Thursday, March 29, 2007

David Frum makes fun of the McCain Campaign's downplaying of Senator's overtures to the Democratic party in 2001.

More Bad news for McCain

This article talks about how close John McCain came to switching parties in 2001. Although this has been written about in books by Tom Daschle and Trent Lott, it really hasn't received very much public attention. I suspect as the primary progresses it will receive greater scrutiny. Although his current competition for the Republican nomination have their own issues regarding party loyalty, neither Romney nor Giuliani has ever been as critical of their party has McCain has been or in their political life has ever contemplated switching parties.

Although everyone knows McCain is not a doctronaire Conservative, I expect this issue will gain some traction and may cause some to doubt McCain's Conservative credentials as he seeks to differentiate himself from the perceived moderation of Rudy Giuliani and the perceived opportunism of Mitt Romney.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Charlie Cook has a good analysis of Edwards' 2008 chances.

The money quote:

"With the notable exception of Katie Couric's interview with the Edwards family on CBS' "60 Minutes" Sunday night, the overlooked aspect of this national conversation is that in addition to a grown daughter, the Edwardses have a son and daughter, ages six and eight. Overwhelmingly, this national conversation has been conducted as if they either had no children or their kids were grown and not relevant to the discussion.

The children were a familiar presence on the presidential campaign trail in 2004, but have not been visible in this race, likely only because they have now reached school age. Based on medical statistics, these two children might lose their mother well before they reach adulthood.

The argument that the personal strength and resolve of John and Elizabeth Edwards will work to his benefit in this campaign seems to ignore the likelihood that sooner or later, voters will begin thinking of the implications of the decision to proceed with the campaign for their children. In the background of all this is the death of the Edwardses' 16-year-old son Wade in a 1996 car accident. Edwards went on to run for the Senate and win in 1998.

Their father will be largely gone from their lives for at least another year and their mother will be dividing her time between them, with what is almost certain to be a debilitating cancer therapy, and the campaign trail.

In short, the family will not be together during a very critical period. This is not an attempt to judge the decision that they have made; it is unquestionably theirs to make and their bravery and personal strength through this time is an inspiration to everyone. Instead, it is an attempt to question the call by some that this will become an asset, albeit a tragic one, that could boost Edwards' candidacy. In the end, it is doubtful that this will be how voters see this development."
Hillary Clinton scored a coup when she got the former popular New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen's husband Bill on her team. However, it came with a price. He wants to be on her "peace team." I would be curious what her peace proposal and team would consist of, given that previous proposals from the Israelis that many thought were generous were turned down and more violence errupted.

I also find it odd that AIPAC spent so much money trying to defeat John Sununu in New Hampshire based on his father's more pro-Arab view of the Arab-Israeli conflict and his own Arab ancestry when Senator Sununu has thus far shown little interest in the conflict and his-then opponent Jeanne Shaheen would have had a similar if not more pro-Arab view of the Middle East and would have given the issue a lot more attention. Just something I found interesting.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A writer's look at what the mainstream media said about Reagan twenty years ago. It is fairly similar to the criticims against the Bush administration today.

The money passage is:

"As Jonah Goldberg noted this winter when Gerald Ford died, lauded by a media that had little good to say of him while he was president, each Republican president is a fool, a bigot, and a dangerous warmonger while he is in office, responsible for sexism, racism, ageism, and general misery. Once dead, however, he acquires a Strange New Respect. In time, the jibes thrown at him are airbrushed away, and he is seen as a statesman, a true conservative, with all the best values, all the more so when compared with whatever Republican is now in office, who is seen in comparison as someone who really is dangerous, a warmonger, bigot, and fool. In their turn, Barry Goldwater, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George Bush the Elder have become harmless and loveable figures, cherished for their good humor, their prudence, and tolerance--and for their distance from today's modern conservatives, who have run their cause into the ground.

This pattern will not alter: In a few years, when President Rudy or Commander in Chief Thompson begins knocking heads, watch out for the press to express its Strange New Respect for Bush 43, whose government was nothing if not diverse as regards race and gender, and who at least made a pretense of being compassionate. In 2027, if Time is still around, will it run a cover, showing him shedding a tear?"

Saturday, March 24, 2007

A good article in the NY Times about voters' reactions to John Edwards decision to stay in the race and their thoughts on whether this was a courageous decision or an ill-conceived one. The reactions appear to be mixed but I thought this one voter's comments were insightful and probably in the back of a lot of people's minds but few felt comfortable expressing what could be construed to be an insensitive remark.

"Robert J. Weinberg, a lawyer in Philadelphia who said he has an incurable cancer-related illness, myelodysplasia, and an uncertain amount of time to live, said that he thinks the Edwards campaign will have a hard time recovering. Cancer takes all your attention, he said.

“Don’t let this stop our lives, let’s go on just like we were and make believe this isn’t happening,” said Mr. Weinberg, who said he was a Democrat leaning toward supporting Senator Barack Obama of Illinois. “Of course that’s the selfless thing for her to do.”

“But if I go in to pull the lever and I know that person has a situation in his family that may divert his attention, I may not vote for him,” Mr. Weinberg added. “That may sound rough, but it’s the president of the United States, and he should be able to spend his time being president.”

I suspect that John Edwards' poll numbers will initially go up but that some people will have doubts about voting for someone whose wife could conceivably become terminally ill at any point and who would then be solely responsible for raising two young children. Whether that will be dispositive is anybody's guess but I doubt that it is the most important thing on his mind right now. Despite my strong objections to much of his policy platform, I hope that his family difficulties does not impede his political future.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Could Richard Land support Rudy Giuliani?

The influential evangelical leader Richard Land has indicated that he will not vote for Rudy Giuliani in the general election, should he be the Republican nominee, even against Hillary Clinton. Richard Land told
The Hill Newspaper in February, “If he [Giuliani] wins, he’ll do so without social conservatives,” Land said. What made this comment especially bizarre is the foreword to Land's recent book is written by Senator Joe Lieberman, who is more liberal on social issues than Giuliani and who has also been divorced.

Recently, Land elaborated on his earlier comments and indicated his disapproval with Giuliani’s actions during his second divorce from television personality, Donna Hanover in 2000.

Divorces are very often messy. Numerous allegations are tossed back and forth. Giuliani’s marriage to Ms. Hanover had been on the rocks for some time prior to their divorce and had been the subject of much tabloid speculation since 1996, when Ms. Hanover refused to disclose whether she voted for her then-husband during his successful mayoral re-election bid. While the allegations against Giuliani during or prior to his divorce may or may not be true and may factor into socially conservative voters’ perception of the former mayor, it should not be dispositive.

The two oldest Justices on the Supreme Court are generally considered the two most liberal: Ginsburg and Stevens. The next President of the United States is likely to make at least one Supreme Court appointment. Mr. Land, a graduate of both Princeton and Oxford is too politically savvy to not understand the ramifications of sitting out the next election, no matter whom the Republican nominee is. This appears to be idle chatter from someone disappointed at the lack of social conservatives currently in the Republican field. Mr. Land’s comments on Giuliani are in stark contrast to fellow evangelical leader, James Dobson's recent embrace of Newt Gingrich , whose own marital failings are well documented. Giuliani will not be the first choice of so-called values voters in the Republican primary, however he may be their best bet come November of 2008.

McCain and Giuliani

Weekly Standard writer, Matthew Continetti, expresses bewilderment at the reception that John McCain received at CPAC. He contrasts that with the more positive reception received by Rudy Giuliani, who has a more liberal social record.

Mr. Continetti should not be surprised. Rudy Giuliani was about as conservative as a politician could be to get elected in New York City. Sure he was pro-choice (although there is some ambiguity about how much of this was political calculation) and pro-gay rights, as this was and is basically a litmus test to get elected in New York City. However, Giuliani during his tenure as New York City Mayor (as I have blogged previously) focused primarily on conservative and not liberal issues: taking on crime including squeegee men, improving education by taking on the teacher's union in some cases, and improving the business climate of New York City.

John McCain, from 2000-2004 (save for the Iraq War) focused his attention primarily on liberal issues: the environment (including opposing drilling in the arctic), a "patient bill of rights" giving trial lawyers more opportunity to sue, and campaign finance reform. He went so far on campaign finance reform to call into question the integrity of those who opposed it. He also alluded at points that he would consider a third party run for office and might have done so, if the polling pointed towards a winnable scenario. He opposed both the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts using "tax cut for the rich rhetoric" similar to Democrats. While one might argue that the tax cuts would have been more productive if they were skewed more towards the working poor, the tax cuts actually made the tax system more progressive and called into question McCain's understanding of economics. McCain, was so hostile to the Bush administration that many were surprised that McCain actually campaigned for Bush enthusiastically in 2004. Typically, people expect members of the same party to help each other.

In essence, it comes down to this: Giuliani in the bluest of blue cities was as conservative as it could be and still be electable. Conservatives know that Giuliani is willing to take on civil libertarians, racial agitators, and Democratic interest groups and earn the scorn of influential newspapers such as the New York Times because he has already done it. Giuliani is at least as conservative as his record in New York City and most likely more so.

McCain got elected in a red state and his co-Senator Jon Kyl has proven you can be a very solid conservative and get elected pretty easily. McCain has taken considerably more liberal positions than he has to because he believes in them. His bus was called the "straight talk express." Conservatives have everything reason to believe that what he said in 2000 was the real John McCain, i.e. a man who was hawkish on foreign policy but mainly populist on most other issues. Even his pro-life position does little to assuage conservatives. While ostensively pro-life his position in 2000 when asked, "what he would do if his 15-year-old daughter Meghan became pregnant and wanted an abortion" was basically a pro-choice one, that it would be his daughter's decision. While that would be in keeping with my position, that is not in keeping with a social conservative's position that abortion is a crime and should not be allowed. Therefore, it is hard to argue barring a sincere change of heart how he would be any different than Giuliani on abortion other than maybe in rhetoric.

While McCain can and still very well might win the Republican nomination, journalists should not be surprised that Giuliani currently enjoys more support than McCain.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

David Frum on his blog has a very good post on the U.S. Attorney situation, which I have cut and pasted below. His first point is the most important. We do not know that there was any wrongdoing. Republicans should not be in retreat mode on this yet. Republicans are on the defensive on everything and Republicans should realize if Al Gonzales is forced to resign, Democrats will be able to walk over the Bush administration until the end of 2008.

"Before my friends on the Corner succumb to the urge to let Al Gonzales take the fall in the US Attorney uproar, some cautionary thoughts:

1) Nobody has yet adduced a gram of evidence to suggest that anyone did anything wrong. All we know is that the White House replaced 8 political appointees with 8 other political appointees.

2) Why do you suppose Gonzales of all people has been made the target here? As far as we can tell, he had less to do with the substantive decisions than almost any of the other principals here. Could it be ...

and this takes us to the most crucial point:

3) That many Democrats and left-wing legal activists recognize that another vacancy may soon be opening on the Supreme Court - and that Gonzales would be a very difficult nominee for them to reject?

Ask yourself this: If Gonzales is knocked out of the game now - and a vacancy does open - who else could the president nominate who would be a) even half-way good and b) able to achieve confirmation? And ask yourself this: Do you suppose the Dems have not performed the same calculation?"
This Robert Novak article on Tom Delay, provides some tidbits on Tom Delay's new memoir. There is a damaging description of Newt Gingrich, which I suspect at least partially rings true:

"In describing Gingrich as an "ineffective Speaker,"" DeLay writes: "He knew nothing about running meetings and nothing about driving an agenda." He adds: "Nearly every other day he had a new agenda, a new direction he wanted us to take. It was impossible to follow him."

The rap on Gingrich will be that he is a good strategist but has poor managerial skills. Given that Americans are looking for a candidate with a proven track record of being able to govern competently, I believe it will be hard for Gingrich (along with his personal baggage) to overcome this.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Sorry State of the New York GOP

New York Senate Majority Leader and de facto leader of the New York GOP, Joseph Bruno (along with George Pataki) has led the New York Republican Party down the gutter. No better evidence of this, okay maybe the fact that he is under investigation from the FBI and has been defended of all people by the head of the teacher's union, was his decision to tout Donald Trump for Governor of New York in 2006.

Donald Trump, blowhard extraordinaire and second-rate real estate mogul (although very gifted marketer and self-promoter), was on CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch today. Trump, reiterating previous comments he has made said the Iraq War was a disaster and called Bush the worst President ever. See this interview with Maureen Dowd. He went further today by saying Bush should be impeached.

Of course, rather than William Weld, former U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts and successful Massachusetts Governor, Bruno wanted Trump to be the GOP nominee. The only silver-lining in this was that given Trump's past investment record, if he says something is a mistake, it is probably a good idea. I suspect if the President's approval ratings turn around and the surge works, Trump will be singing a different tune:-) This is the man who claims that his casinos and everything he owns (or has over-leveraged:-)) is "the best in the world."

Foreign media is apparently more biased than even U.S. media

Self-identified lefty Canadian filmmakers started out wanting to do a sympathetic biographical documentary on Michael Moore, a person whose ideals they greatly admired (yes, that is quite pathetic). While researching him they found out ...stop the presses... that he was a phony. The fact that many Canadians and quite a number of Americans do not know this, is appalling given his influence on American politics. At the time of Fahrenheit 9/11, there were numerous stories about the inaccuracies in his documentaries: Bowling for Columbine and Roger & Me as well as his own inhumane treatment of workers. Even the liberal (but very respected) The New Yorker magazine, which was sympathetic to his viewpoints, exposed Michael Moore's hypocrisy.

The fact that Canadians were not aware of any of this is surprising and provides at least some evidence that Canadian news sources provide a very skewed view of the United States. However, even this country's coverage of Michael Moore falls considerably short of pursuing the unbiased truth. I had no idea (although I might have read about it at some point) that Michael Moore actually did interview the head of General Motors, so in essence as the Canadian filmmakers note; the whole premise of his movie, Roger & Me, is false.

Sports and Politics

Although I am not particularly religious, I hate country music, and live in one of the bluest places in America, I need no better reason to be a Republican than political correctness. While not all political correctness is bad and some may even be necessary, there are many areas where political correctness is just absurd. Sports is one of them.

Almost everyone recognizes that there are physical differences between men and women which contributes to men being on average better at sports. There are also other differences which contribute to men enjoying sports on average more than women.

Political correctness has already influenced professional tennis. Now we have equal pay in tennis for all of the Grand Slams for men and women despite the fact that men play best of five sets finals versus the best of three sets finals for women and the overall superiority of the men's tennis players. Equal pay for equal play would truly be equal if both men and women were playing in the same league as opposed to playing in separate leagues. The argument that women tennis players work as hard as men is baseless. Plenty of tennis players work a comparable amount to Roger Federer, yet they do not make as much because they are not as good.

The opposing argument presented by women's tennis that it is more enjoying is a more persuasive argument. I enjoy watching women's tennis, sometimes more than men's tennis, because of the longer rallies and in some cases some of the women are fairly cute. So if women can demonstrate that they are producing as an enjoyable a product and are getting equivalent ratings over a substantial period of time than the argument has merit. However, that is not what happened and instead tournaments such as Wimbledon were forced to mandate this year, equal pay, based not on economics but on political correctness.

Okay, so who cares about tennis right? Good point. But political correctness has the ability to make a difference in other sports as well. Take the NCAA tournament. Currently, I am forced to watch stories on ESPN (to get to the men's tournament coverage) on the wommen's NCAA tournament despite the lack of interest in it. Besides UCONN and Tennessee fans, I know of no school where the women's basketball team generates a ton of excitement. I don't of a single person who fills out or at least admits to filling out a women's tournmanent bracket. Five minutes of this is fine. I can listen to stories about coaches and players I have never heard of but what happens when people start demanding equal coverage of this. I am not sure. All I know is that political correctness stinks in many cases and there is no better example of this than in sports.
Chuck Hagel's non-announcement was smart politics. Although Hagel is someone I really dislike and probably would not vote for, this was a shrewd move. If he got in the race now, he would have little chance of winning. However, adding a level of intrigue and speculation about his candidacy makes it more appealing. Additionally, who knows how the war will go in the next six months, perhaps there will be a draft Hagel movement at some point. I am betting that this will not be the case, but you never know.

Monday, March 12, 2007

A great article by the political guru, Michael Barone.

Money quote, "Churchill is not the only politician who has wanted to write the history of his times; most politicians and political operatives want at least to shape the way history views their actions.

Some are better at this than others. In the previous century, Democrats did much better at this than Republicans.

Most of us still see the events of the first two-thirds of the 20th century through the words of gifted New Deal historians like the late Arthur Schlesinger Jr., who told the story as Franklin Roosevelt hoped and expected it to be told. And, to judge from the response to two recent criminal proceedings, Democrats are doing it better in this century, too."

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Fred Thompson on the issues: I believe he is a plausible candidate but I do not believe he will be the nominee perhaps he will be offered the VP slot though. I also do not believe he would generate that much more excite from social conservatives than the current frontrunners but he would be more palatable. In essence, he is a consensus candidate but he did not have a particularly distinguished legislative career and he has been out of politics for awhile now. That is why I believe he has a chance at the VP slot but not the presidential one.

The Dailykos gives the Democrats marching orders... and they listen

Amazingly, the Nevada Democratic Party along with John Edwards and Bill Richardson was willing to capitulate to a bunch of left-wing bloggers and cancel their Fox-sponsored debate. It is odd that Democrats who have always contended that the liberal opinions of the vast majority of newscasters never effected political coverage and have always chastised Republicans for complaining about media bias, basically are willing to blacklist a network which leans to the right.

Imagine, if Republicans were unwilling to talk to networks where there is a discernable left wing bias. That would mean, no CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, or MSNBC sponsored debates. Tim Russert, who was the former chief of staff to the liberal Democrat, Senator Moynihan who moderates a number of debates would never moderate one nor would most of his colleagues.

Liberal bloggers were also able to launch attacks on the 9/11 miniseries on ABC last year that portrayed the Clinton administration in a bad light. This was after Democrats claimed that Republicans had no right to complain about a negative and historical inaccurate movie portrayal of Ronald Reagan’s presidency. That movie added insult to injury as Reagan was played by Barbara Streisand's husband.

Some consistency would be nice. Even though I am a Republican, it would also be nice to know that Democrats were having their ideas shaped by competent professionals and not someone with no political experience sitting behind a laptop in Berkeley.

Hopefully, this McCarthyite tactic will backfire on Democrats.