December 5 2003
THE BATTLE OVER FLORIDA: New
poll out in Florida this morning showing Howard Dean taking
a 1-point lead over Joe Lieberman and Wes Clark. That's a bit
of a switch from the Mason-Dixon
poll completed just before Thanksgiving and demonstrates,
albeit inconclusively, the continuing deterioration of Joe Lieberman's
match ups the poll shows President Bush beating Dean and Clark
by 8 points each (49-41 and 48-40, respectively), and Gephardt
and Lieberman by 11 points each (50-39 and 51-40 respectively).
for President Bush are mixed: 50% of Floridians think the
War in Iraq is "worth it", 65% don't believe Iraq is
another Vietnam, and 56% believe President Bush has made America
safer. On the other hand, 55% say the current level of casualties
in Iraq is "unacceptable" and 69% say Bush hasn't adequately
explained how long the troops will be in Iraq.
I'd say the Bush team has to feel pretty good about where they
stand in Florida right now. The President has a 61%
approval rating among Hispanics, despite the rift he caused
with the Cuban-American community earlier this year by repatriating
Cuban exiles. Bush will also come to Florida next year armed
with the Medicare bill which, not surprisingly, is the number
one issue of concern (36%) among Florida's older-leaning population.
history is any guide Bush should be comfortable with level of
GOP energy and organzation in the state. You'll remember that
in 2002 Terry McAuliffe declared Jeb Bush Enemy Number 1 and promised
to do whatever was necessary to defeat him. Despite the DNC's
best efforts, Jeb won in a cakewalk (13 points) and led Republicans
to a solid thrasing of Florida Dems from the top of the ticket
to the bottom.
OF THE DAY: "This is an enormous insult and a smack in the
face. What are we doing, going back to the 18th century?" - Rep.
Sheila Jackson-Lee, (D - Tx 18), referring to Texas A&M's
decision to not use race as a factor in admissions.
we see hyperbolic rhethoric that completely distorts the issue
and prevents a serious dialogue on matters of race. - T.
December 4 2003
BOB BECKEL'S OUTRAGE: I caught just a tiny bit of Bob
Beckel on Hannity
and Colmes night before last. Didn't even recognize him at
first. Last time I heard from Beckel he was trying to flip GOP
electors in 2000. Before that, of course, he was the lefty host
I saw a Google
ad for his
new web site so I clicked on over to check it out. I expected
it to be partisan, but I also thought it might be a place to find
some interesting insights from a longtime Dem operative. I was
Over on the
right-hand side of the page, the second "tab" down is
titled, "NEW! Wingnut of the Month." Beckel gives this
month's award to to Texas Governor Rick Perry for "being
Tom Delayís butt boy in the illegal redistricting of US House
seats in Texas."
I read this remark a few times and I'm still not even sure what
it means. Aside from the blatant disrespect shown to the sitting
Governor of the state of Texas, isn't "butt boy" a rather
non-PC term that should offend homosexuals? If a prominent Republican
political strategist had called a current (or former) Democrat
Governor and US House member "butt boys" do you think
it might raise the hackles of the Human
see the outrage, guys. Or will this be yet another example of
liberals giving a pass to one of their own for using language
that would get any Republican in the country branded a bigot.
R.I.P.: On the same day the Senator from Massachusetts lays
out his much-touted foreign policy vision at the Council on
Foreign Relations, Zogby
comes out with a poll showing him an astonishing 30 points
behind Dean in New Hampshire and on the verge of sinking into
third place behind Wesley Clark.
Lynn Jones has some advice for Kerry on how to turn things
around, but I don't think anything can help at this point. I actually
feel sorry for the guy. He's like a thoroughbred who has trained
his entire life to run in the Kentucky Derby, enters the race
as the odds on favorite and then pulls up lame about one furlong
in. Somebody should put him out of his misery.
FOR BUSH: Actually, the world famous U2 frontman and AIDS
activist admits to being for "the guy who writes the biggest
check." Still, based on this
interview with Judy Woodruff yesterday, you have to think
Bono has a great deal of respect for the man in the White House:
The administration originally was talking about the president,
$3 billion that came back. And they said, You know, we've looked
at it, we can't spend that money efficiently. They came back
with $2 billion. Congress has upped it to $2.4 billion. But
the argument is, we can't spend more money now because it won't
be used in a smart way.
The idea that Africans can't spend the money is preposterous.
to be fair to Bill Frist and others, they were talking about
specifically ten countries targeted with this new AIDS initiative.
And actually, in the case of those ten countries, they're right.
argument was, you know, why is it just 10, and what about the
Global Health Fund? Surely you could best spend some money in
there. We were wrangling.
in all, I have to say the administration has been very honest
in their relationship with us. And we did fight over that billion
dollars. There's been a compromise. We've had $400 million from
Congress. And we'll take it.
What have you said to them? When the president and others have
looked at you and said, We just don't think some of these countries
know how to handle this money. Countries that don't have their
political act together, their economy act together.
OK. You have to build capacity. And remember, this is the president
who inspired not just people who are involved in this, these
issues, but his critics around the world.
last State of the Union speech, when he said, We will get the
drugs to people on motorcycles, on bicycles. Now, that's the
kind of American president I want to hear from, one that bangs
his hand on the table and says, Let's get this done.
If an ultraliberal,
European rock star can give the President a bit of credit where
he thinks it's due, applaud his efforts and treat him with a decent
amount of respect, why is it impossible for those on the American
left? - T.
Bevan 8:06 am
December 3 2003
THE MOUTH OF MONTPELIER: Howard
Dean's big mouth has had a banner performance even by his standards
the last few days. Over the weekend
he seems to have gotten a little overexcited and told his audience:
[President Bush] has no understanding of defense, I think he's
made us weaker. He doesn't understand what it takes to defend
this country, that you have to have high moral purpose. He doesn't
understand that you better keep troop morale high rather than
just flying over for Thanksgiving.....Mr. President, if you'll
pardon me, I'll teach you a little about defense."
a retort from former Senator Bob Dole:
thank God F.D.R. was my commander in chief in WWII. Had it been
Howard Dean we would have not participated. This would have
saved lives and none of us would have been wounded. Just one
little problem: we would have lost our liberty and freedom."
week Dean said he would release his records as Governor of Vermont
as long as Bush released his records, not realizing that Bush's
records are already available to the public.
Matthew's Hardball he forgot that the Soviet Union
doesn't exist any more:
we have less-fewer levers much 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, most 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 to buying the equipment the Soviet Union was ultimately
going to sell to Iran to prevent Iran from them developing nuclear
mistake on Hardball was not the Soviet Union gaffe, which
I don't think is a big deal except as an amusing side story on
how ridiculously bias the mainstream press remains. Just imagine
the public hounding President Bush would take if he said anything
screw up, which Hugh
Hewitt addresses at the Weekly Standard today, is his
belief that Osama Bin Laden should be tried at the Hague in Holland.
Actually, it's Dean's indifference that's the problem: he doesn't
think it really matters who deals with Osama or where:
Who should try Osama bin Laden if we catch him? We or the
donít think it makes a lot of difference.
It may not
make a lot of difference to Howard Dean whether the U.S. or the
World Court deals with bin Laden in the off chance he is caught
alive, but it makes a BIG difference to Joe Six-pack. The average
American citizen will not tolerate our government turning bin
Laden over to the bureaucrats at the World Court so that he can
live out his life well fed and well taken care of in some European
appeals to the hard left, but it shows a striking disconnect with
the feelings of the vast majority of the country. This answer
alone could be crafted into a Bush commercial that would help
put New York state into play in 2004.
main rivals realize that attacking Dean from the left on national
security and foreign policy is a fool's errand, these remarks
will have little impact on on the race for the Democratic nomination.
If Gephardt were smart he would attack Dean on this gaffe repeatedly
and mercilessly. Don't count on it.
POPULARITY SURGES AFTER THANKSGIVING: "President
Bush appears to have received a substantial immediate boost in
his popularity since Thanksgiving Day." This from the latest
Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania
poll released yesterday
I would expect
that the other major polls of the Bush's approval rating will
also reflect a boost from the President's trip to visit the troops
in Baghdad. This is of course the reason for the Democratic characterization
of the President's trip as a "stunt." The Democrats
would be well advised to just forget about this trip and move
on. Criticism of the trip may play well with the Michael Moore
crowd, but it doesn't sit well with the the vast majority of the
DROP CRUISE SHIP IDEA: House majority leader
Tom DeLay is a master politician and a big reason for many of
the Republican successes these last 5 years. However this
plan to have a cruise ship serve as an entertainment center
for members of Congress, lobbyists and contributors during the
Republican National Convention next summer would have been an
unmitigated PR disaster. Fortunately for the Republicans, common
sense appears to have prevailed. J.
McIntyre 7:33 am
December 2 2003
RUMMY WINS: U.S. Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld has
been awarded this year's "Foot in Mouth Award" from
Britain's Plain English Campaign. Here is Rummy's winner:
that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting
to me, because as we know, there are known knowns, there are
things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns;
that is to say we know there are some things we do not know.
But there are also unknown unknowns ó the ones we don't know
we don't know."
received an honorable mention for this gem:
that gay marriage is something that should be between a man
and a woman."
to both. We know what you mean. - T. Bevan 4:27pm
BOTCHES SOFTBALL ON HARDBALL: Looks like Howard Dean
may have done it again. On Hardball yesterday Dean said it didn't
make "any difference" to him whether Osama bin Laden
was tried by the World Court or by the United States as long as
he's "brought to justice."
Hewitt points out that there is, in fact, a huge difference
in who ends up trying Osama bin Laden and the resulting definition
of justice (Mickey
Kaus has more). I suspect a large majority of the American
public also has a pretty strong opinion about who should try Osama
and what constitutes justice - and they ain't gonna agree with
If this is
lesson number one in teaching George Bush "a little about
defense" I can't wait to see the rest of the curriculum.
- T. Bevan 11:03 am
has the transcript of another outrageous statement Dean made
during his interview on Hardball saying he would break up giant
Sullivan has the text of yet a third Dean gaffe on Hardball
- this time in reference to the former Soviet Union. - T. Bevan
EPIDEMIC OF "UN"SERIOUSNESS: Howard
Dean is going to teach George Bush "a little about defense."
Kerry is going to "end the era of John Ashcroft."
Both men complain that President Bush has alienated our allies
around the world, that Iraq is a misadventure and a mistake, and
that we need to return to the legitimacy of the United Nations'
process and focus on pursuing al-Qaeda. So what
U.N. monitoring committee complained yesterday that 108 nations
have failed to file required reports on their actions in the
war against terrorism, such as freezing assets and reporting
the names of suspected terrorists.
the countries that have not complied are several where the al
Qaeda terror network is thought to be active, including Afghanistan,
Egypt, Indonesia, Kenya and Sudan. "
in question are required per UN resolutions passed in the wake
of September 11, 2001. Heraldo Munoz, chairman of the United Nations'
al Qaeda sanctions committee, hopes to pass yet another resolution
strengthening "the teeth" in the sanctions against countries
refusing to comply. Any of this sound familiar?
As I've said
before, in my mind any serious candidate for president of the
United States who advocates pursuing the War on Terror through
the framework of the United Nations must also step up and recognize
the deficiencies of that organization as well as present some
sort of plan for reform that demonstrates a commitment to the
primacy of US national security. As the above story demonstrates,
simply rushing back into the open arms of the UN thinking we'll
all have a big world community hug and then head off to fight
terrorists together is absolute madness.
SECURITY PLAN: Meanwhile, yesterday in Iowa Dick Gephardt
out a plan for a "Homeland Security Trust Fund."
Gephardt wants to spend $100 billion over the next five years
on homeland security and finance the spending by empaneling a
commission to eliminate special interest tax breaks (any bets
on whether ethanol subsidies will be among those cut?).
text here) is actually an effective critique of the Bush administration,
one that will resonate with voters and one that other Dems would
be well advised to follow. The only problem is that to really
drive the point home Gephardt has to engage in the type of worst
case, doomsday scenarios that Democrats (including Gephardt himself)
have crucified the Bush administration for. It's the sort of stuff
that literally scares the pants off voters:
around the world, there are countless storage facilities of
nuclear materials, many in the former Soviet Union, where there
is little security beyond a few under-paid guards. But this
president has been too dismissive of this threat, as with so
many others. I'm not willing to trust the safety of my family
to a hungry watchman in a decrepit storage locker in Eastern
Europe. It's far too easy to imagine that nuclear material ending
up in the trunk of a car in downtown St. Louis. I'm not willing
to take that chance, and I know you're not either."
am standing before you today at this police station, because
this is the last line of defense against these dangers and many
more. Who is supposed to notice the suspicious car? Or the out-of-date
visa? Who is supposed to contain the damage from a dirty bomb?
Or a chemical attack? And who is supposed to treat hundreds
of burn victims or thousands of citizens exposed to a radiological
front-line in the war on terror is not just Iraq or Afghanistan.
It's not limited to rogue nations like Iran or North Korea.
It's everywhere, including right here on the streets of our
I mean? It sounds like something straight of the movie Red
Dawn. The fact we haven't suffered another terrorist attack
since 9/11 makes it a bit of a tougher sell, but it is a legitimate
avenue for attacking the administration on security issues.
For the record,
I disagree with Gephardt's proposal. I'm not opposed to spending
on homeland security per se, but I don't believe we should in
any way endorse a policy that requires some sort of parity or
balance between money we spend fighting the War on Terror abroad
and money spend at home. Every dollar spent tracking down and
killing terrorists around the globe is worth significantly more
to the cause of winning the war on terrorism, in both practical
and symbolic terms, than a dollar spent buying a hazmat suit for
a fire station somewhere in Iowa.
Rutenberg's piece from yesterday's NY Times on liberal efforts
to start a talk radio network has more or less made the blogosphere
rounds, so I won't spend a lot of time discussing it. But I will
add this two cents:
ironic about this effort is that for nearly 20 years talk radio
has been a medium that liberals have for the most part shunned,
demeaned, and looked upon with utter contempt.
Limbaugh was toiling away in relative obscurity in places like
Kansas City and Sacramento, liberals were busy applying for positions
in the newsrooms of television and newspapers around the country
and couldn't be bothered with talk radio. It was beneath them.
of the success of people like Rush and Hannity and their ability
to harness the raw power of the medium, all of the sudden liberals
want back in the game. That's fine with me, let 'em come on in
and compete. Liberals may or may not find talk radio a hospitable
atmosphere for their brand of politics, but at least now they
respect (if a bit late and a bit grudgingly) the power of talk
radio. - T.
Bevan 9:06 am
December 1 2003
BACK IN FIRST GEAR: Slow start this week. I'd chalk it up
to the lingering effects of tryptophan if I could, but it looks
like that's just an
old wives tale.
to all who responded to our Thanksgiving Day post and also a quick
thanks to Milt
Rosenberg for having us on his show last week.
SOUR NOTE: Jack
Ryan, the JFK-esque Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in
Illinois has gotten a lot
of good press lately. Perhaps too much press for his own good
(is such a thing possible?) All the puff pieces on Ryan seem to
have angered Lynn Sweet, who dropped this
turkey of a column on Thanksgiving Day.
Let me just
say if this is the best she can do in trying to take Ryan down
a peg then he doesn't have any worries. Does Sweet really expect
people to be outraged over the fact that Ryan, a 15-year veteran
and former partner with investment banking giant Goldman Sachs,
sat on the corporate boards of two companies while he was volunteering
to teach at an all-black high school on the south side of Chicago?
particularly peeved at Ryan's stake in K-12
Inc., a firm that provides a "virtual curriculum"
for parents interested in home schooling their children. Sweet
suggests that because education is one of the main planks in Ryan's
campaign he is obligated to mention (in all of his direct mail
correspondence and on his website) connections to a firm that
promotes homeschooling. Give me a break.
everyone would agree it's reasonable to ask candidates their views
on homeschooling. It's also reasonable to ask Ryan how his affiliation
with K-12 Inc. influences the way he thinks about education in
what Sweet is doing here. She is alleging a conflict of interest
and trying to convince readers of the Chicago Sun-Times that Ryan
is hiding his relationship with K-12 and not "leveling with
voters." This is total and utter nonsense.
well known that William J. Bennett, former U.S. Secretary of Education,
founder of K-12 Inc. It's also common knowledge that Bennett
is one of Jack Ryan's closest friends and political mentors. He
even did a star
turn at a recent Ryan fundraiser.
being some shady deal or ideological Trojan Horse he is trying
to hide from voters, Ryan's investment in K-12, Inc. is most likely
the product of his desire to help a friend start an exciting new
venture and also the chance to work directly with one of the country's
preeminent experts on the issue of education.
is the Washington Bureau Chief of the Chicago Sun-Times. If I
know this stuff you can rest assured she knows it as well - but
she chose not to inform her readers because it might have softened
the blow she wanted to inflict on Jack Ryan. Maybe Lynn is the
one who needs to start to "level with the voters." -