October 12, 2003
LIBERAL SPIN?: Let's see if I can get this
right. The Democratic Governor of the solidly Democratic
state, who overspent, overregulated business and raised taxes,
becomes only the second governor in history to be recalled in
the whole country, with the two anti-tax Republican candidates
winning 62% of the vote and the victorious Republican garnering
more votes than the Democrat Gray Davis in 2002 and more
votes than the 'no on recall' votes last week. Yet incredibly
the headline in Newsweek
from their leading political columnist asks: "Are the
tremors heading for the White House next?" And Fineman is
not the only one grasping for this straw in the wind, for the
idea that Tuesday's election is somehow bad news for Bush has
now become the conventional wisdom or spin in the mainstream/liberal
What a joke.
Yeah, if you are a Republican you're really sweating, tossing
and turning at night hoping that election night 2004 doesn't turn
out like last Tuesday in California.
is in total denial. J.
McIntyre 9:14 am
October 10, 2003
THE GOOD NEWS TIPPING POINT?: It looks as if we've reached
the point where we are finally starting to see the media reporting
some of the good news coming out of Iraq. I'm not sure whether
this is a product of the heated criticisms leveled at U.S. news
organizations in recent weeks by everyone from pundits to members
of Congress returning from Iraq, or whether it's that our progress
there has reached the point where it's become simply undeniable.
Perhaps it's a combination of the two.
In my opinion
we're still nowhere near receiving truly balanced coverage of
the situation in Iraq, but it's fair to recognize that we are
starting to see examples of more balanced coverage in some of
the major papers (See here
offers another one:
of power brightens Iraqis Tensions dim as electricity output
By César G. Soriano
-- Power is back.
the first time since Baghdad fell April 9, the capital city
and most of the country have enjoyed four straight days without
a significant outage.
officials are optimistic they can keep the lights on because
sabotage and looting has dropped and electricity output is near
prewar levels. Cooling temperatures have also helped.
power situation has not been this good since before the Kuwait
war,'' says security guard Majid Abdul Reza, 27. Iraq invaded
Kuwait in 1990.
know about you, but reading these few short paragraphs gives me
an immediate boost of optimism and pride about what we're doing
in Iraq. Can you imagine what public perceptions of Iraq would
be if we were to get this sort of news on a regular basis instead
of the constant parade of doom and gloom?
One of the
unfortunate reasons we haven't seen more stories like this in
the press over the last six months is that most news organizations
don't view positive developments in Iraq to be "hard news"
stories at all but instead see them as "cheerleading"
for the Bush administration.
New York Times, for example, which can spare only this
tiny positive mention (and grudgingly at that) in their 963
word report on the six month anniversary of Saddam's fall:
changes are visible. The streets are cleaner. Shops are flooded
with goods pouring into Iraq now that the borders are open again.
Those who have jobs — and tens of thousands are working for
the Americans, directly or indirectly — are largely paid better
than they were.
Now go take
a quick look at the round up of our accomplishments in Iraq that
Andrew Sullivan has put together. Night is day and day is
of people around the country who continue to get their news from
a few mainstream sources (a group of people whose numbers are
thankfully decreasing) are not getting the full picture of what's
going on in Iraq. They don't fully realize - and consequently
don't feel a sense pride over - the things we're accomplishing
in Iraq. That's a true shame. But maybe things are changing. -
October 9 2003
CELEBRATING THE BULL MARKET ANNIVERSARY: Bill
Hobbs recently rounded up a few stories noting today's one
year anniversary of the Bush Bull Market. Add this
one from today's USAT to the list.
anniversary and the improving
employment numbers, watch for the gang at tonight's presidential
debate in Phoenix to repeat the canard that we're in the worst
economy since the Hoover Administration. Robert Robb preemptively
this argument in his column yesterday:
worst economy since Herbert Hoover? For the entire decade preceding
the full implementation of the Reagan tax cuts, economic growth
averaged only 1.6 percent a year, and in four years the economy
actually contracted. Inflation hit double digits. Unemployment
reached 8.5 percent in 1975 and averaged more than 7 percent
for three consecutive years.
candidates were adults during this dismal economic stretch and
presumably semi-sentient. Hyperbole is, of course, endemic to
the political beast. But you have to wonder about reasonably
bright and informed individuals so willing to debase themselves
to be increasingly difficult for the Dems to ignore America's
rebounding economy. Denial is not a sound campaign strategy. -
DEAN'S FOREIGN POLICY FOLLY: Talk about preaching to the choir.
Howard Dean had lunch
with reporters and editors from the New York Times yesterday.
In addition to drawing the wildly hyperbolic conclusion that President
Bush is "setting the stage for the failure of America,"
Dean also expounded on the virtues of foreign policy. Here's the
first key graf:
Bush, Dr. Dean said, is "particularly poorly suited" for foreign
policy "because he has a black and white view of the world,
and foreign policy depends on enormous understandings of nuances
historical evidence to suggest that having a black and white view
of the world makes any president "poorly suited" in
matters of foreign policy. It worked pretty well for both Roosevelts,
JFK, and especially Ronald Reagan.
I'm not sure the American people feel a black and white world
view is such a bad thing to have these days given the fact thousands
of people around the world are plotting to kill us.
And Dr. Dean,
who has exactly zero experience in foreign policy matters, hasn't
inspired any confidence by recently putting his foot in his mouth
all the way up to the knee for not
understanding the "nuances" of the Israeli-Palestinian
most important criteria for whether you're going to be any good
at foreign policy or not is judgment and patience, both of which
are in short supply in this presidency."
Dean is referring to President
Bush's mad rush to war in Iraq. Regardless, if we've learned
anything about Howard Dean over the past few months it's that
he can be
impatient, impertinent, and will occasionally lash out at his
rivals with statements that eventually require an apology.
In other words, judging him by his own criteria, Howard Dean as
president would be a foreign policy failure.
there is this:
Dean refused to say how he would vote, were he in Congress,
on the $87 billion financing proposal.
not running for Congress, I'm running for president," he said.
it say about Dean's leadership that when he's presented with a
question on the single most important foreign policy issue facing
the country today, he decides to take a pass? Why would Dean not
be willing to say flat out that he'd support money for the reconstruction
of Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention our men and women in uniform),
especially after he's
on record saying this:
greatest advance in American foreign policy in the last century
was the Marshall Plan. Europe's 1,000-year history of nearly
continuous war is instead today dominated by an economic union,
which would not have been possible without the investment of
billions of American taxpayers dollars. We have been paid back
many times over in trade dollars, and more importantly, in American
lives which have not been lost to yet another European war.
long range foreign policy ought to embrace nation building,
not run from it. The most successful countries are those with
democracies bolstered by a strong middle class that embraces
the full political and economic participation of women."
exactly what we're trying to accomplish in Iraq? And even if he
didn't support the war itself, why would Howard Dean not jump
at the chance to champion the values he's laid out as a central
component of the foreign policy vision of his candidacy for president?
SUPPORT: Sorry, but I couldn't resist putting up this
quote I found while Googling for the last post. It comes from
Dean supporter Becky Burgwin, explaining why she's all gung ho
for the good doctor:
'I wish we had somebody with some fire, some intelligence. Because
these guys in this [Bush] administration, they're not just incompetent,
they're sociopaths. I had gotten to the point where I had to
go see someone because I was so depressed and so frightened
by these guys. It was just eating me up. The kids were saying,
'Don't yell at the TV, Mom, it makes us all uncomfortable.'
Howard Dean did for me is give me a voice. Here's someone who
is as angry as I am, and then he was up there on the world stage
saying these things."
afraid, goes a long way to redefining the term "lunatic fringe."
- T. Bevan
October 8 2003
THE BENEFITS OF GOVERNOR ARNOLD: Now that the fun is over
it's time to sober up and ask, "Where do we go from here?"
Just what are the implications of having a Republican Governor
in California and who is going to benefit the most? Let me offer
a couple of brief observations.
three "election lesson" memes being pushed around by
the various camps in the aftermath of the recall. They are:
say this is a "one off" election that represents voters'
dislike of Gray Davis but doesn't reflect on the party as a
believe the revolt we saw in California yesterday was driven
by a broad sense of anger over a troubled economy and ballooning
deficits and that the vote is a harbinger of things to come
at the national level next year.
say the recall election was not only a personal rebuke of of
Gray Davis, but a repudiation of the "tax and spend"
policies pursued by Democrats controlling Sacramento. They are
convinced that yesterday's victory will translate into a huge
benefit to President Bush in 2004.
tell who ends up being most right. Personally, I think there is
an element of truth to all three arguments.
is obvious: most hard-core Democrats in California and around
the country are absolutely beside themselves with anger. Spend
a few minutes on some of the lefty web sites and message boards
and you see nothing but wild-eyed rage. Like this headline from
Gang Bang the Groper" to Assume Office of America's Most Populous
State Within 10 Days. Lock Up the Young Women in Sacramento!
some Democrats are counseling patience, prudence and bipartisanship,
a good portion of the base seems to be itching for all-out war.
Like these comments from the message boards over at Daily
Kos and CalPundit:
first thing to do is get the District Attorney of Los Angeles
County to pursue criminal charges against Schwarzenegger for
multiple cases of sexual harassment."
no circumstances do we accept defeat graciously when our opponents
have no intention of ever doing the same to us. Did the Republicans
accept their California defeat graciously in 2002? Their Florida
defeat graciously in 2000? Their Presidential defeat graciously
in 1996? Were they gracious to Paul Wellstone's family? If we
accept this defeat graciously, we've just given California's
electoral votes - and the election - to Bush in 2004."
little doubt that someone will undertake an effort to recall Arnold
in the very near future - even though 1
out of every 4 Democrats in the state just voted to recall
a Governor from their own party.
Bush and the GOP will definitely reap some benefits from Schwarzenegger's
victory. Arnold will be able to raise tons of money and be a valuable
asset campaigning around the country. But will his presence as
Governor make Bush competitive in California in 2004? Possible,
In my mind
the biggest beneficiary of the recall vote is Howard Dean. The
rage of Democrats in California and around the country is going
to flow somewhere. Right now Dean is the only authentic repository
for Dem anger and for the idea - which is preposterous on its
face but nevertheless a driving force in the party base - that
the recently completed recall is just another success in a string
of "right-wing power grabs" that started with President
recall has done is polarize the national electorate more than
ever - which may
be a good thing for the President - and has probably set us
even more firmly on course for a brass-knuckled street fight next
year between Bush and Dean.
In yesterday's analysis we wrote: "Remember, Davis doesn't
have to get more "No" votes on recall than "Yes"
votes, he just has to keep the "Yes" vote percentage
under 50.0%." This is technically true but also illogical:
abstentions on Question 1 weren't counted so the vote total was
always going to equal 100%. This means there was no way Davis
could get more "No" votes than "Yes" and still
keep the percentage of "Yes" votes under 50%. Sorry
for the confusion. - T.
Bevan 9:00 am
October 7 2003
LAST CALL ON THE RECALL: The
late polls continue to show significant slippage away from
Schwarzenegger and towards both Davis and Bustamante. Survey
USA's final poll (taken Friday through Sunday after the LA
Times story broke) shows the "Yes on recall" number
dropping 4 points from their previous poll taken only 5 days earlier.
Even worse for Schwarzenegger, the spread on recall within the
three day poll moved from 25 on Friday to only 14 on Sunday. Obviously,
if the same rate of deterioration were to continue through Monday
and today, the election could be a real nail biter.
On the second
question, the same Survey USA poll shows Schwarzenegger's lead
over Bustamante dropping from 20 on Friday to 12 on Sunday. McClintock's
numbers have flat-lined and actually slipped two points in the
Survey USA poll to 14%.
So it appears
the LA Times hit piece last Thursday did exactly what it
was designed to do: take a big bite out of Schwarzenegger's momentum
and give Davis a chance to stay alive. However, in the end we
don't feel this is going to change any of the final results -
except the margin of victory for Schwarzenegger and the pro-recall
forces. It's important to keep in mind that close to 2 million
votes were probably cast before the decline in Arnold's
support started. If the election day numbers are very close, we
suspect those absentee votes will provide the margin of victory
likely to be a huge turnout today, and even with all the allegations
swirling around we suspect the turnout will still disproportionately
help Schwarzenegger. In the end this election is about change
and Californians' disgust with the direction of the state and
its current leadership. Gray Davis and Cruz Bustamante represent
that failed political leadership, and Arnold Schwarzenegger is
the only realistic vote for change.
from the groping and Hitler stories has prevented this election
from becoming a monster blowout and has given Gray Davis the smallest
hope that he still might be able to pull out a victory. But there
is evidence these stories have also created a backlash among portions
of the electorate, including many hard-core Republicans who see
it as a politically motivated hit job by the LA Times.
As a result, don't be too surprised to see a number of Republicans
who were going to vote for McClintock switch their vote to Schwarzenegger
solely out of anger toward the liberal machine desperate to stay
Schwarzenegger beats Bustamante easily (10 points or more) and
while we think Davis will still be recalled with a vote somewhere
around 57%, these ninth-inning revelations have taken a
toll and give the Democrats hope - albeit a very small one - that
Davis may indeed keep his job. However, hope in the end won't
be enough for the Democrats, and California and the country should
get ready for Governor Schwarzenegger. - J.
McIntyre 7:07 am
October 6 2003
DOES BUSH KNOW? At this point the Wilson affair boils
down to a fairly simple question: either the President knows who
leaked the information or he doesn't. The problem is that the
longer this thing drags on the more irrelevant the answer to this
question becomes and the more damage that is done to the President's
image as a strong, honest leader. Let's break down the possible
answers one at a time.
the worse case scenario is that Bush knows who leaked the information
and has taken no action against them thus far. This seems absolutely
insane to me and would shatter assumptions that many people (including
myself) have and respect about the President.
damaging iteration of this scenario is that the President has
some indication of who the leaker is but doesn't "technically"
know because he hasn't or won't confront that person directly.
Again, this doesn't seem rational to me given what we know about
this President's character. And if the DOJ investigation eventually
confirms the leaker is someone close to the President, he will
look terribly bad for protecting his inner circle by choosing
not to have questioned them up front.
work under the assumption that the President has no idea who leaked
the information. In press conferences over the last few days Scott
McClellan has already denied that Karl
Rove, Scooter Libby and Elliott Abrams "leaked"
or would "condone" the leaking of "classified information"
For the moment let's take these denials as fact and assume that
the White House isn't involved in some sort of Clintonian parsing
of language. They really don't know who it is.
problem with this scenario is that irrespective of whether it's
true or not, it is perceived as implausible. There is a general
predisposition (especially, I think, among those in the media)
to believe that the President knows everything that goes on his
administration - and if he doesn't know what's going on, he should.
however, is the perception that Bush can get to the bottom of
this whole situation in minutes if he wants to by calling White
House staffers into his office one by one and asking them point
blank if they leaked the information. So far as we can tell, this
isn't happening. It should. And until it
does, there will be endless speculation, rumor, innuendo and probably
a continued deterioration in the President's standing with the
Even if the
White House doesn't know who leaked the name of Wilson's wife
and no one comes forth to admit they were the leaker, the administration
should be able to see that simply cooperating with the DOJ probe
is not enough. The President needs to express some outrage and
to give the public an indication of what action he's taking to
deal with the situation. He can separate himself personally from
the scandal by telling us that he's asked the tough questions
to members of his administration. If they lie to him then they
lie to him, but at least we know he asked the question. - T.
Bevan 10:05 am