August 14 2003
FIRING UP THE BASE: Shouldn't we all have known that the
Dems would use the recall in California to revive the "We
Wuz Robbed!" war cry from Florida in 2000?
As I mentioned
on Tuesday, earlier this week before a partisan crowd in Philadelphia
Dick Gephardt used the recall as a segue to this
is an attack on the institutions of our government. That's what
Howard Dean said almost exactly the same thing yesterday.
there is uber-hack Joe Conason writing in this
morning's New York Observer:
as it surely is, the California recall is just the latest in
a series of episodes that demonstrate the Republican Party’s
unquenchable urge to seize power by whatever means are available—even
when that means vandalizing American political norms and traditions.
let Conason fool you: if the current governor of California was
a Republican and that governor lied to voters about the size and
scope of the state's budget problems, Conason would be at the
front of the line encouraging a recall and hailing it as a "Progressive-era
good-government innovation" and a virtuous exercise in representative
get to my second point, let's go back to Conason for some more
Democrats and liberals should never mimic the thuggish tactics
of the worst Republicans. They should always stick to the rules
and maintain a high-minded respect for their fellow Americans.
two words for you Joe: New
Jersey. And here are a few more: Missouri,
Dakota. Nice high-minded respect for your fellow Americans.
liked the final outcome in Florida 2000, New Jersey 2002 and now
with the California recall, unless I'm missing something it's
been Republicans who have consistently wanted and fought for nothing
more than to follow the laws that were on the books. In each instance
Democrats have been the ones who have gone to the court systems
- with a great deal of success, I might add - to bend, circumvent,
or overturn laws passed by the state legislatures.
point is that for every Democrat who believes 2000 election was
"stolen" or that Republicans are trying to "seize
power by whatever means are available" there is a Republican
out there who believes the exact same thing about Democrats -
and with good reason.
slew of Presidential candidates crisscrossing the country for
the next year accusing Republicans of underhanded tactics, hijacking
elections and assaulting the "institutions of our government"
will definitely energize the base all right - the base of the
Republican party. - T.
Bevan 8:59 am
August 13 2003
THE FIGHT OF JOHN EDWARDS' LIFE: The way things are shaping
up, John Edwards
could really be screwed. Despite raising tons
of trial lawyer money he's been unable to make any headway
in the polls over the last few months. In national
surveys he's averaging about 5%, and running fifth out of
the nine candidates in the field.
In key primary
states Edwards is fairing even worse, running a distant fourth
in Iowa (5%) and almost off the radar screen in New Hampshire
bit of good news Edwards has gotten recently came from an ARG
poll of South Carolina released this week showing him moving
into second place at 10%, even though Zogby's
last SC poll in late July had him generating a paltry 5% support
and running behind Lieberman, Gephardt, and Sharpton.
back in North Carolina things aren't any better. State Democrats
have become increasingly
nervous and frustrated by Edwards' unwillingness to commit
to either running for reelection to the Senate (by pulling the
plug on his Presidential run or running concurrent campaigns)
or to stepping aside and clearing the way for somebody else.
good reason to be nervous. Edwards poll
numbers in his home state are atrocious: he's sporting a 32%
reelect, a 41% unfavorable, and a majority of voters (51%) disapprove
of his running for president. Oh, and by the way, in a hypothetical
matchup Edwards loses his home state to Bush by 18 points.
more disconcerting to North Carolina Democrats - and I'm sure
to the DLC as well - is this
report from yesterday's Wilmington Journal:
is the Democratic political condition, that here in North Carolina,
there is a growing movement for African-American voters to register
as independents so that their votes can no longer be taken for
to hold on to a vast majority of the African-American vote in
North Carolina spells certain doom for Democrats. It doesn't help
matters that the party's lone Senator is off campaigning around
the country instead of mending fences at home.
On the other
side, the GOP smells blood in the water. Republican
Congressman Richard Burr already has $3 million in the bank
and trails Edwards by only 11 points in the latest polls.
he's in dire straits. This past week he launched
ads in both Iowa and New Hampshire to try and boost his sagging
numbers. But if he can't turn around his campaign for president,
or if he hangs on too long trying and does irreparable harm to
his Senate reelection bid, the best Edwards can hope for is that
a Northeastern liberal like Dean or Kerry wins the nomination
and picks up the phone to round out the ticket. John Edwards is
in the fight of his life: either he will become the next Vice-President
of the United States or his political career will be over. - T.
Bevan 9:49 am
August 12 2003
& HACKWORTH: Strange bedfellows indeed. Both write this
on how our troops in Iraq are suffering from poor leadership and
Krugman takes what would otherwise be a reasonable critique and
stretches it too far with his inimitable partisan schlock to try
score points against the Bush administration. To wit, the final
line of the piece:
short, the logistical mess in Iraq isn't an isolated case of
poor planning and mismanagement: it's telling us what's wrong
with our current philosophy of government."
Krugman's fault, he just can't help himself.
OUT, GEPHARDT OUT TO LUNCH: Joe
Biden knew he couldn't win the nomination and didn't want
to spend the better part of the next year as the tenth member
of the traveling circus that is the Democrat presidential primary
field. Good move.
on the other hand, is still a viable candidate. But his desperation
over trying to excite the base and get to Dean's left is starting
to show, and he's looking increasingly more hysterical and less
for example, in reiterating his position as one of the few Dem
candidates for president wanting to repeal all of the Bush tax
called the tax cuts "a joke" and likened them to
"handing out candy bars" and "buying votes."
also used the issue of the California recall to
drop this ridiculous comment: "This is an attack on the institutions
of our government. That's what Republicans do."
may possibly succeed in saving his candidacy by beating Dean in
Iowa, but in the process he may make such a caricature of himself
that he'll be less likely to win primaries in other more moderate
states - not to mention the damage he may do to himself in the
FOR BIN LADEN: Anybody been wondering how Larry
Klayman has been spending his time recently? Nope, me neither.
Now if we can just find Osama so we can serve him the subpoena...
If you have a few minutes to kill, read these
remarks delivered by William Rivers Pitt at the Veterans for
Peace National Convention in San Francisco on Sunday. Now remember,
this is just one hard-left pacifist speaking to a room full of
hard-left pacifists and not a mainstream political figure - like
Al Gore, for example - stepping out in public and calling our
entire foreign policy since 9/11 a pack of lies.
am astonished by the cocoon these people have built for themselves
regarding the war in Iraq. It's a place completely insulated from
facts, driven by personal animosity, and absolutely devoid of
any historical memory.
explain to this crowd that there was a consensus among our intelligence
agencies (not to mention the rest of the world's most prominent
intelligence agencies) dating back at least three administrations
that Saddam possessed WMD and was trying desperately to develop
a nuclear weapons program doesn't even register a glint of recognition
in their angry, bloodshot eyes.
you get stuff like this:
men and women within this current administration are murdering
the idea that is America with their Patriot Acts, their destruction
of civil liberties, their lies, their daily undermining of even
the most basic tenets of decency and freedom and justice that
we have tried to live up to for 227 years...
then we are at the barricades, and on the streets, and in the
faces of all those who would spend the precious blood of our
men and women on lies and profit and greed.
manning the barricades and selling your "Bush
Lied and Our Soldiers Died" bumper stickers and post
cards. The rest of us will keep going about our lives, confident
that our leaders in government are doing their level best to protect
the American dream, not dismantle it so their buddies at the Carlyle
Group or Halliburton can pocket a few extra shillings. - T.
Bevan 7:55 am
August 11 2003
ARNIE'S RACE TO LOSE: The new CNN/USA
Today/Gallup poll out this morning shows that Davis is toast
(64% say they will vote to recall him) and that the race is Arnie's
If you watched
any of the political shows this
weekend you noticed that certain left-leaning pundits - Lawrence
O'Donnell and Margaret Carlson in particular - were absolutely
beside themselves at the idea that Schwarzenegger may ride his
fame to victory without fully articulating positions on a whole
range of issues. They think it's bad for the body politic.
right, or maybe they are vastly overrating the importance the
public attaches to the "policy wonkishness" of a candidate.
As long as Arnold can lay out a platform of three or four things
that he is clearly for or against - even in the most general terms
- it will be enough. He's just too well known and too well liked
by the voting public.
Arnold's charisma and lack of political experience are perfectly
juxtaposed with the experienced and deeply unlikable Gray Davis.
The question is whether Arnold's personal charm can withstand
the scorched earth
campaign coming his way over the next 60 days.
FEEDER: At the other end of the spectrum is Arianna
Huffington. I didn't much care for her when she was a conservative,
and I don't like her any more now that she's
I see her I can hear Ed Rollins' description of her ringing in
my ears. Here is how Rollins, who managed Michael Huffington's
1994 California Senate run, described Arianna and her husband
in his book "Bare
Knuckles and Back Rooms":
early July, I'd been working for two of the most unprincipled
political creatures I'd ever encountered. One was such a complete
cipher he gave empty suits a bad name. But his wife was even
worse - a domineering Greek Rasputin determined to ride her
husband's wealth to political glory at any cost....
Huffington had charmed me out of my socks to get me to manage
her husband's campaign. But in a few short months, I'd come
to realize that she was the most ruthless, unscrupulous, and
ambitious person I'd met in thirty years in national politics
- not to mention that she sometimes seemed truly pathological.
ideologies, but has she changed personalities as well? Don't count
DOWN THE HOUSE: I'm not sure why this Washington
Post story is on the front page because it really isn't big
news. Not only are Democrats facing an almost impossible task
in taking back the House next year, if the elections were held
today they'd probably lose anywhere from 2-4 Senate seats and
the Presidential election as well. - T.
Bevan 7:58 am