running commentary by our trusted contributors...
Platt Liebau - editorial
director CaliforniaRepublic.org] 5:02 am [link]
Weasel Wealth: The Middle East Media Research Institute's
an article which appeared in the Iraqi daily Al-Mada. It is a list of 270
companies, organizations, and individuals awarded allocations (vouchers) of crude
oil by Saddam Hussein's regime. Funny how the list itself subverts all the Democrats'
favorite anti-war arguments.
for Internationalism on Principle Award: France.
The French-Arab Friendship Association received 15.1 million barrels; Former
French Interior Minister Charles Pasqua received 12 million barrels; Patrick
Maugein of the Trafigura company received 25 million barrels; and Michel Grimard,
founder of the French-Iraqi Export Club, received 17.1 million barrels.
Link to Terror Award: Palestine.
The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) received 4 million barrels; The
PLO Political Bureau received 5 million barrels; Abu Al-Abbas received 11.5
Where the WMD's Are? Award: Syria.
Farras Mustafa Tlass, the son of Syrian Defense Minister Mustafa Tlass, received
6 million barrels; 'Audh Amourah received18 million barrels; Ghassan Zakariya
received 6 million barrels; Anwar Al-Aqqad received 2 million barrels; and
Hamida Na'Na', the owner of the Al-Wafaq Al-Arabi periodical, received 1 million
Gamble - speechwriter, columnist]
5:15 am [link]
Switching Horses: Former Al Gore
chief of staff Roy Neel taking control of the Howard Dean
campaign is another nail in the Dean coffin. Dean being advised
by a former Gore aide on how to win an election is like Martha
Stewart getting advice from Leona Helmsley on how to stay
out of prison. What fun to see the candidate who portrays
himself as an outsider bringing in one of Washington's biggest
Neel's impact to be seen soon as Dean wears earthtones and
denounces the internal combustion engine while planting a 2-minute
kiss on his wife at a Buddhist temple fundraiser. That's after
he sighs his way through the South Carolina debate and brags
that he invented the temper tantrum.
Platt Liebau - editorial
director CaliforniaRepublic.org] 9:40 am [link]
Old Socialists Never Die: Up on Capitol Hill, Teddy
Kennedy's huffing and puffing at a Senate hearing like an old, asthmatic
dragon, trying to bully weapons inspector David Kay, who has done a magnificent
job in describing Iraq
as a "serious gathering threat" to the world before the U.S. action
to remove Saddam Hussein. Kennedy seems to think he can score points by asserting
that the administration "selectively" interpreted conflicting intelligence
reports about Hussein's weapons prior to the war.
What a ridiculous,
disingenuous argument! It's inherent in the nature of policy-making
that one has to choose between conflicting facts and theories,
based on one's view of the world and the national welfare.
To put it in simple terms that even Teddy K can understand,
when he advocates raising the minimum wage, small business
owners protest that he is going to make it more difficult for
them to do business -- and perhaps force them to close. He
IGNORES those arguments because he favors raising the minimum
wage and, in his view of the world and the national welfare,
it's more important for the people who have jobs to be paid
more, than it is for more people to be able to find work (and
employers being able to hire more people) at whatever the going
market rate would be.
Teddy K has been a hearty proponent of every failed big spending
liberal program of the last 40 or more years, it takes some
nerve for him to accuse the Bush administration of ignoring
evidence that runs contrary to its ideology, and to condemn
the administration for choosing the wrong policy route in the
face of ambiguous and evidence. After all, Ted K -- who as
recently as 1996 predicted that welfare reform would result
in disaster for the poor, among his other flawed predictions
-- has been proven much more wrong, much more often than everyone
in the Bush administration put together.
Gamble - speechwriter, columnist]
6:15 am [link]
New Hampshire: Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry is starting
to look -- I have to say it -- presidential.
we know today still points to a reelection win for President
George W. Bush this November, there is one thing in particular
that could jeopardize it: arrogance. It's a nasty trait that
has been associated with Bush and some of the people around
him going back to the 2000 campaign when he acted as though
he were taking New Hampshire for granted -- skipping the first
two debates before finally deigning to appear for the third
-- and got soundly thumped in the primary by John McCain.
before the 2000 election, Bush guru Karl Rove, considered by
some the reigning genius of U.S. politics, predicted that Bush
would win with 320 electoral votes. It was an arrogant assertion
that, needless to say, fell a tad short.
I would like
to hear Republicans talk less about how Kerry, if he's the
nominee, has no chance once he's portrayed to the national
electorate as a looney liberal to the left of Ted Kennedy,
and more about how they could have a real fight on their hands.
Kerry is no Dukakis-in-the-tank candidate. And anyone who saw
any of Kerry's 7 debates with William Weld in the hard-fought
1996 Massachusetts Senate race should understand he can be
a formidable opponent.
again, assuming he's the nominee, will crumble in the general
election once the Bush team begins portraying him as unworthy
of the presidency during a time of national peril. But I'd
prefer to see them operate on the assumption that he will not.
The biggest mistake that can be made in sports or politics
is to underestimate the opponent. All the underestimating I've
been hearing lately makes me nervous.
wisdom says there's no way Bush can lose. The downside to conventional
wisdom is that it often proves very unwise.
Platt Liebau - editorial
director CaliforniaRepublic.org] 6:15 am [link]
Silver Lining Alert: It's too bad Howard Dean
wasn't closer -- it would have been fun to see John Kerry set down a
peg or two. That being said, it could have been a lot worse! Dean did
well enough to be emboldened to continue, which is a good thing; what
Republican wouldn't want to see Mad Dog Dean nipping at Kerry's heels
all the way across the Super Tuesday states? Edwards has run poorly --
which also is good for Republicans, as he might be a more difficult frontrunner
than Kerry. Yet his favorables remain high; that in itself will keep
him on the short list for Vice President, and that's good, too . . .
it would mean that if a Kerry-Edwards ticket went down to defeat in 2004,
Hillary Clinton might have some stiff competition in the person of John
Edwards when she makes her move in 2008. Finally, the poor showing of
Wesley Clark is an occasion for schadenfreude of the first order: It's
satisfying to see the self-important, weaselly General, along with his
Clinton-leftover handlers, resoundingly repudiated in the primary that
was supposed to mark the beginning of his march to victory.
Armendariz - columnist]
6:15 am [link]
And we will: Howard Dean's "And We Will" speech
was a big improvement over last week's "I have a scream" speech
delivered to supporters in Iowa. I have one of my own...
I hope we run against the moral bankruptcy of the Left-wing,
idiot-fringe that has hijacked the Democratic Party and we
we run against a presidential candidate who wants to raise
taxes and we will.
we run against a presidential candidate who wishes we had
cooperated with Saddam Hussein and the French and we will.
we run against a presidential candidate who thinks only Republicans
have the support of powerful special interests and we will.
we run against a presidential candidate who thinks Sean Penn,
Martin Sheen and Barbara Streisand know more about foreign
policy than Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza
Rice and we will.
we run against a presidential candidate who thinks growing
up rich, attending elite boarding schools and spending your
entire adult life in public office makes you an "ordinary" American
and we will.
I hope we run against a presidential candidate who if it were up to him Saddam
Hussein would still be in power and we will.
I hope we run against a presidential candidate who thinks we should talk
tough and carry a wet noodle and we will.
I hope we run against a presidential candidate who thinks global warming
is fact and WMD's are fiction and we will.
I hope we run against a presidential candidate who panders to the military
but impugns their every mission and we will.
I hope we run against a presidential candidate who thinks the American people
are too stupid to know what a complete phony he is...and we will.
Platt Liebau - editorial
director CaliforniaRepublic.org] 5:01 am [link]
GRANITE STATE PRIMARY: NEW HAMPSHIRE VOTERS DECIDE: Many
commentators (including this one) were humbled by John Kerry's come-from-behind
victory over Howard Dean in last week's Iowa caucuses. Even so, it's a
day and a new game in New Hampshire.
Dean's third place finish in Iowa, coupled with his memorable
non-concession speech and what the polls indicate, it's pretty
clear that John Kerry will be the winner of the New Hampshire
primary. But his supporters' optimism should be tempered --
Kerry's really the frontrunner by default, rather than by virtue
of his splendid campaigning and universal appeal. After all,
he has been well-known in the state of New Hampshire for years
-- and if voters had been enthusiastic Kerry supporters to
begin with, there would never have been such an intense initial
surge for Dean. Perhaps the yard signs reportedly sprouting
all over New Hampshire tell the tale: "I flirted with
Dean, but I'll marry Kerry." Sometimes, you just have
to go with the safe choice -- and it looks like that's what
New Hampshire Democrats will do.
Dean may run a more competitive race for second place than
many pundits are now predicting. Yes, Dean's campaign had a
catastrophic melt-down at the beginning of last week. But notwithstanding
his lackluster performance in the debate on Thursday, he was
able to stop the erosion in his numbers, having sat for an
interview with his wife and having offered the "Top Ten" list
on David Letterman's show about how his campaign could recover.
He doesn't seem able to climb much beyond his base of voters
at the moment, but at least he isn't losing them anymore --
and his base exceeds 20%. In fact, his poll numbers have started
if (when?) Dean loses both Iowa and New Hampshire, he'll have
some hard thinking to do about whether the race is recoverable
-- and if so, in what state(s). But his organization is the
best prepared to run a fifty-state campaign, and he's well-funded.
So he could well remain a factor in the race even after losing
all hope of winning the nomination. And in what would be a
nightmare scenario for either Kerry or Edwards, he could continue
to run a campaign exclusively devoted to dragging their favorable
ratings down, thereby destroying Terry McAuliffe's dream of
having a presumptive nominee and a united party by February
had been the presumptive third place finisher (more on him
later), but John Edwards is the better bet to come in third.
Voters seem to like him -- and his subpar performance in the
debate on Thursday (bobbling questions on Islam and the Defense
of Marriage Act) haven't seemed to hurt him badly. His numbers
continue to rise, and interestingly, of all the candidates,
he has the greatest number of voters who rank him as their "second
choice" -- which means that, if these voters become disillusioned
with another candidate (like Wesley Clark!), he's in a good
position to inheirit that candidate's supporters. It's not
out of the question that Edwards might even beat Dean and come
in second -- in which case, Dean's history.
may well run forth -- if he's lucky. Despite the best performance
of any candidate in last Thursday's debate, Lieberman's positions
are simply too centrist to appeal to Democratic primary voters.
He's been working hard to attract independents into the primary
. . . but there aren't enough to carry him through. He insists
that his campaign will continue even after a unimpressive showing
in New Hampshire, but it's hard to see where and how his campaign
would take off. It may not be too long before Lieberman joins
Dick Gephardt on the sidelines.
General Wesley Clark looks well-positioned to come in fifth.
Unlike the other candidates, his poll numbers have been falling
almost a point a day -- and it's no wonder. His political instincts
are dreadful -- he made the biggest flub of the debate by declining
to take issue with propagandist Michael Moore's characterization
of the President as a "deserter." (The mistake was
a biggie, and so easily avoided -- rather than simply saying
that Moore has a "right" to say whatever he wants,
Clark could have saved his campaign a lot of distraction by
tacking on a "but I wish he hadn't said that" or "although
I respect Michael Moore [a ludicrous thought in itself], I
don't agree with that."). All the former Clinton staffers
on his team must be yanking their hair out by the roots.
rationales for supporting Clark had been three-fold: First,
he could serve as the anti-Dean; second, he was someone who
could run well in the South; third, he was seen as a general
who could neutralize the GOP's advantage in the national security
area. Well, all those rationales have been completely undermined
-- as it turns out, John Kerry is serving as the alternative
to Dean; John Edwards has emerged as a Southerner who has clear
appeal for voters, at least in Iowa; and Clark's own inconsistencies
on the Iraq war (which were highlighted at the debate) have
never been convincingly addressed by the General. It's not
out of the question that Clark could beat Lieberman, but it's
looking less likely by the day.
Leonard] 5:01 am [link]
Between a Rock and a Hard Place: California's
financial status is squarely between the proverbial rock and a hard place.
The Governor is proposing a $15 billion bond measure toh elp get us back
on track. That is hard medicine to swallow, no matter what your political
persuasion. However, a look at the alternatives puts me firmly in support
of our Governor's plan. The Democrats' alternative is a tax increase. This
defies logic because California does not have a revenue problem; it has
a spending problem. The Republicans' alternative is cutting programs now,
but the reality is that the Republicans need the time that the bond will
buy in order to implement the budget cuts and make program reductions.
poll has me worried that California voters are not thinking
bond (Prop. 57) only has support at 33% and opposition at 40%.Yet,
Prop. 56 (the measure that would lower the threshold for raising
taxes) is in a statistical dead heat. If voters pass 56, but
reject 57and 58 (the Governor's balanced budget proposal),
we will have new, higher taxes quickly. Without the bond and
the reform in 57 and 58, and with the majority in the legislature
empowered by a new law saying they can raise taxes with a mere
55% vote, you can bet that your taxes will be going up soon.
So, even if you are not thrilled with the deficit bond, I urge
your vote in favor of 57 to prevent a disaster. [From Leonard
Platt Liebau - editorial
2:05 pm [link]
Judy Dean: It was interesting to see the ABC News interview of Howard
Dean and Judith Steinberg last night. Here's my conclusion: She's just
And she actually
seems very, very likable.
a bunch of feminists have gang-tackled Dr. Steinberg for her
refusal to hit the campaign trail earlier. I've been critical
of her disengagement, as well -- but my reasons couldn't be
more different. It's seemed to me that it's somehow not right
NOT to be involved and not to make the effort to be proactively,
affirmatively helpful when one's husband is undertaking the
biggest endeavor of his life (whatever it might be), and in
Dr. Steinberg's case, especially when he's running for President.
During the interview, Dr. Steinberg inadvertently alluded to
her unique value for her husband: "I tell him what I really
think." Does she know how rare that quality is on the
campaign trail, and how important it could have been for her
husband to have at least one person to tell him honestly how
he was coming across, and what he needed to do (and not to
the prominent feminists (like Maureen Dowd and Tina Brown)
don't understand Dr. Steinberg because they can't comprehend
someone who simply isn't interested in the limelight and the
power. To them, I think it would be OK not to support one's
husband if he were doing something they deemed "unimportant." But
to happily forego the chance to be "important" in
the little New York/Washington media bubble? Unthinkable. Dr.
Steinberg honestly doesn't care what Tina Brown or Maureen
Dowd think of her -- and worse yet, she might not even know
who they are! And in those self-important (but insecure) ladies'
minds, that's the real unforgivable sin.
Platt Liebau - editorial
director CaliforniaRepublic.org] 5:05 am [link]
After the DemBate: Expect whatever ugly stuff there
is to come out about John Kerry -- sooner, rather than later. Why? Because
Wesley Clark made the biggest flub of the debate by declining to take issue
with propagandist Michael Moore's characterization of the President as
a "deserter." (Note that Clark's mistake was a biggie, and so
easily avoided -- rather than simply saying that Moore has a "right" to
say whatever he wants, which incidentally no one is disputing, Clark could
saved himself a lot of trouble by tacking on a "but I wish he hadn't said
that" or "although I respect Michael Moore [a ludicrous thought in
itself], I don't agree with that.")
had better be ready for some unpleasantness -- because a key
man on Clark's team, Chris Lehane, used to work for Kerry less
than a year ago, and so presumably has whatever "dirt" there
is on the putative frontrunner. After Clark's non-performance
tonight, his team will be afraid that he's going to fizzle
and come in third behind Dean (or even fourth behind Edwards,
perhaps) and so may set out a few attack dogs, especially on
Kerry, but maybe also a bit on Edwards -- because if Edwards
trounces Clark down south, Clark's finished . . . especially
if the General runs disappointingly in New Hampshire.
the Clark team may leave Edwards alone for a while, because
after Clark, Edwards had the poorest showing of the debate.
Commentators are asserting that he didn't know the substance
of the Defense of Marriage Act. I disagree . . . he tried a
slippery lawyer's trick. He engaged in an elevated form of
dodging the question -- essentially misrepresenting the substance
of the DOMA, so that he could disagree with it. He wanted to
take issue with the legislation in order to keep the Democratic
gay constituency happy, but at the same time, not say anything
that would alienate his Southern base. Peter Jennings, who
asked the question about DOMA, was prepared to let Edwards
get away with this little scam -- but then Brit Hume chimed
in and pointed out that Edwards' "states' rights" approach
was precisely the motivating principle of DOMA. And so Edwards
was left looking either ill-informed, or else slippery. If
you are a first-term senator running for President, having
made a living as a trial lawyer, nothing could be worse. Quite
a bad moment for the Breck Girl.
did a good job . . . perhaps sensing that his campaign is doomed,
and so he might as well be true to his centrist roots, as there's
nothing left to lose. Al Sharpton made it entertainingly clear
that he has no clue about the function either of the IMF or
the Federal Reserve, and it was a priceless Democratic moment
to see Dennis Kucinich shooting the Reverend Al the peace sign
when Sharpton expressed the hope that Kucinich would engage
in a delegate-swapping scheme with him like the Kucinich-Edwards
axis in Iowa. The most entertaining shot, however, was the
close-up of the look of frozen terror on John Edwards' face
when Dennis Kucinich announced to the world that "John
and I are friends."
As for Ho-Ho,
looks like he's a no-go. Dean failed to avail himself of Hugh
Hewitt's excellent advice on how to save himself; though he
made no big gaffes, he didn't undo the damage from his maniacal
whooping exhibition on Monday. That, in itself, will save him
from the tender ministrations of the Clark team -- there's
no reason to try to destroy an adversary who does it himself
and saves you the trouble.
wins New Hampshire, already having won Iowa, he would look
awfully well-positioned to win the Democratic nomination. And
I could live with that. Unlike John Edwards or Wesley Clark,
it makes no sense for Kerry to put Hillary Clinton of New York
on the ticket . . . and a number of commentators, including
Rush Limbaugh, have noted that Hillary might welcome the chance
to lose a vice presidential race, as such a loss would inoculate
her in 2008 from numerous charges she would have to face more
directly as a presidential candidate.
across as pompous, lacking a common touch, and he has a voting
record as liberal as that of Senator Teddy Kennedy. Bring him
Platt Liebau - editorial
director CaliforniaRepublic.org] 3:15 pm [link]
DemBate: Every good Republican watching the Democratic
debate tonight should hope that Howard Dean resuscitates his candidacy,
at least for now. (Hugh
Hewitt has offered a brilliant
strategy for him -- too bad Dean lacks the
humility to follow it). Of course he would be both the most fun Democratic
nominee, and the easiest
to beat. And can you imagine the "war whoop" of victory we'd get after
a successful showing in the NH primary? (After his performance in Iowa, Dean
would doubtless restrain himself, actually, but we can dream).
Failing a "comeback
kid" performance, Republicans should hope that Dean flames
out spectacularly. Why? Because if he has a hope, albeit a
feeble one, of still clinching the presidential spot, he'll
go after John Kerry -- and has enough money to inflict serious
damage. At the same time, if Dean harbors a thought of winning
the vice-presidential slot (and that would only be if John
Edwards were the nominee -- Kerry wouldn't pick a fellow notheasterner),
he won't go after John Edwards.
In this scenario,
John Edwards (probably the most formidable general election
candidate left in the field) could sneak up through the middle
as Dean takes out Kerry . . . much the way Kerry and Edwards
slipped up through the polls to victory while Dean and Gephardt
were concentrating their fire on each other.
Only a spectacular,
no-hope-left flop could leave Dean bitter and angry enough
to take on both Kerry and Edwards . . . and the whole "Democratic
establishment" from Terry McAuliffe on down with all the
money he's raised. And for sheer entertainment value, that
might even rival the spectacle of Dean being named the Democratic
Leonard] 5:01 am [link]
Democrats Applaud Davis: The
California Democrat Party held its convention in San Jose this weekend.
Gray Davis was one of the keynote speakers and was applauded by the party
leaders, as well he should be. After all, it was the greedy positions
of party leaders that were the final blow to his political career. Even
as recall petitions were circulating and his popularity was sinking, they
shoved their leftist agenda onto Governor Davis. The party members, in
the words of Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, acknowledged that “The
loss of the governorship was a staggering blow to this party.” But
are they really remorseful? Or do you think if they had a chance to push
new legislation to give drivers license to foreigners without papers, or
push more new spending plans that they would take it? I think they owe
Davis a big “thank you” for sacrificing his Governorship on
the rocks of their liberal extremism. [From Leonard
Platt Liebau - editorial
director CaliforniaRepublic.org] 5:07 am [link]
Bush SOTU: It was bound to be anticlimactic when
it became clear that President Bush wouldn't ascend the podium, roll up
his sleeves, bellow at Congress for an hour and then end the State of the
Union with a maniacal YYAAAARRHHH!!!
lack of Dean-like entertainment value, the President's speech
was a good one nonetheless. President Bush offered an apologia
(not an apology!) of his policies both foreign and domestic,
and managed not to sound defensive doing it -- no mean feat.
Like him or not, there's no denying he's a leader -- he made
his positions on the war on terror (including the Patriot Act),
taxes, education and a whole host of other matters crystal
clear . . . creating obvious contrasts with the Democratic
positions on these issues, and setting the stage for a very
spirited debate with any Democratic nominee.
could happily live a full and fulfilling life without having
to hear the topic of steroids in professional sports discussed
as part of the State of the Union address, but such laundry
lists of topics have become standard fare in these yearly speeches;
they must play well with at least some Americans.
interesting during State of the Union addresses is watching
the opposition party struggle with the decision about whether
to stand and applaud. Their intention to "send a message" of
disagreement to the President ends up causing the Democrats
to seem opposed to some fairly uncontroversial propositions
-- that frivolous lawsuits are bad, or that dramatic economic
growth and educational gains are good -- and makes them look
a little silly.
of Democrats, their response to the State of the Union was
pure entertainment -- garden variety liberal style. Tom Daschle
was his usual slippery, dishonest self . . . who knew that "the
massive tax cuts that were supposed to spark an economic expansion
have instead led to an economic exodus"? And did he miss
the fact that economic growth last quarter was the largest
in 20 years? In Daschle's world, though, tax cuts are the root
of all evil -- apparently they "have put the states in
a bind" so that college tuition must be raised. Overspending
had nothing to do with it . . . After watching his performance
tonight, one had to agree with Daschle himself that he had
no business running for president.
But the best
was listening to San Francisco liberal Nancy Pelosi comment
on foreign policy -- she started out the Democratic response,
and every Republican alive can only hope that normal, sensible
Americans were still watching. Leader Pelosi believes that "America
must be a light to the world, not just a missile." Huh?
And she wants everyone to understand that "Democrats have
an unwavering commitment to ensure that America's armed forces
remain the best trained, best equipped force FOR PEACE the
world has ever known."
it is -- the difference between Democrats and Republicans in
a nutshell. Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats seem unaware that
the purpose of the armed forces in, in fact, fighting (and
sometimes killing). President Bush and the Republicans want
to make sure that America has the best trained, best equipped
force FOR WAR the world has ever known . . . because that's
the way we can best ensure that Americans can live safely in
be an interesting election year.
Gamble - speechwriter, columnist] 5:06 am [link]
Bush SOTU: If anyone had doubts that foreign
policy will be at the center of President Bush's reelection campaign,
they should have been dispelled by his State of the Union Address. The
speech as a whole was probably not as eloquent as some in the past, and
Bush can seem less than inspiring when reciting an election-year laundry
list of domestic initiatives. But when it comes to discussing the war
on terrorism and the U.S. liberation of Iraq, Bush positively lifts his
words from the Tele-Prompter and makes them spring to life.
not inclined to wear his heart on his sleeve, the events of
9/11 transformed Bush into a man whose pride in our troops,
our country and the average American could light a darkened
chamber with its glow. The war on terrorism has become more
than his responsibility, it has become the very core of his
being. He is never so presidential -- or, for his opponents,
as effective -- as when he marshals his words in defense of
freedom at home and abroad.
It may be
that his reelection was assured the moment the first plane
struck the first tower on 9/11. But like another wartime president,
Franklin Roosevelt, he will still have to campaign against
a presidential opponent, still have to convince Americans that
he is the one who should continue to lead the effort. Because
his heartfelt conviction in the correctness of his actions
allows him to say what he truly believes about defending America,
unlike the Democrats who say what they think Americans want
to hear, he will be very difficult to defeat in November.
Platt Liebau - editorial
director CaliforniaRepublic.org] 5:16 am [link]
Where did the Dean juggernaut go? The best funded,
best organized candidate (veteran Iowa reporter David Yepsen called Dean's
organization the best he had ever seen), with the most dedicated supporters,
lost -- and it wasn't even close. John Kerry -- who a month or two ago
was enduring zingers as he followed Triumph the Comic Insult Dog on the
Jay Leno show -- emerged as a winner, with 38% of the vote; John Edwards
followed with 32%; Howard Dean was a distant third, with 18%; and Dick
Gephardt trailed with a disappointing 11% in the state he had won easily
some of the lessons of Iowa?
endorsements don't mean very much -- and it's hard to count
on college students.
had the endorsement of the manufacturing unions, and Dean had
the government unions. Neither paid off -- union members accounted
for only 25% of the state vote, and Dick Gephardt won only
31% of that universe. Dean's performance wasn't much better
-- and he was let down by the college students that he professed
to have energized, having lost the counties where both the
University of Iowa and Iowa State University are located.
campaigning may pay off.
last weeks of the race, as Dean and Gephardt pounded each other,
Kerry and Edwards quietly edged up in the polls. Conventional
wisdom holds that negative advertising is unpleasant but effective
. . . it was indeed unpleasant, but it was only effective for
the people who didn't deploy it.
a Gallup/USA Today/CNN poll revealed that 48% of Democrats
wanted a nominee who shares their views; 48% preferred a nominee
who can beat Bush. All the Democratic candidates in Iowa pretty
much articulated similar views -- all that was left was electability,
and voters decided that Kerry and Edwards had a better chance
than "gaffe-prone" Dean and "yesterday's news" Gephardt.
ago, the Democratic nomination was Howard Dean's to lose --
and it appears that he may be on his way to losing it. Not
only has Dean made some remarkably silly statements (e.g. that
America is no safer after the capture of Saddam Hussein), he
has allowed himself to be portrayed -- by a press that clearly
dislikes him personally -- as an angry, joyless candidate.
Losing Iowa by a wide margin does nothing to help him in New
Hampshire, which has become for him (rather than for Kerry)
a must-win state. Even so, Dean can't be counted out unless
and until he loses New Hampshire (especially if it's to Kerry)
-- or wins it by fewer than 3 points (when he once enjoyed
a double-digit lead like the one he had in Iowa). Then, he'll
clearly be in trouble.
happens to Dean from here, he's the gift that will keep on
giving for Republicans. At the outset of the race, it seemed
that Al Sharpton could inflict damage on his fellow candidates
that was disproportionate to his low level of support -- by
forcing them to the left, and by forcing them to take positions
on issues that wouldn't serve them well in a general election
(e.g. reparations for slavery).
impact has been limited. Instead, Dean's angry rhetoric has
forced the entire field to the left and to extremist statements
in Iowa, thereby creating some sound bites that will return
to haunt the Democratic nominee, whomever it is (Dean's popularity
in Iowa inspired Wesley Clark to seek attention by making some
truly strange comments himself in New Hampshire). And in the
end, Dean's poor performance in Iowa tonight allows Republicans
to continue to indulge their ultimate fantasy of a long, divided
Democratic primary struggle. What a nightmare for Democratic
National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe, who tried so hard
to "front-load" the nominating process to identify
a candidate early!
point to consider: The late surge for Kerry and Edwards may
not be as positive a sign as many Democrats might hope. ALL
the candidates had been in Iowa for a long, long time. What
does it say about Kerry's or Edward's appeal that voters couldn't
decide whether to support them until the bitter end (or until
after a love affair with the Dean candidacy had gone sour)?
the true frontrunner? Is Dean out of gas? Is Clark going to
be a factor? Does Edwards have a chance? It's too early to
tell -- but the shape of things to come will be growing clearer,
especially after the New Hampshire primary scheduled for a
week from Tuesday.
Armendariz - CRO columnist ] 5:15 am [link]
Kerry in Iowa: John F. Kerry, who is apparently running
for President of the United Nations, in his victory speech from Iowa, suggested
the existence of something called the "Bush Recession". The problem
is there was no such thing. The last U.S. recession occurred in the 3rd
Quarter of 2001. However, economists put the genesis of the slow-down in
March of that year; less than 60 days after Bush took office.
No serious person can argue the recession in 2001 was the result of any economic
policy(ies) supported by Bush.
Kerry also laments the "loss" of 3 million jobs in America. Memo to
Kerry: there are more Americans working today (in small businesses as opposed
to big businesses) than at any time in our nations history. Indeed, the U.S.
economy (The Bush Boom) grew at a faster rate (8.2%) in the 4th quarter of 2003
than it has since 1983, when Reagan was President.
Finally, Kerry seems to believe Bush is vulnerable on the issue of children and
education. But just remember this; the following United States Senators and Congressional
Representatives co-sponsored the Bush "Act to Leave-No-Child-Behind" costing
U.S. Taxpayers $26.5 billion dollars: Sen. Hillary Clinton (Democrat), Sen Edward
Kennedy (Democrat), Sen Christopher Dodd (Democrat), Sen. Mark Dayton (Democrat),
Sen. Paul Sarbanes (Democrat), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (Democrat) and the list goes
on and on...
The 2004 Presidential election began tonight...if the Democrats insist on nominating
a person who can't tell the truth...I guess I'll have to do it for him...
Kopp] 5:09 am [link]
Dr. King: President
Bush left a wreath at the grave of Martin Luther King Jr. Friday, and I
saw television coverage of some hecklers there. I’ve been thinking
of the ease with which contemporary folk claim to own the heritage of men
such as King, and even Mahatma Gandhi. To judge by public statements, people
as diverse as Al Sharpton, Hillary Clinton, Michael Moore, Yasser Arafat
and Tom Daschle- seem to feel their own words and deeds are heirs to these
As it happens,
during my own years on the left of these arguments, I studied
Gandhi and King at length, and even now as a conservative I
am struck by how little they resemble anyone in the current
political scene. Gandhi and King led demonstrations in a manner
filled with dignity and courage. Dignity, in their attire,
in their words, and deep within their character, a dignity
evident to everyone who saw them. And this was not just a veneer
to deflect criticism: both men did not seek to denigrate or
humiliate their opponents, but to change the minds of their
opponents through moral persuasion. Compare this to the speeches
at anti-war rallies of today. For hours on end the speakers
launch personal assaults on the character of people such as
President Bush, Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld, accusing
them of a wide range of crimes and character flaws in paragraphs
often laced with profanity. Phrases like “no blood for
oil” are chanted with no thought given to the lack of
evidence that the United States has appropriated even one gallon
of Iraqi oil without payment to the owners, the Iraqi people.
And I am not referring only to the wilder left occupants such
as the radical group ANSWER. In the well of the Senate Mr.
Byrd spoke for long hours, proving nothing so much as his own
visceral hatred for the President. I for one have never found
hatred an appealing thing.
It is not
only by a lack of outer dignity or inner philosophy that the
contemporary left differs from Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther
King Jr. There is also a vast difference in personal courage.
As both of these men had studied history, I’m certain
both men knew the likeliest outcome of their activities was
assassination. We all know their outcomes. But when folk like
Al Sharpton or Martin Sheen fly into town for some civil disobedience,
the danger they face is an increased fan base and perhaps the
equivalent of a traffic ticket. I don’t say there is
any shame for those of us who are not so very brave, unless
we claim to own the mantle of men who were so very brave.
that the memory of these giants is only diminished, when in
their names epithets are shouted by persons who resemble nothing
so much as petulant adolescents. If you are a person of honor
who aspires to follow in the footsteps of such persons, and
you disagree with President Bush, our language and culture
give you ample tools for expressing your disagreement in a
manner that reflects better on your ideas.
- Radio: Sunday
from 5:00-6:30 pm on KION AM 1460 (Monterey area) CRO editorial
Liebau will be guest hosting "Straight Talk with Martha
Platt Liebau - editorial
director CaliforniaRepublic.org] 8:10 am [link]
well. Apparently the Democrats are meeting in San Jose this weekend. Guess
who's their keynote speaker? That's right: Gray Davis! Apparently, the
Dems have no one newer or fresher -- or else they're just nostalgic for
the "good old days" of runaway spending, unfettered by a Republican
in the Governor's seat. Apparently, Dennis Kucinich and Al Sharpton are
flying west to participate in the fun, too. Should be quite a weekend.
Hope someone from the right side of the aisle -- or at least the media
-- is there to record some of the wacky dialogue that will surely be bandied
about. Some of the sound bites would be fun to play when Phil Angelides
or Bill Lockyer challenge Governor Schwarzenegger year after next!
Klink] - political consultant, CRO columnist 10:25
There We Gore Again: Isn't irony beautiful? Yesterday,
on one of the coldest days the East Coast has experienced in a century,
Al Gore takes the stage at New York City's Beacon Theater to talk about
global warming. Funny, but also pathetic at the same time. In his remarks,
Gore again attacked President George W. Bush, calling him a "moral
coward." Gore applied this pejorative term to Bush because he says
that Bush hasn't done enough to stop global warming. Is it just me or does
Al Gore have the absolute worst political timing of any politician in American
history? Maybe he should have held his press conference outside in the
zero-degree temperatures in NYC to talk about global warming.
man who boasted about getting rid of the internal combustion
engine in his book, "Earth in the Balance," just
can't shake his addiction to the Kyoto global warming treaty
-- which was rejected unanimously by Republicans and Democrats
in the United States Senate and, mercilessly, President Bush
indicated that the U.S. would not sign or implement.
Al Gore should
realize -- as most Americans have -- that his political window
closed a long time ago and that like his political career,
his apocalyptic proclamations of global warming should be put
in the deep freeze.
Platt Liebau - editorial
5:16 am [link]
Dealing With Reality:
The Bush Immigration Proposal: There is no question that illegal immigration
is a topic of vital concern, especially in California, where nearly all of the
state's population growth between 1990
and 2000 was due to immigration – legal and otherwise, according to an
analysis commissioned by Californians for Population Stabilization.
the right to the left, "opinion leaders" have had
a field day this week lambasting President Bush's immigration
proposal -- its centerpiece involves offering legal status
for illegal immigrant workers, along with an open-ended guest
But a lot
of the uproar may stem from a misunderstanding of a term in
the sentence above -- "legal status." That does NOT
mean amnesty, or citizenship for those who have come to the
country illegally. Rather, the President's proposal offers
industrious illegals an opportunity to come forward and obtain
a work permit, and gives the United States a chance to try
to get a handle on the massive "shadow population" existing
within its borders.
are good reasons to deny any legal status whatsoever to those
who are unwilling to "wait their turn" to come to
America. And yes, Mexico's President Vicente Fox is infuriating
in his insistence that his people somehow are entitled to cross
the borders illegally.
But for those
who so robustly support deporting all those not in the country
legally, here are a few questions: How exactly can/should this
be done? Do we round up people and put them in detention until
they can be bussed across the border? How would the detention
work? And what about immigrants that are not from America's
immediate north or south? Do we fly them "home" on
military planes? Where would the planes land?
Bush's plan isn't perfect. There are still many opportunities
for fraud and abuse in the immigration system. But the critics
have, so far, failed to offer any alternative of their own.
At least President Bush's proposal seems to be a fair-minded
start to tackling a truly thorny problem.
Opinion Friday [link]
Uh, Well, No, I Didn’t Abort: One of our
Neumayr lays out some interesting observations about Doctor “I
never performed an abortion when I worked at Planned Parenthood” Dean’s
interview in People... Still Crazy: In the Standard Hugh
Hewitt keeps banging his drum over the lunacy of the Mad Doctor...Been
Business Daily takes on Senate leader John Burton, an “unrepentant
big spender”...a contagious disease among Progressives...After
Saunders sketches out the GOP plan to challenge our demure
Senator, noting that less than half of the state’s voters
will vote for her and Bill Jones is rising in the polls – could
it be? Uphill: Dan
Weintraub outlines the tough road the Governor is going to
have to sell the Big Bond to the voters...They All Lied: Jonah
Goldberg replies to Senator Kennedy (“an embarrassment”)
and to the rest of the Bush Lied crowd, and asks if Bush Lied,
then did Clinton and his whole administration lie?
5:09 am [link]
Taxing Matters: Just in case you didn’t
know it, the tax bite in California is big... And the Editors at the Pasadena
Star News want you to know how big...
tax, which starts at a base of 7.25 percent and goes up to
near 9 percent, depending on the county, is the highest in
the nation. The combination of high income tax, business
taxes, bond measures and various and sundry levies imposed
by our lawmakers means we pay nearly one percent more on
average than everywhere else.
While the average percentage of taxes in all states combined has dropped
a slight amount, to 9.7 percent, the amount each Californian pays has
risen from 10.2 percent of their income to 10.6 percent.
Remember that when voting in the March election, which includes Proposition
56, a measure to make it easier for state lawmakers to raise taxes.
Leonard] 5:09 am [link]
You Listening? Of
all the legislators in the Assembly chambers last Tuesday evening
listening to the Governor deliver his address, there were 23 Democrats
who should have been paying particular attention. These 23
represent districts that voted for the Republican governor,
despite having been drawn as “safe” Democrat seats.
The voters in these areas are more likely to heed the Governor’s
call to action and hold their Democrat Assembly members’ feet
tote fire on the reforms for which the Governor is calling.
1st District, Santa Rosa Barbara A. Matthews, 17th District,
Stockton Rebecca Cohn, 24th District, Campbell Simon Salinas,
28th District, Salinas Nicole Parra, 30th District, Bakersfield
Hannah-Beth Jackson 35th District, Santa Barbara Cindy Montañez,
39th District, Mission Hills Lloyd E. Levine, 40th District,
Van Nuys Fran Pavley, 41st District, Woodland Hills Dario Frommer
43rd District, Glendale Carol Liu, 44th District, Pasadena
Judy Chu, 49th District, Monterey Park George Nakano, 53rd
District, Torrance Alan Lowenthal, 54th District, Long Beach
Jenny Oropeza, 55th District, Carson Rudy Bermudez, 56th District,
Norwalk Ed Chavez, 57th District, Industry Ronald S. Calderon,
58th District, Montebello Gloria Negrete McLeod, 61st District,
Pomona John Longville, 62nd District, San Bernardino Lou Correa,
69th District, Santa Ana Christine Kehoe, 76th District, San
Diego Juan Vargas, 79th District, Chula Vista [From Leonard
Opinion Thursday [link]
Bushie Plan 2: For my
part, I think the President’s immigration
plan is a bad, bad idea...I just don’t
get it. Maybe this is some clever ploy
to make us all finally see that immigration
is really broken and really has to be
fixed... After all, will the Republican
Congress really go down this troubling
road... I don’t think so. Okay,
here’s what some real pundits had
to say: Fred
Barnes says “It won't work.
It doesn't stand a chance...” Tony
Blankley ”President Bush's
recent, lamentable proposals on illegal
Limbaugh “It's a muddled plan,
with dubious goals...” Gallup Poll “Two-thirds
of Americans are convinced that immigration
mostly hurts the U.S. Economy...” Editors at
Wash Times “Vicente Fox's proposal
Sunday for an open border between the
United States, Mexico and Canada was
distinctly wrong-headed...” Heather
MacDonald “Some of the most violent
criminals at large today are illegal
aliens...” And Those Wacky
Bay Area Liberals: Matier & Ross inform
us that he’s got a plan for San
Francisco to volunteer to pay more taxes “State
Assemblyman Mark Leno is talking up the
idea of asking the ever-liberal voters
of San Francisco to reinstate, just for
themselves, the vehicle license fee...”
Platt Liebau - editorial
director CaliforniaRepublic.org] 5:16 am [link]
Dearest Dean: Apparently Howard Dean has extended his medical
expertise from internal medicine to psychiatry. In an interview with "Rolling
Stone" magazine, Dean
president is not interested in being a good president. He's
interested in some complicated psychological situation that
he has with his father."
if we're all going to take a turn playing armchair psychologist,
I'd be tempted to call that statement an example of "projection" --
or the attribution of one's own feelings to other people. Why?
Because there are clearly unresolved tensions with regard to
Dean's relationship with his own father. A piece on Dean in
the L.A. Times reads as follows:
says he spent some of those wilderness years [skiing in Colorado,
medical school, etc.] running from the man known as 'Big Howard':
his father. In his autobiography, 'Winning Back America,' Dean
said his father's long shadow dogged him from Yale to politics."
. . . Dean attributes to Bush the psychological trouble he
himself may well be having. So here's one other question: Could
Dean's unhinged anger at Bush be a little misdirected self-hatred?
Maybe not, but it's an interesting question to ponder.
Leonard] 6:48 am [link]
The Basic Budget Question: I had just a couple
simple questions about the Governor’s budget proposal that came out
on Friday, so I looked at every budget story I could find int he newspapers.
No answers there, but lots of stories about slashing cuts. I went to the
Department of Finance web site and waded through pages and pages of information.
My question that nobody seemed to want to answer was this: How much money
did the state take in last year versus this year and how much are we spending
last year versus this year? It is the basic question that every family
and every business has to ask in order to even start making a budget.
that I can find is this: During the 2003-2004 year, which isjust
half over, we are spending at the rate of $75 billion a year
and we are taking in $74.6 billion so we are still spending
more money than we have and have to resort to borrowing.
2004-2005 year, which is the first Schwarzenegger budget, we
are proposing to spend $79 billion-- a $4 billion INCREASE
in spending-- and we are expecting $76 billion in revenue.
To buy time to bring the expenditures under control, the Governor
is proposing borrowing.
wail and moan about the state budget must acknowledge that
spending continues to increase. Revenues are not increasing
fast enough to keep up with this insatiable demand. Governor
Schwarzenegger has wisely said that his borrowing proposal
is a one-time measure to give the Legislature time to bring
things into balance or to give the people time to vote in the
changes themselves. [From Leonard
Opinion Wednesday [link]
Bushie Plan: Terry
Jeffrey weighs in on the immigration
plan, “There is higher ground in
his debate: Our existing immigration
law is morally sound and politically
defensible. The government should just
enforce it for a change.”... Yep,
that's on target...or as Jermaine would
say 1000% right...
7:09 am [link]
O'Neill's Bombshell: Uh, well, hmm.... Mr. O'Neill certainly blows
the lid on the Administration's attitude towards Iraq from the very beginning...
what do you know... Opps... Sorry, Mr. O'Neill and Mr. Suskind, regime
change was the official policy of the United States since 1998.
O’Neill’s Bombshell on
the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein
was a bad person and that he needed to go,” says O’Neill,
who adds that going after Saddam was topic "A" 10
days after the inauguration - eight months before Sept. 11.
- CBS News
US Policy since
Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 Public Law: 105-338
(REVISED AS OF 10/05/98 -- Passed House, amended)
Act of 1998 - Declares that it should be the policy of the
United States to seek to remove the Saddam Hussein regime from
power in Iraq and to replace it with a democratic government.
the President, after notifying specified congressional committees,
to provide to the Iraqi democratic opposition organizations:
(1) grant assistance for radio and television broadcasting
to Iraq; (2) Department of Defense (DOD) defense articles and
services and military education and training (IMET); and (3)
humanitarian assistance, with emphasis on addressing the needs
of individuals who have fled from areas under the control of
the Hussein regime. Prohibits assistance to any group or organization
that is engaged in military cooperation with the Hussein regime.
President to designate: (1) one or more Iraqi democratic opposition
organizations that meet specified criteria as eligible to receive
assistance under this Act; and (2) additional such organizations
which satisfy the President's criteria.
President to call upon the United Nations to establish an international
criminal tribunal for the purpose of indicting, prosecuting,
and imprisoning Saddam Hussein and other Iraqi officials who
are responsible for crimes against humanity, genocide, and
other criminal violations of international law.
the sense of the Congress that once the Saddam Hussein regime
is removed from power in Iraq, the United States should support
Iraq's transition to democracy by providing humanitarian assistance
to the Iraqi people and democracy transition assistance to
Iraqi parties and movements with democratic goals, including
convening Iraq's foreign creditors to develop a multilateral
response to the foreign debt incurred by the Hussein regime.
of Congress behind this nefarious 1998 conspiracy.
voting for the bill in the House included Richard Gephardt,
Sheila Jackson-Lee, Dennis Kucinich and by unanimous consent
in the Senate, Carol Mosely-Bruan, Joe Lieberman and John Kerry...
Platt Liebau - editorial
5:16 am [link]
Moore Clark:If there were any doubts outstanding
that Wesley Clark is (no other way to put it) a jerk, they should be set
at rest now. The Drudge Report states that Michael Moore has chosen to
endorse him. Q.E.D.
his endorsement, Moore reportedly said of Clark, 'He's an honest
and decent man. I would like to see the General debate the
deserter.' Well, that quote explains a lot on many levels.
Wesley Clark shows a marked penchant both for conspiracy theories
and a, how shall one say, "looseness with the truth" that
is distinctly reminiscent of one Michael Moore -- who can't
seem to grasp the distinction between a fact and an unfounded
accusation. Earth to Michael Moore: President Bush is NOT a
deserter . . . he served his time in the National Guard. He
is a fighter pilot. Note to Wesley Clark: You DID support the
war -- at least before you began running for President . .
. and no, no one in the White House tried to get you kicked
in St. Louis, I never thought the day would come that I'd feel
even a twinge of pity for Dick Gephardt. But it must be real
torture for him, Joe Lieberman, and even Kerry and Edwards
to watch two clueless, classless grandstanders like Dean and
Clark become the frontrunners for the Democratic nomination.
Opinion Tuesday [link]
Clark: In the Chronicle Deb
Saunders takes on the Weasely Westly
Clark...Pension Fix: At
SacBeeDan Weintraub says
that the Governor is on the right track
with his plan for out of control state
in SacBee Dan
Walters says that the Governor wants
action, but legislators want delay, welcome
to Sacramento... Scheering: The
always reliable Robert
Scheer says about the Governor and
the poor, “the pain that Schwarzenegger
claims to feel is the fake suffering
of actors in movies” - ah, yes,
the ebag - Tim Leslie, Assemblyman] 6:14 am [link]
The Budget: It
took us a half decade of wasteful government spending to get to this point,
and a recovery will not come overnight. However, this budget strikes a
common sense balance and puts us on the road to correcting the waste, fraud,
and abuse that five years of one Party rule have given us. It starts to
difficult times that call for difficult choices. The governor
has made those tough choices. He is doing exactly what he said
he would do.These spending cuts are painful, but they are necessary,
and they are not forever. And it is better to make them now
than to end up with a bankrupt California that cannot afford
Stewart - Columnist]
5:39 am [link]
State of the State: Clearly
the Governor is using his carrot and stick
strategy, or you might call it his
bad cop-good cop strategy, and doing so even in the same speech
and even in the same few breaths. He's letting the Democrats know
they have a friend on the environment and real pet projects like
solar energy, but also letting them know he understands that they
have been horrible obstructionists in reforming workers comp. The
imagery, which few television stations carried, of the Democrats
sitting stone-faced through most of his speech, rarely clapping
at all, speaks volumes about the incredible partisan divide in
Sacramento. I doubt whether Democrats sitting at home watching
television--normal, everyday people--had remotely the same reaction
as the hardcore partisan Democrats in Sacramento. My guess? I'll
bet even more than 62 percent of Californians were applauding that
well-turned speech. My God, the Governor even got praise from the Los
Angeles Times editorial board. So, we now see how huge the
chasm is, and it is a psychological chasm as much as a political
one, between the elected Democrats in Sacramento and most other
people in California. They are out of step, and don't grasp what
happened on Oct. 7. Someday, maybe my lifelong party will snap
awake and start acting like a body that represents real people
Platt Liebau - editorial
director CaliforniaRepublic.org] 5:16 am [link]
Hillary Watch: As a native
of St. Louis, Missouri, it's hard to resist a little
commentary on Hillary Clinton's gaffe in my
hometown last week -- when she jokingly identified Mahatma Gandhi as
someone who "ran a gas station down in St. Louis." The
remark is silly, and of course, stereotyping is wrong.
But it shouldn't
be a surprise that Hillary Clinton would joke this way. During
her run for the U.S. Senate in 2000, credible reports surfaced
of her making anti-Semitic remarks, and people who wield ethnic
slurs against one group would seem more likely to be willing
to make them about another. Obviously, the remark was unworthy
of a U.S. Senator, and it was unkind -- but who, having read
about Hillary's treatment of the Secret Service and other household
staff -- can be surprised that she is capable of inconsideration
What IS surprising,
though, is that a woman who is obviously intending to run for
President in 2008, and whose every move seems calculated to
that end, would make such a juvenile, amateurish mistake --
especially when she belongs to a party that prides itself on
its political correctness. Yes, she was among "friends" at
a Democratic fundraiser, but surely she knows by now that no
remark she makes at any sort of public event, will remain reliably "off
is why I'm less frightened than some by the prospect of a Hillary
candidacy. True, when she is following her husband's guidance,
she can be a formidable politician -- but from time to time,
the mask slips and political embarrassment ensues. Hillary's
own political skills are overrated. And it's hard to be convinced
that she's as smart as her supporters would have us believe,
if she's making these kind of gaffes.
in St. Louis on behalf of Nancy Farmer, the Democratic candidate
for Missouri's U.S. Senate seat. It would be interesting to
get a little reaction from Ms. Farmer on this episode . . .
And don't hesitate to support Farmer's opponent, my former
boss Senator Christopher "Kit" Bond, one of the best
Senators in Washington (147 N. Meramec St., Suite 100 St. Louis,
Gamble - speechwriter, CRO columnist]
7:54 am [link]
Bad, Bad Reform: Under President Bush's immigration reform, the U.S. Border
change its name to the "U.S. Y'all Come Patrol." Its job description
will switch from keeping illegals out of the country to the federal version of
Wal-Mart greeters, as aliens flood into the U.S. to shop for a new life.
already here illegally, you're home free. If you want to come
from another country, all you need is a job and you're here.
The border has been effectively erased. It will be interesting
to see if the increase in the Latino vote going Republican
this November is worth it.
What a slap
in the face to every immigrant who played by the rules.
Coupal - president Howard
Jarvis Taxpayers Association] 7:15
State of the State: Conservatives have to give
the new Governor high marks for his speech. First, in some of the clearest
terms to date, he has taken tax increases off the table. He realizes
that even a modest tax increase on some small group or industry would – irrespective
of revenue impacts – send a negative shockwave throughout the state.
His repeated no tax statements are necessary, however, to keep fiscal
conservatives at least marginally in his camp. These folks are otherwise
unhappy about Proposition 57 – an unprecedented $15 billion deficit
Other items on the right’s wish list (suspension of 98, forgetting UC
Merced, and a tougher stance with the unions) were not present. But the no
tax increase promise makes up for a lot.
As an aside, the selection of Dan Kolkey to renegotiate the Indian gaming contracts
is very good. Dan has one of the sharpest legal minds in California and has
a depth of experience with this specific issue.
Klink - political consultant, CRO columnist]
10:25 am [link]
of the State: Arnold Schwarzenegger's first State of the State speech
was a strong address with a clear message, abundant optimism about the future
and with just the right mix of praise and prodding for a State Legislature deeply
entrenched in the politics
of the status quo.
reiterated his campaign promise not to raise taxes -- which
is good news for our state and for California's future.
In the post-speech "spin," what
became apparent is that Democrats in the State Legislature
feel threatened by the Governor and by his remarks -- perhaps
they hit too close to home about runaway workers compensation
costs, overspending and Democrats' reliance on tax increases
to pay for a bloated state government.
In all, Schwarzenegger's
speech was a tremendous hit but he should be wary of Sacramento
Democrats and not be afraid to pull the trigger on a statewide
initiative when/if it becomes necessary.
Gamble - speechwriter, CRO columnist]
8:55 am [link]
of the State: There should be a large marquee on the State Capitol bearing
the words, "Now
Arnold Schwarzenegger brought a movie star's charisma to his
first State of the State speech, and if Democrats weren't previously
fully aware of what they're dealing with, they know now. It's
not so much what the governor said -- although his words were
certainly reassuring to Republicans fearful he might tilt leftward
on taxes — but the aura of confidence and commitment
he brought to the chamber.
even those who didn't vote for Schwarzenegger, know they have
speeches of the previous governor, this one was directed not
at members of the Legislature but at the folks watching at
home. This ties in, of course, with Schwarzenegger's strategy
of bypassing the professional politicians as much as possible
in favor of going directly to the voters. If there is one lesson
the Democrats will learn, if they haven't already, it's that
charisma counts. Some might be saying, "Where's Willie
Brown when we really need him." No one among the state
Democrats can match Schwarzenegger's star power and the governor
will continue to use that to his advantage. The governor is
right. It's all about salesmanship. California's Democrats
couldn't sell a Las Vegas weekend to Britney Spears.
Steel - past chairman California GOP, CRO columnist]
8:55 am [link]
State of the
State: Arnold's speech was the strongest debut in a generation.
I watched Ronald Reagan over a hundred speeches. Arnold is joining Reagan's
ability to communicate with voters over the democrat hacks in Sacramento.
Schwarzenegger's performance was solid, persuasive and impressive.
language was almost revolutionary. Wanting to blow up boxes,
calling it a spending crisis and we can tax our way to recovery
will warm any conservative's heart. I've learned not to hold
on to great expectations from most politicians. Schwarzenegger
continues to impress me. He repealed the car tax and saved
us 4 billion, got the illegal drivers licenses repealed and,
so far, has not called for tax increases.
So far, so
Platt Liebau - editorial
5:16 am [link]
State of the State: What a relief it is . . . to
know that, at least for now, Republicans need have no regrets over having
supported Arnold Schwarzenegger for Governor. His State of the State Address
was excellent -- and with its relatively short length and accessible language,
obviously designed to shore up the Governor's most important asset . .
. widespread support among California's people. His positive, take-charge
manner is probably intended to reassure California voters, who are tired
of a legislature that seems to operate for its own benefit, rather than
his obvious (and praiseworthy) efforts to keep California's
electorate interested and engaged, Governor Schwarzenegger
also appears to be trying to offer something to those on both
sides of the political aisle. Most important for Republicans
and conservatives, he committed to no new taxes -- and sounded
serious about eliminating (not restructuring!) California's
bloated and inefficient government bureaucracies. For Democrats,
he stressed his ongoing interest in the environment (obviously
a topic that can be dear to Republicans, as well). And for
confirmed Reaganophiles (like me), he ended his speech with
the most heartening signal of all -- adapting a quotation from
Ronald Reagan. At least he's seeking inspiration in some of
the right places.
Governor Schwarzenegger appears to be fortunate in his political
adversaries. The Democratic "response" -- featuring
Senate President pro-tem John Burton and Assembly Speaker Herb
Wesson -- was eerily reminiscent of a Saturday Night Live sketch.
Republicans ought to get these guys (especially Burton) out
front and center all the time. Their only firm commitment seems
to be to tax increases . . . and they symbolize everything
voters elected Governor Schwarzenegger to change.
All in all,
the lesson of the evening: Political leadership counts. Can
you imagine how different everything would be if Governor Bustamante
had just wound up his maiden address?
Hogue - radio talk show host KTKZ -
Sacramento] 5:14 am [link]
State of the State: The reason that the Democrats were staying in
their seats during Arnold's presentation was due to the bullets flying over
their heads. Safer in the seats, playing the role of obstructionists.
This Governor understands the 'new process' in Sacramento, lead for change,
if the legislative body doesn't respond, head straight to the people...and
NO NEW TAXES!
The Democrat rebuttal was hilarious, Senator Burton and Speaker Wesson looked
like 'deer in head lights'...the head lights of a People's Governor driving
a new recall hummer right over their tax and spend candy!
Masugi - Director Center for Local Government Claremont
Institute] 5:13 am [link]
State of the State: The Governor is blending Progressive measures
such as the referendum (March budget curbing) with the political need to blame
the Democrats for raising spending and eventually make them pay for it. In
this way, his administration will be a fascinating exercise in using (or threatening)
Progressive means to curb the worst excesses of left-liberal politics. Of course
this "empire of aspirations" slogan is completely open-ended and
susceptible of interpretation according to everyone's wishes-- which is why
it is a great political slogan. But I preferred the punch of "I don't
want to move boxes around; I want to blow them up." Good action hero dialogue.
Platt Liebau] 7:16 am [link]
Dem Race for the White House: With the Iowa caucuses
only two weeks away, the race has gotten hot. Howard Dean has dominated
not only the polls and the money race so far, but also the pundits' discussion
-- a valuable advantage of emerging as an early frontrunner.
Dean may have peaked shortly before the capture of Saddam Hussein.
He hasn't had a good December -- having made a variety of verbal
gaffes and appealing to Democratic Party Chairman Terry McAuliffe
to stop the attacks being showered on him from his Democratic
opponents. In fact, the Iowa caucuses have become as important
for Dean as for Richard Gephardt. It's long been acknowledged
that Gephardt must win the caucuses in order to remain viable;
now, having been anointed the frontrunner and having enjoyed
some enviable poll numbers, a loss for Dean could tarnish the
aura of inevitability he has been trying so hard to cultivate.
As the caucuses
approach, here are some of the signs that may reveal which
way the presidential (and vice-presidential) winds are blowing.
Tom Harkin endorse anyone, and if so, whom?
is Iowa's senior senator, with an unparalleled state machine
that could be the determining factor in a close Dean-Gephardt
race. He has worked with Gephardt for years, first when he
was in the House and then after Harkin became a senator.
Even so, many of Harkin's former staff members work for the
Dean campaign now, and Harkin has let it be known that he
likes Dean's fiery style. But Harkin wants to go with a winner;
any delay in his endorsement may indicate that the situation
on the ground in Iowa is fluid and he's not sure where to
turn. If he endorses a candidate early this week though (as
he earlier said he would), his pick hands-down is the guy
Candidates Attack Howard Dean?
almost every Democratic presidential candidate has taken
multitudinous potshots at the putative frontrunner, with
only two exceptions: John Edwards and Wesley Clark. Why have
these two refrained? Despite their protestations (like Clark's
yesterday on "Meet the Press"), both want to be
considered for the vice-presidential slot -- and consider
their strength in the South (and Clark's military background)
to be strong points in their favor. So they certainly don't
want to alienate the guy who might later be asking them to
the big dance -- the famously sensitive Howard Dean.
Will the Turnout in Iowa Be?
Wisdom holds that a large turnout will help Richard Gephardt.
But it may not be so simple -- one of the Dean campaign's
selling points is their candidate's ability to bring new
voters into the party. If turnout is high and Gephardt wins,
chalk one up for the CW. But if turnout is high and Dean
pulls it out, there may be something to the claims that he
is bringing hitherto disaffected voters into his political
turnout totalled 61,000. Party officials in Iowa are planning
for at least double that number -- and turnout may go as
high as 150,000.
7:09 am [link]
Dornan v. Rohrabacher: Shawn
Steel - CRO
contributor had this to say to the Register's Steven
Greenhut about the
upcoming House seat challenge to Dana Rohrabacher
by the B-1 himself:
dispiriting that Rohrabacher, one of the most libertarian/conservative
members of Congress and a spirited anti-totalitarian, is
having this stuff thrown at him out of left field. This is
one of the strangest things coming out of California in a
long time," said Shawn Steel, immediate past president
of the California Republican Party, and a tried-and-true
conservative. He said Dornan is motivated by "anger
and hatred." Sad but true.
7:05 am [link]
Age of Anxiety: Other Well Qualified Contenders? Facing enormous,
far-reaching issues such as the threats of global Islamo-Fascistic
terrorism, nuclear brinksmanship with North Korea, Franco-fried Euro-Stupidity
in Euroland, UN or unUN, Mad Cow in the Big Mac, and – of course – the
terrifying potential of Howard Dean upending the Clintons’ grip
on the Democrat Party... it might be wise for the Party Machine to
broaden its field of vision and look to other viable last minute candidates
(think Wesley Clark) who are as seasoned as front runner Howard Dean
with a) formidable executive credentials and b) the
kind of breadth of leadership experience that can lead the world.
use the Mad Doctor as measuring stick...
Scope by Population: Why, as the governor of Vermont the
Doctor presided over a wide ranging citizenry. If this were
for evaluating the potential for a Chief Executive we could
reach out as far as Memphis and Democrat Mayor Willie Herenton.
Memphis has virtually the same size population as Vermont.
When you take this into consideration, this really widens the
potential field. There are lots of city mayors who have this
kind of experience, after all, Memphis is only the county’s
18th largest city – this opens up a lot of possibilities!
Scope by Fiscal Management: Budgets! A heady executive
responsibility. Big money... This limits the field. As governor
the Doctor managed a budget about the same size as the budget
for the city of San Jose... Hey! This puts the possibility
of a New Democrat
squarely front and center! San Jose’s mayor Ron Gonzales!
So, Mr. McAuliffe,
hurry up and start dialing! These are just two mayors who are
every bit as experienced and qualified as the Doctor... Get
with it and preserve the party of Clinton!
Steel] 6:15 am [link]
I Don't Give
a CAIR: I
am particularly pleased that CAIR's Ex Dir for Southern California, [Council
for American Islamic Relations ] Hussam Ayloush, lawsuit against me and National
Review was dismissed December 16th. (See article links below) Orange
County Superior Court Judge David Chaffee ruled that all causes of actions
are dismissed. We are actively considering demanding attorney fees for
the nuisance litigation. CAIR is a leading national Muslim organization
in the US which has aroused great interest.
December 4, 2003, by Art Moore:
- In July,
a member of CAIR's national staff, Randall Todd "Ismail" Royer,
was among 11 men indicted for conspiring to train on American
soil for a "violent jihad."
CAIR figure, Bassem Khafagi, was arrested in January while
serving as the group's director of community relations.
- CAIR is
a spin-off of the Islamic Association For Palestine, labeled
a "front group" for the terrorist organization
Hamas by two former heads of the FBI's counterterrorism section.
the ebag - Scott Dillard] 6:14 am [link]
guys. I have had a lot of fun reading this site all year, and
have contributed silly and not so silly emails when I had time or was
sufficiently amazed/outraged/p.o.'ed, etc. Looking forward to the new
year. Happy New Year to you all.
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Blog December 2003
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