Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A BALM TO ALL THE RUDY HYPE

Matthew Yglesias seems to have called the press/GOP on the most recent incarnation of Rudymania. His article lays out why Rudy isn't the right man to be making the GOP's foreign policy argument.

An Under the Radar Story

One of the important stories of this election that is getting almost no reporting is the Democrats success in keep Ralph Nader off the ballot in many states. (Nader's petition drives in most states have been supported by GOP organizations.)

According to Chris Bowers, Nader is currently off of 14 state ballots - AZ, CA, GA, ID, IN, IL, MD, MI, MO, OK, PA, NC, SC and TN. Importantly, Nader is off the ballot in such key states as Arizona, Michigan, Missouri and Pennsylvania. And this fight is far from over, with several states still to decided on Nader's ballot status.

The Nader factor kept Al Gore from winning the electoral College vote in 2000. The Democrats have gone a long way to assuring that problem is minimized.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

VIETNAM

I am too young to remember Vietnam, so all of the Vietnam furor seems like a bunch of Boomer angst to me. Therefore frankly I have not been paying close attentionto all the charges and countercharges over Kerry's service, I am more interested in the media coverage. On that front, up until the last day or so, the Bush/Swift Boat team was winning the media battle -- the charges were being reported, Kerry's campaign was slow on the response and Bush wasn't faced with any downside to this argument.

However, in the past couple days, the Kerry campaign seems to have gained the momentum. The Swift Boat charges about Kerry's medals seem to have been discredited as more and more witnesses speak up. Then it turns out that Ben Ginsburg, legal counsel to BC04, provided legal advice to the Swift Boat team, after the Bush campaign denied that they had any connection to the Swift Boaters. (As a legal question, this does not constitute coordination, but as a political question it is damaging and looks and smells like contact, if not coordination.) And then it turns out that Kerry's chief accuser told President Nixon, back in 1971, that like John Kerry he too was in Cambodia, although now he claims that he was just very, very, very close to the border.

I do not think that this story will fade under the noise of the GOP convention next week, so the smart political move by the BC04 team would be to stand up with John McCain and say that these Swift Boat ads should come down. Whatever damage that would be done has been done and the "denunciation" would serve to signal the end of the media hype, as well as, playing well with the 18 undecided voters in the country. Plus the Swift Boat ads are going to stay up anyway. Thanks to generous GOP donors, they have all the money they need to keep running the ads through November.

The tide is starting to turn on this controversy. If the President does not change the dynamics by announcing his disapproval of this specific ad, it will stop being a political plus and could turn into a real problem. Many voters may decided that the Bush team was behind the Swift Boat ads. Plus, since most or all of the charges seems to have been refuted, it just draws more attention to the fact that one candidate served in Vietnam and the other didn't, that one was awarded the Bronze Star, while the other can't find anyone who actually saw him complete his service in Alabama. The smart move would be to change the subject now. Honestly, I think both campaigns would benefit.


Tuesday, August 24, 2004

New State Polls

Arkansas: 48% Bush/ 47% Kerry (Survey USA poll of likely voters)
Florida: 49% Bush/ 49.6% Kerry/ 0.3% Nader (Zogby Interactive Poll of registered voters)
Florida: 48% Bush/46% Kerry/2% Nader (Gallup poll of likely voters)
Florida: 45% Bush/45% Kerry/3% Nader (Gallup poll of registered voters)
New Hampshire: 43.3% Bush/ 50.5% Kerry/ 1.4% Nader (Zogby Interactive Poll of registered voters)
Ohio: 51.4% Bush/ 45.8% Kerry/ 0.8% Nader (Zogby Interactive Poll of registered voters)
Virginia: 49% Bush/ 45% Kerry (Survey USA poll of likely voters)

Thursday, August 19, 2004

STATE BY STATE PRESIDENTIAL POLLS

I have set up a page to track the state presidential polls here. (There is also a link on the right.) It is a work in progress, by I will try to keep it as updated as possible.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Multiple Choice Test

Which of today's stories causes the biggest headache at the White House today:

A) Conservative Christians feel slighted by party's moderate picks for prime convention slots -- LA Times

B) GOP Vice-Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Doug Bereuter says he now believes the U.S. military assault on Iraq was unjustified -- Lincoln Journal Star

C) Bush Twin to be present at gay marriage of their beautician - New York Daily News.

I say clearly the answer is B, but don't underestimate the impact of C.

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY
SAMUEL STONE WARD

Sam was born yesterday.

And a fine day it was to be born too. The weather was nice, the Red Sox won and the Yankees lost.

On previous August 17ths:
Davey Crockett(1786), Marcus Garvey (1887), Boog Powell (1941) and Belinda Carlisle (1958) were born.
In 1790, the location of the capital city of the United States moved from New York City to Philadelphia.
In 1807, Robert Fulton's steamboat Clermont begins 1st trip up Hudson River.
In 1903, the first Pulitzer Prize was awarded, as Joseph Pulitzer made a million-dollar donation to Columbia University. This provided the funding for the Pulitzer Prize awards to be made in Joseph Pulitzer’s name.
And in 1939, the "Wizard of Oz" opens at Loew's Capitol Theater in NYC.

Truly a fine day to be born.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Bush has problems in North Carolina

The latest poll has the BC ticket at 48 and the KE ticket at 45. Even though Edwards is on the Democratic ticket, NC cannot be a battleground state for Republicans if they expect to win.

Friday, August 13, 2004

BUSH HAS PROBLEMS IN FLORIDA

This St. Petersburg Times article outlines the growing problems that BC04 has in a must win state. None of these problems are devestating, but it will require that the campaign focus more money and energy in Florida, at the expense of other swing states (i.e. Ohio, Pennsylvania and Missouri.)

Kerry seems to have a small, but signifigant lead in this vital state and Bush is playing catch up. It is still early, but not too early for the alarm bells to be ringing at BC04 headquarters.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Most Uncomfortable Press Conference Ever!

Not only is Gov. McGreevey resigning, but during the press conference he also came out of the closet. He declared himself a "Gay American"and admitted to an affair with a male aide. (I literally cringed while listening to the press conference, by far the "Most Uncomfortable Press Conference Ever!")

(Alright NY Post headline writers, Christmas has come early, do yourself proud!)

His resignation will become official on Nov. 15, which avoids a special election this fall, and allows the President of the State Senate to be Governor until 2006. But look for the NJ GOP to make a huge stink over the timing. And they will be right to do so.

The people of New Jersey should be voting this fall for a new governor. I don't know, if McGreevey needed to resign over these accusations, but having done so, he should allow the voters to choose his successor. To not do so is wrong both politically and substantively.

(I could go on about how the Democrats in NJ continually self-destruct in a state that should be safely blue, but I will leave that for another day.)

NJ GOV. TO RESIGN?

He is having a press conference right now.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Is WalMart Republican and Costco Democratic?

Daniel Gross makes the case in Slate.

FROM LAST NIGHT'S DAILY SHOW

On Bob Novak's latest column on John Kerry and Vietnam:

Novak, of course, most well known for heroically publishing the identity of an active CIA agent, which I thought sent a clear message to the world, saying, "If that's what we'll do to our own spies, imagine, just imagine, what we'll do to yours. . . Well, our man Novak is at it again, he has a little editorial in the Washington Post. . .

We had implied that the [Swift Boat Veterans for Truth] ad was a low blow, perhaps produced by those angry at Kerry for his post-war activities that they've never gotten over. . . But Novak has shown me that I'm wrong.

Yesterday's Washington Post has an interesting editorial by Novak, saying, "Maybe we're not giving this group a fair shake." For instance, yes, Kerry's crew supports him, but as Novak reminds us, "these former sailors with Kerry for no more than five weeks."

And Jim Rassmann, the man whose live Kerry saved, "was only spending a few days with Kerry when he fell or was knocked off the Swift Boad." So the guy Kerry saved was some stranger. It makes the whole thing more cowardly.

Don't you see? Novak ends with the only logical conclusion about the book: "Unfit for Command sends a devastating message, unless it is effectively refuted." Because in this country, when a scurrilous charge is made against you, by people, you're guilty! Unless you prove otherwise! That's how it works! Kudos, Robert Novak, you truly are a douchebag of liberty.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Newest Amazing Race Summary Up . . .

POLITICIANS DON'T FADE AWAY, THEY JUST RUN FOR ANOTHER OFFICE

He was once a ridiculed figure by most (including myself), seen as a tragic figure by a some, and as a hero by a tiny minority, but reading this Washington Post profile of Marion Barry it is hard to feel anything but sorry for this guy. He continues to run for office after his closest friends and allies have deserted him and his health is failing. Once a source for outrage/comedy, now he is just a figure to be pitied.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

In Praise Of Phil Graham

I don't agree with former Senator Phil Graham (R-TX) on much, but he will always have my respect for how he switched parties in the 80's. Graham, then in the House, resigned his seat and ran for his old seat in a special election. He recognized that the voters had elected him as a Democrat, and that they should have the right to expect him to keep his word to them, so instead of break that word, he resigned, explained his position and sought their approval --which the voters gave by electing him again.

Contrast this to Rodney Alexander, who recently switched from D to R, on the last day for a candidate to register for the fall election, after previously registering as a Democrat. This effectively assures that the Democrats cannot run a strong opponent against him. Alexander has the absolute right to switch parties, and he had been flirting with this idea for a while, so the switch itself is not a shock, but the way that he did shows no respect to the voters and is an insult to the people he is supposed to represent.

AMEN

Jeff Jacoby has a fantastic op-ed in Thursday's Boston Globe on the continuing disgrace that is Congressional redistricting. This continues to be a the single most anti-democratic (small D) event that this country experiences (sorry, Florida). I know that this is my soapbox issue, and realistically, I know that this won't change short of a Constitutional Amendment, but it strikes me a so unfair and so against the American values that I can't just let it fade away until 2010.

Hopes Dashed? or Maybe Dascheled?

Way back in early 2003, Sen. Bill Frist was the fair haired boy of the GOP. He was a doctor and a philanthropist, with a calm non-threatening demeanor that seemed to be straight out of central casting. After helping to cast aside Trent Lott as Senate Majority Leader, his name was front and center as the most natural successor to Junior in 2008 (at least the most natural successor whose name did not also end in Bush).

How times have changed. Junior is a in a fight for his survival (and right now, at least, losing) and Bill Frist while struggling to control a GOP majority Senate has seen his political futures dim. Indeed, most observers, this one included, would give Frist a low, or even failing, grade as Senate Majority Leader. As the Washington Post details in this page one story, Bill Frist has had a great deal of trouble making the adjustment from doctor to leader, and his failure to push through a Republican agenda in a government ruled by Republicans will be an event that the GOP will rue for many years (and maybe even beyond.)

Friday, August 06, 2004

ANTI-KERRY CLAIMS FALL FLAT

Somehow in Drudge's breathless coverage of the anti-Kerry allegations by the "men who served with John Kerry" he has missed this story in today's Boston Globe in which a key figure recants his statement that Kerry ''lied about what occurred in Vietnam."

Instead Lieutenant Commander George Elliott tells the Globe that he had made a ''terrible mistake" in signing an affidavit that suggests Kerry did not deserve the Silver Star and that he still thinks Kerry deserved the Silver Star.

(BTW - "men who served who John Kerry" apparently means men who were also in Vietnam, but does not mean, as most people would infer, that these men served on the boats with Senator Kerry.)

As I mentioned yesterday, the negative coverage that this is getting from the press (See The Washington Post, "McCain Criticizes Ad Attacking Kerry on Vietnam Record") and the fact that McCain is now in the position of defending John Kerry, and attacking his critics, is bad for the White House. And now that the "allegations" seem to be falling apart, I predict that the White House will soon be disavowing these commercials in much clearer language than their mealy mouthed attempts so far.

[Update - Drudge has now posted a link to the story.]

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Kerry Attacks

I think that the recent attacks on Kerry's war records are a sign of desperation. So far the White House has refused to distance itself from the attacks, which will only serve to make sure that these charges get more press. But in doing so (and lending implicit credence to the claims), the WH run several risks, including the press doing stories about similar attacks against John McCain in 2000, McCain himself saying something negative about the White House (he comes close here), as well as, continued attention to the fact that one candidate went to Vietnam and was shot at, while the other used family connections to go fly airplanes and then not show up for meetings that were inconvenient.

Even bloggers that seem to be otherwise sympathetic to Junior are decrying the latest attacks. (She also raises the good question about the convenient and suspicious timing of these attacks)

I have been wrong about negative attacks before (I usually think that the public will see through them, even when they don't), but this one seems so over the top that it should fail.

Only time will tell how effective this strategy is , but that fact that the White House is not running away from these claims makes me suspect that they are looking for anything to soften up the 2-4% lead that Kerry seems to have solidified. By risking some serious blowback for their tacit support for these claims, the BC04 people are showing some real desperation and fear about the results come November unless there is a change in the dynamics of the race.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

TWO QUICK POLITICAL NOTES

1) The defeat of the incumbent governor in yesterday's Missouri (my home state) primary is bad news for the BC04 people for two reasons. Obviously it takes a unpopular politician off the Democratic line come November, but almost as importantly, it shows that voters are willing to turn an incumbent out of office. That type of voter eagerness for change (see also California 2003) has to make Karl Rove and the White House gang very nervous.

2) Illinois GOPers appear to be going after two flawed candidates to replace Jack Ryan on the GOP Senate ballot. Although Alan Keyes will bring some interest to the race, and make it a whole lot more fun to cover for local reporters, he has zero chance of getting elected. And amazingly, he is the least flawed of the two candidates being vetted, at least he doesn't have any sexual harassment complaints on his record and wasn't a Democrat until appointed to the Bush administration.

Congratulations

to my friend Steve Tobocman, who won his primary race for his second term as a State Representative in Michigan. Given his district, it is probable that he will easily be reelected in November.

Monday, August 02, 2004

TWOP ON THE AMAZING RACE

The latest recap of The Amazing Race is up on Television Without Pity. If you watch the show, this is mandatory reading.

Conservatives looking forward to President Kerry?

This article lists five reason why conservatives may secretly wish for a Bush defeat this fall.

I do get the sense that conservatives are a little disgruntled over the direction this country is taking under a GOP led government (Spending is up, deficits are back, social issues seem to be taking a back seat, and the Democrats have not bowed meekly to the GOP's might), but I don't think that they think that a President Kerry would make things better.

A 2004 GOP defeat, especially if it is accompanied by the Dems taking back the Senate and gaining some seats in the House would set the stage for a true battle for the soul of the party. Although some conservatives might long for such a battle, the party itself would come out weaker and take years to recover. (See Democratic Party 1968 - 1992.)

Sunday, August 01, 2004

INTERESTING NOMAH POST

From Sons of Sam Horn (I report, you decide):

Another indictment on Garciaparra and his recent demeanor has been not one teammate calling out management for moving this guy. If he was totally on page with the team I would expect the obligatory "Hey I'm not management, but they just traded away the heart and soul of the Red Sox" The closest I heard was Jeter who said "when you think of the Red Sox the first name you think of is Nomar Garciaparra.

(Of course, I will defer to Derek on all things Red Sox. (Sarcasm Notice!))

Fidelity Oaths

The Albuquerque Journal is reporting that BC 04 (Bush Cheney reelect) is requiring people to sign an "oath" that they support the BC ticket before they can get into a campaign rally.

Now, I understand that you don't want disruptions at a rally . . . but signing an oath? That seems a bit extreme.

A NM court rejected an application to open the rally on procedural grounds (which, I think is right given the circumstances), but I think that they would have won on substantive grounds as well, there is no Constitutional right to hear the Vice-President give a campaign speech. But I don't imagine this will become regular practice. While it isn't against the Constitution it is not a particularly smart political tactic.
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