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November 13, 2005


richard mcenroe

If the Democrats HAD a new message, there would be cause for concern. But what they have is Hillary's arrogant promise to take money away from Americans because she knows who really needs it, and the memory of what the antiwar movement they embrace did to the people of SE Asia in 1974. Oh, and abortion.

Yep. That oughta do it.


Those returning troops and what they have to say about things will be key. Success in Iraq will give them the force of credibility with the majority of Americans proud of what has been accomplished and disinclined to believe it was all a lie.


This is one area where I agree with Rick B - absent an economic shock, The Rs will hold on.


Eldridge Gerry to the rescue.

For now.

Although it will only, as it has done, increase polarization (if that's possible).

And thanks, in part I guess, goes to Brenann for Baker v. Carr. Maybe Ike wasn't really so wrong after all.


Anonymous Liberal

I'm convinced that the key to congressional elections is the quality of the candidates themselves. In 1993, when political hopefuls were deciding whether or not to run for Congress, Clinton was off to a very rocky start and Democrats were looking more vulnerable than they had in years. Conservative political aspirants looked at the political terrain and decided "if I'm ever going to run, this is the year to do it." Promising Democratic candidates, on the other hand, surveyed the terrain and thought "maybe I should wait a few years." Many Democratic incumbents also decided to retire rather than face a stiff challenge. As a result, Republicans had much stronger candidates in local races, and the outcome reflected that.

The same decision-making is going on right now. Many democratic political aspirants are thinking that this is the year to run. Many promising conservatives are probably deciding to put off their run for a few years. The question will be whether promising Democratic candidates feel bold enough to challenge some of congressional districts that were previously thought to be Republican-locks. If enough promising candidates are willing to take this challenge, the GOP could really be in some trouble.

In that sense, the political climate right now is more important than the climate a year from now. Even if the landscape improves for the GOP of the course of the year, many of their best potential candidates may have already decided to sit this year out.


Good point by Anon Lib, which inspires another - how di I write all that and not mention money?

I have no idea what the fundraising situation was in '94, but I bet the Reps were OK, and I bet they are relatively better off now.

Well worth checking, however.


I have no idea why the anti-war folks think the rest of us believe them.

true. Lets not forget about that Iraqi war vet Paul Hackett came within a hair's breath of winning a district that had gone for Bush in 2004 by 64%.

(1) Where is the sense of betrayal?

puh-leez. voters were angry with Clinton because of the Hillary-care mess -- an attempt to FULFILL a promise. But "sense of betrayal"? --- maybe among leftists.

Bush used to get high marks for honesty, integrity, and leadership, and those poll numbers are in the toilet and swirling around waiting to be flushed, I'd say you have a pretty strong sense of betrayal on your hands.

(2) Who is the Democratic leader?

Gingrich became the symbol for the GOP. Reid could easily do the same, and quite successfully.

(3) What are the issues?

In 1994, Republicans united around their "Contract With America".

yeah, that that "Contract" wasn't shown to the American people until a few months before the election.

I've no doubt that the Democrats are equally capable of coming up with their own stunt in 2006. The GOP ran against Clinton in 1994, and the Dems can run against Bush in 2006 and win.


Redistricting may not be as disadvantageous for the Democrats as the Times suggests. Yes, resdistricting can create an advantage for the party that controls the process, but only as long as voting trends in a state stay consistent. The objective is to create new district boundaries that (1) put as many as possible of the other party's voter base into a few unwinnable districts, and (2) spread your own party's voters over a larger number of districts with a projected winning margin of between, say, 55-45 and 60-40. The smaller the spread, the more districts can be created for your party. But with too small a spread, the higher the risk from a shift in voter preference.

Recent polls have indicated possible movement of 10% to 20% in some states. That could tip many races in the Democrats' favor. Much will depend on the quality of candidates that can be attracted by both parties to run against incumbents and in open races. As polls indicate more opportunities for upsets, the Democrats will be able to attract better candidates while some potential Republican candidates may be reluctant to run.

richard mcenroe

Word is, the Republicans have outraised the Democrats nearly 5 to 1. Dean has not been the cash cow they hoped.

Of course, Soros could always write another check next week...


Word is, the Republicans have outraised the Democrats nearly 5 to 1. Dean has not been the cash cow they hoped.

wow. Looks like you need a new source of words.

Since the last presidential election, the RNC has raised $81 million, the DNC $42 million.

As for Dean's effectiveness, in the previous election cycle at this point, the RNC had raised $80 million, and the DNC $31 million. In other words, Dean has raised 1/3 more than was raised by this point for the DNC two years ago.

The whole 5 to 1 ratio thing, btw, is about "cash on hand". The RNC has five times as much ($34 million vs $6.8 million). So basically, the RNC has spent $44 million dollars, retained one House seat by a mere 4000 votes in a race that NOBODY thought would be close, lost one Governor's race nobody expected it to win (NJ) and lost one everyone thought the GOP would win.(VA).

The DNC, under Dean, spent $27.2 million, and now every "moderate" republican is begging for television time to ask "George Who?"

Now, anything can happen in a year...but except for some Democratic fat cats who are pissed off because Dean hasn't been personally kissing their asses for the last year, the Party is doing just fine under Dean, TYVM!

Gary Maxwell


That was really really mean. After all the reality based community was finally feeling good about themselves, lord knows they needed after the flop of Plamegate, and then Delay not cowering from a malicious prosecution, and the Iraqis not follwing script and voting in greater numbers than the first time, and Roberts saling thru and then Alito seeming to see little in the way of serious opposition.

Heck they thought they had it, why just like an economist WE WILL ASSUME it is 1994, yeah that's the ticket. Boy isn't this going to be fun, they thought, your Chimpy boy is done and all his minions are going to get routed.

Then you have the temerity to rain on their little pissant parade with a few facts, and to add salt to the wound you do it with the NYT. Just to make 'em feel better, post a correction and say it was newsmax.com. That way their cognitive dissonance can be dealt with a little more easily.

JM Hanes

"Gingrich became the symbol for the GOP. Reid could easily do the same, and quite successfully."

Oh, nevermind.


I think a bit that people forget is that 1994 was as much a reaction to the 1992 election. The 20 percent or so of electorate that voted Perot in 1992 were just as enraged after 2 years of dealing with the mess of Clinton and the Contract with America also adapted many of the things that Perot was saying. Coincidence? I think not.

JM Hanes

On second thought, maybe Dean, Kennedy, Pelosi & Reid et al. are part of a vast Clintonian conspiracy to make Hillary look really, really good.

Howard Dean apparently refused to appear on camera with Ken Mehlman for today's Meet the Press. So much for the vaunted Republican echo chamber! Having seen their separate segments, however, I'm forced to give Dean credit for a good call on that one.


Gingrich became the symbol for the GOP. Reid could easily do the same, and quite successfully."

Hmm, Calhoun, Clay, Webster and Reid.

I'm not sold yet.

Try again.



Ami, before you cite the "polls" I would hope you would look into the makeup of the "polls".

When exit polls show 37% R's and
37% D's the polls can't seem to come up with a representative sampling. They also seem to like to question "Adults" vs "Registered
Voters". This is one of the reasons the D's get those big surprises, especially when the dead,pet and illegal alien vote is
thrown out.

Rasmussen's lastest poll has GW at
a 45% favorable!

New Subject:
How can the Dem's explain the words
and the bombings ordered by then Pres. Clinton and the US Congress in 1998?

Mind rays from the Governor of Texas?

Shouldn't we petition Bartlett's
Quotations to include this in their
next edition:
*“History will show that none of the leading Democrats had substantial intelligence.”
John F. Kerry
tks to GatewayPundit


When exit polls show 37% R's and
37% D's the polls can't seem to come up with a representative sampling.

larwyn, when you figure out the difference between "voters" and "all american adults", get back to me and we can continue this discussion of "representative samples".

Gary Maxwell

Actually Larwyn you are wrong. The last two days Rasmussen has been at 46%. Since Rasmussen uses a three day rolling average in his polls to dampen out any swings its likely that it is slowly climbing and Bush is only 4% from a majority in favor. Hard to believe I know. Did you know for example that Bush had a 52% favorable in Virginia right before the Governor election? No, it was not reported well, cuz it did not fit the story that Bush was a drag on the Repub ticket. Cue the guys claiming no bias in the media


I was a Democrat for most of my life, but right now I am still really disgusted with the posturing... back stabbing... two timing... dishonest and down right tacky tactics of the current Democrats.

I voted for Bush and I still support him. My only real big problem with the GOP is they have a tendency to turn on each other.

I am still disgusted with the treatment Miers and the President got.

I think a lot of the polls are useless but I do think that intra party fighting has something to do with Bush's slump.

But that does not mean the Democrats will win a year from now.

A year is an eternity in politics.

Gary Maxwell


You make a pretty good point. Bush did not lose any Democrats as supporters recently. His loses came form one of two places, either Independents or conservative Republicans who decided that Miers was a bridge too far. Those folks are the easiest to return to the folds too, which I think in a couple of months we can runn a regression analysis on two things, Alito's confirmation and Bush popularity and another regression of gasoline pump prices and Bush popularity. When Alito is confirmed some conservatives come back and when gas prices continue downward some independents come back.

Just in time for Rove to administer another paddling to the reality based community, their 4th in a row.


And who'll be the party spokesperson?
Dean's afraid to be interviewed alongside Mehlman.

Rockfeller flopped big time today..Here's instapundit's snippet from a Rockefeller disaster today:

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: Chris, there's always the same conversation. You know it was not the Congress that sent 135,000 or 150,000 troops.

WALLACE: But you voted, sir, and aren't you responsible for your vote?


WALLACE: You're not? http://instapundit.com/archives/026823.php


I didn't watch clarice ...

If that really happened it's so telling.


...say they are preparing to run as the party of change, offering...new investments in energy independence,

I am just wondering how the ANWR vote plays, especially considering there are a number of Dems that are putting politics over principle on the issue (opposed to the wrongheaded Rhinos who are putting principle? over politics I guess). I guess their talking point plan is not retro-active :

"Chair of the House Rules Committee David Dreier, himself a proponent of ANWR exploration, explained on the program yesterday that these anti-ANWR exploration Republicans have held these (wrongheaded) views for some time, but that pro-exploration Democrats had bolted to their party's benefit despite their personal views because of the opportunity to mark up a major political defeat against the GOP. The Democrats understand how, on rare occasions, party must trump individual views if the party is to govern effectively and as a majority. Evidently the anti-ANWR exploration Republicans are unwilling to sacrifice their image of themselves to the benefit of the majority remaining a majority --and on a national security issue!



Okay, I could see this "we were duped" meme was dumb, because it's in turn becomes an advertisment Bush out-SMARTED them and they are, well...dumb incompetents.

InstaPunkpundit uses a DeNiro in Casino analogy:

"Like De Niro in Casino said to the local in charge of the slot machines after a particular machine awarded three consecutive jackpots, "Either you were in on it or you were too dumb to see it coming -- either way, you're out." Note: Our memory of the scene plays much better than it does in the movie."

Rick Ballard


Dean is spending like a drunken sailor to raise money. That's why, although he outraised Rolodex by 10 mil there is still 3 mil less in the Dem till after Howies magnificent effort. Rolodex spent .35 to raise $10K and Howie is spending $9,875 to raise the same $10K. Howie is cheating Dem contributors a helluva lot more than Rolodex ever did. I know Rolodex couldn't win any elections but geez, look at the candidates he had to work with.

And as Clarice notes - who speaks for the Dems? Howie is now afraid of his own shadow and Reid and Pelosi sure aren't Bubba.
Soros/Bing/Lewis apparently ain't throwing good money after bad either. Rock, meet hard place.

Keep trying though. Every race needs a loser as well as a winner.


I'd love to see historical data showing a 10 - 20% swing in a district that hasn't changed boundaries. I think you would need to look at '32 or '34 to find one though. A 7% swing is huge - and rare.

Dave Johnson

"I was a Democrat for most of my life, but"

Good one. Heh.



There are a few of us here. I voted Republican for the first time ever last November.


If an international money speculator tried to destroy the Dem party outright by paying people to attack it and riddling it with agents provocateur whose job it was to create a feeling of utter revulsion in the voters it needed to win, could he have succeeded more spectacularly than Soros has? LOL


Ed Morrisey cites more of the Rockefeller interview to show how lame was their ankle biting meme (Bush Lied):

Speaking of Rockefeller, he doesn't need McCain's help in looking like an idiot or a liar. As Power Line noted today, Rockefeller unwittingly shows the idiocy of the meme and of Senators trying to push it in an interview with Fox's Chris Wallace:

WALLACE: Senator Rockefeller, the President says that Democratic critics, like you, looked at pre-war intelligence and came to the same conclusion that he did. In fact, looking back at the speech that you gave in October of 2002 in which you authorized the use of force, you went further than the President ever did. Let's watch. SEN. ROCKEFELLER (October 10, 2002): "I do believe that Iraq poses an imminent threat, but I also believe that after September 11th, that question is increasingly outdated." WALLACE: Now, the President never said that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat. As you saw, you did say that. If anyone hyped the intelligence, isn't it Jay Rockefeller?

SEN. ROCKEFELLER: No. The – I mean, this question is asked a thousand times and I'll be happy to answer it a thousand times. I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq – that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11. Now, the intelligence that they had and the intelligence that we had were probably different. We didn't get the Presidential Daily Briefs. We got only a finished product, a finished product, a consensual view of the intelligence community, which does not allow for agencies like in the case of the aluminum tubes, the Department of Energy said these aren't thick enough to handle nuclear power. They left that out and went ahead with they have aluminum tubes and they're going to develop nuclear power.

WALLACE: Senator, you're quite right. You didn't get the Presidential Daily Brief or the Senior Executive Intelligence Brief. You got the National Intelligence Estimate. But the Silberman Commission, a Presidential commission that looked into this, did get copies of those briefs, and they say that they were, if anything, even more alarmist, even less nuanced than the intelligence you saw, and yet you, not the President, said that Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat. ...


What a jerk is Jay.

Rick Ballard


Bill Clinton did more and more lasting damage to the Dem party than George Soros. The "run as a centrist but head left after election" moved 4 - 6% of registered Dems off the reservation forever. Toss in the Roosevelt Dems who are departing this vale if tears - and not being replaced by people half as dedicated as a Roosevelt Yellow Dog Dem and the problem becomes actuarial rather than political.

Soros is doing his bit with the Kossacks in choking off any possibility of attracting moderates but that 4 - 6% shift in '94 was the death blow.


That explains my party switch--I had been voting occasionally for Republicans since Carter, but after Clinton's first term I absolutely felt the party had taken a turn I could never accept.

When the President ran the first time, I switched parties.

But it may be more honest to say that the party switched more than I did..I was always in the JFK, Scoop Jackson wing, not the McGovern, Harkin,Kennedy, Kerry and assorted dunderheads wing.

But look--the Media Matters, MoveOn and assorted Soros ops are what feeds the Kossies, not the other way around, I think.

Campaign Finance Reform has made it possible for Soros to displace whatever was still around of the party's middle by aiding its extreme left.

In 2000, the DNC didn't mount much of a get out the vote drive--they relied on the Soros and Union funded (AND DIRECTED) ops--and that money was pissed away on druggies who signed up Mickey Mouse and paid their workers with crack..It's like watching a rich parent, destroy his child by underwriting irresponsible behavior.

Even if Dean weren't such a twit, the combination of CFR and Soros' enormous moneybag, would assure the DNC and whatever remains of the party's middle would be cast aside.


Sweet! Did you bring the intel reports with you too?

rip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria, and I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq – that that was a predetermined set course which had taken shape shortly after 9/11.

Doesn't there seem something insidious in this? Sat a no WMD insurance policy?


Sat = Set-up

Rick Ballard


Sorry for my lack of clarity. Soros' and the Emily's list 527's are indeed driving the Kossack short bus. Someday maybe they'll notice that it's sitting on cinderblocks with the wheels off.

Btw - the AFL-CIO split this summer was another nail in the coffin. The Teamsters and the Carpenters will reach accomodation with the Reps soon if they have not already done so. In fact, the reinstatement of the Bacon-Davis act for Katrina reconstruction may have been part of a Carpenter's deal. By "deal" I mean "we'll devote our time, money and effort to organizing rather than pissing it away helping Dems lose to Reps". Hoffa's dad was working on such a deal when he "disappeared". This time I think the deal will stick since 40% of union members vote Rep anyway.

richard mcenroe

ami — I stand corrected. They only outraised them 2 to 1. Hell, they're doomed.

Although, to be fair, this does not figure on the Dems' inevitable 527 donations from Malibu "liberals" concerned about the common man, as long as he stays off their beaches.

Rick Ballard


Cash on Hand is 5/1. I wrote about it last week and the WaPo used the same data set to get to a slightly different place this week. I wonder why they didn't use my title?


The Teamsters have been dancing off stage with the Reps for a while--wish they'd come out already --and do it on ANWR. Indeed, all the construction unions should join them..


When the number of people who want to dump their Congressman gets to 58%, as reported, then they are already starting to include Democrats.


I've used the Casey Stengel anecdote before but I'm not shy about repeating myself, or the old 'Perfesser either (hell, or anyone else with a good line that makes me sound impressive).

Stengel said that the key to successful managing was "keeping the 50% of the players who hated him from talking to the 50% of the players who weren't quite sure they hated him."

Right now, the two parties are fighting to keep the 50% of the electorate (more or less depending on the issue) who detest them from convincing some of the other 50% who don't quite-yet-detest them from coming together.

My guess - and as the commentator above noted, a day is a lifetime in politics - that come November 2006, it will be a wash. The electorate may wind up being completely dissatisfied with both parties and will likely, under such circumstances, either stay home or stick with the lesser-known bum, i.e., their current representative.

If, however, voter turnout is once again critical, I can see a stronger Democratic rush to the polls than a Republican one. While the Dems have no positive agenda, the "systematic organization of hatreds" (as Henry Adams called it) appear to benefit that side more than the right. More energy, the thought of possibly recapturing the House and perhaps a fresher set of candidates give them the edge.

Slight edge to the Democrats. Pickup 5-6 seats in the House, 1-2 seats in the Senate.

Let it be noted that I also once predicted that Michael Dukakis would be the 41st president of the United States.


Rick Ballard


I think you have the outside margin correct but I'd say that it could go either way. Hell, the basic issues won't be determined until May. I Just don't see either party doing better than 8H-2S. Turnout will be below 50% maybe as low as 40% and I would not give the Dems any edge because of BDS. It actually afflicts a very small but noisy portion of the electorate.

richard mcenroe

Rick — If you take the civil service unions out of the equation, the percentage is even higher.


clarice -

"But it may be more honest to say that the party switched more than I did..I was always in the JFK, Scoop Jackson wing, not the McGovern, Harkin,Kennedy, Kerry and assorted dunderheads wing."

Same here. After Carter, I changed parties and have never looked back.

Re: Jay Rockefeller - he's always good for a laugh until I realize that he's one of one hundred people whose decisions affect our lives. What a dunderhead!


I think I'm about to start a collected wit and wisdom of Jay Rockefeller --contributions to my mail box will be appreciated.

I started to be angry with him when that perfidious memo surfaced last year, but his game playing hasn't stopped has it? Neither should we.

He's an idiot for doing this and deserves what he gets.

Harry Arthur

ami, lost one everyone thought the GOP would win.(VA). Not exactly the whole context as I have indicated elsewhere. In VA we have a one term governor. Mark Warner has been very popular because he governed pretty much from the center, concentrated on local issues, and though he increased taxes (largest in history) did it in a manner that didn't alienate many Virginians.

Most commentators here would suggest that Tim Kaine (Warner's LT Gov) was elected to figuratively give Mark Warner a "second term." The same voters elected a republican LT Gov, AG, and left the House of Delegates in republican hands. This election was about changing demographics in the suburbs of Northern VA and about local issues such as transportation and congestion. Not to mention that the republican candidate Jerry Kilgore, ran a lousy campaign that failed to adequately address local issues such as skyrocketing county property taxes.

JM Hanes

From Rockefeller:
"I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq"

Does anybody else find this admission as shocking as I do? He was saying this to the Saudis, Syrians & Jordonians in Jan. '02? WTF? What the hell was he doing even speaking to these guys off the record, let alone undercutting the U.S. position with critical players in the most volatile region in the world? And if that weren't mindboggling enough, he apparently believes it makes his own sorry argument here look...better. Unf*g believable!

Rick Ballard


They counted the close loss in the special election for the OH2 seat as a "victory". Holding the gov slot in VA therefore becomes a "surprising victory". If a Rep congressman is caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy and they pick up the seat, it will be a "stunning upset victory". In the "reality community" words have special meanings to which most of the sane are not privy.

JM Hanes

Gary -
"His loses came form one of two places, either Independents or conservative Republicans who decided that Miers was a bridge too far."

I know you were talking about recent losses, and while I don't think that conservatives of most any stripe are likely to switch parties any time soon, I think the Republicans may have a real problem keeping moderates on the reservation. The Terri Schaivo (sp?) business shook up a whole lotta folks who have been willing to look the other way when it came to a host of things like making patently political appointments to scientific oversight boards only because Iraq & the WOT outweighed every other concern.

Arrogance more than anything brought Newt Gingrich down, and frankly, I don't think the the Hastert/DeLay crowd learned a damn thing from that experience. They've been as careless with the Republican wing of the Republican party as they have been with the democrats. While I doubt current morale on the war will translate into big wins for the Dems in '06 (although non-Presidential "local" elections can be hinky), I wouldn't be surprised to see Republicans lose the whole shooting match in '08 if they try to run anyone remotely resembling a social conservative.

Les Nessman

"From Rockefeller:
"I told each of the heads of state that it was my view that George Bush had already made up his mind to go to war against Iraq""

Isn't that, you know, unpatriotic?

I know nobody is supposed to even question anyone else's patriotism anymore, but wasn't that a shitty thing for Rockefeller to do, no matter who was President?


In a subsequent post, I think it is fair to say that Captain Ed questioned Rockefeller's patriotism:

JR: ...I took a trip by myself in January of 2002 to Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria...

Now, what the hell was Rockefeller doing revealing his analysis of American foreign policy and the direction of war strategy to Bashar Assad??

If this is true, Rockefeller should get ejected from the Senate and possibly stand trial for treason. In 2002, we were at war against Islamofascist terrorists, and Syria has long been listed by the US State Department as a terrorist-supporting state. What Rockefeller admitted was conspiring with the enemy during a state of war -- and he should be held accountable, especially considering his admission of the act on national television.


Yeah, like Kerry met with the vietcong in Paris during a shooting war and look what happened to him...he ran for President!



Yeah, and how could vote with the administration had "already made up its mind to go to war with Iraq" if the intelligence did not support it?

IOW, it he thought the administration was cooking the intelligence books, how could he, as ranking minority member, vote with the administration. Unless he is completely unprincipled cynic.

Why is he just now blowing the whistle if he knew this before the Congressional vote?


The first sentence of the above post should read:

Yeah, and how could he vote with the administration that had "already made up its mind to go to war with Iraq" if the intelligence did not support it.

(Got to read the preview)


Rockefellar: Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria

I knew I wasn't crazy.

Also..this is getting a little convoluted...If Rockefeller was so sure in Jan. 2002 of plan to go to war AND informing Heads of State sympathetic to Iraq (wrong, wrong, wrong) of that view, then doesn't this kinda undercut his new meme of manipulated intel (i.e. niger docs) in a tangent way as well?



you beat me too it.


John D. was the Rock and all the talent has since been diluted. This Rockefeller is not unbelievable; what's unbelievable is that he has a public voice.

Gary Maxwell


I think the Republicans may have a real problem keeping moderates on the reservation.

JM I guess you could be right but their alternative is what? Hill, Nancy and Harry? Oh and Mad How.

The mods bolted on ANWR but if the right story had been told by the press, these folks had voted the same way for years. Enough Dems who think we should be drilling there in previous years voted yes for it to pass. This year the Dems did not vote their conscience but voted as their fearless leader Pelosi instructed.

I really think that George Allen is the only true conservative with any hope right now and I would not wager on him with odds. It looks to me like a Guiliani waltz. I wont like a lot of what he says, but I am sure he will be firm on the WOT. When he told the Saudi prince to shove his money, he convinced me that he has principles and a backbone.


Gephart/Lieberman is a winner.

But who'd give them money?

See my point?


Well, for the visually challenged, I'll point it out. Money has as little effect on their principles as Saudi money does to Giuliani. Kucinich, too.

JM Hanes

Gary -
"I guess you could be right but their alternative is what? Hill, Nancy and Harry? Oh and Mad How."

It's the conservative base that has no place to go. While they might stay home, of course, moderates might actually be persuaded to vote for a centrist Democrat. I'm not basing that assessment on recent public Congressional defections, although they tend to confirm my perspective -- as do Giuliani's consistent ranking in the (admittedly abstract) polls.

David Broder is not one of my favorite op-ed writers, but he recently did make a point worth noting. While Democrats weren't exactly swept into office in VA and NJ:

The Republican moderates come mainly from suburban districts, the same kind of districts that supported Bush in 2004 but turned against Republican candidates and causes in last Tuesday's voting. Democrats elected governors in New Jersey and Virginia by sweeping the suburban areas where independent voters place a high value on education and the environment and are socially tolerant.

Moderates have been taken for granted so long that both press & public now use the terms Conservative and Republican as though they were interchangeable. Compromise is one thing in a minority party where it's impossible to accomplish anything unless everybody toes the same line. It's another matter entirely when that party controls both White House & Congress. With very few exceptions, I think the administration's domestic policy really sucks, and if it weren't for the paramount importance of the war in Iraq and the fact that Kerry was such a sorry excuse for a candidate I might have been off the reservation already.

Conservatives need to take care they don't mirror the Democrats' mistake of just assuming that Republicans as a whole share the depth of their dislike for Hillary -- and thus underestimate her potential appeal to possible defectors. It's also important not to forget that the Presidential election ain't the whole ball of wax either. There's a lot more potential for vote swinging and vote splitting the further down the ballot you get. By the time '08 rolls around, the Republicans are going to need some centrist coattails themselves.


I've always depended on the wisdom of independents.


* the paramount importance of the war in Iraq

*the administration's domestic policy really sucks

That's what you say, this is what I hear:

* I trust Republicans on defense so I believe what they say about terrorism.

* I trust Democrats on domestic policy so I believe what they say about the administration's (it sucks).

I don't think there's any question that W has reached across the isle on domestic policy. The problem I have with "moderates" is an overreliance on perception and an attempt to read everything as if both sides are acting in good faith so disputes are mostly "misunderstandings".


Hitchens brings his rapier wit and keen mind to the issue, destroying the Dems' charge they voted for regime change in 1998 without authorizing an invasion and smashing the Chalabi lied to us meme..http://www.slate.com/id/2130293/?nav=navoa

The master..


Wow. Hitchens in top form! Nails it!

JM Hanes

boris -

Ordinarily, I think your comments are spot on (and enviably succinct!), so I wonder if perhaps the term "moderate"is problematic. Otherwise, I'm afraid a hearing aid is definitely in order. Trust is not a big factor here! Even back in the good old cold war days, I was ultimately less worried about the Soviet Union than about rogue states and fanatics. After the Soviet Union self-destructed, I also began to feel that it the realpolitik which prized stability above all else was increasingly indefensible. To all those who claim that Saddam was "contained," I can only say that if Iraq was what successful sanctions were supposed to look like, then God forgive us all.

After 9/11, I supported the President's initiatives, not because I "trust Republicans on defense" but because I agreed with the Bush assessment of what needed to be done, and I still do. Nor do I particularly trust Democrats on domestic policy. Their reliance on federalizing assistance of almost any kind results in lumbering one-size-fits-all entitlements which suffocate precisly the kind of innovative responses to intractable problems we so desperately need.

I have my own idiosyncratic list of Adminstration policy which sucks; it resembles the Democratic list in some respects and not in others, so perhaps centrist might be a more useful designation, if not more accurate. On social issues, however, where I definitely diverge from the current Republican party line, I think moderate conveys my sentiments pretty well. Indeed, I would posit good faith as matter of both conviction & strategy, but I think the disputes at issue result from real divisions, not misunderstandings. Hence the need for innovative thinking -- and artful, not default, compromise.


I appreciate the clarification. I would probably be considered libertarian on social issues but consider PC more of a social problem right now than Christmas. I recomend hanging together as long as there is real danger of hanging seperately.


JM Hanes and boris

I think I'm with you both, but I look at the social issues as a push pull. And the Democrats seem to have been doing so much pulling in one direction that in certain areas they've stretched the rubber to the breaking point.

The pull from the other side is overdue and even though I disagree with many of their positions, I wish them success in keeping the Dems from pulling us over a cliff.

JM Hanes

Clarice -

Hitchens is always worth a close reading, isn't he? Did you see his earlier piece, What Goes Around Comes Around on the Libby indictment? I was really struck by his suggestion that:

Mr. Fitzgerald, therefore, seems to have decided to act 'as if.' He conducts himself as if Ms. Plame's identity was not widely known, as if she were working under 'non official cover' (NOC), as if national security had been compromised, and as if one or even two catch-all laws had been broken.

The phenom he's describing is almost emblematic of public discourse across the board, a sort of As If Politics. Iraq is treated as if it were VietNam redux; Joe Wilson is making rounds, as if the SSIC Report had never been issued. Despite explicit disclaimers from Fitzgerald, Harry Reid asserts that the Libby indictment is about manipulating intelligence to sell the war. (As if!) When Alito upholds Supreme Court precedent, his legal judgment is described as if it were a personal confession.


re: Hillary....

she's toast.

Although activists can't dictate who gets nominated, they can put the kibbosh on candidates they don't like. And I don't know a single Democratic grass-roots activist who wants to support Hillary in the 2008 dem primaries. Hillary will be in 2008 what Lieberman was in 2004...


More like Kerry in '04. Did you know she served in the bull pits?

JM Hanes

boris -
Ditto that on the relative danger of PC constructions vs. Christmas decorations.

OTOH, it's more than a little problematic when science instructors are faced with having to ignore the very precepts of the discipline they're tasked with imparting in order to teach Intelligent Design -- as if there were no compelling difference between the word "theory" in its speculative colloquial sense, and theory as a specifical scientific construct with its own rigorous requirements.

JM Hanes

pluka -
"And I don't know a single Democratic grass-roots activist who wants to support Hillary in the 2008 dem primaries."

Better latch onto her and don't let go then. I get a real kick out of hearing grass-roots on the left spell out how they plan to lose the next election. You weren't the one who kept alluding to echo chambers in an earlier thread, were you?

JM Hanes

Syl -

From my perspective, there's not much to choose from between zealots of one stripe or another, be they atheists, for example, or their evangelical counterparts; both seem determined to impose upon the rest of us in law. (Which, I would hasten to add, is not to disparage fundamentalists generally. They're seriously misunderstood, and sometimes cynically maligned, in many quarters.) At any rate, Rosa Park's funeral was a timely reminder, for those inclined to notice, of just how secular we've become elsewhere in our public life over recent decades.

A whole generation may not even be aware that religious communities have been, as often as not, a powerful force for positive change throughout our history. In typically paradoxical American fashion, the same folks who gave us burnt witches in Salem, also gave us institutionalized public education. Talk about push/pull! It's an apt description. Man is both intellectual and spiritual by nature, and those two two qualities (among others, of course) coexist easily in some, not others. Culture is a moving target which law alone can never shape as effectively as the social tools we've traditionaly relied on like peer pressure, guilt, oastracism, applause, etc. Even the abortion issue will always be heading one way or another; we go too far and then recoil.


atheists, for example, or their evangelical counterparts

I claim the reason there are no atheists in foxholes is not because the imminent danger encourages prayer, but that atheists generally don't believe there's anything worth risking life and limb for.

Simplistic yet religion is more prevalent in the service then the general population. From the "selfish gene" evolutionary perspective there would appear to be a selection advantage there.

For me the principles of evolution suggest that believing in evolution has less survival advantage than practicing the lessons of natural selection that have found their way into traditional culture. If the public schools are teaching "evolution" in a way that undercuts traditional culture (you wouldn't believe) then they sacrifice those lessons for ideology.


Well Boris, several interesting thoughts there. First of all, the atheist is just as willing to risk life and limb for his fellows as his martial forebears always have been, and both have been, traditionally, a little more likely when a little lushed up. They may certainly be less willing to join religious conflicts which represent a large portion of past mayhem. But to be pedantic, the meaning of that cliche is that the intensity of combat brings powerful spiritual insight.

That last paragraph is a poser. An analogue might be that believing a future human being is an unbearable burden justifies the removal of the future. That kind of unnatural selection is a dead end.

r flanagan

If Bush announces in August that he is
bringing home the troops , sure the democrats will complain , but even tho I'll regret the hit to their electoral prospects I'll still applaud . (you can write that down). First , because it will increase the chance of a safe return for the people I know in Iraq and if I have to choose between their lives and my party , that's a no brainer. And second , because that just could be the right strategy.


As TM noted in his original post here, various Dems are slowly being called on their lies about the administration's decision to invade Iraq. Unfortunately, I think it's too little, too late--the idea has been firmly planted in voters' minds by the MSM.

Add the steady stream of casualties in Iraq, the dimming of memories of 9/11, high gasoline and natural gas prices, and the media-led perception that the Bush admin was unusually slow to get aid to NOLA after Katrina, and the stage is set for a huge Dem gain in '06.

Leading Dems know the MSM will always help them cover up their lies. Plus since most Americans are looking for simple (simplistic?) explanations for unpleasant events anyway, the 'Bush lied to take us to war' line is a natural.

I'll be surprised if the Reps keep control of either wing of Congress.

R flanagan

J.M. Haynes

Hitchens' analysis of Fitz and the IIPA
it's irrelevant to Fitz's charge that Libby lied in saying that when he spoke with Russert on July 10 he had forgotten he already knew that Valerie worked at the CIA even tho.........
he'd heard that from Mark Grossman on June 11,Cheney on June 12 , a CIA briefer on June 14th , and Catherine Martin at some
pre July 10th date and had as well himself told Judy Miller on June 23 and Ari Fleischer on July 7.

If Hitch would like to argue that it wasn't really a crime for Libby to perjure himself be my guest . But does he really think Libby didn't commit perjury ? . Still I suppose if he believes Mother Theresa was evil he could believe just about anything.


There are at least seven circles of perjury in this case. Even Fitz has some doubt, else why did he get so speculative in the indictment?

sf, all too possibly true, but note the mechanism. When the Democrats are assured of having their lies covered by MSM, as they have for years, we are treated to spectacles of exposure on blogs. Every day more people are realizing that they are more likely to find truth on the internet than on televised airways; before too long, there will be a critical mass of dubious critics for all the lies the liberals have been telling for decades. We may have past that point already. There won't be a band and a parade.


Kim: just as willing to risk life and limb

A claim I dispute.

may certainly be less willing to join religious conflicts

Which is one way the "atheist" gene suffered relative to the "believer" gene. Tribes afflicted with the A gene were driven away or worse by tribes blessed with the B gene.


having to ignore the very precepts of the discipline they're tasked with imparting in order to teach Intelligent Design

The ideal solution would be for public school to teach only the "science" of evolution and drop the "religion" of evolution.

As to ID ... There is a mountain of scientific evidence for natural selection. There is zero scientific evidence for ID.

But there is also zero scientific evidence for extra-terrestial life and a whole lot of kooky mumbo jumbo evidence pretending to be scientific or otherwise. That doesn't make using the scientific method to research the subject anything other than science.

Certainly neither ID nor SETI has any real place in public school science class. It seems to me that the subject of evolution is being used to preach against religion and the ID movement is one response. The hostility to Christmas is an obvious symptom of the same problem and my mention of it is in the context of "tip of the iceberg".

So no, I don't feel sorry for the poor instructors who may have to wrap their supposed discipline around using the scientific method to discuss ID as the alternative to evolution.

JM Hanes

boris -

I'm sorry, I'm afraid I'm just not getting your point here at all. If Intelligent Design doesn't have "any real place in public school science class," why would instructors "have to wrap their supposed discipline around using the scientific method to discuss ID as the alternative to evolution."?

I'm not sure why you say "supposed" discipline, nor what you really mean by applying the "scientific method" to discussion. You also seem to be conflating the atheists who "use evolution to preach against religion" with the teachers who explain it.


conflating the atheists who "use evolution to preach against religion" with the teachers who explain it

So your claim is that never happens in class? If it helps you to understand my post, then assume arguendo that I have anectdotal evidence that it does.

I suspect ID is a reaction to that.

I agree that most ID (maybe all) is as goofy as the alien abduction X-file pop nonsense, but I also know that the hostility to it has no basis in science. In fact I claim that the hostility to ID comes from the same place as hostility to Christmas.

Perhaps you and some others react to the perceived scam that ID claims to be science by faking scientific jargon and methods. A lot of people feel the same way about SETI. However what you seem to deny is that if they're not faking and using valid methods, it really is science. Then the debate should be on results and not motives.

JM Hanes

No, I'm not claiming that anything never happens. I'm just trying to figure out why the idea of including something "as goofy as the alien abduction X-file pop nonsense" in a science curriculum wouldn't concern you when political correctness in academia apparently does. You seem to be saying that two wrongs make a right. You assert that motives should be irrelevant to the debate, yet you discuss (and assume) little else.

You also seem to be debating someone else's arguments not mine. Just for the record: I am not hostile to religion per se, I'm pro-Christmas, I would stipulate to some fascinating blank spaces in evolutionary theory, and I don't think high school teachers in any department should be preaching religion either pro or con. I don't even have a problem with asking science teachers to address issues raised by ID. I do have a problem with requiring them to present it as a scientific alternative to evolution when it just doesn't meet the foundational requirements of science itself.

I can't speak for others, but that's the source of my hostility. ID is a theory, it's just not a scientific theory. It doesn't rely on evidence, it relies on the absence of evidence, and in that sense, even disregarding the motives of those who promote it, it is the opposite of science. It belongs in the philosophy curriculum which is where we deal with issues of what we know and don't know, and how we know it. If you want to teach it as science, you'll have to re-define science itself to do so, and I personally think that's ultimately more dangerous than the political PC lockstep that plagues our educational system today. Your mileage may vary.


it's just not a scientific theory

Perhaps not, but claiming it can't be science no matter what the premise and methods for research, is incorrect. That is the claim I take issue with.

it relies on the absence of evidence

Here is a simple hypothetical counterexample from Carl Sagan's novel 'Contact' ...

She finds a long string of 1's and 0's late in the expansion of Pi in base 11. It's length is a product of two primes, indicating a two dimensional array. So, she plots it on her computer screen (each digit representing a pixel) and sees a perfect circle. The constant which describes the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter itself contains a picture of a circle!
Such a discovery would in fact be "evidence" and would be "science".


you'll have to re-define science

Science is not a definition, it's a process.



JM Hanes

boris -
"Perhaps not, but claiming it can't be science no matter what the premise and methods for research, is incorrect. That is the claim I take issue with."

I'm talking about Intelligent Design as currently formulated and promoted for inclusion in science curricula. What on earth are you talking about?

JM Hanes

Which is not to say I don't like your quote from Sagan! The man is missed.


What on earth are you talking about?

Claims about science that are patently untrue. Since it is possible, in theory, to approach the subject in a scientific way the denunciations and hostility are exactly the opposite of science.

It is in a sense the betrayal of science in the name of science.


This is what I wrote several posts ago:

I agree that most ID (maybe all) is as goofy as the alien abduction X-file pop nonsense

That should have given you an inkling of what on earth I'm talking about.


and I don't think high school teachers in any department should be preaching religion either pro or con

But you reserve your hostility for the response to a problem as obvious as Christmas.

JM Hanes

We seem to be talking past each other here, because you don't seem to be getting my points either, and I'm afraid at this point, we may just be imposing on host.


Your point:

ID as currently formulated is the opposite of science.

My point:

Science does not preclude such investigation. Your point appears to be based on the assumption that it does.

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