Friday, January 30, 2004

Andrew Sullivan 

Andrew Sullivan continues to be totally reflexive in his arguments surrounding terrorism, this time framing the 2004 election as basically a choice between fighting terrorists (cue sexual fantasy of Bush on an aircraft carrier wearing only the codpiece part of his flight suit) and folding (cue Democratic candidate gutting our defense budget or something).

The problem here, again, is how Sully talks about the world changing on 9/11/01:
Back to the 1990s or post-9/11 Bush. Law enforcement versus war. It's a clear and important distinction. Let's put it at the center of this debate, where it belongs.
Nevermind that, in reality, he must realize that the war on terror cannot be merely a military exercise, and therefore, John Kerry is right. But even Bush would never say that only the military matters, so that makes this post that much more disingenuous. The point is you get nowhere framing the 2004 election as "soft on terror" versus "strong (or in Sully's case, hard) on terror." Any president would have gone into Afghanistan in 2001, and most would have done a better job at it than Bush did, by putting real troops to secure the peace (and (gasp!) "nation-build") and not distracting our purpose by going into Iraq.

More attacks on Kerry 

Now, I really need to get back to work, but I found this on Tapped, and it's another example of these "Kerry slandered vets" attacks. It's about how the editor of the Washington Times (not a legitimate newspaper, and whose owner's political views dovetail perfectly with Hitlers--really) accused Kerry of slandering the troops in Vietnam. Anyway, this is the whole post :
PRUDEN PRUDENIZES HIMSELF. Wesley Pruden is allegedly a journalist. He is, in fact, editor-in-chief of the Washington Times, allegedly a newspaper. But after reading Pruden's latest column, I have my doubts on both counts. Towards the end of an otherwise unremarkable survey of the Democratic race, Pruden writes:
John Kerry's military record, lieutenant or not, has so far made him a sentimental favorite with many veterans, but it's a military record that won't withstand the scrutiny that's coming. His slander of the GIs he left behind in Vietnam is not yet well known.
"They ... raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power," he told a Senate committee in 1971 when he was just home from the war, and "cut off limbs, [blew] up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam."
Miserable lies, and he never produced evidence or repudiated the lies. Americans tolerate a lot of hyperbole in election season, but stuff like this will unhorse even a Botox man.

For the moment, leave aside the shameless insinuation that Kerry "left behind" his fellow troops in Vietnam. (Kerry served his four-year tour of duty in Vietnam, earning three Purple Hearts, the Bronze Star, and the Navy's Silver Star, before being honorably discharged.) The only liar here is Pruden. Here is the complete section of Kerry's testimony -- delivered to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in 1971 -- with context, and shorn of Pruden's disingenuous elipses:
I would like to talk on behalf of all those veterans and say that several months ago in Detroit we had an investigation at which over 150 honorably discharged, and many very highly decorated, veterans testified to war crimes committed in Southeast Asia. These were not isolated incidents but crimes committed on a day-to-day basis with the full awareness of officers at all levels of command. It is impossible to describe to you exactly what did happen in Detroit -- the emotions in the room and the feelings of the men who were reliving their experiences in Vietnam. They relived the absolute horror of what this country, in a sense, made them do.
They told stories that at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Ghengis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to the normal ravage of war and the normal and very particular ravaging which is done by the applied bombing power of this country.
Pathetic, and I really hope the media nips this in the bud, lest it enter the realm of the "fact-esque" along with "Democrats hate Bush" and "Al Gore said he invented the internet." Click through and read the whole post, because it ends with part of a CSPAN transcript where Pruden gets his ass handed to him by a caller.

Red Meat for Liberals 

This is Tom Paine's latest "op-ad":
Ducking The Law

28 U.S. Code 455:"Any justice, judge or magistrate of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned... He shall disqualify himself in the following circumstances: Where he has a personal bias or prejudice concerning a party..."

Last month the Supreme Court announced it would hear a case involving Vice President Dick Cheney's secret energy commission. After the announcement, Justice Antonin Scalia and the Vice President spent a weekend together hunting ducks on the property of a Republican donor and oil-industry executive.

Citing federal law (above), the nation's leading editorial boards are urging Scalia to remove himself from Cheney’s case.

So far, Scalia has ignored their suggestion, quipping that the only problem with his trip was that the hunting was "lousy."

Americans have always had faith in the integrity of judges. But Scalia is rattling that faith.

His stubbornness is now the Court's problem. Its reputation is at stake.

Some of the editorial boards urging Scalia to step aside:

Please note, some online newspapers require registration before articles can be viewed

The New York Times
The Washington Post
The Los Angeles Times
The Dallas Morning News
The Detroit Free Press
The Denver Post
The Tampa Tribune
The Columbus Dispatch
The San Jose Mercury News
The Times Union (Albany, NY)
The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY)
The Reno Gazette-Journal
The St. Petersburg Times
Like I said, it's red meat, but that doesn't mean it's wrong.

Happy Birthday, Dick 

A highly placed source at a prominent news organization has informed me that today is the 64th birthday of our well-regarded and not-at-all-delusional Vice President Dick "Dick" Cheney. Happy Birthday, Dick!

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Someone actually linked to us 

Jesse at Pandagon was gracious enough to link to us in a post he did on Spinsanity. It is the first time anyone ever linked anything to anyone close to us, and we are grateful. I believe we now have some serious momentum Joementum!

Bill O'Bold Stance  

For too long, those who sexually enslave children have been able to spin their views in the mainstream media. No longer - Bill O'Reilly has finally taken a bold stance against child sex slavery in his latest column.

Now, sex slavery actually is a very serious problem - don't get me wrong. But who according to Bill are some of the main culprits in allowing this to happen? First, per usual, he blames the ACLU - which he frequently refers to as a fascist organization on the same show in which he complains about the demonizing rhetoric of the far left. But then he blames...

"Federal judge Dennis Chin denied the FBI a warrant in the notorious "Candyman" Internet sting case. The feds busted a child porn website and secured the names of Americans who did business with it. They then asked various judges for warrants to search the homes and computers of said individuals. Chin said no, because he believed one could do business with child pornographers and not commit a criminal act."

Why would O'Reilly single out one federal judge for such ridicule? It couldn't have anything at all to do with the fact that this was the very same judge who dismissed (or, as many have said, literally laughed out of court) Foxnews's absurd defamation lawsuit against Al Franken, could it?

I know it's easy to go after Bill O'Reilly - but night after night he complains about those who engage in character assassination against their political opponents. Now, he's associating a judge who ruled against his employer in a case with child sex slavery. Nice.

(I will update this post later to describe an episode of The Factor where this very decision was discussed. Just to let you know - Chuck Norris is involved.)

Keyshawn Quote 

We have made several veiled references on this blog to the following quote:

"If you have a problem with Keyshawn Johnson, you have a problem with yourself." Keyshawn Johnson

See one article with this quote here.

This is probably the funniest thing ever said. That is why, without Goldberg's permission, I am officially changing the slogan of our blog to this. And if Goldberg has a problem with this, he has a problem with Keyshawn Johnson, and therefore a problem with himself.


This is a link to the Shakespeare program the NEA is funding. I must admit, I had no idea this was going on - and it is a great, great idea. This is what the NEA should be doing - getting kids interested in the arts. Good for the Bush administration.

The attacks on Kerry start (what's inevitable is, well, inevitable) 

I guess Kate O'Beirne is qualified to levy this accusation as she, you know, saw her friends blown to bits and nearly died herself in a pointless war.

Spinsanity goes Spinsane with Keyshawn 

Spinsanity, a pretty good boring website, has hit the bigtime, getting a once-a-week gig at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Good for them. But they start their tenure in the City of Brotherly love with, well, a terrible column, both in style and substance. The column begins:
In recent weeks, debate about anger on the left has centered on two incidents: the now-infamous post-Iowa speech of Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean and ads posted on MoveOn.org comparing President Bush to Adolf Hitler. However, while Dean's speech was undeniably emotional, he was smiling, not angry. And the MoveOn ads, while abhorrent, were produced by individual citizens and only viewed by a few hundred visitors to the organization's Web site.
Ok, this is all true. But this is the first paragraph, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the article, which is all about how the Democratic candidates for president are being too mean when attacking the President, chiding Wesley Clark and John Kerry:
"We've got a new axis of evil, and it's one our President himself created," Clark said in New Hampshire. "It's an axis of fiscal policy that threatens our future, foreign policy that threatens our security, and domestic policy that puts families dead last."
Clark's statement is similar to a call last year by fellow Democratic presidential contender Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.) for "regime change" in the United States, an ironic reference to previous U.S. policy toward Hussein's regime. Kerry has also compared Bush's administration to the Taliban, as did Dean in a joke last year.
I'm not sure about the Taliban comparisons (because I don't know what they said), but these other things seem, well, fine. It's not like Kerry advocated "regime change" by arguing that we had to take out the Bush Administration because it bullied its neighbors (remember when Canada wanted to decriminalize marijuana?) or had stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.*

Anyway, I thought this article sucked because, well, it used the Keyshawn Johnson argument: "If Democrats got a problem with Republicans, it means they got a problem with themselves."

*George Bush actually said once, "Democracies don't make weapons of mass destruction."
also, because it's fun, John Ashcroft actually said this the other day: "I believe there is a very clear understanding that Saddam Hussein continued to pose a threat. Weapons of mass destruction, including evil chemistry and evil biology, are all matters of great concern, not only to the United States, but also to the world community.

Good for President and Laura Bush 

Bush is requesting a budget increase for the National Endowment for the Arts. That is very good - and looking at this speech, I don't see a catch. I actually would like it if the NEA spent less time funding "Piss Christ" and all of its efforts on exposing children to great art - the Shakespeare tour Laura Bush is talking about here is in my opinion a great idea.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Thanks, Mom 

So, my mom starts reading the site, and the comment she leaves has to do with a spelling mistake I made. Great.

Trippi Out 

Apprently, Joe Trippi has been fired from the Dean Campaign, and I posted this on Pandagon in the comments section:

When I found this out, I felt something--a real feeling of disappointment, not unlike getting dumped. It's not because I was in love with Joe Trippi (although I had my moments of infatuation, like any long-time Dean supporter). It's because, this, finally, signifies the end to a great (well, maybe not-so-great, but definitely "real") political movement, based on real energy and desire.

There were a lot of problems with the Dean campaign, and a lot of projection from the supporters onto the candidate (and, most likely, vice-versa), but to those of us who believed, the campaign really did mean something. "The $100 revolution" became a kind of mantra, and I still believe that it can come true at some point in the future.

But now I think it's clear that Dean's campaign will come to an end sometime in February. Will it be with a bang or wimper whimper (and which would be better for the Democratic Party)? I don't know the answer to that, but I do know that this feels like a passing on.

Also, I have no real problem with John Kerry, but I know I'll never get that "fall in love" feeling with him. But that's ok. But I would like Edwards or Clark (or even Dean) to at least put up a real fight in February, so the voters in the upcoming primaries have a real choice in who they vote for.

Oh, and with respect to Kerry, he's the only one of the 4 real candidates that I haven't supported financially (at least in small way). So if he wins I get that extra kick in the pants.

Cheney out as VP? 

Below, Guthrie talked about Bush possibly dropping Cheney and putting Guliani on the ticket. If Bush decides to drop Cheney, here's how I want it to play out:

1) Bush/Rove/Norquist decide they need to drop Cheney.
2) They also decide they need to replace him withone someone else.
3) Rove tasks Dick Cheney to lead the search for a new VP.
4) Dick Cheney does a long search (possibly several minutes long, in fact), and comes back with the perfect choice.
5) That perfect choice is Dick Cheney.


Ruy Texiera at Donkey Rising writes:
Based on the exit polls though, we can confirm the message of the Iowa caucus voting that Democratic voters are increasingly focused on electability and mainstream issues and decreasingly interested in "sending 'em a message" and protest politics around the Iraq war. Consider these data from the exit poll (note that numbers here may change slightly as the National Election Pool reweights its data to reflect the final vote tally).
Now, I don't disagree that electability is a huge issue. I think it is, and I think it should be. However, I'm not convinced that these Kerry victories are also victories for "electability." Kerry was left for dead a month ago. He has shown some impressive traits that have enabled him to once again become the "frontrunner." But he hasn't been attacked like Dean was (well, if you ignore that "looks French" stuff). And I'm not sure that, when attacked, he won't fold.

I think electability is huge, but I'm not convinced Kerry, as opposed to Dean, Clark or Edwards, is the most electable candidate.

UPDATE: Joe Conason has some good thoughts on this. I'm not sure if this link will work, as you may need a subscription (or you may have to click through some ads to get a day pass. Anyway, to save you the trouble, we at G&G will do the heavy lifting and quote the operative paragraph:
The perception of "electability" can quickly become a trap. It tends to encourage excessive caution, which in turn leads to voter disillusionment and apathy. Kerry already suffers from a reputation for caution and opportunism, when he is also quite capable of daring and toughness. I first began to think that he could rouse the Democratic Party from its terrible torpor during the summer of 2002, when he called out Trent Lott and Tom DeLay as chicken hawks and threatened to filibuster against oil drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge. He should emphasize his historical willingness to stand alone and fight for what he believes.
There is more in the article, all on Kerry, and all pretty good.


Tuesday, January 27, 2004

New Hampshire 

Ok, so the results aren't back yet, but if the exit polls on Drudge hold, then it's Kerry 36%, Dean 30%. I'm not sure if this is a win or not for Dean. I mean, a month ago he was at 45% and Kerry was at like 12%. In terms of delegates, it doesn't really much matter as NH just doesn't have that many. But is this is win or a loss for Dean? I can easily imagine arguments going both ways. My take: this is good enough for Dean to still be a major contender for next week. Also, Feb. 3 will make or break all the candidacies except Kerry, and at most three candidates, and more likely two, will continue on after next week.

Then again, this "analysis" is coming from someone who nodded approvingly when Lee Corso (or was it Beano Cook?) said, "Ron Powlus...This kid will win two, three, maybe four Heisman Trophies."

Something funny 

In anticipation of all the serious blogging that will follow the results of NH, here's something funny, from Opinions You Should Have:
Bush Nominated Best Actor; Karl Rove, Best Director; Donald Rumsfeld Named For Special Effects
Today, the White House garnered a host of nominations in a crowded field for this year's Academy Awards, stunning director Peter Jackson and actors Tobe Maguire and Uma Thurman.

George W. Bush was named for Best Actor, "for his depiction of an utterly carefree man blissfully leading the nation into war."

Karl Rove was named in the Best Director category for his "stunning manipulation of a difficult medium," and Dick Cheney was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay for his "scripting of scenario after scenario based on a work of fiction."

Bush was praised for his "convincing portrait of someone actually leading the country" and appearing "almost lifelike" by Sigourney Weaver, who announced the nominations this morning.

"Donald Rumsfeld was not a surprise," said Sid Fleckman of Variety. "The Iraq war was stunning. It may not have shocked and awed the Iraqis, but it certainly wowed us back home!"

Fleckman especially praised the nine-hour long POV shots from tanks driving at breakneck pace through hundreds of miles of desert.

The White House was also garnered nominations for Best Cinematography for its depiction of Bush casually surprising a bunch of handpicked soldiers while holding a fake turkey.

"Now that's Hollywood," said Fleckman.


Over at Pandagon, there's some talk of rumors about a Bush/Giuliani ticket. This will never happen. There is just no way that the Republicans will ever run a pro-choice candidate - this would create a third party candidate with far more influence than Nader and would almost certainly hand the White House to the Dems.

I think that a lot of liberals don't understand the pro-life movement: it is large, it is real, and the people behind it are passionate and for the most part sincere. They will demand a voice in American politics - the Republicans know this and would never let those votes go.

What's Wrong With People?  

Apparently, visits to aquariums are up in the wake of Finding Nemo.

So, I guess a lot of families are having this conversation. "Dad, I really liked that movie!" "Husband, I liked it as well - what a heart warming story about a dad whose wife dies and whose son is kidnapped and forced to live in an aquarium where he spends all of his time trying to escape." " Yeah, thank God the son was barely able to escape the captivity of the aquarium and was reunited with his dad. If he hadn't escaped the aquarium, he would be separated from the only family he had ever loved, and he would never know the taste of freedom. I'm sure glad those fish were able to escape from the aquarium." "Honey, kids... we're going to an aquarium!"

Did visits to slaughterhouses go up after Babe came out?

In fairness, my mom informs me that after my first viewing of Bambi I wanted to "play hunter." But I'm a freak.

So I ask, what's wrong with people?


This may be one of the best Onion headlines since their 2000 headline: "Bush: Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Over."

Bush 2004 Campaign Pledges to Restore Honor and Dignity to White House

Exit Polls update 

In some fine copyright infringement on my part, Kos has a new update on exit poll numbers, and therefore so do I:
Update 2: Here are the 1 p.m. exit poll numbers I've been able to get my hands on (from a media source. Caveat emptor):

LA Times:
Dean 34
Kerry 33

ABC News:

Kerry 37
Dean 31

In both these polls, both Clark and Edwards are hovering around 12 percent.
I would think, that if this holds, it would be a major disappointment for Edwards.

More on Kerry 

Below I posted on the hit Kerry may take trying to explain his vote against (or abstention, I'm not sure) the 1991 Iraq war, and his vote for the 2003 Iraq war. Easterblogg has some thoughts:
KERRY'S WAR VOTES: Why was it "inconsistent" that he voted against the first Iraq war, then voted in favor of the second? Kerry's vote against the first Iraq war might have been a mistake, but this hardly means there were no reasons for such a vote. Here are three bases on which a reasonable person might have voted against the 1991 Gulf War:

1. Iraq's invasion of Kuwait posed no conceivable threat to American national security. 2. Liberating average Kuwaitis was a noble cause; to replace the Emir upon his golden commode was not worth even one American life, and bringing back the Emir and his corrupt cronies was exactly what we did. 3. To the extent the 1991 war was about assuring oil supplies, it is sickening to think the United States government would rather send its finest young men and women to die than raise MPG standards.

By the time of Kerry's vote on the 2003 Iraq war, United States national security had been invoked. Perhaps wrongly so--you may have heard something about whether banned weapons were really there--but an issue nonetheless. And by the time of Kerry's vote on the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the United States had declared a goal of replacing Arab despotism with democracy. We may fail, or it may be none of our business; but the current goal of liberating everyone Iraq from tyranny is a noble goal compared to the 1991 policy of placing everyone in Kuwait back under the boot of a corrupt, inbred family of thieves.

Thus there's nothing inconsistent about Kerry having voted against the 1991 war and for the 2003 war. Add that in 1991, military fiasco was a legitimate concern--Vietnam, Beirut, and other unhappy experiences were fresh in the Senate's mind, and Pentagon leaders were predicting tens of thousands of U.S. casualties. By the moment of the 2003 vote, American armed forces had recently demonstrated several times that they have achieved power, precision, and professionalism without precedent in world history. So, while there was (and still is) a chance of political fiasco around the 2003 invasion, there was little fear of military breakdown. That's the sort of thing that might legitimately change a senator's mind.
I think his is pretty good. Nonetheless, it doesn't save Kerry. Even if this is a 100% perfect explanation, which it is not, I don't think most people really want to hear any of this shit. And certainly the media won't take these explanations seriously--they don't want to spend time re-hashing the reasons to go to war in 1990/1991--people think that was a good and just war, and aren't going to change their mind now.

Exit Polls 

Kos has posted some unconfirmed early exit poll results:
I'm getting hazy reports from the field. As of 1 p.m. EST, exit polls show Kerry in the lead, Dean in close second within the Margin of Error.
Hopefully Jerome and Tom will check in soon, but Dean's visibility operation appears to be the best of the lot making the race more competitive than suggested by polls. On the flip side, Edwards is being hurt by his lack of a ground organization. That suggests that Clark may still snag that third place after all.

Warning -- this is all uncomfirmed. I haven't verified these reports, though I'm busting my ass trying. I'll post hard numbers as soon as I get them. Either released, or leaked.

Update: MSNBC will supposedly release their early exit poll numbers at 4 p.m. I'm kind of turned off at the thought of releasing exit poll numbers before the polls close, but as an addict, I crave them NOW!
Let's see how accurate this ends up being. And why would MSNBC give out poll results, and not, say ABC. What gives, ABC?

In fairness, I don't really think any network should broadcast poll results until the polls close.

Actual predictions 

Dean and Edwards do better than expected. Kerry does a little worse than expected - at least, finishes closer to Dean than expected. Clark and Lieberman are basically done. I don't know, maybe...

Kerry 30%
Dean 30%
Edwards 25%
Clark 10%
Lieberman 5%

But remember, the voters of New Hampshire have a wonderful habit of turning the predictions of the blogosphere on their head. Back to you, Judy...

My NH Predictions! 

My prediction is coming in hours after the polls have opened. My prediction is this...

At some point during the reporting of the New Hamsphire results on CNN, Jeff Greenfield (or possibly Bill Schneider) will turn to Judy Woodruff and say something along the lines of, "You know, Judy, the voters of New Hampshire have a wonderful habit of ignoring the polls and us pundits and reminding us that they, the voters, are the ones who ultimately pick the President."

Furthermore, at no point will Judy or any other CNN anchor say: "Well, remember Jeff - they didn't select the President last time."

Nor will anyone say, "God damn you are a pompous piece of shit." It's unclear how many CNN anchors will be thinking this.

(In all seriousness, I have long held that all Democrats should only watch Foxnews - for the simple reason that you should keep your enemies closer than your friends. I have to admit, though, that I now just prefer Fox because CNN is just so boring. Some fox anchors have personalities, and they have a point of view. I actually like Brit Hume - or, I would rather get my news from him than, say, Judy Woodruff or Aaron Brown. However, I admit that when I want to see the news from a 360 degree angle, I do turn to the hip and fashionable former host of The Mole, Anderson Cooper.)

More on Dean and Kerry 

Noam Scheiber at TNR has a long post today on Kerry. I don't want to quote it because, well, it's too long. But it can be found here.

Basically, he says that John Kerry can't take a punch. The reasoning is this: Kerry is now the frontrunner (again) because during the two or three weeks before Iowa, the negative ads and press made many, many people doubt the electability of Dean. Therefore, people went back to Kerry, the default candidate. But, just because people think Dean is unelectable, that doesn't therefore make Kerry electable.

Scheiber says all in reference to his thesis: Kerry cannot take a punch. In the summer and fall, Kerry folded quickly against Dean's attacks on the war. And now, Kerry is being attacked for supporting this Iraq war, but not the 1991 war. And, Kerry's answer to this attack is, apparently, well, crappy.

Anyway, not sure about all this, and I do think Kerry has a lot of qualities that would make him both a fine candidate and a fine president, but maybe there is a real reason why I still like Dean and Edwards more than him.

Howard Dean 

I don't really agree, but Matt Y. is saying, once again, that Dean is inevitable, albeit in a convoluted fashion:
Stand By Your Man
I'm more and more thinking that I should never have backed away from my initial prediction that Dean is inevitable and that it was inevitable that he would once again appear evitable before his ultimate inevitability came through. If one thing's become clear over the past two weeks it's that no one has any business trying to predict stuff, but if I had to make a pick, it's looking like Dean (not for 1st in NH, or at least not necessarily) but for the nomination.


Monday, January 26, 2004

Guthrie's NH predictions 

What are they?

UPDATE: I believe Guthrie is busy working on Antitrust law litigation-related program activities, and thus cannot take the time to post today.

Why is Howard Dean dodging the Factor? 

I see on Blog for America that Howard Dean is on Hardball, World News Tonight with Peter Jennings and The Daily Show today.

This is all well and good, and the American people are fair, but they will only have so much patience for a candidate who refuses to enter the No-Spin Zone. We here at Goldbergandguthrie ask again, Why is Howard Dean dodging the Factor?

Being Presidential 

I've never understood exactly what this means, and I think the following, from August J. Pollak (via Atrios), shows how stupid it is:
Helpful hints for Howard Dean
The silliness of Howard Dean’s post-Iowa antics have officially gone from a funny late-night joke to a sole excuse for media pundits to claim that "Dean’s campaign is done." "Would you want to see that man with is finger on the nuclear button?" asked Pat Buchanan, Joe Scarborough, etc.

So, since such a gaffe is a clear indicator that Dean is truly unfit to be the leader of the free world, here’s a helpful list of things Dean can do to remove the image that he is a bumbling, inexperienced, lackluster example of leadership:

1) Announce proudly that no president has ever done as much as him for human rights.
2) Dress up in a crotch-accentuating flight suit and land a jet on an aircraft carrier.
3) Brag repeatedly about a sub-standard college grade point average.
4) Get arrested for public rowdiness at a football game.
5) Attempt to recite a cliché adage at a press conference and promptly forget how it goes in the middle of saying it.
6) Mount, and promptly fall off, an unpowered Segway scooter.
7) Drop his dog in front of cameras.
8) Consistently mispronounce the word "nuclear."
9) Condescendingly mock the upcoming execution of a death row inmate.
10) Trade away Sammy Sosa.
11) Choke on pretzel bits to the point of losing balance and bruising his head.
12) Attend a public event in which Stevie Wonder is performing and wave to him from the balcony.

Hopefully, Dr. Dean can get a few of these confidence-gaining moves in before the New Hampshire primary. After all, image is everything.
I feel no need to comment on this.

New Hampshire Predictions 

Well, even though I don't have the slightest notion of what will happen in New Hampshire tomorrow, I will, in the bold tradition of Goldberg and Guthrie, make some predictions:

5th place: Joe Lieberman, 5%
4th place: Wesley Clark, 12%
3rd place: John Edwards, 25%
2nd place: Howard Dean, 27%
1st place: John Kerry 31%

Now, these predictions are wrong for at least the following reasons:
1) These five candidates' totals will not add up to 100% b/c of Kucinich
2) I don't think the top three candidates will actually be this bunched together
3) In general, I have no idea what I'm talking about.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

The Z Man 

I meant to post this yesterday, but Saturday, January 24 was Warren Zevon's birthday. He would have been 57.

Friday, January 23, 2004

Kucinich For President 

I was doing some thinking (or, as Walter Sobchak would say, I got to thinking), and I think Dennis Kucinich should be our next President. Here's why: We will never know if having someone like Dennis as Prez would be a disaster or not. CW says it would be, for several reasons. But we don't know, and we'll never know. Wouldn't it be nice to see what would happen? I'd like Dennis to be Prez, with a moderately compliant Congress, and see what happens. Maybe some geek can model it out on a computer, saving us the possibility of some world-wide depression.

Anyway, that's my thought for the day.

Thursday, January 22, 2004


Could someone explain to me why the Democratic party allows Foxnews to get this publicity? Why are they legitimizing Foxnews? I'm very, very serious when I say that Foxnews is an arm of the Republican party. This is about as close to an objectively true observation as one can make. No wonder Howard Dean says that Democrats don't stand up for Democratic values.

In fact, I had about 50 other thoughts, but this is what I'm going to stick with. I have to talk to my girlfriend (she lives in Cincinnati). So I ask again:

Why, oh why, did the Democratic party agree to have this debate (and others) on GOP TV? Why?

Dean for America.

Post Debate 

I don't know about you, but I'm excited about post-debate analysis from those strong Democrats and fair and balanced pundits Mort Kondrake and Fred Barnes.

UPDATE: Ok, Fred Barnes can't believe that Clark didn't distance himself from the GWB "deserter" charge. The thing is, that charge MAY WELL BE TRUE. We just don't know. It, it fact, is most likely true, at least partly.


Well, I think Dean did very well. Hit some really good points, especially about fighting the election on OUR terms, not the Republican terms.

However, Kerry and Edwards also did very well. And I don't think Dean did enough to climb back up. But, if he only stopped his slide, then that might be enough.

Full Disclosure: the debate is not quite over yet.

Who's looking out for you? 

You know who's NOT looking out for you? the liberal New York Times, that's who.

"Good Riddance" 

I got an email saying that Dean is done for, and "Good Riddance." My reply:

I don't agree with this one bit. Ok, let's assume Dean would have been a disaster in November. If all you dean-o-phobes were right, there was a high probability of an implosion all along. Now (if) it happened, so be it.

But, I am (and everyone else should be) very, very proud of what Dean accomplished. He taught each candidate that, yes, "the way to beat George Bush is to stand up to him." He reclaimed a big part of this party for the people. He taught everyone that you can finance a campaign without needing to get $2,000 checks from each contributor. He built an honest-to-goodness community in this country, from the ground up--it was not "virtual," or trapped in some "starbucks ghetto." It exists, and I saw it with my own eyes both here and in New Hampshire. You think Dick Gephardt would have called Bush a "miserable failure" without Howard Dean? You think John Edwards (and everyone else these days) would be telling audiences that "you and I have the power to change America" and asking people to "be part of this movement to change America" if Howard Dean never existed?

Kinsley Redeems Himself 

I've only read the first sentence of his latest column, but it's good enough to absolve him of past transgressions:
Republicans, oblivious to the irony, used to accuse Bill Clinton of being a dangerous left-wing radical who had stolen all their ideas.
Perfect, ain't it?

Plame, now this... 

I'm sure our right-leaning friends will explain this to us.

First guess at GOP defense using history to guide me: Since we were all told that the real scandal involving the illegal outing of a NOC CIA operative was the fact that we allowed Joe Wilson to go to Niger and find out the truth, I'm sure the real scandal here is that Democrats write memos about politics. I wonder if someone at Fox News has already said this.

Oh, and the "This" for those of you who don't like clicking through to links, is that some GOP staffers have made it a habit to break into Democratic Senators computers and rummage through the memos they had. CREEP all over again, huh?

Drudge Does Edwards 

This is getting so ridiculous... watch Foxnews pick this up tonight, and soon it will seep into mainstream discourse.

But let me say, if this is the best thing that anyone can drag up on Edwards, then hello President John Edwards.

Actually, I doubt anyone will even pick this up... it's just not really a story. Note that Edwards seems to have proposed, on an experimental basis, investing a small amount of social security in the stock market. Woop de fricking doo. It probably seemed like a good idea before Bush was elected and stock prices started tumbling.

Foreign Policy 

Thinking about Democrats and foreign policy, I see that Tom Friedman equates being a "serious" Democrat with either (a) agreeing with him or (b) not being Howard Dean (although Clark, whose views are basically exactly the same, apparently is serious to Tommy).

Anyway, the following is from someone's comment at DailyKos the other day, and I think it very well sums up why Bush needn't be considered "strong" on foreign policy:
I don't think [a] lack of foreign policy credentials is such a huge detriment in the race for the nomination. Think of Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Dukakis and Dubya (his own pitiful self). None of them had an iota of experience in that area and yet the only one who lost was the jerk who was foolish enough to jump on a tank.

Okay, so we're allegedly at war with terrorism and the nation's priorities are different now, but in what sense has Bush proven himself to be adept at handling foreign affairs? Iraq is in total chaos, Israel and the Palestinians have gotten no help in stopping their endless cycle of violence, North Korea is flaunting its affinity for nuclear madness and China has stepped up its threat to annihilate Taiwan if it gives them any more lip.

Other than ousting the Taliban from power in Afghanistan (and yet not really stabilizing that country or fully expelling Al Qaeda from its borders) and providing the world with an endless videotaped loop of one S. Hussein being groomed for nits like a zoo animal, what exactly is this administration's greatest foreign policy achievement? De-fanging Libya?
This is all true. I mean, even if Libya renounced weapons solely in response to Iraq, it's hardly like they were about to attack us, or even sponser an attack on us anymore.



Is it just me, or are fur coats the most ridiculous things in the world?

Wednesday, January 21, 2004


This is more a question. This paragraph is the lead in a New Hampshire (?) Union Leader:
MANCHESTER — Retired General Wesley Clark yesterday noted he “stayed with the U.S. Army” through the Vietnam War, setting up a contrast with White House foe John Kerry, who left the military and became a war critic.
If this is a true reporting of Clark's statement, it is very troubling. It implies that Kerry was wrong to become a war critic, and also that Clark did not think the Vietnam War was a bad thing. Well, if this is true, it's clear that Kerry was right and Clark was wrong. It's possible, however, that Clark never really meant to contrast his experience with Kerry's in this manner; the "left the military and became a war critic" is not a direct quote, and it's unclear if it is supposed to be a paraphrase of Clark or simply a description of what Kerry did after he left the Navy.

I do not want to vote for someone who thinks being against the Vietnam War (esp. the way Kerry was against it) was a bad thing. I'll leave that thinking to Richard Perle and Dick "I had other priorities during Vietnam" Cheney.


Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Bush and Homosexuals 

On Andrew Sullivan, ole Sully claims that Bush has not publicly used the word "gay" or "homosexual" in three years. Is this true? And if it is, how in God's name can Andrew Sullivan support this man?

The whole "sanctity of marriage" thing is such bullshit - but I also think it's politically stupid. I may be wrong, but it strikes me that homosexuality is becoming more accepted in society, not less. Does he need to do this to shore up his base? I can't imagine so - why would the Christian right ever abandon Bush and risk putting a pro-choicer in the White House? Or does their hatred of gays trump their concern for unborn children?

It strikes me that this could be one area where Bush takes something of a principled stand and reaches outside of his base. But something really scares me - maybe in Bush's mind, he is taking the politically risky but morally correct stand.

Style and Substance 

Well, let's be honest. America has been waiting for my comments on the Iowa caucuses. I was pretty upset last night, because I truly believed Dean was going to finish a comfortable first. Obviously, his organization was not what it was cracked up to be, Kerry's was more than it was cracked up to be and Edward's was just effective enough to capitalize on his late surge.

Goldberg has posted about Dean's campaign and how his message is almost more about the campaign than himself. I don't think this is bad. Issue by issue, Dean's stances are not too different than the other candidates - and he certainly needs to focus more on the fact that he was a pragmatic, centrist governor who brought real and positive change to Vermont. But I think his campaign is what is exciting, and why he has a chance to win.

Dean's campaign is also about something more than his record in Vermont - and that is taking Washington back from the special interests. That is a cliche, of course, but the Dean campaign is the first I know of that is funded in a truly grassroots manner. Sure, Dean has his share of fundraisers, but he doesn't owe anything to any special interest groups. His campaign has been run by people, and that is who he will be accountable to in the White House.

This isn't just talk - the most successful insurgent candidates have been tapping into the anger and frustration so many Americans feel when the realize that the rich don't just have more money than us, they also have more of a vote and more of a say in what gets done in Washington. This has always been true, for sure, but what does the average person have to turn to now? Unions are dead politically - see, e.g., last night. The AARP is a joke. Environmental groups can't really influence an administration that chooses to ignore science. All we have is our vote, and during the last election the guy we voted for didn't even win. And if this has always been true Dean has found a way for it to not be true anymore - by using the internet as a way to bring people together, to get his message out and to make every single one of his supporters feel like an important, integral part of "our campaign."

So I don't feel bad about supporting Dean in large part due to his campaign - especially when he has a record of executive success. I'm not sure what happened last night, but I do know the establishment will continue fighting harder as long as Dean tries to change things. That is why we will continue fighting back. The type of fundamental change in politics that Dean wants to achieve will not come without a long, hard struggle.

Mom, I want to thank you for being the only one to read all this.


The real Big MO 

Read somewhere that the real Big MO is Missouri, even though "the day I'll recognize Missoura I'll be deep in my grave." No one was going to contest it because of Gephardt. Now, it's wide open.

Quick turn-around 

Already on blogforamerica, the Dean camp has shifted tactics and is trumpeting Dean's success as governor.

and btw, via Pandagon, this is the greatest cartoon ever.

The Democrat's Bob Dole 

Is this what John Kerry is?

Weirdest Defense EVER 

Will Saletan, in an otherwise pretty good article, writes this defense of the Media while talking about how the Media was unfair to Dean:
Dean was Gored. Want to know how Al Gore lost the presidency in October 2000? You just saw it: a relentless focus on one candidate's record and comments. That's understandable (and I participated in it), because Dean seemed to be on his way to the nomination, just as Gore seemed to be on his way to the presidency in October 2000. You always scrutinize most carefully the person who, barring intervention, is likely to win. The catch is that you're the intervention. Some of the criticism of Dean was way over the line. (The next pundit who scolds Dean's wife for not campaigning should have to sleep on the couch for a year.) But some of it was well-earned by Dean. Moral: When the camera's on you, shape up.
This is too strange for me to comment on right now. Anyone else care to?

UPDATE: I feel I can make a comment now. Shouldn't the media feel some sort of buyer's remorse or regret if Saletan is right? Like, we did it to Gore and it was stupid, so let's not do it again? Is he serious, or is this just rationalization at it's best/worst?

Recess Appointments 

Via Atrios, Via The Center for America Progress:

"Any appointment of a federal judge during a recess should be opposed."

- Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) opposing the appointment of an African American judge, December 2000


"Judge Pickering's record deems this recess appointment fully appropriate."

- Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), 1/17/04
Well, both sides kind of let politics drive principle often, but this is a pretty egregious example.

More on Dean 

This is from Noam Scheiber at TNR:
The lesson Trippi took away from both experiences was that there are only two possible roles a candidate can play in a race: He can be on the side that wants to do the bidding of powerful, moneyed interests, or he can be on the side that wants to give power back to the people. In Trippi's view, once you know which side of this divide a candidate stands on, you know everything you need to know about him.
I think Trippi's a brilliant strategist--the person who deserves the bulk of the credit for vaulting Dean to the front of the Democratic pack on the eve of the primaries. But I think this worldview says a lot about what went wrong for Dean in Iowa, and what's wrong with the Dean campaign generally. It's not so much that Trippi et al have chosen to ignore substance. It's that they think process is substance. Unfortunately for them, very few voters feel the same way.
If Dean fails, this might be the best obituary. I have to say, I felt, and felt strongly, that Dean was the guy because process was substance to me. That is, Dean's campaign was Campaign Finance Reform, much more than McCain-Feingold. That Dean's "ownership" campaign--"you have the power"--was Dean himself. I've told many people that his campaign has been as important or more important than the candidate.

Now, that may be true for any candidate, insomuch as the "message" is the campaign. But when the campaign is all about how you win, and now why you should win, maybe that's a much bigger weakness than I realized. Maybe I really did drink the kool-aid.

None of this is to say that I was wrong to support Dean--I really don't think so. And when you listen to his speeches, there is substance there, and the vision is, dare I say, optimistic. Nonetheless, he needs to do a better job and getting his substantive message out to voters. And I've read that his commercials are by far the worst of the bunch. Let's see if he can turn that around.

UPDATE: From Chris Suellentrop in Slate:
I heard four or five Dean radio ads on my drive to the caucus, all with the same message: Dean had the courage to stand up to President Bush on the war while the other major candidates folded. Dean's saturation TV ads focused on nefarious "corporations" and "special interests" and "Washington insiders," rather than the things I'd seen Dean use on the stump (in addition to his stance on the war) to appeal to voters who hadn't heard of him already: his Vermont record of balanced budgets, health care, and the state's "Success by Six" program for children.
This does a pretty good job at explaining what I was saying above. Dean needs to let more people know his strengths that are apparent in his stump speech, such as health care and these other things Suellentrop is talking about (I'd add Dean's bit about veterans and positive foreign policy).

Reflections on Iowa 

Well, that was a bit of a surprise, huh?

Hmm, what to say? First off, readers should know (if you don't) that both Guthrie and I are Dean supporters (although we both like Edwards and Clark a lot). We diverge on issues a lot, but we basically agree on this (although he likes Edwards more than Clark--I like 'em both about equal).

Gephardt really seems to be a good guy--maybe even a great guy, but a dinosaur (for reasons I don't want to get into now, but let's just say that the world he grew up in--strong union household that can send their kids to schools like Northwestern--doesn't exist anymore). Kerry, whom I met briefly this fall, I also like---but I really, really disliked his attacks on Dean throughout the fall and into the winter.

As for last night's results, I was surprised (duh), but there's never anything wrong with CW-busting, in my view. Anyway, it seems like Dean really, really does need to win next week, even though he still has the $$ to compete through Super Tuesday in March. We'll see.

Edwards clearly has the Big Mo, but we'll see how it translates--there's a good chance that NH voters don't really care what Iowa voters think. Clark, I still like him a lot, but he gets a bit testy in one-on-one satellite interviews. He seemed defensive with Bill Maher last Friday, and was very defensive talking to Bob Dole on Larry King last night. So maybe Clark still isn't a great candidate.

Maybe the biggest question is not whether NH-ites will flock to Kerry to Edwards, but if they'll run from Dean.

One thing Dean has going for him--if he can survive, that means he survived the ringer. I don't think the media will be on him going forward as they have been over the last few weeks.

I'm sure Guthrie will have things to say later.

I'm Still Stunned 

A little too stunned about yesterday's developments to post. I mean, Bruce Coslet back with the Bengals?!?!?

Does anyone know if there were any political occurrences yesterday?

Monday, January 19, 2004

Dean on CNN 

Dean is on Larry King basically conceding to Kerry and Edwards. Hmm. Saying all the right things, but sounds like of lame.

My Predictions... 

Given my record of predictions, I'd like to predict the following:

1.) George Bush will win the reelection in 2004.

2.) The Cincinnati Reds will not win the World Series this year.

3.) The Cincinnati Bengals will not win the Super Bowl next year.

4.) One of the liberal justices on the court will retire during a Bush Presidency.

5.) George Lucas will never release the original Star Wars trilogy on DVD.

You get the point...


I posted a comment/question on the John Kerry blog, and the responses have been quite good. Kerry's position on the war does seem much closer to my own than Dean's.

My resolution this election... don't believe anything the media tells you about the candidates. I still think Dean is the guy... but the story line of Dean was against the war when everyone else was for it may be somewhat false.

Worst News of the Day... 

even if, in a shocking twist, Iowan Democrats nominate Saddam Hussein, this will still be the worst news of the day....

Former Coach Coslet Rejoins Bengals as Scout

Go to Drudge... 

tonight. The caucuses start at 6:30 CT - by 7:00 or before, the networks will probably be able to call the winner, or at least make a very good guess, from entrance polls. I'm not sure if they'll report it - probably not. But Drudge will - he has sources in newsrooms. (He called the California election while voting was still taking place.)

This is one reason I am not all anti-Drudge. How weird is that the networks have knowledge of news, and yet report news on the same subject to you as if they don't have this knowledge? I watched coverage of the California election in disbelief as the anchors pretended not to know what they clearly did know, and which they announced as soon as the polls closed.

Caucuses are a wild card, obviously, but for the most part - with one tiny exception I can think of a few years ago - network entrance/exit polling is pretty reliable.

The Dean "hard" count 

Well, there's a reason Noam Scheiber gets paid to write and I don't (besides the fact that he's chosen a career in journalism and I have not). His post here on Dean and the "expectation game" is very good.

Basically, there's a lot of talk right now about whether Dean can still eke out a victory in Iowa even though he's been slipping in the polls. Trippi and other Dean surrogates say yes, mainly because they know their hard count, and also because it's possible that 60% of that count are first-time caucus-goers--the exact people who will be woefully underrepresented in polls.

But the bigger point in the piece is this: What if Dean's people say they can eke out victory, but then come tonight Dean wins by 8-10% or even more? This is possible if Trippi et. al. are predicting a small win in order to dampen expectations. This may or may not be true (Kaus suggests that Trippi can't predict anything but a win at this point). But the implications are huge: what if, after two solid weeks of continuous anti-Dean press coverage and scrutiny, Dean still wins Iowa handily? This would have the effect of (once again) defying all political CW (and CW on CW), thus adding (by orders of magnitude) to the legend of Howard Dean ("see, he really is changing the rules of the game") like his July fundraising numbers and steady rise in the polls through the fall.

Of course, this could all be bogus, and maybe Dean will crash and burn and drop out of the race on February 4. But, it's more good pre-caucus speculation.

Fox News 

This article is about campaign finance reform and makes some worthwhile points about the whole "money=speech" thing. But read it and ask, "Why did this person use the Gore/Dean example?" it has very little to do with the article, except to somehow try to correlate Gore's endorsement as some sort of FEC violation.


Daily Kos has had some amazing posts about Iowa over the last few days (most by political scientist Tom Schaller). Read them. Really interesting.

Update: This is the Link to the stories by Tom.

MLK Day 

I was having a discussion this morning about holidays, and I came to the conclusion that MLK Day might be the most relevant. I mean, Presidents' Day is pretty big, I think, because of the import of the legacies of the two Prez's honored that day. But MLK Day is one that both acknowledges past greatness and represents an ongoing struggle.

I mean, you could think to yourself on Memorial Day: "What am I doing to ensure that those who sacrificed for our country are treated with the respect they deserve." Likewise, Labor Day: "What I am doing to ensure that workers are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve and are able to fulfill the American Dream."

I think both those are worthy questions to ask. But I think "What are you doing to help fulfill the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King?" is more poignant.

Yes, this sounds a lot like what my 3rd grade teacher told me. But, as Jerry Seinfeld has said, "It was true in the 80s, and it still has relevance today."


I think the Eagles were out-coached, and they're receivers suck.

Not the most trenchant insights, but it beats "John Shoop doesn't go down field enough."

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Cleland for VP = Good Idea 

This is such a good idea - from a comment on Daily Kos:

"Kerry's vice presidential pick: I have a hunch, and I want to go on record as the first to predict it: His good friend and fellow Nam Vet from the South... Former U.S. Senator Max Cleland of Georgia. Max may not win him Georgia, but he will turn other Southern states, possibly including North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Florida, into the blue zone."

Max Cleland as a VP candidate - he would be perfect for any Democrat. Dean/Cleland? Edwards/Cleland? All possible... I wonder if he's at all interested. (He has been campaigning for Kerry and they are apparently friends.)

Also - would Kerry be VP timber at all? Dean/Kerry? Gephardt/Kerry? I just think after this campaign that only legitimate VP candidate now running is Edwards - but Kerry might not be bad, especially if he picks up significant support in the primaries. I would hope that John Edwards would be the Attorney General in a Democratic administration.

A Personal Attack and a Diatribe 

A good friend of ours recently referred to this blog as "the saddest thing he's ever seen." I admit, it is pathetic and sad. However, Goldberg, I ask you - is it as sad as this friend's continued insistence that the impeachment of Bill Clinton wasn't about sex? What could be sadder than an otherwise brilliant person clinging to the fantasy that his party didn't go on a sexual witch hunt a few years ago when this sexual witch hunt occurred every day in front of the entire country?

BTW, even though it dominated the national discourse for two years, I still feel that the President being impeached and put on trial in the Senate because he got a blow job and came on a blue dress is still underrated. I think that a few years from now, the entire country is going to collectively think - "Holy shit - that happened" and break into collective hysterics. I mean, holy shit - that happened.

Fiscal Conservatism is Dead 

This is old news. This is apparently a quote from a Gephardt ad:

"And, did you know Howard Dean supported cutting Social Security retirement benefits to balance the budget?"

What surprises me about this is the reference to balancing the budget. Why not just say, "Dean supported cutting Social Security retirement benefits" and end it there? Apparently, operating on a balanced budget is now so low a priority that a candidate can be attacked for attempting to do it.

Also, and this is something fun to recall, remember when Republicans tried to get a balanced budget amendment passed in 1994? What happened in the past 10 years (and wow it makes me feel old to realize the '94 elections and the Contract With America were 10 years ago) that caused the Republicans to simply stop caring about spending within the country's means?

Saturday, January 17, 2004

More on Pickering 

Have I ever told you that I love Brad DeLong? He nails it here:
George W. Bush Celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday
George W. Bush celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday by giving Charles Pickering a recess appointment as an appeals court judge:

Salon: Charles Pickering... his dismal record on race begins with a law school article he wrote defending anti-miscegenation statutes. In the 1960s... "Pickering worked to support segregation, attack civil rights advocates who sought to end Jim Crow, and back those who opposed national civil rights legislation, above all the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Or, in the words of a public statement he signed in 1967, Pickering wanted to preserve 'our southern way of life,' and he bitterly blamed civil rights workers for stirring up 'turmoil and racial hatred' in the South." In the 1970s, as a state senator, he voted to appropriate money to the the Sovereignty Commission, a group dedicated to resisting desegregation...

The Republican Party's commitment to civil rights and equal opportunity for all Americans is unshakeable. Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink. Say no more, say no more.

God knows there are many reasons in America today not to be a Democrat. But they pale to nothing compared to this reason not to be a Republican.


UPDATE: The smart and incisive Lawrence Solum misses the point, writing "Charles Pickering has received a recess appointment from President Bush.... This is, of course, a very significant development in the confirmation wars--a naturally retaliatory move by the President for the Senate Democrat's use of the filibuster against several of his nominees." A development in the "confirmation wars" is announced on some other weekend, any other weekend, a weekend that is not that of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. This is something different: the result of somebody inside the White House asking the question, "What can we do around Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday to remind the Base that if you don't like Black people, the Republican Party is your natural home?"

Posted by DeLong at 07:38 PM | Permanent Link/Comments

Friday, January 16, 2004

I wish this were more out-of-context 

From Slate's "Sort-of liberals sort-of reconsider the sort-of completed war in Iraq," Paul Berman writes, in considering Saddam's parallels to Hitler and Stalin:
Saddam's birthplace in Tikrit is a mere 450 miles from Stalin's birthplace
He considers some sort of semi-legit argument. Hmm. This quote is, obviously, taken out of context, but I really wish it were more out-of-context, because, DAMN, it's stupid.

A Prediction 

A bold prediction.... I predict Dean will win Iowa by 4-6%. I just don't believe these polls. This is a real bias the media demonstrates - a bias towards a good race. (We saw it during the recall with the LA Times - running absurd polls that showed the race tightening when most observers realized it had been a done deal for weeks.)

Anyway, put me down for this bold prediction, all three readers.

Now It's Kerry... 

See Drudge... Apparently, in 1996, Kerry proposed getting rid of the Department of Agriculture. We'll see how this story makes the rounds... Foxnews should be next, but who knows? There might not be a story, there might be a story. It doesn't matter, because Drudge has posted his headline and millions of people - especially Iowans - will see it.

Looks like every time a Democrat steps to the top of the pack, the media comes after them with another bullshit non-scandal. Damn liberal media.

My favorite part is "DRUDGE REPORT can now reveal." What oh what has recently happened that allowed Matt Drudge to reveal this.


This is a President with very little regard for Democracy. There, I said it.

While were at it, my take on the filibusters. Republicans are sort of going crazy over this, and I admit the filibuster isn't the greatest gift ever granted to Democracy. (Though it makes some sense - it takes away some of the power inequitably given to smaller states.) But it's not like Democrats are filibustering everything - and it's not like George Bush hasn't been able to get his agenda passed. On one issue the Democrats have taken a stand - because it is very important to them and their constituents. (Especially women, many of whom like the idea that the government can't tell them what to do with their own bodies.) Has George Bush compromised? Has he sought out advice from the Democrats in the Senate about which judges would be acceptable candidates? No, he hasn't and he won't - because he is a radical conservative.

Certain readers of this blog who clerk for certain federal judges may take offense to this, but when Bush stated during campaign 2000 that Justices Thomas and Scalia were ideal Justices he revealed himself to be far out of line with mainstream America. This could be one reason why more Americans voted for Al Gore. And so, on this one issue, the Democrats took a stand. I say, good for them.

The Big MO 

So, I was on the vile "The Corner" today and saw a post saying something like, "Now that Carol Mosely Braun has endorsed Dean, does that me he really has "The Big Mo""?

I thought that was pretty funny.

This will be the first and last time I praise anything found in derKorner.

ADDENDUM: Shrill pseudo-nazi reference! I am now banned from all political discource, I think.


Weird shit going on at Andrew Sullivan's web site. Very strange.

More on Clark 

Ruy Tuxiera of "The Emerging Democratic Majority" writes:
Karl Rove's Nightmare?
Readers may have thought DR was getting soft on Dean, what with his recent post on "Dean: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly". Certainly, his old buddy, the Deanophobe thought so.

Maybe it's time to revisit Wes Clark, "Karl Rove's Nightmare", as Richard Cohen puts it in an interesting column today in The Washington Post. The latest ARG tracking poll has Clark only 5 points behind Dean in New Hampshire.

If Clark comes in second or even beats Dean in NH then he's probably really got a shot and the two person race many have predicted may emerge. We'll see. In the meantime, consider this quote from Clark that's in the Cohen column: "I don't think it's patriotic to dress up in a flight suit and prance around". Clark can say something like this with conviction and authority. Dean can't. And in what is likely to be a very tough election for the Democrats, they're going to need all the conviction and authority they can get in this area.

Call it the "flight deck test", a close cousin to the "Ohio test" (which candidate can carry Ohio?) Which candidate can most effectively hold Bush up to ridicule for his disgraceful flight deck "mission accomplished" episode? Let's face it: that man's name is not Howard Dean.
The problem here in the last paragraph. It is based on a premise that the ONLY candidate who can plausibly take on GWB would be one with extensive military experience. Based on that, of course Wes Clark would be the correct nominee. But it's not clear at all to me that the premise is correct. Dean's critique on GWB's foreign policy can resonate, I think (and I think that all of you who have heard Dean's stump speech will agree with me). He talks about veterans benefits, distracting from the war against Al-Q, etc. Really, a lot of the same things Clark is saying. If we Democrats think we need a man in uniform in order to have national security credibility, I think we truly are admitting weakness.


This is an unfortunate, but probably inconsequential, quote:

"We were trying to make America safe. That's what lobbyists mostly do."

-- Wesley Clark, as quoted by the AP, defending "his service on corporate boards after retiring from the military in 2000 and registering as a lobbyist."

Thursday, January 15, 2004


Is it just me, or has Michael Kinsley (who I once thought was the best columnist in America) not really written anything better that slightly above-average in a long while?

Then again, he is allowed to slump, since he once wrote the GREATEST COLUMN EVER.


I was going home on the L yesterday, and I glanced at an article in "Red Eye" that someone was reading. It title mentioned something like "G-Rod proposes new plan on X" and the "G-Rod" referred to Illinois Governor Rod R. Blagojevich. G-Rod? G-Rod? Hasn't this whole first initial-first syllable of last name thing gone far enough?


Coach Dean Smith is endorsing John Edwards. I have no comment to this.

Update on ABC News piece 

Even Andrew Sullivan calls this a "vile little smear story." Wow.

Clark is NOT a Republican 

I really don't like the fact that Howard Dean is going around claiming that Wesley Clark is not a "real" Democrat or shouldn't be running in the Democratic primary because he voted for some Republicans prior to 1992.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Moseley Braun Drops Out 

...and is apparently supporting Howard Dean. See here. I always thought she ran a classy campaign, and I also thought she was one of the stronger candidates at the debates I watched. I'm glad she's dropping out now - for the good of the party - for the good of the country.

Insane Idiocy 

...and before you say, hey, it's just Drudge - remember he's got one of the most popular web sites around. Actually, I like Drudge to a degree - when he's actually dishing news or gossip. But this? Do I actually have to refute this? Does science mean anything to these people? Many if not most global warming models point to temperature extremes developing - because as the ice caps melt, the ocean gets colder. So, in fact, the fact that it's the coldest day in NY history could actually help the case for global warming.

There are indeed scientific arguments against the existence of human-caused global warming. But "it's cold outside today" is not one of them.


Please read this. Read what is a major "scandal" these days. Once, six years ago, Howard Dean signed an affidavit for his friend, a state trooper in his security detail, who was involved in a custody dispute. In it, he said that he was a good parent and that he trusted him. Few years later, it turns out the man was charged with domestic abuse. He was removed from Dean's security detail. Three months later he was fired.

In other words, once Dean found out the man was abusive, he fired him. (Or, rather, the state fired him.) The man states clearly he was probably treated worse because of his association with Dean. All of the lawyers involved are identified as "Dean supporters."

What the fuck is this? What in the hell does this mean? Why is this now the main story on ABC "News"'s web site? I know nothing at all about this case except what I just read in this article, and it appears to totally exonerate Dean. Not exonerate him - it's true, Dean made a mistake when he believed his friend, who said he did not abuse his wife. The man himself states: if Dean had known, he'd have fired him. Perhaps it was questionable to insert himself into this case as governor, but front page news? And why is ABC mysteriously releasing this story now? Howard Dean has been running for President for over a year.

Atrios has posted about this - sensationalistic headlines, with no real story. But most people probably only read the headlines - and the first few paragraph. This will surely cost Dean votes. (Though voters did respond favorably to sexual assault charges launched against Governor Arnold in Cal.)

I have to get back to work. This just makes me sick.

Are You Kidding Me? 

CBS may not air the Moveon.org ad during the Super Bowl.

Is this American that we live in? I mean, it's one thing to pull a probably terrible miniseries about The Reagans, but good god. I can't even think about this.

(I linked to this through Drudge.)

I thought Big Government wasn't the answer 

Headline in the NYT today: "Bush Plans $1.5 Billion Drive for Promotion of Marraige."


actually has a very good, very critical piece about Dean in Slate today. Is it so hard to treat the man with respect - even if you don't think he'd be a good nominee, you have to be in awe of what he's managed to accomplish thus far. This piece, I'd say, accurately sums up any misgivings I have about Dean.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004



You ask why Powell's speech isn't cited more by administration critics. Simple - because Democrats live in a fantasy world where Colin Powell is on their side. They want to believe, for some reason, that he has been fighting the administration for years, that he agrees with Democrats on most issues, etc. But he hasn't - he obviously agrees with Bush on many things, as evidenced by this speech. Nobody wants to go after Powell - he is probably the most popular figure in Washington, even now. I wish Democrats would just accept that he isn't on our side, and probably never will be.

This would be more appropriate in the comments section, but I can't seem to post comments now.

And that makes it "Fact-Esque" 

Mickey Kaus said it, so I guess it's true:
Gut Prediction: Wesley Clark is to 2004 as Gary Hart was to 1984--a candidate who's appealing on first look and who makes a big move in New Hampshire, but who the voters ultimately decide is just too weird. ..
Why would anyone write this without saying why?

Liberal "Hawks" 

Slate is running a much-ballyhooed discussion amonst "liberal hawks" such as Christopher "Pass the whisky" Hitchens, Paul Berman, Tom Friedman, et.al. Anyway, 2 points.
1) I don't like the use of the words "hawk" or "dove" to describe someone based totally on their view of the most recent war against Saddam in Iraq.
2) Slate's own Fred Kaplan finally asks following in response to the other panelists claims that the WMD issue doesn't matter: "At the risk of sounding like a goo-goo, I invite someone to take up the question of going to war in a democracy. How frankly should an elected leader feel obligated to outline the true reasons for war? If the reasons fail to persuade, should he go to war anyway if he feels the cause is right?"

Indeed, all of Kaplan's points are pretty damn good.

ADDENDUM: Also, Kaplan mentions the "thoroughly discredited" speech Powell gave at the UN on Feb. 5. Remember that one? With the satellite pictures of the "mobile labs" and whatnot? How has Powell not had to resign over this? Why isn't this speech used more often by administration critics to prove that the administration basically lied? Weird, says I.


I'm not sure why Ann Coulter gets to say these type of things and still be invited on all of the major news shows. Some people can say incredibly offensive things and retain their semi-respected status, others (e.g., Rush) can't. Episcopalians are her latest target:

"The Episcopals don't demand much in the way of actual religious belief. They have girl priests, gay priests, gay bishops, gay marriages -- it's much like The New York Times editorial board. They acknowledge the Ten Commandments -- or 'Moses' talking points' -- but hasten to add that they're not exactly 'carved in stone.'"

Hmm... dismissing a major religion as not demanding religious belief. Nice.


Why is Wesley Clark Dodging the Factor? 

This is Bill O'Reilly at his funniest, and at the height of his delusions of grandeur. I think the greatest aspect of this piece is that O'Reilly simply assumes that the reason Clark won't come on his show is that Wesley Clark is AFRAID of Bill O'Reilly. But why is he afraid?

"So why is General Clark afraid? I don't know for sure. I can only put forth an educated guess. Number one, he's not running his own campaign. Unlike Dean, Gephardt, Edwards, and Lieberman, who are definitely calling their own shots, Clark is not. He's been handled by advisers of President Clinton. And those folks don't like me very much.

General Clark is new at the political game and is deferring to the spinners and consultants. This does not bode well for Clark. Americans don't want a potential president who's not in charge. Also, while the general does media interviews all the time, he usually chooses soft venues, even though the no-spin zone of course is anything but soft."

I mean, I'm sure war-torn Bosnia is NOTHING compared to the no-spin zone.

Just go read the whole thing to get the full effect.

So sorry to see you go 

I regret to inform our readers that the New Republic has ended it's TNR Primary. That sucks. How else am I going to find out that Joe Lieberman is an honest man because he supported the Iraq war, and that Wes Clark sucks because he said things, you know, that are just too true?

Paul O'Neil 

Mr. O'Neil's criticisms of the President are the greatest thing he has done since he started for the 1990 Cincinnati Reds Wire to Wire World Series Champions.

Of course, the smear campaign is now in full effect and the charges won't stick with those who weren't prone to believing them anyway. But one thing good will come out of this - Republicans are being forced to admit that plans have been in place for a long time to invade Iraq - since Clinton, as a matter of fact. Anyone with any sort of intelligence already knew this, but now everyone is being forced to admit this, over and over again, on the record, less than a year before Bush's reelection. This is good, because it could end the myth that attacking Iraq had anything at all to do with the World Trade Centers. In fact, it didn't. It was something that people in the US have wanted to do since before September 11 - and now they are forced to admit that.

Watch John Fund Pretend to be a Journalist! 

Via Pandagon, I came across this hatched-job on Paul O'Neill by the WJS's John Fund. The funniest part:
Mr. O'Neill was also surprisingly indiscreet. In our dinner conversation he told me things about his disagreements with the administration that I was surprised a cabinet officer would reveal. I was impressed by his candor but not by his wisdom. He was saved from my publishing them only by his offhand request in the middle of the meal that they be off the record.
See! John Fund is a real journalist with real "sources" who abides by such things as "on" or "off" the record. He would have rather published those stories that would have embarrassed the WH, except that the then-Treasury Secretary awkwardly asked him not to. Only this saved John Fund from breaking a story that would harm GWB.

Seriously, the WSJ editorial page has piggy-backed long enough on the legitimacy of its (very good, if not the best) newsroom. It is not made up of journalists at all; only movement conservatives who use it as a platform to inject the most radical rightwing ideas into the mainstream

Monday, January 12, 2004


There seems little point in discussing the insane inanity of many of the attacks on Howard Dean. Hannah Rosin of The Washington Post has written something so stupid, it must be commented on. Apparently, the staffers for the Dean campaign do not attend parties held by the staffers of other campaigns. (This according to the first few paragraphs - I refuse to read the rest of it.)

While I was going to Iowa this week to volunteer for Dr. Dean, I am now immediately withdrawing my support. Until Dr. Dean hires a more socially adept staff, I will be supporting John Edwards.

Friday, January 09, 2004

Evolution and Mars 

Well, I read last week that only 28% of Americans believe in evolution. No other statistic is more depressing in the world, I think (well, at least no other statistic that I'm thinking of right now).

But where is this vast majority when we are sending rovers and such to Mars? Basically, the reports of lake beds millions of years old is impossible, right, if the universe is only 4,000 years old?

I admit this is not a well thought-out post. But something doesn't jive between space exploration and creationism

Harkin for Dean; Dean for America 

From a well-placed source at a prominent news organization, Tom Harkin is endorsing Howard Dean!

Now, I Can Die 

I have seen these words posted on the Foxnews web site:

Pete Rose is on tonight’s edition of "The O'Reilly Factor"


Dean Tax Idea 

... from another website. I linked to this through Brad Delong's blog.

In essence, it argues that Dean should simply take Clark's plan, and openly admit that he is taking Clark's plan. I agree with it about 100%.

Goldberg - you are probably right that we can't have a revenue neutral tax plan. But Dean will have exactly 0% chance of winning the election if Bush can even remotely credibly accuse him of proposing tax increases on the middle class.

On yesterday's The Note, they indicated Dean probably won't announce his own tax plan until the general election. That would be too bad - Dean is going to be flip flopping on the issue of taxes and he needs to do so as quickly as possible. Clark's plan gives him an opportunity.

Bush on crack...uh, I mean Mars 

So Bush really wants to send a man to the Moon and to Mars. Apparently he doesn't think you need to, you know, pay for things. Plus, it's nice to know that our goal is aobut the same as our goal was 40 years ago.

On the space-note, I hope to have a guest blogger soon to talk about the Mars rover--you know, the NASA thing that makes some sense.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Dems and Nat'l Security 

Eric Alterman talks about how Republican's are automatically assumed to be "credible" on national security. The money quote:

Rice’s formulation tells us nothing about when to use force; when to do so unilaterally or multilaterally; and when to hold back. Nevermind. She is a Republican conservative and so she is deemed to be “credible” on national security regardless of whether she makes any sense.

This is a really good column. Read the whole thing


The Bush Tax 

Felt it this morning when taking the L cost $1.75 instead of $1.50.

Ok, so I'm not totally convinced that running on the idea of the "Bush Tax" is a good idea, but we'll see.


Well, I finally made it back from Montana, only about 36 hours after I was supposed to get back.

Anyway, Wes Clark has come out with his tax plan, and it's pretty good. Actually, Dennis Kucinich's plan is also pretty good. Both entail some sort of needed "tax reform."

Clark's plan, however, is revenue neutral, as of TODAY. That is, his plan would cut taxes for people making less that $100k a year by $30 billion, and raise taxes for those making over $1M by $30 Billion. This does help make the tax code more progressive, which is needed, and I think he also has some provisions that cut out some loopholes and simplify things like the EITC, which is also needed. However, the more immediate need is for more money overall for the federal fisc. By keeping revenue at today's level, government cannot afford to implement any new spending programs without Bush-like credit-card financing.

This is why Dean's "repeal all the Bush tax cuts" idea is necessary. Dean has been hinting lately that he will unveil a tax reform plan of his own at some point in the future. This was inevitable. The key to his plan is his starting point: Clinton-era revenue levels. So, Dean's plan most likely will involve tax reform at the revenue-neutral level of January 2001, not January 2005. This is really the key to any sound tax policy.

Now, hopefully, this plan will co-opt some of the best ideas of the other candidate's plans (Kucinich's reform of the EITC, Edwards' dual-level, progressive capital gains tax, etc.). We'll have to wait and see. But, the key, if you want to control the deficit, is to ensure that the goverment takes in more money overall than it does today, and that's why the starting point must be Clinton-era tax rates and revenues, not Bush-era rates and revenues.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

An e-mail from Goldberg... 

...who will be returning from his business trip, er, ski trip shortly.

"On inside politics, judy is talking to the CNN reporter who follows the dean campaign. The reporter was talking about how Dean is moving to the center, finally, by talking about balanced budgets and gun rights.

Well, f$#@ me, but hasn't dean been talking about these "centrist" issues for months?"

Indeed, Goldberg is correct. In fact, Dean also governed for years as a centrist. He hasn't staked out any position that will prevent him from running as a centrist - except possibly taxes, but he has remained fairly non-committal about any specific plans. Dean's genius has been an ability to appeal to the Democratic base with sensible, centrist, practical solutions. That is why he will win the nomination, and that is why he will beat George Bush.

Rocket Scientists 

I find it somewhat disturbing that the NASA web site devoted to the Mars mission has had some trouble the past two days - very slow, can't get the much discussed color images, etc. Shouldn't "a large number of people attempting to download new images from mars" have been a contingency that these folks should have planned for? Aren't these the same people who just sent a rocket to Mars?

UPDATE: The site does seem to be working now. How cool are images from Mars? MARS!

O'Reilly's Back 

After a well-earned holiday break, Bill O'Reilly is back, and we couldn't be happier here at Goldberg and Guthrie. See his latest talkingpointsmemo here.

Mr. O'Reilly is too often marginalized by the left - a point I sort of agree with here. He is not insignificant, millions and millions of Americans watch his show every night - and they believe him. He is a bestselling author (although he may not have had the #1 non-fiction book last year).

Another thing the casual follower of American politics and debate may not realize - a constant theme of O'Reilly's commentary is that he wants to elevate the debate. He believes (and I have no reason to doubt his sincerity) that the methods he employs on his show are conducive to healthy discussion of the issues, and that the defamers and smear merchants (Al Franken, for example) are poisoning the discourse in this country to the point where democracy itself is threatened.

Which brings me to his current commentary...

Comparing liberal columnists - or any columnist - to jihadists at this point in our history - when the wounds of what real jihadists have done to our country are still so fresh - is despicable rhetoric. Thousands of our citizens were brutally murdered in the name of jihad, to compare this to the actions of a newspaper columnist, even an irresponsible one, is absurd.. Mr. O'Reilly should apologize as soon as possible for this comparison.

More Saletan 

I can't even bring myself to read his whole article in Slate today. I looked at his first two points. On one hand, Dean is saying all the things he needs to say in order to bring the party together for the upcoming battle with Bush. On the other hand, Dean's body language is very divisive. I wish I was making this up.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Extremely Hateful and Extreme Bush Hatred 

The Daily Howler - which is thankfully back after an incomparably long absence - has selected the notion that there is widespread hatred of Bush among liberals as the "spin of the year." I couldn't agree more. But look who peddled this spin at the Democratic debate yesterday -

"LIEBERMAN: ... We're not going to defeat the extremism of the Bush administration with extreme anger of our own... Anger and negativism and division don't win elections in America. It's unity, constructive new ideas and hope that win them."

Thank you, Joe, for feeding the Republican spin machine.

Funnity and Colmes 

Some observations from watching the first half-hour of Hannity and Colmes.

Colmes was on vacation. (I think it might say something about this show that Hannity was able to take his vacation during the holidays while Colmes had to wait until now.) His replacement was one Michael Wolfe. Not sure who this guy is - but let me say he made me miss Alan Colmes. I assume, since he is subbing for Colmes, that he is supposed to represent the left - but I could not have determined this from the substantive comments he made on the show.

First segment: Topic: Democrats Attack Howard Dean (I'm paraphrasing throughout). Guests: Democratic strategist Peter Fenn and conservative Kellyanne Conway of the Polling Company. Peter Fenn seems gravely concerned with the gaffes Howard Dean has made, but it wasn't too bad. Then, Hannity asks Conway a tough question - "Do you think Dean can move to the right given all the liberal positions he's staked out?" Yet Conway can't even answer this question - she immediately moves into the Republican Story of the Day - the Moveon.Org ad that compared Bush to Hitler. (See this fair and balanced report if you haven't heard this story yet.) "If Dean really wants to do something good for the Democrats, he'd ask moveon.org to apologize for the ad comparing Bush to Hitler they had on their web site."

Cut to Michael Wolfe, who said, "Now wait a minute, Kellyanne - that's not really a story. It says in the article right here on fair and balanced Foxnews that this ad was simply submitted to Moveon.org as part of a contest, not sponsored by them, so it's really not representative of the views of the left or any major leftist organization." Oh, wait, that was the Michael Wolfe in my head. Instead, the real Michael Wolfe just let that accusation sit out there, asked his unrelated prepared question, and the rest of this segment proceeded predictably.

Next segment: the aforementioned ad. (See, btw, MoveOn's entirely reasonable explanation of the whole affair here). A clip from the ad (which is of course idiotic) was shown. According to Michael Wolfe, who is about as exciting as scotch tape, Moveon refused the invitation to appear on their show. So, Hannity and Colmes went out and found the most reasonable replacement available- A LIBERAL WHO AGREES THAT BUSH AND HITLER ARE COMPARABLE! That's right - Wayne Madsen of geopolitique.com (I refuse to link to it) spent the next several minutes agreeing that Bush and Hitler's initial years in power were the same. Not a word about moveon's contention that this is part of a smear campaign by Republicans. He had no real comment on Wolfe's one salient point of the evening (comparing this ad to the infamous Max Clealand ads). He was there to play the role demanded of him by the typical Foxnews viewer - a rabid, irrational liberal who feels that George Bush and Hitler are the same. Nice work, Wayne Madsen.

Third segment - Dick Morris. Topic: Can Dean win a general election? Hannity noted that with his recent comments Dean has gone over the edge. Dick Morris says he didn't have far to go. Michael Wolfe seems capable only of reading a script - and he's not very good at that.

Finally, in a preview for the obligatory segment for Pete Rose, the video showed Pete in an Expos uniform. I could take no more.

This is what we are up against. This is what passes for "debate" on Foxnews. This is the type of propaganda that millions of Americans are fed every night.


Friday, January 02, 2004

God Endorses Bush 

I'm not sure this really needs comment: apparently, God has told Pat Robertson that Bush will win in 2004. I know both sides of the political spectrum have crazies that make up part of their devoted base - but please remember who supports them.

More Marshall on Plame 

Along these same lines, Josh Marshall continues to intimate that everyone whose anyone in Washington knows who the leaker is. (See Atrios's post and comments on this if, like me, you aren't "in" enough to know what he's talking about.) Oddly, Marshall has in one day demonstrated the best and worst aspects of talkingpointsmemo.com - on one hand, he is just plain smarter than almost everyone else who writes about these issues. On the other hand, there is an annoying "insiderness" to his blog - constant reminders that he knows a whole bunch of self you don't know and that he won't let you in on it until he's sure you can handle it. If Marshall knows who the leaker is, why doesn't he sack up and tell us?

(And, not for nothing, there has always been an anti-Dean undercurrent in Marshall's posts - what a shock that he would be against the only viable candidate in the primary who has genuine anti-Washington establishment credentials.)

(Again, though, let me reemphasize to all three of our readers that Josh Marshall has probably the best blog on the web right now. Almost all of the time it's just really, really, really good.)

Kinsley on Plame 

Kinsley on Plame. I can't say I agree. Kinsley points out the absurdity of the whole exercise of an investigation focused on a question to which Bob Novak knows the answer. The money quote (as Andrew Sullivan would say):

"The purpose of protecting the identity of leakers is to encourage future leaks. Leaks to journalists, and the fear of leaks, can be an important restraint on misbehavior by powerful institutions and people. This serves the public interest. But there is no public interest in leaks that harm national security, or leaks that violate the law, or leaks intended to harm blameless individuals. There is no reason to want more of these kinds of leaks. So, there is no reason to protect the identity of such bad-faith leakers."

This is the same tired argument anyone makes when they want to abridge speech they find distasteful - much like a mayor banning a Klan rally and saying the Constitution doesn't protect hate. The point is not only that we are not in a position to determine which speech is worthy of protection - the point is that restraints even on harmful speech will discourage future speakers who have something valuable to contribute to the discourse. So it goes with Novak's source - if he doesn't protect him or her, a good source down the road with a good leak may be afraid to go public. Is this really that hard to understand?

(I am not suggesting, btw, that a journalist has Constitutional duty to protect his or her sources - but they do have an important moral obligation to do so, an obligation not only to their source, but to their fellow journalists and to the American public.)


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