There is no war on "terrorism" that does not address the misgovernance and pervasive sense of humiliation in the Muslim world. Sure, Al Qaeda and Saddam pose different threats, Mr. Marshall notes, "but they emerge from the same pathology of widespread repression, economic stagnation and fear of cultural decline." Building a decent Iraq is very much part of the war on terrorism.

Second, sometimes smashing someone in the face is necessary to signal others that they will be held accountable for the intolerance they incubate. Removing the Taliban and Saddam sent that message to every government in the area.

Third, the Iraq war may have created more hatred of the U.S., but it has also triggered a hugely important dialogue among Arabs and Muslims about the necessity of reform.

This may be the most significant – yet least discernable – aspect of the war on terrorism: getting the entrenched kleptocracies of the Middle East to understand that they must reform or die. Libya’s Khaddafi understands and Syria’s Assad is coming around. Even the Saudis are holding their own experiment with democracy by holding municipal elections. These are all steps in the right direction.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Wednesdays are for W

That's right it's "Wictory Wednesday" again where we ask readers to check out the George W. Bush re-election web site, visit other Wictory bloggers, and if possible donate or volunteer for the President's campaign.

The money is pouring into the "new" front-runner's coffers after Iowa, but consider this: John Kerry missed 59% of all the floor votes in the last session of the Senate. When he does show up to represent Massachusetts, he votes (nearly) 100% of the time with Ted Kennedy.

That's the possible choice in November 2004: Absent or Ted Kennedy's puppet.

Support George W. Bush's campaign now. Thanks.
The Dean bubble pops

Like an Internet start-up from the mid-90s, Dean’s stock has cratered in the Democratic Presidential Nomination Market. (Hat tip to Hit and Run).
Discriminations condemns John Kerry and John Edwards for racebaiting on the Pickering nomination.
George Will in today's WashPost: "The evidence from Iowa is sobering news for the White House. It is that the Democratic nominating electorate is serious about replacing George W. Bush. It understands that, come November, there would be many more Bush Democrats than Dean Republicans. In 2000 only about 10 percent of Democrats voted for Bush. Dean would be the Democratic nominee most apt to drive up that number."
Dean: “I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world

"There is nothing like it on this side of the infernal region," a northern soldier recalled. "The peculiar corkscrew sensation that it sends down your backbone under these circumstances can never be told. You have to feel it."
Kerry takes the lead in New Hampshire

From the Boston Globe “Kerry aims for repeat performance”:

Kerry gained ground last night in a Boston Globe/WBZ tracking poll, which indicated 27 percent of likely voters in the state favored him, while 24 percent were for Dean, 17 percent supported Clark, and 9 percent backed Edwards. The poll, conducted Monday night and last night, had a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.

Let’s see how a week as the “front runner” wears Kerry down.
Prediction: The Howard Dean Yelp will be the next Star Wars Kid

Via Tim Blair, here’s the James Lileks remix of Howard Dean’s post-Iowa speech. Gentlemen, start your audio-edit software!
The return of the Kerry Vote Watch: The U.S. Senate reconvened yesterday and Senator AWOL was nowhere to be found. Vote 0001 of 2004: Kerry not voting.
Some particularly good editorial cartoons on American RealPolitik today.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

SOTU snap review

A good speech...not great. The homeland security/war on terrorism part was on target, e.g. "we will not seek a permission slip." But the laundry list of programs got long and I was left to wonder whether the President of the United States needs to pronounce on steroids in professional sports.

I had on NBC and immediately after the speech, they gave John Kerry ten minutes to essentially rebut and denigrate the speech. What's up with that?!? Why not somebody impartial like Russert to comment? That was simply wrong.

The saving grace: the Democratic response (which is on as I type this) is a disaster. Nancy Pelosi flubbed her lines and seemed to have not heard Bush's speech. For example, how can she criticize the so-called "go it alone" approach after Bush rattled off 30+ countries helping the United States in Iraq? And Daschle is just sad....even when he's telling the truth, it seems like he's lying (or at least stretching). Unsurprisingly, every program in the country needs federal intervention and funding. Much more funding.

Extra: The Poliblogger feels the same way on the Kerry airtime and Robert Prather also agrees on the anemic Democratic response.
All is well!”

Pejman excerpts a Mort Kondracke blurb on the youth vote, which has shifted convincingly into the GOP column. It’s more bad news for the Dems.and signs of a political re-alignment to counter the era of FDR.

Meanwhile, cloistered in his shiny new headquarters, Terry McAuliffe says the Democrats are in the “best shape we’ve ever been.” As Brian at Tomfoolery notes, “So, according to him, the Democrats are in better shape than they were in back in 1993, when Clinton became President, and the Democrats controlled both houses of Congress? If you say so Terry.”
Bill Hobbs says: “The Jobless Recovery isn’t Jobless” and backs it up with some interesting data on shifting employment trends.
I had no idea Jane was so tall

From Asymmetrical Info:

Saddest moment from all the speeches:

Tom Harkin telling Dean supporters (I'm paraphrasing): "Iowa has a history of putting out a three candidate ticket. We're on that ticket."

Yeah, and I'm the best 6'2 female shortstop with asthma named "Jane" within twenty feet of my desk.

Really? Better than Jane "Wheezy" Greenblat over there?
Shifting gears: Before the Iowa results poured in, I was watching American Idol. The delusion of some of these “singers” is jaw-dropping. Can’t somebody in their family stage an intervention?

Then I saw “My Big Fat Obnoxious FiancĂ©” which sets a new bar for reality show cruelty. The woman must convince her family that she’s getting married and – to win a million bucks – her family must all attend the wedding and not object when prompted by the minister. She thinks the guy was chosen at random but he’s actually an actor who burps, scratches, and “accidentally” breaks things at an alarming rate. I feel like taking a shower afterwards, but I can't look away.
A Spinal Tap moment in Iowa

From Slate: “Rather than reaching out to the unconverted, Dean fired up his base of supporters at the Val Air. He grinned, ripped off his jacked, rolled up his sleeves, and flung an orange "Perfect Storm" hat into the crowd. Then he started waving an American flag. Walter Shapiro's metaphor of Dean as an "aging rock star reduced to reprising his greatest hits in smaller and smaller clubs" never felt more apt.”

Marty: “The last time Tap toured America, they where, uh, booked into 10,000 seat arenas, and 15,000 seat venues, and it seems that now, on the current tour they're being booked into 1,200 seat arenas, 1,500 seat arenas, and uh I was just wondering, does this mean uh...the popularity of the group is waning?”

Ian: “Oh, no, no, no, no, no,, no, not at all. I, I, I just think that the.. uh.. their appeal is becoming more selective.”

He's got *this* much talent....
Fred Barnes has a good wrap-up of the Iowa Winners and Losers.
Note to John Kerry: Resign your Senate seat

The U.S. Senate reconvenes today and as a resident of Massachusetts, I don’t think I should be forced to pay John Kerry’s Senate salary for the remainder of 2004. Let’s face it: he missed 59% of all the votes in the last session and there’s little hope he’s going to come off the campaign trail to, you know, actually represent the Bay State. He should do what Bob Dole did when he ran for president: resign the seat and allow the people some modicum of representation.

(Did you like that, Dan? “Modicum”? Niiiiiiice.)
Snap into a Slim Jim!!! - Howard Dean unplugged

Monday, January 19, 2004

What does it mean?

Bill Schneider on CNN noted that Dean's support started to collapse about a month ago. Although Andrew Sullivan pegged the drop to the Gore endorsment, Schneider thought that the capture of Saddam Hussein neutralized much of Dean's anti-war rhetoric. Kerry and Edwards merely filled the vacuum.

As bad as my prediction was, David Hogberg (from Iowa!) thought that Gephardt would win. Clearly, his political career is over.

One final note: although all the Dem candidates said they would roll back the Bush tax cuts, only Dean and Gephardt said they would re-raise taxes on the middle class. Dean finished a distant third and Gephardt will be an afterthought tomorrow.
Mark Kilmer, please forgive me

I asked Mark to "turn in his pundit badge" after predicting an Edwards win, but with a KEDG finish, his EKDG prediction was the closest. Vinny was the only one on my list who picked a Kerry win but his other picks were off. Of course, my prediction was utterly useless.
Spiffy! Command Post has added a 2004 election section. Check it out.
On to the Super Bowl

Go Pats!
Bush Landslide update – Ipse Dixit has a map of the U.S. painted in red and blue depending on how President Bush’s approval/disapproval ratings in each state would determine an electoral win (from Election Projection.)

There’s a lot of red. (Even California???) I know this is mostly bunk at this point, but it sure is fun.
Iowa Predictions

Viking Pundit: DGKE
Bush Blog: DGKE
Between the Coasts: DGKE
Outside the Beltway: DGKE
Left Coast Conservative: DGKE
Mark Kilmer: EKDG
Tomfoolery: DKGE
Ryne McClaren: DKGE
Hedgehog Report: DKEG
Insignificant Thoughts: KGDE
Jonah Goldberg: DGKE
Right Thinking: DKGE
Cornfield Commentary: GDKE
Daily Kos: DGKE
Michael Graham: DEGK
Duck Season: EDKG

This is what I’ve found so far. I’ll update as they come.

Sunday, January 18, 2004

If you miss Punditwatch, both Matt Stinson and Martin Devon have roundups of the Sunday morning shows.
What liberal media? Matthew Hoy makes a table of campaign contributions by journalists in a nice piece of old-fashioned reporting.
Great minds think alike: Both the Left Coast Conservative and Outside the Beltway agree with me that it will be: Dean, Gephardt, Kerry, Edwards in Iowa tomorrow.

Meanwhile, many other bloggers haven't made a prediction, which seems lame to me. C'mon, we're supposed to be opinionated! Daniel Drenzer limps in with "Kerry wins." He's nuts.

Update: Mark Kilmer guesses Edwards, Kerry, Dean, Gephardt. Edwards? Mark, turn in your pundit badge at the nearest VRWC headquarters.....
Matt Taibbi in the New York Press

Anyone who wants to understand why the Democratic Party (barring a catastrophic implosion by the Republicans) will never win another major election in this country need only read this [NY Times] article. It correctly identifies the core problem of the party, which is this: Voters are repulsed by weakness. What it fails to get right is the fact that the Party, as currently constructed, will never be able to get around this problem. Why? Because weakness is inherent in the party’s ideology.

There are only two ways to appear strong. One is to stand for something. The other is to kick ass. Today’s Democrats most emphatically are not equipped to do either.


Saturday, January 17, 2004

Opening skit of Saturday Night Live had a campaign staffer asking a Howard Dean impersonator: "Have you taken any of the medication we got for you?" Heh.
From inside the Dean camp: “Listen, Howard. The Iowa caucuses are in two days. Every time you appear on stage with a washed-up Democrat like Gore or Harkin, you drop in the polls. Please, for the love of God, don’t make any more appearances with feckless, out-of-power, Democrats!”

[Warning: article includes a picture of a black man who says he will vote for Bush. Shocking!]
Are you kidding me? The Des Moines Register, in probably the last poll before the caucuses, puts Kerry at 26%, Edwards at 23%, Dean at 20% and Gephardt at 18%.

I’m sticking my original prediction (Dean, Gephardt, Kerry, Edwards) because I believe that organization will play a vital roll in Iowa. Dean got his nutty latte-swilling army while Gephardt has some strong union support. I don’t see Kerry pulling in the caucus votes as efficiently.
Iowa, the Toast-O-Meter, the girl, the gold watch and everything

Steven Taylor’s Toast-O-Meter at PoliBlog gets longer every week. Next month, it will be released on a 4-CD set.

However, I must quibble with his assertion that a second place for Howard Dean means he can “still claim victory.” I think Dean has been up so long, and has seemed so invincible over the past few months, that anything other than a first-place finish will erase that veneer of indestructibility he’s worked so hard to foster. Look at this blurb from the Boston Globe today "Under Pressure, Dean Retools":

The candidate famous for straight talk has cloistered himself inside a private bus and cut his stump speech in half, ending his long practice of taking audience questions and limiting his conversations with voters to a chance encounter afterward.

Can't you just picture his handlers saying: "For God's sake, Howard, SHUT UP!"? So Howard Dean is cutting back on the very thing that has propelled him into front-runner status: his so-called “straight talk.” If he loses Iowa, he’ll be thrown off-balance (think Al Gore after the first debate with Dubya.) Get that man another sweater!

I was going to wait until tomorrow, but here (for now) is my Iowa prediction: Dean, Gephardt, Kerry, Edwards. So Dean wins anyway (making everything I just said moot) but not by much.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Take that, Schumer! Bush gives recess appointment to Pickering

WASHINGTON — President Bush installed Charles Pickering on a federal appeals court Friday, bypassing Democrats who had stalled his nomination for more than two years, sources said.

So it's come to this.
Why is Dean slipping?

David Hogberg, live from Iowa, gives his opinion on Cornfield Commentary:

One standard explanation is the gaffe factor, that Dean’s many misstatements have made a lot of Democrats nervous. Undoubtedly, that is a big part of the reason. Here’s another: Dean is bit of a charlatan, and potential caucus-goers are getting wise to it.

I still think Dean will win Iowa, but the people that David spoke to don’t seem overly thrilled with the doctor.
Understatement, overstatement, and denial

I caught this Oliver Willis post: “The Dems do badly in this NBC poll, but considering there’s no nominee yet the real shocker is that only 51% say Bush should be re-elected.”

Only 51%? That will suffice, you know. As for the Dems faring “badly” – whew! In a head-to-head matchup, the best Dem candidate would lose to Bush by a crushing, humiliating, 17% gap.

Burns: Honestly, Smithers, I don't know why Harvard even bothers to show up. They barely even won.
Smithers: Their cheating was even more rampant than last year, sir.

This will be the script for the Democrats on November 3rd.
One step backwards in Iran

The Economist has a good column on the battle between reformists and conservatives (read: clerics) in Iran – “While reformists protests, the conservatives are relentlessly gaining ground.” Pejman (who has Persian roots) has more (here and here) on the crisis in Iran and the squashing of democracy there.
BushBlog has a “Deanism” Nice.
Via Jane Galt: Dean for America???
Dean’s N.H. lead shrinks to nine – Here’s the skinny from the Boston Globe this morning: “Dean slips, Clark gains in N.H.”

A barrage of criticism from his rivals appears to have taken a dramatic toll on Howard Dean's advantage in New Hampshire, and retired General Wesley K. Clark is benefiting from questions about whether the former Vermont governor is the best candidate to handle the war on terrorism, according to a new Boston Globe/WBZ-TV poll.

Globe columnist Scot Lehigh writes: “A frontrunner fading in the stretch.”
Five bucks for a Big Mac in Switzerland: The Economist has their latest Big Mac Index showing "purchasing power parity" [PPP] throughout the world. An interesting economic comparison.
Do you mean THE Avra Siegal? Slate has a list of the lamest press releases of Campaign 2004.
What the? Remember when I said "no way Kerry is leading in Iowa"? Zogby begs to differ: Kerry opens up a five-point lead in Iowa. Kerry is at 24% in the tracking poll, with Dean and Gephardt tied at 19%.

With the sky-high expectations of the Dean candidacy on the line, a second (or third!) place finish in Iowa could be disastrous for Howard.

Update: Nick at Duck Season justifiably chastises me....

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Slip Slidin’ Away

Wow – these polls may be wildly inaccurate (for example, no way is Kerry leading in Iowa) but there’s no denying that Dean is suffering a mini-meltdown in support here.

Zogby’s Iowa Tracking Poll
ARG’s New Hampshire Tracking Poll

Check out New Hampshire: four days ago, Dean led Clark by 17% - that’s now down to 5% in a regular loss of 4% a day. Wow.
The pathology of the House of Saud

It’s been a while since I’ve written an “Our enemy: the Saudis” post, but there are a number of new articles today worth a look. First, Austin Bay has a piece called “The House of Saud fights for its life.” Then on my morning check on Rantburg, I found this Denbeste post which is largely an abridged version of this Lawrence Wright article in the New Yorker titled “The Kingdom of Silence.”
Getcher motor runnin' - Heard this on NPR this morning (and confirmed here): Before rolling off the landing ramp, the Mars rover Spirit was "awakened" by Mission Control by Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild." Spirit then peeled out for a rip-roarin' tear of....10 feet. What a long strange trip it's been.
Viking Pundit's popularity plunges! Wow - my Sitemeter counter says there have been zero visitors this morning. So I guess you aren't reading this. (Everyday it's something else.....)

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Wednesdays are for W

MoveOn made the headlines this past week less for their commercial contest than the half-crazed presenters at the ceremony. Never forget that these dim bulbs are supported by billionaire George Soros who re-iterated his intention to spend all his riches to defeat President Bush.

So, once again, I’ll spend this Wednesday asking you to visit the George W. Bush re-election web site, Bloggers for Bush, and the various other supporters of the “Wictory Wednesday” effort. Pledge time or money for your future. We need to get out the vote (GOTV) in November; the time to support Bush is now. Thank you.
Remember that?

William Saletan in Slate today:

I can't stress this enough to Democrats who opposed the Iraq war. Terrorists killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11. The first thing Americans want to know from a prospective president is how he's going to protect them from such enemies. If you don't answer that question, nobody will care that Bush exaggerated Iraq's weapons of mass destruction or Iraq's connections to al-Qaida. The only difference voters are going to see is that one party is serious about getting those bastards, and one party isn't.

Not good: Iran's Reformists threaten to quit
Workers dream of being exploited

Coming on the heels of this Ryan Lizza blurb on how Democrats are using “free trade” as a term of derision in Iowa is this brutal Nicholas Kristof article in the NY Times called “Calling all Democrats”:

[Protectionism] would hurt American consumers. But it would be particularly devastating for laborers in the poorest parts of the world. For the fundamental problem in the poor countries of Africa and Asia is not that sweatshops exploit too many workers; it's that they don't exploit enough.

Hold on...gotta pander to the labor unions first.
A friend in need...

The other day I needed my buddy at work to drive me to Town Fair Tire to drop off my car. And, of course, he agreed. But why? Why should he be inconvenienced to take time out of his busy day to help me out? It seems silly to point it out but here’s why: someday he might need a ride and he knows I’ll help him out. Generically speaking, that’s called “goodwill” and it’s something we don’t think about in a personal setting. It’s just something you do as a “good neighbor” or a “friend.”

Dean Esmay has a passionate commentary today on the issue of “Squandering Goodwill” in response to a reader in Europe. Bottom line: why do Democrats certain Americans harp on how we’ve “squandered” the goodwill of the world after 9/11 when it’s these countries who have squandered our goodwill by failing to reciprocate all the help we’ve offered over the years?

But I'm sick of apologizing to people like you. We aren't an empire. But you really should start wondering why YOU are so willing to squander OUR goodwill. Because many of you around the world have done exactly that.

Read the whole thing, as they say.
"Go it alone" Dean

Everybody's got this Howard Dean letter urging President Clinton to take unilateral action in Bosnia. Robert Tagorda has a good follow-up analysis.
I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

This morning, Tim Blair pointed out this “cautious, dispassionate, thoughtful analysis of George W. Bush’s presidency, from a liberal viewpoint.” I don’t know…the whole thesis was a little too nuanced for me.
Stephen Green crunches the electoral vote numbers based on certain assumptions of presidential popularity. I thought this statement was telling: “You'll note that when the Republican candidate loses 47/52, he loses by 138 electoral votes. But look above again, and you'll see that when the Democratic candidate loses by the same figures, he loses by 180. In other words, without Ross Perot around, the Democrats remain electorally challenged.”

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The last refuge of crybaby Deaniacs: Media bias

All the lefty bloggers are in a froth over a Salon article by Eric Boehlert claiming that Howard Dean is a victim of bias by the corporate-conservative press.

Oliver Willis gets paranoid: “Today's story from Salon shows how the media and their right-wing bretheren [sic] are on the edge of controlling another election for us.” Kos darkly intones: “This is probably the most important piece written about Dean's media coverage to date. Read it. Even if your guy isn't Dean. Our nominee will receive the same treatment regardless of who he eventually is.Atrios: “Dean's the frontrunner so they're doing it to him, mostly, but the press is just picking up right where they left off in 2000 with Gore. It's a sad, sorry, pathetic state of affairs.” The aptly named Not Geniuses says: “But the only thing crazier than not getting some news from mainstream media is getting all news from it.

Ah, yes, remember how the media hammered endlessly on Al “I invented the Internet” Gore? They focused on his sighing during the debates! They nitpicked on his earth tone suits! Bias! Except here are the results from a Pew Research Center study on how Americans viewed the media’s preferences in 2000:

So by a 2-1 margin, Americans felt that the national press wanted Gore to win the election. Yet, to believe the Kos-Krowd, the press was biased against Gore. Sure.

Fox News (and their ever rising ratings) drives the liberals insane. So much so that they forget the rest of the media which has been well-established as a bastion of left-wing thought, reporting, and bias:

Evidence of how hard journalists lean to the left was provided by S. Robert Lichter, then with George Washington University, in his groundbreaking 1980 survey of the media elite. Lichter's findings were authoritatively confirmed by the American Association of Newspaper Editors (ASNE) in 1988 and 1997 surveys. The most recent ASNE study surveyed 1,037 newspaper reporters found 61 percent identified themselves as/leaning "liberal/Democratic" compared to only 15 percent who identified themselves as/leaning "conservative/Republican."

Read much more in this Media Research Center special report: Media Bias Basics. Here, for example, is a 2001 breakdown of journalists political leanings from a Kaiser Family Foundation study:

The “conservative” media complaint a fallacious excuse used whenever liberals don’t get their way. It was untrue for Gore and now it’s untrue for Dean. Suck it up, Deaniacs.
Survivor All-Stars cast revealed - Rupert is back! Awesome. Plus, the fine talents of Jenna M. and Amber B. It looks like they're going to be separated into three tribes of six: Chapera, Saboga, and Mogo Mogo. No word yet on where, but judging by the tribe names, I'm guessing somewhere in the South Pacific.
Matt Stinson runs some quotes through the Dean-to-English translator. Heh.
William Saletan of Slate has a rundown of the Dems’ “Brown and Black” debate, which Mickey Kaus characterizes as a “humiliating panderfest”.
GOP United, Dems Divided

Here's David Brooks in today's NY Times in "The Bush Democrats":

The events of the past three years have brought to the foreground issues that divide Democrats, and pushed to the background issues that divide Republicans.

There's more, but Brooks notes that President Bush enjoys extraordinary support from his party, while the Dems seem vexed by the Dean/Clinton schism in their party.
It's national security, stupid

John Ellis (Dubya's cousin) makes the case that the war on terrorism will trump all other issues in 2004 and beyond:

Whatever one thinks of Bush's counterterrorism strategy, it does have the advantage of being grounded in reality.

The fact is that at the intersection of terror and advanced technology lies the distinct possibility of catastrophic destruction. A catastrophic event in the United States would do terrible damage not only to its victims but to the national and the global economy, shattering investor confidence, which is the lifeblood of the capitalist system. Without a vital economy there can be no expanded health care coverage, job creation, or yet more money for seniors.

So everything rides on preventing a catastrophic event from occurring in New York or Washington or Los Angeles. Counterterrorism policy isn't an issue in this campaign. It's the only issue.

Here, Ellis makes the case that national security is economic security; apparently, this is a lesson that must be reviewed.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Jews support Democratic candidates…less than before

The AP is carrying a story headlined as “U.S. Jews back Democratic Candidates”:

NEW YORK - U.S. Jews would overwhelmingly support any major Democratic candidate over President Bush if the election were held today, according to the 2004 Annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion.

But David Bernstein on the Volokh Conspiracy looks deeper into the numbers and titles his post “Bad News for the Dems”:

In one-on-one matchups with the president, Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, John Kerry and Richard Gephardt would each receive about 60 percent of the Jewish vote, compared to about 30 percent for Bush, according to the survey conducted for the American Jewish Committee and released Monday.
30% would be about double Bush's total in 2000 among Jews….

Also, the article notes a "slight" increase in Jewish identification as Republicans from 9 to 16%. That's not slight, that's almost double!

Another example of “liberal cocooning” or just sloppy reporting? You decide.
Fred Barnes surveys the Democrats’ plans for taxes and comes to an obvious conclusion: “Watch Your Wallet
Andrew Sullivan on last night’s Dem debate: “There wasn't a nano-second in which any candidate said anything to suggest that minorities can do anything to benefit themselves without more government help, more money and more white condescension.”

I agree: the hyper-pandering last night was thoroughly depressing.
It’s a joke, right? Freedom of Thought has a great pic of the latest patches for U.S. soldiers.
10 for 10 - a laughably easy Simpsons quiz in the Guardian. (Hat tip to Oxblog).
Mo' Money

From Fox News story on Dems Iowa debate:

State senator Ken Cheuvront of Arizona said he's tired of the Dean attacks. A member of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, Cheuvront said after the debate that he has decided to endorse Dean because of all the criticism. "It's starting to look petty," he said. "He's the only viable candidate who can win, who has the money to beat Bush."

The all-purpose Terry McAuliffe strategy for the Democratic Party.
Wesley Clark emulates his hero

They took the bar!”

Sunday, January 11, 2004

They’re very anti-media

Jeff Jarvis at Buzz Machine has a summary of the Meet the Press discussion today on blogs - he’s not happy with the characterization. So in that sense, one panelist was correct with the quote above.

One sidenote: John F'n Kerry and his new haircut were on Meet the Press this morning. That guy is so tiresome. Repeatedly, Russert tried to get Senator Splunge to explain his position on Iraq but all that came out was a laundry list of catch phrases ("fraudulent coalition", "I wanted to hold Saddam accountable", etc.) that only makes you wonder how he was ever considered the front-runner. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Lieberman jumps ahead of Kerry in the latest New Hampshire poll based on this superfluous performance.
The Hollywood bubble

You may know actor/playwright Wallace Shawn from many movies from My Dinner with Andre to Clueless; in my mind, he’ll always be the guy who says “inconceivable” in The Princess Bride.

In the Sunday NY Times Magazine section, Shawn demonstrates that even pseudo-intellectuals can fall under the spell of liberal self-importance that suffuses every celebrity in La-La Land:

Well, there is a reason my brother and I are taking care of our own mother first, before we worry about your mother. It's great to love your own mother, but I sincerely believe that if Bush and Cheney recognized the full humanity of other people's mothers around the world, they wouldn't commit the crimes they commit.

Wow. To read and believe this statement, you would have to believe that the liberation of Afghani women from the Taliban was less desirable than the “crime” of American intervention. What other crimes do ya got, Wallace? Deposing Saddam Hussein? I’m sure that Bush is tossing and turning every night thinking about how he failed to “recognize the full humanity” of Uday’s mom.

We're in an emergency situation. The United States has become an absolutely terrifying country, and I would hope that I could participate in some way in stopping the horror and the brutality.

As Dennis Miller said: “The Left is so busy saying John Ashcroft is Hitler, and President Bush is Hitler, and Rudy Giuliani is Hitler that the only guy they wouldn’t call Hitler was the foreign guy with the mustache who was throwing people who disagreed with him into the wood-chipper.”

Wallace, if this land of horror and brutality becomes too terrifying for you, I suggest you leave. Spend some time in North Korea or Zimbabwe. You’ll be back when you discover there are very few countries willing to afford you livelihood by jabbering over dinner in front of a camera.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

The new Toast-O-Meter is out. I guess the most interesting theory is that the media is helping Clark to be the #2 guy in part because of the spectacular implosion of Kerry's campaign.
Political commentary will resume as soon as the Patriots defeat the Tennessee Titans. Thank you for your patience.

Update: Like I said - Pats win 17-14
I’m a huge nerd

Last night, I was at an all-night trivia game which is held twice-a-year at Williams College, Williamstown, MA. In May, I played on a team called “Click Here to get Huge” (based on the spam reference) and we “won” the game. I add the scare quotes because the “prize” of victory is hosting the next game, which is no small task. Anyway, the game runs from midnight til 8 a.m. and I’ve been sleeping all day.

If you want a taste of the tradition and insanity of Williams College trivia, check out the Williams Trivia Contest Depository, which is chock full of questions, puzzles, and other assorted nonsense.

Friday, January 09, 2004

More bad news for Dean

I missed this one the other day, but Gallup has a study: History Shows January Front-runner Often Does Not Win Democratic Nomination

Is the Clark surge part of history repeating itself? Hmmmm.....
Homeland Security lowers terror threat level to yellow

Unemployment rate falls to 5.7% but only 1,000 non-farm jobs created.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Over three grand! Via Bill Hobbs (and the Club for Growth) comes the Howard Dean Tax Calculator.

Holy cow - over three Gs in additional income tax. I know this may surprise some of you, but I'm going to vote for President Bush.