September 26 2003
BATTLEGROUND & ZOGBY: Here are two new polls to chew on,
one from Zogby
and the other from The
Tarrance Group. A few notable notes:
has Bush's job approval rebounding a bit from his last poll
(50% now approve, 49% disapprove) while the BattleGround Poll
has Bush's job approval at 54% , with 41% disapproving.
favorability rating - whether people like him as a person or
not - climbed to 58% in Zogby's survey and was at 67% in the
Zogby has Bush's reelect at 43% with 49% of those surveyed saying
it's time for someone new. The Tarrance Group had Bush's reelect
at 48% in favor, 47% opposed.
poll has a bunch of other interesting stuff (some good for Bush,
some not so good) and if you have the time it's also worth checking
Goas' analysis of the numbers from the GOP view and Celinda
Lake's analysis from the Dems' view.
I only watched about 30
minutes of it so I can't really comment much. I saw Clark
answer two questions and he seemed to fit right in with the rest
of the group. I don't mean that as an insult or a compliment,
only to say that he seemed to do just fine. He didn't stand out
- it's pretty difficult for anybody to stand out under the current
circumstances - but he certainly didn't fall flat on his face
SURVIVE?: I'm not talking about McIntyre, though sometimes
I wonder. Once again I'm speaking of John
Edwards. His campaign released
a poll yesterday (Hat Tip: PoliticalWire)
showing him with a 10-point lead over Wes Clark in South Carolina.
Edwards can hold off Clark and Lieberman and win South Carolina.
Let's also assume, just for the sake of argument, that Dean finishes
second in either Iowa or New Hampshire or wins both less than
convincingly keeping the race for the nomination alive. Just how
well does John Edwards have to do in Iowa and New Hampshire to
running a depressing 5th place in Iowa, 18 points behind the
leader Dean (this poll does not include Wes Clark). To give you
an idea of just how bad it is, Edwards is trailing 5 points behind
Joe Lieberman who has basically written the state off.
is just as bad. The new Marist
College poll released yesterday has Edwards in 5th place,
pulling just 4% of the vote. He hasn't moved the needle at all
in New Hampshire, despite a decent sized ad buy not too long ago
to try and boost his sagging numbers.
to be perplexed as to why Edwards can't get more traction. He's
well spoken, good looking, has a certain amount of Southern charm
and has raised a respectable amount of money. His message isn't
that bad either - if you're a liberal.
In the Black
Caucus Institute debate, I thought Edwards' closing statement
was the best of the lot. He came across as the only candidate
sounding a truly optimistic note:
election is about a lot of issues, but it's about something
much bigger than that. It's about what kind of America we are.
It's about what kind of America we want to be. It's about taking
the power in our democracy out of the hands of that handful
of insiders that are running our country today and giving it
back to you, giving it back to the American people.
in an America where the family you're born into and the color
of your skin should never control your destiny. I believe in
an America where the son of a mill worker could actually beat
the son of a president for the White House.
the America I will fight for as president of the United States.
It may be
academic if Dean wins both Iowa and New Hampshire. But if Dean
stumbles, Edwards may have a chance to use South Carolina as a
springboard. But that springboard won't be there for Edwards on
February 3 of next year if he continues to get obliterated in
Iowa and New Hampshire. - T.
Bevan 8:07 am
September 25 2003
FOR CLARK: I've transcribed
some comments Wesley Clark made on the Today show yesterday
morning that are worth a look. Clark argues a couple of different
must be used only as a last resort.
There must be an imminent threat to a country to justify the
use of force and/or preemptive action.
By acting without the consent of the United Nations President
Bush "made the world a more dangerous place" and also
"undercut the principle of the rule of law and what 2 generations
of American leadership has stood for."
So in addition
to all of the other questions Mr. Clark should answer at the debate
tonight, here are a few more:
identify the imminent threat that justified the use of force
- Did President
Clinton's decision to use force in Kosovo without the approval
of the United Nations and your subsequent actions carrying out
the use of force in Kosovo "undercut the principle of the
rule of law and what 2 generations of American leadership has
stood for?" If not, please explain why.
- If you
had been President at the time, would you have authorized the
use of force in Kosovo without UN approval?
it comes right down to it I would never have voted for war, because
this was not a case that required war." - T.
Bevan 12:33 pm
BAD NEWS FOR BUSTAMANTE: Survey
USA did a snap poll of 579 registered voters last night asking
who they thought won the debate. The results were: 32% Arnold,
22% McClintock, 13% Bustamante.
If you think
that's bad news for Bustamante, hold on, it gets worse: 25% of
Democrats responded that there was "no winner" in the
debate compared to only 22% who felt Bustamante won. And worse
still: a full 37% of those surveyed think less of Bustamante now
than they did before the debate. And, finally, worst of all: Latino
voters split evenly between Arnold (28%) and Bustamante (27%).
- T. Bevan
CALIFORNIA RECALL: After several weeks in late
August and early September with not much action in the California
Recall, the last ten days (the election
was off then
back on, followed by last
night's debate) has taken the race directly into the stretch
run. As far as who has the upper hand hand and is likely to win,
very little has changed from our original analysis: Arnold Schwarzenegger
is highly likely to be the next Governor of California.
interference by the court in temporarily halting the election
looks to have significantly hurt Governor Davis's chances of surviving
the recall. Prior to the three judge panel's decision, Davis appeared
to have been generating some momentum and it looked like he might
have a fighting chance on election day.However,
the court's blatant political interference served to re-energize
the supporters of recall and has given the anti-Davis side the
fourth-quarter shakeup that should run well into election day.
As it stands today, Davis faces a very uphill battle on October
night's debate - the only debate that will have any effect on
the election - was a solid win for Schwarzenegger. It wasn't a
home run by Arnold, but he came across as more than competent
and his closing statement offered the voters of California something
none of the other candidates did: the hope for leadership. All
the media whining, post and pre-debate about how the voters need
to hear more specifics is just that: whining. Schwarzenegger seems
to grasp that what the voters really want is change and leadership.
Bustamante and McClintock as life long pols are not poster boys
for major change in Sacramento.
all this, the one fly in the ointment on Arnold's path to the
statehouse is Tom McClintock. Though Arnold was certainly a winner
in last night's debate, McClintock gave a performance that conservatives
loved. He came across as extremely competent and scored points
among California's conservatives with his answers on illegal immigration
and Prop. 54, two of the few positions where he and Arnold differ.
The problem with McClintock is that he did nothing to expand his
votes outside of that hard-core conservative voting bloc.
best chance for victory remains the hope that McClintock can hang
onto just enough of the conservative vote to allow him to squeeze
out a victory over Arnold. Bustamante gave an uninspiring though
competent performance which didn't hurt him that much, but really
didn't help him that much either. Maybe he believes the LA
Times poll that shows him ahead, but we feel he lost a golden
opportunity to impress upon the voters that he could be a leader
for positive change in Sacramento. His strategy appears to be
nothing more than to stay low, don't screw up, try and crank out
as much of the Democratic base vote as possible and pray McClintock
gets a huge chunk of the conservative vote. However, we suspect
in the closing days of the campaign more and more conservatives
will see this as a two-way race between Arnold and the Democrats
(Davis and Bustamante) and enough conservatives will vote "yes"
on recall and also for Arnold, dashing Bustamante's hopes of becoming
the accidental Governor. Another wild card which favors Arnold
is the question of voter turnout, which we anticipate will be
huge and will disproportionately help Schwarzenegger.
with 12 days to go Davis looks headed for defeat on Question 1.
And unless there is some late momentum for McClintock, Schwarzenegger
will outpoll Bustamante and become the next Governor.
POLL NUMBERS: There has been a lot of hyperventilating
in the media about the dip in President
Bush's job approval numbers, and while this slide is not totally
insignificant it is being WAY overblown by the press. President
Bush was an overwhelmingly favorite to be reelected two months
ago and he is still in a very solid position to win reelection
in 2004, no matter what some
poll or hypothetical match up may say today. J.
McIntyre 7:00 am
September 24 2003
THE SPEECH: If you believe the mainstream media and the Democrats,
Bush bombed yesterday at the UN:
Unmoved During Bush's Address at the U.N - NY Times
Day at the U.N.: It's Chilly, Still, There - NY Times
Vague Pitch Leaves Mostly Puzzlement - Washington Post
House Hopefuls Slam Bush's UN Speech on Iraq - Reuters
goes to Fred Kaplan over at Slate, Bush
to World: Drop Dead! The President Lays an Egg at the U.N.
The title of the piece, which I'm sure Fred isn't responsible
for, isn't nearly as offensive as the content of the article,
which he is responsible for and should be held to account.
little nugget of bankrupt moral relativism likening our troops
in Iraq to thugs and gangsters:
[Bush] laid out the context of the battle as a contest between
"those who work for peaceful change and those who adopt the
methods of gangsters." Yet it is hard to see how Bush's pre-emptive-war
doctrine fits the former category, and it's painful to observe
that many Iraqis would say the U.S. occupation—whose soldiers
have pounded down so many doors in the middle of the night—fits
the latter. "
felt that Jacques Chirac's speech was a "model of perspicacity,"
seems to have wanted Bush to stand up before the world community
and offer a mea culpa on Iraq and apologize that we 1) used faulty
intelligence in the run up to the war 2) acted irresponsibly in
moving without Security Council authorization and 3) have bungled
the post war effort.
to Kaplan, Bush needs to "get over his hang-ups about France"
despite the fact that Chirac's obstinancy in the Security Council
last year single-handedly prevented the world community from addressing
the Iraq problem together in the first place.
Kaplan and the rest of the multilateralist/internationalist crowd
is that Bush has drawn a line in the sand on terrorism and refuses
to smudge it or erase it:
during the past two years have set before us the clearest of
divides: between those who seek order and those who spread chaos;
between those who work for peaceful change and those who adopt
the methods of gangsters; between those who honor the rights
of man and those who deliberately take the lives of men and
women and children without mercy or shame.
these alternatives there is no neutral ground. All governments
that support terror are complicit in a war against civilization."
these are tough words. They make the process much more difficult
in a world body where many of the governments don't see the clear
distinction between the two divides and many of the leaders of
those governments have neither the courage nor the moral conscience
to act to do what must be done. It doesn't make Bush's statement
any less true or any less deserving of being said before the UN.
- T. Bevan
September 23 2003
DEAN, THE MIDEAST & TERRORISM: The Boston
Globe reports this morning that Howard Dean sent a letter
last week to ADL National Director Abe Foxman clarifying his recent
comments on the Middle East. Dean wrote:
is no difference between our positions when it comes to my unequivocal
support for Israel's right to exist and be free from terror.
I stand firmly with you in the war on terror and have called
on the Palestinian leadership to renounce violence and to dismantle
the terrorist infrastructure that exists inside the Palestinian
Authority... The United States must remain committed to the
special long-standing relationship we have with Israel, including
providing the resources necessary to guarantee Israel's long-term
defense and security."
Dean's clarification saying (with, I might add, a bit of that
unique condescension that comes from special interest groups when
they've successfully gotten a political candidate back in line
with their views) that he's "confident that the doctor is
beginning to understand and is learning the nuances." But
don't think this is the end of the matter.
I don't put
much stock in national polls at this point, but it was interesting
to see in the CNN/Gallup/USA
Today poll released last night that both Democrat candidates
with war backgrounds (Clark and Kerry) led the pack in head-to-head
match ups against President Bush and that Howard Dean finished
last against Bush (losing 49%-46%) despite running second in the
national horserace. Again, not statistically significant, but
and where he will most likely continue to have trouble, is that
he is a confident, freewheeling candidate whose first instincts
come across as soft on terror.
year Dean's first instinct was to say publicly that he "guessed"
it was a good thing Saddam was gone. After much haranguing he
went back to clarify. Last month his first instinct was to use
the word "soldiers" to describe radical Hamas terrorists.
Again he's been forced to go back and clarify. What do they say?
Once a fluke, twice a coincidence, three times a trend. Watch
out for the trend.
of pattern may be just fine with his base, but it's hard to see
how it won't cause him problems with centrists and independents.
When all the shouting stops and it comes right down to it, when
the curtain on the booth is closed and the hand reaches for the
lever, who are people going to trust to protect their family and
their country, Howard Dean or George W. Bush?
THE MIDEAST & TERRORISM: Now let's juxtapose Dean with
that President Bush made last night in his interview with
is a terrorist network that attacked us on September the 11th,
2001 that is active, that is engaged, that is trying to intimidate
the civilized and free world. And this country will continue
to lead a coalition against them. You know, there is -- in
my judgment, the only way to deal with these terrorists is to
stay on the offensive, is to find them and bring them to justice
before they hurt us again."
question Arafat has failed. And, you know, the sad thing is
that we're really the only country in the world who says that.
The Palestinians have suffered under his leadership, and
hopefully new leaders will emerge that will be committed to
peace, willing to fight terror, and out of that will come a
I believe it's in everybody's interest that there be a Palestinian
state. But it will not happen so long as the interlocutor,
the so-called representative of the people, won't fight terror.
And that's the problem with Mr. Arafat." (Emphasis
of what you think of Bush, at least you know unequivocally where
he stands. The one thing he has made clear to everyone in the
country (and the world, for that matter) since about 10:00 am
Eastern time on September 11, 2001 is that he is relentlessly
focused on finding and bringing to justice terrorists that threaten
America and the free world.
aggressive efforts against terrorism have ruffled feathers and
frightened some and if that's the reason you'll vote against him
next year, fine. And if you believe that an aggressive war on
terror is vital to America's long-term security interest then
- at least as it stands right now - you really don't have any
choice but to vote for Bush.
the Democrats we simply don't get the same unequivocal position
on terrorism - except perhaps from Joe Lieberman, and it's looking
less and less likely that he'll be the guy winning the nomination.
This is an
issue and a problem that isn't going away - especially if Howard
Dean ends up being the party's nominee and he continues to let
his instincts show. - T.
Bevan 9:48 am
September 22, 2003
BACK TO UNREALITY: There are two strange things about
vacations. The first is that time spent on vacation moves quickly
despite all efforts to make it last as long as possible. The second
oddity is that when you do finally return to work it feels as
if you've been gone for longer than just a week - much, much longer.
In my case,
the feeling is probably exacerbated by the fact that I didn't
allow myself to watch anything other than SportsCenter on television
or allow myself to read anything other than the green, red and
purple parts of the USA Today that was delivered to our room every
weekday. As a result, I know a helluva lot more about what's going
on with Kobe Bryant and Madonna than I do about politics at the
more bizarre is that after spending the last day or so catching
up on things it seems as if there is little sense to be made from
the three major events of the past week:
1) Wes Clark
into the race for President, recited a frighteningly long
list of things he's unwilling to discuss and then proceeded to
flip-flop on the only issue that makes his candidacy even remotely
viable in the first place
2) The liberal
9th Circuit Court of Appeals continued the corrosive trend of
election laws to suit political desires under the guise of
3) Ted Kennedy
attacked President Bush and the War in Iraq so shamelessly
it made even Jacques Chirac blush.
So far as
I can tell, the only thing the three events have in common is
a complete detachment from reality. Kennedy's comments, in particular,
strike me as extraordinary. When I checked out eight days ago
the "Bush Lied, Troops Died" meme was still confined
to a somewhat fringe element of the Democrat party, most of whom
support Howard Dean even though Dean himself wouldn't actually
go there. Now Ted Kennedy has christened "Bush Lied, Troops
Died" as the official position of his party. In the shows
I watched on television yesterday not a single Democrat stood
up and denounced Kennedy's remarks. Not one.
than six months after winning a stunning military victory in Iraq
we've reached complete polarization. The war is a fraud. Bush
is a liar. There simply is nowhere left to go and nothing left
And if you
believe these things to be true, as Kennedy apparently does, then
you must also believe the war is unjust and not worth the loss
of one more American life. In other words, we must get out of
some Democrats will try to spin this into a sort of magnanimous,
saving-America's-bacon support for the war ("Bush lied and
got us into this mess but for the good of the country and the
troops we have to see it through"), but I don't think that
dog hunts at all.
Iraq is either
something worth doing or it isn't. It's either worth the lives
and the money we are sacrificing or it isn't. Our mission in Iraq
will either make the world a better, more peaceful world or it
won't. There isn't any gray area here, and the Democrats have
now officially decided that Iraq isn't worth doing, and probably
JUSTICE: Speaking of Ted Kennedy, try this comparison
on for size: