Will Bush stick with a January Iraq vote?

A mostly political Weblog.
May 24 2004 4:56 PM

Bush--Sticking with Slower Voting?

Even Mark Steyn says 'change the course.'

Dem Panic Watch, Revived! The ABC/WaPo Poll has Bush still tied with Kerry, despite falling approval numbers. "Kerry's having trouble with traction," the polltakers say. You think? ...P.S.: Don't worry Dems! That extra month of funding (caused by delaying the nomination) will save us. Yeah. That's the ticket. ... Update: But the WSJ Zogby poll has Kerry up in big swing states (Ohio, Penn., Mich.). Go here  and click on the "Battleground" link under the ad on the right. (Don't ask me what this feature gains by being "interactive," other than cumbersomeness.). ...Update 2: Several e-mailers, including the recently reclusive Mystery Pollster, point out that the Zogby survey is an online poll, which I hadn't noticed. Sample comment: "Wasn't Zogby unreliable enough using the telephone (in New Hampshire and Georgia)?" Good point. I smell self-selection bias. You may go back to panicking now. .... See also note the somewhat distancing note on the WSJ's  "Overview" page: "the results are weighted, Zogby says, to make them representative of what a poll of the overall U.S. voting population would find." Why "Zogby says"?...Update 3: The new CBS poll  does show Kerry with the kind of lead (8 points) you might expect him to have given the news from Iraq. Gallup, though, like ABC, has the race virtually tied. And Rasmussen's Robots have it as tied as they could possibly have it. ...  2:17 P.M.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Faster Iraq Watch 12: Steyn, Bayh, Gingrich on Board! Mark Steyn pretends he's not endorsing "faster elections" but really, if you read his latest piece, you realize he's gone further and endorsed the full Bob Wright plan for piecemeal faster elections. (We can hold them faster if we don't have to wait for all of Iraq to be ballot-ready):

In the Shia province of Dhi Qar, a couple hundred miles southeast of Baghdad, 16 of the biggest 20 cities plus many smaller towns will have elected councils by June. These were the first free elections in Dhi Qar's history and ''in almost every case, secular independents and representatives of nonreligious parties did better than the Islamists.'' ...[snip] ...

That policy of ad hoc, incremental, rolling devolution needs to be accelerated. Towns and provinces should have as much sovereignty as they can handle, on on the obvious principle that the constituent parts of ramshackle federations rarely progress at the same pace.

Steyn covers his change-the-course plea with some tough talk about fixed bayonet charges and the need for resolve, which is fine. .... When smart anti-war people like Wright and smart pro-war people like Steyn say it's time for Bush to drop the idea of holding out for a single, nationwide election way off in January, then maybe it's time for Bush to drop the idea of holding out for a single nationwide election way off in January! ... P.S.: On ABC's This Week, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich endorsed moving elections up to September--and Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh endorsed faster piecemeal elections. Here's Bayh:

Sooner elections rather than later I think is the right course. Particularly in those parts of country that are stable today and can have them. It might inspire the Sunnis to get their act together and follow course. [Emphasis added.]

Steyn, Bayh, Gingrich, Will, Abramowitz, Sullivan, Wright, Instapundit, Brooks, Kagan, Kristol, Lieberman, McCain... Do we have to get Ann Coulter and Al Franken to issue a joint communique? ... OK, forget McCain, Mr. President. Pretend McCain opposes the idea. ... Bonus buried  lede!kf hears that there is a possibility that Bush will actually include the Faster Elections idea in his speech Monday. He's being lobbied. ... But note that WaPo's Robin Wright quotes an unnamed White House official saying Bush will stress the importance "of adhering to our commitment to the June 30 transfer of sovereignty, and of an election in a January time frame."  [Emphasis added.]   ...7:46 P.M.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Zinni Fever! Catch it over at Talking Points Memo--and in this excellent long interview about Iraq in the San Diego Union-Tribune. He sounds a little too plain-spoken and articulate not to show up Kerry, though. ... Note that Zinni is not an advocate of withdrawing from Iraq:

"We can't leave. ...  I think it would be disastrous. ... Our only hope is to stay there a few years and try to solve it."

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