Will the U.N. save the neocons?

A mostly political Weblog.
July 25 2003 6:10 PM

Huffington Fever Sweeps Brentwood!

Plus: Will the U.N. save the neoconservatives' grand strategy?

The Anti-Panetta Vendetta Begins: Points West blogger Scott Moore, who identifies himself as a California "Dem party activist for over a decade," says "numerous recent conversations with high-placed Democratic party officials" have convinced him that

former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta is all but certain to put his name on the ballot in the recall election.

Moore goes on to make a highly unconvincing argument that Panetta would be "a disaster for California Democrats and for the state in general," citing Panetta's "autocratic White House ways." Was Panetta an autocrat? That would be news to me. ... I suspect Moore's real beef is a Begala-like complaint that Panetta's too centrist. ... P.S.: Panetta's stage-setting op-ed in the LAT this morning is drearily responsible (lots of talk about the "breakdown of trust that is essential to governing ..." etc.) but Panetta's right about the pernicious effect of gerrymandering (and of course about campaign fund-raising'). .... Note to Arianna: Isn't this your platform? So what's your rationale for running against Panetta? He was wrong on the 1996 welfare reform too, remember! .... P.P.S.: It's possible, of course, that at this point Arianna has higher statewide name i.d. than the bland, goo-goo Panetta does. And Moore is--unfortunately--probably right that Panetta's "dreams of being the 'consensus' candidate are nothing short of delusional." ... 1:48 P.M.

Saturday, July 26, 2003 

The first--but not the last-- Democrat has entered the race  to replace California governor Gray Davis. ... 9:46 A.M

Friday, July 25, 2003 

Kf Exclusive Scooplet: Huffington Fever sweeps Brentwood! Kausfiles has learned that Arianna Huffington is seriously thinking about running for governor of California in the upcoming "replacement" election on October 7. At least one brainstorming session has been scheduled for this weekend at her house in Brentwood, California to figure out how to make it happen ... And why shouldn't Arianna consider running? She's too controversial (and left) to win a majority of the vote, but on October 7 she almost certainly won't need a majority to win the "replacement" election and become governor if Davis loses the companion up-down recall vote. This is her best shot, and could make her a more serious contender for future races (i.e. Senate) even if she loses. ... Just by entering the race, Huffington might trigger a stampede of competing Democratic "replacement" candidates that would doom Governor Gray Davis to defeat in the recall vote.  If her entry doesn't prompt such a stampede, she'd have the Democratic side of the ballot all to herself. ... I have mixed feelings about all this. The plus side: a) She's not all that left -- she picks her issues very carefully, attacking the excesses of capitalism (crooks, special-interest lobbyists, overpaid CEOs) but not the basic inequality of income it generates. And  at least very recently she was still a supporter of school choiceb) In part because of this, she has Hillary-like potential to sell out her left supporters. (That's a good thing!). ... On the other hand, she's unsound on welfare, preferring a  Bush-like appeal to private charitable compassion  over an appreciation of the large positive effect of the 1993-96 changes in government welfare payments, work rules and earned income tax credits. ... P.S.: It will be interesting to see if Huffington jettisons her pro-school-choice views, as have other interesting Democrats (such as Robert Reich). Certainly the logic of this election would dictate that she do anything to rally the left-wing base--she doesn't need a majority to win, and thus probably doesn't need the appeal to the center that comes with being interestingly heretical. ... Here's the issues page of the RunAriannaRun.com website. Not much about school choice there! ... . 2:32 P.M.

Attention, geeky connoisseurs of alternative election systems! (Rick Hertzberg, this means you!) Instant Runnoff Voting  (IRV) may have gained a foothold in San Francisco, and "cumulative voting" is now permitted in Illinois county elections. This informative site has more. ... [Link via Hasen.] 12:41 A.M.

Thursday, July 24, 2003 

Catch-2003: The estimable Jill Stewart explains why Davis is in more trouble than the previous item suggests, and reports some revealing incidents from the recall beat. ... But I worry about anyone who relies so heavily on ex-Carter pollster Pat Caddell. The voters are never as angry as he thinks they are. He's projecting! ... P.S.: If Stewart's analysis is correct, the race is currently stuck in a logical rut: Davis' recall poll numbers don't drop through the floor unless there's a Democrat in the race to succeed him, but no Democrat will enter the race to succeed him until his poll numbers drop through the floor. ... I guess this is a logical rut that favors Davis--until some ambitious Democrat can't resist stabbing him in the back by running (whether or not Davis' poll numbers have dropped). Then it'll be Katie bar the door! ... Wild Card: The state Supreme Court may, like its federal counterpart in Bush v. Gore, be unable to resist stepping in to save California from the chaotic mess its laws prescribe in this situation.  ...11:49 P.M.