(updated 8/7/04) (cross-posted at Election
Democratic Convention, Kerry and
post-convention polls: How did Kerry do?
Answer: The horserace bounce was small in
absolute terms, but the internals of almost all polls show Kerry did
pretty well; plus, he's leading the electoral vote count comfortably
at this time
The Democratic Convention, in my opinion, was above
my expectations. As much as one may be tempted to assign more drama
than substance to such conventions, I think there is one thing that
this particular convention achieved, which is worth noting. It made it
clear that the Democratic Party is not about to lay low on issues of
national security and foreign policy and aggressively challenge the
so-called policies of the Republican Party in this area. This is long
overdue, and in part it does move the party forward in the direction I
had hoped, when I last wrote
about this in 2002. Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards, along with
others like Gen. Wesley Clark, Barack Obama (a rising star in the
Party and running for Senate in Illinois), former President Bill
Clinton, and Teresa Heinz Kerry, all spoke well and highlighted the
key areas the party wants to focus on in this election, with Obama in
particular surprising many with his passionate call to arms
(so-to-speak). All-in-all a convention that made me genuinely more
optimistic about the Democratic party, even though I continue to have
misgivings about their political (as opposed to policy) competence at
times, owing to the ineptitude
with which they seem to be still approaching the fake GOP charges
surrounding Kerry's vote (or lack thereof) for the $87B bill. That
said, it was a good start to the campaign ahead; a summary of the
Kerry-Edwards platform is available here.
Now to the post-Convention polls. Chris
Bowers has nicely
summarized the polls that are out so far. Not unexpectedly, there
is a limited bounce for Kerry (considering the margin or error in
these polls) - which is not altogether surprising, as I highlighted in
my earlier post before the Convention. This may
very well be because of the high degree of polarization in the
electorate. The silver lining for Kerry, though, is that he has
improved his standing on numerous issues quite significantly (high
single digits to high teens in some cases), even if that does not
reflect in the horserace totals. You can see that by clicking
here (for example). Also, Atrios'
summary says more than the horserace numbers.
- Kerry leads Bush as
"better qualified to be commander-in-chief," by 52
percent to 44 percent.
Anyway, here are the results from Chris:
Teixeira has definitely won me over when it comes to determining
the most accurate most important trial heat models. For me, it is
all about the two-way, registered voter trial heats:
940 RV, 7/30-8/1, MoE 3 (7/22-25 results)
Kerry 52 (48)
Bush 45 (49)
776 RV, 7/30-8/1, MoE 3.5 (7/1-7/3 results)
Kerry 49 (49)
Bush 46 (45)
991 RV, 7/30-8/1, MoE 3 (7/11-7/15 results)
Kerry 49 (49)
Bush 43 (44)
1,366 RV, 7/30-8/1, MoE 3 (7/19-7/21 results)
Kerry 48 (49)
Bush 48 (45)
1,010 RV, 7/29-7/30, MoE 3 (7/8-7/9 results)
Kerry 52 (51)
Bush 44 (45)
Another handy page, where you can see the three-way horse race results
is 2.004k.com. Additional
polls since the DNC continue to show Kerry in a good position, even if
his apparent bounce per se is in the few % range.
John of Americablog (via Buzzflash) has a quick and
dirty, but original,
analysis that is worth noting. Rather than simply looking at
Kerry's absolute bounce in the polls, John looks at the percentage
of the undecided vote that Kerry picked up (temporarily or
permanently? - that is TBD) in the bounce. This is clearly an
important metric. The absolute bounce is clearly a function of the
available undecided voters; thus, as I've stated before, in a closely
divided populace with a historically low percentage undecided voters,
there is less one may expect in terms of a bounce. Anyway, here is his
conclusion: Kerry did as well as Clinton did in 1992 in capturing a
similar percentage of the undecided voters.
This election, as Newsweek notes,
is NOT AT ALL AN AVERAGE ELECTION. There are MUCH FEWER voters up
for grabs - most have already committed to one candidate or another.
AP reports 75% of Kerry and Bush supporters say they will
"definitely" vote for their candidate - that's a big jump
from 1992, when fewer than half of Clinton's
supporters said the same about their candidate going in to the
Clinton in 1992 was able to use the convention to woo 16 of the 66
"up for grab" voters - or around 1 in 4
of the "up for grab" voters.
Last week, Kerry was able to woo 4 of the 17 "up for grab
voters" - or 1 in 4 "up for grab
voters." (And if you believe that only 10 percent of voters
were "up for grabs," then Kerry won over 4 out of 10
voters as his convention bounce.) Using either figure - 1/4 or 4/10
- that's pretty darn good, and just as good if not better than
Clinton did with his one-in-four "massive" bump.
Now I'm not arguing that Kerry got
exactly the equivalent of a 16 or a 26 point bounce, BUT, the fact
remains that Kerry inherited a very divided, set-in-its-ways
electorate. If only ten percent of the electorate were in fact
"up for grabs," and Kerry had gotten all 10 percent as a
result of his convention bounce, the media would still be saying
"gosh, Clinton got 16 percent, and Kerry only got 10%, so Kerry
didn't do as well" - even though, in fact, KERRY WOULD HAVE
GOTTEN ALL THE AVAILABLE VOTERS.
John also points
out, that the internals of the Fox News poll, are very positive
for Kerry. Kerry has gotten massive bumps in how voters perceive him
on areas where he was trailing Bush significantly. William Saletan of
the same thing based on other polls - that the internals of the latest
polls are actually very favorable to Kerry and troublesome to Bush.
Polling pundit Ruy Teixeira of DonkeyRising agrees.
Chris Bowers' General Election Cattle Call shows Kerry is a pretty
strong position. Chris also shows at MyDD
how Bush's favorables MINUS unfavorables margin is poor compared to
Kerry's. And via
Brad DeLong, I learn that Frank Luntz (The GOP pollster) seems
somewhat pessimistic about Bush's chances.
All in all, Kerry has done well. Now the even harder
work starts to keep the momentum and win the campaign. And, please, will
someone tell the DNC and Kerry-Edwards to send
COMPETENT people to the represent them in the media, not just
well-meaning people who are often ignorant of the facts?
For Democrats the catch phrase may be incompetence,
but for Republicans it is outright moral corruption
As British historian Lord Acton once said
"Power tends to corrupt, absolute power corrupts
absolutely". Nowhere is this statement more true than the
national Republican Party of today. The leaders of the party (Sen.
Frist, Rep DeLay, Pres. Bush) are overseeing an era where even the
meager values the party once stood for are clearly no longer are in
effect (small Government, fiscal conservatism, real states'
The GOP is not only spending money like there is no
tomorrow, it continues its series of egregious, anti-Democratic acts,
with even conservatives fuming over the latest machinations over the
Post (Dan Morgan and Helen Dewar report) (via
Way back before Republicans took
over the House in 1995, GOP lawmakers pilloried Democrats for
stuffing legislation with local projects that get little or no
oversight but boost the popularity of the lawmakers who take credit
In 1992, Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), the future House speaker, told
colleagues: "Democrats . . . see no contradiction between
adding a billion and a half dollars in pork-barrel [spending] for
the politicians in their big-city machines and voting for a balanced
But a rising tide of GOP spending on home-district projects is
making those Democrats of yesteryear look like mere pikers of pork,
according to a 15-page study just released by the minority staff of
the House Appropriations Committee.
The study finds that the number of home-state projects earmarked in
various bills has skyrocketed under the GOP, despite the party's
rhetorical commitment to reining in a profligate federal government.
Moreover, it contends, Republicans "have opened up broad new
areas of government to the practice of earmarking that were
previously not subject to earmarks."...
is the accompanying chart from the Washington Post, extracted from
done by the Appropriations Committee Democrats. The key point to
note is that Republicans took over Congress in 1995, and the earmarked
spending spiked ever since George W. Bush took office.
More from conservative Tim Cavanaugh in Reason.
Bob Novak, the disgraced Karl Rove sock-puppet
"journalist" who freely lied to cover up his role in the
Valerie Plame expose (Joseph Wilson's wife), has this to say in his regular
column for the Chicago Sun-Times (bold text is my emphasis):
During 14 years in the Michigan
Legislature and 11 years in Congress, Rep. Nick Smith had never
experienced anything like it. House Speaker Dennis Hastert and
Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson, in the wee hours
last Saturday morning, pressed him to vote for the Medicare bill.
But Smith refused. Then things got personal.
Smith, self term-limited,
is leaving Congress. His lawyer son Brad is one of five Republicans
seeking to replace him from a GOP district in Michigan's southern
tier. On the House floor, Nick Smith was told business interests
would give his son $100,000 in return for his father's vote. When he
still declined, fellow Republican House members told him they would
make sure Brad Smith never came to Congress. After Nick Smith voted
no and the bill passed, Duke Cunningham of California and other
Republicans taunted him that his son was dead meat.
The bill providing prescription drug benefits under Medicare would
have been easily defeated by Republicans save for the most efficient
party whip operation in congressional history. Although President
Bush had to be awakened to collect the last two votes, Majority
Leader Tom DeLay and Majority Whip Roy Blunt made it that close. ''DeLay
the Hammer'' on Saturday morning was hammering fellow conservatives.
Last Friday night, Rep. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania hosted a dinner
at the Hunan restaurant on Capitol Hill for 30 Republicans opposed
to the bill. They agreed on a scaled-down plan devised by Toomey and
Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana. It would cover only seniors without
private prescription drug insurance, while retaining the bill's
authorization of private health savings accounts. First, they had to
defeat their president and their congressional leadership.
They almost did. There were only 210 yes votes after an hour (long
past the usual time for House roll calls), against 224 no's. A weary
George W. Bush, just returned from Europe, was awakened at 4 a.m. to
make personal calls to House members.
Republicans voting against the bill were told they were
endangering their political futures. Major contributors warned Rep.
Jim DeMint they would cut off funding for his Senate race in South
Carolina. A Missouri state legislator called Rep. Todd Akin to
threaten a primary challenge against him.
Intense pressure, including a call from the president, was put on
freshman Rep. Tom Feeney. As speaker of the Florida House, he was a
stalwart for Bush in his state's 2000 vote recount. He is the Class
of 2002's contact with the House leadership, marking him as a future
party leader. But now, in those early morning hours, Feeney was told
a ''no'' vote would delay his ascent into leadership by three years
-- maybe more.
Feeney held firm against the bill. So did DeMint and Akin. And so
did Nick Smith. A steadfast party regular, he has pioneered private
Social Security accounts. But he could not swallow the unfunded
liabilities in this Medicare bill. The 69-year-old former dairy
farmer this week was still reeling from the threat to his son. ''It
was absolutely too personal,'' he told me. Over the telephone from
Michigan on Saturday, Brad Smith urged his father to vote his
However, the leadership was picking off Republican dissenters,
including eight of 13 House members who signed a Sept. 17 letter
authored by Toomey pledging to support only a Medicare bill very
different from the measure on the floor Saturday. That raised the
Republican total to 216, still two votes short.
The president took to the phone, but at least two Republicans turned
him down. Finally, Bush talked Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona (a
ninth defector from the Toomey letter) and Butch Otter of Idaho --
into voting ''yes.'' They were warned that if this measure failed,
the much more liberal Democratic bill would be brought up and
The conservative Club for Growth's Steve Moore, writing to the
organization's directors and founders, said defeat of the Medicare
bill ''would have been a shot across the bow at the Republican
establishment that conservatives are sick of the spending splurge
that is going on inside Washington these last few years.''
Hammering the conservatives to prevent that may have been only a
Another conservative Norman Ormstein of the
ultra-conservative American Enterprise Institute has
this to say in the Washington Post (via Matthew
Yglesias) - with bold text being my emphasis:
One of the most disgraceful
moments in American sports came in the 1972 Olympics, when officials
gave the Soviet Union's basketball team three chances to shoot the
ball after the clock had apparently run out -- allowing it to defeat
the U.S. team.
American politics now has its own version of that infamous game.
Early last Sunday, starting at about 3 a.m., the House of
Representatives began its roll call on the Medicare prescription
drug plan -- the most significant vote of the year. The House votes
by electronic device, with each vote normally taking 15 minutes.
After the allotted time, the bill, supported by the president and
the Republican leadership, was losing. The vote stayed open. Before
long it became clear that an absolute majority of the House -- 218
of the 435 members -- had voted no, with only 216 in favor. But the
vote stayed open until Republicans were able to bludgeon two of
their members to switch sides. It took two hours and 51 minutes, the
longest roll call in modern House history.
This was not, technically speaking, against the rules. House Rule XX,
clause 2 (a) says that there is a 15-minute minimum for most votes
by electronic device. There is no formal maximum. A vote is not
final until the vote numbers have been read by the speaker and the
result declared. But since electronic voting began in January 1973,
the norm has been long established and clear: Fifteen minutes is the
In the 22 years that Democrats ran the House after the electronic
voting system was put in place, there was only one time when the
vote period substantially exceeded the 15 minutes. At the end of the
session in 1987, under Speaker Jim Wright of Texas, the vote on the
omnibus budget reconciliation bill -- a key piece of legislation --
was one vote short of passage when one of the bill's supporters,
Marty Russo of Illinois, took offense at something, changed his vote
to no, and left to catch a plane to his home district in Chicago. He
was unaware that his switch altered the ultimate outcome. Caught by
surprise, Wright kept the vote tally open for an extra 15 to 20
minutes until one of his aides could find another member, fellow
Texan Jim Chapman, and draw him out of the cloakroom to change his
nay vote to aye and pass the bill. Republicans went ballistic,
using the example for years as evidence of Democrats' autocratic
style and insensitivity to rules and basic fairness.
In 1995, soon after the Republicans gained the majority, Speaker
Newt Gingrich declared his intention to make sure that votes would
consistently be held in the 15-minute time frame. The
"regular practice of the House," he said would be "a
policy of closing electronic votes as soon as possible after the
guaranteed period of 15 minutes." The policy was reiterated
by Speaker Dennis J. Hastert when he assumed the post.
But faced with a series of tough votes and close margins,
Republicans have ignored their own standards and adopted a practice
that has in fact become frequent during the Bush presidency, of
stretching out the vote when they were losing until they could twist
enough arms to prevail. On at least a dozen occasions, they have
gone well over the 15 minutes, sometimes up to an hour.
The Medicare prescription drug
vote -- three hours instead of 15 minutes, hours after a clear
majority of the House had signaled its will -- was the ugliest and
most outrageous breach of standards in the modern history of the
House. It was made
dramatically worse when the speaker violated the longstanding
tradition of the House floor's being off limits to lobbying by
outsiders (other than former members) by allowing Health and Human
Services Secretary Tommy G. Thompson on the floor during the vote to
twist arms -- another shameful first.
The speaker of the House is the first government official mentioned
in the Constitution. The speaker is selected by a vote of the whole
House and represents the whole House. Hastert is a good and decent
man who loves the House. But when the choice has been put to him, he
has too often opted to abandon that role for partisan gain.
Democracy is a fragile web of laws, rules and norms. The norms are
just as important to the legitimacy of the system as the rules.
Blatant violations of them on a regular basis corrode the system.
The ugliness of this one will linger.
Let's not forget what else the GOP has been up to.
Earlier this year, The New Republic (TNR) editor Peter Beinart wrote
the following (with bold text, again, being my emphasis):
To conservatives, the Bush
administration is everything its predecessor was not: decent,
ethical, honest. It doesn't abuse government power or the public
trust. As Wall Street Journal columnist and presidential
hagiographer Peggy Noonan has put it, "Bush brings character to
That's the claim. Here's the record over the last eight months:
Since at least the 1960s, congressional redistricting has been
governed by a simple rule: It occurs once per decade, following the
national census. (The exception being when courts invalidate a
state's redistricting plan, thus requiring a second one.) Usually,
then, states draw the maps. But, when they cannot do so in a timely
fashion, the Supreme Court has stated that judges may draw them
That's what happened in Texas in 2001. The state legislature
deadlocked, so a three-judge panel drew new U.S. House districts. In
November 2002, voters elected candidates in those new districts, and
everyone assumed that would be that.
But those same elections handed the GOP control of both houses of
the state legislature. And so Texas GOP boss and House Majority
Leader Tom DeLay did something unprecedented: He redrew the map to
create four more Republican seats. Republicans rushed the new plan
through the state legislature until desperate Democratic legislators
fled the state, thus preventing a quorum. GOP leaders then
apparently urged Texas police to enlist the Department of Homeland
Security in tracking down the missing Democrats. Now, the Fort Worth
Star-Telegram reports, the Texas Department of Public Safety has
inexplicably destroyed all documents concerning this abuse of
Think this wasn't part of a national strategy orchestrated by the
White House? Then explain the fact that Colorado Republicans have
done the exact same thing. Last November, Republicans won both
houses of the state legislature there as well. This year, they used
their new majority to replace a court-ordered redistricting plan
with one that guarantees them more seats. (As in Texas, the Colorado
GOP did this by packing blacks and Hispanics into overwhelmingly
minority districts. And you thought Republicans opposed racial
separatism.) The Houston Chronicle, which endorsed Bush for
president, wrote last month that such actions "would set a
precedent for redistricting any time a Washington bully wanted to
impose it." Beltway conservatives, by contrast, have expressed
not the slightest concern.
Throughout the Senate's history, its members have been able to block
legislation through endless debate, or filibuster. Under Bill
Clinton, Republicans filibustered the 1993 economic stimulus
plan, campaign finance reform, and higher cigarette taxes. Now the
Bush administration is upset that Democrats are filibustering two of
its judicial nominees. So Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has
called for eliminating the filibuster as we know it. Breaking a
filibuster requires 60 votes, but Frist proposes changing that so 60
are required only on the initial filibuster vote; subsequent votes
would require 57, then 54, then 51. The filibuster, in other words,
could be broken with a simple majority--rendering the device
virtually useless. Frist has also threatened to employ a rare
parliamentary maneuver to ban filibusters on judicial nominees
altogether. Had the Clinton administration tried that during the
GOP's (far more frequent) filibustering in the 1990s, I suspect
conservatives might have said something about abuse of executive
power. Today, they seem unconcerned.
Once upon a time, conservatives thought presidential duplicity
was a grave offense. Not anymore. On October 7, 2002, President
Bush declared in a nationally televised speech that "Iraq is
exploring ways of using these UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] for
missions targeting the United States." That was a functional
lie. Iraq's drones, the Bush administration later admitted, had a
maximum range of several hundred miles. They could reach the United
States only if flown from a warship stationed off America's coast (a
virtually impossible scenario given Iraq's almost nonexistent navy).
Three days later, the Senate authorized the president to use force
against Iraq. And six days after that, the Bush administration
announced that North Korea was enriching uranium to build a nuclear
weapon. The news prompted a slew of questions about why the
president was focused on Saddam Hussein when Kim Jong Il might
represent a greater threat. But the North Korea revelation hadn't
affected the Senate's Iraq vote because the Bush administration made
sure senators hadn't known about it. For six days leading up to the
vote, the White House kept Democratic senators in the dark about its
North Korea discovery, preventing them from making a fully informed
decision about one of the most important Senate votes in a
Flash-forward to January 28, 2003. In his State of the Union speech,
Bush noted that "the British government has learned that Saddam
Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from
Africa." But, when the Bush administration handed over the
documents that allegedly detailed Saddam's purchase to the
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),
the agency came back with a startling reply: They were forgeries.
The Bush administration quietly admitted as much.
One sentence later in that State of the Union address, Bush claimed,
"Our intelligence sources tell us that [Saddam] has attempted
to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes suitable for nuclear
weapons production." But, after investigating that claim, the IAEA
insisted it too was false. The tubes Iraq had bought were far more
appropriate for conventional rockets. Not everyone in the Bush
administration was surprised--experts at the Department of Energy
had been telling journalists the same thing for months. Confronted
with the IAEA's conclusion, Colin
Powell half-retreated, noting, "We still have an open question
with respect to that."
These stories of Bush
administration dishonesty and abuse have not been denied in the
conservative press as much as they have been ignored. In researching
this column, I could not find a single substantive defense of Bush's
UAV claim, or his filibuster plan, or his uranium allegation, in any
elite conservative publication. Fred Barnes last week defended the
Texas redistricting plan in The Weekly Standard but,
incredibly, never acknowledged the key issue: that states
traditionally limit themselves to one redistricting per decade. For
conservatives, it seems, this administration's decency and honesty
are ideological axioms that require no empirical defense. President
Bush is not President Clinton. That's all they need to know.
now interrupt the ongoing anarchy and looting in Iraq to bring you
some outright incompetence
Arianna Huffington has been on a tear recently, but her latest
article on the Democratic Party is absolutely worth quoting in its
entirely. I am tempted to guess that the Democratic Party of today
will rank as one of the more incompetent ones in U.S. history - not
for policy reasons - and while I certainly hope they win back at least
one chamber of Congress in 2004, I think their behavior so far is
highly deserving of further losses and getting wiped at the polls.
Well, here's what Huffington has to say.
"..."I a little
bit disagree with chairman Roberts on that." That
was Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the senior Democrat on the Senate
Intelligence Committee, kinda, sorta, not really taking exception to
committee chairman Pat Roberts' assertion that we've turned the corner
when it comes to keeping the peace in postwar Iraq. But it could just
as easily serve as the motto for the whole Democratic Party:
"Vote for us -- we kinda, sorta disagree." The party leaders
are so timid, spineless and lacking in confidence that to compare them
to jellyfish would be an insult to invertebrates. Call them the
pusillanimous opposition. These dithering poltroons are so paralyzed
by the fear of doing or saying something that could be turned against
them in GOP attack ads that they've rendered themselves impotent when
it comes to challenging President Bush on the two most important
issues of the day: tax cuts and Iraq.
A comes from Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle who, when asked on
"Meet the Press" why the Democrats didn't offer a bold,
full-throated alternative to the Bush tax cut plan, including the
repeal of the 2001 cuts and a guaranteed balanced budget, timorously
explained: "Well, we -- you got to take it one step at a
do -- why? Is this an AA meeting? Bush doesn't take it one step at a
time. He's comfortable leading by leaps and bounds. And he's taking us
along with him -- straight over a cliff. We're facing a trillion
dollars of new debt, incurred by a president with the worst economic
record since Herbert Hoover, and the best the leader of the opposition
party can muster is a meaningless cliché? Quick, get that man a dose
of political Viagra! At least get the blood flowing ... somewhere.
Daschle's trumpet issued an equally uncertain call when it came to the
war on Iraq. First, he helped draft the Senate's resolution on the use
of force. Then, after sticking his finger in the political wind and
catching a zephyr of antiwar sentiment, he blasted the president for
failing "so miserably at diplomacy that we're now forced to
war." When that comment, made the day before the war started,
unleashed a torrent of criticism from ever vigilant Republican attack
dogs, Daschle hemmed, hawed and executed another political pirouette,
claiming that he "probably would have avoided making the
statement" if he'd known we were on the brink of war.
a quick check of the record reveals this to be an utterly disingenuous
dodge: Word of the impending invasion was all over the media when
Daschle opened fire on Bush. Maybe the senator's TV -- and his staff
-- was on the fritz that day. It
is precisely this kind of craven vacillation that has made possible
the triumph of the fanatics in the White House. Democrats are wringing
their hands over the "tactical genius" of Karl Rove, and the
"brilliant political stagecraft" of his TV experts who
always present the president in the best light. Such is the Democrats'
fragility that the mere smoke and mirrors of posing the president in
profile at Mount Rushmore, or asking the people standing behind him
during a recent speech on the economy to take off their ties so they
would look more like average Joes, leave them quaking in their boots.
the Democratic National Committee's Terry McAuliffe needs to stop
worrying about the GOP using footage of Bush's Top Gun landing on the
Abraham Lincoln in campaign ads and start worrying about finding a
presidential candidate who isn't afraid to take audacious and decisive
stands on the party's core issues. If they can't compete on style,
they should at least give it a shot on substance. After all, the
problem isn't that Democrats are on the wrong side of the issues. It's
that they are afraid to make an issue of being on the right side --
not to mention smack dab in the middle of the American mainstream.
example, only one out of four Americans believe the latest round of
tax cuts will significantly reduce their taxes, and just 29 percent
think the cuts are the best way to help stimulate the economy. Yet
Democrats seem congenitally incapable of challenging a president whose
entire domestic agenda consists of more and more tax cuts for the
numbers also favor the Democrats on the foreign policy front.
According to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, 57 percent
of Americans are opposed to investing the time and money needed to
rebuild Iraq. But the Democrats sit idly by, their thumbs otherwise
engaged, while the administration's Iraqi tar baby grows stickier by
on and on it goes: On the environment, Social Security, greater access
to affordable healthcare, gun control and abortion, the majority of
the American people are with the Democrats. Which
makes their inability to offer an alternative to the White House
juggernaut all the more nauseating. And disgraceful. And tragic. If
this sorry state of affairs is going to change, the Democrats are
going to have to jettison their reliance on the consultants who
botched the 2002 midterm elections by advising party leaders to avoid
taking on the president on tax cuts and Iraq and, instead, offer an
unambiguous alternative to Bush's well-crafted image as a
straight-shooting man of conviction. It's time for the Democrats to
give up their broken play-it-safe politics and risk offending a few
vocal members of a radical minority.
seem to have forgotten the old sports adage that sometimes the best
defense is a good offense. Well, here's a scoreboard update for
Messrs. Daschle and McAuliffe, and the rest of the party leadership:
You're down by three touchdowns and the electoral clock is starting to
run down. It's time to stop taking things "one step at a
time" and start throwing deep."
Lynn Jones has an interesting review of Democratic incompetence as
well - in the American Prospect
don't apply when GOP runs the Government
Here's Adam Cohen's article in the New York Times.
For Partisan Gain,
Republicans Decide Rules Were Meant to Be Broken
By ADAM COHEN
was a lot not to like about the new Congressional district
lines Republicans tried to push through in Texas this month,
the ones that made Democratic legislators flee to Oklahoma to
prevent a vote. Democratic Austin was sliced into four parts
and parceled out to nearby Republican districts. A community
on the Mexican border and one 300 miles away were
painstakingly joined together and declared to be a single
Congressional district. But the real problem was that
Republicans were redrawing lines that had just been adopted in
2001, defying the rule that redistricting occurs only once a
decade, after the census.
The Texas power grab
is part of a trend. Republicans, who now control all three
branches of the federal government, are not just pushing
through their political agenda. They are increasingly ignoring
the rules of government to do it. While the Texas
redistricting effort failed, Republicans succeeded in enacting
an equally partisan redistricting plan in Colorado. And
Republicans in the Senate — notably those involved in the
highly charged issue of judicial confirmations — have been
just as quick to throw out the rulebook.
attacks on the rules of government may be more harmful, and
more destabilizing, than bad policies, like the $320 billion
tax cut. Modern states, the German sociologist Max Weber
wrote, derive their legitimacy from "rational
authority," a system in which rules apply in equal and
predictable ways, and even those who lead are reined in by
limits on their power. When the rules of government are
stripped away, people can begin to regard their government as
redistricting effort was part of a national Republican effort
to shore up the party's 229-to-205 House majority going into
the 2004 elections. The House majority leader, Tom DeLay, who
traveled to Austin to supervise the effort personally, was
blunt about his motives: "I'm the majority leader, and I
want more seats." Texas Republicans seized control of the
Legislature last year, and they thought they could add five or
more Republican Congressional seats. When the Democrats took
off for Oklahoma, the Department of Homeland Security helped
hunt down a plane filled with escaping legislators. Sixteen
members of Congress from Texas wrote to Attorney General John
Ashcroft asking him whether there had been "attempts to
divert federal law enforcement resources for private political
Republicans succeeded this month in redrawing the state's
Congressional lines, which had been duly redrawn after the
2000 census. Republican state legislators, under the guidance
of the presidential adviser Karl Rove, added thousands of
Republicans to a district that Bob Beauprez, a Republican, won
last year by just 121 votes, and excluded the Democrat who
nearly beat him from the district. Democrats have gone to
court, charging that Republicans violated Colorado's Open
Meetings Law and legislative rules when they sneaked the plan
In the judicial
battles in the Senate, Republican leaders, frustrated that
Democrats have rejected a handful of Bush nominees, have
declared war on longstanding Senate rules. Orrin Hatch,
chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has dispensed with
procedures that allow senators to exercise their
constitutional "advice and consent" function, in one
case holding a single hearing for three controversial
nominees, and he has stifled legitimate inquiry. When Senator
Charles Schumer tried to ask one nominee about his legal
beliefs, Senator Hatch snapped that he was asking "stupid
The Senate majority
leader, Bill Frist, has declared that filibusters, which allow
senators to block action with just 41 votes, should not be
used to reject judicial nominations, despite a history of
using them to do just that. Abe Fortas was prevented from
becoming chief justice in 1968 by a Republican-backed
filibuster. While Senator Frist pushes "filibuster
reform," Senate Republicans are also talking about a
"nuclear option," in which Vice President Dick
Cheney would preside over the Senate and hand down a ruling
that Rule 22, which permits filibusters, does not apply to
attack on the rules come at a time when they could easily
afford to take a higher road. They have, by virtue of their
control of the White House and Congress, extraordinary power
to enact laws and shape the national agenda. And this
administration is already getting far more of its judges
confirmed, and more quickly, than the Clinton administration
Weber, in writing
about rules, was concerned about what factors kept governments
in power. That is not a concern in the United States — there
is no uprising in the offing. But when Americans see their
government flouting the rules, as they did during Watergate,
they respond with cynicism.
In these hard times
— with threats from abroad and a sour economy at home —
our leaders should be bringing the nation together not by
demonizing foreign countries, but by instilling greater faith
in our own. They should be showing greater reverence for the
rules of government, and looking for other ways — like
tougher campaign finance laws — to assure Americans that
their government operates evenhandedly.
How likely is that?
The word in Texas is that Republicans may try their
redistricting plan again. Senate Democrats are bracing for
Senator Frist's "filibuster reform," or the
Mr. DeLay recently revealed how he felt about rules of general
applicability. When he tried smoking a cigar in a restaurant
on federal property, the manager told him it violated federal
law. His response, according to The
, was, "I am the federal government."
interrupt our ongoing war coverage to bring you some disgusting
These days, the GOP holds the advantage on pettiness. "...First
it was french fries and french toast. Now the bones of U.S. servicemen
are being dragged into the conflict between France and the United
States over war in Iraq. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Brooksville, plans
to introduce a bill today proposing that the families of the thousands
of soldiers, sailors and airmen buried in France and Belgium be
allowed to dig up their remains and have them shipped home...Mack
McConn, 78, of Orlando, who survived the D-Day landings at Normandy,
during which more than 10,000 Americans were killed, was outraged at
the suggestion of moving the bodies. "That is ridiculous,"
the Navy veteran said. "I can tell you right now that I don't
approve of it at all. We've had problems with the French before, but
it's like a spat; you get over it. It would be ridiculous to open
those graves."...On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives
jumped on the bandwagon, striking the word"french" from
House menus and replacing it with the word "freedom," as in
freedom fries and freedom toast. At the French Embassy, deputy press
counselor Agnes Vondermuhll reacted Wednesday to the french-fry flap
with amusement andsangfroid.But she drew the line at disinterring
bodies, calling Brown-Waite's proposal "astonishing."
Vondermuhll assured Americans that "France has not forgotten the
American contribution to our freedom and our democracy. We have a
common goal: disarmament of Iraq. We simply have a difference of
opinion on the timetable. It's not a war between France and America.
We should be rational."..."
Someone actually elected these morons?
Talking of war, GOP congressman Tancredo from
Colorado has this to say in Crossfire:
Congressman Tancredo, let me come back to your earlier comment,
because I was stunned about by it. I know you don't like the U.N.; I
know you think it's a debating society. I got that. But
surely you're not saying that because you don't like the U.N., it's OK
for the government of the United States, the good guys, to be
spreading things that are false, for our president to be telling us,
not just the U.N. to be telling the people who pay his salary -- just
a second -- falsehoods like this argument he gave us that the
International Atomic Energy said Saddam Hussein is six months away
from a nuclear weapon. Not true, says the IAEA. Like this nonsense
that these aluminum tubes can be used to make nuclear weapons. Not
true, say the weapons experts. Like a whole lot of very false thongs.
You don't think just because we don't like the U.N. it's OK to say
falsehoods, do you?
TANCREDO: Well, I'm not willing to accept their protestations here.
I'm not willing to accept their statements about it or whether or not
-- in fact, whether or not it is true, you know?
BEGALA: Well, but he said the U.N. agency, the IAEA, had a report that
they didn't have. That's just -- that's either true or false, right?
TANCREDO: OK. Let me tell you. It is -- that's a relatively
insignificant issue. I don't know -- I don't think we did that -- I
TANCREDO: It's insignificant in the total scheme of things here as to
whether the U.N. is relevant in this debate.
BEGALA: Insignificant falsehoods about nuclear weapons are OK, but
you voted to impeach President Clinton about lying about a girlfriend.
Just so we can get your record there, Congressman. (our emphasis).."
evidence of GOP election fraud in 2002
We cover this under our section on media bias against Democrats/others
- click here.
GOP senators/congressmen further destroy Conservative movement and its
true ideals (via DailyKos)
William Welch writes (bold text is our emphasis):
anticipates a federal deficit of $304 billion this year and $307
billion next year. That would nearly double last year's $157.8 billion
deficit, which brought a sudden end to four years of surpluses...
Democrats, often vulnerable to the charge that they were
increasing spending on domestic programs, now depict themselves as the
party of fiscal prudence. Republicans once warned that today's
borrowing would have to be repaid by tomorrow's taxpayers. Now, that's
what Democrats are saying. ''He's
passing the buck to our children,'' said Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., top
Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee. ''History will not treat this
kindly.'' Republicans, who once
decried deficits for driving up long-term interest rates and forcing
the government to pay more in interest costs, can expect to see their
past rhetoric used against them:
* Senate Budget Committee Chairman Don Nickles, R-Okla.,
insisted during the Clinton administration that deficits stood in the
way of prosperity. ''When the budget is brought back into balance,
jobs will be created, and families of all income groups will
benefit,'' he said then. On Monday, Nickles explained the
turnabout: ''Democrats were never concerned about deficits when it
came to spending. The only time Democrats are concerned about deficits
is when it comes to tax cuts.''
* House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle, R-Iowa, ran for
office as an opponent of deficits. When he sought a second term in
1992, he said he would not seek re-election after 1996 if Congress had
not sliced budget deficits in half. They did, and he stayed.
On Tuesday, Nussle canceled press
appearances on the budget. Last week, he said the issue was ''a
balance of cash flow'' and not the only priority.
* Former House speaker
Newt Gingrich, who led the Republican sweep of the House of
Representatives in 1994, once called balancing the budget a ''moral
imperative.'' Today, former House majority leader Dick Armey,
Gingrich's top lieutenant at the time, says renewed borrowing is
forced by the economic slowdown and terrorism...''
for reform? NOT!
See how your "reform"-minded GOP Congressmen are eliminating
rules to reduce corruption.
liberal or conservative are our Senators from the 107th Congress?
This website (a very interesting one) ranks all our
"outgoing" Senators on their liberalism - with Rank 1
reserved for most liberal. Higher ranks constitute more
conservatism and the rankings are based on the senators' voting
records. Here, we reproduce the ranks - but we encourage our readers
to review the above link for details. Note how, Bill Frist is ranked
essentially even with Lott and the fact that both of them are more
conservative than Strom Thurmond, based on their voting records! So
much for the glowing tales from the media about Sen. Frist.
The two parties are almost perfectly separated
in the liberal-conservative ordering.
Only Senator Miller of Georgia is to the right of the the
left-most Republican -- Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island
(and Senator Jeffords of Vermont before he switched from
Republican to Independent).
(eRiposte Note: Ranking goes from most liberal - rank 1.000
to most conservative - rank 102.00)
107 49309 25 WISCONS D FEINGOLD 75 498 0.849 1.000
107 40101 33 MINNESO D DAYTON 19 486 0.961 2.000
107 40104 12 NEW JER D CORZINE 33 495 0.933 3.000
107 49101 33 MINNESO D WELLSTONE 6 484 0.988 4.000
107 15011 71 CALIFOR D BOXER 23 481 0.952 5.000
107 13039 52 MARYLAN D SARBANES 14 498 0.972 6.500
107 29142 5 RHODE I D REED 22 497 0.956 6.500
107 10808 3 MASSACH D KENNEDY, ED 25 480 0.948 8.000
107 15021 21 ILLINOI D DURBIN 24 496 0.952 9.000
107 14230 31 IOWA D HARKIN 29 488 0.941 10.000
107 14213 1 CONNECT D DODD 25 483 0.948 11.000
107 14400 82 HAWAII D AKAKA 24 465 0.948 12.500
107 1366 56 WEST VI D BYRD, ROBER 79 497 0.841 12.500
107 14307 6 VERMONT D LEAHY 20 491 0.959 14.000
107 4812 82 HAWAII D INOUYE 26 465 0.944 15.000
107 14709 23 MICHIGA D LEVIN, CARL 25 498 0.950 16.000
107 15502 36 NORTH D D CONRAD 51 495 0.897 17.000
107 29732 23 MICHIGA D STABENOW 29 497 0.942 18.000
107 14440 52 MARYLAN D MIKULSKI 18 494 0.964 19.000
107 15071 12 NEW JER D TORRICELLI 64 461 0.861 20.500
107 14858 13 NEW YOR D SCHUMER 42 490 0.914 20.500
107 40105 13 NEW YOR D CLINTON 30 494 0.939 22.000
107 11204 48 SOUTH C D HOLLINGS 47 497 0.905 23.000
107 15054 65 NEVADA D REID 22 496 0.956 24.500
107 14922 56 WEST VI D ROCKEFELLER 33 493 0.933 24.500
107 14101 11 DELAWAR D BIDEN 34 489 0.930 26.000
107 14920 3 MASSACH D KERRY, JOHN 21 483 0.957 27.000
107 94240 6 VERMONT I JEFFORDS 41 332 0.877 28.000
107 49308 73 WASHING D MURRAY 37 493 0.925 29.000
107 39310 73 WASHING D CANTWELL 34 496 0.931 30.000
107 14617 37 SOUTH D D DASCHLE 24 481 0.950 31.000
107 15704 1 CONNECT D LIEBERMAN 32 489 0.935 32.000
107 14871 72 OREGON D WYDEN 50 498 0.900 33.000
107 14812 36 NORTH D D DORGAN 41 493 0.917 34.000
107 15503 43 FLORIDA D GRAHAM, BOB 41 498 0.918 35.000
107 14912 66 NEW MEX D BINGAMAN 46 484 0.905 36.000
107 14651 43 FLORIDA D NELSON, CLA 47 496 0.905 37.000
107 49902 47 NORTH C D EDWARDS 27 496 0.946 38.000
107 15703 25 WISCONS D KOHL 34 484 0.930 39.000
107 40102 34 MISSOUR D CARNAHAN 50 489 0.898 40.000
107 15425 37 SOUTH D D JOHNSON 41 493 0.917 41.500
107 49300 71 CALIFOR D FEINSTEIN 46 493 0.907 41.500
107 49901 22 INDIANA D BAYH 55 497 0.889 43.000
107 40100 11 DELAWAR D CARPER 58 495 0.883 44.000
107 49702 45 LOUISIA D LANDRIEU 44 486 0.909 45.000
107 49701 44 GEORGIA D CLELAND 51 495 0.897 46.000
107 29305 42 ARKANSA D LINCOLN 33 495 0.933 47.000
107 14203 64 MONTANA D BAUCUS 41 486 0.916 48.000
107 13056 45 LOUISIA D BREAUX 48 492 0.902 49.000
107 40103 35 NEBRASK D NELSON, BEN 42 497 0.915 50.000
107 49905 5 RHODE I R CHAFEE 82 497 0.835 51.000
107 14240 6 VERMONT R JEFFORDS 18 143 0.874 52.000
107 49904 44 GEORGIA D MILLER 68 476 0.857 53.000
107 14910 14 PENNSYL R SPECTER 78 495 0.842 54.000
107 14661 2 MAINE R SNOWE 56 498 0.888 55.000
107 49703 2 MAINE R COLLINS 56 498 0.888 56.000
107 15039 61 ARIZONA R MCCAIN 124 478 0.741 57.000
107 49705 72 OREGON R SMITH, GORD 57 493 0.884 58.000
107 49900 21 ILLINOI R FITZGERALD 80 476 0.832 59.000
107 14712 40 VIRGINI R WARNER 46 490 0.906 60.000
107 14009 46 MISSISS R COCHRAN 39 498 0.922 61.000
107 12109 81 ALASKA R STEVENS 27 452 0.940 62.000
107 94659 41 ALABAMA R SHELBY 55 488 0.887 63.500
107 95407 62 COLORAD R CAMPBELL 47 482 0.902 63.500
107 49700 41 ALABAMA R SESSIONS 54 481 0.888 65.000
107 29306 42 ARKANSA R HUTCHINSON, 47 484 0.903 66.000
107 49306 49 TEXAS R HUTCHISON, 48 488 0.902 67.000
107 15020 24 OHIO R DEWINE 56 498 0.888 68.000
107 14103 66 NEW MEX R DOMENICI 30 447 0.933 69.000
107 99910 99 USA R BUSH 2 63 0.968 70.500
107 14907 81 ALASKA R MURKOWSKI 26 459 0.943 70.500
107 14506 22 INDIANA R LUGAR 46 498 0.908 72.000
107 15701 64 MONTANA R BURNS 31 482 0.936 73.000
107 14809 63 IDAHO R CRAIG 23 492 0.953 74.000
107 29345 63 IDAHO R CRAPO 20 476 0.958 75.000
107 29148 40 VIRGINI R ALLEN 43 495 0.913 76.000
107 14226 31 IOWA R GRASSLEY 43 498 0.914 77.000
107 15501 34 MISSOUR R BOND 34 490 0.931 78.000
107 14852 32 KANSAS R ROBERTS 28 491 0.943 79.000
107 14921 51 KENTUCK R MCCONNELL 22 498 0.956 80.000
107 49307 67 UTAH R BENNETT 25 482 0.948 81.000
107 14503 67 UTAH R HATCH 26 484 0.946 82.000
107 49704 35 NEBRASK R HAGEL 36 492 0.927 83.000
107 49903 24 OHIO R VOINOVICH 57 486 0.883 84.000
107 49503 54 TENNESS R THOMPSON 47 487 0.903 85.000
107 29523 32 KANSAS R BROWNBACK 39 488 0.920 87.000
107 15424 53 OKLAHOM R INHOFE 32 483 0.934 87.000
107 29141 14 PENNSYL R SANTORUM 29 491 0.941 87.000
107 9369 48 SOUTH C R THURMOND 33 488 0.932 89.000
107 49502 54 TENNESS R FRIST 20 491 0.959 90.000
107 14031 46 MISSISS R LOTT 20 488 0.959 91.000
107 14826 4 NEW HAM R GREGG 52 484 0.893 92.000
107 15633 68 WYOMING R THOMAS 24 486 0.951 93.000
107 49706 68 WYOMING R ENZI 38 483 0.921 94.000
107 29108 62 COLORAD R ALLARD 30 492 0.939 95.000
107 15406 51 KENTUCK R BUNNING 26 489 0.947 96.000
107 14105 47 NORTH C R HELMS 17 358 0.953 97.000
107 29537 65 NEVADA R ENSIGN 54 479 0.887 98.000
107 15116 4 NEW HAM R SMITH, ROBE 39 491 0.921 99.000
107 14908 53 OKLAHOM R NICKLES, DO 30 495 0.939 100.000
107 14628 49 TEXAS R GRAMM, PHIL 24 480 0.950 101.000
107 15429 61 ARIZONA R KYL 25 495 0.949 102.000
The "colorful" truth about
other Lott Republicans
With Mr. Lott in hot water, it is easy to forget
the "true colors" of other prominent "leaders" in
the GOP. So, here's a sampling of some recent re-discoveries of the
"colorful" histories of some of these individuals.
Based on voting records, Voteview ranks Bill Frist and Trent
Lott more conservative
than Strom Thurmond , and Bill Frist and Trent Lott are
practically as conservative as
Eleanor Clift in Newsweek talks about the Eli Lilly link,
among other things
Liberal Oasis has a Top 10 list of reasons why Bill Frist
is not what he
claims to be. A must read.
See Bob Herbert op-ed in NYT
Atrios and the Free Republic point out the hypocrisy of Mr.
anti-abortion, while taking money from a family business that
provides abortions. Time
mention his anti-abortion stance, but also highlights Mr.
Frist's openness to
stem-cell research. This Newsweek interview
goes further asking about the timing of the HCA
settlement among other things.
12-21-02: Nathan Newman also documents Frist's
involvement with his family business
(HCA) which is paying out ~ $1.7 billion to settle massive
healthcare fraud cases.
12-20-02: Nathan Newman has a detailed
history of Sen. Frist's voting record, pointing out
how his voting disposition is not significantly different
from Trent Lott on civil rights, let
alone other crucial areas. What is also appalling is his
consistent anti-environmental and
anti-healthcare, anti-AMA (but pro-business) positions, as
also shown here by Vote
Smart's history. It is interesting that someone who is
being paraded as a doctor
extraordinaire, he has such low ratings from the American Medical Association!
Bill Frist the race baiter - information courtesy John
Marshall. More on this here.
12-17-02 - 1,
Looks like he was the originator of the egregious
exemption for Eli Lilly among others. (For more on the
click here.) Note also in link 2, how White House Budget
Director, former Eli Lilly executive,
conveniently lied about the provision.
Replaces Frist on National Republican Senatorial Committee and
has a known
history of catering to pro-Confederacy groups including
maintaining a Confederacy Flag
at home. Not to mention, as Bob Herbert points out, "...Mr.
Allen issued a proclamation
declaring April "Confederate History and Heritage
Month." From Mr. Allen's
pro-Confederate perspective, the Civil War was a struggle for
"independence and sovereign
rights." Independence, in this case, does not refer to
the independence of black slaves..."
Known anti-gay bias. Also see Atrios.
Voting record on Civil Rights similar to Sen. Lott's
Sarah Wildman writes about the Senator who is
"worse than Lott" in The New Republic.
Cass Ballenger (R)
Look what Mr. Segregator did now!
Admits segregationist feelings
Lest, we simply focus only on Congressmen, let's not
forget the person who is responsible for enforcing all our Civil
Rights (and other laws) - Mr. Ashcroft. Here's
some less than thrilling history about him, and more on that here,
Not to mention the history
of the upholder of the Judiciary (so to speak) - Mr. Rehnquist. The list would be incomplete if we did not note the history of the
most powerful of them all (Mr. Bush), here
and other snippets here.
So much for morality and leadership. These are strange times, indeed.
It is clear that the GOP is in denial of its race
problem. More on this in the coverage from TalkLeft
(Not to mention its other problem: women.)
Gore not running in 2004
Here's the transcript
of his interview. We're late to add this because we were depressed! Anyway, we are
saddened. Here's a nice
brief tribute to him by the New York Times' editors, whom we don't
recall having said such nice things about him before (we could be
Rove, by Ron Suskind
Please read it. Thank you Mr. Suskind.
Trent Lott displays his
true beliefs while gushing about Strom Thurmond's distinguished past racism
Of course, Mr. Lott stepped down as incoming Majority Leader
finally, due to the severe criticism from various quarters (stating
with some liberal bloggers like Atrios and Talking Points Memo) and of
course, via an orchestration
of the White House to get Bush-favorite Bill Frist installed. What
is astonishing is that the mainstream Press and the populace seem
comforted despite the fact that his vote will remain in the Senate!
And that Frist, who is largely similar to Trent Lott
- but more
a Bush player than Lott - becomes incoming Majority Leader!
This ballot is what Mr. Lott praised. Before we go any further,
here is a proposal: a new name for those in the GOP who have a history
similar to or approaching Trent Lott's. You guessed right - Lott
Republican. (Time to return the Daschle favor, don't you
What did the Free Press and the "We Report you Decide" Press
have to say about it immediately? As Daily
Howler points out, CNN and the Faux News Channel had the following
to say - CNN's Bruce Morton used Conservative talking points to say
this about Mr. Thurmond (while Judy Woodruff pointed out Mr.
Thurmond's "enduring career") "...but
it was politics probably more than true conviction. If nudism had been
in, he’d run on that..."; Faux News said nothing
(initially) as expected. Well, at least a
lot of bloggers speedily covered this disgrace (see Atrios
here for the various links) and we thank Mr. Gore for speaking
We heard Mr.
Lott apologized. That's good, but his words
and expression were so strong when he said the words he did that
this apology certainly holds little water. And this
other thing also doesn't help. At the New York Times, Paul
Clymer and Bob
Herbert ask what today's GOP really stands for. Mr. Krugman also
credits Joshua Marshall of TPM
for forcing this story up to the mainstream Press, while John
Podhoretz at the New York Post has much
praise for the blogosphere in general for surfacing this issue.
Crouch in the New York Daily News takes the media to task for
having Lott get away with so much nonsense over the years (see
much for the liberal media huh?) (Timothy Noah incidentally exposes
the myth that Thurmond somehow renounced his racist views as
UPDATE: Since the above episode, a lot of
bloggers have been dissecting Mr. Lott's past. In particular, Atrios
has been a tremendous source of information. Here are some
1. Lott said practically the same things back in 1980 and 2000 - New
York Times, MSNBC
2. Lott's membership
in and praise for the white supremacist CCC and other, shall we say, non
color-blind, characters and institutions - Salon,
3. Lott's lying about his true "colors" and associations
4. Lott's less than color-blind history on enforcing civil rights and
equality - PFAW,
5. Lott's "missing" apology - Daily
6. Lott's dissembling about the reason he said what he did - Salon,
7. Lott's filing an amicus curiae brief supporting Bob Jones'
University's ban on interracial dating - TPM,
8. Is Lott a curiosity or more common in the GOP than the common
man thinks? - Time,
Jose Mercury News
Former President Bill Clinton says it exactly
right. And Mr. Gore wasn't
off the mark either.
Landrieu beats hand-picked Bush-nominee for Senate in close election
The Senate tally then is Republicans 51, Democrats 48, Independent 1
(votes with Democrats). Now, how many of our "analysts" and
"experts" on Cable TV are going to attribute this to Pres.
Bush's campaigning, like those who attributed some Democratic losses
to former Pres. Clinton's campaigning? Something tells me the answer
will be 0. Regardless of the fact that, as Lean
Left points out, the Republicans said on their own website that
this Louisiana election would be a reflection of a mandate for Mr.
Bush. Now, of course, after the loss here is what
they are saying:
had little to say about the defeat except that President Bush had
nothing to do with it. Ms. Terrell had no public appearances. Scott
McClellan, a spokesman for the White House, said that Ms. Terrell 'ran
a strong campaign and came close' in a state that has not elected a
Republican senator since Reconstruction. Chad Colby, a spokesman for
the Louisiana Republican Party, said that a Congressional runoff
election the same day in a heavily Republican district in the
northeastern part of the state had led Republican voters to stay home.
That hurt Ms. Terrell, Mr. Colby said. Alex Castellanos, a Republican
consultant who helped Ms. Terrell's campaign, attributed the loss to
quirks of the state. 'Just in case politics is not unusual enough, God
invented Louisiana,' Mr. Castellanos said..."
It is also for certain that the spin-meisters will not mention the positive
role Clinton played in Landrieu's election. As Daily
Howler points out yet again, the B.S. about the Democratic Party
having been thrashed in the elections is yet another example of the
media bias against Democrats and liberals. Indeed, spin and bias
queen Katharine Seelye who wrote the above articles on Landrieu's
win, starts Paragraph 2 with "...After
a drubbing in the Nov. 5 elections,...",
referring to the Democratic party. (Why is she a spin and bias queen
you ask? Check out my anti-Gore
I agree with Daily Howler
wholeheartedly, and as I said in my
"...Some pundits say that President Bush and the
Republicans won a mandate in the most recent elections. What I believe
they received was a vote of confidence, and that is to their credit.
It is easy though to forget the closeness of critical races, the fact
that Democrats did retain the bulk of their seats and that they
captured a few Governorships, even in a state as Republican as
Arizona. The totality of the evidence suggests that the country is
still split nearly 50-50, with a very small (yet potent) percentage of
the vote having tilted in favor of Republicans..."
to Dems: Stop being "missing in action"
He chides Democrats on their relative silence on National Security
issues and not defending against right-wing GOP attacks of honorable
Democrats. On the National Security attacks, it seems we
were on the mark.
Mandate? Not really.
The latest NYTimes/CBS poll has something else to say. The poll
results are also interesting in that while President Bush was given a
65% approval rating, only 32% of the respondents are sure they will
vote for Bush in 2004, with a big chunk (47%) undecided. This result,
by the way, is buried in a separate window found in the top right of
the above link, titled "Interactive Feature: Complete
Results". Al Gore seems to have elicited less votes than in the most
recent Time Poll, which is also a surprise.
See our opinions on the Democratic Party debacle and what the Party
needs to do now:
Do Democrats even deserve to win back the Senate
in Elections 2002?
It's not that we don't want them to win - at least to ensure there
are balanced views at the National level. However, we have seen enough to predict that Republicans will take over
both the Senate and Congress this November, in the absence of any
magical or tumultuous event between now and then. Why? As we said before, the Democrats
appear to be in disarray at the National level, with the lack of clear
leadership and guiding principles. Moreover, criticisms of the Bush
administration's policy are not usually being augmented by clear, well
publicized and advocated, workable alternatives. The Democrats,
themselves tainted by the recent business scandals, also don't have
too much of a credible voice on that subject today. To repeat, as much as we
would tend to vote Democratic (at least to retain a
balance of power at the National level - which we believe is always
beneficial, to prevent either party from going too far with their
ideologies), we feel that the party is faltering badly and is in need
of a serious, introspective, back-to-the-roots campaign and more
soul-searching about whether its actions are really consistent
with its philosophies anymore.
Rep. Henry Waxman's collection of socioeconomic indicators
Rep. Waxman's list is interesting, but as with most of these lists,
cause and effect are not so obvious. We can't possibly put bushels
of blame on Bush for the
bust following the boom years. Part of the responsibility for the excesses of the late 90s and the
bust that followed, has to obviously fall on the lap of former
President Bill Clinton and his economic team. What we
do blame President Bush and his economic team for is displaying a
singular lack of vision to fix
the economic problems that have been uncovered since the bust began.
Three areas in Waxman's list that we would
associate largely with this administration are the: (a) massive budget
deficits forecast into the foreseeable future - a big chunk of which
has resulted from the unnecessary trillion-dollar-plus tax cut largely for
the rich (we say that even though we would benefit fairly from this
tax cut), (b) exploding health care costs, and (c) degradation of
environmental controls and regulations.
U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear the N. J. GOP's case
It is gratifying to note that the high court followed the law. So the N.
J. Supreme Court's ruling holds. However, the N.J. GOP and Forrester
are still desperate to find every way to block Lautenberg's campaign,
as these WP
articles highlight. Fellas, wake up, and run a campaign. You've done
in the past what the Democrats did in NJ - so don't act
holier-than-thou. If you don't like the laws, fix the laws!
wake-up call to Democrats - this time from Tom Friedman
On the heels of former Sen. Hart's WP op-ed (and
Howard Fineman's article and our own earlier
nonsense from the N. J. GOP grows
In spite of significant precedent against them, in spite of their own
party doing in the past what they claim is unacceptable today, their
attacks continue. Here are some quotes from Joe Conason's note in
Salon:"...The 'strict adherence' to the
'letter of the law' trumpeted by indignant Republicans is, in
practice, about as strict as Newt Gingrich's monogamy. For them it
isn't good enough that a Republican-dominated court voted unanimously
to permit Lautenberg on the ballot. (Apparently Republicans appointed
by Christie Whitman aren't Republican enough for Princeton legal
scholar Robert George, whose bitter
screed about their pro-choice views is posted on Forrester's Web
site.) Petty consistency is all that matters. So
these same pettifogging Republicans must also believe that Bush and
have forfeited the electoral votes of Texas, since Cheney surely
wasn't an 'inhabitant' of
required by the Constitution's 12th amendment; and Mitt
Romney ought to have been thrown off the Massachusetts ballot,
since he obviously hasn't lived there for all of the past seven years,
as required by that state's constitution; and Katherine Harris should
have been bounced from the Florida ballot, since she admittedly
backdated her 'resignation' to run for Congress..."
- where is your National security vision?
Former Senator Hart addresses similar issues that we raised in our comments yesterday (see
comments on Howard Fineman's article below) on the Democratic
Party's lack of leadership or vision on National Security and Foreign
Republicans appointed last minute replacement candidates, the story was
Thanks to Joe Conason we learn about how the Torch's resignation could
easily have been arranged in a way that would have prevented any legal
challenges. He also reports on past cases where Republicans named
"last-minute" replacements (Minnesota and NJ)
and the Democrats accepted it.
Post-Torch N.J. developments
The New Jersey Supreme Court returns the
correct, unanimous verdict
(7-0) allowing a replacement candidate for Torricelli. As
expected, the N. J. GOPers are heading to the U.S. Supreme Court. As the
MSNBC article points out, the New Jersey court has 6 appointees of
Christine Todd Whitman (former Republican Gov.) and 1 of the current
Democratic governor. The affiliations of the justices were as follows:
4 Democrats, 2 Republicans and 1 Independent; but with a unanimous
verdict they showed what true democracy was all about. Enough has been
written in the past few days about the significant case history
relating to Election laws where this kind of decision, in favor of
voter choice, was handed down time and again. Hence, it would be a
disaster if the U.S. Supreme Court decided to do otherwise.
Obviously, some GOP supporters will cry foul. What we have to say to
them is this:
(a) Be happy because you could be in a similar situation some day, and
could use the precedent.
(b) Be happy because you *were*
in a rather similar situation not too long ago in the same state and
used some party help to select your candidate at the last minute (see Joe Conason's
notes in Salon).
(c) Democracy and voter rights cannot be held hostage to arbitrary
timelines. Recognize what is more important (at least this time
around) - democracy, not election deadlines.
(d) Your candidate Forrester might still win.
Sometimes, Fineman does have something sensible to say
His article is titled "Democrats' fortunes unraveling?" is
absolutely right on the money. The national Democratic Party, as far
as we can tell, is highly disorganized and disunited, with no
effective counter-plank on National Security. After repeatedly playing
second fiddle to President Bush, even though they were the ones who
pushed the Dept. of Homeland Security from day one, they are
splintered on both National Security and Foreign Policy. There is no effective leadership, and no
organized effort to rally Congressional Democrats and Democratic
supporters across the nation. While the Iraq-a-thon on TV and in the
media has definitely had some effect on their inability
to get their message(s) across, it is our belief that if they lose
this election (and there is a good chance they will in
spite of the recent polls), it will be largely due to their
political ineptitude. They have good ideas on many areas, but what we
see missing is leadership, coordination, unity, and drive to keep the
message firmly focused in every news release coming from Democrats.
Given how little press coverage they have gotten relative to the
President, they should have made doubly sure that the coverage focused
on a consistent message.
much should candidates change their minds based on polls?
An interesting article by Michael Waldman exploring the ethics of campaigning-by-polls.
We agree with the author to some extent. The problem with this
approach is that bad candidates can poll their way to powerful
positions and then do enormous damage once elected, making it
impossible to vote them out for years. But it is also true that, in
this information age, the response time for getting the pulse of the
people is astounding. In our opinion, this can bring us closer
to a true democracy, by enabling people to speak up quickly on an
issue-by-issue basis. Why assume your representative in Congress can
read your mind on every Law of interest to you, when you can tell him
or her exactly what you want in 2 minutes? Indeed, we foresee a future
where Congressional representatives would use the Internet to poll
constituents on every issue to get real-time feedback on major issues.
But wait! Although in principle, all this looks hunky-dory,
major downsides exist for system abuse. The most significant one is
that the use of majority opinion alone can produce disastrous results,
since it is too presumptuous to assume the majority is always right.
(Hasn't history shown that!) Does this mean we dump the idea,
especially since the further growth of the information era is
inevitable? We believe, as we do on almost all issues, that we need to
adapt our lives rapidly to adjust to the only constant in our lives -
change. It is time to find ways to intelligently use what technology
The latest on what the masses are saying
about Elections 2002
reporting that the latest poll suggests people are likely to
support Democrats over Republicans, although still by a thin margin
that is likely statistically insignificant. A majority agree that raising questions before going to war is
patriotic and essential. A solid majority is still looking for
President Bush to
get Congressional and U.N. approval before war with Iraq. That fact is
also seen in a WP-ABC poll. The Washington
Post-ABC poll is also showing the switch to Democratic support
from Republicans. One very interesting statistic in the WP-ABC poll is
reproduced below - that Democrats trail Republicans only in the
perception of how well they will handle the war on terrorism. This is
the strong message that the Democratic party needs to see, absorb and
13. Which political party, the (Democrats) or the (Republicans),
do you trust to do a better job handling:
9/26/02 - Summary Table*:
Both Neither No
Democrats Republicans (vol.) (vol.) op.
a. The war on terrorism 30 51 6 6 8
b. Social Security 50 33 3 8 6
c. The economy and jobs 47 39 3 6 5
d. Taxes 44 44 3 6 4
e. The federal budget 43 43 3 7 4
f. Education 46 39 4 5 6
g. Health care 50 35 4 5 6
h. Prescription drug
benefits for the
elderly 48 35 4 5 8
i. The environment 55 31 3 4 6
j. The situation with
Iraq and Saddam Hussein 33 52 6 4 6
k. The issue of financial
fraud and accounting
irregularities by large
business corporations 40 40 4 7 9
My opponent in the Republican Primary is liberal like Hillary Clinton!
Oops! I lost!
(Our note to such Republican candidates: Bashing the Clintons
doesn't work any more. Get with the issues and run on them, rather
than on negative BS).