Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Oliver Stone

He's all they can come up with.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Yglesias on Pinochet

Matthew counters the conventional wisdom that Pinochet was simply taking some drastic measures to save his country and that he saw himself as out to save Chile whatever the cost:
This is a cliché that people don't tend to think about, but it's important to qualify that claim. Pinochet believed it was his calling to rid Chile of Communism, whatever the cost to other people. He wasn't eager to pay a price personally, or to have members of his circle do so. Indeed, though Pinochet's corruption was hardly on a Mobutu-style scale, it's clear that he and his retainers profited personally from his dictatorship. And when he left office, he didn't throw himself on the mercy of the people, pleading justification but willing to accept whatever verdict -- pay any price -- they might render. Instead, he had himself made a senator for life to obtain immunity from prosecution. Once that stopped working, he adopted a number of other methods to try -- successfully, in the end -- to avoid bearing the cost of what he'd done.

This line of thought is, of course, entirely typical of the authoritarian mindset. You hear it in contemporary political disputes about torture and about the use of brutal force abroad. We must do what it takes to succeed whatever the cost. Always suppressed is the proviso -- whatever the cost to other people.

JPod Responds

In respose to my email that Jonah posted, Podhoretz says this:
Jonah, the sense of Pinochet as a uniquely evil tyrant — when he was actually rather a singular tyrant, a tyrant who allowed a somewhat free economy to develop under his tyranny — is a central mythos of the Left and clearly will remain so after his death. And why? Because he deposed a Socialist president who was a Castro catamite.

This has all the marks of a classic conservative Pinochet defense. At least he developed the economy! He deposed a Socialist! In JPod's view, which seems to be a popular one among wingers, leftists only disliked Pinochet because he destroyed their beloved socialism. Nevermind that he killed opponents in the thousands and deposed a democracy. On CNN International on Sunday, the guy from the AEI tried to skirt the whole democracy issue by saying "Allende didn't even have the majority of the vote!" Well, you know what, Bush didn't get the majority in 2000 and barely did in 2004. Bill Clinton didn't get above 50% in 1996. Allende was the legitimate president and we supported his ouster and the bloody dictatorship that followed. These Cornerites are on the wrong side of history, plain and simple.

Mailing with Jonah

I've been emailing back and forth with Jonah today about Pinochet and Castro, and he posted one of my emails and commented below. I stand by what I said, that there are far fewer serious left-leaning thinkers who support Castro than there are conservatives who continue to applaud Pinochet and excuse his violence and oppression. If the best Goldberg can do is refer to idiots like Oliver Stone, color me unconvinced. National Review is supposedly the center of American conservatism, and their feature on the death of Pinochet is completely sympathetic to the man. I'm sorry, but you won't find Harpers or the New Yorker publishing a glowing and adoring symposium on Castro when he dies.

Monday, December 11, 2006

More Kirkpatrick and Pinochet

Browsing through The Corner, I see that I'm not the only one linking Pinochet's death with Kirkpatrick's. It's just that others seem to be proud to link the two. To give Jonah credit, he's trying to make a point about hypocrisy on both ends of the political spectrum, but inadvertently destroys his argument at the end of the post. He begins by saying that both conservatives and liberals can be hypocritical by condemning murderous, despicable regimes when it suits them and remaining quiet when it doesn't. He exemplifies this by comparing treatment of Castro and Pinochet among the American left and right. While conservatives stay quiet about the terrible legacies of the Pinochet regime, they loudly condemn Castro for the same type of human rights abuses - yet if they are really human rights, why not condemn Pinochet's violence against his people? On the other hand, he argues, the American left remains silent about Castro's iron rule while condemning Pinochet as a war criminal. While I think it's admirable that Jonah's trying to make an argument about hypocrisy among both groups, I think there's a problem: namely, that there are very few leftists who support Castro or think that he has been good for Cuba. It very well may be true that some of them keep comparatively quiet about it, though. On the other hand, conservatives aren't quiet about Pinochet and his rule - they still are largely fond of him and think he was a force of good for Chile. There's not the balance here that he thinks there is.

And the laughably pathetic part of the post is his little sidenote at the end, that when it comes to Castro vs. Pinochet, Pinochet "wins in a cake walk." Hypocrisy, indeed.

Pinochet and Kirkpatrick

There's something appropriate about Pinochet dying a few days after Jean Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick was largely responsible for the foreign policy view of the 1970s and 1980s that proposed that we should treat right-wing authoritarian regimes differently and more kindly than left-wing totalitarian regimes. Reagan adopted her view and appointed her ambassador to the UN. Our murderous latin American meddlings of those two decades stemmed from the belief that right-wing dictators were always better than Marxist governments, and that Marxism should be stamped out at any cost. Thus, Pinochet remained a close friend of Reagan and Thatcher even as his opponents were massacred by the thousands. Kissinger, of course, gets at least as much blame as Kirkpatrick, and probably much more. Hopefully he's having a good long think about his life right now.

I caught a bit of CNN International's coverage of Pinochet's death yesterday, and their idea of guest commentary was to bring on someone from the American Enterprise Institution to slag off Salvador Allende a bit. Classy.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Final Bolton Note

Steve Clemons, who campaigned for Bolton's removal, gets to the crux of the matter regarding why it was necessary for Bolton to go:
I do wish Ambassador Bolton and his family well. He is a brilliant person who cloaked his designs in a style of pugnaciousness and occasional bullying that served his ends -- though I think not as often the country's.

My problem with Ambassador Bolton was never his cosmetic behavior, it was the content of his views and policy objectives, and the numerous times in which he undermined or sabotaged fragile diplomatic efforts underway and conducted by his colleagues and direct superiors.

John Bolton, in my view, saw a significant portion of his job as not to achieve success at the United Nations but rather to set the UN up for failure.

That's it exactly, he was there to ensure that the UN failed as often as possible. As long as the Bush administration nominates UN ambassadors who despise international bodies, the Congress will rightly resist.

Swearing on a Stack of Korans

Dennis Prager, in an astoundingly offensive and insipid argument, says that Keith Ellison, the first Muslim member of Congress, should not be allowed to take his oath on a Koran, and that "America decides" which book he can use. He goes on to say that allowing Ellison to take his oath on the Koran would undermine American civilization and do more damage than the 9/11 hijackers did. The American Family Association gets behind Prager with an action alert to write your congressman (btw, I love the first sentence in the AFA statement: "Please take a moment to read the following column by Dennis Prager, who is a Jew.")

I wonder if Prager and the AFA realize that the constitution guarantees that no religious test shall ever be required to hold public office. Why do Prager and the AFA hate America?

Monday, December 04, 2006


Chalk one up for the good guys.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

military might

I came across this while teaching a seminar for my American history course. It has some figures about the US military that I thought people would be interested in if only because this type of data is not commonly talked about. Here we go.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Steyn's Female Problems

Mark Steyn, the darling of conservatives everywhere, is worried. If you read through the linked piece, you'll see that what he's basically worried about is that Muslims are supposedly reproducing at too fast a rate, and that Western women are not reproducing enough. His rambling article is never explicit on that, but it's clear enough what he is saying. Conservatives like Steyn believe that the West -- Europe, initially -- is going to be overrun by Muslims because of immigration and differences in reproduction rates. In response, Ralph Peters suggests that this fear is misplaced, because Steyn and others underestimate Europeans' tendency to react with "stunning ferocity" when sufficiently threatened. That is, Peters predicts Europeans will eventually deal with the "Muslim threat" by expelling or killing huge numbers. Peter Robinson of The Corner seems to wish that were the case, but counter-argues that when Europe "roused itself in centuries past, it did so as a continent of belief." Post-Christian Europe, the argument goes, has lost its genocidal lust - and Robinson actually seems to be lamenting this. Ah, for the days when Europeans believed in something and knew how to care care of these kinds of messes. Anyway, these are the types of things that fundamentalist Republicans spend their time contemplating.


I saw something today and thought of that hilariously absurd South Park episode in which different people in the community get so "offended" by the various symbols of Christmas that the school ends up holding this New Age interpretive dance in black leotards set to John Tesh music. Usually the absurd and sad bit of America revolves around some nativity scene where someone tries to acknowledge that Christmas is a Christian holiday (how offensive!). Anyway, that was too cliche this year--so we had to dig a different hole. Enjoy.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Today's Toll

140 killed in Sadr City blasts.

VDH Unhinged

Victor Davis Hanson got into the Thanksgiving grog early:
I hope Bush the father appreciates that millions out there admire his maverick son far more than they do many of his former advisors, and that if Bush II perseveres, history will be kind to his efforts, often solitary, to promote constitutional government at a time when most self-proclaimed liberals had long ago abandoned that effort.

And there really will come a time, believe it or not, when a future American President baffled and paralyzed by the latest insanity from the Middle East—whether an Iranian nuke or a Syrian invasion of Lebanon or another Middle East war or the usual assassination and killing of Americans—will ask former president George Bush II for advice, as a then fawning media will look back to his past "toughness" and "determination" when under fire. That seems unhinged now, but it too will come to pass, as they say.

Memo to Terrorists

Atrios makes a good point: why are terrorists still trying to influence the election:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- More than 140 bodies have been found dumped across Baghdad over the past three days, police said Wednesday.

Police said 52 bullet-riddled bodies were found Wednesday, with 20 of them blindfolded, tied up and possibly tortured.

Police also discovered 29 bodies on Tuesday and 60 on Monday.

The dead are thought to be victims of Sunni-Shiite sectarian revenge killings.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Conservative Debate

When conservatives fracture and argue, it isn't pretty. Hat-tip, Andrew Sullivan.

I wonder if the MSM will give this as much "house divided" treatment as they gave to the Dems during the leadership elections.

Secret Iraq Meeting

I somehow missed this NYT piece relating an anecdote from Woodward's latest book:
In his new book, “State of Denial,” he writes that on Nov. 29, 2001, a dozen policy makers, Middle East experts and members of influential policy research organizations gathered in Virginia at the request of Paul D. Wolfowitz, then the deputy secretary of defense. A report was produced for President Bush and his cabinet outlining a strategy for dealing with Afghanistan and the Middle East in the aftermath of 9/11.

What was more unusual, Mr. Woodward reveals, was the presence of journalists at the meeting. Fareed Zakaria, the editor of Newsweek International and a Newsweek columnist, and Robert D. Kaplan, now a national correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, attended the meeting and, according to Mr. Kaplan, signed confidentiality agreements not to discuss what happened.

When journalists meet secretly with government officials to brainstorm what to do with "Afghanistan and the Middle East," they cease to be journalists. I've always liked Zakaraia, and to his credit he's been critical of the Iraq War more recently, but this incident is just unbelievable.

Wittmann's New Job

Well, now we know why Marshall Wittmann was so embarrassingly keen on Lieberman in the election and so quick to call any of Lieberman's critics "the nutroots." He was in position to become Lieberman's spokesman. And so the Bull Moose fades into obscurity, to be missed by few indeed.

Saturday, November 18, 2006


During the interview, Frost suggested that the West's intervention in Iraq had "so far been pretty much of a disaster."

Blair replied: "It has, but you see what I say to people is why is it difficult in Iraq? It's not difficult because of some accident in planning, it's difficult because there's a deliberate strategy -- al Qaeda with Sunni insurgents on one hand, Iranian-backed elements with Shia militias on the other -- to create a situation in which the will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will of the minority for war."

No, it couldn't possibly have to do with bad planning, or that it was a terrible idea to begin with.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Hoyer it is. I don't get all the comments about this being embarrassing for Pelosi. Lots of folks have been saying since the beginning that Murtha was a purely symbolic choice on Pelosi's part.


This seems like a pretty interesting fundraising idea. The idea is to help raise money for prospective candidates who otherwise might not have the hefty funds required to run for president. Even if they've not thrown their hats in the race yet, you can begin raising funds for them - if a given individual hasn't entered the race by the time of the convention, the funds for that candidate go to the DNC.


A lot of jokes like this going around the blogosphere the past day or so.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


And what does it say about the Republican Party that, during a time of identity crisis for them, when they're trying to find the heart and soul of their movement again, they reach back to their racist, far-right grandfather, Lott?

Malkin on Lott

Just when the MSM focus had fixed on the Democrats' culture of corruption and business-as-usual, along come Beltway Republicans to remind us of how lame the GOP leadership is.

I'm not sure what Malkin is talking about, given that Democrats aren't even in power yet - but supposedly the MSM has been focusing on their business-as-usual culture of corruption? If the MSM has been focusing on anything, it's been this phony "house divided" story during the leadership struggle, which is really a non-story completely. But I agree that bringing Lott back has completely put the lameness of the GOP back in focus for everyone. Thank you.

More, Please

Well well, they're bringing Trent Lott back. And yes, I think that Josh Marshall and Matthew Yglesias are on to something: the GOP is giving up on the black vote.

From my point of view, having Lott back as a GOP leader is just great. And please make your 2008 ticket a Giuliani-Santorum one. If these are the ones that Republicans want to have as leaders, let them shoot themselves, by all means.


Via The Washington Note, here's the new committee assignments:
Issued today by Senator Harry Reid's office:




BANKING -- Chris Dodd

COMMERCE -- Daniel Inouye

ENERGY -- Jeff Bingaman


FINANCE -- Max Baucus




JUDICIARY -- Patrick Leahy

INTELLIGENCE -- John D. Rockefeller IV

BUDGET -- Kent Conrad

AGING -- Herb Kohl

VETERANS -- Daniel Akaka


RULES -- Dianne Feinstein

JOINT ECONOMIC -- Chuck Schumer

INDIAN AFFAIRS -- Byron Dorgan

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

More from the nuclear M.E.

This is just the kind of reply that stabilises the world, I guess. Unfortunately, Lebanon is also having some problems of the regional sort. The region needs some good news at the moment.
And what happens to people who are responsible in part for these things? The Germans chase them down.
And for the final bit of wisdom from today, the story with the headline, "
Politics blamed for Mid-East divisions". Hot damn, that is some good reporting.

Iran Plans a Celebration

This won't go over well.

Reichert Wins

Burner concedes to Reichert.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Bags and Bags of Ballots

Looks like the Reichert/Burner race isn't over yet.


A man who will never be president begins his race.

Divided Dems?

It's amazing how quickly some in the media have tried to paint the Democrats as a house divided. You expect it from The Corner, but CNN too?


Newsweek discusses just how wrong Rove's predictions were. We now know that Rove wasn't projecting confidence just to appear strong before the election. He really believed that the GOP would hang on:
Based on his models, he forecast a loss of 12 to 14 seats in the House—enough to hang on to the majority. Rove placed so much faith in his figures that, after the elections, he planned to convene a panel of Republican political scientists—to study just how wrong the polls were.

Neoclassical Economics

Via Atrios and Ezra Klein, I came across an article by Christopher Hayes about how Econ 101 classes tend to indoctrinate students with neoclassisical economic ideas, so that they come out thinking things like the minimum wage is an abomination. The article's a quick read and very interesting, so I recommend it. The key point I take away is that when economists have to balance efficiency and fairness, they will always be biased towards effiency, because that's what they understand. They can interpret it quantitatively, unlike ideas of fairness and equity. As the article's conclusion hints at, economics can't give us all the answers. But that's precisely what neoclassical economists believe, that a market completely free of intervention will yield the best results. As Joseph Stiglitz said, neoclassical economics is "the triumph of ideology over science."

Adelman and Rumsfeld

Via Sullivan, I found this New Yorker piece on the fallout between Ken Adelman and Donald Rumsfeld. It seems that Rumsfeld's delusions about Iraq ran so deep that he couldn't even stomach criticisms from his closest advisors and friends:
Rumsfeld had apparently come to see Adelman’s advice as a bit too unvarnished. Before the war, Adelman famously remarked that the invasion would be a “cakewalk.” He wasn’t wrong about that. Seizing Baghdad was comparatively easy; holding it quickly became the problem. “When Rumsfeld said, in reaction to all the looting, ‘Stuff happens,’ and ‘That’s what free people do,’ I was just so disappointed,” Adelman recalled last week. “This wasn’t what free people did; it’s what barbarians did.” Within the confines of the policy board, Adelman became blunt about his disenchantment with the Pentagon’s management of the war. At the board’s meeting this summer, Adelman said, he argued that the American military needed a new strategy.

“I [Adelman] had the floor then, and I started by saying what a positive influence he had been in my life, that I love him like a brother. He nodded, kind of sadly. And then I said, ‘I’m negative about two things: the deflection of responsibility, and the quality of decisions.’ He said he took responsibility all the time. Then I talked about two decisions: the way he handled the looting, and Abu Ghraib. He told me that he didn’t remember saying, ‘Stuff happens.’ He was really in denial that this was his fault.” Adelman said that it struck him then that “maybe he really thinks that things are going well in Iraq.”

Rumsfeld had Adelman fired, but within days Rumsfeld was ousted, and Adelman's removal never took place.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I caught this great Krugman piece when it was reprinted in The Observer (UK) this weekend:
But we may be seeing the downfall of movement conservatism - the potent alliance of wealthy individuals, corporate interests and the religious right that took shape in the 1960s and 1970s. This alliance may once have had something to do with ideas, but it has become mainly a corrupt political machine, and America will be a better place if that machine breaks down.

Why do I want to see movement conservatism crushed? Partly because the movement is fundamentally undemocratic; its leaders don't accept the legitimacy of opposition. Democrats will only become acceptable, declared Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, once they "are comfortable in their minority status." He added, "Any farmer will tell you that certain animals run around and are unpleasant, but when they've been fixed, then they are happy and sedate."


Two years ago, people were talking about permanent right-wing dominance of American politics. But since then the American people have gotten a clearer sense of what rule by movement conservatives means. They've seen the movement take us into an unnecessary war, and botch every aspect of that war. They've seen a great American city left to drown; they've seen corruption reach deep into our political process; they've seen the hypocrisy of those who lecture us on morality. And they just said no.

This relates to some of the comments I've made since Tuesday's election: Republican corruption became complete when they no longer believed that opposition to their party was tolerable or patriotic. Like Atrios said, this Onion piece is barely satire.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


I was impressed by this:
President Bush, in his Saturday radio address, said the Democrats' takeover of Congress on Tuesday showed the world the strength of America's democracy.

He said enemies of the United States should not confuse the election results as a sign of "a lack of American will."

"Whatever your opinion of the outcome, all Americans can take pride in the example our democracy sets for the world by holding elections even in a time of war," said. "Our democratic institutions are a source of strength, and our trust in these institutions has made America the most powerful, prosperous, and stable nation in the world.

He could've made a cheap-shot about the election result being a victory for terrorists, like many Republicans have done, but he took the high road.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Where the Blame Lies

The Onion headline: Republicans Blame Election Losses on Democrats:
WASHINGTON, DC—Republican officials are blaming tonight's GOP losses on Democrats, who they claim have engaged in a wide variety of "aggressive, premeditated, anti-Republican campaigns" over the past six-to-18 months. "We have evidence of a well-organized, well-funded series of operations designed specifically to undermine our message, depict our past performance in a negative light, and drive Republicans out of office," said Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman, who accused an organization called the Democratic National Committee of spearheading the nationwide effort. "There are reports of television spots, print ads, even volunteers going door-to-door encouraging citizens to vote against us." Acknowledging that the "damage has already been done," Mehlman is seeking a promise from Democrats to never again engage in similar practices.

Says Atrios:
This is barely satire. I've seen wingnuts say stuff like this.

He's right, this is basically the message that many Republicans have sent out: that Democrats, by running for office and trying to go from the minority to the majority party, are unpatriotic and have somehow crossed a line by criticizing Republicans. If you oppose the party, you oppose the US, so to speak. It's a vein of thinking that really permeates the GOP. I remember at the beginning of the Iraq war, many Republicans (and MSM commentators) began saying "You know, it's fine to criticize the war before it starts, but once it starts then you have to show your support." The consequence of which is that all you have to do to justify a war is start it. Starting it ends all the discussion. Similarly, it is unpatriotic to question or challenge the party of power during war, by their thinking. Put this together and you have a recipe for permanent power. Start a war, call those who criticize it traitors because they don't support the war, and make any criticism of the governing party a criticism of the country itself, which is unpatriotic. They tried to make the Republican Party synonymous with America, so that any criticism of it and its endeavours is unpatriotic. What Americans did on Tuesday is tell them, loud and clearly, you don't speak for us. The GOP is not America.

Dishonest Krauthammer

Charles Krauthammer, like many conservatives this week, is being dishonest about the magnitude of the Democratic victory:
On Tuesday, Democrats took control of the House and the Senate. As of this writing, they won 29 House seats (with a handful still in the balance), slightly below the post-1930 average for the six-year itch in a two-term presidency. They took the Senate by the thinnest of margins — a one-vote majority, delivered to them by a margin of 7,188 votes in Virginia and 2,847 in Montana.

Decades ago, this size of a shift wouldn't be as meaningful, that's true. But in our gerry-mandered age, when re-districting has virtually assured parties of winning certain districts every election, this is an enormous landslide. That's why Krauthammer has to reach back to 1930 to make his point. This wasn't a squeaker, this was a loud and clear rebuke.

More Rove Dissection

I missed this testy exchange between Karl Rove and Robert Siegel on NPR in the week before the election:
SIEGEL: We're in the home stretch, though, and many would consider you on the optimistic end of realism about -
ROVE: Not that you would be exhibiting a bias ...
SIEGEL: I'm looking at all the same polls that you're looking at every day.
ROVE: No, you're not. No, you're not.
SIEGEL: No, I'm not.
ROVE: No, you're not. You're not. I'm looking at 68 polls a week. You may be looking at four or five public polls a week that talk about attitudes nationally but that do not impact the outcome of -
SIEGEL: I'm looking at main races between - certainly Senate races.
ROVE: Well, like the poll today showing that Corker's ahead in Tennessee, or the poll showing that Allen is pulling away in the Virginia Senate race.
SIEGEL: Leading Webb in Virginia, yeah.
Mr. ROVE: Exactly.
SIEGEL: But you've seen the DeWine race and the Santorum race - I don't want to have you call races.
ROVE: Yeah, I'm looking at all these, Robert, and adding them up, and I add up to a Republican Senate and Republican House. You may end up with a different math, but you're entitled to your math, I'm entitled to THE math.
SIEGEL: Well, I don't know if we're entitled to our different math, but you're certainly -
ROVE: I said THE math. I said you're entitled to yours.

Besides being a discourteous and belligerent interviewee, Rove is also clearly just deluded. It's clear that Bush really does need to surround himself with new eyes all around, and I bet he realizes it. In his Wednesday presser, Bush took a slight dig at Rove by saying that he [Bush] had worked harder on the campaign than Rove had. And in announcing Rumsfeld's retirement, Bush even used the phrase "new eyes" in explaining the need for turnover. His team had just lost complete touch with reality. Here's a fascinating tidbit from Josh Feit of The Stranger:
Well, I’m going to get a little cagey here, but bear with me:

I ran into a high-profile member of the local Republican party last night, and they made it clear that indeed, Rove was totally delusional about the elections. This source is close to another high-profile Republican who now works as a GOP lobbyist in DC. This GOP lobbyist is pals with Rove.

Well, my source was talking to this lobbyist on the night before the election and said: “Man, I’ve been out doorbelling, and we’re going to get crushed.” The lobbyist, stunned, replied, “No. The polls are wrong. Don’t believe the liberal media reports. Karl is looking at the real numbers and we’re going to win.” My GOP informant replied: “No. Listen, I was out doorbelling, and when I told people I was a Republican they slammed the door in my face.” His comrade replied: “No. No. Karl’s on top of this. We’re going to win.”

My source then chastised his colleague for being lost in the D.C. loop and not understanding what was happening on the ground.

There was a story in the MSM about a week before the election, of John Boehner going to the White House and basically saying "Oh man, we're gonna get creamed," and Bush got very agitated and summoned Rove in, and Rove produced all these charts and figures explaining why they were going to win. Boehner's curt response was something like "mm-hmm, thanks." He at least had a hold on reality still.

I think that Bush's team being so wrong, especially Rumsfeld and Rove, can have some positive consequences for the president's lame-duck years. If he's willing to clean house and surround himself with new eyes and new ideas, and work constructively with the Democratic congress, we could have a couple of interesting and productive years in terms of immigration reform, minimum wage laws and other initiatives that have been unpopular with his core constituency. He doesn't have anything to prove anymore and no longer needs to cater wholly to the religious right, so there could be some interesting changes. Perhaps I'm being overly-optimistic, but I do detect that Bush is very disappointed with the people he's surrounded himself with. He's even said "I'm open to new ideas on Iraq"! Clearly something is changing, for him to open himself up like that. Foremost on his mind now will be a better legacy than his awful first six years have bequeathed him, and perhaps he will move to the centre in order to construct something long-lasting and positive.

More Hewitt

I could only stomach the first paragraph of this, so I'm not sure what he's actually saying.
I hang around in lofty neo-con circles. I attend cocktail parties with conservative swells. I discuss politics into the wee hours of the morning with fellow Republicans in Boston’s fashionable salons. So rightly or wrongly, I think I have the pulse on American conservative thought.

Please tell us more! Jet-skiing with Richard Perle? Fox hunts with Ahmed Chalabi? Oysters and Cristal with Bill Kristol?

Good for Chafee

Lincoln Chafee takes a principled stand on his way out.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Seen, Not Heard

This K-Lo post is beyond comprehension. Titled "Enough with the women, already," its text reads:
Another reason to be bummed about what happened Tuesday: "Hill Demographic Goes Slightly More Female"

Liberal women who treat their status as liberal women as an ideology are highly irritating — and really useful for some of the Left's worst ideas.

(Of course, men — especially Republican ones — who go-along and pretend they can't question political women on some important issues [abortion] irritate me just as much if not more.)

Two more pro-abortion [sic] women in the Senate is a bad thing and a step backward at a time when one of liberal feminism's standards are facing some serious cultural challenges.

In other words, liberal women should be seen and not elected.


This is truly the kind of post you can read two or three times and still not have any idea what this wingnut is saying or why. The line about "a step backward" is completely nonsensical, especially.

Rush Set Free

Via Drudge, I found these Rush Limbaugh comments about how he feels liberated because he no longer has to "carry water for people who don't deserve it." In other words, he has long thought Republicans were heading in the wrong direction (not conservative enough) and now he is free not to lie for them any longer:
I believe my side is worthy of victory, and I believe it's much easier to reform things that are going wrong on my side from a position of strength. Now I'm liberated from having to constantly come in here every day and try to buck up a bunch of people who don't deserve it, to try to carry the water and make excuses for people who don't deserve it. I did not want to sit here and participate, willingly, in the victory of the libs, in the victory of the Democrat Party by sabotaging my own. But now with what has happened yesterday and today, it is an entirely liberating thing. If those in our party who are going to carry the day in the future -- both in Congress and the administration -- are going to choose a different path than what most of us believe, then that's liberating. I don't say this with any animosity about anybody, and I don't mean to make this too personal.
I'm not trying to tell you that this is about me. I'm just answering questions that I've had from people about how I feel. There have been a bunch of things going on in Congress, some of this legislation coming out of there that I have just cringed at, and it has been difficult coming in here, trying to make the case for it when the people who are supposedly in favor of it can't even make the case themselves -- and to have to come in here and try to do their jobs.

Andrew Sullivan, for one, isn't shedding too many tears:
All together now: Awwww. I'm so sorry Limbaugh had to lie through his teeth to try and keep in the good graces of his Republican masters. Have you ever heard of intellectual honesty, Mr Limbaugh? You can look it up in the dictionary.



Yglesias on Rove

Matthew has an interesting post dissecting the myth of Karl's genius:
It's worth pointing out that this election ought to demolish the Myth of Karl Rove. From the GOP perspective, while losing five senate seats is worse than losing four, losing six is much worse than losing five. Since the 2006 climate clearly wasn't favorable to the Republicans, the obvious thing to do would have been to concentrate resources on Republican incumbents running in red states -- Virginia, Montana, Missouri, and Tennessee. I feel like there's good reason to think the GOP could have won two out of those four had they focused. Instead, they tried an ambitious strategy of picking off Democratic seats in New Jersey and Maryland, two solidly blue states.

Interestingly, Rove made the exact same error in 2000, engaging in an absurd late-game effort to campaign in California. He then lost the election, only to wind up with Bush securing the White House through a series of incredibly unlikely events plus a partisan Supreme Court. Then in 2004, he did something similar with weird last minute gambits in Hawaii and New Jersey that put his candidates perilously close to losing Ohio (and with it the presidency) not withstanding a decent-sized popular majority. Learning nothing from his good fortune except an unhealthy sense of infallibility, he proceeded to do it again and then, finally, have things genuinely blow up in his face.

I also noticed, in the excerpted transcripts of Bush's press conference yesterday, that there seems to be a bit of bitterness between Bush and Rove. I think Bush's quote was "I guess I worked harder on this campaign than [Rove] did."


The Poor Man informs us that, with 99% of precincts reporting, Michelle Malkin is a crazy bitch. Here's Malkin:
John Kerry’s late-campaign troop smear galvanized bloggers and talk radio hosts, but it was not strong enough to overcome wider bipartisan voter doubts about Iraq.

And here's The Editors:
Bizarrely, the voters appeared to take a fucking war more seriously than our synchronized pantomime outrage of the week. STUPID DUMB VOTERS!!!


God, Hugh Hewitt is a wanker:
The results of Tuesday's voting must come as a shock to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world.

The Democratic sweep puts anti-war extremists in charge of the House and the Senate, and seems certain to presage a replay of the Vietnam experience of 32-plus years ago.

First, if anything "presages a replay of the Vietnam experience," it's Bush's decision to go to war in Iraq in the first place. Iraq didn't become a quagmire because of the election on Tuesday. And now that Democrats have power, they'll work towards a solution to the disastrous conflict, rather than staying the course and simply watching as bloodshed continues.

Second, I guess the majority of Americans must be "anti-war extremists."

Third, screw Hewitt for pretending to speak for our soldiers and for putting words in their mouths:
"Will we be piloting helicopters from the roof of our embassy?" these young men and women have to be asking.

That question and many similar ones must also be on the minds of the senior brass who no doubt can recall the devastation on the military that retreat from Vietnam inaugurated.

So will we cut and run?

Where are the conservatives who are willing to take responsibility? Isn't responsibility a central tenet of conservatism? Yet after three years in this quagmire, Hewitt pins it all on unhelpful Dems. You were wrong, Hugh - suck it up and start working toward a solution, or else STFU.


Democrats take the Senate. Webb's lead holds strong and sources from Allen's camp say he has no intention of dragging this out.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Via TPM:
* Allen campaign not certain to seek a recount
* Red State blog asks Allen not to seek recall

Colbert Channels Charen

On last night's midterm midtacular, Stephen Colbert had prepared two celebratory cakes, depending how the result turned out. One cake had a completely red map of America saying "Congratulations, Republicans!" and the other cake had a picture of Bin Laden holding a bomb, saying "Congratulations, Terrorists!"

Hilarious, and even more hilarious given that this is what unreconstructed republicans really believe.


After a few hours of the blogosphere fretting that Lieberman would be handing his seat over to a Republican to become the next secretary of defense, Bush has nominated Robert Gates, former CIA chief.


CNN is reporting that Rumsfeld is stepping down.


Montana called for Tester.

Where We Stand

TMPCafe has an update from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee on MT and VA:
Both Jon Tester and Jim Webb have won their races in Montana and Virginia but want to make sure that every vote is counted. We expect to have official results soon but can happily declare today that Democrats have taken the majority in the U.S. Senate.

Montana looks very good:
Montana Vote Situation: Jon Tester leads Conrad Burns by approximately 1,700 votes (as of 11am EDT) and counting. In Silver Bow County (Butte), a Democratic stronghold, votes are still being counted but Tester is winning there with 66% of the vote. We expect to gain the majority of these uncounted votes and to add to Tester’s margin.

They're confident about VA, though percentage-wise it looks to be tighter.

K-Lo Thinks You're Stupid

Following Mona Charen, Kathryn Lopez also thinks voters are stupid, likening them to tantrum-throwing babies (via a reader comment). Hint to Republicans: you're not going to win over voters by calling them stupid and easily-manipulated terrorist supporters.

Sensible Podhoretz?

From JPod, normally one of the nuttiest wingnuts:
I feel strangely exhilarated by the results last night. I think we're seeing a major shift in the way things are going to work on Capitol Hill from here on out. Democrats ruled for 40 years in the House before the GOP came in. The GOP had 12 years. My guess is that Democrats may have two, or four, or six years at the most before power changes hands again — and the GOP will have the same before Dems get it. This is the healthiest possible development for our political system. Chairmen will not get too comfortable. Lobbyists won't quite know whom to suck up to. The treatment of the minority party as a political pariah with no power will begin to alter itself once House leaders in the majority begin to feel they will be back in the minority one day. It could be a new and more fluid era, and that's all to the good.

NRO: The Terrorists Won

Via Sadly, No!, I noticed this bit of right-wing insanity from Mona Charen:
The terrorists turned the Spanish election by the deft placement of a few bombs days before an election. They turned ours by killing 100 soldiers in Iraq in one month. (I know, it’s more complicated than that, but that’s how our enemies will interpret it.) That American voters would send such a message is deeply dismaying.

In her mind, American voters are just dumb and were easily manipulated by terrorists. To vote Democratic in a time of war is deeply, deeply unpatriotic and dismaying.

I can't believe that as the years roll by, there are still these kind of unreconstructed wingnuts out there.


It's gonna get tedious:
While a recount seems likely, though, if it comes it will not come quickly.

According to a statement issued this month by the state’s Board of Elections, no request for a recount may be filed until the vote is certified, which is scheduled to happen this year on Nov. 27th.

After certification, a losing candidate has 10 days to file a recount request in the state courts. The petition will be considered by a panel made up of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court in Richmond and two judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court. Those judges then set out guidelines for conducting the recount.

Winds of Change

It's not every day that I link to Scorpions. Today is special.

Press Conference

Bush has called a press conference for 1 pm today. I think it's probably true that the basic motivation is to get his face out there as soon as possible and remind people that he's still in charge. I predict that he'll give a very condescending speech, something like:
On September 11th, 2001, we were's time for Democrats to step up and show that they're serious...if Democrats want to work with us, then we welcome them and challenge them to be true leaders...blah blah blah

You get the drift.



The Fabled Machine

It would be beautiful and perfect if it were the case that the GOP turnout machine turned against them last night.

The WaPo Take

Here's the lede:
The political pendulum in American politics swung away from the right yesterday, putting an end to the 12-year Republican Revolution on Capitol Hill and delivering a sharp rebuke of President Bush and the Iraq war.

The GOP reign in the House that began with Newt Gingrich in a burst of vision and confrontation in 1994 came crashing down amid voter disaffection with congressional corruption. The collapse of one-party rule in Washington will transform Bush's final two years in office and challenge Democrats to make the leap from angry opposition to partners in power.

After a stifling six years or so, what a breath of fresh air. When was the last time we could say that our country is in good hands? Sure, Bush has two more years, but the handcuffs are getting tighter. More importantly, voters are recognizing what a rotten carcass Republicanism is. The neoconservative vision is dead. As the Post piece says, we are shifting to the left.

Meanwhile, sleepless and numb Republicans console themselves with cute animals.

South Dakota

Their abortion ban is headed for defeat.

Recounts and Rove

As an afterthought to the reader comment below, Josh warns that a Virginia recount would allow Rove plenty of opportunity to use his arsenal of dirty tricks, as he's done in Alabama before. My response would be that this race is much more in the lime-light and that the glare of national attention would make it much more difficult for him. A US Senate race is much different -- at least I hope so -- than an Alabama state race. And if the Senate power balance really comes down to a Virginia recount, every lawyer in each party is going to be heading there.

Morning Results

Dems take the House, Senate hingeing on Virginia and Montana. A TPM reader makes a good point:
The Republicans have backed themselves into a corner in Virginia. If you're going to go to the mat with dirty tricks and voter suppression, your counting on staying under the rader and that once the election is over, folks will move on. If Allen contests the results of the election it changes the election from a single day event into a 3 or 4 week event, plenty of time to chase down those callerid numbers and phone bank contractors. Virginia isn't Ohio. It doesn't have Ken Blackwell to cover up the GOP shenanigans, and the state has already requested the FBI to look into them. The Allen campaign is going to have to make the choice of whether contesting the results is worth the chance of exposing criminal activity. Let's hope they choose to contest. It's our best hope of fully exposing the shenanigans of the GOP to the light of day and getting the mechanisms in place to prevent their use in the next election cycle.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Second Set of Exits?

Raw Story is printing similar but slightly different early exits than MyDD, ThinkProgress and TNR, which is reassuring in that it might mean a second source.

The Evangelical Vote

The AP is reporting that white evangelicals were motivated by corruption and that a large percentage are leaning Dem.

2 Down

CNN calls Vermont and Indiana for Sanders and Lugar, respectively. No surprises.

Right Reaction

While Jonah is definitely trying to put a positive spin on the early exits, he's right that exit polls have been unreliable in the recent past, and Dems have had their hopes dashed against the rocks as a result.


Apparently Lamont's in-house polling puts him ahead, but that seems very strange. I don't think he's led in a single poll since August.

Early Exits

Looking at TNR right now, it's clear that everyone's got the same sources. It does seem too good to be true. It's too early to be this optimistic.

CNN Specific Exits

Via Think Progress:

D: 52
R: 47


D: 53
R: 46


D: 57
R: 42


D: 57
R: 43


D: 52
R: 45


D: 53
R: 46


D: 50
R: 48


D: 53
R: 46


D: 48
R: 51


D: 46
R: 50

It's coming fast now.

More Exits

Via Wonkette, more very early numbers:
Some early U.S. Senate exits, with all the normal caveats:

Casey 61 - Santorum 38

Cardin 51 - Steele 48

McCaskill 53 - Talent 46

Webb 55 - Allen 45

First Specific Exit Reports

From MyDD:
Democrats leading in:

* VA: 52-47
* RI: 53-46
* PA: 57-42
* OH: 57-43
* NJ: 52-45
* MT: 53-46
* MO: 50-48
* MD: 53-46

Republicans leading:

* TN: 51-48
* AZ: 50-46


This is the place to be checking throughout the night.

Early Exits

CNN is reporting some early and general exit poll information about voter issues:
Most important issue: It's a close call. 42% say corruption in Washington, followed closely by terrorism, the economy, and Iraq.

57% disapprove of the war in Iraq.

A majority say Democrats can deal well with terrorism and national security.

62% say national issues determined their vote. Politics is not local this year.


Our electronic voting machines are just a disaster. Jeff's hometown is being hit particularly hard, it sounds like.


Dems taking over is good for the economy.


The robo-calling scandal now turns to blackmail. Apparently the Connecticut GOP is telling voters that if they promise to vote Republican, the robo-calls will stop.

Out of the Gate

Well this is predictable.

Final IEM Graph


Virginia Intimidation

MSNBC is reporting that the FBI is investigating reports of Republicans trying to intimidate Virginia voters via phone-calls.

On Robo-Thuggery

First of all, Josh has a summary. The WaPo also has a good piece on the matter. And good on the Dems for coming after these guys and making this an issue. It sounds like the GOP in Indiana has already ordered the calls to be stopped, and the New Hampshire GOP has done likewise after the attorney general got involved. They're probably worried right about now, with memories of the phone-jamming scandal in NH in 2002. I wonder which Republicans will be going to jail this time.

Monday, November 06, 2006


Bush's approval rating dips to 35%.


Unsurprisingly, there are reports of very slimy GOP phone tactics surfacing.


I was gone for a couple of days, and when I got back and checked the newest IEM figures, I was fairly amazed by how the NH_RS value has skyrocketed. The black line is NH_RS (non-Republican House, Republican Senate) and, despite a brief drop after the Kerry kerfuffle, it's now shot past 0.5. The red line, representing RH_RS, continues the trend of the last few months, dropping sharply.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

surprised anyone?

I thought this was an interesting little tidbit, even though its not surprising. I wonder what the results would be like in the US. I can't say. But it only adds to my normal election time misery of seeing that now (surely) proven detriment to the country, the two-party system.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Voter Breakdown

This is a pretty cool graphic for the NYT/CBS poll. Beyond the fact that evangelicals are now dead split, I was also impressed that only 2 percent of blacks say they will vote Republican. The Katrina effect is profound.


Still won't apologize for blaming the troops.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Criticised and Vilified

Here is the AP story as reported by Yahoo:
President Bush said Wednesday he wants Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney to remain with him until the end of his presidency, extending a job guarantee to two of the most-vilified members of his administration.

And here's the CNN version:
President Bush said Wednesday he wants Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney to remain in his administration until the end of his presidency, extending a job guarantee to two of the most-criticized members of his team.

Just a small thing I noticed, and perhaps not that big a deal, but I did think it was interesting that CNN felt the need to soften the language there.

Boehner on Rumsfeld

And via Josh Marshall, Republican John Boehner says not to blame Iraq failures on Rumsfeld, blame them on the soldiers:
BOEHNER: Wolf, I understand that, but let's not blame what's happening in Iraq on Rumsfeld.

BLITZER: But he's in charge of the military.

BOEHNER: But the fact is, the generals on the ground are in charge, and he works closely with them and the president. We've seen this run up in violence as we get closer to the election, as we get closer to Ramadan, same thing we've seen over the last couple of years.

Josh dissects this nicely, and links to the video.

A Gift

Well well well. Bush is in a giving mood before the election. He just gave undecideds the biggest reason yet to vote Democratic or abstain:
President Bush said Wednesday he wants Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney to remain in his administration until the end of his presidency, extending a job guarantee to two of the most-criticized members of his team.

Fake Outrage, Kerry Edition

When this Kerry kerfuffle erupted on Tuesday, I was convinced that the story would be played out in the MSM by the next morning. I was fairly shocked to wake up Wednesday and see the main news channel sites like CNN and MSNBC still featuring the incident as the front-page item. Even the far-right John Derbyshire wasn't convinced there was anything to talk about:
John Kerry is awful, and anything we can do further to degrade his political prospects is worth doing. But really, I saw a clip of him making the much-deplored remark, and it was obvious that the dimwit in Iraq that he referred to was George W. Bush, not the American soldier. It was a dumb joke badly delivered, but his meaning was plain. My pleasure in watching JK squirm is just as great as any other conservative's, but something is owed to honesty. There's a lot of fake outrage going round here.

The funniest examples of fake outrage are the right-wingers who acknowledge that it was a botched joke about Bush and then proceed to say "it's still indicative of Kerry's disdain for the troops." To say the least, Republicans are desperate in the last few days.

I don't know what to say about the fact that at this moment, on Thursday midday, CNN is still leading with the Kerry story. There's your supposed liberal media for you.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

GOP Campaign Distilled

This about says it:
President Bush said Monday that a Democratic triumph in the races for the House and Senate would amount to a victory for terrorists.

Yes, he is that low, that despicable.

Andrew Sullivan

For some reason, many on the left still love to take digs at Andrew Sullivan and treat him as if he's enemy #1. I really don't get it, as he's probably the most intellectually honest and candidly repentant of the high-profile conservative pundits. He's one of the few conservatives trying to rescue conservatism from the theocrats, and to analyze how our foreign and domestic policies have gone so pear-shaped under Bush. Yes, he said some ridiculous things after 9/11. But read this:
On these grounds, I have indeed come to see that many, many liberals are indeed my brothers and my sisters. And increasing numbers of conservatives as well, thank God. For some on the far left, Bush could never have done any right, ever. I'm not going to exculpate the hate-filled parts of the far-left. But many, many others on the left were right about these people in power; and I was wrong. I threw some smug invective their way and, in retrospect, I am ashamed of it. Sure, I recognized my error before the last election, but that doesn't excuse it. Sure, some of it was just misunderstanding each other, in a climate of great fear, and some of it was just my arrogance that I was right. But that doesn't excuse it all either. My book is an attempt to rescue something from the wreckage - an atonement of sorts - and to move forward.

IEM Update

Here are the latest figures from the Iowa Electronic Markets regarding next week's election:

10/30/06 NH_NS06 475/104.318/0.180/0.255/0.220/0.180
10/30/06 NH_RS06 592/286.260/0.451/0.500/0.484/0.483
10/30/06 RH_NS06 169/3.812/0.016/0.043/0.023/0.020
10/30/06 RH_RS06 406/101.631/0.230/0.299/0.250/0.232

The bolded numbers are the current share prices.

Key: NH = Non-Republican House, RH = Republican House, NS = Non-Republican Senate, RS = Republican Senate.

So the market is very strongly favouring a takeover of the House at this point.


The Poorman is back, with a cute cat, channeling Powerline:
Tim Blair demolishes the recent so-called “scientific” study which purports to show that Iraqi civilian deaths resulting from the Iraq war number over half a million:
Lancet’s number of documented deaths in Iraq, upon which the respected medical journal based its Iraqi mortality study, is but a mere 0.0835% of Lancet‘s estimated post-invasion death total.

The “estimate” part of Lancet’s equation is 99.9%.

Exactly. Perhaps these geniuses should have taken a class in statistics before they submitted their paper to a prestigious scientific journal which accepted it. What the Lancet study really shows is that 99.9% of 650,000 people are estimated to be dead, which is not at all the same thing as being really dead. I mean, maybe they were just really, really tired after a hard day of greeting US troops as liberators! But, once again, a perfectly plausible explanation is discounted in order to bash Bush.

JOHN adds: Was the Lancet servey undertaken at night? Because that would tend to oversample really deep sleepers, who might well be estimated to be dead.

SCOTT adds: I think you are both being niave. Obviously, the Iraqis were merely pretending to be dead in order to make Bush look bad, and the Lancet “scientists” were only too happy to be their useful idiots.

Posted by Paul at 5:00 PM |

Monday, October 30, 2006

Bellevue Turns

From the NYT:

Bellevue has been growing more Democratic for several years, thanks to an influx of liberal voters and a professional class that is changing teams. This year, Bellevue may send its first Democrat to Congress. Darcy Burner, who even supporters admit is inexperienced, may unseat Representative Dave Reichert, a well-liked, longtime public servant, simply because constituents want Democratic control of the House of Representatives.

“I am a Republican and have traditionally voted that way,” Tony Schuler, an operations services manager at Microsoft with a Harvard M.B.A., said as he sat with his wife, Deanna, in their home above Lake Sammamish. But Mr. Schuler abhors what he sees as a new Republican habit of meddling in private affairs.

“The Schiavo case. Tapping people without a warrant. Whether or not people are gay,” he said. “Let people be free! It’s not government’s job to interfere with those things.”


Though the House ethics committee has finished its investigation of the Foley matter, the report won't be released before the election:
The House ethics committee has all but wrapped up the investigative phase of its probe into the actions of former representative Mark Foley, informing key witnesses that they will not be summoned back for more questioning, lawyers in the case said yesterday.

But those lawyers indicated that the committee is unlikely to release its report on the Florida Republican -- or even an interim memo -- before the Nov. 7 elections.

In other news, the verdict in Saddam Hussein's trial will be announced two days before the election.


Coffee Break

The Stern Report is out: address climate change now or pay much more later.

The UK hires Al Gore to help argue the climate change case in the US.

527s are stronger than ever.

Democrats running in the centre, seeking moderates and conservatives.

100 Americans killed in Iraq during October.

26 killed in latest Baghdad bombing.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Coffee Break

Uncertain how to gain traction before the election, the Allen campaign strikes out at book characters. Drudge gladly helps.

Australian cleric stands by his comments blaming rape on women and comparing unveiled women to "uncovered meat."

One year on from the French riots.

A weak housing market slows US growth.

Could the timing of the New Jersey same-sex ruling work to Republicans' advantage?

Lauer's Got Limbaugh's Back

Via Digby, a view from the Today Show:
LAUER: And you brought up Michael J. Fox. Let me just ask you: You know, Rush Limbaugh started a lot of controversy when he said perhaps Michael J. Fox was exaggerating or faking these effects of Parkinson's disease in that ad promoting stem cell research. Didn't Rush Limbaugh just say what a lot of people were privately thinking?


LAUER: But also, Susan, last word. If Michael Fox goes out there politically and puts himself in the fray, he has to expect to be, you know, taken to account, correct?

ESTRICH: Correct. And he is being taken to account.

First, I can only speak for myself, but no, I wasn't privately thinking that Fox was faking and pretending to have Parkinson's symptoms. Second, what the fuck does Fox have to be "held to account" for? For having the illness? For exhibiting symptoms? For advocating research with stem cells? For daring to voice an opinion on a matter that profoundly affects him?

Evangelicals and the War

Support for the Iraq War among evangelicals has slipped to 58% from 71% in September. Looks like we'll have to find another way to hasten The Coming.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Rumsfeld on Terrorism and the Election

This is really something. Rumsfeld was being interviewed by a North Dakota radio host, who described the situation in Iraq thusly:
Here they are, getting up every day saying, “We’ve got an election in two weeks in America, gang, and we want to change horses over there because we don’t like the folks we’re having to deal with now; they’re a little tough on us. So let’s get out there and let’s make some noise.“ I don’t get the sense the American people have a sense they’re being played in that fashion.

Rumsfeld agreed, adding:
Probably not. It’s hard. No one likes to think they’re being manipulated. They believe that they can make their own judgments and the like.

As Think Progress has noted recently, the Bush administration has been making links between increased levels of violence in Iraq and the upcoming election (rather than, say, Ramadan). At the same time, Bush had to admit that there was no evidence suggesting Iraqi insurgents want to affect the elections in Democrats' favour in any way. If anything, the Bush administration is the best friend these terrorists have: they're incompetent, naive and half-assed. But for Bush to say "I don't have any evidence that terrorists want Democrats to win" is a bit like saying "I don't have any evidence you beat your wife." The important thing, to him, is to put that idea out there.

Coffee Break

New Jersey rules that same-sex couples have equal rights.

As GOP candidates try to de-emphasize the war, Bush gets gabby.

Dan Savage does some consulting for Harold Ford.

The CIA tried to strike a deal with Germany over extraordinary rendition.

60 civilians reportedly killed in NATO raid in Afghanistan.

Bush signs the bill authorizing funding for the fence that will never be.

Racist GOP Ad Removed

A day after Mehlman insisted the race-baiting ad was appropriate, it has been removed from airplay. The next bit speaks for itself:
In its place is a new spot called “Shaky,” which started airing Sunday in Knoxville but has expanded statewide. It alleges that Ford “took cash from Hollywood's top X-rated porn moguls” and that he “wants to give the abortion pill to our schoolchildren.”

Missouri Stem Cell Ads

So Limbaugh apologized and then unapologized for his despicable comments alleging that Fox was exaggerating his illness. I think that this Limbaugh fallout is really resonating with large swathes of the heartland in the same way that the Terry Schiavo case did, potentially provoking another huge backlash for conservatives. In the Schiavo case, we saw conservatives trying to speak for a brain-dead woman while making all sorts of horrendous slanders against her husband, and people were revolted by their attempts to score a few political points. It backfired spectacularly. Even commentators in the religious conservative heartland see Limbaugh's attack on Fox as inexcusable, hate-filled and wrong.

And apparently, according to Limbaugh and friends, it's wrong for someone who actually suffers from Parkinson's Disease to make a commercial in which he exhibits symptoms of that disease, but a rebuttal ad featuring a sitcom start, an NFL player and an actor who played Jesus is to be lauded. At least Jonah and some others have some sense about them, it seems. Mind-bogglingly, Caviezel is apparently saying "you betray me with a kiss" (if you support this amendment). Kathryn thinks that the ad is "cool" and "subtle." Yeah, having a fake Jesus warning voters not to betray him is very, very subtle.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Newsweek on Impeachment

Regarding the link about support for impeachment below, I think it's a bit odd the way that Newsweek downplays the numbers. The relevant information comes near the end of the piece, but the total percentage of support is never even spelled out. Furthermore, it's made to sound as if the numbers in general are low:
Other parts of a potential Democratic agenda receive less support, especially calls to impeach Bush: 47 percent of Democrats say that should be a “top priority,” but only 28 percent of all Americans say it should be, 23 percent say it should be a lower priority and nearly half, 44 percent, say it should not be done.

So 51% of all Americans think it should at least be a priority. Newsweek describes this as unpopular. I can't help but think that if it was Clinton who was still president and 51% wanted him to go, the headlines would be screaming "Majority Demands Clinton Impeachment."

Coffee Break

New political tactic: you're ugly. Nah.

Casey predicts 12 to 18 months for security handover.

The UK plans to limit the rights of Bulgarians and Romanians to work in the country after joining the EU.

51% of Americans think Bush should be impeached.

Though they've dropped their stay the course mantra, the GOP promises no big policy shifts on Iraq.

Bad news for mobile men.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Coffee Break

Uh, did I say arrogant and stupid?

California Republican tries to intimidate Latino voters with mass mailing threatening jail time.

Barack Obama admits that he's considering a White House run.

Republicans explore the power of happy talk.

It's 1956 all over again.

UN envoy in international blogging incident.

Darfur: all previous ceasefires are no longer in effect.

Tigers even it up.

Happy Eid.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

War Metaphor

The lede of this Post piece is really odd, with its over-use of war imagery and insinuations that a Democratic victory next month would somehow be akin to insurrection and violence on the homefront:
The White House is bracing for guerrilla warfare on the homefront politically if Republicans lose control of the House, the Senate or both _ and with it, the president's ability to shape and dominate the national agenda.

Republicans are battling to keep control of Congress. But polls and analysts in both parties increasingly suggest Democrats will capture the House and possibly the Senate on Election Day Nov. 7.

It goes on to be a pretty straightforward piece about lame-duck presidencies, but it sure starts off in a strange manner. It even seem that they're trying to make a very unseemly parallel between the Iraqi insurgency and Democratic opposition at home. If so, that's far beyond the pale.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Uzhasni Chelovek

This is beyond comprehension:
Vladimir Putin's international image has been tainted after it emerged he had let slip another of his infamous remarks - this time praising the president of Israel for alleged sex offences.

"He turned out to be a strong man, raped 10 women," the Russian president was quoted by Russian media as saying at a meeting in Moscow with Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. "I never would have expected it of him. He has surprised us all, we all envy him!"

Friday, October 20, 2006

New GOP Ad

If you don't vote Republican, terrorists will kill you.

The RNC really has no shame.

Pace on Rumsfeld

God's work? Wtf?

Via Sullivan

Who Votes?

Lots of interesting data here on which sections of the population really get out and vote. Some of it's not surprising - Republicans are more likely to be registered and frequent church-goers are more likely to vote regularly. But other figures did surprise me:


A very critical factor in whether someone gets out and votes if whether she is interested in local politics or not. It makes sense that that would be a big factor, but I didn't realize how large of one. Especially when we think of how polarized the nation is on a national level, it's really the case that local issues are making the difference in engaging people.

Kuo on Colbert

Stephen Colbert and David Kuo discuss the differences (if any) between Jesus and George W. Bush:

Truth stranger than....

I almost couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this coup de grace for the Foley scandal. If only he could have secretly had an abortion at a clinic run by a Islamist terrorist organisation.

Republican Infighting

The NYT has an interesting piece on the current feuds with conservatism. This quote made me laugh:
“There is a bit of a battle between people who say, Hey, your tax cuts wrecked our war and people who say, Hey, your war wrecked our tax cuts,” said David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter who was among the war’s proponents.

Frum then goes on to employ the the competence dodge:
Mr. Frum argued that the problem with the Iraq war was in its execution, not in the idea behind it. “The war has to be seen through the prism of Hurricane Katrina,” he argued, “because conservatives will support a tough war if they are confident in the war’s management.”

Anyone still arguing that the war was a good idea that was simply mismanaged is either an incredible fool or is too wrapped up in his self-image to admit that he was wrong.


Think Progress put together this graph from Brookings Institution data, showing electricity levels in Baghdad for the past two years or so:


Africa in Motion, First Night

The opening film of the Edinburgh African Film Festival is tonight at 5:45 pm at The Filmhouse.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Evangelicals and the GOP

Pew just put up a bunch of interesting info on political attitudes of evangelicals towards the GOP. These were the charts I thought were most telling:



They're basically hemorrhaging their core voting block.

Update: Notice what a huge impact Katrina had on evangelicals' views of the GOP. That's when the jarring descent to 54% occurred.

Africa in Motion

Just a reminder: Africa-in-Motion, the Edinburgh African Film Festival, begins tomorrow.

Coffee Break

Black Republicans try to adopt MLK as the face of the party.

Bush acknowledges Iraq/Vietnam similarities.

GOP candidates are avoiding discussion of the war.

Rice attempts to reassure South Korea and Japan over NK threat.

NFL dirty bomb threat not credible.

A challenge for any enterprising folks out there.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Jeff and I were both struck by this photo from yesterday's NYT:


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Blogging Heads

I haven't had a chance to watch this yet, but it looks like BloggingHeadsTV has some good stuff up. I'm excited to read Anatol Lieven's new book.

We were.....inverted

More evidence that Democrats are always wrong about everything and therefore want to be Republican? Check out the quasi-Harding quote:
"Good policy is good politics," the governor says, when asked if her tax breaks involved political calculation. "What's good for GM is good for Michigan."
Also, I can't help but get the feeling when reading these stories that twenty years from now I look back on their indelible image.

On a lighter side, from my friend's website: I am going to be laughing at this picture of P.Diddy all day.

No Blog But Blog...Coffee Edition

A train collision in Rome kills two and injures at least 60.

The US confirms NK's first nuclear test and there's word of another in the works.

What the hell is with this peice on Cheney? Sure, his popularity is staggeringly low, but a few people love him!

Iraq: Not the best place to be a Christian.

The title says it all.

Republican Curt Weldon's daughter's home is raided in an investigation into whether Weldon used his position to benefit himself and his daughter's lobbying firm.

The Iowa Electronic Market is currently favoring a Republican Senate and Non-Republican House after the election (select CONGRESS06, then October).

Monday, October 16, 2006

Generation Influence

I think this graphic in the NYT, based on Pew Research data, is really fascinating. It's looking at numbers of self-identified Democrats and Republicans, broken down by age group and by who was president when that age-group was 20 years old. One of the things to take away from this is that the political climate of your early 20s largely determines your political leanings throughout the rest of your life, on average. So we see that people who were 20 when Truman was in office or when Nixon resigned are very likely to be Democrats now, whereas people who were 20 when Reagan was in office are now likely to be Republicans.

I was 20 in 1997, as Bill Clinton began his second term. So my early twenties stretched from the beginning of that term, through Newt Gingrich's reprimand for ethics violations, the Ken Starr investigation, the shady 2000 election, September 11th, and Bush's first couple years in office. We'll have to see how I pan out later in life.

I can think of many examples who buck the trend of this data, my own father being an interesting example.

Update: Another thing I just noticed that's really interesting is that the gap in years between the most Democratic and least Democratic generations is much larger than the gap between most Republican and least Republican. For Democrats, the lowest numbers are for the age group around 71 whereas the highest numbers are for age group 21. For Republicans, the highest numbers are for age 36 and the lowest are for age 24. For one thing, this shows a precipitous drop in self-identifying Republicans since Reagan left office, a relatively short period of time. Bush II certainly has dismantled conservatism.

I think that Democrats should take heart from this data. If we think of the political power being wielded, at any given point, by people between the ages of 50 and 70 or so (i.e. the age group from which our politicians themselves are usually drawn, and the age group most likely to get out and vote), then we are currently going through a Republican swing, but there will be large Democrat spikes in that age-range in years to come. People who are just over 50 years old right now are very likely to be Democrat. There may be another Republican spike in about 15 years, but after that it will largely favour Democrats. Overwhelmingly so, according to this data.

Sullivan and Brooks

I haven't had a chance to watch this yet, but it could be an interesting debate on the current dire state of conservatism, from the two premier pop conservative commentators.

Lieberman's Thoughts on the Dems

The idea that Lieberman is anything other than a Republican has been erased:
Joseph I. Lieberman, a lifelong Democrat and student of politics, blanked when asked if America would be better off with his party regaining control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

A Democratic victory would immeasurably boost the influence of two Connecticut friends, U.S. Reps. Rosa L. DeLauro and John B. Larson, and provide a counterbalance to the Republican Senate and White House.

"Uh, I haven't thought about that enough to give an answer," Lieberman said, as though Democrats' strong prospects for recapturing the House hadn't been the fall's top political story.

He was similarly elusive about the race for governor. Is he voting for John DeStefano Jr., a Democrat and mayor of the city where Lieberman has lived since the 1960s?

"I'm, uh, I'm having," he stammered, then laughed and said his decision would remain private.

Via TPMCafe.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Sullivan on Colbert

Just ordered his book yesterday.

Friday, October 13, 2006


I don't think there's any better blog-style discussion forum going, especially for foreign policy, than TPMCafe. To give just a small sampling of recent goodies:

Stephen Walt responds to the Princeton Project's FWLL.

Anatol Lieven on ethical realism.

Rachel Kleinfeld responds to Lieven and is subsequently schooled by Lieven.

Dan Drezner notes that it's a buyer's market in grand strategies, what with the wholesale failure of 43's foreign policy, and he takes on the FWLL.

Peter Trubowitz argues that, regardless of its merits, the FWLL could never generate bipartisan support.

Coffee Break

America prepares to pass the 300m population mark, being the only industrialized country to continue to put on significant population growth.

Terry Lloyd was unlawfully killed by US forces, the coroner rules.

British general Richard Dannatt states that UK forces should be withdrawn soon.

Microloan pioneers awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Bush aides think evangelicals are nuts.

British man pleads guilty to terrorist plot.

UN close to a decision on NK: sanctions, no military force.