Carol Platt Liebau: October 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

In Good Hands

Because I will be traveling to New York tomorrow and busy there with appointments on Thursday (before heading to St. Louis Thursday night), I'll be unable to blog until Friday. With elections less than a week away, though, it seemed important to offer readers commentary in my absence.

I'm grateful that three of the finest bloggers on the web have agreed to guest blog here on Wednesday and Thursday: The fabulous Lori Byrd of Wizbang, the incomparable Gateway Pundit from my home town of St. Louis, and the wonderful Maternal Optimist, Ruth Anne Adams.

Warm thanks to all of them.

Friday Radio

I will be live in studio on Allman and Smash in the Morning this Friday at 8:10 a.m. to discuss the final days of the Jim Talent-Claire McCaskill Senate race.

Kerry-ing a Stigma

According to Byron York, troop-trasher John Kerry has been seeking political support in the wake of his despicable remarks.

Mike Bouchard, the challenger to Michigan's Democratic Senator Debbie "Dangerously Incompetent" Stabenow, wants to know if Stabenow agrees with Kerry -- after all, she's had him in to campaign for her.

It strikes me that every Democrat -- especially those who campaign side by side with Kerry -- should be called upon to clarify whether they, too, believe that only stupid failures are fighting in Iraq.

What a Shock

This piece from USA Today discusses a study by the Center for Media and Public Affairs:

The study found that three out of four evaluations of Democratic candidates' chances of winning — such as sound bites — were positive, compared with one out of eight for Republicans. Coverage has been dominated by two major themes: the effects of the Foley scandal, and the impact the Bush presidency is having on the party's congressional candidates.

The coverage has seemed almmost perfectly designed to try to suppress GOP turnout, almost as if the media wants to neutralize the Republican advantage in GOTV operations . . .

Who would have guessed -- there's bias in the MSM!

MSM Disconnect

Stories like this are incredibly revealing: "Did Kerry Hand Republicans a November Gift?"

That's the tone of most of the MSM coverage of Kerry's despicable remarks. Nothing about the substance of the remarks . . . only concern about whether they'll damage the Democrats' political chances next Tuesday.

Interesting that so many who are ready to weigh in with unqualified indignation when it comes, for example, to certain RNC ads are so reluctant to condemn John Kerry's slander of America's troops. Amazing -- like Andrew Sullivan and David Gergen on CNN with Anderson Cooper or ABC political director Mark Halperin with Hugh Hewitt -- that they're willing simply to accept Kerry's explanation and offer him the benefit of the doubt (Who are you going to believe, anyway? John Kerry and the wise men of the MSM, or your own lying ears?).

Funny how deference and courtesy seems to be extended only to those on the left side of the aisle.

The Cultural Chasm

If there was any doubt about the cultural differences between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to the military, Senator John Kerry has illuminated them brightly enough for everyone in America to see.

Yesterday, here in Pasadena (in an appearance that created little local interest):

Kerry students that if they were able to navigate the education system "and make an effort to be smart" they could "do well" but, he told them, "If you don't, you get stuck in Iraq."

Here's the video.

And there it is in a nutshell: John Kerry believes that if you're smart and successful, you "do well." If you're stupid and a failure, "you get stuck in Iraq." Is there any doubt that a fair number of his Democratic colleagues feel the same way?

Of course, Kerry is refusing to apologize, and in his trademarked pompous formulation -- "I apologize to no one."

It's instructive to know exactly how the man the Democrats hoped would be President looks on the brave men and women who are both defending our country, fighting Islamofascists, and trying to secure a future of freedom for the Iraqis.

Happy Halloween!

As this column points out, I'm a firm believer that Halloween is for children, and it's hard not to be skeptical of the recent trend toward making it a gigantic celebration for adults (especially when it elicits regrettable behavior on the part of people at an age to know better).

Frightened and Angry

This is what Jesse Jackson is desperately afraid of.

P.S. The Man of Steele rules! No wonder "the Rev. Jackson" is hysterical.

Why to Vote Republican

I wrote yesterday about the foreign policy ramifications of a Democratic victory next Tuesday.

But there are other reasons for conservatives to get out to vote, as well. If the Dems win, hello, amnesty. And good-bye to any chance of a solid Supreme Court.

As Dennis Prager notes, it's okay for conservatives to be angry, but they'd be well advised to vote Republican, anyway.

Otherwise, they're likely to be a whole lot angrier come next year.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Steele Looking Good

Endorsements for Michael Steele are flowing in from African American Democrats in Maryland.

Foreign Policy Foolishness

My column -- about why America can't afford to let Democrats have control of Congress -- is posted at Townhall.

Another Harold Ford Gaffe

Given its enthusiasm for Ford, it's worth wondering whether Newsweek -- which ran a glamorous cover shot of him on a recent cover -- intends to report on Ford's newest gaffe?

No, not his political theology, but a foreign policy mistake -- involving a misstatement that our close friend and ally was developing nuclear weapons.

MSM Run Up to the Elections

According to some reports, CNN's sandbag of Lynne Cheney is part of a new strategy to "counterprogram" Fox News.

Wonder if we'll hear all the same people who denounce Fox's alleged "bias" do the same, now that CNN is running a series "Where the Right Went Wrong" in the week before election day, using research culled by left-wing partisans? Imagine the outcry if Fox did the same from the right.

Don't hold your breath waiting for any outrage. The journalistic establishment considers bias a bad thing only when they construe it as helping conservatives. No doubt the New York Times' newest in kind contribution to the Democrats will be left decently unmentioned.

But in a day when news like this makes headlines, it's hard to imagine why the MSM keeps on doing the same old thing, isn't it?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Harold Ford Theology

Political panic can make people do ugly things. Like lead Harold Ford to announce that Republican Christians fear the Lord -- while Democratic Christians fear AND love the Lord. (HT: Hugh Hewitt).

Sounds to me like Ford's not only positioning himself to lose the Tennessee Senate race -- he's campaigning to take over the DNC's Howard Dean Office of Religious Outreach if he's got some free time come November 8.

Problems with Polling

Michael Barone points out what any good political analyst should know by now. That is, that there are many reasons that polling -- which is being used to jump to pro-Democrat conclusions -- may have some systemic problems. As Barone puts it:

Americans have fewer landline phones than they used to, and the random digit dialing most pollsters use does not include cell-phone numbers. Larger and larger percentages of those called are declining to be interviewed.

Interviewers can inject bias in the results. The late Warren Mitofsky, who conducted the 2004 NEP exit poll, went back and found that the greatest difference between actual results in exit poll precincts and the reports phoned in to NEP came where the interviewers were female graduate students -- and almost all the discrepancies favored the Democrats.

Another factor worth considering? The ugliness of some of this year's election issues -- from the Foley debacle to the Allen-Webb race in Virginia -- may also hold independent turnout down, which would make turnout by committed partisans more important than ever.

What It Means

As this piece points out, a large number of Democratic congressional candidates are well to the right of the national party.

Here's hoping that the RNC is going to run some advertising reminding people in each district that when they vote for their local Democratic candidate, they're also voting for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker.


Bob Casey wouldn't even show up on "Fox News Sunday" this morning. Afraid of confronting Rick Santorum, perhaps? It can't be easy just sitting on one's lead and hoping for the best.

If Casey doesn't have the guts to show up even before he's elected, how exactly is he going to stand up for anything if he makes it to the U.S. Senate?

Like or dislike Rick Santorum, no one -- no one -- can deny that he's got guts . . . what a contrast.

Not a Fair Fight

Support Jim Talent in Missouri, of course -- but please, please support Michael Steele, running for the Senate in Maryland, too.

He's wiped the floor with Ben Cardin this morning on "Meet the Press." Cardin is an embarassment, and Steele is passionate, assertive, articulate and intelligent. It wasn't even a fair fight. Among other things, Steele called Cardin on his call to defund the war if the Democrats take Congress, and Cardin had nowhere to hide. Priceless.

Tim Russert pressed Steele on whether he was a "Bush Republican." Steele told him that he was a "Lincoln Republican." Game, set, match.

There aren't many mornings when I giggle with glee when listening to "Meet the Press." Today has been one of them. Check out the transcript here.

Michael Steele's campaign manager certainly got it right:

Evidently, skipping the NAACP debate with Michael Steele on Thursday still did not give the Congressman enough time to study the issues.


"Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" is about to be cancelled.

Good. I watched the first couple episodes -- and I got tired of the self-congratulatory, self-righteous Christian-bashing. Then I checked out Tina Fey's new show, which covers the same topic and is infinitely more entertaining.

RIP "Studio 60."

Saturday, October 28, 2006

All You Need to Know

Everything you need to know about the politics of the NY Times editorial board: It's endorsed Ned Lamont, darling of the left wingnuts.


Either Ben Cardin feels so assured of victory -- or else he has so little respect for the NAACP -- that he simply skipped out on a NAACP-sponsored debate with his Republican opponent for Maryland's US Senate seat, Michael Steele.

Will Cardin's arrogance (or cowardice) be greeted with the same outrage that such behavior would elicit, were his opponent an African American Democrat, rather than an African American Republican?

Tell Me More

This piece purports to inform readers that a Research 2000 poll of "voters" has Talent and McCaskill tied.

"Voters"? Are we talking "likely voters" or "registered voters"? Because that makes a huge difference. Is it a coincidence the Kansas City Star -- which is no doubt going to endorse McCaskill -- is remaining vague about the details?

Of Interest

Bob Novak's column has two items of interest beneath the first item.

First, Contrad Burns is coming back in Montana. That's why he's getting more money to run his ads.

Second, if you didn't believe that the Democrats look on national security as nothing more than a political opportunity, note that Madeleine Albright has broken the age-old convention that secretaries of state don't campaign. She's signed a fundraising appeal for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Meet Me in St. Louis!

Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals -- Worlds Series champs!!! There are fireworks over the Arch, and a celebration in my heartland hometown tonight!

The CNN Sandbag

In contrast to Hillary Clinton's well-known reluctance to venture anywhere that tough questions might be asked, Lynne Cheney went boldly nto the belly of the beast -- CNN -- and gave better than she got. (Transcript at Hugh Hewitt's blog, video here).

With Mrs. Cheney having obviously agreed to appear in conjunction with the release of her children's book, "Our 50 States", it was remarkably revealing to watch Wolf Blitzer sandbag her with loaded, adversarial questions about the conduct of the war on terror and the upcoming elections.

But Blitzer really scraped the barrel's bottom when he broached the topic of Jim Webb's book. Here and elsewhere, I've written on the unfortunate sexualization even of politics -- that's why there's been no discussion of the sordid passages from Webb novels purveyed by the Allen campaign on this blog. And when an erstwhile "journalist" begins quoting DNC talking points about the vice president's wife having written about a "lesbian love affair" -- and actually has the temerity to challenge her on that topic (asking "There is nothing in there about rapes and brothels?") -- well, it simply defies comment.

Why would Wolf Blitzer act as Jim Webb's waterboy? The fact that Webb, in a desperate earlier statement, dragged Mrs. Cheney in to the controversy doesn't justify Blitzer's raising the issue -- especially when there's no merit to the charge. The patent bias, the lack of decorum, the utter unapologetic tackiness of the entire episode is like an ugly train wreck -- it makes normal people want to avert their eyes. And take a mental shower. Pronto.

Mrs. Cheney was rightfully disgusted, but at least she wasn't surprised by CNN's tactics. At the interview's conclusion, Wolf Blitzer effectively conceded defeat, telling her, "You came armed. I guess you knew what you wanted to do."

So did the people at CNN, Wolf. They just weren't as good at it.

Two Questions for the Democrats

If they're serious about national security issues -- as something other than simply a political tool, that is -- perhaps the Democrats would answer two questions:

(1) Why would Nancy Pelosi consider denying moderate, bipartisan Jane Harman the opportunity to chair the House Intelligence Committee, and replace her with liberal Rep. Alcee Hastings, a former federal judge who was impeached for and convicted of bribery?

(2) How did Senate Democrats – who claimed that dissident Republican Senators Warner, Graham and McCain had their proxy to negotiate with The White House on procedures for interrogating and trying terrorist detainees – come to reject the compromise legislation negotiated by the trio?

What Goes Around . . .

The cautious optimism of many in the GOP is being reflected in the preemptive excuse-making of some Democrats.

According to this piece in today's New York Times, the Democrats are concerned about black voter turnout (not a new phenomenon in the McCaskill race, it's worth noting).

The Times opines:

[T]here are worries among Democratic strategists in some states that blacks may not turn up at the polls in big enough numbers because of disillusionment over past shenanigans.

As noted over at American Thinker, the word "shenanigans" actually and inaccurately implies some wrongdoing on the part of Republicans. Hardly a surprise for the left-wing gray lady.

What's more remarkable, however, is how Democrats may, once again, end up reaping what they sowed. They've made spurious claims of election fraud for years now, hoping that left-wing voter anger would result in increased turnout. It may not work that way.

It's a little like the blowback on the Democrats who have stoked irrational Bush hatred for political gain, and then turn around and express shock at the result.

We Shall See . . .

The AP sounds pretty confident this morning. The linked piece tell us:

The 2006 election is shaping up to be a repeat of 1994. This time, Democrats are favored to sweep Republicans from power in the House after a dozen years of GOP rule.

Really? Take a look at the evidence they use to support their claim. It's a generic ballot question, which at this point, has ever-less relevance. The races that will determine control of the Congress are in very specific areas, and, if anything, the momentum seems to be shifting the Republicans' way.

In Missouri and Tennessee, Republican Senate candidates have eked out modest leads. George Allen appears to be pulling away in Virginia. Tom Kean is surging in New Jersey, Michael Steele is doing well in Maryland, and even in Minnesota, things have been improving -- having sliced his opponent's lead in half.

Obviously, there is time for more Democrat October surprises. But as things look today, notwithstanding all the cheerleading in the MSM, Lori Byrd asks a good question: How, exactly, are Democrats going to spin it if they fail to take control this time?

Thursday, October 26, 2006


Note to media: Don't mess with Mitt Romney -- he's a man who knows how to engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed adversary. Here's the video.

Great stuff. Put a fork in 'em, they're done.

For Those Who Think Elections Don't Matter . . .

Here's a sad little tidbit:

Even a former vice president cannot get a table at the Cheesecake Factory. Al Gore and his wife, Tipper, tried to nab a bite at the Cheesecake Factory at a Nashville mall recently. After the hostess told the Gores it would be a 25- or 30-minute wait, they left . . .

Presumably Monsieur John Kerry is dining at Au Bon Pain.

Good News In MN

Over at Powerline, John reports that Mark Kennedy is surging against radical/incompetent Amy Klobuchar.

And things are looking good for congressional candidate Michele Bachmann, too.

Spinning the Analysis

Here's a remarkable little piece of spin disguised as political analysis.

The story characterizes the GOP as "gambling" on a NJ Senate going Republican, treating the phenomenon as though it would be a long shot. Yet look at the most recent polls -- Rassmussen shows the race tied, while CBS/NY Times shows ethically challenged incumbent Bob Menendez up by one.

Why have we seen no similar stories discussing Democratic "gambling" in, say, Tennessee? Or even in Missouri -- the New Jersey story emphasizes how long it's been since that state elected a Republican senator (1972) . . . but Missouri hasn't elected a Democratic senator since 1980.

It's all a matter of perspective, isn't it, and the MSM's perspective is certainly clear.

Worse Than Vietnam

I've written before that nothing can defeat the mighty American military but a failure of will here at home.

Now, Mort Kondracke rightly points out that Iraq is going the way of Vietnam -- a good cause where Americans can prevail, but where, thanks to the voices of defeatism here at home, tragedy could ensue. The big difference, as he notes, is that if we leave Iraq to the bad guys (as we did in Vietnam) the consequences are going to be much worse for us (as you'll recall, the results in the Vietnam War weren't so great for the South Vietnamese or for the Cambodians).

It's pretty amazing that, as Debra Saunders observes, Iraqis are more upbeat about conditions in their country than Californians are. That fact emphasizes the extent to which the events in Iraq have been misreported, and, perhaps, unrealistic American expectations about what's going to be required to win the war on Islamofascist terror.

The loss of every American soldier's life is heartwrenching. What we need to decide -- and what the Democrats need to tell us -- is whether it would be better to leave Iraq as a safe haven for terrorists, and wait for the fatalities to take place in American cities instead.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Sounds Good

Listen, and you'll be impressed. Here is the MP3 of President Bush's Oval Office chat with columnist/pundits including Michael Barone; transcript is here.

What's In a Name?

Never think that courts don't follow the election returns. Obviously eager to avoid the political fallout that would come from forthrightly decreeing gay marriage, the New Jersey Supreme Court imposed gay marriage on the state of New Jersey and then told the legislature that it didn't have to call gay marriage "gay marriage."

Talk about a distinction without a difference.

The Democratic "Wave"?

Yesterday, this piece forecasting a Democratic "wave" on election day ran in The Washington Post. Today, it's appearing in Seattle and Hartford newspapers.

The question is whether that assessment is "yesterday's news" in more ways than one. Look on the net today. Michael Barone, about the best political analyst out there, asserts the opposite -- that, whatever the outcome, no "wave" is in store.

What's more, sweeping assertions like Ron Brownstein's contention that second- and third-tier Republican congressional seats are coming into play are undermined by more detailed analysis like this, which takes a close look at one of the seats Brownstein has declared to be in jeopardy.

As John Podhoretz points out, it won't be clear who's right until Election Day. Even so, it's damaging for the MSM when readers begin to have access to the kind of detail that creates doubt about hitherto-authoritative old media analysis -- and when the internet gives access to a wide enough spectrum of old media offerings that the echo content character of the MSM becomes patently obvious.

A Welcome Reminder

Frederick Kagan has some harsh words for the Administration's failure to get the security situation in Iraq under control, but he quite rightly he reserves his greates criticism for those who seem to believe that the only problem with securing Iraq is that the government isn't trying hard enough. In that line of thinking -- parroted by most Democrats -- America setting a "timetable" for withdrawal will somehow incentivize Iraqi leaders to solve their own problems.

Only to an occupant of a left-wing fantasyland -- the same type of person who believed in the good intentions of the Viet Cong -- could such a scenario even be plausible. Threatening to withdraw does nothing to help the good guys do what they need to do, and it does quite a bit to encourage the bad guys to hold on until the Americans are gone.

A lot of Democrats have seized on the approach out of a craven desire to transform their cut'n run instincts into a matter of principle -- a sort of "America helps those who help themselves." It's quite remarkable . . . a lot of the same liberals who, in essence, believe that America shouldn't confront the Islamofascist terrorists threatening Iraq are real tough guys when it comes to bullying the Iraqis who are America's staunchest allies.

Grasp the Distinction

As Dr. Mary Davenport points out in today's edition of The American Thinker, Michael J. Fox and other liberal proponents of "stem cell research" are deliberately conflating embryonic stem cell research -- which involves the destruction of human life -- with adult stem cells.

What's more, as Dr. Davenport writes:

The plain fact is that embryonic stem cell research is proving to be a bust. There are currently 72 therapies showing human benefits using adult stem cells and zero using embryonic stem cells. Scientifically-minded readers can review this medical journal article on the status of adult stem cell research. Adult stem cell therapies are already being advertised and promoted while no such treatments are even remotely in prospect for embryonic stem cell research.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Coincidence? You Decide

This piece from The Wall Street Journal helps explain why it's a fallacy to equate a Missouri law (struck down by the state Supreme Court) requiring identification at the polls with a "poll tax."

It also begs the question: Why do Democrats like Claire McCaskill oppose requiring voter identification? Could it have anything to do with the fraudulent ballots submitted by her friends at ACORN?

Response to Fox Ad

Here it is -- with spokesman including Jim Caviezel, beloved former St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warne, World Series Cards pitcher Jeff Suppan, and Deborah Heaton, late of "Everybody Loves Raymond."

A Nightmare for the Country

This Reuters piece notes that if Democrats took control, it would be a "nightmare" for President Bush.

No. It would be a nightmare for the country.

Among other things, the Democrats would certainly not keep the Bush tax cuts (note how this clearly left-wing "journalist" accuses Republicans of having "applied a rubber stamp to much of his conservative agenda the past six years, including tax cuts that went largely to the rich.").

In fact, because of those tax cuts, as Pete DuPont pointed out today (citing Investors Business Daily):

"the economy has added $1.26 trillion in real output, $14.4 trillion in net wealth and 5.8 million new jobs" all since the cuts took effect.

Read both linked pieces, and the outlines of an emerging Democratic agenda are clear:

**Surrender in the war on terror
**Tax increases that will stall economic growth
**Ensuring that no new Supreme Court justice in the mold of Roberts or Scalia is nominated if a vacancy opens.

Let's not punish the country because of our disappointment with some Republican elected officials.

It's Not Over Yet

This poll shows that Tennessee and Virginia are definitely trending Republican.

What's more, the fact that Claire McCaskill seems to have a three-point lead means nothing. The piece touts McCaskill's new lead -- comparing it to a poll where the incumbents were tied two weeks ago -- as though it proves something. But the poll's margin of error is 4%. So nothing has changed.

Absent any new surprises, I'm still predicting a Talent win.

The Democratic Strategy

As the guys over at Real Clear Politics point out, Democrats have very effectively been exploiting a strategy: They offer only minimally convincing evidence of a Democratic "surge" to the press, which eagerly seizes upon and prints it -- as it fits the MSM's own ideological predilections. The idea is to dishearten Republicans, and help the perception of a pending Democratic sweep become a reality.

Obviously, the strategy couldn't work without the complicity of the media. But the take-away lesson is that polls aren't only a simple snapshot in time -- they're also sometimes misreported to create an impression that isn't necessarily true.

Support the Troops!

This time, we're talking WWII vets.

Friends of mine -- wonderful people -- have created a new charitable foundation called Dentistry United for WWII Vets. The primary objective is to provide dental care to the aging WWII vet population throughout the State of California who don't have the means to maintain their own health. Many of the pieces are in place to begin the program by early next year.

They're holding the kick-off event to finance the program. Here's the info:

Celebration US…Oh! - a USO-style live musical review.

Date: Veteran’s Day, Friday, November 10th

Time: 8:00 p.m.

Place: The Richard and Karen Carpenter Theatre in Long Beach.

Please consider supporting this worthy cause. If you want more information, email me at, and I'll be happy to provide it.

Monday, October 23, 2006

CNN Airs Terrorist Snuff Film

CNN is being criticized for running a film provided to them by terrorists, which shows American troops being killed by their enemies.

The criticism is justified. The film is repugnant, and no American network (and yes, despite its international pretensions, CNN is an American network) should be running what is little more than a terrorist recruiting film and enemy propaganda.

Episodes like this really do make one question the MSM's commitment to American victory over Islamofascist terrorism. It would be interesting to hear CNN executives answer the question: Do you want America to win the war on terror?

Finally, note that we never see replays of the events of 9/11. Too upsetting, we're told. But films of terrorist attacks on American soldiers are A-OK. Someone please explain to me how that works . . . .

Crass and Misleading

Here, Michael J. Fox makes a plea for electing Claire McCaskill because she supports stem cell research.

It's up to each viewer to decide whether the ad is an over-the-top example of Fox allowing his illness to be exploited. Dean Barnett, who has some "street cred" to speak about exploitation of illness, has some thoughts that are well worth reading.

But, in any case, let's not fool ourselves that Fox is doing anything more than shilling for a Democratic politician. That's because there's already a stem cell initiative on the Missouri ballot -- so whether one votes for Jim Talent or Claire McCaskill has no impact on what happens with stem cell research in Missouri.

In other words, Fox is really just using his illness as a way to mislead voters into thinking their vote for U.S. senator has a direct impact on stem cell research in Missouri. It doesn't. Ultimately, Fox is just using his illness as another tactic to try to secure the election of a Democratic senator.

Fox's condition is pitiable. But his behavior is appalling.

Update: Isn't this ad an example of Ann Coulter's doctrine of liberal infallibility? She defined the term as follows: "If they [liberals] have a point to make about the 9-11 Commission, about how to fight the war on terrorism, how about sending in somebody we're allowed to respond to? No, no, no, we always have to respond to someone who just had a family member die [i.e. the 9/11 widows]."

The Fox situation is analogous.

What Does It Mean?

The MSM is abuzz with the revelation that Barack Obama may run for President in 2008. (Although I disagree with him on just about everything, in the interests of full disclosure, it's fair to point out was always kind to me when our paths crossed at Harvard Law School).

First, kudos for Barack for having the temerity to admit that he's thinking about it. His candor is a refreshing contrast from the coy cat-and-mouse game his most formidable female opponent has played over the past six years.

But it's worth thinking about what his admission -- and the hoopla that's greeted it -- really means.

Above all, it strikes me as a sign of desperation that so many would embrace the news so enthusiastically. After all, as talented as he obviously is, Barack Obama has been in the Senate -- in federal office, for that matter -- for two years.

That's the same amount of time as Colorado's Ken Salazar. The difference, of course, is that whereas Salazar has served in the executive branch of government (2 terms as CO attorney general), winning statewide election twice in a swing state, Barack's experience (before winning his first statewide race, in a blue state, over merely nominal opposition) was as a state senator.

It's difficult to imagine that a Salazar announcement of a potential presidency candidacy would be greated with the same "coronation" mentality. Usually, senators two years into their first term simply aren't looking to The White House -- not because they don't want to, but because they simply wouldn't be taken seriously.

There's no doubt that Barack is intelligent, hardworking, and charismatic. But the idea that Democrats would welcome him so soon, with such fervor, is a sign that -- if nothing else -- they realize that their presidental "bench" is shallow, highly unappealing, and incredibly charisma-challenged.

And above all, it's also a sign that the Dems and the MSM don't really take the war on terror seriously. They're swooning over a candidate that wants to be Commander-in-Chief based on . . . two years (four in '08) of service on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Even so, one would be a fool to underestimate Barack Obama. If I am aware of these issues, no doubt he is, too. It will be interesting to see how he moves to address them.

Religion at Harvard

The President of Notre Dame writes in the pages of The Washington Post to congratulate Harvard on reinstating a requirement that graduates know something of "the role of religion in contemporary, historical, or future events -- personal, cultural, national, or international."

One can only hope his optimism is justified. But here's one part of the described curriculum change that makes me nervous:

[T]he courses it envisions would offer an examination of "the interplay between religion and various aspects of national and/or international culture and society." They would deal not so much with the relationship between reason and faith as with reasoning about faith, religion and religious institutions and their impact in the world.

This could be great. But in an aggressively secular Ivy League world where religion, too often, is viewed as the province of the uneducated and superstitious, it could also become a vehicle for teaching impressionable young people that religious faith and institutions are the source of all the trouble in the world.

In other words, before anyone rejoices at Harvard's curriculum change, it makes sense to learn a bit more about the content of specific courses, rather than being satisfied with a description of them.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Right Response

Jeff Jacoby uses some apt historical examples to vanquish those who are trying to judge the Iraq war by a false yardstick, ie. whether we would have gone to war in Iraq if we "knew then what we know now."

It's one of the best responses yet to the kind of question with which Tim Russert has delighted in pummelling Republicans with on "Meet the Press." Even so, Russert met his match with Mark Kennedy (Republican Senate candidate for Minnesota's open seat) last week. To that question, Kennedy answered:

We acted—you know, you can’t really play TiVo and rewind in the real world, but let me just say this: First of all, I stand by my vote. And second of all, we just got done talking about Korea. We just got done talking about consequences for actions. Seventeen U.N. resolutions. If we had let one of the top sponsors of terrorists, that was paying thousands of dollars to those families that had suicide bombers, if we had let 17 U.N. resolutions go by, what chance would we have of North Korea or China paying any attention to the resolution just passed yesterday?

MR. RUSSERT: So you’d still go into Iraq?

REP. KENNEDY: I stand by my vote. We can’t rewind. We acted on the information we knew at the time and acted correctly.

ID'ing the Strategy

In this piece, Bryan Fitzpatrick astutely identifies the MSM strategy of seeking to drive wedges within the Republican Party and drive down conservative voter enthusiasm.

Hoping Against Hope

Ronald Brownstein writes hopefully that the Democrats can take the Senate -- if only Harold Ford can win in Tennessee, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, and Jim Webb in Virginia.

Let's take the easiest first. George Allen has increasingly been building and holding a five-point lead against Webb. It's hardly the kind of race and the kind of margin that a potential presidential aspirant had hoped for, but it's certainly more solid and consistent than the lead that, according to Brownstein, indicates that New Jersey will pick corruption-tainted incumbent Democrat Bob Menendez over moderate Republican challenger Tom Kean, Jr.

In Missouri, Jim Talent is going to pull it out. The Show-Me state is a bellwether, but Claire McCaskill -- who supports giving habeas corpus and Geneva Convention protections to terrorist detainees, who won't release her husband's tax returns, and who said that President Bush had left New Orleans residents to die "because they were poor and because they were black" -- is going to have a hard time getting the rural votes she needs, despite her frenzied courting of these voters. No fear that Jim Talent -- a smart senator and a good man -- won't have the resources to let voters know about all McCaskill's gaffes . . . plus the new allegations about the nonprofit ACORN campaigning for McCaskill (and any revelations that emerge about possible links between ACORN and the McCaskill campaign). He's got $12.6 million to her $7 million.

Finally, Tennessee. Harold Ford has given Bob Corker a run for his money, but it seems likely that Corker is going to pull it out in the end. It seems to me that, in the end, Tennesseeans aren't going to take a chance on Ford, despite his supposed moderation. As this video (hit link labeled "Ford Crashes Corker presser") illustrates, Harold Ford made a big mistake in trying to crash his opponent's press conference. Southerners are kindly, courteous folk, with a highly developed sense of decorum -- and this stunt (and others like it) are, I think, likely to erode the kind of voter comfort with Ford that a Democrat needs to win in a Red State. Update: So will ads like this one -- ouch! (HT: Powerline).

No doubt all this could change if yet another anti-Republican shoe drops over the next two weeks. But for now, it seems more than likely that, despite the Dems' and MSM's fondest hopes, the Senate should remain in Republican hands.

Never Mind . . .

Remember the character Emily Litella on "Saturday Night Live" -- the one who would go on a long rant about something, receive one key piece of information, and then conclude by effectively telling viewers to disregard everything she had said previously?

That's essentially what New York Times ombudsman Byron Calame does today, as he revisits his past spirited defense of the Times' decision to publish details of a bank data surveillance program -- a great tool in the war on terror -- that was secret until the story ran. Calame writes:

I haven’t found any evidence in the intervening months that the surveillance program was illegal under United States laws. . . .

Also, there still haven’t been any abuses of private data linked to the program, which apparently has continued to function. That, plus the legality issue, has left me wondering what harm actually was avoided when The Times and two other newspapers disclosed the program.

That's, of course, what many of us were wondering at the time. And note that Calame doesn't bother to weigh the harm that the story might actually have caused for instructing terrorists in the details of the program.

Calame does deserve some credit for publicizing his change of heart. But the conclusion of the piece is remarkable. He may have been wrong, but the Bush Administration made him make the mistake, dontcha know, because of its "vicious criticism of The Times."

Always reassuring that even The Times' ombudsman knows where all the real blame really belongs.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Not So Fast . . .

After a very solid (though unconventional) analysis, a piece in Barron's magazine concludes that the Republicans will, indeed, hold Congress.

What's more, Gateway Pundit presents the evidence from Ken Mehlman that all the MSM focus on GOP disaffection may, in fact, be a myth.

Vote Fraud in St. Louis

Here's more on the ACORN debacle, with suggestions that the organization may have been up to no good not only in Missouri, but in Pennsylvania and Ohio as well -- two other battleground states.

Conveniently, the McCaskill campaign asserts that it knew nothing about the improper campaigning. No doubt it likewise knows nothing about the fraudulent voter cards that ACORN has turned in.

But if Claire McCaskill is really concerned about the issue, why in the world does she oppose a law requiring voter ID at the polls?

The Ugly Backstory

It seems that Larry Hanauer, a Jane Harman staffer, is the name of the person suspended for allegedly having leaked a classified NIE to The New York Times. Harman is outraged, not at her staffer's behavement, but at the penalty for it -- perfectly analogous to someone who isn't sorry that a thief stole, but is terribly, terribly sorry he's going to jail.

Over at The American Thinker, Clarice Feldman offers an interesting account of the whole, ugly backstory behind Jane Harman's shift to the left and other assorted Democratic shenanigans.

The moral? That as the Democratic Party shifts to the radical left, it becomes ever less trustworthy when it comes to protecting national security.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Sanity from the Supremes

As it turns out, thanks to the SUpreme Court, Arizona voters will, indeed, have to present ID at the polls.

Now if someone would only ruin Ritzy Mekler's day.

Scandal in MO Senate Race

It seems that there has been some illegal campaigning conducted for the Claire McCaskill campaign.

Check out Gateway Pundit, who has the whole scoop, along with some truly amazing video, courtesy of St. Louis political blog PubDef.

Not only were the predominantly poor and minority former employees of the St. Louis branch of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) not paid for their canvassing -- they were told to go out and encourage voters to support Claire McCaskill.

That, my friends, is illegal. ACORN is a nonprofit.

Leak From the Left?

A Democratic Intelligence Committee staffer has been suspended because there's reason to believe he leaked the controversial NIE to The New York Times. Not surprisingly, Democrats are "outraged" by the suspension.

In a strange way, this is perfectly consistent with Missouri Senate candidate Claire McCaskill's assertion that another leak did no harm (that's the one about the terrorist bank records and wiretapping program), supposedly since the terrorists knew about secret anti-terror programs anyway.

Isn't it clear that the Democrats aren't serious about classified information -- because they're not really serious about the war on terror?

Leak From the Left?

A Democratic Intelligence Committee staffer has been suspended because there's reason to believe he leaked the controversial NIE to The New York Times. Not surprisingly, Democrats are "outraged" by the suspension.

In a strange way, this is perfectly consistent with Missouri Senate candidate Claire McCaskill's assertion that another leak did no harm (that's the one about the terrorist bank records and wiretapping program), supposedly since the terrorists knew about secret anti-terror programs anyway.

Isn't it clear that the Democrats aren't serious about classified information -- because they're not really serious about the war on terror?

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Knock It Off!

Stories like this make my blood boil.

We need to take names -- and anyone, anyone who is pointing a finger of recrimination at any other Republican before the election should be deemed per se unworthy of being considered a Republican leader. Behaving that way is nothing more than a sign that the blame-throwers aren't really focused on helping the GOP maintain its majority . . . they're focused on jockeying for power in the aftermath.

Above all, they should be ashamed of themselves. If anything is true, it's that this election matters very much for a number of national security reasons. People who are putting their own personal agendas above the national welfare are, in two words, beneath contempt.

Update: This is the way it should be. Good for Congressman Bryant.

Cards to the Series!!!

St. Louis will be competing in the World's Series! Go Cardinals!!!

(BTW, it may be a lucky thing that Talent has started to lock in a lead. Missouri -- or at least St. Louis -- is so devoted to its sports that the fact the Cards are going to the Series is likely to drown out a lot of political news.)

Just One More Reason . . .

Missouri US Senate candidate Claire McCaskill says that she will accept a blind trust for her own assets if she's elected.

Significantly, however, the same doesn't hold true for her husband's extensive business interests, some of which intersect with issues McCaskill would be handling as a senator.

Right now, she won't release his tax returns -- and that's in the middle of a heated campaign. If she were to become a comfortable incumbent, does anyone think there would be any incentive at all for McCaskill to be transparent about the conflicts of interest for her and her husband?

Please note that Jim Talent now leads in the Zogby/Wall Street Journal polls. Never underestimate the good common sense of the Show Me State.

No Decency at Last

Read this post about some of the machinations behind the extortion of Senator Larry Craig.

Have they no decency?

A Moment of Decision

This story from The Washington Times predicts that conservatives will stay home in the upcoming elections.

If they do, it will be a sad disappointment. Liberals have always tried to portray conservatives -- and especially values voters -- as people inflexibly committed to just a few narrow issues. How awful if conservatives themselves decide to play in to that stereotype by letting their annoyance with government spending, the Mark Foley scandal and the NRSC's decision to support Lincoln Chafee justify staying home.

For those who like to claim that there's no difference between the parties, it's worth pointing out that the left realizes there's a big difference between controlling the House and/or Senate. It's the difference between those who will listen to the KosKidz and those who will listen to values voters. It's the difference between those who want to win the war on terror and those who want to surrender. It's the difference between a party that believes terrorists aren't entitled to habeas corpus and Geneva Convention protections, and a party that can't do enough for them. It's the difference between those who are trying to combat Islamofascism by spreading freedom, and those who want to hide from the world and simply hope that terrorists never again try to kill Americans on our own soil. It's the difference between a party that's serious about protecting America, and a party that's serious about raising your taxes.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

She's No Harry Truman

Laughably, Claire McCaskill is trying to portray herself as Harry Truman. Missouri can't afford to have a senator so profoundly removed from reality.

1. She has said that the war on terror will not be won on the battlefield, but through "sophisticated criminal investigations."

2. She supports the Hamdan decision, which extended Geneva Convention protection to terrorists.

3. She supports the publication of classified information by The New York Times -- saying that it was all right because the terrorists knew about it anyway.

4. She opposes the President's warrantless wiretapping program -- and has, in fact, called it "illegal."

5. She is concerned that the United States hasn't extended habeas corpus rights to detained terrorists (or, at least so she told supporters in Paris, France).

6. She supports an artificial deadline for withdrawal from Iraq.

7. She wants to "redeploy" American troops from Iraq to Saudi Arabia and Qatar (without knowing, mind you, whether those countries would even accept American troops).

8. She believes we have "failed" in Iraq.

Harry Truman wasn't a quitter. Claire McCaskill is. Harry Truman didn't believe we should cede the battlefield to our enemies . . . and he was willing to go to war in Korea to keep it from happening. Claire McCaskill wants to cut and run. Harry Truman understood that you need weapons to win a war. Claire McCaskill doesn't even acknowledge that we're at war with the terrorists, and believes the entire matter can be addressed through "sophisticated criminal investigations."

Claire McCaskill, you're no Harry Truman.

America's Shame

The left makes it a practice to denigrate America. I believe this is the greatest country on earth, but if there is a moment that should make Americans hang their collective head, it's when we allowed the Soviets to crush Hungarian freedom seekers fifty years ago.

As the linked article notes, many of them were sentenced to death by the Soviets, for nothing more than having the courage to try to shake off the yoke of communist oppression.

Little is said about the fact that America turned its back on the Hungarians. But the lesson should be an instructive one, as the Democrats continue to insist on cutting and running in Iraq.

Let's make sure we don't do to the Iraqis what we did to the Hungarians -- abandon them to the tender mercies of totalitarians who hate freedom.

Is This What the Left Has Come To?

Have Democrats across America become this desperate to win?

Every Democratic politician should be loudly repudiating the kind of gay-baiting, win-at-all-costs mentality that such behavior signifies. Have they no decency?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Truth About Polling

Hugh Hewitt interviewed pollster Scott Rasmussen on his show today (transcript to come). The discussion yielded an important point that simply can't be emphasized enough, as Republicans are barraged with a series of polls that predict electoral disaster three weeks from today.

Here's the point: The polls are only as good as their models. The turnout models, to be precise. In other words, if the pollsters aren't accurately predicting who's going to turn out to vote, they're not accurately predicting the outcome, either.

In some cases, there's reason to believe that turnout models are flawed. Perhaps the best example is Virginia. Scott Rassmussen has estimated Republican turnout at 39%, and Democratic turnout at 39%. With that turnout model, George Allen leads by only 3 points. As Hugh pointed out, however, Virginia Republicans historically turn out in much greater numbers than Virginia Democrats. If that's the case again, it's likely that George Allen's margin of victory will well exceed three points.

Republicans can't control a lot going in to this election. We can't control an MSM that's ideologically inclined toward the Democrats. We can't control events in Iraq. We can't control Democratic dirty tricks. But we can, at least, have some control over whether we and our friends and compatriots turn out. And we all need to do our part to make it happen.

What is McCaskill Hiding?

Why won't Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Claire McCaskill release her husband's tax records?

Strikes me as reminiscent of John Kerry's refusal to release Teresa Heinz Kerry's tax returns.

More Anti-Christian Bigotry

Cindy Rodriguez has an even more pronounced dislike for conservative Christians than Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen.

What "Mormon Problem"?

Kathryn Jean Lopez looks at Mitt Romney's welcome from people of faith at the Family Research Council's "Justice Sunday," and doesn't see one.

Startling Ignorance (and Bigotry)

This column is an object example of why so many normal Americans distrust the press.

Richard Cohen takes a nasty little roll in the schadenfreude mud (which, in fairness, we all enjoy from time to time) -- but in doing so, he inadvertantly displays an appalling ignorance of social conservatives and/or people of faith that's exceeded only by his bigotry toward them.

In a relatively incoherent column about the Mark Foley matter, Cohen writes the following:

That this [the Foley scandal] happened to the GOP is too, too much. It is no longer the party of Lincoln but the party of gay-bashing. Its base, its vaunted base, is among those who embrace ignorance of homosexuality and, while they are at it, ignorance of sexual matters in general.

Later, he writes:

It was the GOP that cozied up to churches and preachers who likened homosexuals to the vilest people of all time and called on them to cease their wicked ways, go from homosexual to heterosexual, which everyone knows they can do but will not because, apparently, it is easier to be gay and reviled than it is to be straight and comfy about it.

It's apparent that Mr. Cohen knows very few conservatives and/or people of faith. No doubt he genuinely believes that the base of the party "embrace[s] . . . ignorance of sexual matters in general" and thinks that there are preachers all over the Red States who are calling gays "the vilest people of all time." And no doubt there are some cruel and intolerant voices in some pulpits, just as there are cruel and intolerant voices on some newspaper op/ed pages. That's human nature . . . but (as the comments on the Huffington Post site reveal), hatred and intolerance aren't the exclusive purview of conservatives.

Perhaps what's most amazing is the fever pitch of hostility Cohen's worked himself into at a cherished left-wing stereotype with no solid foundation in reality. It's likewise remarkable that he feels comfortable spewing this kind of bigoted vitriol onto the pages of one of the nation's foremost papers. One doubts he'd engage in this kind of stereotyping of women or any other racial or religious group, for example.

What Mr. Cohen and others like him need to understand is that opposing gay marriage -- a fundamental restructuring of the family, on little more than today's cultural whim -- doesn't mean that one "hates" gays. (No doubt Cohen would be offended if one suggested that being pro-choice means one "hates" babies, but the reasoning is the same).

And he needs to get out a bit more. Perhaps if he visited the occasional Red State with an open mind -- or even (gasp!) dropped in on some of the churches there -- he might realize that all the GOP and its base have tried to do is maintain sexual standards in an era when "anything goes." He might discover that the people worshipping in those churches are hardly the bunch of one-eyed, straw-chewing, unshod morons of his imagination -- many, in fact, are quite as smart and even as sophisticated as Mr. Cohen himself.

Columns like Cohen's -- representing the worldview of someone who never breaks free of the DC-New York-LA axis -- are an object example of why newspapers have become so peripheral to the lives of so many Americans.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Reid It and Weep

More Harry Reid slime:

He's been using campaign contributions to pay Christmas bonuses to the staff at the Ritz, where he lives.

But, of course, Reid's amended his ethics reports now, so move along, folks -- nothing to see here.

A Blueprint for Victory

Republicans, please, please listen to Newt.

Never, never, never give up.

That's what Winston Churchill said, and he's right. Three weeks before election day, there's no doubt that it's disheartening to see the predictions of doom emanating from respected right-wing pundits. And make no mistake -- they could be right. Election Day could be very ugly.

Perhaps the most pernicious effect of all the predictions is the undermining of Republican enthusiasm. Scandals like the Foley matter and stories like this seem designed to anger the GOP base and drive down turnout. There's a reason that both sides like to trumpet the good news and downplay the bad -- bad news depresses turnout and dries up fundraising. Don't get sucked in by the MSM's latest round of anti-GOP doomsaying.

No election outcome is foreordained. In his inaugural address, President Reagan once said, "I don't believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing." In other words, the choice lies with voters. Will those who are disgruntled by something the GOP has done have the maturity to put that disagreement aside, in the interests of keeping the country safe?

Predictions of Republican electoral disaster have been wrong before, and they can be again. Help key senators like Jim Talent and Rick Santorum.

Volunteer for the GOP.

Make sure your Republican friends and neighbors are planning to vote.

We have the ability to prove the naysayers and the pollsters wrong once again. We just need to do it.

Update: Jay Cost performs a number of mindblogging statistical calculations, and concludes that the seeming "certainty" about a Democratic takeover is entirely misplaced.

Townhall Column

Here is my Townhall column. It discusses the way the Democrats have miscalculated on the Foley mess.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Just Observing . . .

This piece is trying to up the sense of panic for Republicans and reassure Democrats, by pointing out that the NRSC is shepherding its money toward the incumbents who show the best chance of winning on Election Day.

That's pretty standard strategy, isn't it? But what's also worth pointing out is that one of the senators on the projected "loss" list is Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island. One hesitates to second guess . . . but it seems to me that the NRSC would have been able to attract more donations -- and would, in general, have more good will and more money on hand -- had it not spent to defeat a conservative in the Rhode Island primary. At the moment, it seems that the ill will the NRSC generated by its intervention hasn't secured an ultimate result that's any different than what would, we're told, have happened if Chafee's primary opponent had won.

Democratic Hypocrisy Alert

Obviously, when people die, it's appropriate not to stoop to partisan invective.

But it's ironic that -- even as they castigate Mark Foley (and Dennis Hastert, for not knowing about Mark Foley) -- that Democrats are paying tribute to the Democratic congressman who actually seduced a House page.

How is it that Democrats believe it's appropriate for salacious instant messages to end Mark Foley's career (and Dennis Hastert's, too), but sleeping with a page is just an inglorious page in Gerry Studds' storied career?

An Ad Full of Lies

Democratic Missouri US Senate candidate Claire McCaskill has run an ad that's not just unbelievably repugnant -- it's also a lie (HT: Gateway Pundit).

She's yanked it -- as well she should. The question is why it was there in the first place.

Amy Klobuchar: Radical

This morning, Minnesota US Senate candidates (Republican Mark Kennedy and Democrat Amy Klobuchar) debated on "Meet the Press."

Tim Russert's big practice has been to hector seated elected officials (like Kennedy, who is a congressman) about whether, if they knew now what they knew then, they would have voted for military action in Iraq. This question -- of the "when did you stop beating your wife" variety -- has no good answer. If one says "yes," there's the risk of looking cluelessly obdurate. If one answers "no," it becomes infinitely more difficult to advocate for our continued involvement there.

Russert tried this gambit this morning with Mark Kennedy, and Kennedy shut him down. He simply explained that we didn't live in a TIVO society where you could rewind reality. Exactly. Thank you.

But what's most notable about the debate is the fact that Amy Klobuchar is a radical when it comes to the war in Iraq:

Q: So your desire to withdraw troops does not depend on the commanders agreeing with it. They should be told to do it and just told to find the best way to do it.

A. Correct

Minneapolis Star Tribune

In other words, Amy Klobuchar is so eager to snatch defeat in Iraq that she doesn't even want to listen to the military experts. She advocates the Nike approach -- just do it -- which might work well when it comes to athletic workouts, but not so much when it comes to a war. What's more, there's the following:

If the president is unwilling to provide a plan [for the drawdown of American troops], Congress should call upon the Joint Chiefs of Staff to do so.

Amy Klobuchar For Senate Website

Amy Klobuchar apparently doesn't understand that the President is Commander-in-Chief, and that the Senate really doesn't have the power -- nor should it -- to go over the President's head and attempt to run military policy.

Finally, when she was asked on May 3 whether she supports Russ Feingold's resolution to censure the President -- or whether she favors impeachment of him -- her answers have been the same: No, not now. (Emphasis added).

It's amazing and disturbing that someone who is so clueless on so many subjects has a real chance to win a Senate seat. She's a disaster.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Rutten on Gibson

The LA Times' Tim Rutten has a lot of nasty things to say about Mel Gibson.

Make no mistake . . . Gibson's remarks were repugnant, unpardonable and wrong. But what's so interesting about liberals like Rutten is that they're totally unforgiving when it comes to someone like Gibson. At the same time, they are perfectly OK with the UN's policy of endless dialogue, and welcome the opportunity to hear from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he's in the country, just as they advocated continued weapons negotiations/inspections for Saddm Hussein -- even though both are even more virulently anti-semitic than Gibson.

What, exactly, have people like Hussein and Ahmadinejad done to continually merit the "second chance" that -- it seems pretty evident -- Rutten's unwilling to give Gibson?

Just Another Example

For someone who is able to make a living because America is committed to freedom of expression, LA Times columnist Meghan Daum is oddly indifferent to the fact that student "activists" succeeded in shouting down anti-illegal immigrant activist Jim Gilchrist at Columbia.

More "free speech for me, but not for thee", I guess.

Just Not Getting It

Happened to see lefty Al Hunt interviewing ABC News political director Mark Halperin (son of Clinton appointee and Soros sidekick Morton Halperon) this morning on Bloomberg television.

Here's what ABC News' political director had to say about the rise of talk radio and blogs:

Old media organizations like mine, or the Washington Post or The New York Times, their mission is confused, their economic viability -- their economic models -- are confused -- and that has opened the way -- because of our decline in new technology -- for things like talk radio and the internet to create a lowest common denominator and to infect our coverage. It isn't good for democracy but it's hard to see a change.

Al Hunt then responded We do believe in accuracy and accountability.

Talk about a drive-by sliming. Between the two of them, Halperin and Hunt accused new media of (1) catering to the lowest common denominator, (2) injuring democracy and (3) not caring about accuracy and accountability.

How clueless can one be? They'd do well to check out the stats, for example, that talk radio listeners tend to be better informed than the general public when it comes to political matters. Some lowest common denominator.

What's more, Halperin completely misunderstands the reasons for the rise of the new media. "The decline in new technology" (whatever that means -- presumably for the old media) has little, if anything, to do with the rise of new media. Talk radio and the blogs took off because the condescending, self-satisfied members of old media lean openly to the left, often refuse to cover stories that conflict with their ideological biases, and basically ignored half of their potential audience . . . i.e., conservatives.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Welcome to America!

To make a point about border security, Pennsylvania congressional candidate Raj Bhakta (late of the apprentice) rode across the border on an elephant, to the musical accompaniment of a mariachi band. Video here.

For Me, But Not for Thee

Peggy Noonan points out more hypocrisy on the left -- this time, when it comes to free speech. It seems that many on the left are convinced that their own belief in the rightness of their ideas entitles them to lecture, hector and silence those who disagree. (Could You Tube be the newest example?)

The Dems' New Approach

Today, the Washington Post is running piece explaining that the Democrats are "targeting the personal lives of Republicans in numerous key House races as part of a campaign to capitalize on voter disgust with the messy personal lives and alleged character defects among elected officials."

It's up to Republicans to remind voters that this is just one more sign of the appalling lack of ideas on the part of their opponents. What's more, Republicans didn't prosper politically all that much by taking this tack, even when it was the Commander-in-Chief himself being orally serviced by a 19 year old intern as he spoke to a congressman about Bosnia. How much harder would it be for Democrats to prosper -- given that they were Clinton's chief defenders, and the first to tell us that sexual behavior has nothing to do with one's capacity to hold elective office?

Usually, to be a hypocrite one has to have standards. Amazingly, it seems the Democrats have achieved the nearly impossible -- being hypocrites without having any standards at all.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Lots O' Questions

Judging from this story, sounds like Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has some 'splaining to do.

The facts -- about a complicated land deal -- take some time to absorb, but the question is: Did Harry Reid properly disclose his interests, as required by law and ethics; and how, exactly, did he come to make a 1.1 million windfall from land he hadn't owned in three years?

Hypocrisy, thy name is Harry Reid.

More McCornthyism

Liberals have circulated a McCornthyite list of closeted gay staffers on the Hill, and yet all this piece in The Nation is worried about is whether the Rev. Don Wildmon is advocating the firing of gay staffers.

It should go without saying that no one should be fired simply because of his (or her) sexual preference. And, in fact, if one scrutinizes the key Wildmon quote, it's not entirely clear that he actually supports the measures attributed to him. Here's part of the quote:

There should be no organization among staffers in Washington of that nature, and if they find out that they're there and they're a member, they oughtta be dismissed el pronto."

In fact, what it sounds like is that Rev. Wildmon was opposing any kind of formal pro-gay organization among Republican staffers -- not seeking their dismissal simply because they are gay.

Just when one is tempted to believe that the Democrats couldn't act with any more political opportunism than they already have, one has to wonder whether they're trying to use the Foley scandal as a vehicle for seeking special preferences and/or protections under the law for homosexuals.

Politics By Other Means

YouTube is acting a lot like the Chinese government. Content which offends political sensibilities -- but is otherwise unobjectionable -- is banned without explanation. And the offending materials being suppressed are, it seems, consistently right of center.

Good News for Hillary

And, frankly, for the Republicans. Mark Warner, moderate Democrat and former Governor of Virginia, has decided not to run for President.

An attractive Southerner with more middle-of-the-road views than most Dems, it seemed possible that Warner could have caused some pretty severe political headaches -- not only for his Democratic competition like Hillary, but also for the GOP had he won the nomination.

It seemed that he was taking all the steps to undertake a presidential run, so it's not clear (for now) what changed his mind.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Reading the Tea Leaves

Hugh Hewitt makes a convincing and comprehensive argument that last week marked the high tide of the 2006 election cycle for the Democrats.

If Hugh didn't adduce evidence enough, check out this piece by Clinton domestic policy advisor Bruce Reed, asserting that the "real conspiracy" to keep Republicans in power is (drumroll and pregnant pause) . . . redistricting!

It strikes me that when Democrats start making up prospective justifications for electoral failure, they, too, may have a sense that their most glorious 2006 political days are behind them.

Sadly, Hardly a Surprise

This remarkable admission and apology came today from the new director of a television station that broadcast the Tennessee U.S. Senate debate between Republican Bob Corker and Democrat Harold Ford:

Last night, we made a mistake. After we broadcast the Senate debate, we brought you 30 minutes of discussion and analysis.

This segment included our anchor, another journalist, and a supporter of Harold Ford, Jr., but no supporters of Bob Corker. That wasn't right.

You don't say. The only question is why that wasn't apparent at the time.

Fair Game

I have never been a fan of Rep. Chris Shays, moderate Connecticut Republican. But I take my hat off to him today.

He's hit back hard at his Democratic opponent, who's been trying to make hay of the Foley matter -- even as she invited Senator Teddy Kennedy for a fundraiser.

Quite rightly, Shays pointed out that Foley may have engaged in some disgusting instant message exchanges, but he didn't plunge off a bridge in a car with a young woman and then leave her to drown. Kennedy did . . . and then held a press conference the next day.

Predictably, the reaction of Shays' opponent, Diane Farrell, is shocked outrage:

Farrell was incredulous - "my jaw dropped," she said, when she heard Shays' comments, and she said Chappaquiddick had nothing to do with Hastert's current plight.

And there you have it. Democrats simply don't get it.

Seems to me that Farrell's obtuseness is emblematic of the Democratic approach to the Foley affair . . . and that Republicans shouldn't be reluctant to point out her hypocrisy when it comes to "moral values" -- not to mention that of her party.

Enough with the Cringing

National Review has some good advice for the Republicans: It's time for a little righteous indignation. Missing some sinister signals does not mean that Republicans were "shielding" Mark Foley from accountability. And, as this blog has noted, the "continued Foley overkill tells us more about the frivolity and bizarre obsessions of the media and the Democrats than it does about the Republicans."

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Sad Set of Priorities

CNN's Jeff Greenfield writes:

So does the North Korea test trump the Foley scandal? Here's one point to keep in mind: there's a month to go before Election Day. The North Korea story may well fade by then (not that it won't resurface in months or years to come); the Foley follies are likely to stay front and center for weeks.

If that's the case, it will be the fault of the press, which decides what to emphasize and what to ignore. ANd if the press chooses to emphasize the sleazy behavior of one congressman, it's a sad commentary on its priorities. After all, the press treated a Democratic scandal involving sex -- i.e. the Clinton affair -- as some obsession of the sex-hating right. And while the MSM was glad to heap obloquy on Linda Tripp, it's done very little, compared to other sources, actually to figure out how and why the scandal unspooled at this time.

Now that we're dealing, not with sex, but with sleazy emails, somehow this is more important than whether a madman is able to obtain a nuclear bomb -- and give the technology to Iran?

The press is already held in low esteem by the American people. If, heaven forbid, the North Korea crisis worsens, they'll remember that the press essentially fiddled with the Foley affair while Rome burned under the heat of a rogue state nuke.

A Turn Out Tool?

In a story larded with speculation but substantiated with very few hard facts, The Washington Post notes that it's possible that the Republicans might lose the House -- or not.

Pieces like this reflect two competing impulses: Lip-smacking glee over the potential Republican defeat, tempered by CYA caution, just in case the predictions don't come true this time (as they didn't in '02 and '04). That's why we know that Republicans could lose as many as 30 seats on the on hand, but might hold the House on the other -- because of redistricting, you see.

Note that the Republicans' predictions in the story are gloomier than the Democrats'. That's because, to a large extent, this has to do with an expectations game, and ultimate success will turn on which party is better able to turn out its loyalists. Wouldn't it be ironic if alarmist stories like the Post's actually succeed in getting Republicans to turn out to vote, despite some of their complaints about the party and its leaders?

Stick, No Carrot

We've tried negotiation. We've tried appeasement (back in the 1990's). Neither worked. So the Bush Administration is quite right to be emphasizing the stick and not the carrot in its dealings with North Korea.

Note in the linked article that North Korea is threatening to fire off a nuclear missile unless its demands are met. For now, it's far from clear that NK's device even worked. But its behavior is a salutary reminder of how it would conduct itself if it ever did manage to obtain a functioning nuclear weapon.

And does anyone think its ally, Iran, would behave any better?

These threats need to be addressed before our enemies can act on them.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A New Approach

In the political fight over South Dakota's initiative to ban abortion, pro-life forces have taken a new tack -- defining the movement in feminist (pro-women) terms.

It's about time. For too long, pro-lifers have allowed the pro-choicers to act as though abortion -- rather than being a tragic occurrence -- somehow benefits women . . . when in fact, one of the great underreported phenomena about the life/choice debate is the destructive impact abortion has on the lives and spirits of the women who have undergone it.

Believe It Or Not

So somein Mexico want to appeal to the UN to stop the US from building the border fence.

Help me understand . . . somehow, the UN can prevent the US from protecting the integrity of its own borders?

One can only hope (and expect) that this would be laughed out of the UN, which has more important things -- like North Korean nukes -- to worry about.

Read It & Tremble

From a 2003 speech:

"The United States does not need a multi-billion-dollar national missile defense against the possibility of a nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missile."

Really? Care to reconsider in light of the successful North Korean tests?

You might wonder: Who, exactly, is the feckless politican who asserted the irrelevance of national missile defense? Well, it's Nancy Pelosi -- the Democrats' choice for Speaker of the House (second in line to the presidency and therefore to being commander in chief) if their party regains control. (HT: Hugh Hewitt).

Jumping the Shark

This piece, in The New York Times of all places, must be a tremendous disappointment to the Democrats. It seems that their hopes that the Foley scandal would suppress turnout aren't coming to fruition.

In fact, the way they've handled the scandal may, paradoxically, have had the result of rallying previously disaffected GOP voters back to the Republican banner.

As predicted, it looks like Democrats may have "misunderestimated" the Christian right once again. What they forget is that Christians have a real understanding of sin -- and unlike so much of the secular liberal establishment, they don't blame it on the environment, the people surrounding the sinner, or anything else. They know where the accountability for individual wrongdoing properly lies . . . with the individual who committed it.

An Ominous Occurrence

No, Madeleine Albright isn't congratulating Kim Jong Il on yesterday's successful nuclear test

Much of the United States woke to the news that, with a successful test of a nuclear bomb, madman Kim Jung Il has come one step closer to possessing nukes.

Predictably, Democrats are trying to spin the occurrence for their own political benefit, seemingly ignorant of the history of the Clinton years. It's just one more opportunity to ask them: What would you do? Specifics, please. Spare us the predictable twaddle about how a Democrat could "unite the world" against the threat, blah, blah, blah. The UN Security Council is in complete agreement that North Korea's behavior is unacceptable -- the problem, as every thinking person knows, is actually getting it to take some action.

In the meantime, as this thoughtful piece from Josh Manchester points out, the United States and its allies on the Korean peninsula have been hard at work, with some success.

It does tend to put Mark Foley and his salacious instant messages into perspective, doesn't it?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Same Old, Same Old

Sylvester Brown, Jr., a longtime African-American columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, is underwhelmed by Claire McCaskill's protestations of support for the black community.

In the end, the conversation about race and politics went as I expected. She sounded sincere, but I didn't hear anything that made me too hopeful about political and economic progress for local blacks.

Well, she'll always have New Orleans.

Priorities, Please

As Dems and the MSM remain transfixed by Mark Foley, the AP reports that North Korea has successfully conducted a nuclear test.

But hey, don't let a detail like that interrupt the continuing obsession with a scandal focusing on some detestable emails.

Just One Question

Why do the Democrats think that the House leadership should have been monitoring Mark Foley's email, when they're opposed to wiretapping phone calls to known terrorists?

Poor Bob Woodward

The outrage! The indignity! Vice president Cheney, he complains, characterized some of Bob Woodward's material as "bull----" and hung up on him!

That's what he told Tim Russert on "Meet the Press." Everything you need to know about Bob Woodward, though, is what I mentioned here -- that's he's very good at reading the zeitgeist and making his work conform to the prevailing spirit of the time.

Claire McCaskill - An Unacceptable Risk

The "Meet the Press" debate conducted this morning between Senator Jim Talent and Sate Auditor Claire McCaskill, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate from Missouri, provided a real insight on why a "Senator McCaskill" would be absolutely unacceptable. (Transcript here).

She is weak on terror.

1. She has said that the war on terror will not be won on the battlefield, but through "sophisticated criminal investigations."

2. She supports the Hamdan decision, which extended Geneva Convention protection to terrorists.

3. She supports the publication of classified information by The New York Times -- saying that it was all right because the terrorists knew about it anyway.

4. She opposes the President's warrantless wiretapping program -- and has, in fact, called it "illegal."

5. She is concerned that the United States hasn't extended habeas corpus rights to detained terrorists (or, at least so she told supporters in Paris, France).

6. She supports an artificial deadline for withdrawal from Iraq.

7. She wants to "redeploy" American troops from Iraq to Saudi Arabia and Qatar (without knowing, mind you, whether those countries would even accept American troops).

8. She believes we have "failed" in Iraq.

What's more:

She stands by her statement that "George Bush let people die on rooftops in New Orleans because they were poor and because they were black."

Having watched this debate, my overall impression is that it's surprising that Claire McCaskill is doing as well as she is in the polls. Her statements were little more than a stumblng amalgam of Democratic talking points and orchestrated attacks on Jim Talent and the President. She lacked the clarity and conviction of Jim Talent, especially when it comes to the war on terror -- and above all, was clearly trying to portray a more moderate image than the history of her statements, as quoted back to her, would suggest.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Question for Dems: WWYD?

The predictable Elinor Clift tries to have it both ways -- lambasting the Republican leadership for supposed homophobia even as she excoriates them for being insufficiently tough on Mark Foley. Again, it's worth asking: Based only on the emails (which was all Hastert had), what would you do?

Obviously, the Dems and their friends in the MSM have no answer. It's so much easier simply to attack, without any solutions of one's own.

And to divert. As Bill Kristol points out, it says something pretty significant about Democratic principles and priorities that they're fixated on a one-man sex scandal (that didn't even involve sex) at a time of great peril in the world.

The problem for Democrats is that they have no ideas about that -- just as they have no answers about how they'd have handled the Foley matter differently. That's the reason they want to talk only about Foley, and remain conspicuously silent on matters that are infinitely more important.

Ask the Democrats: What would you do? And in the hollow silence that follows, realize that this is a party that is profoundly unserious about anything except regaining power.

Hold Off on the Condescension

Ironic. The LA Times puts this breathless story about the Amish newspaper on its front page. How exotic -- "Long-standing policy at Die Botschaft [the Amish paper] prohibits the publication of stories about murder, as well as stories about war, love or religion." Just imagine that, Angelenos!

Please. The tone of the story is remarkably condescending, but no doubt as the LA Times would be the first to remind us -- and Hugh Hewitt's listeners were reminded yesterday -- news judgment is highly subjective. It's long been clear that most of the MSM emphasizes negative news from Iraq, for example, while downplaying or ignoring many of the more positive developments.

As the Times seems to understand when it comes to the Amish (but not so well when it comes to its own coverage) what's left out is nothing but a matter of subjective choice guided by personal preference, and can be as important as the treatment of what's put in. That's why the MSM would be well-served by more transparency about its members' political biases; readers and viewers would be better equipped to understand what they might be missing.

Ultimately, what the Amish do with their newspaper, and what the LA Times does with its, isn't different in kind (the subjective decisionmaking about what stories are interesting or "important" to its readers); it's just the substance of the decisions that differ. That principle has been well-understood by conservative media watchdogs like those at Accuracy in Media and the Media Research Center for years, as they've monitored liberal bias in the MSM.

It's somehow fitting that the Times would end the week of the Fox News Channel's 10th birthday with a story like this. After all, part of the reason that Fox has come to lead the cable news ratings race is that it will cover stories that don't fit in with the ideological predilections of the rest of the MSM.