May 10 2003
Jim Edgar's announcement Friday that he will not run for Senate
gives the Democrats the early advantage in the contest for the
seat currently being held by Republican Peter Fitzgerald. Illinois
has trended Democratic in recent Presidential elections and Republicans
were lucky to even pickup the seat in 1998.
a very popular two-term governor and would have given the GOP
a very good chance to hold on to Fitzgerald's seat. Edgar's departure
leaves the field wide open for the Republican nomination. Karl
Rove was in Illinois earlier this week trying to get Edgar to
commit to a run and Michael
Sneed of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that if Edgar
declined, "Rove said financial whiz Jack Ryan, who gave up
investment banking to teach at an inner-city Catholic school for
three years, and new state GOP chairwoman Judy Baar Topinka would
be next in line."
side is wide open with state Comptroller Dan Hynes perhaps an
early favorite. With Edgar now out neither party is likely going
to have a big name in the race which gives the advantage to the
Democrats. Bottom line this seat will likely end up a Democratic
Novak reports in last Sunday's Chicago Sun Times:
insiders, acknowledging little chance of recapturing the House
in 2004, have all but given up hope of winning a Senate majority,
unless there is such a transcendent development as an economic
collapse. The early calculation in Democratic circles is for
a net loss of four additional Senate seats, extending the 51-49
Republican majority to 55-45. Democratic seats are in real jeopardy
in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, South Dakota
and Nevada. In contrast, Alaska is the only Republican Senate
seat up next year that clearly tilts to the Democrats.
is an eternity in politics and a four seat pickup for the GOP
seems a little optimistic at this point. The early line would
give the Democrats pickups in Illinois and Alaska with Republicans
offsetting that with pickups of their own in South Carolina and
Georgia. Most of the remaining Republican seats look pretty safe,
whereas the Democrats are vulnerable in North Carolina, South
Dakota, Florida, Nevada, California and Washington.
Bush's popularity and the competitiveness of the Democratic nominee
will also have a large influence on the outcome of the Senate
races. Barring a political disaster for President Bush the Democrats
appear to have very little chance of regaining control of the
Robert - (R - UT)
Evan - (D - IN)
Christopher - (R - MO)
Barbara - (D - CA)
Sam - (R - KS)
John - (D - LA)
Jim - (R - KY)
Thomas - (D - SD)
Ben - (R - CO)
Christopher - (D - CT)
Michael - (R - ID)
Byron - (D - ND)
Peter - Retiring
John - (D - NC)
Chuck - (R - IA)
Russell - (D - WI)
Judd - (R - NH)
Bob - (D - FL)
John - (R - AZ)
Ernest - (D - SC)
Lisa - (R - AK)
Daniel - (D - HI)
Don - (R - OK)
Patrick - (D - VT)
Richard - (R - AL)
Blanche - (D - AR)
Arlen - (R - PA)
Barbara - (D - MD)
George - (R - OH)
Zell - Retiring
Patty - (D - WA)
Harry - (D - NV)
Charles - (D - NY)
Ron - (D - OR)
Senate is 51 Republicans - 49 Democrats.
News Opinion Dynamics May 6-7 Poll:
Bush 58% v. Kerry 29%
Bush 57% v. Lieberman 31%
Bush 56% v. Gephardt 30%
IN 2008 CON'T:
Some people misinterpreted the last sentence of my post yesterday
- "Republicans should not underestimate Hillary Clinton
the way liberals continue to underestimate that idiot - George
W. Bush." - as a slap at the President. Sometimes sarcasm
doesn't come through in print as well as it does on the radio
or on TV. My point was not that the President is an idiot. Rather
I continue to be amazed by the otherwise intelligent people I
talk to on the left who think President Bush is a moron. It's
truly astonishing the number of people who continue to honestly
believe Bush is an idiot. Of course the real idiots are the ones
who think the President is an idiot. My point was that President
Bush has done very well over the last ten years having his Democratic
opponents underestimating his abilities. Republicans should not
make the same mistake with Senator Clinton. J.
McIntyre 4:45 pm
May 9 2003
HILLARY IN 2008: Fred
Barnes' article that appeared in Tuesday's Wall Street
Journal is now available on the web at The Weekly Standard
website. He argues that Senator Clinton has been doing a good
job in positioning herself for a 2008 Presidential run. He is
no question that Senator Clinton wants to be President. Hillary
and Bill are politically smart enough to know that all the speculation
that 2004 may be a political replay of the '92 election is highly
points out, there very well may be a "draft Senator Clinton"
movement at sometime in the next year, but unless President Bush's
job approval has nose dived there is little chance the Clintons
would jump at the '04 opportunity. Likewise there is no chance
Hillary will accept the VP slot on a ticket she thinks is going
Senator Clinton would like to see one of the group of nine who
were down in South Carolina last weekend do a Kamikaze run into
the Bush/Rove juggernaut in 2004. She'll keep her nose to the
grindstone in the Senate "working for the people of New York"
and hoping the economy continues to struggle during Bush's second
knows that Ross Perot's gift to her husband is unlikely to be
repeated in her run for the White House. Without a third party
candidate siphoning off significant votes from the GOP nominee,
Senator Clinton is going to have a very difficult time beating
any Republican in 2008 regardless of the economy.
that her liberal base is rock solid. So she is very astutely using
her seat on the Armed Services Committee and her calculated support
for the war in Iraq to develop a reputation as a hawk on defense.
Expect her to continue to attempt to build that reputation between
now and 2007 when she officially announces her run for the White
In a two-person
race in 2008 Senator Clinton knows that for her to have any chance
in the general election she will have to win over millions of
voters in the political center who may be very skeptical of her
agenda and motives. Winning in New York is a lot different from
winning in Florida, Missouri, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin
- all the type of states she will have to carry if she expects
to be President.
wrongly Hillary thinks the Democratic nomination is hers for the
asking, and she is more or less right. So she is effectively running
her 2008 general election campaign right now in her moves to get
to the political right in the Democratic Party on issues of defense
and national security. Expect her to continue to do so on every
major defense issue over the next four years. Republicans should
not underestimate Hillary Clinton the way liberals continue to
underestimate that idiot - George W. Bush. J.
McIntyre 7:37 am
May 8 2003
GUN: I've been burned a couple of times for jumping on stories
about WMD discoveries in Iraq so I'm going to be overly cautious
about trumpeting the seizure of this
mobile weapons lab as a smoking gun. Still, it seems to lend
credence to the idea that Iraq had an active, sophisticated WMD
program specifically altered to avoid detection by inspectors.
whether this find will in any way put a dent in the perception
on the left that the Bush administration lied about its main justification
for war. Probably not. We're in a place now on WMD where the goalposts
are constantly moving: Weapons lab? Big deal. Show me the weapons.
Only 10 litres of anthrax? You said there were thousands. And
on and on.
At this point
anything less than finding "an Iraqi superdome" full
of weapons (to crib from Nick
Kristof's latest column) is simply not going to be good enough
for those on the left. And even if were to find such a cache don't
think for a minute it would prompt any mea culpa pieces
Corn & Co. We'll see a shrug of the shoulders followed
by a "shocking" new expose detailing how Bush's evil
oil-gubbing buddies are pillaging Iraq, subverting Kyoto, and
causing a massive healthcare crisis in the U.S. Oh yeah, I forgot,
they're also trying to repeal Roe v. Wade.
Chait chastises his fellow liberals in today's
Washington Post for letting their hatred of President Bush
drive them into cynical and faulty positions on the war, including
the WMD issue. Read the whole thing.
PSCHOLOGY: I suspect being lectured
to by Bob Byrd and being hounded by the likes of Henry
Waxman will send Bush's approval rating up another point or
IN ON THE DEMS: John
Edwards has fundraising issues. So does John
Lieberman unveiled his big idea yesterday and Newsweek's Howard
Fineman says Howard
Dean isn't fading away just yet. Dick
Gephardt gets into the game in Arizona. And will Bob
Graham even win his home state? - T.
Bevan 7:27 am
May 7 2003
BUSH'S MILITARY RECORD: I should have nailed Krugman
on it yesterday but Andrew
Sullivan does the job this morning. I wrote a piece on this
subject nearly two years ago, specifically detailing Bob Kerrey's
involvement in pushing AWOL accusations against Bush. I suggest
the entire piece, of course, but here is a brief chronological
2000: The Boston Globe prints a story about George
W. Bush's "missing year" in the Texas Air National
Guard. Bush issues brief statement rebutting the charges.
September 2000: TomPaine.com prints column from an Iowa
farmer attacking Bush's military record.
October 2000: Paul Begala brings up questions about Bush's
service record on Meet the Press saying, "He never showed up
for an entire year. Bush tells us to our face he’ll restore
honor and integrity to that Oval Office when I believe he’s
not telling the truth that he never, in fact, reported to the
National Guard in Alabama."
31, 2000: The Boston Globe prints a reprise of its
original accusations under the title "Questions remain
on Bush's service as guard pilot." Senator Bob Kerrey calls
The Globe and gives an unsolicited interview charging
that Bush went "AWOL." The charges make national headlines.
3, 2000: The Friday before the election, Kerrey holds press
conference with fellow Senator and Medal of Honor recipient
Daniel Inouye and calls on Bush to make all of his military
records public. Later that day The
New York Times prints a review of Bush's military records
saying that the claims are "unfounded."
5, 2000: Two days before the election Kerrey appears on
the Press and is questioned as to whether his attacks on
Bush's military record are "way out of bounds." Kerrey
replies, "They're not way out of bounds. Certainly, if
-- I mean, if I'd gone over the line and implied that he didn't
serve honorably, I apologize. He did serve honorably. But I
don't think he understands that when you come forward and represent
your military service, you've got to represent it right, and
of my article, written in May 2001, was to highlight Kerrey's
hypocrisy in light of his admissions about his service in Vietnam
and his willingness to leverage his status as a war hero against
Bush for partisan political gain in the 2000 election.
you can see, questions about Bush's military record - which liberals
like Krugman now accept as absolute fact - all stem from a single
article printed in The Boston Globe nearly six months before the
election. Not coincidentally, these charges were then recycled
right before the election by Gore operatives like Begala and prominent
Democrats like Senator Kerrey.
Now, I suppose
you can believe the original The Globe story is accurate and then
ignore the fact that not one single news organization followed
up and substantiated the charges over the next several months
- despite being in the middle of a heated Presidential campaign.
And I suppose
you could also believe that the only indisputable fact about the
entire affair - that George W. Bush received an honorable discharge
from the Texas Air National Guard - was just part of a cover up
orchestrated by Poppy and the U.S. military. It's your right to
believe this stuff, it's just not supported by any real evidence.
- T. Bevan 7:26
May 6 2003
CALIFORNIA": Rep. Darrell Issa & Co. formally
launched a campaign to recall Governor Gray Davis. Thanks
to the historically low turnout last November they only need to
get 897,158 valid signatures to force an election this fall. The
LA Times reports that fledgling recall efforts have already netted
about 100,000 signatures and these will be folded into the "Rescue
California" campaign. Another note from the article: Davis,
who once had more than $30 million in his campaign war chest,
has a paltry $1.4 million cash on hand. Combine that with a 27%
job approval rating and it could be "hasta la vista"
for Davis later this year.
ON BENNETT: I guess I'm somewhere in between those on the
left who are wetting themselves (check here
and here) over the
"revelation" of Bill Bennett's gambling and those who
want to dismiss it altogether. Yes, Bennett's actions were neither
illegal nor unethical. In that respect, it's hard to see any big
If it can
be shown, however, that Bennett has opposed expansion of gambling
to other states as a matter of public policy because he
thinks it's a bad thing for our society, then I think you've got
a problem and a legitimate charge of hypocrisy. Joshua Green tried
to make this linkage in the Washington
his personal appetites, Bennett and his organization, Empower
America, oppose the extension of casino gambling in the states.
In a recent editorial, his Empower America co-chair Jack Kemp
inveighed against lawmakers who "pollute our society with a
slot machine on every corner.
accusation, everything I've read points to the opposite: that
Bennett has specifically refrained from "moralizing"
about gambling, exemplified by this quote from yesterday's
Bennett told The Las Vegas Review-Journal in 1995, "I've played
poker all my life and I shouldn't be on my high horse about
Green's effort to use a Jack Kemp editorial as a proxy, his entire
article is based on the premise that Bennett is a hypocrite because
he is willing to moralize about everything BUT gambling:
vices have escaped Bennett's withering scorn...There is one,
however, that has largely escaped Bennett's wrath: gambling."
argument - that Bennett's legal gambling in Vegas or AC is the
moral equivalent of drug abuse or adultery - is slick but disingenuous.
Of course you have to acknowledge that in certain cases an addictive
gambler, just like an addictive alcoholic - can take a harsh toll
or even destroy a family. And if the numbers regarding Bennett's
losses are true they are certainly eye-popping, but losing 8 dollars
or 8 million dollars doesn't make his actions any less legal or
I was much more offended by the tone of the article itself than
by the accusations it contained. Green's transparent "hypocrite"
hatchet job just brimmed with revenge over the lost battles of
a former president. Like this choice quote:
gambled throughout Clinton's impeachment--has continued this
pattern in subsequent years."
is it relevant whether Bennett gambled in Atlantic City during
Clinton's impeachment? It's a pretty tall order to smear a private
citizen for legal behavior and to try and rehabilitate the highest
publicly elected official in the land for perjury and adultery
all in the same sentence. Sorry pal, that history's already been
written and all the Washington Monthly hit pieces in the world
on conservatives aren't going to rewrite it.
ON BUSH: How many of you knew - just KNEW - as soon as Bush's
jet touched down on the USS Abraham Lincoln that it would send
Dowd into a spasmodic fit? The event also seems to have made
Krugman even more unstable than normal.
predictable, the responses of Dowd and Krugman offer me a nice
opportunity to revisit the President's speech. Some pundits, like
Sullivan and Glenn
Reynolds questioned whether the event was too staged, too
political, and too hubristic. It looks like most people disagreed
with them and I have to say I'm one of them.
I think there
are a couple of reasons why. First, I don't think most people
view these kind of events with such a cynical, political eye.
They realize these types of things are staged - and certainly
some can come off terribly hollow and contrived - but I think
the connection the President showed with the troops made it very
real for everyone watching.
importantly, I think the event resonated with a great number of
Americans who - even if they may not have been fully supportive
of the war - believe the best about the motives of their country,
their President, and are comfortable and supportive of the military.
Bush speech drove liberals absolutely insane. They were absolutely
disgusted by the whole event: from the symbolism to the rhetoric,
to the display of emotion. Think about that for a minute. To be
disgusted by the event on Thursday, you have to honestly believe
any or all of the following:
Bush is the illegitimate leader of the country
2) President Bush is a moron
3) President Bush is an evil, greedy, oil-thirsty warmonger
4) America is an aggressive, imperialistic country
5) America is a racist, oppressive country
6) The American military is a ruthless, brutal force bent on
taking innocent lives.
any number of possible additions to this list but the common denominator
remains: most far-left liberals hold cynical, deep-seated suspicions
about America's motives, her military, her capitalist system and,
of course, an outright hatred of her current President. Thank
God eighty or ninety percent of the country still feel exactly
ON THE DEMS: Yet another segue to the current crop of Democratic
Presidential candidates. I don't want to analyze the debate (short
version: Lieberman and Gephardt win, the Seven Dwarfs lose) but
rather to take the point I made above and apply it to the party
as a whole.
it say about the state of the Democratic party that candidates
who have shown even the slightest support for action in Iraq have
been treated like lepers by the base of the party?
In fact -
and I'm not trying to be flip here - if you actually sit down
and try to sum up what these people have stood for over the last
few years and what they've stood against, allowing for some generalizations
this is what you get:
Abortion on demand
The War in Iraq
Allowing conservatives onto the federal bench (especially if they
are young, smart and Hispanic).
A balanced energy plan
be fair, the job of the minority party is to try and obstruct
the opposing President's agenda. But it usually helps if you've
got something - anything - by way of an alternative to offer.
It also helps if whatever plan you're offering is based on some
I'm trying to make isn't some earth-shattering revelation. A fundamental
premise of liberal ideology is that government is an integral
part of solving all of society's domestic problems. Liberals are
therefore perfectly positioned to thrive when there is insecurity
at home, and to take advantage when problems and unrest mount.
But I think
the situation has been exacerbated by September 11 and by the
Democrats' willingness to bow to their base and oppose the President's
agenda across the board. It's looking more and more like they've
now placed themselves in a position where the only way they can
beat Bush in 2004 is by exploiting potential tragedies to America
- either another terrorist attack or an economy that has slipped
into a depression. Even under such dire circumstances a Dem victory
against Bush isn't guaranteed. - T.
Bevan 8:11 am