Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 | Page 5 | Page 6 | Page 7 | Page 8 | Page 9 | Page 10 | Page 11 | Page 12 | Page 13 | Page 14 | Page 15 | Page 16 | Page 17 | Page 18 | Page 19 | Page 20 | Page 21 | Page 22 | Page 23 | Page 24 | Page 25 | Page 26 | Page 27 | Page 28 | Page 29 | Page 30 | Page 31 | Page 32 | Page 33 | Page 34 | Page 35 | Page 36 | Page 37 | Page 38 | Page 39 | Page 40 | Page 41 | Page 42 | Page 43 | Page 44 | Page 45 | Page 46 | Page 47 | Page 48 | Page 49 | Page 50
Michael Ubaldi, October 9, 2003.
Stories from today's financial news, three of them rounded up by Drudge - first, second and third - show an economy on the sunny side of upswing. The most telling of today's victory is a report on the stock market's yearly high (emphasis mine):
The major U.S. stock indexes celebrated the anniversary of their bear market bottoms a day early by surging to new yearly highs Thursday, after a fall in claims for state unemployment benefits suggested the economic recovery may no longer be jobless.
WHEN THE BELL RANG: Much of the gain was sold off over the last few hours, but the Dow is still creeping upward. I suspect we'll see many more days like this to come.
Michael Ubaldi, October 9, 2003.
Byron York on Democratic denial:
The post-election Democratic interpretation of the recall stands in stark contrast to the pre-election Democratic interpretation of the recall...Now, however, what was once a "right wing power grab" has become a stern warning for President Bush.
Michael Ubaldi, October 8, 2003.
And he's secure from the so-called "mandate" challenge. Some liberal television pundits were none too quiet last night about a possible, very public Democratic comparison of Gray Davis' standing in the recall against Arnold's plurality. Arnold received 48% of the replacement vote; Gray Davis lost his battle with 46% of the recall vote. As I'd said back in August, the real question is how well Schwarzenegger will shake up Sacramento. For what it's worth, he says he's ready.
COMICAL McALI: DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe was making the rounds last night. I flipped the television coverage on at about a quarter to eleven Eastern and there he was on Fox News, grinning and bearing it. His spin on events was to be expected - a predication of California's woes and the voters' response as foreshadowing for Bush's own demise in 2004. Sly, yes, but the comparison is strained - even before Davis' 2002 reelection, he'd hit a 36% approval rating floor. With a war and a groggy economy, Bush still maintains 50% or better.
What took the cake was McAuliffe's straight-faced denial of Davis' end to Greta van Susteren, even minutes from the closing of polls. I'm sure I heard "neck and neck" as a decription of the impending landslide and that McAuliffe was confident of a Davis victory until sign-off. Now, Davis himself was able to keep a good face on things until the results were obvious with a neutral, defensible phrase about the electorate like "I know they're going to do the right thing." There's no reason why the party's chairman, in the face of defeat, needs to sound anything like this guy. You begin to wonder what the Democratic leadership has besides bluster.
Michael Ubaldi, October 7, 2003.
I could have sworn Glenn Reynolds predicted a Dukakis-Bentsen Democratic ticket for 2004, but he actually said Dean-Edwards. Both tickets, one historical and the other prospective, match liberal, former New England governors who have more gusto for academic debate than charismatic appeal with relatively unknown, amiable Southern senators. The former ticket lost badly in 1988 to a sitting vice president running largely on his predecessor's success. The latter ticket benefits from George W. Bush's low-hanging poll numbers, part of which Glenn cites as vulnerability. But today's numbers are a continuation of this past summer's lull, fortunes that owe themselves to optimistic economic reports still able to be explained away through sound bites, and gloomy reporting from Iraq only now being revealed to the general public as unfair and misleading. The situation could easily change dramatically over the next twelve months.
What the two Democratic tickets really share is a generally left disposition, something that any serious White House bid would need to lose. That's where Dean becomes so interesting for everyone.
Dean's lethality in a general election seems to be from his centrist connotations. Sullivan calls him a fiscal conservative, Reynolds examines his aversion to gun control. But those are exceptions to Dean's rule. Indeed, he's the candidate whose policies nearly everyone agrees has pulled the primaries far to the left. He's eagerly protectionist (not pragmatically, like Bush). He's loudly and irreversibly antiwar (not tentatively, like his Democratic rivals). And what, as Glenn asks, are the chances that Dean will hold to any given position? Blanching at the thought of being Newt Gingrich's bedfellow, Dean moved away from Medicare reform, the most strident definition of fiscal conservatism anybody can think of. And socialized medicine, a key piece of Dean's platform, is the antithesis of Washington penny-pinching. So how long will Dean's federalist ideals on guns last? If he drops them to please the Democratic base, can he get away with slipping back to the center?
And how helpful are these right-of-center positions? Mediative exceptions don't win elections. George H.W. Bush's 1991 tax hike was a bipartisan compromise, remember? In 2000, George W. Bush's centrist connotations - Compassionate Conservatism, flirting with minor gun-control laws, his outreach to minorities and wooing of California - fell flat, at least for the voters these stances were supposed to attract. Bush's left-of-center spending tolerance doesn't do the slightest thing for liberals or Democrats. Dean as presidential candidate may be able to do a better job selling his crossover habits, though as James Lileks joked, how likely is it that toss-up states are filled with voters thinking, "I trust him more on national security than that Dean fellow, but I just canít vote for a guy who co-authored an education bill with Ted Kennedy."?
1992 seems to be the popular parallel to 2004, if only because the incumbent finishing his first term is named Bush. As Glenn says, Democrats may have been desperate in 1992, but they picked a winner: Bill Clinton began his campaign rhetoric from the center and stayed there, respecting the unwritten American rule that liberals do not reach the White House. On the trail, Clinton madly defended against criticism for anti-military sentiments from his Oxford days; Dean is on record shrugging his shoulders about Saddam Hussein's deposition ("I guess it's a good thing"). Clinton's flirt with state health care was buttressed by the elusive middle class tax cut; Dean couldn't do that without abandoning his well-publicized, across-the-board repeal.
Glenn also talks about third parties. That does carry a 1992 parallel. Most importantly - and most overlooked - Clinton benefited from a third party candidate who won support from 20% of voters on Election Day; from a comparison of state-to-state election results, many more of them were disillusioned Bush voters from 1988 than not. Republican-siphoning tickets don't seem to be amounting to much these days electorally; Pat Buchanan's Reform Party took less than half a percentage point of returns in 2000. And the bona fide Libertarian Party snagged even less.
Democrats, on the other hand, are not so lucky.
What the Greens are up to is a question few seem to be asking, even though Ralph Nader took 2.7% in 2000, almost seven times as many voters as the next minor party (Reform, Buchanan) in a race decided by far less. And with a Democratic primary pulling so far left, it becomes even more important that the Greens are eager to jump in:
Some members of the Green Party are reserving much of their anger for Democrats these days, and say they donít care if another third-party run by Ralph Nader wrecks the Democrats' opportunity to replace President Bush in 2004. "As the Democrats have retreated from their core constituencies, they have given the Republicans a real license to move into greater extremes," said national party media coordinator Scott McLarty, who accuses Democrats of betraying their so-called progressive ideals.
George W. Bush may need to worry about Howard Dean as an opponent as he would from any Democrat - but not nearly as much as Dean would need to worry about the left. Forget disgruntled libertarians and Dean's centrist perks; let's take a closer look at the Green Party and their underreported plans for 2004.
Michael Ubaldi, October 6, 2003.
The Wall Street Journal says it best:
Count us among those who hope Rush Limbaugh licks his demons. We're not talking about the patently fake outrage over his ESPN remarks about Donovan McNabb, even if we happen to think Mr. Limbaugh was off-base on that one. We're talking about the allegations about drug abuse. All the facts are not yet in, but it strikes us that what people are really waiting to see is whether he will take the consequences of his actions like a man.
ALSO FROM THE RIGHT: While the Weekly Standard seems amused by the allegations, National Review - where many staff writers are demonstrably closer to the radio host than Kristol's bunch - is well aware of potential culpability but downright sympathetic, almost to a man. Guest Randy Barnett explains Limbaugh's cautious address on Friday, while Dave Frum pledges faith and loyalty as a friend. But all of them - like all of us - are waiting.
MADISON AVENUE RESPONDS: The local AM station is owned by Clear Channel and uses ABC News as its local and world news service; a top- or bottom-of-the-hour news break, when listening to Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck, is not unlike jumping out of a jacuzzi into 35-degree water and back again. That's why I wasn't expecting how they would respond to the ESPN blowup: by promoting the dickens out of it for their airing of Rush's show. It was a fifteen-second spot, backed with some odd, Seger-like rock track; the WTAM announcer dropped names, days and times in between clips of McNabb Statement commentary. It was frenetic hype, for lack of a better description, ending with a clip of Rush - culled from who-knows-where - quipping, "That's showbiz." Far from retreating, WTAM is embracing the incident to grab audience. You begin to wonder how many local AM stations aren't doing exactly the same thing.
NOW WE KNOW: And he said it with grace and class. He's still culpable for whatever relevant illegalities the addiction may have driven him to - and he faces the difficulty of beating chemical dependency - but his character endures by him neither evading nor denying.
Michael Ubaldi, October 5, 2003.
So the press wishes to get to the bottom of the Plame controversy that, at the very worst, breaks the law and jeopardizes national security? Glenn Reynolds has an excellent idea: Subpoena them. Journalists can be "invited" to tell what they know - which is probably quite a bit.
Michael Ubaldi, October 4, 2003.
Byron York on the Senate Judicial Committee's nomination, after two years and one rejection, of Charles Pickering to the Senate floor:
In the nearly two and a half years that the Pickering nomination has been argued, both sides have recited their lines so many times that even the senators making the arguments seemed a bit bored. As Hatch spoke, repeating the story of Pickering's testimony against the Ku Klux Klan in the 1960s, Schumer chatted with Durbin. As Kennedy spoke, repeating the allegations of Pickering's alleged insensitivity, Hatch got up and walked around the table. Other senators milled about. Some reporters read newspapers.
Michael Ubaldi, October 4, 2003.
Lawyer and political pundit Susan Estrich - who ought to know about mistreatment of women - convincingly repudiated the LA Times pawing allegations, judging them to be dubiously presented and of unlikely legal consquence.
The stories headlined on Thursday before the election, and it's hardly a coincidence that George W. Bush's ancient drunk-driving arrest was out on Thursday, November 2nd three years ago. Five days is more than enough time for sympathetic newspapers, news channels and activist groups to give the story legs and deplore, decry and detract. Gore was able to close the tiny polling gap and win the popular vote. Did Thursday's hit have the desired effect on Schwarzenegger? Not so, according to most observers, even with a second and truly absurd assault on the actor-turn-pol's character.
Parts of a 1997 book proposal turned up conveniently on ABC and in the New York Times after the first headline and, based on quotations transcribed from a film interview from the 1970s, implicated Schwarzenegger as an "admirer" of Hitler. The Schwarzenegger campaign has responded quickly to place the quotes in context, providing additional quotes which the book proposal apparently truncated. The then-body builder, after describing Hitler's talents and rise to power, expressed his dislike of "what [Hitler] did with it," and made a distinction between "who I admired and who are my heroes." Schwarzenegger also spoke from a similar angle in the interview, describing Germany's rise from depression that quickly turned out to be - again, to his disapproval - the prelude for conquest.
The Times printed later editions with the corrected quotes.
And then there are what appear to be spontaneous and multi-source recollections of Schwarzenegger breaking up neo-Nazi rallies in Austria. Glenn Reynolds linked a story of Arnold, told by the father of one his friends, "chasing the Nazis down Herrengasse Street." That recollection - and a second one - is corroborated by Schwarzenegger's former trainer:
Inspired by a weight trainer who witnessed Nazi slayings of Jews during World War II, Arnold Schwarzenegger used his menacing muscular physique to help break up neo-Nazi rallies as a teenager, his ex-trainer said Saturday.
PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN: A possible link between the touchy-feely story and Gray Davis, via the Corner. At the very least, the outline of an extremely planned news break. The Corner also has some interesting observations on one of the ABC journalists on the Nazi claim.
Michael Ubaldi, October 2, 2003.
The interest of some in Washington to stick Iraq with a reconstruction loan - cop-out national security at its worst - is offensive enough. Raising taxes is economically unwise, poorly reasoned (some hikes to be flung several years down the road) and a not-so-subtle trojan horse ("No New Taxes II") for Bush. But it's unconscienable for Congress to wax statesman with these proposals when available resources are obvious, and within their very oversight. From the Wall Street Journal today:
There's another way to offset [the $87 billion aid package]. Congress could clean up some of the waste, fraud and abuse in the federal budget. House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle has been pushing his fellow House chairmen to do just that. Today he will announce what they've turned up. And, wouldn't you know it, they found $85 billion to $100 billion that could be saved even without cutting any services.
Michael Ubaldi, October 2, 2003.
Claudia of Freedom of Thought spotted a teeny-tiny arithmetic problem with former CIA agent Larry Johnson's claim that Valerie Plame worked undercover for three decades:
LARRY JOHNSON: Let's be very clear about what happened. This is not an alleged abuse. This is a confirmed abuse. I worked with this woman. She started training with me. She has been undercover for three decades, she is not as Bob Novak suggested a CIA analyst. But given that, I was a CIA analyst for four years. I was undercover. I could not divulge to my family outside of my wife that I worked for the Central Intelligence Agency until I left the agency on Sept. 30, 1989. At that point I could admit it.Ok, so you got the part that he says he has worked with her for 3 decades (that would be at least 30 years, correct?) Hmm, that is odd. I thought there were labor laws that prevented children from working until they were at least 14 years old and had the permission of their parents to work just a few hours a week.