So it wasn't a rout: Charlie Cook's e-mailed newsletter says the 2002 election is being "over-interpreted" as a huge GOP victory.
Not one House seat in the country that had been rated leaning, likely or solidly Democratic in the Oct. 20, final post-election issue of the Cook Political Report went Republican. (For that matter, no leaning, likely or solidly Republican seat went Democratic, either.) Republicans simply won seven out of 11 of the toss-up races.
Is Cook right that the election is being hailed as a rout? Isn't the point, rather, that after the relentless hype in the respectable media building up Democratic chances (the economy will do it for them, Enron will do it for them, 401(ks)s will do it for them, Social Security will do it for them, doubts about the war will do it for them, Hispanics will do it for them, etc.) even a close Democratic defeat has a crushing psychological effect? ... Live in the cocoon, die in the cocoon. ... Plus, isn't the real story here that there were only 11 toss-up races (out of 435), thanks mainly to gerrymandering? Had there been more, and had Republicans had won 7 out of every 11, the GOP seat gain might approach that in earlier "wave" years. ... 11:12 A.M.
What Bold Bush Agenda? Part 3: In the course of hyping the coming "philosophical revolution in the courts," conservative court-watcher Bruce Fein admits ( WaPo reports) that "the courts will let stand the landmark Roe v. Wade decision because undoing it would be 'too wrenching.'" So how big a 'revolution' could it be? ... Update: Instapundit gives the Court's likely refusal to overturn Roe what is to me a semi-ominous gloss, arguing that even conservatives don't want to set the precedent that Court-declared rights can be overturned by political and popular "pressure." Upholding Roe, in this theory, emphasizes the Court's ratchet-like infallibility -- so if conservative judges now declare some new "property" rights, don't try to get them to change their minds! ... The result could be a sinister form of constitutional log-rolling -- you get to create your far-fetched rights if we get to create our far-fetched rights. (Rose Bird, Jerry Brown's Chief Justice in California, was heading in this direction before she was voted out of office.) Rights pile up like silt, everything becomes a clash of rights, and as a result everything gets decided by the courts. ... That's why democrats (and Democrats) should be for overturning Roe. ... 12:47 A.M.
Monday, November 11, 2002
What Bold Bush Agenda? Part 2: Social Security private investment accounts, another part of Bush's allegedly ambitious agenda, are still dead!... Caveat: It's true that, from the looks of today's WaPo, the White House is on a full-fledged "We're not overreachers" PR campaign. Some skepticism is in order. But when controversial intiatives like this get moved to the "back burner" they tend to stay there -- if they don't fall off the stove entirely. ... And what's left on the stove once the Homeland Security bill passes? Maybe it's the Republicans who've become little more than the prescription drug party. ... 12:11 P.M.
What Bold Bush Agenda? Part 1:
After talking expansively about an aggressive new round of tax cuts, Republican leaders are ratcheting back expectations and hoping to press forward next year with a modest tax agenda that is probably more symbolic than substantive, GOP congressional sources say. -- Jonathan Weisman and Dana Milbank, Washington Post [emphasis added]
The truth remains, I think, that Bush doesn't have a scary, right-wing domestic agenda (all the pre-election stories to this effect, including one by these same two authors, notwithstanding). He has closer to no domestic agenda, the major parts of his 2000 platform --education reform, tax cuts -- having already been enacted. That's why he's beatable in 2004. ... More on this later. ... 1:56 A.M.
Pelosi Fails kf Litmus Test: Wondering why people say Rep. Nancy Pelosi's instincts may take her too far to the left? Here's what she said about the welfare reform legislation that President Clinton signed in 1996 -- a law that cut welfare rolls in half while black child poverty fell to a record low:
"If this bill passes today it will be a victory for the political spin artists and it will be a defeat for the children of America. ... The cuts in this bill will diminish the quality of life for children and poor families in America. ... How can a country as great as America ignore the needs of America's infants and children who were born into poverty?"