May 21 2004
BY THE WAY: Did I mention we're
having a fund drive? Yeah, I know, and John Kerry served
in Vietnam. Seriously, if you haven't kicked in yet, please
don't wait any longer. Every little bit will help.
RACE: Speaking of money, Glen
Justice writes in today's NYT that together Bush and
Kerry have already spent more than $109 million on advertising
since March ($65 million for Bush, $44 million for Kerry).
is a mind-blowing amount of money for this early in the
race and it doesn't include the heavy spending by liberal
groups like MoveOn and ACT. Furthermore, much of the spending
is concentrated in only 17 or 18 battleground states.
doesn't look like the spending will let up soon. USA
Today reports the Bush campaign is set to unveil a new
ad attacking Kerry's stance on the Patriot Act next week.
47% PRESIDENT: The two Dem wisemen, James
Carville & Stan Greenberg, sayeth:
months out from the election, the race for president has
entered a new and distinct phase with Bush not only endangered,
as we suggested earlier, but now with the odds against
him. He is more likely to lose than win. Public confidence
has collapsed on Iraq, but there is a lot of collateral
damage, producing a strong desire for change. Whether
it is the vote or job approval or personal favorability,
Bush has become a 47 percent president at best."
is certainly vulnerable, and to a much greater extent than
anyone thought possible twelve months ago. However, it's
a bit over the top for Carville and Greenberg to title their
document "Bush's Long Odds" and to declare with
such confidence that the President is "more likely
to lose than win." It looks like the desire to rally
the troops has merged with a bit of wishful thinking.
fact, despite a job approval rating
of 46%, a big negative spread
in the right-track/wrong track number, and the fact
he's slightly trailing Kerry in both the 3-way
race and the head-to-head
matchup, Bush is also showing signs of strength where
it matters: in the battleground states.
Fox News poll shows Bush ahead of Kerry in battleground
states by a 43 to 37 margin. If you don't trust Fox News,
go look at the individual state-by-state
polls. You'll see a lot of conflicting data, but Bush
is ahead in some states, behind in others, but competitive
in every single one. At worst you'd have to say the race
is a toss up. Don't take my word for it, go listen to a
guy who really knows what he's talking about.
TALE OF TWO WOMEN: Laura Bush could be the President's
secret weapon this year. Read this
profile in today's Boston Globe and you'll understand
why. I would say Mrs. Bush's stature among women voters
is even more favorable when compared with the silliness
that passes for leadership on the other side of the aisle.
ASSIGNMENT: Mort Kondracke's column is always a
must-read, but today it's a must-must-must-read.
To truly understand how on-point Kondracke is, after you're
finished go reread Nancy
Pelosi's comments and then force yourself through Bob
Herbert's column in today's New York Times.
- T. Bevan 8:30 am Link
to a Friend
May 20 2004
PONDERING: No blog today, just a couple of quick
you had already spent $8
million in advertising in a state with media as cheap
as South Dakota's and you were still
in a dead heat with your opponent, would that cause
you to develop an ulcer?
how much sleep would you be losing if you were a Democrat
running for President and you were leading
your opponent by only three points in New Jersey?
asking.... - T. Bevan 7:57 am Link
to a Friend
May 19 2004
FUND DRIVE UPDATE:
Thanks to all who have contributed over the first two days
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SENATE RACE: I can't imagine the folks at Jack
Ryan's campaign are too disappointed by this
poll released yesterday by Scott Rasmussen. In a survey
of likely voters, Ryan is down eight points to Obama (48-40),
just within the poll's 4.5% margin of error. Other
recent polls have suggested the race isn't that close.
We'll be discussing this contest in greater detail in the
WE GO AGAIN: Bill
Gertz reports in the Washington Times that we've agreed
to "consider" restarting construction of the first
of two light-water nuclear reactors in exchange for North
Korea's promise to carry out a "complete, verifiable
and irreversible dismantling"of their uranium enrichment
program. Sound familiar? Ugh.
face it: the six-party talks are nothing more than a formal
dialogue between blackmailer and blackmailee, but we seem
to be playing along at least for the moment:
Korea's chief negotiator, Ri Gun, told reporters that
negotiators backed Pyongyang's call for aid in exchange
for freezing the country's nuclear program.
thing that has been confirmed is that there is a shared
view that we must get compensation when we freeze our
nuclear weapons development plan," Mr. Ri told reporters
in Beijing last week.
there is a bright side to the story, I suppose it's this:
at least this time we're being blackmailed out in the open
and not double-crossed behind our backs. Instead
of clinking glasses and dancing with North Korea's despots
while they're making quietly making fools us, this time
in exchange for a little payola we'll be giving them the
nuclear arms equivalent of a weekly colonoscopy.
the other hand, it's hard not to see the sort of signal
this sends to governments like Iran: if you can just deceive
the world long enough to acquire a nuke, it becomes the
gift that just keeps on giving.
far as restarting the light-water reactor program, count
me among those who agree with Henry Sokolski, director of
the private Nonproliferation Policy Education Center:
think we should leave bad enough alone. This is no way
to improve any aspect of the crisis. This is literally
a radioactive idea that should be kept away from all people
who care about keeping peace on the [Korean] peninsula
for the future. If we are going to bribe them, find something
ABU GHRAIB SCANDAL CONTINUES: WaPo:
Sivits pleads guilty. ABC
News: Alleged cover up. LA
Times: 3 witnesses refused to testify at hearing.
I wrote before, I think America has pretty much finished
absorbing the initial shock of what happened at Abu Ghraib.
But now we're entering the "justice" phase of
the scandal, which will be characterized by an extended
period of media-driven pieces about the legal investigations,
prosecutions, etc. most of which won't move the ball very
far (if at all) and will end up generating a whole lot of
light but very little heat.
I would be surprised if there weren't a few bombshells heading
down the pike. My feeling is that this story is going to
be with us for quite a while longer - like it or not. -
T. Bevan 7:25 am Link
to a Friend
May 18 2004
DON'T FORGET: If you haven't made a contribution
yet, please don't wait. We hate asking for money, but reader
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contribute whatever you can - any amount large or small
- because it matters a great deal.
& KRUGMAN: What a contrast today. One
New York Times columnist remains cautiously
optimistic about the situation in Iraq, suggesting that
we may yet succeed in the face of adversity as we've done
so often throughout our past:
begets disappointment, and we are now in a moment of disappointment
when it comes to Iraq. During these shakeout moments,
the naysayers get to gloat while the rest of us despair,
lacerate ourselves, second-guess those in charge and look
at things anew. But this very process of self-criticism
is the precondition for the second wind, the grubbier,
less illusioned effort that often enough leads to some
the most untrue truism in human history is that there
are no second acts in American life. In reality, there
is nothing but second acts. There are shakeout moments
and, redundantly, new beginnings. The weeks until June
30 are bound to be awful, but we may be at the start of
a new beginning now.
other New York Times columnist lets us know
we are headed to certain defeat in Iraq, and then goes on
to suggest that defeat is actually preferable to continuing
to fund the effort to stabilize Iraq because it is bankrupting
how will it all end? The cries of "stay the course"
are getting fainter, while the calls for a quick exit
are growing. In other words, it seems increasingly likely
that the nation will end up disowning Mr. Bush and his
will mean settling for an outcome in Iraq that, however
we spin it, will look a lot like defeat — and the
nation's prestige will be damaged by that outcome. But
lost prestige is better than ruin.
two columns do a nice job of capturing the respective views
of the left and the right that currently polarize most of
the country over Iraq:
side believes what we're doing in Iraq is necessary and
worthwhile. The other side thinks it is a colossal misadventure
and a waste of blood and treasure.
side views the difficulties in Iraq as obstacles that
can be overcome through perseverance (though not without
anxiety). The other side views these difficulties as proof
of either the futility of the mission, the incompetence
of its leaders, or both.
side yearns for victory, so much so that there has often
been an inflated sense of optimism and idealism about
what we can and will achieve in Iraq. The other side is
almost resigned to defeat (and has been since beginning)
and for political as well as ideological reasons, the
idea of victory in Iraq is viewed with cynicism, indifference,
or outright antipathy.
history will tell whether Iraq was a mistake or not; whether
our goals were too lofty, our vision for the spread of stability
and democracy too ambitious, and whether it was a quagmire
that swallowed lives and money in vain.
here is one thing to remember, and one place where I think
Brooks is right. History doesn't just happen, it is made.
We make it together as a nation. Our collective will and
perseverance can accomplish any task - should we decide
it truly worthy of our effort. Whether a success or failure,
in the end Iraq will be what we choose to make it.
ONE-VOTE MARGIN STRATEGY: According to The
Hill, we may be seeing a lot of votes come down to a
one-vote margin this fall.
by calculating the vote to a nicety, the GOP managed to
make Kerry appear to be responsible for the defeat because
he was a no-show.
Democrats say they suspect the Republicans engineered
the one-vote margin, and the incident underlines how both
parties are expected to use the legislature to tarnish
timed it just perfectly,” said one Senate Democratic
aide. “We walked right into it — yes.”
Republicans did engineer the vote to embarrass Kerry,
it worked. It got front-page national press coverage and
seemed to undermine Kerry’s campaign pitch that
he was the candidate who would do the most to help those
harmed by the economy under President Bush.
Republicans are sneaky little devils, aren't they? -
T. Bevan 9:52am Link
to a Friend
May 17, 2004
WMD: WHAT'S THE MEDIA DOING?: It's not
a big warehouse full of WMD's, but it's not nothin'
"Gazi George, a former Iraqi
nuclear scientist under Saddam's regime, told Fox News
he believes many similar weapons stockpiled by the former
regime were either buried underground or transported to
Syria. He noted that the airport where the device was
detonated is on the way to Baghdad from the Syrian border.
George said the finding likely will
be the first in a series of discoveries of such weapons.
"Saddam is the type who will
not store those materials in a military warehouse. He's
gonna store them either underground, or, as I said, lots
of them have gone west to Syria and are being brought
back with the insurgencies," George told Fox News.
"It is difficult to look in areas that are not obvious
to the military's eyes."
CONFUSION: In addition to blaming his speech writers
overzeaulous, John Kerry should blame them for making
him sound, well, incoherent.
today celebrating the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board
is one huge non-sequitur that just keeps going round and
hard to believe it’s been fifty years since Brown.
Fifty years since the color of your skin determined where
you could get a drink of water. Where you could sit on
the bus. Whether you had a seat at the lunch counter.
And where you could go to school......
of America is a better place because of Brown....But we
have more to do.....Yes, we have to defend the progress
that has been made....Because as far as we’ve come,
we still have not met the promise of Brown.
how do we honor the legacy of Brown?
must let America be America again. We must work together
to turn back the creeping tide of division that Thurgood
Marshall and so many others fought so hard against."
order to fulfill the promise of Brown we need to let America
be America again? This implies
that somewhere along the way we stopped being America and
need to go back to a previous point in time. But if we have
indeed made progress on the issue of race over the years,
then where exactly would Kerry want us to go back to?
if we have made progress since Brown, how can a "tide
of division" still be creeping? If you concede we've
made racial progress in the 50 years since Brown, wouldn't
it make more sense to say we need to "continue rolling
back" the tide of division that Marshall fought against?
hard to tell from this speech whether Kerry thinks we have
made a good deal of progress on race in the last half century
or little progress at all. - T. Bevan 5:15 pm Link
to a Friend
SECOND EVER: For anyone who may be accessing the
blog from a bookmark or some direct link that bypasses the
RCP homepage, you may have missed the announcement that
we've started our second
ever RCP fund drive. The big change this year is that
we've applied to become a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization
which will make all contributions to RCP fully tax deductible.
only solicit contributions once a year, and for the next
week we're asking for your help in supporting what we do.
Thanks in advance for your generous support.
UP BIG: Political
Wire is reporting a poll from Democratic polling firm
showing Daschle ahead of Thune, 55% to 42%. Make of it what
SURVEY: Blogads founder Henry Copeland has put
together a survey to help get a better understanding of
who is reading blogs these days. If you're interested in
participating, go ahead and click
here. Answering "RealClearPolitics" to question
#22 would also help give us a better idea of who our audience
is as wel. - T. Bevan 1:30 pm Link
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IT AROUND: Susan
Page has a good article on the dynamics of the presidential
race and the intense focus on Bush's
sagging job approval numbers:
acknowledge that the drop in Bush's approval has caught
their attention. "You've got to wait a few weeks
to see whether it's stuck there or it's based on this
horrible news, the pictures from Iraq," says Charles
Black, a strategist with ties to Bush's campaign.
wrote last week, contrary to the current hysteria gripping
the chattering classes over Bush's job approval numbers,
it's not all doom and gloom - at least not yet anyway. But
it's clear the prisoner abuse scandal has taken a serious
the extent favorable economic news continues to be overwhelmed
by coverage of Abu Ghraib and other bad news out of Iraq,
it is going to be difficult for Bush to turn his job approval
numbers around. Not impossible, just difficult.
thing is certain: Bush shouldn't expect any help from the
media. Sitting around waiting for the press to let up on
the Abu Ghraib scandal or for stories about the surging
economy to seep into the public's consciousness is a recipe
has to do two things to stop his slide. First, he has try
to make some positive news in an effort to repair (as best
as he can) any damage from the prison abuse scandal.
this point, the best way to do that would be to raze Abu
Ghraib. From a political perspective, Bush can't be content
to wait for justice to run its course in the form of courts-
martial and criminal charges for those responsible. He needs
to quickly remove the symbol of the scandal that has so
shocked and disturbed the American people, and replace the
horrific images of prisoner abuse in the public mind with
a new image: the demolition of the prison itself.
demolishing Abu Ghraib would only do so much to repair the
damage done to Bush's job approval ratings. Despite the
fixation of the press on the subject, it's probably fair
to say a good portion of the public has already moved beyond
the Abu Ghraib story.
public's major concern - and the bigger problem for the
President - is whether Bush actually has a plan for success
in Iraq. The longer America goes on waking up to headlines
like this one, the more the voting public is inclined
to think he doesn't.
needs stability in Iraq. His reelection depends on finding
a way to make this happen - or at the very least to convincing
the country that despite the bumps and setbacks we're making
progress in the right direction.
AS AN ASSET: When is a history of flip-flopping
a political asset? Listen to Teamster President James
Hoffa talk about John Kerry:
think he has a record of voting for NAFTA; he has a record
of voting for a number of things -- and I know that's
his record, and in the future he will have a different
record, and that is because of the campaign,
because of the commitments, and because he feels what's
going on in the country."
like a guy who's not too concerned about Kerry's past voting
record on trade and confident in his future ability to influence
the man who would be President.
by the way, Hoffa says he is urging Kerry to pick Gephardt
as a running mate. We'll see if Big Labor gets their dream
ticket. - T. Bevan 9:00am Link
to a Friend