« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 1, 2008

So This Is 2008

Hmm. So far, seems a lot like 2007. I'm just amazed I stayed up late enough to see it change. I hope you all had a great (and safe) celebration! I got to spend it with the Little Admiral and the First Mate, which is as spectacular as I wanted. We watched the Back to the Future trilogy after having an early dinner with the Little Admiral's other grandparents. It seemed an appropriate choice for ringing in a new year. I'm assuming the ball dropped in Manhattan as it always does....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Final DMR Poll Puts Huckabee And Obama On Top

The one agency with the best record in polling Iowans has published its final survey two days before the Iowa caucuses, and the results show little difference from its last. Mike Huckabee continues to outpoll Mitt Romney among Republicans, and Barack Obama has increased his lead over Hillary Clinton among Democrats. The more interesting results follow afterwards: Obama was the choice of 32 percent of likely Democratic caucusgoers, up from 28 percent in the Register's last poll in late November, while Clinton, a New York senator, held steady at 25 percent and Edwards, a former North Carolina senator, was virtually unchanged at 24 percent. ... The size of Huckabee's lead is virtually unchanged from the last Iowa Poll taken in late November, despite Romney's hard-charging effort to regain the top spot that he held earlier in the year. The new poll, taken over four days ending on Sunday, shows a...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Getting Pakistan Wrong, Democrat-Style

Last week, pundits across the spectrum castigated Mike Huckabee for a couple of glaring mistakes in his response to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. He offered "apologies" to Pakistanis, later clarifying to "condolences", and inexplicably placed Afghanistan on Pakistan's eastern border, rather than western. If those gaffes qualify for headline treatment, then Hillary Clinton's confusion on Pakistani politics should get top-of-the-wires treatment, at least: Senator Hillary Clinton was praised in the wake of the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto for demonstrating her command of the players and the issues at stake in Pakistan, even as another candidate, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, was criticized for stumbling over details. But in two confident television appearances, on CNN and ABC, Clinton made an elementary error about Pakistani politics: She described President Pervez Musharraf as a "candidate" who would be "on the ballot." In fact, Musharraf was re-elected to the...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Huckabee Conference Call Live Blog

Governor Mike Huckabee decided to hold a blogger conference call on New Years Day. Normally holding this on a holiday would seem unusual, but with the Iowa caucuses in two days, they have little choice but to keep on the job throughout the last 72 hours. The conference appears to be getting off to a slightly late start, but I will live-blog it once it begins. 5:33 PM CT - Chuck Norris joins us as a surprise guest. Huckabee starts off talking about how Iowa has become the center of the political universe. He's happy with the enthusiasm he's seen. 5:34 - Chuck Norris says he got to know about Huckabee through the bloggers. Friendly guy, nice statement, short, non-specific. 5:35 - Not a lot of room left in the Marriott where they's staying in Des Moines. Q&A for both Norris and Huckabee. 5:35 - First question, from a Huckabee...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 2, 2008

Rasmussen Sees A Republican Rebound

Surveys in 2006 saw an erosion in Republican Party affiliation that opened the gap between the major parties from 1.6% to over 6%, favoring Democrats, by the end of the year. Twelve months later, the performance of the Democrats while controlling Congress has almost completely reversed the trend. Rolling into 2008, Rasmussen shows that Republicans have their highest share of affiliation since January 2006 and only trail Democrats by two points: The number of Americans who consider themselves to be Republicans jumped nearly two percentage points in December to 34.2%. That’s the largest market share for the Republican brand in nearly two years, since January 2006 (see history from January 2004 to present). At the same time, the number of Democrats fell to 36.3%. That’s down a point compared to a month ago. During 2007, the number of Democrats has ranged from a low of 35.9% in July to a...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Light 'Em If You Got 'Em?

The man responsible for enforcing a smoking ban in Portugal needs a refresher course on its parameters, as well as a nicotine patch for himself. The day that the new ban went into effect, Antonio Nunes decided to light one up in a casino -- one of the areas where cigarette smoking is prohibited: The head of the Portuguese agency responsible for enforcing a new ban on smoking in public was seen lighting up at a New Year party, breaking the law on the first day it came into effect. Antonio Nunes, president of Portugal's food standards agency, was photographed by the daily Diario de Noticias smoking a cigar at a casino on the outskirts of Lisbon. Nunes told the daily he was not aware the anti-smoking law, which applies to cafes, restaurants and bars, also included casinos. But a spokesman for the Ministry of Health said it did. "We...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Tribal Warfare In Kenya?

Kenya has erupted in violence after a suspicious election process kept president Mwai Kibaki in power, but that political unrest may have turned to tribal warfare. Thirty people died in a church in a fire, reminiscent of a well-known Nazi atrocity in France, and over 200 more have died in fighting since an election rejected by European and American observers as flawed. The Luo tribe, to which opposition leader Raila Odinga belongs, appears to be targeting the Kikuyus of Kibaki: The tribe of the church victims in the western town of Eldoret is not immediately clear, but the Kikuyus of Mr Kibaki have been the main targets of the violence so far. The Kikuyus are the largest tribe in Kenya, and Mr Odinga belongs to the second-largest Luo tribe. "Supporters of Raila Odinga are involved in ethnic cleansing," a government spokesman said. Members of Mr Odinga's party have made similar...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

China's Family Values: The More Valuables, The More Family

China's infamous one-child policy has women undergoing forced abortions and the proletariat paying heavy fines for their supposedly excessive procreation. The rich, meanwhile, have a completely different experience in China. Their fines go mostly uncollected, and they have other means to increase their multitudes: A growing number of rich and powerful people in central China are brazenly flouting the country's one-child policy, a newspaper said Wednesday. The violations in Hubei province are leaving local family planning officials powerless, the Beijing Morning Post reported. Even when fined by authorities, many rich that have openly ignored the rules are slow to provide the money, the newspaper said. In one case, a person was fined $106,000 for having a second child, the highest amount ever in Hubei, but has only paid $14,000, the paper said. The report said 1,678 people, including government officials, were punished in 2007 for not adhering to the policy,...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Thanks, But No Thanks

Dennis Kucinich has bequeathed his political support in Iowa to Barack Obama, in the case of his political demise in the caucuses. The perennial also-ran told his supporters that they should caucus for Obama if he fails to win enough support to pass the viability test. And while Kucinich may not have numerical support, he still retains influence among the MoveOn crowd. At Heading Right, I look at the dynamics of the Kucinich endorsement. It doesn't take "peace math" to calculate the potential damage to Obama in more moderate states if he gets too closely linked to Kucinich's brand of fringe politics or his vocal supporters among the MoveOn/International ANSWER crowd....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Don't Bash The Mismanager?

Mitt Romney apparently got caught not taking his own advice yesterday. While the New York Times quotes Romney as scolding Mike Huckabee for criticizing George Bush in a December essay for the Council on Foreign Relations, Reuters has Romney doing much the same thing at another venue. First, the Times quotes Romney in central Iowa: Mitt Romney was in central Iowa, where he went after Mr. Huckabee for making critical comments about President Bush’s foreign policy on Monday. “I think we should come together and recognize the great work our president is doing and not take our rhetoric or our plays from Democratic playbook,” Mr. Romney said. “This is the kind of stuff you expect of the Democrats, but it’s certainly not something you expect of a presidential contender on the Republican side.” In Johnstown, however, Romney appeared comfortable with that same approach: Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Tuesday...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Musharraf Goes International On Bhutto Investigation

Apparently bowing to some harsh political realities, Pervez Musharraf has reversed course and allowed for an international investigation into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. The move comes hours after the Musharraf government apologized for its "official" version of events and acknowledged that Bhutto died from gunshot wounds in the assassination. Scotland Yard will come to Pakistan to conduct its own probe into the murder of dozens, including Bhutto: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf said Wednesday that he had requested a team of investigators from Britain's Scotland Yard to assist in the investigation into the killing of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. "We decided to request a team from Scotland Yard to come. I sent the request to (British) Prime Minister (Gordon) Brown, and he accepted the request," Musharraf said, adding that the British team would assist local investigators. "We would like to know what were the reasons that led to the martyrdom...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Huckabee Responds To Critics On Ad Pull

Earlier this morning, I conducted an interview with Governor Mike Huckabee regarding criticism of his ad pull in Iowa and the press conference that followed. The interview got arranged after last night's blogger conference call, when Huckabee's team wanted to allow for a clear answer to the controversy. I'll play the entire 10-minute recorded interview on Heading Right Radio today, but here are a few quotes to whet listener appetites: Regarding ads opposing Huckabee: "The ads were dishonest .... misrepresentations and outright fabrications of my record." A pattern: "The same kind of ads were going against John McCain in New Hampshire. ... not an accident or an isolated incident." Why he pulled the ads: "The television sets (in Iowa) had become a cesspool ... People keep saying that they want a positive campaign, and let's give them an opportunity to prove that that's exactly what they want." On showing the...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Does The Peacock Have A Brown Beak?

The mainstream news media tends to discount bloggers, especially in the electoral process, as biased shills who either deliberately or cluelessly wind up doing promotional work for parties and candidates. I'm sure that NBC viewers noticed the professional treatment Matt Lauer and especially his co-anchor Meredith Viera gave Hillary Clinton in this gushing performance this morning (via The Anchoress). Pay close attention to the chatter between Lauer and Viera afterwards. I'm glad to see a major media outlet demonstrating their objective and impartial distance from political candidates. I wonder how long it will be before both submit this as a video for The Hillary I Know....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: Mike Huckabee, Jim Talent, And NZ Bear

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), I will air a recorded interview with Republican front-runner Mike Huckabee regarding the ad pull and the presser that followed. We'll also talk live with Senator Jim Talent about his support for Mitt Romney. NZ Bear joins us to make sense of it all in the second half! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Justice To Open Criminal Probe On CIA Videotapes

Michael Mukasey has decided to open a criminal investigation into the destruction of videotaped interrogations conducted by the CIA that included waterboarding. John Durham, the federal prosecutor for Connecticut, will head the probe. It raises the stakes for everyone involved in the destruction of the tapes, which the CIA denied ever having and kept from the 9/11 Commission: The Justice Department opened a full criminal investigation Wednesday into the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes, putting the politically charged probe in the hands of a mob-busting public corruption prosecutor with a reputation as being independent. Attorney General Michael Mukasey announced that he was appointing John Durham, a federal prosecutor in Connecticut, to oversee the investigation of a case that has challenged the Bush administration's controversial handling of terrorism suspects. The CIA acknowledged last month that in 2005 it destroyed videos of officers using tough interrogation methods while questioning two al-Qaida suspects....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

A Fred Surge?

Some CapQ readers have pointed to the latest numbers from Zogby in Iowa as a harbinger of a Fred Thompson surprise for tomorrow's caucuses. In their daily tracking poll, conducted by traditional telephone surveys rather than on-line polls, Zogby shows a significant bump in support over the last three days -- enough to tie Fred with John McCain for third place: On the Republican side, Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, gained a bit on Mike Huckabee, the former governor of Arkansas. Huckabee cumulative three-day tracking total equaled 28% support among likely Republican caucus–goers, while Romney moved up from 25% to 26% support. Arizona Sen. John McCain remained in third place at 12%, tied with former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson, who has seen a late-breaking surge. Among Democrats, 5% were yet undecided just three days ahead of the caucuses. Among Republicans, 6% were yet unsure. Huckabee’s support spans all...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Groundswell Needed For EO

Sources on the Hill tell some of us that a critical point has been reached at the White House on whether to issue an Executive Order that would prevent federal agencies from spending funds on 90% of the earmarks in the Omnibus Spending Bill. According to the whispers, the earmarkers on Capitol Hill have begun to lean heavily on the White House to let the matter drop and to keep the earmark funding in place. Every day brings a fresh round of calls from the same lawmakers who porked up the overdue spending bill, "airdropping" almost all of them (against the new rules in Congress) to keep the porkers from accountability. If CapQ readers want George Bush to issue the Executive Order and hold Congress responsible for violating its own rules while pursuing personal political benefits, they need to let the White House know now how they feel. The EO...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 3, 2008

The Final Polling In Iowa: Clinton Fades

The final polling before the Iowa caucuses has come from a joint Reuters/Zogby/C-SPAN survey, and the news for Hillary looks bad. She now comes in third behind the inexperienced duo of Barack Obama and John Edwards. This continues a slow fade for Hillary that had its start in a botched November debate answer: Democrat Barack Obama surged to a four-point lead over John Edwards in Iowa, with Hillary Clinton fading to third just hours before the first presidential nominating contest, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Zogby poll released on Thursday. Obama and Edwards gained ground overnight in the tracking poll, and Clinton fell four points to third place -- a finish that, if it held, would deal a dramatic setback to the one-time Democratic front-runner. Obama was at 31 percent among likely Democratic caucus-goers, Edwards at 27 percent and Clinton 24 percent. No other Democrat was in double digits. In the Republican...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Who Lost Fallujah?

According to the Washington Times, the military reviewed the loss of Fallujah to Iraqi insurgents and al-Qaeda terrorists in 2004 to determine how the US lost control of the city. The Marine Corps should have beaten the terrorists in a straight up fight, but the Pentagon believes that the enemy had a lot of help from a surprising source -- surprising for everyone except those who watched it happen in real time: "The outcome of a purely military contest in Fallujah was always a foregone conclusion — coalition victory," read the assessment, prepared by analysts at the U.S. Army's National Ground Intelligence Center, or NGIC. "But Fallujah was not simply a military action, it was a political and informational battle. ... The effects of media coverage, enemy information operations and the fragility of the political environment conspired to force a halt to U.S. military operations," concluded the assessment. ... The...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Fred Says Relax, He Won't Do It

The Politico predicts that Fred will drop out of the race if he doesn't come up with a strong showing in Iowa this evening. Fred replies that it's just a nasty rumor to discredit him in upcoming states: Several Republican officials close to Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign said they expect the candidate will drop out of the race within days if he finishes poorly in Thursday’s Iowa caucus. Thompson’s campaign, which last spring and summer was generating fevered anticipation in the media and with some Republican activists, has never ignited nationally, and there are no signs of a late spark happening here in Iowa, where even a third-place finish is far from assured. This reality—combined with a fundraising drought—left well-connected friends and advisers of Thompson Wednesday evening predicting that he will pull the plug on hype and hope before the Jan. 8 New Hampshire primary. Fred replied: "That is absolutely...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Khameini: Goodbye Doesn't Mean Forever

The man with the real power in Iran hinted that he would like improved Iranian-American relations in the future, although not at the moment. Ayatollah Ali Khameini, the man in charge of Iran's Guardian Council and the true national leader of Iran's mullahcracy, also insisted that Iran needs to generate 20,000 megawatts of nuclear electricity within the next 20 years so it can continue to sell its oil and gas reserves for income: Iran's supreme leader said on Thursday restoring ties with the United States now would harm the Islamic state, but he did not rule it out in the future. "Not having relations with America is one of our main policies but we have never said this relationship should be cut forever," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a speech in the central province of Yazd, state television reported. "Certainly, the day when having relations with America is useful for...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Zelikow: This Is Not 20 Questions

Yesterday, Michael Mukasey appointed a prosecutor to begin a criminal investigation into the destruction of tapes by the CIA depicting, among other actions, interrogations of al-Qaeda terrorists using waterboarding. The destruction of the tapes came two years after a commission appointed by Congress and the President requested all relevant materials to the CIA's efforts before and after 9/11 to counter the threat from al-Qaeda. Not only did the CIA fail to provide the tapes, they never even told the 9/11 Commission they existed. In fact, the CIA told the commission -- as well as the federal court trying Zacarias Moussaoui -- that no such recordings ever existed, either through omission (with the Hamilton/Kean panel) or commission (the Moussaoui trial). Some have questioned whether the former, at least, amounts to criminal obstruction. Former Bush administration official and 9/11 Commission staffer Philip Zelikow writes to my friends at Power Line to clarify...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

CapQ Caption Contest! (Bumped: Photo Crank Added)

We haven't had a caption contest for quite some time here, and what better day to do it than the first working day of the political year? With the Iowa caucuses around the corner and a full year of campaigning both behind us and ahead of us, we need a few laughs. Here's a picture of Hillary Clinton on the Iowa stump, apparently signaling ... something: So what was Hillary signaling? Give us your best caption ideas in the comments section only. Anyone sending e-mailed captions will have to draw flowcharts of Hillary's position on drivers licenses for illegal immigrants. I'll try to pick the winner during my more-or-less live coverage of the Iowa caucuses tomorrow evening. If any blogger wishes to serve as judge for the contest, I'll be sure to give the requisite pluggage. Have fun, and remember -- Hillary's keeping an eye on you! UPDATE & BUMP:...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Jumping The Gun?

Ron Paul's supporters are seeing red after Fox News decided to exclude their candidate from the next presidential debate. ABC also plans to whittle down the participants in the next debate but will wait for the Iowa caucus to make clear who should get the invitations. The exclusion comes after Paul raised $19 million in the fourth quarter, the second-best GOP total for the year: ABC and Fox News Channel are narrowing the field of presidential candidates invited to debates this weekend just before the New Hampshire primary, in Fox's case infuriating supporters of Republican Ron Paul. The roster of participants for ABC's back-to-back, prime-time Republican and Democratic debates Saturday in New Hampshire will be determined after results of Thursday's Iowa caucus become clear. Fox, meanwhile, has invited five GOP candidates to a forum with Chris Wallace scheduled for its mobile studio in New Hampshire on Sunday. Rudy Giuliani, Mike...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Richardson: Let's Set Up Some 'Technocrats'

Apparently undeterred by criticism from his own party in the wake of Benazir Bhutto's assassination, Bill Richardson continues his quest to demonstrate that a great resume does not make a great Presidential candidate. He pens an essay for the Boston Globe demanding that the US should suspend all aid to Pakistan until Pervez Musharraf steps down -- in favor of "technocrats": PRESIDENT PERVEZ MUSHARRAF of Pakistan must go. Rather than waging the "unstinted" war against Al Qaeda that he promised, he has become a source of instability that terrorists are exploiting. Pakistan urgently needs a new government, and the United States should suspend all nonterrorism-related military aid until Musharraf steps aside. Some in Washington say we should stick with the dictator, because they fear chaos might follow his departure. But the risk of chaos is far greater if Musharraf remains. Only a new government, with broader support than Musharraf has,...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Hot Seat: Should Paul Get Excluded From The Debates?

Today, Captain's Quarters takes its place in the AOL Hot Seat. I decided to ask about the exclusion of Ron Paul from the next Fox News debate -- a strange decision, given the fact that Paul has attended each debate since the beginning, and no votes have yet been taken: embedSWF(9, 0, 0, "widget", "recent")This content requires the most recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. Get this version below:Get Flash This poll links back to my post from Tuesday, but we certainly can extend that debate to this thread as well. I am no fan of Ron Paul nor of the debate formats used thus far in the campaign. I have written a number of times that all of these debates had too many people on the stage to be effective, and that participation needed to be limited or the debates broken up into smaller events with only two...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

No Longer Inevitable Or Invincible

People have long speculated that Bill Richardsons' floundering presidential bid only served the purpose of making him a viable VP option for Hillary Clinton. Last night, however, he may have damaged those prospects -- while potentially improving them for another potential primary winner. Richardson instructed his caucusers to support Barack Obama if he fails the viability test in any precinct, rather than with Hillary (via Memeorandum): Gov. Bill Richardson's campaign is expected to direct their supporters to caucus for Sen. Barack Obama in the second round of voting at Thursday's caucuses in precincts where he is not viable. Two sources familiar with the plan told Iowa Independent that the New Mexico Governor's organizers have been instructed to direct supporters to Obama in the places where they fail to reach the 15% threshold for viability. Richardson, whose poll numbers in Iowa have hovered near 10% since June, may need a solid...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

A Few Dirty Tricks More

Only a few hours separates us from the results of the Iowa caucuses, and at least one campaign has decided to put them to good use. Push-polling calls have gone out to Iowans warning of the troubles voters will face from an Edwards or Obama nomination. Now who could have paid for those calls? Iowa Democrats received a new round of anonymous phone calls this week, under the guise of opinion poll research, slamming former Sen. John Edwards and Sen. Barack Obama, in the latest display of the ugly side of this year's presidential campaign. Even before the first vote is cast, 2008 is being called "one of the dirtiest campaigns in American history" by a political science professor who is tracking campaign dirty tricks and opposition research attacks on rival candidates. ... "Some foreign policy experts say that John Edwards' plan to pull out all combat troops in Iraq...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: Grover Norquist, Rep Peter King, Jim Geraghty On Caucus Day

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Grover Norquist from Americans for Tax Reform gives us his rundown of the candidates on Iowa's Caucus Day. If you're an Iowan planning on heading to the precincts, you'll want to hear what Grover has to say. In the second half of the show, Jim Geraghty joins us to talk about the latest developments in the contest! UPDATE: Rep Peter King (R-NY) joins us in the second half to talk about his support for Rudy Giuliani and what to look for in today's Iowa caucus. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Push Poll Investigation Surfaces

Remember the push poll around Thanksgiving that "asked" voters in New Hampshire if they had awareness of some aspects of the Mormon religion? Both Mitt Romney and John McCain filed complaints with the state Attorney General for violations of New Hampshire's laws against push-polling. At the time, no one would 'fess up to hiring Western Wats to conduct the attack. Now the AG has found the next-level cutout, and it wants witnesses who can show where it leads: Attorney General Kelly A. Ayotte is requesting the public’s assistance in identifying who employed Moore-Information of Portland, Oregon to conduct a poll in New Hampshire, in November 2007, which has been alleged to be a push-poll. New Hampshire’s voters deserve to know whether any candidate in our Presidential Primary violated New Hampshire’s push-poll statute. On Friday, November 16, 2007, the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office received complaints from both Mitt Romney for...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Live Coverage Of The Iowa Caucuses

10:28 pm - I forgot to pick the winner of the comments-section portion of the caption contest! I'll let Disqus voters choose -- and they chose JG, with "What's in YOUR wallet?" 9:03 - Looking at the Republicans, it looks like Thompson and McCain will slug it out for third place. If Thompson prevails, he can hope to live through to South Carolina. McCain will have his relatively strong showing that he can use in New Hampshire. And as for Ron Paul, he can take heart with a 10% showing, but his supporters should stop talking about revolutions and media conspiracies to underrepresent his support. 8:54 - I would be remiss if I didn't point out the aspect of the Iowa results that Bill Bennett noted on CNN. Barack Obama won in Iowa despite its rather monochromatic demographics, and he did while leaving race out of the mix. And if...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Iowa Caucus: The Democrats

Hillary Clinton has run into a serious buzz saw on her way to the coronation. Not only did she not win the state, but she lost to the wrong candidate. Barack Obama now threatens to steal away a nomination that the Clintons thought they had in the bank less than three months ago. Clinton would have had a tough time winning Iowa in any case. The populist appeal of John Edwards always figured to take some significant support away from Hillary. However, a second-place finish to Edwards would not have had much impact on her campaign, because Edwards has little appeal outside of the populist Midwest. She could easily have survived that kind of loss, without even considering it a bump in the road. Instead, Barack Obama beat both of them, and that's an ill portent for Hillary's march to the nomination. Obama beat Hillary in a state that has...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Iowa Caucus: The Republicans

This started off sounding like the Super Bowl -- the big-money Immovable Object meeting the grassroots Unstoppable Force. Iowans turned it into the usual kind of Super Bowl, a laugher, as Mike Huckabee stunned Mitt Romney with a nine-point win. Huckabee beat Romney by a much wider margin than anyone predicted, even larger than the five-point gap that I posted earlier this evening. What does this mean for Romney? It's a body blow. He spent somewhere between $8-9 million and came up far short of a victory. That directly reflects on his next race, where John McCain has taken the lead in his backyard. If he can't do any better against McCain than he did against Huckabee, Republican voters will rightly question whether Romney can win anywhere, even with the huge funding advantage he has had. If McCain wins in New Hampshire, Romney has serious problems, but it assists the...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 4, 2008

At Least They Got The Memo

Two men heard the message from the voters yesterday, and that message was not Please Continue. Chris Dodd and Joe Biden go back to the Senate after becoming afterthoughts in Iowa, winning no delegates and barely registering on anyone's consciousness: Veteran U.S. Sens. Joe Biden and Chris Dodd dropped out of the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday after placing a distant fifth and sixth, respectively, in the Iowa caucuses. Biden of Delaware and Dodd of Connecticut offered perhaps the most experience among the Democratic contenders, having each served in Congress for more than a quarter century. Both chaired powerful committees. But they came up far short in the race for the White House with polls showing Americans demanding change. Dodd, at least, left his mark on the race, especially on its presumptive nominee. In the November debate, it fell to Dodd to criticize Hillary Clinton for...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Hillary Responds To The Loss, Badly

It didn't take Hillary long to re-message the campaign in the wake of her stunning third-place loss to Barack Obama and John Edwards in Iowa. Instead of insisting on change, a theme more amenable to her opponent, Hillary will instead work on the inexperience of her opponents -- and use a tack that Democrats often claim Republicans use against them. It's all about the risk: A Clinton supporter forwards the talking points the campaign dispatched to surrogates around the country, which focus on process -- that the race is a "marathon" and that she started behind in Iowa -- and include just one line of substance, a clear signal that the card she has left to play is the one she rolled out in recent weeks: Security and risk. "We’re going to continue to make the case that in these serious times when America faces big challenges, it will take...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Travel Day

I'm taking a short vacation this weekend, and I'm traveling today and Monday; posting may be limited. I'll have my normal Week in Review show with Duane Patterson on Heading Right Radio this afternoon, and Monday will be a "Best Of" show. In between, I'll post a couple of updates on the race and other critical stories, but otherwise will busy myself with the Little Admiral, Mickey, Minnie, and the beautiful weather in Florida....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: The Week In Review!

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson joins us for the Week in Review -- and in this case, we'll mostly talk about the Iowa caucuses. Don't forget that we'll go 90 minutes today... Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. UPDATE: Here's the view from my perch at the Turf Club Grill in Disney's Saratoga Springs resort: Not a bad place to do a show! Join me in just a few moments .... Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 5, 2008

NARN, The Missing Man Edition

The Northern Alliance Radio Network will be on the air today, with our six-hour-long broadcast schedule starting at 11 am CT. The first two hours features Power Line's John Hinderaker and Chad and Brian from Fraters Libertas. Mitch and I hit the airwaves for the second shift from 1-3 pm CT, and King Banaian and Michael Broadkorb have The Final Word from 3-5. If you're in the Twin Cities, you can hear us on AM 1280 The Patriot, or on the station's Internet stream if you're outside of the broadcast area. Today, I'm on vacation, but be sure to tune in to see how wild and crazy Mitch gets when I'm gone. They usually have to replace the furniture every time I'm out of the studio, and in fact The Patriot offered me $50 bucks to stay in Minnesota rather than go to Florida. (This would have been a pretty...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Disney Insanity

By the time I finished the show yesterday and the rest of us shook off the travel fatigue, we didn't make it to the Magic Kingdom park until well after dark. We didn't get a chance to do many rides, but we did see the spectacular fireworks display and get a chance to walk around the park. For someone who grew up around Disneyland in Anaheim, the differences between the parks is impressive -- and the resorts are even more so. However, there is something particularly obnoxious about receiving your wake-up call from giggling and screaming cartoon characters. Yeesh. Today we do Epcot, starting with a Princess Breakfast at 9 am ET. The Little Admiral has been almost unable to contain herself waiting for this. This should be prime video material. Speaking of which, we took a little video last night on a ride that came out pretty dark. Can...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

A Way Out For Kenya?

After a week of rioting and murder, Kenya's Mwai Kibaki has apparently decided that his re-election cannot stand any longer. He has suddenly offered a power-sharing arrangement with his opposition, Rail Odinga, following charges of genocide on both sides over the violence that has wracked this East African nation. No one knows exactly what Kibaki has in mind, but the step comes after the US intervened with Kibaki: Kenya's president is ready to form "a government of national unity" to help resolve disputed elections that caused deadly riots, a government statement said Saturday without explaining what such a power-sharing arrangement might involve. President Mwai Kibaki made the statement to Jendayi Frazer, the leading U.S. diplomatic for Africa, according to the director of the presidential news service, Isaiya Kabira. Kabira said he could not say whether that was a formal offer to opposition leader Raila Odinga, who accuses Kibaki of stealing...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Don't I Recall Something Carville Said?

Bill Clinton wants people to know that Hillary doesn't do divisiveness -- it's thrust upon her. In a truly bizarre statement coming from the Clintons, they claim that the media forces Hillary to go negative against her opponents. She had to attack Barack Obama's kindergarten essays, the former president informs us, because the media wouldn't do it (via Memeorandum): Bill Clinton voiced his abiding anger at the media's coverage of him and his wife in Durham, N.H., today, and suggested that media bias will force Clinton to go negative on Barack Obama. He also expressed his frustration that his wife is perceived by voters as divisive through, he said, no fault of her own. Clinton, like his wife, is traveling New Hampshire taking questions from voters, and he spoke at the University of New Hampshire in Durham in response to a plea from a woman who said she'd like it...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

A Significant Win?

Mitt Romney won his first state race in the 2008 primaries, but even most political junkies didn't notice. Wyoming moved up its caucuses to the day after Iowa in order to gain some national attention, but instead lost half its delegates and remained mostly stuck in obscurity: Mitt Romney captured his first win of the Republican presidential race, gaining most of Wyoming's delegates at stake in GOP caucuses on Saturday. The former Massachusetts governor won six of the first eight delegates to be selected. Former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson and California Rep. Duncan Hunter won one apiece, meaning no other candidate could beat Romney. Caucuses were still being held to decide all 12 delegates at stake. Coming two days after the Iowa caucuses and three days before the New Hampshire primary, the early date of the Wyoming GOP county conventions was intended to draw candidates' attention to the state but...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 6, 2008

Saturday Night At The Primaries

Put on some hot cocoa, snuggle up to your best girl or guy on the couch and ... watch political debates? Well, for some that may qualify as a romantic Saturday night, but most Americans probably chose to head for the movies or for some late-season holiday parties instead. Some people couldn't quite manage to miss them, however, not even here in the Magic Kingdom, where I saw a portion of the Republican debate. Honestly, from what I saw, it looked like the most interesting and well-structured of the debates. It looked to me like Mitt Romney rather than Mike Huckabee took most of the offensives from the other candidates, most of which he handled well -- until Fred Thompson got Romney to admit he liked the "mandates that you want". It seemed to me that Thompson and McCain won the foreign policy portion of the debate. Everyone got a...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Apparently, John Edwards Just Met The Clintons

John Edwards just found out in 2008 what most of the country learned in the 1990s. After an aide to Hillary Clinton said that a woman whose death Edwards has mentioned repeatedly in his campaign would still be alive if Edwards had been more effective, Edwards said that the Clintons had "no conscience": Edwards: "The Clinton campaign has no conscience" That's Edwards' take on ... a Clinton aide's shot at him this morning, in which she said Nataline Sarkisyan would be alive if the patients bill of rights, which he'd boasted of championing, had passed. Well, this may be a bit of the pot calling the kettle black. Edwards has used the Sarkisyan case to blame the entire health industry for her death. He has also claimed a patient's bill of rights bill as his greatest legislative achievement, but underplays the fact that he couldn't get the bill passed into...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

When Azzam Gets Marched Home Again, Hurrah!

Maybe in a way, we are lucky to have Adam Gadahn as this war's Lord Haw Haw. The misfit from Garden Grove can communicate in a manner clear to most Americans, which at least has the virtue of avoiding misunderstandings. Gadahn, now known as Azzam al-Amriki, warned George Bush that al-Qaeda will provide their own welcome for his tour of the Middle East, but otherwise channeled Baghdad Bob: Al-Qaida's American spokesman urged fighters to meet President Bush with bombs when he visits the Middle East, according to a new video posted on the Internet Sunday. U.S.-born Adam Gadahn also tore up his American passport as part of a symbolic protest in the nearly hour-long rhetoric-dominated tape — al-Qaida's first message of the new year. ... "We felt it necessary to address the American people and explain to them some of the facts about these critical and fast-moving events," said Gadahn,...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 7, 2008

New Hampshire Polls: Obama Up Big, McCain Edging Romney

Two polls out in the last 12 hours show similar results for tomorrow's New Hampshire primaries, and both mean big trouble for two candidates seen as front-runners here earlier. Mitt Romney may lose the second state in his early-contest strategy, but he will likely make it close against John McCain. On the other side of the aisle, Hillary Clinton appears ready to lose big again against Barack Obama, further damaging her prospects for the nomination: USA Today: Amid frenetic last-minute campaigning, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds the onetime front-runners in New Hampshire lagging as Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain have surged to leads before Tuesday's primary. Obama vaulted to a 13 percentage-point advantage over New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton three weeks after they were tied here. McCain gained a four-point edge over Mitt Romney, a former governor of neighboring Massachusetts who has campaigned almost as a favorite...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Losing On Dull And Unconvincing On Competence

Roger Simon at the Politico attended two Democratic rallies in Nashua last night. The first left him inspired, and the second left him grasping for his No-Doz. Barack Obama had the crowd impressed, while Hillary Clinton had them sleepwalking for the exits: Obama delivered a compelling, almost mesmerizing, speech, did not talk about any issue in detail and took no questions. His event lasted just over half an hour. Clinton talked about issue after issue in almost mind-numbing detail and answered question after question in an event that lasted more than an hour and a half. Both drew large crowds. But Clinton’s crowd was much smaller at the end of her speech than at the beginning. Hundreds of people trickled and then streamed out while Clinton was still talking. But she went on and on as if she did not mind. And maybe she didn’t. Hillary is selling competence, and...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Georgia Takes Its Turn With Electoral Unrest

The former Soviet republic of Georgia attempted to move past its old Russian-dominated politics and hold an free and fair election including the restive Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions, recently abandoned by Russian troops. President Mikhail Saakashvili won re-election in the first round with a majority of votes, cementing the pro-Western direction Georgia has taken in the last few years. However, the results have stirred up tensions, with Saakashvili's main opponent crying fraud: Georgia's pro-Western leader, Mikhail Saakashvili, yesterday snatched victory in the country's snap presidential election. But the opposition immediately rejected the result and demanded another round of voting. Thousands took part in protests in the snow-covered capital, Tbilisi, claiming the election had been rigged. The United States called for calm and respect for the verdict of election observers from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe who concluded that "democracy took a triumphant step" in the Caucasus....

Continue reading "Georgia Takes Its Turn With Electoral Unrest" »

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Bill Not Holding Their Interest, Either

Earlier today, I noted that Hillary Clinton has a problem holding the interest of her audiences. Surprisingly, the New York Times reports that her husband has had the same problem of late. Fatigue seems to be the issue, but who's getting tired of whom? Is this what it would have been like had Elvis been reduced to playing Reno? Former President Bill Clinton has been drawing sleepy and sometimes smallish crowds at big venues in the state that revived his presidential campaign in 1992. He entered to polite applause and rows of empty seats at the University of New Hampshire on Friday. Several people filed out midspeech, and the room was largely quiet as he spoke, with few interruptions for laughter or applause. He talked about his administration, his foundation work and some about his wife. “Hillary’s got good plans,” Mr. Clinton kept saying as he worked through a hoarse-voiced...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Should The Republicans Fear Obama?

In any other presidential election cycle, the possible nomination of a candidate with only three years of experience in the Senate on his resume would cause gales of laughter. In 2008, that scenario could transform from a comedy to a reality show, and it has Republicans wondering whether to be grateful or nervous. The Washington Post outlines the trepidation that the GOP feels over the ascendancy of Barack Obama, and the potential of his reach: Exploiting a deep well of voter revulsion over partisan gridlock in Washington, Sen. Barack Obama is promising to do something that has not been done in modern U.S. politics: unite a coalition of Democrats, Republicans and independents behind an agenda of sweeping change. But in pitching himself as a "post-partisan" politician, Obama (D-Ill.) is only the latest in a string of presidential candidates promising to remake Washington into a city that sings in unison. George...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Sandbagging Or Adjusting Expectations?

With all of the new polling predicting a narrow win for John McCain in tomorrow's New Hampshire primary, the Mitt Romney campaign has begun framing the potential results for the press. The new message? A close second works for Romney: Mitt Romney, a dominant favorite in New Hampshire just weeks ago, said Sunday that a "close second" to Arizona Sen. John McCain would be a significant feat on Tuesday. The almost frantic downsizing of expectations for the former Massachusetts governor came as the candidate and his staff are publicly and privately preparing to explain away what would be a disheartening loss and shift to a last-ditch strategy predicated on his ability to outlast and outspend his rivals, according to sources inside the campaign. "This is a must-win state for him," Romney said of McCain, in a Politico interview Sunday. "If he doesn't win here, I don't know where he is...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

If You Enjoy DBD ... (Bumped)

I'm pleased to put up a guest post by my friend and partner, Chris Muir, the author/artist behind Day by Day. I am asking readers of DaybyDay to contribute $10 or more for the 2008 DaybyDay Fundraiser. This amount is based on a 'guesstimate' of how many serious readers DBD has. Perhaps this will result in a Fundraiser that is held every 2 years , instead of every year. Perhaps it will keep DBD going for just a month. What I do know are that funds are needed to continue the strip, well, day by day. This Fundraiser will end January 30, 2008. I know this is very much a vote from readers on DBD. Contrary to rumor, I'm not rich, and I need the help of every reader. If you have donated in the past, ask someone you know who reads DBD to contribute. What will really determine things...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Utter Nonsense

It didn't work with Fred Thompson, and it won't work with Hillary Clinton. Matt Drudge says that Hillary's considering withdrawing from the race if she loses big to Barack Obama in tomorrow's New Hampshire primaries -- a notion that makes even less sense for Hillary than Fred: Facing a double-digit defeat in New Hampshire, a sudden collapse in national polls and an expected fund-raising drought, Senator Hillary Clinton is preparing for a tough decision: Does she get out of the race? And when?! "She can't take multiple double-digit losses in New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada," laments one top campaign insider to the DRUDGE REPORT. "If she gets too badly embarrassed, it will really harm her. She doesn't want the Clinton brand to be damaged with back-to-back-to-back defeats." Meanwhile, Democrat hopeful John Edwards has confided to senior staff that he is staying in the race because Hillary "could soon be...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

How Close Were We To War?

According to The Telegraph, we came within moments of open warfare with Iran. Iranian patrol boats harassed the US Navy in international waters in the Straits of Hormuz over the weekend. They dropped unknown objects in the water and sent a threat of attack over the radio, only dispersing as the commander of the American fleet gave orders to open fire: A Pentagon spokesman revealed that five Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy boats harrassed and provoked three US ships in the narrow waterway at the mouth of the Persian Gulf at the weekend. The Iranian craft came within 200 yards of the US vessels, which were sailing in international waters. The Iranian provocations included disregarding warnings to pull back, dropping mysterious objects in the path of the US ships and a hostile radio transmission. The Pentagon said a radio message warned: "I am coming at you. You will explode in a...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Hunter Out?

Michelle Malkin forwards a notice from the Duncan Hunter campaign that they plan a "major announcement" later this afternoon, likely when I'll be in motion and unable to follow it. With almost no traction in any of the national or state polls, Hunter will likely announce his withdrawal from the presidential race: Presidential Candidate and California Congressman Duncan Hunter will be making a major announcement today at 2:00 p.m. (EST), regarding the future of his Presidential bid. All media are encouraged to attend or contact Bob Bevill, National Media Coordinator, to arrange alternate interviews. If this is true, it will be a shame, although not unexpected. Congressmen running for President usually do so for the publicity rather than any real hope of actually winning a nomination. People talk about how difficult it is to get elected President from the Senate, but I'm unaware of anyone who did it directly from...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

There's No Crying In Softball!

The Anchoress predicted this moment five days ago, but who could have guessed it would come on such a softball question? Hillary Clinton let go a couple of tears -- possibly -- not out of passion for her position, but out of pity for herself: "My question is very personal, how do you do it?" asked Marianne Pernold Young, a freelance photographer from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. "How do you, how do you keep upbeat and so wonderful?" Clinton began responding, jokingly: "You know, I think, well luckily, on special days I do have help. If you see me every day and if you look on some of the websites and listen to some of the commentators they always find me on the day I didn't have help. It's not easy." Then Clinton began getting emotional: "It's not easy, and I couldn't do it if I didn't passionately believe it was...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: Best Of Heading Right!

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. I'm still on vacation, so today at 2 pm CT, BlogTalkRadio will play a classic edition of Heading Right Radio. I'll be back tomorrow -- today's a travel day, and tonight will be R&R -- but in the meantime enjoy one of my personal favorites from the archives. You can listen to archived shows all the way back to the beginning of Heading Right Radio by checking out my site at BTR. This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 8, 2008

Obama, McCain Win The Insomniac Vote

Barack Obama and John McCain won the battles of Dixville Notch and Hart's Location early this morning, as New Hampshire started its primaries in the two tiny towns after midnight. Traditionally, the Granite State starts off with Midnight Madness in Dixville Notch, which does nothing much more than give the press something to note: Residents of two tiny towns stayed up late to give Barack Obama and John McCain early victories in the New Hampshire presidential primary. Voters in Dixville Notch and Hart's Location cast the initial ballots just after midnight Tuesday. In Hart's Location, Democrat Obama received nine votes, Hillary Rodham Clinton received three and John Edwards received one. On the Republican side, McCain received six, Mike Huckabee received five, Ron Paul received four and Mitt Romney one. In Dixville Notch, on the Republican side, McCain received four votes, Mitt Romney two and Rudy Giuliani one. On the Democratic...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Bye Bye, Bloomie

The coy dance played by Michael Bloomberg regarding a potential independent bid for the presidency took a stumble yesterday. The New York City mayor conducted a forum yesterday with a panel of moderate politicians from both parties to condemn partisanship, an event expected to raise his profile for a national campaign. Instead, his guests took pains to inform the press that they intended to work within their own parties -- and the rise of Barack Obama made everyone else less enthusiastic for a billionaire outside bid: He arrived here for what seemed like it could be a big moment. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, eyeing a third-party presidential bid, joined Republican and Democratic elders at a forum to denounce the extreme partisanship of Washington and plot how to influence the campaign. But even as the mayor gathered on Monday with the seasoned Washington hands on the campus of the University of...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Rockets From Lebanon Hit Israel, Welcome Bush

So how's that new and improved UNIFIL force working out in southern Lebanon? About as well as the old version, apparently, as rockets rained down on an Israeli town from the sub-Litani region that Hezbollah controls. The UN force appears to have little effect on the terrorist group's ability to launch missiles at Israeli civilians: Two Katyusha rockets fired from Lebanon struck a northern Israeli town late last night causing no injuries, an Israeli police spokesman said, the first such attacks by Lebanese militants in six months. The attack came on the day before President Bush is scheduled to arrive in Israel in support of ongoing peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. The rockets struck near a home in the western Galilee town of Shlomi, a few miles from the Lebanon border. One rocket struck a road leading into the town, said police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld, and the other...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

College Boots Made For Walking, Even On Bill

There once was a time when a college appearance by Bill Clinton would have created a sensation. Now the sensation has turned to boredom and fatigue, even at an Ivy League university preparing to vote in today's primaries. Dartmouth students wandered away from Clinton even as he spoke, trying to convince them to support his wife, and apparently making no headway. At Heading Right, I note that the big story here isn't really that college students like Barack Obama. After all, he won the youth vote in Iowa by a mile, and the turnout of younger voters made the difference for Obama in the caucuses. The big story from Dartmouth is the indifference college students have for the one-time rock star of the Democrats -- and that could be one reason Hillary can't find traction elsewhere....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Steinem: Vote For Hillary Or You're Sexist

How desperate have Hillary Clinton's backers become? One of the more prominent supporters, Gloria Steinem, takes to the pages of the New York Times to complain about the ascendancy of Barack Obama because black men have had an easier time than American women. In doing so, she inadvertently makes the Republican case against the entire slate of choices on the Democratic side: THE woman in question became a lawyer after some years as a community organizer, married a corporate lawyer and is the mother of two little girls, ages 9 and 6. Herself the daughter of a white American mother and a black African father — in this race-conscious country, she is considered black — she served as a state legislator for eight years, and became an inspirational voice for national unity. Be honest: Do you think this is the biography of someone who could be elected to the United...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Gallup: Obama Ties Hillary Nationally

With New Hampshire ready to fall into his lap, Barack Obama may have a better shot at the national title than anyone would have believed. According to the latest Gallup polling, he has tied Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination at 33%, erasing an 18-point gap in three weeks. Mike Huckabee leads a tight Republican race, reversing an 11-point gap: On the Democratic side, Iowa winner Obama has moved into a tie with Clinton. Both now have 33% of the vote. This represents a 6-point gain since December 2007 for Obama and a 12-point loss for Clinton. John Edwards has gained 5 points since December, moving from 15% to 20% support among Democrats. Edwards is now closer to the front-runner among Democrats than he has been at any point since Gallup began tracking the Democratic race more than a year ago. This is also the first time since June that...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

WaPo, WSJ Agree: Democrats Clueless On Iraq

How often do the editorial boards of the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal not only agree, but coincide on foreign policy? Rarely enough so that today's twin broadsides on the Democratic presidential contenders is worthy of special notice. Both editorial boards scold the Democrats for not only getting Iraq wrong, but also for seriously misrepresenting the progress achieved through the surge. The Post's criticisms get tart indeed: A reasonable response to these facts might involve an acknowledgment of the remarkable military progress, coupled with a reminder that the final goal of the surge set out by President Bush -- political accords among Iraq's competing factions -- has not been reached. (That happens to be our reaction to a campaign that we greeted with skepticism a year ago.) It also would involve a willingness by the candidates to reconsider their long-standing plans to carry out a rapid withdrawal of remaining...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Another Tired Anti-Mormon Diatribe

Bloggers had speculated on the actual subject of a series of e-mails from a publicist breathlessly informing us of a "Swift-boating" on a major presidential candidate, complete with documentation and hard evidence. Some thought it might target Hillary Clinton, some John Edwards, but the plurality went with Mitt Romney -- and that turned out to be the correct answer. Revelation Press apparently wants to conduct the Klan's 1928 anti-Catholic campaign against Al Smith, updated for eight decades later, at least according to the e-mail I received: "Should Romney become U.S. President," Moody explained, "his oaths create an inevitable conflict of interest. Just as an Army private is not free to question his General's orders &-- and does so only at the risk of a dishonorable discharge -- Mormons such as Mitt Romney question their Living Prophet's revelations and edicts only at risk of excommunication. This penalty is unthinkable to any...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

A Big Turnout In New Hampshire?

Turnout for the first primary election of the season has gotten so large that some precincts have run out of Democratic ballots. That bodes ill for both Hillary Clinton, who may see a rerun of Iowa's caucuses in a large independent turnout. It could also spell trouble for a Republican: New Hampshire Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlan told ABC News that turnout is "absolutely huge, and towns are starting to get concerned that they don't have enough ballots." Scanlan voted Tuesday morning, and said the line in his polling location in Concord, the state capital, was "out the door." Turnout was particularly high in Portsmouth and Keene -- both of which are overwhelingly Democratic, as well as Republican-leaning Hudson -- And some towns were running out of Democratic ballots, with independents favoring that contest over the GOP race. At this point is heavier than it was four years ago...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: Bay Buchanan, Paul Cellucci

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), we'll be talking New Hampshire for most of the hour. Bay Buchanan, formerly the youngest Treasurer of the US and most recently converted from Tom Tancredo's campaign to Mitt Romney's, talks about Team Mitt's strategy today. Former Governor and Ambassador Paul Cellucci joins me today to discuss Rudy Giuliani's efforts in New Hampshire and his overall strategy, and we'll take calls and chat on predictions for tonight's first primary. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Alert The Media

I'll make a couple of media appearances tonight while watching the returns for the New Hampshire primary. First, I'll speak with Jack Riccardi of San Antonio's KTSA at 7:50 to talk about the initial returns and the dynamics of the race. Later, I'll talk with Rob Breakenridge on Calgary's CHQR on The World Tonight at 9:30. Be sure to listen to both shows on line, and keep checking back here to see if I add any other appearances....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

It's A Pity Party, And We're All Invited!

Yesterday it was Hillary's turn to get emotional, and today Bill gave it a try. He got angry with the press for what he called "sanitizing coverage", providing the rest of the nation a window into the frustration setting into the Clinton campaign as it faces a second big loss in as many tries: The former president briefly acknowledged that his wife's senior campaign advisor, Mark Penn, was mistaken to claim that Obama had no bounce out of Iowa after winning the state's caucuses because the poll numbers on the day after were relatively unchanged. Then he abruptly changed the subject — suggesting that Obama's campaign had employed underhanded tactics. "What did you think about the Obama thing calling Hillary the senator from Punjab? Did you like that? Or what about the Obama handout that was covered up, the press never reported on, implying that I was a crook. Scouring...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Implosion Near?

Almost eight months ago, I wrote about the troubling history of Ron Paul's campaign newsletters in the early 1990s, and speculated that it would kill his presidential campaign. Excerpts of newsletters from his campaign, without bylines but at least some written in the first person, contained statements that either bordered on bigotry or crossed over the line completely. The Houston Chronicle had reported on these in 1996 -- but they did not gain nearly the amount of attention some believed they deserved. Today, James Kirchick at The New Republic published a lengthy article reviewing the issue, and this time it appears to have more staying power, despite the recent issues with TNR's credibility: Most voters had never heard of Paul before he launched his quixotic bid for the Republican nomination. But the Texan has been active in politics for decades. And, long before he was the darling of antiwar activists...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Live Coverage Of New Hampshire Primaries

I'll be reverse-order posting my thoughts as the results come in from the New Hampshire primaries tonight. My earlier predictions stand, although I think the heavy break in independent voters towards the Democrats hurts John McCain. We'll soon find out .... 9:48 - CNN just called it for Hillary, and within moments, Barack Obama gave his concession speech. It's a gracious speech, congratulating Hillary for her "hard-fought victory". It turned out to be a three- or four-point gap that Obama just couldn't close. 9:21 - John Edwards is giving his concession speech for the primary. Now, if you missed it, you can simply re-read his Iowa concession speech, because it's almost identical. The only thing missing is the "Why? ... Why?" between talking points. 8:59 - The Republican race has narrowed a little. With 56% of precincts reporting, McCain's lead has contracted from a peak of 9 points to six...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

New Hampshire Primaries: The Recap

New Hampshire voters have cast their ballots, and the results seem pretty clear. John McCain completed a months-long comeback, while Hillary Clinton suddenly righted a ship that looked in serious danger of foundering. She eked out a narrow win when polls suggested a big loss, and McCain took a race that looked like a toss-up and almost turned it into a laugher. Republicans McCain gets his chance to bid for national front-runner status. Michigan at this point has Mitt Romney edging ahead, but the impact of the clear McCain victory has a week to sink into the consciousness of Michigan voters. Romney cannot allow McCain to win in Michigan. A second win makes McCain the momentum candidate and allows him to come into South Carolina with a head of steam. What about the rest? Mike Huckabee never expected to do well, but he wound up taking third place with a...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 9, 2008

On To Michigan (For Half Of Us)

Now that the New Hampshire road show has packed its tents, the presidential primaries now move to Michigan, where the first big-delegate state goes to the polls. What can we expect from the home of American automakers and the bellwether of economic trends? If the polling holds up as shown at Real Clear Politics, it looks like voters will favor the familiar. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton holds commanding leads over Barack Obama and John Edwards. Most of the polls show her in the mid-40s, and Obama scores highest at 26 in the Strategic Vision poll. The problem is that all of this polling is rather old. The most recent in RCP's lineup is the November poll from the Detroit News. In fact, it seems rather odd that no one has done a more recent poll for the Democrats in a state where 128 delegates are up for grabs....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

FEC Now An Advisory Board

The Federal Election Commission will not issue rulings for the foreseeable future, but only advisory opinions. The FEC no longer has enough directors to meet its quorum requirements, and thanks to a standoff between Congress and George Bush, it cannot enforce federal election laws: Down to two members and unable to muster a quorum, the Federal Election Commission has decided to offer advice instead of binding decisions on questions from political campaigns. This week, organizations with pending requests for decisions from the six-member FEC on campaign matters received phone calls from agency staffers letting them know not to expect formal rulings anytime soon. The groups were told that the FEC's two remaining members will hold a public hearing Jan. 24 to share their informal views on the requests. The board lacks the four votes needed for the commission to take official action on a number of matters, including enforcement cases....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Did The Ronulans Disappear Overnight?

A funny thing happened on my way to the predictable onslaught of Ron Paul supporters in my comments section after yesterday's post about his newsletters. The onslaught never arrived -- and neither did the supposed Revolution from New Hampshire. Could the two be related? Almost like clockwork, any time a blogger posts anything remotely critical about Ron Paul, it attracts hundreds of comments, most of them refusing to deal with the substance of the criticism. Instead, they usually contained cap-locked diatribes about the Federal Reserve, the Constitution, and how anyone who doesn't support Paul is a traitor or a fool. Many start off by saying, "I am a Hispanic/Jewish/black voter who cares about freedom ..." as a means of defusing the awkward inks between Paul and his newsletters and donation from neo-Nazi Don Black, as well as his 40-plus appearances on the radio show of Truther and conspiracy theorist Alex...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Republicans Will Always Have Hillary

The amazing rebound of Hillary Clinton may have a beneficial effect on Republican fortunes. Instead of facing an inexperienced but inspirational opponent in the general election, it now appears that the GOP nominee will have to fight the Clintons and their political machine. And that could make a big difference in party turnout and cohesion in November: Mr. Obama was counting on a New Hampshire victory to serve as a permission slip for Democratic leaders across the country to step forward to support his candidacy. He was hoping to trade the title of insurgent candidate for the perilous crown of front-runner. But the race is now a draw between the two rivals — with John Edwards of North Carolina, who came in a distant third, vowing to continue — and a furious scramble lies ahead. With a confidence buoyed by a series of polls that consistently showed Mr. Obama leading...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Getting Caught In The Rain

Remember the "Pina Colada Song"? Rupert Holmes' ditty to coincidental infidelity has improbably survived the 70's to appear in movies such as Shrek, even more improbably. In Poland, the song got a little off-key -- and off-color: A Polish man got the shock of his life when he visited a brothel and spotted his wife among the establishment's employees. Polish tabloid Super Express said the woman had been making some extra money on the side while telling her husband she worked at a store in a nearby town. So I waited with high hopes And she walked in the place I knew her smile in an instant I knew the curve of her face It was my own lovely lady And she said, "Oh it's you." It didn't turn out quite like Rupert sang back in the day. Instead of sipping drinks in the dunes of the cape, the pair...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

New Iraq Offensive Reveals Weakened Enemy

The US began a new offensive in northern Iraq, pursuing al-Qaeda in Iraq and affiliates even further outward towards the border. Military planners expected to meet some significant resistance, as they had predicted that AQI had found some space to regroup. Apparently, that level of resistance has not materialized: The top U.S. commander in northern Iraq said Wednesday a nationwide operation launched against insurgents was meeting less resistance than expected, but that troops would pursue the militants until they were dead or pushed out of the country. Maj. Gen. Mark P. Hertling told reporters in Baghdad that in his area of control alone, 24,000 American troops, 50,000 members of the Iraq army and 80,000 Iraqi police were taking part in the offensive against al-Qaeda in Iraq. Diyala province northeast of Baghdad has not seen the same drop in violence that other parts of the nation have witnessed in the last...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

John McCain's Non-Triumphant Conference Call

We're about to enter another of the regular blogger conference calls held by John McCain. This will, of course, be the first since his surprisingly strong victory over Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican field. He starts off by noting that he is "obviously very pleased" with the results. McCain credits his straight talk on the stump in New Hampshire. He has nothing much to offer for the Democratic Party result, maybe one of the few who haven't opined on it. McCain tells a story about hardening his resolve in a summer trip to Iraq with Lindsey Graham. The fall's focus on the war also helped motivate him to fight his way to victory in order to ensure that the war gets managed properly. McCain says that Michigan is "one of Governor Romney's home towns," and he's assembling a team to help him win. Tom Ridge vouched for...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

No One Will Miss You

Philip Agee has died in Cuba during surgery for a perforated ulcer. Agee, 72, worked for the CIA in Latin America until he wrote a book in 1975 that revealed the names of agents, allegedly leading to their deaths in some cases: Agee worked for the Central Intelligence Agency for 12 years in Washington, Ecuador, Uruguay and Mexico. He resigned in 1968 in disagreement with U.S. support for military dictatorships in Latin America and became one of the first to blow the whistle on the CIA's activities around the world. His book "Inside the Company: CIA Diary" revealed the names of agents in Latin America and was published in 27 languages. ... Agee went to live in London but was deported by Britain in 1976 at the request of then secretary of state Henry Kissinger. The U.S. government revoked his passport three years later. Barbara Bush, the wife of former...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: Duncan Hunter At Special Time - 1 PM CT

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio ( Note special time: 1 pm CT), Congressman and presidential contender Duncan Hunter joins us to talk about the race and how he sees it progressing. We'll ask about his plans, and we'll also ask him about the issues and the other candidates. We'll also take your calls and questions through the webchat. UPDATE: My friend Andrea Shea-King joins me to talk about last night's primary results. You can find her latest interview with Duncan Hunter on YouTube. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

What Do Mike Huckabee And John McCain Have In Common?

Besides being Republicans and being early winners in the primaries, they also appeared several times on my Heading Right Radio show at BlogTalkRadio. Both candidates joined me for live and taped interviews when fortunes seemed a little lower than now, and engaged with the listeners of HRR and the readers of this blog. The direct outreach to the voters that both candidates conducted with this engagement allowed them to bypass the media filters -- and HRR listeners got a chance to hear more than just a few seconds of sound bites from either. Did you miss these editions? Fortunately, we archive all of our shows at BTR. Here are John McCain's interviews in May, July, and October. Mike Huckabee's appearances from December and last week are compelling, as was his interview with me in September. The key is that BTR attracts politically active listeners -- the people who want to...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Michigan Firewall?

Mitt Romney needs a win in the primaries soon, despite all of the rhetoric about delegate counts and second-place credibility. The Romney team apparently understands that, and have begun focusing their advertising on the upcoming Michigan primary -- and have put off other ad buys for the moment. The AP reports this as a sign of trouble: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has decided to pull his advertising from South Carolina and Florida, in a sign of trouble for a campaign that badly needs a win. Romney had been hoping to challenge John McCain and Mike Huckabee in South Carolina, and Rudy Giuliani in Florida, where the former New York mayor has been spending time and money. "We feel the best strategy is to focus our paid messaging in Michigan," Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said Wednesday. The decision comes on the heels of back-to-back second-place finishes in Iowa and New...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

You Put Your Left Foot In ...

Bill Richardson's campaign appears to be doing the Presidential Hokey Pokey tonight. Two sources in his campaign told the AP that Richardson would withdraw from the race on Thursday. Not long afterwards, a spokesperson denied the claim, saying Richardson had returned to New Mexico for the start of the legislative session: New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson ended his campaign for the presidency after twin fourth-place finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire, The Associated Press reported Wednesday. But a Richardson spokeswoman told NBC News the report was wrong and Richardson was still in the contest for the Democratic nomination. Richardson planned to announce the decision to withdraw Thursday, according to two people close to the governor with knowledge of the decision. They spoke Wednesday on a condition of anonymity in advance of the governor's announcement. But Katie Roberts, deputy communications director for the Richardson campaign. told NBC News that as of...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 10, 2008

How Did The Polls Miss Hillary's Comeback?

Every poll taken in New Hampshire pointed to the same conclusion: Barack Obama would win, and win big. None of the polls released in the last week before the primary indicated that Hillary Clinton would edge Obama in the end, nor have a big comeback among women. Did she cry her way to the victory, or did every pollster somehow blow the Democratic race -- while nailing the Republican outcome? The Washington Post thinks lachrymose: What if the polls were right, and the dynamics changed dramatically on Election Day?.... One intriguing tidbit in the available data is that comparing exit-poll numbers with those from the last CNN-WMUR-University of New Hampshire poll shows a much bigger movement to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) among women than among men. In the pre-election poll released Sunday, 34 percent of women said they supported Clinton, while the exit poll showed that 46 percent of...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Michigan Outsider Factor

The Republicans will head into a tough primary fight in Michigan this week, with all of the candidates vying for an important win before the South Carolina vote on the 22nd. The Democrats, however, will focus on Nevada, since the Michigan primary has been disqualified by the DNC for violating the party's rules by moving its primary up before February 5th. Only Hillary Clinton appears on the ballot among the main contenders, leaving Democrats the option of skipping their side of the ticket and focusing in on the Republicans. The Democrats don't want that, and have organized an effort -- primarily supported by advocates for Barack Obama -- to get a big turnout for "Uncommitted": As the nation's eyes turn to Michigan's presidential primary next Tuesday, Democrats were promoting an unusual candidate Wednesday -- Uncommitted. That's the only choice they have on the ballot besides Hillary Clinton (or Dennis Kucinich...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Britain To Go Nuclear

Britain has endorsed nuclear power as a solution to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions. They will encourage new facility construction with an eye to having the next generation of stations on line by 2020. The environmental lobby, which has pushed the global warming issue, did not respond positively to this development: The British government on Thursday announced support for the construction of new nuclear power plants, backing atomic energy as a clean source of power to fight climate change. Business Secretary John Hutton told lawmakers that nuclear power "should have a role to play in this country's future energy mix, alongside other low-carbon sources." He said nuclear energy was a "tried and tested, safe and secure" source of power. .... Environmental groups condemned the decision, saying nuclear power was dangerous and would divert resources from developing renewable energy sources. "We need energy efficiency, cleaner use of fossil fuels, renewables and state...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

If It's An Election, There Must Be A Conspiracy

After watching the Democrats spin wild conspiracy theories about how they lost the 2000 and the 2004 elections, it shouldn't surprise that similar paranoid thinking has arisen in 2008. However, this time the target of the conspiracy thinking isn't Republicans, but other Democrats. Progressive bloggers have begun launching accusations of fraud and vote-rigging in the wake of Hillary Clinton's surprise victory in New Hampshire's primaries: The results weren't even in when the blogosphere started to hum with a theory that sharply divided Democrats online: Barack Obama lost to Hillary Rodham Clinton in New Hampshire because the vote was rigged. "Something stinks in New Hampshire," a commenter posted on the popular liberal site Americablog.com. Curious about the "wildly inaccurate" polls that put Mr. Obama in a double-digit lead going into Tuesday's primary, blogger Brad Friedman, a Los Angeles-based election-fraud watchdog, questioned the results as soon as they arrived, and all day...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Kerry Kiss Of Death

Does a John Kerry endorsement help or hurt? I'd say the latter, especially given the surprising decision to endorse Barack Obama. The previous Democratic nominee will give Obama his blessing later today at a South Carolina rally: Barack Obama has won the presidential endorsement of Sen. John Kerry, the Democrats' 2004 nominee who lost to George W. Bush. Kerry, a senator from Massachusetts, plans to announce his support Thursday at a rally at the College of Charleston, said a Democrat familiar with Kerry's decision. The 2004 nominee will argue that Obama can best unite the country and has the potential to create transformational change, the person said. This seems strange on a couple of different levels. Kerry hardly ran as the insurgent candidate in 2004; that was Howard Dean. Kerry represents the Establishment in the Democratic Party, a quasi-Brahmin who has remained in the Senate largely through the offices of...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Missing The Point

MItt Romney has attempted to steel the resolve of his supporters by reminding them that he has the lead in delegates. That's true, as far as it goes. Right now, Romney holds a nine-delegate advantage over Mike Huckabee, with John McCain trailing 20 delegates back: Romney - 30 Huckabee- 21 McCain - 10 Thompson - 6 Paul - 2 Giuliani, Hunter - 1 each That may look impressive -- but not when one considers what it will take to win the nomination. The Republican who wins the nomination will need 1,191 delegates voting for him. Right now, Romney has 2.5% of the number of delegates necessary, while Huckabee has 1.7%. McCain has 0.8%, which only leaves him 1.7% behind Romney. The value of the early primaries doesn't get found in the delegate counts. It gets found in the ability of the campaigns to generate momentum and to score actual victories....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

McCain Gets A Bounce In South Carolina

Rasmussen has a new poll out showing a dramatic shift in the Republican race in a crucial state. John McCain has taken a narrow three-point lead over Mike Huckabee. Prior to his win in New Hampshire, McCain had trailed Huckabee by seven (via Memeorandum): Arizona Senator John McCain, fresh from his victory in New Hampshire, has taken a narrow three-point lead over former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in the South Carolina Republican Presidential Primary. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows McCain at 27% and Huckabee at 24%. That’s a significant change since last Sunday. Just before the New Hampshire vote, Huckabee was leading McCain 28% to 21%. In mid-December, Huckabee and Romney were tied for the lead with 23% of the vote while McCain was well off the pace at 12%. The current survey finds Mitt Romney running a distant third at 16%, little changed since the previous survey....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The API In 1956

My friend Richard Disney unearthed this 1956 cartoon from the American Petroleum Institute, extolling the virtues of both oil and competition. It's very typical of the age, down to the type of animation used. It has an Eisenhower Era flavor to it that won't surprise most people, although it's pretty amusing to see people shoot first at the little green men rather than try to feel their pain. Its basic theme -- that oil has enhanced our standard of living and that competition makes everything more affordable -- should still resonate, even if the style is just a tad .... dated. Bonus question: Which world leader springs to mind when seeing and hearing Ogg? UPDATE: The script isn't working, but the link does. Check it out; it's a nice change of pace!...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: Joe Gandelman, Jim Geraghty

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Joe Gandelman from The Moderate Voice joins us to talk about his centrist perspective on the primaries. Joe is itching to talk about Bill Clinton, and wants to do it on HRR! In the second half, Jim Geraghty of NRO's Campaign Spot updates us on the latest developments in the race. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? href="http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/archives/010503.php">Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Fred Thompson Blogger Call

Fred Thompson held his first extensive blogger conference this afternoon, and he emphasized his individualism and his authenticity as his greatest assets in the race. He's touring South Carolina and seeing a lot of support -- and also a lot more people who have yet to decide on their candidate than one might think. He's doing well at his stops, which he acknowledges is a bit of a bubble for any candidate, but he's quite optimistic. On the media, he's not as optimistic. He scoffed at their rumor-mongering, especially in regards to his supposed withdrawal from the race. He said that they put out rumors like people put out milk for kittens, and everyone laps it up. On his competition, he agreed with one blogger who called most of his opponents liberals. Fred doesn't think that the media picks candidates as much as rolls with whatever story arises and tries...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Doolittle Out, And Flake Wants A Seat On Appropriations

The Republican brand got a little cleaner today with the announced retirement of Rep. John Doolittle. The ten-term Californian has a big legal mess on his hands over his tight relationship with corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff as well as the financial relationship between his wife and Doolittle's contributors. This opens the door for Iraq war veteran Eric Eglund to succeed Doolittle: Doolittle came close to losing re-election in 2006 in one of the most conservative districts in California, and some in his own party believed he couldn't survive this time around. He has denied wrongdoing in his ties to Abramoff, the disgraced former lobbyist whom he considered a close friend. But after the FBI raided the congressman's Virginia home in April looking for information about event-planning work that Doolittle's wife did for Abramoff, the congressman was forced to step down from the powerful Appropriations Committee. A flurry of grand jury...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Will Fox Ask Paul About The Newsletters In Tonight's Debate? (Bumped:CNN Reports)

UPDATE & BUMP, 4:30 pm: CNN's covering this now. They've also got their copies of the newsletters, and are quoting freely. David Gergen is saying that they should be "totally ventilated", meaning that they should get the widest possible dissemination. Matt Welch looked pretty uncomfortable answering for the candidate. Paul's staff says they won't try to find the authors. Paul then got interviewed by Wolf Blitzer, and Paul says it's coming up now "for political reasons". "Everybody knows ... I'm not a racist." He says that libertarianism doesn't mesh with racism. Now he says that he gets the most black votes in the race, presumably among Republicans. Wolf is allowing Paul to soliloquize here. "67% of blacks are in prison"? I think he's confusing statistics here. Who wrote it? "I have no idea". He says a publisher has no idea what appears in their publications. "Why don't you believe me?"...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

South Carolina Debate Live Blog At Heading Right!

The conservative crew at BlogTalkRadio will be live-blogging the debate at Heading Right this evening, probably starting a little before the 8 pm CT beginning of the Fox debate tonight. It gets lively, and you'll want to keep refreshing your screen as we keep throwing fresh posts up on the site. Afterwards, join us at 10:30 pm CT for our traditional round-table wrap-up at Debate Central. Rick Moran and Macranger join me to go over the event and discuss who won, who lost, and whether the debate itself will change any minds....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Myrtle Beach Debate: Who Won?

Don't forget that we'll have our post-debate wrap-up at Debate Central at 10:30 pm CT! Who put the vitamins in Fred Thompson's oatmeal? We have waited for Thompson to show up on the campaign trail, and tonight he finally did. He had energy, focus, a command of detail, and a willingness to finally engage with the other candidates on the stage. He took almost everyone else aback, and seized momentum that he only occasionally relinquished. John McCain did as well as Thompson, if less spectacularly. He looked presidential, he also had a commanding presence, and he rolled with the tough questions that came his way. He didn't flinch when Romney tried stinging him on saying that some jobs will never return in Michigan, and McCain buried him by noting that he won New Hampshire by not just telling people what they want to hear, but the truth. He scolded Fox...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 11, 2008

Kucinich Wants What?

Maybe Dennis Kucinich just wants to confirm that anyone in New Hampshire would be silly enough to vote for him. The Democratic presidential also-ran has filed a formal request for a recount in the Granite State primary, based on -- I'm not kidding -- "allegations and rumors": Democrat Dennis Kucinich, who won less than 2 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary, said Thursday he wants a recount to ensure that all ballots in his party's contest were counted. The Ohio congressman cited "serious and credible reports, allegations and rumors" about the integrity of Tuesday results. Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said Kucinich is entitled to a statewide recount. But, under New Hampshire law, Kucinich will have to pay for it. Scanlan said he had "every confidence" the results are accurate. In a letter dated Thursday, Kucinich said he does not expect significant changes in his vote...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Musharraf: Don't Tread On Me

Plenty of presidential candidates in both parties have talked about how they plan to chase al-Qaeda to the gates of Hell, apparently placing that squarely in Pakistan. Pervez Musharraf, who runs the joint, has an answer for those who propose sending American troops into Pakistan -- fuggedaboutit: President Pervez Musharraf warned that U.S. troops would be regarded as invaders if they crossed into Pakistan's border region with Afghanistan in the hunt for al-Qaeda or Taliban militants, according to an interview published Friday. ... The New York Times reported last week that Washington was considering expanding the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency and the military to peruse aggressive covert operations within the tribal regions. Musharraf told the Straits Times that U.S. troops would "certainly" be considered invaders if they set foot in the tribal regions. "If they come without our permission, that's against the sovereignty of Pakistan. I challenge anybody...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Enforcement Works, And Leaves Questions

Oklahoma passed one of the toughest laws on immigration enforcement in the nation, arguable tougher than an Arizona bill that has convinced illegal aliens to leave the state. Oklahoma's "1804" has had the same dramatic impact as its employment enforcement provisions have yet to take effect. Thousands of people have simply left their jobs, leaving some business owners struggling to adjust: Autumn had arrived in eastern Oklahoma, and workers at the sprawling Greenleaf Nursery were prepping for deadly frosts. They needed to ship plants, erect greenhouses and bunch trees together to protect them against the cold. But in late October, about 40 employees disappeared from the 600-acre nursery about an hour's drive from Tulsa. "Some went to Texas, some went to Arkansas," nursery President Randy Davis says. "They just left." Why did the workers, all immigrants, flee? "Those states don't have 1804," Davis says. In a matter of weeks, "1804"...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The First Black President About To Lose His Standing?

Bill Clinton has gotten a lot of mileage out of the notion that he was somehow the nation's first black president, but that may be coming to an end. The tone he and Hillary have taken when criticizing Barack Obama has begun to generate a reaction among black politicians, and the New York Times reports that the first salvo in return may come soon. Rep. James Clyburn may reverse himself and endorse Obama before the South Carolina primaries after listening to the Clintons in New Hampshire: Representative James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the highest-ranking African-American in Congress, said he was rethinking his neutral stance in his state’s presidential primary out of disappointment at comments by Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton that he saw as diminishing the historic role of civil rights activists. Mr. Clyburn, a veteran of the civil rights movement and a power in state Democratic politics, put...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

In 1996, Paul Wasn't Issuing Denials

Reason Magazine has long associated themselves with the Ron Paul campaign, if not officially endorsing him. Their Hit & Run blog has served as the heart of rational Paul apologetics, and in their skilled hands, that has proven essential to his campaign. Now, as the magazine has Paul on its cover, its new editor has the unpleasant task of looking a little more closely at the candidate, and Matt Welch finds it an unpleasant journey. Has Paul really disassociated himself from, and "taken moral responsibility" for, these "Ron Paul" newsletters "for over a decade"? If he has, that history has not been recorded by the Nexis database, as best as I can reckon. The first indication I could find of Paul either expressing remorse about the statements or claiming that he did not author them came in an October 2001 Texas Monthly article -- less than eight years ago. ......

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Edwards Needs A Little More Than One Data Point

John Edwards has used the story of Nataline Sarkisyan on the campaign trail to underscore the heartlessness of the American health-care industry, and specifically its insurers. The teenager died from complications of liver failure and cancer, after applying for and initially being rejected for a liver transplant. Edwards wants to remake the health-care system in order to prevent anyone from being denied a transplant, but as the Wall Street Journal points out, the Sarkisyan case was a good deal more complicated than Edwards lets on -- and the US leads government-run health care systems around the world in transplants: Research provides little support to Mr. Edward's underlying premise that single-payer health-care systems would do better. On balance, data suggests that in the U.S. transplant patients do quite well compared to their European counterparts, with significantly more opportunities to undergo transplant procedures, survive the surgery, and benefit from new organs. Some...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Government Cheese

Michael Bloomberg may be mulling a run for the presidency, but he'd better take care to keep the photographers away when he gets the munchies. After pushing through a ban on trans-fats in New York City restaurants, Bloomberg got his photo snapped by Wired Magazine while munching on a bag of Cheez-Its in the office. So what's in a bag of Cheez-Its? 220 calories 11g total fat 360mg sodium 25g carbohydrate 5g protein Newsday columnist Justin Rocket Silverman notes the hypocrisy: After gaining national media attention for spearheading an almost total ban on trans fats in city restaurants starting last July, Bloomberg was photographed in this month's issue of Wired magazine munching on those very same dangerous fats. The photo, which accompanies a short Q&A about technology and politics, features Bloomberg at his City Hall desk, looking thoughtful and serious. Meanwhile, his right hand is seen almost absent-mindedly pulling a...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Michigan Shenanigans Nothing New

My friend Jazz Shaw at Middle Earth Journal points out a plan in the works, endorsed by Markos Moulitsas and Duncan Black to have Michigan Democrats play spoiler in the Republican primary. Their idea is to have Democrats vote for Mitt Romney so that he wins the primary and blunts John McCain's momentum. If Huckabee or Thompson win in South Carolina and then Rudy Giuliani wins in Florida, the thinking goes, the GOP Super Tuesday will go all higgledy-piggledy and the Millenium will have truly started. Or something along those lines. Well, it's not illegal, and they could do this in any open-state primary if they wanted. However, it seems exceedingly silly and more than a little risky. Romney could put together a very credible general-election campaign; he's got essentially the same kind of resources that Michael Bloomberg has, and a much larger established constituency. All Mitt really needs is...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Isms And Schisms

My friend Richard Disney continues unearthing nuggets of American animation history. This time, he's found a relatively short cartoon about the nature of "Isms", and how they lead to government control and the end of freedom. It's remarkably trenchant 60 years after its release, mostly in how everyone puts blinders on to all but their own interests, and then complain when they get the inevitable result: Richard was one of the many friends I made at the CLC conference last October, along with Warner Todd Houston, Ken & Kathy Marrero, and many others. I've urged Richard to start a regular feature on his blog for these lost treasures of patriotic thought. He may decide to do that, and if so, keep a regular eye on his site for more....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

O'Donnell's Lunacy Continues

NBC correspondent Lawrence O'Donnell has been losing it for the last four years, but he usually restricts his extreme bombast for Republicans. He wouldn't allow John O'Neill (actually a Democrat) speak in a 2004 television appearance, screaming "Creepy liar" over him whenever O'Neill tried to respond. Just recently he let loose a barrage of anti-Mormon bigotry when discussing Mitt Romney. Now, however. O'Donnell aims his strange ire at John Edwards, whom he accuses of racism for staying in the primaries: John Edwards is a loser. He has won exactly two elections in his life and lost 31. Only one of his wins and all of his losses were in presidential primaries and caucuses. He remains perfectly positioned to continue to lose with a Kucinich-like consistency. Nothing but egomania keeps Edwards in the race now. All presidential candidates are egomaniacs but some of them have party status worth preserving that forces...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: The Week In Review -- And Steve Forbes!

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson of the Hugh Hewitt Show joins us for the week in review. What a week it was, too -- an amazing Hillary Clinton bounceback, a Republican debate, and lots of stories circling the primaries! Steve Forbes joins us to talk about Rudy Giuliani's new tax plan as well. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

McCain Surges

If anyone films a documentary on the John McCain campaign, it ought to be George Romero. While the press had McCain as a dead man walking last summer, the Senator from Arizona has proven them all wrong -- and now looks as though he could sweep his way into Super Tuesday and the nomination. CNN has McCain taking a significant national polling lead, and he's jumped eight points above Rudy Giuliani in a Florida poll: McCain has the support of 34 percent of registered Republicans in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey out Friday. That's a 21-point jump from the last CNN/Opinion Research poll, taken in December, well before the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary earlier this month. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won the Iowa Republican caucuses, is in second place in the new survey, with 21 percent of those registered Republicans polled supporting him for the GOP...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

But Did He Confess?

Security inspectors see just about every possible dodge known to man when it comes to smuggling dope across the border. Today, someone decided to try using one known to A Higher Power. A man dressed as a Catholic priest tried using his supposed religious status to get past inspectors in a Dutch airport with almost eight pounds of cocaine strapped to his body under his robes: A man claiming to be a Catholic priest was arrested Friday at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport after he was caught carrying 7.7 pounds of cocaine under his robes, a spokesman for Dutch border police said. The suspect, whose identity was being traced, initially refused to undergo a routine body check "for religious reasons," spokesman Robert van Kapel said. He said the man was then spotted lining up at a different entrance gate. He was searched and the drugs were found in packages taped to his...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 12, 2008

How Is That Hariri Investigation Going, Anyway?

Pervez Musharraf has refused to have the UN investigate the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, according to AFP. In an interview with Le Figaro, the Pakistani president/dictator insists that internal police forces will partner with Britain's Scotland Yard to probe the murder instead. Bhutto's family had called for the UN to lead the investigation: Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has ruled out a United Nations probe into the assassination of former premier Benazir Bhutto, in an interview with a French newspaper published Saturday. Musharraf told Le Figaro that UN involvement was out of the question, and that the investigation into Bhutto's murder would be handled internally with the help of British police from Scotland Yard. Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, and her son Bilawal have both called for a UN inquiry, along the lines of the world body's probe into the killing of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Hariri got killed...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

A Hillary Loss In New York?, Uh, Sure

Hillary Clinton's team worries about a scenario where a South Carolina win for Barack Obama could trigger a close fight for New York. Despite winning endorsements from most of the black politicians in the state, Hillary could lose the edge in delegates in one of the biggest prizes on Super Tuesday -- or so the meme goes: With Senator Barack Obama vowing to challenge Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on her home turf, the Democratic presidential primary in New York on Feb. 5 is shaping up as the state’s most competitive since 1992, when Bill Clinton took up a rival’s mantra of change to all but cinch the nomination. Mrs. Clinton was re-elected a little more than a year ago by better than two to one. Before the Iowa caucuses, she had so dominated opinion polls and endorsements by elected officials and powerful unions that many considered her home state impregnable...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Forgotten Caucus?

South Carolina will not go to the precincts alone on January 19th, but it seems that the media has mostly forgotten it. Nevada moved its contest to the same date with the blessings of both parties, but it has received little of the coverage of the other early primary and caucus states. Pollsters and candidates have also mostly skipped the home state of Sin City. As John Edwards would ask, "Why ... why?" Nevada wanted to raise its profile in the nomination process, and the parties seemed eager to expand the focus out West, which gets short shrift in the primaries. The state has 34 Republican delegates at risk, and 25 for the Democrats, which makes it at least as important as New Hampshire in that sense. Yet despite a couple of high-profile visits from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, we here nothing of Nevada. It appears pollsters have something...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Joe Won't Be The Veep Pick For McCain

Unlike in the 2004 campaign, when a still-angry McCain allowed rumors of a second-slot deal with John Kerry to percolate just a little before denying them, the McCain campaign wants to scotch rumors of a similar deal with Senator Joe Lieberman. Robert Novak reports that Team McCain emphatically denies any suggestion that Lieberman would get selected as his running mate if McCain wins the Republican nomination: Close advisers of Sen. John McCain say there is no possibility that Independent Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman would be McCain's vice presidential running mate on the Republican ticket. McCain credits Lieberman's endorsement for president last month as triggering his turnaround in New Hampshire, leading to victory in that state's primary last Tuesday. In addition, McCain and Lieberman are friends who admire each other personally. Nevertheless, Lieberman still votes the straight Democratic line in the Senate on nearly all issues except Iraq, and McCain's advisers...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Oprah Intimidated?

Did Oprah get intimidated by women into backing away from her public support of Barack Obama? Could that have been one of the reasons Hillary Clinton pulled a surprise win out of New Hampshire? Robert Novak says yes: The absence of Oprah Winfrey from the frantic four last days of the New Hampshire primary campaign after her heavy schedule in Iowa backing Sen. Barack Obama may be traced to heavy, unaccustomed post-Iowa abuse of the popular entertainment superstar by women. Winfrey did not publicize it, but her Website was swamped with complaints after she went to Iowa. The principal complaint was that she betrayed women by not supporting Sen. Hillary Clinton. The criticism was described as personal. I'm not certain how much Oprah had to do with Obama's success in Iowa in any case. Hillary had never gained a lot of traction there, and John Edwards beat her to second...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Iraq: We've Penetrated AQI -- But Apparently Not The American Media

At the same time that the Iraqi National Assembly passed its long-awaited de-Ba'athification reform, the security services have apparently cracked al-Qaeda's organization in the country. Muslim World News, a Muslim news agency in India, reports that the Iraqi Interior Ministry formed a unit recently dedicated to attacking AQI and will shortly take out the entire structure (via AJ Strata): The Interior Ministry announced Friday that al-Qaeda in Iraq has been successfully penetrated by means of a recently formed government security apparatus and is virtually an "open book," confirming that the sectarian sedition in the country was at the end of its rope. Major General Abdul Karim Khalaf, director of operations at the Interior Ministry, told KUNA here "we have succeeded in establishing a capable intelligence apparatus to penetrate the al-Qaeda organization in Iraq and all armed groups targeting Iraqi national security." He said emphatically that the sectarian sedition in Iraq...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

NARN, The Progress(ive) Is A Mirage Edition (And A Happy Birthday To ....)

The Northern Alliance Radio Network will be on the air today, with our six-hour-long broadcast schedule starting at 11 am CT. The first two hours features Power Line's John Hinderaker and Chad and Brian from Fraters Libertas. Mitch and I hit the airwaves for the second shift from 1-3 pm CT, and King Banaian and Michael Broadkorb have The Final Word from 3-5. If you're in the Twin Cities, you can hear us on AM 1280 The Patriot, or on the station's Internet stream if you're outside of the broadcast area. Today, Mitch and I will certainly discuss the Republican debate, the New Hampshire primaries, but also the progress in Iraq today with the de-Ba'athification reform law passing unanimously and the Iraqi claim to have completely penetrated al-Qaeda in Iraq. Don't miss it! Be sure to call 651-289-4488 to join the conversation! UPDATE: Happy Birthday to the man who made...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

De-Baathification Reform Law Passes In Iraqi Parliament

Note: I'm leaving this post on top for the morning; newer posts are below. Those who claim that the surge strategy in Iraq has paid no dividends because it hasn't met Congressional benchmarks may wish to skip to the next post. The Iraqi National Assembly has passed one of the two most critical benchmarks that the American government had pressed for Baghdad to adopt, the de-Baathification reform that will allow Sunnis to once again enter government jobs: Iraq's parliament adopted legislation Saturday on the reinstatement of former Baath party supporters to government jobs, a benchmark sought by the United States as a key step toward national reconciliation. The voting was carried out by a show of hands on each of the law's 30 clauses. The bill, officially called the "Accountability and Justice" law, seeks to relax restrictions on the right of members of Saddam Hussein's now-dissolved Baath party to fill...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Something's Happening?

That's what Fredheads hope, anyway. Fred Thompson seems to have come alive in South Carolina; his campaign reports that they've had to shut down at least two events because supporters have overcrowded the venues. His joltingly aggressive performance on Thursday has people wondering where this Fred has been -- and hoping he sticks around. Baby, they love his way, even the lines on his face ... and they want more people to feel like they do. Here's a little Photoshop fun for the evening; maybe you'll want to put on the great classic album and think, (I'll Give You) Money. Add your own caption, and rate them, too. Bonus points if you were alive when this album came out, and you know the artist as more than just a Geico commercial celebrity ... UPDATE: My friend Chris Muir sends me a much better photoshop than the one I did....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 13, 2008

Scotland Yard: AQ Killed Bhutto

Scotland Yard experts on the case in Pakistan now believe that al-Qaeda assassinated Benazir Bhutto after reviewing all of the evidence. The Times of London reports from sources inside the organization that the investigators do not see any evidence of a cover-up, but of massive incompetence in the hours after the murder, which led to speculation of government involvement: BRITISH officials have revealed that evidence amassed by Scotland Yard detectives points towards Al-Qaeda militants being responsible for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Five experts in video evidence and forensic science have been in Pakistan for 10 days since President Pervez Musharraf took up an offer from Gordon Brown for British help in the investigation of the December 27 killing. Last week they were joined by three specialists in explosives. The gun fired at Bhutto has been checked for fingerprints by the Scotland Yard detectives. A government minister told The Sunday...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

About All Of That Experience

I've mostly taken a day off today to catch up with the family and some rest, but Jazz Shaw has worked all weekend on a well-researched essay about Hillary Clinton and her "experience". At Middle Earth Journal, Jazz looks at Hillary's claims over her legislative record and finds a series of failures instead: Has Hillary been treated unfairly by the press, while her opponent, Senator Obama, has been given a free pass? To the contrary, it seems to me that the press has been more than active in vetting Mr. Obama, going to the ends of the Earth - in some cases literally, while checking out his schooling on the far side of the planet - to dig up whatever tawdry tidbits were available. Meanwhile, debate after debate is held. Hillary Clinton shows up so often on the Sunday morning chat festivals that I once thought she was the new...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 14, 2008

Why Bother To Publish It?

When looking at polls, readers should always review the sampling to determine their predictive value. After some of the strange polling in the 2004 and 2006 election, most people have become more educated on how to spot poor polling efforts, even when presented by major media outlets like the New York Times and CBS News. One would also think that the survey debacle in New Hampshire would make news organizations like CBS and the Gray Lady a little more circumspect than before. One would be incorrect: Republican voters have sharply altered their views of the party’s presidential candidates following the early contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, with Senator John McCain, once widely written off, now viewed more favorably than any of his major competitors, according to the latest nationwide New York Times/CBS News Poll. ... On the Democratic side, Senator Barack Obama’s victory in Iowa has improved his standing...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Rasmussen: McCain Beats Hillary Like A Drum

Rasmussen has a somewhat more realistic picture of the Republican primary race than the New York Times/CBS poll that used a whopping 282 likely voters for its sample. McCain leads nationally by five points over Mike Huckabee, 24%-19%, while the rest of the field comes in a statistical tie for third place. However, the real news appears in the head-to-head matchup with Hillary Clinton, where the Democrat can't even muster 40% support: A Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds John McCain leading Hillary Clinton nationally by double digits. The survey, conducted on the two nights following New Hampshire’s Primary, shows McCain attracting 49% of the vote nationwide while Clinton earns 38%. Among Republican voters, McCain leads 86% to 6%. However, among Democrats, Clinton’s lead is a slightly less dominant 74% to 18%. McCain leads by twenty-one points among unaffiliated voters. This is the third straight poll showing McCain ahead of...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Power Of Pork

Once again, the power of pork to sustain incumbents gets its best demonstration in the person of John Murtha (D-PA). The acknowledged king of earmarks in the House gains the attention of the New York Times editorial board today, which notes the cozy and lucrative relationship between more than two dozen contractors in Murtha's district and the hundreds of millions of dollars in pork he provided them. It also highlights what roughly amounts to a commission on the sale of Murtha's power as an appropriator: Mr. Murtha led all House members this year, securing $162 million in district favors, according to the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. ... In 1991, Mr. Murtha used a $5 million earmark to create the National Defense Center for Environmental Excellence in Johnstown to develop anti-pollution technology for the military. Since then, it has garnered more than $670 million in contracts and earmarks. Meanwhile...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Great Race Pile-On

The Democrats have begun to fracture on the very bases of their historic primary race this year: race and gender. The campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have started trading allegations of race-baiting, and now John Edwards has jumped into the fray on Obama's side. The party of identity politics appears about to founder on its very premise: After staying on the sidelines in the first year of the campaign, race and to a lesser extent gender have burst into the forefront of the Democratic presidential contest, thrusting Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton into the middle of a sharp-edged social and political debate that transcends their candidacies. In a tense day of exchanges by the candidates and their supporters, Mrs. Clinton suggested on Sunday that Mr. Obama’s campaign, in an effort to inject race into the contest, distorted remarks she had made about the Rev. Dr. Martin...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Another Little Fib From The Clintons On Iraq

The Clinton campaign has been trying to sell Democrats on the notion that Hillary voted for a more restrictive authorization for the Iraq war, one written by Chuck Hagel that only pertained to WMDs. The New York Times calls shenanigans on Hillary and Bill, pointing out that Hillary supported and voted for the White House version of the AUMF: In interviews and at a recent campaign event, they have said that Mr. Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, helped draft the resolution, which they said was proof that the measure was more about urging Saddam Hussein to comply with weapons inspections, instead of authorizing combat. Mrs. Clinton repeated the claim Sunday during an interview on “Meet the Press,” saying “Chuck Hagel, who helped to draft the resolution, said it was not a vote for war.” “It was a vote to use the threat of force against Saddam Hussein, who never did anything...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Lost Congress Returns And Will Remain Lost

Congress returns for its second half of the 110th tomorrow, and the forecast looks a lot like the recap of its first half. The pressing issues at the top of the agenda both come from vetoes by the White House. With the election pressing, we can expect more of the same. At Heading Right, I note that all of the reasons why the first half of Congress failed remain, and that new pressures from the election will amplify them. Chief among these reasons: the Democrats have not replaced Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, despite their disastrous leadership in the first half of the 110th. Maybe this year, they can drive their approval ratings into single digits....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Jeff Flake For Appropriations

Does America want a new direction on pork? Will Republicans start offering credible opposition to its corrosive and corrupting influence? Both have an opportunity to move Congress towards fiscal responsibility and transparency in appropriations. Jeff Flake, the crusading Arizona representative on pork, wants a seat on the House Appropriations Committee, and you can help him get it. Supporters of Jeff Flake have launched a new website, Make It Flake. They list the phone numbers for Republican leadership in the House and have a function where readers can describe the effect of their phone calls. They need people, especially Republicans, to make those calls and let their voices be heard inside the Beltway. Politely make the point that the Republicans need to demonstrate their commitment to fiscal responsibility and clean government in concrete actions as well as rhetoric. Appointing Flake to Appropriations will send that message clearly. Congress begins its session...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Florida A Four-Way Tie: Rasmussen

Rasmussen has the crucial Florida contest a four-way tie for the Republican primary, with Fred Thompson not far back in fifth place. John McCain leads by a single point at the moment, with Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney, and Rudy Giuliani all within two points of the current holder of Big Mo. That motion has appeared to slow in Florida since McCain's big New Hampshire win, as Survey USA had him up by ten in the immediate aftermath: The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey finds four candidates essentially tied for the lead in Florida’s Republican Presidential Primary. It’s McCain 19%, Giuliani 18%, Romney 18%, and Huckabee 17%. Fred Thompson is a few points off the pace at 11% while Ron Paul is a distant sixth with support from 5% of Likely Primary Voters. The race in Florida is very fluid. Just 45% of Likely Primary Voters say they are “certain” to...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

McCain's Michigan Edge: Democrats

The Michigan primary promises to start a bloody debate among Republicans that in some quarters has already started. A new Zogby poll of likely GOP primary voters in Michigan shows John McCain with a three-point edge over Mitt Romney. The poll's internals, however, show that Romney leads among Republicans while McCain gets a boost from Democrats and independents that will skip the meaningless Democratic primary (via Memeorandum): The survey shows McCain with a 27% to 24% edge over Romney, with Iowa caucus winner Mike Huckabee trailing with 15% support. McCain, fresh off a 37% to 32% victory in New Hampshire over Romney, is battling the former governor on what is essentially Romney’s home turf, having grown up in the Detroit suburbs while his father, George, was governor of the state in the early 1960s. .... The poll shows that among Republicans, Romney beats McCain, 30% to 20%, but McCain gets...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Nightmare For Financial Advisers

Which spectre haunts financial advisers the most? Terrorism? Global unrest? Not even close. According to a survey of over 200 financial advisers taken in December, their biggest worry is that Hillary Clinton will win the presidential election in November: Nothing worries financial advisers more than the prospect of a Democrat's being elected president in November, according to a quarterly poll by Brinker Capital Inc. The fourth-quarter edition of the Brinker Barometer, which polled 236 advisers in December, found that 22% indicated that a "Democrat in the White House" worried them more than all other economic or geopolitical concerns. Rounding out the list of concerns was "global unrest" (15%), "U.S. economic growth" (15%), "a terrorist attack" (13%) and "a recession" (13%). They're less concerned about recession than dealing with the economic policies of a new Clinton administration. They fear that a big increase in taxes will erode equity investments, especially given...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: Eric Egland, IBD's Tom McArdle

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Eric Egland joins us again to talk about his run for Congress. The incumbent, Republican John Doolittle, announced his retirement under the clouds of a federal corruption investigation. How can Eric Egland restore the Republican brand and hold the seat? UPDATE: Tom McArdle of Investors Business Daily joins us in the second half of today's show to talk about the latest developments involving Iran. He formerly served as a White House speechwriter for President George W. Bush and has worked as a reporter for the Washington weekly Human Events; for syndicated columnnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak; and for Rush Limbaugh's Limbaugh Letter. His work has appeared in National Review, the American Spectator, and other national publications. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Rasmussen: South Carolina Shifts In Both Primaries

Two new Rasmussen polls show movement in both the Republican and Democratic primaries. Fred Thompson has begun to ascend, but mostly at the expense of Mike Huckabee after his takedown of the Arkansas governor in the last debate. Hillary Clinton has eaten up half of Barack Obama's previous lead as well, with only eight days to go before the primary: Over the past several days, the only real movement in South Carolina’s Republican Presidential Primary has been a four-point gain for Fred Thompson and a five-point decline for Mike Huckabee. The big winner from that trade-off is John McCain. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows McCain at 28%, Huckabee at 19%, Mitt Romney at 17%, and Fred Thompson at 16%. Rudy Giuliani and Ron Paul are tied with 5% support. Giuliani is betting his entire campaign on a strong showing in Florida, where he is now tied for the...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Last Time The Polls Were Unanimous ... (Update: McCainia In Nevada, Too?)

Is it just me, or is anyone else getting flashbacks to New Hampshire? USA Today and Gallup announced the results of their latest national survey, and confirm that John McCain has more than doubled his support to jump into first place, while Hillary Clinton has pulled away from Barack Obama again. This flurry of polling data corroborates each other nicely .... just like the polling did in the Granite State: Republicans McCain: 33%, up from 19% a week ago. Mike Huckabee: 19%, down from 25%. Rudy Giuliani: 13%; down from 20%. Mitt Romney: 11%; up from 9%. Fred Thompson: 9%; down from 12%. Rep. Ron Paul: 3%; down from 4%. Rep. Duncan Hunter: 2%; up from 1%. Alan Keyes: 1%; vs. 0. Democrats Clinton: 45%; up from 33%. Obama: 33%, unchanged. John Edwards: 13%; down from 20%. Rep. Dennis Kucinich: 1%; down from 3%. Mike Gravel: 1%; vs. 0. The...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Judge To NBC: You Can't Control Your Own Content

A solution in search of a problem found a judge in search of some understanding of the concept of private property and free speech. Both converged in Las Vegas through the efforts of Dennis Kucinich to force his way into the NBC Democratic debate. A Las Vegas judge ruled in favor of Kucinich: A Las Vegas judge has ruled that democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich must be included in the Tuesday night presidential debate in Las Vegas. Kucinich filed a lawsuit against NBC. He said he was initially invited to be in the nationally televised debate but the offer was later rescinded. Base on the earlier invitation, Judge Charles Thompson ruled in Kucinich's favor saying if he isn't included, he will issue an injunction stopping the debate. This won't hold up, but it may not be worth it for NBC to appeal. It will cost them less in legal fees...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Rush, Having Far Too Much Fun

I know we've all had our share of schadenfreude on the Right over the racial eruptions on the Left, but no one has had as much fun with it than Rush did today. He doesn't miss any of the points raised over the last couple of weeks, and emphasized that it only started happening because Barack Obama actually began to seriously challenge Hillary for the nomination. Bryan at Hot Air gives us the video of his opening monologue, in two parts: Rush even gets to damn with faint praise: "[Obama] can deliver a hell of a vapid speech!" Watch him laughing with delight at the end of Part II. But he didn't stop with the monologue. He went into much more detail on Hillary's comments, and caught this interesting nugget from Hillary's Meet the Press interview yesterday: HILLARY: And the point that I was responding to from Senator Obama himself...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 15, 2008

Idiocracy

Tired of the political season already? Need a break from the seriousness and the foolishness? If you're looking for a few laughs and you don't care whether they're lowbrow, try renting Idiocracy or catching it on cable. From the creator of "Beavis & Butthead" and "King of the Hill", Idiocracy tells the story about a very average man who gets inadvertently thrust forward five hundred years, when the entire planet has become ... well, pretty damned stupid. How did that happen? Here's the beginning of the film, which explains it: This is no Citizen Kane or even There's Something About Mary, but its depiction of politics in 2505 will leave you in tears from laughter, and perhaps with some sense of familiarity. It may not take 500 years for that particular part of the dystopian view to become reality....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Conveniently Lost Contracts Of Campaign Contributors

Another scandal involving Indian gaming, campaign contributions, and potential misdeeds by government officials has erupted in California. Four tribes proposed expanding their gaming and sent the requests to the Department of the Interior last September. The DoI had 45 days to review the proposals and to deny them, if needed. However, the requests from the politically-connected tribes somehow got lost for three months, forcing automatic approvals of the lucrative expansions when they mysteriously reappeared (via CapQ reader Mark): Four California Indian gambling agreements, deals worth perhaps more than $50 billion, went missing for nearly three months after they were sent to Interior in early September. The disappearance forced the agency to approve the agreements automatically without any review, even though they still face a statewide vote on California's Feb. 5 ballot. Interior officials have dismissed the blunder as a mistake by an unknown employee. But they cannot explain how they...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Shoot The Rioters: Musharraf

Pervez Musharraf wants peaceful elections on February 18th. In fact, he wants them so badly that he'll kill anyone who gets in the way of peaceful elections. Musharraf warned that any attempt to disrupt the parliamentary elections through rioting would have deadly consequences for the provocateurs: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has said troops will be ordered to shoot anyone trying to disrupt general elections due on February 18. The elections are meant to complete a transition to civilian rule and allies of nuclear-armed Pakistan hope they will promote stability after months of political turmoil and rising militant violence. ... Speaking to businessmen in Karachi, the country's commercial capital, Musharraf said the government would not allow riots to occur again. "Let me assure you we are going to instruct the rangers and army to shoot miscreants during elections," the official Associated Press of Pakistan quoted him as saying late on Monday....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Rudy: Don't Blame Us For Terrorism

The New York Times editorial board recently offered a critique of Rudy Giuliani and his views on the causes of terrorism. Following Giuliani's assertion that al-Qaeda's hatred has nothing to do with American foreign policy but springs from a virulent strain of Islam that cannot abide anything outside of its precepts, the Times scolded Giuliani for ignoring the complaints of radical Islamists as a cause for their violence. Thomas Joscelyn rebuts this criticism with some history, and some facts: Raymond Ibrahim explains the difference between our enemies’ propaganda and their real motives in his excellent book, The Al Qaeda Reader. Ibrahim says the theme of our enemies’ propaganda is “always the same.” In its messages to the West, al Qaeda says it “is merely retaliating for all the injustices the West, and the United States in particular, has brought upon Muslims.” However, the rationale al-Qaeda offers in its theological treatises,...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Poor, Poor Pitiful Me

From time to time, I get e-mails from publicists promoting clients and their media appearances. Normally these tend to either be off-topic for me or resolutely uninteresting, although a few PR firms have shown themselves to be very reliable and helpful in getting information to bloggers. Last night, however, I may have received the strangest notice yet. The Tyra Banks Show taped an episode yesterday with Hillary Clinton that will air on Friday, and they sent along a partial transcript to pique interest in the show. It contained a rather odd cri de coeur from someone who wants to convince people to elect her President: TYRA: What about you? Do you ever get lonely? Do you ever sit in you room by yourself sometimes and just feel alone? SENATOR CLINTON: I don't feel lonely but I do feel sometimes isolated. Because when you are in these positions that I have...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Alert The Media

I'll be on with Nikki Starr this morning at Nikki Rocks The Politics at 9 am CT today, one of the excellent BlogTalkRadio shows you can find daily at BTR. The Flylady will be one of our guests as well, and I will begin appearing on Nikki's show as a co-host on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning today. You can listen at the BTR link, or use the player below: If you go to the BTR link, you can join us in the Webchat session!...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Mauricio Celis: Hillary Backer, Drug Dealer?

Last November, I wrote about the case of Hillary Clinton backer Mauricio Celis, whose ownership of a law practice resulted in an indictment containing charges of impersonating a lawyer and fraudulent business practices. Now the state of Texas has a new investigation of Celis which includes money laundering and suspected involvement in Mexican drug cartels: Mauricio Celis is linked to the Mexican drug trade in a search warrant the state used Friday to raid his law offices and gather computer files, according to financial documents and other business records. The warrant includes a sworn statement by a Texas Attorney General's official accusing Celis of money laundering. ... The state searched a U.S. Treasury database and border crossing data to determine that Celis went to Mexico frequently after withdrawing large sums of cash, according to an affidavit accompanying the warrant. "Celis is rumored to be associated with questionable criminal element (sic)...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

A Defining Moment For Republicans

The opening on the House Appropriations Committee gives the Republicans a defining moment for their brand in the 110th Congress. Will they appoint a crusading anti-pork activist who can shine4 sunlight on the appropriations process, or will they assign the seat to someone more likely to go along with the status quo? Pressure has increased for the GOP's House leadership to support the crusader, Jeff Flake of Arizona (via Memeorandum): House Republicans this month will face a defining moment when they fill an opening on the Appropriations Committee: Either appoint an anti-earmark lawmaker or risk further alienating conservatives at the grassroots level. The intensifying effort to persuade Republican leaders to select Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) to fill ex-Rep. Roger Wicker’s (R-Miss.) Appropriations seat grew stronger Monday as FreedomWorks endorsed the maverick lawmaker. Former House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-Texas), now FreedomWorks president, said in a release, “Appointing Jeff Flake would...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Bridge Collapse Caused By Design Flaw, Not Maintenance

The collapse of the St. Anthony Bridge in Minneapolis started with a design flaw in the gusset plates, confirming suspicions that arose in the first week of the investigation. A source familiar with the conclusion told CNN earlier this morning that the NTSB will announce that finding later today, ending speculation that poor maintenance caused the deaths of 13 people last August: Federal investigators have identified a design flaw as the cause of last year's Interstate 35W Minneapolis bridge collapse that killed 13 people, a congressional official said Tuesday. The official, who was briefed by the National Transportation Safety Board, said that investigators found a design flaw in the bridge's gusset plates, which are the steel plates that tie steel beams together. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt an update being provided later Tuesday by the NTSB chairman, Mark V. Rosenker. The findings...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Embassy Targeted In Lebanon

It looks like terrorists have begun targeting Americans again in Lebanon. Fortunately, the bomb didn't kill any American personnel at the embassy in Beirut, but four Lebanese died in the explosion: An explosion targeted a U.S. Embassy vehicle Tuesday in northern Beirut, killing four Lebanese and injuring a local embassy employee just ahead of a farewell reception for the American ambassador, U.S. and Lebanese officials said. In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said two embassy employees — including the driver — were in the vehicle damaged in the blast, which could be heard across the Lebanese capital and sent gray smoke billowing near the Mediterranean coast. The driver was slightly wounded and the other staffer is fine, McCormack told reporters. He said no American diplomats or American citizens were in the car. We've seen terrorist attacks on Americans in Beirut before. The most famous of these killed 241 Marines...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: Rick Moran, Michigan Primary

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Rick Moran joins me to talk about the Michigan primary and other developments in the presidential race. At post time, we have some possibilities for surprise guests, so be sure to check back ... Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Guilt By Association

It didn't take long for Hillary Clinton supporters to latch onto Barack Obama's church as a rebuttal to the criticism they've taken for Hillary's remarks about the role of civil-rights activists in fostering real change. Richard Cohen takes up the cudgel by demanding that Obama disavow the minister of Trinity United Church for his endorsement of Louis Farrakhan via an award given in his name: Barack Obama is a member of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ. Its minister, and Obama's spiritual adviser, is the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. In 1982, the church launched Trumpet Newsmagazine; Wright's daughters serve as publisher and executive editor. Every year, the magazine makes awards in various categories. Last year, it gave the Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. Trumpeter Award to a man it said "truly epitomized greatness." That man is Louis Farrakhan. Maybe for Wright and some others, Farrakhan "epitomized greatness." For most...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Michigan Primaries Predictions

I'll live blog tonight as the results come in from Michigan's primaries. I haven't had a chance to post my predictions for this evening, so I'll do it now and take my lumps later. For the Democrats, the choice is pretty easy, since Hillary is the only major candidate on the ballot; I predict that she will gain 65% of a very low turnout, while Uncommitted gets 25% and the other 10% goes to the rest of the ballot. I predict that the crossover vote will not be as heavy as predicted, discouraged in part by lousy weather. Three inches of snow wouldn't keep motivated voters from reaching the polls, but I don't think that the Republican slate will motivate non-Republicans to turn out in force while it's dark, snowy, and miserable on the roads. That favors Mitt Romney, and I think he edges out John McCain for his first...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Live Coverage Of The Michigan Primary

I'll live blog my thoughts on the Michigan primary returns as they start coming in at 8 pm CT. I'll also be speaking with the boss, Alan Levy, on his BlogTalkRadio show with The Flylady at 7 pm CT. We'll be talking about the primary race in general, and joining me will be Tom McArdle of Investors Business Daily. Interest seems a bit lower in this primary, probably because of the low relevance of the Democratic primary, but it has significant meaning for the Republican race.. I'll be going in reverse-chronological order, so older comments will be lower in the post. 9:07 - John King and Jeffrey Toobin at CNN are arguing that McCain got "trounced" in Michigan. Er, no. He didn't do as well as he should have, mostly because the crossover vote never materialized. But 30% is not a bad showing, especially given McCain's agenda on global warming,...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Nevada Supreme Court: NBC Can Choose Its Debate Participants

Much to the consternation of the people who flooded my comment thread with vitriol, the Nevada Supreme Court has reversed the lower court that tried to force NBC to include Dennis Kucinich in tonight's debate. As I argued, they not only found that the judge had violated NBC's free speech rights, they also found that the court had no jurisdiction: The Nevada Supreme Court said Tuesday MSNBC can exclude Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich from a candidate debate. Lawyers for NBC Universal Inc., had asked the high court to overturn a lower court order that the cable TV news network include the Ohio congressman or pull the plug on broadcasting the debate Tuesday night with Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards. An hour before the debate, the state Supreme Court's unanimous order said that blocking the debate unless Kucinich got to participate would be "an unconstitutional prior restraint"...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 16, 2008

The Night Belongs To Mitt, The Race To No One

Two truths came out of Mitt Romney's big win in Michigan last night. First, Romney can win a hotly-contested state, proving his organizational strength when New Hampshire and Iowa had suggested otherwise. And second, Rudy Giuliani's view that the early states would not matter has largely been vindicated. And Republicans will have a lot more work to do before they settle on a single candidate: Romney's triumph in the state where he was born and where his father served as governor further scrambles a GOP field in which no candidate has been able to win more than one major contest. McCain captured first place in the New Hampshire primary Jan. 8 and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee topped the Iowa field five days earlier. .... The surprisingly easy win in Michigan by a candidate whom many had written off vaults Romney back into contention and reaffirms the sharpened campaign message...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Hillary's Flat Tire In Michigan

So Hillary got a chance to have a primary race where her only competition was a fringe candidate (Dennis Kucinich), one who already quit (Chris Dodd), a joke (Mike Gravel), and None of the Above (Uncommitted). How well did she fare in a state that usually likes Establishment candidates? She only beat None of the Above by fifteen points. The Michigan Democratic Party got its delegates stripped by the DNC for violating its scheduling rules. The RNC penalized state Republicans too, but only by stripping half of the delegates, so the GOP primary had real meaning. Instead, the Democratic candidates had removed their names from the ballot, but somehow Hillary neglected to do the same. That left her with the possibility of having a landslide result in what was more or less a beauty contest. The state party decided to back Uncommitted, helped in large part by the Obama and...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Federalism Gets Around, But Not Understood

Mike Huckabee has apparently learned the value of federalism on the campaign trail. Once a proponent of a federal smoking ban, Huckabee reversed himself in a letter from his campaign to The Hill. While not completely renouncing his previous stance, Huckabee now says that he would not sign a smoking ban under current circumstances (via Hot Air): At an August 2007 forum on cancer hosted by cyclist and activist Lance Armstrong and moderated by MSNBC host Chris Matthews, Huckabee said he supported a federal smoking ban. “If you are president in 2009 and Congress brings you a bill to outlaw smoking nationwide in public places, would you sign it?” Matthews asked. “I would, certainly would. In fact, I would, just like I did as governor of Arkansas, I think there should be no smoking in any indoor area where people have to work,” Huckabee responded, triggering applause from the crowd....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Did The Buck Stop With Rodriguez?

The videotapes containing interrogations of al-Qaeda terrorists, including depictions of waterboarding, got destroyed because the man who ordered the action believed he had "implicit support" to do so from the CIA, according to his lawyer. Jose Rodriguez acted on requests from the CIA station chief in Bangkok to resolve the status of the tapes before the chief's retirement. After consultations with CIA lawyers and other officials in the agency, Rodriguez believed he could act to destroy the tapes and all of the evidence they contained: In late 2005, the retiring CIA station chief in Bangkok sent a classified cable to his superiors in Langley asking if he could destroy videotapes recorded at a secret CIA prison in Thailand that in part portrayed intelligence officers using simulated drowning to extract information from suspected al-Qaeda members. The tapes had been sitting in the station chief's safe, in the U.S. Embassy compound, for...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Crossover Flop In Michigan

Before the Michigan primaries, many of us wondered whether the lack of a meaningful Democratic primary would create a flood of crossover votes into the Republican contest. Such a turnout could have boosted the performance of John McCain, who remains popular with independents and Democrats in that state and elsewhere. However, despite a campaign by Markos Moulitsas and others, the crossover vote turned out to be insignificant: McCain captured 41 percent of Democrats who voted in the Republican primary, 10 points more than Romney. Mike Huckabee meanwhile, only captured 14 percent of Democrats. Though the Democratic primary race was rendered essentially meaningless after party sanctions, few Democrats decided to vote in the Republican primary — according to the exit polling, Democrats only constituted 7 percent of the vote in that contest. Markos urged his readers to vote for Mitt Romney as a way to confuse the Republican primary race. Instead,...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Bless The Poor And The Stupid?

Most people would respond to the birth of a child with a hearty Mazel Tov! or a cigar. The Associated Press, here through the Los Angeles Times, decides to wear sackcloth and ashes. A baby boomlet in the United States -- which merely returned us briefly to viability -- gets blamed on a lack of abortions, poverty, and stupidity: The nearly 4.3 million births in 2006 were mostly due to a bigger population, especially a growing number of Latinos. That group accounted for nearly one-quarter of all U.S. births. But non-Latino white women and other racial and ethnic groups were having more babies too. An Associated Press review of births dating to 1909 found the total in the U.S. was the highest since 1961, near the end of the baby boom. An examination of global data also shows that the United States has a higher fertility rate than every country...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

My Turn In The Hot Seat: Is Rudy A Genius?

embedSWF(9, 0, 0, "widget", "recent")This content requires the most recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. Get this version below:Get Flash Today's question refers to my post from earlier today, but I have a second question for CapQ readers and AOL visitors. If Rudy Giuliani saw through the political fog and selected a winning strategy by allowing all of his competitors to waste money in the early states, is that a good reason to support him for the nomination? Has this vindicated not just his strategy, but his generalship as well -- and should that be enough for Republicans to rally around him?...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

A Pushback Against The EO

Some lessons take a while to fully sink into the consciousness, and apparently the lesson of 2006 still hasn't quite finished doing so. Republican as well as Democratic appropriators have flooded the White House with demands that he drop the idea of issuing an executive order to defund the non-legislative earmarks in the omnibus spending bill. Democrats warn of year-long war with the Bush administration, while Republicans complain that they need pork to win elections: The leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee are calling on President Bush to back away from threats to kill funding for lawmakers’ pet projects. The pre-emptive warnings from the top Democrat and Republican on the panel are the clearest signs yet that President Bush could face a bipartisan backlash if he uses his executive authority to wipe out the more than $7 billion in earmarks. .... The executive order would generate enormous support from fiscal...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Barack's The Man, Keeping Hillary Down

One has to marvel at the sheer chutzpah of Bill Clinton. He told a Sparks, Nevada audience that the establishment candidate in the Democratic presidential primary race is the one who has served a grand total of three years in national office, instead of the one who claims her husband's eight years as President as her resume: Bill Clinton, who carried Nevada in two general elections, urged voters Tuesday to buck labor endorsements for Sen. Barack Obama and support his wife in Saturday's hotly contested presidential caucuses as the only Democratic candidate with the experience necessary to change the country. The former president trumpeted New York Sen. Hillary Clinton's accomplishments while painting Obama as the "establishment" candidate who would bring only the "feeling of change." "One candidate says you should vote for me because I've not been involved at all in the struggles of the past and therefore we need...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: Want To Beat Dick Durbin?

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), we have two great guests. In the first half, we'll talk to Dr. Steve Sauerberg, who has launched a campaign to unseat Dick Durbin from the US Senate. Find out how the family physician from Illinois plans to beat the #2 Democrat in the upper chamber. In the second half, we'll talk with Dan Proft, nationally syndicated columnist at Human Events, about this election cycle. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Rudy At The Memorial

Rudy Giuliani spoke at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial yesterday, honoring the commitment and sacrifice of the troops who have given their lives in service. He asks if any of the family would like to come to the podium and tell their stories, and as one might imagine, it overshadowed everything else Rudy had to say. However, the words of these parents are quite stirring, even if one Gold Star mother gets interrupted by a protestor. Check out Rudy's reaction:...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Former Congressman An Al-Qaeda Fundraiser?

The war on terror has brought many strange stories to the fore, but perhaps none so strange as the indictment of Mark Deli Siljander, a former Michigan Congressman indicted for helping to shift funds to Islamist terrorists. Siljander represented the Islamic American Relief Agency and took $50,000 in fees later determined to have been stolen from USAID, and helped get it funds that federal investigators say went to the Taliban: A former congressman and delegate to the United Nations was indicted Wednesday as part of a terrorist fundraising ring that allegedly sent more than $130,000 to an al Qaeda and Taliban supporter who has threatened U.S. and international troops in Afghanistan. The former Republican congressman from Michigan, Mark Deli Siljander, was charged with money laundering, conspiracy and obstructing justice for allegedly lying about lobbying senators on behalf of an Islamic charity that authorities said was secretly sending funds to terrorists....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 17, 2008

Not Covering Themselves With Glory

The Pakistani military suffered a humiliating defeat today on the Afghan frontier, as Taliban elements raided a fort and killed several soldiers before falling back on their own volition. Although the fort remains in the hands of the Pakistan military, the loss gives the Taliban and its al-Qaeda allies enhanced credibility -- and exposes the Pakistan army's weakness: In an embarrassing battlefield defeat for Pakistan's army, Islamic extremists attacked and seized a small fort near the Afghan border, leaving at least 22 soldiers dead or missing. The insurgents later abandoned the fort and melted away into the hills, said military spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas. "There is no occupation of the Sararogha Fort. Militants have gone from there," he said. .... Nearly 100,000 soldiers are now in the area, supported by heavy artillery and Cobra helicopter gunships, but they have had little success in stopping militants from infiltrating into Afghanistan...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Rodriguez Defied Orders: Hoekstra

The focus of the Congressional investigation into the destruction of videotapes at the CIA has tightened on Jose Rodriguez. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) told reporters that Rodriguez had defied orders to preserve the tapes, appearing after a second day of closed-door testimony. The House Intelligence Committee had just heard from John Rizzo, the highest-ranking lawyer at the CIA during that period: A senior House Republican said information gathered by the House Intelligence Committee indicated that a high-ranking CIA official ordered the destruction of videotapes depicting agency interrogation sessions even though he was directed not to do so. The remark by Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) contradicts previous accounts that suggested that Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., the CIA official who ordered the tapes destroyed, was never instructed to preserve them. Hoekstra's statement was quickly challenged by Rodriguez's lawyer. "It appears he hadn't gotten authority from anyone" to order the tapes' destruction, Hoekstra,...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Abortions Down 25% Since 1990

Fewer women choose abortions, and those that do increasingly use morning-after medication to accomplish it, according to a new study from a pro-abortion group. The rate of all abortions continues to drop, and has now reached its lowest level since 1990: A comprehensive study of abortion in America underscores a striking change in the landscape, with ever-fewer pregnant women choosing abortion and those who do increasingly opting to avoid surgical clinics. The number of abortions has plunged to 1.2 million a year, down 25% since peaking in 1990, according to a report released today -- days before the 35th anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion. In the early 1980s, nearly 1 in 3 pregnant women chose abortion. The most recent data show that proportion is closer to 1 in 5. "That's a significant drop, and it's encouraging," said Randall K. O'Bannon, director of education...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

When Your Constituents Leave You, Are You A Leader?

That question now faces the Congressional Black Caucus, which has split its endorsements in the Democratic presidential primaries. The Politico reports that those who endorsed Hillary Clinton now face the pressure of their constituencies, which have begun to shift towards Barack Obama (via Memeorandum): Even though Barack Obama may become the first African-American ever to represent a major party as the nominee for president, many black lawmakers on Capitol Hill are not supporting him. And that’s creating tensions within the Congressional Black Caucus. More than a third of the black members of Congress are backing Hillary Rodham Clinton or John Edwards in the presidential primary, a stance that puts them at odds with many of their African-American constituents, who, recent polls show, are beginning to shift to Obama’s camp. The Clinton supporters — among them, civil rights pioneer Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles B....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Stop The Presses! No Executive Experience?

David Broder has breaking news in the presidential race. He has discovered, through his own investigation that -- brace yourselves -- none of the leading Democratic candidates for President has executive experience. He points out that this leaves the Democrats at a serious disadvantage to their Republican counterparts. At Heading Right, I wonder where Broder has been for the past year. The lack of experience has been a topic of conversation for at least a year, and not just executive experience, either. The time that all of them have in national public office put together doesn’t equal John McCain’s tenure in the Senate. Dan Quayle had more time just in the Senate than any one of the three Democratic front-runners. Broder says that the Democrats have to show they can actually lead. Maybe they should all drop out now, and run for an executive office. Otherwise, they can only talk...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Romney And Electability

The question of viability for Mitt Romney comes on two levels today. First, he appears to have given up on South Carolina just a day after restarting ads in the Palmetto State. Second, a new Rasmussen poll shows Romney coming up considerably short against both of the Democratic front-runners: Just a day after his big win in Michigan, Mitt Romney ceded South Carolina to his rivals. “This is a state I’d expect that Sen. [John] McCain has pretty well wrapped up,” Romney told reporters at the Sun City Hilton Head Retirement Center in Bluffton. “It would be an enormous surprise if he were unable to win here.” .... Polls show Romney standing in solid third place in South Carolina, taking anywhere from 13 percent to 17 percent of the vote. But in Bluffton, Romney put himself in fourth place, noting that “even a strong fourth is better than what some...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Nikki And I Rock Politics!

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, start your morning off right (and center) when Nikki and I host BlogTalkRadio's Nikki Rocks The Politics at 9 am CT. We'll discuss and debate the issues of the day, and we'll take your calls as well at (646) 478-4556. BlogTalkRadio has a new partner in the Department of Defense. Keep your eyes and ears open for more about this exciting new venture -- and contact me to find out how your organization will benefit from such a partnership....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Doing What They Do Best

After watching their agenda get drop-kicked all throughout 2007 and with the surge proving much more successful than they had feared, anti-war groups have restrategized for 2008. Their new approach? They'll take the political equivalent of "redeployment over the event horizon": After a series of legislative defeats in 2007 that saw the year end with more U.S. troops in Iraq than when it began, a coalition of anti-war groups is backing away from its multimillion-dollar drive to cut funding for the war and force Congress to pass timelines for bringing U.S. troops home. In recognition of hard political reality, the groups instead will lower their sights and push for legislation to prevent President Bush from entering into a long-term agreement with the Iraqi government that could keep significant numbers of troops in Iraq for years to come. The groups believe this switch in strategy can draw contrasts with Republicans that...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

How Does The Media Cover The Campaign?

The media maxim, If it bleeds, it leads, does not appear to apply to the level of coverage in the presidential primaries. A study of last week's coverage shows that, despite a much more unsettled Republican primary contest, the Democrats continue to get the lion's share of media attention. And at that, only certain Democrats (via Jazz and TPM): Senator Hillary Clinton’s poll-defying Democratic primary victory in New Hampshire helped make her the leading campaign newsmaker last week, but the resurrection in the Granite State of John McCain’s once-dead campaign did not translate into similar largesse of media attention, according to a new study of media campaign coverage. Meanwhile, the meaning of third place was also fungible last week. Mike Huckabee, a distant third in the GOP race, got sizably more media attention than did John Edwards among the Democrats. And New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who is not running,...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: Jim Geraghty And The State Of The Race

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Jim Geraghty joins us again from National Review's Campaign Spot. We'll talk about the David Broder column today, the latest in polling, and the upcoming contests in South Carolina and Nevada, as well as answer your questions about the race. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

No Bias At The AP, Of Course Not

To see an example of bias in the media, look no farther than Glen Johnson of the AP. Mitt Romney had a presser this morning in Columbia, South Carolina, when Johnson decided to hold his own debate over lobbysists in the campaign. CBS News caught the argument Johnson started on video, and its aftermath: There was an ice storm in South Carolina this morning, but it was even colder inside a Staples store where a Mitt Romney press conference suddenly went sour. Romney was in the middle of answering a routine question when he said something that caused Associated Press reporter Glen Johnson to lose his temper. “I don’t have lobbyists running my campaign,” Romney said. “I don’t have lobbyists that are tied to my … ” “That’s not true, governor!” Johnson suddenly interjected. “That is not true. Ron Kaufman is a lobbyist.” The point Romney wanted to make was...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Not Celebrating This One

A few in the blogosphere have decided to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Ten years ago, the Drudge Report first broke the story that would eventually lead to Bill Clinton's impeachment -- and some say Hillary Clinton's career in the Senate, although that seems a bit of a stretch. It marred politics and deepened the bitter partisanship that had begun with Watergate and worsened with the Robert Bork confirmation process. Worse, it embarrassed the United States and it brought the government to a standstill. It impacted our efforts to respond to both Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda, and in the end brought nothing but misery for everyone involved. I don't see anything in particular to celebrate here....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 18, 2008

Bobby Fischer Checkmated At 64

I learned to play chess at an early age, when it mattered in a strange way as a Cold War philosophical battleground. I studied it in books and played in tournaments, like many boys and girls did, inspired by both my father and Bobby Fischer, who beat the Soviets to the title and became a national hero in 1972. He died today at 64, after transforming himself into something else entirely: But his reputation as a genius of chess soon was eclipsed by his idiosyncrasies. Fischer was world champion until 1975, when he forfeited the title and withdrew from competition because conditions he demanded proved unacceptable to the International Chess Federation. After that, he lived in secret outside the United States. He emerged in 1992 to confront Spassky again, in a highly publicized match in Yugoslavia. Fischer beat Spassky 10-5 to win $3.35 million. The U.S. government said Fischer's playing...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

South Carolina And The Flag

I guess the New York Times' coverage of the Confederate flag issue in the presidential race means we're back to discussing the issues, right? The Republicans have once again fallen into the trap of talking about the use of the Civil War flag in a presidential campaign, and the national media seems more than eager to highlight it. For this, we can thank Mike Huckabee: The Republican presidential candidates on Thursday moved to appeal to different types of conservative voters before the South Carolina primary, with Mike Huckabee using colorful language to declare the Confederate flag a states’ rights issue and Senator John McCain embracing a supply-side tax cut proposal. “You don’t like people from outside the state coming in and telling you what to do with your flag,” Mr. Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, told supporters in Myrtle Beach, according to The Associated Press. “In fact,” he said,...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Blindsided By National Security?

I receive promotional e-mails from other blogs by the score, most of which I just cannot use, although I do try to read it all. One this morning caught my eye, a message promoting a Tom Edsall essay at the Huffington Post. Both the e-mail and the essay wonder whether Republicans will "blindside" the Democrats on terrorism and national security in the general election: While many Democratic strategists are confident that the deteriorating economy virtually assures the victory of their presidential candidate on November 4, there is a quiet debate over whether the party and prospective nominee are likely to get blindsided by Republicans raising issues of terrorism and national security. According to Edsall, the Democrats have high confidence in succeeding on economics in this cycle. They expect the economy to worsen in 2008 and make it easier for them to sell higher taxes and more entitlements to nervous voters....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Dollar Bill: FBI Agents Are Big Meanies

William "Dollar Bill" Jefferson wants the court tasked with trying him for corruption to throw out all of the evidence collected at his home. Why? According to his testimony yesterday, FBI agents treated him harshly during the search and cursed at him: Rep. William J. Jefferson (D-La.) testified yesterday that an FBI agent cursed at him and told him that "this is going to be the worst day of your life," just before agents searched his Louisiana home as part of the investigation that led to corruption charges against him. At one point during the tense interview at his house in August 2005, Jefferson said, an FBI agent followed him to the bathroom. "I told him, 'Are you going to the bathroom with me?' " Jefferson said in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. "He said, 'Yes.' " Minutes later, another agent informed Jefferson that $100,000 he had accepted from a...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The First Look At Hillary Documents (Update & Bump)

Judicial Watch has tried to gain access to the records from Hillary Clinton's task force on revamping the American health-care system, and has been met with considerable resistance. After seeing the first batch released by the Clinton library, one can certainly understand why. In a press release from Judicial Watch earlier this evening, they excerpted some explosive passages within the documents, passages which will create some uncomfortable questions for Hillary on the campaign trail. First, an internal critique of Hillary's plan marveled at the unprecedented scope of government control over a private industry -- at least in peacetime: A June 18, 1993 internal Memorandum entitled, “A Critique of Our Plan,” authored by someone with the initials “P.S.,” makes the startling admission that critics of Hillary’s health care reform plan were correct: “I can think of parallels in wartime, but I have trouble coming up with a precedent in our peacetime...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Records Of Change

If Hillary Clinton wants to cast herself as the candidate of change, the IBD editorial board notes, she has a perfectly applicable project to highlight, complete with as many as three million pages of documentation. Why not produce the entire record of the Health Care Task Force? Their question came one day before the answer: The last time Sen. Clinton was a genuine agent of change was when she led the secretive Health Care Task Force in 1993-94 that labored mightily to propose a Godzilla-size bureaucracy that would have nationalized one-seventh of the nation's economy. To receive medical care you would have gone to the equivalent of the Department of Motor Vehicles. That proposal was one of the key factors in the GOP tsunami of 1994. She helped Republicans gain control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 40 years. The universal health care she proposes now...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Politicizing The Office?

The Bush administration has taken plenty of heat over their alleged politicization of the White House, especially in the roles Karl Rove has played in the past two terms. The release of the memos from the 1993 Health Care Task Force might put that in some perspective. The HCTF anticipated a tough debate over its proposal to nationalize American health care, and it proposed some specific remedies -- including using the DNC to conduct intelligence operations. A February 1993 memo to Hillary Clinton from Alexis Herman and Mike Lux proposes that the HCTF -- a White House policy group -- enlist the DNC for several purposes, discussed on page 5: C. The DNC Role The DNC clearly has a critically important role to play in the campaign. I would suggest the following roles ... 3. The DNC can be instrumental for us in intelligence gathering and opposition research. Their staff...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Baghdad Security Improved Tenfold

Ten times more neighborhoods in Baghdad are secure now than at the start of the surge, according to the US military, and 75% of the Iraqi capital now qualifies for that status. The remarkable improvement comes on the anniversary of the shift in strategy and tactics known as the "surge", and it highlights the dramatic turnaround in Iraq over the past year: About 75% of Baghdad's neighborhoods are now secure, a dramatic increase from 8% a year ago when President Bush ordered more troops to the capital, U.S. military figures show. The military classifies 356 of Baghdad's 474 neighborhoods in the "control" or "retain" category of its four-tier security rating system, meaning enemy activity in those areas has been mostly eliminated and normal economic activity is resuming. The data given by the military to USA TODAY provide one of the clearest snapshots yet of how security has improved in Baghdad...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Identity Politics Is Chauvinism Under Another Name

Reportedly, Christopher Hitchens has just given up smoking. Apparently, this has had no effect on his curmudgeonly tone, but then again, Hitchens could hardly get more pointed in his criticisms. Today he rightly sets his sights on identity politics and exposes it as a trade for one bigotry over another (via Real Clear Politics): People who think with their epidermis or their genitalia or their clan are the problem to begin with. One does not banish this specter by invoking it. If I would not vote against someone on the grounds of "race" or "gender" alone, then by the exact same token I would not cast a vote in his or her favor for the identical reason. Yet see how this obvious question makes fairly intelligent people say the most alarmingly stupid things. Madeleine Albright has said that there is "a special place in hell for women who don't help...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: The Week In Review!

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson of the Hugh Hewitt Show joins us for the week in review. And we'll have plenty to discuss, starting with the revelations from Hillary Clinton's Health Care Task Force via Judicial Watch. We'll also review the presidential primaries, and much much more! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Two Contests, Two Hundred Directions

Tomorrow, two states go through two different procedures to assign delegates for the Republican Party, while the Democrats only have to focus on one state. Nevadans will caucus for both parties and South Carolina holds its Republican primary, and the results could either clarify the GOP picture or muddy it considerably. First, let's look at South Carolina, where polling shows a very mixed picture. Some show John McCain with a clear lead over Mike Huckabee, some as a dead heat. Depending on whom you trust, Fred Thompson is either surging or stagnating. Romney has mostly stopped campaigning there, choosing to focus on Nevada instead. If McCain wins, he can pick up momentum again, but if he loses, he has to wonder whether he can keep pressure on Rudy Giuliani in Florida. If Huckabee wins, and he might, can he take the momentum to any other state? In Nevada, the only...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 19, 2008

The Telephone Man

Most of us have played a game called Telephone. The instructive exercise involves passing along a brief message from person to person by whispering it quickly in their ear, and at the end comparing what was originally said to the message at the end. It proves that people filter messages to such an extent that the final product almost always bears no resemblance to the original. Meet Bill Clinton, the one-man telephone game. Saying that his "legs fell out" -- whatever that means -- when he heard Barack Obama's recent reference to Ronald Reagan, he proved that he either hadn't read it for himself or just decided to lie about it (see update below): Bill Clinton joined his wife in targeting Barack Obama's statement about Republican ideas, saying that his "legs fell out" when he read it. "Her principal opponent said that since 1992, the Republicans have had all the...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Teen Assassin?

And we think teenagers in America give us headaches! Pakistani security forces arrested a teenager who allegedly helped plot the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, and who reportedly had prepared to meet his own set of virgins during an upcoming Muslim holiday: Pakistani police have arrested a teenager who was allegedly part of a five-man squad in the plot to kill opposition leader Benazir Bhutto last month, security officials said Saturday. The suspect, 15-year-old Aitezaz Shah, was arrested from the northwestern city of Dera Ismail Khan on Friday while planning a suicide bombing over the Muslim festival of Ashura, they said on condition of anonymity. Shah told interrogators he had been part of a back-up team of three bombers who were tasked with killing former premier Bhutto if the original December 27 attack by two men had failed, the officials added. ... He allegedly said the attackers in the team that...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

When Everyone Sings Kumbaya ...

Many people talk about the virtues of bipartisanship, but in practice it usually results in essentially meaningless or damaging policy. The announced stimulus package appears more the former than the latter, but it could lead to disengagement on broader, longer-term and more meaningful policies, such as making permanent the Bush tax cuts that resulted in a four-year expansion: President Bush called yesterday for a $145 billion stimulus package centered on tax breaks for consumers and businesses to rejuvenate the lagging U.S. economy, a move that drew unusual bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill but did not boost confidence on Wall Street. The principles outlined by Bush opened a path to an agreement with congressional Democrats that could come as early as next week and put as much as $800 in each taxpayer's pocket by spring, according to both sides. Bush dispensed with one of the thorniest obstacles to a quick deal...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Will Glen Johnson Get The Last Laugh?

Earlier this week, AP reporter Glen Johnson acted unprofessionally by essentially heckling Mitt Romney during a press conference when Romney said that he would not be beholden to lobbyists if elected President. Even a bystander called Johnson "rude and ugly", a moment caught on YouTube. However, the Boston Herald -- a paper with a rightward bent -- believes that Johnson may have won on the facts while losing on the visuals (via Joe Gandelman at TMV): Former Bay State Gov. Mitt Romney, who has cast himself as a Washington outsider and blasted his opponents’ ties to lobbyists, has more than a dozen federally registered lobbyists raising money for him and several others advising his campaign, records show. At a Nashua event the day before the New Hampshire primary, Romney said, “I don’t have years and years of favors to repay, lobbyists who have raised all sorts of money for me.”...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

NARN, The Frozen Wasteland Edition

The Northern Alliance Radio Network will be on the air today, with our six-hour-long broadcast schedule starting at 11 am CT. The first two hours features Power Line's John Hinderaker and Chad and Brian from Fraters Libertas. Mitch and I hit the airwaves for the second shift from 1-3 pm CT, and King Banaian and Michael Broadkorb have The Final Word from 3-5. If you're in the Twin Cities, you can hear us on AM 1280 The Patriot, or on the station's Internet stream if you're outside of the broadcast area. It's -13 outside as I write this. Mitch and I will discuss the implications of global warming on today's show. Be sure to call 651-289-4488 to join the conversation!...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Thompson Surge Arrives?

It may have, where it counts, in South Carolina. Via Campaign Spot, the American Research Group poll taken over the last two days has Fred Thompson powering out of the doldrums and into the 20s, good enough for a clean third-place spot: Mike Huckabee leads among Republicans with 37%, followed by John McCain and Fred Thompson with 22% each. McCain leads among self-described independents with 48%. I picked Huckabee because I figured the last-minute pandering on the Confederate flag might be enough to push him over the edge. McCain's paying for his vacillation and final rejection of the issue in 2000. Thompson's score won't be enough for him to gain many delegates, but it does appear to be enough to prevail over Romney for third place, and that should keep him in the race through February 5th. Interestingly, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama picked up a point each...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Blue On Blue, No Heartache For GOP

There are a few moments where pure schadenfreude can honestly be enjoyed without guilt. Besides Geraldo getting assaulted by neo-Nazis he wanted to exploit for ratings, the second-best example is watching Democrats beat each other up by accusing each other of the voter fraud they insist doesn't exist in general elections. This time, Bill Clinton provides the blue-on-blue action in Nevada: Today when my daughter and I were wandering through the hotel, and all these culinary workers were mobbing us telling us they didn’t care what the union told them to do, they were gonna caucus for Hillary. There was a representative of the organization following along behind us going up to everybody who said that, saying 'if you’re not gonna vote for our guy were gonna give you a schedule tomorrow so you can’t be there.' So, is this the new politics? I haven’t seen anything like that in...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

AP Clairvoyant

The AP has called the Nevada caucuses for Mitt Romney. This doesn't surprise anyone, as Romney put far more effort into the contest than any other candidate. What does surprise me is when the AP decided to report this result. According to my feed reader, this article appeared at 4 am CT. So, does the AP like going that far out on a limb? One might expect a little more caution, especially after the New Hampshire polling debacle....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Barack's Nightmare?

The Democrats in Nevada have begun to go to the caucuses, and we have seen little in actual returns. However, if the entrance polling by CNN reflects reality, Barack Obama has some reason for worry. According to the demographics, over 70% of the caucusers are 45 years of age or older, and 59% of them are women. That looks like the caucusers have played directly into the demographic wheelhouse of Hillary Clinton. Based on those numbers, I'd expect Hillary to handily beat Obama in Nevada. If she doesn't, it may mean some recalculation about her strength in two categories that she needs to beat Obama's strength among younger voters. I'll keep an eye on this race and update the post as more returns come in. UPDATE: CNN calls Nevada for Hillary, but she's only got a 6-point lead over Barack, 51%-45%. Given the strong demographics in her favor, this isn't...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

South Carolina Live Blog

I just returned home, a few minutes before the polls close in South Carolina, and I'll be posting my thoughts on the primary results today in real time. Entries will be posted in reverse chronological order, and I'm following both CNN and Fox for results. 8:33 - So McCain wins another one, and Huckabee loses a Southern state. This is a bit of a surprise, and not a good one for Huckabee. Thompson will probably stick around through February 5th, but 15% here isn't the kind of momentum he needed to make the sale for the upcoming primaries. Florida will wind up being a three-man race between Romney,.McCain, and Giuliani. 8:21 - Horry County gave George Bush 50,700 votes in 2004. My guess was pretty good. 8:18 - Fox and AP finally call it for McCain. 82% of the precincts in, and McCain leads by 3%. 8:15 - Horry County...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 20, 2008

Where Now From Here?

The South Carolina primary turned out to be a clarifying event after all. Instead of the potential for five front-runners in the Super Tuesday contest in two weeks, it appears we will have at best three viable candidates for the nomination, and only if Rudy Giuliani proves his strategy correct by winning Florida. What will be left will be the three candidates that the conservative blogosphere has relentlessly criticized for their lack of lifelong fealty to the Ronald Reagan legacy, but whom voters have nevertheless trusted enough to support in the primaries. First, the failure of Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson to win in South Carolina signals the end of their campaigns, whether they recognize it or not, especially for Fred. He made South Carolina his explicit firewall, the place where he had to have a great showing in order to retain credibility as a candidate. A third-place finish among...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Democratic Replay Of 2000, And Its Uselessness

One reason pollsters avoided Nevada was because of its first-ever attempt at caucusing for the presidential nomination process. Unlike Iowa, which has honed its system for decades and has a certain amount of predictability, Nevada started from scratch in 2007 to stage their caucuses. Pollsters and the media expected strange behavior -- but they didn't expect the Democrats to re-enact their political bete noir, the 2000 election. After Hillary Clinton won a six-point victory over Barack Obama yesterday, the Obama campaign unexpectedly announced that they had actually won more delegates. The complicated formula for distributing delegates turned out to give Obama a one-point advantage. The Clinton campaign immediately denied this, but as NBC reports, the loss of the popular vote has not kept Obama from winning the election: The Nevada Democratic Party just issued this clarification (emphasis is ours): "No national convention delegates were awarded. That said, if the delegate...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Suzanne Pleshette, RIP

One of the most talented performers in one of the greatest television series died yesterday. Suzanne Pleshette starred on stage and screen, but will always be best known as Emily, Bob Newhart's smart and wise foil on The Bob Newhart Show: Suzanne Pleshette, the husky-voiced star best known for her role as Bob Newhart's sardonic wife on television's long-running "The Bob Newhart Show," has died at age 70. Pleshette, whose career included roles in such films as Hitchcock's "The Birds" and in Broadway plays including "The Miracle Worker," died of respiratory failure Saturday evening at her Los Angeles home, said her attorney Robert Finkelstein, also a family friend. Pleshette underwent chemotherapy for lung cancer in 2006. "The Bob Newhart Show, a hit throughout its six-year run, starred comedian Newhart as a Chicago psychiatrist surrounded by eccentric patients. Pleshette provided the voice of reason. The show followed The Mary Tyler Moore...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Who Goes To The Super Bowl?

Instead of debating the meaning of the South Carolina and Nevada primaries, most people will gather today to see who gets to go to the really big show -- the Super Bowl. Will the Patriots beat the Chargers to stay undefeated and play for the right to claim themselves the greatest football team of all time? Will the Giants send another Manning to a Super Bowl by defeating perhaps the greatest quarterback of all time in Green Bay? I'll offer a few predictions: * NFC - The game will be played late, when the temps will dip below zero, but when snow will not be likely. That will negate a little of Green Bay's home-turf advantage, but not all of it. Ryan Grant will run well enough to keep pressure off of Brett Favre, and Eli Manning will not get enough protection to have the kind of superb game he...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Barack Says Hello As Minnesota Suddenly Matters

Earlier today, I received the first of what I presume will be a flurry of phone calls looking for my vote in Minnesota's caucus on February 5th. This call didn't come from the Republicans, however, but from the Barack Obama campaign. They wanted to see if they could count on my vote. How did they get my name on their list? Recall a couple of months ago that I attempted to get leading Democratic presidential contenders to appear on my Heading Right Radio show on BlogTalkRadio. The only response I received was a blizzard of e-mails asking me to contribute to their campaigns, even when I clearly sent my request to their press shops. I eventually got my name off of the John Edwards list, which saved me a half-dozen e-mails a day, but since the Obama campaign didn't bother me much after the first couple of appeals, I never...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 21, 2008

These Were, Well, Super

The two NFL championship games yesterday turned out more competitive than first thought, with the NFC title decided in overtime for the second time in history. The result has the undefeated team overcoming their quarterback's worst game all year to go to the Super Bowl. He gets to face the kid brother of his AFC nemesis, who beat the league's cold-weather team on the third-coldest playoff game in history. First, the Patriots get a chance at history, but only after overcoming three interceptions by a QB who only had eight all season: With a trip to Super Bowl XLII at stake and NFL history hanging in the balance, the Patriots relied on their stout defense and clock-burning running game to beat San Diego, 21-12, turning back an inspired effort by the banged-up Chargers. It was an oh-so-close call for the undefeated Patriots, who overcame three interceptions by Brady and on...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Israel Listens To Mr. Spock

Israel has closed the Gaza border and stopped energy supplies in response to the rocket attacks coming from Palestinian terrorist groups within the Strip. Europe and other countries have begun to pressure Israel to end its blockade for humanitarian reasons, but Israel points out that it is illogical to supply an enemy with energy and food while they try to kill: Gaza hospitals will run out of drugs and fuel for generators within a few days unless Israel eases the border blockade it imposed to curb Palestinian rocket attacks, international organizations said on Monday. Residents of the Hamas-controlled territory awoke to nearly traffic-free streets and shuttered shops, with petrol in short supply due to Israeli restrictions and Gaza's main power plant shut down since late on Sunday. Palestinian officials have warned the standoff could harm U.S.-spurred efforts with Israel to reach a peace deal this year. ... Michele Mercier, an...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Chavez Will Take Farms By Force

Hugo Chavez leveled a threat against Venezuelan farmers over the weekend, another step in creating his socialist paradise. He called farmers who sell abroad to gain a better price for their goods "traitors", and told his ministers to identify them so that he could send the Army to confiscate their property: President Hugo Chavez threatened on Sunday to take over farms or milk plants if owners refuse to sell their milk for domestic consumption and instead seek higher profits abroad or from cheese-makers. With the country recently facing milk shortages, Chavez said "it's treason" if farmers deny milk to Venezuelans while selling it across the border in Colombia or for gourmet cheeses. "In that case the farm must be expropriated," Chavez said, adding that the government could also take over milk plants and properties of beef producers. "I'm putting you on alert," Chavez said. "If there's a producer that refuses...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Obama: Bill Clinton Lies

I guess you know this means war. Fans of Bugs Bunny will recognize that line, but fans of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama may not enjoy it as much as Republicans will over the next few weeks. In an interview that will air on ABC's Good Morning America today, Obama makes it clear that he will not stand silently while Bill makes arguments that could politely be called factually deficient (via Memeorandum): "You know the former president, who I think all of us have a lot of regard for, has taken his advocacy on behalf of his wife to a level that I think is pretty troubling," Obama said. "He continues to make statements that are not supported by the facts -- whether it's about my record of opposition to the war in Iraq or our approach to organizing in Las Vegas. "This has become a habit, and one of...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Why Do We Have Caucuses?

The Nevada caucus turned into a fiasco, if on-the-ground reports can be believed. Barack Obama's campaign manager has turned up over 200 reported violations of rules by the Hillary Clinton campaign just in the first few hours after the event. Claims of voter suppression from Bill Clinton arose before the caucuses even officially began. So why do we have caucuses? At Heading Right, I look at the process and talk about the winners and the losers -- and why we should demand primaries instead. One final note on this subject: The Democrats want to end secret ballots for union organizing elections. Republicans have objected, saying it will leave workers at risk of intimidation by both sides. The behavior at the Nevada caucuses make an excellent argument against the Democrats -- and we can use their own objections as evidence....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Republicans Closing The Congressional Gap

After a disastrous 2006 election, Republicans lost control of Congress for the first time in twelve years. After a disastrous 2007 session, Democrats may have given Republicans a window of opportunity to take it back. Rasmussen reports that the GOP has closed the gap on the generic Congressional ballot question to five points, their best showing since November 2006: The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that, if the Congressional Election were held today, 43% of American voters say they would vote for the Democrat in their district and 38% would opt for the Republican (see crosstabs). That’s the closest Republicans have been on this measure since losing control of Congress in Election 2006. It’s also the first time in six months that the Democrat’s advantage has been in single digits. A month ago, the Democrats enjoyed a ten-point edge over the GOP. Democrats lead by eleven among women...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Big Contest

And so we come to Florida for the ultimate clarification, much as Rudy Giuliani predicted. Can John McCain win a race that includes only Republican voters? Can Mike Huckabee win another state at all? Can Mitt Romney parlay his financial advantage to victory in a state not predisposed to support him? Will Fred Thompson even bother to campaign? Riding the momentum from his weekend victory in South Carolina, John McCain turned his attention Sunday to Florida and the high-stakes primary there that will test whether the Arizona senator can consolidate support among Republican voters and take control of the GOP nomination battle. The Jan. 29 contest in Florida will be the first Republican primary closed to independent voters, who have provided McCain with his margins of victory in both New Hampshire and South Carolina. A victory, strategists agreed, would stamp McCain as the front-runner in what has been a muddied...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Hillary Papers Get Ignored By The Media

After last week's release by Judicial Watch of internal documents of Hillary Clinton's Health Care Task Force, many of us waited to see the national news media cover their disturbing contents. No surprisingly, none of them did so. Despite the proposals to use smears against critics of the government and to turn the DNC into a domestic espionage unit for the White House against its opponents, the mainstream news media has shown little interest in even noting the fact that this evidence appeared in a microscopic sample of the three million documents that have been blocked from public scrutiny. Let's recall what the media has ignored. The following comes from my earlier posts on the subject. Senator Jay Rockefeller proposed that the federal government conduct smear campaigns against the opponents of the plan: A “Confidential” May 26, 1993 Memorandum from Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) to Hillary Clinton entitled, “Health Care...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

We As A People Will Get To The Promised Land

Martin Luther King, Jr said this on the day I turned 5 -- and the night before a lunatic assassinated him: We as a people will get to the promised land. I'd like to interpret that to mean Americans as a people will get there together, and only when all of us have arrived has anyone arrived. We are a lot closer than we were 40 years ago when Dr. King gave this eerily prophetic speech. When we do arrive, we have to ensure that we stay there, too....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Rudy Unbound

It appears that Rudy has finally decided to climb into the ring and throw a few punches. After the weekend contests clarified the competition, the Giuliani campaign published its first significant attack on another Republican candidate. The latest Rasmussen polling suggests he may have to punch in two directions. First, the latest poll shows a three-man race in Florida, with all three in the hunt but Mitt Romney surprisingly in the lead: It’s Romney at 25%, McCain at 20%, and Giuliani at 19%. Romney has picked up seven points over the past week while McCain and Giuliani each inched up a point. Last week, before the Michigan and South Carolina Primaries, Rasmussen Reports polling found essentially a four-way tie for the lead in Florida. However, Mike Huckabee has slipped to 13% in the current poll. A week ago, he was the top choice for 17%. Clearly, the close second in...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: ATR's Ryan Ellis; Economic Stimulus Proposal

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Ryan Ellis joins us to talk about ATR's handy new matrix rating all of the presidential candidates on tax policy. You may be surprised to find out who gets the best rating at Americans for Tax Reform. UPDATE: In the second half, St. Cloud State economics chair King Banaian reviews the Bush administration's economic stimulus package and declares Paul Krugman a closet conservative. (Well, not really, but at least not a knee-jerk liberal on economics.) King will also gloat over the Giants victory over the Pack last night. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Gunny Scarlett

In the credit-where-credit's-due department, give a cheer for Scarlett Johansson, the Hollywood film actress and Bush-administration critic. She shelved her political positions in order to brighten the day for a lucky group of Marines, and got a set of stripes for her visit: If anyone has wondered what can make a battle hardened Marine act like a love-struck high-schooler, the answer is simple—a meet and greet with Scarlett Johansson. The 23-year-old bombshell met with nearly 600 service members at Camp Buehring, Kuwait Jan. 20 during her five-day United Service Organizations (USO) tour to the Gulf region. Hundreds of Marines and sailors from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit put on their best smiles as they waited anxiously to get a glimpse of the Hollywood actress. “I’m a huge Scarlett fan,” said Lance Cpl. Nathan Long, a calibration technician with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166 (REIN), 11th MEU. “When I found out...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Are Women About To Drive In Saudi Arabia?

The Saudis have prohibited women from driving in the kingdom since -- well, since the kingdom existed. However, the London Telegraph and the New York Sun report that civil disobedience in the country has forced the Sauds to reverse their policy and stop being the only country that bars licensing on the basis of gender: Saudi Arabia is to lift its ban on women drivers in an attempt to stem a rising suffragette-style movement in the deeply conservative state. Government officials have confirmed the landmark decision and plan to issue a decree by the end of the year. The move is designed to forestall campaigns for greater freedom by women, which have recently included protesters driving cars through the Islamic state in defiance of a threat of detention and loss of livelihoods. The royal family has previously balked at granting women driving permits, claiming the step did not have full...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

He Had A Dream, Not A Fairy Tale

Atlanta's mayor, Shirley Franklin, had a bone to pick with Bill Clinton. Rather than do it quietly, she decided to make her point at today's rally honoring Martin Luther King, with Bill Clinton in the front row -- and got a rousing ovation for it: With former President Bill Clinton standing not 20 feet in front of her, Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin took what appeared to be a political shot at the former president's comments about Barack Obama's candidacy. Speaking at the 40th annual MLK commemorative service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Franklin said the country is on the "cusp of turning the impossible into reality. Yes this is reality, not fantasy or fairy tales." Clinton, in supporting his wife Hillary's bid for the Democratic nomination, recently took heat for using the term "fairy tale" to describe Obama's depiction of his stance on the war. That statement got the entire audience...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Speaking Of Having A Dream ....

Bill Clinton kept trying to have a dream of his own today -- but the oratory kept him from his nap. Via Bryan at Hot Air, keep an eye on Bill as he tries valiantly to stay awake at the Convent Avenue Baptist Church in Harlem today: It's hard not to be sympathetic in this case. Clinton made the rounds today, apparently flying between Atlanta and New York for Martin Luther King Day appearances, and it tired him out. What did he get for his trouble? Comeuppance from Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and a video that will get played over and over again on comedy shows for the next few years. Bill struggles to stay awake as businessmen do in long, dull presentations. He shakes his head or nods when he jolts awake, attempting to look like he's listening. At one point, he checks his watch, apparently wondering when he...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 22, 2008

She Lies, He's Irresponsible: A Debate Or A Therapy Session?

The Democratic presidential debate descended into a series of gotcha personal attacks last night between frontrunners Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, leaving John Edwards as more of a spectator than a participant in the debate. Sounding more like a therapy session than a debate, Obama accused the Clintons of lying while Hillary accused Obama of being irresponsible, as well as being a bit of a coward. The Washington Post calls the confrontation "angry" and "personal": The Democratic presidential front-runners clashed angrily in a debate Monday night, with Sen. Barack Obama accusing Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband of repeatedly distorting his positions and Clinton asserting that Obama is trying to run away from his record. Their sharp exchanges in the nationally televised forum underscored the Democrats' increasingly fierce competition five days before a pivotal primary test in South Carolina. The debate turned personal almost from the outset, as Obama...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Don't Expect An EO

The Bush administration will probably not issue an executive order canceling the 9,000 earmarks in the omnibus spending bill, the New York Times reports, as the White House does not want to have a war with Congress in 2008. Instead, they will review each request line by line and may demand support for each in writing from its sponsor, proving that the money actually got requested by its beneficiary and it will be spent as intended. This will disappoint many who saw this as an final opportunity for this administration and the GOP to reclaim some credibility on fiscal discipline: President Bush is unlikely to defy Congress on spending billions of dollars earmarked for pet projects, but he will probably insist that lawmakers provide more justification for such earmarks in the future, administration officials said Monday. Fiscal conservatives in Congress and budget watchdogs have been urging Mr. Bush to issue...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Ahmadinejad Gets His Nose Tweaked

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad got out-populisted by his masters yesterday in a rare public display of disagreement between the Iranian president and the real power, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameini. Khameini ordered his president to obey the legislature and fund subsidies for natural gas in a cold winter. Ahmadinejad had previously refused, claiming that the move would not be fiscally responsible: The political authority of the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, suffered a serious blow today after the country's most powerful figure sided with MPs by ordering him to supply cheap gas to villages undergoing power cuts amid an unexpectedly harsh winter. In a humiliating rebuff, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader who has the final say over all state matters, ordered the enactment of a law requiring the government to provide £500m of gas supplies from emergency reserve funds. Ahmadinejad had refused to implement the measure, accusing parliament of exceeding its powers...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Hard Times For Huckabee, Again

The loss in South Carolina has had a big impact on Mike Huckabee -- and the reporters covering his campaign. His team has begun to cut back on spending, and the traveling press corps now has to find its own travel arrangements. They may not need to follow him to Florida, either: Battling to stay competitive after his weekend loss in South Carolina, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is taking new steps to save money, including no longer scheduling planes and buses for journalists trying to cover his presidential campaign. Huckabee said he will continue to campaign in Florida on a shoestring budget, but added that he may pull out of the state before its Jan. 29 Republican primary if his prospects look dim. "I don't want to abandon Florida yet," Huckabee told reporters Monday on a late-night flight from Orlando to Atlanta, where he planned to campaign Tuesday. "We...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Can McCain Win A Closed Primary?

John McCain has won two significant primaries in the early contests, New Hampshire and South Carolina. However, both allowed for crossover voting from non-Republicans*, and in both cases, McCain's margin of victory came from those voters. In Michigan, Mitt Romney won despite the crossover votes. Florida, however, only allows registered Republicans to vote in the primary. Can John McCain win a closed primary? E.J. Dionne wonders whether McCain can resist the temptation to transform himself to do so. At Heading Right, I refute the notion that McCain has to do all that much transforming -- or that Rudy can win by running to McCain's left. The main issues for McCain and the base have to do with trust and tone, not with policy except in two specific areas. Can McCain win a closed primary? I believe he can -- but not in Florida. * - I had South Carolina incorrectly...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Fed Acts Quickly To Stall The Bear

After watching a tsunami of sell-offs in the overseas markets, Fed chair Ben Bernanke acted rapidly this morning to quell a big downturn on Wall Street. The Fed lowered the interest rate by 0.75, taking the rate from 4.25% to 3.5%, hoping that will convince investors to stay in the market: The Federal Reserve, confronted with a global stock sell-off fanned by increased fears of a recession, cut a key interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point on Tuesday, the biggest one-day move by the central bank in recent memory. The Fed said it was cutting the federal funds rate, the interest that banks charge each other on overnight loans, to 3.5 percent, down by three-fourths of a percentage point from 4.25 percent. The Fed action was the most dramatic signal it can send that it is concerned about a potential recession in the United States. It marked the...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Bin Laden Peace Initiative

It's not what you'd think. One of Osama bin Laden's sons -- a former member of al-Qaeda -- has gone public in urging his father to end his terrorism and focus on peace. Omar says more and more Muslims agree: Omar bin Laden has a message for his father, Osama: "Find another way." The son of the most-wanted man in the world spoke Sunday to CNN in a quiet, middle-class suburb about an hour outside Cairo, Egypt. Omar bin Laden, who works as a contractor, said he is talking publicly because he wants an end to the violence his father has inspired -- violence that has killed innocent civilians in a spate of attacks around the world, including those of September 11, 2001. ... He said that's not just his own message, but one that a friend of his father's and other Muslims have expressed to him. "They too say...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Robotrolling For Paul

I just received a strange polling call. Without any announcement of who or what prompted the call, a robopoll looking for my presidential preference asked me to select from the slate of Republican candidates. After answering the single question, it disconnected me. No demographic questions were asked, and no explanation of the poll's sponsor was given even at the end. I checked out my caller-ID, which gave the following phone number: 877-766-7285. That takes callers to the Ron Paul for President Campaign call center. I guess we know what Paul does with the donations he received. It's curious, though, that they'd use this kind of polling. How can they determine the reliability of the data? It seems to me the only use this has is to identify people they can hit up for donations later -- a very expensive way to do it, too. I've heard of robopolling, but this...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: Lee Zeldin, NTU's Andrew Moylan

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Lee Zeldin joins us to talk about his campaign for Congress in NY-01. Lee has signed up for BTR's Business Solution system to market his candidacy, and we'll ask him about that and the rest of his strategy. Andrew Moylan joins me in the second half to talk about the latest chatter regarding the earmarks in the omnibus spending bill, and whether George Bush will issue the executive order defunding him. The National Taxpayers Union expert on government affairs can walk us through the entire issue -- and remind us of how we can add our voices to end these rule-breaking pork. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Fred Out Of The Debate, Out Of The Race? (UPDATE & BUMP: Yes)

UPDATE & BUMP: Fred is officially out. I just received this from his campaign: Senator Fred Thompson today issued the following statement about his campaign for President: "Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people." It seems like an opportunity lost, but perhaps one that may have been overestimated from the beginning. Original post follows .... ============== Jim Geraghty of National Review's Campaign Spot reports that Fred Thompson will not appear in Thursday's debate in Florida -- and may withdraw altogether. He has no interest in a lesser position in a Republican administration and sounds as if he may head back to Hollywood, and sooner rather than later. Most importantly, he won't issue...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Did Talk Radio Lose In South Carolina?

Michael Medved has a provocative column from this weekend arguing that the biggest loser in South Carolina wasn't Fred Thompson or Mike Huckabee. Medved, a Salem Radio talk-show host, says that the conservative endorsement of John McCain repudiated talk-show offensives against his campaign and exposed talk radio as a dying influence on the Right: The big loser in South Carolina was, in fact, talk radio: a medium that has unmistakably collapsed in terms of impact, influence and credibility because of its hysterical and one-dimensional involvement in the GOP nomination fight. For more than a month, the leading conservative talkers in the country have broadcast identical messages in an effort to demonize Mike Huckabee and John McCain. If you’ve tuned in at all to Rush, Sean, Savage, Glenn Beck, Laura Ingraham, Mark Levin, Hugh Hewitt, Dennis Prager, and two dozen others you’ve heard a consistent drum beat of hostility toward Mac...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Israel, Home Of The WOPR

Doesn't anyone remember the movie War Games? Apparently not in Israel, where they have decided to research "thinking machines" as a controlling mechanism for a missile defense system. Faster than anyone can say Cyberdyne, the system would respond to a catastrophic attack by ensuring the death of Israel's attackers, even if the human beings at the controls get incapacitated: Israel has been hit in recent years by thousands and thousands of rockets, mortar shells, and missiles. And that could be just a preview of the onslaught Iran may one day unleash. So Israeli military leaders have begun early planning for a new, robotic defense system, armed with enough artificial intelligence that it "could take over completely" from flesh-and-blood operators. "It will be designed for... autonomous operations,' Brig. Gen. Daniel Milo, commander of Israel's air defense forces, tells Defense News' Barbara Opall-Rome. And in the event of a "doomsday" strike, Opall-Rome...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 23, 2008

George Soros Funded Study Says Bush Lied

The AP reports, and the New York Times expands, on a new study by a supposedly "independent" organization that claims to have assembled hundred of "false statements" by the Bush administration in the course of the Iraq war. However, the Center for Public Integrity hardly qualifies as "independent". It gets much of its funding from George Soros, who has thrown millions of dollars behind Democratic political candidates, and explicitly campaigned to defeat George Bush in 2004: A study by two nonprofit journalism organizations found that President Bush and top administration officials issued hundreds of false statements about the national security threat from Iraq in the two years following the 2001 terrorist attacks. The study concluded that the statements "were part of an orchestrated campaign that effectively galvanized public opinion and, in the process, led the nation to war under decidedly false pretenses." The study was posted Tuesday on the Web...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Gazans Invade Egypt, For Cigarettes

After several days of an Israeli border closure, Gazans blew up a wall in Rafah separating the Gaza Strip from Egypt. Thousands of Palestinians flooded into Egypt, returning with small quantities of fuel, cigarettes, and cash: Tens of thousands of Palestinians poured from the Gaza Strip into Egypt Wednesday after masked gunmen with explosives destroyed most of the seven-mile wall dividing the border town of Rafah. The Gazans crossed on foot, in cars or riding donkey carts to buy supplies made scarce by an Israeli blockade of their impoverished territory. Police from the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, directed the traffic. Egyptian border guards took no action. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel said Israel has no forces on the Gaza-Egypt border and, "therefore it is the responsibility of Egypt to ensure that the border operates properly, according to the signed agreements." Hamas, which runs Gaza, expressed approval for...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Could Saturday Be The End Of The Line For Obama?

David Broder calls South Carolina a must-win for Barack Obama, perhaps the 3,471st time a pundit has designated a state as such for a political candidate this year -- and we're only at January 23rd. Broder argues that after supposedly underperforming in New Hampshire and Nevada, Obama has to win the Palmetto State to maintain credibility. He has it exactly backward: South Carolina has become a must-win state for Barack Obama. Whatever the outcome of Saturday's Democratic presidential primary here, the Illinois senator has the money and the organization to compete in the nearly two dozen states voting on Feb. 5. But as his first and only victory, in Iowa on Jan. 3, slips further into history, his strategists concede that Obama badly needs to demonstrate broad enough support to slow Hillary Clinton's progress toward the nomination. Having trailed her in popular votes in both New Hampshire and Nevada, where...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Not Everyone Porks Up

The Las Vegas Review-Journal notes that the excuse used by members of Congress for pork-barrel spending doesn't add up, like almost every Congressional budget. Politicians claim that their constituents demand the projects that they bring back from Washington, but as the LVRJ notes, it isn't the constituents asking for the money. The federal dollars usually wind up supporting -- other politicians: Lawmakers who continue to indulge in earmarks -- self-described fiscal conservatives among them -- argue that if they don't bring some money home for their constituents, other states are lined up at the trough to steal the leftovers. But the representatives and senators who've stopped bringing home the bacon aren't hearing complaints from voters. In fact, many enjoy the support of citizens tired of seeing tax dollars squandered on projects that have little merit. These taxpayers are content to let other states bear the guilt of such extravagance, if...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Has Bush Lost His Spine On Earmarks?

The Washington Examiner wonders whether George Bush fears Congress more than his constituents in a battle over pork proliferation. As I noted yesterday, the White House appears to have backed away from issuing an executive order defunding the non-legislative earmarks in the omnibus spending bill, which account for 90% of the nine thousand pork items. Porkbusters wonder why the President won't follow a course of action that follows the law and forces Congress to adhere to its own rules: Conservatives and good-government groups have been urging Bush since before Christmas to issue an executive order directing federal agencies to ignore earmarks contained in committee reports that are not attached to legislation voted into law. Bush has previously picked fights with Congress on executive privilege issues. Yet he seems uncharacteristically reluctant to do so now, despite being on legal grounds declared solid by none other than the Congressional Research Service and...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

McCain's Daunting Task With Conservatives

Yesterday, I wrote that John McCain has a legitimate claim to conservatism in a significant part of his legislative history, in response to claims of demonization from Michael Medved against a large portion of the conservative punditry. In another essay, I agreed with EJ Dionne that McCain had to find a way to win conservatives in the upcoming closed primaries without looking like a flip-flopper, but I disagreed that he would have to sell his soul to do so. A change in tone would make up most of the lost ground. Today, two fine bloggers take different looks on this issue. Paul Mirengoff at Power Line writes that ejecting less-than-pure conservatives from the movement is damaging, but isn't convinced that's what happened: Huckabee represents a different case. He did well among the very conservative even though many conservative “leaders” don’t consider him very conservative. This occurred because the very conservative...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Hot Seat Question For Today: A Third Term For Bill?

It's Andrew Sullivan's turn, but I thought this one was provocative enough to start a great thread here at CapQ. Is Hillary's campaign just a front for a third term for Bill? embedSWF(9, 0, 0, "widget", "recent")This content requires the most recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. Get this version below:Get Flash Also, next week, keep an eye on BlogTalkRadio for more interactive features with the AOL Hot Seat! I'll have more on this later ........

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

What Would You Want On Day One?

An e-mailer tipped me off to an interesting web launch from the UN Foundation. They have a new project called On Day One, which will solicit suggestions from its readers about what the next President should do on his or her first day in office. Their blog has this YouTube presentation on the launch, which -- if you watch the whole video -- has a rather surprising suggestion: OD1 wants people to submit their video suggestions for the Day 1 policy of the US. So far, most of what's posted consists of the standard progressive policy fare -- stop "cowboy diplomacy" (from Joe Wilson, no less!), withdraw from Iraq, invade Darfur, restore peace in the Middle East -- restore? -- and close Gitmo. Maybe a few conservatives could add our policy goals to the mix. Do you want limited government, a strong national defense, and effective forward strategies against terrorists?...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: Jim Geraghty And The Ledge Report

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Jim Geraghty joins us from the Campaign Spot, and it looks like we have another Ledge Report coming. Besides talking about the withdrawal of Fred Thompson, Jim wants to know whether Republicans want to be a national party or a niche, and why Democrats can't see the massive differences between Barack Obama and the Clintons. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

A Solution In Search Of A Problem?

As Congress and the White House continue to work together on a bipartisan stimulus plan to avoid a predicted recession, the Congressional Budget Office claims that the problem won't exist anyway. The CBO predicts that 2008 will not have a recession, and that left to its own devices, the economy will recover from the housing bubble and the credit crunch: The slowing U.S. economy is unlikely to sink into an election-year recession and an economic rebound could begin as early as next year as housing and financial market turmoil fades, the Congressional Budget Office forecast on Wednesday. In the meantime, the U.S. budget deficit will grow to $219 billion this year, up from the $163 billion registered last year, according to a CBO report submitted to Congress. But that forecast by Congress' nonpartisan budget analyst does not include the cost of an economic stimulus measure that is quickly moving through...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Canada: Durban II Promotes Racism

The 2001 Durban conference on racism turned into such an anti-Semitic rantfest from Muslim nations that the United States and Israel walked out in protest. The decision to leave created a storm of criticism here against the Bush administration, especially when Canada decided to stick around and scold the participants instead of leaving. Next year, the Canadians won't even bother to appear, calling Durban II a "circus" (via CapQ reader Blaise MacLean): Canada has withdrawn its support for a UN anti-racism conference slated to take place in South Africa next year, the federal government announced Wednesday. The so-called Durban II conference "has gone completely off the rails" and Canada wants no part of it, said Jason Kenney, secretary of state for multiculturalism and Canadian identity. "Canada is interested in combating racism, not promoting it," Kenney told The Canadian Press. "We'll attend any conference that is opposed to racism and intolerance,...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Another Odd Endorsement

This presidential cycle has seen a series of odd endorsements, such as Pat Robertson's support for Rudy Giuliani or Sam Brownback's endorsement of John McCain. Today brought another, this one from conservative stalwart Duncan Hunter, who recently withdrew from the race. Hunter endorsed Mike Huckabee, who has taken considerable criticism from conservatives on immigration and fiscal policy: California Rep. Duncan Hunter, a former presidential candidate, announced Wednesday he is endorsing Mike Huckabee's White House bid. “I got to know Governor Huckabee well on the campaign trail,” Huckabee said in a statement. “Of the remaining candidates I feel that he is strongly committed to strengthening national defense, constructing the border fence and meeting the challenge of China’s emergence as a military superpower that is taking large portions of America’s industrial base. "Along with these issues of national security, border enforcement and protecting the U.S. industrial base, I see another quality of...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Power Line Book Of The Year

My partners in the Northern Alliance have always pushed the boundaries of the blogosphere, and have never been a trio inclined to rest on their laurels. Power Line has now launched a new effort -- and they have audaciously set their sights at the top of the publishing award world: We will shortly be announcing our selection of the Power Line book of the year (2007). Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous benefactor, a contribution of $25,000 will be made in honor of the author to Soldiers' Angels, thus giving the award a larger financial component than any of the major book awards. By comparison, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle awards provide for a $10,000 payment to the winning authors. John, Scott, and Paul want to start highlighting the work of conservative authors and publicizing their efforts. Keep an eye out for more on their selection...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 24, 2008

The Miniscule Grace Of Al Franken

Al Franken has new television commercials playing locally about his deep and abiding concern for Minnesotans, part of his primary campaign to win the Democratic nomination to challenge for Senator Norm Coleman's seat. It talks about how he grew up in St. Louis Park among the fine people of the state. That apparently only applies to Democrats, however, even when stumping for votes. Otherwise, Franken demonstrates nothing but scorn: According to Fritz, things started out fine with him taking photos of fellow Carls (that's what [Carleton College] students call themselves) with Franken. Then Franken's curiosity was raised about why Fritz didn't want to be in a pic. He's a conservative, another Carl yelled out by way of explanation. At that point, Franken reportedly began peppering Fritz with questions about supporting President George W. Bush and former President Ronald Reagan's tax hikes. Fritz told me he got tense and, as he...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Hillary Now Having To Defend Bill

The Hillary Clinton campaign has a serious problem, and it now forces her to spend time on the defensive. People expected Bill Clinton's history to be an issue in a general election, but few would have predicted that Bill's campaigning would present so many obstacles for Hillary in a primary. She had to defend her husband after a dumb remark about a supposed "hit job" from Barack Obama went viral in a CNN video yesterday: Hillary Rodham Clinton, defending her husband's increasingly vocal role in her presidential effort, sidestepped questions about whether Bill Clinton's suggestion that Barack Obama had put a "hit job" on him was language befitting a former president. ... The former president also reacted angrily upon being told that Dick Harpootlian, a former South Carolina Democratic chairman and Obama supporter, had called the Clinton campaign "reprehensible" and suggested it had borrowed tactics from Lee Atwater, the late...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Running On Empty

A group funded by labor unions that originally formed to oppose George Bush's plans for Social Security in 2005 will spend over $8 million in 2008 to try to keep Bush's approval ratings low. That strange mission will get launched this afternoon by Americans United for Change, who see that as a critical step in keeping Republicans from winning seats in Congress: A liberal advocacy group plans to spend $8.5 million in a drive to make sure President Bush's public approval doesn't improve as his days in the White House come to an end. Americans United for Change plans to undertake a yearlong campaign, spending the bulk of the money on advertising, to keep public attention on what the group says are the failures of the Bush administration, including the war in Iraq, the response to Hurricane Katrina, and the current mortgage crisis. In selling the plan to fundraisers, the...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Israel: We Wash Our Hands Of Gaza

The explosion of the wall in Rafah intended to demonstrate defiance of Israel by Hamas, but it may have given the Israelis a bigger opening than it provided Gazans. An official declared that the unaddressed breach would now allow Egypt to handle Gaza's needs -- and that Israel could completely shut off energy and medical supplies to the people who keep launching rockets at their cities (via Shrink Wrapped, who saw this coming): Washington, Cairo, and Jerusalem are expressing "concern" regarding the flow of hundreds of thousands of Gazans into Egypt, testing border agreements that have existed since Israel completely withdrew from the heavily populated strip in 2005. Some Israeli officials, nevertheless, saw an "opportunity" in yesterday's event, suggesting that responsibility for Gaza's humanitarian situation should be shifted to Egypt. Egyptian officials said that yesterday's event occurred after an explosion on the border crossing from the Sinai desert into the...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Diminishing Returns Of S-CHIP Expansion Votes

The Democrats staged another attempt to override a veto on S-CHIP expansion, with predictable results. Their refusal to negotiate with the White House produced even fewer Republican crossover votes in the House as the bill went down to defeat. The Democrats promised another try later in the session: House Democrats failed for the second time in nearly four months yesterday to override President Bush's veto of a proposed $35 billion expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. The 260 to152 tally left backers of the legislation about 15 votes short of the two-thirds majority of lawmakers voting necessary to override the president's Dec. 12 veto. Forty-two Republicans supported the override attempt, two fewer than in the previous effort to reject Bush's Oct. 3 veto of an earlier version of the bill. .... "Ultimately, our goal should be to move children who have no health insurance to private coverage --...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

That's One Way To Start A Distributorship!

Hugo Chavez recently started a state-owned food distributorship. In the past three days, Venezuelan troops started stocking their warehouses with product. Unfortunately for Venezuela's private-sector distributor, the troops simply confiscated Alimentos Polar trucks and their shipments to do so: Venezuela's top food company has accused troops of illegally seizing more than 500 tonnes of food from its trucks as part of President Hugo Chavez's campaign to stem shortages. The leftist Chavez this week created a state food distributor and loosened some price controls, seeking to end months of shortages for staples like milk and eggs that have caused long lines and upset his supporters in the OPEC nation. ... "Anyone who is distributing food ... and is speculating, we must intervene and we must expropriate (the business) and put it in the hands of the state and the communities," Chavez said during the inauguration of a new state-run market in...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Novak: Business As Usual With The GOP

The House Republicans have begun their retreat meetings at Greenbrier, and Robert Novak says that's not the only context of retreat that will come of them. The GOP doesn't appear inclined to put the lessons of 2006 into play in 2008 on battling against pork, and instead will offer half-measures that will ensure business as usual on Capitol Hill: When House Republicans convene behind closed doors today at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., they have a chance to make two bold moves to restore their reputation for fiscal responsibility. First, they could declare a one-year moratorium on Republican congressional earmarks. Second, they could name earmark reformer Rep. Jeff Flake to a vacancy on the House Appropriations Committee. In fact, they almost surely will do neither. Instead, during the retreat Republicans are likely to adopt some limitation on earmarks that will have no public impact and will exert...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Florida -- And Rudy -- Still In Play

Despite recent reports, Strategic Vision still has the Florida race a four-way contest according to its most recent polling. John McCain leads with 25%, but it's Rudy Giuliani coming in second at 22%, followed by Mitt Romney at 20% and Mike Huckabee close at 18%: Strategic Vision, LLC, an Atlanta-based public relations and public affairs agency, announced the results of a three-day poll of 1450 likely voters in Florida on various political issues. In the poll, 42% (605 respondents) identified themselves as Republicans; 40% (577 respondents) identified themselves as Democrats; and 18% (268 respondents) identified themselves as independents or other party affiliation. The poll has a margin of error of ±3 percentage points. ... The poll asked Republican respondents their choices for the Republican Presidential nomination in 2008. The results were, Arizona Senator John McCain 25%; former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani 22%; former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney 20%;...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Rockin' Politics!

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, start your morning off right (and center) when Nikki and I host BlogTalkRadio's Nikki Rocks The Politics at 9 am CT. We'll discuss and debate the issues of the day, and we'll take your calls as well at (646) 478-4556. BlogTalkRadio has a new partner in the Department of Defense. Keep your eyes and ears open for more about this exciting new venture -- and contact me to find out how your organization will benefit from such a partnership....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

What Rudy Needs Tonight

Rudy Giuliani needs a breakout performance in tonight's debate to reverse what looks like a precipitous slide into oblivion in the state he deemed crucial to his fortunes. Polls have Rudy anywhere from a statistical tie for the lead to far back in fourth place, but most of the trendlines have gone in the wrong direction. CNN takes the more pessimistic view: Two new polls out Thursday show Giuliani competing for third in Florida -- tied with barely-present Mike Huckabee and behind John McCain and Mitt Romney. Giuliani, who has finished in the single digits in every contest so far, largely skipped the early voting states to focus on Florida and the Super Tuesday states voting on February 5. The former New York mayor once led in Florida and most national polls, but his plummeting numbers are causing some to question his strategy. Giuliani's strategy created a problem that no...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: Fausta & Val On Florida, Cuba, & More!

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), I'm going to try to get a word in edgewise as Val Prieto and Fausta Wertz join me for today's show! We'll talk about the Florida primaries and the latest on Cuba and Venezuela, and maybe even the pork problem on Capitol Hill... Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Have Iraqi Forces Grown A Tail?

A new agreement between Iraq and the US will curtail American military operations and confine our troops to primarily support and logistics efforts. NBC News reports that the long-simmering bilateral security agreement would keep American bases in operation but with substantially reduced troop levels. Iraqis want their own forces in lead roles for security operations: The United States and Iraq will soon begin negotiating a power shift for U.S. forces, nearly five years after they invaded Iraq and installed a new government, Iraqi and U.S. officials told NBC News on Thursday. Both countries are working on assembling negotiating teams to shape a new long-term bilateral strategic agreement redefining the fundamental role of U.S. troops, whose mission would shift from combat operations to logistics and support, the officials told NBC News’ Richard Engel. ... But a senior member of the Iraqi negotiating team, which has been almost completely appointed, said they...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Back To The Mothership?

Dennis Kucinich has acknowledged reality and will withdraw from the presidential race. Unfortunately, he spent so much time on a long-shot bid that he now faces a serious challenger for his day job in Congress: Democrat Dennis Kucinich is abandoning his second, long-shot bid for the White House as he faces a tough fight to hold onto his other job — U.S. congressman. In an interview with Cleveland's Plain Dealer, the six-term House member said he was quitting the race and would make a formal announcement on Friday. "I will be announcing that I'm transiting out of the presidential campaign," Kucinich said. "I'm making that announcement tomorrow about a new direction." Kucinich has received little support in his presidential bid; he got 1 percent of the vote in the New Hampshire primary and was shut out in the Iowa caucuses. He did have a devoted following. A "devoted following"? That's...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Alert The Media

I'll be on Hugh Hewitt tonight at 6:20 pm CT, presumably to discuss the latest in the presidential primaries. I'm now scheduled to do a regular gig with Hugh on the fourth Thursday of the month, so mark that on your schedules. Hugh has juggled the schedule tonight; usually I'd be on in the final hour. Afterwards, I'll be live-blogging the Florida debate tonight from 8-10 pm CT at Heading Right, and holding a live wrap-up show at BlogTalkRadio's Debate Central from 10-10:30 pm CT. Don't miss any of the coverage!...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Florida Debate: Romney Scores, Rudy Close Behind

Florida voters got their final head-to-head look at the Republican presidential candidates tonight, and the winner of the debate was Mitt Romney. He looked presidential, poised, and factually prepared. In a debate that spent the first two-thirds with everyone doing well, Romney not only broke out on his own in the last stanza, he successfully parried some strange attacks from Tim Russert as well. Rudy Giuliani needed a big win in this debate and didn't get it. However, he did do a fine job, showing a little more personal engagement in this event. He looked very cool and confident and probably gave the most robust answers to the questions asked. He only had one weak moment, when asked to justify his Florida strategy, but recovered quickly. Unfortunately, he had no game-changing moments, and he sorely needs one. John McCain did a good job as well. He showed flashes of humor...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 25, 2008

The 'Endorsement'

As if John McCain didn't have enough problems appealing to the Republican base. Last night, as the presidential primary debate in Florida started, the New York Times issued a vicious broadside against the McCain campaign, one that will only estrange him further from the voters he needs the most as he head into a series of closed primaries: Still, there is a choice to be made, and it is an easy one. Senator John McCain of Arizona is the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe. With a record of working across the aisle to develop sound bipartisan legislation, he would offer a choice to a broader range of Americans than the rest of the Republican field. We have shuddered at Mr. McCain’s occasional, tactical pander to the right because he has demonstrated that he has...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Telecom Immunity Moves Forward In The Senate

The Bush administration won a legislative victory yesterday when the FISA bill that excluded immunity for telecommunications companies that cooperated with the NSA failed spectacularly in the Senate, leaving the path open to the immunity approach endorsed by the White House. The version without telecom immunity only garnered 36 votes in the upper chamber despite the Democrats' endorsement of it. Twelve of their members joined 48 Republicans in voting against it: The Senate signaled in a key vote yesterday that it supports giving some of the nation's largest telephone companies immunity from dozens of privacy lawsuits related to a federal domestic eavesdropping program initiated after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In a lopsided 60 to 36 vote -- with 12 Democrats joining Republicans in the majority -- the Senate rejected a version of the proposed legislation sponsored by Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. That bill omitted immunity for the telecommunications...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Egypt Got The Message

It didn't take long for Egypt to get the message. After Israeli ministers openly talked about transferring responsibility for Gaza's energy and humanitarian needs to Cairo for not closing the blown-up Rafah border, Egypt responded today by forcing the border closed. They put up barbed wire and shot water cannons at Gazans who attempted to defy the closure: Egypt began closing its breached border with the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip on Friday, using barbed wire and water cannons to keep Palestinians from crossing into Egypt in defiance of an Israeli blockade. Israeli air strikes overnight killed four Palestinian militants in the southern Gaza town of Rafah, where Hamas blasted open the border wall on Wednesday, letting tens of thousands rush across to stock up on goods in short supply. Pressed by the United States and Israel to take control of the situation, Egyptian forces in riot gear lined the border and...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Really Running On Empty

Not too many people have bothered to write much about John Edwards, and for good reason. He has approached irrelevancy almost as rapidly as Dennis Kucinich but with none of the entertainment value. After his predicted high-water mark in Iowa, where he edged Hillary Clinton on the basis of his populism, he has descended into spoiler status. Charles Krauthammer, however, decides to analyze the John Edwards failure in today's Washington Post. One reason Edwards fell apart like a cheap suit springs from his decision to attack the record of a candidate - himself (via Memeorandum): Edwards has made much of his renunciation of his Iraq war vote. But he has not stopped there. His entire campaign has been an orgy of regret and renunciation: As senator, he voted in 2001 for a bankruptcy bill that he now denounces. As senator, he voted for storing nuclear waste in Nevada's Yucca Mountain....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

No Fingerprints?

How did race get injected into the Democratic primaries? John Mercurio says that he knows the perpetrators, even if they left no fingerprints on the scene. The Clintons have manipulated the media into turning Barack Obama's ethnicity into a campaign issue -- a tack Obama wanted to avoid -- while claiming innocence: First, a quick show of hands: How many of you honestly thought we'd make it through this Democratic presidential primary without a bruising debate over race? Whether or not the Clintons were involved, this conversation is hardly shocking. And before it's over, it will likely grow more intense. What is surprising, however, is how skillfully, and with how much brilliant calculation, Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband steered the nomination campaign toward these turbulent waters. She's done nothing but win since this debate began and even if she loses on Saturday in South Carolina, she's framed the campaign...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Did Bush Destroy The Republican Party?

Peggy Noonan aims her considerable cannon at George Bush this morning in the Wall Street Journal in the middle of her analysis of the primaries. She fingers him as the main culprit in the destruction of the Republican Party, discounting other and perhaps better causes and engaging in just a little hyperbole: On the pundit civil wars, Rush Limbaugh declared on the radio this week, "I'm here to tell you, if either of these two guys [Mr. McCain or Mike Huckabee] get the nomination, it's going to destroy the Republican Party. It's going to change it forever, be the end of it!" This is absurd. George W. Bush destroyed the Republican Party, by which I mean he sundered it, broke its constituent pieces apart and set them against each other. He did this on spending, the size of government, war, the ability to prosecute war, immigration and other issues. Were...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Pork Trips Landrieu?

Remember how the Democrats were going to change the "culture of corruption" in 2006? It looks like they can once again look to the beam in their own eye. Earlier this week, the Washington Post reported that Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) has a brewing scandal after taking over $30,000 in contributions from a literacy-program provider within days of inserting an earmark favorable to the company. Landrieu now has opened her files in an effort to explain away the amazing coincidence: A $2 million earmark for the D.C. schools from Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has become an issue in her campaign for re-election after an ethics watchdog group called for federal and congressional investigations, reports The Post's James V. Grimaldi. As reported in The Post's investigative series about the D.C. school system, Landrieu inserted the earmark in 2001 so school officials would buy a reading program from one of her major...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: The Week In Review!

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), Duane "Generalissimo" Patterson of the Hugh Hewitt Show joins us for the 90-minute week in review. We'll talk about last night's presidential debate and what their likely result will be, and we'll also cover Al Franken and why people really don't like him, the upcoming Democratic Party primary in South Carolina, and much much more!! Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Questions For Mitt?

Mitt Romney, in some ways, still perplexes Republicans. Normally one would expect to welcome a convert to the pro-life movement, someone who has succeeded in business in a spectacular fashion, and someone who has cleaned up a major public enterprise (the Salt Lake City Olympics) and won executive office in a state controlled by the Democratic Party. For some reason, Republicans seem reluctant to embrace Romney, and the media's apparent obsession with his wealth and his religion have not helped him reach across that divide. I have had the pleasure of interviewing Mitt on two occasions, and tomorrow I will interview him again, three days before the Florida primary that could determine who wins the nomination. Although I already have some questions in mind, I'm interested in what questions the CapQ community still need to have answered, after a long year on the stump. What single question or issue would...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Why Pork Matters

I get a lot of e-mail every day, and I try to read it all even though I can't possibly respond to each message. Most of the messages consist of promotional e-mails, some are spam, and others are personal messages from friends, but occasionally I get earnest questions about topics under discussion that require more than a one-on-one reply. CapQ reader Edward S sent me a question on pork, and why we should consider it such a problem. In part, here is Edward's question: I am a Republican and regular reader of conservative blogs, and I see that the earmarks issue is getting long-term big play as an issue that conservative elected officials ought to do something about. But could you please clarify what you see as the problem: is it that appropriations would be LOWER if there were no earmarks -- meaning that the the actual dollar numbers appropriated...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 26, 2008

Progress On Pork From The GOP

The Republican retreat at Greenbrier has produced the first signs that House leadership wants to rescue the party's credibility on fiscal discipline. John Boehner and the pork crusaders dragged the rest of the caucus almost literally kicking and screaming to challenge the Democrats to a one-year moratorium on all earmarks. It's not perfect, but it's a start: House Republicans called on Friday for “an immediate moratorium” on earmarking money for pet projects. They urged Democrats to join them in establishing a bipartisan panel to set strict new standards for such spending. As an interim step, House Republican leaders said, they will insist that all House Republicans follow standards to eliminate “wasteful pork-barrel spending.” Republicans set forth their intentions in a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The letter reflects a fragile consensus reached Friday after more than two hours of impassioned debate among House Republicans, who met behind closed doors at...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Musharraf: What, We Worry?

Pervez Musharraf wants you to know that he has Pakistan's nukes under control. He doesn't need American or other international troops to keep the weapons from falling into the hands of resurgent Islamist radicals. He wouldn't mind keeping our money, however: Pakistan is increasingly alert to the possible threat of Islamic extremists seeking control of its nuclear weapons, but its security system is fail-safe despite the rising militancy in the country, a top official said Saturday. Some 10,000 soldiers have been deployed to secure the U.S.-ally's nuclear facilities as part of a command and control system headed by President Pervez Musharraf and other top officials, said Khalid Kidwai, head of the Strategic Plans Division which handles Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Kidwai said there was concern that Pakistan's weapons would fall into the hands of al Qaeda or Taliban-style militant groups. "Pakistan's nuclear weapons, fissile material and infrastructure are absolutely safe and...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Rules? The Clintons Don't Need No Stinkin' Rules!

The Democratic National Committee stripped Michigan and Florida of its delegates for violating scheduling rules for their primaries. It took 365 delegates off the table and forced candidates to stop campaigning in the two vital states. Now one of them -- just coincidentally, the one who somehow forgot to have her name removed from the Michigan ballot -- wants the delegates restored: In a bit of political theater, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and the Florida Democratic Party clamored to restore convention delegates that had been stripped by the national party. At stake: 185 delegates in a state where Clinton leads almost 2-to-1. The presidential candidate said Friday — just four days before Florida's primary — that she wants the convention delegates from Florida and Michigan reinstated. The national party eliminated all the delegates from those states — more than 350 in all — because they broke party rules against holding...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Fake Blood, Real Draculas

My good friend Scott Johnson, who in real life may be one of the most unassuming people you'll ever meet, is a tiger when it comes to documenting media shenanigans and Palestinian terrorism. In the upcoming issue of the Weekly Standard, the Power Line heavyweight delves into one of the more reprehensible media-fueled urban legends of 9/11: Yasser Arafat and his blood donation. Recall the shrieking adulation in the streets of Ramallah when al-Qaeda killed 3,000 people in New York City and Washington DC as the context for this event. Americans, already with our blood boiling, saw the images of ululating Palestinians and began drawing connections between the jihadist mass murderers and the Palestinian cause. Arafat sensed disaster, and the media put on a show to blunt American rage: The story of Arafat's blood donation was reported around the world in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, usually accompanied by photographs...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

NARN, The Winnowing Edition

The Northern Alliance Radio Network will be on the air today, with our six-hour-long broadcast schedule starting at 11 am CT. The first two hours features Power Line's John Hinderaker and Chad and Brian from Fraters Libertas. Mitch and I hit the airwaves for the second shift from 1-3 pm CT, and King Banaian and Michael Broadkorb have The Final Word from 3-5. If you're in the Twin Cities, you can hear us on AM 1280 The Patriot, or on the station's Internet stream if you're outside of the broadcast area. Today, Mitch and I will play my interview with Mitt Romney and talk about the Republican debate, the Democrats' South Carolina primary, and the new anti-pork efforts from the House GOP. Be sure to call 651-289-4488 to join the conversation!...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Weekend Hot Seat: Can Mitt Make The Conservative Sale?

With Fred Thompson out of the race and the Republican base skeptical at best of John McCain, Mitt Romney has an opportunity to seize an opening and help propel himself forward towards the Republican nomination. Can he make the sale and unite the fractious Republican coalition into a cohesive force in time for the November election? AOL's Hot Seat gives you an opportunity to answer: embedSWF(9, 0, 0, "widget", "recent")This content requires the most recent version of the Adobe Flash Player. Get this version below:Get Flash I based my poll question on this post, asking for feedback for my interview with Mitt Romney this morning. It will air twice: once locally in the Twin Cities on AM 1280 The Patriot, and once again on Monday's Heading Right Radio show on BlogTalkRadio. In the interview, Mitt gives a very nuanced and intriguing formula for effectively remaining on a forward strategy on...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

It Wasn't Derangement After All (Update: Trailer Trash?)

Earlier this morning, I noted that some Democrats have discovered that the Clintonian Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy meme may actually have been drizzly pap. In the Los Angeles Times today, Jonathan Chait reluctantly comes to that conclusion. He writes that the conservatives who have long railed against the lies and dirty tactics of the Clintons have been somewhat vindicated by the primary campaign tactics of Bill and Hillary: Going into the campaign, most of us liked Hillary Clinton just fine, but the fact that tens of millions of Americans are seized with irrational loathing for her suggested that she might not be a good Democratic nominee. But now that loathing seems a lot less irrational. We're not frothing Clinton haters like ... well, name pretty much any conservative. We just really wish they'd go away. The big turning point seems to be this week, when the Clintons slammed Obama for acknowledging...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Obama Trounces Hillary, Slams Her In Speech

If Hillary had hoped to put a South Carolina loss in a racial-politics box, she may have failed. If she set out to lose South Carolina as badly as possible, she certainly succeeded. Barack Obama garnered well over twice as many votes than Hillary and three times as many as John Edwards in easily beating both. He also derided the attacks coming his way from the Clinton campaign in his victory speech: Barack Obama routed Hillary Rodham Clinton in the racially charged South Carolina primary Saturday night, regaining campaign momentum in the prelude to a Feb. 5 coast-to-coast competition for more than 1,600 Democratic National Convention delegates. "The choice in this election is not about regions or religions or genders," Obama said at a boisterous victory rally. "It's not about rich versus poor, young versus old and it's not about black versus white. It's about the past versus the future."...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 27, 2008

The Low Blow

For the most part, the Republican primary campaign has seen tough but honest debate over the issues, as opposed to the racially inflammatory hardball being played between the Democrats. The GOP candidates have done their best to keep negativity to a minimum -- or at least they did until now. John McCain told a Florida crowd that Mitt Romney at one point backed withdrawal from Iraq -- and Romney cried foul, for good reason, according to Time's Swampland: McCain wants the Florida primary to be an election about national security, his best issue. But until Saturday, the contest was humming along as an election more about the economy, Mitt Romney's best issue. So McCain went on the attack Saturday, lashing out at Romney by accusing him of having once wanted to set a deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq. ''Now, one of my opponents wanted to set a date for...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

When Government Runs The Health Care System....

... it gets to make choices about what -- and whom -- to cover. A survey of doctors in Britain's National Health Service show that a significant percentage of providers want government to cut off benefits to the elderly, the obese, smokers, and others: Doctors are calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or who lead unhealthy lives. Smokers, heavy drinkers, the obese and the elderly should be barred from receiving some operations, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone. Fertility treatment and "social" abortions are also on the list of procedures that many doctors say should not be funded by the state. The findings of a survey conducted by Doctor magazine sparked a fierce row last night, with the British Medical Association and campaign groups describing the recommendations from family and hospital doctors...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

My Vote

Over a year ago and many times since, I wrote that I could give no endorsement, because I had honestly not made up my mind about which candidate to support. I also told the CapQ community that if I did make a decision, I would announce it as soon as I made it so that they knew where I stood. The deadline for that decision rapidly approaches, since Minnesota caucuses on February 5th, and I have decided to caucus for Mitt Romney. This decision did not come easily. Some have complained about the choices available to the Republicans, but I have seen the field as a collection of highly accomplished, experienced candidates, almost all of whom I could support -- enthusiastically -- in a general election. That made the decision as hard as it was, and it forced me to analyze what I want to see in a nominee. First,...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Terror Plot Foiled

Arrests in Spain stopped a string of terrorist bombings across Europe, according to Australia's Daily Telegraph. At least the fourteen men arrested plotted to hit transportation centers in Spain, Portugal, France, and Germany, an operation that would have been credited to al-Qaeda and Pakistani warlord Baitullah Mehsud, the man behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto: A GROUP of alleged Islamist extremists were planning a wave of suicide attacks across Europe before they were detained in Barcelona last weekend. The group intended to carry out three attacks in Spain and one each in Portugal, France and Germany, an unnamed man who infiltrated the group told top-selling daily El Pais. The report comes one day after Spanish judicial sources said that three of the six members of the group, who allegedly planned to blow themselves up, were still at large. The preferred targets were public transportation networks, especially metro systems because of...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 28, 2008

How Do We Solve A Problem Like Bill Clinton?

The Hillary Clinton campaign hasn't set that question to song, not while the Sound of Losing still rings in their ears from their disastrous showing in South Carolina. After losing by more than a 2-1 margin in the bellwether state, the campaign now knows that they cannot afford to have Bill Clinton shooting his mouth off on the national stage. The one man they assumed could be their greatest asset has suddenly become an albatross, and no one knows how to cut it from around their necks (via Real Clear Politics): Democrats inside and outside the Clinton campaign on Sunday debated and in some cases bemoaned the degree to which former President Bill Clinton’s criticism of Senator Barack Obama last week had inflicted lasting damage on his wife’s presidential candidacy. “I think his harsh style hurt Senator Clinton — it polarized the campaign and polarized the electorate, and it also...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Bucks Stop Here, Next Time

George Bush will sign an executive order to defund all earmarks not including in legislative text -- for FY2009, not from this year's omnibus spending bill. The Wall Street Journal reports from sources within the White House than Bush declined to take the immediate action because he felt he had not sufficiently defined his opposition to earmarks in 2007: We're told he will tell Congress that he will veto any fiscal 2009 spending bill that doesn't cut earmarks in half from 2008 levels. He will also report that he is issuing a Presidential order informing executive departments that from now on they should refuse to fund earmarks that aren't explicitly mentioned in statutory language. This is progress, though frankly less than we had hoped because Mr. Bush's executive order will not apply to the fiscal 2008 spending bills that passed late last year. Congress endorsed 11,735 special-interest earmarks worth $16.9...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Osama's Pen Pals

Nothing brightens the day of the average psychotic terrorist leader than to get a handwritten letter from his idol, Osama bin Laden. According to Newsweek, Osama's been lettering, sending a few personal missives to terrorist leaders in al-Qaeda and the Taliban. His pen-pal activity intends to keep morale high among the troops, and may indicate that his morale has improved as well: Osama Bin Laden appears to be reasserting his influence among the Afghan and Pakistani tribal leaders upon whom he's depending for survival. Since December, the Qaeda chief has personally penned at least five brief letters, written in Arabic on white stationery, to the region's militant commanders. For the Taliban's Mullah Mansoor Dadullah, the latest correspondence is the second he's received this year from the "Sheik," as bin Laden is known among jihadis. The first was a letter of condolence after the death of Dadullah's notoriously brutal elder brother,...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

When Pervez Met Ehud

Did they or didn't they? That may sound like a question from a paparazzi magazine, but in diplomatic circles, it could mean life or death. After a chance encounter in the lobby of a Parisian hotel, Pervez Musharraf and Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak reportedly held a second, 20-minute meeting to discuss fears of an Iranian nuclear-weapons program: Pakistan's president held a rare and secret meeting with Israel's defense minister in a Paris hotel last week, and the Iranian nuclear program figured high on the agenda, Israeli defense officials said Monday. The two states have no diplomatic ties, and their officials rarely meet. But Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak saw each other by chance at the Hotel Raphael in Paris on Jan. 22, where they both were staying, the officials said. They then held a scheduled 20-minute meeting the following day, the officials said. ......

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Another Beslan - Red Mosque In Bannu? (Update: Thankfully, No)

Over three years ago, radical Islamists seized a school in Beslan in the Russian republic of North Ossetia-Alania and killed 334 people, including 186 children. Last year, jihadists seized the Red Mosque in Pakistan, and more than 170 people died as a result. Now Islamist radicals have seized a school in Bannu, North Waziristan and hold over 250 children as hostages: Pro-Taleban militants are holding children and teachers hostage in a school near the Pakistani district of North Waziristan. Officials told a BBC reporter at the scene that up to 250 children were inside the school. The militants took shelter in the school in Bannu town after a confrontation with local police. The BBC says some chidren may have been released, but that has not been confirmed. This has the earmarks of another disaster on the same scale as Beslan, only this time the Waziris will have to stand around...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Last Song

George Bush makes his final State of the Union speech tonight, and according to the Washington Post, it will focus on two themes associated with the administration: economy and the war. The White House does not plan on turning the SOTU speech into a valediction, instead focusing on the tasks in front of the nation and the necessity of action in 2008. They only hope that they have an audience: For years, President Bush and his advisers expressed frustration that the White House received little credit for the nation's strong economic performance because of public discontent about the Iraq war. Today, the president is getting little credit for improved security in Iraq, as the public increasingly focuses on a struggling U.S. economy. That is the problem Bush faces as he prepares to deliver his seventh and probably final State of the Union address tonight. For the first time in four...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Not Endorsed

If anyone wondered whether Rudy Giuliani intended to go quietly into the night, their new ad answers those queries succinctly. While John McCain continues to promote the endorsements he has received from newspapers in Florida and around the nation, Rudy wants to transform those endorsements from assets to liabilities. In his new ad, "Not Endorsed", Rudy proves that he understands the primary voters a little better than McCain: I couldn't help laughing when I saw this. The voice-over tone is dead perfect, and it strikes to the heart of conservative mistrust of McCain. It may be too late to do Giuliani much good, but it's a great reminder of why I liked Rudy as a candidate....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

AOL's Hot Seat Goes Live On BTR Today!

AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: [Poll expired.] Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio, or listen here through the player below -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Conservatism On The Sleeve And On The Hoof

John Fund takes a look at the problematic relationship between John McCain and conservatives in his party, and focuses on one of the hot-button issues: judicial nominations. He doesn't give activists much hope on this front, quoting McCain as supportive of John Roberts' nomination but rejecting Samuel Alito as a model for future nominations. Why? Alito didn't hide his conservative nature well enough: Nothing would improve Mr. McCain's standing with conservatives more than a forthright restatement of his previously stated view that "one of our greatest problems in America today is justices that legislate from the bench." Mr. McCain bruised his standing with conservatives on the issue when in 2005 he became a key player in the so-called gang of 14, which derailed an effort to end Democratic filibusters of Bush judicial nominees. More recently, Mr. McCain has told conservatives he would be happy to appoint the likes of Chief...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: Mitt Romney, Jack Kingston

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), we will have a pre-recorded interview with Mitt Romney from Saturday. We talk about the 2nd Amendment, the war on terror, entitlement reform, and why he thinks he has the winning message for conservatives. In the first half of the show, Rep. Jack Kingston joins us to talk about his anti-pork measure, and our friend Rob "NZ Bear" Neppell of Porkbusters and Kithbridge talks about his reservations about the GOP approach. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Mitt Romney Interview

Earlier this afternoon, I played an interview with Governor Mitt Romney on my Heading Right Radio show. The Governor squeezed about 15 minutes into his Saturday morning schedule to chat with me about conservative principles, the war on terror, entitlement reform, and a number of other subjects. One answer in particular I found intriguing for its nuance. Rather than just issue a "I'll chase the terrorists to the gates of Hell" response, Mitt gave both a broader and more focused answer: EM: Now, regarding global Jihad, are you in favor of pursuing the same type of forward of strategy as the Bush administration has used? I’m not necessarily speaking about Iraq, but in terms of making sure that Americans forces are deployed in areas where the Jihadis have to address America through its military rather than attacking its civilians. That’s been sort of a concept that the Bush Administration has...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Emperor's New Carbon Offsets

As government waste goes, $89,000 will barely register on the meter. However, it did provide a relatively inexpensive demonstration on the costliness of political fads and the vacuousness of carbon-offset markets as a solution for purported anthropogenic climate change. It also, once again, demonstrated the connection between contributors and policy: The House of Representatives has presumably learned that money cannot buy love or happiness. Now, it turns out it's not a sure solution to climate guilt, either. In November, the Democratic-led House spent about $89,000 on so-called carbon offsets. This purchase was supposed to cancel out greenhouse-gas emissions from House buildings -- including half of the U.S. Capitol -- by triggering an equal reduction in emissions elsewhere. Some of the money went to farmers in North Dakota, for tilling practices that keep carbon buried in the soil. But some farmers were already doing this, for other reasons, before the House...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

State Of The Union Live Blog

Tonight, George Bush delivers his final State of the Union speech to Congress, as mandated by the Constitution. Will he use the SOTU event to attempt a rapprochement with a hostile Congress, or will he draw lines in the sand for what promises to be a contentious session in 2008? The White House has a series of papers already assembled to support the SOTU speech, and it looks like a familiar set of objectives. It looks like Bush will lead with the economy and budgetary proposals, with national security, Iraq, and the GWOT close behind. Expect sops to the global-warming crowd and a big finish with a focus on "Advancing an Agenda of Compassion Worldwide". I'll be remarking and analyzing the speech in reverse chronological order, so be sure to check back on this post later in the evening. Michelle Malkin will also live-blog. Final thoughts: It didn't move me...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 29, 2008

Down To The Wire

Today, Floridians go to the polls in the last major contest before over 20 states hold their presidential primaries and caucuses -- and the race appears to be a true dead heat. Real Clear Politics displays seven polls taken within the last three days, and all of them say that Mitt Romney and John McCain have deadlocked. Of course, the nation has seen deadlocks in Florida before, notoriously in 2000, when the national election came down to 600 votes in one of the most populous states. Obviously, every vote always counts, but especially so when the race gets this tight. Several factors could affect the outcome, given the small tolerance for failure. Turnout matters, and the nature of turnout will matter there today. Mitt draws more from conservatives, while McCain draws more from moderates. Which will feel more motivated to get to the polls? Which campaign has the better ground...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Doesn't .... Bother ... Me ... At .... All

King Banaian at SCSU Scholars recommended the following clip to me over the weekend, but I didn't get a chance to see it until this morning. Someone at Slate cleverly took a scene from the biting political satire Election and applied it to this year's Democratic primaries, with devastating -- and trenchant -- results: I don't think that either candidate has the experience or the policies required for the Presidency, but the last couple of weeks have shown that the Clintons don't have the temperament for it, either. This comedic video gets more to the heart of that truth than many an opinion piece....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Israel: If He Can Do It, Sure

Sometimes, Israelis must shake their head in wonder at the folly of their friends and enemies alike. After Egypt failed to close the Rafah crossing that Hamas blew open last week, the US, EU, and Egypt put their heads together -- and decided to let Mahmoud Abbas give it a try: Israel will not stand in the way of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas taking control of Gaza's breached border with Egypt as part of a deal to sideline Hamas Islamists who rule the enclave, officials said on Tuesday. But it is unclear how Abbas, the Fatah leader, would be able to assert control over the crossing with Egypt given opposition from Hamas, which seized the coastal territory in June and blasted open the Egyptian border wall last week in defiance of an Israeli-led blockade. Tensions along Gaza's frontier with Egypt flared anew on Tuesday when Egyptian forces tried to prevent...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Should Rudy Pull Out If He Loses Florida?

Rudy Giuliani gambled the entire campaign on the idea that he could wait out the early states and focus on the first major winner-take-all primary in Florida. That gamble plays out today, and most of the polling shows that Rudy won't come close to a victory, meaning he will head into Super Tuesday with almost no delegates at all. He remains confident of victory, but ...: Also campaigning in Florida was Giuliani, who led throughout 2007 but rapidly lost ground once voting began this month. Despite the polls, Giuliani insisted he can come from behind: "This is a place where we have to test ourselves," Giuliani told reporters between campaign appearances. "The winner of Florida will win the nomination; we're going to win Florida." Asked if a loss would end his campaign, Giuliani said: "Wednesday morning, we'll make a decision." Giuliani has said a number of times that he believes...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The UN Remains The UN

Two years ago, Kofi Annan hailed the end of UN's Commission on Human Rights as a step towards removing the malignant politicization of the UN, and especially its anti-Israel bias. The replacement Human Rights council would have safeguards on both membership and voting to ensure against a repeat of the Israel obsessions of the CHR. It would demonstrate the responsiveness of the UN and rebuild confidence in the institution as a legitimate arena for global relations and for enforcement of human rights. How has that worked out? Not well -- according to a UNICEF spokesperson: Last week the U.N. Human Rights Council held an emergency session, organized by Arab and Muslim nations, to condemn Israel for its military actions in the Gaza strip. That the council is capable of swift and decisive action is a welcome surprise; that Israel remains the only nation to provoke such action is not. In...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

The Ted Kennedy Kiss Of Death, Er, Endorsement

Ted Kennedy and a significant portion of the Kennedy family have endorsed Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries. The move comes as a slap at the Clintons, with whom Kennedy had publicly become annoyed over their campaigning in the past few weeks. It also confirms for many that Obama represents the old-school Left rather than the embrace of the center, as Obama has attempted to portray himself in the campaign: Sen. Edward M. Kennedy delivered a highly prized endorsement for Sen. Barack Obama yesterday as well as a pointed rebuttal to the main lines of attack used against him by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her husband, Bill Clinton. In a clear reference to the criticism repeated by the Democratic senator from New York and the former president that Obama (D-Ill.) does not have the experience for the White House, Kennedy -- borrowing one of the Clintons'...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Straight Talk, Or Just Business As Usual?

Fact Check has reviewed the last-minute ads from the John McCain campaign in Florida and doesn't much like what it sees. They call the campaign "misleading" and complain that the ads take other points out of context. Mostly, though, they complain that the ads make opinion sound like fact: On the eve of the crucial Florida GOP primary, John McCain is attacking Mitt Romney with some out-of-context or misleading statements on radio and the Internet: A Web ad says Romney's health care program in Massachusetts is "not very good" and "is failing." But official figures indicate that roughly 200,000 previously uninsured residents have gained health coverage, and those persons might disagree. The ad says the Romney plan is costing $400 million more than expected. That's because more people are benefiting than were expected. A radio ad running in Florida accuses Romney of proposing $20 billion to Detroit "to bail out...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Rockin' Politics And The Hot Seat!

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, start your morning off right (and center) when Nikki and I host BlogTalkRadio's Nikki Rocks The Politics at 9 am CT. We'll discuss and debate the issues of the day, and we'll take your calls as well at (646) 478-4556. Afterwards, get ready for my second show today, AOL's Hot Seat Radio: AOL and BlogTalkRadio have partnered on the Hot Seat poll, extending the debate to our listenership. I will host a 15-minute show weekdays at 1:00 pm ET to review the poll, interview the blogger, and take calls from the participants. We'll speak to a wide spectrum of bloggers and callers alike for each day's poll -- including today's: Be sure to tune it at BlogTalkRadio, or listen here through the player below -- and don't forget to cast your votes! We will also take your calls at (347) 205-9555. BUMP: To top....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Heading Right Radio: Florida; IBD's Monica Showalter

Note: This post will remain on top until show time; newer posts may be found below. Today on Heading Right Radio (2 pm CT), we'll talk with Monica Showalter of IBD Editorials. She'll bring us up to date on free trade issues in Latin America and elsewhere, one of the major themes of last night's State of the Union speech. We'll also talk about today's Florida primaries and how crucial they will be for the direction of the Republican nomination. Call 646-652-4889 to join the conversation! And don't forget to join our chat room! This show is now sponsored by Lifelock -- and listen to find out how you can save 10% on their services. Did you know that you can listen to Heading Right Radio through your TiVo service? Click here for the instructions. Also, you can subscribe to Heading Right Radio through iTunes now by clicking this link:...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Hashing It Out On BlogTalkRadio

One of the great aspects of BlogTalkRadio is its adaptability to all sorts of communications. Wisconsin voters will discover this for themselves in a debate between two state Supreme Court candidates that will air on our network at 4:30 pm CT at Panther Talk Live. The Wisconsin State Journal has the story: The two candidates for Wisconsin Supreme Court will debate for the first time today -- but it won 't be face to face. Justice Louis Butler and Burnett County Circuit Judge Michael Gableman will square off during a one-hour Internet radio debate hosted by a UW-Milwaukee student. The debate is thought to be the first of its kind in a Wisconsin political race, said Kyle Duerstein, the journalism student who is hosting the program. Listeners will be able to hear the candidates debate and call in with questions. It will be the first forum featuring both candidates, who...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Bush's Pork Focus Not Popular On The Hill

Last night's State of the Union speech garnered plenty of obligatory standing ovations, but the first issue that President Bush featured has generated plenty of grumbles the next day. Neither Republicans or Democrats much cared for the scolding given during the speech on earmarks, nor on the ultimata delivered by Bush in the joint session event. Senator Thad Cochran (R-MI) bristled at the notion that the executive branch could force fiscal discipline on Congress: While most Republicans praised Monday's speech, Sen. Thad Cochran, the highest-ranking Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he opposed the president's attempts to shrink the number of earmarks or local projects sought by lawmakers in spending bills. "Congress has the sole power under the Constitution to appropriate funds for expenditure by the federal government," Cochran said. "I will oppose any measure which in effect transfers this power to the executive branch." .... Bush also ordered...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Depends On The Meaning Of The Word 'Pledge'

The New Hampshire Union-Leader has a new term for Granite State voters who gave Hillary Clinton her surprise victory over Barack Obama: suckers. In a scalding editorial, the state's most significant newspaper rips Hillary for breaking a pledge she signed in New Hampshire not to campaign in states that broke the scheduling rules or to seek to have their delegates seated. They bluntly call her a liar: COURTING VOTERS in Iowa and New Hampshire, last August Sen. Hillary Clinton signed a pledge not to "campaign or participate" in the Michigan or Florida Democratic primaries. She participated in both primaries and is campaigning in Florida. Which proves, again, that Hillary Clinton is a liar. Clinton kept her name on the Michigan ballot when others removed theirs, she campaigned this past weekend in Florida, and she is pushing to seat Michigan and Florida delegates at the Democratic National Convention. The party stripped...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Alert The Media

I'll make a few media appearances tonight as the Florida primary figures start to materialize: 7:35 PM CT - The Rick Moran Show on BTR 8:10 - The Jack Riccardi Show on San Antonio's AM 550 KTSA 9:35 - The World Tonight with Rob Breakenridge, Calgary's AM770 CHQR I will also be live-blogging the results as we keep an eye on the race. Keep checking back for more updates....

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Florida Live Blog (Update: McCain Wins)

Some of Florida's polls will begin closing in a few minutes, but don't expect any reports until after all the polls have closed at 8 pm ET. Some exit polling has already gotten published, but nothing conclusive; Jim Geraghty has the data, but it won't provide much clarity. One interesting datapoint: Florida officials apparently believe that one-third of the vote will come from absentee ballots. More coming -- keep checking for updates, which will appear in reverse chronological order... 8:57 and Final - McCain wins an impressive victory. Did Democrats help? No. Despite some speculation that voters would re-register to cast spoiler votes in the Republican primary, Democrats cast 1.4 million votes in their own primary with 76% of precincts reporting. That's about the same as the Republicans. 8:21 - Rudy Giuliani sounds like he's giving a valediction, and he's talking about his honorable opponents. He jokes about Ron Paul...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

An Impressive Win

With more than two-thirds of the precincts reporting, John McCain has won an impressive victory in Florida's Republican primary. Many people questioned whether Senator McCain could win a closed GOP contest, as up to now he had won in New Hampshire and South Carolina through the assistance of crossover voting from Democrats and independents. Those questions have now been answered, at least in Florida. What does this mean for the Super Tuesday contests coming up in a week? It appears that the race has narrowed down to McCain and Romney. McCain will enter February 5th with more delegates, but only 10% of what he needs to win the nomination. He will have a great deal of momentum and credibility, and Romney will have relinquished some. Almost certainly, McCain becomes the favorite to win the nomination. However, Romney has a better national organization and more resources to run in 21 states...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

January 30, 2008

On Closed Primaries

A number of commenters in my threads from Florida's primary seem confused about what a closed primary means, and what its limits are. Michelle Malkin and Flip Pidot also blogged about this overnight, but miss the point of exit polling showing voter inclinations and not actual registration. Having lived most of my life in closed-primary states, I can tell CapQ readers that the exit polling should surprise no one. Florida's rules on primary voting and registration are clear: Florida is a closed primary election state. That means, only voters who are registered members of the two major political parties (Democrats and Republicans) may vote in a primary election for partisan candidates. Registered minor political party voters and voters who register without a party affiliation are not eligible to voter for major party candidates in a primary election. However, if all candidates for an office in an election have the same...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Why Is Obama Popular With 527s?

He says he doesn't like them, and he says he doesn't need them. In fact, Barack Obama regularly criticizes the operations and the influence of 527s, scolding John Edwards and Hillary Clinton for their attraction to the outside political groups. But as the New York Times points out, Obama has become attractive to them as well, and benefits significantly from their assistance: After months of denouncing the influence of special-interest money in politics, Senator Barack Obama is nonetheless entering a critical phase of the presidential campaign benefiting from millions of dollars being spent outside campaign finance rules. Mr. Obama has repudiated a California group, Vote Hope, that is working on his behalf. But it has pressed on and, along with a sister organization called PowerPac.org, is planning to spend up to $4 million promoting him in California and conducting voter registration drives aimed at blacks in 11 Southern states. The...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

All Good Things Come To An End

Danny Glover has been a good friend to many of us in the blogosphere during his tenure at National Journal. I heard from him a while ago that he would soon move on from that position, and today will be the last day he updates what has been a vital Beltway blog. He posts his valediction at Beltway Blogroll this morning: My tenure at National Journal ends tomorrow with the final issue of Technology Daily, where I served as the managing editor for six years before being promoted to the editorship in November 2006. Beltway Blogroll, a direct outgrowth of the interest I developed in politics and technology while at Tech Daily, will cease publication at the same time. Its death is by no means sudden. I started Beltway Blogroll and a companion column for NationalJournal.com in June 2005 with the goal in mind of proving that blogs would quickly...

« December 2007 | February 2008 »

Obama To Dems: Tear Down This Firewall!

Barack Obama got in some hot water in Nevada for making a mildly positive reference