October 24 2003
KENTUCKY GOVERNOR RACE: Like most of the South,
Kentucky has been trending Republican at the federal level for
several decades. Today the states congressional delegation consists
of five Republicans, one Democrat, with both Senators belonging
to the GOP. In 1996, Bill Clinton beat Bob Dole by less than one
percent - and that was with Ross Perot receiving 9% of the vote.
In 2000 George Bush crushed Al Gore by 16 points: 57% - 41%
all the recent Republican success in the state, Democrats have
managed to maintain a stranglehold on the statehouse winning every
election since 1971. However, term-limited Governor Paul Patton
has been enduring a massive sex scandal the last two years and
we suspect this may be the final catalyst that will allow the
GOP to break the Democrats hold on the Governor's office in Frankfort.
nominee Ernie Fletcher is a practicing physician and a relatively
boring three-term congressman form Kentucky's sixth district.
Democratic nominee Ben Chandler is the current state Attorney
General and the grandson of the very popular former Governor and
Senator "Happy" Chandler.
For a while
now, we've suspected the macro factors at work in the state would
provide a powerful tailwind at the back of Fletcher's campaign
and - barring some major screwup - the desire for change, the
increasing Republican tilt to the state and the current Governor's
scandals would be enough to see him though to victory. While we
still think Fletcher will win, the latest
SurveyUSA poll indicates continued momentum for Chandler and
is not a good sign for the GOP. Fletcher still holds a one point
lead in the poll 47%-46%, but Chandler's
numbers are continuing to rise.
the 55-45 or 53-47 result we anticipated
earlier, this looks like more of a 51-49 or 50-50 type of
nail biter. In the end Fletcher should be able to hold
on for the victory, but he is letting a little too much ride on
Kentucky's desire for change in the statehouse. He needs to halt
Chandler's momentum, fast, or he will be heading back to Washington
instead of Frankfort. J.
McIntyre 6:52 am
October 23 2003
W'S COLLEGE STRENGTH: I have to admit I was a bit shocked.
poll released yesterday by Harvard’s Institute of Politics
shows President Bush's approval rating among college students
at 61%, well above his most
recent national average of 50.5%. Here are the money lines:
students seem to admire Bush’s leadership ability.
like the warrior but they don’t like the war,” Glickman said.
college students historically have supported Democratic candidates,
neither party can take the youth vote for granted, Glickman
majority of college students elect politicians based on leadership
skills, experience and authenticity,” said vice-president of
the IOP-SAC Betsy A. Sykes ’04, who oversaw the survey.
internals things get even more surprising. The 1,202 students
surveyed have a much different impression of which direction the
country is headed in than the public at large: 46% saying we're
going moving in the right direction vs. 43% saying we're not.
That's a +3 spread, a significant difference versus the three
most recent national polls that show negative spreads of 18,
15 and 16 points, respectively. Democrats may be inclined to dismiss
the discrepancy as "youthful optimism", but it's probably
something more than that.
the IOP results with the recent Democracy
Corps poll (Byron
York wrote about it yesterday) showing how Dem primary voters
in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina feel about issues of
national security and the economy. And even though it's considered
a bit left of center, I've thrown in the latest CBS/NYT poll to
add a national context as well:
Security & Terrorism
be inclined to think the war is a top priority among college students
because many of them oppose it so passionately. Not true. Fifty-eight
percent of respondents support the war in Iraq (including 30%
who "strongly support" it) while only 37% oppose the
war (with only 17% of those "strongly" opposing it).
And you may
think college students have less of a concern about the economy
because of their age: they've got plenty of time to make money
and few pressing responsibilities. That's certainly a possibility.
On the other hand, given the current "jobless recovery"
we're experiencing you expect this group - especially the seniors
- to be obsessed with the issue of jobs and the economy.
Either way, these students are under no illusions about what it's
like out there: 71% say it will be "somewhat difficult"
or "very difficult" for them to find a job when they
answer is that for this group of people, most of whom were in
high school at the time, September 11 really did change everything.
to say, really. But it is interesting to see a group which has
traditionally been perceived to be quite liberal (or at the very
least extremely sympathetic to liberal ideals) now so completely
disjointed from the base of the Democratic party and even further
to the right on issues of terrorism and national security than
the country as a whole.
4: I had this crazy idea the other day. Let's support Orrin
Hatch's efforts to amend the Constitution and let foreign-born
citizens become President, clearing the way for Arnold to run.
While we're at it, let's repeal
the 22nd Amendment and let Bill Clinton have another shot.
fun we'd have in 2008: Der Gropenfurher vs. "Better Put Some
Ice on That." I'm afraid it would cause NOW's
entire Board of Directors to have a nervous breakdown. - T.
Bevan 8:09 am
October 21 2003
GEPHARDT RISING: The hits just keep on coming for Dick Gephardt.
Clark and Joe Lieberman pulled out of Iowa, leaving about
15% of the caucus vote up for grabs according to the latest
SurveyUSA poll. Conventional wisdom says these votes will
go primarily to Gephardt, with Edwards probably benefitting some
as well. The same
poll, released last Friday, showed Gephardt with a 5-point
lead over Dean. Not bad.
we talked about Gephardt's support of the war in Iraq and
how it should strengthen his position as the anti-Dean candidate.
Today, the Washington
Post offers up a feature story touting Gephardt as the "toughest
rival for Bush." Jim VandeHei interviewed more than 20 GOP
strategists around the country who cited Gephardt's support of
the war as well as his strong union support, healthcare proposal,
political experience and discipline, and his potential strength
in key Midwestern states as reasons Gephardt could be the most
threatening Dem in the field.
also end up being Bob Dole. We'll never know unless he wins Iowa,
and the game is far from over there. Still, it's been a nice week
EASTERBROOK: I've been following - but haven't commented on
- the whole Gregg Easterbrook thing. I don't know Easterbrook
personally, but until the other day I've never seen anything published
under his byline that could be considered even remotely anti-Semitic.
a shame that a guy who has built a solid reputation as a writer
and created an enormous body of work over the course of a lifetime
is being destroyed and labeled as an anti-Semite because he wrote
three sentences that conjured up a stereotype that is absolutely
taboo in our society.
a stereotype that's off limits for good reason. Stereotypes are
almost always blunt, harmful instruments, and those applied to
African-Americans and Jews even more so because of profound historical
no denying that anti-Semitism is alive and well around the globe.
We see and hear
examples of it every day. It's certainly alive in America
as well, and I don't want to try and gloss over that fact.
But I think
it's also fair to recognize that we've reached a point where the
increasing political correctness of our culture and the aggressive
vigilance of groups like the ADL
have produced a climate where even tepid criticisms of Jewish-Americans
are sometimes tagged as anti-Semitic.
Let me be
clear: Easterbrook's comments don't fall into this category. They
were wrong, and he admitted as much. Still, watching the left
grind into dirt a fellow liberal with no history of anti-Semitism
over a single mistake that he's apologized for leaves me thinking
we've all gone a little bit off the deep end.
do a thought experiment and compare and contrast the Easterbrook
affair with something Howard Dean said the other day. Speaking
before an Arab-American audience in Detroit, Dean pointed
to the American flag and said:
does not belong to General Boykin, or John Ashcroft, or Rush
Limbaugh or Jerry Falwell or Pat Robertson."
a standing ovation. More importantly, Dean's attack on the religious
faith of the men didn't even cause the slightest fuss in the press.
Not a thing.
if Dean had pointed to the American flag and said:
does not belong to Michael Eisner or Harvey Weinstein or Alan
Dershowitz or Joe Lieberman."
the way Joe Lieberman was treated at the event Dean probably
still would have gotten a "standing O". But you know
what would have happened next.
would have washed over Dean like a flood. The comments would almost
certainly have cost him any chance at winning the Democratic nomination
and may quite possibly have caused him to withdraw from the race.
And rightly so. Publicly denigrating someone's faith is not the
mark of a tolerant leader.
where we are in America. Three sentences about two Jewish business
executives by a writer with no history of anti-Semitism are all
the press can talk about and threaten to ruin his career. Meanwhile,
a candidate for President of the United States launches an attack
on evangelical Christians and receives praise from his audience
and a collective shrug of the shoulders from the press corps.
And instead of threatening to ruin Dean's political career, continuing
to bash evangelical Christians will probably help him win the
nomination. - T.
Bevan 12:00 pm
October 20 2003
HOWARD DEAN LEADS BY EXAMPLE: Howard Dean never misses a chance
to tell us that America's dependence on foreign oil is an
issue of national security. In fact, Dean has even gone so
far as to say that peace
in the Middle East depends on our ability to break this dependency:
we also need, I might add, a renewable energy policy in this
country, so we stop sending all our oil money to the Saudis
and the Iranians and the Syrians, where they recycle it back
like -- if this president wants peace in the Middle East, he
ought, first of all, to have a renewable energy policy."
take exception with Dean's last sentence. The idea that if we
just put up a few more windmills in Kansas or raised the CAFE
standards by 10 miles-per-gallon the Palestinians and Israelis
will stop killing each other would have Don
Quixote himself rolling on the floor with laughter.
Be that as
it may, you would think someone who feels as strongly as Dean
apparently does about the issue would lead by example. If I felt
that America's oil dependence was a matter of national security
and was responsible for people dying in the Middle East and money
being funneled to terrorists, I would certainly take it upon myself
to do what I could to make a difference - no matter how small
or seemingly inconsequential the result. Wouldn't you? And wouldn't
one of the most obvious expressions of your convictions be the
car you choose to drive?
what Howard Dean drives. A Geo Prism? Toyota Prius? Ford Focus?
Of course not. According to this article from Dawson
Bell, inside the Dean garage in Vermont you'll find a pair
Explorers. That's right, the darling of the environmental
left owns not one but two big, gas-guzzling SUVs.
last week in my
discussion of Rush Limbaugh that most people, generally speaking,
hate to be "lectured to" about morality. They also hate
environmental hypocrites. You know, people like Barbra
Streisand who ride around in limousines, fly on private jets,
and own 50,000 square-foot mansions that use more electricity
that most grocery stores and then have the nerve to go out and
tell you and me to do our laundry by hand to save 1/1,000,000,000
of a megawatt.
is no Barbra Streisand, but he does seem to represent the same
attitudes as a political leader. In this
interview with Grist Magazine from June 4 (Update: The original
interview with Grist was published May 21, 2003 and can be found
here) Dean crows over the fact that he "was one of four
governors that had a standard requiring a certain percentage of
cars sold in our state to be electric vehicles" before he
gets caught by the big question:
What kind of car do you drive?
Well, I drive an SUV. Naughty, naughty. But I have two children
who play hockey and soccer and there was no way I could do without
a seven- or eight-passenger car.
On one hand
Dean is perfectly willing to mandate to businesses in Vermont
what types of cars they are able to sell - with the theoretical
intention of encouraging the citizens of Vermont to drive such
cars to better the environment. On the other hand, he's out driving
around in an SUV because he says his family needs the extra room.
(Note: In the interview Dean says he will be purchasing a second
SUV that will be a hybrid, though Bell doesn't mention that either
of Dean's SUVs are hybrid. We'll have to check with the Dean campaign
and see what we can find out).
Howard Dean is running for president and he's declared that America's
massive oil consumption is a national security issue, does that
mean that he
supports terrorism by driving an SUV? Or does that charge
only apply to Republicans who drive SUVs? - T.
Bevan 9:12 am