Showing posts with label stray pins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stray pins. Show all posts

8/31/2007

Stray Pins: 8-31-07

I found an excellent article by National Review's Peter Wehner which uses the Larry Craig controversy as a springboard to a higher level discussion about hypocrisy. After reading his well-written article, I wholeheartedly agree with him that Craig himself is a nonissue. Sen. Craig is simply a vehicle that we can all use to examine the two types of hypocrisy Wehner mentioned in his article:

The issue, then, is whether one sees hypocrisy and wants people to live up to higher standards — or whether one sees hypocrisy and says that we should dissolve moral standards.
At first glance, it seems like conservatives would be more inclined to fall into the former camp while liberals and libertarians would be more inclined to fall into the latter one. This would explain why conservatives are "disappointed" by Sen. Craig's "sins" while liberals speak ill of him as yet another "hypocrite." I can only wonder how partisanship alters this equation when the person at the center of a political controversy is a member of the opposing party. This would be a fascinating study for political scientists and sociologists to research.

It looks like Hillary Clinton has a little problem with a fundraiser. It turns out that one of her top fundraisers is a fugitive. This story just adds yet another brick to the wall of controversy surrounding the Clinton brand. This is the type of story that reminds voters of what they don't like about the Clintons. But even more telling is the fact that neither Barack Obama nor John Edwards can take advantage of this development. Barack Obama has his problems with Tony Rezko and John Edwards has his problems with his work at a hedge fund. Obama in particular is probably kicking himself for not being able to capitalize on this issue and is missing a prime opportunity to attack Clinton's weakest point with his strongest point: her tainted past vs. his advocacy of hope and good government. Edwards has talked about "not replacing their (Republican) insiders with our (Clinton's) insiders" and has also challenged Clinton to stop accepting campaign contributions from lobbyists. But as the old saying goes, people in glass houses...

(Oh, and are the Republicans licking their chops?)

Elizabeth Edwards continues to make her husband's campaign look absolutely ridiculous. First she accused Hillary Clinton of not being a "leader" and then accused Barack Obama of being "holier than thou." But then she later said "she doesn't think the hatred against Hillary Clinton is justified" and had the gall to say "she doesn't know where it comes from!" Is she serious? And remember, a few days earlier when John Edwards made his "Lincoln Bedroom is not for rent" attack, he later said "it wasn't directed at any particular candidate" and that "They need to move on from thinking about themselves and think about what's important to the country." John Edwards is right. It's clear from his and his wife's remarks that Clinton and Obama aren't even on the Edwards' political radar. That "non-leader" and that "holier than thou guy" must be paranoid and conceited. Look, I can understand that politics is a contact sport, but if you're going to attack your opponents, at least keep your stories straight and don't contradict yourself! I really think the Edwards campaign is going for broke this time. I don't know where all the anger and desperation are coming from, but it is very off-putting, at least to this voter.

Looks like Republicans missed an excellent opportunity to improve their standing among Latino voters. There was supposed to be a Spanish-language debate for the Republicans on September 16 in Miami, but it was canceled due to a lack of interest among the candidates. To John McCain's credit, he accepted the invitation. Even though Blacks overwhelmingly vote Democratic, the Latino vote is a bit more competitive. Blowing off opportunities like this is not a good way to improve your standing in the Latino community. I wrote about identity politics and pandering earlier. But unlike the gay issues debate I was talking about in that previous post, the risk-reward ratio is far more favorable to Republicans when it comes to the Latino community. If the Democrats nominate a candidate who can put the Southwest in play, such as Bill Richardson, Republicans may rue the day they decided to blow off this debate and blunt some of his strength in that part of the country.

And could Fred Thompson possibly have bungled his own campaign rollout any worse than he already has? First he was "thinking" about running. Then he was supposed to jump in the race shortly after Independence Day. Then his fundraising totals were a bit disappointing. Then the media coverage became less favorable. Then Huckabee and Romney snatched up all the media coverage after the Ames straw poll. And then he had all sorts of campaign shakeups and defections. And then the date he chose to formally enter the race is right after a Republican debate in New Hampshire, much to the consternation of Republican operatives because it further fuels the perception of him being a lazy candidate. So Fred Thompson now has a very high bar to clear when he actually does get in the race. And if he doesn't meet expectations, his campaign is finished.

Gay marriage ballot initiatives undoubtedly contributed to John Kerry's defeat in the 2004 election. (It was on the ballot in Ohio.) But how will this Iowa court's recent decision allowing gay marriage impact the race? I'd imagine the Democratic candidates don't have to treat it as delicately as the Republicans do. Will Mitt Romney, who was governor at that time gay marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, get sandbagged? Will his conservative credentials be further scrutinized? How will Rudy Giuliani respond? At what point will conservatives reach their dealbreaker with him? And how enthusiastically will Democrats embrace this decision? I haven't seen many media outlets talking about this issue so far, but I think it could potentially turn the Iowa caucuses upside down.

6/10/2007

Stray Pins (6-10-07)

Lots of articles are gathering dust in my newsreader today:

Stories like this are what gives the federal government a bad name. Bush's government has mismanaged Iraq, bungled Katrina, politicized the Justice Department, and rewarded incompetence. Knowing that, I guess it should be no surprise that one of the cabinet secretaries was unaware that the late Senator Craig Thomas of Wyoming even died. How else could you explain Secretary Leavitt trying to arrange a meeting with him? Heckuva job indeed.

People interested in voter mobilization drives may be interested in this. It's a handbook offering useful tips on how to transform interest into action and support.

Could we really be setting ourselves up for Gingrich vs. Gore in 2008? With barbs like this from Gingrich and stories like this about Gore make me wonder if next year will really be the year when sanity is finally restored to our electoral choices.

Students of politics and the media may be interested in this article about Fox News and how handsome conservative pundits are balanced by "weird-looking" liberal pundits. Is Fox brilliant for this sort of packaging, or is it much ado about nothing? Or is it possible that Fox really is that petty?

Speaking of branding, here's a good piece I found about the "brands" of the Democratic contenders. They evaluate the "brands" in terms of awareness, reputation, personality, and connectivity. Gore apparently struggles in this regard.

It's been said many times that Hillary Clinton's greatest asset is her husband. But it seems like she's been injecting him a bit more into her campaign as of late, at least as far as her rhetoric is concerned. Is it because Obama has been chipping away at her lead?

Is Rudy Giuliani really an emperor with no clothes? Would his candidacy be doomed if he failed to win the New York primary on Tsunami Tuesday?

Life in the minority has obviously taken its toll on former House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois. Now there's speculation that he may retire. Surely there are other veteran Republicans who feel the same way. Could they be due for another shellacking in 2008? USA Today's Susan Page lays out a pretty comprehensive list of reasons why the GOP is still in a heap of electoral trouble.

One of the best articles I've read about the 2008 race so far is this recent piece by Howard Fineman of Newsweek. I've occasionally made comparisons between Hillary and McCain, Romney and Edwards, and Rudy and Obama. While those comparisons have some merit, Fineman does an excellent job of addressing how each party can be broken down into smaller brackets pitting "outsiders" against "veterans" and "fresh faces" against "Washington insiders." Very interesting piece. For example, Chris Dodd's greatest threat is not really Hillary Edbama. It's Joe Biden because of their similar resumes. There's only enough room for one veteran Washingtonian, right? Likewise, Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo are vying for the Western immigration hardliner role. Rudy McRomney should not be their first priority. Go read it.

A lot of what is written in Political Derby is a bit too childish for my tastes, but there is no denying that what they recently wrote about Bill Richardson has a lot of truth to it. Could Bill Richardson be this year's John Kerry?

5/13/2007

Stray Pins (5-13-07)

You heard it here first. Tommy Thompson will NOT be the Republican nominee for president. I've written about Thompson's gaffes and his stupid excuses for the gaffes before. Looks like he outdid himself this time. Basically, he blamed one of his responses at the debate in California on "having to go to the bathroom" and a "bad hearing aid." The question was the one about gay rights in the workplace. Thompson seemed caught off guard by the question, but said that companies should have the right to fire gay workers. How in the world does having to tinkle cause someone to say it's okay to fire someone just because he's gay? And if his hearing aid was so bad, how come he was able to answer so many of the other questions adequately? Why didn't he ask for clarification of any of the questions? Or is it possible that he's trying too hard to cozy up to the religious right even though he's a little more moderate? This guy's campaign is finished.

Why in the world is garbage like this considered fair game in the world of presidential politics? At what point can someone say enough is enough? If I were a politician, I think I would joke around with the interviewer that I don't know what sex is. The United States and the media worry too much about this nonsense. That's why our sexual attitudes are so unhealthy.

The Bush Administration is falling apart at the seams. Nobody seems to want to be a part of it anymore. Could it be that people are beginning to realize that the emperor has no clothes? Or are they afraid of being the next fall guy? Or do they simply think Bush and his cronies are grossly incompetent? (Oh, and it appears that "The Decider" is also "The Hypocrite".)

This is a useful resource from the Washington Post if you're interested in seeing where the presidential candidates are at any given time. That's a lot of frequent flyer miles these people are logging.

The Politico has an amazing chart detailing the different types of maneuvers politicians and their surrogates employ on a daily basis. This is not dry material. It uses easy to understand graphics which resemble football diagrams. It even includes risk and reward analyses of the various tactics you can employ. A must read.

People who are interested in betting on the next elections might be interested in this.

Republicans who are angry with Rudy Giuliani's stance on abortion should not be surprised. And on top of switching from Democrat to Republican, Giuliani cited the Republicans' economic positions as the basis for his switch. Giuliani is wise to run as a moderate because there's just too much stuff out there for him to satisfy the wishes of social conservatives. Good luck in Iowa.

Will the Congressional Black Caucus back out of the Fox News debate like the Democrats did with the debate in Nevada earlier this spring?

Of all the Democrats running for president, Chris Dodd seems to be the most obscure. Even Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich seem to get more airtime than he does. Here's an article about how he's dealing with his underdog campaign. Here's a similar article about Bill Richardson and his phantom status.

It's a shame that people can't tell the difference between comedy and real life. Similarly, can't people tell the difference between acting on TV and real life? Oh well. I guess you just have to fight with whatever weapons your opponents give you, right?

Remember my letter to the editor that got published in today's paper? I wrote it because of stuff like this. Sounds like everyone wants to pass the buck. No wonder all those generals have refused that "war czar" position...

When you have a 28% approval rating, is it any surprise that some of your previous donors are now donating to Hillary and Obama?

Why can't people just admit they screwed up? Why do they have to blame others for their failures and shortcomings? Personally, I think Wolfowitz should just resign. Of course, we'd be demanding the resignation of a foreign official who headed the World Bank and was guilty of similar wrongdoings. But the rules seem different for Americans, and particularly loyal Bushies. It's stuff like this that makes people around the world hate the United States.

Is Obama snubbing the Congressional Black Caucus? Are establishment Black Democrats with the CBC and Hillary while the new generation Black Democrats are in Obama's camp?

I am tired of Joe Lieberman bashing the political parties. If he hates them so much, why did he originally run as a Democrat in the 2006 Connecticut primary? And why does he threaten to caucus with the Republicans just because the Democrats won't give him what he wants regarding Iraq? Why doesn't he just go his own way and stop leading the voters on? He does have a point though. Could an independent or unity ticket gain traction in 2008?

Perhaps John McCain is in better shape than I originally thought. He's ahead in the states that matter. Is Giuliani hoping for a stellar performance on Super Tuesday when a lot of megastates with moderate voters have their say?

President Bush has issued only two vetoes during his six years in office, but how about other presidents? Presidential historians might be interested in this link.

I cannot help but wonder how many rumblings there are beneath the surface of Obama supporters. The MySpace fiasco is the latest example of Obama taking his supporters for granted, in my estimation. Trust is a very difficult thing to earn, a very easy thing to break, and almost impossible to rehabilitate. Could Colin Powell be drafted and capitalize on this ambivalence?

Looks like Congressman Bill Jefferson of Louisiana is still a punching bag that Democrats probably wish had lost his reelection bid last year. Seems like Republicans are reacting just like I thought two months ago. It's good politics for the Republicans, that's for sure.

"Candidness" is one reason why Mike Gravel generated so much attention in the netroots. According to former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, the candidates generally aren't doing that.

Looks like Democrats in the West are forming a new political action committee. I think this is a great idea because of the West's emergence as a new battleground. Democrats are locked out of the South for now, but the West may offer a few opportunities for them which would make the electoral math a bit easier.

4/30/2007

Stray Pins: 4-30-07

Because of all the major political events happening locally last week, I wasn't able to get around to reading many of the articles that had collected in my newsreader. So I present the next installment of Stray Pins.

Craig Crawford observes that the three Democratic candidates with the most experience pertaining to terrorism and foreign policy happen to be the three second tier candidates. Would the GOP be able to effectively use the terrorism card against these candidates?

Political Derby authoritatively declares Obama to be the frontrunner based on polling data from Rasmussen. Rolling Stone, however, thinks Obama is moving down. This is a major contrast to their opinions about him before the debate because of the way he rolled out his foreign policy proposals.

Political Derby also talks about the real reason why the GOP hates John Edwards. To paraphrase, John Edwards has gotten to where he is by living the Republican narrative. He pulled himself by his own bootstraps. However, even though he has become wealthy, he does not "embrace" the wealthy the way Republicans do. Poverty is a big deal to him, and he's not afraid to talk about it. And that's where the rub comes from.

The Justice Department recently released a study giving credence to DWB (Driving While Black). According to the study, Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be searched or arrested during traffic stops than Whites. However, there were no racial differences with regards to being stopped by the police. Surely Al Sharpton is going to ask what Barack Obama thinks about this. And if his answer is insufficient, it can reignite debate about how well Obama understands the concerns of the Black community. And it brings up another issue as well. Where does one draw the line between talking about legitimate issues of race and pulling the "race card?"

You've probably already read that most Democrats are satisfied with their choice of presidential candidates while Republicans want more choices. In light of the recent Democratic debate in South Carolina, I wonder how many Democrats are now similarly dissatisfied with their options?

Who knew that Rahm Emanuel was such a colorful speaker?

Even though I often support Nancy Pelosi, I think good government is more important than partisan government. That's why this story disappoints me. Stuff like this basically maintains the status quo by ensuring that only the most liberal and the most conservative politicians keep getting reelected, thus removing the necessity for politicians to find common ground.

The Hotline talked about the Virginia Tech massacre and how various presidential candidates have responded to it. I am very curious about how guns will be covered in the Republican presidential candidates' debate this week. Romney is a recent convert to the NRA and Giuliani is a moderate at best. Could McCain own the issue of guns?

Speaking of Giuliani, what does he have in common with Mitt Romney and John McCain? Well, it looks like he may become bogged down by this issue the same way Romney was bogged down by flip flopping on gay rights. It also has the potential to sandbag his campaign the same way it sandbagged John McCain's campaign in 2000. Which issue am I talking about? It's an issue that barely came up in the Democrats' debate last week: the Confederate flag. Looks like Giuliani may have some explaining to do because he has gone from opposing the flag to saying it's a "states rights" issue. And do non-authoritative answers like citing "states rights" demonstrate presidential leadership? Does he support "states rights" if these states decide to do something he personally may disagree with? Look for conservative voters to ask him about this in regards to civil unions legislation that has passed in New Hampshire and Connecticut.

According to The Rothenberg Political Report, Howard Dean still doesn't get it when it comes to religion. And he makes a good point too. How can you talk about Easter without mentioning the name "Jesus?"

Apparently, non-pundit Bob Shrum doesn't get it either. "Scripted spontaneity" just doesn't sound right. Oh, and Rolling Stone also believes Mike Gravel, the loose cannon presidential candidate from Alaska, might become the next darling of the Netroots. I guess Gravel does speak truth to power ("Who the hell are we gonna nuke?"), but his mouth is a bit too radioactive for my tastes.

Tim Dickinson of Rolling Stone is not amused. Dennis Kucinich has introduced articles of impeachment against Vice President Cheney. However, nobody else seems to want to touch it. However, Democrats are all calling for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's head. Why? Because his behavior in the lawyer firings controversy involves attacks against fellow Democrats. Torture, habeas corpus, and illegal wiretapping seem to have gotten a free pass.

I speculated earlier that as goes Obama, so goes Edwards. Quotes like this by John Edwards explains why. Fortunately for Edwards, Obama is still receiving the brunt of the "inexperience" questions. But that doesn't mean it's no longer an issue for Edwards. At least former New York Governor Mario Cuomo is impressed with Edwards' "spelling out his positions."

Looks like Iowa is a make or break state for Tommy Thompson and his presidential campaign. There is a straw poll there on August 11 and it seems like that will be the day of reckoning for him.

Are the Democrats going to revive the GOP culture of corruption mantra they relied on in the 2006 campaigns? They have new fodder for doing so, courtesy of Arizona Rep. Rick Renzi.

Former Bush donors are now supporting Clinton and Obama. What happened?

4/18/2007

Stray Pins: 4-18-07

Here's the second installment of Stray Pins, a collection of random articles I've been meaning to read, but never got around to:

Al Gore seems to have changed completely from the wooden, overly consulted, unlovable wonk to someone who knows how to deftly fight back while using the "enemy's issues" against them. Can you recall the last time a Democrat used the Bible to stop a Republican critic in his tracks? Had this been the Al Gore in the 2000 campaign, we'd be talking about the Republicans' presidential chances after 16 years in the wilderness.

Popular former Senator John Breaux announced that he would not run for Louisiana governor because of questions about his eligibility to run. (He currently lives in Maryland.) Breaux's departure probably means that Republican Bobby Jindal is a shoo-in to win the race. Republicans may very well win 2 of the 3 governor's races this year because the geography is so favorable: Louisiana, Mississippi, and Kentucky are tough nuts for Democrats to crack in any year. Kentucky is the Democrats' best shot simply because current Republican Governor Ernie Fletcher is so unpopular. If the Republicans win 2 of the 3 races, will they spin the results as indicating the end of the GOP wipeout and the beginning of its resurgence? They probably will, but these seats are all in friendly territory. None of those states can be considered a swing state. So a second wipeout in 2008 is still quite possible, in my opinion.

If Puerto Rico becomes a state, what does that mean for Washington D.C.'s prospects of getting full representation in the House of Representatives? And how would Puerto Rican statehood impact the debate over bilingual education, immigration, and Cuban and Haitian refugees?

It's good to see politicians recuse themselves to avoid conflicts of interest in legal trials. These are the types of things that make the average voter respect politicians. It would be nice to see more acts like this.

According to Gallup, President Bush's approval rating has averaged 35% over the past three months. Only one out of three people support what our national leader is doing and how he's doing it. Incredible. Even more incredible is the fact that Bush seems to be so oblivious to this. Bragging about how "resolute" you are on the campaign trail ("my convictions don't change with the polls, etc.") is one thing. Ignoring the polls that actually mean something (election results) is something entirely different. This is why Republicans are very anxious about next year's elections. Bush has become an albatross on the party and other Republican candidates are going to be tarred with the same brush. Stuart Rothenberg says that "Bad news still falls primarily on Republicans, since the president remains the symbol of the government." This brings me to a new question: What are the Republicans going to do with Bush at their convention in Minneapolis next year? They have to let Bush speak, but nobody wants to be associated with him. Interesting dilemma indeed.

4/11/2007

Stray Pins: 4-11-07

I would like to introduce a new feature of The 7-10 called "Stray Pins." I've been thinking about doing this for awhile. Like many of you, I use a newsreader to keep track of all of my favorite sites. (I personally recommend Bloglines.) One of the features of Bloglines allows you to select various articles and posts that you want to save and read later, as opposed to having them be lost forever.

So over the course of the past few months, I've noticed that a lot of these old articles are still stuck in my newsreader taking space. These are articles that I've either A) been meaning to read, but never got around to do so, B) found to be quite poignant and wanted to read again, C) found interesting enough to write a blog about, but never had the time to do so, or D) found interesting enough to comment on, but simply didn't know how to write about extensively.

I've had this idea for awhile, but it looks like the writers at The Online Scribble beat me to it with their new "Tidbits" feature. I suppose "Stray Pins" is much like "Tidbits" except that it won't be updated regularly. Basically, whenever enough articles begin to collect dust in my newsreader, I'll update it. This means some of the stuff I include might be yesterday's news, or even older.

Anyways, here are the stray pins I've found scattered around the lanes today:

It's a shame that the Bush administration is willing to spend $100 million to encourage unmarried 20-somethings not to have sex when 95% of Americans do not practice abstinence. People who are surprised that Bush is oblivious to reality in Iraq today could have found clues to this three years earlier with this nonsense. After all, what more could you expect from the worst president in history?

TV Newser brought up an interesting point about the Nevada Democratic debate fiasco early last month. If 38% of the Fox News audience is self-identified as conservative, that would mean the remaining 62% are moderate and liberal. Because of FNC's superior ratings, the non-conservative Fox News audience is larger than the entire audience of CNN and MSNBC. Also, polling data indicate that FNC viewers supported Bush overwhelmingly in 2004. That's a lot of voters to potentially enrage. Was scrapping the debate really in the best interest of the Democratic presidential candidates? Did they alienate a lot of potential supporters, or did they just fire up the voters who would never consider them to begin with?

As we all know, legislators in Washington generally treat voters like garbage until campaign season rolls around and they need votes and fundraising support. Well, apparently these same politicians treat their own staffs like garbage too. Lovely.

I was talking with a cashier in Walmart tonight about my interest in political science. She said she gave it a try, but hated it because she had a bad professor. Now she thinks it's boring. Perhaps the life of a political junkie is not for everyone? It's easy for me to see why so many politicians are divorced. There's no time for "extra stuff," like romance!

Barack Obama better hope that he does not become an indirect casualty of the Don Imus firestorm. His slow response did nothing but reignite the doubt that lots of Black voters have about his commitment to their issues. How could his consultants and PR people let him wait five days to respond?!

Which state borders both Nebraska and Tennessee? If you had to find South Dakota on a map, could you do it? Which state is south of Idaho and Oregon and shares a border with Utah? Try the 50 State Map Challenge and see for yourself!

Conventional wisdom says that Rudy Giuliani is too liberal to win the GOP nomination. Everyone seems to be doubting him, but he has been performing quite well in the polls. His success has completely befuddled veteran pundit Stuart Rothenberg. I don't get it either.

The AP is reporting that character wins votes when it comes to presidential candidates. Is experience overrated? Have voters not learned anything from the 2000 and 2004 elections?

How many people are still talking about that anti-Hillary ad that made the rounds on YouTube? I'm not hearing much about it, personally. Looks like Rothenberg has struck again.

So, now Connecticut wants to join in the mega-primary fun on February 5 next year, presumably giving Connecticut Senator Chris Dodd a chance. But at what point does enough become too much? Absolutely ridiculous. Even poor little Nevada is getting left out of the mix even though the schedule was tweaked to give it a bit more influence for the sake for "diversity" and improving the process. Thanks a lot, Iowa.

Copyright 2007-2008 by Anthony Palmer. This material may not be republished or redistributed in any manner without the expressed written permission of the author, nor may this material be cited elsewhere without proper attribution. All rights reserved. The 7-10 is syndicated by Newstex.