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Saturday, January 31, 2004
The Iraq Conspiracy

By Steven Taylor @ 1:12 pm

A about a week and a half ago (yes, I know, eons in the Blogosphere), Rich Lowry had amusing column that is worth a read if you missed it.

The set up:

Sen. Ted Kennedy last week launched a blistering attack on the Bush administration’s Iraq policy. He charged that the Iraq War was driven by domestic political considerations, as White House operative Karl Rove and other administration officials dragged the country to war to improve the president’s political standing. In this view, the war wasn’t - whatever its ultimate wisdom - the finale of a 10-year-long battle with Saddam Hussein, supported by 70 percent of the American public and authorized by wide bipartisan majorities in Congress, but a political fraud pure and simple.

Some of my favorite bits:

In October of 1998, the Iraq Liberation Act unanimously passes the Senate, making it the official policy of the U.S. government to seek regime change in Iraq. That every Democrat in the Senate, including Kennedy, votes to advance Bush’s conspiracy so early - when Bush is still governor of Texas - speaks well of Bush’s ability to build bipartisan coalitions. Although it’s impossible to know without access to congressional phone logs, Rove must have worked the phones very hard.

[…]

In November of 2002, the U.N. Security Council unanimously passes Resolution 1441, giving Saddam a “final opportunity” to comply with U.N. demands. An attempt to make the United Nations seem relevant? Don’t be naive. It’s really part of a worldwide effort to enhance Bush’s electoral fortunes. And Democrats say the administration isn’t multilateral enough.

[…]

Before the war begins in April, Bush gives Saddam 48 hours to leave power, but Saddam refuses in what seems a last act of defiance, but in reality speaks to his - well-known, among Iraq experts - desire to help Bush by providing him a pretext to invade his country, chase him from power, kill his sons and check his head for lice.

Filed under: Iraq | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Evidence of Cultural Evolution

By Steven Taylor @ 12:46 pm

There can be no doubt: Cartoon Network’s Justice League is a radical improvement over that Super Friends stuff I had to deal with when I was a kid.

*sniff* It brings a tear to the eye to know my sons will have it better than did I.

Filed under: Pop Culture | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)

Fun with Maps

By Steven Taylor @ 11:14 am

Where I’ve been in red, where I’d like to go in green:



create your own visited states map

Hat tip: Jay Solo’s Verbosity

Filed under: Not politics | Comments (1) | Trackbacks(3)
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The Toast-O-Meter (1/31/04 Edition)

By Steven Taylor @ 11:01 am

-Toast: It’s not Just for Breakfast Anymore!-

The Toast-o-meter: A Weekly News Round-Up and Handicapping of the Race for the Democratic Nomination.

The Toast-O-Meter comes to you Fortified with linkage and Enhanced with bloggage!

Enough with this one-state-at-a-time nonsense: on to some serious primary-osity with seven on the table for this Tuesday.

The scale:

  • Wonder Bread (The nomination is in reach)
  • Just Plain Ol White Bread (Still in the race; has a shot)
  • Toast (Pretty much donea little scraping might make you look like bread, but you’re done)
  • Burnt Toast (Really, really done)
  • Burnt all the Way Through (Why are you still in the race?)
  • Crumbs in the Bottom of the Toaster (Why did you ever get in the race in the first place?)

    Potential Movements each Week:

  • Dough is on the Rise
  • Heats Off This Week
  • The heat is on.
  • Got Scraped a Bit
  • Getting Darker

    The Whole Loaf: Can any of the Nine make Bush into Texas Toast?

    (Bush is fresh, the Loaf is stale)

  • The 4Q 2003 GDP figures were below targets, which gives the Democrats fodder for use in attacking the Presidents economic policies.
  • Although there is good news for Bush: Consumer Confidence Index climbed 5 points in January.
  • The Hedgehog Report has the latest Bush approval numbers. The President hovers around 50% overall-a few have him above, and few below (The current average is 52.6%).

    Considering that the news is dominated by the the Democrats deriding the President, it is no surprise that his numbers have suffered a bit of late.

    FIRST: SLICING UP FEBRUARY THIRD

    There are seven primaries on February Third. In alphabetical order they are:

    Arizona
    Delaware
    Missouri
    New Mexico
    North Dakota
    Oklahoma
    South Carolina

    In terms of significance I would rank in three tiers::

    TIER 1

    South Carolina: The big Southern test. And Edwards has to win.
    Missouri: The most delegate at state to date. Plus, who gets the Gephardt vote?

    TIER II

    Arizona/New Mexico: The west rises to the fore.
    Oklahoma: Semi-Southern, and one of the places early polling showed Clark having a shot.

    TIER III

    Delaware: Weve already done the New England bit/small state
    North Dakota: Small pop, not a bellwether of any kind.

    KERRY

    Winning is: If he wins MO and several other contests, then he will continue to be considered the frontrunnerany combo with MO, AZ will be solid. If he get OK, and beats off Clark, he will be in even better shape, as Clarks freefall will accelerate. If he manages a win in SC, then he will be crowned, perhaps rightly, as unstoppable.

    Losing is: Losing both MO and SC.

    Can still claim victory if: As long as he wins MO and one other states while doing reasonably well elsewhere. However only two wins, even with MO, will result in a blood in the water effect.

    EDWARDS

    Winning is: He has to win SC to credibly say that he has won on Tuesday. Although outlandish scenarios like a surprise win in MO, or taking several other states would work as well. However, I wouldnt hold my breath on those possibilities. He has to take SC, or the whole I can win in the South argument is blown out the windowand without a doubt, that is one of his key strengths.

    Losing is: The direct converse of winning: losing SC, even by a point.

    Can still claim victory if: After losing SC he gets high on goes on TV he can claim victory all he likes, and if under sufficient influence of illicit substances, he may well believe it. However, he can claim no victory sans SC. If he does lose, Id go find Dennis, cuz maybe hell share whatever it is hes been smoking.

    DEAN

    Winning is: A win somewhere. However (and remarkably) this is rather unlikely.

    Losing is: Probably whats going to happen.

    Can still claim victory if: If his insurgent strategy of simply playing for the delegates nets some decent numbers, he can at least spin his way into saying that hes still in it. However, I dont think that such a strategy is viable at this point. And further, since he had to yank his tv spots, he may have a hard time getting to the magic 15% in enough states to achieve viability.

    CLARK

    Winning is: He has to win somewhere, OK being the most likely place. A solid showing with veterans and moderate-to-conservative Democrats in SC will be useful for his electability spin.

    Losing is: If he doesnt get at least one win, he is nearing Crumb Pile status.

    Can still claim victory if: He will claim victory even if he doesnt win anything, especially if he in in close second in OK. However, that and 500 pesos will buy you cup of coffee in Bogota. No wins, spin or no, means defeat.

    LIEBERMAN

    Winning is: Recognizing that he has lost and officially pulling out before Tuesday so as to spare us (and himself) the misery. Now, in fantasy-land, winning is a surprise win in Oklahoma, or a strong second in SC.

    Losing is: The sad, sorry truth of the matter and the sooner he realizes it, the sooner we can stop having to watch the painful spectacle of him pretending to have support.

    Can still claim victory if: See Edwards.

    SHARPTON

    Winning is: Coming in second in SC.

    Losing is: Third or worse: especially if he fails t get 15%

    Can still claim victory if: He gets some delegates.

    Kucinich

    No clever lines this week. Make up your own.

    SLICE-BY-SLICE

    FRESH BAKED

    Kerry: Wonderific French Bread in a week (Dough is on the Rise).

    Kerry can now be said to have achieved Wonder Bread status, as the nomination is now within his reach. A good showing Tuesday will solidify his position.

  • Zogbys tracking polls have Kerry written all over them.
  • Kerry picked up several key endorsements this week, such as Jim Clyburn’s and some union help as well.
  • And he is likely to get a big Michigan endorement.
  • Dave Wissing has the latest Missouri numbers and they are looking quite Kerry-ish.
  • Money likes a winner: Kerry Raises $500,000 Online in Two Days.
  • I’m shocked: Kerry Leads in Lobby Money.
  • James Joyner has a blast from Kerry’s past in terms of the comic page.

    THE SUPERMARKET SHELF

    Edwards Plain ol White Bread (Heats Off this Week)

    I have had a ton of poor predictions in this process to date, one that has proved to be correct is that Edwards has to have South Carolina to have a chance. If he can’t demonstrate the ability to win a southern state in a Democratic process, he will fall off the radar.

    While a loss in SC wont be a death blow, it will be a wound of substantial proportion. If he loses SC he will come out of the 3rd the way Dean came out of NH: functional, but only barely so.

  • No shock here: Edwards Woos South Carolinians with Southern Pride.
  • James Joyner deals with Edwards’ concern about legacy admissions to colleges and universities and wonders how the NC Senator is going to stop having one’s family life affect one’s development.
  • Robert Tagorda notes that thus far Edwards has managed to avoid the negatives that go along with his chosen profession.

    Clark Toasting White Bread (the Heat is on)

    There is some hope of emerging from the 3rd in decent shape, but he seems pretty toasty to me at this stage. He stays on the Supermarket Shelf for one more week

  • James Joyner of OTB has some interesting commentary on the Moore endorsement of Clark. One is known by the company one keeps, and Moore’s endorsement has a hypocritical and cynical feel to it. Connect the dots as one wishes…

    DAY-OLD BAKERY

    Dean: Toast (the Heat is on)

    From Wonder Bread to Toast in a few short weeks: aint politics fun? Getting scrapped is possible, but not probable.

  • This is never good: Intriguing: Dean Shake-Up. I will admit that Kerry did it early on, and I thought it spelled trouble hm, however it ended up working out. I don’t think that Dean has the time for it to work for him. WaPo notes: Dean Staff Shake-Up Long Coming and has a lengthy story on the matter.

  • Dean, once the money man, is now having serious money troubles.
  • WaPo also notes: Dean’s Money Advantage Dwindles.
  • Robert Tagorda comments on the Good Doctor’s travails.
  • Meanwhile, Sean Hackbarth thinks that the Good Doctor has been reading The American Mind.
  • Dean Esmay provides A Good Reason To Vote For Howard Dean (an no, it has nothing to do with his name).
  • Always good: AL FRANKEN KNOCKS DOWN DEAN HECKLER.

    THE CRUMB PILE

    Lieberman: Crumbling Burnt Toast (he’s done)

    Hes done. Hes lost. He has no prayer. I know it, you know it. The mystery is: why doesnt he?

  • He’s even losing in CT: Lieberman Lagging Behind on Home Turf: “Forty-three percent of those who said they are likely to vote in the state’s March 2 presidential primary said they would vote for Kerry. Lieberman had the support of 18 percent of those surveyed.”

    Sharpton: He remains burnt toast (and the heat continues)

    While some have opined that the Reverend could be a serious player in SC, my guess is that he will be lucky to reach the 15% needed for viability and a delegate.

  • Wishful thinking, methinks: Sharpton To give candidates a run for their money in S.C.
  • Sharpton left out of La. primary-of course, that means instead getting 1% of the vote (after rounding, of course) he’ll get 0%.

    Kucinich Zen crumbs, but crumbs nonetheless (so burnt, the head was turned off)

  • And the prize for most misleading headline of the week: Kucinich gaining traction, of a sort. The description of the bus is amusing, however.

  • Another amusing headline: Thick skin serves Kucinich in S.C.. Plus, he continues his convention-related delusions in this piece.

    THE VICE-LOAF

    Hillary

    Dave Wissing of The Hedgehog Report has a report on a rumor I heard earlier in the week: that Edwards would ask Hillary to be his veep, should he win the nomination. I still have a hard time seeing Hillary accepting a veep nod.

    Edwards

    The talk of a Kerry-Edwards ticket continues. This week Edwards insisted that he wouldnt go there. We shall see.

    I still think that a Senator-Senator ticket strikes me as an odd idea.

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    But I Thought he Hated Special Interest

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:22 am

    Kerry Leads in Lobby Money.

    This politics things thing is so confusing.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • Feste…a foolsblog linked with Kerry; Man of the People
    Is the Bear Hibernating?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:09 am

    Something’s amiss at The Truth Laid Bear, as no doubt many of you have noticed. He has acquired partial Blank Blog Syndrome, for one thing and while scans have been taking place, one can’t get to the actual listing on the Ecosystem.

    Measuring and amanging the Blogosphere appears to be getting harder and harder. The original Technorati has been busted for a while, leading to the new improved beta version that still appears to have some kinks in need of work (although as of this morning it appears to be working better than ever). And blogrolling’s search feature still doesn’t work properly.

    Not to mention that Sitemeter has the occasional problem-and qute a few this week.

    Heck, even Hosting Matters was having trouble on Tuesday.

    What’s a stats-obsessed blogoholic to do?

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Toast

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:55 am

    And yes, I am making the toast.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    How Many Would it be in Dog Years if They Blogged?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:51 am

    Time flies, but a year in the blogosphere, especially a year of sustained growth and success, is a long time.

    Keeping that in mind, I would like to extend a hearty congratulation to James Joyner of Outside the Beltway, who has been blogging for a full year now.

    I was there at birth, so to speak, as I received an e-mail with his original B*S page and the statement “What the hell.” Now, as he notes in his State of the Blog Address celebrating his first full year, I was quite used to receiving e-mails from him with commentary of various types. I initially took the note to mean: “What the hell?!?” and so I was at first confused as to what was so objectionable to the first couple of OTB posts, until I realized the content was his.

    Also, you can blame him for the existence of PoliBlog, as OTB inspired me to give this blogging thing a try as well.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
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    Kerry Still in GOod Shape in the Tracking Polls

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:40 am

    The headline is dramatic: Edwards Widens Lead on Kerry in South Carolina, but it’s only a 4 point gap, which is almost certainly within the MOE, so no big story here.

    Kerry continues to have a huge lead in MO and a solid one in AZ. He is in a statistical tie with Clark in OK.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Friday, January 30, 2004
    The Good News Continues for Kerry

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:17 pm

    John Kerry Scoops Up Key Endorsements

    John Kerry scooped up key union endorsements Friday as presidential rivals criticized his nearly 20-year Senate record, calling the Democratic front-runner all-talk, no-action on affirmative action and health care.

    […]

    Polls showed the Massachusetts senator with a commanding lead in Missouri, Arizona and North Dakota states with 143 of the 269 delegates at stake. Kerry shared the lead in two others, South Carolina and Oklahoma, and party strategists gave him the edge in New Mexico and Delaware.

    […]

    In Washington, the Communications Workers of America, with 700,000 members, endorsed Kerry and Michigan’s largest teachers union, the 157,000-member Michigan Education Association, gave its support. A third union, the Sheet Metal Workers International Association, plans to announce its backing next week.

    Two members of the Congressional Black Caucus also announced their endorsements Friday, with Rep. Chaka Fattah, D-Pa., backing Edwards and Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla., supporting Kerry.

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    GDP Growth Below Target

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:48 am

    Economic Growth Below Expectations

    U.S. economic growth slowed to a 4 percent annual rate in the final three months of 2003, less than half the third-quarter pace as consumers braked their spending, the Commerce Department reported on Friday.

    The expansion in gross domestic product was well below Wall Street economists’ expectations for a 4.8 percent rate of increase and far below the sizzling 8.2 percent expansion posted in the third quarter when tax-induced spending was strong.

    Being below 8.2 was to be expected. However, not meeting expectations is never good, and certainly this will help fuel concerns about the recovery and give the Seven something to grouse about.

    Filed under: The Economy | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Progress on Hitchhiker

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:24 am

    It looks as if the HHG flick is a legit go.

    And also good news: Dougals Adams did the script adaptation before his untimely death.

    Filed under: Movies | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Polls Looking Quite Kerry-ish

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:40 am

    Poll: Democrat Kerry Opens Big Leads in Missouri, Arizona

    John Kerry, on a roll after winning the first two Democratic presidential contests, has opened big leads in Missouri and Arizona and is challenging for the top spot in South Carolina and Oklahoma, according to a Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby poll released on Friday.

    Kerry has opened a 34-point lead in Missouri and a 21-point lead in Arizona, and trails John Edwards by 1 point in South Carolina and Wesley Clark by 8 points in Oklahoma in a three-day tracking poll of the four states.

    Howard Dean, the one-time front-runner whose high-flying campaign has plummeted dramatically in recent weeks, was in third place in Arizona, Missouri and South Carolina and fourth place in Oklahoma. Arizona was the only state where Dean registered double-digit support, at 12 percent.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Thursday, January 29, 2004
    More Academics on Coffee

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:02 pm

    Jacob Levy of the Volokh Conspiriacy returns to the question of coffee and academe, with linkage and commentary.

    And to revisit the post that started it all, shouldn’t Thrasymakhos be arguing that justice is simply the interest of the caffeinated? And clearly he is concerned with the sugar problem so as not to detract from his impressive physique (for some reason I always thought of him as something of the bodybuilding type).

    Filed under: Academia | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Revisiting Dennis Miller

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:20 pm

    I haven’t had a chance to watch the show since Monday, and Miller looks quite a bit more relaxed tonight, although the chimp playing with the Dean Scream button got old in a hurry.

    I will say that Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff looks like he doesn’t particularly enjoy Dennis’ banter.

    Filed under: Pop Culture | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (1)
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    What a Whiner

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:10 pm

    I’m not really sure why Glenn is complaining that he might be in the wrong business since everyone knows professors don’t have real jobs are all on permanent vacations.

    Filed under: Academia | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    SC Debate Round-Up

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:08 pm

    Robert Prather has a run down of the South Carolina Debate. I concur wholeheartedly with him on this comment about Clark:

    Clark claims not to be an insider of the Clinton Administration. Brokaw lists the attacks that took place during the Clinton years. Clark can bash Bush, but not Clinton for 9-11. It’s unbelievable.

    Jeff Quinton’s Backcountry Conservative has numerous posts on the debate. The overview post is here.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Six Figures

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:44 pm

    Within the last few minutes, PoliBlog’s Sitemeter registered my 100,000th visitor.

    My thanks to all the readers out there. It’s a long way from wondering if I was ever going to get more than a handful of hits a day!

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • The World Around You linked with Congratulations to PoliBlog
    NAFTA “Sends” Jobs Abroad

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:01 pm

    I hate to tell the Reverend, but even if we were of the mind to “rescind” NAFTA, jobs are still going to go abroad. Aside from arresting people for investing abroad, you can’t stop it-nor should we want to do so. If you force employers to keep plants in the US, that isn’t going to save jobs. Indeed, it will evenutally cost them. Either the company will not grow, and be unable to hire workers, or the cost of doing business vis-a-vis competitors will continue to rise and eventually cause it to go out of business, which will cost jobs.

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    Trade, the Economy and Such (More Debate Blogging)

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:52 pm

    I always find it amazing that candidates claim that they have some “plan” to “create” jobs. Lieberman just stated he had a plan to create 10 million jobs Now, aside from the federal government hiring people, the President can no “create” jobs. It is an absurd proposition.

    And regarding the anti-free trade arguments, in the sense that free tade is ruining our economy, have any of these guys noticed that in the aggregate our standard of living is the best that it has ever been in the history of mankind? And that is not just true for “the rich.” Don’t these guys understand that globalization is taking place in large part because the world plays by our rules these days (i.e., market capitalism)? And that to build trade barriers would be to damage our economy?

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    Debate Blogging

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:34 pm

    I am tired, oh so very tired, of candidates of all stripes telling stories about some person they encountered at a pancake breakfast, a hotel lobby or wherever as the method of answering a question or making some point. What do I care what “some guy” said?

    Lieberman just answered a question from Brokaw by referring to some dude in a hotel lobby.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with S.C. Debate Summary
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    Senatorial Make-Over?

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:23 pm

    Yes, winning is the best elixir and all that, but clearly Senator Kerry has had some kind of make-over over and above a nice new haircut, and I don’t mean that he has purchased some extra argyle sweaters.

    I know that there has been botox speculation, and while I am not 100% sure about that, there is no doubt that he looks at least 10 years younger than he did before the campaign started.

    After all, this is the guy that I heard one comic (it may have been by John Stewart on the Daily Show) refer to as a “sharpei“.

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    A Sign of Age

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:46 pm

    It just occurred to me that to my generation a pop culture reference to “The Island” almost certainly meant Gilligan’s Island but to my students it probably means some sort of Survivor ref instead.

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    Money Isn’t Everything

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:13 pm

    The Dean campaign should be yet another in a long line of examples that demonstrates that no, money isn’t everything in American politics and that all of those constantly squeal that candidates are constantly “buying” office are simply wrong.

    Further, those who glowingly commented on Dean’s internet fundraising as though it was a major innovation missed the basic point: Dean raised a lot of money via the internet because he had (at one point) a lot of support. He did not have a lot of support because he raised money on the internet. Similarly, George W. Bush didn’t become popular in 1999/2000 because he raised tons of cash, rather he raised tons of cash because he was popular.

    Evidence to this effect: Dean’s Money Advantage Dwindles.

    The line of casuality is quite important.

    Popularity can get you money, but money can’t buy you popularity (ask Steve Forbes, for example). And winning helps: Kerry Raises $500,000 Online in Two Days (and note who’s in the Internet Genius now).

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    • Kamelian X-Rays linked with The Aftermath of the Kerry Victory
    Today’s List: Clark Quotes

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:49 pm

    Since we may not have the General to kick around for much longer, I thought I’d better get the list up while I was thinking about it:

    My Top 5 Favorite Stunning General Clark Quotes:

    5. “This is the most closed, atrocious government since Richard Nixon was president.”

    4. “The Europeans know who I am and respect me.”

    3. “Life begins with the mother’s decision.” (in the Union Leader on 1/8/04).

    2. “If I’m president of the United States, I’m going to take care of the American people,” Clark said in a meeting with the Monitor editorial board. “We are not going to have one of these incidents.”
    “Nothing is going to hurt this country - not bioweapons, not a nuclear weapon, not a terrorist strike - there is nothing that can hurt us if we stay united and move together and have a vision for moving to the future the right way.” (from an interview with Concord Monitor and a Hat tip to: OTB.)

    and, the #1 quote is especially fun after you have read the other 4:

    1. “And I’m very glad we’ve got the great team in office: men like Colin Powell, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condolzeezza Rice, Paul O’Neill-people I know very well-our president, George W. Bush. We need them there, because we’ve got some tough challenges ahead in Europe.” (Source: A WSJ column version of a speech he gave on 5/11/01 at a Republica fundraiser as printed on 9/26/03.)

    Update: This is my entry in today’s BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with Dean’s implosion
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    Today

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:42 pm

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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with POLIBLOG MILESTONE
    The Heat is Increasing on Dean

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:19 am

    Interesting-and a demonstration of the real damage that was inflicted on him in Iowa and New Hampshire: Dean Skips Airing Ads in 7 Primary States

    With his money and momentum depleted, Dean decided to save his ad money for the Feb. 7 elections in Michigan and Washington state and, 10 days later, the primary in Wisconsin, said officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    […]

    Officials hope that Dean emerges later in February as an alternative to front-runner John Kerry (news - web sites) and engages in “guerrilla warfare” until he wins the nomination or is mathematically eliminated.

    The ad strategy came as Dean focused on delegate-rich states most likely to determine the Democratic presidential nominee. He stayed Wednesday in his hometown of Burlington, Vt., to design a new course for his faltering bid for the White House.

    I understand the theory, but question the decision. If he fades on February Third, his chances will be shot-especially if Kerry has a great, or merely good, night. Indeed, the strategy appears predication on the idea that Kerry won’t do that well next Tuesday. I find this unlikely, especially if Dean goges low profile for those races.

    And earlier in the week I noted that money doesn’t like a runner-up, and, it ends up, neither do politicians:

    Dean’s backers are dubious. In a conference call with members of Congress who have endorsed him, he was told bluntly that finishing second wasn’t good enough that he had to show he could win a primary.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with S.C. Primary News 1/29
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    The Coffee-Powered Academy

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:08 am

    Like last night, I am pressed for time, and therefore cannot opine at the length deserved by the precious coffee bean. Still, I must confirm James Joyner’s statements that it is true, refined coffee culture has not come to Troy, Alabama where I once heard a local radio personality wax poetic over that “fine Beeline coffee” (Beeline is a gas station convenience store). (Montgomery, is another story, which is where I reside).

    Yet, due to the twin miracles of internet shopping and the ability to ship good through the US mail, I can honestly say that some of the finest coffee in all of Troy, Alabama, nay, perhaps even in Southern Alabama itself, is brewed in my office. The aroma of a fine Brazilian Santos, Bucaramanga Colombian Supremo or Ethiopian Yirgacheffe regularly wafts through the political science offices at TSU.

    For it is certain: coffee powers the academy.

    (And yes, Joyner was well known for spilling coffee-ad exclusively in my office).

    Note: This post was written “under the influence.” Indeed, look: my cup is empty, be back in a bit…

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    Wednesday, January 28, 2004
    Who Knew?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:16 pm

    Thank goodness for the Mercury News! March 2 primary win could be vital

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    Levy on Caffeine

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:51 pm

    I be liking this Levy guy over at Volokh. He sounds like my kinda prof.

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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with PROFESSORS ON COKE
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    The Search for Links Continues: CoV 71 is Up!

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:42 pm

    And The American Mind has this week’s round-up.

    Of course, even though I hosted last week, I forgot to submit an entry!

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    Intriguing: Dean Shake-Up

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:40 pm

    Dean Shakes Up Presidential Campaign

    The sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Dean told congressional supporters in a telephone conference call that he was installing Roy Neel as campaign CEO. Dean added that campaign manager Joe Trippi would remain on the payroll, the source said.

    But another source said that Trippi had decided to depart the campaign rather than accept the change

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    Well, It Couldn’t Get Much Weaker, Now, Could It?

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:19 am

    Clark Promises Stronger Campaign Ahead of Feb. 3

    “Four months ago we weren’t even in this race. We had no money. We had no staff. We had no office. All we had was hope and a vision for a better America,” Clark said.

    Four months later we came into New Hampshire as one of the elite eight. Tonight we leave New Hampshire as one of the final four,” Clark said.

    Umm, there were only seven competitors, and only a total of ten who started the “tournament.”

    And, someone might want to remind the General that Kucinich and Sharpton are in the same “elite eight.”

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    Clark Campaign Gaffe

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:00 am

    Dave Wissing has an amusing Clark campaign gaffe for your enjoyment.

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    No Surprise Here

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:56 am

    Edwards Rejects a Kerry-Edwards Ticket.

    Of course, that’s what they all say, but he is being pretty categorical:

    Edwards said he would not be willing to be No. 2. “No, no. Final. I don’t want to be vice president. I’m running for president,” he said.

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    Brokered Convention Revisited

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:14 am

    William Safire dreams At the Brokered Convention.

    ‘Tis an amusing column, but I still think it ain’t gonna happen. Of the pathetic predictions I’ve made, this is the one I feel the most confident about.

    Yes, the PR nature of delegate allocation means that one does not have to win a state to gain delegates, but momentum still goes to those who win. And the conceptual perception of “winner” v. “loser” affects the voters in subsequent primaries.

    For example: note how Dean fell sharply in numerous polls after his third place finish in Iowa.

    Also: money likes a winner, not a runner-up.

    While I can construct scenarios in which a brokered convention takes place, I still see the probability of such an outcome as practically nil. However, look for the media to start churning up speculative stories about the possibility, because it is their fantasy, and it makes for a good story.

    And the field will be winnowed after next week: Lieberman, barring a miraculous turn around, will have to face reality, and if Edwards doesn’t win SC, he will be mortally wounded. And Clark has to have a healthy showing as well in places like SC and Oklahoma, or he might as well go back to the speaking circuit.

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    • QandO linked with Blog Rolling
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    They Love Me, They Really, Really Love Me!

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:35 am

    What was the best part of the XFL? The scantily clad cheerleaders? The lack of roughing the passer rules? The “revolutionary” camera work?

    No!

    It was the “He Hate Me” jokes.

    And now, it seems, Rod Smart’s getting the last laugh, ‘cuz he’s going to the Super Bowl as a Carolina Panther.

    Is America a great country, or what?

    (Hat tip: Mark Hasty.)

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    Tuesday, January 27, 2004
    Joe-mentum Continues!

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:27 pm

    Joe is on CNN right now trying to spin to Wolf that he did really well tonight and he isn’t going to drop out.

    To which I say: please, Joe: go home-it is too painful to watch the self-delusion.

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    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Dead end Joe
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    The Dude with the Sign

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:10 pm

    The dude at the Dean speech with the sign about asking Congress about “how (if) Bin Laden did it” isn’t helping the image of the Deaniacs.

    And this speech will play better than the one from last week, methinks. Although this one is a bit boring by comparison.

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    The Race for Third

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:33 pm

    CNN.com now has Clark in 3rd with 66% of the vote counted.

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    • The Bemusement Park linked with MMM . . . TOES
    Boooring

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:04 pm

    Quite frankly, this has been rather boring tonight, at least compared to Iowa. Wheres all the vaunted New Hampshire contraryism? Arent they supposed to reject frontrunners? Arent the supposed to eschew the results of Iowa just for spite? Wheres a dramatic storyline?

    Heck, the numbers largely look like Zogbys final poll and I bet there won’t be any screaming rants tonight or anything.

    Usually I find Iowa boring and NH interesting. Man! The Conventional Wisdom is failing left and right this year.

    I want my money backthis ride hasnt been too thrilling at all!

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    • Wizbang linked with That Was Quick
    • Priorities & Frivolities linked with Live New Hampshire Primary Election Analysis
    Where Do We Go From Here?

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:58 pm

    Is Kerry the prohibitive frontrunner at this point? My initial reaction is that he is the clear favorite, but by no means a guarantee. The guy simply doesn’t wear well and it will be interesting to see how he deals with the criticism that goes along with being the front runner. In another life in this campaign, we may recall, he did a very poor job as the frontrunner. He may, however, be the default position at this point.

    Dean lives, and while he may be the “walking wounded", he can still compete.

    Edwards’s Iowa momentum is lost for the moment, and he had better hold on to third if he wants to have any juice coming out of the contests tonight.

    Clark needs to quit. He is clearly demonstrating that running for president is not a rookie’s game.

    And poor Lieberman needs to quit and try to rehabilitate his reputation as a respected member of the Senate.

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with Light blogging
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    • QandO linked with New Hampshire
    MSNBC Calls it for Kerry

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:25 pm

    MSNBC has declared Kerry the winner, but the margin of victory is still unclear.

    Matthews keeps talking about a potential 5% gap, but I can’t decide if that is hype, or based on some exit polling he has seen.

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    Birmingham Radio

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:11 pm

    BTW, I will be talking about the NH Primary on Birmingham radio on 101.1 FM, WYDE ("The Source") on Lee Davis’ radio show at about 8pm.

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    NH Analysis will be Ongoing

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:08 pm

    Rather than the mega-post style employed by James Joyner over at OTB, I will stick to the rapid-fire post version of coverage.

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    The “Big Turnout” Spin

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:06 pm

    A couple of times now, watching mainly MSNBC’s Hardball coverage, I have heard the spin that record turnout in the Democratic primary tonight is a sign of doom for the Republicans (or, at least a sign of anti-Bush passion). I find that interpretation to miss a fundamental point of elections: when a race is competitive, turn-out tends to go up. There is clearly a highly competitive Kerry-Dean race, and there is a second-tier race for third.

    I don’t see a particular message for the Republicans here. Indeed, such spin at this point strikes me as wishful thinking by Democrats/liberals.

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    Delegate Selection in NH

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:57 pm

    Here’s the NH Delegate Selection Plan from the Vermont SecState’s site.

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    A Close Second is Almost as Good as a Win

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:53 pm

    If Dean can come within single digits of Kerry, especially if it is within 5 points, he wil be able to claim victory, of a sort. Plus since delegates are allocated proportionally, a 35ish/32ish Kerry/Dean finish is almost a tie.

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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with NEW HAMPSHIRE BLOGGING (ONGOING)
    Oh, Those Darn Polls!

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:16 pm

    Robert Tagorda asks an intriguing question: What the Hell Do We Do with John Zogby? and provides some interesting commentary in re: tracking polls and the NH race.

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    • The Bejus Pundit linked with Dissing Zogby
    Early NH Info…

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:40 pm

    Drudge, via Jonah Goldberg at the Corner, and presumably via some leaked exit poll data, has Kerry at 36 an Dean at 30 and Clark and Edwards fighting for third.

    Dan Rather on CBS radio intimated the same at 4pm central.

    Drudge also has a headline that Lieberman is going to “suspend” his campaign.

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    Damage Control

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:03 pm

    You know you are planning for a bad night when:

    Clark’s top aides said over the weekend that a respectable showing in New Hampshire meant fourth place or higher. Clark had been running third for most of the past week but his support in many polls had softened a little each day.

    Fourth is pretty bad when one considers just over a week ago that he wass gunning for a strong second. I still think fifth is a high probability.

    And I may not get many predictions right, but I was right when I said that Clark was one of the biggest losers as a result of the Iowa outcomes.

    Source: Clark Seeks Respectable Finish, Looks Ahead

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    Well, Maybe It’s Kerry After All..

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:23 am

    Let the backtracing begin! ;)

    Zogby International’s last traking poll has Kerry up 37-24 over Dean, and has Edwards in third with Lieberman and Clark tied for fourth.

    The thirteen point spread is more in line with earlier numbers in the poll.

    I may get it the order right, save for the first two (which, of course, are the most importnat ones, but ah well…).

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    Al Qaeda Leader Caught in Iraq

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:04 am

    This is from yesterday’s news, but I didn’t hear a thing about it yesterday, nor did I see any references to it:Bush Hails Al Qaeda Arrest in Iraq

    “Just last week we made further progress in making America more secure when a fellow named Hassan Ghul was captured in Iraq,” Bush said, drawing attention to an arrest the administration announced last week. “Hassan Ghul reported directly to Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who was the mastermind of the September 11th attacks . . . . He was captured in Iraq, where he was helping al Qaeda to put pressure on our troops.

    This strikes me as a big deal, but the news yesterday seemed to either be the Kay report of NH.

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    A Deserving Film

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:01 am

    Good deal: ‘Rings’ Tops List of Oscar Nominees

    Epic “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” topped the list of Oscar nominees on Tuesday with 11 nominations followed by seafaring adventure, “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” with 10 as each was included in the best film category.

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    Explaining my Roll of the Dice

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:46 am

    First off, at this point I have no real solid sense of what will happen today, just an impression leading to a gamblehence my DKELCKS prediction for tonight.

    Second, while I was strongly convinced of my DGKE prediction in Iowa, I am by no means as convinced about my NH thoughts. I just find the predicting business fun.

    Third, here are some of my reasons:

  • The initial forecast of snow (which apparently isnt coming until tonight, so is a non-issue) led me to think that intensity of support would be an issue, which I thought might help Dean a tad, especially since Kerrys support seems to have grown tepid over the last several days (of course, I was convinced that intensity would help Dean in Iowa, and we know how that turned out).
  • I dissed Zogby once, and so am cautious about doing so again. His trends show growing Dean support and waning Kerry support. And since I have seen other polling showing similar movement, I find it persuasive.
  • Along similar lines, I went with the conventional wisdom last time, and look what it got me.
  • The whole New Hampshire doesnt like front-runner/New Hampshire doesnt like rubber-stamping Iowa theses. I have always thought that these arguments were both an over-reification of the state and overblown, but there does appear over time to be something to them. And given the closeness of the polls, Kerry is the most likely casualty of such issues.
  • The Iowa Screech coverage finally hit saturation levels a few days ago, giving Dean some breathing room.
  • After initially looking lost, Dean has appeared (to me, at least) to have regained his self-confidence, but has tempered some of his hostility. I think this helps bring some of the voters who may have been scared by the Scream back to the fold.

    As should be clear, my prognostication about NH is as much wild-ass guessing as anything else, but wild-assed guessing tempered with some rationales.

    Tonight should be interesting—and next Tuesday especially so.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with New Hampshire Predictions
    The Last Meaningful Duck Hunt?

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:27 am

    Sean Hackbarth of The American Mind has Duck Hunt #8 up for your viewing pleasure.

    And unless the Good Doctor comes in at least a close second, this may be the last meaningful Duck Hunt of this still young campaign season.

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    Even More on Miller

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:21 am

    James Joyner reviews the show. Conclusion: he wasn’t impressed.

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    Monday, January 26, 2004
    More Miller

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:59 pm

    I liked the panel, insofar as Horowitz and Frum were decent guests. Naomi Wolfe needs to work on her analytical skills, however.

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    Miller Debut

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:31 pm

    A few Miller oberservations (on the first half hour, anyway):

  • While I really liked the whole gay guys wedding/terrorism line the first time I read it, I am a bit tired of it now.
  • The interview was fine.
  • The news thing sans audience needs work.
  • Miller seemed a bit stiff.

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    Defining Terrorism

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:59 pm

    As James Joyner notes today, building on a post by Citizen Smash, defining terrorism is not an easy as it looks. On the one hand, one is tempted to employ a logic similar to the one used by Justice Potter Stewart when he stated, concerning pornography: “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material but I know it when I see it.”

    I recently wrote a chapter on the topic of democracy and terrorism in Colombia for the an upcoming book on the general topic of terrorism and democratization. For that project I utilized the following:

    As is customary, I will offer my own definition for usage in this piece, which builds on Coopers definition (2001, 883): [t]errorism is the intentional generation of massive fear by human beings for the purpose of securing or maintaining control over other human beings but with the addition that the fear is question is generated by aiming violence at non-combatants. As such, terrorism is irregular warfare directed not at the state, but at the citizens of the state for the purpose of generating fear, so that the civilian population will, in turn, pressure the state to act. Groups rely on terroristic tactics because direct confrontation with the state will not yield the desired results, i.e., direct military confrontation will not result in the defeat of the state. For the sake of a coherent discussion of political violence, I would argue for at least three categories: conventional war, guerrilla war and terrorism. This list does not exhaust the universe of collective political violence by any means, but it does provide a basis for the discussion of the Colombian case. Perhaps more specifically: terrorism is a tactic, which can be employed in both conventional and non-conventional conflicts. Failure to recognize that fact leads to further confusion in an already complex discussion. Indeed, in this I concur with Merari: [i]f the definition of terrorism is equally applicable to nuclear war, conventional war and guerrilla, the term loses any useful meaning (1993, 217). This is not to say that states cannot engage in activities that cause fear in a population (indeed, total war is waged, at least in part, to scare civilians populations enough that they will want their governments to surrender). However, as horrific and violent as such activities can be, I find them to be their own category of action, and therefore not terrorism, per se.

    This definition would define Sherman’s march to sea as something other than terror, and would leave the attack on the Pentagon as somewhat ambiguous, but I would argue that the goal of that attack was the generation of societal fear to cause policy change, not to inflict actual military damage, so I would consider it terrorism.

    And to semi-address Smash’s question about terrorism being in the eye of beholder. The simple answer is yes; but it also depends on whether one is trying to develop a dispassionate, analytical definition, or if one wishes to to address how events might be categorized by casual (or not so casual) observers. I’m sure the citizens of Hiroshima (those who survived) considered the bombing a terror-inducing act, but analytically it strikes me as problematic to call it terrorism. It doesn’t diminish the horror of such as event to say that, but rather such classification is an attempt to use language as precisely as possible.

    Sources Noted Above

    Cooper, H. H. A. (2001). Terrorism: The Problem of Definition Revisited, American Behavioral Scientist 44 (February), 881-893.

    Merari, Ariel. (1993). Terrorism as a Strategy of Insurgency. Terrorism and Political Violence. 5 (Winter), 213-251.

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    Maps are Cool

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:30 pm

    And Citizen Smash has an especially cool and colorful one that is worth a looksee.

    (Hat tip: Insults Unpunished)

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    But Which One Has the Better Hair?

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:26 pm

    Joe Carter has a truly classic prediction about John Edwards.

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    Predictions (Please, no Wagering)

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:11 pm

    As Letterman often says: This is an exhibition, not a competition. Please: no wagering.

    So as to allow the possibility of ridicule, I will enter my own predictions about tomorrow night (which is getting trickier by the minute).

    *deep breath*

    1. Dean in a squeaker.
    2. Kerry in a close second
    3. Edwards laps St. Joseph and the General to come in third.
    4. Lieberman’s “Joe-mentum” gets him 4th, which, sadly, will be seen as a win.
    5. Clark’s slide, fueled by his inability to answer a question, continues. He will soldier-forth to February 3rd anyway.
    6. Kucinich
    7. Sharpton

    (The only picks I feel solid on are 3, and definitely 6 & 7!)

    UPDATE: I explain my reasoning, such as it is, here.

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    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with More New Hampshire Predictions
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    Deficit Politics

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:49 pm

    Bill Hobbs rightly notes that it is incorrect to speak of the deficit in absolute figures, if the issue is judging its size versus past deficits. He notes, for example, that as compared to GDP, the current deficits are smaller than those in the 1980s.

    And, as I pointed out months ago, the deficit last year, which also was touted in the press as the biggest in history, was not the biggest in terms of a percentae of budget outlays. It was slightly above average, but not radically so.

    Further, as I also noted at about the same time: like it or not, deficits have been the norm in Washington, not the exception. I am not fond of that fact, but it would be nice to have things in perspective before getting apoplectic. To act as if the surpluses of the later 90s were in any way the norm is to have a very limited understanding of history.

    Hat tip: James of OTB.

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    The Undecideds

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:29 pm

    The funny thing about the MSNBC/Reuters Zogby Poll, is that while there has been movement in the numbers, the percentage of undecideds has remained steady at 13%.

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    Kerry v. Dean

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:52 pm

    The Hedgehog Report has some more numbers (Survery USA) which back up the Zogby numbers that I noted this morning, and they also have Dean closing in on Kerry: 33% v. 28%.

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    Edwards

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:45 am

    Stephen Green may have a point about Edwards and his ability to win the nomination. He compares him to “Clinton without the bimbo eruptions"-which has some truth to it. I am not convinced at this point that Edwards has the same political skill that Clinton had, but I concur that he has some. Indeed, I have been dismissive of Edwards up and until last week-partially because of his Iowa finish, and partially because I have heard parts of his stump speech, which have struck me as impressive, rhetorically speaking.

    Bob Novak’s description of Edward’s message is on target”

    Edwards talks about two school systems, two tax systems, two economies and two governments - historic Democratic populism. At the state party dinner in Nashua on Saturday night where candidates were restricted to seven minutes each, Edwards barely mentioned Iraq. His “perfect pitch” is telling Democrats how terrible life in America is but promising “the change we all want. Yes, we will! We can do it!”

    This has impressed me as well, and I made mention of it when I was a brief guest on the lee Davis show in Birmingham last week, but don’t think I noted it on the blog. (Well, I did make this glancing ref in the Toast-O-Meter: I will say, I have been rather dismissive of Edwards, but I have been impressed by his current stump speech. While I disagree with the its ideological content, he has crafted a potentially effective populist message in which he details two different Americas.) This “perfect pitch” as Novak calls it (quoting Frank Luntz) could be quite powerful in the ongoing primary contest.

    However, I doubt that Edwards can beat Bush because of the national security issue that is operative in 2004, but wasn’t in 1992 when Clinton won. Clinton was able to defeat an incumbent president because the American people thought that with the collapse of the Cold War, that national security wasn’t the primary concern of the presidency. It has become such again, and I find it difficult to envision a one-term Senator being able to make the argument that he ought to be given the reigns of US national defense policy in the current era.

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    I Didn’t Go to Yale, Either

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:06 am

    I fully understand the rhetorical reasons for this kind of thing, but I tire of it nonetheless: Clark Contrasts Humble Roots With Rivals.

    Why does the fact that Kerry, Dean and Lieberman went to Yale somehow mean that they are less qualified to be President than Clark? (and it ain’t like West Point takes all applicants). I know the idea that one has humble beginnings is appealling to many voters, but it strikes me as irrelevant versus the broader issue of who one is now and what policies one supports.

    And the reason that the following is true is because he’s never run for office before, let alone held one:

    “I’m an outsider. I’m not part of the problem in Washington. I’ve never taken money from a lobbyist. I’ve never cut a deal for votes,” he said.

    And I am not sure this is really a stellar endorsement:

    “The Europeans know who I am and respect me,”

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    A New Southern Strategy?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:37 am

    Rather remarkable: John Kerry’s Forget-the-South Strategy?

    Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is discounting notions that any Democratic candidate would have to appeal to Southern voters in order to win the presidency, calling such thinking a “mistake” during a speech at Dartmouth College.

    Kerry’s remarks Saturday were so starkly antithetical to how many southern Democrats feel their party should campaign for the presidency, that a former South Carolina state Democratic chairman told ABCNEWS that Sen. Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, D-S.C., who endorsed Kerry last week, perhaps “ought to reconsider his endorsement.”

    And, hmm:

    “Everybody always makes the mistake of looking South,” Kerry said, in response to a question about winning the region. “Al Gore proved he could have been president of the United States without winning one Southern state, including his own.”

    It is certainly mathematically true that a candidate can win sans any of the southern states, but it is a rather odd strategy to write off that many electoral votes this early in the process.

    And given that the main focus of many Democrats appears to be the ever-elusive “electability” one wonders if such pronouncements will end up harming him in NH and during the Feb. 3rd primaries. It certainly can’t be of much help in SC, given that he is essentially telling the state: “I don’t need you, and indeed, that the Democratic Party doesn’t need you.”

    The article goes to quote Kerry’s spokesman, David Wade, who tries to tell us what Kerry really meant, which that is that yes! the South is important!

    Whenever spokespersons have to come out and explain what their candidate really meant, it is confirmation that, yes, the candidate did put his foot in his mouth.

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    • TheTemporalGlobe linked with Kerry in SC round up
    Progonstications

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:23 am

    California Yankee has a blogospheric roundup of New Hampshire Predictions.

    I’ll post my own a bit later.

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    And the Fun Begins

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:17 am

    Zogby: Kerry Lead Shrinks to Three Points in New Hampshire

    Kerry led Dean 31 percent to 28 percent in the new poll, with John Edwards jumping three points to narrowly trail Wesley Clark for third place, 13 percent to 12 percent. Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman remained static at 9 percent.

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    Sunday, January 25, 2004
    Miller’s CNBC Gig Starts Tomorrow

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:50 pm

    Source: Dennis Miller to Give Bush a Free Pass.

    It should be interesting and entertaining, as my wife put it: a cross between the “Daily Show” and Olbermann’s MSNBC show-at least that what it sounds like it will be. All I know is that the 8-m slot on cable news stations needed something.

    And, indeed:

    “I don’t want it to be a screaming shriekfest,” he said. “I want it to be a pretty reasoned discourse. I don’t care what Gary Coleman thinks about Afghanistan, which to me was the flaw of ‘Politically Correct’ towards the end.

    Filed under: Pop Culture | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with MILLER TIME
    Thanks for the Links

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:43 pm

    First, two overdue thanks:

  • Citizen Smash - The Indepundit
  • The Daily Lemon

    And some recent (at least to my knowledge) linkage:

  • Feste…a foolsblog
  • The Flying Space Monkey Chronicles

    Thanks to you all-each has been added to the “Look Who’s Linking to PoliBlog” list.

    If your blog has a permanent link to PoliBlog let me know, and I will add you to the list as well.

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    Comment Spam

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:58 pm

    Why does comment-spam usually read like a bad fortune cookie? Do these people think that if someone reads a trite saying it will increase the chances that readers will visit their site advertising *ahem* “enhancement” products?

    Most strange (and thank goodness for MT-blackslist!)

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    Looking to Tuesday Night

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:49 pm

    Looking at the Zogby International numbers, the trend of interest apears to be for third-Clark has been trending downward, while arguably it is all margin of error stuff, I think it quite likely that he will, on election night, finish fourth, or even fifth.

    Edwards may be in the best position to pick up votes and finish third.

    In the full poll results, it is noteworthy that Edwards does a tad better than Clark, and quite a bit better than Lieberman.

    Iowa made Edwards looks electable (at least more so than Lieberman or Clark) and that may fuel him into third.

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    Clark the Evader

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:18 am

    This man has a rather remarkable inability to asnwer a direct question. He has weaseled out of dealing his his rather audacious statement that if he was president, that there would be no more attacks on the US. Russert read him the quote verbatim, and Clark stated that he didn’t mean that there would be no more attacks on the US, but rather that “we would do better".

    Here’s Clark’s guarantee (source here):

    “If I’m president of the United States, I’m going to take care of the American people,” Clark said in a meeting with the Monitor editorial board. “We are not going to have one of these incidents.”

    That hardly sounds like “we’ll do better.” Amazing.

    And on the Moore description of Bush as a “deserter” (in Clark’s presence), he said that Moore has the “right” to say what he wants, that the election is about the future, not the past, and that when pressed about whether he had looked into the charges, Clark said he hasn’t looked into it, so really couldn’t comment.

    Remarkable.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks(2)
    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with CLARK ON MTP
    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Clark and Moore
    Managing Expectations

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:03 am

    Clark is on MTP at the moment, and conceded that he doesn’t plan to win in NH, but he would win eventually.

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    Blogrolling Searches Functional Again (Kinda)

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:53 am

    BlogRolling’s search the Blogrolls function is back up and running. However, it doesn’t appear to be working properly. For one thing, it treats www.poliblogger.com as a different site than poliblogger.com (in the past it seemed to understand that both addresses were the same site) and unless there has been some massive delinking of PoliBlog in the last 6 weeks, it isn’t properly obtaining info from all the Blogrolls out there. I had at least 60 links from blogrolls the last time I could search, now, combining the two forms of my address, I have something like 15.

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    Saturday, January 24, 2004
    The Rabid Goat Ticket

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:29 pm

    Let me join James Joyner is stating, for the record, that David Duke has no place, in my mind, in the Republican Party (indeed, in American politics) and that were he ever to be nominated in race in which I could vote, I would vote against him. I would rather elect a rabid goat to office than David Duke.

    And, I sincerely hope, that he does not run for Congress once he is out of jail, as Drudge is reporting. And if he does, I hope that he does not do so as Republican.

    I would note that there is no method by which the parties can stop people from using the labels “Republican” or “Democrat"-if they could, do you think that La Rouche would have been allowed to use the “Democrat” label all these years?

    And speaking of Duke, if he ever again declares for the presidency, I hope that the press treats him as they are currently treating LaRouhce (i.e., ignoring him entirely).

    This Public Service Announcement is largely in reponse to this post by Matthew Yglesias, in which he denounces Sharpton, and some commentary starts in which some lefty commenters seem to think that most conservative bloggers would support Duke.

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    More Evidence that Dean is Toasting Rapidly

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:07 pm

    Dave Wissing notes that Kerry and Dean are now in a statistical tie in AZ.

    He also notes, that contrary to Zogby’s numbers mentioned below, that
    Suffolk University’s one-day poll has Kerry well ahead of Dean.

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    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with New Hampshire Poll Show Race Tightening
    NH Race Tightening?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:44 am

    Says Reuters: Kerry Holds Lead But Race May Be Tightening

    Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry holds a nine-point lead over Howard Dean in New Hampshire but the race appears to be tightening, according to a Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby poll released on Saturday.

    Kerry led Dean 31 percent to 22 percent in the latest three-day tracking poll, but the last day of polling showed Kerry with a much smaller margin over Dean while John Edwards and Joseph Lieberman both gained ground on the leaders.

    “Kerry’s lead is now nine points over three days, however he led only by 26 percent-22 percent over Dean in Friday polling alone, while Edwards and Lieberman each hit 10 percent,” pollster John Zogby said.

    “Dean’s showing on Friday may suggest that he has bottomed out and may in fact be starting to increase,” Zogby said. “Another day like this and Dean may be in striking distance again.”

    If the Friday numbers are indicative of anything (and I have my doubts about any one day in these rolling polls-at least in terms of reading too much into them), then Tuesday evening could be very interesting.

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    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with New Hampshire Poll Show Race Tightening
    The Pre-NH Toast-O-Meter (1/24/04)

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:14 am

    -Toast: It’s not Just for Breakfast Anymore!-

    The Toast-o-meter: A Weekly News Round-Up and Handicapping of the Race for the Democratic Nomination.

    The Toast-O-Meter comes to you Fortified with linkage and Enhanced with bloggage!

    Iowa in the rear-view mirror: On to New Hampshire!

    This week the Toast-O-Meter was a tad late: it takes a long time to scrape all that previously burnt toast and to reassemble crumbs into bread. It takes a lot of crazy glue!

    However, given that it is Star Trek Week around here at PoliBlog, I realized that Scotty could just use the transporter to re-breadify the crumbs.

    That having been done, Bring on the Bread!

    The scale:

  • Wonder Bread (The nomination is in reach)
  • Just Plain Ol White Bread (Still in the race; has a shot)
  • Toast (Pretty much donea little scraping might make you look like bread, but you’re done)
  • Burnt Toast (Really, really done)
  • Burnt all the Way Through (Why are you still in the race?)
  • Crumbs in the Bottom of the Toaster (Why did you ever get in the race in the first place?)

    Potential Movements each Week:

  • Dough is on the Rise
  • Heats Off This Week
  • The heat is on.
  • Got Scraped a Bit
  • Getting Darker

    The Whole Loaf: Can any of the Nine make Bush into Texas Toast?

    (Bush is fresh, the Loaf is stale)

  • Bush claims the SuperBowl MVP vote, stealing it from Kerry, it would appear.
  • Dave has the latest round-up of Bush’s job performance nunmbers at The Hedgehog Report. Fox News/Opinion Dynamics has Bush at 53%, and a week-old ABC/WaPo poll has him at 58%.
  • Meanwhile, Zogby International has the Presidents Job Performance numbers at 50%.
  • The gap is currently closing in the latest Bush v. Kerry poll.
  • And on the economic front: Leading Economic Indicators Up 0.2 Pct. which doesn’t sound like much, but is indicative of continued strengthening of the economy.
  • It is likely that this isn’t news to readers of the Toast-O-Meter, but Mort Kondracke noted a key demographic trend this weel in a Roll Call column, which bodes well for Bush:
    Here’s a harrowing pair of facts for Democrats: In 60 years, no Democrat has ever won the presidency without carrying the youth vote. And right now President Bush’s approval rating among 18- to 29-year-olds is 62 percent, higher than his nationwide rating.

    FIRST: SLICING UP NEW HAMSPHIRE

    Before getting to the current rankings of the candidates, lets look at what means to each:

    KERRY

    Winning is: Coming in first: the momentum is his, and his alone. To lose now would be interpreted as a collapse.

    Losing is: Coming in second or worse.

    Can still claim victory if: Second would still be defendable, although the spin would be a tad pathetic.

    DEAN

    Winning is: To get anywhere near back to where he was a week ago, he has to win in NH. This is possible, but unlikely. It would mean finding a way to staunch the flow of voters away from his banner, halting the flow to Kerry, AND capturing most, if not all, of the currently undecided vote. This all amounts to a not bloody likely scenario.

    Losing is: Anything but first. Third or lower means it is time to quit.

    Can still claim victory if: If he comes in second, he will be wounded, but will still be in a position to continue, although the wound will be almost certainly fatal. A close second, in particular, can be spun as victory in face of the remarkable media storm over his Iowa Screech.

    CLARK

    Winning is: Coming in second. First is highly, highly unlikely.

    Losing is: Third or worse. If he doesnt come in second, the story will be that his good numbers last week were a mirage.

    Can still claim victory if: He comes in a close third to Dean. And even if he does come in third, he is hoping that he can surge in more conservative states like SC.

    EDWARDS

    Winning is: Third. Since he isnt expected to do anything in NH, coming in third would be considered huge.

    Losing is: Fifth. If Lieberman has a mini-surge and Edwards comes in fifth, the media will start questioning the authenticity of his second-place showing in Iowa.

    Can still claim victory if: As long as he finished fourth, the campaign will be satisfied. If he can climb into the high teens of low twenties, which would probably mean a third place finish, he can say the he actually won in NH.

    LIEBERMAN

    Winning is: Impossible, quite frankly. However, coming in fourth would be a big deal to Joe. Third would actually elevate him to being a serious candidate.

    Losing is: The defining characteristic of his campaign.

    Can still claim victory if: He actually cant, but hell try anyway.

    Sharpton will be happy if they just mention his name Tuesday night (unlike last Monday) and Kuchinich is too busy having Zen moments fantizing about a brokered convention that turns to him to be bothered with such petty thinks as vote totals.

    And, in re: Kucinich, as Dave Barry likes to say, Im not making this up. As this quote from a CNN transcript from an interview with Wolf Blitzer demonstrates:

    KUCINICH: I want you to be with me here, Wolf. This is a Zen moment. I’m focusing on becoming the next president of the United States. And the issue that’s going to get me there is my desire to get this country out of Iraq as quickly as possible and bring in U.N. peacekeepers. That’s how I’m going to get elected president.
    And in re: the convention, USAT brings us the following:
    Earlier Monday, Kucinich laid out a scenario in which no clear winner emerges from state primaries and caucuses, and he prevails with the most delegates at the national convention in July.
    “It is inevitable, really,” he said.

    Slicing up the loaf:

    The bakery has been rearranged. No one can be declared Wonder Bread this week, and plenty of folks have moved into the White Bread category. Now that there is a competitive race again, there are more candidates I deem Fresh Baked than have ever been placed in that classification than ever before.

    Kerry, Edwards and Clark have all moved up, Dean has dropped, and Gephardt has been cleaned out of the Toaster. Lieberman, Kucinich and Sharpton, however, havent budged.

    FRESH BAKED

    Kerry: from Burnt French Toast to fresh French Bread in a week (Doug is on the Rise).

    We may not qualify for Wonder Bread yet, but a win in NH will earn him that status.

    There is no doubt that Kerry, who looked all but dead a month ago, managed an impressive campaign adjustment, to roar ahead to an impressive victory in Iowa, and if the polls in NH are as good as the ones were in Iowa, Kerry can be expected to come out of Tuesday night looking incredibly front-runnerish.

  • Check out Kerrys line on the NH tracking chart at PolingReport.com.
  • The numbers are going Kerry’s way: Kerry Widens Lead In Latest N.H. Poll.
  • Jeff Quinotn of Backcountry Conservative informs us of a SC-based endorsement for Senator Kerry. Now, Iowa taught us the lesson of assuming the value of endorsements, but still, Kerry will be pleased to have the imprimatur of Fritz, to be sure.
  • Dave Wissing of the Hedgehog Report notes another endorsememt for Kerry: Walter Mondale, meaning that Kerry appears to be wrapping up the much sought-after “Fritz Vote".

    Edwards: Plain ol White Bread (Dough is on the Rise)

    Likewise, John Edwards had impressive results in Iowa. The system of two-round balloting was especially helpful to him, as it appeared that he was the second choice of a large number of voters. NH, however, only affords voters the chance to vote once, and so he is unlikely to have an especially good Tuesday. However, he can afford to wait until February 3rd to assess his actual strength.

    I will say, I have been rather dismissive of Edwards, but I have been impressed by his current stump speech. While I disagree with the its ideological content, he has crafted a potentially effective populist message in which he details two different Americas.

    Clark: Plain ol White Bread (the heat is on)

    Clark enjoyed a period of limited scrutiny as his opponents and the press focused on Iowa. However, the free ride is over. He may still come out of NH with some momentum, but he is no longer the presumptive Anyone But Dean candidate.

  • Clark was endorsed by McGovern this week. Make up your own sarcastic comment. (And, of course, theres the much sought after Michael Moore endorsement).

  • Kristopher of the World Around You has some additional Clark linakge.
  • James Joyner of OTB note that Clark’s big mo’ ain’t so big any more.

    THE SUPERMARKET SHELF

    Dean: Toasting White Bread (and the heat is on, as Cheney might say, Big Time)

    Call it the Iowa Screech, the Dean Yell, the I have a scream speech, or an some kind of indian war yell, the bottom line is, this was THE story of the week. And it aint the kind of story that a candidate wants to have be the most-talked about story of the week.

    And unless Dean rights the ship quickly, he will soon be in the Crumb Pile.

  • Reuters asks Howard Dean’s Campaign Scream - Is It Fatal?
  • Can we say “Damage Control?” I think we can: Dean does Letterman’s Top 10 list (Hat tip: the Political Wire)

  • Sean Hackbarth of The American Mind has been all over the reportage of the Good Doctor, including his Prime Time Live interview and, of course, the most recent Duck Hunt.

  • Time reports that Dean invited himself down to Georgia to go to church with Carter:
    The decision to go to Plains wasnt even a close call, Dean later suggested. When the former President of the United States asks you to go to church with him on a Sunday before the caucuses, I think you probably take that up. But that was before a series of polls started showing he was in a much tougher fight in Iowa than previously thought. He now might wish he had spent that time talking to Iowans. The latest Des Moines Register poll has him running third in a four-way race, although all four Dean, John Kerry, Dick Gephardt and John Edwards are so closely bunched that the polling margin is statistically insignificant.

    The summons from Plains? Carter doesnt remember it quite that way. I didnt invite him, but Im glad he came, the former President told reporters shortly before he conducted one of his frequent Sunday School classes at Maranatha Baptist Church. He called me on the phone and said hed like to come worship with me. He called and asked me if it would be all right. As for the timing, Carters son Chip later told reporters that the former President had also offered Dean dates in February and March. It was Dean not Carter who picked the day before the caucuses. Dean may not even be the only Democratic candidate who gets to boast a church date with the former President. Carter said retired General Wesley Clark has also asked for an opportunity to visit him in Plains and worship with him, and that he expects to be able to arrange one.

    THE CRUMB PILE: Now known as the Tragedy and Comedy Section with Lieberman providing he tragedy and Kucinich and Sharpton providing the comic relief.

    Lieberman: Crumbling Burnt Toast (he’s done)

    What is there to say? The man skips Iowa, moves his family (including his elderly mother) temporarily to NH, and is going to lose badly. It makes one wonder why people do this stuff.

    Kucinich: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (Transcendental Crumbs, however)

  • To enjoy Kucnichs stand-up routine, scroll back up to Slicing up New Hampshire (in case you missed it). Either the guy is the master of tongue-in-cheek campaigning, or one has to question his mental competence to continue serving in the congress. If this were the old Enterprise I think Id have McCoy certify that he wasnt fit for service and have him removed.

    Sharpton: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (carbon scoring on the toasting coil)

  • Via Betsy’s Page, we find that WaPo reports that Reverend Al will be staying in the race until July: “Sharpton wrote Democratic National Committee Chairman Terence R. McAuliffe that he plans to continue campaigning through the party’s nominating convention July 26-29 in Boston.”

    CLEANING OUT THE TOASTER

    Gephardt: The most precipitous fall to date: from Supermarket Shelf to out of the Toaster in a week.

    vice-Loaf

    Gephardt: Some are speculating that Gephardt is holding off on an endorsement so that he can angle for a veep. I dont wholly discount the idea that Gephardt would accept such a nomination, but am doubtful. He wanted the presidency to be the capstone of his career, and I am not sure that he would be satisfied being the second banana. He was Majority Leader for year, hoping to be Speaker, and to be veep would be another version of the same, always a bridesmaid, never the bride scenario. Also, if Kerry or Edwards is nominated, why ask another legislator to be on the ticket? And if Clark is nominated, I would think that the veteran politician in Gephardt would have a hard time playing second fiddle to a political rookie.

    Edwards: While I have derided Edwards in the past as the Dan Quayle of the Democratic Party (and I do still consider him something of a lightweight), his success in Iowa gives him a patina of respectability that, if he can build upon it, makes him potentially more attractive as a veep-type. However, if Kerry, for example, gets the nomination, I find it hard to believe that he would ask a fellow Senator to be on the ticket.

    NOT IN THE LOAF

    Gore

  • So much for the vaunted Gore endorsement.

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with Toast: The Other White Meat™
    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with TOAST-O-METER UPDATE
    • Mark the Pundit linked with Toast Time!
    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Pre-New Hampshire Toast-O-Meter
    • Insults Unpunished linked with Pre-New Hampshire Toast
    • The American Mind linked with Needs Butter
    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with Pre-New Hampshire Blogging Notes
    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with Pre-New Hampshire Blogging Notes
    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Clark and Moore
    • BushBlog linked with Toast is ready
    • King of Fools linked with Around the 'Sphere
    Friday, January 23, 2004
    Status

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:11 pm

    I have been largely away from computers all day today, hence the extremely light bloggage. Normalcy should return tomorrow, along with the Toast.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    An Old Fashioned Debate Roundup

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:54 am

    Radical Cowboys rusltes up debate reaction from last night.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Toast Status

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:18 am

    A busy week for the Toastmeister means that it takes a bit longer for the bread to brown.

    Look for the Pre-New Hampshire Toast-O-Meter either this evening or tomorrow morning.

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    Prime Time Deans

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:13 am

    Sean Hackbarth of the American Mind reports on the Diane Sawyer interview with the Deans from last night.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Thursday, January 22, 2004
    Linkfesting Fun

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:17 pm

    For those who are unware, check out the OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY: BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM-it is a link roundup in which all can participate and get free linkage on a week-daily basis. Just link up your best post of the day to the Jam, and a trackback link will be prominently displayed at OTB for all the Blogosphere to see.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Dean Has Been Neutered (So to Speak)

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:20 pm

    It occurs to me that Dean’s main assets were his passion, tenacity and willingness to be confrontational-indeed, even arrogance and anger. He can no longer do any of those things, because he is trying to counter-act the post-caucus screech.

    Sans his passion he is a boring little governor from a boring little state.

    Granted, the anger may have been the problem, which means he is doomed no matter what, Iowa screech or not.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(4) | Trackbacks(2)
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    • Cranial Cavity linked with The Vanilla Debates
    • Radical Cowboys linked with That's Debatable
    SC Endorsement News

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:41 pm

    Jeff Quinton of Backcountry Conservative is reporting that Fritz is going to endorse John. Plus he has linkage to his fine round-up of SC Primary news.

    (If you don’t know who Fritz and John are, turn in your PoliGeek card-or at least click the link to find out).

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    The Meltdown Continues

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:27 pm

    To be honest, this doesn’t sound too good: Howard Dean Says He Leads With His Heart

    Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean, struggling to recover from his politically damaging Iowa speech, said Thursday that his bellowing was fueled by emotions, “in other words, I lead with my heart and not my head.”

    He has lost his way entirely.

    This is a remarkable, remarkable turn of events. Losing in Iowa was one thing, but he appears to be headed to total meltdown: from nigh on to presumptive nominee to struggling to survive in less than a week is amazing.

    Side note: I have noticed that a large percentage of stories are using pictures from the now infamous speech, even though that was days ago, and even though they aren’t directly related to the story.

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    • One Fine Jay linked with Sore Thumb
    On Tracking Polls

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:04 pm

    Taegan Goddard has an interesting post on Understanding Tracking Polls. It is a a Q&A with Dick Bennett, head of ARG.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with THOSE LYIN' POLLS
    You Know a Sound Bite is Bad When…

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:19 am

    If people who pay zero attention to politics know about.

    (This can apply to the brilliance of a statement as well).

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    Voters Aren’t Stupid (and Other Revelations)

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:15 am

    James Joyner discusses the fact that many analysts (including myself) sold the electorate short in re: Dean. He notes that Dean lacks the tempermant to be president, and it would seem that Iowans concurred with that assessment, and that the voters in NH may be on the verge of doing the same (although the some polls still have Dean in the lead, while Zogby has Kerry and Dean in a tie).

    Indeed, this logic follows one from a George Will column that James noted yesterday.

    Part of the mistake I made was in trying so hard not to let my personal assessment for Dean get in the way of my analysis that I discounted the possibility that many Iowan Caucus voters might see the same things and share my assessment.

    Like I have said in the past (such as here, here and here): I have always thought Dean’s temperament and penchant for saying odd things was going to get him into trouble, I just assumed it wouldn’t happen until after he was nominated and swing voters really looked at him.

    What has happened, maybe because the economy in getting better, maybe because of the Saddam capture, or maybe because Dean simply doesn’t wear well [indeed, -Ed.], is that Dean’s appeal has faded substantially, even amongst the Democratic base.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(4) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • Kamelian X-Rays linked with Iowa Caucuses vs. SOTU Address
    The Shelf Life of Sound

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:11 am

    You know that you either said something amazingly brilliant, extremely controversial, or blindingly stupid if, two days after you said it, it is still a major topic in mass media. And without a doubt, Dean’s Iowa speech is hanging in there, and I know that it isn’t because of rhetorical brilliance.

    After a rather lengthy day that included a Faculty Council meeting and a direct drive from the University to church to help supervise AWANA, I didn’t watch much TV yesterday (and yes, I am borderline insane-but the question is, which item is better evidence: that I serve on the Faculty Council (as Vice Chair, no less) or that I am the Director for the K-2 AWANA kids on Wednesday nights?).

    My lak of time to watch TV, however, did not preclude Dean sightings aplenty. In roughly an hour’s viewing, I saw the clip on Hardball, which launched a discussion on Dean, on Letterman the contents of the clip was basically Dave’s Joke of the Night (he kept hollering out state and country names in a faux Dean voice), and on Countdown with Keith Olbermann it kicked off the show, which had a hilarious remix of Dean’s clip from the internet, and then had their own “Political Geography” mix of Dean and Clark listing states (Clark did a presumably mocking list of state on the Today Show that they used) and Bush’s lists of countries that helped us in Iraq from the SOTU. It was classic.

    Dean has become not a joke, but the joke.

    And, along the lines of my comment yesterday that Dean now looks lost, Chris Matthews commented last night that Dean is “starting to look like Steve Forbes” with that “deer in the headlights” look.

    Ouch.

    UPDATE: This post is linked to today’s BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM

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    Prediction Tracker

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:53 am

    California Yankee has a run-down of the Blogosphere’s Iowa Prediction Results.

    He did some leg work (or fingertip-work) to complile an impressively lengthy list.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Wednesday, January 21, 2004
    We Have a Winner!!

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:52 pm

    Makr of Sha Ka Ree is our PoliBlog SciFi Geek Contesttm winner, having correctly identified the quotations from CoV LXX:

    “As for what you want.it has been noted and logged", Kirk (The Trouble with Tribbles)

    “Random chance seems to have operated in our favor", Spock (The Doomsday Machine)

    What am I, a doctor or a moon shuttle conductor? If I jumped every time a light flashed around here, I’d end up talking to myself", McCoy (The Corbomite Maneuver)

    “The best diplomat that I know is a fully-loaded
    phaser bank", Scotty (A Taste of Armageddon)

    And the bonus question is: what Trek ref is Mark using for the name of his Blog?

    A hearty congrats to Mark from the Prize Committee:

    Those are Klingons?”

    “We don’t talk about it to outsiders.”

    Filed under: Pop Culture | Comments(10) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Worth a Read

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:17 pm

    Wowie-this is one of the most pro-American pieces I have read in some time, and it is written by an Australian in an Australian paper: They like Bush, and they are not stupid.

    The concluding paragraph:

    The price of freedom is high. You might think you would not sacrifice your life for it, but maybe you don’t have to. After all, 20-year-old Americans are doing it for you, every day.

    Hat tip: InstaPundit.

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Dean Looks Lost

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:25 am

    Dean’s anti-heckling woes continue, and indeed are getting worse.

    It started when he told the guy to sit down and be quiet in Iowa (as noted here by Bob Novak), which in turn had a negative impact on his image for Iowa Caucus-goers, and now his national anthem routine has made him look silly.

    Indeed, based (again on sound bites) from the event in NH, he is lost (as in wandering aimlessly). First he tells the crowd that he won’t be giving his “red meat” speech (his words), but instead a serious “policy speech", then he has to call security to take out from LaRouchies, and then has to sing over hecklers.

    He looks likes someone who is afraid about how his actions are being perceived, and therefore hs seems like someone who doesn’t know how to act, for fear that he will get into more trouble.

    I would rate my initial positive reactions to his speech the other night to be perhaps the worst political observation of my career-I gave way too much credit to him for being positive, and wholly discounted the over-the-top tenor of the presentation. I knew it was more than just the Blogosphere or conservatives when I saw cable news anchors making fun of him. Once the news guys think it is ok to make fun of you, you’re toast.

    Indeed, it may be that Dean was so stunned at winning only 18% of the vote on Monday that he came out and tried something new, and when that backfired he is now trying yet other new things. That is a sign of desperation, and of pending disaster. He runs the risk of alienating his base, by ceasing to be himself, and potential voters for either being too angry in is fomer persona, and too manic in the current one.

    If he can’t right the ship, then this may end up going down in history as one of the most spectacular meltdowns in presidential politics of all time.

    The whole thing is quite stunning.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(12) | Trackbacks(2)
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    • The Bemusement Park linked with TOAST OF THE TOWN?
    • The American Mind linked with Duck Hunt #7
    Why Early Wins Matter

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:10 am

    Kerry, Edwards Rake in Tens of Thousands

    Each took in tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions over their Web sites within hours of the Iowa caucuses.

    Today’s List: SOTU Lines

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:50 am

    Today’s List has been on semi-hiatus, but here is a list to file under “current events": My Top Five Favorite Lines from the State of the Union Address That Would Make Great Sound Bites:

    5. “These numbers confirm that the American people are using their money far better than government would have - and you were right to return it.” [What about all the spending?-Ed. I can still like the line, can’t I? Plus, it is a good bite]

    4. “Activist judges, however, have begun redefining marriage by court order, without regard for the will of the people and their elected representatives.” [I liked this one for the general senitment, as much as the specific issue on the table].

    3. “[I]t is mistaken, and condescending, to assume that whole cultures and great religions are incompatible with liberty and self-government.”

    2. “For all who love freedom and peace, the world without Saddam Hussein’s regime is a better and safer place.”

    1. “America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our country.”

    Filed under: Today's List | Comments(4) | Trackbacks (0)
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    The Carnival of the Vanities #70

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:47 am

    Boldly exploring the Blogosphere…



    “Linking frequencies open, sir…”


    Command
    “As for what you wantit has been noted and logged.”
  • Patriot Paradox notes that it Looks Like Kerry Will Win Iowa. Whaddya know: “I’m from Iowa, I only work in outer space.” and I always voted in the caucuses-when I was home, of course.
  • Kate, of Small Dead Animals notes that Yoda Agrees To Train Luke.
  • The Commissar reveals a plot to Rid World of Evil Menace George Bush.
  • Jeremiah Lewis of Fringeblog presents the schizophrenic monologues: a play.
  • Dowingba, of the Tao of Dowbinga, discusses growing up Canadian.
  • Richard of exvigilare notes a peculiar ruling regarding religion in the classroom, and notes a wee bit of hypocrisy from the ACLU. [Say it ain’t so!-ed.]
  • Brian of Tomfoolery of the Highest Roder discusses Bush’s boldly appointing where no Bush has appointed before.
  • Harvey of Bad Money is concerned about the rights of our soldiers, and notes things that might upset the Captain.
  • I am pretty sure Kirk was a Boy Scout, so I am not sure he wuld like this report fro eTalkinghead.
  • Mark Hasty of Bemusement Park doesn’t want to put it on screen.
  • Chuck at You Big Mouth, You! wonders about measuring success in Iraq. Clearly, we aren’t using the Prime Directive, which makes its it a rather Kirkian move, yes?

  • Snooze Button Dreams tells a tale of Snooze Button Dreams: Entrapment. Could it be a Man Trap?
  • Q and O asks what ever happened to Howard Dean?
  • Radical Cowboys has a Dean Caption Contest. Care to guess which picture he is using?
  • Kathy Kinsley ponders the relationship between sharia and democracy.
  • Dispatches from the Culture Wars discusses Intelligent Design as Roman mythology. Hopefully Apollo isn’t involved.
  • Feste discusses the Bush admin and the press.
  • SCHOOL @ HOME talks about the finer things.
  • BoiFromTroy details how “From the grave, one deceased soldier makes American Democrats look like fools.”
  • Blogo Slovo by Dave Kaiser comments on foreign policy.
  • Musings from Brian J. Noggle muses about guns. Phasers? Disrupters? You pick.
  • Dodgeblogium states It is war…period.
  • The SmarterCop discusses the Gamesters of Triangulation.
  • The King of Fools discusses the Gender Gap.
  • Patterico’s Pontifications posits on the Clark congressional testimony flap.

    Science

    “Fascinating.”

    “Random chance seems to have operated in our favor.”

  • “Captain, if we slingshot around the sun and go back in time, we might be able to change the past and make this post from Erick of Confessions of a Political Junkie be correct.”
  • This is not a phenomenon I have encountered before: the First Weblog’s Haunted Lamp.
  • Jim of Jammerblog comments on the final frontier and President Bush’s plans to explore it.
  • Simon, of Simon’s World also sets his sights on the Red Planet as well.
  • Ryan Gabbard of the Audhumlan Conspiracy is annoyed by Bad Arguments in Syntax Textbooks.
  • Dan K. O’Leary attempts to operationalize liberalism at Pragmatic Convservatism. He engages in social observation to note: You might be talking with a liberal if…
  • Gary Cruse of The Owner’s Manual discusses the Christian Right and the Republican Party. He uses Spock-words like “penurious” and “pecunious” in the process.
  • Madeleine Begun Kane has her second annual Quote Quiz. Fascinating.
  • Signal + Noise wantes Just the Facts, Ma’am, which is logical (and polite).
  • The Tears of Things notes that Jon Haddock Has No Bottom. Scanners are attempting to verify this fact.
  • Solomonia notes Other things to do with the computer aside from reading blogs. That strikes me as illogical.
  • Discriminations provides the Kerry, Edwards Engage In Racebaiting Archives by searching through the library computer.


    Medical

    “What am I, a doctor or a moon shuttle conductor? If I jumped every time a light flashed around here, I’d end up talking to myself

  • Bovious shares a Belated Christmas Present at Boviosity!-tips on how to quit smoking.

  • Idler Yet declares that Dean’s wife is too good for him. To which I say: I’m a doctor, not a marraige counselor!
  • Kevin Baker is concerned with drugs and the war there on, so he’s hanging out in sick bay.
  • Curiosity proclaims that Israel Is Interesting. Who knew? I’m a doctor, not a travel agent.
  • James Joyner (I’m a Doctor, not a doctor) of OTB comments on the science of sex selection.
  • So does Phil, The Speculist.
  • Goobage brings us info on universal health care.

    Enigineering/
    Security/
    Auxilliary
    Services

    “The best diplomat that I know is a fully-loaded phaser bank”

  • David Asp of The Bully Pulpit ask: “What to do with the drunken sailor"?
  • Quibbles and Bits has a post that Scotty can love.
  • Jeff Quinton of Backcountry Conservative is desinging some new uniforms for Clemson.
  • Ed Brayton is concerned about Christian Terrorists.
  • Wordlab considers the wit and wisdom of the bnd Steely Dan (and if I were looking for more hits, I would point out what the band was named after by name-I shall also avoid a Scotty-esque “she canna take the strain” joke-oops, I guess I won’t).
  • You can’t change the laws of physics, but you can re-write the Music Man with the Eight Dems-although it is unclear as to why you would want to…
  • Sneakeasy’s Joint is lookin’ to trade My Bike For Your Toyota.
  • Wheat and Chaff reviews 12 angry men.
  • Forgotten Fronts comments on Pseudoscience and the Laws of Physics, which, we all know, ya canna change.
  • The BlogMadness 2003: Last Call for Entries is upon us. Submit today!
  • Joe Kelley of The Sake of Argument tells the tale of the Mayor who Swiped a $1,000 Bill. One thing’s for sure: it’s green.
  • PC Watch looks at another type of Green.
  • Interested-Participant notes that homosexual couples can receive back pensions.
  • The Calico Cat brings us Creative Writing With Frank McCourt.
  • Peaktalk gets alliterative: DELIBERATE AND DISTASTEFUL DISRESPECT and discusses diaspora (kinda).


    Thanks for beaming in!

    And, of course:


    Live Long and Prosper

    SciFiGeek Trivia Contest: the first person to send an e-mail to carnival@poliblogger.com identifying the source of each of the quotes above will be duly honored at PoliBlog

    Note: Carnival #71 will hosted by FTP (friend to PoliBlog) Sean Hackbarth at The American Mind. And the upcoming schedule can be found at the home of the Carnival, Silflay Hraka.

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    • Joe Kelley’s The Sake Of Argument linked with COTV #70
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    • Snooze Button Dreams linked with There's a party in my pants and you're all invited.
    • The Tears of Things linked with Carnival of the Vanities #70
    • The SmarterCop linked with CARNIVALS OF GEEKDOM
    • Interested-Participant linked with Explosion of the Vanities
    • King of Fools linked with Compilation Wednesday
    • BlogMadness 2003 linked with Time Winding Down
    • Wizbang linked with Carnival Of The Vanities - Week 70
    • The Speculist linked with Shouldn't That Be "To Go Boldly...?"
    • Solomonia linked with Carnival of the Vanities #70
    • Jeff Doolittle dot com linked with Carnival of the Vanities #70
    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Energizing
    • On The Third Hand linked with Better late than never...
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    • Feste…a foolsblog linked with COTV#70
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    • The Bemusement Park linked with THANK YOU, EVERYBODY
    • Tiger: Raggin’ & Rantin’ linked with Wednesday, 01-21-2004
    • Da Goddess linked with COTV - The Star Trek Edition
    • Dean’s World linked with Ooops
    • Sneakeasy’s Joint linked with Of Vanities and Other Linkages
    • The SmarterCop linked with CARNIVALS OF GEEKDOM
    Tuesday, January 20, 2004
    OTB Blogcast 2004

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:37 pm

    James Joyner, no doubt inspired by Steve Bainbridge from last night has an impressive Blogcast of the SOTU.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Now Kerry’s on ABC!

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:32 pm

    This guy has a great agent.

    And why is he hanging out in a kitchen?

    Boooring

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:20 pm

    I hate the opposition response-even when the Reps are in the opposition. It is always quite dull, and I want to hear the talking heads talk.

    And someone should have told the Dems that the tag-team thing makes it worse.

    And Nancy Pelosi needs a little more TelePrompter practice.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Instant Takes

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:15 pm

    Pat Buchanan on MSNBC thinks it was a briliant “political speech.”

    Peggy Noonan thought that the foreign policy sutff was “brilliant” and that the domestic policy stuff was “Clintonian.”

    Fred Barnes of Fox thought it was too long.

    Mort Kondrake didn’t see much compassionate conservatism.

    Brit Hume seems to like the tax cuts.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments(2) | Trackbacks(3)
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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with SOTU BLOG REACTION ROUNDUP
    • camedwards.com linked with Partial Roundup of SOTU Coverage
    • BoiFromTroy linked with SOTU: Stream of consciousness
    Kerry on NBC!?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:09 pm

    They’ve got John Kerry on NBC talking to Brokaw. How in the world did he merit immediate post-SOTU slotting?

    And now they’re talking about Iowa an NH tracking polls!! Amazing!

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Top Bite to this Point

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:34 pm

    The best bite to this point is the one stating that the US will not ask for a permission slip to defend herself.

    I’ll try and cull quotes once transcripts are available.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    So Far So Good

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:28 pm

    The SOTU is working thusfar.

    At a minimum, there would appear to be some good potential sound bites! :)

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • Priorities & Frivolities linked with State of the Union
    Hastert’s Love Child?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:21 pm

    I swear that Speaker Hastert could be Drew Carey’s Dad.

    Filed under: Pop Culture | Comments (1) | Trackbacks(3)
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    • Insults Unpunished linked with State Of The Union Address
    • The Daily Lemon linked with Drew Carey Dennis Hasterts love child!
    • DANEgerus Weblog linked with Hastert's Love Child: Drew Carey
    At Least I Got One Thing Right

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:50 pm

    It doesn’t count as an especially amazing prediction, but I did predict the following in in the pre-Iowa Toast-O-Meter:

    (in re: Kerry) Best Result: Winning! If that happens, the press will dub him “The Comeback Kid II”

    And, indeed, Kerry referred to himself as the “Comeback Kerry” last night and Ted Kennedy has dubbed him “the Comeback Kid".

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Continuing to Round-Up Iowa

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:27 pm

    Jeff Quinton has a long list of Iowa after-action reports.

    He desrves some hits and linkage just for taking the time to put that long list together.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Dean’s Speech Redux

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:24 pm

    It should be a political maxim that the sound bite is more important than the speech itself. A while back James Joyner and I had a discussion as to whether one of Bush’s speeches was better in its entirety or in sound bite form. I argued at the time that it was sound bites-I should have thought about that last night when I heard the Dean speech, because regardless of whether I was an outlier (scroll down) on the speech itself, there is no doubt that the sound bites that I have now heard on NPR, Rick and Bubba and Michael Medved (I have eclectic tastes) all make him sound, well, insane.

    And, apparently, photos are more problematic than moving pictures as well.

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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with DEAN YELL
    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with The Dean Soundbite
    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with SOTU 2004 BLOGCAST (ONGOING)
    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with SOTU 2004 BLOGCAST
    Edwards and Political Philosophy

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:10 pm

    Ideological outlook matters: consider the case of John Edwards. His storyline is that growing up as the son of a mill worker profoundly affected his worldview and now that he is a rich, powerful trial lawyer/Senator that his public policy response to ills of those similarly situated to himself as a child is to expand the social welfare state. It occurred to me that an alternative response could have been to say: I came from humble beginnings, and look at me: hard work pays off! You, too, if you work hard can be like me. Instead, he talks about how downtrodden people are, and how they need the governments help.

    There are similar stories in my family, but for whatever reason, I took the hey, look, hard work pays off route, and not the the government need to help me route.

    And interestingly, despite being a scion of the South, his philosophical choice vis--vis the above strikes me as rather un-Southern.

    One could make a similar argument about Gephardt, and his dad who drove a milk truck and his mom who was a secretary, neither of whom finished high school (except for the Southern part, of course.)

    Why don’t examples inspire the best of the American Dream, which is that anyone can make it, but instead inspire the idea that we need more government?

    In short, it struck me this morning that the exact same life story could result in radically different philosophical conclusions. It further strikes me that the conservative point of view is more respectful of fellow citizens, as it assumes that yes, you too can be successful while the liberal perspective is rather condescending: you need my help.

    UPDATE: This post is part of today’s BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Another Look at John Edwards
    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Another Look at John Edwards
    ‘Round the Blogosphere

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:16 am

    James Joyner goes ’round the Blogosphere with reactions to Iowa.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Moving on to NH

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:15 am

    I will do a more fleshed-out version of this for the Toast-O-Meter later in the week, but here are some initial thoughts on how last night affect NH:

    DEAN: He now has to win NH. Anything else, and his candidacy will be in serious jeopardy.

    KERRY: Winning means coming in second. If he can’t do at least that, then his Iowa momentum will be lost.

    CLARK: Is now in trouble: winning for him means second place as well. Third will mean that the gains he has made in the last couple of weeks were for naught.

    EDWARDS: While he goes into NH with low expectations, coming in fourth or fifth, and probably in the single digits, will take the bloom off of the Iowa rose. However, if he has even a respectable showing (by beating expectations just a tad), he can declare victory heading into the 3rd.

    Lieberman: Barely on the radar screen.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(4) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with On to New Hampshire
    Mrs. Heinz-Kerry: Not too Happy?

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:56 am

    Kaus asks:

    Am I crazy or did Mrs. Kerry look decidedly unhappy during her husband’s Iowa victory speech? …

    Answer: no, Mickey, you aren’t crazy. She looked unhappy, and indeed, it looked like she wanted to slowly drift away from the podium, and it appeared that a few times she started to do so and then thought better of it.

    UPDATE: As Steve Bainbridge rightly notes: he posted on this one first.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with The unhappy Ms. Heinz
    Big Loser from Last Night

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:47 am

    I dubbed media the big winner from last night (down below), and I will now dub organized labor the big political loser. They could only deliver 10% for Gephardt? Remarkable.

    They ain’t what they used to be, it would seem.

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    • Internet Ronin linked with Iowa's Big Losers: Unions
    Dean’s Speech

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:18 am

    I have only seen a few reactions to Dean’s speech, but it may well be that I am, as Steve Bainbridge put it last night “the outlier” in terms of reaction.

    At this point I still stand by my initial reaction, that I interpreted the speech as surprisingly positive from Dean.

    Now, what do I mean by that? I don’t mean that I was personally influenced into becoming a Dean supporter, or that it is the speech that I would have given. I simply expected a more demure, stoic Dean, and that ain’t hardly what happened. To me, he didn’t look one iota like a loser, and I think that that will help keep his hardcore supporters energized. Further, it was a forward looking speech and he is right: he currently has the financial wherewithall to continue a fifty-state campaign. As losers go, he is in a pretty good position.

    I will admit that hearing the sound bit on NPR this morning, the “hoo-ya” at the end of his litany of states sounded a bit ridiculous.

    And, as a Bush supporter, the speech reinforced that idea that it wouldn’t hurt my feeling if this guy was the nominee. But, again, in terms of context, I think it was a speech his supporters no doubt liked.

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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with IOWA BLOGOSPHERE POSTMORTEM
    • Backcountry Conservative linked with Rigor Mortis de Caucus
    The Internet Ain’t So Cool After All

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:44 am

    I noted a few comments by tv commentators about Dean and the internet last night which were negative and along these lines:

    Linda L. Fowler, a political scientist at Dartmouth, said Monday night that Dr. Dean had been promoting a new formula that involved raising money and generating momentum over the Internet and getting many who had never voted before to support him.

    “That formula was untested until tonight,” Professor Fowler said, “and the first road test was disappointing, to say the least.”

    I find this amusing after all of those columns where everyone was stumbling over themselves to say that Dean had revolutionized party politics and was taking over the Democratic Party because of the internet. To put it bluntly: not so much.

    As I noted a while back people were getting a tad too excited about the whole ‘net fundraising/org thing: it is just a tool, albeit a new one.

    The amusing part is now it seems that some pundits are going to start distancing themselves from the Howard’s Internet Miracle thesis.

    Source: New Hampshire: Next Week’s Primary Suddenly Takes On a Different Look

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    The Biggest Winner?

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:38 am

    It occurred to me this morning that the biggest winners from last night are the media, because now they have the horserace they craved.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Monday, January 19, 2004
    Give Dean Credit

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:45 pm

    I just watched his speech. He was amazingly chipper and upbeat. I haven’t seen him give a speech that had such a positive atmosphere, which is striking since he just got handed a pretty bad set of cards.

    If he can go into NH with a more enthisiastic, less stoic mein, he might come out of Iowa in good shape.

    As a certain link-meister likes to say, developing…

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(4) | Trackbacks(3)
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    • Captain’s Quarters linked with Iowa Stunner
    • Wizbang linked with Election Coverage
    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Realtime Iowa Caucus Stream of Consciousness
    A Few More Things I am Sure of (At Least as of Now)

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:41 pm
  • Dean still has lots of money, so is far from done.
  • This is not even 1/50th of the delegates, so again, nothing is settled.
  • The anti-war message isn’ as powerful as it was even a few weeks ago. That hurts Dean. I also think that it helps Bush, althought I cannot articulate a good argument for that position at this moment.
  • The Kerry win appears to be predicated on his ability to project a war-hero image and to appeal to the idea that he can lead the country in the current international climate. This came at Dean’s expense. Again, I think this actually may demonstrate an underlying current that is good for Bush, insofar as if hardcore Democrats are concerned about that issue, so are swing voters, which has the likelihood of redounding in Bush’s favor.

    Ok, enough instant analysis. I need to digest all of this (and I have to get up early in the morning, so it is time to wind down).

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    Gephardt to Withdraw

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:23 pm

    He will be speaking in a few minutes, and likely will withdraw tonight.

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    Luckily I didn’t Bet Against the Mortgage

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:21 pm

    Much more later, but some quick takes now.

    First off: wow! and a hat tip to John Zogby.

    Second, here’s what I am still certain of at this point (last I saw 51% of the vote was in and it was Kerry, Edwards, Dean and Gephardt):

  • Gephardt is toast. I will be shocked if he stays in the race

  • Dean is not dead-he is rebuked, but not dead. The interesting part will be how this affects his NH numbers (and his campaign strategy).
  • Kerry will now move back into a race for first in NH. Congrats to Kerry for his line in the sand strategy, which I have made light of in the past. It has worked thusfar. I do think that Clark is the initial big loser.
  • I stand amazed that Edwards was this effective in Iowa. Congrats there as well.
  • The Toast-O-Meter will be fun this week.

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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with IOWA CAUCUS RESULTS (ONGOING)
    Entrance Polling and Other Tales from Iowa

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:38 pm

    Interesting: Fox News’ “Entrance Polls” have Kerry in the lead, with Dean and Edwards basically tied for second. I am unclear on the methodology, and it is the case that minds and votes can be changed during the process-especially as groups for one candidate are declared “unviable” and then alliances shift for the second ballot (tune in to C-SPAN to see an example live).

    The big loser appears to be Gephardt. And Kerry could end up being the big winner.

    And if Kerry roars out of Iowa, the loser might actually be Clark in New Hampshire.

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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with IOWA CAUCUS PRELIMINARY RESULTS
    • Insults Unpunished linked with Go Kerry Go
    Endorsements that Make no Sense

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:55 pm

    Blackfive has a photo of Michael Moore and Wes Clark palling around.

    Given Moore’s rants about guns, US military power, and white males in general, I just don’t see what Clark’s appeal would be for him. You’d think he’d prefer Dean or Kucinich.

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    • Mind of Mog linked with I Really Feel Ill
    TAM’s Duck Hunt #6

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:24 pm

    Sean of The American Mind has the latest Duck Hunt, which Dean-linkage aplenty.

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    Iowa-Related Linkage

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:53 pm

    PoliPundit has a large number of very interesting posts on Iowa. The post on hardcounts and the excerpt from ABC’s The Note on the Mos v. the Orgs are both especially interesting.

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    An Odd Alliance (The Axis of Huh?!)

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:43 pm

    Edwards/Kucinich Camps Make A Deal…

    Some breaking caucus news at noon… Both the Edwards and Kucinich campaigns have agreed to support each other if neither candidate is viable in the Caucuses tonight.

    That means if either candidate receives less than 15-percent of the vote during the caucuses, his supporters would move to the other candidate’s camp for the night.

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    • Admiral Quixote’s Roundtable linked with Iowa Caucus - Update
    I Can’t Wait for the Vote, as it Will Mean the Press Will Stop Guesing

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:09 pm

    Thus reports the CSM today: Iowa seems set to scramble rather than winnow the race

    But now, as Iowans prepare to register their choice for the Democratic nominee, it seems increasingly likely that this year’s caucuses may not have the traditional winnowing effect at all. With polls showing a statistical tie between the top four candidates - pitting late surges in momentum for John Kerry and John Edwards against the superior organizations of Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt, the 2004 caucuses may not shape the race so much as further scramble it.

    That assumes that the polls are to be considered definitive in this somewhat unique process. To paraphrase Chris Berman: there’s a reason why we play the game, rather than just taking polls.

    While this isn’t a guarantee, a DGKE finish still seems quite likely, and indeed, it is what I expect. If that happens, we largely revert to the storyline from the week before the Kerry/Edwards poll surge.

    And I still think some winnowing is possible, as I maintain that a Gephardt loss means curtains for the Missouri congressman.

    I can’t decide if 1) the press, collectively, doesn’t understand the process, 2) is more interested in a storyline than analysis, or 3) knows something we don’t.

    My guess is that it is a mix of 1 and 2.

    Still, there really is no excuse to be covering this contest, and the polls it is generating, as if this was exactly the same as a primary election.

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    • Mark the Pundit linked with Iowa Caucus History
    Reminder

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:08 am

    For those who wish to participate: the Carnival of the Vanities #70 will be hosted here on Wednesday. To guarantee entry, please get the links to me by Tuesday evening. I will include later entries, but they may not make the initial posting.

    The e-mail for submissions in in the masthead above.

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    Dave Berry on Iowa

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:01 am

    Dave Berry has a column on Iowa that is worth a read: Iowa’s decision huge, until maybe tomorrow

    Some favs:

  • Officials here are predicting a ‘’record turnout,'’ but it turns out that ‘’record turnout'’ means “at least 75 percent of the voters will not be turning out.'’
  • Speaking of combat: John Kerry has been in it, although there are times when he goes as long as 90 seconds without pointing this out. Kerry’s campaign has surged to the point where he is one of only four or five front-runners here.
  • Speaking of lightweight gases: I failed to catch up with Dennis Kucinich, although a Kucinich volunteer did give me a flyer stating that Dennis was holding a rally at a place called (I swear) ‘’A-Dong Restaurant.'’ Tragically, I can’t attend, as I’m leaving Iowa.

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    Democracy on Ice

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:26 am

    According to the Weather Channel online the forecast for Des Moines today: high of 17, low of 5 (Mostly Sunny).

    Methinks that organization will count for much this evening.

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    A Roundtable Trifecta

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:23 am

    Admiral Quixote’s Roundtable has updated the look of the site (very nice), migrated to MT, and celebrated its one-year annversary of blogging this past weekend. Go give him a looksee.

    And Congrats to the Admiral.

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    Revisiting the SOTU 2003

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:50 am

    James Joyner revisits last year’s State of the Union address in terms of Iraq and WMDs. He notes, quite correctly that if one actually reads what Bush said, one gets a different understanding of the US’s position on Iraq, as opposed to the prevailing storyline in the press (and amongst the Eight).

    The line that is most worth remembering is this one:

    Some have said we must not act until the threat is imminent. Since when have terrorists and tyrants announced their intentions, politely putting us on notice before they strike? If this threat is permitted to fully and suddenly emerge, all actions, all words, and all recriminations would come too late. Trusting in the sanity and restraint of Saddam Hussein is not a strategy, and it is not an option.

    Whether one agrees with the sentiment or not, that paragraph should neutralize the constant (and blatantly wrong) statements by many critics of the war that President Bush “lied to us” by saying that Iraq was an “imminent threat.”

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    So, We Can Blame this Circus on Jimmy Carter?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:23 am

    Carter Put It on the Map, and Iowa Hasn’t Budged Since

    Exactly 28 years ago Monday, a little-known former governor of Georgia named Jimmy Carter polled just shy of 30 percent support in Iowa’s precinct caucuses. He came in second, nine points behind “uncommitted,” but the national news media proclaimed him the clear winner of the year’s first presidential nominating contest, if only because he had finished so far ahead of everyone else.

    Mr. Carter spent that caucus night not in Iowa, but in New York City, so he could be available for all three network news programs the next morning: none of them had sent anchors to Des Moines. Because he went on to win not only the Democratic nomination but also the White House, nothing about this state’s politics has ever been quite the same.

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    The JV Buffalo Bills

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:20 am

    Tony Kornhesier mentioned a column in which the author stated, before the game last night, that if the Eagles were to lose they would be the “JV Buffalo Bills.”

    Classic.

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    Sunday, January 18, 2004
    Congrats to the Panthers

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:45 pm

    I honestly thought they’d go into St. Louis and be destroyed. Instead, they are headed to their first Super Bowl.

    Congrats to the team and their fans.

    (and if Dallas had to lose, it is good to have lost to the NFC Champ. NE-CAR should be a good game).

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    Enough with the Red Light

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:33 pm

    The information bar on the top of the screen that Fox uses for football games is nifty, but some reason someone thought it would be nifty to have a red box up there marked “Playoffs” (in case you didn’t know…), which is ok, if a bit unneeded. However, having it flash every play is ANNOYING. I keep thinking that there is a flag on every play.

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    PoliBlog Gets Results

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:22 pm

    Last week I Paged Dr. Steinberg and now ABC is reporting that she has joined her husband on the campaign trail in Iowa (in contradiction to earlier statements from the Dean camp).

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    SC Primary News

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:29 pm

    Jeff Quinton has a lot o’ linkage about SC at the Backcountry Conservative.

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    Iowa is Upon Us

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:10 am

    The NYT has a nice round-up of the current state of Iowa: As Iowa Caucuses Near, Crystal Ball Gets Cloudy

    And in so doing, it cites this poll, which illustrates why I am dubious about polls coming out of Iowa:

    A poll of likely caucusgoers to be published by The Des Moines Register on Sunday underlined the sense of of uncertainty about Monday’s vote, with victory in reach of any of them. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts had 26 percent, followed by Senator John Edwards with 23 percent and Dr. Dean with 20 percent.

    The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four points, meaning that the differences are statistically insignificant. Mr. Gephardt was the choice of 18 percent of the 605 voters surveyed.

    How can it be taken seriously that Edwards is besting Gephardt and Dean? It may be that he is more likable than either, but in a process that is predicated on a large number of union and other organized groups turning out in the cold for a multi-hour meeting, likability isn’t the key issue. If the process is driven, as those who know it well say it is, by these groups, how can the two candidates with the most organizational strength be behind Edwards, who, of the major candidates, has the least amount of organizational clout? It must be the case that the model that is being used in these polls to predict “likely voters” is flawed.

    Plus, in terms of the union support (which is heavily, heavily in Gephardt and Dean’s favor) and in the context of a non-secret ballot where you stand up and are counted, or raise hands or somesuch, consider the following You are a member of AFSCME, which has endorsed Dean and you are at the caucus Monday night, and while you actually prefer Edwards, several of your friends from work, and maybe even people working for the union are there, and you know that they are hardcore for Dean. Are you going to stand up and vote your true preferences, or will there be sufficient peer (or even superior) pressure to get you to vote for Dean? Replicate that scenario for all the union types out there and that’s at least part of why I have a hard time seeing Edwards especially, or even Kerry, winning.

    There may, however, be signs of trouble for Dr. Dean, as issues that I thought wouldn’t plague him until later in the spring are starting to emerge now:

    And a New York Times/CBS News poll taken this past week noted a jump, to 20 percent from 12 percent, in the number of Democratic primary voters nationwide who said they held an unfavorable view of Dr. Dean. More ominous for Democrats assessing which candidate might be the strongest to unseat Mr. Bush, the poll found that 29 percent of all registered voters held an unfavorable view of Dr. Dean a notably high number for this early in a campaign.

    However, he can can weather this as long as there is no viable Anyone But Dean candidate.

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with Peer pressure in Iowa
    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with More Iowa Predictions
    • The Politburo Diktat linked with Letter from Iowa
    Saturday, January 17, 2004
    Skewering O’Neill

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:04 pm

    Roger L. Simon mines this gem from Michael Kinsely’s column on the O’Neill business:

    The only solid punch he lands on President Bush is unintentional: What kind of idiot would hire this idiot as secretary of the treasury?

    Classic.

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    This Should be Fun

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:55 pm

    Congress Reconvenes Tuesday To Open Election-Year Session

    The 108th Congress reconvenes Tuesday for an election-year session that will likely see few legislative breakthroughs and more of the partisan acrimony that has stalled action on key issues.

    Election years are either a rush to pander, or a partisan trainwreck in hope of making the other side look bad.

    Or both.

    The Party’s beahvior should be quite interesting, given that the Reps know that they are going into the elections with the edge in regards to retaining or even slightly expanding their majortity, and the Dems know it.

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    SC Primary News

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:32 pm

    Jeff Quinton of Backcountry Conservative has the latest S.C. Presidential Primary News (something he keeps constant track of, btw).

    In today’s roundup he notes a story about Clark’s position on the Confederate Battle Flag and on the chimera of massive cross-over voting.

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    • Backcountry Conservative linked with S.C. Presidential Primary News 1/17/04
    The Texas Districts Stand: So Says SCOTUS

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:34 am

    Supreme Court Allows Texas to Use New Districting Map

    The United States Supreme Court refused on Friday to block Texas from using a Republican redistricting plan in its Congressional elections this year.

    Not a surprise, but it does eliminate any lingering uncertanties about the situation.

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    It’s the Pre-Iowa Toast-O-Meter! (1/17/04)

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:00 am

    -Toast: It’s not Just for Breakfast Anymore!-

    The Toast-o-meter: A Weekly News Round-Up and Handicapping of the Race for the Democratic Nomination.

    The Toast-O-Meter comes to you Fortified with linkage and Enhanced with bloggage! And this week: Slicing Up Iowa!

    The scale:

  • Wonder Bread (The nomination is in reach)
  • Just Plain Ol White Bread (Still in the race; has a shot)
  • Toast (Pretty much donea little scraping might make you look like bread, but you’re done)
  • Burnt Toast (Really, really done)
  • Burnt all the Way Through (Why are you still in the race?)
  • Crumbs in the Bottom of the Toaster (Why did you ever get in the race in the first place?)

    Potential Movements each Week:

  • Dough is on the Rise
  • Heats Off This Week
  • The heat is on.
  • Got Scraped a Bit
  • Getting Darker

    The Whole Loaf: Can any of the Nine make Bush into Texas Toast?

    (Bush is fresh, the Loaf is stale)

  • Zogby has Bush with a 53% approval rating, while the NBC News/WSJ poll has him at 54%, Gallup at 59%, Pew at 56%, Newsweek at 54%, FOX News/Opinion Dynamis at 58%, and the AP at 56%. (See Pollingreport.com).
  • And whether you like the proposals or not, it is the case that the President is getting to run around talking about positive stuff, like promoting marriage, expanding free trade, and space exploration, while the Democrats have to run around saying how horrible things are. Such is the power of incumbency.
  • Meanwhile, on the economic front: US consumer sentiment soars to three-year high in January.
  • Bill Hobbs links to a CNN/Money story on the Bush boom.
  • And, of course, don’t forget: Tuesday is the State of the Union address, which will slap the President onto primetime TV and cause all the news coverage to shift to him, away from the Democratic nominating process.

    FIRST: SLICING UP IOWA

    Given the uniqueness of the caucus, polling is difficult to accomplish (indeed, Kausfiles has some interesting obsevations on the Zogby numbers (scroll down-you know the drill)). And, the main issue here is organization and getting people to come out on a cold night at the end of a three day weekend to listen to speeches at a meeting prior to voting. Not to mention you have to vote in public. Plus, we are talking about only around 100,000-130,000 people total. Dean has the intense supporters and the public-sector unions. Gephardt has the other unions and the experience from 1988. And, both are considered to be in a tie with Kerry and Edwards for the lead in the polls. I consider Dean and Gephardt to be the candidates in the top tier here, both have a chance to win. Kerry and Edwards, despite the polls, don’t have the actual tools that the other two have.

    Despite the polls, however, I am sticking with Dean to win. I think the intensity issue is quite important, and I still maintain that Harkin would not have endorsed Dean if Harkin thought he would lose the caucus, an if anyone know Iowa Democratic politics, its Tom Harkin. Plus, Harkin himself said on Hardball on 1/18, that he personally called various precinct-level types to ask for their support. In other words, he has attempted, and I suspect suceeded in large part, to tap into the existing Iowa Democratic Party apparatus to aid Dean.

    Still, Gephardt should come in a close second, and could win-the union factor is not to be discounted.

    I think that Kerry, due to lack of serious union support, has to be considered the likely third-place finisher.

    That leaves fourth for Edwards, despite the Des Moines Register endorsement. Who bases their voting on newspaper endorsements?

    I would also note: no one (of the real candidates), save Gephardt, will be destroyed by not meeting expectations on Monday. Even a very bad showing by Dean could be erased (or substantially eased) by NH.

    Some comments on how different results will affect the candidates:

    Howard Dean

    Best Result: Coming in first, even by a hair. If that happens, the storyline returns to The Coronation of Howard

    Still Can Claim Victory If: Second place will be fine. The story will be that as a newbie, he didnt have the organization, but hes still leading in New Hampshire.

    Loses If: He comes in fourth. Third could still be salvageable, but the air of inevitability would be gone.

    Dick Gephardt

    Best Result: He has to win, and then hold on until Missouri, hoping that the other stumble.

    Still Can Claim Victory If: He wins. Got it?

    Loses If: He comes in second, or worse. If that happens, he should drop out.

    Kerry

    Best Result: Winning! If that happens, the press will dub him The Comeback Kid II.

    Still Can Claim Victory If: he comes in second. Even a close third will be spin-able as having done well. It would be enough to try and reclaim second in NH.

    Loses If: Fourth means: forget it.

    Edwards

    Best Possible Result: Coming in third would be huge for Edwards, and if that happens, expect a ton of interviews Monday night in which he claims that he is the real winner.

    Still Can Claim Victory If: He comes in a close fourth. It wont be very convincing, but as log as he is close to the other three, hell claim that it was a success.

    Loses If: He comes in a distant fourth, he will be seen as failing to meet expectations.

    Clark and Lieberman: Not participating officially, so are non-factors, although I think Caucus goers may still vote for them. If Clark actually gets any significant votes, it will be touted as a big deal.

    Kucinich and Sharpton: Oddly, I shant handicap their chances

    Slicing up the loaf:

    The Nine are now the Eight, and heres some news and commentary on how theyre faring.

    Note: I have changed some of the candidates positioning, but have only slightly altered their status. No one has done much yet to warrant no long being toast (e.g., Kerry is still burnt French Toast until he actually does something-just having a couple of days of good polling isn’t enough).

    FRESH BAKED

    Dean: Wonder Bread (But the heat is on)

    No more syrup, no more vitamin-fortification. He is still, in my mind, the front-runner, but as is usual, with the approach of actual voting, the race has tightened. He remains Fresh Baked because he can afford to lose Iowa and still emerge on top after New Hampshire. Third, as noted above, would be problematic, although survivable.

  • Sure, it was non-binding, and sure he was only facing folks from the Crumb Pile, but a win is always good: Dean Defeats Sharpton In D.C. Protest Primary. And in all seriousness, given the overwhelmingly African-American character of the DC electorate, this is a good sign for Dean.
  • He earned the endorsement of Chip Carter, son of the former President. I am not sure if endorsements from guys named Chip count, however.
  • On a related note, Dean will attend church with Jimmy Carter on Sunday and Carter is expected to “offer support” to Dean the day before the vote in Iowa, but will remain “officially neutral.”
  • Robert Tagorda looks into Dean and his past support for unilateral military action.

    THE SUPERMARKET SHELF

    Gephardt: Slightly Toasted White Bread (the heat continues, and you know hes feeling it).

    This will be Gephardts last week on the Supermarket Shelf, unless he wins Iowa.

  • And what could be more exciting thatn `The Great Gephardt Iowa Pie Challenge’? Personally, I was hoping for some pancakes.
  • Matthew Yglesias continues not to like Gephardt.

    Clark: Plain’ol White Bread of the stale variety (Dough is on the Rise)

    Clark has generated the most (in a highly unscientific survey) interesting stories this weekcertainly in volume versus the other candidates. His Dough s currently on the Rise, and he is decidedly less toasty this week. The real question is going to be how effective the other candidates are at pointing out all of his inconsistencies this coming week when everyone focuses on New Hampshire.

  • Clark solidifies his second-place position in NH: Dean slips, Clark gains in N.H.. Of course, the question remains as to how he will fare starting Monday night, when he no long has the state basically to himself.
  • The World Around You has some additional Clark linkage.
  • Kaus, in reference to Clark’s statements regarding abortion: “The idea that Clark is the candidate who will avoid Dean’s abject pandering and amateurish oversimplifications is becoming increasingly untenable….” (I concur).
  • In a different story, Slate has six amusing/remarkable quotes from the General, which illustrate Kaus’ point quite well.
  • Maureen Dowd (making her first appearance int he Toast-O_Meter, wasn’t too impressed by Clark’s sartorial switcheroo: “Is there anything more annoying than argyle? Maybe Lamar Alexander’s red plaid shirt.”
  • Clark is taking some heat for some comments he made, that appear to support the idea of preemptive action against Saddam, in a 2002 appearance before Congress: Clark’s Remarks Draw Closer Scrutiny.
  • Robert Tagorda deconstructs the Drudge reporting of the Clark testimony that was of such controversy this week.
  • Paul Krugman thinks that the General “gets it”. What is he gets, you ask?
    “I think we’re at risk with our democracy,” he [Clark] said. “I think we’re dealing with the most closed, imperialistic, nastiest administration in living memory. They even put Richard Nixon to shame.”

    Amazing. How Krugman, who actually sounds fairly reasonable in an interview, and who has a serious and respectable academic background, can accept this “Bush is a dangerous radical” thesis is difficult to fathom. Even more difficult to understand is how Clark, who praised Bush and the Bush team not that long ago can say this kind of stuff.

    Kerry: Burned French Toast (but he Got Scraped quite a bit, however)

    For this week, given his Iowa numbers, Kerry actually moves up to he Supermarket shelf.

    Hes still burnt, because he is in third in NH and his prospects into the future still look carbon-like. However, a win, or a second place finish in Iowa would result in de-burnification.

  • Zogby’s Iowa numbers are making Kerry smile.

    THE DAY-OLD BAKERY

    Edwards: Burnt all the way through (getting darker-only a SC win can save him from the Crumb Pile (in the short term, anyway))

    When third would be winning, and the best one is likely to do is fourth, it is hard to say that one is doing well.

  • The Des Moines Register endorsement gave Edwards a boost this week.
  • Daniel W. Drezner thinks Edwards isn’t getting appropriate attention.
  • Not Mrs. Dean/Dr. Steinberg, the NYT profiles John Edwards’ wife, Elizabeth: Knowing Her Mind, Mrs. Edwards Speaks It.

    THE CRUMB PILE

    Lieberman: Crumbling Burnt Toast (he’s done)

    Done is reaping the results of not competing in Iowa: hes getting no coverage (although its working for Clark). Joe is definitely through. We do know that he has been criticizing Clark for his statement regarding Iraq, however.

    Kucinich: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster

  • Egads-the man came in fourth in the DC primary, getting beaten by Carol Moseley Braun. That is the very definition of burnt toast.
  • Patch Adams has endorsed Kucinich. A shame, as it really wasn’t that good a movie, and it clearly isn’t as good an endorsement as Grandfather Twilight, but whatcha gonna do? All I know is that I will miss Dennis once he faces the inevitable.

    Sharpton: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster

  • He came in second in the non-binding DC primary and he will get in the low single-digits in Iowa. What more do you need to know?

    CLEANING OUT THE TOASTER

    It’s started: some of the crumbs are getting brushed out of the bottom of the toaster. The first to go: Carol Moseley Braun. It would seem that coming in third in the DC Primary is the closest thing to a win that Ms. Braun will be experiencing this year.

    Vice-Loaf

    Carol Moseley Braun: She may think that she has moved onto Howard’s short list, but I don’t see it. Ms. Moseley Braun brings nothing to the ticket (save he past scandals, which would be revisited if she were the veep candidate). As I argued concerning John Lewis last week, putting a black on the ticket doesn’t make strategic sense, given that the Dems will get 90-95% of the black vote. I am not arguing that a black won’t be chosen, but that those who argue that a black would add something (electorally) to the ticket are simply wrong. It would be like saying Bush needs a Southerner.

    John Edwards: Edwards may be moving into a postion of being on the list. Since I don’t think he would carry NC even if he were the candidate, so the Southern angle isn’t the issue; but if Dean is the nominee, Edwards’ more positive approach might be something of a counter-balance to Dean’s grumpy mien. I am not sue that he would ultimately be a good choice, as I maintain the “Dan Quayle of the Democrats” label for Edwards, but I can see how he might be working his way onto the list these days.

    NOT IN THE LOAF

    Hillary Clinton

  • Was quiet this week. She was contemplating making an MLK joke to go along with her Gandhi joke, but thought better of it.

    Bill Clinton

  • Reports Reuters: Clinton Image Overhangs Democratic Presidential Race
  • And what could be more exciting than this? Bill Clinton Swears Off Junk Food. Insert your own joke here.

    Gore

  • Al wasn’t too impressed with Bush’s announcement this week: Gore Blasts Bush Space Plan, Says Earth Neglected .
  • He did, however, campaign for Dean in Iowa.

  • Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(7) | Trackbacks(16)
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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with TOAST-O-METER UPDATE
    • Mark the Pundit linked with Pre-Iowa Toast Update
    • The Temporal Globe linked with Toasting Edwards
    • Backcountry Conservative linked with S.C. Presidential Primary News 1/17/04
    • PunditFilter linked with Iowan toast
    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Pre-Iowa Caucus Observations
    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Posts I Liked by People I Like
    • Hellblazer linked with Yes, Virginia. There is a conspiracy
    • Signifying Nothing linked with Last call for Toast in Iowa
    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with Last Tango In Iowa
    • Go Dubya! linked with Poliblogger's Iowa picks
    • BushBlog linked with Poliblogger's Iowa picks
    • Blackfive - The Paratrooper of Love linked with Iowa Predictions
    • Mind of Mog linked with Toast-O-Meter
    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Iowa Blogosphere Prediction Results
    • The American Mind linked with Needs Butter
    Friday, January 16, 2004
    The Candidates are Toasting…

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:42 pm

    …but the Toast won’t be done until this evening, or sometime tomorrow.

    But fret not! The pre-Iowa Toast-O-Meter will be coming your way shortly.

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    Harris Not to Run for Senate

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:36 pm

    A wise move, methinks: Katherine Harris Won’t Run for Senate

    And one ought not try to be clever at a press conference:

    “So after careful deliberation I am here to announce my candidacy for the United States Senate,” Harris said to steady applause from about 75 supporters in her hometown. “But just not yet this year.”

    She will seek re-election to the House instead.

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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with KATHERINE HARRIS NOT RUNNING
    Professorial Pet-Peevery

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:26 pm

    Riddle me this, Batman: what is the best time to engage in bone-rattlingly loud construction-like activity on a college campus?

    Mr. Spock might answer: when classes arent in session, such as between 6 and 8 am.

    But, no! The best time, at least it would seem according to physical plant folks at my university is between 9 and 11 am, perhaps the busiest time on campus class-wise. I am attempting to lecture in my 10am and all of a sudden a deafening hammering commences. It was echoing from below and when I looked out the door and down the stairwell next to the classroom, I could not discern from whence it came. It quit and I went back to lecturing. It started up again a few minutes later and I went downstairs to find two guys hanging a dry eraser board in an office directly below my classroom. I asked if they were done yet, and I received a blank stare from the guy as if it was impossible that anyone in the building would care if they were working or not.

    I often wonder if most of the employees on campus actually know what the university is for.

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    Kerry Gets More Good News from Zogby

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:57 am

    Poll: Kerry Opens a Lead in Tight Iowa Race

    Democratic presidential contender John Kerry opened a five-point lead on three tightly bunched rivals in Iowa three days before the state’s caucuses, according to a Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby poll released on Friday.

    In the latest three-day tracking poll, Kerry gained two percentage points to 24 percent, with Howard Dean and Richard Gephardt each dropping two points to 19 percent and John Edwards holding steady at 17 percent.

    All four contenders were within the poll’s margin of error of 4.5 percent, setting up a tight dash to the finish in Monday’s caucuses, the first Democratic nominating contest.

    Of course, since it is a three-day poll, these numbers capture part of what the poll yesterday showed, so it isn’t, per se, a totally new poll. Clearly Kerry is dong well with the previoulsy undecided.

    Of course, I still say that given that this a caucus, that the candidates who have enthusiams amongst their supporters and the on-the-ground organizational capacities, will take the day. Dean has both, Gephardt has the most of the latter of anyone in the race, so I still see Dean and Gephardt besting Kerry.

    It isn’t that I think Kerry can’t win, but rather that the lack of org (in relative terms) and the fact that newly converted undecideds tend to be softer in their support, leads me to question the degree to which he is really in the lead.

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    • SCSU Scholars linked with Betting on Iowa
    Thursday, January 15, 2004
    Gee Whiz, Guys: It’s Just One Poll

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:15 pm

    After watching some of the reaction to the Zogby poll which shows a three-way tie among Kerry, Dean and Gephardt in Iowa, I would like to say the following to the Chattering Class: take a deep breath guys, it’s just one poll from a process that is notoriously difficult to poll.

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    The Speed of Spam

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:29 pm

    Spambots are amazing-I set up the carnival-specific e-mail address last night and posted it sans any spam-blocked techniques (e.g., @@ or spelling out “dot com” and so forth), and I had 5 pieces of spam by the morning.

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    O’Neill’s Credibility Takes Another Hit

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:31 pm

    Greenspan Contests O’Neill Quote on U.S. Tax Cuts

    Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan disagrees with former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill’s claim in a controversial book that the Fed chief considered Bush administration tax cuts “irresponsible.”

    In the book by author Ron Suskind, Greenspan was quoted saying in May 2001 of the first Bush tax cuts that, without “triggers” to end them if deficits swelled, “that tax cut is irresponsible fiscal policy. Eventually, I think that will be the consensus view.”

    Greenspan denies saying so.

    He told the Wall Street Journal, in a quote confirmed by the Fed on Thursday, “It’s been rare over the many years of our friendship that Paul and I have a different recollection of events, but in this case we do.”

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    • Confessions Of A Political Junkie linked with Another Log On The Fire
    • Judicious Asininity linked with Greenspan Straightens O'Neill
    • Le Sabot Post-Moderne linked with Faves of the Week!
    A Horserace Helps Dean

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:05 am

    Some very intriguing news: Poll: Three-Way Tie for Top Democratic Spot in Iowa

    The Democratic presidential race in Iowa is a virtual three-way tie between John Kerry, Howard Dean and Richard Gephardt four days before the state’s caucuses, according to a Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby poll released on Thursday.

    In the latest rolling three-day poll, Kerry registered 21.6 percent with Dean and Gephardt both at 20.9 percent. North Carolina Sen. John Edwards gained two percentage points to 17.1 percent, well within the poll’s margin of error, putting all four top contenders in a statistical tie.

    Now, a close race normally aids turnout, especially amongst the intense supporters of a candidates. Since it appers to me that Dean has the most intense support, I think that this late-breaking poll that shows a tight race will be incentive for Deaniacs, who might have stayed home from the three-hour-ordeal that are the caucuses if Dean was running away with the thing, and cause them to show up.

    The big loser in all this: Gephardt, who has a chance of coming in third, which would be utter disaster. Still, at the end of the day, I would think that Dean has intense supporters and the endorsements of AFSCME and SEIU (plus money and the Harkin endorsement), Gepahrdt has most of the rest of the unions, and Kerry has money. At the end of the day, it would seem that the likelihood is that Dean wins, Gepahardt comes in second, and Kerry third.

    Update: this is today’s entry in today’s BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with Conventional lack-of-wisdom
    • Confessions Of A Political Junkie linked with Poliblog On The Horse Race
    Bad Timing

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:13 am

    Regardless of one’s position on this topic, one had to admit that Drudge’s headline and the juxtaposition of topic and outside temperature, is amusing: GORE TO WARN OF ‘GLOBAL WARMING’ ON NEW YORK CITY’S COLDEST DAY IN DECADE!.

    Also, this strikes me as typical Gore: bad timing/some minor misstep that results in the whatever substance he may or may not have being totally obscured (like losing a debate because of sighing).

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    And the Crumbs Begin to Fall

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:39 am

    The inevitable has come: Moseley Braun to Drop Out, Endorse Dean

    Democratic presidential contender Carol Moseley Braun will drop out of the race and endorse front-runner Howard Dean in Iowa on Thursday, campaign aides said.

    Braun, a former senator from Illinois and the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate, will endorse Dean at an afternoon event in Carroll, Iowa.

    I guess she figured beating Kucinich in the DC primary was the last victory she was going to have, so it was time to call it quits.

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    • Insults Unpunished linked with Around The Blogosphere
    Wednesday, January 14, 2004
    Something’s Wrong With Iowa

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:45 pm

    I can understand having trouble choosing between a few of the candiates, but if, indeed, as the CSM reports, Caucus quandary: Iowans like them all, then there is something seriously wrong with Iowa.

    And in all seriousness, I always find this kind of situation a bit foreign:

    With just four days to go until the Iowa caucuses, Marv Grote still doesn’t know which candidate he’s going to vote for. The best he can do is say he’s “committed” to three: John Edwards, Dick Gephardt, and Howard Dean.

    I simply can’t imagine being in a situation where, after all the campaigning and all that is known about these guys not knowing who I was going to vote for less than a week before the elections.

    It reminds me of that SNL skit of the third Bush-Gore debate where the undecided voters couldn’t decide even when one candidate told them to vote for the other guy.

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    Looking Back at the 2000 Campaign and Bush’s Views on Iraq

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:05 pm

    I made mention the other day that I recalled Bush using language to the effect that we (i.e., the US) would “take out” Saddam if necessary back during the campaign. I raised it in the context of O’Neill’s incredulity that Bush considered Saddam a bad guy who was worth of removal (as if that was some super-secret fact). Now, Steve Baninbridge catches Robert Reich with a similarly faulty memory.

    In looking for the quote I remember, or a similar one, I found this Thomas Friedman column from 5/5/00, which both mentions the “take out” issue and is interesting knowing what we know now:

    It’s the charge that the internationalism Mr. Bush offers often sounds like a we-will-do-whatever-we-want-because-we’re-the-only-superpower-and-I-am-not-a-wimp-like-Clinton set of policies, which, if adopted at once, could be destabilizing and would have virtually no allied support. The best thing you can say is that Mr. Bush doesn’t really mean some of this stuff. But what if he does?

    What if he really is ready to unilaterally “withdraw” from the ABM treaty, if the Russians won’t change it, and destroy the whole fabric of arms control? What if he really is ready to plunk down billions to build a dubious missile defense system against a dubious threat? What if he really is ready to launch a war to “take out” Saddam Hussein? What if he really is ready to expand NATO to the Russian border?

    Ends up, he was.

    And this is what I remember, from the Republican debate in December of 1999 (and this is from the NYT, 12/4/99:

    At the Republican debate here on Thursday and at a news conference in nearby Bedford this morning, George W. Bush said that if he was commander in chief, any discovery that Iraq’s president, Saddam Hussein, was building weapons of mass destruction would touch off a swift and punishing response.

    But whether the goal of that action would be the elimination of the weapons - or of Mr. Hussein himself - was a matter of some haziness, dispute and, above all, dropped consonants.

    On both occasions, Mr. Bush seemed to say he would “take him out,” indicating that he would forcibly remove Mr. Hussein from power or worse. But Mr. Bush said in a telephone interview this afternoon that the phrase, easily misinterpreted because of his Texas drawl, was “take ‘em out,” meaning the weapons.

    “I’m sorry,” Mr. Bush said in the interview. “Them. Them. I wasn’t speaking very clearly. It was early in the morning.”

    “What I was referring to with Saddam Hussein,” Mr. Bush explained, “is if we find he is building weapons of mass destruction, I’ll take them out.” This time, all four letters of the word were sharp and resonant.

    “My intent was the weapons - them, not him,” Mr. Bush said.

    Either way, his stern warnings to Iraq were striking, given the vigorous debate over whether his father, President George Bush, erred in not taking an extra step during the Persian Gulf war and putting an end to Mr. Hussein’s rule.

    But Governor Bush’s enunciation was as confusing as his words were tough.

    At the debate on Thursday night, he said, “If I found in any way, shape or form that he was developing weapons of mass destruction, I’d take ‘em out. I’m surprised he’s still there.”

    Brit Hume, one of the two journalists questioning Mr. Bush and the other five candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, asked, “Take him out?”

    Mr. Bush answered, “The weapons of mass destruction.”

    There was similar confusion this morning as a reporter asked Mr. Bush how he would get rid of what sounded like “him,” as in Hussein, and Mr. Bush apparently heard “‘em,” as in weapons.

    “That’s for Saddam Hussein to figure out,” Mr. Bush said, seemingly inviting Mr. Hussein to script his own demise. But Mr. Bush’s next sentence suggested the nature of the misunderstanding: “He just doesn’t need to be building them.”

    Mr. Bush added, “He just needs to know I’ll take ‘em out.” This time, he pronounced the pivotal word less sharply, leading a few reporters to believe he was singling out Mr. Hussein.

    UPDATE: This post has been added to the BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM.

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    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Robert Reich's Hardball Whopper
    Canival 69

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:32 pm

    Snooze Button Dreams has The Carnival of the Vanities, issue #69.

    The 70th edition will be right here at PoliBlog next week.

    Please send submissions to carnival@poliblogger.com.

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    Another GOPer seeks Fritz Holling’s Seat

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:30 pm

    Ex-S.C. Gov. Beasley Enters Senate Race.

    Other Republicans seeking the nomination include former state Attorney General Charlie Condon, U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint, Myrtle Beach Mayor Mark McBride and Charleston real estate developer Thomas Ravenel. The Democrats running are state Education Superintendent Inez Tenenbaum and Marcus Belk.

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    Tracking Iowa

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:05 am

    Interesting: Dean Lead Shrinks in Iowa, Kerry Gains:

    In a shifting race for the Democratic campaign’s first big prize, Dean dropped four percentage points to 24 percent in the rolling three-day tracking poll and Kerry gained four points to tie Gephardt in second place at 21 percent.

    […]

    “There’s major movement every day in Iowa,” pollster John Zogby said, with 13 percent of likely caucus-goers still undecided and all of the top candidates planning an intensive schedule of campaigning in the state in the final days.

    The rolling poll of 501 likely caucus-goers was taken Sunday through Tuesday and has a margin of error of 4.5 percent. The poll will continue each day through the caucuses.

    Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, has gained six percentage points since the first poll was published Sunday and actually led in Monday’s round of polling, while Dean had his worst day, Zogby said.

    Kerry is contending with both Dean and Gephardt among what were considered some of their strongest voting blocs, challenging Dean for college-educated voters and Gephardt for union votes.

    “This is officially a three-way race,” Zogby said.

    It will make things interesting, but intensity and organization is going to matter a lot, and Dean has both, and Gephardt has the most union help.

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    Bush Commercials in the Making

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:00 am

    Assuming that Dean gets the nomination, stuff like this Dick Gephardt Says Dean Can’t Be Trusted will make wonderful fodder for Bush-Cheney ‘04 ads.

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    And the Thaw Begins

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:36 am

    The Reconstruction: Canadians to Bid on Iraq Projects

    President Bush reversed United States policy on Tuesday and said Canada would be allowed to bid on some of the $18.6 billion in American-financed Iraqi reconstruction projects, bringing to an end a bitter dispute with a major ally.

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    Getting More Folks to Say “I Do”

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:32 am

    OK, while I am an advocate of marriage, and believe that there are serious problems, especially in low income communities, that could be alleviated by more stable families (which marriage promotes), I am dubious of this: Bush Plans $1.5 Billion Drive for Promotion of Marriage

    Administration officials say they are planning an extensive election-year initiative to promote marriage, especially among low-income couples, and they are weighing whether President Bush should promote the plan next week in his State of the Union address.

    […]

    Federal officials said they favored premarital education programs that focus on high school students; young adults interested in marriage; engaged couples; and unmarried couples at the moment of a child’s birth, when the parents are thought to have the greatest commitment to each other.

    Alan M. Hershey, a senior fellow at Mathematica Policy Research in Princeton, N.J., said his company had a $19.8 million federal contract to measure the effectiveness of such programs for unwed parents. Already, Mr. Hershey said, he is providing technical assistance to marriage-education projects in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, New Mexico and Texas.

    A major purpose, he said, is to help people “communicate about money, sex, child-raising and other difficult issues that come up in their relationships.”

    And while I can see where pre-marital education could be helpful, I just don’t see this program (which is poorly described in the article, but I am not sure if it is because information is scarce, which is likely the case, or because the article wasn’t well constructed) accomplishing much-certainly not $1.5 billion-worth of much.

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    • The World Around You linked with What is a Healthy Marriage
    • Admiral Quixote’s Roundtable linked with Analyzing President Bush's Marriage Proposal
    Tuesday, January 13, 2004
    Grading Comentary and Such

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:44 pm

    James Joyner notes some things that sometimes get said to students when professors grade essay. One of my favorites, and apparently one that gets the students’ attention is when I simply write “No” in the margin, or, occassionally: “No!".

    One of my favorite Joyner-ism, when we taught together, was when he would write “You Made That Up” or “YMTU” for short.

    When I am perplexed, I find a good ol’ fashioned “Huh!?” often does the trick.

    And yes, “not so much” was, and remains, rather popular. One student thought it should be on our polisci club t-shirts.

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    • The Bemusement Park linked with MARGINALIA
    • The Bemusement Park linked with MARGINALIA
    • Confessions Of A Political Junkie linked with Sadistic Professors
    Florida’s Phantom Votes

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:59 pm

    A loyal reader brought this to my attention: Board votes to certify House 91 results.

    The basics:

    Out of 10,844 votes cast, returns showed Ellyn Bogdanoff defeating Oliver Parker by 12 votes, with 137 voters casting blank ballots on touch-screen voting machines.

    Florida law requires a manual or hand recount of all “under-votes” and “over-votes” in an election decided by less than 0.25 percent.

    But touch-screens leave behind nothing to count by hand.

    It seems to me, as it appears was the decision of the board, that the concept of “recount” simply doesn’t apply to these kids of machines.

    As usual, making policy in the midst of crisis results in bad policy.

    I still think they should have used the optical/scantron type ballots.

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    More on O’Neill Magical Mystery Tour

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:12 pm

    Paul O’Neill’s head must be spinning: O’Neill Defends Document Disclosure:

    O’Neill emphasized that “The Price of Loyalty” is “Ron Suskind’s book. . . . This is not my book. I have no economic interest in it, contrary to the inference in the Wall Street Journal [editorial] this morning. I hope people will read it because I think it makes a contribution to illuminating, especially for young people, what I consider to be a bipartisan, broken political process.”

    And also of interest:

    Rumsfeld said: “Someone told me he was going to write a book and . . . that it was not going to be a good book. I picked up the phone and called him. I said someone tells me you’re going to write one of those . . . insider things.”

    O’Neill, Rumsfeld said, told him the book was going to be about substance, about economic policy.

    “I said, ‘I’m relieved,’” Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon.

    Rumsfeld said he also called O’Neill just before the book came out, having heard that it was about to be published. “I said, ‘you didn’t go and do that, Paul? I can’t believe that.’”

    […]

    “I have not read the book,” Rumsfeld said. But its portrayal of the president, as described in news reports about the book, “is so different than my experiences. It’s like night and day.”

    Not that I would expect Rummy to defend the book.

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    • Signifying Nothing linked with O'Neill throwing himself into reverse
    More on the Regional Effects of the Iraq War

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:46 pm

    Apropos of my post yesterday that the war has had the opposite effect on the region that critics had predicted, comes this Slate-based e-mail chat amongst “Liberal Hawks”.

    Writes Christopher Hitchens:

    Friedman is right to say that the macro-policy, so often and so stupidly attributed to “neocon” conspiracy, has provided an important vindication. Since the regime changes in Kabul and Baghdad, other regimes from Riyadh to Islamabad to Tehran have quietly but decidedly changed their tune, while some others have gone so far as to drop their weapons. There is no serious state-sponsored hiding place for al-Qaida, whereas a quiverful of measures and tactics now exists, well field-tested, to tackle any new challenger in this field.

    Which is a more eloquent version of what I argued yesterday.

    And this snippet from Friedman’s entry is quite interesting, and on target (and why I think that Iraq is decidedly part of the “War on Terror” with or without 911 connections):

    The real reason for this warwhich was never statedwas to burst what I would call the “terrorism bubble,” which had built up during the 1990s.

    This bubble was a dangerous fantasy, believed by way too many people in the Middle East. This bubble said that it was OK to plow airplanes into the World Trade Center, commit suicide in Israeli pizza parlors, praise people who do these things as “martyrs,” and donate money to them through religious charities. This bubble had to be burst, and the only way to do it was to go right into the heart of the Arab world and smash somethingto let everyone know that we, too, are ready to fight and die to preserve our open society. Yes, I know, it’s not very diplomaticit’s not in the rule bookbut everyone in the neighborhood got the message: Henceforth, you will be held accountable. Why Iraq, not Saudi Arabia or Pakistan? Because we couldperiod. Sorry to be so blunt, but, as I also wrote before the war: Some things are true even if George Bush believes them.

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    • Judicious Asininity linked with Death Throes of the Beast
    Cov Alert

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:22 pm

    This week’s Carnie is at Snooze Button Dreams (he has a Carnival-specific e-mail address on the left sidebar).

    Next week, the 70th Edition will be at PoliBlog (send submissiont to: carnival@poliblogger.com for the 1/21 edition).

    Update: This post is my addition to today’s BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM

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    The O’Neill Endorsement

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:19 pm

    James Joyner has ex-SecTreas Paul O’Neill’s presidential endorsement for ‘04.

    Like much in politics, I find it amusing (especially since Katie couldn’t have liked the answer).

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    Gumming Up the Works

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:02 am

    Yes, let’s create more rules and restrictions, as this will no doubt “fix” the system: Partisan Group ‘Soft Money’ Ban Sought.

    And the irony is, the whole “get out the vote thing” was what really started “soft money” in the first place, and was settled by the Colorado case in 96 and then muddied by the BCRA and the recet SCOTUS decision.

    Really, all these attempts to do the impossible, i.e., “take the money out of politics” and curtail “special interest” simply leads to more confusion, less transparency, and more creativity in getting around the rules.

    And, no doubt, more money will be spent in all forms on this election than any other in history-and I will be able to say that same thing in 2008.

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    Intriguing: HHG Coming to Film

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:02 am

    Of course, they have promising such for years and years, it seems to be moving ahead: Hitchhiker Stars Set .

    Although I have my doubts about being able to really adapt the thing to film, as it worked best in its radio show origins (better, in my opinion, than it its later book incarnation).

    Still, it could be quite fun.

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    Paging Dr. Steinberg

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:44 am

    The NYT has a profile on Dean’s wife in today’s edition, The Other Doctor in Dean’s House Shuns Politics. Of course, in this campaign season, all thing have political implications:

    Some Dean backers see Dr. Steinberg as a role model for independent women balancing careers and children, but others in the campaign increasingly regard her absence as a potential liability for a candidate who is known for his reluctance to discuss his personal life or upbringing. Yet the topic is all but off-limits with the candidate. Voters also have begun to ask about a marriage in which the partners are so often apart — she skipped Dr. Dean’s birthday-party fund-raiser, the family-oriented Renaissance Weekend, even the emotional repatriation ceremony of his brother’s remains in Hawaii.

    Political experts say spouses often help humanize the candidates they are married to. A spouse, the person presumably closest to the candidate, also provides a window into a politician’s character, they said, and acts as a kind of validator.

    And, like many of Dean’s possible weaknesses, this situation makes little difference in the primary, but will be more of issue should he get the nomination, as given his prickly personality, some “humanizing” would likely be helpful.

    Plus, as the race comes more sharply into focus, more people are likely to have this reaction:

    “The whole thing has just struck me as a little odd,” said Myra Gutin, who has taught a course on first ladies at Rider University in New Jersey for 20 years. “There may be some voters out there who say, `well, why isn’t she here? Why isn’t she supporting him?’ It’s the most outward manifestation of support.”

    and

    “The other candidates will come around with their wives and say `here we are,’ and then there will be these questions,” said Lewis Gould, a University of Texas historian emeritus who is editing a biography series, “Modern First Ladies.” “This is the most important office in the world and you ought to have an interest that your husband is doing it. So, where are you?”

    And therefore, indeed:

    If Hillary Rodham Clinton was controversial for being her husband’s full political partner, some analysts say that Dr. Steinberg’s lack of participation might prove even more problematic.

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    Monday, January 12, 2004
    Dialog on the Rise in the Middle East?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:34 pm

    The CSM has the following story: Moderation rising in the Mideast, noting:

    But in recent weeks, Libya has said it will abandon plans to pursue weapons of mass destruction. Iran has promised to allow international inspections of its nuclear facilities. Syria has announced that it is again willing to talk peace with Israel.

    Egypt and Iran are ending an era of mutual mistrust. So are Turkey and Syria. Saudi Arabia is allowing unprecedented internal debate.

    “It’s the end of radicalism,” says Abdel Monem Said, director of the Al Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies in ter for Political and Strategic Studies in Cairo. “You have a general sense of accommodation taking place in the region.”

    Certainly this is all very good news, and it bolsters the arguments that I made in my Birmingham News piece from Sunday.

    And while the article does take some issue with that interpretation, it does not dismiss it, either. Indeed, it ends with this quote:

    “I hate to say it,” says Said of the Al Ahram Center, ” but at least from the results we are seeing the Iraqi thing was like a jolt in the region - it put a cap on radical politics.”

    Further, even if one finds the evidence unconvincing that the Iraq invasion has spawned greater cooperation, opponents and critics of the process have to concede a rather key point. That would be the argument, made prior to the war, that a US invasion of Iraq would cause radical uprisings, cause serious problems for moderate governments in the region, and lead to greater conflict. Remember all the talk about how volatile the “Arab street” was?

    For example, this column by Bill Fletcher Jr. from 8/13/03, entitled “U.S. plan to attack Iraq unwise posted by
    “The Progressive Media Project":

    Regional consequences of invading Iraq are huge. Iraq could easily splinter to the benefit of Iran, part of the “axis of evil” identified by Bush. This could lead to relative anarchy, conflicts and, perhaps more seriously, greater anger with the United States. The environment would be ripe for rightwing Muslim extremists to gain support in destabilizing the region and intensifying terrorist assaults.

    At this point, the opposite appears to be taking place.

    And while I would hardly say that the task is done, or that negative consequences cannot ocur, I think it is far to state that many of the critics of the war were quite wrong in their predictions. And if, indeed, the events of 2003 helped fuel the dialogs mentioned above, then we are indeed much safer in the long run as a result of this action.

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    Now That’s a Lot of Pot

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:14 pm

    It is also an excellent illustration of the ingenuity that massive profits will produce: Ontario police seize 30,000 pot plants in former brewery:

    Calling it the largest and most sophisticated marijuana operation in Canadian history, Ontario police said they have seized 30,000 plants which they say is worth more than $30 million in a former Molson brewery facility.

    […]

    Police said the growers used more than 5,574 square metres in the operation. They also had living accommodations for up to 50 people, including common areas, televisions, refrigerators and stoves.

    More than 1,000 grow lights were used, police said.

    According to police, millions of dollars were invested in equipment for the operation, which was capable of producing up to three or four crops a year. Vats previously used by the brewery housed hundreds of plants.

    Hat tip: NPR.

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    Blast from the Past

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:12 pm

    I was doing some research and came aross an LAT story from 4/15/92, which contained this stellar policy proposal from Buchanan, that is relevant to the recent immigration debate:

    Earlier in the campaign, Buchanan said he would erect a “Buchanan Fence” and dig a trench along the entire Mexican border to combat illegal immigration. And he proposed relocating American military bases to the border and assigning National Guard troops on summer duty to patrol the border.

    I had forgotten he had wanted to name the fence after himself.

    And this was particularly interesting:

    Buchanan also told reporters that former President Richard M. Nixon, during a chat with him last month, was so impressed with the “toughness” of Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, that he suggested Buchanan stop attacking Bush and start focusing on Clinton, the Democratic front-runner who is heavily favored to win his party’s nomination.

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    Kaus on Dean, Gephardt and Special Interests in Iowa

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:12 pm

    Kaus gets it right:

    A four-year old videotape shows Howard Dean perceptively maligning the sacred Iowa caucuses as “dominated by special interests” and “the extremes.” Rep. Richard Gephardt seized the moment:
    “The remarks he made about the Iowa caucuses to me are unbelievable. I guess I’d ask him a question: Who are the special interests dominating this caucus? Is it the farmers? Is it organized labor? Is it senior citizens?”

    Um … how about “yes", “yes” … and “yes!” …

    Indeed. Like I like to say: any interest that isn’t your interest is a “special” interest. And, of course, your interests are “vital” interests.

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    Kerry Gets Endorsement from Iowa’s First Lady

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:20 am

    Poor Kerry, he can’t even get real endorsements: Iowa’s First Lady Endorses John Kerry.

    The governor has chosen not to endorse any candidates.

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    Florida Senate Race

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:19 am

    While I would think it best for the party if she held off on a run at state-wide office this year, let’s not get overly dramatic: Florida’s Harris May Shake Up 2004 Season, given that she doesn’t automatically get the nomination. One would think that Mel Martinez would have a good shot at the nomination, perhaps more thatn Harris.

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    Interesting

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:12 am

    Astros, Clemens Said to Sign 1-Year Deal

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    Yet Another Example of Why People Vex Me

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:11 am

    Massive Support Rally Planned for Michael Jackson

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    Democratic Debate

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:37 am

    Here is an interesting exchange from a story in today’s NYT, In Final Debate Before Caucuses, Democrats Tangle on Race Issues:

    In one of the sharper exchanges of the whole campaign season, the Rev. Al Sharpton confronted Dr. Dean with what Mr. Sharpton described as the lack of minority officials in senior positions in Dr. Dean’s administration as governor.

    “Do you have a senior member of your cabinet that was black or brown?” Mr. Sharpton demanded, after Dr. Dean had earlier suggested that hiring more minorities was a key to racial understanding in America.

    “We had a senior member of my staff on my fifth floor,” Dr. Dean responded elliptically, in an apparent reference to the executive offices in Vermont.

    “No, your cabinet!” Mr. Sharpton said. Dr. Dean responded quietly: “No, we did not.”

    “Then you need to let me talk to you about race in this country,” Mr. Sharpton said.

    I find this amusing for three reasons, in no particular order:

    1) Dean’s very specific “we had a guy on the fifth floor” response, which is amusing on several levels.

    2) The idea that the only way that Dean could possibly understand race would be that if he had an “black or brown” cabinet member.

    and

    3) Vermont isn’t exactly the most racially diverse state in the union, so I am guessing that the odds of a particularly diverse cabinet are mighty slim as well.

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    Sunday, January 11, 2004
    Intriguing: Drug Lord Captured

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:41 pm

    Panama Captures Top Colombian Drug Lord

    Panamanian police and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents have captured a man they believe is one of Colombia’s most important cocaine lords, Arcangel de Jesus Henao Montoya, authorities said on Sunday.

    Henao Montoya, accused of being second-in-command of the Norte del Valle cocaine cartel and wanted by the United States, was captured on Saturday in the Torti region of the Darien Gap, a lawless swath of jungle on the Colombian border where he was apparently hiding out for months, Panama police chief Carlos Bares and Colombian police said.

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    (Ala)PoliColumn 2

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:32 pm

    This was in today’s Mobile Register, but like last time, it didn’t make it to the web. It is an Alabama-specific piece. So here’s the submitted version (i.e., not necessarily exactly what was printed):

    The Alabama GOP and 2003

    Steven L. Taylor

    Despite being a non-election year, 2003 was a big year politically for the state of Alabama, and the Republican Party of the state especially. Indeed, for 03 to be such a big political year is a bit odd, as it was the first year for the terms of statewide officeholders elected in 2002, and still a ways from the big Presidential elections of 2004. Regardless, there were numerous events last year that will have long-term implications for the development of politics in this state, and for the evolution of the Alabama GOP.

    The two biggest stories, ones that had not only our attention, but the nations, were Governor Bob Rileys tax plan, and Chief Justice Moores Ten Commandments monument.

    First, lets look at Riley.

    It was hardly predictable that Bob Riley would come to the governorship of the state of Alabama and propose the largest tax increase in the states history, given that during his tenure as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives he was considered one of the most (if not the most) fiscally conservative congressman on the Hill. In his six years in Congress he never voted for a tax increase.

    Yet, in the first half of his first year in office, Riley proposed a complex package of reforms and tax increases, designed to overcome looming budget deficits and to attempt to raise Alabamas national rankings, which hover towards the bottom in most key categories. After marathon campaigning by the governor, and a war of television commercials, the voters sent Riley a message in September, by handing him a 68% to 32% defeat. While Riley will have a chance to revive his political capital starting with the upcoming legislative session, there can be no doubt that, like Don Siegelman and his lottery vote, Riley emerged from the process extremely weakened.

    This process was especially important to the Alabama Republicans, because the party itself publicly split with their governor, voting against supporting the plan in a July meeting. Hence, it is very possible that Riley, should he seek re-election in 2006, will face a substantial primary challenge. Indeed, the surprise that Riley came to office looking to increase taxes, rather than the tax cutter he was in Congress, may be enough to sink his any re-election bid he might launch.

    At a minimum, Riley represented a radical change for Alabama governors and for Republicans in the state in particular, in that he adopted a progressive vision for the state that required substantially increased revenues, and not just rhetoric. Will the Republican Party of Alabama adopt any part of Rileys desire to improve Alabamas economic circumstances into the future, or will their be a backlash to the vision along with the one that Riley experienced in regards to his financing package? In other words, will the Republicans in 2006 be a party of the future, or one of the status quo? And if so, will the Democratic Party be able to deal with that challenge?

    Moving on to the now former Chief Justice, Moore presents an interesting contrast, in that he represents mainly rhetoric and symbolism. Moore represents the more traditionalistic elements of the Alabama Republican Party.

    Moores actions are not surprising in the context of our states politics. For one thing, he was elected as the Ten Commandments Judge based on his prior actions as a circuit court judge in Gadsden. Further, Fob James, the previous Republican governor, spent a lot of time and political capital, to his benefit on this topic as well.

    The most interesting aspect of the Moore situation to me is the reaction of the rest of the State Supreme Court, the Attorney General and even Governor Riley. None of them came to his defense. Indeed, quite the opposite.

    There are signs that Moores approach may be becoming part of the past. Not because Christianity is becoming unimportant to our politics; it isnt. Rather, Moores belligerence in the face of a federal court order, and his emotional appeals for support, are not the power base that they once were. In the days of George Wallace, to defy the federal government was to earn points at home, and certainly much of Wallaces politics was driven by populistic appeals to the emotions of Alabamians.

    Such appeals may no longer be helpful. There are several examples: all the remaining Justices of the Court ignored Moore, and obeyed the court order, the Court of the Judiciary of Alabama unanimously removed Moore from his office, and the Attorney General of the state, fellow Republican, and devout Christian, Bill Pryor sought to have Moore obey the court as well. There was no comfort for Moore amongst his fellow Republicans.

    The real question now is: will there be any solace from the voters should Moore pursue office again, perhaps even the governorship?

    So, we can see that the events of 2003 have set in motion some potentially interesting questions that only the voters of the state can answer in 2006. What will be the political fates of Governor Riley and Chief Justice Moore (and Attorney General Pryor, for that matter)? What will be the direction of the state GOP? For that matter, what do the voters of this state want: symbols or progress?

    Stay tuned: it should be fun to watch.

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    See? I Told You

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:28 pm

    There was, indeed, no posting until the night.

    Prediction confirmed!

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    Status

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:03 am

    Off to the airport after my brief perusal of the news. There will be no blogging until late this afternoon, if not later. And in this case, Bryan will be pleased to know that “no blogging” really means “no blogging.”

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    Iowa is Almost Upon Us

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:01 am

    While there is a rather “no joke” quality to this headline, Campaign in Iowa Is Called Pivotal and Still Close, there is some interesting stuff in the article, mostly about Edwards:

    To muddy matters more, Democrats said it has been increasingly clear that any success by Senators Kerry and Edwards at coming in second or third could draw votes from Mr. Gephardt or Dr. Dean, pulling them out of first place. That dynamic has become particularly apparent with Mr. Edwards, who is making a concerted effort to draw votes from Mr. Gephardt, to the concern of Mr. Gephardt’s advisers and to the delight of the Dean camp.

    And Mr. Edwards was expected to receive a big lift from the endorsement of The Des Moines Register in its Sunday edition.

    A third place finish for Edwards would be a huge boost, but one still would think that fourth or fifth are his most likely slots.

    I think that ultimately the intensity of the Dean supporters is going to be the deciding factor. It is hard to get people to go to caucuses, and so having seemingly highly committed folks will be a huge advantage.

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    Evolution!

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:56 am

    I have climbed the long ladder in the Blogosphere Ecosystem, and am now a Playful Primate (#98). Of course, being at the tail end of the scale, no doubt some devolution may be in my future as well.

    Still, thanks for all the links.

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    PoliColumn

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:51 am

    From today’s Birmingham News:

    Bush deserves credit as `safe’ bet in 2004
    01/11/04
    STEVEN L. TAYLOR

    As the recent elevation in the country’s terror alert status to orange (i.e, high) demonstrates, the threat to the United States by global terrorists continues. Without a doubt, the issue of how safe we are (and how safe we feel) will be a major issue in this year’s presidential contests.

    The whole thing is here.

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    Saturday, January 10, 2004
    Linkage

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:42 pm

    Thanks to the following for linking to PoliBlog:

  • Priorities & Frivolities
  • LibertarianJackass.com
  • QandO
  • The Temporal Globe

    Each has now been given a link in the Great Big List of Linkers at the Left.

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    More on the Texas Redistricting Situation

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:10 pm

    On the topic of retaliatory re-re-districting by Democrats to get back at Republicans, it was noted in a very interesting panel yesterday, that at the moment there really arent any good candidates for such activityCalifornia and Illinois were cited. And while I dont know much about the Illinois situation, I do know that Democrats are pretty happy with the California lines, as the Democrats have a majority of the seats, and have created a set of safe Democratic districts and traded off a number of safe Republican districts, something that both sides are happy with.

    Merle Black of Emory noted that, in truth, state legislators hate the process and even in the Texas case it really took an outside force (Tom Delay) to get the Texas Republicans to undertake the current process.

    Black, and at least one other participant, noted that the smaller the state gets, the more difficult it is to be creative. Texas presented a particularly good case given the 32 districts in play.

    Also, listening to the discussion it occurred to me that a new era of retaliatory mid-decade re-districting is unlikely, given that the Texas case had several unique features unlikely to be present elsewhere in the country:

  • A lag in partisan re-alignment in the state legislature (Texas became clearly a Republican state in the mid-90s, but the State House didnt go Rep until 2002).
  • An (arguably) clear opportunity to re-visit redistricting during the decade (in the Texas case, the fact that the 2001 lines had been contested and approved by a court).
  • A situation in which, despite the clear state-wide domination of Party X, that Party Y controls the congressional delegation. (this is key)
  • A large state with plenty of districts to play with.

    And really, the opportunity for such activities are actually quite small. It isn’t that the Democrats might not try it at some point in time, but the chances of a wave of re-re-districting sees highly unlikely.

    Also, a note of interest, according to one panelist, the late 1800s saw redistricting annually in some states. And so while it may not be a good idea, there is historical precedent.

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    What Do Communications Profs Know?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:15 pm

    Bryan of Arguing with signposts (who teaches communications) is aruging (and am I not even a signpost) that I, your humble Political Scientist Friend, can’t prognosticate because of the following evidence:

    Their predictions prove to be false in record time.
    At 12:01 p.m., the following prediction was noted:

    I have been panelling and need to do some more work on my presentation for this afternoon, so light-to-no blogging is predicted until this evening. - Steve the poliblogger.

    Posts since prediction:
    12:41 p.m.
    12:46 p.m.
    and the lengthy Paul O’Neill blog at
    2:42 p.m. [sic, it was 2:24, -ed.]which you really should read.
    I guess it depends on what you mean by “light.”

    Clearly, the gap between the original post at 12:01 and the subsequent short posts at 12:41 and 12:46 demonstrate both that I did do some work for about 40 minutes, and two dinky posts is surely “light blogging". Further, I would submit that the long O’Neill post was 2:21 minutes after I had watrned of the lightness factor. Hence, it was obviously “light blogging.”

    So, the problem was hardly with my prognostications, which were perfect, but rather you mis-operationalized “light.”

    The real problem is that I read some news, and that, almost always, results in blogging.

    I was going to repond to Bryan at his site, but it wouldn’t let post a comment.

    (My panels-it was a two parter, where I chaired the first half, and presented in the second, went quite well).

    Anyway, everyone that it’s economists who you can’t trust!

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    Food is Good

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:06 pm

    If anyone is ever in downtown New Orleans, I highly, highly recommend “Mothers” on Poydras. a few blocks from the river. It is a diner-like place, and not that much to look at from the outside, but the food (cajun) is great, and cheap.

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    More from O’Neill

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:24 pm

    More from former SecTreas Paul O’Neill: Report: Bush Planned Iraqi Invasion Pre-Sept. 11.

    Now, I have no problem believing that the Bush administration made plans to invade Iraq prior to 911. I suspect it has plans drawn up in case they are needed to invade a good number of countries.

    Indeed, Bush did make statements like “we’ll take him out” (I think that was a direct quote from the campaign trail in 2000) in reference to Saddam Huessein should Hussein do anything threatening.

    However, I don’t accept the “he was looking for any excuse” argument, because were that true, he would have found a reason to invade right after 911 itself (for example, if the truth is assumed not to matter at all, just jack up the Mohammed Atta-Iraq connection, and there’s one’s excuse). Also, the idea that he was ready to invade Iraq at the drop of a hat contradicts Bob Woodward’s book Bush at War, which I tend to trust more than O’Neill’s account.

    Also, there are two amusing sidelines worth noting:

    1) If O’Neill is right, and they were planning the attack all along, so much for all the “they didn’t have a plan” arguments of critics in the early days of the war.

    and

    2) If this is correct:

    O’Neill was also quoted in the book as saying the president was determined to find a reason to go to war and he was surprised nobody on the National Security Council questioned why Iraq should be invaded.

    “It was all about finding a way to do it. That was the tone of it,” said O’Neill. “The president saying ‘Go find me a way to do this."‘

    then the whole Tin Foil Hat Bridage thesis that Cheney talked him into it (a theory Clark espoused on Hardball the other day), goes out the window.

    Plus, O’Neill, in these stories over the last two days, is both characterizing Bush as a silent know-nothing, and this diabolical mastermind who pushed the admin to war by force of will. That is, to put it mildly, an odd juxtapostion.

    I will grant, that all of this based on press accounts, and not reading the book or hearing the actual interviews in question.

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    Conference Blogging: Politics

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:46 pm

    Walter Dean Burnham, an eminent scholar in the field on American politics (and a prof at the University of Texas, although I never took any of his classes), made the following observation concerning Gore in 2000 that was both accurate and amusing in its own way.

    He noted that Gore suffered “three assassins” in 2000:

    1) Ralph Nader

    2) Himself, for distancing himself from the Clinton economy (and, I would add, in the general way he ran his campaign such as the Debate One performance, and his general need to talk to us like we are in Kindergarten).

    and

    3) Bill Clinton, for having one the “most squandered presidencies” in memory (and Burnham noted earlier in the panel that he personally remembers the 1940 elections…). Regardless of one’s opinion of Bill Clinton in general, it is rather difficult to deny that his presidency was indeed “squandered.”

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    Amusing (and Hopefully it Will Stay That Way)

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:41 pm

    Bolivia’s land-locked navy dreams of leaving Lake Titicaca

    From the shores of Lake Titicaca high in the Andes, you can still see the Bolivian navy puttering around, in the hope thatthey may, one day, see the bright blue ocean to the west once again. While La Paz stands on the abyss of civil war, its population starving and its economy in free fall, its leaders are strangely preoccupied with rectifying what has long been relegated to the history books.

    It has been 100 years since landlocked Bolivia lost its sea access to Chile, following the War of the Pacific. But every year since then, Bolivians celebrate “Bolivian Sea Day". This 23 March will be like the others, when the navy obsessively salutes the remains of Eduardo Avaroa, an officer killed by the Chileans in a battle in 1879.

    I honestly don’t expect much of anything to come from this, as the blustering has gone on for so long. However, it is somewhat unsettling when a country that is undergoing severe political and economic crises starts to make nationalistic noises that specifically deal with territory held by a neigbor.

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    Status

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:01 pm

    I have been panelling and need to do some more work on my presentation for this afternoon, so light-to-no blogging is predicted until this evening.

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    Friday, January 9, 2004
    Cajun Toast! The 1/9/04 Edition of the Toast-O-Meter, Straight from New Orleans

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:06 pm


    The Toast-o-meter: A Weekly News Round-Up and

    Handicapping of the Race for the Democratic Nomination.

    -Toast: It’s not Just for Breakfast Anymore!-

    The Toast-O-Meter comes to you Fortified with linkage and Enhanced with bloggage!

    The scale:

  • Wonder Bread (The nomination is in reach)
  • Just Plain Ol White Bread (Still in the race; has a shot)
  • Toast (Pretty much donea little scraping might make you look like bread, but you’re done)
  • Burnt Toast (Really, really done)
  • Burnt all the Way Through (Why are you still in the race?)
  • Crumbs in the Bottom of the Toaster (Why did you ever get in the race in the first place?)

    Potential Movements each Week:

  • Dough is on the Rise
  • Heats Off This Week
  • The heat is on.
  • Got Scraped a Bit
  • Getting Darker

    The Whole Loaf: Can any of the Nine make Bush into Texas Toast?

    (Bush is fresh, the Loaf is stale)

  • The polling continues to look good for Bush, and he clearly has his base strongly on his side.
    Men, evangelicals and rural voters are supporting President Bush by big margins at the start of this election year, while traditionally Democratic-leaning groups such as women have more divided loyalties, an Associated Press poll found.

    […]

    On the question of re-electing Bush or definitely voting for someone else, men were more likely to vote to re-elect Bush by 49 percent to 26 percent. And rural voters leaned toward Bush by an equally lopsided margin. White evangelicals said they would support Bush rather than vote for someone else by an even wider margin.

    Women were more divided, with 39 percent saying they would definitely vote for someone else and 35 percent saying they would vote to re-elect Bush.

    The split amongst women is a bad sign for the Democrats.

  • Dave Wissing has new, hot off the presses numbers, that show Bush well ahead of all comers.
  • James Joyner of OTB notes that Bush was the $131 million-dollar-man in 2003. That’s a lot of dough, shall we say.
  • PoliPundit considers Bush’s immigration proposal to be “suicidal” and is threatening not to vote for Bush, and to encourages others to do the same, should it pass. However, my guess is that few votes, either for or against the President, will turn on this issue.
  • This will hurt some, but not be massively damaging. It certainly will give Dean & Co. ammunition: Powell Admits No Hard Proof in Linking Iraq to Al Qaeda: “I have not seen smoking-gun, concrete evidence about the connection,” Mr. Powell (of course, he goes on to say that they did the right thing).

    Slicing up the loaf:

  • If Dean wins Iowa, he is going to be hard to catch.
  • If Gephardt loses Iowa, he is burnt badly, but could limp along for a few more contests if he comes in a close second. If there is any space of substance between Dean as winner and Gephardt as #2, then he is done and crumbly.
  • Kerry is burnt and crumbly if he comes in third after NH. (To be honest, he’s crumbly barring a radical and dramatic improvement).

    FRESH BAKED

    Dean: Wonder Bread fortified with vitamins With Yummy Vermont Syrup on top (Dough on the Rise)

  • Dean gets a big endorsement: Harkin to Endorse Howard Dean for President.
  • For those who think that there is going to be a brokered convention, or a last minute “Draft Hillary” campaign, please note: Dean Leads ‘Superdelegate’ Race.
  • Joe Carter, of the Evangelical Outpost, asks Is Dean a Man of Principle?, in terms of his ideological convictions. The jury remains out until we see what Dean does once he is nominated.
  • Joe also notes some of Dean’s rather intriguing theological reasoning.
  • Rich Lowry brings on the questions for Dean. Meanwhile, John Leo “interviews” him.
  • Well, with expert proclamations such as this, how can Dean lose? Arianna Huffington argues Howard Dean is electable.
  • David Broder entitles a column this week: Dean: Dominator or Detonator?. A taste:
    It is hard to recall another challenger who has simultaneously outdistanced, out-organized and outmaneuvered the other candidates as thoroughly and swiftly as Dean has done, and at the same time has so thoroughly demonstrated a penchant for embarrassing himself.

    Indeed.

  • Problem for Dean in Iowa? Dean’s 2000 Caucuses Remark May Haunt Him (on a Canadian TV show in 2000 he said “If you look at the caucuses system, they are dominated by the special interests, in both sides, in both parties. The special interests don’t represent the centrist tendencies of the American people. They represent the extremes.") Somehow, I can’t see this being a big deal and strikes me as an attempt to find a story, any story in what seems to be a fairly undramatic caucus.
  • Shocking! Dean Sings Praises of Iowa Caucus System.
  • A true trend, or the desire of the press to find some drama? Iowa: Tide of Second Thoughts Rises Among Democrats. The polls are still Deanish, but caucuses are difficult to predict. I still think that the intensity of most Deaniacs will outstrip the enthusiasm of the other candidates. Gephardt will win only due to organization, and surely no one thinks that Kerry generates passion in his supporters? We shall see in less than two weeks.
  • Say it ain’t so Howard!! Dean Accepted Special-Interest Money. Ok, the guy accepted some money for his charity in a wholly legal fashion. It seems that the press is trying to find a story to make things interesting. This ain’t it. Really, the sealed docs and the charges that he was lax in nuclear security in Vermont are more interesting, but still unlikely to affect the primary process. (James Joyner concurs that this is a non-story).
  • At the Southern Political Science Association meeting this week, Merle Black, professor at Emory University, and expert on Southern Politics, stated that Dean had no chance of winning any of the South in the general election, indeed, assuming no radical events, that none of the Nine would be able to win the South, although Clark might could win Arkansas. The entire panel, all experts on Southern Politics, concurred.
  • Columnist Austin Bay notes a new ailment, Mad How disease: “Mad How is a variant infection of SARS Scream and Rage Syndrome a brain-eating, kuru-like plague afflicting the hard left of the Democratic Party, the hot-wigged activist and conspiracy theorist faction that forces even the sanest of Joe Liebermans and Dick Gephardts to madly kowtow.” (Hat tip: James Joyner).
  • Moe Freeman links to a calculator to figure out The Cost of Howard.
  • FYI: Sean Hackbarth has a new feature on his blog which traces stories concerning the Good Doctor. The second edition is here, and the third (brand spankin’ new) is here).

    THE SUPERMARKET SHELF

    Gephardt: Slowly Toasting White Bread (the heat is growing).

    Unless he wins Iowa, or has an impressive second place finish, he will go from Supermarket Shelf to the Crumb Pile, will not pass Go, nor collect any more campaign contributions.

  • At least one poll give Gephardt hope in Iowa: Poll shows Gephardt on Dean’s heels in Iowa.
  • The Harkin endorsement, however, takes a lot of wind out of Gephardt’s sails. As I noted earlier on the blog, if Harkin is endorsing Dean, it means that he thinks that he thinks, and has some polling to indicate, that Dean is going to win Iowa.
  • A lot of cash, but $2 million short of his goal: $18 Million for Gephardt.
  • This kind of thing Gephardt Aide Accuses Dean of Caucus Fraud Plan is going to make some people think that Gephardt hired the tin foil guy. Anyway, everyone knows that only Republicans commit electoral fraud! At any rate, I have a hard time seeing how this might help Gephardt.

    Clark: Toast (got scraped a little)

    I have moved Clark to the Supermarket Shelf. I am doing so am much because of the CW as my own estimations. I am not saying that my analysis is based on the CW, but the thing is this: if the media decides that you have a greater chance, you get more positive media coverage, and as a result, you often do climb in the polls. As a result, getting boost, deserved or not, in the conventional wisdom, is a boon. Plus, there is a chance that Clark will finish second in NH, which will give him a huge boost. Now, I still expect that the second place winner in NH will be well behind Dean, so it may not be as big as deal as the Chattering Class will make it out to be, still, such a finish would boost his media exposure greatly.

    Indeed, while I do think that he is moving upward somewhat in real term, I think that the real story is that Kerry, despite focusing on NH and Iowa, has been unable to accomplish anything, and somebody has to be the #2 guy. Plus, the media is so hungry for a story that they have christened Clark a real competitor. I think that has not yet happened.

  • Dave Wissing has the latest ARG poll for NH, which has Clark firmly in 2nd.
  • WaTi notes that Dean’s gaffes yield dividends for Clark. Indeed. Althought, it isn’t as if Clark is gaffe-less.
  • PoliPundit notes that while it is true that Clark had a good 4Q in terms of fundraising, it was below the targets of the campaign.
  • The General got a new look this week: Seeking Women’s Votes, Clark Changes His Style.
  • James Joyner wonders about Clark’s understanding of the Constitution, SCOTUS ruling, and the judiciary in general all in the context of some rather remarkable statements that the General made concerning abortion.
  • Kristopher of The World Around You has endorsed Clark. However, I wouldn’t count on the General carrying Alabama.

    THE DAY-OLD BAKERY

    Kerry: Burned French Toast (do I smell smoke?)

    Despite all that money, and the focus on Iowa and NH only, he is crashing.

  • He did get yet another new haircut. While I am not known as a hair critic, I would give it a “thumbs up,” although it doesn’t seem to be helping his poll standings much.
  • Dave Wissing has the latest ARG poll, which has Liebby within striking distance in NH, meaning Kerry could, conceivably, come in fourth in NH. Talk about burnt toast…
  • Good luck: The Stump Speech: Kerry Seeks Momentum From Focus on Experience. He still seems to be making the “Bob Dole got nominated because of a good resume, and so should I!” argument. It seems not to be working.

    Edwards: Burnt all the way through (getting darker-only a SC win can save him from the Crumb Pile (in the short term, anyway))

  • Jule Witcover asks: John Edwards: Carter redux? In terms of being President, no? In terms of being assessed as having failed in politics, yes. Plus, Witcover makes this rather strange statement:
    Yet this latest Democrat with a drawl somehow manages to deliver the Carter message without the heavy dose of righteousness that turned off some voters in 1976. Faith as a Southern Baptist has been part of his life from childhood, he acknowledges later, but he prefers to keep it out of his politics.

    Odd because not only did Carter win the presidency, but he won the 76 Iowa caucuses. So, I guess Carter’s righteousness didn’t hurt him too much. And Edwards is going nowhere fast. The comparison here is rather strained, and seems based simply on the fact that both Edwards and Carter are southern.

  • As I was putting the final touches on the Toast-O-Meter, I noted that Edwards isn’t the first Edwards in a Google news search, a story about a former KC Chiefs linebacker is. However, to be fair, Edwards otherwise dominates the category.

    THE CRUMB PILE

    Lieberman: Crumbling Burnt Toast (he’s done)

  • Lieberman’s decision not to participate in the Iowa caucuses is biting him right now, as he is getting very little coverage.
  • Dave Wissing has the latest ARG poll, which has Liebby within striking distance of 3rd in NH.
  • Kevin Drum notes that TNR has endorsed Lieberman. And, I have to agree with Atrios for once, at least in the sense that TNR is no longer a mainstream magazine as far as Democrats are concerned. It has become decidedly moderate. Further, Kos ain’t too happy about it.

    Kucinich: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (hard to tell, as all I see is carbon)

    Let’s face facts: the only reason to even mention Kucinich is because he’s fun.

  • Kucinich Shows Pie Chart on Radio Debate (what more can I say?)
  • Randall of Judicious Asininityhas discovered that Dennis Kucinich can occasionally say things that make sense. Yes, strange things do happen in the world we live in.
  • Chris Lawrence, notes that despite his dislike of the Mars proposal, that is does have an updside: “The small upside in this is that at least were trying to help Dennis Kucinich find his way back home who says Americans arent a generous people?”

    Sharpton: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (do I hear the smoke detector?)

  • And what was this title-writer smoking? Sharpton transforms image into more thoughtful, reserved politician. What, his brilliant oratory on SNL elevated him to statesman? Ok, he isn’t considered a rabble-rouser any longer, so I guess that’s progress.

    Braun: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (poof)

  • Indeed: Braun is facing uphill battle for White House with heart.
  • The excitement never stops at the Moseley Braun campaign: Moseley Braun Breaks Record in Run for White House:
    Carol Moseley Braun set a new record in her bid for the presidency by making it onto the primary ballot in 20 states. This is more than any other woman running for president, including Sen. Margaret Chase Smith in 1964 and Rep. Shirley Chisholm in 1972. “Carol Moseley Braun is not only making history, she is making headway in her quest to take the ‘Men Only’ sign off the White House door,” said Moseley Braun’s campaign manager, Patricia Ireland, in a press statement.

    Can you feel the electricity in the air?

  • And yes, she is back to being the #1 Braun on the Google News Search results.

    The Vice-Loaf

    A week has gone by since I initiated the Vice Loaf, and the more I think about it, the more the Bill Richardson would be a perfect veep for Dean. Of course, Dean hasnt asked me about it.

    Here are some other considerations for this week:

    Clark: On MTP (1/4/04) Clark categorically stated that he “would not accept” the vice presidential nomination. (Indeed, Dave Wissing has a direct quote about it here-and that was only one of several statements on the topic in an interchange between Russert and Clark).

    John Lewis: There have been some (Blogosphere only, I think) speculation that Dean would pick Georgia Representative Jon Lewis, being that he is African-American and from the South. I find this unlikely (although, he was born in Troy, AL, where I now work-that’s your John Lewis Trivia BitTM for the day). Lewis does nothing to help Dean move to the center, and while he is from the South, could, in no way, deliver Georgia. Further, given that blacks are the most reliable Democratic voting bloc, there is no need for Dean to try and shore up their support. In other words, he adds nothing that would help Dean win.

    Harold Ford: While some of the criticism that I level at Lewis can be aimed at Ford, there are two differences: Ford is a rising star, and considered part of the future of the party, and, more importantly, is perceived as a moderate, which could help Dean in a weak area.-never mind-as Dave Wissing points out, and as I should have remembered, he is too young to be the veep this go ’round. Which, quite frankly, doesn;t seem right, as no one in Congress should be younger than me. It just ain’t natural.

    NOT IN THE LOAF

    Hillary Clinton

  • Hillary spent the week dealing with her Gandhi joke.

    Gore

  • Al has been campaigning for Dean: Gore Visits Iowa to Campaign for Dean. However, he must be using stealth tech, as he has seemed pretty invisivle to me.

    Lyndon Larouche-technically, hes the Tenth candidate, but for a whole load of reasons, hes not really in the loaf. Kevin Drum has the following report on Larouche.

    CORRECTION

    Last week I predicted that Gephardt would be back in Congress in January 2005. An astute reader noted that Gephardt has chosen not to seek re-election. So, I guess Mr. Gephardt will be in the speaking circuit, or adjuncting at a local university in January of 05.

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    I Know Gibbs and Parcells Came Back, But Please…

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:44 pm

    Gary Hart Said to Be Mulling Senate Bid

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    Inter-American Relations

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:26 pm

    The NYT had a very interesting article on US-Latin American relations in today’s edition: Latin American Allies of U.S.: Docile and Reliable No Longer.

    Many of the observations are correct, but it paints a picture of a fictional past when Latin Americans would have applauded US military interventions and where it always supported the US in the UN.

    Neither is true.

    It has long been the case, even when relations were otherwise good, that Latin American nations, especially Mexico, tended to vote against the US in the UN. Indeed, as tyhe much weaker of the two, Mexico otften found that the only way to have ay strength at all vis-a-vis the US was via international institutions, such as the UN. (The book by Jorge I. Dominguez and Rafael Fernandez de Castro, The United States and Mexico: Between Partnership and Conflict makes this case quite well).

    Really, what the NYT is judging against (as did many at the time when Mexico didn’t vote our way in the Security Council) is what the pressumed new Bush-Fox relationship would be, not what it had become.

    And in terms of mass populations, Latin America countries have always been wary of US military actions, so this is nothing new.

    Indeed, while I would say that general US-Latin American relations are good (or what would pass as good), the bottom line is that Washington has been otherwise engaged and has been ignoring Latin America, aside for some trade negotiations.

    Now, it is true that there are some key issues in Latin America, some of which I noted the other day.

    Some things to keep an eye on:

  • The finalization of CAFTA.
  • Continued financial and military aid to Colombia.
  • The reemergence of the Bolivian drug problem.
  • The Chavez administration in Venezuela.
  • The development of the FTAA, and especially coming to terms with Brazil.
  • Preparing for post-Castro Cuba.
  • And, no doubt others I am forgetting at the moment…

    However, on balance, this story isn’t nothing particularly new, not in terms of recent events, nor in terms of historical norms.

    One thing I will agree with, however, is that the administration needs to pay more attention to the region, which was its stated intentions, prior to the events of 911.

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    You Don’t Think that O’Neil is Bitter or Anything, Do You?

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:23 pm

    Former Treasury Sec. Paints Bush as ‘Blind Man’.

    Stephen Green comments.

    My question is: if it was tht bad, why did a) he take the job, and b) seem so upset when he was effectively fired?

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    Harkin to Endorse Dean

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:18 pm

    While endorsements aren’t always as big a deal as they are made out to be, I think this is big, as it will allow Dean to keep Gerphardt at last at arm’s length: Harkin to Endorse Howard Dean for President

    An announcement is scheduled for 3 p.m. CST at Dean’s Iowa headquarters, sources said, ending weeks of speculation and public agonizing about what the four-term senator would do.

    It also means, in my opinion, that Harkin is quite confident that Dean will win Iowa.

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    Sartorial Politics

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:46 pm

    I agree with James Joyner that image and clothing matter, but the what I find amusing inthe Clark story (and the Gore story before it) is the idea of consultants re-making candidates in mid-stream. Just figure out who you are, and be you.

    One guesses Bush always wore cowboy boots and blue jeans at the ranch, and having grown up in West Texas, that would be part of who he is. I have always worn a tie, at a minimum, when I teach, as it is part of a certain level of formality that I like to establish in a classroom (especially when I started and wasn’t that much older than the students…). I didn’t ask a consultant three weeks into the semester what the best way to dress would be so as to better relate to any alienated students out there.

    (BTW, Glenn Reynolds noted the Naomi Wolfe connection as well, Hat tip to James).

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    Breath Easy: Orange No More

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:22 pm

    Terror Alert Level Lowered to Yellow

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    The WSJ on Bush’s Immigration Proposal

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:06 am

    The WSJ (yes, registration required, but all they want is an e-mail address) agrees with me on the immigration issue (pointing out that, as I noted last night, not all conservatives are up in arms over the whole affair).

    Like it or not, the U.S. is part of an integrating regional and world economy in which the movement of people across borders is inevitable. Despite nearly 20 years of efforts to “crack down on the borders,” the immigrants keep coming-an estimated eight million without legal U.S. documents today. As long as the per capita income differential between the U.S. (nearly $32,000) and Mexico ($3,679) continues to be so wide, we can’t stop immigrants short of means that will violate our traditions, our conscience, and our national interest.

    Do we really want to deputize all of American business to report and arrest illegals? We tried a version of that in the 1986 reform that was promoted by restrictionists, and it proved both a nuisance and a failure. We later beefed up the border guard, but all that did was move illegal crossings deeper into the shadows of organized crime and cause more illegals to stay here for longer periods. We could always next build a Berlin Wall along the 2,000 miles of U.S.-Mexican border, or deploy the 101st Airborne, but we doubt Americans would be morally comfortable with either.

    And while this will not satisfy most critics of the policy, it is something:

    One objection, especially from the political right, is that the Bush proposal rewards people who broke the law. But in fact illegals would be required to pay a fine, as well as to prove employment before they could receive temporary visas. The 1986 “amnesty” to which this is being compared made no such demands.

    The article also highlights the security benefits that Robert Tagorda noted yesterday as well.

    And I found this amusing:

    As for the politics, Mr. Bush is said to be playing for Hispanic votes, as if attracting voters wasn’t part of getting elected.

    Although, I maintain that the the likely vote changes as a result of this, is likely to be small.

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    Clark on Abortion

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:50 am

    Clark made his postion on abortion quite clear this week: Abortion decision is the mom’s alone.

    Democrat Wesley Clark said yesterday he would never appoint a pro-life judge to the federal bench because the judges anti-abortion views would render him unable to follow the established judicial precedent of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision.

    And, wow:

    “Lfe,” he said, “begins with the mother’s decision.”

    This strikes me as a radical position to take, as it takes science totally out of the picutre, and brings up questions, such as those raised by political philosopher Peter Singer, as to whether the mother ought not have the right to end the chld’s life, even after birth (in cases of disability specifically).

    And I can’t think that categorical statements such as this: Im not going to be appointing judges who are pro-life” are going to help him with those conservative Democrats and swing voters, especially in the South, that are supposed to help him beat Bush, should he best Dean in the primaries.

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    The Return of Naomi Wolfe?

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:39 am

    I can’t decide what is worst about this kind of thing, that political consultants think that this kind of thing works, or, that in fact, it does: Seeking Women’s Votes, Clark Changes His Style.

    Gone are his navy blue suit, red tie and loafers, replaced by argyle sweaters, corduroys and duck boots.

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    Thursday, January 8, 2004
    See! I’d Toldja There’d Be More

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:02 pm

    As Robert Tagorda weighs in as well, dealing quite well with the national security concerns that have been raised concerning the plan.

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    More on Immigration (and, no Doubt, More to Come…)

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:57 pm

    PoliPundit (multiple posts, just scroll down) is clearly not happy about the immigration policy proposals of the President. While I still remain undecided on the actual contents of the proposal, having not yet had the chance to review them, I am (and have been for some time) basically pro-immigration liberalization.

    Part of why I take the position that I do (and that I basically take on illicit narcotics) is that it is extremely difficult to fight the power of markets and of the basics of capitalism itself. The immigrants are willing to come, and risk much, as I have noted, and those who employ see great economic benefit in hiring them. There is an economic synergy here that is not as easy to stop as some argue, partially because there are a lot of people who don’t want to stop it. To do some of what PoliPundit wants (like new throwing execs in jail of companies which hire illegals) would require changing the law. Somehow I don’t see a law which would punish CEOs in this fashion passing the congress.

    However, the main purpose of my post is to argue a bit with PoliPundit that this is, as he notes on his blog, “suicidal” for the president, or, as he noted in an e-mail to me a “betrayal of conservatives. To which I would answer:

    There is a twofold problem with a “betrayal of conservatives” thesis: 1) Not all conservatives feel betrayed so it is hard to make such a sweeping statement, and 2) a lot of conservatives are either apathetic, or will have forgotten about this, in large part, by November.

    On balance I find this argument that this policy is going to have radical electoral effects one way or another to be absurd. Which Democrat will Conservatives want to be President over Bush as a result of this policy? I just don’t see it.

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    Blog Status

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:44 pm

    Well, it can be confirmed that I have access and am now blogging from New Orleans. However, right now I am tired, and am just taking a pit stop.

    Likely more later.

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    Immigration Backlash?

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:01 am

    PoliPundit is rather displeased with the President’s immigration proposal. And, I’m sure, are a lot of other conservatives.

    And hopefully once the initial anger wears off, this sentiment will change:

    The president’s immigration “reform” policy is a kick in the teeth to conservatives. It’s his way of saying that he has no use for us. He is selling us out to liberal elites, like Bush 41 did by breaking his no-new-taxes pledge. I hope these horrible immigration “reforms” die quickly in Congress. Otherwise I will be forced to reconsider my support for the president and I’m sure millions of other conservatives will too.

    Let’s face facts: is this policy worth a President Dean or a President Clark, or whichever of the Nine make it through the process? I think not.

    Further, I guess I simply don’t understand why this issue raises the ire that it does with certain large segments of the conservative movement

    I don’t have time to fully address the issue, but I would point out one salient point that those who decry the fact that we are rewarding illegal behavior: as I noted yesterday, if people are willing to die to get here, what do those opposed to this policy propose to do to stop them from coming? If people are willing to risk it all, what incentive structure can be erected to disuade them from coming?

    Another key point: given that we are talking about literally millions of people, where is the money going to from to hire the no doubt hundreds of thousands of agents needed to round all these people up?

    And really, what exactly has changed, at least radically? The workers were here before the reform, and they will be here after the reform, except that they will be properly accounted for, and paying proper taxes and such. And yes, I understand that it would be an increased incentive for illegals to cross the borders, although I find it to be a marginal increase in that incentive, given that the incentive is already extremely high.

    This is an imperfect policy operating in an imperfect world.

    And there is much more to say, no doubt, and I still haven’t fully examined the policy, but I need to shut down and head out.

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    Duck Huntin’

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:31 am

    Sean Hackbarth of The American Mind has started a special kind of Duck Hunt.

    Give it a looksee.

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    Blog Status

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:26 am

    I am about to head out to the Southern Political Science Association meeting in New Orleans, and so blogging will be non-existent (aside from what little I may do as I read the news this morning) until this evening, as I will allegedly have internet access in the hotel.

    Enjoy the Blogroll until then.

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    Wednesday, January 7, 2004
    Senator Jokester

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:05 pm

    Having now seen the clip of Hillary’s Gandhi joke, I have a question: why did she (or her speechwriter) think that that was funny? And I am not referring to anything to do with whether it was stereotypical, racial, or if it tarnished Gandhi. I simply mean: where was the humor?

    Here’s the whole story, in case you missed it.

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    Dean Frontrunner in Only Poll That Currently Matters

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:34 pm

    Dean Leads ‘Superdelegate’ Race
    In the first “ballots” cast of the 2004 race, the former Vermont governor has endorsements or pledges of support from 80 Democratic “superdelegates"-elected officials and other party officials who will help select a nominee at this July’s convention.

    Rival Dick Gephardt, the former House Democratic leader who has served as Missouri congressman for 28 years, has the backing of 57 superdelegates. Four-term Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts has the support of 50.
    Among the remaining candidates, three-term Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the 2000 vice presidential nominee, has 25 superdelegates, while Wesley Clark, the retired general who has never held elected office, has 22. First-term Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina has 15.

    The long-shot hopefuls-Al Sharpton (3), Carol Moseley Braun (3) and Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio (2)-were in single digits.

    One Democratic superdelegate has endorsed President Bush.

    Of course, this is all fluid:

    the survey, conducted in the last three weeks, provides an early snapshot of the delegate chase one that can change quickly. Voters haven’t gone to the polls yet to select the regular delegates, with Iowa’s caucuses slated Jan. 19 and the New Hampshire primary Jan. 27.

    To win the nomination, a candidate must have 2,162 delegates, using any combination of superdelegates and regular delegates who are pledged to a candidate based on primary or caucus results.

    Superdelegates, officially known as “unpledged,” aren’t bound to vote for the candidate who wins the primary of their respective state. They also can change their mind as the primary race unfolds.

    “The superdelegate race is still wide open,” said Joe Eyer, political director for Lieberman’s campaign.

    Of course, the likely flow will be the Super-Delegates currently not pledged to Dean to move to Dean.

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    Immigration Policy

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:07 pm

    Steve Bainbridge (apparently a Redskins fan-ah well, nobody’s perfect) outlines Bush’s immigration proposal, and he likes what he sees. I agree with the points he makes.

    I have not analyzed the policy at this point, so will reserve final judgement. However, I have long been of the mind that conservatives have incorrect knee-jerk reactions to immigration (legal and illegal). I tend to believe that the long-term results of immigration is good for the United States.

    Further, on a wholly practical level, I am of the opinion that stopping illegal immigration is impossible, without radically higher costs-costs that would outweigh the benefit of halting the immigrants. As long as people are willing to die to get to the United States, you aren’t going to stop it. Plus, despite the rantings of Bill O’Reilly and Pat Buchanan, the idea of actually militarily sealing the 2000 mile US-Mexican border is a practical impossibility. Indeed, a working guest-worker program would help alleviate the problem of illegal border-crossing. If potential workers knew that there was a better way than paying a Coyote to smuggle them across the Arizona dessert sans water, they would likely take it. Still, regardless, they are coming.

    To those who say: keep them out, or the solution is simple: just enforce the law, are not looking at this problem realistically.

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    Down with Hitler

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:53 pm

    I’m with Robert Tagorda: could we please put the Nazi-comparisons to rest (and he has examples from both sides of the aisle).

    You wanna compare Saddam to Hitler, fine. He probably doesn’t have the requisite stats, but at least he is was a brutal mass-murdering authoritarian dictator.

    Neither George Bush nor Howard Dean fit that mold, by a longshot.

    Indeed, and we should thank God above for this fact: no one in mainstream American politics comes anywhere close to Hitler and Co.

    Some rational discourse sure would be nice.

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    Clark in Statistial Tie with Kerry for Second in NH

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:38 pm

    ARG’s 2004 NH Democratic Tracking shows Clark at 16% and Kerry at 13%, with a margin of error of +/- 4%.

    If, as it is starting to look, that Clark comes in second in NH, Kerry is utterly and totally done.

    I would caution, however, about making too much about Clark’s movement: if Dean does get anywhere 20% or more than the second place candidate, it will be hard to call it a two man race at that point. Clark can’t be considered a real challenge to Dean unless he wins SC and at least one other of the February 3rd primaries.

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    More Polling

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:33 pm

    More evidence that the much-ballyhooed 51-46 poll is receiving a tad too much attention:

    In the poll, Bush beat Dean by 22 percentage points among likely voters. Against an unnamed Democrat, Bush won by 17 percentage points.

    And of more immediate interest:

    Dean still tops the Democratic field in the national survey, at 24%, but the 21-point lead he held over Clark less than a month ago has narrowed to just 4 percentage points, within the poll’s margin of error.

    Although, as I have argued before, the national polling for the nominations isn’t very useful.

    Source: Clark closes in on Dean in poll; Bush still beats Democratic field

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    Amazing: Gibbs is Back!

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:11 am

    Tony Kornheiser is confirming what James of OTB reported this morning: that Joe Gibbs is coming back to coach the Redskins.

    Wild.

    I can’t imagine Gibbs wanting to work for Snyder, and one wonders what kinds of promises were made.

    As a Cowboys fan, I am not pleased, as I was looking forward to the Skins sucking for years. Of course, they may still, since I have my doubts that Snyder can keep from screwing things up.

    Filed under: Sports | Comments(3) | Trackbacks(2)
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    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Stop the Presses: Joe Gibbs is Coming Back
    • Zygote-Design linked with Back to the Future
    Comments on Texas Redistricting

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:47 am

    While I understand the concerns of James Joyner, Stephen Green, and Steve Bainbridge concerning the redistricting situation in Texas, I find it difficult to get especially upset about it for two reasons:

    1) As I have noted before (and James notes as well), since there was no legislatively created redistricting plan in the 2001 legislative session, but rather the courts drew the lines, it seems eminently reasonable for the legislature that came into office in 2003 to want to draw lines. Indeed, had there not been a change in partisan control of the state House of Representative, no one would have found this problematic at all.

    2) The process in question takes place in what is clearly a highly flawed system, but it is, nonetheless, an established set of rules. The lines that were redrawn in 2001 were based on what the legislature had created in 1991, when the legislature was heavily dominated by Democrats. Clearly a districting plan that elected a majority of Democrats in 2002 in a state that hasn’t elected a statewide Democrat since 1994 is flawed as well. In short: the plan that was replaced was purposefully skewed to aid Democrats, which is not surprising since, as noted, the 1991 legislature was dominated by the party. However, when one considers this situation in the broader historical context, it is difficult to take the Democrats’ cries of injustice seriously.

    The bottom line is that both plans, the one used in 2002, and the one that, pending appeal, will be used in 2004 are both examples of partisan gerrymandering. The oly issue, and I understand the objection, is timing.

    Having said all of that, I am increasingly of the opinion that an entirely different system of districting needs to be developed that would do away with conscious partisan districtcraft, and would lead to more competitive elections.

    There is no doubt that across the country whichever party is in charge has drawn the lines to their advantage to the detriment of seriously competitive electoral contests in many, many districts. The only good news is that voters don’t always cooperate with the best laid plans of mice and legislature, and vote the way they want.

    Also, on a related note, the degree to which such mid-decade redistricting will become the norm is unclear, as a similar attempt (and one I am less familiar with) was struck down in Colorado.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments(2) | Trackbacks(2)
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    • Modulator linked with Texas Redistricting
    • locussolus linked with Political geography
    The Carnival is Here

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:14 am

    And it’s at American RealPolitik.

    FYI: PoliBlog will be hosting on the 21st.

    (The current schedule can be found here).

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Tuesday, January 6, 2004
    Is it Really that Unusual a Thing?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:09 pm

    I find this rather amusing: Dean Says Public Will See His Wife

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • Cranial Cavity linked with Dean to Show the Better Half
    Three Judge Panel Leaves TX Redistricting Intact

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:50 pm

    Court Upholds Texas Redistricting

    A three-judge federal panel Tuesday upheld a new congressional map for Texas that the Republicans pushed through the Legislature after months of turmoil and two walkouts by the Democrats.

    […]

    In its ruling, the judges said Democrats “failed to prove” the plan violates the Constitution or the Voting Rights Act, which protects minority voters.

    Filed under: US Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Objection, Your Honor: Question Assumes Facts Not in Evidence

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:46 pm

    Asks CNN: What was Britney thinking?

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    Afghan Constitution Notes

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:51 pm

    Some blogospheric comments on the new Afghan constitution: Brett Marston is impressed with the design of their Supreme Court, but Joe Carter of the evangelical outpost is not pleased by its view on religious liberty.

    Still, the Captain’s Quarters calls it “A Giant Step For Freedom".

    Filed under: Global Politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Afghan Pax Democratica
    Amusing Pic

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:42 pm

    I beamed over to Dean’s World, and he has an amusing Dean/Bradley photo.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Early Bush v. Dean Polling

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:49 am

    I have noted a fixation, starting this weekend, on the poll which shows a 51-46 Bush v. Dean race. First, it is rather early to look at national polling, second, as JohnEllis points out, state-by-state polls may be more telling-scroll down, the B*S permalinks ain’t workin’ (Hat tip: Kaus), and third, other recent polls paint a different picture (
    Dave Wissing has the numbers):

    The Rasmussen poll, taken after the much-discussed CNN/Time poll has the racea t 51-37, and the CBS/NYT poll, taken a week before the CNN/Time poll had the race at 55-35, and the ABC/WaPo poll, taken a few days before that had it at 55-37.

    So, the likelihood is that the numbers are 50s v. 30s, to the degree to which we can even measure the contest at this point.

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    Toasty Caveats and Prognostication Discussions

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:08 am

    My thanks It Makes a Difference to the Sheep for linking to PoliBlog’s Toast-O-Meter.

    I would take semi-issue with the following:

    I would generally agree with this analysis with the caveat that anyone who assumes they can accurately handicap the big race in November needs to get a crash course in the dangers of assuming anything. If Bush the elder could lose the election when he had 90+ percentage approval ratings in January, Bush the younger certainly shouldn’t feel secure with his 51% in January.

    Nobody said I was betting the mortgage on my predictions, but I wouldn’t say my prognostications are based on assumption, but on analyzing the varying situations of the candidates. Plus, I really haven’t gotten into toasting the general election, but I do think that given a variety of circumstances, Bush is looking good for re-election.

    In regards to Bush I v. Bush II: Poppy’s approval rating in January of 1992 was 46% the high 80s were in early 1991. Bush the Elder did have a 50% rating in December, but the trend going into the election was downward, unlike Bush the Younger. Plus, the economy was in a downward trend as well. Hence, the Elder and the Younger entered their re-election bids in rather significantly different circumstances. I could site other examples, but I will leave it at that.

    And for those who want to know: I have no idea why it would matter to the sheep, and figure it is best not to dwell on it.

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    Prager Column

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:55 am

    Dennis Prager has an amusing column that is worth a read.

    A tease:

    “For three hours in this latest installment of ‘Lord of the Rings,’ young people the world over watch my work in the United States and your work here in Europe - to get nations to disarm, not to make moral judgments about any nation other than America or Israel - undone.

    Filed under: Global Politics | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Harkin Ponders Where to Place Imprimatur

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:34 am

    Once he decides, it could be a big deal for the outcome of the caucuses, given his popularity in the state: Harkin yet to make endorsement choice.

    My guess is that he’ll endorse Dean, especially given the Gore and Bradley endorsements, and the Des Moines Register reports:

    Sources close to Harkin said last week he had been weighing an endorsement of Dean, the former governor of Vermont, whom Harkin has credited with energizing Democrats and running an aggressive campaign.

    There is also the cynical possibility that Harkin will decide based on how he interprets the polling. Better to endorse the presumptive winner and appear to be a king-maker than to endorse a loser and look impotent in one’s own state.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    It’s Official: Dean Gets Bradley Endorsement

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:28 am

    Bill Bradley Endorses Howard Dean in N.H.

    “My answer is, Howard Dean,” Bradley said. “The Dean campaign is one of the best things to happen to American democracy in decades.”

    Although, why Dean is specifically and especially good for American democracy versus all the other candidates escapes me.

    Filed under: Academia | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    “And I’m the Real Winner Because…”

    By Steven Taylor @ 7:20 am

    Writes the NYT today: In Democratic Pack, the Race Is on for No. 3 and Maybe No. 4

    But for Mr. Edwards and Mr. Kerry, winning is not everything. Second or third will do.

    Certainly there is truth to this assertion, and no doubt, beating expectations is always a big deal in these early contests. Still, it is pretty amusing how the candidates will spin their finishes once the results are in. One of the best parts of the night after the NH primary is to listen to mid-to-bottom tier candidates explain how their 9% was really a win.

    I remember with fondness, and use as an example of “spin” in class lectures on occassion, Lamar Alexander (once known as Lamar! now known as Senator Alexander) explaining to Larry King in 1996 how his third place finish (A respectable 22.56%) made him the winner. The spin: because even though Pat Buchanan won, everyone knew he couldn’t win the nomination, so cross him off, and Dole, the alleged frontrunner, by losing to Buchanan by a percentage point demonstrated his weakness, so cross him off. Therefore, Lamar! was the winner (or so the story went…).

    This year it will be even more amusing, given that the third place finishers could be in the low double-digits (even high single digits) with Dean getting a pretty high total. Still, look for the spin to be “I count tonight a win, because…”

    Indeed, if Dean wins, but not by as much as some of the polls show, and Kerry comes in second, even a distant second, but higher than the polls show, he will declare a victory. And if Edwards or Gepardt come in third, especially if it is close to the second place winner, they’ll say the same thing.

    Should be fun.

    Update: This post is my entry in today’s BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM.

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    Intriguing: India and Pakistan Agree to Talks

    By Steven Taylor @ 6:54 am

    India, Pakistan to Begin Peace Dialogue

    India and Pakistan took a giant leap to put more than a half-century of bloodshed behind them, agreeing Tuesday to start talks next month on core disputes of nationalism and religion that have taken the nuclear-armed nations into three wars.

    […]

    The surprise agreement followed two days of meetings between Indian and Pakistani leaders under the cover of a major South Asian regional summit that provided the impetus for Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s visit to the Pakistani capital.

    Filed under: Global Politics | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Monday, January 5, 2004
    Trouble Brewing Down South

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:24 pm

    Robert Novak has an interesting column on Bolivia’s drug crisis:

    A recent classified National Intelligence summary reported there is not any scenario under current conditions that will continue aggressive eradication in Bolivia of coca, the crop used to produce cocaine. That threatens the unraveling of the long-standing U.S. anti-drug program based in Colombia.

    The problem with the program, begun by the Clinton administration and continued under President Bush, is focusing South America entirely on counter-drug objectives rather than counter-insurgency concerns. The result in Bolivia has been deepening political turmoil after pro-coca forces helped oust a pro-American president. Although Bush policymakers look the other way, Latin America specialists in the government fear all progress made in Colombia will be undermined by narcotics operations based in Bolivia.

    Indeed, it is highly likely that substantial coca cultivation will resume in Bolivia, illustrating the “Balloon Effect” in coca eradication. In other words, like it is possible to squeeze the air out of one part of a balloon, only to have another part of the balloon bulge out, when coca is eradicated in one area, it shifts to another. For example, it is no coincidence that when coca cultivation was radically curtailed in Peru and Bolivia in the mid-90s, that there was a radical shift to coca cultivation in Colombia. Colombia wasn’t always the chief producers of coca leaf until the late 1990s (it had always been the business nexus for the product, but not always the production hub). However, as cultivation was squeezed out of its Andean neighbors, it flowed into largely uncontrolled areas of Colombia:

    Novak’s conention that guerrillas in Colombia could shift activities into Bolivia is a real possibility, given that their main source of funding is cocaine trafficking.

    Another disturbing issue that Novak raises is talk by the Bolivians about reclaiming old territory from Chile and Peru, so as to obtain ocean access. Public statements by Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Fidel Castro in support of those sentiments is troubling. I wouldn’t expect any serious conflict to arise from this issue, but it is potentially inflammatory talk in any event.

    It is unfortunate that 911 took the Bush administration’s attention off of Latin America, where it seem to be focused (indeed, Powell was touring the region and had to cut short his trip as a result of the attacks).

    Of course, from a wholly self-interested POV, this is all useful, given that I am going to be teaching a course on Inter-American Relations and a seminar on Drug Policy this semester.

    Filed under: War on Drugs | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • Arguing with signposts… linked with Juan Valdez he ain't, but ...
    Today’s List: Top 5 Technical Things I Wish All Blogs Did

    By Steven Taylor @ 4:39 pm

    File Today’s List under “The Blogosphere":

    Top 5 Technical Things I Wish All Blogs Did

    5. I wish every blog used sitemeter and left the stats public (cuz I am a curious sort).

    4. I wish that all blogs were listed in the TTLB.

    3. I wish every blog used MT-style Trackback pings (and if you don’t use MT, you still can trackback with the best of ‘em).

    2. I wish everyone pinged blogrolling (and other “updated” lists) when they updated their blogs.

    1. I wish everyone had permalinks for each post (are you listening Kaus and Sully?-actually, just Kaus, Sully now has permalinks. I mean, gee whiz, if hobbiest can do it, surely the Big Boys can).

    If you want to play along in the comments section, feel free-or if you have your own blog, post your own list and link back to this post to get a trackback link posted here on PoliBlog.

    (the sitemeter and TTLB wishes probably result from my comparative background and my desire for uniform metrics for use in comparisons! ;)

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    • Simon World linked with Everything you wanted to know about blogging but were afraid to ask
    Please Insert Word “Some” in the Following Headline

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:58 pm

    Study: Professors Favor Donating to Dean

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(5) | Trackbacks (0)
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    But I Thought that the Bush Foreign Policy was a “Miserable Failure"?

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:57 pm

    Syria Says Wants Dialogue, Better Ties with U.S.

    Filed under: Middle East | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • Insults Unpunished linked with Miserable Failure?
    Linking and DNC Blog Race Update

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:21 pm

    My thanks to the following for linking to PoliBlog:

  • the evangelical outpost
  • WilliamHennessy.com > Hennessy’s View
  • The Friendly Ghost
  • robwestcott
  • small dead animalsThe Window Manager

    Each has been added to the reciprocal link list. (If I have missed anyone, please drop me an e-mail.)

    Also, thanks to all who helped in putting some now serious distance between me and the DNC’s blog in the TTLB:

    126.PoliBlog (225) details ** WMDI **

    152.Kicking Ass (206) details

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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM
    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with Blogroll Update
    In Case you Hadn’t Noticed

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:55 pm

    Bill Hobbs has moved to his own domain: HobbsOnline.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Top FARC Commander Captured

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:30 pm

    Top Colombia rebel leader seized:

    Officials said Ricardo Palmera, better known as Simon Trinidad, was arrested at a clinic in Ecuador, in a joint operation with Colombia and the US.

    Mr Palmera, the most senior FARC member to be captured, played a key role in failed talks with the Colombian Government in 2002.

    Filed under: Latin America | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Dean Makes its a Sweep

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:18 am

    Dean has now been endorsed by both of the Democrats who ran for the 2000 Democratic nomination: Dean to Pick Up Endorsement of Ex-Sen. Bradley

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • Insults Unpunished linked with Al Sharpton As Spoiler
    And I was so Hoping it was True Love

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:38 am

    Britney Arranges Annulment Hours After Wedding

    Filed under: Pop Culture | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    It’s Unofficially Official: Martinez to Run for Florida Senate Seat

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:36 am

    Ex-HUD Chief Filing for Fla. Senate SeatFormer Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez plans to file papers Monday to allow him to begin raising money for a likely U.S. Senate run, sources close to the campaign told The Associated Press.

    Campaign officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Orlando Republican will file papers with the Federal Election Commission in Washington for a campaign to succeed retiring Democratic Sen. Bob Graham.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Fingerprinting

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:02 am

    U.S. Begins Fingerprinting Foreign Visitors.

    No doubt many in the US will share the view of this Brazillian judge:

    “I consider the act absolutely brutal, threatening human rights, violating human dignity, xenophobic and worthy of the worst horrors committed by the Nazis,” said Federal Judge Julier Sebastiao da Silva in a court order to authorize the program in Brazil.

    However, I ask: what’s the big deal? When I lived in Colombia (and yes, I know that was an extended stay, not a brief one), I had to go to the headquarters of the Administrative Police and provide fingerprints (heck, at least one library, not to mention the bank, required prints before I could get access). And it was a whole less convient that using a computer at the airport at entry.

    And when I filed for my student visa I had to have an FBI background check, amongst a whole host of other bureaucratic nonsense (including getting certificates of authenticity from the State of Texas to back up all the notaries used, i.e., I had to notarized the notaries who had notarized my documents). And while I may have griped about it (not to mention the cost, by the time it was all said and done, and the docs translated into Spanish, it cost over $200.00 to do all the paperwork for myself anf my wife-indeed, it may have been $200 per, I can’t recall-it has been, amazingly, almost ten years since I did all that stuff), I did it.

    Why did I do it? Because those were the rules of Colombia, and figured that they had the right to make their own rules.

    I never felt violated, or that my rights (of which I had none, not being a Colombian citizen) were being violated. Rather, since I wanted to go to Colombia, I did what the Colombian government wanted me to do. I could have easily avoided these onerous requirements by staying home.

    Filed under: War on Terror | Comments(7) | Trackbacks (1)
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    • Arguing with signposts… linked with Juan Valdez he ain't, but ...
    Progress in Afghanistan

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:47 am

    There are no guarantess of success, but this is still remakable and great news: Afghan Council Gives Approval to Constitution. Some basics:

    For the first time, Afghans have set up a democratic presidential system, with a directly elected president and a two-chamber national assembly; elections are to be held in just six months. An independent judiciary is also being organized.

    In a carefully balanced wording, the country will be renamed the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, combining democracy and religion. There is to be a system of civil law, but no law will be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of Islam.

    And a far cry from being forced to wear hea-to-toe clothing and being denied the right to education (amongst other, even more onerous, evils):In addition, women were given recognition as equal citizens, and 25 percent of the seats of the lower house of Parliament were set aside for them.

    Of course, not everyone is happy:

    The Pashtuns held an emotional meeting Sunday morning as leaders urged the rank and file to accede to the convention’s decision not to designate Pashto as the sole national language.

    It had that status in past constitutions, providing a source of pride for the Pashtuns, the traditional rulers of Afghanistan.

    “We have all been forced to accept it,” Hamidullah Tarzi, a delegate from the southern city of Kandahar, said after the meeting. “It’s as if we have taken poison, but for the unity of our country we accept it.”

    Quite a result after all the hand-wringing over “the British couldn’t do it” and then “the Soviets couldn’t do it"-with “it” being militarily taking over Afghanistan and ousting a regime.

    And while I am well-aware that the Taliban still exist, and are causing trouble, the successes in Afghanistan demonstrate that the frantic notion that the Taliban have fully reasserted itself (as many commentators will state), is simply not the case. They are out of power, and Afghanistan is a better place. It is imperfect, to be sure, but clearly better.

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    • Insults Unpunished linked with Around The Blogosphere
    • CALIFORNIA YANKEE linked with Afghan Pax Democratica
    Is Part of Dean’s Problem his “Bedside Manner"?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:27 am

    Marjorie Williams raises an interesting point concering Howard Dean in her WaPo column from the 31st:

    The man is a doctor. This is the least-examined chapter of his career. But suddenly it all makes sense: Where else but in medicine do you find men and women who never admit a mistake? Who talk more than they listen, and feel entitled to withhold crucial information? Whose lack of tact in matters of life and death might disqualify them for any other field?

    Sully echoes the sentiment:

    Many doctors are not used to dealing with equals; they dictate to patients; they know everything; they can impose their will on other people’s bodies with astonishing ruthlessness; they get prickly when challenged; and they tend to believe that every problem can be solved with the help of their peerless intellect. I’m extremely leery of doctors in politics - right or left, they always veer toward the intolerant, dictatorial and secretive. They belong to one of the least democratic professions imaginable and think they can transit effortlessly to the most.

    Now, I think this point can be overstated, but it is an interesting, and I think accurate, on balance, observation. If anything, highly educated people don’t like to be told that they are wrong regardles, and often only feel as if the only people who even have the right to challenge them are similarly educated persons. Doctors clearly top this list, insofar as what they do all day is deal with pathetic sniffling people in pain who have come to them for The Answer to ther ailments. It has to inflate an already inflated ego.

    Now, I do thnk that it is possible to be a Doctor and not be this way, and it is possible for a doctor to have a democratic personality.

    Hat tip: Hennessy’s View.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(3) | Trackbacks(2)
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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with DEAN'S BEDSIDE MANNER
    • The American Mind linked with Duck Hunt #3
    Sunday, January 4, 2004
    Upgraded!

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:53 pm

    I have upgraded to MT 2.65, seemingly sans pain. No radical changes, but there are a few new, and potentially useful, features.

    Plus, as a computer geek, it is in incumbent upon me to upgrade stuff whenever possible! I am pretty sure it is in the Geek’s Creed.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    The Job Candidate?

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:49 pm

    In the comment section of this post below, James of OTB may have hit on why Dean was rather keen on talking about the Old Testament book of Job:

    And he’s likely confused on the Job thing, since it’s spelled a lot like “job” and he knows Bush has ordered that a lot of people lose their jobs, just like Coolidge did during the Depression.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Things I Said Today

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:25 pm

    (Yes, I know this is John Lemon’s schtick, but he reitred, so I figure it’s fair game).

    “The window is to look through, not go through.”

    Filed under: Kids | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Race Update

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:25 pm

    I continue to lead the DNC’s blog in the TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem, but I did slip a big over yesterday’s tallies.

    140.PoliBlog (212) details ** WMDI **

    146.Kicking Ass (206) details

    The weird thing is, I know I increased my overall linkage yesterday, so either there were a lot of vaporlink that were taken off main pages yesterday or some links aren’t getting counted. I need to double check that all the newly linked blogs are in the TTLB.

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments(3) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Dean and Religion

    By Steven Taylor @ 3:16 pm

    First, this is a fairly clever headline: The Vermont Governor: Dean Narrowing His Separation of Church and Stump.

    Second, without even broaching the subject of what and how deeply Dean believes in whatever he believes for the moment, the following is hardly going to help him with evangelical voters in the South:

  • On Friday in New Hampshire, he invoked a Muslim phrase, “inshallah,” God willing, to make a point about Americans believing they control their destiny.
  • He named Job as his favorite New Testament book, then later corrected himself, noting that it is in the Old Testament. ed.-a likely honest mistake, but one that skeptics will pounce on].

    Indeed, for some reason, there was a great deal of discussion of Job in the article, and the potential that the ending in the accepted versions of the Bible might not be the correct one. Now, again without getting into any arguments about who is right and who is wrong, in the evangelical south a suggestion that part of the Bible might be wrong isn’t going to win Dean brownie points.

  • Asked again about his favorite part of the New Testament, Dr. Dean said, “Anything in the Gospels.”

    And while this may be true and utterly sincere:

    “I’m still learning a lot about faith and the South and how important it is,” Dr. Dean, the former governor of Vermont, said as he flew here, 150 miles northwest of Des Moines, Friday night on his chartered jet, predicting he would mention God more and more in the coming weeks. “It doesn’t make me more religious or less religious than I was before, but it means that I’m willing to talk about it in different ways.”

    this all comes across as campaign strategy, rather than than a sincere, heartfelt topic of conversation. Especially when he stated before that the race shouldn’t be predicated on “guns, God and gays” and now all of a sudden he is talking about religion, and keeps specifically noting how he has to talk about it in the South, as though it isn’t some integral part of him that must be expressed, but rather something he has to do to connect to “those people” (and I think a goodly number of southern voters will see it that way, especially int he general election).

    The entire attempt by Dean to infuse religion into his campaign has come across to me as clumsy and artificial. Again, I am commenting on the political/campaign aspect of this, and am not, at this time, attempting to evaluate Dean’s beliefs.

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    • Confessions Of A Political Junkie linked with More Dean And Religion
    • Go Dubya! linked with More on Dean & Religion
    The Surprises Keep on Coming

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:15 am

    Blair Rallies Troops During Surprise Visit to Iraq

    Filed under: Iraq | Comments(2) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Saturday, January 3, 2004
    Donkey Race Status

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:09 pm

    I appear to be breaking away from “Kickin’ Ass” in The Blogosphere Ecosystem:

    137.PoliBlog (216) details ** WMDI **

    147.Kicking Ass (206) details

    Thanks for the linkage, and feel free to keep it coming!

    And a special thanks to the most recent blog to ‘roll me: Drink this…, who, of course, has been given the appropriate linkage on the bottom left.

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    New NH Numbers

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:51 pm

    The Hedgehog Report has recent numbers from NH, and Kerry is sinking vis-a-vis Clark.

    If Kerry comes in third in NH, he is toast indeed, and if Clark pulls out a 2nd place finish, he will move to the Supermarket Shelf without any problem whatsoever.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • Go Dubya! linked with Kerry continues to sink
    Thanks for the Linkage

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:41 am

    Thanks to:

  • Captain’s Quarters
  • Confessions Of A Political Junkie
  • Mark A. Kilmer’s Political Annotation
  • think about it…

    for linking to PoliBlog. They have been added to “Look Who’s Linking to PoliBlog” down on the left.

    If you have linked to this blog, but do not have a recipri-link, please let me know. Further, if one simply wants a recipri-link, just permalink to PoliBlog, and you’ll get one.

  • Filed under: Blogging | Comments (1) | Trackbacks (0)
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    Blogging v. Journalism

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:24 am

    Bryan of Arguing with Signposts, has a good post on the ongoing journalism v. blogging disucssion that we bloggers like to engage in.

    I would toss in the following:

    Often the denizens of the Blogosphere think a bit too highly of themselves. Firstly, we mostly provide opinion and analysis, not unique and new reportage. Second, just because there are a lot of something (in this case, a lot of bloggers), doesn’t mean that that something has more knowledge, wisdom or smarts; it just means that there is a lot of something. Third, passion (which bloggers have in spades) can be a good thing, but it doesn’t mean that the result of passion-based writing is emipirically correct.

    Yes, there are bloggers who do substantial research (I try to do so when warranted, although no doubt I could do more), and there are bloggers who are true experts in their fields or who actually report new facts. However, on balance, the Blogosphere is better compared to pundits and commentators in print and on TV than to reporters.

    This is not to say that there aren’t legitimate criticisms to be leveled at the mainstream press; there are. And it is true that the blogosphere is quite good at pointing out errors, and it can be a true service. However, simply noting errors is one of the easiest forms of criticism, and not exactly Moses coming down from the mountain with The Truth in tow.

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    Clark’s Cash

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:36 am

    PoliPundit isn’t all that impressed with Clark’s 4Q fundraising.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    The Lone Party State?

    By Steven Taylor @ 10:35 am

    Wild: No Democrats have filed yet for state elections in 2004.

    Now, I am sure that there will be candidates, but still, pretty amazing. And, quite frankly, this sort of thing can be disheartening:

    the Texas Republican Party…has not lost a statewide race since 1994…

    Indeed, I was living there during the transition from Democratic dominance at the state level, to Republican dominance, and it was a pretty dramatic shift. And while one can legitimately criticize the method by which the State Legislature went about the recent redistricting, there is a point to made that something is amiss with the previous districting plan if state that is so clearly Republican in character sends a congressional delegation to Washington that is majority Democrat.

    And this type of bravado always amuses me:

    State Democratic Chairman Charles Soechting said the party is concentrating its efforts on fielding candidates for the Texas House, saying voters are primed to punish Republican lawmakers for issues such as congressional redistricting and deep cuts in social service spending.

    “The backlash has begun,” Soechting said in a news release. “A full year of the over-the-top Republican partisanship has sparked a movement to restore common sense and mainstream values to the Texas Legislature.”

    So, the response is to not recruit candidates for statewide office? Quite the strategy, I must say.

    Hat tip: PoliPundit.

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Kucinich: Rapidly Cornerning the Singer Vote

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:59 am

    First Willie, now Raitt, Hinojosa Singing for Kucinich

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks(2)
    • Confessions Of A Political Junkie linked with Marvin The Martian Gets More Endorsements
    • Arguing with signposts… linked with Jim, I'm a singer, not a politician
    Not Surprising

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:54 am

    A Fifth of U.S. Voters Still Undecided

    Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Friday, January 2, 2004
    Texas Representative Will Switch to GOP

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:22 pm

    Interesting: Texas Rep. Hall to Switch to Republicans

    Texas Rep. Ralph Hall, a conservative Democrat, intends to switch parties, GOP officials said Friday night.

    “I wouldn’t be uncomfortable in the Republican party,” Hall said minutes before Ted Boyer, a Republican Party spokesman in Austin, said the veteran lawmaker was switching parties.

    Republican sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Hall had privately relayed word of his intentions earlier in the day.

    Hall, 80, was first elected to the House in 1980.

    His reported decision marked the latest fallout from a Republican-led attempt to redraw the Texas congressional district lines to their liking. GOP strategists estimate they can gain five or more seats through their efforts, which Democrats have challenged in court. The Justice Department has cleared the plan, saying it does not run afoul of civil rights laws.

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    Thanks

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:08 pm

    Thanks to:

  • Jay Reding.com
  • Haight Speech

    for the linkage. They have been added to the recipri-list.

  • Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Progress! But There is Still Room to Grow

    By Steven Taylor @ 2:11 pm

    OK, I am doing slightly better than the DNC’s blog in the TTLB today than yesterday, but only slighty.

    141.PoliBlog (206) details ** WMDI **
    142.Kicking Ass (206) details

    So, feel free to link away ;)

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    The Toast-O-Meter (First Issue of 2004!)

    By Steven Taylor @ 1:35 pm

    Happy New Year!

    It’s the first plate of Toast of the actual Campaign Year

    The Toast-o-meter: A Weekly News Round-Up and Handicapping of the Race for the Democratic Nomination.

    -Toast: It’s not Just for Breakfast Anymore!-

    New! Improved! Now featuring the Vice-Loaf!

    The Toast-O-Meter comes to you Fortified with linkage and Enhanced with bloggage!

    The scale:

  • Wonder Bread (The nomination is in reach)
  • Just Plain Ol White Bread (Still in the race; has a shot)
  • Toast (Pretty much donea little scraping might make you look like bread, but you’re done)
  • Burnt Toast (Really, really done)
  • Burnt all the Way Through (Why are you still in the race?)
  • Crumbs in the Bottom of the Toaster (Why did you ever get in the race in the first place?)

    Potential Movements each Week:

  • Dough is on the Rise
  • Heats Off This Week
  • The heat is on.
  • Got Scraped a Bit
  • Getting Darker

    The Whole Loaf: Can any of the Nine make Bush into Texas Toast?

    (Bush is piping hot and fresh from the oven, the Loaf is stale).

    Bush starts the New Year in a strong position as Campaign 2004 finally actually officialy starts. Only 16 days until Iowa!

  • Kudlow and Kucewicz argue that we are experiencing “Another Re-Election Economy.” They’ve got stats and everything.
  • Bill Hobbs rightly notes that one line of attack by the Dems against Bush will be the chrage that he was AWOL during part of his Air National Guard tenure. Bill has the multi-link rebuttal.
  • If Dean can’t handle the heat from the Other Eight without complaining to the DNC Chair, then how is he going to deal with Bush?
  • The Houston Chronicle’s Cragg Hines (no fan of Bush-read the piece), declares: Election 2004: The race is Bush’s to lose.

    Slicing up the loaf:

    FRESH BAKED

    Dean: Wonder Bread fortified with vitamins With Yummy Vermont Syrup on top (Dough on the Rise, but feeling heat on at least one side, but from Bush, not the Other Eight)

    The criticisms and attacks have started to ramp up, and Dean himself has certainly provided his opponents plenty of ammo. However, his trajectory continues its upward path.

  • Dean started the weekwhining about intraparty attacks, and said that DNC Chair Terry McAuliffe should do something about it. Joe Lieberman rightly noted that “I’ve got some news for Howard Dean. 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.” (Scott Ott puts the ScrappleFace spin to the story)
  • It’s good to know that the Good Doctor isn’t letting his status go to his head: Dean: Dems doomed if he loses nomination
  • Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo takes issue with Dean’s playing of the defection card during the aforementioned whiny rant. Writes Marshall:
    I don’t care if Dean says he’ll endorse whoever wins. He’s playing the defection card. And that crosses the line.I don’t doubt that it would be hard to reconcile some Dean supporters to another Democratic nominee. But that’s not the point. By saying it, he’s leveraging it, and encouraging it.

    The price of admission to the Democratic primary race is a pledge of committed support to whomever wins the nomination, period. (The sense of entitlement to other Democrats’ support comes after you win the nomination, not before.) If Dean can’t sign on that dotted-line, he has no business asking for the party’s nomination.

  • Impressive. USAT reports:
    Dean, the Democratic front-runner, will have raised more than $14 million in the final three months, pushing his yearly total to almost $40 million. Campaign manager Joe Trippi called on donors to push the quarterly total to the $14.8 million the campaign raised from July through September.

  • The NYT profiles Dean’s upbringing this week: Challenging Bush: From Patrician Roots, Dean Set Path of Prickly Independence.
  • Dave Wissing notes that after a minor slide, that Dean continues to ride high in the NH polls.
  • George Will’s Sunday column continues the discussion of what Dean might do if he wasn’t nominated. It is, I suspect, a moot point, however.
  • Robert Tagorda takes Dean to task on the secrecy issue. (USAT has the 411 on Dean’s own secret energy task force).
  • An editorial in the WSJ dubs the Good Doctor Backsliding Dean, noting his propensity to have to correct past statements.
  • Steve Banbridge brings us Dean’s Take on Mad Cow.
  • Cal Thomas comments on Dean’s recent talk about religion.
  • Representative John Conyers (D-MI), endorses the Good Doctor whilst Dean was visiting Detroit this week. Conyers is a key players in the Congressional Black Caucus.
  • The LAT chronicles some of Dean’s straight talkin’ and some responses thereto. (Hat tip: Steve Bainbridge).
  • Meanwhile Bob Novak recounts some of Dean’s holiday gaffes. (Note: no undercover agents were harmed in the production of this column).
  • And Slate’s Willian Saletan states: Howard Dean needs to grow up.
  • Scott Lehigh, of the Boston Globe argues that Dean errs in battling the New Democrats, and David Johnson argues in the AJC that Dean will make GOP the majority party.

    THE SUPERMARKET SHELF

    Gephardt: Slighty Toasted White Bread (feeling the heat, especially in Iowa).

    For the guy who might challenge Dean, he has been rather invisible of late. One is aware that he is out there, but he hasn’t done much to generate sustained attention. Indeed, much of the recent Gephardt-related stories in the news have been wire service stories replicated over and over (like his criticism of the terror alerts, or his calls for new disability rules), with a dearth of meaty, unique sories.

  • Gephardt turning his attention to Granite State.
  • As usual, at least one candidate thinks that the President is the School Superintendent-in-Chief: Gephardt Seeks Special Ed Spending Boost.
  • Unlike Kerry, Gephardt is looks beyond the Iowa/NH line in the sand: Gephardt airs 2 ads in Michigan.

    THE DAY-OLD BAKERY

    Clark: Toast (got scraped a little, but still doesn’t have much of a chance)

    Clark is doing better than the crumb pile, and while one is tempted to move him to the supermarket shelf, he really hasn’t done much, except in terms of fund-raising, to warrant it. The only thing that would give him an enhanced position would be at least a 20% showing in NH, and at least a strong second in SC. Right now, SC and OK are the only places which look like he even has a shot at winning, or having a strong second, and I think those numbers will drop if he gets skunked in NH.

  • Clark ran ads this week in the NH that featured images of Bill Clinton-making him the first Democratic candidate to do so.
  • Like Dean, Clark had a good quarter, mony-wise. USAT provides the details:
    Clark, the retired Army general who entered the race in September, will have raised between $10 million and $12 million in the fourth quarter, for a total of almost $15 million since becoming a candidate.

  • The money-related news was good all ’round for Clark: Clark Tops Federal Matching Funds List.
  • The Chicago Tribune had a profile of Clark this week, which isn’t sugar-coated. A taste:
    Clark is running on the hero myth, that of the vaunted warrior-statesman. He commanded NATO’s troops to victory against Slobodan Milosevic in Kosovo four years after helping to negotiate the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords on Bosnia. His is the pose of a latter-day Eisenhower.

    But the myth has some cracks. Few Americans remember or ever understood the Kosovo conflict. There were no ticker-tape parades for the returning conquering general.

    What’s more, there is a tension and ambiguity to Clark’s life story, a prickly side in tandem with his promise. And, much chipping away at Clark’s myth has come from an unexpected quarter: the ranks of his former colleagues at the Pentagon. To some of them, Clark has an outsize ego and is an inveterate, self-absorbed climber.

    Lieberman: Burnt Toast (he got scraped a bit, however)

    Joe has been getting (it seems to my highly unscientific observations) to be getting more face-time/sound-bite time on TV than many of the candidates. I think that it is because he is the most vocal critic of Dean’s on the Saddam issue and the DLC issue. SO, really, whatever time he is getting on the cable news nets is actually because of Dean, not because of his own bad self.

  • Aside from attacking Dean, I am not sure that Joe has done all the much this week.
  • No shock here: Lieberman Attacks Dean on Foreign Policy. It is his most reasonable line of attack. Of course, it will do him no good with the Democratic primary electorate.
  • WaPo has its own version of the Lieberman Makes N.H. Home for Now story that I noted here in the Toast-O-Meter last week.

    THE CRUMB PILE

    Kerry: Crumbling Burned French Toast (firmly on the crumb pile)

    Smells like middle-age desperation (with apologies to James of OTB).

  • After a brief surge in the polls in NH, he seems to not have made up much ground versus Dean. He still looks to be a big loser in both Iowa and NH, and therefore not long for the campaign.
  • Kerry Paints Stark Contrast Between Dean And Himself, or so says the New York Times. And to which, I ask: What? The stark contrast between a guy who was assumed to be the front runner, but is losing miserably versus being the unknown candidate who is now nigh onto unstoppable? Quite the contrast for sure.
  • Kerry promised this week to apply clean air laws to farms to fight asthma. The culprit? Tons of manure. John Kerry, the Anti-Manure Candidate.

    Edwards: Crumbs at the Bottom of the Toaster (invisible Bread, but with Great Hair)

  • Reports Reuters: Edwards Says Not Interested in Vice Presidency. Somehow, don’t think he has to worry about it.
  • Edwards did get the endorsement of Hootie and the Blowfish. That’s gotta be worth something, right?
  • Since the flu panic is over for the moment, Edwards can’t talk about that any more, so Edwards Calls for New Livestock Testing. I think I see a pattern here: Edwards watches the 24/7 cable news channels and bases his weekly proposals on whatever they are talking about. Look soon for “Edwards Calls for Stricter Controls on Odd-Looking Pop Stars” and “Edwards Call for Celibacy for NBA Players; “Just Say No!” Says the NC Senator". I can’t wait.

    Kucinich: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (pineapple upsidedown toast)

  • The CSM had a lengthy write-up on Kucinich this week, entitled Kucinich: fervently unconventional, proving (I think) that yes, he does exist and he is still running.
  • And this oughta be good: Willie Nelson Pens Anti-War Ballad:
    Willie Nelson plans to debut an anti-war ballad he wrote Christmas Day at a fund-raising concert Saturday for Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich at Austin Music Hall.

    Sharpton: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (Macadamia Nut Bread)

  • ABC News asks: Who Is Al Sharpton? Well, given that they yanked their reporters from his campaign a few weeks back, no wonder they don’t know.

    Braun: Crumbs at the bottom of the toaster (not even worth a clever bread type)

  • She’s back to no longer being the first “Braun” on a Google News Search. Indeed, she’s third today, and the first story on her is in Pravda, which strikes me as amusing for some reason.

    The Vice-Loaf

    At the suggestion of Steve Bainbridge, and a similar one a few weeks ago by Chris Lawrence“>Chris Lawrence.

    I have thought for some time that Dean would obtain a nominee from outside the Other Eight, although Clark seemed like the most likely of those, but not anymore. Here’s a run-down of the Other Eight plus some Not in the Loaf.

    This feature will expand as we more along the path towards the convention:

    At this point, I am assuming Dean to be the nominee.

    The Other Eight

    Clark: Early on, Clark seemed like the one of the Other Eight most likely to be asked to be the veep, given the whole General thing. On the other hand, it would have been the all-Rookie team (in terms of national politics for Dean, and all politics for Clark), so perhaps not the wisest ticket. Still, after all the “he asked me"/"no I didn’t” flap, I have a hard time seeing Dean asking Clark. Plus, Clark is something of a loose cannon, and Dean is enough of one of those by himself.

    Gephardt: A possibility as well-he does bring a Washington “insider” to the ticket, and mid-west ties. And his attacks on Dean have not be unforgivable. Still, I don’t see it at this point.

    Kerry: Not only do they seem to loathe one another, I don’t see hiim bringing anything to the ticket.

    John Edwards: Senator, I remember Dan Quayle. I watched Dan Quayle, I have poked at Dan Quayle. Senator, you are the Democrats Dan Quayle, and southerner or not, the nominee would be nuts to pick you.

    Lieberman: Too pro-war, too moderate, plus he is also from a small New England state. Not to mention that Joe’s been there, done that, and I suspect would as soon not do it again.

    Sharpton, Braun, Kucinich: Yeah, right.

    Not in the Loaf

    Bill Richardson: The upsides: He is rising star in the party, and has had a successful run as Governor of New Mexico, plus he has an impressive resume. The downsides: the whole nuclear secrets flap from when he was Secretary of Energy could re-emerge, but mainly (for Dean) he is a Clintonista/DLC type. Of course, picking someone like Richardson could help brigde that gap.

    Diane Fienstein: And interesting possibility, and one that would help solidify California. I have no idea if she is interested, however.

    Hillary or Al: don’t bet on it.

    Bob Graham: He would be Admiral Stockdale all over again, except with notepads instead of hearing aids.

    More to Come…


    Where Will They Be in January 2005?

    Here’s my assessment, as of this week of where all the relevant players will be next year at this time.

    George Bush: preparing for his second innaguration.

    Howard Dean: figuring where to build a new bike path in Vermont.

    Dick Gephardt, Joe Lierbman, John Kerry and Dennis Kucinich: Back in congress.

    John Edwards: Back to private practice. Or doing shampoo commercials.

    Wes Clark, Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley Braun: On the speaking circuit, making a nice living, and having a far less stressful life.

  • Filed under: 2004 Campaign | Comments(14) | Trackbacks(13)
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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with TOAST-O-METER
    • Go Dubya! linked with PoliBlog pulls out the Toast-O-Meter
    • Insults Unpunished linked with Weekly Assessment Of The Nine Dwarves
    • Signifying Nothing linked with DwarfWeek
    • Captain’s Quarters linked with PoliBlog's Toast-O-Meter
    • PunditFilter linked with Carnival of Toast
    • PunditFilter linked with Carnival of Toast
    • Daily Pundit linked with Con-spiracy Theory
    • Daily Pundit linked with Con-spiracy Theory
    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with Belated Toast Post
    • American RealPolitik linked with Carnival of the Vanities #68
    • King of Fools linked with Need to Warm Up?
    • The American Mind linked with Duck Hunt #1
    I Sense Another Long Post Coming…

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:47 pm

    …although this one will be brief, as I still have some finishing touches to put on this week’s Toast-O-Meter.

    Clearly, I need to clarify my position on the differences/similarities of the Reps and Dems, an issued raised here yesterday. Some comments, and and a wothwhile post by Steve Bainbridge, both inspire the need for further elucidation on this topic.

    My basic point was that the Reps and Dems (and the Red State/Blue State dichotomy, and so forth) do not illustrate a direly divided “50-50 nation” that some pundits like to discuss.

    Now, I am decidedly not one of those “there ain’t a dime’s worth of difference” types, and I reject the whole “Demiplubicans/Repulocrats” nonensense that many engage in. I do think that there are important differences between the two parties, and I think it does matter who is in charge. However, one has to admit that save in a few specific areas of policy, that life under Republicans administrations and Democratic adminstrations really aren’t all that radically different.

    Rather, I am simply saying that if you want to see true, and extreme, ideological differences, go look in Western Europe, and then compare those parties to the Democrats and Republicans, and you will have a better idea of where I am coming from.

    More later, I suspect…

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    Thursday, January 1, 2004
    The Growth Continues

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:24 pm

    My thanks to all of the readers of PoliBlog, who made the last month of 2003 my most successful by far, topping 18,000 hits for the month, and improving my monthly total from November by 7000 visits (and Nov was my previous record month).

    Here’s to more growth in ‘04!

    The graph of my traffic, as captured this morning, is in the extended entry.
    (more…)

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    • OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY linked with BELTWAY TRAFFIC JAM
    The Good Ol’ Days

    By Steven Taylor @ 5:45 pm

    In the old days: washed up celebrities faded into obscurity, never to be heard from again.

    Today: they end up on Celebrity Mole.

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    Will on Bush, and Other Things

    By Steven Taylor @ 12:25 pm

    Writes George Will:

    If this year the Democratic Party marginalizes itself, it will give Bush a chance to broaden his presidency. Before 9/11, he had a minimalist presidency, symbolized by what he was doing when the planes struck the World Trade Center - reading to some Florida grade school pupils. He had pleased his core supporters and fulfilled a campaign promise by cutting taxes. He had launched his initiative to involve “faith-based” institutions in the delivery of social services. He had formulated a sophisticated policy on stem cell research. But as late as 8:45 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, it was unclear what would be the important additional substance, if any, of his presidency. At 8:46 a.m. there was clarity.

    Indeed.

    And this is why I argue that while we seem polarized in many ways, the side aren’t really all that far apart, hence diminishing the significance of the polarization:

    In 1996 Democrat Bill Clinton became the first president to sign a law repealing a major entitlement (Aid to Families with Dependent Children, repealed as part of welfare reform). And in 2003 his Republican successor signed a law creating a major entitlement (to prescription drug benefits). Regarding the post-New Deal role of the federal government, the differences between the parties have narrowed. There shall be an enormous federal role in assuaging the two great fears of life, illness and old age. The arguments are about modalities.

    There are important differences between the parties, but they are not radical, gee we have to go to war if the other side wins, kind of differences. And the main reason that, at least vis-a-vis the welfare state, that there is such agreement, is becuse of the voters.

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    • Confessions Of A Political Junkie linked with George Will
    • Arguing with signposts… linked with journos and bloggers
    • ProfessorBainbridge.com linked with Political Polarization
    Thanks

    By Steven Taylor @ 11:40 am

    Thanks to:

  • Robert Holcomb.
  • It Can’t Rain All The Time…
  • Rightward Reasonings

    for linking to PoliBlog. They have each received a recipri-link on The List on the Left.

  • Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Orange Hats

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:43 am

    I meant to mention this earlier, but I’m with Jeff Jarvis: loved the hats last night.

    Filed under: Not politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    The Faux Holiday?

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:41 am

    New Year’s Eve is getting a big thumbs down in the Blogosphere, as James Joyner, Kevin Alyward, Robert Tagorda, and Stephen Bainbridge all note that the holiday is basically anti-climactic, and really, nothing more than the celebration of the clock moving forward.

    I must concur.

    (Although Sean Hackbarth seemed to have had a good time)

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    More on Party Organization

    By Steven Taylor @ 9:21 am

    The NYT has an interesting piece on this year’s primary calendar: Democrats’ Plan for Early Nominee May Be Costly.

    The basic thesis, which I agree with, is as follows:

    In a classic case of unintended consequences, a process intended to produce unity, a strong candidate, and a compelling platform to take against President Bush has so far produced a campaign that many Democrats describe as strikingly harsh and marked more by daily bickering than sweeping themes or compelling new ideas on where to take the country.

    Indeed, this is just another example of what I have been arguing in various ways of late (such as here): that the candidates really are the party, and that they are far, far more important than the permanent party organization, or its machinations.

    Even more than the candidates, the primary voters really drive the ship, because they are the ones who decide which candidate is going to be the winner, not the national party committee.

    On an entirely different level, the situation is quite interesting this year, because it makes an anti-Dean fight almost impossible, as he is likely to go into Super Tuesday with unstoppable momentum. And interestingly, the architect for this process has been Terry McAuliffe, who has been something of a disaster as DNC Chair, if one measures such things electorally.

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    • Confessions Of A Political Junkie linked with More On McAwful Watch
    • Signifying Nothing linked with Front-loading the Democrats—right into the dumpster
    Amusing

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:38 am

    I was perusing the The Blogosphere Ecosystem, and noted this amusing situation:

    141.Kicking Ass (206) details
    142.PoliBlog (205) details ** WMDI **

    First, I find it amusing that little ol’ me is almost beating the DNC’s blog, and

    Second, come on, people, link me up! I would love to be kicking Kicking Ass’s ass. ;)

    Filed under: Blogging | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (1)
    • Matthew J. Stinson | weblog linked with Blogroll Update
    Double Good Deal

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:30 am
  • Stocks End First Positive Year Since 1999
    For the year, the blue-chip Dow rose 25.3 percent, its biggest yearly gain since 1996. The S&P 500 gained 26.4 percent to post its largest annual gain since 1998, and the tech-laden Nasdaq soared 50 percent, its biggest increase since 1999.

  • New Jobless Claims Lowest of Bush Tenure
    The number of people filing new claims for jobless benefits last week dropped to the lowest level in nearly three years…

    […]

    The Labor Department reported Wednesday that new applications filed for unemployment insurance dropped by a seasonally adjusted 15,000 to 339,000 for the week ending Dec. 27. Last week’s drop marked the third week in a row that claims fell, and left claims at their lowest level since Jan. 20, 2001 Bush’s inauguration day.

  • Filed under: The Economy | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    A Good Sign

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:09 am

    Well, I knew that there couldn’t have been any major terror attacks after I went to bed last night when I flipped briefly to Fox News Channel to see the clip of Michael Jackson being arrested, whilst they talked about Jacko.

    Perhaps for the first and only time in my life, seeing Jackson on TV was a good sign…

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    Happy New Year!

    By Steven Taylor @ 8:00 am

    Welcome to 2004.

    Filed under: Not politics | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
    Take a Look At This!
    • Tabloid News
    • Word of The Day
    • Chronograph Watches
    • Office Shredders
    • Cash Registers
    • Ricoh Fax Machines
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