Friday, October 4 2002
THE AD: If you haven't see it, you should. I'm outraged by a lot of things Democrats do, but this doesn't strike me as one of them. Yes, the message patently distorts Bush's plan on Social Security. But aside from the pesky little issue of telling the truth, I thought the ad was kind of funny. If the ad's truthfulness can be challenged - and given the fact it uses The American Prospect as source material the odds are pretty good - then maybe it should be pulled. Beyond that, however, it's hard to see how this silly little cartoon is going to help the Dems. Maybe Republicans should respond by creating their own cartoon showing Gore, Bonior and McDermott leading a hippie peace rally against the war. Imagine the howls of indignation that would create.

HERE'S A BAD IDEA: Okay, so Mitt Romney is in a tough race. He's losing among women to Democrat Shannon O'Brien. But putting a quota on the number of women he'll have in his administration is a blatant pander, a terrible idea, and an unprincipled position. Why couldn't Mitt convey his sincerity by making a pledge to search far and wide to find the brightest, most talented women in the state to become part of a Romney administration? - TB 4:39 pm

Thursday, October 3 2002

THE OTHER FRAUD: Corporate fraud is back in the headlines today with charges against former Enron executive Andrew Fastow. Democrats are certainly hoping the issue stays on the front page and can be revived as a weapon against Republicans in November.

But for months I've been wondering and worrying about another type of fraud that merits serious attention: vote fraud. With so many close races and so much at stake, the temptation - not to mention the potential ramifications - of vote fraud is considerable.

Let me stipulate here that I'm not talking about the traditional, inherent flaws in our system (confusing ballots, overvotes, etc) that accompany every election. What happened in Florida in 2000 was not "vote fraud," but rather a lesson in how our election process can breakdown through a combination of sloppy management and human error. The election reform bills passed by both the House and Senate (currently mired in committee) seek to remedy these problems, though no amount of money or legislation will ever be able to totally eliminate them.

What concerns me, however, are coordinated efforts to manipulate the electoral process like the ones that took place in Missouri in 2000 where "substantial and credible" evidence of vote fraud was found by the Secretary of State's office. Further shenanigans were reported in the closely decided states of Wisconsin and New Mexico.

Looking around at the critical races this year, where control of the Senate in particular may be decided by just a handful of votes in three or four states, I'm wondering if sufficient preparations are being made to ensure vote fraud doesn't occur. It seems unlikely, yet possible, for fraud to be a significant factor in a sparsely populated state like South Dakota. But in places like Minnesota, Missouri and now even New Jersey, incidents of fraud could potentially prove decisive. - TB 5:16 pm

WHICH WAY IS THE WIND BLOWING?: It's tough to get a read on where this election is heading. Will it break for Republicans on the war issue, or will Democrats profit from a weak economy? In Roll Call this morning, Mort Kondracke says the recent Generic Congressional Polls suggest the Dems could win in November. But on the following page his colleague Stu Rothenberg says it will take the political equivalent of an "inside straight" for the Dems to take back the House. Howard Fineman thinks the Dems' hopes are unraveling and recent articles in the Washington Times and New York Times indicate the Dems are struggling. - TB 9:20 am
UPDATE: Associated Press story: "Political Forecasters Get Confused"

Wednesday, October 2 2002
THE VERDICT IS IN: You just knew it was coming. For the second time in two years, Democrats have used the court system to overturn existing law in their favor. In Florida, it was after the election was over. This time, the rules are changing before the election has even been held, allowing a critically damaged candidate to avoid being held to account by the public. It's outrageous, but hardly surprising. Republicans are in the process of filing an appeal with the Justice Department and trying to move the matter before the US Supreme Court. It looks as if this is far from over. - TB 6:20 pm

"THIS IS ABOUT TAKING CONTROL": These are the words of Frank Lautenberg, the Dems' new candidate for the US Senate from New Jersey - provided he can get on the ballot. Let's give the Democrats credit for being honest in their effort to subvert democracy. Torricelli, who could have claimed any number of bogus reasons for exiting the race, stood up before the world and said he is leaving because he could not win. Democrat party lawyers held a press conference yesterday and didn't even attempt to make a nuanced legal argument, instead urging the state Supreme Court to ignore "technical niceties" and "administrative requirements" otherwise known as New Jersey state law. - TB 7:55am

Tuesday October 1, 2002
UPDATE: Have you heard the latest news? Mike Taylor is getting his ass kicked in Montana by Max Baucus and it looks like Marc Racicot is going to resign as RNC Chair and jump into the race against him. The GOP holds every elected office in the state, so it shouldn't be a problem getting him on the ballot regardless of what the law says. And in California, GOP officials have filed a motion with the state Supreme Court to dump Simon and replace him with the more moderate, electable Dick Riordan. Lastly, the NRSC is carefully watching the Senate contest in Arkansas but Chairman Frist says the race isn't so hopeless that they need to replace incumbent Senator Tim Hutchinson just yet. - TB 6:13 pm

NEW YORK TIMES ON TORRICELLI: "The Democrats, led by Gov. James McGreevey, must move quickly to find a credible replacement. The courts must then expeditiously approve the ballot substitution, which in turn will clear the way for an energetic one-month campaign that, with Senator Torricelli out of the picture, can focus tightly on loftier issues than his seamy behavior.......The Democrats, for their part, are left to grapple with their own failure both to protect voters from this fiasco by facing up to Mr. Torricelli's brazen conduct and to intervene much earlier to find a better candidate."
So that's it, a couple days of "grappling"and you're allowed to steal elections. No questions about what is legal, not to mention morally right. "The courts must then expeditiously approve the ballot substitution" Why? Isn't there an issue concerning what is legal, or do they even care? This is Florida all over again. The ends justify the means. Forget the rules, forget the deadlines, forget the fundamental pillar, "the rule of law," that makes democracy work. The bottom line to the liberal Politburo that runs the Times' is Torricelli was going to lose, so if they can get away with jamming a better candidate at the 11th hour, they're all for it. JM 2:39 PM

A TALE OF TWO DESPERATE CANDIDATES: Losing a campaign will make you do funny things. Look at Bill Simon. On the same day the LA Times releases a new poll showing the ethically challenged (that's the PC term for bought-and-sold) Gray Davis leading the race by 10 points, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Simon is going up with a new "mea culpa" ad claiming he's "not perfect." I guess since nothing else has worked and voters hate both candidates, Simon believes he can win the race by being the most repentant.
Meanwhile, over in Illinois, Jim Ryan is attempting to revitalize his flagging campaign by targeting the pity vote. In new ads that started yesterday, Ryan is shown in a wheelchair after chemo treatments for lymphoma while a voice over talks about the "challenges" he has faced in his life. I'm not sure how this will help create jobs or improve security for the citizens of Illinois, but when you're out of arrows you start throwing rocks. - TB 10:31 am

Monday September 30, 2002

THE 'IMMEDIATE THREAT' : The antiwar crowd continues to cling to the premise that an "immediate threat" is a necessary requirement for American action in Iraq. And while it is a grim realization, some Democrats, most Republicans, and a majority of the American people have concluded that the threshold of an "immediate threat" as a precursor to action was blown away along with the lives and steel of the World Trade Center towers on September 11.
Everyone agrees that Saddam Hussein is a despicable man; a ruthless tyrant capable of evil acts. Furthermore, there is near universal agreement that Saddam is more dangerous now than he was four years ago when UN inspectors were expelled from Iraq. Yet when the question is posed about how to effectively deal with this growing danger if Hussein fails to allow unfettered inspections and the disarming of his chemical and biological weaponry, the antiwar left avoids making hard choices, dismissing the threat as not "immediate."
Given recent history, such thinking is intellectually sloppy, if not immoral. It's akin to saying "Yes, you have a malignant tumor in your body. It's growing and slowly becoming more dangerous, but you should ignore it until it poses an 'immediate threat' to your life."
War is not inevitable. But war is a logical result of Saddam's defiant pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and of the growing nexus with Islamic terrorist intent upon America's destruction. - TB 9:00pm

SANCTIMONIOUS BOB : Has anyone ever given a more sanctimonious speech announcing the involuntary end of their political career? "I built women's shelters" and "I created hospitals" and "I'm doing this for the people of New Jersey." Ugh. Torricelli waxed poetic about the giants of the Senate and then his own service, implying that he somehow ranks right up there with Humphreys and the Fulbrights. Hey Bob, here's a reality check: you're a first-termer who's being forced from seeking reelection because you got caught lining your pockets. "When did we become such an unforgiving people?" About the time you started breaking the law. - TB 6:35 pm

TORCH SNUFFED OUT: Kicking Torricelli aside is a smart move by the Democrats. They simply cannot afford to lose the New Jersey seat and still have a chance of maintaining control of the Senate. In the next day or two we'll be getting a better idea of how much damage Harkin has inflicted on himself, and how close he is to jeopardizing another Democratic seat.

GOTTA LOVE DRUDGE: Drudge has a link to the text of Barbra Streisand's remarks at a Democrat "gala" over the weekend. The most striking thing to me about the speech is that it reads just like a Maureen Dowd column. They're both ridiculous, of course, but one took place at a hyper-partisan fundraiser and the other appeared (and continues to appear two times every week) in the "paper of record." Go figure.

LIFE IMITATES RCP: I swear I had no advance knowledge of this. - TB 2:01pm

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