Friday, September 20, 2002

Right now, control of the Senate comes down to four states: Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey and South Dakota. Assuming a Hutchinson loss in Arkansas (he's struggling mightily against Pryor), Republicans will need to win two of these four seats. Wellstone and Johnson are clinging to the smallest of leads (and Johnson's lead is from his own polling), Carnahan is in a dead heat race and, depending on who you believe, Torricelli is either close to even or behind in NJ.
The interesting question is: will Bush's strong performance on Iraq move any of these races - especially the Minnesota race - in the GOP's favor? And now that drought relief is no longer an issue in SD, the onus is back on Daschle and Johnson to confront a vote on the war. - TB 8:36AM

TX DREAM TICKET ON THE ROPES?: Looks like the Dems' "dynamic duo" of Sanchez and Kirk in Texas are running into trouble. This poll, released yesterday by the Houston Chronicle, shows Sanchez trailing Perry by 9 points and Kirk behind Cornyn by 6 (3.3% MoE). And today's Dallas MN carries this story about Ron Kirk's desperate attempts to raise money for advertising. Obviously, it's way too early to count Sanchez and Kirk out, but with Bush waiting in the wings to boost the GOP, you have to believe the Dems aren't feeling very good about things.- TB 7:36AM

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Is anyone really surprised that the German justice minister compared Bush to Hitler? The antiwar left crowd of Kuttner, Sontag, Dowd and Scheer (also known as the "axis of drivel") have been working the "Bush is covering for domestic problems" angle for some time and have already set up the morally inverted argument that Bush is worse than Hussein. From this warped perspective, comparing Bush to Hitler is merely the next logical step. Perhaps the German minister of justice (oxymoron alert!) need be reminded that her country is the one in bed with the world's worst tyrant and it is her leader, in fact, who is shamelessly pandering to the electorate, destroying the 50 year old US-German alliance, and appeasing terrorists to "divert attention from his domestic problems" and win reelection. - TB 4:05 PM

FUNDRAISER EXTRAORDINAIRE: The AP reports that Gray Davis has raised, on average, an astonishing $1.2 million dollars per month since taking office. $56 million so far. Despite the "long and distressing" list of ethical questions attached to Davis' fundraising, nothing seems to be slowing the Guv down. The more interesting statistic is how much Davis' poor leadership has cost the people of California per month since he took office. My guess is between 10 and 20 times what he has raised. But will all the money in the world save Gray from being terminated by Arnold? - TB 12:25 PM

Wednesday, September 18, 2002
Every time you think Maureen Dowd has reached the limit of vacuousness she goes and outdoes herself. Today's column is absolutely laughable, but also a bit frightening when you consider there is a segment of the population (hopefully limited to the Upper West Side of New York) whose views, like Dowd's, are so completely juxtaposed to the truth. Dowd writes:

"America's European and Arab allies now act more nervous about the cowboy in the Oval Office who likes to brag on America as "the greatest nation on the face of the Earth" than the thug in the Baghdad bunker."

The problem with Dowd, aside from her absolute lack of moral and intellectual clarity, is that she just plain HATES the people in the Bush administration. It's not their policies: after all, Bush is demanding nothing less than for the UN to enforce their own resolutions. Bush is calling for exactly the same thing that Clinton, Daschle and a host of Democrats wanted - but never followed through on - in 1998. The success that Bush is having in shaping world opinion is driving Maureen crazy. - TB 12:43AM

Monday, September 16, 2002

THE ISLAND OF GERMANY: Desperate to win this Sunday's election against Christian Democrat Edmund Stoiber, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder makes another last minute pander to the electorate. Despite a 10% unemployment rate and the worst economic growth in Europe over the last few years, Schroeder has erased a nine point deficit at the polls primarily by opposing military action in Iraq - with or without a UN mandate - and publicly trashing the Bush Administration's policy on Iraq as "military adventurism." Schroeder may hold on and win, but his election antics will most likely leave Germany a diminished power in world affairs. He shouldn't wait by the phone for a congratulatory call from President Bush, either. - TB 2:20PM

WP SILENT ON SAUDI'S?: The New York Times and the Washington Times led their online editions this morning with the story of the Saudi reversal on Iraq. The Washington Post, however, passed over the story in their online edition and instead carried a front page article titled, "Democrats Question Iraq Timing." The Saudi story is big news - much bigger than the repeated whines of Democrats who believe Bush is politicizing the Iraq issue - and it's curious that a paper of the Post's stature would fail give it the attention it deserves. - TB 1:05PM

Sunday, September 15, 2002
Michael Elliott has an interesting "behind the scenes" piece in Time on the capture of terrorist Ramzi Binalshibh in Pakistan. And for those of you who missed it, when the transcript is up we will link to Senator Bob Graham getting the verbal equivalent of a pistol-whipping this morning on Fox News as he tried to argue for sticking with the status quo on Iraq. Why mention these two items, you ask? Because they do a nice job of highlighting the absurdity of the Democrats rationale against attacking Iraq: namely, that Iraq is separate from, and would be a "distraction" to, the United States' War on Terror. This argument is intellectually flimsy at best - and is even harder to make when we keep nabbing terrorists around the globe and getting more reports like this one on Saddam's capabilities. - TB 11:19PM

Friday, September 13, 2002
THE GATHERING WAR CLOUDS: The Sydney Morning Herald reports US forces could begin an assault on Iraq in as little as three weeks. Meanwhile, the Associated Press follows up on a Daily Telegraph story that Britain is about to being moving troops into the region. This is all good news, and the display of military muscle will hopefully make Iraq reconsider the foolishness of their position (unlikely) and let the UN Security Council know that the train is leaving the station and they had better get on board before it's too late (more likely). At this point, it's almost impossible to conceive a scenario in which we don't invade Iraq in the next 1-3 months. While taking Saddam down so quickly is good news for, hmm, let's see, the entire free, civilized world and the people of Iraq, it's an absolute disaster for Democrats. Tom Daschle and Dick "We Can Win 40 House Seats This November" Gephardt probably feel like sucking on a tailpipe right about now. - TB 11:15pm EST

WAR CRIMES?: Two US pilots have been charged with manslaughter and assault in the April 17th friendly fire incident in Afghanistan that killed four Canadian soldiers and wounded eight. At the time the pilots believed, it turns out mistakenly, they were being fired on from the ground and claim to have acted in self defense. Whether the men are proved to be guilty or not, this is a perfect example of why the United States rightly opposes the International Criminal Court. Imagine these men standing before a tribunal composed of people who are either predisposed against - or openly hostile to - the United States and US military actions in the War on Terror. Does anyone really believe these men would 1) be treated with a "presumption of innocence" or 2) be given a fair and sober day in court based upon a serious investigation and analysis of the facts of the case? The Bush administration and the American public are well within their rights to be skeptical of such an idea. - TB 5:30pm EST

TERROR PLOT OR A REALLY BAD JOKE: It's way too early to tell exactly what's going on in Florida. Whether this turns out to be a legitimate terror plot or a few young men exercising some seriously poor taste in humor, one thing we can conclude (at least so far) is that the "system" for responding to tips about possible terror activity is working. Local, state and federal authorities seem to have been serious, responsive, and responsible in their handling of the event. Nevertheless, if this turns out to be a joke, prepare yourself for a torrent of scathing editorials - led by the NY Times, of course - and a press conference announcing that Alan Dershowitz will be representing the men and filing lawsuits against everyone under the sun for civil rights violations. - TB 10:40am EST

p.s. Kelly Arenas on CNN just reported the three men being held are 1) American citizens 2) of Middle Eastern descent 3) medical students and 4) are being "very uncooperative" in the investigation.

Sign up for free updates from RCP:

9/30/02 - 10/4/02
9/23/02 - 9/29/02
9/16/02 - 9/22/02