Rowland Impeachment Underway in Connecticut

Connecticut's Republican Governor John Rowland has been under fire for accepting free labor and gifts on his vacation shack from people who might like to influence the governor of Connecticut. They were friends and/or acquaintances… to that extent.

Rowland lied about it. When he was caught, his wife read a nasty poem about the State's press, which is not the safest thing to do when you're on a ship that's losing water. When those folks begin dumping their ink in the hull, the ship tends to go down faster.

Impeachment proceedings for Rowland began on Friday, according to the Hartford Courant.
The Select Committee of Inquiry, a bipartisan panel created Monday by a unanimous vote of the House, adopted temporary rules during a perfunctory public session, then closed the doors to privately discuss choosing a legal counsel to guide them.

"The most important thing we do now is get counsel," said Rep. John Wayne Fox, D-Stamford. He and O'Neill are the committee's co-chairmen.

Only with its counsel on board can the committee begin to set standards and procedures to determine whether grounds exist for the House to impeach the governor, who has admitted to accepting gifts from state employees and contractors, then lying about his actions. A federal grand jury also is investigating the governor.
As fun and exciting as that might sound, Connecticut has no constitutional grounds for removing their governor. They're now working on hiring a law firm to counsel them.

I understand the gravity of this situation, and I'm also well aware that one of the State's U.S. Senators is gallivanting around the country murmuring about "Joementum," but Rowland is not long for his job. His approval ratings have plunged to depths mined previously by recalled California Governor Gray Davis.

I'll let you know when anything substantial happens.

Tomorrow morning, I watched the Sunday Shows and write about and analyze them for the Rightsided Newsletter. You can subscribe for free and receive that analysis by visiting the web site or writing to rsn-subscribe [AT] topica.com.

I'll talk to you then.

From the New York Times, IT'S…

…yesterday's news:

Missteps Pulled a Surging Dean Back to Earth

Published: February 1, 2004

They open the piece with Dean and Harkin, speechless in post-defeat Iowa.

Two weeks ago.

They try their best to explain what happened to Howard Dean, but unlike most of the (at least temporarily) myopic set, they don't use it as an excuse,

Howard Dean was a product of the anti-war, anti-Bush media. Like so many investors who lost their shirt when the tech-bubble burst, they bought into the notion that something they could not understand -- blogs, 'Net fundraising, chats, meet-ups -- was more powerful than it was. It blinded them to Dean's blatant deficiencies.

The press did the build-up, and the pundits off them, then off each other. Inevitability ruled the day -- until the bubble burst.

Don't feel bad about it. Dean's done. Time to move on.

F.Y. 2005 Budget

I've long since taken a decision to remain mostly quiet about this President's budget in an election year in which this country cannot afford him to lose. I cannot resist talking about some hypothetical numbers thrown out by the Associated Press.

The deficit is projected to drop from $521-billion in F.Y. 2004 to $363-billion in his F.Y. 2005 budget, then it continues its decline, sinking to $237-billion in 2009.

Natural Resources & Environment spending drops slightly, as do energy and community development spending. Which does not explain where the federal government derives this power to spend $13.2-billion on community development. And why we still have a department of energy with its F.Y. 2005 $3.5-billion budget.

Total Defense spending increases from $393.5-billion to $420.7-billion, which is necessary if that is what we need.

Education spending actually increases from $78-billion to $80.4-billion, and for what? If President Reagan had served with a Republican Congress, this would no longer be a problem. He had the vision to see that this department was a waste of time, effort, and money.

In an election year, however, doing it my way would dramatically increase the chances that one of those clowns would be elected, and again, we cannot afford that.

SC: Zogby Three-Day

The latest Zogby Three-Day for South Carolina, covering Wednesday through Friday show this:

Edwards - 26%
Kerry - 22%
Dean - 9 %
Clark - 8%
Sharpton - 6%
Lieberman - 4%
Undecided- 22%

The Margin of Error, between which the top two exist, is 4.1-percent. Yesterday's results -- Tuesday through Thursday -- showed Edwards leading 25-percent to 24-percent, so Edward picked up to widen the margin within the margin.

Sharpton has been expected to contend, but the bulk of his vote, I am told, is to come from people who cannot afford phone service thus cannot take part in a telephone survey.

If this primary is as close as Zogby's figures presently indicate, and if Kerry opens a clock cleaning shop in Missouri and does well elsewhere, Edwards comes away from this in worse shape than at any other time since Iowa. A healthy showing by Kerry in South Carolina and Oklahoma shows that Kerry can compete in a field of Democrats in the South despite expressing his sentiment that the South does not mean squat to him.

This race has yet to show me more than a footnote to a footnote in an unabridged version.

Dr. Taylor's Toast-O-Meter

Stephen Taylor's weekly Toast-o-Meter is live on his PoliBlog with his detailed look at the current state of the sack race to the Dem nomination. Our analysis connects pretty well up and down the line this week, except he is a little bit harder on Joementum than am I -- I think it's a fine thing that Lieberman's having a blast -- but if Joe doesn't win big across the board, or show some signs that the voters consider him to be the "moderate alternative" he imagines himself to be, it is time for him to heed the call of his constituents and go back to Connecticut.
Edwards "has to win SC to credibly say that he has won on Tuesday. Although outlandish scenarios like a surprise win in MO, or taking several other states would work as well. However, I wouldn’t hold my breath on those possibilities. He has to take SC, or the whole “I can win in the South” argument is blown out the window—and without a doubt, that is one of his key strengths.

Wes Clark Rally in South Carolina

The Congressional Black Caucus, it seemed, turned out in Florence, South Carolina this morning to back the candidacy of candidate Wesley Clark. C-SPAN covered the event live.

Representative Bobby Rush praised the candidate's Christianity, stating that Clark does more than just talk about Christianity; he has "Christian commitment." This, he explains, means that Clark supports Affirmative Action.

Rush said that Clark had once opposed affirmative action until he saw what it was doing; Clark now supports it. So, Rush inexplicably asserted, "we need somebody [Clark] who won't change his mind about Affirmative Action."

Representative William Jefferson (D-Louisiana) showed up in Florence to campaign for Clark. He decided that the Dem nominee would be a southerner, not some Ivy League cracker like Kerry. (No, he did not use those exact words, but that was his message.) He said that Edwards was a nice kid and "is probably going to go somewhere some day," but Clark is the grownup.

Representative Charlie Rangel (D-New York) spoke, and I am still not able to understand a word that man says.

The campaign's main speaker was not the general, but his wife Petula Clark. (Her real given name is Gertrudge, but humor me…)

She's a general's wife, and she loves the Army. I don't know if she were an actual, on-paper member of the Army, but her choice of pronouns gave away the fact that she felt she was a part of it. And as Clark's wife, she was to that extent.

That being said, I like political wives, their roles. A candidate's wife would have to be a singularly awful human being to earn by disdain. But I like Mrs. Clark.

I wonder if she could understand Rangel?

Edwards Speaks for the Unborn

John Edwards, trial lawyer, has spoken out in the behalf of the unborn. This is from a profile piece found in today's New York Times:
In 1985, a 31-year-old North Carolina lawyer named John Edwards stood before a jury and channeled the words of an unborn baby girl.

Referring to an hour-by-hour record of a fetal heartbeat monitor, Mr. Edwards told the jury: "She said at 3, `I'm fine.' She said at 4, `I'm having a little trouble, but I'm doing O.K.' Five, she said, `I'm having problems.' At 5:30, she said, `I need out.' "

But the obstetrician, he argued in an artful blend of science and passion, failed to heed the call. By waiting 90 more minutes to perform a breech delivery, rather than immediately performing a Caesarean section, Mr. Edwards said, the doctor permanently damaged the girl's brain.

"She speaks to you through me," the lawyer went on in his closing argument. "And I have to tell you right now — I didn't plan to talk about this — right now I feel her. I feel her presence. She's inside me, and she's talking to you."

The jury came back with a $6.5 million verdict in the cerebral palsy case, and Mr. Edwards established his reputation as the state's most feared plaintiff's lawyer.
From Antioch Road, here is Edwards speaking on the topic of abortion:
I believe that the difficult question of abortion should be left for a woman to decide in consultation with her family, her physician, and her faith. However, once the fetus has reached viability, I believe we have a responsibility, and a constitutional ability, to protect the unborn child."
Yet this is from last Monday's ChronWatch:
As a moderate Senate candidate from North Carolina, Edwards opposed partial-birth abortion. ''I think partial-birth abortions should be banned,'' Edwards told the Associated Press on September 19, 1998. ''These are terribly gruesome procedures.''

But the very next year, Edwards flip-flopped, voting against the partial-birth abortion ban in 1999. Now Edwards the presidential candidate strongly supports abortion on demand.
Perhaps Edwards believes in the sanctity of human life, a least of the nebulous point of "viability," but national Democrat politics demand the wearing of a Roe v. Wade costume. So he plays politics with human life.

This strikes me as strikingly craven.

Bill Richardson Endorses Kerry

New Mexico Governor and former Clinton Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson tells us that he cannot endorse anyone in his State's upcoming primary; remember, he's the chairman of this Summer's Democratic National Convention in July.

Richardson, an Hispanic, is often mentioned as a possible Veep choice for candidate John Kerry should the Massachusetts Senator win the nomination, and he endorsed (without formally "endorsing") Kerry on Friday:
Kerry got warm words from New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson at the Kennedy rally, although Richardson said he cannot formally endorse a candidate because he is chairing the Democratic National Convention in July. Richardson also was scheduled to attend the rally for Dean on Friday night, a Clark rally in Mesilla today and a Sen. John Edwards' town hall meeting today in Albuquerque.

"I am here to pay tribute to a great American— John Kerry," he said. "You can feel the momentum of Sen. Kerry, can't you? Electability is very important. What can you say about a man who has been a hero in Vietnam, who has been a hero in the Senate?"
That comes to us from a Michael Coleman piece in the Albuquerque Journal.

Is Richardson queuing for the No. 2 spot on a more-likely-than-not Kerry ticket, or is he just playing "Mr.-Important-Guy-in-the-Democrat-Party"? (Give a guy a party title and his self-image inflates, creating an oozing mound of magnanimity.)

The nation's political press loves Governor Richardson; he's the standard by which energy Secretaries will forever be measured in their increasingly irrelevant news (opinion) pages. This is a tad surprising, in that he ran very far away from Clinton in seeking his State's governorship, and he keeps his distance today. But that's for Clinton's reprehensible personal conduct, not the former President's spineless liberalism flailing about in a centrist's costume.

For what it's worth, politics aside, I like Richards viscerally. He is a bright man.

Anyway, Coleman offers us this on the New Mexico primary:
Eight names are on the ballot here, six of the seven major candidates who are still in the race; Dick Gephardt, who dropped out of the race; and longshot Fern Penna.
I'm saddened that Democrat candidate Lyndon LaRouche didn't make the New Mexico ballot, but at least we learned later that "'Cheers' bartender Ted Danson warmed up the crowd" at a Wes Clark rally. The Cheers bartender was Sam Malone, and it is as Sammy that I prefer to remember Danson.

Fern Penna, I have been able to ascertain, is a Democrat from New Mexico. His e-mail address is ferns.star [AT] verizon.net. He doesn't seem to have a web page, but here is a Q&A he did with PurePolitics.com, if you're curious.

Yes, Fern Penna is a male, but I know of no Boy Named Fern songs.



Dean Strategy: Roy Neel Memo

Dean's new kid, Roy Neel, has written a memo outlining his campaigns latest strategy, and this Associated Press story does not mention the "convention challenge" mentioned in the New York Times and reported in the post below this one.

According to the AP:
``We may not win any February 3 state, but even third place finishes will allow us to move forward, continue to amass delegates in Virginia and Tennessee on February 10, and then strongly challenge Kerry in Wisconsin,'' Neel wrote. ``Regardless of who takes first place in these states, we think that after Wisconsin we'll get Kerry in the open field.''

This is almost identical to the strategy Charlie Cook had suggested last December might be employed by the Anti-Dean. (He was one of the analysts who believed that Dean's nomination was inevitable.)

This does fit well with the additional strategy mentioned in the post below, but this is not going to be T.R. challenging the legitimacy of Taft's delegates. (Would Kerry be playing William Howard Taft to Dean's Teddy Roosevelt? Or does that look as silly to your as it does to me?)

So Neel wants the Kerry/Dean showdown to takes place after Green Bay drives all others from the field.

This might just be enough to make Joe Trippi cry.

Howard Dean's Convention Challenge

He ditched the weeping Trippi and, he hopes, cut the campaign's lack of gravitas. His new strategy, as I've observed, seems to be going after enough delegates here and there, hoping for a brokered convention. (I also said that I don't think he could win in such a circumstance. The other Dem's don't want to let their party be led down that path.)

I found THIS on the EN WHY TIMES web site:
Howard Dean on Thursday rebuffed the notion that he must win in one of the states voting on Tuesday, saying he is concentrating instead on collecting delegates, perhaps with an eye toward a convention challenge.
This could be downright politically sexy! Are Neel and the neo-Dean boyz thinking of a delegate credential challenge, a la former President Theodore Roosevelt and President William Howard Taft at the Chicago Republican convention in 1912?

Dem National Committee is ill-equipped, intestinally and intellectually, do deal with such an event, and when it happened with the Republicans 92-years-ago, it gave us Democrat Woodrow Wilson.

Or perhaps none of them know what they're talking about.

Iraq Intelligence Probe

Former Iraq Survey Group chief David Kay told Congress that everyone was wrong in deciding that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Columnist Charles Krauthammer has put together a columnm today (Friday) which is a decent defense of the President, summarizing the circumstances and concluding:
Under the circumstances, and given what every intelligence agency on the planet agreed was going on in Iraq, the president made the right choice, indeed the only choice.
The only choice, indeed, and it would have been treasonous to do otherwise. In fact, it should have been done a lot sooner, given that with which we were certainly faced, let alone what we only believed we were facing.

The call now is for an "independent investigation" of the intelligence. President Bush says that he wants the "facts" but has not backed this independent probe.
I too want to know the facts," Bush said, repeating that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was "a growing danger" and the world is better off without him.
"I want to be able to compare what the Iraq Survey Group has found with what we thought was there prior to going into Iraq," he said, referring to the CIA/Pentagon team assigned to hunt for banned weapons.
Kay wants a probe. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-California) wants a probe. Senator John McCain wants a probe. Candidate John Kerry, acting the arse, demands the resignation of CIA director George Tenet.

An independent investigation into the intelligence failure, if conducted this year, will confuse matters much more than it will clarify them. It is a Presidential election year, that most political season of all.

The selection process will be politicized, the investigation will be politicized, and the finding will be milked for every last bit of political advantage possible. They will be twisted by partisan dopes masquerading as serious analysts. We will learn nothing and have not actionable conclusions on which to base any serious modifications of our intelligence gather and analyzing entitities.

Either we can figure out what happened, or we can appoint an "independent commission," headed by former President William J. Clinton, to produce something which will smell like the DC sewer system unearthed and dumped in our living rooms.

Cut the crap.

I've figured out LaRouche…

…I think.

I think I have a handle on the latest gripe from Democrat Presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche, and it seems the other Democrat candidates, with the exception of Joementum are adopting parts of it.

According to this January 29 press release concerning the statements of LaRouche's press spokesperson, Debra Hanania-Freeman, that "it is Vice President Dick Cheney who represents the real danger inside the Bush Administration," what with his "imperial-war-drive insanity."
“At the outset of this campaign, the Democratic Party simply refused to put up any serious fight against Bush and the Cheneyacs. When Dick Cheney and his friends put up the `beast-man' Arnold Schwarzenegger to challenge the duly elected Democratic Governor of California, Lyndon LaRouche and Bill Clinton were the only Democrats of national stature who were truly willing to enter the fray. In fact, the national party, under the guidance of the Democratic National Committee, actively worked to sabotage efforts to defeat Schwarzenegger, and seemed well on the way to throwing the national Presidential campaign to the GOP.

“Increasingly, however, there is a faction inside the Democratic Party that is finally bucking the DNC, and has realized that it must fight to win this election and defeat the Bush-Cheney axis. Increasingly, Democratic Party organizations, as well as what are traditionally Democratic Party-linked constituency groups, are acting in outright defiance of the DNC, and including LaRouche in candidates events.
As a fully certified Republican, I am very pleased to read that, to use the parlance of Howard Dean's "energetic, young volunteers," the LaRouche campaign is still "down with it." To wit:
“Today, the LaRouche campaign is gearing up for the next round of primaries--Feb. 3 through March 2--which include Delaware, Arizona, Okalahoma, and Missouri (Feb. 3), Tennessee and Virginia (Feb. 10), Wisconsin (Feb. 17), and California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont (March 2), with the first of a new series of 30-minute TV spots, the first of which will air in St. Louis.”
According to another recent LaRouche press release, Democrat candidate LaRouche has been or will be on the ballot in 24 States this Dem primary season.

Let's speculate, for the sake of fun, that candidate Dean manages a comeback and secures the Democrat nomination to run against the President in the fall. I think a Dean/LaRouche ticket matches up well this fall… against a couple of Disney characters, maybe.

Kennedy on Diving

My attention has been directed to a little comment in something called Newsmax.com. It seems Teddy Kennedy was boasting about his war hero friend, candidate John Kerry, to CNN yesterday, when he uttered the following:
"When John Kerry turned that boat back and hauled Jim Rassmann out of the water, risking his own life, what he has said: We leave no one behind. He didn't leave Jim Rassmann behind. He won't leave veterans behind. He won't leave our national security behind."
Without regards to his own safety, young Lieutenant John Kerry dove and dove for Jim Rassman, saving his life.

Would that Kerry had been near that bridge in Chappaquiddick, Massachusetts, on the night of July 19, 1969.

Said Senator Kennedy at the time:
Little over one mile away, the car that I was driving on the unlit road went of a narrow bridge which had no guard rails and was built on a left angle to the road. The car overturned in a deep pond and immediately filled with water. I remember thinking as the cold water rushed in around my head that I was for certain drowning. Then water entered my lungs and I actual felt the sensation of drowning. But somehow I struggled to the surface alive.

I made immediate and repeated efforts to save Mary Jo be diving into strong and murky current, but succeeded only in increasing my state of utter exhaustion and alarm. My conduct and conversations during the next several hours, to the extent that I can remember them, make no sense to me at all.

Although my doctors informed me that I suffered a cerebral concussion, as well as shock, I do not seek to escape responsibility for my actions by placing the blame either in the physical, emotional trauma brought on by the accident, or on anyone else. I regard as indefensible the fact that I did not report the accident to the policy immediately.


Zogby in South Carolina

I think I called this the "party hats and naked ladies," the pre-primary buzz-buzz about tracking polls and mailers and rude phone calls. Well, the Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby three day for South Carolina, January 27-29, is out:

Edwards - 25%
Kerry - 24%
Dean - 9%
Clark - 8%
Lieberman - 5%
Sharpton - 5%
Kucinich - 0%
Undecided - 22%

I know that the final Zogby three-day was almost exact on the actual New Hampshire vote, but Zogby is sitting on 22% undecided. And there evidently is a problem with some black voters in South Carolina who cannot afford telephone service, though I've no idea how pervasive this is. It might explain Sharpton at 5% after the political press have spent weeks telling us that he would contend in this primary merely because half the voters are expected to be African American. Assumptions and stereotypes.

On the same page linked above, Zogby shows Wes Clark leading Kerry and Edwards in Oklahoma by less than 10-percent. Kerry leads Clark and Dean by double digits in Arizona, and Kerry is swamping Edwards, 45%-11% in Gephardt-ville (Missouri)-

To take anything real out of February 3rd, I think Edwards will have to close the gap in Missouri and win big in South Carolina. Dean needs some Ho-mentum.

Kerry on the Threat of Terrorism

Candidate Kerry said at last night's debate that the White House has exaggerated the terrorist threat and would treat terrorists as negotiating partners.
"I think there has been an exaggeration," Mr. Kerry said when asked whether President Bush has overstated the threat of terrorism. "They are misleading all Americans in a profound way."

The front-runner for the Democratic nomination said he would engage other nations in a more cooperative fashion to quell terrorism.

"This administration's arrogant and ideological policy is taking America down a more dangerous path," Mr. Kerry said. "I will make America safer than they are."
The Slate web site gets it wrong via an erroneous assumption:
Edwards' next shot came after Kerry affirmed that "there has been an exaggeration" of the threat of terrorism. Kerry was talking about Iraq, but Edwards made it sound as though Kerry had blown off terrorism altogether. "It's just hard for me to see how you can say there's an exaggeration when thousands of people lost their lives on September the 11th," said Edwards. On this swing, Edwards overreached and missed.
Kerry's point had moved beyond Iraq; his subject was the general threat of a terrorist attack. And he "affirmed" no truth. He said that terrorism was less a threat than the White House said that it was.

Captain Ed gets off a good rant about this on Blogs for Bush:
If there is a better argument for keeping Kerry out of the White House, I'd like to hear it. How typically left-wing is it to claim that the Republicans are exaggerating the threat of foreign attack? It takes us back to the Carter presidency, which shifted American foreign policy from Cold War containment to peaceful and friendly coexistence (famously smooching Brezhnev) -- only to see the peaceful and friendly Soviets overrun Afghanistan and the Iranians overrun our embassy.
I think this was a case of candidate Kerry communicating with Democrats, who have their own little version of "common knowledge" which holds as "obvious truths" which "everybody knows" that the Bush Administration invented and/or exaggerating (hyped) everything having to do with the menace of terrorism and Saddam Hussein. Kerry glibly moved from one subject (Iraq) to the other (terrorism), properly linking the two but dangerously questioning the legitimacy of the danger.

Oh, what the heck. It's been several weeks since I've called on someone to resign. I call on candidate Kerry to cease his campaign for the Presidency and on Senator Kerry (if he remains extant) to resign from the United States Senate.

Clyburn: Kerry-Edwards/Edwards-Kerry

Good morning. This is not an exposé on South Carolina's most powerful black politician, Democrat U.S. Representative James Clyburn; rather, I saw a bit of his interview on The Charlie Rose Show yesterday evening.

First, by way of background, Charlie Rose used to do a wee-hours gig for CBS. With his relaxing, soothing, somnolent tones, he was my choice in school for background on the nights I was unable to fall instantly to sleep. To this day, for some twisted psychological reason, listening to his PBS shows makes me feel as if I should nod off.

Clyburn was his guest last night, because Clyburn was news: he had, as South Carolina's leading black politician, endorsed the campaign of candidate John "F." Kerry, which could be perceived as a backhand to Southern candidate John Edwards. The Edwards campaign, seemingly happy-go-lucky, did not make much of this slight.

It may have been sleight, covering his rear, when Clyburn told Rose that he supported Kerry because he wanted the final two nominees standing for the Democrat nomination to be Kerry and Edwards. He said that he believes the final two in the Dem campaign, which he also believes will not be decided until March, will be Kerry and Edwards.

He further wants the Dem ticket to be Kerry and Edwards, and he did not specify which man he wanted on top.

I have a few thoughts on Kerry-Edwards/Edwards-Kerry. Put Edwards on top of Kerry on the ticket, they're doing a sort of Kennedy-Johnson without Kennedy or Johnson. Kerry with Edwards on the bottom creates an instant Dan Quayle in Edwards. Edwards is of no use on the undercard, his talents existing to propel himself. If he has to bow to Kerry-speak, he becomes an awkward candidate, unprepared and wearing grownup's clothing.

Keep these things in mind as you see the Dems become excited about whoever is their candidate. This is actually as laughable, almost, as Fritz in '84.



Two-Man Race?

John Hood, writing in NRO Wednesday morning, has determined that "Edwards is now the only Democrat in the presidential field who can derail Kerry's seeming inevitability."

There will always be that class of pundits who like things to be simple, who get ahead of themselves. I'll remind: Howard Dean was not inevitable. John Kerry is not inevitable. Yes, we're bound to see the typical affect on fundraising and poll standing which traditionally, and for a reason, follows a New Hampshire victory, but we're talking about John Kerry here. No, he's not chopped liver, but he's pretty damn close.

Mr. Hood gives Edwards a shot, next Tuesday, at South Carolina, Oklahoma, and, if lucky, Missouri.

Three ways, he sees, to derail Kerry:
1) Howard Dean would have to win Delaware and New Mexico and pull off a surprise somewhere else, like Arizona; 2) Wes Clark would have to recover his footing and win Oklahoma, Arizona, and New Mexico; or 3) John Edwards would have to add a victory in Oklahoma or Missouri, or both, to his expected win in South Carolina, setting up a two-man race between a blue-blood New England leftist and a red-blood southern liberal with moderate affectations. The last scenario may be unlikely, but the first two just don't seem plausible.
Never mind where Edwards stays close going into Michigan and Washington on the 7th, Maine on the 8th, and Tennessee and Virginia on the 10th? (After listing those States, I have to add: "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!")

Heck, Kerry could win this thing. I went out on a limb several months ago and said bluntly that Clark, Dean, Kucinich, Mosley-Braun, and Sharpton could not win the nomination, and I specified why for each. I cannot do that for Kerry.

But it's not over. The math doesn't add up, as Kerry has 34 committed delegates of the 2,162 need to nominate. And it's not February. Yet.

Dem Debate in Greenville

I saw only half, on MSNBC, and I noted a Dean vrs. Kerry thing going. They were both childish, playing with gotcha and "he's wrong." "Executive Experience" against "Knowing how Congress Works." I can safely say that each lost my vote.

But that was before the race began.

Joementum said that he was the only centrist on the stage, the only one who could united Democrats with "disgruntled Republicans." I thought of postal workers and "shoot 'em up."

Edwards did not answer a direct question from the moderator, Tom Brokaw, concerning the cap on malpractice lawsuits. He did say, later, that though he does not support gay marriage, he wants to "change the adoption laws" to benefit homosexuals. I'll let you think about that one.

Tom Brokaw asked Kerry about displaying the Ten Commandments. Does he support the display of the Ten Commandments, or something for Jewish people, or something for Islamic people? I wish he would have asked this of Joe Lieberman, who, like the Ten Commandments, is Jewish.

The Ten Commandments were delivered to Moses on Mount Sinai. Moses was Jewish; in fact, I've heard it argued that Moses was the first Jew, in that it was God's covenant through him which gave them their laws and their religion. It was to Moses that God gave His laws regarding his sacred place of worship. It was Moses who ordained, at God's command, his brother Aaron and his sons to be the first Jewish priests.

But that was the fragment of the debate which I saw. A curious event, anyway.
ATTENTION JOHN EDWARDS: A Flordia court Wednesday upheld a Florida law banning homosexual adoptions:
"Florida has made the determination that it is not in the best interests of its displaced children to be adopted by" gay people, Judge Stanley Birch wrote in the court's unanimous decision, "and we found nothing in the Constitution that forbids this policy judgment."
One would think Edwards would like to do better in Florida than did Al Gore in 2000.

"Edwards Rules the 'Net"

According to the Edwards campaign, he has raised $1-million since Iowa, with $700,000 of that coming over the Internet. This is happening as Howard Dean drops of the fundraising map, and Edwards's boyz say it let's them compete in States beyond February 3, where he's competing in South Carolina, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Missouri -- four of the seven. (He's leaving Arizona, North Dakota, and Delaware alone.)
Their hope was that the Feb. 3 races would help Edwards to prevail over both Kerry and retired Gen. Wesley Clark in South Carolina and in several other battleground states, and winnow the field to a two-man race between Kerry and Edwards.
Clark is not competing in South Carolina, so that is essentially a three-man race: Edwards, John Kerry, and Al Sharpton. Political reporters tell us that half the voters in the South Carolina primary will be black, and that these people will split their vote between Sharpton and Representative Jim Clyburn (D-South Carolina), the States highest ranking elected official. This is what we're told. There must be some sort of monolith thing going here.

Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Illinois), an African American, differs, as do other prominent black politicians:
"Kerry isn't in. Dean isn't out. Clark isn't out. I think it's pretty much totally premature. Arrogant and insulting that some would race now to crown a nominee."
Rush is a Clark supporter.

The Edwards AP article linked above ends on a positive note, though:
One audience member, Quincy Jones, 64, of Greenville, listened carefully to Edwards' vow to aggressively fight the last vestiges of discrimination. But later, he said, "I'll probably vote for Kerry."

"Edwards can't beat Bush," he said. Then he added, "Kerry probably can't either. Nobody can."
And the political reporters had been trying to tell us that the Democrat pessimism had vanished.

Clinton Speaks up about Kerry

Congressional Dems had Bill Clinton up to Capitol Hill to discuss strategy, and as he was leaving, reporters asked him about candidate John Kerry. He said that he didn't think Kerry was too far left, because Kerry was one of the men who helped him balance the budget.
Clinton recalled that Kerry had been helpful when Clinton was in the White House trying to reverse large budget deficits. Among other things, Clinton raised taxes in 1993 to do so and Kerry voted for that increase.

``All I know is when I was trying to reverse 12 years of what we've had for the last four, where we were taxing less and spending more ... and we were running this huge deficit, he (Kerry) was there to help,'' Clinton said of Kerry.
So Kerry's not too liberal because he voted to raise taxes.

The myth that Clinton's 1993 tax increase is still breathing in some Dem circles, but the GOP Congressmen who balanced the budget say that the tax increase made balancing the budget more difficult than it otherwise would have been, given the booming economy.

Tax increases are a liberal notion. Period.

Clinton added:
``I think he was good on security, good on fiscal responsibility, good on welfare."
It was not an endorsement; rather, it was a lukewarm refusal to criticize a lukewarm candidate.

It will be interesting to see if Kerry attempts to claim this as a Clinton endorsement of his candidacy as candidate Howard Dean claimed Jimmy Carter's kind words as an endorsement of his.

Is Bush in Trouble?

We've been hearing some talk of late that the Democratic Party is proving to be united in its determination to defeat President Bush, that the President is doing the wrong things in terms of endearment: the Hispanics will hate him anyway and he'll alienate his base, the seniors will hate him anyway and he'll alienate his base, etc.

Bush's base is pretty much set. I, for one, will cast my vote for him and urge others do the same, unless -- as I've heard speculated -- he thinks he's in trouble, dumps Cheney, and selects a pro-abort running mate like Rudy Giuliani. That's not going to happen.

Those who despise the President are pretty much set as well, but who's base are they? Will the united behind the officious, weak-minded Kerry? The offensive, weak-minded Dean? The affable, weak-minded Edwards? These candidates have only one thing in common, aside from the "D" stitched to their lapels. If the Democrats nominate a bona fide dolt, do the disaffected Dems stay home, surrendering to the inevitable?

President Bush is not in trouble, by any means. When I observe what will be the climate, probably, through November -- looking beyond does not matter to the election -- I see that the Democrats need a palatable candidate (Edwards, Lieberman) and something to go wrong: the economy or the reconstruction of Iraq. In fact, they might well need both.

It is too early to be talking about a President being in trouble. It's not too soon to be talking about his opponents floundering until late Spring in hopes of finding someone behind whom to unite. Especially when that person may not exist.

A Dean Comeback = A Kerry Victory?

He fired Joe Trippi, the clown who helped him build his house of sand, and hired a former Clinton/Gore man and DC lobbyist. His new strategy is to skip the 3rd, in essence discarding them as popularity contests, throwing up TV ads only in Michigan and Washington.

In Washington's caucuses on February 7, 76 of the State's 95 nominating delegates will be allotted. In the Michigan primary the same day, they dole out 120 of the State's 154 delegates will be moved. With 2,162 needed to nominate at the Democrat convention, and with the pundit-driven Dean juggernaut grounded, Dean's going for a piecemeal approach, perhaps trying to force a brokered convention where the Deaniac delegates can prove an immutable force.

A brokered convention is what DNC Chair Terence McAuliffe had hoped to avoid when he frontloaded the nominating the process, and now he might have to broker one. The Democrats have a tentative frontrunner, but they do not have a candidate by acclaim.

From this Nedra Pickler AP story, we learn:
Officials who outlined the strategy on condition of anonymity acknowledged that Dean runs the risk of falling off the political map with seven defeats Tuesday. Dean is gambling that he can pick up delegates with second- and third-place finishes while Edwards and Clark spend themselves out of the race.

Officials hope that Dean emerges later in February as an alternative to Kerry and engages in "guerrilla warfare" until he wins the nomination or is mathematically eliminated.
This brings to mind a Charlie Cook scenario I discussed on December 9 of last year:
His conclusion: "The key then, is whether the [Democrat] opposition to Dean unifies behind one alternative before the Vermonter wraps up the nomination." He sees the possibility of Dean throwing together enough second and third place finishes in States without winner-takes-all contests to patch together the nomination, with the anti-Dean Dems being all over the place.
This is from when Cook and most other pundits thought Dean would walk away with the nomination, but it could now apply to Kerry.

To wit, if Edwards wins South Carolina, Lieberman wins Delaware and Arizona, Clark wins whatever he wins -- on and on, here and there -- and Kerry performs solidly everywhere because of his newfound status, the nomination could slip to Kerry.

They are our entertainment.

Government Not Needed

Here is an interesting example of private concerns taking action without governmental interference:
City Seeks to Curb Sidewalk Pit Stops

By the Associated Press
Filed at 7:54 a.m. E.T.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- ``Go before you go.'' That's the slogan under consideration for a new campaign in Minneapolis to combat public urination.

The bar business is thriving in the city's Warehouse District, and many patrons are apparently leaving with a full bladder.

The Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association plans to spend $10,000 in an effort of convince patrons to use the bar restrooms before they call it a night.

The association's Kim Motes calls public urination a nuisance crime, that makes a mess of their neighborhood.

Public urination is also a civil crime punishable by an $80 fine.
It's called the free market, folks. Better than any government, the market can stop the politicians from pissing in our lawns.

Joe-mentum in Arizona?

Good morning, and this just in. The Arizona Republican, Thursday, endorsed candidate Joe Lieberman in that State's February 3rd Democrat primary.
We understand that Lieberman faces an uphill fight for the nomination, that the political momentum now belongs to Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. And that momentum could propel Kerry to a victory here on Tuesday.

If Arizona Democrats want to be bold, to have their independent voices heard, they should back the candidate who knows this state best, whose principles and commitment to this country are unquestioned.

That candidate is Joe Lieberman.
This begs a question: WHY?

The common wisdom is that newspaper endorsements mean little or naught, and this move would seem destined to consign the Republic's to complete irrelevance. Who is going to vote for Lieberman?

Polls indicate that Joe Lieberman could still possibly win in Arizona. If enough voters get it into their head that they want to be a maverick State -- remember, they elected McCain -- Lieberman might fly there. And the Arizona Republic's editorial board can boast of their tremendous influence.

It seems to me that the editors of that paper wanted to wear the veneer of political thoughtfulness, of intellectual derring-do. They chose Lieberman because he is considered to be the most high-minded of the Democrat candidates, and they themselves would seem intellectually exalted for backing principle (Lieberman) over the trendy (Kerry, etc.).

This fakery is irritating, in newspapers as in people.

Then again, the Democrat Party itself is a pretense.



Blair Cleared of Exaggerating WMD

This is from tomorrow's Rightsided Newsletter:

Meanwhile in the UK, a judicial report on claims by the BBC that Prime Minister Tony Blair's government had exaggerated it dossier on Saddam Hussen's weapons capability to justify Britain's participation in the war exonerated Blair and his senior advisors.

The International Herald Tribune, owned and operated by the New York Times, reported today:

The judge, Brian Hutton, then castigated the BBC for sloppy reporting and "defective" editorial supervision in accusing Blair and his aides of "sexing up" the case for war in Iraq.

Gavyn Davies, chairman of the BBC board of governors, resigned in disgrace, saying that the "authority at the top of an organization should accept responsibility for what's happened in that organization." The BBC formally apologized to Mr. Blair.

This will not clear President Bush in the eyes of some of the more irascible opponents of the President, who might charge that Bush misled Blair. And the French. And the Germans. And the rest of Europe. And the Russians. And the U.N. And the Clinton Administration. And candidates Kerry, Edwards, Clark, and Lieberman. Perhaps it was Karl Rove's idea.

G'night, Joe Trippi

Howard Dean has fired his campaign director, Joe Trippi, and replaced him with one of Al Gore's boyz, Roy Neel.
Dean told congressional supporters in a telephone conference call that he was installing Neel as campaign CEO. Dean added that Trippi would remain on the payroll. But another source said that Trippi had decided to depart the campaign rather than accept the change, the Associated Press reported.
Hmmmm. When candidate John Kerry's campaign looked dead, he ousted chairman Christ Lehane and replaced him with Teddy Kennedy's girl, Mary Beth Cahill.

Will the change in direction help Dean as it might have helped Kerry? Well, Kerry ditched Lehane in September.

Howie, I don't think we're in New Hampshire anymore.

In essence, Neel is a former Clinton Deputy Chief of Staff who Dean brought into the campaign as a "senior advisor" four weeks ago, and it might be tempting to assume that there is a Clinton angle to all this.

I'm sick of Clinton angles.
ADDENDUM: According to this 2000 piece from CNN.com, Roy Neel left Gore's employ in 1993 to become "president of the U.S. Telecom Association, where he lobbies on issues relating to telecommunications policy on behalf of the Baby Bells."

Howard Dean's new campaign manager was a Washington lobbyist.

Why Force Was Authorized…

…and Kay on destruction of evidence

This is from the text of House Join Resolution 114, "To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq," approved in the House of Representatives, 296-133, on October 10:
Whereas, the efforts of international weapons inspectors, United States intelligence agencies, and Iraqi defectors led to the discovery that Iraq had large stockpiles of chemical weapons and a large scale biological weapons program, and that Iraq had an advanced nuclear weapons development program that was much closer to producing a nuclear weapon than intelligence reporting had previously indicated.
There is also this:
Whereas in Public Law 105-235 (August 14, 1998), Congress concluded that Iraq's continuing weapons of mass destruction programs threatened vital United States interests and international peace and security, declared Iraq to be in 'material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations' and urged the President 'to take appropriate action, in accordance with the Constitution and relevant laws of the United States, to bring Iraq into compliance with its international obligations.'
The President in August of 1998 was Clinton, and he dropped a few bombs on Saddam. He was fooled.
Whereas Iraq both poses a continuing threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region and remains in material and unacceptable breach of its international obligations by, among other things, continuing to possess and develop a significant chemical and biological weapons capability, actively seeking a nuclear weapons capability, and supporting and harboring terrorist organizations.
Congress saw an "al Qaeda connection."

Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee this afternoon [transcript], David Kay admitted:
Let me begin by saying, we were almost all wrong, and I certainly include myself here.

Sen. [Edward] Kennedy knows very directly. Senator Kennedy and I talked on several occasions prior to the war that my view was that the best evidence that I had seen was that Iraq indeed had weapons of mass destruction.

I would also point out that many governments that chose not to support this war -- certainly, the French president, [Jacques] Chirac, as I recall in April of last year, referred to Iraq's possession of WMD.

The Germans certainly -- the intelligence service believed that there were WMD.

It turns out that we were all wrong, probably in my judgment, and that is most disturbing.
British intelligence speculates that Saddam himself might have been fooled by his top scientists, wanting to please him and remain alive.

So why the intelligence failure? Let's find out. Might the U.S. have been relying too heavily on U.N. inspectors in the 1990s to keep up our own intelligence, as has been suggested?

Kay also sees post-war looting "which was directly intentional, designed by the security services to cover the tracks of the Iraq WMD program":
I regret to say that I think at the end of the work of the [Iraq Survey Group] there's still going to be an unresolvable ambiguity about what happened.

A lot of that traces to the failure on April 9 to establish immediately physical security in Iraq -- the unparalleled looting and destruction, a lot of which was directly intentional, designed by the security services to cover the tracks of the Iraq WMD program and their other programs as well, a lot of which was what we simply called Ali Baba looting. "It had been the regime's. The regime is gone. I'm going to go take the gold toilet fixtures and everything else imaginable."

I've seen looting around the world and thought I knew the best looters in the world. The Iraqis excel at that.

The result is -- document destruction -- we're really not going to be able to prove beyond a truth the negatives and some of the positive conclusions that we're going to come to. There will be always unresolved ambiguity here.
Kay paints a messy picture, but he most certainly does not implicate President Bush. Some political opportunists who rushed to attack before learning the facts have enough egg on their faces to feed breakfast to half on Mosul.

Joey's Spin

Joe-mentum Lieberman's message to his e-mail list begins thusly:
Dear Constituent,

Today is the beginning of the rest of this race. Last night New Hampshire’s next-door neighbor candidates received most of the vote, but the rest of the field was split, with no clear decision reached. The national pundits didn’t expect this, but today the people of New Hampshire put me in the ring, and that’s where I'm going to stay. Now I'm moving on to states where I will continue to do better and better.
He could be onto something. Look at the Democrat field, and there's not much there.

The frontrunner is candidate John Kerry, the same man who was boring Democrats and Republicans alike until shortly before the Iowa caucuses. And he wasn't turning heads there.

Clark, Dean, Edwards, Kucinich, LaRouche, and Sharpton aren't making beautiful waves either.

Lieberman by default? He's the only normal one of the lot.

Stranger things have happened. (Two Clinton terms, let alone one, qualifies.)
In the meantime, Taegan Goddard quotes the always eminent Stu Rothenberg:
"His [Lieberman] suggestion that he finished in a virtual dead heat for third place - and that this gives him momentum - makes him look silly, even delusional."
He says Joe-mentum risks looking "increasingly pathetic."

Lieberman seems to be having the time of his life. I think the he sees the writing on the wall, to use a perfectly good anaology of Jewish origin. Although in different political circumstances in relation to the frontrunner/s and in possible future political ambitions, Governor Reagan stuck it out in 1976. (As an eleven-year-old, I choked up when Walter Cronkite told me it was over that summer.)

Joe's going to look like Joe. Kucinich says he'll stick around 'til the convention, and Dennis is Dennis. There is a difference.

The Next Howard Dean

The Dems' next campaign combustion will be, candidate Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz, predicts columnist Michelle Malkin.
Boston Magazine reports that she once snapped on Halloween, yelling at three children who had rung her doorbell on Beacon Hill: "I had a big barrel of candy, and it's all gone!" she ranted, shutting the door on the bewildered youngsters. Yeeearghh! She has reportedly chewed out members of her late husband's campaign staff, her current husband's campaign staff, her children, her stepchildren, waiters and sales clerks.

Sympathetic media profilers attribute this anger to the tragic losses she has suffered in her life -- several family members died of disease or accidents. A more honest explanation for why she acts up and lashes out at the little people as often as she does is that she has felt entitled to do so all her life.

The daughter of a prosperous Portuguese doctor based in Mozambique, she married into the Heinz ketchup fortune and has lived in a privileged, fawning echo chamber ever since.
Before marrying ketchup heir Senator John Heinz (R-Pennsylvania) (deceased), her maiden name as the daughter of a prosperous Portuguese doctor in Mozambique was Maria Teresa Thierstein Simoes-Ferreira. (For all you Monty Python fans reading this, think: "Silly Party.")

Malkin's column is a nice rip on Kerry and Heiz, concluding:
With the help of media-savvy "handlers," Heinz/Heinz Kerry has toned down the rage-at least temporarily. She doesn't sulk so much at campaign events and hasn't mocked her husband openly in a while.

But it's clear she finds her husband's campaign an exasperating drain on her energies. Which, of course, begs the question: If his own uninspired wife can barely muster up a public showing of respect for candidate Kerry, why should voters?
That woman, Ms. Heinz, was also noticed by the London Daily Telegraph last July, in: 'Loose cannon' wife puts new life in race for White House:
She is the wife of their leading candidate, Senator John Kerry and, it is rapidly becoming clear, the biggest loose cannon since Hillary Clinton nearly derailed her husband's 1992 campaign by sneering at wives who "stayed home and baked cookies".

Interviewed for Elle magazine, the cheerful Mrs Heinz left a trail of destruction in her wake.

She complained that campaign staffers have made her take her husband's name. "Now, politically, it's going to be Teresa Heinz Kerry, but I don't give a sh[*]t you know?" she said.

Campaign aides hate it when she looks bored or tired during his speeches, she adds. "They think I should always be looking adoringly at him." She described how she reluctantly changed her voter registration to Democrat this year, after more than 30 years as a Republican. "I'd rather just be Independent, but then I couldn't vote for my husband, John," she explained.
This could be funny. Loose cannons cannons are entertaining.

According to Malkin: "[T]hat's pronounced Teh-RAY-zah, you ninny!"

Safer than we were on 9-11?

Candidate Howard Dean insisted that we are no safer and no more secure than we were on the morning of September 11, 2001. Something I read in this Chicago Tribune story about the Betty Ong tape played to the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks indicates otherwise.

The Trib piece belongs to Ms. Ong, a flight attendant aboard American Airlines Flight 11, the one the mutant Mohammed Atta piloted into the Tower #1 of the World Trade Center. Her calm, professionalism, and grace are evident.

But here is the brief section which caught my eye in regard to Dean's assertion:
Also Tuesday, staff reports presented to the commission--formally known as the Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States--showed that by 7:35 a.m. on Sept. 11, all five hijackers on American Airlines Flight 77 had been tagged by a passenger prescreening program as "a risk to aircraft safety," and four of them had set off metal detector alarms at airport checkpoints, Newsday reported.

But even after those red flags and some additional screening at Dulles International Airport in Virginia, all five were allowed to board Flight 77, which they hijacked and crashed into the Pentagon.
The checks were in place, but they were dismissed. Today, there are more checks in place, and they will not be ignored. To that extent, we are safer not because of any action of government. Dean is yesterday's flavor of lunatic.

More than we need to know...

Yesterday's New Hampshire Democrat primary was, for all intents and purposes and as I've noted below, a non-event. It was the process doing its thaang.

But the Associated Press offers us this about the Dem frontrunner, direct from the Ketchup Lady:
Teresa Heinz Kerry says her husband learned of his victory in Iowa's Democratic presidential primary while shaving and of his New Hampshire win while showering Tuesday night.

"He was in the shower when finally it came along, so we nearly had a wet guy running around. But he was very happy," she told CNN after the New Hampshire vote.
Where was the political press to ask him: Shower cap or ear plugs?


The Dems have finished their New Hampshire primary, and this strikes me as one of the quaint times the Democrats have to be excited. They have hopes of a victorious future; after all, before any General Election votes are cast, Bush/Cheney is not defeating their team in any truly meaningful way.

We want it to stay this way, to keep the President in the White House, but elections do not win themselves. It takes money and hard work, and this is where our help is sought.

Click RIGHT HERE to be directed to the page where you can become a Bush Team Leader, an official part of the campaign. You can also join by donating at the campaign's SECURE SERVER. You can make a habit of visiting Political Annotation on Wednesday and sending the President a few dollars every week.

And here is the official Blogroll of the Willing, those who've taken the time and space to spread this important word:




Charlie Cook's Word

My New Hampshire post-mortem is the post under this one.

This quote is from Charlie Cook's "Of to the Races" column of this afternoon:
If history is an accurate guide, and assuming most polls are correct in predicting Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry will win today's New Hampshire
primary, he should go on to win the Democratic nomination. After all, in the past seven presidential elections, 13 of the 14 nominees won either the Iowa caucuses, the New Hampshire primary or both.

The exception was Bill Clinton in 1992. That year Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin's candidacy made his home state's caucuses a non-event, and Gennifer Flowers' news conference the week before the New Hampshire primary held Clinton back but enabled him to become "the Comeback Kid" after finishing second.

But results have not been consistent this year. Historically, organization has been the key factor in the Iowa caucuses. And yet, the two candidates who went into Iowa with the best organizations -- former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and Missouri Rep. Richard Gephardt -- came in third and fourth, respectively. It's also true that New Hampshire voters often punish Iowa caucuses winners, that candidates who raise the most money in the odd-year win the nomination, and that sitting senators
rarely win nominations.
There you have it, folks. This Democrat nomination will probably not be won by truisms, old saws, or wive's tales, and it most certainly will not be won by history, which is, after all, past.

New Hampshire's post mortem

What a lame night.

I know what I predicted, but it is going like the polls said it would. The only thing which has changed is that the inevitable has drawn nearer.

Kerry will double-digit Dean, and we have Dean's boy Joe Trippie declaring earlier this evening: "We do not consider South Carolina and Missouri be battleground States." Okay. They're going elsewhere. The Dean camp suggests that it is skipping ahead and going to Michigan, which holds its party-run primary on February 7. Short shirft to the 3rd. (Beethoven's 3rd Symphony, Eroica, was composed in tribute to Napolean, if you can find any symblolic meaning in that.)


Ron Reagan -- yes, the spawn of the President -- was at the map of that Chris Matthews thaang on MSNBC, and he speculated that Dean would want to do Arizona and New Mexico. I suppose that is his grand, gnat-like strategy. And I am not at all surprised that the once-dominant Dean is down. I have said all along that he would not win the nomination: he's the wrong person, the wrong mix. "An implosion on a timer."


Edwards and Clark. Look at it this way, I wrote Clark also off the nomination early. As Edwards pointed out last Sunday, Clark is not a "real southernor." He's done, and he knows it.

Edwards has to win South Carolina and Oklahoma, and hurt Kerry elsewhere on February 3rd. If Kerry wins South Carolina, and he is within reach according to polls, he is practically the nominee.

Thinking ahead: Kerry/Edwards vrs. Bush/Cheney. (A hypothetical, not a prediction.) I'm prepared to call that race now.

Thinking further ahead: If Edwards doesn't win the nomination and isn't selected as Kerry's veep nominee, does he stay viable for 2008? Hillary C. can run even if Rudy Giuliani waltzes along in 2006 and does the two-step on her Senate career. (A mixed-dance metaphor. Yikes!) No, on the above for John Edwards. If he would be Kerry's unsuccessful running mate, he might be able to stay in sight for 2008. But rememember, Lieberman stayed vital in part because of his ongoing Senate career. Edwards will not have that. What will he do for four years? Maybe he'll get a gig running the U.N. once Kofi resigns in disgrace. (Not a prediction. An hypothetical, again.)

Remember, it's easy to get caught up in the moment -- Kerry drubs Dean on one night -- and forget the span of time. We've a way to go, and there is nothing to say that this won't stay tight. No one, except perhaps for Wes Clark, is quitting, and I doubt he will. We've a way to go.

In a month, this will a be a footnote.

Joe Lieberman is going to Delaware! I think he's still in this because he's having a blast.
ADDENDUM: As a special treat, HERE is the story from Xinhuanet, the web site of the PRC's government-operated news agency, Xinhua:
MERRIMACK, New Hampshire, Jan. 27 (Xinhuanet) -- US Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts on Tuesday won the first Democratic primary in New Hampshire, according to projections by major television networks.

Exit polls conducted by Fox News, CBS and CNN showed that Kerrybeat former Vermont governor Howard Dean and other candidates in the primary. Official results of 38 percent of votes counted also showed that Kerry led Dean by 39 percent against 24 percent.

Kerry's victory in New Hampshire would undoubtedly gave him bigmomentum in his campaign to win the party's nomination as the Democratic presidential candidate. Enditem
Even the government of the People's Republic of China think that Kerry "undoubtedly" will be given "bigmomentum."


Another "Dewey defeats Truman"? Not tonight. FOX called it at 8:15p ET, with 17-percent counted.

Dean is done.

Now, Kerry was expected to win New Hampshire. This win will not, per se, translate into victories around the country where he exists only as the Massachusetts liberal aristocrat.

He's written off the South, as well.

Let's see what happens betwixt Clark and Edwards for third place...

If Clark loses, send him home.

Joe Lieberman is Connecticut's junior Senator. No tears are needed for the one decent, religious man in the Dem field. (He knows for certain that the Book of Job is not in the New Testamanet.)

Two Tiers in New Hampshire?

The finish in the Iowa caucuses showed two tiers. Candidates Kerry (38%) and Edwards (32%) finished at the top, while candidates Dean (18%) and Gephardt (11%) held the bottom.

Exit polling I've heard so far shows two tiers in Iowa… Kerry/Dean - Clark/Edwards/Joementum.

This is not my party's primary.

South Dakota's Special Election

Republican State Senator Larry Diedrich will face repeat Democrat Stephanie Herseth in South Dakota's June 1 special election to fill the House seat vacated by former GOP Representative Bill Janklow.

Herseth has been at this before, having lost to Janklow in 2002. This one promises to be an interesting race:
“Janklow decided not to educate people on Herseth,” Diedrich said after winning the GOP nomination. While he emphasized the importance of positive campaigning, Diedrich said he will also be “comparing” himself with Herseth.
His strategy will be to draw even in Democrat-leaning Sioux Falls and win big in rural western South Dakota.

According to a Herseth press release, she has raised $352,000 and has $354,000 on hand. An outdated FEC report puts Diedrich at $34,000 on hand. That's a 10x advantage, with GOP donors already spending on former Congressman John Thune's attempt to upset Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle.

Fortunately, the race is won't be won be won on looks alone, because then the GOP would be in serious trouble; To wit, here is the visage of that woman, Miss Herseth:

As politicians go…

Qadhafi's Nuke Program is in Knoxville

Not quite, but according to the WashPost:
The United States said it took possession on Tuesday of an estimated 55,000 pounds of equipment and documents related to Libya's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, including centrifuge parts used to enrich uranium.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said a transport plane containing the sensitive equipment left Tripoli Monday night and arrived Tuesday morning at an airport outside Knoxville, Tennessee.
And we are destroying their chemical weapons, according to Mclellan.

Now, let's operate with the theory that Saddam Hussein possessed no extant system like the one Qadhafi is offering to be destroyed. A sane despot would have invited the civilized world in to have a look, clear his name. But suppose that Saddam's scientists, who knew to tell the dictator what he wanted to hear on pain of death, concocted stories of the existence of such a program in order to keep him happy. He might kill them otherwise, so there was a will to survive worked into their mindset.

Saddam wanted power; these weapons, real to him, gave him the perception that he had it.

What then of Qadafi? He wanted power; his weapons gave him the perception that he had it. But something spooked him.

Things are different when you're a despot and the only thing standing between you and your goals is, to use Ayman al-Zawahiri's term, a "paper tiger" with a resolve only to lob a few missiles or drop several bombs when irritated.

A new President, a stronger United States, Saddam removed, and Qadhafi's nuke program lands in Knoxville, bound for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Kerry's Anti-War Record

Candidate John Kerry tells the Dem masses from the stump that he "protested Richard Nixon's war." Mackubin Thomas Owens writes in today's NRO that people who knew Kerry said he came back from the war with no particular problem with it. But he wanted to run for Congress, and he needed an issue:
Kerry did not return from Vietnam a radical antiwar activist. According to the indispensable Stolen Valor, by H. G. "Jug" Burkett and Genna Whitley, "Friends said that when Kerry first began talking about running for office, he was not visibly agitated about the Vietnam War. 'I thought of him as a rather normal vet,' a friend said to a reporter, 'glad to be out but not terribly uptight about the war.' Another acquaintance who talked to Kerry about his political ambitions called him a 'very charismatic fellow looking for a good issue.'" Apparently, this good issue would be Vietnam.

Read Mr. Thomas's piece, Vetting the Vet Record: Is Kerry a proud war hero or angry antiwar protester? for the skinny on Kerry and The War, cliché-by-cliché.

LaRouchies For Kerry

Followers of Democrat candidate Lyndon LaRouche started making noise at a rally for fellow-Democrat candidate Howard Dean and we escorted from the room. The LaRouchies catcalled that Dean was a "liar," and that only candidate John Kerry and LaRouche were telling the truth about the situation with the global economy.

B-grade comedian Al Franken, on hand to support Dean, provided the best laughs of the event when he attempted to help escort the LaRouchies out of the room:
Franken, a comedian and self-described liberal well-known for his attacks on the Bush administration and conservative-leaning media, helped carry out one of the disrupters. In the process, Franken's glasses were knocked off his face and broke in two.

Putting them back together with electrical tape, he quipped he had been "deputized" by Dean's security.
According to the CNN piece, the LaRouchies also heckled candidate Joe Lieberman, for some reason.

I have a soft spot for Lyndon LaRouche, the only candidate from the real "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party." The man embodies the Democrat Party.

Ding Dong.

Rich Lowry on John Edwards

Rich Lowry -- editor of THE political journal, National Review -- has written a piece for NRO in which he does a decent job of characterizing candidate John Edwards.
The wunderkind former trial lawyer with the gorgeously hair-sprayed bangs and soft, winning southern accent combines the synthetic sincerity of Bill Clinton and the condescension of Al Gore. He is the most insulting of all the Democratic presidential candidates, both as a matter of presentation and of substance.

He believes that voters are too thick to realize the affectation behind his lavishly open and caring stump style. "Now, I'm just asking," he tells his listeners here. "Does it make any sense to you — I'm just asking now, I don't know what you think about this — does it make any sense to you for us to be spending Social Security money on tax cuts?" Of course, he wouldn't be asking if he didn't know exactly the answer that his stilted question — one of his favorite stump tactics — will elicit.
He then calls Edwards properly for a certain hypocrisy in his stump speech.

Lowry, as I said, has a pretty good handle on Edwards, but I don't know that he is gripping it properly. He is frustrated that Democrat have not seen through Edwards, and it seems to make him angry. Been there/Done that.

John Edwards is a calculated mixture of smarm/charm masking a paucity of anything actually substantial. He can look a group over voters in their eyes from the stump, or a nation's worth through a camera lens, and lie to them as if he feels their pain and can damn well do something about it.

As I've said repeatedly, Edwards is the best liar politics has seen for at least a generation. Clinton himself wasn't this good, though Clinton's lies were arguably more frequent and much more venal.

"He believes voters are too thick to realize…" An argument can be made that many are. We are living in a nation whose voters elected the aforementioned Clinton not once, but twice. A sect of this nation's voters so hates our President that their voices quaver and their rationality flees. John Edwards can smarm/charm the Democrat voters. They're his audience, and there is not one amongst the other Democrat candidates with the character to hammer him where it he needs to be hit.

It may well take President Bush to call his bluff. "That's not the way things are, John."

Dixville Notch - Hart's Location

It's not a case of "as they go, so goes New Hampshire," or any such thing, but Dixville Notch and Hart;s Location vote early, the initial reasons having long since become irrelevant. But it's a neat New Hampshire tradition.
Though Dixville is better known, the early voting tradition began in Hart's Location, about 50 miles to the south. According to local lore, Hart's Location began the practice in 1948 because many residents worked for the railroad and wanted to vote before starting early shifts. The town ended the practice in the mid-1960s when residents tired of all media attention, but resumed it in 1996.
In Hart's location, where there are just five registered Dems, the final count was:

Clark - 6
Kerry - 5
Dean - 3
Edwards - 2

In Dixville Notch, where there are 10 Registered Republicans and 16 registered independents, the voting on the Dem side went:

Lieberman - 1

On the Republican side in Dixville Notch, President George W. Bush received 11 votes; with only 10 registered Republicans in the hamlet, this means that one of the town's 16 independents skipped the excitement of the Dem primary and showed her support for President Bush. (I will assume the Bush voting indie was a woman, because my wife assures me that 9 out of 10 women are smarter than men.)



My New Hampshire Democrat Predictions

Tomorrow, we have a standard Democrat primary election where a large portion of the electorate may not be registered with the party whose primary it is. They can register at the last minute, as well. It's difficult a forecast with any real certainty who will arrive to vote, let alone how those votes will be cast.

I've seen the polls, and they make a compelling case for this and that.

My prediction, in order of finish: KEDCL.

1. Candidate John Kerry is the boy-next-door, getting all the poll-induced hype. He's the juggernaut, although we've recently seen what can happen to the media juggernaut-of-the-week. We must also remember the first definition of the term "juggernaut":
Something, such as a belief or institution, that elicits blind and destructive devotion or to which people are ruthlessly sacrificed.
That was Dean. This is Kerry.

2. Candidate John Edwards has no common-wisdom business being a second pick, but who will be there to stop him? As this is a primary and not a caucus, there will be no Kerry voters in the booth to persuade a tenuous Edwards voter to "come over to the dark side." It's easier to vote for Edwards, I think, than it is to caucus for him.

3. Candidate Howard Dean says he's surging, but the polls show no real gain. He might have stopped the bleeding, so to speak, but he is going nowhere. Deaniacs feed off each other, pushing their candidate with a mob mentality. There is no mob in the voting booth. I'll give him 20% tops, and this has little to do with his childish speech. He was imploding long before that; witness his third place finish in Iowa.

4. Candidate Wes Clark. Didn't he just say he was the son of a sharecropper who paid his way through West Point?

5. Candidate Joe Lieberman was actually the first frontrunner after Al Gore opted to sit this one out. The man tried, but he was trampled under foot and lacked the innate dynamism to do much of anything. Perhaps he'll switch parties and sit with Linc Chafee, Arlen Specter, and Olympia Snow. I honestly suspected that Gore would go to New Hampshire this afternoon to campaign for him, though.

That felt good.

Dean Supports Preemption

I saw candidate Dean and his wife, Dr. Judith Steinberg, on Chris Matthews for a while this evening. Matthews asked him about the doctrine of preemption, and here's a paraphrase of what Dean said:
We've always had a doctrine of prevention. If we'd have know bin Laden was going to fly airplanes into skyscrapers, we'd have done something about it. We just didn't announce it. You don't tell the world you're going to attack them if you think they might be up to no good; you just do it."
This just is this. Dean has no problem with the doctrine of preemption; rather, he feels its arrogant and counterproductive to announce to the world that you are utilizing that doctrine.

He's wrong, of course. By announcing preemption, you are implementing prevention. If someone knows they'll be attacked if they stockpile mass-destructive weapons, they will be less likely to develop or purchase them.

But most important, Howard Dean supports the doctrine of preemption -- The Bush Doctrine -- so long as it is used tacitly. (Teddy Roosevelt? Hardly.)

Dean has brought nothing...

...to the campaign.

Howard Dean offered nothing new, innovative, or worthwhile to the campaign. His positive contributions to the debate and to the process have been void, zilch, zero, naught, nothing, vacuum.

A young Knight Ridder stringer named Thomas Fitzgerald, however, writes differently:
Regardless of who wins the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, in one sense Howard Dean already has won a very important battle - the one for the rhetorical soul of the Democratic Party.

Listen to North Carolina Sen. John Edwards at a rally the other night: "You have the power" - a direct steal of Dean's rally-ending tagline. Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts said at another New Hampshire event that he wanted to "break the grip of the powerful interests in this country and put the people in charge." Both men bash insiders, Washington politicians and the establishment - even if they themselves are some or all of the above.

Those themes, sometimes the exact words, echo what Dean has been saying for months. Whoever wins the Democratic presidential nomination, to an important degree he will sound like the former Vermont governor. A little plagiarism among friends is par for the course in presidential politics, where the rule is if a message works, use it.
WRONG. Such language has been around as long as their have been politics and moneyed interests, but I can take you back to 1992, when they were used by Ross Perot and candidate for the Democrat nomination Governor Moonbeam, who has since gone on to become mayor of Oakland. (Jerry Brown was first called "Governor Moonbeam" by the late columnist Mike Royko of the Chicago Tribune. He tried to take it back in '92, when Jerry was doing his "We the People" gig, but it did not work.)

Now, there is a difference between what Perot and Brown did, and what Dean is doing. For kooks like Ross and Moonbeam, this was serious stuff. For Dean, it's schtick given him probably by that campaign genius Joe Trippi. Dean wants to be President, he's the failed governor of a small northeastern State, and he goes the outsider route. "Take it back. You have the power."

What else is Dean said to have contributed to the political game? Perot did the grass roots think larger, better, and more dramatically in '92.

The Internet campaign? That would have been independent of Dean. Someone activist/political entrepreneur would have put something together whether Dean had or not, because I can see no way you are going to have hundreds of blogmeisters sit back, shut up, and do nothing. They're -- we're -- not "mind your own business" types.

I was blogging for may two or three weeks when I received an e-mail from a fellow named Matt Margolis about something he was starting called Blogs for Bush. I signed on, not sure what to expect, and it has turned into an incredible operation -- unofficial -- for spreading the word about President Bush and the limits of his Democrat opponents.

Dean's sole contribution to this campaign, besides giving a lot of political writers someone over whom to swoon, has been: "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!"


Judge Strikes Down Part of Patriot Act

U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins struck down a part of the Patriot Act about which I hadn't thought for a long time: the section barring individuals from giving advice of any sort to groups classified as terrorist organizations. Martha Stewart, under the Patriot Act, could not legally tell them how to fold their napkins.

Wrote Collins, according to the Reuters piece cited above:
"...The USA Patriot Act places no limitation on the type of expert advice and assistance which is prohibited and instead bans the provision of all expert advice and assistance regardless of its nature," Collins said in the ruling.
She rejected, however, the argument that the act invests the Secretary of State with too much power to declare groups to be terror organizations.

Congress now has to rewrite that part of the law if they wish to regulate advice.


I will give an Iowa forecast tonight. I've got a close eye right now on Dean, Clark, and Joe-mentom, though not to win.

President Bush: limit malpractice awards

With a shot at candidate John Edwards in the hometown of candidate Wes Clark, President Bush today proposed capping the dollar amounts of jury awards in medical malpractice lawsuits, Candidate Edwards made a fortune suing doctors for patients can keeping a huge percentage of the awards:
"The health care system looks like a giant lottery, that's what it looks like these days with these lawsuits, and somehow the trial lawyers always hold the winning ticket," Bush said to an audience of several hundred medical professionals and others in a hospital auditorium here.

"Lawyers walk away with up to 40 percent - 40 percent! - of every settlement and verdict," Bush said. He said many such lawsuits are "frivolous" and are "driving a wedge between the docs and their patients," he said.

Bush argues that a nationwide cap on such lawsuits would drive down soaring health care costs and save taxpayers money.
He had pledged to attempt to end frivolous malpractice lawsuits in his State of the Union address last week. The camera did not pan to candidate Edwards, also a Democrat Senator from North Carolina, because he was not there.

The Edwards campaign countered that the President has his friends in "big insurance." This one will go on until November should Edwards get the nominaiton, with RNC Chairman Ed Gillespie deriding Edwards as only a "tort lawyer."

Remember, one must be pretty fast to catch an ambulence.

Chirac's Real Motive

British Prime Minister Tony Blair believes French President Jacques Chirac's real motive for opposing the liberation of Iraq was to knock him down a peg, according to a new Blair biographer.
``I'm convinced he [Blair] believed the conflict with Chirac had expanded beyond Iraq to become a contest for the political leadership of Europe,'' author Philip Stephens told Reuters.

``Chirac hoped that Blair would be toppled.''
My source is this Reuters story, as the bio, From Tony Blair, is not due until next month.
``During the next few months Blair came to believe -- partly on the basis of reports from British intelligence -- that the dispute over Iraq was in fact a proxy for a much more serious contest,'' Stephens wrote.

``Chirac, these reports said, had decided that Blair had usurped his own position as the natural leader of Europe. It was time for the French president to reassert himself and to clip the wings of perfidious Albion.
What's new? Chirac's a megalomaniac and Blair is something of a paranoid. And Monsieur Stephens wants to sell books. Life at the Financial Times is evidently not thrilling enough for the man, who now purposes to be a dramatic biographer.

Kerry dismisses the South

Candidate John Kerry thinks the Democrat Presidential candidate should concede and forget the south. He seeks to "change the face of America," to the exclusion of States south of the Mason-Dixon line.

From ABCNews.com:
"Everybody always makes the mistake of looking South," Kerry said, in response to a question about winning the region. "Al Gore proved he could have been president of the United States without winning one Southern state, including his own."

"I think the fight is all over this country," Kerry said. "Forget about those red and blue states. We're going to change that now, and we're going to go out there and change the face of America."
The South Carolina Democrat Party responded:
"If that's any indication of how he intends to conduct his primary campaign and a general campaign, then I think Fritz Hollings ought to reconsider his endorsement," Dick Harpootlian, former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, told ABCNEWS in an exclusive interview.

"It's the wrong message to be saying at this point," said Harpootlian, who noted Kerry was the only major Democratic candidate not running TV ads in his state.

"I'm shocked he would be talking about a strategy of avoiding the South," Harpootlian added. "He's got to demonstrate an ability to compete outside liberal Iowa and the liberal Northeastern United States. He's got to be able to play in Middle America."
Ah, but Kerry is a New England liberal elitist. ABCNews.com reminds us of the words of Senator Zell Miller (D-Georgia):
In his 2003 book, A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat, Miller wrote, "Once upon a time, the most successful Democratic leader of them all, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, looked South and said, 'I see one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.' Today, our national Democratic leaders look South and say, 'I see one-third of a nation and it can go to hell.'"
And Senator Miller was right, as evidenced by candidate Kerry's very foolish answer. He not only plans to virtually ignore the South, he is telling them that he just does not care how they vote.

Start spinning, Ms. Cahill.

New Hampshire GOP Primary

Presdient Bush is not the only Republican on Tuesday's GOP primary ballot in New Hampshire. These people are each seeking the Presidency of the United States, in whatever sense there is in their little universes.

Gregory Markle has the list with descriptions at the American Realpolitik weblog

For those of us who support President Bush, it is good to see the intra-party competition. (There's no word on how these folks are polling in New Hampshire, but it's not known if they have relatives or weird friends from high school living in the State.)

Momentum for Edwards?

The Des Moines Register -- Remember them? -- offers us this story about the momentum of candidate John Edwards in New Hampshire.
Blockbuster campaign rallies, rising poll numbers and favorable feedback to Edwards' populist campaign style are signs things could be breaking his way in the last days of the New Hampshire primary campaign, as they did before his surprise second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses.

Edwards remains less known than New England contenders John Kerry, a Massachusetts senator, and former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. Likewise, Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman and retired Gen. Wesley Clark have concentrated their presidential campaigns' early-state strategies on New Hampshire.

Emboldened by his Iowa success, Edwards is gaining ground in New Hampshire at a critical time, using an engaging and enthusiastic campaign style to make an impression on the state's still-large segment of undecided primary voters.
They quote a Dartmouth political scientist suggesting that it will be a three-man race coming out of New Hampshire: Kerry, Dean, and Edwards.

It will be nice to be rid of Clark, but are we back to saying that Kerry and Edwards will split the anti-Dean vote? That would require my recognition that Dean is again a factor in the campaign, and I am not prepared to do that just yet.

If Dean finishes second in New Hampshire, we'll talk. If he wins, the Dems have got a bigger problem.

Track THIS! [motions]

Good morning. The latest Reuters/MSNBC/Zogby three-day, just released, shows that candidate John Kerry is starting to wither under the relentless siege of… Howard Dean.

Kerry - 31%
Dean - 28%
Clark - 13%
Edwards - 12%
Lieberman - 9%

Joe Lieberman is mired at 9-percent. He's going nowhere in this poll, but he's such an honorable man -- etc. -- that he merits recognition.

Again, these polls are just these polls. Take 'em out, leave them home, just don't bet anything valuable on them.

The Iowa polls did not predict the two tiers of the finish, with Kerry and Edwards in the top tier, followed distantly by Dean and the dearly departed Dick Gephardt. This poll indicates two tears in its own world: Kerry and Dean, then Edwards and Clark. Dean is surging in the top tier, while Edwards is surging in the bottom, so that would indicate -- to use the shorthand -- a DKEC finish. If we factor in the honorability of Lieberman, it would be DKECL.

The term for today, in the parts where I can be physically found, is "WINTRY MIX." In the cold of New Hampshire, if Zogby is leveling with us. the candidates are involved in their own wintry mix. (Spare the rimshot.)

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