June 11 2004
DO ME A FAVOR: No blog today, just a quick favor
to ask. I'm sure you know we read a lot of articles here
at RCP - actually, it's heck of a lot more than a lot.
the last four years we've seen just about everything under
the sun, from the best of the best to the worst of the worst.
I must say, however, I've never come across anything as
repugnant as this:
U.S. like Germany of the '30s?
-- I can understand, my German friend said, why Germans
voted for Hitler in 1933 -- though he did not receive
a majority of the vote. The Weimar Republic was weak and
incompetent. The Great Depression had ruined the nation's
war-devastated economy. People were bitter because they
thought their leaders had betrayed them in the war. They
wanted revenge for the humiliation of Versailles. Hitler
promised strong leadership and a new beginning. But why
did they continue to support that group of crazy drug
addicts, thugs, killers and madmen?
historical question remains. I leave aside the question
of the guilt of the whole German people (a judgment beyond
my competence because I am not God) and ask what explanations
might account for what happened. Hitler turned the German
economy around in short order. He was crazy, of course,
a demagogic mystic sensitive to aspirations of the German
spirit. He appealed skillfully to the dark side of the
German heritage. Anti-Semitism was strong in Germany,
as it was in most European countries, but not violent
until Hitler manipulated it. He stirred up the memories
of historic German military accomplishments and identified
himself with Frederick the Great -- thus placating the
Prussian ethos of the German army. He promised glory to
a nation still smarting from the disaster of 1918. Germany
was emerging from the ashes, strong and triumphant once
again. He also took control of the police apparatus. The
military might have been able to dump him till 1937. After
that he was firmly in power. The path lay open to holocaust.
this model be useful to understand how contemporary America
is engaged in a criminally unjust war that has turned
much of the world against it, a war in which torture and
murder have become routine? Has the combination of the
World Trade Center attack and a president who believes
his instructions come from God unleashed the dark side
of the American heritage?
is this dark side? I would suggest that it is the mix
of Calvinist religious righteousness and ''my-country-right-or-wrong''
patriotism that dominated our treatment of blacks and
American Indians for most of the country's history. It
revealed itself in the American history of imperialism
in Mexico and after the Spanish-American War in the Philippines.
The ''manifest destiny'' of America was to do whatever
it wanted to do, because it was strong and virtuous and
chosen by God.
many Americans celebrate a ''strong'' leader who, like
Woodrow Wilson, never wavers, never apologizes, never
admits a mistake, never changes his mind, a leader with
a firm ''Christian'' faith in his own righteousness. These
Americans are delighted that he ignores the rest of the
world and punishes the World Trade Center terrorism in
Iraq. Mr. Bush is our kind of guy.
is not another Hitler. Yet there is a certain parallelism.
They have in common a demagogic appeal to the worst side
of a country's heritage in a crisis. Bush is doubtless
sincere in his vision of what is best for America. So
too was Hitler. The crew around the president -- Donald
Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Karl Rove, the ''neo-cons'' like
Paul Wolfowitz -- are not as crazy perhaps as Himmler
and Goering and Goebbels. Yet like them, they are practitioners
of the Big Lie -- weapons of mass destruction, Iraq democracy,
only a few ''bad apples.''
war was quantitatively different from the Iraq war, but
qualitatively both were foolish, self-destructive and
criminally unjust. This is a time of great peril in American
history because a phony patriotism and an America-worshipping
religion threaten the authentic American genius of tolerance
and respect for other people.
''real'' America is still remembered here in Berlin for
the enormous contributions of the Marshall Plan and the
Berlin airlift -- America at its best. It is time to return
to that generosity and grace.
strongest criticism that the administration levels at
Sen. John Kerry is that he changes his mind. In fact,
instead of a president who claims an infallibility that
exceeds that of the pope, America would be much better
off with a president who, like John F. Kennedy, is honest
enough to admit mistakes and secure enough to change his
do me a favor, email Andrew Greeley (email@example.com)
and let him know what you think. Don't forget to copy Steve
Huntley, the editor of the Sun-Times editorial page (firstname.lastname@example.org).
nice, be thoughtful, but please explain to the misguided
Mr. Greeley why he's got it so terribly backward.
- T. Bevan 7:05am Link
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UPDATE: A couple of people have
emailed to let me know I failed to point out Andrew Greeley
is a Catholic Priest. True. Here is an excerpt from the
bio on his
of the most influential Catholic thinkers and writers
of our time, priest, sociologist, author and journalist
Father Andrew M. Greeley has built an international assemblage
of devout fans over a career that spans five decades.
He is the author of over 50 best-selling novels and more
than 100 works of non-fiction and his writing has been
translated into 12 languages. A Professor of Sociology
at the University of Arizona and a Research Associate
with the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at the
University of Chicago, Father Greeley is a respected scholar
whose current research focuses on the Sociology of Religion.
fact Greeley claims to be "one of the most influential
Catholic thinkers and writers of our time" (as
opposed to just a run of the mill hack pundit) only makes
his willingness to compare Bush, Rumsfeld, Ashcroft and
Rove to Hitler, Himmler, Goering and Goebbels that much
more sickening. - T. Bevan 9:31 am
June 10 2004
MAKING SENSE OF THE TIMES: New LA
Times poll out this morning showing Kerry opening up
a 7-point lead on Bush
nationally. Not too surprising, really, given the source.
is a bit surprising, however, is that the move toward Kerry
comes despite a 51% job approval rating for President Bush,
which is unchanged since the last LAT poll in March which
had Kerry up three points.
Times' says Bush's approval rating remains strong "partly
because of his continuing strength on the terrorism issue
and partly because of his virtually unanimous support from
Republicans and independents who consider themselves conservative."
this analysis seems to suggest a trend that's almost exactly
opposite from what we've seen in other polls, namely, that
Republicans and Independents have softened a bit on Bush's
job approval rating but still support him as their choice
over Kerry. Hence Bush has remained close in the horse race
with Kerry despite job approval ratings dipping into the
LAT poll causes more head-sratching when you look at their
state results, which are starkly at odds with other recent
with an eleven point lead in Missouri?
Not a chance. Even the biggest Bush booster in the country
wouldn't claim that the President would win the Show-Me
State by double digits as things stand right now. The latest
polls show Bush has, at best, a tiny lead over Kerry.
Ohio, three consecutive
polls conducted during the last three weeks - including
a Mason-Dixon one with a pretty big sample - show Bush with
a small lead, but the LA Times has Kerry up by three.
the last three polls in Wisconsin
- albeit two from Zogby's online operation and one by a
Dem firm - have Kerry ahead by sizeable margins. The LA
Times has Bush up two. I suppose it's possible Bush has
a small lead in Wisconsin, but not likely. With only two
exceptions over the past three months (both Badger polls
which I've been told over samples Republicans, by the way)
the state has been leaning toward Kerry.
just from a common sense standpoint the LA
Times state data is at odds with its own national results.
If John Kerry really is leading by 6 or 7 points nationally
then there is simply no way Bush is winning Missouri by
11 and Wisconsin by 2.
LA Times poll does confirm one major trend: Bush continues
to get poor ratings on his ability to handle the economy
in the Times poll), despite the fact the economy is
doing quite well by almost every
Jonathan Weisman examines this issue in more detail in today's
is still plenty of time for good economic news to seep in
to voters' minds between now and the election, but it's
looking more and more as if no matter how much the economy
improves, the theme this November will be "it's Iraq,
stupid."- T. Bevan 8:05am Link
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UPDATE: Matthew Dowd says the LA Times
poll is bogus (via First
Bush campaign senior advisor Matthew
Dowd tells First Read that the [LA Times] poll "is
a mess. Bush is leading independents by three, ahead among
Republicans by a larger margin than Kerry is ahead among
Dems, and we are down by seven. Outrageous. And it gets
worse. They have Dems leading generic congressional ballot
by 19. This means this poll is too Democratic by 10 to
Dowd adds, "Apparently the Los
Angeles Times has uncovered a Democratic revolution in
this country that has happened in the last ten days."
All this may be true, but that makes it
even more bizarre that the Times would have Bush up by 11
points in Missouri and 2 in Wisconsin. Something is definitely
not right with the numbers.
June 9 2004
DRUMBEAT OF PROGRESS: Continues
in Iraq. Even The
Guardian grudgingly concedes the resolution is a step
forward and "could give more credibility to Washington's
case that real sovereignty will be transferred to Baghdad
at the end of this month and that in turn increases the
likelihood of a stable sovereign government emerging from
the whole sorry saga."
only fitting that the LA Times would credit the diplomatic
success at the UN yesterday to the magnanimity of our European
friends and President Bush's willingness to throw himself
at the mercy of the leaders at the G8 summit:
Finds Humility, Compromise Go Long Way With G-8
By Mary Curtius, Times Staff Writer
Ga. — President Bush traveled to this week's Group
of 8 summit of industrialized nations, searching for commitments
of help in Iraq and for partners in his efforts to promote
democratic reform in the Middle East.
president appears to be getting his wishes — thanks
to changing circumstances and the Bush administration's
recent willingness to compromise.
of the nations that harshly criticized the decision to
go to war now say they have little choice but to help
the U.S. succeed in Iraq. Diplomats from these nations
say they are lending their support because the security
of the world is at stake....
Diplomats said the U.S. showed humility
in pre-summit negotiations. "And with humility, perhaps,
comes the beginning of wisdom," the French diplomat
It's probably impossible for Ms. Curtius to wrap her head
around the idea that there was, in fact, a very serious
security issue while Saddam Hussein was in power, flouting
international law and coddling terrorists. It was an issue
the UN Security Council recognized for years but failed
to act upon, and one that after 9/11 President Bush decided
was not subject to compromise.
to the point, however, is the mischaracterization that France,
Germany and Russia have come running to the rescue. Even
though US is and has always been willing to compromise within
reason, it seems to me we gave up very little of significance
yesterday. Much of this is due to the fact that we've already
done a good deal of the heavy lifting in Iraq - weathered
the storm, so to speak, with leadership, determination and
sacrifice - and we've left our allies with very little to
find objectionable in helping finish the task of promoting
a free and democratic Iraq.
Guess what? We're making progress in other
places as well.
NUNN: I'm sure it's just coincidence. Last week
Kerry announced that one of the primary national security
goals of his administration will be to lead a worldwide
alliance devoted to the safeguarding of nuclear materials
around the globe. It's a shrewd tactic that helps Kerry
get to the right of George W. Bush on national security
in a way that's completely in sync with the base of the
the same day, political guru Charlie
Cook floated Sam Nunn's name - along with Wes Clark
- as a possible VP pick for Kerry to shore up the national
security credentials of the Democratic ticket:
the last month, Iraq has come to completely dominate the
issue agenda. How long this lasts is anyone's guess. But
if it continues to be the case six weeks from now, when
Kerry has to narrow the field and make a final choice,
this raises the issue that he might need to "heavy
up" on the national security side. This would mean
picking someone whose credentials on that front are so
stellar that Americans would see the new team hitting
the ground running with no transition time, while feeling
more comfortable with the new Democratic team in this
more dangerous world.
the Democratic bench is not a deep one. In fact, you're
really left with two names: retired Gen. Wesley Clark
and former Senate Armed Services Chairman Sam Nunn of
Nunn or Clark likely to be picked by Kerry? Probably not.
But an election that is driven either exclusively or even
primarily by foreign policy -- with Democrats campaigning
on the issue of failed Republican national security policy
-- might yield a ticket that would look very different
from more normal circumstances."
yesterday, lo and behold, up pops an
op-ed in the Washington Post co-authored by Sam Nunn
urging G8 leaders to "take concrete and urgent steps"
to safeguard nuclear material to prevent al Qaeda from becoming
"the world's 10th nuclear power."
with Charlie Cook that Nunn remains a long shot. He could
give Kerry some much needed help in the national security
department. But Nunn would make a lot more sense as a running
mate if John Kerry had a prayer of winning even a couple
of Southern states outside of Florida - which he doesn't.
with the economy continuing to improve and dissipating as
a political issue, Kerry may find himself wanting someone
like Nunn to help cement a serious purpose for his campaign
that resonates nationally, rather than a person who delivers
little more than helping Kerry try to win a single, targeted
RESIGNS: From the Raleigh
News & Observer:
Rep. Frank Ballance, a political power in northeastern
North Carolina who is facing a federal investigation and
a debilitating disease, said Tuesday that he is stepping
down because of poor health.
in the Senate, Ballance channeled more than $2 million
in state grants to the John A. Hyman Memorial Youth Foundation
in Warrenton. He helped start the nonprofit drug-abuse
prevention and treatment program and served as its board
foundation failed to file required financial reports with
the IRS and the state, and legislators cut the foundation
from the state budget last year.
state audit later found that Ballance approved payments
for services provided by his family, campaign staff and
campaign contributors. The audit questioned about $325,000
in spending from July 1, 2000, to April 30, 2003.
foundation is under a federal grand jury investigation.
you wonder why politicians have such a bad reputation in
this country. I know, innocent until proven guilty.
EDITS BUSH: N.E.
Republican raises eyebrows with a look at the editing
habits of Tom Brokaw and NBC News.
OF THE (YESTER)DAY: "Michael Moore's previous
book was Stupid White Men, titled in a spirit of
gentle persuasion unmatched since Martin Luther, that original
Antinomian, wrote Against the Murderous and Thieving
Hordes of Peasants. Moore's new book, Dude, Where's
My Country?, contains ten chapters of fulminations
convincing the convinced. However, Moore does include one
chapter on how to argue with a conservative. As if. Approached
by someone like Michael Moore, a conservative would drop
a quarter in Moore's Starbucks cup and hurriedly walk away."
O'Rourke in The Atltantic Monthly. -
T. Bevan 10:05am Link
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June 8 2004
DEFENDING BLANKLEY: Washington
Times editorial page editor Tony Blankley caused a mini-uproar
in the blogosphere with his recent comments on George Soros.
As you're probably aware, Soros caused an uproar of his
own last week when he compared
Abu Ghraib with 9/11 at a meeting of the liberal group
Campaign for America's Future. Soros said:
think that those pictures (the Abu Ghraib pictures) hit
us the same way as the terrorist attack itself. Not quite
with the same force because the terrorist attack, we were
following day Blankley
appeared on FNC's Hannity & Colmes program with
Democratic strategist Richard Aborn to discuss Soros' remarks.
I've excerpted Blankley's comments in full from the running
dialogue between Hannity, Colmes, Aborn and Blankley:
if he wasn't a multibillionaire he'd just be another ignored
left-wing crank, but we all pay more attention to people
who have several billion dollars. And so people are paying
some attention to it. I actually don't terribly worry
about this kind of idiotic statements. Because -- I used
to get angry as in your previous segment, when ... made
the language he used. But I found that American politics
tends to be self-correcting, and when people like this
make these extraordinary and outrageous statements. ....
bounces back against them, and, you know, we're commenting
on it. I think the public knows -- this man by the way...
elected politician has to be very careful who they share
the ... with. And I think Hillary made a mistake in being
on the same platform with statements that I don't think
she would be prepared to make.....
Americans have all rejected those photos. But let's get
back to Soros. This a man who blamed the Jews for anti-Semitism,
getting Abe Fluxman [sic]-- excuse me -- head of the Anti-Defamation
League to call it an obscene statement. This is a man
who, when he was plundering the world's currencies in
England in '92, he caused a Southeastern Asian financial
crises in '97.....
said that he has no moral responsibility for the consequences
of his financial actions. He is a self-admitted atheist.
He was a Jew who figured out a way to survive the holocaust.....
a man with this kind -- when a man is with this kind of
money, and he's spending it on trying to influence the
American public in an election -- trying to buy the election;
he is not going to -- we have a right to know what kind
of an unscrupulous man he is.
know. He supported the abortion movement... .
a robber baron, a pirate capitalist and he's -- he is
a reckless man.....
supported abortion in Eastern Europe in a country that's
losing population. He's a self-admitted atheist, I think
he's a very bad influence in the world. He's entitled
to spend his money, and the public is entitled to know
what kind of a man he is.
me state up front that I didn't see this exchange live,
and that can often make a big difference in trying to figure
out the intent of what one reads later in print.
I have watched and read Tony Blankley for a very long time.
I've also had the pleasure of meeting him on a couple of
occasions and talking to him privately about politics. I
can't think of a single thing he's ever written or said
throughout the years that would suggest he is even remotely
anti-Semitic, and I doubt his current critics could, either.
this one exchange seems to be enough for many on the left
to conclude Blankley is a Jew-hater. Josh
Marshall castigates Blankley's comments on Hannity
"a self-admitted atheist" and "a Jew who figured out a
way to survive the Holocaust", has the man no shame?
what's the point of that last line, exactly? A Jew who
figured out a way to survive the Holocaust? Tell me the
subtext of that remark. It is rather telling how quickly
those who used the charge of anti-Semitism as a political
tool during the debate over the war now slide their hand
back into the glove.
Blankley's professional background I guess we shouldn't
be overly surprised that this sort of rhetorical dexterity
is the handmaiden of verbal butchery or that the anti-Semitic
playbook is so tempting, so ... well, so difficult to
resist and so natural as it glides off the tongue.
In any case, Soros does deserve scrutiny, as anyone who
puts such large sums of money into the political process
does, just as Richard Scaife deserves the scrutiny which
he has gotten. But it is no less important to call right-wing
publications like these on their lies about Soros, and
even more when outlets like CNN pick those lies up and
run with them. And, of course, it's so important to make
sure everyone takes note when someone like Blankley gets
sloppy and lets his sanguinary hoofs and fangs show.
So, so important. (Emphasis added.)
the "Given Blankley's professional background guess
we shouldn't be overly surprised..." In other words,
Blankley used to work for Newt Gingrich and now works for
the Washington Times, so is it any surprise he's
a bigoted, anti-Semite with "hoofs and fangs?"
Drum over at The Washington Monthly chimes in:
Matters has the story on Washington Times editorial page
editor Tony Blankley's odious bloviating on Sean Hannity's
This is a man who has blamed the Jews for anti-Semitism....This
is a man who, when he was plundering the world's currencies,
in England in '92, he caused the Southeast Asian financial
crisis in '97....He said that he has no moral responsibility
for the consequences of his financial actions. He is a
self-admitted atheist, he was a Jew who figured out a
way to survive the Holocaust.
he's a Jew-hating Jew, he's a greedy Jew, he's a conniving
and heartless Jew, he's an atheistic Jew, and he's a Jew
who must have been (if you get my drift, wink wink) a
Nazi collaborator. Anyone who's not a child knows perfectly
well what Blankley was saying here.
nice that Drum and Marshall know perfectly well that Blankley
is appealing to anti-Semitism in trying to defame Soros,
but I suspect it is Drum and Marshall who are really doing
seems to me the essence of the point Blankley was trying
to make - which he could have done a better job by using
a little different phrasing - is that as a Jew who did escape
Hitler's attempt to exterminate all of European Jewry, Soros
should of all people be a little more aware of the forces
in the world today who still would like nothing more than
to see the Jews gone.
comment about Soros being an atheist is a little gratuitous,
but at the same time it seems reasonable to me that the
public is entitled to know the religious beliefs of the
man who is spending millions to influence the upcoming election.
you think if there was a multibillionaire hard-right, fundamentalist
Christian spending millions to elect President Bush the
media would suggest that person's religious views weren't
be honest, the "robber baron, pirate capitalist"
comment by Blankley seems to me where he is most vulnerable
to being charged, not with anti-Semitism but with hypocrisy.
made his money legally engaging in the capitalist financial
system that exists and that Blankley to my knowledge enthusiastically
supports. Unless Blankley is willing to criticize other
financiers, speculators and hedge fund operators, he opens
himself up to the criticism that his "robber baron,
pirate capitalist" attack on Soros is a selective cheap
shot based more on Soros' politics than how he acquired
point here isn't whether Blankley was making the best attack
on George Soros, but how the left pulls out several phrases
and then attempts to brand someone they ideologically disagree
with as a bigot. This is a common tactic liberals use to
try and discredit and silence their opponents.
critics of Tony Blankley are going to have to come up with
something a little more substantive than this single episode
if they expect to have any credibility in accusing Blankley
of trafficking in anti-Semitism.
the bigger issue here isn't the cheap attempt to slur Blankley,
but rather the desire to halt or slow the movement of many
Jews from the Democratic Party to the GOP.
important electoral subtext of the post 9/11 world we live
in and President Bush's bold foreign policy is that many
Jewish Americans are reconsidering their long held relationship
with the Democratic Party.
is not a small concern within Democratic circles and is
I think one of the reasons Florida (barring Nelson or Graham
on the ticket) will not be nearly as close as the pundits
currently think. -
J. McIntyre 10:08 am Link
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June 7 2004
NINE WORDS ABOUT REAGAN: I suppose I'm committing
a bit of heresy by quoting Edmund Morris on Ronald Reagan.
Still, at the very beginning of 'Dutch',
Morris put down nine words that have stuck with me for years
and I suspect will never leave:
admires the wise, but it elevates the brave."
has long recognized Reagan's capacity for courage in various
forms (physical, political, and moral), but in the two decades
since his Presidency the country has rapidly come to an
understanding of just how much wisdom Reagan possessed as
a leader, especially with respect to his views on Communism.
was right about Communism - more so than all of his critics
and even some of his supporters - and his conviction to
the wisdom that Communism was a morally bankrupt ideology
destined for the ash heap of history literally and irrevocably
changed the course of the world. It's the single greatest
reason Reagan will forever be both elevated and admired
RASMUSSEN: ***Warning: we're about to engange in
some serious speculation. All caveats to state polling data
this far out from the election apply. In other words, taking
any of this stuff too seriously until after Labor Day would
be a mistake.***
many of you know, Scott
Rasmussen has unleashed a torrent of state polls over
the past week, with more coming out this afternoon.
far, Rasmussen has surveyed eight battleground states (AR,
ME, MI, MN, MO, OH, OR, & PA) and 11 non-battleground
states (AL, CA, GA, IL,
NJ, NY, NC, OK, SC, TX, & VA).
fun, I threw his results into the Wall Street Journal's
College Calculator and got the following tally: Bush
255, Kerry 199.
you look at Rasmussen's results in the battleground states,
however, you see that three of the eight show a one-point
margin (MO, OR, & PA) and one of them shows a two-point
lead (OH). All four are currently in Bush's column but could
easily go to Kerry, which would yield an electoral total
of Kerry 258, Bush 196.
going back, if you take Rasmussen's recent results as spot
on (see the warning at the beginning of this post) and work
from a base EC tally of 255 Bush and 199 Kerry, then add
in the remaining battleground states based on the most recent
legitimate poll (which excludes Zogby's online stuff) it
would go like this: Arizona to Bush, Iowa to Kerry, New
Hampshire to Kerry, Washington to Kerry, West Virginia to
New Mexico and Florida are too close to call - but they
wouldn't matter anyway because you'd already have a total
of Bush 270, Kerry 231.
linchpin to this whole scenario is Pennsylvania, where Rasmussen
has Bush ahead by a point but other recent surveys have
shown Kerry ahead by 3-5 points. If Kerry wins PA, the tally
moves to Kerry 252, Bush 249. Nevada and New Mexico remain
irrelevant, and Florida becomes ground zero - again.
final iteration to this scenario - which isn't very farfetched
at all - is that in addition to winning Pennsylvania Kerry
also picks up Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico but loses Florida.
The result: Bush 269, Kerry 269.
QUIXOTE: A chuckle-filled
article on Howard Dean in today's Wall Street Journal.
He's still out and about, chasing the youth vote that served
him so well this past primary season.
Power™ currently includes a "spin-off" organization
trying to sign kids up at concerts like "Dr. Dog"
and pushing to reinvigorate that political powerhouse "Punx
because I care. I really wanted Howard Dean to be the nominee
of the Democratic party this year. Reeaally wanted it. But
he's not, and you can see why. Describing his failed bid
for the White House and the movement behind it, Dean responded:
never really had a chance to look under the hood of the
campaign until it was over."
sort of clueless response is that?
description of the Dean run and his post-campaign activity
is provided by his former pollster, Paul Maslin, who said:
"The circus left town but the act remains." -
T. Bevan 10:05am Link
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