Saturday, October 12 2002
BUSH BEATS GORE: All I can say about this new Marist College poll is, well, duh. Even despite his recent antics, Gore holds a 23-point lead over his nearest challenger for the nomination. But Gore loses huge to Bush (59%-34%) in a national matchup. If Cheney doesn't re-up, Colin Powell is the prohibitive people's choice for VP in 2004. And, by the way, this poll shows Republicans with a 5-point lead in the Generic Congressional ballot (44%-39%).

VOTE FRAUD PART III: Okay, so I said it would be difficult, but not impossible, to orchestrate serious vote fraud in a sparsely populated state like South Dakota. Lo and behold, the Rapid City Journal reported that somebody was trying. Yesterday, they named a Democrat operative who submitted two invalid absentee ballots and has since been fired. Though it's still to early to tell exactly what was going on here, the "dirty tricks" label the Democrats seem to be pinning on themselves this election season could very well make the difference for Thune.

SNEAK PEEK: Here's an intersting story from the Tennessee Senate contest that just might signal Leahy and Co.'s shenanigans in the Judiciary Committee are damaging Dem candidates around the country. -TB 9:26 am

Friday, October 11 2002
IRAQ: The vote is done and Democrats can now move on to talking about the economy. My thoughts linger, however, with the opposition. The people that opposed the Iraq resolution yesterday are by and large the same group that voted against the Gulf War in 1991 and in favor of the 1999 resolution authorizing Clinton to engage in air strikes in Kosovo. It' s hard to find the logic that compelled these votes. It's certainly not national security. The case that humanitarian concerns justified a vote on Kosovo but not Kuwait or Iraq is also terribly weak. It seems much more likely that the rationale for these votes can be found in the"detestable vice" in human character outlined by Alexander Hamilton, arguing in favor of a single executive in The Federalist, #70:

Men often oppose a thing, merely because they have had no agency in planning it, or because it may have been planned by those whom they dislike. But if they have been consulted, and have happened to disapprove, opposition then becomes, in their estimation, an indispensable duty of self-love. They seem to think themselves bound in honor, and by all the motives of personal infallibility, to defeat the success of what has been resolved upon contrary to their sentiments.

Sounds accurate, no? - TB 12:30 pm

MIKE TAYLOR: Time to put in my two cents. When I saw clips of the ad which caused Taylor to drop out of the Montana Senate race yesterday, I didn't think much of it. I couldn't see the gay-baiting angle that caused so much fuss. Watching the full thing this morning, I totally agree with Andrew Sullivan, this ad is so laced with innuendo it's hard for any reasonable person to think this spot wasn't carefully crafted to scream "Taylor is a homosexual." The music, the "Boogie Nights" fonts and the video are so engrossing that even after watching the ad a number of times I was hard pressed to remember the ad's supposed central allegation: something about a beauty school scam. The final line leaves little doubt about the ad's intent: "That's not how we do business in Montana."

Yes, it's gay-baiting and yes, this would be HUGE news if it were a Republican ad against a Democrat candidate. I think a more interesting and less obvious question is why the Dems would run this ad in the first place. Baucus wasn't even remotely being threatened by Taylor's candidacy. There simply was no need for the Dems to run an ad which was so personal and potentially controversial. If gay-rights groups in America have an integrity, this is an ad that can and should cost Democrats support well beyond the borders of Montana. The fact that the Dems were willing to run the ad in the first place gives the answer. - TB 10:15

ALASKA SERIAL KILLER?: While the country is focused on Maryland, there have been three homicides in four days in Anchorage. That's a big deal in any city, let alone a place where they have only had 14 homicides the entire year. - TB 8:00 am

Thursday, October 10 2002
"TERRORISM LIKELY": That's the headline of the latest piece on the French tanker explosion in Yemen. - TB 4:07pm

THE TORRICELLI SWITCHEROO : Check out the latest ad from the NJ GOP which begins airing on cable stations today.

WAR TROUBLE: Tom Edsall's piece in the Washington Post today says Democrat fundraising efforts have taken "a nosedive" since the war debate started in earnest and could portend low voter turnout in November. It's looking more and more like September 11th was a watershed moment in US political history. The events of that day seem to have profoundly dislocated the base of the Democrat party from mainstream public opinion with respect to national security and produced the rift that now leaves Congressional Democrats with a lose-lose proposition: 1) go along with President Bush on the war and watch your rank-and-file close their wallets and sit on their hands on Election Day or 2) vocally oppose the Administration on Iraq and risk being turned out by a public that overwhelmingly favors the President and his policy. - TB 11:00 am

MORE ON VOTE FRAUD: Last week I questioned whether enough attention is being paid to vote fraud this year given the fact that so much is at stake and there are so many close races. The answer, apparently, is yes. Attorney General Ashcroft issued a memo earlier this week instructing Justice Department prosecutors to work with local officials to head off possible attempts at fraud this November. Also earlier this week, the RNC released a study claiming thousands of people were registered to vote in more than one state and that as many as 3,500 people may have voted twice. Ironically, I had to search forever to find the Ashcroft story and still haven't been able to locate a link to the RNC study story. They were up yesterday, but have been mysteriously removed from every major source I checked.

Another related story in the news is that Terry McAuliffe announced the DNC will send "thousands" of lawyers into Florida to monitor the elections next month and to ensure that "no one is intimidated into foregoing their rights."- TB 10:15 am

Wednesday, October 9 2002
BOB BYRD, HYPOCRITE: I've never been a huge fan of Senator Robert Byrd. I've always admired his reverence and historical knowledge of the Senate, but he's had a 44-year run with his nose planted firmly in the government pork trough and probably holds the record for spending more American tax dollars than any other Senator in US history.

So I guess you could say I wasn't favorably predisposed to the Senator when I clicked on his article in the LA Times this morning. Still, I didn't expect to be as outraged as I was after reading it.

There's a lot to chew on, but basically Byrd claims that he'd be asking the same questions to a Democratic president, that Congress shouldn't give the President a blank check, and that we should let the United Nations make a decision first before we act.

It took all of about two minutes to look up the 1999 Senate Resolution regarding the use of force in Yugoslavia, which Byrd voted for, and the 1991 Gulf War authorization, which the Senator voted against.

In Yugoslavia, there was little to no national security interest and no UN authorization. The resolution made no mention of the "deadlines", "termination" or "sunset language" that Byrd indignantly calls for with regard to the Iraq resolution. In other words, he gave Clinton a blank check.

In fact, Senator Byrd didn't hesitate to "commit the blood and treasure of the American people" in 1998 to a cause representing less of an immediate threat to America than Iraq does now.

Byrd claims that voting against a resolution on Iraq will help, "maintain the face of America as a country which believes in justice, the rule of law, freedom and liberty and the rights of all people to work out their ultimate destiny?" Where was such sanctimony when he voted to start dropping bombs on a sovereign country engaged in an age-old ethnic war?

The word hypocrite doesn't even begin to do this one justice. - TB 12:15 pm
UPDATE: Byrd, described in this AP story as a "jealous guardian of congressional powers", is trying to delay the Senate vote on an Iraq resolution.

PROGRESSIVELY MORE WRONG: The editor of The Progressive, Matthew Rothschild, says Bush's case against Iraq doesn't hold water. As proof, Rothschild trots out the same old antiwar arguments one more time: 1) Saddam is less of a threat now than 11 years ago, 2) Inspections work and 3) So what if Saddam gets a nuke? He's a rational dictator who won't share it with terrorists and will be deterred by the prospect of US nuclear retaliation.

Wait, there's more: "Saddam Hussein has done nothing recently that approaches an act of aggression justifying the overwhelming response of war," Rothschild writes. Other than firing almost daily on US and British planes enforcing the UN mandated "no fly zone" and breaking every possible term of the 1991 cease fire agreement, that is.

Rothschild's arguments have been rebutted - not to mention thoroughly rejected by the American people over the last few months - and trying to raise them again as legitimate comes off as empty and tired, even lame. Yet they continue to make the rounds among the antiwar crowd in magazines and on the floor of the US House, where yesterday Democrats warned of "quagmires" and "igniting the Middle East tinderbox". All of this has me wondering: "Aren't these people tired of being on the wrong side of history?" - TB 10:45 am

MORE MORRIS: After dissecting the NY Times poll in yesterday's NY Post, Dick Morris is back with his weekly column in The Hill outlining the Dems' self-sabotage this election season. Here's the money quote:

After a year of skillfully hugging Bush on terror and saying, “Me too,” when Bush acted decisively to attack the Taliban, the Democrats suddenly decided to throw the terror issue into the partisan mix for the 2002 election. It is the dumbest mistake they have made in eight years.

He's right. The political landscape would look a whole lot more promising for the Democrats if a vocal majority had stood with the President on Iraq over the last few months. Instead, the dovish wing of the party emerged with Al Gore as its leader, made most of the headlines and split the caucus in two.

It was a terrible miscalculation, as Morris suggests, but one that was perhaps unavoidable given the McGovernite underpinnings that continue to run through the rank and file of the Democrat party. That and the weak leadership of Tom Daschle, who to this very day has not taken a real stand on the issue of Iraq and continues to dicker over the Homeland Security bill, more concerned about process and politics than leading his members. Daschle should have recognized the ramifications of opposing Iraq and made sure that the "centrists" and "hawks" of the party like Bayh and Lieberman were out in front on the issue instead of letting Gore, Kennedy, McDermott and Bonior become the face of the party on the issue of national security. -TB 9:36 am

Tuesday, October 8 2002
PRETTY PLEASE: How great would it be if the voters of NJ give the 'ol middle finger to the Democrat Party, Bob "I Built Everything in This State" Torricelli and the NY Times editorial board and elect Doug Forrester anyway? A new Star-Ledger poll shows that it could happen. Check out more Senate polls here. And don't forget to sign up for Zogby's tracking polls. The next round comes out this weekend. - TB 11:36 am

THE EMPEROR OF FOOLS:  I grew up just outside of Seattle and I'm constantly shocked by the leftist inanity that spews forth from there. The city I remember was a place where "liberal" concerns - primarily an acute sensitivity to environmental issues that is part of every Northwesterner's DNA - were tempered by a strong symbiotic relationship with the US military and a reliance on blue collar jobs in the aviation industry. But, alas, Boeing is gone (for the most part) and the US military and the Bush administration are now the enemy. And leading this motley pack of socialists, anarchists, Marxists, and hippie-dippie pacifists is the shameless, misguided Jim McDermott.

It seems McDermott, reveling in the attention the media has showered upon him over the Iraq issue, has convinced himself he represents some vast antiwar constituency looking for a leader with "courage" to help them voice their position. It's a quixotic crusade not unlike the one John McCain invented for himself over the campaign finance issue in 2000. McDermott's delusions, however, are over matters of life and death and his actions in Baghdad could very well have signaled weakness,and thus emboldened, our enemies. - TB 10:45 am

BUSH'S SPEECH:  I'll be honest, I fell asleep. Maybe it's because I immediately recognized it was a reprise of his September 12 speech, or maybe it was the subdued, somber delivery that got me. Getting up at 4am to update this damn site sure didn't help. Either way, the parts of the speech I saw were good, but the in the grand scheme of things the whole event was somewhat inconsequential: Bush already has large majorities in both houses of Congress for a resolution authorizing military action against Iraq and 67% approval among the public. With all three major networks passing on the speech, relatively few people even saw his performance last night. All Bush wanted to accomplish last night was to put the finishing touches on his Iraq policy, to close the case with the American people and to generate some gravity in his direction for the few remaining fence-sitters in Congress. He succeeded. - TB 8:31 am

NY TIMES:"The New Jersey Senate Race Is On as Courts Reject G.O.P. Appeals" This is the Times' headline today reporting on the news the US Supreme Court has refused to get involved in the New Jersey case. Just the headline to the article gives away their clear bias, implying that we can have a real Senate race in New Jersey now that the GOP's attempt to prevent a race has been rejected. Of course the truth is there was a real Senate race in New Jersey just a week ago, but the Dems and the NY Times weren't liking how that race was going. So with an utter disregard for what is legal and right, they pulled a fast one, and so far have gotten away with it. It is now up to the people of New Jersey to decide whether this is how free elections should be administered in a democracy that only works because we have respect for the rule of law.   JM 6:52 AM

Monday, October 7 2002
So the NY Times is out with another poll. Despite their spin, the results are not necessarily bad news for Republican candidates in November. Let's assume the numbers are accurate: 7 in 10 support Bush's call for military action against Iraq and 7 in 10 want to hear candidates talk more about the economy. From a generic ballot perspective, this is a wash. Republicans hold an edge in foreign policy/national security matters and Democrats have a slight advantage on domestic economic issues. If anything, the events of the past two weeks have accentuated these differences; story after story of the DOW's continuing decline right next to the Gore/Daschle/McDermott/Bonior antiwar circus. If even voters give primacy to economic issues, ultimately the election becomes a credibility contest among the individual candidates on who will work harder at helping to turn the economy around and be a strong supporter of the war on terrorism.

THE PROBLEM WITH IOWA: Iowa Democrats held their annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner this weekend and the potential '04 presidential contenders of Howard Dean, John Kerry, and John Edwards addressed the crowd. Of the three, only Dean seemed to inspire any emotion, getting a standing ovation for using protectionist trade rhetoric and aggressively questioning Bush's Iraq policy. I watched Edwards's speech live on C-Span and despite his best dramatic efforts - including an overabundant use of that annoying "presidential" thumb-wagging gesture - he couldn't even get the crowd excited enough to yawn.

If the leftist tilt of the Iowa Democratic party is indicative of the party as a whole, then barring some sort of economic collapse the Democrats can forget about winning back the White House in 2004. More than half of the serious contenders right now (Kerry, Lieberman, and Dean) are cut from the classic Northeastern liberal cloth. This may win them New England and California, but it doesn't play nearly as well in Peoria. Regardless of what John Judis and Ruy Teixeira think, it's hard to see how effete elites like Kerry, et al. are going to appeal to moderate and conservative Democrats in the South and Midwest more than Bush. But with a liberal stranglehold on the nominating process, it's equally hard to see how more centrist (and therefore electable) Democrats like John Edwards can ever win the nomination. - TB 11:44 am

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