Presidential Election Archives

December 1, 2003

Players Are Haters

According to Matt Drudge, a group of Hollywood elite will be meeting tomorrow night in an event titled "Hate Bush": Top Hollywood activists and intellectuals are planning to gather this week in Beverly Hills for an event billed as 'Hate Bush,' the DRUDGE REPORT has learned! Laurie David [wife of SEINFELD creator Larry David] has sent out invites to the planned Tuesday evening meeting at the Hilton with the bold heading: 'Hate Bush 12/2 - Event' The event is being chaired by Harold Ickes, a former Clinton chief of staff, and Ellen Malcolm, who founded Emily's List. Among the intellectual luminaries invited are: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, whose career stalled out after "Seinfeld" went off the air; Lyn Lear, Norman's wife; actor Daniel Stern; Marge Tabankin, described by Drudge as "Barbara Streisand's philanthropic and political guru"; and Heather Thomas, best known as a pin-up model in the 1980s. Also on the list...

December 2, 2003

Howard Dean: All Hat, No Cattle

You have to love Chris Matthews; even though his loud and brash approach can wear on me after a while, it's that attitude that really exposes pretenders such as Howard Dean. Matt Drudge has posted an excerpt from the Hardball installment with Dean, where Dean announced that he would "break up giant media enterprises" out of a concern "how deeply media companies can penetrate every single community" in America. Not surprisingly, since Matthews works for one of those "giant media enterprises" (GE), Matthews attempted to pin Dean down on specifics: MATTHEWS: Well, would you break up GE? DEAN: I can`t -- you... MATTHEWS: GE just buys Universal. Would you do something there about that? Would you stop that from happening? DEAN: You can`t say -- you can`t ask me right now and get an answer, would I break up X corp... MATTHEWS: We`ve got to do it now, because now...

Howard Dean: All Hat, No Cattle, Take 2

After visiting Hugh Hewitt, Mickey Kaus and Best of the Web, I've discovered that the Hardball interview had a lot more landmines for Howard Dean than I first saw. First off, he seems to be flunking post-Cold War geography: The key, I believe, to Iran, is pressure through the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union is supplying much of the equipment that Iran I believe mostly likely is using to set itself along the path of developing nuclear weapons. We need to use that leverage with the Soviet Union, and it may require us buying the equipment the Soviet Union was ultimately going to sell to Iran, to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union, you may recall, disappeared in the early 90s. Dr. Dean may have been in surgery that day -- who knows? -- but if George Bush had made a reference to "East Germany" in the...

Jeff Jarvis and Hugh Hewitt React to Dean's Hardball Interview

Jeff Jarvis isn't pleased with Howard Dean, by any stretch of the imagination: Howard Dean says he'd "break up" media companies. This is the worst of political pandering: Big media companies have been made into the boogeymen du jour and so he announces he'll go after them. No legal basis. No constitutional justification. Just because they're there. Jarvis quotes the same part of the transcript that I posted earlier, and reaches much the same conclusion I did, although he puts it more directly: Translation: He's going to meddle in news. He's going to decree who can and can't own media outlets. He's going to break up companies for sport and political pandering. He's not concerned with the First Amendment. He's not concerned with the realities of the media business today (if you don't allow some level of consolidation, then weak outlets will die). Yes, I work in big media. But...

December 4, 2003

Gephardt Campaign Gets A Little Desperate

I've heard of playing hardball, but Gephardt's staff seems to be trying to win an award for it: A top aide to Rep. Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri threatened political retaliation this week against union leaders in the home state of the Democratic presidential candidate if they aided Howard Dean, underscoring growing tensions in the 2004 race. It's assumed that those groups who back the losing horse will lose some clout with the eventual winner; that much is true in any election, primary or general, presidential or local alderman race. Explicitly stating it is considered poor form. In this case, though, Gephardt's staff went even further, threatening to take specific legislative action to punish those who stray from the flock: The letter said [Joyce] Aboussie also told the local union officials not to campaign for Dean in Missouri, which holds its primary on Feb. 3 and which Gephardt, as native...

Lileks Wonders About Dean

Okay, okay, I know that James Lileks isn't taking December off, no matter how much I libel him in verse. He doesn't have to keep proving it with excellent essays like this one on Howard Dean: So it was an interesting moment on MSNBC's "Hardball" when Chris Matthews asked Gov. Dean whether Osama bin Laden should be tried in the United States or by the World Court. For a presidential candidate, this is not a difficult question. It requires no long cogitation, no disquisitions about the role of international law from the Wilsonian perspective. It doesn't require any second-guessing. You say that bin Laden attacked America, and he deserves to be tried there by Americans. That's what you say if you want to be president of the United States, anyway. But as we all know, that's not what Governor Dean said, in his interview that included his contention that he...

December 6, 2003

Kerry Gets Really F***ing Desperate

I don't have "virgin ears", but I expect presidential candidates to behave publicly with decorum and respect. I don't need to hear them talking as though they were in a locker room or hanging out at the bar. If that's what John Kerry thinks will make voters support him, then we know something about his contempt for the electorate.

December 7, 2003

Hewitt: Dean Lacks Seriousness

Hugh Hewitt doesn't think much of Howard Dean or his campaign, but then again, that's no surprise. Hugh writes extensively today on his blog about the false sense of singularity amongst the Deanies: The Dean people are too young to know what a rel "movement" looks like. This is a nice campaign, one likely to capture the nomination and get swept aside in a landslide for an incumbent President backed by a booming economy, significant legislative achievements, and a serious commitment to national security. At the close of business in November, these warriors of December '03 will look at each other with blank or dazed expressions. They never saw it coming. Because they never read a book on campaigns past. Just read the whole thing and remember this when you keep hearing about the "historic" nature of the Dean campaign....

December 8, 2003

Dean's Fiscal Conservatism: Fiction?

Jon at QandO has an excellent post deflating -- a bit -- the idea that Howard Dean is a tax-cutting conservative. He quotes from this Boston Globe article: On the campaign's website, Dean is even more specific, saying that his two cuts reduced the state's top income tax rate from 13.5 percent to 9.5 percent. But an examination of Dean's record as Vermont's governor has found that the bigger tax cut was in fact signed into law by his Republican predecessor, Richard Snelling. In 1991, Snelling signed legislation authorizing higher tax rates that would "sunset" two years later. Dean, then lieutenant governor, took over after Snelling died, and the rates dropped automatically at the end of 1993. While the section of Dean's website on his fiscal record highlights his role in eliminating the sales tax on clothing items, it omits the fact that the overall sales tax was raised from...

Top 10 Howard Dean Flip-Flops

I got into a big debate the other day with a Howard Dean fan about the merits of his presidential campaign. I think because he saw that I'm a white, tech-savvy, moderate-to-liberal east-coaster, he assumed I'm a Dean supporter. Once he became aware of my skepticism about the good doctor, he asked me to give him one good reason Dean shouldn't get the nomination.

The first thing that came to mind was Dean's incessant flip-flopping on a variety of issues. (This is not to say there aren't other reasons; it's just the first thing I thought of.)

Dean's fan acknowledged that a few of his candidate's policy positions have "evolved" over time, but rejected the notion that Dean is a serial flip-flopper. At a minimum, he said, Dean is no worse than any of the other Dem candidates.

My challenger had a point, at least about Dean's rivals. All presidential candidates waffle and flip-flop sometimes. It's been this way for as long as we've had presidential campaigns as candidates need to make the adjustment from representing a state or a district to appealing to an entire nation.

The current field of Dems has some candidates who've offered a few doozies. When Dick Gephardt first came to Congress, for example, he said that "life begins at conception" and proposed a constitutional amendment to ban all abortions. Now Gephardt is ardently pro-choice.

John Kerry said in 1992 that affirmative action "has kept America thinking in racial terms," and lamented "the costs" the policy has had on the country. Today, however, Kerry considers himself as a champion of affirmative action.

Carol Mosley Braun said in 1998 that she'd never run for public office again, yet she's a presidential candidate now.

Dennis Kucinich had a dramatic conversation before entering the presidential race on the issue of reproductive rights. As Common Dreams reported, "Twice in the past three years, NARAL gave him a rating of 'zero.'" As recently as 2001, Kucinich agreed with a Bush proposal to withhold international family-planning funds from international organizations that even discuss abortions. In 1999 and 2000, Kucinich agreed with the Right to Life Committee on 19 of 20 votes. Now Kucinich, perhaps the campaign's most liberal candidate, says that he is definitely "pro-choice."

(And don't even get me started of George W. Bush, whose entire presidency has been one huge flip-flop. Remember the candidate in 2000 who bragged about a foreign policy driven by "humility," who emphasized "compassion," who boasted of bringing Democrats and Republicans together, and ran on a platform of a balanced the budget and a robust job market?)

Yet, despite these examples, I would argue that Howard Dean has flip-flopped more times, on more issues, than any of the Dems running for president. It's a continuing problem that may ultimately come back to haunt his campaign. In fact, it's so bad I decided to make a list.

I'm not talking about Dean's mistakes or apologies. I don't care that Dean mysteriously called Latin America "the most important hemisphere in American history" last week. It's easy to overlook the fact that Dean, when asked last month if he supported gay marriage, said, "I never thought about that very much." It may not matter that Dean said Saddam Hussein's fall from power is "probably a good thing" earlier this summer. No one will remember that he falsely accused John Edwards of avoiding talk of his support of the Iraq war before an anti-war Dem audience in California.

I mean straight up, direct examples of Dean holding one position and then deciding he believes the opposite shortly thereafter. It's happened often enough the last couple of months for me to create...The Carpetbagger Report's Top 10 Howard Dean flip-flops (in no particular order).

1. North Korea

In January, Dean said on CBS' Face the Nation that he approved of Bush's policy towards North Korea and agreed with the president that the approach will be successful.

"I concur with most of the president's policy on North Korea," Dean said, to the surprise of many Democrats and supporters who had criticized Bush's approach. "We have substantial differences on Iraq, but I like the idea and I believe in the idea of multilaterals. And the president's pursuing a policy in cooperation with the Chinese, the Russians, the South Koreans and the Japanese, which we ought to see bear fruition."

Just one month later, Dean flip-flopped without explanation, describing Bush's North Korea policy as "incoherent, inconsistent and dangerously disengaged."

2. Social Security retirement age

At a candidate forum hosted by the AFL-CIO in August, Dean faced criticism from Kucinich for considering moving the Social Security retirement age. Dean responded forcefully that he wanted to "tell everybody that I have never favored Social Security retirement at the age of 70, nor do I favor one of 68."

In 1995, Dean praised then-Sen. Bob Packwood (R-Ore.) for recommending changing the retirement age to 70. At the time, Dean said, "I believe that Sen. Packwood is on exactly the right track." A month later, Dean said "moving the retirement age to 70" was a way to help reduce the deficit and balance the budget.

Far more recently, in June 2003, Dean said on Meet the Press, "I would also entertain taking the retirement age up to 68."

3. Public Financing and Campaign Spending Limits

In March, Dean promised to raise a fuss if any of the other candidates decided to abandon spending limits and skip public financing.

"It will be a huge issue," Dean said in March. "I think most Democrats believe in campaign finance reform.... [I've] always been committed to this. Campaign finance reform is just something I believe in." As recently as June 7, Dean wrote to the Federal Election Commission that he will abide by spending limits in the primaries.

Last month, Dean said his campaign was "exploring" the possibility of opting out of the public financing system because of his success in raising money and his desire to spend more in the primaries than his opponents. He said he "didn't remember" making earlier promises to the contrary and said his campaign was free to "change our mind."

(Actually, Dean's flip-flopped on this issue twice. In addition to the recent conversion as a presidential candidate, Dean also did a reverse on spending limits while governor of Vermont. In 1997, Dean helped create a system whereby statewide candidates would agree to a spending cap and participate in public financing. At the time, Dean vowed that the bill would "change the way campaigns are run" in Vermont. When it came time for Dean to run for re-election in 2000 under the campaign finance system he helped create, Dean rejected public financing and exceeded the spending cap by 300 percent.)

4. U.S. trade standards

In August, Dean told the Washington Post that China and other countries could get trade deals with the United States only if they adopted "the same labor laws and labor standards and environmental standards" as the United States. When a reporter from Slate asked if he meant just general "standards" or "American standards," Dean insisted that he would demand that other countries adopt the exact same labor, environmental, health, and safety standards as the United States.

Last week in the DNC debate in Albuquerque, Dean shifted gears and said he doesn't believe that our trading partners have to adopt "American labor standards," saying that international standards would work.

5. U.S. policy on the Cuban trade embargo

Dean, up until fairly recently, was one of many politicians from both parties open to easing trade restrictions with Castro's Cuba. He admitted as much in response to a question from a reporter last month, saying, "If you would have asked me six months ago, I would have said we should begin to ease the embargo in return for human-rights concessions."

According to an Aug. 26 article in the Miami Herald, Dean has "shifted his views" on Cuban trade now that he has "surged to the top of the race" for the Dem nomination. Dean said he believes the U.S. can't ease Cuban embargo restrictions "right now" because "Castro has just locked up a huge number of human-rights activists and put them in prison and [held] show trials."

6. "Regime change" in Iraq

In March, before the U.S. invaded Iraq, Dean sounded a lot like Bush on the possible war, suggesting that disarming Saddam Hussein, with or without the United Nations, should be America's priority.

According to an interview with Salon's Jake Tapper, when Dean was asked to clarify his Iraq position, Dean said that Saddam must be disarmed, but with a multilateral force under the auspices of the United Nations. If the U.N. in the end chooses not to enforce its own resolutions, then the U.S. should give Saddam 30 to 60 days to disarm, and if he doesn't, unilateral action is a regrettable, but unavoidable, choice.

When the U.N. chose not to enforce its resolutions, Bush followed Dean's position and launched a unilateral action against Iraq.

Since then, Dean has held himself out as someone who has opposed the war all along.

7. Death penalty

In 1992, Dean said, "I don't support the death penalty for two reasons. One, you might have the wrong guy, and two, the state is like a parent. Parents who smoke cigarettes can't really tell their children not to smoke and be taken seriously. If a state tells you not to murder people, a state shouldn't be in the business of taking people's lives."

In 1997, his position was beginning to "evolve," but he insisted, "I truly don't believe it's a deterrent."

In June 2003, however, Dean had abandoned his earlier beliefs. He said, "As governor, I came to believe that the death penalty would be a just punishment for certain, especially heinous crimes, such as the murder of a child or the murder of a police officer."

8. Repealing Bush's tax cuts

A year ago, Dean started out saying he'd repeal all of Bush's tax cuts. Asked about how he'd pay for increased spending in health care and education, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, Dean "doesn't hem or haw" when answering the question. "'By getting rid of the President's tax cut,' Dean says. Not freezing it, mind you -- getting rid of it. All $1.7 trillion worth."

Then Dean began to equivocate. In July 2002, Dean said on Meet the Press, "[T]here's a few little things I wouldn't repeal. There are some retirement investment pieces I wouldn't repeal, although I would have to add some so that lower-income workers could help pay for their retirement, not just people like me."

Dean's position changed a little more in March, saying his tax policy would be to "repeal the president's tax cuts for people that make more than $300,000, with a few exceptions."

In May, Dean came full circle, saying that he's back to wanting to repeal "all" of the Bush tax cuts.

9. Troop deployment in Iraq

In June, Dean said on Meet the Press, "We need more troops in Afghanistan. We need more troops in Iraq now."

In August, Dean said U.S. troops need to stay in Iraq. "It's a matter of national security," Dean said. "If we leave and we don't get a democracy in Iraq, the result is very significant danger to the United States."

In last week's debate in Albuquerque, Dean completely reversed course, saying, "We need more troops. They're going to be foreign troops, not more American troops, as they should have been in the first place. Ours need to come home."

10. Civil liberties in a post-9/11 America

Shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, while Dean was still governor of Vermont, he suggested a "reevaluation" of civil liberties in America.

Specifically, Dean said he believed that the attacks and their aftermath would "require a reevaluation of the importance of some of our specific civil liberties. I think there are going to be debates about what can be said where, what can be printed where, what kind of freedom of movement people have and whether it's OK for a policeman to ask for your ID just because you're walking down the street."

More importantly, Dean said he didn't have a position on whether these steps would be good or bad. When asked if the Bill of Rights would have to be trimmed, Dean said, "I haven't gotten that far yet."

In March 2003, Dean told The Nation's David Cord that he believes "portions" of the USA Patriot Act "overreach," but added, "I haven't condemned Congress for passing" the legislation.

On August 19, however, Dean accused Ashcroft of taking advantage "of the climate of fear and adopted a series of anti-terror tactics that go far beyond protecting our country and erode the rights of average Americans." He added that the U.S. should "roll back" the USA Patriot Act.


I'm not reporting all of this to help Karl Rove and the Republicans, so spare me your emails. The truth is the bad guys already know all of this. I'd hazard a guess that Rove has dozens of college students locked up in the basement of the OEOB, sleeping on cots, and spending their waking hours chronicling every word every Dem candidate utters. Rove and the RNC don't need The Carpetbagger Report; they have an extensive research operation that blows my little blog away.

The point, rather, is for those of us who want a new president in 2005. Rove may know all about Dean's flip-flops -- he's probably already started crafting the TV ads -- but it's Dem voters who seem unaware of the good doctor's policy problems. We need to consider whether this is a problem before we vote for our nominee. Do Dean's flip-flops mean that he lacks conviction? A problem with discipline? These are questions that Dems should consider before we settle on our choice as a party.

Just as importantly, should Dean get the nomination, we need to know what the GOP will be using against our presidential pick once the election season heats up next year. Hiding public truths in the hopes that the GOP won't notice isn't an effective plan for success.

Howard Fineman Rips the Other Howard

I swear to you that this will not be the Anti-Dean blog, but the man just gives so much material that it's hard to keep up with it all. On MS-NBC, Howard Fineman writes a splendid and pointed article on Dean's adventures in truthtelling, in this example regarding the closed files of his governorship (via Instapundit): Dean’s public reaction to the mini-furor was revealing. When Matthews asked about the records, Dean—with a straight face—came up with this defiant howler: He had had the records sealed not to protect himself, God forbid, but to protect the privacy of HIV-AIDS patients. I think Chris was too stunned to laugh. As it turns out, the identity of such patients is automatically shielded; and, of course, Dean had long since gone on record with the refreshingly candid admission that the advent of the presidential campaign was the real reason. Politicians never seem to get...

Somewhere in Washington, Karl Rove is Delighted

Former VP Al Gore has decided to endorse Governor Howard Dean: Former Vice President Al Gore (news - web sites) will endorse Howard Dean (news - web sites) for the Democratic presidential nomination Tuesday, a dramatic move that could tighten Dean's grip on the front-runner's position and usher more support from wary party elite. As stated several times in the article, this all but assures Dean of the nomination. While I highly doubt that Al Gore is anywhere near as popular with his party as the writer would have you believe -- let's not forget that this was the man who couldn't carry his home state when he was running on eight years of prosperity and relative peace -- he's correct about the effect of this announcement on the media, which inexplicably still thinks he's a man of political substance. He's not a man who stands by his friends, even...

December 12, 2003

Kinsley: Democrats Between Iraq and A Hard Place

Michael Kinsley describes the Democrats' dilemma in the coming year regarding Iraq in today's Washington Post. It's vintage Kinsley, sneering and mocking towards the Bush administration, but saves it real venom for the incoherence coming from the Democratic presidential candidates: Among the Democrats, Howard Dean's position is almost coherent. He opposed the war before it started, and he believes it has not turned out well. There is a tiny question of why Dean bothers to have a "seven-point plan" for Iraq instead of just one point: Bring the troops home. After all, Iraq is less of a threat to international order and its own citizens than when Saddam Hussein was in power. If it wasn't worth American lives to improve the situation then, why is it worth more lives now? It's downhill from Dean. Joe Lieberman probably comes next. He was a strong supporter of removing Hussein by force --...

Like Lemmings Over The Cliff

The New York Post has polling results from New Hampshire, and even though the Republican re-election machine has not turned a single gear there, the results are staggering: Bush gets 57 percent to Dean's 30 percent among registered voters in the American Research Group poll. In fact, Dean, from neighboring Vermont, does worse in the Granite State than a generic "Democratic Party nominee" who loses to Bush by 51 to 34 percent. Another ARG poll this month showed Dean with a 30-point lead over Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) for the Jan. 27 New Hampshire primary, the second test after the Jan. 19 Iowa caucuses. The new poll seems sure to fuel claims by rivals that Dean would be another George McGovern debacle for Democrats in the general election. New Hampshire tells the story about the difference between primary voters, who tend to be the true believers, and general election voters,...

December 13, 2003

Chickens Coming Home to Roost?

Dick Gephardt, who may be the only Democrat now running for President with a shot at stopping Howard Dean, takes aim at the Vermont governor and his secret files: Democratic presidential candidate Dick Gephardt demanded Saturday that front-runner Howard Dean release records of meetings and phone calls about tax breaks given to corporate villain Enron, which Dean denies he did. Visiting with local Democrats in this town near the North Carolina border, Gephardt alleged that Dean, while Vermont's governor, "met regularly with the corporate chiefs who benefited from the tax windfall he created for them. A chief beneficiary of his tax cuts for corporate special interests was Enron." Enron is synonymous with evil for the fringe-left, and Gephardt's attack does two things, if successful: it puts a wedge between Dean and his most ardent tinfoil-hat supporters, and it highlights the unusually long seal on his records as governor, which will...

December 16, 2003

Howard Dean: Iraq-Proof?

Hugh Hewitt and Power Line have written interesting posts regarding Howard Dean's tin-eared declaration yesterday that Saddam's capture didn't make America any safer. Despite the objective falsity of the comment -- we have lived with the possibility of Saddam's retaliation for so long, it seemed inevitable until Sunday morning -- it's unlikely to dislodge the vast majority of Dean supporters, nor is it likely to dissuade Democrats from supporting Dean in a general election, if he makes it that far. It's not that Dean himself is Iraq-proof as much as it is that Bush will always be a bigger bogeyman than Saddam or anyone else, in the eyes of the passionate left. Why should this be? It is a symptom of a polarized electorate; quite simply, more and more people associate with political movements on a tribal basis rather than a rational basis, and this is true on the right...

December 17, 2003

Some People Have a Lot of Nerve

The story of how MoveOn.org attempted to infuse its operation with foreign cash has gotten a lot of press the last couple of days [second item]. For Americans to knowingly sell out our electoral process to people from other countries is hardly an act of patriotism, and such an underhanded and even traitorous action -- we are at war -- should reflect on its preferred candidates, Howard Dean and Wesley Clark, just as badly as it does on the organization itself. That aspect of this scandal has already been covered by other bloggers. What irks me is the unmitigated gall that these Swedes have in attempting to interfere with our political process. These same people would be screaming bloody murder if so much as an editorial about Swedish politics were published in the New York Times, screeching about cultural imperialism and other varieties of crap that the Europeans are oh...

Haddayr's New Column: Tantrums and Politics

My friend Haddayr Copley-Woods has a new column out at the Minnesota Women's Press, and while I strongly disagree with her politically this time, she is a brilliant writer and her column will instantly resonate with anyone who has a child ... or grandchild ... who has reached the tantrum stage: “Look,” I said. “No more mittens. See?” I hung the mittens around my own neck. This gesture undid Arie completely. He arched his back and began banging his head on the sidewalk. I scooped up Arie, receiving bruise #1 in the shins; I headed homeward at a brisk pace. Arie flung himself backwards, shrieking. He then began, somehow, to cartwheel through the air while remaining in my arms. How he did this is difficult to describe, but it was definitely painful and caused bruises 2-5. Read the whole thing, and she's right about both parties throwing tantrums, as I...

December 18, 2003

Does a Presidential Candidate Require Foreign Policy "Experience"?

Howard Dean’s odd contention that the capture of Saddam Hussein has not made America safer has generated a lot of heated discussion about foreign policy experience and its status as a prerequisite for the Presidency. John Kerry, Joe Lieberman, and Dick Gephardt have all made statements this week asserting that Dean is unqualified for the Presidency because of his complete lack of experience in this arena. But is it really a prerequisite at all, and will this argument really help derail Dean? The Constitution sets few legal prerequisites to the Presidency. Any candidate must be 35 years of age or older and a native-born US citizen. It wisely leaves all other qualifications to the individual voter to decide and judge. Historically, looking at the pattern of not only Presidents, but mainstream presidential candidates, there are a few other “prerequisites” as well: * Male * White * Between 50 and 65...

December 22, 2003

Now, Now, Gentlemen, We're Mostly Democrats Here

Apparently, there's been a miscommunication between Howard Dean and General Wesley Clark regarding the potential VP slot on the Democratic ticket: Speaking in a taped interview on ABC's "This Week," Clark said Dean had asked him to be his running mate should Dean win the Democratic nomination in a conversation before Clark entered the race. Unfortunately for Clark, Dean's campaign doesn't recall ever having that conversation, and spokesman Joe Trippi said so shortly after Clark's comments were made. This prompted a testy retort from Clark's campaign: "Joe Trippi may want to check in with his candidate before talking," Matt Bennett said in a statement from Clark headquarters in Little Rock, Arkansas. "Howard Dean did in fact offer Wes Clark a place on the ticket in a one-on-one meeting that Trippi did not attend." This offer supposedly took place in a meeting over three months ago, when Dean's campaign still looked...

Clark: We'll Give Up Our Sovereignty If I'm Elected

I got this from Blogs for Bush, who got it from Andrew Sullivan -- but it is still so shocking that I had to consult the source to see if this was taken out of context. Unfortunately, it's not. General Wesley Clark stated on Hardball two weeks ago that if he were elected President, he would offer Europe a veto over our national security policies: CLARK: Well, if I were president right now, I would be doing things that George Bush can’t do right now, because he’s already compromised those international bridges. I would go to Europe and I would build a new Atlantic charter. I would say to the Europeans, you know, we’ve had our differences over the years, but we need you. The real foundation for peace and stability in the world is the transatlantic alliance. And I would say to the Europeans, I pledge to you as...

December 23, 2003

Right of First Refusal: Meaning?

Either Clark's stance on Iraq and the process that led to it is incoherent, a sort of "I'll be Bush without Bush" -- the most likely explanation -- or he really believes that we should subordinate our foreign-policy and national-security concerns to a European consensus that will never be achieved. Neither reflects well on his character nor on his qualifications as president.

Nader Rules Out Green Party Run in '04

Ralph Nader made a curious announcement today on his intentions for next year's Presidential race: Ralph Nader, the third-party candidate viewed by many Democrats as the spoiler of the 2000 election for taking votes away from Al Gore, has decided not to run on the Green Party ticket next year, a party spokesman said Tuesday. Nader, who garnered nearly 3 percent of the national vote in the last presidential election, has not ruled out running for president as an independent and plans to make a decision by January. Which begs the question: would he run under an independent banner, or that of another party? Apparently it's not off the table, but something must have happened to disenchant him with the Greens. The Greens, according to the article, are disappointed in this decision. I suspect that Nader may not have wanted to spend money on a primary campaign, and other Greens...

Russo-American Mission Retrieves Stranded Nuclear Fuel

Remember how a few of the Democrats complained recently about Bush's lack of attention to nuclear material that had not been tracked after the fall of the Soviet Union? Somehow, this story won't make them very happy: A Russo-American team of nuclear specialists backed by armed security units swooped into a shuttered Bulgarian reactor and seized 37 pounds of highly enriched uranium, in a secret operation intended to forestall nuclear terrorism, U.S. officials said Tuesday. ... It was the third time since last year that U.S. and Russian authorities have teamed up to retrieve highly enriched uranium from Soviet-era facilities. U.S. authorities have begun stepping up such joint operations with the Russians. In August 2002, a team from the two countries retrieved 100 pounds of weapons-grade uranium from an aging reactor in Yugoslavia. The second uranium seizure took place three months ago, when 30 pounds was removed from Romania. It...

Ed Koch: I'm Voting Bush

Former New York Mayor and lifelong Democrat Ed Koch recently gave an impromptu speech regarding his support for George Bush for President. Koch apparently wasn't satisfied with the report printed in the Sun about his speech (although he blames himself for the confusion) and wants to set the record straight with this column in NewsMax: After 9/11, the President announced the Bush Doctrine, which in my opinion rivals in importance the Monroe Doctrine, which barred foreign imperialism in the Western Hemisphere, and the Truman Doctrine, which sought to contain Communism around the world. The Bush Doctrine, simply stated by the President before a joint session of Congress, is “We will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.” The President has applied that doctrine in Afghanistan and Iraq and has put other countries on notice that he will do so elsewhere, if necessary....

December 24, 2003

A Warning We Also Should Heed

Jonathan Chait, in his TNR blog, wrote on Monday regarding the Dean bubble. Chait, who is no fan of the governor, diagnoses why the Dean campaign will remain parochial and detached from all but the true believers: One of the most disturbing things about Dean and his hard-core supporters is that they give the impression that they know nothing at all of why President Bush is successful, and therefore what it takes to beat him. Read the pro-Dean blogs, and the you come away with the view that Bush is strong because he's ruthless and has lots of money, and therefore if the Democrats are also ruthless and raise lots of money, they can beat him. This ignorance is compounded by the fact that many Deanies seem to exist in a isolated cultural milieu in which everybody is secular, socially liberal, and antiwar. They can't fathom why those things might...

December 26, 2003

Harold Ickes, The Consummate Insider

Hugh Hewitt points out an intriguing profile of the Democrats' Karl Rove, former Clinton Chief of Staff Harold Ickes. Colorful, profane, and driven, Ickes promises to deliver cash -- loads of it -- to the Democratic effort to unseat George Bush through 527 committees. Now he has emerged as a major power in the Democratic Party, a broker whose media money could make the difference in the 2004 election. When the Supreme Court gave its blessing to the McCain-Feingold law that bans "soft money" — unlimited contributions from corporations, individuals and labor unions — to political parties, Ickes became a player, right up there with his father and namesake, Harold L. Ickes, who served as Franklin D. Roosevelt's Interior secretary — and troubleshooter. "The Supreme Court just made him one of the 10 most important people in the Democratic Party," said Mike McCurry, Clinton's former press secretary. Don't miss this...

December 27, 2003

Pots and Kettles

John Kerry published a statement today that shows both a stunning grasp of the obvious and a remarkable lack of self-analysis: With a month to go before the New Hampshire primary, John Kerry says voters must choose between Democratic front-runner Howard Dean or a more centrist candidate like himself. The Massachusetts senator said he would fare better than Dean against President Bush in November. ... Aides to Kerry note that Dean fares poorly against Bush in head-to-head matchups. While they're looking, have aides to Kerry noticed that the difference in Bush's lead over both Dean and Kerry falls within the margin of error? Neither of them stand a chance against Bush because neither of them are getting any traction on him now, when Bush isn't even campaigning. Why? Because both men have demonstrated that they will say anything to anybody to get elected. Kerry has spent his entire campaign running...

December 28, 2003

Your Lips Say No ...

Senator John Edwards of South Carolina insists that he is not interested in the lower half of the Democratic ticket in 2004: Asked if he would agree to run in the second slot with one of eight candidates to be the Democrats' presidential nominee, Edwards said: "I'm absolutely not interested in being vice president. No, the answer to that question is no." Uh-huh. Let me explain two things to you that make this statement an absolute farce: 1. John Edwards won't be in elective office after 2004, only having served one term in the Senate. 2. John Edwards is from the South. It's hardly a secret that Democrats are stumbling badly in the South as the electorate there seems to have finally recognized that the socialist, isolationist leftists have grabbed control of the party. A Northerner will take the top spot, and it's likely to be Howard Dean or possibly...

December 30, 2003

Democrats Unimpressed with Dean's Complaints

Howard Dean's complaints about the tenor of the campaign over the past month fell on mostly deaf ears this wek, the LA Times reports: Democratic Party National Chairman Terry McAuliffe has no plans to play referee to what has become a vitriolic presidential primary, saying through a spokeswoman Monday that voters would decide whether the negative campaigning was good politics. A number of other Presidential hopefuls had some pointed barbs for Dean after his suggestion that McAuliffe force them to tone down their attacks. For instance, Joe Lieberman pointed out that if Dean was quailing at this primary campaign, then perhaps he's not ready for the championship round next fall. "If Howard Dean can't stand the heat in the Democratic kitchen, he's going to melt in a minute once the Republicans start going after him." John Kerry pointed out yet another Dean hypocrisy, which seem to appear on an almost...

December 31, 2003

Where's the Beef?

The Washington Post issued a smackdown to a couple of Presidential candidates this morning with an editorial chastising them for grandstanding on "mad cow disease", or BSE: Democratic front-runner Howard Dean announced that the discovery of an infected cow in Washington state "raises serious concerns about the ability of this administration to protect the safety of our nation's food supply." Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) helpfully urged President Bush "for once not to listen to the demands of corporate America and act on behalf of the health and economic needs of all Americans." All of this may be good politics for candidates who have to campaign in farm states such as Iowa. The trouble is that, at least at this stage, there is no particular reason to think that the regulatory systems designed to prevent an outbreak of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in this country didn't function as intended. So far,...

Power Line Deconstructs Dionne

While I had intended to write on this topic yesterday, Power Line beat me to it, asking for an answer as to why someone so benighted is still afforded column space in a major broadsheet.

The Question of the Bottom of the Ticket

Due to my exchange with Eric at Nuts and Dolts regarding the 2004 election, I've been reconsidering the issue of the Republican ticket in 2004. After reading Peter Schramm's post on No Left Turns (via Powerline), I've decided that this issue is much more critical than it looked earlier. First, Schramm is correct in asserting that Dean is remaking the Democratic Party into a radical-left political organization. As Hugh Hewitt predicted in his NRO column and blog today, Dean has energized this subset of the left so much that disengaging them by trying to drag them to the center probably isn't an option, and probably isn't where he wants to go anyway. Schramm predicts that if Dean can coast to the nomination, he will stay left and bring on another McGovern-style catastrophe. Hillary will stand on the sidelines and allow the debacle to unfold, establishing herself as a Churchill-in-the-wilderness figure...

January 2, 2004

The Race Education of a White Guy

Howard Dean inserted his foot yet again, this time on the subject of race, and Mickey Kaus is all over it: "Dealing with race is about educating white folks." Howard Dean seems to have said this. That'll bring in those Southern pickup guys! They love being singled out for 'education'! ... Is there really nothing in "dealing with race" that involves changing African-American attitudes along with white attitudes? Dean's comment would be more depressing if weren't also the sort of cluelessly pre-Clinton utterance that virtually guarantees he will never be president. It's the sort of mindless pandering that has become emblematic of the Dean campaign. He wants to bolster his standing among African-Americans, but in his greed, he steps on his tongue again. Dean wants to return to the demonization that has characterized race politics for decades, something that Clinton tried to change. The problem with race relations and civil...

January 3, 2004

Not Everyone Agrees With Me

What a shocker that headline is, eh? Jon at QandO wrote an excellent response on his blog to my analysis of the Republican ticket in 2004 and its impact on long-term strategy. He likes my analysis but disagrees with my conclusion that Condoleezza Rice will make the best VP candidate for Bush in 2004: Here's where we'll part ways. I'd agree that it would be a strategic benefit in '08 to have a VP who can run for office. But I suspect it might be a strategic blunder to switch horses in mid-stream during the '04 election. One doesn't do that without drawing a great deal of negative attention...not the sort of thing that Presidential candidates like to do. More importantly, it just doesn't seem like Bush's style. He's a loyal and "stick to the plan" sort of fellow. I just don't see him abandoning a team member in a...

PoliBlog's Toast-O-Meter

Steven at Poliblog has a funny and informative running series on the presidential election called the Toast-O-Meter, designed to predict which candidate is fresh bread goodness, and which are toast in the primaries. Check out the Toast-O-Meter and the plethora of links PoliBlog provides. Obviously, Dean's listed as the freshest bread in the bakery, while candidates like Dennis Kucinich and Carol Moseley-Braun, uh, crumble under the analysis. Steven's added Veep Toast as well, although I disagree with him on his assessment of John Edwards, both as a candidate in general and on his Veep potential. (However, the Quayle analogy crossed my mind as well.) I've also added PoliBlog to the blogroll, if for no other reason than to keep it one step ahead of Kicking Ass. Check it out!...

January 4, 2004

Pioneer Press: We're Onto You

Art Coulson, editor-in-chief of our smaller but significantly more intelligent local newspaper, the Pioneer Press, writes in today's Opinion section that they have had enough of canned letters to the editor: We welcome letters to the editor from readers on just about any topic and written from just about any perspective. ... What we don't welcome, and won't publish if we can help it, are letters signed by but not written by the sender. These include forwards of messages bouncing around the Internet, cut-and-paste jobs from political Web sites and outright frauds sent by special interest organizations over false names and addresses. For some reason during this particular election cycle, activists on all sides have discovered the Letters to the Editor section of their local newspapers and insist on filling them with all sorts of one-off blurbs for their candidate or cause du jour. Instead of featuring reader response to...

Does the GOP Have a Chance with African-Americans?

Today's Washington Post has an interesting editorial by Jonetta Rose Barras that persuasively argues that the Democrats may be losing their iron grip on a traditional base of their power: In 2002 the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a liberal think tank, asked black respondents in its national survey to identify themselves as either Democrats, independents or Republicans. Although 63 percent claimed to be Democrats, the number was down from 74 percent in 2000. The decrease occurred in nearly every age group, including among respondents 65 and older (where the drop was from 82 percent to 75 percent). There was a significant increase in those calling themselves independents, especially between the ages of 26 and 35. Respondents identifying themselves as Republicans also increased: Between ages 26 and 35, the share tripled, going from 5 percent in 2000 to 15 percent in 2002. These changes occurred during an administration...

Economy Coming Up Roses for Bush

It will be interesting to see how Democratic hopefuls spin this: In many ways, the economy is on a more solid footing than five years ago, as many of its excesses have been wrung out. Companies have cleaned up their balance sheets and pared their payrolls to the bone. Any upturn is flowing rapidly to the bottom line. Recent months have profited investors more than workers (the stock market posted its first positive year since 1999 in 2003, rising more than 25 percent), but that could change soon. Facing increased demand, confirmed last week in a report showing a sixth straight month of rising manufacturing activity, businesses are finally beginning to add workers. Even the "jobless recovery" is becoming no more. The Labor Department reported last week that the widely watched four week moving average of jobless claims fell to its lowest level since early in 2001. That number, 355,700,...

January 5, 2004

AP Review of Debate: Smoke and Fog

The AP writes an unusually critical review of yesterday's Democratic debate, noting the lack of honesty and factual argument that has become the rule rather than the exception, especially in regard to Howard Dean: For a brief time in their debate Sunday, Democrats seemed to be hewing to a New Year's resolution to stick more carefully to the facts on taxes, the budget and more. But old habits die hard. ... Dean repeated his frequent claim that middle-income Americans have not seen their taxes go down under Bush: "There was no middle-class tax cut," he declared. In fact, their taxes did go down. But Dean went on to explain what he really meant — that most people are worse off because college tuition, health care premiums, property taxes and other state and local taxes or fees have gone up by more than Americans have saved under the Bush tax cuts....

Has the Democratic Establishment Thrown In the Towel?

Further confirmation of Dean's inevitability will be forthcoming as early as tomorrow, as the AP reports that former Senator Bill Bradley, who vied with Al Gore for the nomination in 2000, will endorse Howard Dean: Former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, who lost the Democratic nomination for president to Al Gore in 2000, is expected to endorse front-runner Howard Dean, party officials said Monday. ... Dean has changed his campaign schedule to appear Tuesday in New Hampshire for a surprise announcement, state campaign director Karen Hicks said Monday. Dean can now claim endorsements from both major Democratic contenders from the last election, and even though Bradley represented the more liberal wing of the party -- until Al Gore decided to swing left over the past couple of years -- his endorsement has to be seen as an Establishment endorsement, perhaps even more than Gore's. Bradley commands respect across the political spectrum...

January 7, 2004

Poll: Dean Losing Ground, Bush Approval Ratings Up Again

A new poll from CNN, USA Today, and Gallup shows that while Howard Dean's plurality in the Democratic race is holding steady, the campaign of former Gen. Wesley Clark has emerged as the closest challenger, now polling within 4 points of Dean: He has the support of 24 percent of registered Democrats who responded. In December, Dean had 27 percent. The difference, however, is within the poll's margin of error of plus-or-minus 5 percentage points. Clark had the support of only 12 percent of registered Democrats in December and is now within 5 percentage points of Dean, with 20 percent. "Clark is the only Democratic candidate to show momentum in the past month," Schneider said. "The attacks on Dean from his fellow Democrats could be taking a toll on the front-runner." The numbers seem to show that Dean's support isn't wavering as much as Clark has drawn support from other...

Dean Gathers Some Establishment Momentum

The AP published a poll of Democratic "superdelegates" -- those electors who by Democratic Party rules are free to vote their own mind regardless of primary/caucus results in their state -- and Dean has done surprisingly well, capturing 31% of those who have decided on a candidate: In the first "ballots" cast of the 2004 race, the former Vermont governor has endorsements or pledges of support from 80 Democratic "superdelegates" — elected officials and other party officials who will help select a nominee at this July's convention. Rival Dick Gephardt, the former House Democratic leader who has served as Missouri congressman for 28 years, has the backing of 57 superdelegates. Four-term Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts has the support of 50. Among the remaining candidates, three-term Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, the 2000 vice presidential nominee, has 25 superdelegates, while Wesley Clark, the retired general who has never held elected...

January 8, 2004

Immigration Reform

George Bush took another bold and controversial step, this time challenging his base on the subject of immigration reform: Saying the United States needs an immigration system "that serves the American economy and reflects the American dream," President Bush Wednesday outlined an plan to revamp the nation's immigration laws and allow some eight million illegal immigrants to obtain legal status as temporary workers. "Over the generations, we have received energetic, ambitious optimistic people from every part of the world. By tradition and conviction, our country is a welcoming society," he said. "Every generation of immigrants has reaffirmed the wisdom of remaining open to the talents and dreams of the world. As a nation that values immigration and depends on immigration, we should have immigration laws that work and make us proud," he said. "Yet, today, we do not." So far, what I've seen and read on Bush's new immigration initiative...

January 10, 2004

This Is How Dean Can Win

I don't recall a primary season starting with so many players getting double-digit support: In Iowa, the former Vermont governor was at 30 percent, with Dick Gephardt at 23 percent and John Kerry at 18 percent, according to the Los Angeles Times poll of likely Iowa caucus goers. John Edwards, a North Carolina senator, was the only other candidate in double digits, at 11 percent. ... A New Hampshire poll showed Dean holding a lead of about 20 points over his closest competitors. The poll done for the Concord Monitor by Research 2000 found Dean with the support of 34 percent, with Clark at 14 percent and Kerry at 13 percent. Others were in single digits. Normally at this point in a presidential election cycle, the party running against an incumbent has already eliminated all but two or maybe three choices. In Iowa, you would expect the two choices to...

Bush Continues to Build Strength in the 'Religious' Vote

Continuing the discussion below, the Religious News Service reports that George Bush has built a considerable strength among those voters who consider themselves religious, as reprinted in the Star Tribune: Polls indicate Bush holds a commanding lead among the most religious voters, a 2004 advantage he did not enjoy over 2000 Democratic nominee Al Gore. In a Gallup Poll conducted Nov. 10-12, Bush held a 67 to 30 percent lead among religious voters over the Democratic front-runner, former Vermont Gov. Dean. In hypothetical head-to-head races with Gephardt and Clark, Bush's lead was 65 to 33 percent. ... The shift could be significant, particularly in the South and Midwest, where religion can spell the difference in a close election. According to Gallup polls, religion is "very" or "extremely" important to the voting decisions of about one in three nationally. And among these Americans, it's advantage Bush. The article reviews the controversy...

Infinite Monkeys: The Democratic Dirigible

RB at Infinite Monkeys posted an interesting analogy about Howard Dean and the Democratic Party, based on a comment made by Hugh Hewitt on his radio show: The Hindenburg went into service on March 4th, 1936. It met its fiery end on May 6th, 1937, only 14 months later. About the same length as a political campaign. Read the rest of RB's brilliant post to find out exactly how that all plays out and how Dean figures into it. The Elder at Fraters Libertas also thinks you should read this, and please note that I've added Infinte Monkeys to the Battleships section....

January 11, 2004

Iowa: Patron State of Lost Causes?

Iowa's major newspapers published their endorsements today -- and they neatly managed to avoid picking a winner: Iowa's largest newspaper endorsed North Carolina Sen. John Edwards for the Democratic presidential nomination while three other Iowa newspapers went for Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry in weekend editions. Note the complete absence of names like Dean, Clark, Gephardt -- it seems that Iowa newspapers are determined to extend this primary race as much as possible. It's very surprising that none of the broadsheets saw fit to endorse Gephardt, a progressive Midwestern who has a strong record of supporting labor and a centrist national-security outlook. It's almost as if they deliberately chose lost causes to keep some hope alive for these stumbling campaigns. After all, four Democrats are polling in double digits, and Edwards isn't even one of them. Remember -- the longer that there are more than two or three viable candidates in...

Power Line Puts O'Neill in Perspective

Deacon at Power Line writes an excellent post putting former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's comments on George Bush and his administration in perspective: Bush was under no obligation to allow O'Neill to read him and, in fact, O'Neill admitted to Time that it may have just been Bush's style to keep his advisers guessing. Moreover, it seems rather odd to expect Cheney not to have adjusted his economic views in light of developments since the heady days of Gerald Ford (for example the success of the economy under Ronald Reagan, about which Cheney tried to remind O'Neill). O'Neill's underlying complaint seems to be that Bush and Cheney favored Reaganomics over the economic policies of Ford (remember "whip inflation now?"). Whether one adjudicates between these competing approaches through ideology, expediency, or "evidence and analysis", it is difficult to dispute the administration's preference. Besides offering this election's strangest metaphor ("like a blind...

January 12, 2004

Power Line: O'Neill and Suskind Deception

Hindrocket at Power Line reports on an e-mail from Laurie Mylroie exposing a deception on the part of former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill and his cowriter, Ron Suskind, on evidence of a conspiracy to invade Iraq: "Suskind claimed he has documents showing that preparations for the Iraq war were well underway before 9-11. He cited--and even showed--what he said was a Pentagon document, entitled, 'Foreign Suitors for Iraq Oilfield Contracts.' He claimed the document was about planning for post-war Iraq oil (CBS's promotional story also contained that claim)[.] "But that is not a Pentagon document. It's from the Vice-President's Office. It was part of the Energy Project that was the focus of Dick Cheney's attention before the 9/11 strikes. "And the document has nothing to do with post-war Iraq. It was part of a study of global oil supplies. Judicial Watch obtained it in a law suit and posted it,...

Secret Documents Inquiry Launched

After Paul O'Neill's appearance on 60 Minutes included a document labeled "SECRET," Treasury officials have requested an investigation into its release: The U.S. Treasury requested a probe on Monday of how a possibly secret document appeared in a televised interview of Paul O'Neill, as a book criticizing the Bush administration that uses material supplied by the ex-Treasury secretary hits the stores. ... "It's based on the (CBS program) '60 Minutes' segment, and I'll be even more clear -- the document as shown on '60 Minutes' that said 'secret,"' Treasury spokesman Rob Nichols told reporters at a weekly briefing. Nichols said the probe will focus on how possibly classified information appeared on a television interview as one of O'Neill's papers. While this is going to look vindictive, no matter what Nichols says, once that document appeared on TV, an investigation cannot be avoided. Classified information can't just be tossed around, and...

January 13, 2004

Max Boot: Don't Break Out The White Cane Yet

Max Boot, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, provides an amusing and trenchant response to former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's weird comment that George Bush is like "a blind man in a roomful of deaf people": The breathless revelation from former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill that the president was disengaged at Cabinet meetings — like "a blind man in a roomful of deaf people" — reinforces the old stereotype that George W. Bush is a taco or two shy of a combination platter. And, in a way, the charge is warranted. Bush definitely must have been asleep on the job to have hired a whiny back-stabber like the former Alcoa chief as his Treasury secretary and have waited two whole years before canning him. Boot continues by looking at the oddly partisan charge of stupidity, noting as I did two days ago that the Left loves to...

Democrats: Feel The Love

MoveOn finally held its awards presentation last night, and the Drudge Report has a partial transcript from the event. The Democrats apparently intend on cornering the election market in hate this year: MARGARET CHO (Comedian) -- * "Despite all of this stupid bullsh-- that the Republican National Committee, or whatever the f--- they call them, that they were saying that they're all angry about how two of these ads were comparing Bush to Hitler? I mean, out of thousands of submissions, they find two. They're like fu--ing looking for Hitler in a hawstack. You now? I mean, George Bush is not Hitler. He would be if he fu--ing applied himself." big, extended applause) "I mean he just isn't." CHUCK D (Rapper -- Public Enemy) * "But truly, seriously, quite frankly, the people are smart enough to realize that the world is important and we only have one life [or right,...

January 14, 2004

Socialism: The Minnesota Explanation

Yesterday I did some driving around in the afternoon when I'd normally be working and I caught a little bit of Michael Medved on the radio. I'm not a big fan of Medved's show, but yesterday he had a pretty provocative subject: Who voted for Bush in 2000 that won't vote for Bush in 2004? After all, polls among major demographic groups all show Bush and Republicans making inroads, some pretty significant, over the past three years, and if that's true, the Democrats have to find people switching the other way. Alternately, they could claim to be energizing a large group of people who didn't vote at all -- that's Howard Dean's claim -- which theoretically could counterbalance these Republican gains. Those would have been intelligent answers. What Medved got was a procession of silliness: callers mouthing empty slogans like "Bush lied, people died," with no discussion of policy at...

The Commissar Smokes Out a Ringer

The KGB had nothing on the Commissar from the Politburo Diktat. (In both meanings of the phrase.) Comrade Commissar, using his secret network of spies, has discovered a plot amongst Agonist readers to funnel global resources into the fight to remove Goerge Bush. It's unclear from the message whether that relates to financial resources, which would be illegal, but it certainly does not rule them out: I further believe that the present Bush administration poses a serious threat to world peace and is incapable of doing other than "stirring up the pot" by its involvement. ... During the past months I have studied both the history and activities of both George W. Bush, and his administration, and have come to the conclusion that they are dangerous to world peace, and should either be impeached or voted out of office a.s.a.p. Being a non-American, you may wonder at my audacity; yet...

January 15, 2004

Braun To Quit Race, Endorse Dean

Carol Mosely-Braun, the former ambassador to New Zealand and one-term senator who struggled with ethics issues, will drop out of the Democratic primary race and give her support to Howard Dean: Braun was to officially endorse the former Vermont governor Thursday afternoon during an appearance at Carroll High School in Carroll, Iowa, said Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi. Dean said Wednesday that he welcomed the endorsement of the former senator from Illinois. "She's a principled person. We just hit it off. I like her a lot," Dean told reporters at a hotel in Fort Dodge, where he was spending the night after starting a statewide bus tour. "It's going to be a big help to us," he said. Mosely-Braun's help will be hard to gauge. On one hand, Braun had received endorsements from NOW and the National Women's Political Caucusa and of course could provide more of an entree to...

Chafets: Sharpton Skewers Dean for Payback

According to Zev Chafets, the "race harpoon" that Rev. Al Sharpton tossed with such effectiveness at Howard Dean was no spontaneous target of opportunity, but a well-planned revenge for ignoring the Reverend on his home turf -- and the fun may have just begun: A month ago, when Howard Dean came up to Harlem to get himself endorsed by Al Gore, Al Sharpton, the political proprietor of 125th Street, was not invited to the ceremony. It was clear even then that Dean would pay for disrespecting the Rev. On Sunday night in a nationally televised debate in Iowa, he got the bill. ... This time, he called Dean on it. How many blacks and Hispanics, he asked, did you appoint to your Cabinet in Vermont? The answer, of course, is none. Dean was forced to admit this sin against diversity, and he did it with a moose-in-the-headlights expression. Not since...

Clark Testified For Iraq War Before Congress

Despite basing his campaign on his anti-war stance, General Wesley Clark told Congress in 2002 that the war was justified while they debated the resolution that gave Bush authority for armed action: Less than 18 months ago, Wesley Clark offered his testimony before the Committee On Armed Services at the U.S. House Of Representatives. ... "And, I want to underscore that I think the United States should not categorize this action as preemptive. Preemptive and that doctrine has nothing whatsoever to do with this problem. As Richard Perle so eloquently pointed out, this is a problem that's longstanding. It's been a decade in the making. It needs to be dealt with and the clock is ticking on this." Clark explained: "I think there's no question that, even though we may not have the evidence as Richard [Perle] says, that there have been such contacts [between Iraq and al Qaeda]. It'...

January 16, 2004

Power Line Explains Where All The Hippies Have Gone

The Big Trunk at Power Line relates a great e-mail from one of their regular readers, Dan Freeborn of the Star Tribune, who has listened to the Iowa caucus debates and found them all too familiar: It's all clear to me now. These guys are 1960s re-enactors but they have the ethos all wrong. Instead of the summer of love, they're promising the summer of crankiness. Call them The Unmerry Cranksters. With his shallowness and frequent fits of girlish pique, Howard Dean is their Un-Kesey. One pill makes you angry and one pill makes you small and the things that Howard tells you make no sense at all. Read the whole thing, and if you're not reading Power Line regularly, you should be....

January 17, 2004

Pickering: The Smear Continues

After my post yesterday on the recess appointment of Charles Pickering to the Fifth District Court of Appeals, a lot of the buzz from the left side of the blogosphere has been about Pickering's purported "perjury" in 1990 while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. So far, this has mostly manifested itself in the comments section at various blogs, including at Blogs for Bush, but most of the impetus comes from People For The American Way, a radical and hysterical leftist political action group: Moreover, evidence indicates Judge Pickering did have contact with the Sovereignty Commission. At the time of Judge Pickering's 1990 confirmation hearing, the records of the Sovereignty Commission were still sealed, pursuant to the legislature's directive. However, several years ago, in response to litigation, the courts in Mississippi ordered that the Commission records be made public. A review of those records has uncovered documents indicating contact between...

Does This Sound Anti-War To You?

General Wesley Clark has spoken many times during the campaign, especially recently, regarding his opposition to the war in Iraq. On Thursday, Clark's testimony before Congress on Iraq in 2002 surfaced, testimony which hardly seemed at odds with the Bush Administration's own position: attempt to get the UN to finally enforce its own resolutions after 12 years, and if not, get as many nations together as possible and take action outside the UN. Clark's representatives deny this, claiming that there is nothing in Clark's testimony that demonstrates anything except his opposition to the war. They must not have read the general's own article, published after the fall of Baghdad in the London Times: Can anything be more moving than the joyous throngs swarming the streets of Baghdad? Memories of the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the defeat of Milosevic in Belgrade flood back. Statues and images of Saddam are...

January 18, 2004

Ted Kennedy Loses His Mind

Ted Kennedy writes a puzzling and dishonest column in today's Washington Post, ironically entitled, "A Dishonest War." The long-time Senator from Massachussets takes Paul O'Neill's recent memoirs and goes the full tinfoil-hat monty: Of the many issues competing for attention in this new and defining year, one is of a unique order of magnitude: President Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq. The facts demonstrate how dishonest that decision was. As former Treasury secretary Paul H. O'Neill recently confirmed, the debate over military action began as soon as President Bush took office. ... The events of Sept. 11, 2001, gave advocates of war the opening they needed. They tried immediately to tie Hussein to al Qaeda and the terrorist attacks. Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld created an Office of Special Plans in the Pentagon to analyze the intelligence for war and bypass the traditional screening process. Vice President...

The Iowa Hokey Pokey

Ever wonder how the Iowa Caucuses work? So have I; they aren't elections in which people vast secret ballots. Instead, as CNN explains, it's more like musical chairs, where caucusers walk around in each precinct until the music stops, forming groups that indicate support for each candidate (except maybe Kucinich). Those candidates who do not have at least 15% of the entire caucus must release their caucusers for the next round of the game. In between rounds, the candidates and their representatives harangue the participants with speeches, pleas, and promises in order to get already-committed caucusers to change their minds -- which they can do at any time. Only when all caucusers are committed to "viable" candidates do the precincts send these representatives on to the county conventions, which aren't held until the middle of March. In fact, Iowa doesn't actually decide on its final slate of delegates until the...

January 19, 2004

Carter Plays Coy

Today's Washington Post describes in detail Howard Dean's trip to Plains, GA to meet with the man who has spent the last two decades as a pariah in his own party come Presidential election time -- and who oddly feels the need to play coy: Jimmy Carter spent much of the past quarter-century as a pariah among fellow Democrats. ... But presidential reputations move in cycles. Today, the former outcast was hailed as a hero by former Vermont governor Howard Dean. No longer shunned by politicians, Carter said he was flattered by the attention for a "has-been politician" -- but he also seemed eager to ensure that Dean did not take liberties in his pursuit. ... Pressed in recent interviews about why he would leave Iowa at crunch time, Dean said he could not turn down an invitation to appear with a former president he admires. But when a visitor...

Reiner and Sheen Write Another Comedy

Hollywood heavyweights Rob Reiner and Martin Sheen wrote an opinion piece in today's Boston Globe in support of Howard Dean in New Hampshire's upcoming primary: AS THIS PRESIDENTIAL campaign began, we knew that something fundamental was at stake: Our country faces a growing threat to our liberty and justice in America. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison spoke of the fear that economic power would one day seize political power. That fear is now being realized -- under the Bush administration, pharmaceutical companies draft our Medicare laws. Oil executives sit in the vice president's office and write energy bills. A majority of the reconstruction contracts in Iraq have gone to the president's campaign contributors. This president has squandered the goodwill of the world abroad while pursuing reckless fiscal policies here at home all for his personal agenda and that of his campaign contributors. Those zany Hollywood limousine liberals! They're experts because...

Iowa Predictions

Okay -- even though I could just post this tomorrow with a publish date of today and try to get a reputation as a Carnac the Magnificent, I'm going to make my prediction now about the Iowa caucus results ... Here's how I see it panning out tonight: Dean - 27% Kerry - 23% Edwards - 21% Gephardt -18% And what would this result mean? Dean's organization will ultimately be strong enough, I think, to win the day in Iowa -- but his stumble here will reverberate throughout the first part of the primary season. That will keep more candidates in the race for a longer period of time as they feel that Dean can be beat. However, that will eventually help Dean in the long run. His nationwide organization is too strong and already too entrenched, and as Professor Bainbridge noted earlier, his fundraising allows Dean to run a...

Edwards = Kucinich?

Senator John Edwards, making a surprisingly strong showing in the Iowa caususes thus far, made an odd statement to the press as he and Rep. Dennis Kucinich made a strategic alliance to share caucusers this afternoon: "Both of us believe in a lot of the same things, and we like each other very much," Edwards said. "But both of us also recognize at the end of the day, caucus-goers will have to make their own decisions about this." Edwards seems to just be after the all-important children's book endorsements that Kucinich has monopolized thus far. More on the Blogs for Bush website....

Iowa Stunner

Howard Dean laid an egg: Shaking up the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts won the Iowa caucuses Tuesday night, according to CNN projections. John Edwards, a first-term senator from North Carolina whose once listless campaign gained new life in Iowa, was in second place, according to initial party results. Howard Dean, a former governor of Vermont and presumed front-runner in the Democratic race, was in third place. Iowa normally favors the strongest organization, which undoubtedly Dean brought, but coming in at less than half of Kerry's turnout. Dean could have escaped with little or no damage with even a strong second-place showing, but a distant third suddenly spotlights all of Dean's weaknesses. Iowa, in general, is overrated as an indicator and most of the time Iowans get it wrong. As former DNC chair and current Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell just said on Fox News,...

January 20, 2004

Clark: The Big Iowa Loser

Evangelical Outpost lists five reasons why Clark was the big winner in Iowa, and I'm all wet. Fair enough! His track record's better than mine this week.

State of the Union Address Tonight

President Bush delivers his State of the Union address to Congress tonight, starting at 9 pm EST. I'll be watching tonight on C-SPAN and intend on posting stream-of-consciousness commentary during the speech and a wrap-up at the end. I hope you'll drop by and check it out. Assuming, of course, that I can stay awake ... it's been a long day....

The Captain, Unedited: Thoughts on the SOTU Speech

For tonight, I will be posting as I watch the State of the Union address President Bush will give to Congress. I'll update this particular post as the coverage on C-SPAN continues, perhaps even mixing in comments from the First Mate, who will try her best to stay awake for the entire event ... NOTE: You can read the entire speech at Blogs for Bush. And welcome to all Instapundit readers. 7:34 - Oddly, a former Congressional clerk, Donnald Anderson, is being interviewed by the CSPAN hostess, explaining the layout of Capitol building. Fascinating (yawn) stuff! No wonder C-SPAN tops the prime-time ratings. At least it's not Peter Jennings. 7:41 - They're filing into the Senate, slowly, mostly dawdling by the door. Or maybe they're filing out. Yep, they're leaving ... well, that was really fascinating, too. 7:45 - They're now filing into the House chamber, and Cheney and Hastert...

Continue reading "The Captain, Unedited: Thoughts on the SOTU Speech" »

January 23, 2004

Berkeley Supports Kucinich!

Hugh Hewitt had a caller last night from Berkeley who complained about Hugh's treatment of Dennis Kucinich. After assuming that Hugh would cut him off after declaring his support for Kucinich -- as if Hugh could pass up such an opportunity for radio comedy -- he challenged Hugh to say why he was so dismissive of Kucinich. Hugh told him that Kucinich was "loopy," which to anyone outside of Berkeley is fairly self-evident. Predictably, this infuriated poor Peter from Berkeley, who carried on about Hugh's lack of qualification for this judgment. Hugh treated the caller politely and indulgently ... which made it all the more hilarious. However, as a public service to all of our friends in Berkeley -- all two of them -- I will be happy to explain Why Kucinich Is Loopy, a handy guide to the Quixotean candidacy of the diminutive Ohioan. * A poem once said,...

Clark Stumbles Again

General Wesley Clark continues to turn this election into an emulation of the Little Bighorn by heedlessly charging into hostile territory without a clue as to what he's doing, and then expecting to succeed on sheer personality alone. (Talk about being unarmed!) Yesterday, Clark attempted a full-speed retreat on his previous statements on abortion: In his latest statement, Clark reaffirmed his support for abortion rights during an appearance at a Planned Parenthood conference timed to coincide with the 31st anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court ruling upholding a woman's constitutional right to an abortion. ... Asked when Roe v. Wade stipulates that life begins, Clark said: "I'm not going to get into a debate on viability. . . . Viability is a standard determined by a doctor, and I'm not going to get into a specific time frame." When asked to explain Roe v. Wade, Clark said, "I...

January 24, 2004

Clark Tanks in Debate, Blames ... Republicans

General Wesley Clark, after his mediocre showing in Thursday's debate, blamed the alleged Republican bias of the moderator for his performance: Presidential candidate Wesley Clark on Friday complained that one of the moderators in Thursday night's debate was carrying out a Republican agenda by questioning his Democratic credentials. Brit Hume of Fox News Channel, who worked as both moderator and questioner during the two-hour debate with the seven candidates, pressed Clark about when he had first realized he was a Democrat. Clark told reporters Friday, "I looked at who was asking the questions, and I think that was part of the Republican agenda in the debate." Perhasps Clark hasn't realized this yet, but the office for which he is running is President of the United States, not DNC party chairman. That means that everyone has a stake in finding out as much as possible about the philosophy and policy goals...

Kerry's Long Record His Biggest Liability

Now that he has moved to the front of the pack, Senator John Kerry's long record of service in the US Senate may be both his biggest qualification and his greatest liability, according to a story in tomorrow's New York Times: The sheer length of Mr. Kerry's service means that he has built a paper trail of positions on education, the military, intelligence and other issues — stands that might have looked one way when he took them but that resonate differently now. For example, at the end of the cold war, Mr. Kerry advocated scaling back the Central Intelligence Agency, but after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, he complained about a lack of intelligence capability. In the 1980's, he opposed the death penalty for terrorists who killed Americans abroad, but he now supports the death penalty for terrorist acts. In the 1990's, he joined with Republican colleagues to sponsor...

January 25, 2004

New Hampshire Prediction

Because I did so well predicting the Iowa Caucuses (ha!), I'll take a whack at New Hampshire to see how badly I can humble myself: Kerry: 28% Dean: 24% Edwards: 19% Clark: 15% All four will get delegates, Dean will claim rebound momentum, and Edwards will remain alive for South Carolina. Clark's campaign will begin to stall out, but he will stay in the race. Lieberman will withdraw, along with Kucinich if the Ohioan manages to get a moment of lucidity. UPDATE: Other bloggers are starting to line up as well. Check out the predictions at the Evangelical Outpost, who managed to predict an upset in Iowa. He's predicting a solid Kerry victory by 15 points. (Gulp!) Dan at California Yankee agrees with me on the order, but he's not predicting percentages ... wise man that he is. He's got tons more links to blog predictions. The Commissar at Politburo...

Is Kerry's Radical Past Fair Game?

Joe at the Evangelical Outpost, via the Sophorist, pointed out that Senator John Kerry wrote a book outlining his opposition to the Vietnam War, The New Soldier. Evangelical Outpost has a B/W picture of the cover on its post; the cover is dominated by a mockery of the Iwo Jima flag-raising, complete with an upside-down American flag, held by men trying their best to win Che Guevara look-alike contests. No doubt this image will resonate negatively with most Americans, and fortunately for John Kerry the book is out of print, or else all of his opponents would be tripping over themselves to produce the juiciest quotes possible. But this raises a troubling question: just how germane are Kerry's political views from over thirty years ago to this Presidential campaign? Aristide Briand once remarked that anyone who wasn't a Socialist at 20 had no heart, and anyone who is a Socialist...

January 26, 2004

Kerry: I Vote In Bizarro World

On the eve of the New Hampshire primary, John Kerry's inconsistencies seem to be catching up to him on the stump, if not quite yet in the polls. Facing a challenge from Howard Dean on his votes in 1991 against military action in Kuwait and in 2002 to authorize military action in Iraq, Kerry has come up with a novel explanation -- his votes meant the exact opposite of what they were: Kerry said Sunday that he supported the Iraq resolution 15 months ago because he believed President Bush would use force only as a "last resort." "The vote I cast was not a vote to go to war immediately," he said. ... Although Kerry said he "believed we ought to kick Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait," uppermost on his mind in 1991, he said, was public ambivalence about sending U.S. troops to the Persian Gulf. "I said we ought...

January 27, 2004

Enjoy It While You Can, General

General Wesley Clark was pleased that he won the first primary in the nation ... in the tiny New Hampshire town of Dixville Notch: Of the 15 people casting ballots in the Democratic primary, eight voted for Clark. Sen. John Kerry collected three, Sen. John Edwards had two and Sen. Joe Lieberman and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean had one each. "This is a great way to begin the next day," said a smiling Clark in Dixville Notch at about 12:15 a.m. "This is the first election I've had since homeroom student council representative. This is a big step for me." Yeah, well ... he has nowhere to go but down the rest of the day, and I predict he'll go there rather quickly. Fourth place and out of the money. He'll be battling with Lieberman to hold onto that position, too....

NH Absentee Ballots Average, No Help to Dean

The New Hampshire Union-Leader reports that there has been no unusual demand for absentee ballots for this primary: Election officials from around New Hampshire have received an average number of requests for absentee ballots this primary season. ... “I would typify it as average,” Deputy Secretary of State David Scanlan said, regarding the number of requests for absentee ballots. Why does this matter? Absentee ballots are immune to last-minute eruptions, even going back a week or more, as voters complete them and mail them in early to assure their acceptance. Presumably, a large number of absentee voters marked their ballots prior to Dean's meltdown in Iowa and his odd acceptance speech. Since support ran stronger for Dean in the Granite State at that point, a high number of absentee ballots would have helped Dean. As it is, he can probably count on a small boost from absentee voters when they're...

Kerry: We Should Have Waited For Saddam Attack

Senator John Kerry continues to make odd statements about the Iraq war, trying to reconcile his vote authorizing it with his current anti-war platform: Kerry said that the administration had promised to go through the United Nations first, and then didn’t do it, but he added that at the time Saddam Hussein constituted a threat. “From 1991 to 1998, we had inspectors in Iraq blowing up weapons of mass destruction,” Kerry said. “A lot of people seem to have forgotten that. We destroyed plenty of weapons of mass destruction in those 7½ years. We found more weapons than we thought Saddam had, and evidence of a nuclear program. " Kerry is either lying or being deliberately obtuse. Bush went to the UN twice. In December, he pushed through UNSC resolution 1441, demanding immediate and full compliance from Saddam Hussein with the previous 16 UNSC resolutions. Inspectors were supposed to report...

Live Blogging New Hampshire Results

As Professor Bainbridge will attempt to do, I will be live blogging during the New Hampshire primary results once the polls close. I'll probably concentrate on media reactions and coverage (my channel-flipping skills will be put to the test tonight). The wise Professor also has his predictions and a list of others, including mine....

Captain's Log: New Hampshire Primary

All times CST... 6:56 - I've got Fox News on the TV and on the computer, getting set up to flip around and open several browser windows. I'm also hoping that Saint Paul comes around again to satirize me while I'm doing this. It's too self-important to resist. Anyway, on Fox News, I've already found what may wind up being the funniest line of the night: Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich (search), who has been polling at 1 percent in most polls, said Tuesday his campaign has the money to carry beyond New Hampshire and insisted he won't drop out of the race. "We're going to do our best here and go on to the next state and the next state," Kucinich said while in Maine. "I haven't discounted the possibility of a surge in some of these other states." Stop it, Dennis, you're killing me. What qualifies as a Kucinich...

January 28, 2004

Edwards: I'm No Second Banana

Senator John Edwards, who finished in a virtual dead heat for third place in New Hampshire with General Wesley Clark, categorically rejects the idea of running in the #2 slot in November: Presidential candidate John Edwards (news - web sites) on Wednesday rejected any notion of sharing the Democratic ticket with front-running rival John Kerry (news - web sites) — unless he is at the top. Asked on NBC's "Today" show if he would accept second place on the Democratic slate to face President Bush (news - web sites) in the fall election, Edwards said: "I think you've got the order reversed. I intend to be the nominee." Edwards said he would not be willing to be No. 2. "No, no. Final. I don't want to be vice president. I'm running for president," he said. While candidates often pooh-pooh the idea of being a VP, this is the second time...

January 30, 2004

Poll: Kerry Edging Bush Among Minnesotans

A poll by the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Minnesota Public Radio shows John Kerry slightly ahead of George Bush among Minnesotans, and the only Democrat who would beat him at this point in the race: The poll, commissioned by the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Minnesota Public Radio, puts Kerry at 43 percent, Bush at 41 percent and undecided Minnesota voters at 16 percent. The poll was taken shortly after Kerry's victories in the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary, which have given him momentum versus the rest of the field. ... In Minnesota, Bush would defeat Gen. Wesley Clark by a 5-point margin, Sen. John Edwards by a 6-point margin, Sen. Joseph Lieberman by an 8-point margin and Vermont Gov. Howard Dean by a 14-point margin. Among women, however, Democrats would defeat Bush — except Dean, who lagged by 1 point with a margin of error of...

Kerry: Terrorist Threat Exaggerated

When we looked at the burning and collapsing towers behind the Statue of Liberty, the smoldering wreck of the Pentagon facade, and the pit made by the heroes of Flight 93 when they thwarted the hijackers, didn't we vow to remember? Did we vow to become vigilant and to take action to make sure that such a thing never happened again? Or did we all decide to write it off as "s**t happens" and assume that the UN will protect us from harm?

January 31, 2004

Kerry: Lobbyist Magnet

Far from being the scourge of special-interest lobbyists that he declares himself to be, John Kerry has raised more money from lobbyists than anyone else in the Senate over the past 15 years: Kerry, a 19-year veteran of the Senate who fought and won four expensive political campaigns, has received nearly $640,000 from lobbyists, many representing telecommunications and financial companies with business before his committee, according to Federal Election Commission data compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics. For his presidential race, Kerry has raised more than $225,000 from lobbyists, better than twice as much as his nearest Democratic rival. Kerry claims that all that money can't buy his vote, but he may have trouble explaining the juxtaposition of this: One of Kerry's biggest -- and perhaps most controversial -- donors has been the Boston-based law firm Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo. The group, which lobbies on...

February 1, 2004

Dean Sinking in South Carolina, Won't Get Delegates

The Post and Courier report that Edwards and Kerry are locked in a statistical dead heat -- and Dean has fallen far off the pace (free registration required): Edwards, a native of South Carolina and a senator in neighboring North Carolina, was at 21 percent. John Kerry was at 17 percent, Al Sharpton at 15 percent and Wesley Clark at 14 percent in an American Research Group poll. Howard Dean was at 9 percent, Joe Lieberman at 5 percent, Dennis Kucinich was at 1 percent and 18 percent were undecided. South Carolina will hold its primary Feb. 3, a week after New Hampshire's Tuesday primary. Edwards has come up from 12 points to take the thin lead, but the real story is Dean. He's tumbled from 16 percent and a contending position, or at least in a position to get some delegates. Now he's in fifth place, behind Al Sharpton,...

February 2, 2004

Is Bush a Conservative?

Mitch Berg, my Northern Alliance comrade at A Shot in the Dark, asks us to blog on the question that may present George Bush his toughest political challenge in 2004 -- is Bush really a conservative, and if not, will the "true believers" bolt? While it's a time-worn principle for the media to call anyone to the right of Roger Moe a "Paleoconservative", Bush has clearly been no such thing at any point in his career. Oh, sure - he's a social conservative in all the ways that make the social conservative crowd happy; pro-death penalty, pro-life. There's nothing wrong with that - except the myopic notion that being socially conservative makes one conservative in any other way. He's also a conservative in the way that I expect any president to be; he favors a strong military (and acted on that belief even before September 11, thank God). But he,...

One Tin Soldier Rides Back In

Tom Laughlin, the actor better known as Billy Jack, has thrown his snakeskin-banded hat into the ring for President: The 72-year-old actor, who lives in Camarillo, is one of 13 candidates running against President Bush in the Republican primary. Laughlin, who first ran for president as a Democrat in 1992, said he's campaigning to draw attention to a two-party system he deemed "so corrupt it can't function anymore." He described himself as a "messenger" candidate and said he wasn't disappointed by the New Hampshire primary, in which he earned 154 votes to Bush's nearly 34,000. For those of us who suffered through the terminally saccharine "Billy Jack", the thought of the New Age-ish Laughlin running as a Republican inspires chortles of incredulous glee. Why not run as a Democrat, like Laughlin did in 1992? I suppose the novelty wouldn't be noticed in a crowded Democratic primary, and he might have...

February 3, 2004

Feb 3: Super Tuesday 1

John Kerry is poised to take five of the seven states going to the polls today and finish a strong second in the other two: After back-to-back wins in Iowa and New Hampshire, Sen. John Kerry was hoping for a sweep in the biggest test yet for Democratic hopefuls, seven states holding primaries or caucuses. But the race's two Southerners were angling to slow the Massachusetts Democrat's gathering momentum. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina was counting on a victory in South Carolina's first-in-the-South primary on Tuesday to keep his own campaign alive. And retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark of Arkansas hoped for a win in Oklahoma and a respectable showing in both Arizona and New Mexico to propel his campaign into the next round of contests. Howard Dean, of course, has already surrendered in these states, and has laid off even more campaign workers as his organization has burned...

Edwards Wins South Carolina, MS-NBC Suggests Kerry Withdraw

As expected, Senator John Edwards has won South Carolina, by a good 15-point margin, 45%-30% for Kerry. With 48% of the precincts reporting, Howard Dean only received 5% of the overall vote in South Carolina, finishing fifth behind Al Sharpton and Wesley Clark. Dean is now on TV explaining that he will not withdraw, although he acknowledges that his supporters are going to have a "tough night" tonight. Right at the moment, he's saying that in order to keep jobs in America, we have to stop giving tax breaks to companies that move offshore -- even though he himself set up a crucial tax break in Vermont for those very same corporations. The energy and enthusiasm of his supporters, is way down, and it sure seems that regardless of Dean's message, it will be very difficult to light the spark again. I just don't see the passion any more. I...

OKlahoma 8%: Clark, Edwards, Kerry

With 8% of all precincts reporting, Clark is slightly edging Edwards 30%-29%, and Kerry is hanging in with 23%, leading to a situation where Oklahoma's thin delegate total will be almost evenly split between the three candidates. This will not be enough to keep Clark's supporters energized, especially since Clark isn't finishing in the money anywhere else so far (party rules require 15% of the vote before being assigned delegates). It's possible that Clark may finish better in Arizona, but that appears to be his only other hope, and he's unlikely to finish on top there. In Delaware, with 29% of the vote in, Kerry is the only one finishing above 15% (he's got 50% so far), meaning that he could capture all of Delaware's delegates. Lieberman actually is edging Edwards for second place at 11%, and Dean is just ahead of Clark for fourth place at 10%. Now Oklahoma...

Kerry Wins Arizona Without Any Precincts Reporting

CNN and Fox are both calling Arizona for John Kerry, even though neither have any precincts reporting at all. Fox is also reporting that Joe Lieberman is about to address his supporters, which means he's about to thank everyone before he joins Dick Gephardt in looking for an analyst position with one of the networks. Arizona was the other key state for Wes Clark. Normally conservative, you could have expected Arizonans to come out in support of the former four-star general. However, Clark's continuing gaffes and stumbles ripped the momentum away from his campaign and allowed Kerry and Edwards to marginalize Clark as a somewhat unstable and unwelcome presence in the race. Clark has pulled slightly ahead of Edwards in Oklahoma with 37% of all precincts reporting, but edging out a win by a few hundred votes simply isn't enough....

Lieberman Withdraws

Senator Joe Lieberman, who had the most consistency between his policy statements and his record of any of the major candidates and who had the strongest credentials on foreign policy and national security in the Democratic candidates, announced his withdrawal from the primaries tonight. Chris Dodd spoke after Hadassah Lieberman's introduction, starting (oddly) with a chant of "Let's Go Joe!" Let's go where? Other than that, Dodd was an excellent speaker, staying optimistic while delivering a eulogy, no mean feat. Dodd seems pretty likable -- not his politics, certainly, but on the stump he's got charisma. Lieberman spoke next, graciously congratulating Edwards and Kerry on their victories, and then mentioning the rest of the candidates as well. He spoke about staying strong on defense and terror -- "we've been attacked by enemies who hate us more than they love life" -- an excellent line. He's standing by his centrism, and...

Oklahoma 66%: Edwards Edging Clark, Kerry Gaining

Oklahoma may be the Super Bowl of tonight's elections, with three candidates closing in on each other as more precincts come in. At the moment, 66% of the precincts have been counted, and Edwards is just ahead of Clark by 1200 votes. Kerry, who had been as much as 8% behind the two, has now closed to within 4% of the leaders. It's obvious that Clark did not get the big win he needed to continue, especially after almost emptying the magazines in New Hampshire. It certainly looks like the Democrats are about to nominate a Massachussets liberal to face off against the Texas centrist, although there's a lot more electoral battles left to fight, and Edwards may still carry some momentum if he wins Oklahoma; but if the margins remain the same, any win will only slightly change the delegate totals, and so Oklahoma may just be a wash....

Carl Cameron: Ted Kennedy Fighting to Stop Dean

Carl Cameron reports on Fox that Ted Kennedy, John Kerry's fellow Senator from Massachussets, intends to rally the Democratic mainstream to force Howard Dean out of the race so that he doesn't "sap enthusiasm" away from the front-runner. Kennedy and others -- probably the Clintonistas -- are concerned that Dean may be gathering his resources for one last two-week blast at John Kerry (and perhaps John Edwards) that will damage his/their chances in November. Pardon me, but if this is true, this has to be the stupidest campaign strategy so far in a year that has seen some very strange campaigning. Kennedy proposes to do what the first round of primaries could not: energize Dean's base and reverse his flagging momentum. Tonight's results have delivered a body blow to Dean's campaign -- he didn't win a single delegate so far, although he looks like he'll get some in New Mexico...

Mountain Time: Arizona, NM Precincts Reporting

Arizona and New Mexico are finally reporting their first precincts, and so far they favor John Kerry. With 42% reporting, Kerry is leading Clark, 41%-26%, with Dean coming in at 17%, just above the threshold. New Mexico, with 15% reporting, Kerry is leading with 29% with Dean and Clark tied at 25%. CNN is also showing Kerry ahead in the North Dakota caucuses, at least on TV, although they haven't updated their website yet. Edwards is off the radar screen in these states, questioning his electoral stamina outside of the South (depending on how you define Oklahoma)....

North Dakota Goes Strong for Kerry

The North Dakota caucuses are over, and with all precincts reporting, Kerry has taken half of the vote. Clark came in 26 points behind at 24%, and Dean came in a distant third at 12% and out of the money. Edwards finished just behind Dean, and while I don't think Edwards did a lot of campaigning in North Dakota, these results don't build confidence in his ability to have anything more than regional appeal. So far, Edwards has only won one state in his own backyard, South Carolina, and is running neck-and-neck with Clark in Oklahoma. Kerry has won in the mid-Atlantic region (Delaware), Midwest (Missouri), Upper Midwest (North Dakota), and Southwest (Arizona, possibly New Mexico). Outside the two states I mentioned and Missouri, Edwards hasn't finished better than third and is running fourth in Arizona, New Mexico, and North Dakota. No one seems to be talking about Kerry's national...

The General Wins A Pyrrhic Victory in Oklahoma

Wesley Clark finally did what Howard Dean has yet to do: he won a state primary. Clark just barely edged out Edwards in Oklahoma, Clark's so-called last stand, by less than 2,000 votes, and Kerry coming in three percentage points behind. Can we say recount? No need; the delegates will be split almost evenly between the three candidates, making Oklahoma a meaningless victory for Clark. The General needed to prove he could win a state outright after coming in third while focusing all his efforts in New Hampshire. He can point to this and claim victory, but in truth everyone knows that Clark cannot compete against Kerry nationally, or probably even Edwards regionally in the South. To emphasize this, he's coming in second in neighboring New Mexico, trailing Kerry 37%-23% and barely leading a dormant Dean by three percentage points. He's trailing Kerry in Arizona as well by a wider...

But What Did It All Mean?

Now that the final speeches are over for the evening and the races are more or less decided, even if the eventual delegate splits may still be a bit murky, let's take stock of the results and try to make some sense of the numbers. The big winner: John Kerry, no matter what the fools at MS-NBC think. In the past two weeks, John Kerry has won in every contested area of the country except the South, unless you count Missouri as part of Dixie. Edwards won one state in his own backyard and came close to winning another thanks to the "Little Dixie" area of Oklahoma, as one pundit on CNN put it tonight. He had a distant second-place finish in Missouri, the biggest prize of the night. Otherwise, Edwards failed to resonate anywhere other than the South, and while we all know that the Democrats need some star...

February 4, 2004

Kerry -- Champion Against Special Interests?

The AP reports an "exclusive" on an apparent conflict of interest involving Senator John Kerry from four years ago, when he blocked legislation and later received cash from a beneficiary of his action: A Senate colleague was trying to close a loophole that allowed a major insurer to divert millions of federal dollars from the nation's most expensive construction project. John Kerry stepped in and blocked the legislation. Over the next two years, the insurer, American International Group, paid Kerry's way on a trip to Vermont and donated at least $30,000 to a tax-exempt group Kerry used to set up his presidential campaign. Company executives donated $18,000 to his Senate and presidential campaigns. The colleague was John McCain and the project involved was the Big Dig, a highway project often cited as an example of cost overruns and government inefficiency. McCain wanted some government funding of the Big Dig stopped...

February 7, 2004

Washington Caucus 21%: Kerry Leads, Dean 2nd

With 21% of all precincts reporting, Washington caucusers are giving John Kerry a large lead but giving Howard Dean a small sliver of hope. Kerry leads Dean, 44%-28%, with Dennis Kucinich perhaps looking at his first pledged delegates in the race, coming in third with 15%. John Edwards is trailing at an embarassing fourth with 5%. Fox News reports Kerry at 52% and Kucinich and Edwards tied at 7%, with the same number of precincts. Assuming the numbers do not shift significantly, Washington demonstrates that Edwards still cannot carry anything outside of the South and in fact shows poorly in any state that doesn't drawl, as I said last Tuesday. Dean will get a significant number of delegates, but Kerry will continue to add to his lead as well as to the regions in the US where he has won. Michigan, which is extending its caucus hours in Detroit and...

Michigan 11%: Another Kerry Runaway

As expected, with 11% of the precincts reporting, Kerry has a large lead over his competitors, taking in 56% of the votes counted in Michigan thus far. John Edwards, at 15%, barely edges out Howard Dean at 14%, although it's possible neither of them will be guaranteed pledged delegates. In related news, Dean's campaign took another body blow today when union giant AFSCME withdrew its endorsement of Dean, according to Democratic Party officials: Howard Dean (news - web sites), shut out in the primary season to date, suffered a fresh blow when the head of a major union decided to withdraw his support. Democratic officials said Gerald McEntee, head of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, delivered the news to the former front-runner during a meeting in Burlington, Vt. I'm not aware of any such withdrawal of an endorsement before; normally an endorsement of a losing candidate...

February 8, 2004

Bush on Meet The Press: C-

President Bush appeared on Meet the Press with Tim Russert this morning to discuss his decision to go to war in Iraq, intelligence failures, and the upcoming election. I had some qualms about Bush in an extemporaneous setting and at least in the first half of the show, my fears proved justified. The president appeared rattled during the entire span of Russert's questioning on the war and intelligence, stammering, leaning forward, repeating phrases time and again, and providing disjointed and borderline non-responsive responses. The inarticulate nature of George Bush is no campaign secret, although in prepared speeches he can often become inspiring. Even in press conferences, Bush usually presents a businesslike and efficient tone. In a one-on-one interview, however, he often has trouble forming complete sentences as he tries to organize his thoughts. You can almost see the wheels turning. He falls back on stock catchphrases, such as "Saddam was...

February 9, 2004

Kerry Takes Maine, Edwards Trails Kucinich -- Again

In yesterday's Maine caucuses, John Kerry again led the Democratic hopefuls, this time winning 45%-26% over Howard Dean: With 50% of the statewide vote tabulated, Kerry had 45% of the vote. Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, had 26%, and Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio, making his strongest showing to date, had 15%. Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina and retired Army Gen. Wesley K. Clark of Arkansas, neither of whom had focused on Maine, finished a distant fourth and fifth. ... His success in Maine pushed his total to 426, compared with Dean's 184, according to Associated Press. The votes of 2,161 delegates are needed to win the party's presidential nomination at the July convention in Boston. Dean, who didn't spend much time in Maine, scored his second runner-up finish of the weekend, while both John Edwards and Wes Clark finished out of the money in all...

Considering the Political Defensive

Since at this point we can consider John Kerry the Democratic nominee, absent a bimbo eruption or scandalous revelation (hint: his Senate record won't be good enough to derail him), it's time to also consider what attracts the Democrats to Kerry and to think about how to counteract it. Hugh Hewitt today takes Kerry to task over a number of issues, but mostly focuses on the larger war on terror. In his last two paragraphs, he wraps up the argument thusly: Kerry seems set on a strangely nostalgic course: An anti-war campaign by a Senator who voted for the war. Which is a bit like the war-hero who came back from war only to testify --falsely-- to the war crimes he and his colleagues committed. I get the sad sense that Kerry's going to be campaigning against himself for the next nine months, the sort of self-indulgent psycho-drama that the...

February 10, 2004

Bush's Numbers Rise With New Efforts

In a demonstration of what campaigning will do for George Bush, a new CNN/Gallup poll shows the President's numbers rising as he began to take his case directly to the people: As President Bush defended his record last week, his approval rating and his strength against the leading Democratic presidential contenders improved, according to a new poll, but the numbers still point to a close election. ... Bush's approval rating in the poll, conducted Friday through Sunday, was 52 percent, compared with 44 percent who said they disapproved. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points. In a poll taken a week earlier, Bush's approval rating was at 49 percent -- the lowest of his presidency -- with 48 percent disapproving of Bush's performance. As I argued yesterday, Bush needs to start framing the debate in order to make sure it focuses on the appropriate and most...

We'll Be Awaiting Your Abject Apologies

George Bush released his records of service from his tour of duty in the National Guard, and they prove indisputably that he fulfilled his obligations: The White House, facing election-year questions about President Bush's military service, released pay records and other information Tuesday that it said supports Bush's assertion that he fulfilled his duty as a member of the Air National Guard during the Vietnam war. The material included annual retirement point summaries and pay records that the White House said show that Bush served. ... The documents indicate that Bush received credit for nine days of active duty between May 1972 and May 1973, the period that has been cited by Democrats as evidence that Bush shirked his military responsibilities. A memo written by retired Lt. Col. Albert Lloyd Jr, at the request of the White House, said a review of Bush's records showed that he had "satisfactory years"...

EIKIW: Calling All Democrats

I found this at a good local blog, Everything I Know Is Wrong, posting about being a lifelong Democrat until the mid-1990s. Sean's making a plea to Democrats everywhere to open their eyes and look at what his party has become: I started my life as part of a family of liberal Democrats. I grew up in the sixties with a decidedly liberal Democratic bent. I voted for Hubert Humphrey against Richard Nixon in my school's mock election (Humphrey narrowly beat Nixon - it was Minnesota after all). I watched the Watergate proceedings all through summer vacation one year. I had the feeling that history was happening right in front of my eyes. I was horrified by the way the Republicans rallied around such a corrupt president, though I was pleased, when the time came, that Nixon did the right thing and resigned. Their behavior cemented my feelings against them....

February 11, 2004

The Last Ride of the Strange Ranger? Maybe Not

After a losing effort in Tennessee and a disastrous showing in Virginia, General Wesley Clark has decided to bow to reality -- for possibly the first time in his campaign -- and withdraw from the race: Wesley Clark, battered by losses in his Southern base, was abandoning his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination and heading home to Arkansas to exit the race. ... Of the contests to date, Clark was only able to squeeze out a narrow victory in Oklahoma. The final blow came after third-place finishes Tuesday in primaries in Virginia and Tennessee, states that were part of the Southern strategy he thought would ride him to the nomination. Clark had hoped to emerge as a Southern challenger to the front-running Massachusetts senator, but Tuesday's outcome erased any hope of that happening. He got 23 percent of the vote in Tennessee, but only 9 percent in Virginia. Today's...

Kerry Interview 1970: Give US Military Command to UN

John Kerry, when he first ran for elective office in 1970, told the Harvard Crimson that he was an "internationalist" who felt that the UN should retain command of the US military: “I’m an internationalist,” Kerry told The Crimson in 1970. “I’d like to see our troops dispersed through the world only at the directive of the United Nations.” Kerry said he wanted “to almost eliminate CIA activity. The CIA is fighting its own war in Laos and nobody seems to care.” The Kerry campaign, celebrating primary victories in Virginia and Tennessee last night, declined to comment on the senator’s remarks. As a candidate for president, Kerry has said he supports the autonomy of the U.S. military and has never called for a scale-back of CIA operations. When a candidate takes elective office, they swear to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. Nowhere in that document does...

Kerry Senate Testimony Discovered

Hugh Hewitt dedicated tonight's program to the transcripts of John Kerry's Senate testimony on the Vietnam War in 1970. The document is fascinating as a historical snapshot of the times in which it occurred, but also a very disturbing insight into what drives John Kerry in politics. Hugh has covered some of the more ridiculous items, and Power Line goes over quite a few more, which I'll touch on in a moment. I'm more interested in Kerry's philosophy, not so much how wrong his analysis of the situation wound up being, although that's important, too. For instance, there's this nugget on page 195: I think that politically, historically, the one thing that people try to do, that society is structured on as a whole, is an attempt to satify their felt needs, and you can satisfy those felt needs with any kind of political structure, giving it one name or...

February 12, 2004

Powell: "You Don't Know What You're Talking About"

The normally even-tempered Secretary of State, Colin Powell, became angry at a Congressional hearing and scolded a Congressman and a staffer: Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, a retired four-star general known for his even temperament, paused yesterday during a congressional hearing to berate a Hill staffer for shaking his head as Powell offered a defense of his prewar statements on Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction. The public scolding came after Powell had already endured a number of attacks by Democrats on the administration's Iraq policy during an appearance before the House International Relations Committee. He had just snapped at a member of Congress who had casually declared President Bush "AWOL" from the Vietnam War. The staffer, who sat behind the panel members, was shaking his head at Powell's testimony, a rude gesture by any stretch of the imagination, and after grinding his teeth throughout the angry and accusatory...

Not This Again!

Matt Drudge reports this morning that a new bimbo eruption is coming, and that John Kerry is the target. I'm not bothering to excerpt this story; if you're interested, click the link. Unless this story involves harassment, I'm not interested at all. I feel that John Kerry is a terrible choice for President. I think that marital infidelity shows a lack of moral fiber. But I don't feel that the two are related, nor should they be. It's faux-scandals like this that make it difficult to find people to serve in the public arena. Marital infidelity without illegal behavior is an issue between the Senator, his wife, and God. If being without sin will be a minimum requirement for President, I'd like to see that slate of candidates. What, then, is the difference between John Kerry and Bill Clinton? Plenty. For one thing, Clinton and his supporters turned businesses into...

Clark to Endorse Kerry

Wesley Clark will endorse John Kerry for the Democratic nomination, according to unnamed Democratic party officials: Wesley Clark will endorse presidential contender John Kerry, a high-profile boost for the front-runner as he looks to wrap up the party's nomination, according to Democratic officials. With next week's Wisconsin primary looming, Clark plans to join Kerry at a campaign stop in Madison, Wis., Friday to make a formal endorsement, said officials, speaking on condition of anonymity. If it seems a little early for Clark to give an endorsement -- after all, he just withdrew from the race yesterday morning -- it makes sense if he's looking for consideration as Kerry's running mate. Given that the bimbo eruption just occurred, if Clark stands by Kerry and winds up being the bridge Kerry needs to get past whatever scandal results from the Drudge story, he'll have earned Kerry's gratitude. Oddly enough, Clark himself figured...

February 13, 2004

Get-Tough Policy on Spending Starts With Roads

President Bush, stung by attacks on his spending from his base, drew a line in the sand yesterday when he threatened a veto for a highway-funding package that increased by half over the previous funding bill: States would get an additional $100 billion over the next six years to build roads, repair bridges and improve public transit under a Senate-passed bill that the White House says is extravagant in an age of record deficits. The Senate voted 76-21 Thursday to approve the $318 billion surface transportation bill, a winning margin that would be enough to override a presidential veto threatened by the administration. The current six-year highway spending bill, which expires at the end of this month, provided $218 billion. Bush wants no more than $258 billion spent, which is still a 20% increase from the previous version; spread over six years, that averages close to the rate of inflation....

Globe: Bush AWOL Accusers Lied

The Boston Globe reports today that key witnesses contradict allegations made by a central source for the Bush AWOL-coverup story: Retired Lieutenant Colonel Bill Burkett, who has been pressing his charges in the national news media this week, says he even heard one high-ranking officer issue a 1997 order to sanitize the Bush file, and later saw another officer poring over the records and discovered that some had been discarded. But a key witness to some of the events described by Burkett has told the Globe that the central elements of his story are false. George O. Conn, a former chief warrant officer with the Guard and a friend of Burkett's, is the person whom Burkett says led him to the room where the Bush records were being vetted. But Conn says he never saw anyone combing through the Bush file or discarding records. "I have no recall of that,"...

The Presidential Dating Game

No, I'm not talking about John Kerry's supposed dalliance. Last night, Dennis Kucinich appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and played a celebrity version of The Dating Game: The Ohio congressman asked questions of a trio of unseen women in a "The Dating Game" takeoff Thursday on NBC's "Tonight Show with Jay Leno." Responses by Jennifer Tilly, actress Cybill Shepherd and Los Angeles radio talk show host Kim Serafin blended sexual innuendo with politics and references to Kucinich's environmental concerns. I don't recall this much attention being paid to Jerry Brown's bachelor status when he ran for President in the 80s, but due to his dating history (Linda Ronstadt, for one) and his good looks, people may have assumed he could get his own girlfriends. Kucinich has no such pedigree, but he does seem to have a good sense of humor about himself and has played along with...

Collapse, Continued

The Bush-AWOL story continues its collapse today, as more ex-Guardsmen come forward to not only acknowledge Bush's service with them, but also to note his volunteering for combat service: A retired officer with the Alabama Air National Guard says he witnessed President Bush serving his weekend duty in 1972 -- an account that could be significant given Democratic questions on whether Bush fulfilled his service obligations during the Vietnam War. Speaking on the phone Friday from Daytona Beach, Florida, John B. "Bill" Calhoun said he commanded Bush and that Bush attended four to six weekend drills at Dannelly Field in Montgomery. He said Bush was with the 187th Tactical Reconnaissance Group in Alabama in 1972. ... Joe LeFevers, a member of the 187th in 1972, said he remembers seeing Bush in unit offices and being told that Bush was in Montgomery to work on Blount's campaign. "I was going in...

February 15, 2004

Washington Post Hits The Nail On The Head

In the midst of running up big primary wins, John Kerry has managed to finesse his past policy contradictions and focus almost primarily on attacking George Bush. Today's Washington Post lead editorial pulls the string on Kerry and demands some explanations from the new front-runner: The most important confusion surrounds Mr. Kerry's position on Iraq. In 1991 he voted against the first Persian Gulf War, saying more support was needed from Americans for a war that he believed would prove costly. In 1998, when President Clinton was considering military steps against Iraq, he strenuously argued for action, with or without allies. Four years later he voted for a resolution authorizing invasion but criticized Mr. Bush for not recruiting allies. Last fall he voted against funding for Iraqi reconstruction, but argued that the United States must support the establishment of a democratic government. Mr. Kerry's attempts to weave a thread connecting...

Mark Steyn: A Tale of Two Tales

I missed this column from Mark Steyn last night, but fortunately The Big Trunk at Power Line didn't. Steyn notes the hypocrisy and blatant bias in American media in how they responded to two poorly-sourced scandal stories, and how only one of them actually pans out -- and that's the one they're not covering: Now let's consider the Kerry scandal: If you read the British newspapers, you'll know all about it. It's not about whether he was Absent Without Leave, but the more familiar political failing of being Absent Without Pants. It concerns a 24-year old woman - ie, 41 years younger than Mrs Kerry - and, with their usual efficiency, the Fleet Street lads have already interviewed her dad, who's called Kerry a "sleazeball". But if you read the US newspapers or watch the news shows there's not a word about the Senator's scandal. Though it seems to have...

February 16, 2004

Only the Captain Goes Down With the Ship, Dr. Dean

A key leader in the Dean campaign has publicly announced that he will defect to the Kerry campaign if Dean doesn't pull off a miracle in Wisconsin tomorrow: The chairman of Howard Dean's presidential campaign, Massachusetts Democrat Steve Grossman, said yesterday that he will switch allegiance to the campaign of fellow Bay Stater John F. Kerry if, as Grossman expects, Dean loses tomorrow's Wisconsin primary. ... "If Howard loses the Wisconsin primary on Tuesday night, I will either reach out to the Kerry organization, they will reach out to me, or there will be a simultaneous outreach effort by both sides. And I will make a public commitment to do anything and everything I can to help John Kerry become the next president of the United States, including, but not limited to, building bridges between the two organizations so John Kerry can benefit from the strength of the Dean organization,"...

February 17, 2004

Hugh Hewitt: The Danger of John Kerry

Hugh Hewitt played an audio tape of John Kerry's testimony before Congress as a 27-year-old anti-war activist and failed Congressional candidate, in a show I regrettably missed. Fortunately, Hugh posted during his final hour of the show and recapped the reaction from his listeners and his own excellent insight into the relevance of Kerry's politics circa 1971: I played John Kerry's 1971 testimony on the radio program, and the response was intense. The first two hours brought scores of calls and e-mails which denounced Kerry for his slander of the military that served in Vietnam and for his understanding of the war. Kerry has thus far successfully dodged a discussion of the specifics of his testimony, and it was very hard to find the audio --it took my producer Duane considerable digging to find the tape. The impact of actually hearing Kerry slander the military--his accent is unbelieveable, and his...

Wisconsin 7%: Edwards Ahead?

With seven percent of precincts reporting, John Edwards is edging John Kerry for the lead, 38%-37% in a state where he trailed by as many as twenty points. Fox News exit pollings predicts a five-point Kerry win eventually, but the steamrolling Kerry campaign suddenly finds itself not quite stalling, but certainly losing some of that steam in regards to Edwards. Howard Dean, meanwhile, is trailing far behind the two principals with 19% in a state where as recently as two weeks ago he said he had to win to continue. Dean fired a senior campaign manager for acting on this statement earlier this week, and Dean must face the fact that not only is he not winning key primaries but he isn't even coming in second anymore. Now with 11% reporting, Edwards is still leading by a single percentage point. Edwards, who would be a tougher opponent in November, may...

Dean's Self-Eulogy Starts Off Gracious, Gets Arrogant

Howard Dean took to the podium first, trailing John Kerry and John Edwards badly, and congratulated them on running excellent campaigns, and thanking his supporters for their hard work. After that, Dean gave an increasingly strident speech taking credit for changing the nature of the debate, some of which may be true, and oddly kept decrying corporations moving to Bermuda, when he made it easier for those same corporations to avoid the tax consequences of such moves by setting up tax shelters in Vermont. In that manner, but not in temperament, it was vintage Dean. I thought I heard a hint of a withdrawal in Dean's speech, almost eulogistically reviewing what he sees as the accomplishments of his campaign. With key staffers defecting and a string of poor showings in the primaries, even Dean sees that the game is about over for his Presidential campaign. The latter part of Dean's...

February 18, 2004

NBC: Kerry Unwittingly Assisted Chinese Spy

Yesterday afternoon, NBC reported that John Kerry provided material assistance to Liu Chaoying [spelled differently throughout the article], an arms dealer and espionage agent for China, in exchange for campaign contributions: In 1996, Senator John Kerry was locked in a hard-fought and close reelection campaign with Massachusetts Governor William Weld. Kerry was the policy wonk, noted for his expertise in international crime, arms and drug dealing, and intelligence. ... [Johnny] Chung gave $10,000 to Kerry's campaign -- most of it illegally -- hosted a fund-raising party in Beverly Hills, and threw in an extra $10,000 to honor Kerry at a Democratic Senate Campaign Committee event. Kerry eventually returned all the Chung money. In return, Kerry opened a door for a friend of Chung: Liu Chaoying. So the man who claims he opposes special interests and claims he can't be bought certainly seems available for rent when necessary. While helping contributors...

February 19, 2004

Kerry: A Man Who Just Can't Say No

For a man who claims not to be beholden to special interests, John Kerry certainly appears to enjoy thir fruits as often as possible. The Los Angeles Times -- not exactly big boosters of the Right -- reports today that Kerry wrote 28 letters on behalf of a defense firm that filled his coffers with illegal campaign contributions: Sen. John F. Kerry sent 28 letters in behalf of a San Diego defense contractor who pleaded guilty last week to illegally funneling campaign contributions to the Massachusetts senator and four other congressmen. ... Between 1996 and 1999, Kerry participated in a letter-writing campaign to free up federal funds for a guided missile system that defense contractor Parthasarathi "Bob" Majumder was trying to build for U.S. warplanes. ... Kerry's letters were sent to fellow members of Congress and to the Pentagon while Majumder and his employees were donating money to...

Kerry's Hypocrisy Defended on the Left

After a series of embarassing revelations about favors given by John Kerry to illegal contributors, Peter Beinart of The New Republic rides to his rescue -- sort of -- in today's TRB. Beinart argues that all these incidents demonstrate is politics as usual, but that to charge Kerry with hypocrisy is to charge everyone with hypocrisy. Beinart writes: Let's stipulate that Kerry has occasionally helped out his financial backers--sometimes at the public's expense. Brooks says this makes Kerry's attack on special interests "phony." But virtually every governor or member of Congress--which is to say, virtually every presidential candidate--has raised money from people with an interest in legislation and at some time or another has written a letter, or voted for a bill, on their behalf. In the 2000 GOP primary, Bush even argued that anti-special interest crusader John McCain was tainted by "all those fund-raisers with lobbyists" he had held...

February 20, 2004

It's About Time

While I highly doubt that the Bush re-election campaign looks to this blog for advice, nonetheless they are acting as I urged yesterday, launching their advertising blitz against the presumptive nominee, John Kerry: President Bush's reelection campaign has decided to focus its coming advertising barrage not only on John F. Kerry's record as a senator but also on his days as an antiwar activist, a House candidate and Massachusetts's lieutenant governor. ... Campaign officials said in interviews that they plan substantial positive advertising about the president, focused on his proposals rather than accomplishments, when they begin spending tens of millions of dollars on the airwaves next month. But they made it clear that many of the ads will accuse the Democratic front-runner of "hypocrisy," in McKinnon's word, in part by reaching back into his early career. Quite frankly, I think they're a bit late. The Democrats have been using Bush...

An Offer He Can't Refuse

Hugh Hewitt made an unprecedented offer to John Edwards on his radio show and his blog last night: My offer to Edwards to co-host my program any or all days from now until March 2 remains open. Given that I am on, among many palaces, in drive-time in L.A., San Francisco, San Diego, Sacramento, and in the early evening in Boston, Atlanta, Cleveland and Cinncy --all Super Tuesday markets-- I am certain he'd been tripling his exposure in those cities by coming into the studio, but I haven't heard from the campaign. Arnold, of course, used talk radio like a scalpel in the California recall. The talkers are probably the only way to communicate with the Golden State electorate especially, and candidates in radio studios bring television cameras with them. We'll see if Edwards has some cowboy in him. It would be hard to understand why Edwards wouldn't take Hugh...

February 21, 2004

The Bush Message to the Conservative Base

Yesterday, President Bush bypassed an onbstructionist Senate and used a recess appointment to place William Pryor, the Alabama Attorney General, to the federal appellate court: After three years of watching Senate Democrats block his judicial nominees, President Bush trumped them for the second time this year by installing Alabama Attorney General William Pryor on the federal appeals court. ... Bush on Friday gave Pryor an almost two-year stint on the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta, calling him a "leading American lawyer" and saying Democrats had used "unprecedented obstructionist tactics" last year to stop him and five other nominees. Democrats disliked Pryor for one reason and one reason only -- they felt his devout Catholocism would eventually mean that he would rule against abortion if given a chance, despite Pryor's record of upholding the rule of law. This ridiculous construct somehow allowed the Democrats in the Senate to...

John Kerry's 1971 Testimony Audio On Line Now

Hugh Hewitt has been playing the totality of the audio of John Kerry's prepared statement preceding his Senate testimony in 1971. The audio is now available from the Democracy Now! website. (via Instapundit) The website also has a streaming-video presentation on John Kerry and his anti-war activities hosted by Amy Goodman, although the take on Kerry is that his recent record is a betrayal of his anti-war roots. It contains some interesting video of Winter Soldier press conferences and other information, as well as pictures and video of the war interspersed with pictures of Kerry, then and now. It's not pleasant, so consider yourself warned....

Hmong Immigration Increasing in Twin Cities

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports today that a new influx of Hmong refugees will soon relocate to the Twin Cities, totalling over 14,000 in addition to the 42,000 that already live in the area: Anticipation of a new life abroad has gripped this village of about 14,400 -- some estimates run higher -- since the U.S. State Department announced two months ago that it had struck a resettlement deal with the Thai government. The Hmong who live on the grounds of this Buddhist temple north of Bangkok will start to arrive in the U.S. this summer. The arrivals are expected to continue for at least two years. The Hmong are a Laotian minority ethnic group that supported the United States during the Vietnam War and its incursion into Laos to drive out the North Vietnamese. Since then, as the Hmong Studies Internet Resource Center states, they have been a people without...

Kerry: I Can't Handle Criticism

John Kerry once again cried foul because the Republicans actually have the audacity to campaign against Kerry's record in the Senate: "President Bush through his surrogates, specifically through Saxby Chambliss decided once again to take the low road of American politics," Kerry said in Georgia, one of 10 states choosing electoral delegates on March 2. ... "No one is going to question my commitment to the defense of our nation," Kerry said. Former Senator Max Cleland, a triple-amputee from his service in Vietnam, got even nastier when Senator Saxby Chambliss (who beat Cleland in 2002) spoke out against Kerry's voting record on defense in the Senate, where Kerry has not only repeatedly voted to reduce defense spending but twice introduced legislation to cut funding for the CIA. Instead of addressing the issues, Cleland called Chambliss a coward: "For Saxby Chambliss, who got out of going to Vietnam because...

Considering Nader

Ralph Nader once again has the political world in a tizzy trying to figure out whether he will run again for President, this time as an independent rather than a Green. Reporters are camped out for the announcement, Democrats are speaking out against one, and Republicans pray for one: Sunday on NBC's "Meet The Press," Nader, the Green Party's presidential candidate in 1996 and 2000, is expected to announce whether he will make another White House bid, this time as an independent. Democrats who fear he could siphon off enough votes to tip the election to President Bush have been trying to talk him out of it. "We can't afford to have Ralph Nader in the race," Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe told CNN on Friday. "This is about the future of our country. If you care about the environment, if you care about job growth, you've got to...

February 22, 2004

Meet the Press: Schwarzenegger and Nader, Together Again For The First Time

Tim Russert gave Meet the Press viewers a spectacular one-two punch this morning, interviewing both Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and potential independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Shortly before air time, CNN anticipated Nader's decision and announced he was indeed throwing his hat into the ring. But first, Russert interviewed the Governator, who performed impressively in his segment. Despite Russert's attempts to put Arnold in the position of abandoning children and blind people for lower car taxes, Arnold turned it around and told Russert that the problem wasn't the car tax, it was that the legislature increased spending at a 43% clip over the last five years, far outstripping the 24% increase in tax revenues over the same period. He acknowledged that he would raise taxes in an emergency, but only then, and his implication was that he did not consider undisciplined legislators an emergency condition. Russert touched on the issuing of...

Nader Reaction On The Campaign Blogs

Ralph Nader may present his campaign as a populist attempt to wrest control of national politics from corporate control, but he seems to be an unpopular populist amongst the progressives in the Democratic campaigns. A review of their blogs shows the anger and resentment Nader provoked with his unusual go-it-alone Presidential campaign announcement this morning. From the Dean for America blog: "Parker": I really wish Nader was more vocal about the Democratic party. Because most people aren't going to put the pieces together that he is only running because Dean dropped out. "Kevin": Ralph Nader is the Ted Kazinski of the presidential candidates. He should grow a beard and go live in a shack in the woods. He is the Unibomber Candidate. "Candyce" [engaging in some oddball conspiracy theories]: and Bush... I am a nice person thinking bad thoughts about Bush. I dislike him so much, I at first thought...

February 23, 2004

Ringham: Nader, Meet Kucinich

Star Tribune Commentary editor Eric Ringham writes another column denunciating Ralph Nader in tomorrow's edition, blaming Nader for George Bush -- again -- and insisting that Nader has overlooked Dennis Kucinich: To hear Ralph Nader dismiss the Democratic field, as he did in announcing his presidential candidacy Sunday, you'd think he'd never heard of Dennis Kucinich. The Kucinich camp would blame the media for that. Campaign workers accuse the major media of "censoring" Kucinich, and it's true enough that he doesn't get much coverage. Kucinich doesn't get much coverage because he doesn't attract that many votes, and the reason is readily apparent from Kucinich's website. Serious candidates don't post endorsements from fictional childrens-book characters. They also don't propose to create an Orwellian Department of Peace that would corrupt basic education and completely disarm the US. Besides, if Ringham's exercised about Kucinich's lack of coverage, why doesn't Ringham publish more about...

February 24, 2004

Kerry About to Deliver Knockout Blow

The LA Times reports that their most recent poll shows John Kerry handily beating John Edwards, 56%-24%, in the upcoming California primary on Tuesday, March 2nd: A week before California's Democratic presidential primary, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry leads North Carolina Sen. John Edwards by a lopsided 56% to 24% among the state's likely voters in the race, according to a new Los Angeles Times poll. ... Following the pattern set in other states, Kerry's support in the primary cuts across a broad range of demographic groups. He wins majorities of men, women, liberals, moderates, Latinos, union members and senior citizens, among others. Even primary voters who cite the economy or jobs as their No. 1 issue a group that has tilted toward Edwards in other states prefer Kerry to his main rival, 69% to 26%, the poll found. These numbers spell doom for the Edwards campaign, unless he...

What If They Held a Primary and No One Came?

Did you know that three states hold primaries or caucuses today? Apparently, neither did the presidential candidates: In contests that largely have been overlooked by the candidates, voters in three states decide Tuesday who they want to see as the Democratic presidential nominee. ... Hawaii and Idaho are holding caucuses and Utah is holding a primary. A total of 61 delegates are at stake, just 3 percent of the total needed to win the nomination at the Democratic nominating convention in July. In a sign of how little attention these contests are getting, not one of the major Democratic presidential hopefuls were in any of those three states Tuesday. If these contests are so inconsequential, why did the Democrats schedule them so far up the calendar? Wouldn't it make more sense to put California and a couple of the other states from next week to this week? I'm sure that...

February 25, 2004

Kerry Sweeps 'Obscure Tuesday' States

John Kerry won all three Democratic contests last night in Hawaii, Idaho, and Utah, which together represent less than two percent of all delegates going to the Democratic Convention in July: Democratic front-runner Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts added three more wins to his victory column Tuesday, sweeping contests in Utah, Idaho and Hawaii over his remaining major rival, Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina. The trio of small-state contests, which have been largely overshadowed by next week's Super Tuesday delegate bonanza, were the first since the Democratic race narrowed to essentially a battle between Kerry and Edwards. Both Kerry and Edwards treated this as a bye week, but for Edwards, that may have proved a bit of a mistake; Dennis Kucinich outclassed Edwards in Hawaii, finishing second with 30% to Edwards' 13%. That momentum-killer is the last thing Edwards needs while he's getting stomped in California, New York, and...

February 26, 2004

Kerry Flips and Flops In One Day

This has to be a record -- I don't think that even Howard Dean reversed himself this quickly. Here's John Kerry during tonight's debate: Democrats debating each other Thursday night accused President Bush of proposing a constitutional amendment against gay marriage to distract voters from more important issues such as the economy. "He's trying to divide America," said Sen. John Kerry . "This is a president who always tries to create a cultural war and seek the lowest common denominator of American politics because he can't come to America and talk about jobs, he can't talk to America about health care because he doesn't have a plan." Here's John Kerry yesterday in an interview with the Boston Globe: In his most explicit remarks on the subject yet, Kerry told the Globe that he would support a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would prohibit gay marrriage so long as,...

February 27, 2004

Eggs Benedict

John Kerry storms around the country with a populist message of righteous anger at those companies who incorporate offshore in order to take advantage of legal tax shelters. Continuing his theme of irrelevant patriotic qualifications, he's called the CEOs of such corporations "Benedict Arnolds", after the Revolutionary War general who tried to give West Point to the British. Yesterday, the Washington Post and MS-NBC reported that some of Kerry's biggest donors were the CEOs of such companies, leaving the candidate with some egg on his face: Executives and employees at such companies have contributed more than $140,000 to Kerry's presidential campaign, a review of his donor records show. Additionally, two of Kerry's biggest fundraisers, who together have raised more than $400,000 for the candidate, are top executives at investment firms that helped set up companies in the world's best-known offshore tax havens, federal records show. Kerry has raised nearly $30...

Edwards Refuses to Release Contributor List

At least John Kerry released the names and contribution levels of his biggest fundraisers; John Edwards refuses to do so, making the Los Angeles Times question where he gets his money: A campaign finance watchdog group on Thursday called on North Carolina Sen. John Edwards to release the names of his top presidential fundraisers before Super Tuesday a request the Edwards campaign said it would decline. ... "We're not releasing any names. That's our policy," said Edwards' campaign spokesperson Kim Rubey. Edwards' reluctance to disclose his contributor list stands in stark contrast to bot Kerry and President Bush, who have released the names and contribution levels of all those who have raised more than $50,000 for their campaigns. Early on, the Edwards campaign was rumored to be existing on a higher percentage of maxed-out contributors -- those who donated $2,000 dollars -- than any other candidate. Dean, for instance,...

Kerry's Number One!

Drudge reports that the National Journal has ranked John Kerry's 2003 Senate voting record as the most liberal of all, outdistancing Hillary Clinton and even Ted Kennedy: The results of Senate vote ratings show that Kerry was the most liberal senator in 2003, with a composite liberal score of 96.5 -- far ahead of such Democrat stalwarts as Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton. NATIONAL JOURNAL's scores, which have been compiled each year since 1981, are based on lawmakers' votes in three areas: economic policy, social policy, and foreign policy. "To be sure, Kerry's ranking as the No. 1 Senate liberal in 2003 -- and his earning of similar honors three times during his first term, from 1985 to 1990 -- will probably have opposition researchers licking their chops," NATIONAL JOURNAL reports. For the fourth time in 19 years, Kerry's record reflected the most radical agenda in the Senate, in this...

February 28, 2004

Steyn: Good Thing Kerry's No Leader

Thanks to reader Cybrludite, I found this interesting article by Mark Steyn, telling stories about how soldiers, sailors, and airmen were kept secure and completed imported missions using the weapons systems John Kerry voted to kill. Make sure you read the whole thing....

March 1, 2004

Why I Oppose Kerry and Support Bush

Mark asked me a direct question yesterday in response to my post about the laughably transparent Iranian attempt to influence the election Friday: And what do you have against Kerry? Or has Bush really fought to improve your way of life? I wrote later that his question was valid, and rather than point to a collection of earlier posts on various incidents, I think it would be more honest for me to put together a comprehensive argument for my position on this election. I will address this in two parts, just as Mark asked: why I oppose John Kerry, and why I support George Bush. Primarily, I don't trust John Kerry, and I never have. He's spent most of his Senate career carrying Ted Kennedy's water and regularly competes with Kennedy for the most liberal voting record -- a contest he won last year, according to the National Journal. He...

March 2, 2004

Definition of 'Is', Part II

Senator John Edwards, whose presidential run will likely run onto the shoals tonight, has made a lot of noise about refusing money from lobbyists, especially in the wake of a number of scandals involving frontrunner John Kerry. However, it turns out that Edwards and Kerry have more in common than first thought: While Democrat John Edwards boasts that he hasn't taken a dime from Washington lobbyists for his presidential campaign, he has accepted thousands of dollars from people in the capital's lobbying profession or their spouses and children. ... Even if donors lobby at the state level or run firms or organizations that lobby Congress, their money is accepted by Edwards as long as they are not personally registered. For instance, Edwards, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, received a $500 donation from National Education Association executive director John Wilson. Wilson himself isn't a registered...

No Kerry Sweep; Edwards to Withdraw

It appears that the ghost of Howard Dean has appeared in Vermont to spoil John Kerry's dreams of Super Tuesday sweeps, according to CNN: Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean -- who dropped out of the race two weeks ago -- won his home state, CNN projected based on the exit polls. It appears that Kerry will easily beat Edwards in most of the other contests. So far, Edwards leads in Georgia, but that's all. The only other state that Edwards had any momentum at all, Maryland, looks like it will go solidly for the Yankee rather than the Southerner. Breaking news has John Edwards withdrawing from the race tomorrow. Finally, we get the two-man race we always wanted: John Kerry vs Dennis Kucinich....

Cheney: I'm Not Going Anywhere

Speculation has swirled about the status of Dick Cheney in this election, with some suggesting that the Vice President may be an albatross in the general election. Cheney has been a lightningrod for controversy in the run-up to the war in Iraq, with the lunatic fringe -- and others -- charging that the war only served to inflate Cheney's Halliburton holdings. (Way out on the lunatic fringe of the lunatic fringe, Ted Rall thinks that Cheney went to war in Afghanistan so his buddies could build an oil pipeline.) But today in Washington, Cheney told MS-NBC that Bush has asked him to run again: "He's asked me to serve with him on the ticket again for the next 4 years,'' Cheney told Fox News in one of a series of cable television interviews. "I'm happy to do that as long as I can be of assistance and he wants me...

March 3, 2004

Kerry Strong Among Base, Not Holding Independents

In what could portend disaster for the Democrats in November, John Kerry -- the most liberal Senator in 2003 -- seems to fall short in attracting independent voters: Yet even in California, Kerry did not run nearly as well with independents who were eligible to vote in the Democratic primary as he did among party members. This trend was more pronounced in Tuesday's voting in Ohio and Georgia, according to exit polls conducted by Edison Media Research/Mitofsky International. In that way, the results underscored Kerry's ability to mobilize Democrats and the challenge he may face with independents as the campaign's focus shifts to the battle against Bush. The LA Times exit polling showed the same trend throughout most of the contests yesterday and points out the folly of nominating a candidate from the extremes. John Kerry's record of attacking military and intelligence spending plays well in San Francisco...

Kerry'd Away

Hey, I know John Kerry has to say something to convince people to vote for him, and so far, all he's had to say was that he hates George Bush, Bush is evil, Bush is inept -- well, things like this: "This president has in fact created terrorists where they didn't exist," he said. "And I believe this president has run the most arrogant, inept, reckless and ideological foreign policy in the modern history of our country. And we need to hold him accountable." Hugh Hewitt notes tonight that Kerry apologist Joshua Micah Marshall insists on validating that ridiculous notion on Hugh's show, so apparently this will be the catchphrase up through the convention, and perhaps beyond. Let's test this by looking at highlights of the past 40 or so years, which I assume would satisfy Kerry's "modern" qualifier. 1961 - President John F. Kennedy implements a leftover plan from...

March 4, 2004

The Myth of 3 Million Jobs

Sean's excellent blog, Everything I Know Is Wrong, explodes the myth of the three-million-job loss during the Bush administration in a funny and well-sourced post from last night. Apparently, Sean did what John Kerry's entire staff was unable to do and check out the data at the Bureau of Labor Statistics: It took about as long to do it as it took you to read about it. Take a look at the left side of the table; the column marked Jan. Now look down to the rows marked 2001, 2003 and 2004. The Jan 2001 figure is 137,790,000 (the numbers are all in thousands) and the Jan 2004 figure is 138,566,000. That means that there are 776,000 more jobs now than there were in the first month of George Bushs administration. Look at the Jan 2003 number, 137,477,000, which means there are 1,119,000 more jobs than this time last year....

At Least the North Koreans Are More Honest About It

Last weekend, I incurred the ire of Pandagon readers by suggesting that the Iranians were attempting to influence the presidential election by claiming John Kerry sent them e-mail and then putting out a phony report that Bush had Osama locked up but was waiting until the fall for the maximum political impact. Readers on the Left interpreted my post as an attack on John Kerry's patriotism, for some reason, instead of an attack on the Iranian leadership's intelligence. Now another member of the Axis of Evil has publicly made its choice for the American President known, and surprise, surprise, it ain't W (via Hugh Hewitt): North Korea's state-controlled media are well known for reverential reporting about Kim Jong-il, the country's dictatorial leader. But the Dear Leader is not the only one getting deferential treatment from the communist state's propaganda machine: John Kerry, the presumptive Democratic candidate, is also getting good...

March 5, 2004

California In Play?

While President Bush still regularly polls below John Kerry in the Golden State, the LA Times publishes an op-ed today by Robert Grady that analyzes the state ballot results from this week and sees red flags for Kerry's campaign: The state Democratic establishment, which backed and advises Kerry, also put its full weight behind Proposition 56, which would have reduced the vote required for the Legislature to pass the budget and taxes from two-thirds to 55%. ... The voters were not fooled. Proposition 56 was crushed 65% to 35%. It lost by well over a million votes. The message is clear, both for Kerry and George W. Bush: California voters like voters nationwide are overwhelmingly against tax increases. If Kerry thinks this is a fluke, he might consider the results of California's recall election last year. ... Republicans Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom McClintock captured 49% and 13% of...

Independent: Kerry More Popular Where People Can't Vote

The Commissar at the Politburo Diktat links to an insipid article in yesterday's Independent that begins with this statement: If the human race as a whole, rather than 50 states plus the District of Colombia, could cast a ballot this coming November, John Kerry would surely win the presidency by a landslide. Unfortunately for President Bush-haters around the world, only the 200 million United States citizens of voting age will have that right - and the outcome is anything but sure. As I responded in the Commissar's comments, if the human race as a whole could cast a vote, we wouldn't need George Bush in the White House. Until that time, we can't afford John Kerry....

March 6, 2004

Kerry Goes Cajun

From the LA Times, an amusing portrait of the presumptive Democratic nominee trying desperately to make inroads in the South: Friday, Kerry accused the president of ducking his record, saying Bush's new television commercials featuring images of the destroyed World Trade Center were an attempt to avoid domestic issues. "As you know, George Bush wants this whole deal just to be about war," Kerry said. "His first advertisements have pictures of ground zero." The crowd booed. Yes, and since Kerry has been all over the map on the war on terror, it's the last issue the Democrats want to debate. Lieberman was consistent, and Dean was at least consistent throughout the primaries. But Kerry has tried to have his cake and eat it too all along, trying to explain how a vote authorizing military action actually demonstrated his opposition to it and a vote denying funding for the deployed troops...

March 7, 2004

Kerry Not So Eager to Volunteer After All

John Kerry, who has made his volunteer service in Vietnam the centerpiece of his Presidental campaign 35 years later, apparently was not so eager to serve as he has led people to believe, the UK Telegraph reports: Senator John Kerry, the presumed Democratic presidential candidate who is trading on his Vietnam war record to campaign against President George W Bush, tried to defer his military service for a year, according to a newly rediscovered article in a Harvard University newspaper. He wrote to his local recruitment board seeking permission to spend a further 12 months studying in Paris, after completing his degree course at Yale University in the mid-1960s. The revelation appears to undercut Sen Kerry's carefully-cultivated image as a man who willingly served his country in a dangerous war - in supposed contrast to President Bush, who served in the Texas National Guard and thus avoided being sent to...

Telegraph: John Flip-Flop Kerry

In another article on the presidential race, the UK Telegraph has an excellent review of John Kerry's flip-flops -- the kind of research that the US media seems reluctant to do: Forget the occasional about-face on defence policy and the Iraq war, in the mawkish world of American politics one of the most fundamental questions a candidate can face is: Do they have any Irish blood? ... In a speech to the Senate in 1986 he even said: "For those of us who are fortunate to share an Irish ancestry, we take great pride in the contributions [of] Irish-Americans." When presented with proof that Mr Kerry's grandfather was the Jewish-born Fritz Kohn, the senator's aides reversed their position without a backward glance. "He has never indicated to anyone that he was Irish and corrected people over the years who assumed he was," said Kelly Benander, a Democrat spokeswoman. While this...

March 8, 2004

Bush Goes On Offense, Hits Kerry on Proposed Intelligence Cuts

As expected, President Bush went to offense now that John Kerry has cleared the field in the Democratic primaries, and points out Kerry's record of antagonism towards intelligence services: Bush, during a fund-raiser in Dallas, called attention to a 1995 bill that Kerry sponsored to trim intelligence spending by $1.5 billion over five years. The cut was part of what Kerry called a "budget-buster bill" to strip $90 billion from the budget and end 40 programs that he said were "pointless, wasteful, antiquated or just plain silly." Kerry's proposal, following the collapse of the Soviet Union and calls for a peace dividend after decades of spending to thwart the Cold War opponent, never came up for a vote. "This bill was so deeply irresponsible that it didn't have a single co-sponsor in the United States Senate," Bush said. "Once again, Senator Kerry is trying to have it both ways," Bush...

John Kerry: Not A Black Man After All

A few days ago, John Kerry tried on the Bill Clinton approach to civil rights, noting that Clinton had sometimes been called the nation's "first black President" for his humble Southern beginnings as well as his affinity to African-American leadership, and said that he wouldn't mind being known as the second black President. Oddly enough, having a rich, white, power-born politician describe himself as black didn't sit to well with those who actually are black -- and they're not just giving Kerry disapproving glances: The head of a civil rights and legal services advocacy group wants Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry to apologize for saying he wouldn't be upset if he could be known as the second black president. "John Kerry is not a black man he is a privileged white man who has no idea what it is in this country to be a poor white in this...

March 9, 2004

Kerry Flip-Flops on Arafat

In an interview with the Associates Press, John Kerry backpedaled away from his 1997 assertion that Yasser Arafat was a "statesman" who was a role model for aspiring leaders of oppressed people: In a 1997 book, Kerry described "Arafat's transformation from outlaw to statesman." But in an interview with The Associated Press on Monday he said he no longer views Arafat favorably. "Obviously, Yasser Arafat has been an impediment to the peace process," said Kerry, the Democratic presidential nominee-in-waiting. "He missed a historic opportunity and he's proved himself to be irrelevant." ... Referring to the Palestinian leader as a statesman would be potentially damaging in Florida, which has a heavy Jewish population and a Democratic primary Tuesday. Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas also hold primaries Tuesday. "He was (a statesman) in 1995," Kerry said, recalling frequent White House meetings between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in search of peace in the Middle...

Is John Kerry Trying to Torpedo US Foreign Policy?

John Kerry, according to a Reuters story that got a lot of attention yesterday, claims that foreign leaders are telling him that he's their preferred candidate: Kerry opened another front against Bush on Monday when he said foreign leaders have told him privately that they are eager for him to win. "They look at you and say, 'You've got to win this, you've got to beat this guy, we need a new policy,' things like that," he said in Florida, Reuters reported. Kerry declined to name those leaders. That's because, as Hugh Hewitt notes, no one has been able to substantiate a recent meeting between John Kerry and any foreign leader. Since Kerry isn't elaborating, we can assume one of two things: either Kerry is lying, or Kerry is telling the truth. Option 1: Kerry Lied -- If Kerry lied, then this is an egregious lie. It would be a...

March 10, 2004

The Folly of Campaign Finance 'Reform'

This year, we all will have front-row seats to watch the folly of campaign-finance reform in a nation whose first ideal is freedom of speech. Round One kicked off this week, as the New York Times reports: Three advertising campaigns by political groups harshly critical of President Bush are getting under way in 17 states, in an effort to counter Republican commercials that began showing last week. The largest campaign opens on Wednesday, paid with $5 million in unlimited donations that political parties can no longer collect. Republicans say the tactic is an illegal way to support Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, contending that it violates campaign finance laws. Stepping in to help Mr. Kerry's campaign offset what has been Mr. Bush's 10-to-1 fund-raising advantage, these groups are part of a handful of committees that some critics call a "shadow" political party. Since Congress passed McCain-Feingold as the latest act...

John McCain: Smoking the Drapes?

What in the world is John McCain thinking? "John Kerry (news - web sites) is a close friend of mine. We have been friends for years," McCain said Wednesday when pressed to squelch speculation about a Kerry-McCain ticket. "Obviously I would entertain it." But McCain emphasized how unlikely the whole idea was. "It's impossible to imagine the Democratic Party seeking a pro-life, free-trading, non-protectionist, deficit hawk," the Arizona senator told ABC's "Good Morning America" during an interview about illegal steroid use. "They'd have to be taking some steroids, I think, in order to let that happen." Senator McCain must be taking something himself to even start such a rumor. I supported McCain in 2000, but now I'm wondering if he's in full command of his faculties. If he wants to be considered for the Democratic presidential ticket, I would assume the first step would be to change party affiliation. Even...

John Kerry: Bush/Cheney "Most Crooked...Lying Group"

Senator John Kerry revealed an ugly and poorly controlled side of himself when he thought he was off-mike this afternoon while speaking with AFL-CIO union workers in Chicago: Sen. John Kerry, all but officially the Democratic presidential nominee, called Republicans he is battling "crooked" Wednesday. ... "Keep smiling," one man said to him. Kerry responded, "Oh yeah, don't worry man. We're going to keep pounding, let me tell you -- we're just beginning to fight here. These guys are the most crooked, you know, lying group of people I've ever seen." Simply appalling. In the picture above, you can see a Kerry aide hurriedly trying to disconnect the microphone, to no avail, which leads me to wonder what else John Kerry says when he thinks the mikes are off. Does he speculate on Roswell? Discussing alien abductions? Kerry's campaign immediately retreated into damage control, saying that Kerry was referring to...

And the Oscar for Hypocrisy Goes To ...

In attempting to spin John Kerry's ugly, sotto voce smear earlier in the day, Kerry campaign spokesman David Wade blamed unnamed Republicans instead: Afterward, Kerry campaign official David Wade told reporters that Kerry did know his microphone had been on when he was speaking. ... Wade also pointed to a doctored photograph that placed Kerry alongside Jane Fonda during protests of the Vietnam war. That doctored photograph surfaced after an authentic photograph surfaced that showed Kerry sitting several rows behind Fonda at an anti-war rally. Wade blamed all such incidents on a GOP attack "machine." Of course, this must be the work of the "machine" on John Kerry's official campaign web site: Not only does it appear that the Kerry campaign does most of the Photoshopping, but they've also stolen the image of the Oscar -- something to which the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences doesn't take kindly:...

March 11, 2004

Broder: Bush Ads, Campaign Mild Compared to FDR

David Broder, writing in today's Washington Post, takes apart the notion that the Bush campaign is out of line for mentioning 9/11 in its advertising, and takes us back to the campaign of the last president that experienced a massive foreign attack on American soil to compare: I went back, with help from Washington Post researcher Brian Faler, to 1944, when Franklin D. Roosevelt, almost three years after Pearl Harbor, was running for reelection. What you learn from such an exercise is that Bush is a piker compared with FDR when it comes to wrapping himself in the mantle of commander in chief. ... Keynoter Robert Kerr, then governor of Oklahoma, declared that "the Republican Party . . . had no program, in the dangerous years preceding Pearl Harbor, to prevent war or to meet it if it came. Most of the Republican members of the national Congress fought every...

Glenn Reynolds on John Kerry

Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, also writes a regular column for MS-NBC/Slate and in this installment, he discusses yesterday's Kerry outburst: Kerry's bluster is disturbing, but the media treatment is revealing: It's been largely ignored. Imagine the reaction if Bush had said these sorts of things. He'd be savaged for viciousness, and people would wonder if that sort of macho posturing suggested a temperament unfit for the White House. Glenn then goes on to link back to my post from yesterday: John Kerry needs to put up or abjectly apologize. If Kerry has evidence of corruption or lying, then put it out for all to see. Then we can all be enlightened and investigate it, and determine if Kerry is right or a full-fledged member of the Tinfoil Hat brigade. If he refuses to do so, then he is a coward and a sneak, a mumbler who won't take responsibility for...

March 12, 2004

Bush Attends 9/11 Memorial, Families Don't Object

In a stunning development, the families attending a 9/11 memorial didn't protest when George Bush arrived, and even supported his right to talk about it during the upcoming campaign: Ernest Strada, the mayor of Westbury, N.Y., was waiting in line to attend the groundbreaking with his wife, Mary Anne. Their son, Thomas Strada, was on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center North Tower during the attacks. He was 41 years old when he died. Ernest Strada said he had no problems with Bush using Sept. 11 imagery in his campaign ads or coming to East Meadow for the groundbreaking. "It's important that everybody in the country, led by the president, continue to remember what happened 2 1/2 years ago," Strada said. "I think the memory of that has waned since it occurred." Rosemary Cain of Massapequa was waiting in line with a large poster of her son, George...

March 13, 2004

NY Sun: Kerry Quit VVAW After Assassination Proposal

Yesterday's New York Sun published a front-page article on a little-known chapter in the history of Vietnam Veterans Against the War -- a proposal to assassinate conservative politicians who supported the war or who opposed anti-war activities. These plans were drafted by Scott Camil and debated at the November 1971 VVAW meeting in Kansas City, which John Kerry denies attending. However, at least two people who were there -- one of which heads Kerry's veteran support in Missouri -- claim that Kerry was there for the debate: The anti-war group that John Kerry was the principal spokesman for debated and voted on a plot to assassinate politicians who supported the Vietnam War. Mr. Kerry denies being present at the November 12-15, 1971, meeting in Kansas City of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, and says he quit the group before the meeting. But according to the current head of Missouri Veterans...

Post: Kerry Won't Disclose Big Fundraisers

Today's lead editorial in the Washington Post demonstrates again the hypocrisy of the John Kerry campaign. After publicly referring to George Bush and Republicans as the "most crooked ... lying group," Kerry still stonewalls on the people who collect money for him -- unlike President Bush, who regularly updates his list of donors: Facing the Bush campaign's outsize war chest, the Kerry campaign is planning a 20-state, $15 million fundraising blitz; overall, it is aiming to raise another $80 million by July. To get there, Mr. Kerry will have to rely heavily on both his own big financiers and those of his Democratic rivals. Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) -- who repeatedly rebuffed our requests for a list of his top fundraisers -- introduced Mr. Kerry to about 100 of them at a meeting on Thursday. Likewise, Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.), who was similarly unforthcoming with a list of big...

Following the Money

After George Bush's use of 1.5 seconds of 9/11 footage in his initial campaign ads, several families of 9/11 victims protested loudly, receiving a great deal of publicity from their accusations that the Bush campaign was acting inappropriately in mentioning 9/11 during the campaign. Only after some digging did the press mention that these same families had long since formed the "September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows" -- an antiwar campaign funded by George Soros, the main MoveOn.org financier and a man who has pledged to buy the presidency for the Democrats. As the March 9th New York Post puts it: Leading the rhetorical charge has been an outfit called September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows - which, the group admits, has only a few dozen members and represents relatives of no more than 1 percent of the 9/11 victims. More to the point, the group was formed specifically to...

Network News Biased Against Bush

A study released today by Mediachannel.org demonstrates the media bias of the national broadcast news networks -- and the disparity of treatment of George Bush and John Kerry isn't subtle in the least: The report reveals a strong negative cast to ABC, CBS and NBC news coverage of the president thus far in 2004. Meanwhile, Senator John Kerry, Bush's certain opponent for November, has received more positive coverage by the same three networks. According to data compiled for MediaChannel.org by international media monitoring firm Media Tenor, network news broadcasts in January and February contained on average nearly three times more negative news statements about President Bush than about Senator John Kerry. This trend is demonstrated on all three major network news broadcasts, but none so pronounced as on CBS, where 35% of statements about Bush were negative, as opposed to 8% positive. In contrast, CBS was positive about John Kerry...

Kerry's War Record Under Fire

Tomorrow's Telegraph runs a story that puts John Kerry's war narrative of a highly-decorated combat veteran at odds with the recollection of one of his crew, who charges that Kerry displayed cowardice under fire: The testimony of Steven Gardner, a gunner's mate on the first patrol boat commanded by Mr Kerry in the Mekong delta, contradicts accounts of the senator's military career that depict him as a brave and aggressive lieutenant who won three Purple Hearts and which are a key element of his campaign against George Bush. "He absolutely did not want to engage the enemy when I was with him," Mr Gardner said in an interview with the Boston Globe, which contacted him about the presidential candidate. "He wouldn't go in there and search. That is why I have a negative viewpoint of John Kerry. "His initial patterns of behaviour when I met him and served under him...

March 14, 2004

Powell: Don't Poke The Bear, Kerry

Today, on Fox News Sunday, Secretary of State Colin Powell fired a warning shot across the bow of John Kerry and his campaign, ridiculing the gossip and mumbling that has become the hallmark of the most classless campaign in modern American history: [John] Kerry, the all-but-certain Democratic presidential nominee, said at a fund-raiser last week in Florida that he's heard from some world leaders who quietly back his candidacy and hope he defeats President Bush in November. [Colin] Powell expressed skepticism on "Fox News Sunday" when asked about Kerry's assertion. "I don't know what foreign leaders Senator Kerry is talking about. It's an easy charge, an easy assertion to make. But if he feels it is that important an assertion to make, he ought to list some names," Powell said. "If he can't list names, then perhaps he should find something else to talk about." Later in the same interview,...

Kerry: None of Our Business

John Kerry found out tonight that town meetings can be fraught with danger, a danger about which his newest bestest buddy Howard Dean should have warned him: The town meeting was contentious at times, with 52-year-old Cedric Brown repeatedly pressing the candidate to name the foreign leaders whom Kerry has said are backing his campaign. "I'm not going to betray a private conversation with anybody," Kerry said. As the crowd of several hundred people began to mutter and boo, Kerry said, "That's none of your business." Well, if it was none of our business, why did he bring it up in the first place? Kerry seems to open his mouth without thinking about things first; he's shot himself in the foot about half a dozen times this month already. At least he didn't yell at the guy, but scolding him about MYOB on an issue Kerry himself brought up looks...

March 16, 2004

The Invisible Poll

A new CBS/New York Times poll shows George Bush suddenly ahead of John Kerry by eight percentage points in a three-way race, although it must be the quietest poll ever announced. In fact, the headline on the NY Times' story this morning sounds a lot bleaker than the final numbers indicate -- "Nation's Direction Prompts Voters' Concern, Poll Finds": With Mr. Nader in the race, Mr. Bush leads Mr. Kerry by 46 percent to 38 percent, with Mr. Nader drawing 7 percent of the votes. In a sign of the polarized electorate Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry are facing, three-quarters of supporters of each candidate asserted they would not change their mind before the election. The nationwide telephone poll of 1,206 adults, including 984 registered voters, was taken from last Wednesday through Sunday. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. The questioning was...

March 17, 2004

Clintons Climb Aboard the Bandwagon

For those who still insist that the Kerry campaign is nothing more than a Trojan horse for a Hillary Clinton rescue in July, this news shows that Kerry is consolidating his support, even with the Clintons: Former President Bill Clinton and a cast of other Democratic heavyweights began an Internet-based drive on Tuesday to raise $10 million for Senator John Kerry in the next 10 days. ... "We're not going to yield an inch to the Republican attack machine when it comes to defining what this campaign is all about," Mr. Clinton wrote on Tuesday in his e-mail message to supporters. "It's our chance to give John Kerry the kind of immediate, dramatic support he needs to stand toe to toe with the president." And it's not just Bill: Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota and the strategist...

March 18, 2004

Cheney Gets Serious, Shows Kerry Isn't

In dueling campaign appearances, John Kerry experienced his first blast of Dick Cheney, as the eloquent and wry Vice President made his first foray into this year's re-election effort. Cheney wasted no time going after Kerry, painting him as a waffler who would prove dangerous as President: "At least this much is clear: Had the decision belonged to Senator Kerry, Saddam Hussein would still be in power today in Iraq," Cheney said, in an aggressive defense of Bush's record as a war president. "In fact, Saddam Hussein would almost certainly still be in Kuwait." ... In a rejoinder that began a half-hour after Kerry finished, Cheney mocked the Massachusetts senator's disparaging comments about nations that have joined the United States. By calling the Iraq alliance "window dressing" and a "coalition of the coerced and the bribed," as Kerry has done, Cheney said the Democrat was "ungrateful to nations that have...

McCain Torpedos Bush Again

The degradation of Senator John McCain continues, as earlier today he spoke out to defend John Kerry's record on national security and scolded both candidates for running a "bitter, partisan campaign": Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Thursday he did not believe Democratic candidate John Kerry, a friend and Senate colleague, was weak on defense or would compromise national security if elected president. ... Asked on NBC's "Today" if he thought Kerry was weak on defense, McCain said: "No, I do not believe that he is, quote, weak on defense. He's responsible for his voting record, as we are all responsible for our records, and he'll have to explain it. But, no, I do not believe that he is necessarily weak on defense. I don't agree with him on some issues, clearly. But I decry this negativism that's going on on both sides. The American people don't need it." Later on...

March 19, 2004

Kerry: Sourpuss?

John Kerry can't even vacation without making an ass out of himself, according to the New York Times and ABC's The Note. While playing on the slopes and chatting with members of the media, Kerry got knocked off his feet snowboarding after getting tangled up with a member of his Secret Service security detail. While most people would choose to make a joke out of such an incident, Kerry reminded the nation that he's never the one at fault for anything: His next trip down, a reporter and a camera crew were allowed to follow along on skis just in time to see Mr. Kerry taken out by one of the Secret Service men, who had inadvertently moved into his path, sending him into the snow. When asked about the mishap a moment later, he said sharply, "I don't fall down," then used an expletive to describe the agent...

Kerry Waters Down Denial, Acknowledges Presence at "Assassination" Meeting

John Kerry's campaign has backed off their earlier denials that Kerry was not present for the VVAW meeting in Kansas City, November 1971, where the "Phoenix Project" was brought to debate and a vote: Senator Kerry of Massachusetts yesterday retreated from his earlier steadfast denials that he attended a meeting of Vietnam Veterans Against the War at which a plan to assassinate U.S. Senators was debated. The reversal came as new evidence, including reports from FBI informants, emerged that contradicted Mr. Kerrys previous statements about the gathering, which was held in Kansas City, Mo. in November 1971. John Kerry had no personal recollection of this meeting 33 years ago, a Kerry campaign spokesman, David Wade, said in a statement e-mailed last night from Idaho, where Mr. Kerry is on vacation. The historian Gerald Nicosia, who happens to be a Kerry supporter, released the minutes of the VVAW meeting, as well...

Mickey Kaus Discerns a Kerry "Crumple"

Mickey Kaus, in his kausfiles entry for today, also notes the descent of Kerry's numbers, now even in the Rasmussen poll which shows Bush ahead of Kerry head-to-head outside of the margin of error: ... it's different when the drop is comes at the same time as a) a candidate whom no large group is enthusiastic about and b) whom Democratic voters in a truncated and unconstitutionally inhibited* primary process haven't bothered to find out much about c) is first exposed to the general electorate. Then the voters may simply be discovering they don't like him! By July 26 it could be clear to everyone except about 3,000 delegates to the Democratic convention that Kerry is not cutting it against Bush ... Mickey earlier (3/16) linked back to my post on the CBS/NYT poll and how it showed that the numbers had slid precipitously for Kerry; against Bush and Nader,...

AP Attacks Kerry on Defense Spending, Temperature in Hell Reportedly Dropping

The John Kerry Week From Hell continues this afternoon with an additional slam from an unlikely source. The AP's John Solomon analyzes Kerry's proposed $43B defense-spending cuts from 1994 and opens another wound in Kerry's flank: When John Kerry offered a surprise plan to trim $43 billion in spending a decade ago, he encountered some harsh resistance: The cuts would threaten national security. U.S. fighter pilots would be endangered. And the battle against terrorism would be hampered, opponents charged. And that's just what Kerry's fellow Democrats had to say. Solomon details the response from prominent Democrats in the Senate at the time, and they were hardly complimentary to the future Presidential candidate: "We are putting blindfolds over our pilots' eyes," Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, a decorated World War II veteran, said of the impact of Kerry's proposed intelligence cuts... "The amendment offered by the senator from Massachusetts would reduce the...

Kerry's Theme Song: Call Me Irresponsible

Call me irresponsible, Call me unreliable, Throw in undependable too ... Do my foolish alibis bore you? John Kerry may have to adopt this as his new campaign theme song, now that ABC News has captured yet another John Kerry flip-flop on videotape: In an interview several weeks before he voted against $87 billion in funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., seemed to argue that such a vote would be reckless, irresponsible, and tantamount to abandoning U.S. troops. ... Asked if he would vote against the $87 billion if his amendment did not pass, Kerry said, "I don't think any United States senator is going to abandon our troops and recklessly leave Iraq to whatever follows as a result of simply cutting and running. That's irresponsible." Kerry argued that his amendment offered a way to do it properly, "but...

March 20, 2004

Can the Dems Dump Kerry?

With the very bad month that John Kerry has had so far, some people are questioning whether Kerry can actually survive to the the convention to be nominated. It's a question we were asked on our radio show last week, and one which we summarily dismissed. I still think it to be extremely unlikely, as it would be very damaging to the Democrats to dump someone who received a majority of primary votes. But is it possible? To answer this, I spent some time this morning going through the controlling documents of the Democratic convention and nominating process (Acrobat reader and No-Doz required). It's not as unequivocal as I had previously thought, at least not in the regulations. I had believed that there was a hard first-ballot requirement for pledged delegates to cast their vote for their candidate, in the same manner as the Electoral College, but the language in...

March 21, 2004

Kerry: Flip-Flop Partisan Hack All The Way

Glenn Kessler writes a fairly balanced piece on John Kerry's foreign policy experience and philosophy in today's Washington Post. At least, Kessler's article provides more balance than those I've read before on Kerry and his election run, especially in the East Coast media. The general tone can be summed up in this excerpt: Throughout his career, Kerry generally had been rated among the left-of-center members of the Democratic caucus on foreign policy issues, according to organizations such as the National Journal that rank lawmakers based on key votes. Kerry displayed skepticism about costly weapons systems, such as the B-2 bomber and President Ronald Reagan's Strategic Defense Initiative (though he supported a 1999 bill to deploy a national missile defense). He supported measures promoting human rights in China and questioned U.S. support for the contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s. At the same time, he also embraced free trade pacts, such...

March 22, 2004

Power Line on Richard Clarke

I wanted to write a detailed debunking of Richard Clarke, but I found Power Line's Hindrocket has already written the best one I've seen -- much better than I could have written. Here's a taste of Rocket Man's in-depth expose: But let's pursue a little further the question, who exactly is Richard Clarke? What do we know about him? First, we know that before September 11, he was professionally committed to the idea that al Qaeda represented a new form of "stateless terrorism" that could never cooperate with a country like Iraq: Prior to 9/11, the dominant view within the IC was that al Qaida represented a new form of stateless terrorism. That was also the view promoted by the Clinton White House, above all terrorism czar, Richard Clarke. To acknowledge that Iraqi intelligence worked with al Qaida is tantamount to acknowledging that all these people made a tremendous blunder--and...

March 23, 2004

Kerry, The FBI, and The Phoenix Project: The Whitewash Continues

After the Los Angeles Times ran their story on the FBI surveillance of John Kerry in yesterday's paper (reprinted dutifully by the Star Tribune, of course), it was inevitable that other outlets would pick it up. One would hope that the larger news organizations -- ones that write their own content rather than reprint what comes across the wires -- would investigate the issues on their own and provide better context. Unfortunately, that proved not to be the case. For instance, the Washington Post put two reporters on this story, and came up with essentially the exact same article that the Times ran. The New York Times' David Halbfinger -- the same city as the paper where Thomas Lipscomb first revealed the Phoenix Project, a VVAW assassination plot against American politicians -- actually managed to come up with less than the LAT. As the story was carried worldwide, even less...

Continue reading "Kerry, The FBI, and The Phoenix Project: The Whitewash Continues" »

John Kerry Strongarms Witnesses to 1971 VVAW Meeting?

Yesterday's New York Sun ran a story by Thomas Lipscomb following up on the attendance and participation of John Kerry at the November 1971 Vietnam Veterans Against the War debate on whether to assassinate several pro-war politicians, including Senators John Stennis, John Tower, and Strom Thurmond. Unfortunately, it requires a registration -- but Lipscomb kindly authorized my Northern Alliance colleague, Big Trunk at Power Line, to post it in its entirety today. One witness to Kerry's participation tells Lipscomb that the Kerry campaign may be engaging in a bit of witness tampering: A Vietnam veteran who said he remembers John Kerry participating in a 1971 Kansas City meeting at which an assassination plot was discussed says an official with the Kerry presidential campaign called him this month and pressured him to change his story. The veteran, John Musgrave, says he was called twice by the head of Veterans for Kerry,...

March 25, 2004

Kerry's Phoenix Project Connections Debated on MS-NBC

The work that Thomas Lipscomb has done at the New York Sun exposing John Kerry's participation in a debate on whether to assassinate several US politicians in 1971 may be gaining some traction. Last night on Joe Scarborough's show, Lipscomb himself appeared with Pat Buchanon and Lawrence O'Donnell, who apparently couldn't keep from going into hysterics over the questioning, according to Tim Graham at The Corner: "Scarborough Country" was a little wild on MSNBC last night, since usually calm liberal Lawrence O'Donnell was yelling and refusing to shut up. The topic? Whether young John F. Kerry was present at a meeting of Vietnam Veterans Against the War when they debated assassinating pro-war politicians. O'Donnell was loudly protesting that no one can remember what they were doing 33 years ago, so why would anyone focus on what Kerry did in 1971? Youthful indiscretion! Youthful indiscretion! It would have been nice if...

March 26, 2004

Kerry Embraces Tax Cuts?

John Kerry, trying to tack back to economic issues, issued a promise to create 10 million new jobs over the next four years, using corporate "tax incentives" to promote job growth: "Today, I'm announcing a new economic plan for America that will put jobs first. We will renew American competitiveness, make tough budget choices, and invest in our future. My pledge -- and my plan -- is for 10 million new jobs in the next four years." Kerry's Jobs First plan will call for the "most sweeping international tax law reform in forty years" that would give tax incentives to companies that create jobs in the United States. Kerry has spent most of the past year railing against the Bush tax cuts, which have put money back in people's pockets, and has already committed to rolling back a portion of them, especially those he's decried as "corporate welfare". Now he...

March 27, 2004

The Brewing War Over Judicial Nominations

In two articles today, one in the New York Times and the other from the Wall Street Journal, the battle lines over judicial nominations are being drawn in ever-starker terms. In the NYT, Democrats threaten to completly hijack the judicial confirmation process if President Bush doesn't swear to forego the recess appointment process: "We will be clear," the Democratic leader, Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, told his colleagues Friday morning in a pointed speech on the Senate floor. "We will continue to cooperate in the confirmation of federal judges, but only if the White House gives the assurance that it will no longer abuse the process." ... The breakdown, members of both parties said, came after Mr. Daschle met with the Senate majority leader, Bill Frist, Republican of Tennessee, this week to warn him that Democrats would block all future nominees unless they received assurances from the White House...

March 28, 2004

Kerry VVAW Files Stolen From Historian

After having spent eleven years collecting documentation on the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, historian Gerald Nicosia lost a chunk of it in one night: FBI documents about FBI surveillance of John Kerry in the early 1970s have been stolen, according to their owner, a historian who lives near San Francisco, California. Gerald Nicosia, who spent more than a decade collecting the information, said three of 14 boxes of documents plus a number of loose folders containing hundreds of pages were stolen from his home Thursday afternoon. ... "It was a very clean burglary. They didn't break any glass. They didn't take anything like cameras sitting by. It was a very professional job," Nicosia said. "Was it a thrill-seeker who wanted a piece of history? It could be," Nicosia said. "You'd think there was a very strong political motivation for taking those files. The odds are in favor of that."...

March 29, 2004

WSJ: Kerry/Phoenix Project Connection Being Ignored

John Fund writes an excellent column in today's Wall Street Journal op-ed site, OpinionJournal.com, where he notices a double standard between the coverage of the public-service records of Bush and Kerry, and how the national news media speak volumes in their silence on the Phoenix Project: Reporters spent days hounding White House spokesmen for records on the subject. In the end, it became clear that Mr. Bush chose to serve stateside during the war, was lax in attending guard duty during his last year, and had to feverishly make it up before he was honorably discharged. It's clear President Bush doesn't want to talk about his service, but reporters pressed for answers anyway. It's time they do the same for Mr. Kerry, who has laid down his actions in the Vietnam era as a marker for his character and, according to the Boston Globe, has refused to release his military...

March 30, 2004

Kerry Continues to Slide: Poll

After a week in which former national security and counterterrorism apparatchik Richard Clarke helped the Democrats beat up on George Bush by claiming he was uninterested in terrorism prior to 9/11, a new poll by CNN/Gallup/USA Today shows that someone's being hurt by it -- but it's not George Bush: Among likely voters surveyed, 51 percent said they would choose Bush for president, while 47 percent said they would vote for Kerry, within the margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points. (Full story) Three weeks ago, as Kerry was cinching the Democratic nomination with a string of primary victories, he led the president by 8 points in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup among likely voters, 52 percent to 44 percent. While that's technically within the outer reaches of the margin of error, it is the first time that Bush has polled over 50% since John Kerry won the...

March 31, 2004

Kerry Flip-Flops On Gas Prices, Campaign Tone

We may have the most gymnastic presidential candidate ever fielded in modern American history. John Kerry has mastered the art of the flip-flop, changing positions with blinding speed on such issues as the war in Iraq, funding the troops, gay marriage, and corporate taxation. Now Kerry has changed positions on the gas tax in a desperate bid to find an issue on which to recapture any momentum possible to reverse his free-falling poll numbers: Seeking to drive down crude oil prices, the Massachusetts Democrat called for a policy in which the United States applies greater pressure on oil-producing nations to increase production and said U.S. officials should temporarily suspend filling U.S. oil reserves. ... Kerry argued that diverting oil intended for U.S. reserves directly to the market will help depress gas prices, although analysts say that probably would have a negligible effect. ... The political ad released today by the...

Kerry Losing Ground In Key Swing State

In a state that George Bush would love to win and Kerry can't afford to lose, Kerry has dropped seven points in the past five weeks: John Kerry's numbers have slipped in Pennsylvania, a statewide poll released Tuesday shows. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee lost ground to President Bush in the latest poll conducted for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The Keystone poll by Franklin & Marshall College showed Bush leading Kerry 46 percent to 40 percent among 565 registered voters. Kerry lost 7 percentage points since the last Keystone poll in February. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.1 percentage points. The drop mirrors the free-fall that Kerry has experienced nationwide over the same period of time. Kerry dropped from 47% to 40% while Bush's numbers held firm at 46%, and Kerry's disapproval numbers went up the same amount. Nader's entry has pulled 3% of voters...

April 2, 2004

Slate: Cleland Poster Boy for Victimization

Michael Crowley, the assistant editor for the New Republic, writes today in Slate about one of the sacred icons of the 2004 Democratic Party, former Senator Max Cleland. Kerry has used Cleland as an example of how eeeeeeevil Republicans get when they're on the campaign trail, but Crowley questions the basis of the Dems' almost religious belief in Cleland's victimization: Cleland's image as Bush's ultimate victim suits Kerry's campaign all too well. There are no bold new ideas in the Democratic Party today, no coherent policy themes. Even Kerry's supporters are hard-pressed to explain what he stands for. What does define and unify the party is a sense of victimhoodand a lust for revenge. ... Bush and Chambliss hammered at the fact that Cleland was voting with Senate Democrats against Bush's proposed Homeland Security Department because of its infamous provision limiting union rights. The message was that Cleland was kowtowing...

April 3, 2004

Nader: The Magical Mystery Tour Is Dying to Get Off The Ground

The Washington Post profiles Ralph Nader, the consumer advocate-cum-presidential wannabe, who's busy trying to get himself on the ballot around the country. As Brian Faler notes, Nader isn't helping himself with his go-it-alone strategy: Nader's task would be easier if he accepted the presidential nomination of one of the minor parties that already have spaces reserved on some states' ballots. Some members of the Green Party, which has yet to choose its presidential candidate, want to support Nader. The Green Party nomination would give access to ballots in 23 states, thanks to the party's performance in previous elections. The Reform Party, founded by Texas billionaire Ross Perot, has offered Nader its top spot, along with its seven ballot spots. The Natural Law Party is also considering giving him its nomination and 12 ballot lines, according to John Hegelin, the group's former presidential candidate. But Zeese said Nader will not accept...

Kerry Didn't Always Master the Rope Line

Today's New York Times runs a puff piece -- typical weekend fare -- on John Kerry, this time on his supposed skills as a flesh-presser on the campaign trail: Mr. Kerry, the all-but-nominated Democratic presidential candidate, has been criticized throughout his career for an aloof, inaccessible style on the stump, and his stemwinders are a constant worry for supporters of his White House bid. Yet he is proving adept at the more intimate political ritual of the rope line: the inevitable postspeech meet-and-greet over a rope placed as a security measure to keep the crowd from the candidate. It is a daily dance that has become a central, even dominant element of his schedule. In fact, he sometimes spends more time in that kind of chitchat than in delivering substantive speeches. Jodi Wilgoren doesn't mention Kerry's most well-known rope-line moment from this campaign season, however (link to my post here):...

April 5, 2004

Kerry Flip-Flops on Education Reform

Who wrote these words about education reform? "It bothers me," the reformer wrote, "that some Democrats have resisted the idea of making educational outcomes the skills and knowledge our kids obtain from the educational system as important as educational inputs the adequate funding, the good facilities and the higher teacher pay we all want." The answer? John Kerry, in his campaign book he published just last year. However, Kerry the Candidate has reversed course and now campaigns against No Child Left Behind because of its "punitive" provisions for schools that fail to raise educational outcomes. However, the Los Angeles Times' Ronald Brownstein -- who usually acts as a reliable spin doctor for the Democrats -- unspins Kerry on this issue: After voting for President Bush's No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, Kerry, during his race to the nomination, joined the mob of Democrats condemning the education...

April 7, 2004

Kerry: Terrorists Have "Legitimate Voice"

John Kerry continues his quest towards self-destruction today in an NPR interview this morning, as he described a radical Islamist currently attacking American troops in Iraq as a "legitimate voice" who shouldn't necessarily be arrested if encountered: In an interview broadcast Wednesday morning, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry defended terrorist Shiite imam Moqtada al-Sadr as a "legitimate voice" in Iraq, despite that fact that he's led an uprising that has killed nearly 20 American GIs in the last two days. Speaking of al-Sadr's newspaper, which was shut down by coalition forces last week after it urged violence against U.S. troops, Kerry complained to National Public Radio, "They shut a newspaper that belongs to a legitimate voice in Iraq." Never mind that this "legitimate voice" used that newspaper to call for an armed revolt against the Coalition and the Iraqi provisional government. John Kerry isn't concerned with that. John Kerry sounds...

April 12, 2004

McCain Finally Gets Categorical

John McCain, who stirred up so much controversy a month ago by telling reporters that he would "entertain" an invitation to join John Kerry as his running mate, has finally gotten around to making an unequivocal statement of support for George Bush: "No, no and no. I will not leave the Republican Party. I cherish the ideals and principles of Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan," he said on NBC's "Meet The Press." ... McCain said Sunday that he believes Bush "deserves re-election." "Have we agreed on every issue? Of course not. We didn't agree on every issue when we ran against each other in a primary," he said. "I am not embarrassed to say that John Kerry is a friend of mine, but I want George Bush to be re-elected president of the United States." CNN notes that McCain is running for re-election to the Senate. I...

April 14, 2004

Hate Speech From the Left

Florida Democrats in St. Petersburg have spent too much time in the fever swamps. They ran an ad in a weekly newspaper calling for the assassination of Donald Rumsfeld, prompting outrage from Republicans and -- to their credit -- demands for an apology from the John Kerry campaign (via Drudge): The ad, appearing in last Thursday's edition of the Gabber, a weekly paper covering the Pinellas County community of Gulfport, included a lengthy criticism of the Bush administration's handling of the war in Iraq and then singled out Rumsfeld. "And then there's Rumsfeld who said of Iraq 'We have our good days and our bad days.' We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall and say 'This is one of our bad days,' and pull the trigger," the ad read under a banner "St. Petersburg Democratic Club." It won't be long before the increasingly irresponsible mouthfoaming coming from what...

April 15, 2004

The Monochromatic John Kerry

In an unusual broadside, CNN's Carlos Watson reports on an embarassing and potentially mortal flaw within the Kerry campaign -- the striking lack of diversity among his advisors: Seizing on the nation's diversity -- the country is almost one-third non-white -- Bush has appointed African-Americans, Asians, Latinos and women to senior and non-stereotypical roles: Secretary of State, national security adviser, Transportation Secretary, White House Counsel. Unlike Al Gore whose campaign manager, political director and finance director were African-American, the Kerry campaign, as of yet, has no one of color in the innermost circle, including Kerry's campaign manager, campaign chairperson, media adviser, policy director, foreign policy adviser, general election manager, convention planner, national finance chairman, and head of VP search team. This is another case of Kerry speaking out of both sides of his mouth, and a particularly egregious one at that. Democrats have long smeared Republicans with race-baiting tactics; recently,...

April 19, 2004

Gallup Poll: Bush Leads By 6

While it's still a bit too early to take polling numbers seriously, the new CNN/Gallup poll is remarkable given the attacks that the Bush administration has endured over the past few weeks: President Bush's lead over Democrat John Kerry has widened a bit in a USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll despite two weeks that have been dominated by a deteriorating security situation in Iraq and criticism of his administration's handling of the terrorism threat before the Sept. 11 attacks. The survey, taken Friday through Sunday, showed Bush leading Kerry 51% to 46% among likely voters, slightly wider than the 3-point lead he held in early April. The shifts were within the margin of error of +/ 4 percentage points in the sample of likely voters. The president's job approval rating was steady at 52%. The pollsters attribute the lack of movement to a polarized electorate, but you may just as well say...

Kerry Flip-Flops Again, Readies His Petard

Big Trunk at Power Line (and yes, it's really Big Trunk) notes that Kerry is misunderstood: he's a political comedian! I'd just say he's a joke.

April 20, 2004

Woodward Says No Secret Oil Deal, Suggests Kerry Learn to Read

After skimming Bob Woodward's new book, "Path to War," Democrats led by John Kerry have charged that the Bush administration concocted a secret deal with the Saudi royal family to lower oil prices prior to the election. Kerry ranted about the subject repeatedly over the past couple of days. But the White House, Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, and even Bob Woodward himself say that his book never made that claim: The charge that Saudi Arabia made a secret pact with President Bush to lower gasoline prices in time to help him in the November presidential election was denied Monday by the White House, the Saudi ambassador to the United States -- and even by journalist Bob Woodward, who raised the specter of such a quid pro quo in a book released Monday. "I don't say there's a secret deal or any collaboration on this," Woodward told CNN's "Larry King...

April 21, 2004

John O'Neill: Kerry No War Hero to Veterans

John O'Neill, who took over John Kerry's command of the swift boat he commanded in Vietnam after Kerry's return home, spoke out on television for the first time in over 30 years on CNN yesterday: "I saw some war heroes ... John Kerry is not a war hero," said John O'Neill, a Houston lawyer who joined the Navy's Coastal Division 11 two months after the future senator left Vietnam. "He couldn't tie the shoes of some of the people in Coastal Division 11." ... In an interview Tuesday on CNN's "Wolf Blitzer Reports," O'Neill said allegations about atrocities made by Kerry after his return render him "unfit" to be president. "His allegations that people committed war crimes in that unit, and throughout Vietnam, were lies. He knew they were lies when he said them, and they were very damaging lies," said O'Neill, adding that other former sailors from the same...

April 22, 2004

I'm With Stoopid

Normally I wouldn't post on something that the Best of the Web has already covered, mostly because I figure you'll have already seen it. However, this was just too delicious to ignore. This is the level of intelligence you see at anti-Bush protests these days: This guy can't even copy a bumper sticker without screwing up. Is this the poster boy for No Child Left Behind or what? He can't spell and doesn't know when to use an apostrophe, but he wants to call Bush an idiot. This picture should appear in Webster's Dictionary next to the definition of ironic. I'll bet he probably bought twenty copies of the paper and gave them to all his friends anyway... UPDATE: If you follow the link to the newspaper, you'll notice that I cropped the picture down a bit to focus on the sign in question. However, this hilarious photo essay from...

Drudge: Kerry Flipped On Abortion ... Long Ago

The Drudge Report has published a "developing" story that John Kerry has flip-flopped on abortion during his political career -- but the effect of this flavor of waffle will be muted or nonexistent: Kerry claimed in an interview he was "opposed to abortion." Kerry told the LOWELL SUN in October, 1972: "I would say also that it's a tragic day in the lives of everybody when abortion is looked on as an alternative to birth control or as an alternative to having a child. I think that's wrong. It should be the very last thing if it has to be anything, and I say that not just because I'm opposed to abortion but because I think that's common sense." Kerry declared: "I think the question of abortion is one that should be left for the states to decide." Drudge also reports that Kerry spoke with Sun reporter John Mullins in...

OK, Now He's Against Gas Guzzlers

Oh, that wacky John Kerry! According to his campaign website, which copied a glowing Detroit Free Press article from February 1st, Kerry's principled stand on higher corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards has made him the "nemesis" of Michigan automakers, but damn it all, he stands firmly for the environment: However, Kerry's efforts over the years to raise fuel-efficiency standards could cause him problems among some Michigan voters. In a state that is home to the auto manufacturers, Kerry is well known for his fight to tighten these standards on cars and light trucks enough to produce a fleet average of 36 miles per gallon by 2015. That would be a dramatic increase from the current 27.5 m.p.g. now required. A measure that would have raised those standards to 40 m.p.g. failed last summer to pass the Senate, which instead required the Transportation Department to consider an array of issues...

April 24, 2004

Phoenix Project Finally Makes the NY Times

After weeks of allowing Thomas Lipscomb and the New York Daily Sun to stand alone, the New York Times has finally decided to consider the notion that a presidential candidate once participated in assassination debates is news. David Halbfinger reviews the Phoenix Project in the much larger context of John Kerry's anti-war protest career but winds up, much like Candy Crowley's CNN piece yesterday, drifts towards apologetics rather than reporting (via Power Line). It starts off promising, though, raising questions about the Kerry campaigns attempts to pressure witnesses to stay silent or renounce their earlier statements: When questions were raised last month about whether a 27-year-old John Kerry had attended a Kansas City meeting of Vietnam Veterans Against the War where the assassination of senators was discussed, the Kerry presidential campaign went into action. It accepted the resignation of a campaign volunteer in Florida, Scott Camil, the member of the...

April 25, 2004

Drudge: Kerry Lied, Again

John Kerry told the Los Angeles Times on Friday that he had never even implied that he threw his own medals over the fence at the White House to protest the Vietnam War. However, Matt Drudge reports that ABC has video from 1971 that will prove Kerry lied: In an interview published Friday in the LOS ANGELES TIMES, Dem presidential hopeful John Kerry claimed he "never ever implied" that he threw his own medals during a Hill protest in 1971 to appear as an antiwar hero. But a new shock video shows John Kerry -- in his own voice -- saying he did! ABC's GOOD MORNING AMERICA is set to rock the political world Monday morning with an airing of Kerry's specific 1971 boast, sources tell the DRUDGE REPORT. The video was made by a local news station in 1971. Can this man ever tell a straight story, for Pete's...

April 26, 2004

Brownstein: Kerry Not Nuanced Enough

In today's Los Angeles Times, political reporter and Kerry supporter Ron Brownstein makes an unusual case that John Kerry eschewed nuance just when he needed it the most, as the late Randy Van Warmer once sang. Brownstein takes Kerry to task on the one issue where Kerry communicated a clear policy position, scolding him for being a bit too much like President Bush: Bush's meeting with Sharon seemed precisely the sort of unilateral, headstrong gesture that Kerry has in mind when he accuses Bush of pursuing the most arrogant and ideological foreign policy in U.S. history. So jaws dropped across Washington when Kerry responded with just one word after host Tim Russert asked him on "Meet the Press" whether he supported Bush's promises to Sharon. "Yes," Kerry said. "Completely?" Russert followed. "Yes," Kerry said again. Not much ambiguity there. Kerry probably hasn't answered an important question in so few words...

April 27, 2004

Power Line Debunks D-Bunker - Again

My colleague Scott "Big Trunk" Johnson at Power Line provided a terrific look at the Orwellian nature of the Kerry campaign by posting two screenshots of Kerry's "D-Bunker" section of his website. The first screenshot showed the D-Bunker entry on the medal-tossing exploits of the presidential candidate before his ABC appearance, while the second showed an unannounced modification by Kerry's campaign. The difference? The updated D-Bunker entry had this phrase removed: John Kerry is proud of the work he did to end the Vietnam War, and he has been consistent about the facts and the symbolism of the medal-returning ceremony. This morning, Big Trunk notes that the changes go even further back than that, and directs readers to two blogs that captured what we think are the originals. Don't miss it!...

FactCheck.Org Missing Expertise on Defense Matters (plus "Captain Ed" Defined)

FactCheck.Org, run by the Annenberg Foundation, normally does a pretty good job of providing a balanced look at the controversies of the day and applies logic and facts instead of volume and hyperbole. However, in the case of FactCheck's defense of Kerry's own defense record, they made a monumental goof that deserves a solid response: It is true that when Kerry first ran for the Senate in 1984 he did call specifically for canceling the AH-64 Apache helicopter. What the ad lacks is the historic context: the Cold War was ending and the Apache was designed principally as a weapon to be used against Soviet tanks. And in fact, even Richard Cheney himself, who is now Vice President but who then was Secretary of Defense, also proposed canceling the Apache helicopter program five years after Kerry did. The short answer to this is that there was a huge difference between...

JFK on WMD: WTF?

John Kerry can't decide what he believes about the Iraqi WMD issue, on today's Hardball with Chris Matthews. First he says he agrees with Matthews that WMD didn't exist at the time of the invasion and leverages that into a tirade against the Bush administration's honesty -- but then he executes a curious, partial reversal, as Hugh Hewitt noted on his show tonight: Key portion of the Hardball exchange this evening: Matthews: "If there was an exaggeration of WMD, exaggeration of the danger, exaggeration implicitly of the connection to al Qaeda and 9/11, what's the motive for this, what's the 'why?' Why did Bush and Cheney and the ideolouges around take us to war? Why do you think they did it?" Kerry: "It appears, as they peel away the weapons of mass destruction issue, and --we may yet find them, Chris. Look, I want to make it clear: Who knows...

April 28, 2004

Democratic Dirty-Tricks Campaign To Target NY Convention

The New York Times runs a story today on a campaign by anti-Bush protestors to infiltrate the Republican Convention in New York by signing up as volunteers, and then doing their best to disrupt the event -- a clear sign of both desperation and of a lack of respect for the political process: "Really?" said Kevin Sheekey, president of the New York City Host Committee, when told that protesters were talking about flooding the ranks of volunteers to disrupt convention operations. The city is obligated to find a total of 8,000 New Yorkers to volunteer to help things run smoothly, and would-be protesters are hoping that by signing up, they can work from the inside during the convention, scheduled Aug. 30 through Sept. 2. For some reason, the Times headlines this article "G.O.P. Protesters Plan to Infiltrate Convention as Volunteers," leaving the impression that the protestors are Republicans. However, even...

April 29, 2004

Kerry's Diversity Problem, Part II

CNN's Inside Politics continues its look at the Kerry campaign's diversity problems, which I described on the air on the Northern Alliance Radio Network as The Incredible Whiteness of Being. Since Carlos Watson's original piece appeared on CNN talking about the fact that almost all of his campaign's decision-making positions have been filled with Caucasians, representatives from traditionally Democratic minority groups have begun to make their displeasure known. Typically, the same people who would scream bloody murder if Bush's campaign or his cabinet had a similar composition are now busy making excuses for Kerry: Some black officials and independent analysts expressed concerned about the campaign's lack of racial diversity. Campaign officials and the leader of the Congressional Black Caucus said the criticism was unfounded. "I am concerned about diversity, but more importantly I am concerned about the experience in that diversity -- senior policy people who know people from one...

April 30, 2004

Kerry's Diversity Problems Grow: NYT

In a sign that John Kerry may be experiencing some real damage from his monochromatic senior campaign staff, the New York Times covers criticism from minority groups on the Kerry campaign's lack of diversity in much greater detail than CNN's article from yesterday. The normally supportive Jodi Wilgoren writes in today's Times that not only is the protest more widespread than CNN reported, but more passionate as well: For weeks, Senator John Kerry savored a Democratic Party that was unified in rallying behind his presidential candidacy. But in recent days, influential black and Hispanic political leaders whom the campaign had counted on for support have been openly complaining that Mr. Kerry's organization lacks diversity and is failing to appeal directly to minority voters. Even as Mr. Kerry spoke here on Thursday to the National Conference of Black Mayors an appearance his community outreach team viewed as critical to building...

May 1, 2004

Kerry Foreign Policy: A Distinction Without A Difference

John Kerry continued his attempt to differentiate himself from George Bush on Iraq policy yesterday in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, following Dick Cheney's widely-criticized political speech last week at the same venue. The Los Angeles Times reports that Kerry continues to expound on "international cooperation" without explaining how that differs from what the US is doing now: Sen. John F. Kerry challenged President Bush on Friday to engage in personal diplomacy to try to repair relationships with other influential nations and gain their support for an international mission in Iraq. During a 30-minute address at Westminster College here, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee pledged to support his rival's policy in Iraq if Bush pursued that effort. ... He urged the president to form a political coalition with the United Kingdom, France, Russia, China and other nations to endorse the effort to stabilize Iraq and back the...

Are The Vultures Circling?

While George Bush has taken a pounding for the past several months from an extended Democratic primary run-up, the fallout of overblown insurgencies in Iraq, and the release of two tattletale books from former advisors, the Kerry campaign has managed to move backwards in its battle against the President. In fact, the Kerry campaign has been so inept that even Democrats are willing to go on record to discuss their concerns, as the New York Times reports in tomorrow's paper: "George Bush has had three of the worst months of his presidency, but they are stuck and they've got to move past this moment," said Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign. While Ms. Brazile said she thought Mr. Kerry had the time, the political skill and the money to defeat what many Democrats described as a highly vulnerable president, she said, "This is a very crucial moment...

Imagine No John Kerry, It's What They'd Like To Do

John Tierney reports in tomorrow's New York Times, while waxing lyrical, that political scientists have confirmed that the Democrats shot themselves in the foot by front-loading their primaries to coalesce support early in the race behind one candidate. An experiment shows that their process selected the wrong one: IMAGINE there's no Iowa. No New Hampshire, too. Imagine the Democratic Party, instead of relying on a few unrepresentative voters to quickly anoint John Kerry, had allowed people across America to vet the candidates and contemplate the issues. Then Mr. Kerry might well not be the nominee, and the Democrats would stand a better chance of reaching the White House, at least according to the results of a novel experiment during the primary season. The experiment involved allowing a group of 700 people to take a longer time to get to know all of the candidates, meet to discuss their relative strengths...

May 2, 2004

Kerry Hypocrisy Writ Petty

The Boston Globe has an unintentionally hilarious piece on John Kerry this morning, which covers his efforts to wring as much political juice as he can by continued griping about Bush's National Guard service and the "Mission Accomplished" banner anniversary yesterday. Raja Mishra starts his report by noting the Senator's scattershot thinking: John F. Kerry walked into a diner here yesterday morning for a breakfast with fellow veterans, old soldiers gathered for a quiet discussion of war, death, and suffering on a day charged with political significance. He sought a low profile, but in a rare, unscripted conversation with those gathered, the Massachusetts senator questioned President Bush's wartime moral authority, suggested that Vice President Dick Cheney would face harsher scrutiny for potential war-profiteering if Democrats were in control of Congress, and vented about the tone of the presidential race [emph mine - Ed]. And all that was before he finished...

For A Guy Who Doesn't Fall Down ...

... John Kerry spends a lot of time suddenly appearing in the horizontal. This time, the SOB appears to be sand: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry took a spill from his bicycle after hitting a patch of sand during a ride Sunday afternoon, but he was uninjured, campaign officials said. Kerry was riding south on a two-lane road at about 1:00 p.m. in the direction of Walden Pond State Reservation in Concord, a quiet, suburban town about 18 miles northwest of Boston. He was approaching a stop light at the intersection with Route 2 and was slowing down when he veered left into the oncoming lane and fell, according to an Associated Press reporter who witnessed him fall. Secret Service agents and local police immediately stopped traffic while Kerry and a handful of bicycling companions moved to the shoulder. The Secret Service detail apparently stayed off the bicycles, which meant...

May 3, 2004

LA Times: Kerry Losing Ground With Latinos

The Los Angeles Times reports that the Kerry campaign has stumbled significantly in its strategy towards the Latino community in four key states, allowing the Bush campaign to get far ahead of them. In Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Florida, the Bush campaign has already built networks of precinct staffs and regional management to court Latino voters, while Kerry has none in any of these states: In each of the ... battleground states where the Latino vote is pivotal Arizona, [New Mexico], Nevada and Florida the same is true: Bush has staff and headquarters; Kerry does not. Bush also has run television ads in Spanish in each of those states; Kerry has not. Kerry's slow start in appealing to Latinos has complicated his quest to keep Bush from making inroads with a voting bloc that's expected to play a key role this year in determining who wins the...

Brownstein Clueless on VP Candidates -- Or Kerry Is

The LA Times' Ron Brownstein, who normally has good connections to the Democrats, comes up with two laughable candidates for the VP slot: Bob Kerrey and Wesley Clark. Not that these two wouldn't have their supporters -- but based on recent experience, they would only add to John Kerry's liabilities instead of balancing the ticket. Brownstein sees it differently: Conspicuously missing from that list are candidates who could reinforce Kerry's national security credentials. But two might deserve more attention than they have received. Former Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey, who won a Medal of Honor in Vietnam, was an early hawk on Al Qaeda and Hussein and has reemerged through the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks as a powerful voice for a comprehensive assault on terrorism. Even more intriguing is a name that has attracted even less attention: former NATO Supreme Commander and 2004 Democratic presidential contender Wesley K. Clark....

Bad-Blood Brothers

John Kerry may take more pounding on what supposedly is the strength of his presidential-candidate resum -- his service in Vietnam. CNS News reports that a band of Kerry's brothers in the service, which includes all of his former commanding officers and most of his colleagues during his in-country service in Vietnam, have formed a group which plans on declaring that Kerry is unfit for office: Hundreds of former commanders and military colleagues of presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry are set to declare in a signed letter that he is "unfit to be commander-in-chief." They will do so at a press conference in Washington on Tuesday. "What is going to happen on Tuesday is an event that is really historical in dimension," John O'Neill, a Vietnam veteran who served in the Navy as a PCF (Patrol Craft Fast) boat commander, told CNSNews.com . The event, which is expected to draw...

May 4, 2004

Canelos to Kerry: Exploit Vietnam Vets Now, Not Later

Peter S. Canelos must have missed reading the news yesterday, which can be the only explanation for his column in the Boston Globe this morning. Canelos wonders what happened to John Kerry's "band of brothers," a tiresome phrase that has gone from Shakespearean to sappy in the space of a few months. The BoB haven't made an appearance since Kerry clinched the nomination, and Canelos exhorts Kerry to bring them back now: The mute testimony of the veterans ennobled Kerry, shining more light on his character than the loyal gazes of Nancy Reagan or Laura Bush could ever confer on their men. Kerry seemed to grow more formidable, and his sudden surge to the nomination coincided with the veterans' arrival at his side. Now, Kerry mostly campaigns alone, with aides, local politicians, and a cranky, sleep-deprived press corps as his entourage. His much-decorated service in the Vietnam War has become...

John Kerry Courts The Jewish Vote

Sometimes it's hard not to feel sorry for John Kerry as he stumbles his way through the early part of the campaign, but he has only himself to blame. In the same day, he managed to put his foot squarely in his mouth in comments aimed at garnering the Jewish vote. As Hugh Hewitt and my colleague Big Trunk at Power Line point out, Kerry made this incredible gaffe regarding their religion: For all of its history, ADL has been self-asked to live up to one of the oldest most fundamental principles of civilization. It is actually one of the Commandments as we know: "Love your neighbor." No, it's one of the commandments as we Christians know, because it came from the lips of Jesus himself. For Jewish activists at the Anti-Defamation League, this must have been a rather jarring note. Jews have a well-founded fear of cultural domination by...

May 5, 2004

Why Not Just Have Nader Endorse Kerry?

Bruce Ackerman, opining in today's New York Times editorial section, attempts to chide Ralph Nader into making his presidential campaign completely pointless. Okay, well, making it more pointless: With Ralph Nader bobbing along at 2 percent to 7 percent in the polls, now is the time to consider whether our system is flexible enough to avoid another election in which a candidate loses the popular vote but wins the presidency. The answer is yes if Mr. Nader chooses to cooperate. In November, Americans won't be casting their ballots directly for George Bush, John Kerry or Ralph Nader. From a constitutional point of view, they will be voting for competing slates of electors nominated in each state by the contenders. Legally speaking, the decisions made by these 538 members of the Electoral College determine the next president. In the case of Mr. Bush and Mr. Kerry, electors will be named...

Bullish on Bush, Bearish on Events

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll holds an interesting trend for the presidential race -- half of the electorate are pessimistic about the direction of the country, but don't seem to be blaming Bush, who continues to slowly move farther ahead of John Kerry: Only a third of American voters believe the nation is in sound shape, but they are largely not blaming President Bush, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday, which showed Bush running slightly ahead of his Democratic opponent for president, Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. The poll of 1,012 registered voters, conducted Saturday through Monday, found that 50 percent of Americans believe that things are off on the wrong track, compared with only 33 percent who said things in the nation are generally headed in the right direction. The rest said that prospects were mixed or that they were not sure....

May 6, 2004

Foreign Endorsements: Not Everyone Roots for Kerry

John Kerry got into hot water for telling a whopper earlier this year about foreign leaders who supposedly told him that he had to win this election so Bush would be out of the picture. Not only did he refuse to name any of these leaders, but he made an ass of himself by shouting down a voter who questioned him at a town-hall style meeting. Kerry continued to insist, when news organizations proved he hadn't had an opportunity to even be in the same city as a foreign leader for over a year, that one could meet up with foreign leaders in restaurants. Well, now Bush has a public endorsement from a foreign leader, and it comes from a surprising source -- conservative, Islamic Pakistan: [Pakistani Prime Minister] Zafarullah Khan Jamali's comment was a rare taking-of-sides by a world leader in another country's election, and one that is particularly...

A Moment To Acknowledge Our Humanity

Hindrocket at Power Line directs our attention to a story, with accompanying photograph, from the Cincinatti Enquirer about a moment on the campaign trail where we can remember that despite all of the partisan vitriol and rhetoric, we are all Americans. George Bush, making a campaign appearance in Lebanon, OH, shook hands with the crowd who had gathered to enthusiastically greet him. As he did, the following incident briefly made everyone forget about campaigns and speeches: Lynn Faulkner, his daughter, Ashley, and their neighbor, Linda Prince, eagerly waited to shake the president's hand Tuesday at the Golden Lamb Inn. He worked the line at a steady campaign pace, smiling, nodding and signing autographs until Prince spoke: "This girl lost her mom in the World Trade Center on 9-11." Bush stopped and turned back. "He changed from being the leader of the free world to being a father, a husband and...

May 7, 2004

The Kerrys Toss Out A Deadly Red Herring

The New York Times reports that Teresa Heinz-Kerry told Barbara Walters that she once almost had an abortion in the 1970s but a miscarriage made it unnecessary, in an interview that will be aired tonight: Teresa Heinz Kerry told a television interviewer this week that she had planned to have an abortion in the mid-1970's after discovering that cortisone she took while unaware of her pregnancy could cause birth defects but that she had a miscarriage the night before the scheduled procedure. "I'm pro-choice, because I'd like to have that choice myself," Mrs. Heinz Kerry, the wife of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Senator John Kerry, told Barbara Walters in an interview scheduled to be broadcast on Friday night on the "20/20" program on ABC. "I presume that most women will look at a choice like that as a terrible choice. But they should be given the chance to make...

May 9, 2004

Torricelli Option Goes Mainstream

Howard Kurtz, the political correspondent for the Washington Post, writes in his column tomorrow about the Torricelli option, perhaps the first time it has received mainstream attention. Kurtz notes the despair and panic amongst the Democrats about just how bad a candidate Kerry really is, and how the alternatives are being considered: "John Kerry Must Go." That Village Voice headline may be a tad dramatic, but stories about disaffected Democrats are spreading like wildfire through the media forest. ... Strange as it seems, given that Kerry swept to the nomination, at least a few chattering-class members are discussing the Torricelli option, a reference to the replacement of scandal-scarred Robert Torricelli on the New Jersey ballot late in the 2002 U.S. Senate campaign. "Look for the Dem biggies, whoever they are these days, to sit down with the rich and arrogant presumptive nominee and try to persuade him to take a...

May 10, 2004

Zogby Falls Down

John Zogby writes an entertaining essay explaining why, in his opinion, the presidential election belongs to John Kerry. Zogby, whose polling data provided equal parts entertainment and incredulity in past elections, makes the strange assumption that a focus on the economy in the middle of an expansion will hurt the incumbent: First, my most recent poll (April 12-15) shows bad re-election numbers for an incumbent President. Senator Kerry is leading 47% to 44% in a two-way race, and the candidates are tied at 45% in the three-way race with Ralph Nader. Significantly, only 44% feel that the country is headed in the right direction and only 43% believe that President Bush deserves to be re-elected - compared with 51% who say it is time for someone new. In that same poll, Kerry leads by 17 points in the Blue States that voted for Al Gore in 2000, while Bush leads...

May 11, 2004

NYT Indulges in Pointless Red/Blue Rhetoric

Rick Lyman writes an odd analysis for the New York Times this morning regarding the supposedly red-meat rhetoric that the two major candidates for President use when preaching to the choir. Lyman sets up his analysis based on the red/blue state paradigm, but then assigns Louisiana blue-state status when Bush carried it by 8 points in 2000 and leads by 14 points now. He seems to get closer by referring to Ohio as a red state, as Bush edged Gore there by 4 points, but only leads by 2 now. If Lyman's research is poor, the rest of his analysis is equally suspect, as he quotes the candidates and their supporters using pretty much the same rhetoric they use anywhere: To applause and angry shouts, Mr. Kerry, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, told them not to be discouraged by Bush campaign efforts to paint him as an out-of-touch Northeast liberal....

May 12, 2004

The FEC Calls For A Punt

Faced with a tidal wave of unchecked money flowing to 527s in this election cycle, the Federal Election Commission response has revealed it to be completely unprepared to deal with the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reforms enacted in the last session of Congress. Now FEC lawyers want even more time to review the law before making decisions on how they apply to the 527s, even though the decision would then come far too late to have any significant effect on this election: Federal Election Commission lawyers recommended Tuesday that the agency hold off on deciding whether to impose new fund raising and spending limits on tax-exempt groups, which would allow them to spend millions on ads and other activities in this year's presidential race. FEC lawyers urged the commission to take at least three more months to review the issue. If the FEC approves the recommendation, it would make it unlikely the...

If He Can't Figure This Out ...

John Kerry continued his irresponsible rhetoric this morning on the Don Imus show, again insisting on the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and claiming that changing DoD leadership in time of war would have no effect: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) said Wednesday any number of people, including Republican Sens. John McCain and John Warner, could replace Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, rejecting concerns that a change in Pentagon (news - web sites) leadership could hurt the war effort. "If America has reached a point where only one person has the ability in our great democracy to manage the Pentagon and to continue or to put in place a better policy even, we're in deeper trouble than you think," Kerry told broadcaster Don Imus. "I don't accept that. I just don't accept that. I think that's an excuse. The fact is that we need a...

Nader May Accept Reform Party Endorsement

In a move that has to worry Democratic Party leadership, the Reform Party officially endorsed Ralph Nader for President today, allowing him access to ballots in seven states: Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader has been endorsed by the national Reform Party, giving him ballot access in seven states, including Florida and Michigan, party leaders announced Wednesday. Nader spokesman Kevin Zeese said Nader welcomes the support but plans to continue running as an independent. He said Nader would decide on a case-by-case basis whether to accept the ballot lines in each state. The Democrats need to win both Florida and Michigan if they are to win the White House in 2004. Michigan went to the Democrats in 2000 by 4 points, about the same lead Kerry has in a two-way race right now. Florida, of course, went to Bush -- eventually -- by the slimmest of margins in 2000, and many...

May 15, 2004

A Great Example Of The Left's Hypocrisy On Race

The Left tosses another double standard at the Republicans today in an op-ed piece in today's Los Angeles Times. Lawrence Weschler, author and academic, writes a smirking, breathless piece on the audacity of George Bush to include pictures of black people on his website. Oh, the scandal! Of course, the lack of minorities in John Kerry's inner circle never quite comes up: Quick. Before they take it down. Go to your computer, log on to http://www.georgewbush.com the official Bush/Cheney '04 reelection website. ... Nice big picture of Bush merrily shooting the breeze with two black teenage girls. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and you'll find a quadrant labeled Compassion Photos, with the invitation, "Click here for the Compassion Photo Album." Do so. And let's see, what have we got? First one up: short-sleeved Bush, holding a black kid in his arms, a bleacher full of black...

McCain: The Canary In The Mine of Democratic Desperation

The New York Times continues to insist that John Kerry wants Republican Senator John McCain to fill out the bottom of the Democratic ticket in November. Sheryl Gay Stolberg and reliable Kerry hack Jodi Wilgoren report from that even some Democrats often named as potential VP choices dream abut a Kerry-McCain ticket: Despite weeks of steadfast rejections from Senator John McCain, some prominent Democrats are angling for him to run for vice president alongside Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, creating a bipartisan ticket that they say would instantly transform the presidential race. The enthusiasm of Democrats for Mr. McCain, an Arizona Republican, is so high that even some who have been mentioned as possible Kerry running mates including Senator Bill Nelson of Florida and Bob Kerrey, the former Nebraska senator are spinning scenarios about a "unity government," effectively giving Mr. Kerry a green light to reach across the...

May 20, 2004

Navel-Gazing In New Jersey

Everyone says the same thing about polls in the spring -- they don't mean anything, it's still too early, lots of things could change, yada yada yada. They may not make a good predictor of the eventual outcome, but they certainly indicate how campaigns are performing -- and in heavily-Democratic New Jersey, the Kerry campaign has just received a shock: Forty-six percent of the respondents support Kerry, 43 percent back Bush, and 5 percent would vote for independent candidate Ralph Nader. The poll, released Thursday, has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3 percentage points. Among independent voters polled, Kerry and Bush are about even in the race for New Jersey's 15 electoral votes. Kerry's favorability is poor in New Jersey, which Al Gore won by 16 percentage points in 2000. Twenty-seven percent approve of the Democrat, 28 percent don't and 33 percent are mixed, according to the...

May 21, 2004

Kerry, The Reluctant Bride

The presumptive Democratic nominee for President, John Kerry, wishes to remain "presumptive" as long as possible, it seems. Party activists now propose to have Kerry wait as long as possible to accept the nomination in order to avoid campaign-spending limits that kick in once the nomination is made: Sen. John Kerry may postpone accepting his party's presidential nomination at the July Democratic convention -- a tactic aimed at reserving his campaign war chest for the fight against President Bush. Under federal campaign rules, once a candidate accepts the party nomination, the campaign is limited to spending around $75 million. So, just as with the proliferation of 527s and MoveOn, we have the party of campaign-finance reform manipulating the rules on which they insisted for their own gain. If nothing else illustrates the futility and hypocrisy of classifying money into silly little categories, the spectacle of a major-party nominee addressing a...

If They're Unhappy Now ...

Boston reacted in disbelief and anger at the proposed closing of major highways for the four-day Democratic National Convention in July, and some businesses now may furlough workers during the week and close down: Boston business owners and area motorists reacted with disbelief and fury on Friday to plans to shut down major highways for security reasons during this summer's Democratic National Convention. ... Convention planners had already said one of Boston's two main train stations and some roads would close during the event. But on Thursday, officials unveiled a more draconian set of traffic restrictions involving several miles of highways. At the same time, they launched a new public relations campaign entitled "Let's Work Around It" which urges residents to adjust travel plans and asks businesses to let employees work from home or take vacation. In response, Boston's radio airwaves echoed with howls of protest from angry commuters, and...

May 22, 2004

Boston Awakes To A $15 Million Scam

The Boston Globe carries local reaction this morning to the Democrats' surprise announcement yesterday that the Democratic nominating convention may not produce a nominee. Needless to say, for a city that spening millions of dollars and proposing a week of major highway blockages and business shutdowns for the convention, the prospect of suffering all of this for a "pep rally" does not amuse Bostonians in the least: Local organizers were caught off-guard by the Kerry campaign yesterday. Mayor Thomas Menino told WBZ-TV, "I was very suprised by it." This week's announcements of road closings for the convention have already taken a toll, he said. "After being beat up two days, and now this. . . . It's just a question about why this wasn't brought up earlier." ... Raising the stakes for the city and state, too, the Democratic Party has received about $15 million in taxpayer funds to hold...

Village Voice Flashback: Kerry Obstructed POW/MIA Investigation

John Kerry released new advertisements this month designed to shore up his credentials on foreign policy and veterans' affairs. Among the statements made in the advertisements made in his support promoted Kerry's efforts in investigating the POW/MIA issue, along with John McCain, whose partnership Kerry's ads also promote. As Kerry says on his campaign blog: John Kerry and Senator John McCain chaired the country's most thorough investigation into the fate of POW/MIAs in Southeast Asia. Kerry has personally pressed Vietnamese officials to cooperate in ongoing efforts to get answers for families. And he also sponsored POW/MIA Recognition Day. Kerry's Senate committee pressed for unparalleled declassification of documents, increased excavation work in Vietnam, and gathering of testimony from 144 witnesses. According to the Boston Globe, "the effort produced real answers for the some 120 families who had lived for decades without knowing whether a loved one was still alive in Southeast...

Al Franken Calls For Voter Fraud To Elect Kerry

Ben Wikler, from Al Franken's Air America blog, has called for Democrats in safe states to move to so-called "battleground states," using Civil War imagery to promote the strategy of voter fraud in the latest example of left-wing contempt for democratic process (posted here and scroll down to 5/18/04, at the Permalink-deficient Air America website: Just as 1850s Kansas became a battleground in the fight against slavery, so has 2000s Ohio become a battleground state--in fact, some say, the battleground state--in the fight for the White House. If we win in Ohio, we almost certainly win the entire election. And we can win. But it will take some work. The most important factor, of course, is the work being done by Ohioans. But those of us in the rest of the nation could tip the balance. As the office of the Ohio Secretary of State notes, only 30 days of...

May 23, 2004

John Kerry, Wiseguy

Drudge has a report this morning that John Kerry remarked to a group of reporters about George Bush taking a tumble off of his bike on Friday at his Crawford ranch. According to Drudge: Kerry told reporters in front of cameras, 'Did the training wheels fall off?'... Reporters are debating whether to treat it is as on or off the record... Developing... Hmmm. Well, in case anyone has forgotten, the paragon of athletic accomplishment has two tumbles to his credit -- one on his own bicycle earlier this month, and one off his snowboard in Idaho. (Actually, make that last one six falls.) Regarding the Idaho incident, Kerry handled that with as much grace as he apparently shows for Bush's tumble. As I blogged at the time: As Senator John Kerry carved his Burton snowboard down a green rated Upper College run, another skier interrupted his stride, colliding with the...

The Kerry Fire Drill Strategy

The Washington Post reviews the latest weather-vaning going on at the John Kerry campaign in an article humorously titled "Kerry Broadens Scope of His Pitch." Instead, Jim VanderHei and Dan Balz document the essence of the Kerry campaign as it has bounced between constituencies like a pinball at the arcade, promising centrism to one audience while defending leftist policies to another, and all the while with Democrats excusing his shiftiness as necessary to win the White House regardless of his misrepresentations. For example, Kerry's allies have not only pressured John McCain to accept the VP role but also Chuck Hagel, another Republican, despite significant policy differences. The Post never mentions anything about Kerry's outreach to Democrats, leaving the impression that Kerry's handlers believe that only a bipartisan ticket will win in November. In other policy venues, Kerry continues to play both sides of the fence, with increasing shamelessness: Despite the...

May 24, 2004

Bostonians Not Pleased With The Empty-Convention Tactic

John Kerry may be on the road today for his presidential campaign, and as far as some Bostonians are concerned, he should stay there. Beantowners aren't pleased at all to have spent a fortune on a nominating convention that won't nominate anyone, and both Boston dailies blast Kerry this morning. First, we have Adrian Walker in the Globe offering to write Kerry's non-speech for his non-nomination: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, delegates. Thank you, you suckers from ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, and FOX, for attending our nominating -- pardon me, our four-day "unity conference." ... I'd like to say a few words about my good friend Tom Menino, the mayor of this great city. Mayor, all Democrats owe you a debt of gratitude for your tireless efforts in shaking down everyone in town to raise money for this fabulous shindig. People will say it was all for nothing, that...

Ralph Nader, Political Advisor to Democrats

John Kerry has been given plenty of advice on selecting his candidate for Vice President; pundits and politicos alike have weighed in on the matter. Some even have suggested picking a Republican, apparently convinced that there are no qualified Democrats. (I've suggested that they need to address the same problem at the top of the ticket.) The AP reports today that one more politico has met with Kerry and extended his advice -- only the man in question intends on running against John Kerry in the general election: Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader said he had advised John Kerry to choose North Carolina Sen. John Edwards or Missouri Rep. Dick Gephardt as his running mate on the Democratic ticket. ... "They're very careful," Nader said Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "They're not going to cause him any embarrassment. And they do bring an additional voter support for him." The advice...

May 25, 2004

Nader, with Tinfoil Hat

Ralph Nader made a campaign detour through Tinfoil Hatville on his way to Manhattan, calling for President Bush's impeachment -- five months before the general election -- and saying that the terrorist threat to the US has been exaggerated mere blocks away from Ground Zero: Ralph Nader, the independent candidate for president, condemned President George W. Bush yesterday as a "messianic militarist" who should be impeached for pushing the nation into a war in Iraq "based on false pretenses." Mr. Bush's actions "rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors," Mr. Nader said in a speech to the Council on Foreign Relations in Manhattan. He said Mr. Bush had exceeded his authority in the face of widespread opposition at home and abroad. "The founding fathers did not want the declaration of war put in the hands of one man," he said, contending that United States foreign policy goals are...

The Libertarian Threat?

CBS News makes quite a splash today with an analysis of the presidential election and the impact that the Libertarian Party will have on conservative voters this fall. Despite a decades-long history of utter futility and the consistent selection of obscure candidates, suddenly CBS thinks that a Libertarian challenge to Bush's war and budget policies could spell the difference between his re-election and his defeat: With conservatives upset over the ballooning size of the federal government under a Republican White House and Congress and a portion of the political right having opposed the war in Iraq from the start or else dismayed at how it's being handled the Libertarian nominee, who will be on the ballot in 49 states, may do for Democrats in 2004 what Nader did for Republicans in 2000. It is a hypothesis not yet made in the mainstream media. But interviews with third-party experts...

May 26, 2004

John Kerry, The Lonely Guy

Another Democrat makes it clear that no one from his party is as qualified to be Vice President as a Republican by again suggesting John McCain as Kerry's running mate. Only this time, the Democrat making the suggestion is presumed VP short-list candidate Dick Gephardt: Representative Richard A. Gephardt, the Missouri Democrat who has often been mentioned as a running mate for Senator John Kerry, is talking kindly about another choice: Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona. Asked after a speech in California on Monday what he thought of Mr. McCain's potential for the Democratic presidential ticket, Mr. Gephardt described him as a "very attractive figure in American politics" who "would be accepted by the Democratic Party," according to CNN. Mr. McCain is "someone a lot of Democrats could get interested in," Mr. Gephardt said at the Leon Panetta Center in Monterrey. Gephardt's comments come just days after Ralph Nader...

Well, If It's Not Too Much Trouble

John Kerry has deigned to accept the nomination for the Democratic presidential ticket at the nominating convention, apparently deciding that playing games with both his hometown power base and the $15 million in federal funding would be too stupid, even for his campaign: Bowing to pressure, John Kerry decided Wednesday to accept the nomination at the Democratic presidential convention in July, scuttling a plan to delay the formality so he could narrow President Bush's public money advantage. ... The statement ended four days of controversy over an idea that was supposed to remain a secret for several more weeks. This ends yet another tone-deaf episode for John Kerry and his campaign staff, who demonstrated that they have no talent for national politics, and possibly even state and local politics are beyond them. Not only is this illustrated by the entire foolish notion of delaying the acceptance of the nomination, but...

May 27, 2004

The Nader Effect

As the LA Times reports in its analysis today, John Kerry's campaign strategy on Iraq has come under fire from both sides, as George Bush continues to push for greater international involvement in Iraqi reconstruction and Nader stumps for withdrawal, an option increasingly popular with Kerry's base: From one side, Kerry confronts calls from growing numbers of Democrats to establish a deadline for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq. That idea will receive a major boost today when Win Without War, a coalition of 42 liberal groups, launches a campaign urging the U.S. to set a date for ending its military presence in Iraq. From the other direction, Bush has come much closer to Kerry's view that the U.S. should rely more on the United Nations to oversee the transition from occupation to a sovereign Iraqi government, thus blurring the contrast between the two men. In the long run, these shifts...

May 28, 2004

Kerry: Looking Backwards On Security

John Kerry talks about strengthening security and fighting terrorists, saying earlier this week that those who plan to attack us should understand that he would hunt them down and kill them, if he became president. However, The New York Times reports today that the foreign policy/national security team he has assembled for his campaign represents a flashback to eight years of the so-called "law-enforcement approach" that culminated in the 9/11 attack: Seated in leather swivel chairs in the glass-walled conference room at Senator John Kerry's Washington campaign headquarters two Fridays ago was a veritable reunion of President Bill Clinton's national security team: Madeleine K. Albright, Samuel R. Berger, William J. Perry and Gen. John M. Shalikashvili. Richard C. Holbrooke joined his former colleagues via conference call from Tokyo. ... Besides the Clintonites and Mr. Biden, those in the loop or on its fringe include former Senator Gary Hart, who ran...

May 29, 2004

Kerry: Democracy Not Important

In words that echo his 1971 Senate testimony on the Vietnam war, John Kerry told the Washington Post that establishing democracy would not be a priority of a Kerry administration, preferring to work on more pressing issues other than liberty and freedom: Sen. John F. Kerry indicated that as president he would play down the promotion of democracy as a leading goal in dealing with Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, China and Russia, instead focusing on other objectives that he said are more central to the United States' security. ... In many ways, Kerry laid out a foreign-policy agenda that appeared less idealistic about U.S. aims than President Bush or even fellow Democrat former president Bill Clinton. While Kerry said it was important to sell democracy and "market it" around the world, he demurred when questioned about a number of important countries that suppress human rights and freedoms. He said securing...

A Clinton Rescue?

You won't read this in American newspapers, but the London Telegraph reports that the John Kerry presidential campaign has decided that they need Bill Clinton to energize the lackluster candidate that John Kerry has proved to be: Top advisers to the Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry, have asked Bill Clinton to play a starring role in the final months of the Massachusetts senator's campaign. ... "There has been talk about the danger of Bill Clinton overshadowing John," said a senior Democrat last week, "but the decision has been taken to accept him as being centre stage and hope that some of the magic rubs off". After spending the past few months worrying that the release of Clinton's memoirs, due in mid-June, would drown out the struggling Kerry campaign as Clinton attracted all of the limelight, the Democrats now appear to hope that Kerry gets buried. As has been remarked by...

May 30, 2004

CBS Poll Skewed, Biased Against Bush

Note: This originally was going to be an update on my post from yesterday noting the desperation at the Kerry campaign and their plan to bring in Bill Clinton to boost Kerry on the stump. After being challenged in the comments about polling numbers, I intended on giving a brief explanation ... but you know how 'brief' I can get ... The recent CBS News poll, published May 24th, showed a dramatic increase in support for John Kerry and an equally significant drop in George Bush's approval ratings. It looked as though John Kerry had finally achieved some traction in the race, using his new advertising campaign to attack Bush at a vulnerable point and building some momentum towards the convention. CBS' poll got massive exposure in the mainstream media and generated a huge amount of buzz in the blogosphere. The poll only has one problem. It lies. Just to...

John Tierney Attempts Spin Control

The New York Times' John Tierney reviews the John Kerry nomination two-step in his political roundup today, noting that the episode has some of the earmarks of a trial balloon. If that's the case, Tierney's piece has all of the indicators of spin control, trying to give the Kerry campaign a boost it doesn't deserve for this debacle: The news broke on a Friday afternoon, politicians' favorite time for leaking problematic stories they hope will not get noticed by the public over the weekend. At first glance, it looked like a radical idea being put out discreetly to test reaction among the chattering classes a classic trial balloon. But campaign officials have steadfastly insisted, on and off the record, that the leak was not authorized, and other Democrats say they believe them. As one well-connected Democratic strategist noted, it was hard to believe professionals would have planned this one....

May 31, 2004

Libertarian Nonsense No Threat To Two-Party System ... Again

Jon at QandO points out that the Libertarian Party has nominated its selection for President -- the selection that CBS News breathlessly suggested last week would create a threat on the Republican's right flank. Jon, who regularly blogs on libertarian issues and philosophy, can't wait to not support Michael Bednarik: I mean, really. It's like the LP is competing with PETA to see who can appear more ridiculous in pursuit of Idealism. 10 out of 10 for standing on principle, but minus a few thousand for doing it in a clown costume. Why does Jon get so cynical about the Libertarian Party? As Jon suggests, take a look at the approach on issues that their candidate espouses, and try to think how these will go over with either the left or the right of the political spectrum in November: Children take drugs because criminals actively sell them. Criminals sell drugs...

June 1, 2004

Trouble Brewing In New Jersey For Kerry

The Washington Post's Evelyn Nieves analyzes John Kerry's poor polling in New Jersey, a traditional Democratic bastion of support that Al Gore carried by sixteen points in 2000. Recent polls indicate Kerry's support drifting downwards, to the point where the Quinnipiac poll of 5/10-16 shows Bush within the margin of error in a three-way race. Democratic activists proclaim their confidence in the safety of New Jersey, but as Nieves reports, privately they express concern over the lack of momentum in the Kerry campaign: Democratic Party officials here and nationally dismissed the poll as a fluke. They pointed to the fundraising records that Kerry is breaking, to the polls that keep looking better for him as they get worse for Bush, and to the attention that Kerry will receive when the news focuses more on the campaign. One poll in New Jersey, they added, will not stand up when the state's...

Can We Just Stick To The Debate?

The ever-reliable NewsMax (hah!) ran a story today that my friends on the right just can't resist -- that John Kerry, in the middle of a presidential campaign, with every major media outlet haunting each step, on a day honoring fallen American soldiers, flipped the bird to a protesting veteran: Democratic senator - and certain presidential nominee - John F. Kerry gave the middle finger to a Vietnam veteran at the Vietnam Memorial Wall on Memorial Day morning, NewsMax.com has learned. ... Just then Kerry - in front of the school children, other visitors and Secret Service agents - brazenly 'flashed the bird' at Sampley and then yelled out to everyone, "Sampley is a felon!" Look, as anyone who reads my blog knows, I am no fan of the most liberal Massachussetts Senator. I think he's dangerously vacillating, pompous, and narcissistic. But he's no idiot, and the last thing John...

Raines Rants, Advises Kerry To Lie Better

Howell Raines writes an editorial in tomorrow's London Guardian expressing serious concerns about John Kerry as a candidate, and in the process exposes the obvious bias he inculcated into the New York Times as editor-in-chief before his ignominious fall from the Jayson Blair affair. Raines' Bush-hatred comes through, loud and clear, even while he argues persuasively that John Kerry hasn't demonstrated any of the requisite skills to beat the incumbent. First off, though, Raines displays an amazing lack of historical knowledge that explains why the New York Times only discovers homelessness during Republican administrations: As America's first war-hero candidate since John F Kennedy, he ought to be leading the national discussion on what went wrong in Iraq. Raines either forgets or never knew that the first President Bush flew fighter missions in World War II, was shot down in the Pacific, and didn't come back to the US afterwards to...

June 3, 2004

Kerry Campaign Violated Copyright, Paper Says

The presidential campaign of John Kerry, who earlier this week got flack from the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth over the use of members' images in Kerry commercials, ran into a similar issue today when a Texas newspaper accused the campaign of stealing copyrighted photographs and demanded an apology: Corpus Christi Caller-Times is asking Democrat John Kerry to apologize for what it says was the unauthorized use in a Kerry campaign commercial of photos copyrighted by the newspaper. Editor Libby Averyt said Thursday that the ad, which is not running in Texas, appeared to use photos from "South Texas Heroes," a book on veterans published by the newspaper. "No request was made to the Caller-Times for any of the photos," Averyt said. ... The newspaper's attorney, Jorge C. Rangel, on Thursday asked Kerry in a letter to stop using the ads and to apologize to the soldiers' families as...

June 4, 2004

So How Badly Do We Want To Win?

The London Telegraph reports on Republican efforts to increase their support in the African-American community, and notes that Ed Gillespie has won an endorsement from a well-known celebrity. He's a man who has been in the public eye for decades, known for his glib manner of speaking and his hairstyle. Oh, yeah, he's been convicted of manslaughter and indicted for fraud, too: This week found Mr Gillespie, a former lobbyist, on the stage of a Philadelphia jazz club, addressing the city's black business elite. He was flanked on one side by last year's Miss America, Erika Harold, statuesque in a brocade suit. On the other stood the boxing promoter, Don King, his trademark silver quiff combed a good six inches above his head. Mr King held an American flag in one hand, and wore a Stars and Stripes tie round his neck, set off by a large crown-shaped pendant, set...

Open Thread: John Kerry Says US Military Backs Him

Earlier today, John Kerry told an audience in Minneapolis that he could carry the military vote in November, despite conventional wisdom: "You'd be amazed at the number of active duty personnel who are coming up at events around the country, greeting me in ropelines or coming to rallies and telling me how important it is for us to stand up and fight for those who are not able to speak out for themselves right now for obvious reasons," Kerry said. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee added: "But the numbers of active duty people quietly coming and saying we need a change, we need to build a modern military, we need to do the things necessary to protect our troops, we need to have all our allies on the ground in Iraq ... that's what this race is about." I'm not qualified to comment on this (like that's ever stopped me)...

June 6, 2004

The Kerry Response: Classy, And Something More?

John Kerry responded to the passing of Ronald Reagan with class and restraint yesterday, even deciding to allow for a pause in his campaign schedule to attend a Reagan memorial today and possibly for a few days more. Kerry, speaking about the opposition's greatest inspiration for generations, said this in a press release shortly after the news of Reagan's death went public: Even when he was breaking Democrats hearts, he did so with a smile and in the spirit of honest and open debate," Kerry said in a statement. "The differences were real, but because of the way President Reagan led, he taught us that there is a big difference between strong beliefs and bitter partisanship. Another quote in the same release, however, has Kerry's political fingerprints all over it, and points towards a possible strategy for Kerry to use to attract swing voters with lasting affection for the 40th...

June 7, 2004

Republican National Convention Is On Line

The Republican National Convention has a new web site for those of us who want to keep close tabs on the events in New York this summer -- for whatever reason. I received an e-mail from the GOP this morning announcing its launch: While the convention will take place inside Madison Square Garden, people all over the nation will take part in the events through our Web site. Leading up to the first day of the convention on August 30, the site will be your source for convention news; web chats with special guests, convention staff, and New York City officials; delegate information and profiles; as well as logistical information for media covering the convention. When the gavel drops, the site will host live webcasts, broadcast video web chats, and provide programming between convention sessions. Our web team is also planning to launch interactive content that will break new ground...

June 10, 2004

John Kerry's Depression

The only possible explanation for John Kerry's continued talking about the Great Depression is that he's discussing his own state of mind. The new unemployment numbers came out today, and instead of affirming Kerry's charge that this is the worst jobs market since the FDR presidency, the Labor Department that the number of people receiving unemployment benefits has dropped to its lowest level since May 2001: Even though the Labor Department reported a slight rise in first-time jobless claims, the market wasn't alarmed, given that claims are still far lower than a year ago, and the number of people currently receiving unemployment insurance is at a three-year low. ... The Labor Department said there were 352,000 first-time unemployment claims last week, up 12,000 from the week before but down from 424,000 in the same week a year ago. In addition, the number of people drawing unemployment insurance fell by 106,000...

June 12, 2004

No Means No, Even For Senators (Sometimes)

John Kerry continues to embarrass himself by making passes at John McCain, fellow Senator and Vietnam veterran, trying through intermediaries to seduce him into joining the Democratic ticket as a VP choice. The AP reports this afternoon that McCain has now categorically told Kerry that he won't consider running on Kerry's ticket, no matter how much the Democrats beg: Republican Sen. John McCain has personally rejected John Kerry's overtures to join the Democratic presidential ticket and forge a bipartisan alliance against President Bush, The Associated Press has learned. Kerry has asked McCain as recently as late last month to consider becoming his running mate, but the Arizona senator said he's not interested, said a Democratic official who spoke on condition of anonymity because Kerry has insisted that his deliberations be kept private. A second official familiar with the conversations confirmed the account, and said the Arizona senator made it clear...

June 13, 2004

Maybe He Doesn't Know The Law

Ralph Nader, who gained fame as a consumer-advocate lawyer, appears to need a brush-up course on electoral and tax law. The Washington Post reports that Nader has housed his campaign headquarters in the offices of his tax-exempt charity Citizen Works since October: Tax law explicitly forbids public charities from aiding political campaigns. Violations can result in a charity losing its tax-exempt status. In addition, campaign law requires candidates to account for all contributions -- including shared office space and resources, down to the use of copying machines, receptionists and telephones. Records show many links between Nader's campaign and the charity Citizen Works. For example, the charity's listed president, Theresa Amato, is also Nader's campaign manager. The campaign said in an e-mail to The Washington Post that Amato resigned from the charity in 2003. But in the charity's most recent corporate filing with the District, in January, Amato listed herself as...

June 14, 2004

Gephardt? He Could Do Worse

US News and World Report have a cryptic, two-sentence, anonymously sourced report that John Kerry has decided to pick Dick Gephardt, the retired House Minority Leader, as his VP nominee: Labor leaders believe union friend Rep. Dick Gephardt has the inside track to be Sen. John Kerry 's vice president. We hear that AFL-CIO execs say it's a done deal. Gephardt makes an interesting choice for Kerry, and in some ways a very sensible one. Gephardt has decades of experience and more political heft than Kerry outside of New England, especially (as noted) with labor. Gephardt also ran towards the center on the war on terror; only he and Joe Lieberman actually gave wholehearted support to the removal of Saddam Hussein, although both felt the aftermath was planned poorly and made numerous suggestions for changes. Gephardt also could carry Missouri, which went for Bush in 2000 by four points and...

June 16, 2004

Boston's 3-Ring Circus Over Budget

Washington's WTOP website carries an AP report that the Democratic National Convention is a whopping $5M over budget, with six weeks to go before the festivities begin: The Democratic National Convention will be more than $5 million over budget due to increased construction costs and unexpected production expenses. Construction on the FleetCenter sports arena, site of the event, began last week after a delay due to union protests and is slated to cost $13.9 million, up from an original estimate of $10.7 million, according to Democratic National Convention Committee spokeswoman Peggy Wilhide. ... Convention organizers also approved a $9.1 million production budget this week, up from a projected cost of $6 million. Much of the increase stems from higher-than-expected labor costs, Wilhide said, and other additional expenses that were not anticipated two years ago when the budget was planned. Labor costs are 50 percent higher in Boston than Los Angeles,...

Still Missing His Rabies Shot

Alert reader and fellow blogger Marc from Cranial Cavity forwarded me this link to a Union-Leader article from Sunday, which reports on Al Gore's screech speech to a Manchester, NH Democratic fundraiser. It looks like what James Taranto calls the "erstwhile veep" has not yet stopped foaming at the mouth regarding his nemesis from 2000, George Bush: Al Gore last night charged President Bush has endangered Americas position in the world with a mistaken invasion of Iraq and by flaunting international convention. This was done in our name. This changes for many in the world the meaning of America, the image of America, Gore told 300 Democrat powerbrokers at a fundraiser for the city party. In a fiery 40 minute speech, the former vice president knocked the Bush administration for using wrong information to justify the invasion, in particular for relying on Iraqi dissident Ahmed Chalabi, who has since been...

June 17, 2004

AP: Vilsack VP Chances Muy Malo

The AP, analyzing the heightening suspense as John Kerry decides on his running mate, reports that Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack's prospects look poor after a review of his record shows that Vilsack signed a measure making English the state's official language: Iowa's English-only measure and dozens like it nationwide draw virtually unanimous and vehement opposition from Hispanics, an important Democratic constituency, who view them as thinly veiled racism. Hispanics, the nation's largest and fastest-growing minority group, are being eagerly courted by Democrat John Kerry and President Bush. ... The English-only bill was hotly debated for two years before it passed the Republican-controlled Legislature in February 2002. Liberal and labor groups urged Vilsack to veto it and staged vigils at his home and the Statehouse. Backers cited polls showing overwhelming support for the bill and said they were hardly surprised that he signed it. The law makes English the state's official...

George and John, Together Again For The First Time

The Washington Post, having done almost everything imaginable to feed the rumors of a John Kerry-John McCain Democratic ticket until McCain finally scotched the rumor for at least the third time, now wants to backtrack and bring their meme into reality. Today's report by Dan Balz and Mike Allen now say that Bush and McCain have reached out to each other in the personages of Karl Rove and John Weaver: After being courted by John F. Kerry to consider joining the Democratic presidential ticket, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will join President Bush on Air Force One on Friday and introduce him at a campaign event in Reno, Nev., campaign officials said yesterday. Bush and McCain have had a frosty relationship ever since competing for the Republican nomination in 2000, and Bush aides have fumed at McCain's occasional barbs in televised interviews during which he was asked repeatedly about the vice...

Pew Poll Demonstrates Bush Hatred Subsiding

Hugh Hewitt directs his readers to the latest results of the Pew Research Center poll, released today for the polling period of 6/3-9. Far from the common perception that Bush has faded, the Pew poll shows resurgent numbers for Bush in most categories, especially in war support: Americans are paying markedly less attention to Iraq than in the last two months. At the same time, their opinions about the war have become more positive. The number of Americans who think the U.S. military effort is going well has jumped from 46% in May to 57%, despite ongoing violence in Iraq and the widening prison abuse scandal. And the percentage of the public who believes it was right to go to war inched up to 55%, from 51% in May. The new Pew survey indicates that many Americans are becoming less connected to the news about Iraq and possibly more hardened...

June 21, 2004

Kerry Takes Tainted Money, Returns It

Howard Kurtz (scroll way down) thinks this will be a problem for John Kerry: John Kerry's campaign collected a maximum $2,000 check from the recently arrested son of South Korea's disgraced former president, and some of its fund-raisers met several times with a South Korean government official who was trying to organize a Korean-American political group. The Kerry campaign said it did not know about the $2,000 donation from Chun Jae-yong or his background until informed by The Associated Press and has decided to return the money to avoid any appearance of impropriety. "We are sending the check back," spokesman Michael Meehan said. Eh. I don't share Kurtz's interest in this story. For one thing, according to the story, the Kerry campaign attempted to vet this donation as good as could be expected, especially in the heat of a fundraising hurricane. Now that they've discovered the problem, they're returning the...

June 22, 2004

WaPo/ABC Poll: Skip It

The new Washington Post/ABC Poll released yesterday is yet another poorly sampled poll in a season full of pretenders. In this case, the WaPo/ABC sample was not the most reliable type, likely voters, or even registered voters; it was the least reliable indicator of elections, "randomly selected adults": Public anxiety over mounting casualties in Iraq and doubts about long-term consequences of the war continue to rise and have helped to erase President Bush's once-formidable advantage over Sen. John F. Kerry concerning who is best able to deal with terrorist threats, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. Exactly half the country now approves of the way Bush is managing the U.S. war on terrorism, down 13 percentage points since April, according to the poll. Barely two months ago, Bush comfortably led Kerry, the presumptive Democratic nominee, by 21 points when voters were asked which man they trusted to deal...

Nader Picks Running Mate From California

Independent candidate and potential spoiler Ralph Nader made two major announcements yesterday, selecting his running mate and announcing his openness to the Green Party endorsement in the fall. For his dance partner in November, Nader selected Peter Camejo, a man who once ran for President with the Socialists and who was last seen vying for Gray Davis' job in the California recall: Nader's selection of Camejo gives further shape to a left-leaning, antiwar campaign many Democrats fear will spoil their effort to unseat President Bush. It bolstered Nader's quest to win an endorsement from the Greens at their national convention, which begins Wednesday in Milwaukee. If Nader succeeds, he could win ballot access in 22 states including California and the District of Columbia. Camejo also improves Nader's access to an important constituency. A fluent Spanish speaker of Venezuelan descent, Camejo plans to campaign vigorously for Latino votes coveted...

June 23, 2004

Who Asked You?

Senator Joe Biden really knows how to wear out a welcome, according to Reliable Source, the quasi-gossip column for politics edited by Richard Leiber in the Washington Post. Leiber notes the following report from the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone: Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) might not be invited back to the Oval Office anytime soon to do his Donald Trump imitation. In May he dispensed blunt advice to President Bush on whom he would fire. As Biden recounts in the new Rolling Stone: "I turned to Vice President Cheney, who was there, and I said, 'Mr. Vice President, I wouldn't keep you if it weren't constitutionally required.' I turned back to the president and said, 'Mr. President, Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld are bright guys, really patriotic, but they've been dead wrong on every major piece of advice they've given you. That's why I'd get rid of them, Mr. President...

Kerry's Dukakis Moment?

The Kerry campaign will scramble this afternoon with this AP report that one of their critical support groups has hired convicted felons -- in some cases, sex offenders -- to conduct door-to-door voter registration drives: A Democratic group crucial to John Kerry's presidential campaign has paid felons some convicted of sex offenses, assault and burglary to conduct door-to-door voter registration drives in at least three election swing states. America Coming Together, contending that convicted criminals deserve a second chance in society, employs felons as voter canvassers in major metropolitan areas in Missouri, Florida, Ohio and perhaps in other states among the 17 it is targeting in its drive. Some of the felons lived in halfway houses, and at least four returned to prison. ... Although it works against the re-election of President Bush, ACT is an independent group not affiliated with the Kerry campaign federal law forbids...

A Poor Response

The AP has updated its story on the use of convicted felons in door-to-door canvassing for Democratic voter registration drives by Americans Coming Together. The story now includes a response from the Kerry campaign, which figures to be the beneficiary of ACT's $100 million effort this election cycle, a response that certainly does nothing to bolster confidence in Kerry's concern for public safety: Although it works against the re-election of President Bush, ACT is an independent group not affiliated with Kerry's campaign federal law forbids such coordination. Yet ACT is stocked with veteran Democratic political operatives, many with past ties to Kerry and his advisers. Allison Dobson, a spokeswoman with the Kerry campaign, said there is no coordination with ACT, and of the policy: "We're unaware of it and have nothing to do with it." The Kerry campaign site's press-release page doesn't mention it at all. Instead, today's entries...

June 25, 2004

Fox Poll Shows Bush Pulling Ahead

A new Fox poll of registered voters -- still not as reliable as likely voters, but better than the sampling done by the recent Washington Post/ABC poll -- shows Bush pulling ahead of Kerry by six points, gaining strength from the booming economy and the approaching transfer of sovereignty to Iraq: Even as insurgents increase their attacks in the days leading up to the June 30 handover, the publics belief that going to war with Iraq was the right thing to do is holding steady. Majorities believe there was a partnership between Saddam and Al Qaeda, and that military action abroad is necessary to protect from having to fight terrorists on U.S. soil. In addition, brightening impressions on the condition of the economy helped President Bush improve his standing against Democrat John Kerry this week, according to a Fox News poll released Thursday. President Bush currently has an advantage over...

Democrat To Address Republican Nominating Convention

Every Republican's favorite Democrat, Georgia Senator Zell Miller, will speak to the Republican Nominating Convention in order to formally endorse George Bush's candidacy. Miller, who's hardly been shy about his disenchantment with his own party's direction, provides the "unity" campaign that John Kerry tried to build with John McCain, and failed: According to the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, Miller will give his address on Wednesday night of the four-day convention in New York that begins Aug. 30. The Bush-Cheney campaign was expected to make an official announcement later in the day. The speech by Miller, a former two-term governor, comes 12 years after he delivered the keynote address for Bill Clinton at the 1992 Democratic National Convention, also held in New York. Miller, who is retiring in January, has voted with Republicans more often than his own party and has been a key sponsor of many of...

June 26, 2004

Greens Give Red Light To Nader

Ralph Nader recently reversed himself and publicly campaigned for an "endorsement" from the Green Party, the third-party outsiders who nominated Nader in 2000 and the candidate rejected last December. The Greens gave their answer today by blowing a raspberry at the consumer advocate and instead nominating David Cobb, a longtime party activist: The Green Party on Saturday refused to back Ralph Nader in his independent run for the White House, a move that could reduce his chances of being a factor in this year's election. Delegates to the half-million-member party's presidential convention voted to nominate party activist David Cobb, a California lawyer who led the delegate count going into the meeting. Nader had announced his selection of Green Party stalwart Peter Camejo as his running mate earlier this week in order to convince the Green's nominating convention to fall in with his proposed consolidation of various third-party movements. The Reform...

June 28, 2004

Kerry: The Failed Diplomat

John Kerry has made George Bush's supposedly failed diplomacy his major campaign theme this election cycle. Kerry's has trumpeted his long involvement in foreign relations as his main qualification for the Presidency. Now comes word that Kerry's personal diplomacy couldn't resolve a simple contract dispute between two of his own supporters, forcing him to cancel a campaign appearance: Caught in a labor dispute between his hometown mayor and the city's police and firefighters' unions, Senator John Kerry sided Sunday with the unions. Mr. Kerry had planned to give a speech here on Monday morning to the United States Conference of Mayors. But members of the city's largest police union, who have been working without a contract for two years, along with the firefighters, who are also in contract talks, have been picketing Mayor Thomas M. Menino, the host of the conference, wherever he goes, and were set to do so...

Two Tales Of One Poll

The CBS/New York Times poll results have been reported on the web sites of both news organizations, but from the divergent treatment given on each, a reader could be forgiven for thinking that they're discussing two completely different stories. First, the CBS article focuses on the main story, which is that even CBS/NYT's flawed polling shows a sharp increase in support for George Bush from a month ago: Despite concerns about his handling of Iraq, and an overall approval rating of 42%, George W. Bush is still running neck and neck with Democrat John Kerry as the choice of registered voters. Growing public optimism about the nations economy has helped lift support for the President. Kerry is the choice of 45% of registered voters, Bush the choice of 44%. This is a sharp turnaround for the Bush campaign in the span of just one month; in May, Kerry had opened...

June 29, 2004

Voting Themselves Into Irrelevancy

Extending the debate into the monochromatic nature of the John Kerry campaign, today's Washington Post again details complaints from the African-American community about the lack of access to the Democratic nominee and the paucity of its representation within his organization. At the same time, the Post inadvertently notes the reasons why Kerry feels little pressure to change: Although the Massachusetts senator has many black supporters, civil rights leaders and academics are grumbling about his absence from black communities and a lack of top black officials in his campaign. "You pick up the paper . . . and you see a picture where he's surrounded by all whites," Ronald Walters, a University of Maryland political scientist who helped run two presidential campaigns, said of Kerry. "That's sensitive to black Democrats. It raises questions about the lack of blacks and Hispanics in his inner circle." Nine out of 10 black Americans voted...

Romney Steps In Where Kerry Fears To Tread

In a misstep that may demonstrate a critical lack of courage in the face of adversity, John Kerry left his political support twisting in the wind yesterday when he abandoned Boston Mayor Thomas Menino due to the presence of police pickets. While not technically on strike, Kerry nonetheless opted -- after failing to reach a diplomatic solution to the impasse -- to snub the Mayors' Conference led by his campaign co-chair Menino. Massachussetts Governor Mitt Romney took the opportunity to speak in his absence, demonstrating an executive persona that Romney hinted Kerry lacks: First, John Kerry, the putative Democratic presidential nominee, decided Sunday not to attend the annual meeting of the nation's mayors here, refusing to cross a picket line of police union members feuding with Boston's mayor. Then, on Monday, Boston's mayor, Thomas M. Menino, who is not only a Democrat but also the host of the Democratic National...

Is Quid Pro Quo Latin For Gephardt's Out?

The other shoe dropped in the kerfuffle over John Kerry's refusal to cross the ersatz picket line outside of the Mayors' Conference Sunday. Today, the police union announced that it has dropped plans to picket the Democratic National Convention next month due to Kerry's sop to the union this weekend: Boston's main police union abandoned yesterday their threat to picket at the site of next month's Democratic National Convention, handing Senator John F. Kerry a major victory on the day he honored the union's picket line by not making a speech before a US Conference of Mayors meeting in Boston. ... The shift in the Boston Police Patrolmen's Association's picketing strategy would allow Kerry and thousands of convention delegates and members of the media to enter the FleetCenter unimpeded, despite the city's ongoing labor woes. But Kerry's cancellation drew sharp criticism from both Democratic and Republican mayors, who angrily accused...

Speaking Of Irrelevancy, How 'Bout That Dead Guy For President?

Nominating conventions for political parties usually include a certain level of regional silliness; delegates wear outrageous outfits and cover themselves with buttons, shirts, and hats that represent their home state as much as their favored candidate. Delegate counts usually are coupled with sloganeering such as, "The great state of Texas, home of the Alamo and the world's largest spitoon, casts its 78 votes for John Doe!" It's all in fun, and the relentlessly upbeat messages contribute to the carnival atmosphere in which everyone wants to participate. Given all of that, the Greens certainly know how to take the party out of the Party: Major-party convention halls usually ring with unabashed pride and self-promotion as vote announcers remind everyone that "the great state of [fill-in-the-blank]" is home to this sainted man or that unparalleled mountain range. At the Greens' convention, though, the spin was a little different. Delegates were told, for...

Kerry Crosses Picket Line In Chicago

In what appears to be yet another flip-flop, John Kerry reportedly crossed a picket line in Chicago to speak at a Rainbow-PUSH meeting, Instapundit reports this evening: Northwestern Univ. Law Professor James Lindgren sends this email: As the New York Times reported yesterday, John Kerry refused to cross a picket line on Monday in Boston to speak to the National Conference of Mayors. He was quoted as saying on Sunday night: "'I don't cross picket lines,' he said. 'I never have.'" Yet this morning (Tuesday) in Chicago Kerry spoke at the annual meeting of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow-PUSH Coalition, which was being very actively picketed by a labor group, Voices of Morality (VOM). VOM is leading a labor discrimination protest against Daimler-Chrysler (the signs that the picketers were holding looked very much like ones in pictures on the VOM website). Jackson and the PUSH conference were being targeted because, according to...

Republican "Outsourcing" A Scam: RNC Complaint

The Republican National Committe has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, claiming that a Texas non-profit falsely represented itself as a Republican organization in order to embarrass the GOP with its use of a call center in India for contribution collections: The Republican National Committee filed a complaint Tuesday accusing a Texas group of posing as a GOP organization to raise money by phone using an Indian telemarketing firm and through fund-raising mailings. The fund-raising telephone calls prompted false, widespread rumors that the RNC was outsourcing its donor phone calls to India, the committee's complaint to the Federal Election Commission says. The complaint accuses The Republican Victory Committee, based in Irving, Texas, of impersonating the Republican Party and fraudulently raising money by telling prospective donors it was being solicited by the GOP for use by Republican candidates. Jody Novacek, whom the GOP accuses of running this scam, insists...

June 30, 2004

CQ Prediction: Kerry Gains In Polling This Week

The AP notes that the John Kerry campaign will return to its most successful campaign strategy this week, although only briefly: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is taking a two-day break from campaigning and will spend the time at his wife's country estate preparing for his party's national convention next month. Kidding aside, the AP also notes that Kerry met with "potential running mate" Gov. Janet Napolitano from Arizona, who introduced him to the National Council of La Raza, a mainstream Latino interest group. I confess I haven't heard much about Napolitano as a running mate, but that choice makes more sense, at least superficially, than John Edwards and could be far more damaging to the Republicans. NCLR shows no information on Napolitano -- one would presume a Latino governor would get at least a mention on their website, so I'd presume Napolitano is Italian rather than Hispanic. Napolitano has...

Kerry Campaign "Incompetent": Boston Mayor

The Boston Herald got an exclusive interview with a hopping-mad Mayor Thomas Menino after a series of provocations from the John Kerry campaign left him questioning the competency of Kerry and his staff. Menino launched several attacks during his interview with David Guarino and Noelle Straub: Mayor Thomas M. Menino unloaded a searing attack on fellow Democrat John F. Kerry yesterday, calling his presidential campaign ``small-minded'' and ``incompetent'' - laying bare a years-old rift weeks before the city plays host to Kerry's FleetCenter coronation. Menino, in an exclusive Herald interview, let loose on the hometown senator two days after Kerry snubbed him by siding with union picketers outside a U.S. Conference of Mayors event. ... Menino said he was enraged to see a local newspaper item saying he hung up on Kerry Sunday. The mayor yesterday said Kerry's campaign floated the story, which he called untrue. "I wasn't angry with...

Nader: It's The Yahoods, I Tell You

Ralph Nader took a stroll from gadfly status to full-blown moonbat in a speech given at a conference titled, "The Muslim Vote in 2004". In pandering to the Muslims, Nader asserted that all of the ills of Washington could be traced to one source: "What has been happening over the years is a predictable routine of foreign visitation from the head of the Israeli government. The Israeli puppeteer travels to Washington. The Israeli puppeteer meets with the puppet in the White House, and then moves down Pennsylvania Avenue, and meets with the puppets in Congress. And then takes back billions of taxpayer dollars. It is time for the Washington puppet show to be replaced by the Washington peace show." I could almost see Nader delivering this speech. "The [cough cough] Israeli puppeteer ..." The Democrats should love this. After making a number of bogus allegations of Nazihood towards the Bush...

July 1, 2004

Democrats Discover Religion

One of the Republican strategies for this election is to energize the chuch base, one of their weak points in 2000 when a significant portion of the evangelical voters failed to come to the polls, mistrustful of George Bush's centrism. (One of the reasons Bush chose Cheney as his running mate was to shore up his conservative credentials.) The Washington Post reports that the Bush campaign has sent support material for their volunteers to get church congregations involved, sending up wailing and lamentations from Democrats that claim, among other things, that the outreach is "sinful": The Bush-Cheney reelection campaign has sent a detailed plan of action to religious volunteers across the country asking them to turn over church directories to the campaign, distribute issue guides in their churches and persuade their pastors to hold voter registration drives. Campaign officials said the instructions are part of an accelerating effort to mobilize...

Richardson: No Thanks

Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico publicly withdrew his name from consideration in the Kerry Veepstakes this evening, in a letter sent to Kerry's campaign office. Richardson, one of the most recognizable Hispanic officeholders in the nation, had originally promised to stay in office for his entire term as governor, he explained: Richardson said he wants to keep a promise to the people of New Mexico to serve a full, four-year term and noted that Kerry has "numerous experienced and talented leaders" from which to choose a vice presidential candidate. "It is with that knowledge and comfort that I must tell you that I respectfully remove myself from the selection process and withdraw my name from consideration for the vice presidential nomination," Richardson said. I was just discussing Richardson's potential with the Elder and Saint Paul at Keegan's this evening, where the duo invited me to fill in on their...

July 2, 2004

Deaniacs Threaten Floor Fight

Supporters of Howard Dean have launched a campaign to get their favorite candidate on the Democratic ticket as John Kerry's VP, and sent a message to the presumptive nominee -- pick our man or watch your unity festival dissolve into a floor fight: The National Draft Dean for VP Committee has not contacted either Dean or Kerry about its efforts, but it expects to approach the former Vermont governor before Democrats gather in Boston for the convention July 26. "Howard Dean shifts the dynamics of the race," said Michael Meurer, co-chairman of the draft committee, who argued that Dean on the ticket would stop progressives from voting for independent candidate Ralph Nader. Dean has shown up on few, if any, lists of serious contenders for the vice presidential nomination. Members of the draft committee say they believe their efforts to persuade Kerry through petitions to choose Dean will prove futile....