Frist Fence Flakeout?

Frist Fence Flakeout?

Frist Fence Flakeout?

A mostly political Weblog.
Sept. 25 2006 12:10 AM

Frist Fence Flakeout?

Some conspiratorial speculation.

The 'Bad Timing' Con: ABC's The Note--

Will the Medicare prescription drug benefit (and the ill-timed doughnut hole press coverage) be a net plus or net minus for the Republicans?  ...

On "Good Morning America," ABC News' Jessica Yellin reported, "It is just terrible timing for the White House. Just as there are signs that the President's poll numbers are starting to rise, leaked portions of the classified report are turning the attention back to the key issue that has dragged down the President's Administration and his party, the war in Iraq." [E.A.]

Yes, it's such terrible bad luck that these anti-GOP stories and leaks just happened to surface a few weeks before the election!  ... [Are you saying the press shouldn't report this stuff?--ed No. WaPo's "doughnut" story  was excellent. I'm saying sophisticated political reporters covering the impact of these stories shouldn't pretend there's any luck or mystery to their timing, It's a disingenuous pose designed to heighten their impact.] 1:17 P.M.

Elvis Down: Chris Wallace did too ask a Bush aide (Rumsfeld) pointed questions about why Bush didn't go after bin Laden-- Patterico's got 'em. ...

P.S.: In the stimulating Wallace v. Clinton confrontation--which Clinton was winning before he plowed on into paranoia about Rupert Murdoch and Fox--Clinton spent a lot of time discussing Osama bin Laden and Somalia. Specifically, Clinton said:

"He wasn't involved in that, that's just a bunch of bull. That was about Mohamed Aideed, a Muslim warlord ...."

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My impression--from Mark Bowden's book, Black Hawk Down--is that al Qaeda operatives had taught Somali warlord Aideed's men how to bring down U.S. helicopters with RPGs. (See, e.g., here.) Did Clinton misspeak, or does he really not know of this Al Qaeda connection? Or does he have information that Bowden's claim really is "bull"? Update: Bin Laden's Somalia role was included in a U.S. Justice Dept. indictment.  ... Clinton also said:

"We were all there on a humanitarian mission; we had no mission, none, to establish a certain kind of Somali government or keep anybody out ..."

That's a highly distorted summary of the Somalia mission, which started out humanitarian but later  devolved into a U.S.-supported U.N. decision to build a government and then to "marginalize" Aideed.

P.P.S.: Next time, Wallace should ask Clinton about Dubai. Seems like another promising sore spot! ...

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Update II: Virginia Heffernan thinks Clinton's performance was perfectly geared for the new Webvid medium--

Clinton has somehow mastered the bright, short words and menacing, iconic lurches that work as bursts of flavor on YouTube.  [E.A.]

The three-minute version would definitely work better than the ten-minute version. ... See also Maguire. ... 9:27 A.M.

Frist Fence Flakeout? Has Sen. Frist given up on the border fence? It sure sounded that way on George Stephanopoulos' This Week. The Senate Majority Leader said a bill containing the proposed 700-mile barrier was "hopefully what we'll be voting on the floor of the Senate this week." But then, with a guilty, knowing grin,** he added: "Right now I got a feeling the Democrats may obstruct it."

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The grin was the giveaway. It's easy to let the fence bill drop and blame Democrats. Wink, wink. But a forceful majority leader who actually wanted either a) a vote or b) a sharpened issue against the Dems wouldn't give up just like that. He'd call a press conference to demand that the Democrats allow a vote. Put a spotlight on the issue. Make Harry Reid come up with an equally well-publicized explanation for why the Democrats oppose this popular common-denominator measure. That would be hard for Reid to do without hurting Dem election chances, and he might not do it--resulting in a Democratic cave-in and a vote. And the fence Frist says he wants.

Why isn't Frist doing this? Is he as feckless as he seems? Makes a big deal of the border fence one day--drops it a few days later. Or did someone get to him--someone from the "pro-comprehensive" White House, perhaps, who doesn't want to pass the popular parts of reform this year for fear the unpopular semi-amnesty parts might not pass next year? Or maybe Sen. McCain, another GOP "comprehensive" champion, told him that if he went ahead with the fence, he'd never be McCain's running mate.  (At the moment, such a VP slot looks like Frist's main hope of a continued career in elective politics.)

Or maybe Frist was faking his support for a fence all along.

Phoniness, fecklessness, or a corrupt bargain? You make the call! I can't think of any other possibilities. Update: The New York Times reports

Because of reservations from Democrats and Republicans who favor the broader bill, Mr. Frist is having trouble rounding up enough votes for a showdown over the fence this week.

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I'd tentatively file that under "fecklessness," especially given Frist's bravura last week. He could hold a press conference to shame Republicans as well as Dems into agreeing to a vote if he wanted to. (He might actually have more luck with the Dems--but their votes count too.) Plus, hasn't the Senate already agreed to cloture on the fence issue? Does Frist even need a supermajority?

**--The grin is at about 9:18 in this video. There's an ominous sigh too (when the fence question first comes up, at about 8:00). ...

More: An email from Stephen B. Smith:

As the Majority Leader's online communications coordinator, I can assure you that Senator Frist isn't "flaking out" and that he is committed to a cloture vote on the Secure Fence Act this week. 

In order to pass this legislation, a 60 vote supermajority in favor of cloture is needed.  And, unfortunately, we fear that Democrats may well attempt to obstruct the Secure Fence Act by denying it cloture.  If Democrats succeed in denying cloture to the legislation, then an up-or-down vote on the Secure Fence Act will be blocked, which is why Senator Frist said "hopefully what we'll be voting on the floor of the Senate this week."

As to your question "Plus, hasn't the Senate already agreed to cloture on the fence issue?", the answer is no.  Your link to Free Republic was for cloture on the motion to proceed to the legislation ... not cloture on the underlying legislation.

Thanks to Smith for the cloture clarification. But if Frist wants really cloture, it seems to me he has to campaign for it more publicly and vigorously. Many Democrats (and Republicans) will be happy to not vote on this issue, as long as their decision to not vote won't get a lot of attention. .. 

Hollow Kabuki or Deeply Meaningful Kabuki? Michelle Malkin is more skeptical of the fence bill  to begin with, calling it an "empty, election-season, unfunded ...gesture" and a "gimmick from Beltway Republicans who think they can appease pro-enforcement voters." She argues:

There are so many other immediate reforms that could have been adopted this year that would have strengthened immigration enforcement, closed deportation loopholes immediately, and provided true relief at the border.

I tend to think that, whether the GOP pols are cynical or sincere, the fence is way more than a gesture--and if it's a gesture, it will be a highly significant one, both in how it's interpreted south of the border (a sign of U.S. seriousness about immigration control) and by American politicians (a repudiation of the Bush-McCain attempt to find a consensus based on immediately offering legalization of existing illegals). Once the fence is approved, it might be difficult to stop--isn't that the way with pork barrel/public works projects? 8:49 P.M. link

The lost pixel trail: As long as he's moving mountains in the publishing world--getting his new book pulped and redone after a nightmarish printing snafu **--Andrew Sullivan may as well get to work on his archives. What's billed as the "complete archives" on his site goes back only to January of this year, as far as I can see. Where's the rest? How are we going to attack him for his embarrassing, excitable high-horse misjudgments if we can't go back and Control-C them?***... P.S.: True, that hasn't stopped Instapundit. ... Update: Or Frank Rich, apparently. Sullivan, answering Rich,  says  his blog posts on the immediate aftermath of the Iraq invasion are "unfindable, since my old archives are still being transferred to Time's server." How long does that take? ...

 **--A prize to the first reviewer who takes the obvious cheap shot. ("The pulped version was better!") ....

***--I wound up unpublishing a few years of blog archives when I moved to Slate, including some (involving 9/11 and Thanksgiving) that were highly convenient to lose. All the pre-Slate kausfiles archives that were ever on the Web are available at the bottom of this page. ..  8:35 P.M.

The L.A. party was unexpectedly good too! 8:25 P.M.

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'Stone Age' Mystery Solved? Hassan Abbas, a guest on Warren Olney's To the Point radio show ** on Friday, claimed to have resolved the mystery of whether U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage had in fact threatened to bomb Pakistan "to the Stone Age" in a meeting with Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed, an aide to Pakistan's President Musharraf. According to Abbas, Armitage said the U.S. might bomb Afghanistan back to the Stone Age, not Pakistan. But Ahmed interpreted it as a veiled threat to bomb Pakistan too, and reported as much to Musharraf. ... Seems plausible enough, and it reconciles everyone's stories! Plus Abbas seemed to say he reported his version in his book, Pakistan's Drift Into Extremism, published well before Musharraf's recent newsmaking revelation. ...

**--Abbas' version is at about 28:50 here. ... 12:16 A.M. link

Saturday, September 23, 2006

9/11 rescuers  Chuck Sereika and Marine Staff Sgt. Dave Karnes, "appalled" at the inaccuracies in Oliver Stone's World Trade Center, are planning to write a book (along with another 9/11 hero, New York City firefighter Tommy Asher), according to Greg Robin's thorough report in Hometown News. They blame a "rift" with rescued Officer Will Jimeno, one of the central characters in the film-- as well as rivalry between the NYC Fire Dept. and the Port Authority police.

"I figured that America deserves to know the truth about that day," Mr. Sereika said. "They certainly didn't get it from Oliver Stone."

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See here for my take and here for Rebecca Liss'. As noted, the producers of the film didn't alter reality to tell a better story. They altered it to tell a worse story! But a story that apparently pleased key constituencies. ... 12:50 A.M. link

Friday, September 22, 2006

From reader J:

Who knew that the Times would go after you fence-firsters with pathos laden pictures of over-ripe pears. They play dirty.

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They're mobilizing the foodies! All bets are off. 12:00 P.M.

Showdown Week on bhTV reaches a brutal climax with the long-awaited Plamegate Death Match between David Corn ( Hubris) and Byron York (National Review) ... 10:43 A.M.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Trying to Get Around the Wall: It's hard for immigration soft-liners to argue that tougher border measures--such as a fence-- won't work ** ('they'll dig tunnels') while simultaneously complaining about the labor shortage that's already resulted from the more limited border measures that have been tried. Obviously, they have some effect. ...

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**--See also Thursday's WSJ editorial [$] :

Nor will a wall deter illegal workers, who are drawn here by the powerful magnetic pull of economic opportunity and plentiful jobs.

If they're undeterrable, why are they being deterred now? ... 11:41 P.M.

Bert Fields on Line 2: As part of its public responsibility to serve the community, kf brings you the nastiest line in Shafer's rundown of the billionaire wannabe owners  of the LAT:

[Tom] King captured [David] Geffen's dualistic nature in a 2000 comment to the Los Angeles Times: "On one hand, David repels people, and on the other hand, he draws them in." [Newspaper owners Mort] Zuckerman and [Wendy] McCaw, on the other hand, seem only to repel people.

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There's more where that came from, including Shafer's conclusion about the "least bad candidate" for Times ownership. ... 9:01 P.M.

Pundit sidebet: Usually pro-"comprehensive" immigration types warn that anything less than a "path to legalization" will backfire on politicians in the long run, as the Latino vote grows. But "comprehensive" advocate Tamar Jacoby predicts the House GOP immigration hard line will be "fool's gold"  as an issue even in the short run--i.e., it won't work in this election cycle. RealClearPolitics' Tom Bevan thinks it's "more like a gold mine, at least in the short term." One of them's wrong, and we won't have to wait for the long run to find out which. ... 8:26 P.M.

"Assortative mating" at its most precise. 6:27 P.M.

Caution, Caterpillar at Work: You would think the NYT would have learned from repeat, bitter experience that playing up all the anti-GOP aspects of its polls often leads to bitter disappointment in November. You would be wrong. Master Cocooner Nagourney buries most of the anti-Dem caveats in "to-be-sure" grafs after the jump, instead leading with a conclusion--

The disdain for Congress is as intense as it has been since 1994

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that is simply wrong, as pointed out in an anti-Nagourney post by Dean Barnett. Disdain for Congress was greater in 1996, according to the NYT's own charts. ... For a top-tier reporter, Nagourney's surprisingly weak in the deceptive-but-not-inaccurate ass-covering billboard hype-sentence-construction aspect of his job. .... I'd add that Nagourney flatly says "Bush had not improved his own or his party's standing through his intense campaign of speeches"--this before noting that a) the percentage of Americans who approve of his Iraq policy had increased (30 to 36%), and  b) the "number of people who called terrorism [a rare GOP-leaning issue] the most important issue facing the country doubled." Not a huge turnaround, but not "not improved" either. ... P.S.: Compare and contrast Brownstein's non-caterpillarian view of a more pro-GOP LAT poll. ... P.P.S.: Have I mentioned that if the NYT were the paper it thinks it is Brownstein would have Nagourney's job? ...Update: Maguire and McQ  also bust Nagourney. ...  3:23 P.M.

Cheap Shot O' the Day: The L.A. Times' Tim Rutten says that if his paper were "any leaner, it'd be skeletal." Judging from this evidence, it will take a lot to make Rutten skeletal. .. .

P.S.: I don't want to take the Tribune Company's side in the apocalyptic budget battle currently under way--various people I trust assure me the Tribune people are bad news. But in what other industry do you get to defend your comfortable job against a layoff by righteously claiming that you and your current budget play a "vital role" in "our individual communities and our society as a whole"--and have the MSM swallow it hook, line and sinker?  I still tend to think the L.A. community, at least, would be marginally better off if the Times disappeared overnight. New, cheaper and webbier forms of local coverage would emerge, without the Times' Chandlerian legacy of suffocating respectability. ...

P.P.S.: Do you really believe that if the Tribune Company refused to make job cuts, and instead invested in "long-term credibility," that the Tribune would ever see a return on that "long term" investment? I don't. It would be a nice thing for them to do--like investing millions in quality radio broadcasts--but Baquet defenders shouldn't pretend it would eventually pay off financially. ..

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P.P.P.S.: And while Baquet is showing guts, it's silly for Howie Kurtz to write that he

is putting his career on the line, telling his corporate bosses at the Tribune Co. that he cannot abide deeper cutbacks in a newsroom ... [Emphasis added]

Baquet isn't putting his career on the line. He's done a good job as editor of a giant metropolitan paper, he's relatively young and he's black. He's one of the most employable journalists in the country! If he's perceived as being fired for a brave defense of quality journalism, he'll be one of the most employable people on the planet. He could easily end up as editor of the NYT, where he has lots of friends. He's not taking a career risk the way, say, WaPo's Len Downie would be taking a career risk if he put his job on the line. Kurtz knows this. ... 1:28 P.M.

Is the Pope Catholic? A debate. 2:55 A.M.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

El Cocoon: It wasn't just WaPo--which only yesterday declared that Congress was occupying itself with "busywork"--asleep at the switch on the  pending piecemeal, enforcement-oriented immigration reform:

The sudden rush of activity startled immigrant and civil rights groups, which had largely thought a legislative response on immigration was dead for the year. The National Immigration Law Center sent out an "urgent" notice to allies to prod them into action, noting: "In recent days, there has been a serious deterioration of the position of pro-immigrant forces in Congress."

And here I thought the "only a comprehensive bill can pass" line was just spin and bravado put out for press and public consumption by Bush allies and the Latino lobby.  It turns out they actually believed it! [Maybe the "urgent" notice is just more spin, a mock-alarm for fundraising purposes, etc.--ed  A 700-mile fence will help their fundraising too.] 8:43 P.M.

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California doesn't do the 'wave': 53 seats. Zero races "competitive enough to merit a busy correspondent's attention." ... P.S.: But the WSJ's Jackie Calmes is wrong when she says

In effect, Democrats have all the seats they can possibly grab here.

If California's district lines had been drawn to create lots of competitive seats, Democrats could have grabbed those seats in a Democratic year like (supposedly) this one. But the Dems, led by Pelosi, chose safety over victory. ... It was a no-brainer! ... 2:28 A.M.

One day, ABC's Note will have to lower itself and actually mention the word "fence": Robo-poller Scott Rasmussen notes, "it will be quite interesting to watch how Senators in the most competitive races vote when [the border fence] legislation comes to the Senate floor." He suggests several Senators  who will be most tempted, if there's a vote, to buck the respectable ed boards  and do what voters seem to actually want--including Menendez (D-NJ) and Chafee (R-R.I). Shouldn't we add Cantwell (D-WA) and Clinton (D-NY) to the "hot seat" list? ... Update: Clinton voted for the shorter 370-mile fence in the Senate's "comprehensive" bill. In April, she told a N.Y. Daily News columnist, "A wall in certain areas would be appropriate."

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P.S.: Unlike on torture, this is not an issue on which (presumably anti-fence) McCain will be able to give himself cover in the Republican presidential primaries by cutting a deal with President Bush. ...

P.P.S.:  The Senators most immediately put on the spot by the vote, though, are Democrats--pro-"comprehensive" types now confronted with the relative unpopularity of their party's position. Still, ABC's Liz Marlantes' account somehow manages to lead with a vaguely-spun Democratic "hope" that the vote creates a difficult "dynamic" for Republicans. ... Is that the Democrats' "hope" or Marlantes' editors' "hope"? (Marlantes eventually gets around --in Graf 12 of 15--to pointing out that the vote presents Democrats with "a difficult choice.") ...1:09 A.M. link

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Mark Blumenthal cautions against reading too much  into that stunning Gallup poll showing GOP and Dem "generic" preferences dead even among "likely voters".  Gallup's screen for who's "likely" is apparently notoriously sensitive to temporary shifts in excitement--measuring more 'who would vote if the election were held today' as opposed to what we really want to know, which is 'whom would the people who are going to vote on November 7 vote for if the election were held today.' .... 8:15 P.M.

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It's a Chait-Yglesias Vlogger Cage Match  on Iraq (specifically, on whether the war was bungled by Bush incompetence [Chait] or was a bad idea from the start no matter who was running it [Yglesias]). ... 10:53 A,M.

Senate Majority Leader Frist will bring the bill for a 700-mile border fence to the Senate floor for an "up or down vote."  That's the sort of non-"comprehensive" legislation the pro-"comprehensive"press (which is most of the press) has been assuring us will never pass. Let's see. ... Actually, as RCP's blog notes, the mainstream press had been assuring us that the whole topic of immigration reform was dead for this year. The paper to read to find out what was actually going on in Congress turns out to have been the Mooning Washington Times, not the cocooning New York Times. ... [Thanks to N.Z.B.] ... Update: AP story on possible Dem blocking tactic. ... WaPo says: "Congress Bustles With Busywork." Busywork? ... 2:00 A.M.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Angelenos and news-crits: Before you rush to agree with LAT columnist Tim Rutten's self-satisfiedly righteous denunciation of the evil, greedy absentee-owning Tribune Company: 1) Do you really think Dean Baquet couldn't put out a high-quality Los Angeles newspaper with a mere 800 editorial employees (instead of the current 940)? The Washington Post operates with about  800 editorial employees. It's pretty good! 2) If you are a reporter at the LAT, do you really want to work at a paper owned by Eli Broad, Ron Burkle, or David Geffen--three of the local billionaires you should be covering? They aren't known as people who like bad press. ... P.S.: The LAT has become a much better paper under Baquet--better than it ever was under the Chandlers--while it's cut back staff. Does that bolster the argument against cutting? ... 1:23 P.M. link

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YouTube: Andrew Sullivan has decided to give out a Nancy Grace Award. Criteria (suggested by Sullivan's readers) include "a nauseating level of absolutistself-righteousness," an "unflappable self-assurance that [the nominee's] outrage represents the true moral high ground on any issue" despite a propensity to "flip flop"--and a habit of "excessive personal attacks." [Emphasis added]... You mean like righteously bullying anyone who fails to support a war in Iraq, then turning around and righteously attacking the people who are prosecuting it? ... Can you think of any nominees? I'm stumped. ... 12:34 A.M. link

Saturday, September 16, 2006

'Hey, Let's Lose the Election!' Part II: Ramesh Ponnuru has second thoughts about his New York Times op-ed  calling for the GOP to "win by losing" the House. ... Do fatal doubts expressed in a corner of The Corner shape opinion more than an op-ed in the Times? I don't think we're there yet! ... I also attempt [here]  to mock Jonah Goldberg's point that even though a Democratic House might pass a sweeping semi-amnesty immigration bill, "that would hand conservative Republicans a dream issue for 2008." ('Waterloo went badly for Napoleon--but hey, it gave him a great issue!' etc.) ... Move over Lonelygirl: Many viewers suspect that the video cited above is simply the unedited one-camera confessional of a neoliberal fogey whose library has just been carted off by his creditors. But it really is what it seems: the project of a trio of high-powered would-be Hollywood filmmakers represented by CAA. The man calling himself "Mickey" is actually a well-known Slovenian actor. ... 3:27 P.M. link

Bluff Called:

The American people are not on the side of the House Republicans who favor toughened enforcement and nothing more. On the contrary, a national consensus has formed around what the president calls "comprehensive" immigration reform--that is, impenetrable border security plus earned citizenship and a temporary worker program. But there's a wrinkle in the Senate. Democrats are certain to filibuster legislation consisting solely of enforcement. So it can't pass.

-- Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard, May 29

The House on Thursday easily passed a bill calling for construction of lengthy sections of double-layered fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico, sending the legislation to a Senate that appeared inclined to approve that and other security measures.

-- Los Angeles Times, Sept. 15

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[Emphasis added] 5:07 A.M. link

Trapped in the Rubble: I finally saw World Trade Center last night. It wasn't as bad as I expected. A bit worse.

As expected, the filmmakers turn out to have bought the wrong rights--rights to the stories of the two uniformed cops who endured being trapped in the rubble for many hours. It turns out that brave, good men being trapped in rubble for hours doesn't make for great cinema. The real heroic drama was their rescue, including the actions of three private citizens who travelled to the pile of rubble on their own: Dave Karnes and Jason Thomas, former Marines, and Chuck Sereika, a lapsed paramedic just out of rehab. Karnes comes off fine, though the full story of what he did that day--including barreling down from Connecticut in his Porsche convertible at 120 mph--could have carried a whole movie. You can't help but feel his role was diminished because the uniformed officers resented him. Thomas is miscast as white, when in fact he's black--the filmmakers could have eliminated an entire crudely implanted final-reel scene of interracial bonding if they'd gotten it straight.

And Sereika's feats, as Rebecca Liss** notes, are vastly understated in the film, even though the truth would have been much more moving (Fallen Man Redeemed). Sereika, too, made the mistake of not being a cop or fireman. But he might be the first person portrayed as a hero by Hollywood who nevertheless has grounds for a defamation suit--because in fact he was much more heroic than WTC would lead you to believe. ...

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What I hadn't expected was the way this suppressing of all the freelance non-uniformed bravery would wind up trivializing 9/11, turning it into a standard police hostage drama. Wives of cops injured in traffic accidents wait in agony and cry when their husbands survive too--but the attack on the WTC was something more, and one of the ways it was something more was the way it sucked in and tested large numbers of ordinary citizens.

Liss' fact-checking was more moving than the film it fact-checked. I can't believe the right blogosphere wound up hyping WTC's hackwork. ... 3:47 A.M. link

Thursday, September 14, 2006

More evidence of the Couric Conspiracy, from Page Six **:

 Couric was also said to be annoyed that CBS stopped running heavy promotions for her.

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Maybe that's because that $15M deal  wasn't ever about promoting her or her precious evening news show! ...

**--In other words, "if true ..." 10:20 P.M. link

It may mean nothing, but they're bouncing for Bush over at Rasmussen. Only 50% disapproval ... 10:17 P.M.

Despues de Pelosi, Nosotros! I admit I'm not-so-secretly not-so-upset, at least emotionally, by  signs the Democrats might not  win back the House after all--a pathology  explored with searing, reality-show candor here. It's not that I want Republicans to win because Republicans like Ramesh Ponnuru want Republicans to lose. It's more that there is a large fatal hole in Ponnuru's argument. He writes that if the Dems win:

[T]he policy tradeoffs for Republicans are not especially troubling.

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Ponnuru must be willfully ignoring one conspicuous policy initiative that has already passed the Senate, been embraced by the President, and awaits only approval from a Democrat-led House  to be signed into law. It wouldn't matter so much if this law, by establishing the principle of a "path to citizenship" for anyone who sneaks into the country to work, wouldn't run the risk of irrevocably changing the nature of the Republic, including the composition of future electorates that would decide whether to repeal it. But it would. ... 

P.S.:  I also look forward to the vicious fratricidal Democratic civil war that would break out in the wake of a humiliating Pelosi failure. Ponnuru may believe that a few years out of power "would make the Republicans hungrier and sharpen their wits." But it hasn't worked  for the Dems! The only viable solution for Democrats at this point might be partition--an actual splintering-off of an independent, centrist wing  that would join up with the Republicans' equally marginalized moderate wing. That's what we'd have a chance of getting if Democrats, as constituted, can't win even under the current favorable circumstances. ...

P.P.S.: Plus once it was clear that redistricting trickery had preserved the GOP margin, the press would immediately launch a campaign against gerrymandering, a long-overdue crusade. ...

P.P.P.S.: And it's not like the Dems are going to enact universal health insurance with a slim margin in the House and Bush in the Presidency. ... 3:21 P.M. link

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There's no way Bill Clinton, war-supporter spouse, was going to bowl over experienced Hollywood player and netroots blogger Jane Hamsher in one meeting, right? ... Don't be so sure! 1:29 P.M.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Here's the biggest story of the day  (if true). It expands on a buried lede in the NYT's Sunday Cheney story. ... 5:58 P.M. [via Drudge ]

Dessert Mirage: In his weekly "Off to the Races" email, everybody's midterm elections expert Charlie "The Confectioner"  Cook insists on putting the 2006 vote into a traditional local vs. national framework:

In short, all the major diagnostic indicators that analysts look at to determine what kind of year it will be point to something that looks nothing like the "all politics is local" dynamic that was pretty much the case in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004. This dynamic holds sway in roughly 80 percent of all midterm election years and 90 percent of presidential years. This year looks much more like 1958, 1966, 1974, 1982, 1986 and 1994. In those cases, politics was anything but local. [Emph. added]

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Were 1998 and 2002 really "local" years? I remember 1998 being colored by reaction against the zealous Republican prosecution of Bill Clinton in Monicagate. I remember 2002 as being all about national security. Those who refuse to ignore the past are condemned to think it will be repeated! Are there really "local" elections anymore? ... P.S.: "Local" in this year's election has an especially skewed meaning, since the only way the GOP seems to feel it can raise one of its most powerful nationally-appealing issues, immigration enforcement, is by individual House candidates bringing it up in individual races--i.e. locally! If Bush hadn't decided that he loves his semi-amnesty proposal more than he loves Speaker Hastert, that might be different. But as things stand, "local" in 2006 is a term of art often meaning "national"--or rather, meaning "an issue that would have been a national issue if we didn't disagree with our party's leader." ... Which means you can't necessarily use the low national favorability ratings of that leader--or even, maybe, of the Republican party generally--to predict the outcome of the election.... 5:34 P.M. link

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Republicans-- On the March to Stop Bush! It looks as if immigration hard-liner Randy Graf has defeated National Republican Committee favorite Steve Huffman in the Republican primary for Arizona's Eighth District. ... Here's what the Wall Street Journal news account said about the race beforehand:

A victory by Mr. Huffman would signal that even voters concerned about illegal immigration can be persuaded to support a more moderate policy. It would also be a triumph for business groups that are pushing for expanded legal immigration and are accustomed to the business-friendly Mr. Kolbe, who supports a guest-worker program, along with increased border security and a worker-verification system

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Sorry! I guess voters concerned about illegal immigration can't be persuaded to support a more moderate policy! (And Huffman even denied he supports the Bush/McCain semi-amnesty "path to citizenship".) ... . ... P.S.: MyDD's Chris Bowersis happy, figuring the conservative Graf will lose in the general, and the seat (currently occupied by Republican Jim Kolbe) will be a Dem "pickup." But if you look at the broad national picture, it's not clear how happy Bowers should be. Isn't this more evidence that opposition to Bush's immigration plan is a powerful base-mobilizer for the GOP?  (And not just the base  ...) ... Update: Tom Bevan notes the appeal of non-comprehensive immigration reform  to rural Democrats in AZ-08. ...11:35 P.M. link

Tellingly Defensive Paragraph of the Day: "I don't have a major reputation for sucking up."--Andrew Sullivan. ... 3:13 P.M.

Jeez, those 9/11 page view counts are off the charts. I should have plugged the magisterial  Bloggingheads 9/11 Retrospective.  But no, that would be too obvious ...2:22 P.M.

The Couric Conspiracy: As Katie Couric's newscast  sinks back into third place, here's a thought: Maybe CBS isn't disappointed. Maybe the hiring of Couric had nothing to do with boosting the ratings for the CBS Evening News, attracting new demographics, blah, blah, blah.Maybe Couric was hired by CBS solely to screw NBC's highly-profitable Today Show! After all, CBS's Les Moonves could somehow get his network back into the lucrative morning-show game--by depriving the dominant competitor of its star--wouldn't that mean a lot more to CBS' bottom line than whether it gets an extra point or two in the shrinking evening news market? ... Wait and see how the Couric-less Today does before you decide whether she was worth $15 million to CBS. ... 1:17 P.M. link

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H-P chairwoman Patricia Dunn: She must be guilty-- she's hired Sitrick! ... Update: She's stepping down. ...12:56 P.M.

Stop Bush--Vote Republican! Part II: How are Republicans threatening to unseat two Democratic Congressman in this, a pro-Democratic year? The LAT reports:

... their Republican rivals have emphasized the bigger picture in their campaigns — namely, what would happen if the Democrats took control of the house. In a recent Collins TV ad, his opponent isn't mentioned at all. Instead, the ad targets House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), who would presumably become House Speaker with a Democratic majority.

The ad says Pelosi would give "amnesty" to illegal aliens, doling out "welfare, food stamps and free education." [Emphasis added]


In other words, Pelosi might pass Bush's immigration plan! ... P.S.: Is anyone still suggesting that nasty Sensenbrenner immigration bill is going to cost Republicans the House? I haven't heard that one lately. ... 4:24 A.M. link

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They've screwed up the redesigned 2007 Mini Cooper, according to Automobile

So, is it possible to make the Mini bigger, stronger, and faster without losing the current car's tossable nature and front-wheel-drive-apes-rear-wheel drive feel? Unfortunately, it doesn't seem so.

But note that the old, front-drive-apes-rear-drive model is on sale until February, and its reliability has improved (according to Consumer Reports).  Conclusion: If you want one, buy it now. ... 4:15A.M. link

Huffo's Donnie Fowler makes a big deal over a ZogbyInteractive/WSJ poll  showing Arnold Schwarzenegger only 3.5% ahead of his Democratic opponent, Phil Angelides. '"Momentum matters. Phil's got it," writes Fowler. I don't believe it. I don't believe Fowler believes it! If he does, he's possibly the sole member of a miniscule minority that doesn't include the Schwarzenegger-bashing LAT's new blogger, Robert Salladay, who  writes today  that union "enthusiasm for Angelides is damped by his low poll numbers and confusion over his message."  ... New West Notes' Bill Bradley cites a "private" poll  (for another Democratic candidate) showing a 12-point gap. ... And here's what Mystery Pollster Mark Blumenthal and Prof. Charles Franklin think of the Zogby Interactive poll, which they decline to use in the Slate "Election Scorecard":

Since our scorecard includes only surveys based on random probability sampling, it does not include any of the Zogby Interactive/Wall Street Journal polls that were released today. These surveys are conducted on the Internet using samples drawn from a panel of online volunteers. The latest Zogby results for Virginia—showing Webb ahead 50 percent to 43 percent—help explain our caution. Zogby's Virginia samples have been consistently more favorable to Webb than other pollsters, suggesting a bias in Zogby's online methodology. [Emphasis added]

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Zogby's bad   enough under normal circumstances. ... 2:48 A.M. link

Who You Calling 'Brain Dead'?BhTV's Bob Wright  pooh-poohs the latest surprising "brain death" finding, but admits it makes the pull-the-feeding-tube case in the Schiavo controversy (perversely embraced by the Democrats) weaker. ... I don't quite understand Bob's argument--it seems to me his requirements for "consciousness" in humans, namely the ability to talk about your experience, are strangely high. No non-human animal would meet them. But you have to watch the snippet to get his drift. ... 1:29 A.M. link

Monday, September 11, 2006

What Scooter Told Tim: Tom Maguire graciously gives kf credit for its big Plamegate Scoop (now confirmed by Hubris)  ... 2:46 A.M.

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Is it really possible Connecticut Democrats haven't nailed Joe Lieberman down  to a non-weaselable public promise to cast his vote for their party in choosing who controls the Senate? The Dems may need Lieberman's support, and shouldn't want to make it easy for him to defect. ... P.S.: I know, I know, Lieberman's appealing to Connecticut Republicans--it might help him with that group to leave the door to defection open. But he also needs to hold down Ned Lamont's margin among Democrats. And it's a character question--wouldn't it look silly and unprincipled for Lieberman to prevaricate on the party issue, especially after he campaigned in the primary on the basis of what a good Dem he is? How could he not have figured out which way he'll vote? If he has, don't Connecticut's voters deserve to know the answer before the election? ... Update: Here's a TPM post  in which Lieberman aide Dan Gerstein says, "Senator Lieberman is a Democrat, will continue to be a Democrat and is committed to caucusing with the Democrats should he be reelected." But that's from August 16th. I'd make Lieberman himself say it, often. ... See also: New York Sun piece saying Lieberman has "vowed to continue to vote with the Democratic caucus" but speculating that he might not. ... 2:42 P.M.

Re: Cake-baking: Alert reader T.F. asks:

Have you already mentioned that if Schwarzenegger's redistricting had passed, the cake would be baked because the Dems would pick up at least five seats in California instead of zero? [Emphasis added]

No, I don't think I have mentioned that. ... P.S.: At least Nancy "I'm-going-to-become-Speaker" Pelosi wasn't such a shortsighted party hack that she raised money to defeat the measure that would have gotten her party a third of the seats it needs. ... Oh, wait. ... 2:15 A.M. link

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Sunday, September 10, 2006

Max Blumenthal's piece on the right-wing network behind The Path to 9/11  will go right into the press kits of David Horowitz and the conservative Liberty Film Foundation. (Who knew their blog was "heavily trafficked"! Donors will be pleased.)  ... P.S.: I assume Blumenthal's right and Path, even with edits, isn't at all a neutral look at pre-9/11 anti-terrorist efforts. Still, are you worried about an "emerging network of right-wing people burrowing into the film industry with ulterior sectarian politican and religious agendas"? Maybe I'm complacent about the threat, but isn't that a little like worrying about the growing anti-Zionist foothold at The New Republic? If you put Hollywoods's entire network of right wing people in David Horowitz's living room, you wouldn't have much trouble getting to the hors d'oeuvre tray. If you tried to put Hollywood's network of left wing people in the Los Angeles Convention Center, the fire marshal would close it down. ... 11:23 P.M. link

Friday, September 8, 2006

Early Punditry Is Not Like Yeast! RT Strategies is robocalling voters in 30 contested House races. Highly useful chart here  and double-clickable map here. ... Bizarrely, the pollsters don't add up the results anywhere on the site yet, but RT partner "R" emails to give the upshot [boldface added]:

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We conducted 27 polls so far with 3 more underway. 

Completed so far (27): 22 with Republicans, 5 with Democrats.  Only 1 of 5 Democrats look to be in any trouble at all, so the magic number for the D's remains 15 or 16 at the worst.

In the 22 Republican-held districts, R's are trailing in 10 districts (significantly behind in 5, marginally behind in 5), are in a dead-heat tie in 5, marginally ahead in 2, significantly ahead in 5.

In sum:

Democrats have a pretty solid +5D, and maybe at best a total of +13D (including districts leaning toward D take-over and the 3 districts not yet polled that are probably disasters for the R's).

Not enough! ...

Therefore, the whole question of House majority may come down to whether Dems can win 2 or 3 of the following 5 races that are currently (in the Majority Watch poll) a dead-heat statistical tie:  ...  CO-07, KY-04, NM-01, IL-06, WA-08.

Doesn't sound like a baked cake, does it?  ... Update: Yes, there are other races, not robopolled by RT, in which the Dems could pick up some seats. "When we selected the races for the project last July, it was a stretch to find 30 truly competitive races.  Now there are more," says RT partner R. ** That in itself is bad news for the GOP. Still! ... RT claims it has the "top 20 targets" in its initial list of 30. And if the Dems aren't convincingly ahead in enough of those races now to pick up 15 seats, doesn't it seem like the GOPs have a chance? ... P.S.: Does this cake look baked? ...

**--A list of the 20 next-most-vulnerable seats might include:

GA-08*  Redistricted Jim Marshall  (D)
GA-12*  Redistricted John Barrow  (D)
TX-22* Redistricted Tom DeLay (R)
AZ-05 J.D. Hayworth (R)
CA-11 Richard Pembo (R)
CT-05 Nancy Johnson (R)
FL-09 OPEN (Michael Bilirakis(R))
KY-02 Ron Lewis (R)
KY-03 Anne Northrup (R)
NH-01 Jeb Bradley (R)
NH-02 Charlie Bass (R)
NJ-07 Mike Ferguson (R)
NV-02 OPEN (Jim Gibbons(R))
NY-20 John Sweeney (R)
NY-25 James Walsh (R)
NY-29 Randy Kuhl (R)
OH-01 Steve Chabot (R)
OH-13 OPEN (Sherrod Brown(R))
OH-15 Deborah Pryce (R)
PA-07 Curt Weldon (R)

According to the NYT's not-cocoonish but not-quite-convincing front-pager--which relies on an "emerging consensus of political analysts"--you can start to scratch the three New York states off that second-tier list. More precisely, the Dems would probably only take them in a wave so big it would also show up as a decisive tilt in RT's initial list of 30 contested races.. ... 2:03 A.M.

Michael Crowley says there are too gated communities  in Northern Virginia. Yet the fanciest houses seem to be just huge houses, with their own grounds and gates. That's different! (They haven't privatized public space.)  Still, I concede that the whole area--like so many other places--has become richer and more pretentiously mansionized than what I thought it was when I criticized David Sirota. ...  1:58 A.M.

Note to self: Sure-fire catch phrases to work into text wherever possible: "Sprezzatura" ... "This cake is baked"  ..."below genre norms." ... "stuff it with wow!"... "alternative set of procedures." ... 1:55 A.M.

Do Sock Puppets have a Reptilian Core? Bloggingheads' Salute to Lee Siegel, at 1.5X speed. ... Update: But this is much funnier. ...  1:54 A.M.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

"Only the Republicans Can Stop Bush!" Bruce Reed seems to feel that my proposed campaign message for the House GOPs--that they're the only thing standing in the way of the Congress passing Bush's misguided immigration plan--is perverse. I would remind him of the 1996 election, when a certain Democrat campaigned (in part) with the argument that he would repeal the nastier provisions of the welfare reform bill that he himself (after Reed's lobbying) had just signed into law--a message parodied on one L.A. bumper sticker as

ONLY CLINTON CAN UNDO WHAT HE HAS DONE!

Perverse, but accurate! (Clinton won, and he did get the nastiest provisions removed.) If Clinton can successfully campaign against himself, Hastert can campaign against Bush. ..9:53 P.M.

Not So Fast: Captain Ed notes that the NYT's lead front-page story of Tuesday, reporting

G.O.P. Sets Aside Work on Immigration

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turns out to have been a bit off. Work may have stopped on the "comprehensive" Senate-style bill, but only in the NYT's world is the Senate bill synonymous with immigration reform. The Washington Times says

Top Republicans are planning a series of tough new border-security measures that they hope can get through the Senate, which in the past has opposed border-security legislation unless it has included a guest-worker program and grants citizenship rights to the estimated 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens already here.

WashTimes also reports that some "comprehensive" supporters in the Senate are already waffling. ... All as described with eerie prescience here  and here. ... See also The Weekly Standard, for whatever the opposite of eerie prescience is. ... 6:23 P.M.

Baghdad Death Toll Revision? Yikes. [via Insta] ... ABC's reporter doesn't hide his own opinion:

Operation Together Forward, the main thrust of the new [US-Iraqi] strategy, involves establishing pockets of security in select neighborhoods and then slowly adding more. These latest numbers add substance to fears Together Forward creates a whack-a-mole effect: that is, secure one area and the violence will pop up somewhere else.

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If you keep whacking the moles, though, do they eventually run out of places to surface?  ... 3:14 P.M.

Day-Old Item, Half-Priced: Bruce Reed seemed to have the key to explaining Bush's irritating reemphasis  of the Global War on Terror---the President has to say something, and  by talking about national security he fills that vacuum  while letting GOP candidates run their own races on their own issues (i.e. opposition to his immigration plan).**:

It's the Perfect Way to Hide: But the real reason for the White House strategy may be more basic: An all-politics-is-local campaign would leave the president with nothing to do. Bush rightly considers himself one of the best campaigners on the Republican side and doesn't want to spend his last campaign as little more than fundraiser-in-chief.

But I should have posted this item yesterday!  From today's perspective it certainly looks as if the legalistic particulars of Bush's anti-terror demarche--i.e. making an issue of Democratic resistance on semi-torture, trial rights, surveillance, etc.--might actually help the GOPs, doesn't it? (See Brownstein.) ... P.S.: And I'm not sure that the Dems have a "get out of jail free card" just because Republicans like John McCain oppose the White House too. Voters could still be reminded that Democrats generally are too ACLU-friendly for their taste. ... P.S.: Sorry, I forgot. The cake is already baked! ...

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**--All this assumes, of course, that Bush actually wants  the GOPs to retain the House. ... 2:43 P.M.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

KfSAT: Which of these is out of place. a) "Bush is Toast" ... b) It's Kerry's Contest to Lose! ... c) "This Cake is Baked."  ... d) None of the above. .... 6:28 P.M.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will veto the Democratic legislature's vague-on-details single-payer state-wide universal health plan--a bill Schwarzenegger's Dem opponent for governor, Phil Angelides, has (embarrassingly) refused to endorse. Bill Bradley has intrigue and backbiting; the LAT has details and makes Angelides' excuses for him. ... P.S.: Bradley also says the L.A. Times' new political blog is stacked with Schwarzenegger opponents. ... But will they be blatant or latent? ... 5:49 P.M.

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Iraq the Model has a clarifying, first hand account of what we're up against in Baghdad. ... It reminded me of a famous Marxist Western. ... 11:08 A.M.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Bush v. Hastert?

a) Why isn't the obvious base-mobilizing national GOP midterm message something like this:

If you give the Democrats a majority in the House, then Congress will pass an expensive, wage-destroying semi-amnesty for illegal immigrants. Such a bill already passed in the Senate. The only thing stopping it was the Republican House. Take away that resistance, and it's Katie-bar-the-door.

This pitch would have the virtue of being highly plausible. It wouldn't mobilize just the base, but also a good chunk of the middle.** (That's more than you can probably say for the administration's Global War on Terror hyperbolizing). ... ... P.S.: Obviously President Bush couldn't articulate such a message, since he supports the Senate's expensive, wage-destroying semi-amnesty. But Speaker Hastert could. Or the NRCC. ...

b) But if a Democratic House really would pass a McCain-Kennedy style immigration bill, maybe President Bush isn't as horrified at the prospect of Speaker Pelosi as he seems. He'd achieve at least one major part of his second-term domestic agenda. Legacy time! That might be worth a few Conyers-led hearings. ... [That's insane-ed It will be the official WH spin the day after the GOP loses the House, no?]

c) It would obviously help House Republicans get across the anti-semi-amnesty message if before November they passed a sort of lowest-common-denominator enforcement-only immigration bill--including a few hundred miles of fence. Make the Democrats vote against it. If Dems did vote against it, they'd probably pay a price. In any case, it would have a clarifying effect--isn't one point of pre-election legislation to heighten contrasts? ... If enough Dems supported it for the bill to actually pass, the GOPs would have a mini-accomplishment to boast about. ... Update: It's Newt's Step #2. ... P.S.: Why doesn't Hastert make this obvious, majority-preserving move? Perhaps President Bush is restraining him--see point (b).*** ... [link via  Sullivan ] 

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**Update: As if by more than mere coincidence, from a swing district in Colorado, the NYT's Carl Hulse reports:

In fact, many Republicans, on the defensive here and around the country over the war in Iraq, say they are finding that a hard-line immigration stance resonates not just with conservatives, who have been disheartened on other fronts this year, but also with a wide swath of voters in districts where control of the House could be decided. [Emph. added]

Te lo dije! ... 9/7 Update: Pinkerton  sees the same Bush/Hastert divide--

In a tough election year, in which Bush's unpopularity is one of the big drags on Republican prospects, the president has nevertheless managed to persuade fellow Republicans not to make use of their best remaining issue - immigration.

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***--Sleeper? But note that, despite the widely-reported shelving of the immigration bills, House Republicans will push "funding for border security fences and barriers" as a "homeland security" measure, according to Majority Leader Boehner. So immigration-oriented GOPs may still get a fence to brag about (or Democratic fence opponents to attack).. .. [ Via  The Note 6:08 P.M. link

Gran Hype: The great post-march Hispanic voter registration surge has failed to materialize, according to the AP. ... 11:44 A.M.

Quantity, Kos, and Coulter!  Kf's 3-step recipe for stats-page success: Welcome, summer people. We've been here all along. Lucky we're not bitter about it. Here's what you missed: ... A big debate about the essential nature of Plano, Texas ... Kos  .... the Long Tail vs. our precious common culture  ... Kos ... Universal  Health Care vs universal Social Security .... "Kausism" ...  More universal health insurance vs. universal Social Security. ... Cocooning. ... Coulter ... Bloggingheads.tv vs. Waiting for Godot ... Maybe I should have gone on vacation ... 2:00 A.M.

If Hillary takes herself out of the 2008 race, that will focus a lot of attention on the alleged shortage of other appealing Dem candidates. (You know the litany: Edwards is too light and too left, Biden's too impressed with his own motormouth, Warner and Bayh are too dull, Kerry is Kerry.)  I've asked this before, but what's wrong with Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell? So far nobody's come up with a convincingly fatal flaw. ... Of course, it's not like Pennsylvania's a crucial swing state. ... Oh, wait. ... 12:35 A.M.

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Monday, September 4, 2006

A piece I couldn't write: An appreciation of Warren Mitofsky, the pioneering pollster, who died of an aneurysm last Friday. Posted by Mystery Pollster on his new site. ... 8:52 P.M.

The Bangledammerung approaches? In a "surprise," Bangled-up BMW car sales  fall in August. The company blames "managed inventory in advance of the launch of several new models ..." You know whom kf blames. ... Update: Bangle-bashing is everywhere, even computer tech sites. ("[L]ooks like the sort of roadkill you see on the back of a recovery truck.") These people simply do not have the professionalism and skills to appreciate beauty on the highest level! ... P.S.: At least the August drop didn't come on the heels of a July drop! ... Oh, ....  More: Another philistine, kf emailer J.S., damns Bangle's designs as "metrosexualism in cars." ...That would be as opposed to the new Saturn Sky, which is close to being flat-out gay. ...  3:14 A.M.

Sunday, September 3, 2006

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Long-time e-mailer "G" comments on the too-British-to-be-trustedLondon Times story  claiming that "some of [Hillary Clinton's] closest advisers say she might opt out of the White House race and seek to lead her party in the Senate."

Hillary has shown herself particularly vulnerable to using present CW as her political compass. She could have run in '04, but took herself out of contention by mid-2003 because Bush looked like such a political behemoth at that point and the CW was she had a better chance waiting for '08. That decision left the field open to the political light-weights like Kerry, Dean and Edwards who were in the final running during the '04 primary season. Had Hillary run last go around, she would have probably won the nomination and would have had a better chance at beating Bush than Kerry did (which as we should remember was pretty good, as the 51-49 result shows).

Good point. But if the problem is that she's overly cautious, calculating and chameleon-like--but can raise lots of money--then Senate Minority/Majority Leader might be a good job for her, no? ... P.S.: Didn't this whole Hillary-for-Senate Majority Leader story start with a report on Steve Clemons' Washington Note a month ago? ... See also Ezra Klein. ... 11:36 A.M.

Oliver Stone, not bankable! World Trade Center--Box office after 24 days: $58.9 million. ... Production budget: $65 million ... If it's true that the studio only gets half the box office receipts, and the $65 million doesn't include tens of millions in marketing costs, there is no way this movie is making money. ... 1:46 A.M.

82_horizontal_rule

Bloggingheads--Bob Wright's videoblog project. Gearbox--Searching for the Semi-Orgasmic Lock-in. Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--He reports! And decides!  Wonkette--Makes Jack Shafer feel guilty.  Salon--Survives! kf gloating on hold. Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! David Corn--Trustworthy reporting from the left.  Washington Monthly--Includes Charlie Peters' proto-blog. Lucianne.com--Stirs the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. Keller's Calmer Times--Registration required.  NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare!  Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog.  Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. Overlawyered.com--Daily horror stories. Eugene Volokh--Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman--Born to blog. Joe Conason--Bush-bashing, free most days. Lloyd Grove--Don't let him write about you. Arianna's Huffosphere--Now a whole fleet of hybrid vehicles. TomPaine.com--Web-lib populists. Take on the News--TomPaine's blog.  B-Log--Blog of spirituality!  Hit & Run--Reason gone wild! Daniel Weintraub--Beeblogger and Davis Recall Central. Eduwonk--You'll never have to read another mind-numbing education story again. Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. John Leo--If you've got political correctness, he's got a column ... [More tk]