Okay, now what in Iraq?

Politics and policy.
Nov. 8 2006 5:38 PM

Rummy's Gone. Next.

Okay, now what in Iraq?

(Continued from Page 1)

Pelted With Turnout Predictions: The spinning on Election Day is so outlandish and outrageous that it makes your head hurt. My favorite candidates and campaigns are the ones who go bowling or to a movie on Election Day, because the ones who don't spend all their time in green rooms making outlandish claims about how well their turnout operation is going. Even my best sources who play it pretty straight are spinning:

From a strategist working with Ford campaign: "long, long lines in TN.  early indicators are good."

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From a strategist working with Allen: "Presidential level turnout in high GOP areasthe Valley, Richmond and Central. Don't pop the Champagne yet!" ... 4:25 p.m.  ( link)

Talk Quickly—It's Election Day: At the end of a campaign, candidate fatigue and the constant repetition of the same message can produce a kind of verbal blast where candidates produce talking points with little connective tissue or just throw them at the camera like a handful of rocks. It sounds somewhere between poetry and spam e-mail and may, in really close races, cause barking. Harold Ford just gave us an example on MSNBC in an interview with Tucker Carlson: "I am a God fearing second amendment supporting and as I said before I like girls and I like football. … You don't have to worry about me emailing little boy pages on the Senate floor." ... 1:23 p.m. ( link)

Let the Recriminations Begin: Yesterday, Florida Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist decided not to campaign with President Bush. Karl Rove didn't hide his disappointment when talking to the Washington Post: "Rather than being with the governor and the president and 10,000 people in Pensacola, they made a last-minute decision to go to Palm Beach. Let's look at the comparison. Let's see how many people show up in Palm Beach on 24 hours' notice versus 8,000 or 9,000 people in Pensacola." Rove says he's not going to get involved in the 2008 presidential campaign, which should leave him lots of free time to punish whomever it was in the Crist campaign who made this decision to bail on Bush. ... 12:22 p.m. ( link)

Oh, Daughter: Alicia Menendez is sending out emails this morning urging New Jersey Democrats to vote for her father, Bob Menendez, in New Jersey. You can do a lot with the children in a Senate race that you can't in a presidential contest. Make too much of your daughters in a presidential race, and you get stalkers and cover stories in US magazine with unflattering Facebook pictures of sloppy drunkenness. But in a Senate race, you can put your children to work. Here are some other ways candidates have brought out the family.

1. Stop Picking on Dad: In the Santorum Senate race in Pennsylvania, the entire Santorum clan participated in an ad defending their dad for living in Virginia and not Pennsylvania. And boy, does his campaign have pictures.

2. Sassy Daughter Knows Best: In Michigan, Mike Brouchard has tapped daughter Mikayala— first to introduce him and now at the end of the race. She also produced regular video blogs.

3. We Are Dreamy and Wholesome—Vote for Dad: Bob Corker's  ad "My Girls" offers his teenage daughters, Emily and Julia, in a glowing light, offering testimonials about their father. ... 12:00 p.m. (link

Monday, Nov. 6, 2006

Tony Snow, the New Karl Rove: The president's spokesman and the president's top political strategist each gave hard-charging, confidence-laden interviews to conservative luminaries Monday. Rove talked to Hugh Hewitt, and Snow talked to Rush Limbaugh. Given Rove's reputation in the minds of his enemies and his bare-knuckle style of politics, you would expect his interview to be the more combative one. Plus, as the political operative, he gets some leeway to be recklessly partisan—that's why the White House press operation doesn't e-mail his interviews to the great, wide world.

Snow, on the other hand, has a job that requires maintaining an appearance of less overt partisanship. It's a good time to keep up this tradition, since he's the one who might have to articulate administration positions if there's a Democratic-controlled House or Senate. Prudence, then, would dictate restraint. No sense in giving the single-finger salute today when you're the administration figure who might have to offer the hand of bipartisanship tomorrow. If prudence didn't dictate a little adult behavior, then Chief of Staff Josh Bolten, a sensible fellow who has his eye on the days after the election, might demand it.  Plus, Snow's comments are broadcast through official channels as a government document, so surely we would expect him to be the more the nuanced and careful of the two men.

We would be silly to think so. "You gotta wonder if they're a serious political party," Snow said of the Democrats at the start of his interview with Limbaugh. Rove, when offered an opportunity to take a shot at John Kerry's "botched joke," became wrapped in nuance willing only to make Kerry stand in for "elements within the Democratic Party." Snow bashed the whole party: "Democrats tend to have a view of the military that is not always fully respectful and even when they say they're supporting them, they're undercutting them … constantly trying to undermine public confidence in that military by describing defeat what people on the ground see as hard-won victory."

Maybe it was a slip of the tongue. Sure, the press secretary is supposed to be careful with words, but whom among us hasn't gotten excited by Rush Limbaugh and condemned an entire race or political party? So, maybe he wouldn't keep taking such broad unfocused swipes. Or, maybe not. "None of these folks have really spent enough time around the all volunteer military to understand we've got the best educated, the best trained, and also the most professional military we've ever had," Snow said of the Democrats. Col. Murtha, Secretary Webb, Maj. Duckworth, Capt. Murphy, Lt. Cmdr. Carney, and Vice Adm. Sestak, I believe he was talking about you.

Karl Rove, having never served, was unwilling in his interview to make similar broad claims that apply to those who have. Maybe that's the difference between being Bush's Brain and Bush's Mouth. … 10:33 p.m. (link)

Haggard Voters: If you read the comments from Ted Haggard's parishioners, you'll see why I don't think his scandal will play that big a role on Tuesday. They don't seem to have had their faith shaken; if anything, it has been redoubled. As sharp reader NR points out, Haggard is on message even as he's escorted out the door. He says he's a "liar and deceiver" and implies that he tried and failed to avoid what he sees as the sexual sin of gayness. He does not, as Mark Foley did, admit that he's gay and go from there. Instead, he gives his parishioners his own example to spur them to fight the sin harder. Just a few more locks on the closet. … 4:49 p.m. (link)

What's Less Reliable Than an Internet Poll? At first I thought the prize for lamest phony poll  went to those ham-handed GOP "push pollsters" at Common Sense 2006. But the Santorum race has perhaps a first—a criminally bad poll. ... 3:00 p.m. (link)

Calling the Theocracy Police: In one of the crucial Senate contests for control of that body, the religious zealots are once again making bald appeals to gain political power.

From Monday's Washington Post:

[Harold] Ford told an African American crowd at Mount Zion Baptist Church here, was evidence that "we got something else at work."

"I think the congressman said something wise -- we got another manager in this race," Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) told the group.

If President Bush made overt religious references like this on the weekend before the election, there would be a march on the White House. ... 2:42 p.m. (link)

C rist Crossed: Last week, a White House senior adviser outlined the president's campaign schedule for the coming Monday.

Q: Who are you promoting in Florida?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL: Charlie Crist and the ticket there...

Nevermind. From Monday's AP story:

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