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Monday, October 3, 2005
Giuliani in ‘08?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 5:57 am

I have profound doubts that he will run, and ever stronger doubts that he could be nominated.

Still, he is “mulling” according to the AP: Giuliani to Mull 2008 Decision Next Year

“I will be considering it next year,” Giuliani said during a visit to Denmark. But he added that playing with the idea of running for the Republican nomination for president did not mean he would actually do it.

If he had been able to run for President in 2002, he would’ve had a real shot. But the afterglow of 9/11 has faded and he is not only too liberal for the voters in the GOP nominating pool, he also has considerable personal baggage that he would have to deal with on the campaign trail.

I simply don’t see this happening.

Filed under: US Politics, 2008 Campaign | Comments (0) |Send TrackBack
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
More Fun for GOP Leaderhship
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:17 pm

Via Bloomberg: Frist Faces Heat as SEC Orders Formal Investigation

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist faces a near-term ordeal unwelcome to anyone, particularly an ambitious politician: an official probe into his personal financial dealings by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC authorized a formal order of investigation of Frist’s sale in June of HCA Inc. shares, people with direct knowledge of the inquiry said yesterday. The order allows the agency’s enforcement unit to subpoena documents and compel witnesses to testify, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the order hasn’t been made public.

And yet another nail goes into the coffin for Frist’s presidential ambitions.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005
The Martha Factor
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 7:34 am

Business Week asks a good question:What Did Frist Know- and When?

Further, what was he really trying to do?

Just what constitutes such a conflict is left up to each senator’s discretion. “He’s allowed to say, “sell the HCA stock,’” says Frist spokeswoman Amy Call, “But he’s not allowed to say, ’sell it by this date.’ It could have been another six months before they sold.” Call says Frist doesn’t know what’s in the blind trust, but that the trustees do notify the senator that a stock has been sold if the amount of a stock in the fund dips below $1,000.

So although Frist didn’t know how much HCA stock was in the blind trust, he knew there was at least some of the $10 million the trust started out with.

Politically, the Martha Factor may be problematic for Frist, even if he ends up having done nothing wrong:

“You might want to read the old clippings about Martha Stewart,” says Jan Baran, a Washington ethics attorney at the firm Wiley Rein & Fielding and a former counsel to the
Republican National Committee. “This is pretty much boiler-plate securities law.” Stewart, the onetime CEO of Martha Stewart Living OmniMedia (NYSE:MSO - News), served five months in prison for lying to investigators about her sale of ImClone Systems (NasdaqNM:IMCL - News) stock in 2001.

I point this out not because it is clear to me that the cases are in any technical sense the same (although on the surface they sound quite similar)., but this entire event factors directly into Frist’s ability to run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008. Right now we have a story that sounds like Martha Stewart’s and we all know that Martha went to jail. Yes, a lot of people think that Marta was wrongly convicted, but the general public image is: Rich Person did Something Bad in selling stock early, made some money, and Went to Jail. The Frist situation fits that template quite well, except that he made considerably more money than did Martha and he has the whole conflict of interet/public trust issue here as well.

I continue to think that this incident, even if it turns out he did not violate Senate rules or the law, could end up fatally damaging Frist’s image in the public. Because once all of this is done, the only thing that most people will know about Frist (if they know anything at all) is that he was that rich Senator who engaged in some hanky-panky with some family stock and made a lot more money like Martha Stewart did.

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A Stitch in Haste linked with Frist Insists Conflicted Trade was to Avoid a Conf
Saturday, September 24, 2005
How Blind was that Trust?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 11:04 am

Via the AP: Frist Knew About Blind Trust Investments

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., was updated several times about his investments in blind trusts during 2002, the last time two weeks before he publicly denied any knowledge of what was in the accounts, documents show.

The updates included stock transactions involving HCA Inc., the hospital operating company founded by Frist’s family.

Frist’s sale of HCA stock is under scrutiny by the federal government. Nashville,

I will confess, I don’t know exactly how a blind trust works, but if one is getting updates, that doesn’t sound too “blind” to me.

One thing is for sure, and I was going to comment on this story earlier in the week, this stock sale, even if this transaction wholly legit (which strikes me as unlikely at this point) it is still highly problematic for Frist politically. I have never been convinced that the man has the resume or the skills to win the presidency, and I have serious doubts about his ability to win the nomination so additional political liabilities aren’t what he needs if he wants to run.

He lacks charisma and he often seems like he is trying too hard to position himself for the nomination. Indeed, he is one of those candidates that strikes me as wanting to be President because it is the next wrung on the political ladder-i.e., I have no idea why he wants to be President, and I’m not sure he does either.

Having a cloud over his head regarding a financial transaction, especially of this magnitude, isn’t going to be helpful for him at all-especially when one considers the following:

Frist, asked in a television interview in January 2003 whether he should sell his HCA stock, responded: “Well, I think really for our viewers it should be understood that I put this into a blind trust. So as far as I know, I own no HCA stock”

Frist, referring to his trust and those of his family, also said in the interview, “I have no control. It is illegal right now for me to know what the composition of those trusts are. So I have no idea.”

Documents filed with the Senate showed that just two weeks before those comments, the trustee of the senator’s trust, M. Kirk Scobey Jr., wrote to Frist that HCA stock was contributed to the trust. It was valued at $15,000 and $50,000.

If one then reads the alleged communications between Frist and the trustee controlling the funds, then one has to conclude that Frist was lying when he made those statements in January of ‘03.

The whole tale appears complex, so I will reserve final judgement for the nonce. It certainly is a political problem, and it has the smell of a serious ethical, if not legal one, as well.

Filed under: US Politics, 2008 Campaign | Comments (3) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here linked with Taylor on Frist
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Familial Politics
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:19 pm

Want a reason why Jeb may never run for President? One is his family, as demonstrated by this story: Son of Florida Gov. Bush Arrested:

The youngest son of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was arrested early Friday and charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest, law enforcement officials said.

John Ellis Bush, 21, was arrested by agents of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission at 2:30 a.m. on a corner of Austin’s Sixth Street bar district, said commission spokesman Roger Wade.

This goes along with (as mentioned in the story):

Noelle Bush, the governor’s daughter, was arrested in January 2002 and accused of trying to pass a fraudulent prescription at a pharmacy to obtain the anti-anxiety drug Xanax. She completed a drug rehabilitation program in August 2003 and a judge dismissed the drug charges against her.

Add to this that his wife had Customs problems and you have enough personally embarassing stories that I think that a run is highly unlikely (not an impossibility, but unlikely).

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The Florida Masochist linked with I would agree- Jeb Bush unlikely to run for President in 2008
Building Towards ‘08
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 6:23 pm

Via the AP: Ark. Governor Weighs GOP White House Run

Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, starting a two-day visit to Iowa, said Friday night that he’s pondering a run for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination and that he will make a decision in about a year.

Somehow I don’t see it with Huckabee, but I could be wrong, I suppose. I still think of the non-glamor potential candidates (i.e., Cheney, McCain, Jeb, Rice, Rudy) that George Allen probably has the best shot to become a serious contender on the GOP side of the ledger.

We shall, of course, see.

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Saturday, August 27, 2005
It’s Never too Early in Iowa…
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:23 am

…to campaign like its 2008: TV Ads Target Bill Frist in Iowa

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Sunday, August 14, 2005
Biden, McCain and ‘08
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 8:38 pm

Via the AP: Biden, McCain Noncommittal on 2008 Race.

Said Biden:

“I believe I can be a viable candidate, but it’s too early to make that final judgment.”

I think he is really, really wanting to run-and I expect him to do so-although the Hillary Factor may come into play.

I honestly have a hard time believing the following from McCain:

“I’m not leaning either way, because I’m not considering it. I really am not,” the Republican lawmaker from Arizona said. “There’s no reason to until after the 2006 elections.”

I think that he could be a very viable candidate, especially given his defense positions in the post-911 world. However, age and health will be a problem.

I can believe that he isn’t going to seriously consider a run until after the ‘06 elections, but I can’t believe he isn’t considering it at all.

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Friday, August 12, 2005
Cheney in ‘08?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 12:06 pm

The other day, James Joyner noted that Bob Woodward was predicting a Cheney v. Hillary race in 2008.

However, I don’t see it.

Why? Well, here’re some reasons:

  • Let’s face facts: he’s kinda grumpy.
  • That whole pacemaker thing.
  • Bad posture (he slouches during those sit-at-the-desk debates).
  • Sing it with me (to the tune of the Hallelujah Chorus):

  • Hmm, maybe the fact that he said
    “If nominated, I will not run,” “If elected, I will not serve,” or not only no, but “Hell no.”

    I’ve got my plans laid out. I’m going to serve this president for the next four years, and then I’m out of here.’. (Fox News Sunday, February 6, 2005).

(Not to mention he’d have Helen Thomas’ blood on his hands…)

In all seriousness, while I expect a “Draft Cheney” movement to emerge, I just don’t see it happening. I concur with James’ basic assessment: Cheney might like to be president, but is unlikely to have any interest in running for president.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2005
FantasyLand ain’t Just at DisneyWorld
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:03 am

Taegan Goddard notes that John Edwards is persisting in his political fantasies.

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Monday, August 1, 2005
Reviewing Ed Klein
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 10:40 am

Via the NYT’s review of The Truth About Hillary comes, no doubt, a dream review for author Ed Klein:

As an expert on sordid nonfiction, I would not put ‘’The Truth About Hillary'’ anywhere near the top of my list; it pales by comparison with Geraldo Rivera’s sublimely vile autobiography, ‘’Exposing Myself,'’ and seems demure, nuanced and levelheaded by comparison with masterpieces of partisan venom like the 60’s cold-war classic ‘’None Dare Call It Treason.'’

No, I am not suggesting that Edward Klein is a fair, balanced, persuasive, scrupulously honest reporter or a gifted writer. Resorting to chilling Rip Van Winklisms like ‘’Bill and Hillary often grooved the night away at Cozy Beach, spinning the latest Jefferson Airplane platters,'’ Klein sometimes sounds like a cryogenically preserved Maynard G. Krebs. Like, dig: the cat is far out.

What I am saying is that if Klein purposely set out to write the sleaziest, most derivative, most despicable political biography ever, he has failed both himself and his readers miserably. ‘’The Truth About Hillary'’ is only about the 16th sleaziest book I have ever read. Though, in fairness to the author, reading creepy, cut-and-paste books is my hobby.


Meanwhile, Ann Althouse has clipped her favorite phrases from the piece.

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Thursday, July 28, 2005
Helen Thomas Threatens to Kill Self if Cheney Runs
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 3:37 pm


“The day Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I’ll kill myself,” she told the HILL. “All we need is one more liar.”

If Helen is trying to dissuade Cheney, wouldn’t the more efficacious threat be that she would appear nude if Cheney ran for President?

hat tip: reader C. Vucovich via e-mail.

Filed under: US Politics, 2008 Campaign | Comments (10) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here

Flaming Duck linked with Poor Helen Thomas!
The Indepundit linked with Run Dick, Run
Gop and the City linked with Helen Thomas: Not Dead?
The Florida Masochist linked with The Knucklehead of the Day award
Outside The Beltway linked with The Real Threat
PoliBlog: Politics is the Master Science » Cheney in ‘08? linked with [...] 8217;m out of here.’. (Fox News Sunday, February 6, 2005). (Not to mention he’d have Helen Thomas’ blood on his hands…) In all seriousness, while I expect a “Draft Cheney” moveme [...]
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
2008 is Just Around the Corner in NH
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 9:33 pm

Via the AP: 2008 N.H. Primary Isn’t All That Far Off

But it’s not too early for stepping out. On Friday, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards makes his third trip to New Hampshire this year, starting out at a birthday party for D’Allesandro, who was state chairman for Edwards’ presidential campaign last year.

Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, also is planning a visit that day, to a barbecue at the home of former state party chairman and Kerry supporter Joe Keefe. There was no indication Kerry and his former running mate, Edwards, planned to meet.

Next week, a group that wants New York Sen.
Hillary Rodham Clinton to run for president plans to spend three days in New Hampshire and will begin airing a television ad. The cartoon ad shows Clinton loading barrels of “Bush’s mess” onto a garbage truck and cleaning it up. The following week, former presidential candidate
Howard Dean, now chairman of the
Democratic National Committee, is hosting a fundraiser for the state party in Concord. Dean has said he doesn’t plan to run in 2008.

Other potential Democratic candidates who have visited this year include Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh,
Wesley Clark and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

The Republicans have made their presence known, too. Sens. George Allen of Virginia, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, Sam Brownback of Kansas and Bill Frist of Tennessee have been in the state. So has Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., and Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has a summer home in New Hampshire. Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is scheduled to attend a Republican picnic in late August.


But not surprising.

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The Florida Masochist linked with Isn't that far off? I say get a life
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
This is News?
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 2:12 pm

Via the AP: Some in GOP Hope Rice Runs for President.

I am fairly certain we already knew that (and have known it for some time).

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Monday, June 20, 2005
Ed Klein and the “Rape Story”
By Dr. Steven Taylor @ 1:51 pm

NRO has an interview with Ed Klein in which the whole “I’m going to rape my wife” story about Bill Clinton is discussed. While he tries to explain it away, his attempt to turn the whole thing into having to do with Bill finding out about Hillary’s pregnancy in the newspaper is rather unconvincing.

Even though he attempts to steer the question in the direction of the newspaper revelation, he doesn’t explain how the rape business is anything more than tangentially related.

Filed under: US Politics, Books, 2008 Campaign | Comments (1) |Send TrackBack | Show Comments here
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