Move over, Lonelygirl ...

A mostly political Weblog.
Sept. 16 2006 6:41 PM

Trapped in the Rubble

Plus--Move over, Lonelygirl

YouTube: Andrew Sullivan has decided to give out a Nancy Grace Award. Criteria (suggested by Sullivan's readers) include "a nauseating level of absolutistself-righteousness," an "unflappable self-assurance that [the nominee's] outrage represents the true moral high ground on any issue" despite a propensity to "flip flop"--and a habit of "excessive personal attacks." [Emphasis added]... You mean like righteously bullying anyone who fails to support a war in Iraq, then turning around and righteously attacking the people who are prosecuting it? ... Can you think of any nominees? I'm stumped. ... 12:34 A.M. link

'Hey, Let's Lose the Election!' Part II: Ramesh Ponnuru has second thoughts about his New York Times op-ed  calling for the GOP to "win by losing" the House. ... Do fatal doubts expressed in a corner of The Corner shape opinion more than an op-ed in the Times? I don't think we're there yet! ... I also attempt [here]  to mock Jonah Goldberg's point that even though a Democratic House might pass a sweeping semi-amnesty immigration bill, "that would hand conservative Republicans a dream issue for 2008." ('Waterloo went badly for Napoleon--but hey, it gave him a great issue!' etc.) ... Move over Lonelygirl: Many viewers suspect that the video cited above is simply the unedited one-camera confessional of a neoliberal fogey whose library has just been carted off by his creditors. But it really is what it seems: the project of a trio of high-powered would-be Hollywood filmmakers represented by CAA. The man calling himself "Mickey" is actually a well-known Slovenian actor. ... 3:27 P.M. link

Bluff Called:

The American people are not on the side of the House Republicans who favor toughened enforcement and nothing more. On the contrary, a national consensus has formed around what the president calls "comprehensive" immigration reform--that is, impenetrable border security plus earned citizenship and a temporary worker program. But there's a wrinkle in the Senate. Democrats are certain to filibuster legislation consisting solely of enforcement. So it can't pass.

-- Fred Barnes, Weekly Standard, May 29

The House on Thursday easily passed a bill calling for construction of lengthy sections of double-layered fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico, sending the legislation to a Senate that appeared inclined to approve that and other security measures.

-- Los Angeles Times, Sept. 15

[Emphasis added] 5:07 A.M. link

Trapped in the Rubble: I finally saw World Trade Center last night. It wasn't as bad as I expected. A bit worse.

As expected, the filmmakers turn out to have bought the wrong rights--rights to the stories of the two uniformed cops who endured being trapped in the rubble for many hours. It turns out that brave, good men being trapped in rubble for hours doesn't make for great cinema. The real heroic drama was their rescue, including the actions of three private citizens who travelled to the pile of rubble on their own: Dave Karnes and Jason Thomas, former Marines, and Chuck Sereika, a lapsed paramedic just out of rehab. Karnes comes off fine, though the full story of what he did that day--including barreling down from Connecticut in his Porsche convertible at 120 mph--could have carried a whole movie. You can't help but feel his role was diminished because the uniformed officers resented him. Thomas is miscast as white, when in fact he's black--the filmmakers could have eliminated an entire crudely implanted final-reel scene of interracial bonding if they'd gotten it straight.

And Sereika's feats, as Rebecca Liss** notes, are vastly understated in the film, even though the truth would have been much more moving (Fallen Man Redeemed). Sereika, too, made the mistake of not being a cop or fireman. But he might be the first person portrayed as a hero by Hollywood who nevertheless has grounds for a defamation suit--because in fact he was much more heroic than WTC would lead you to believe. ...

What I hadn't expected was the way this suppressing of all the freelance non-uniformed bravery would wind up trivializing 9/11, turning it into a standard police hostage drama. Wives of cops injured in traffic accidents wait in agony and cry when their husbands survive too--but the attack on the WTC was something more, and one of the ways it was something more was the way it sucked in and tested large numbers of ordinary citizens.

Liss' fact-checking was more moving than the film it fact-checked. I can't believe the right blogosphere wound up hyping WTC's hackwork. ... 3:47 A.M. link

Thursday, September 14, 2006

More evidence of the Couric Conspiracy, from Page Six **:

 Couric was also said to be annoyed that CBS stopped running heavy promotions for her.

Maybe that's because that $15M deal  wasn't ever about promoting her or her precious evening news show! ...

**--In other words, "if true ..." 10:20 P.M. link

It may mean nothing, but they're bouncing for Bush over at Rasmussen. Only 50% disapproval ... 10:17 P.M.

Despues de Pelosi, Nosotros! I admit I'm not-so-secretly not-so-upset, at least emotionally, by  signs the Democrats might not  win back the House after all--a pathology  explored with searing, reality-show candor here. It's not that I want Republicans to win because Republicans like Ramesh Ponnuru want Republicans to lose. It's more that there is a large fatal hole in Ponnuru's argument. He writes that if the Dems win:

[T]he policy tradeoffs for Republicans are not especially troubling.

Ponnuru must be willfully ignoring one conspicuous policy initiative that has already passed the Senate, been embraced by the President, and awaits only approval from a Democrat-led House  to be signed into law. It wouldn't matter so much if this law, by establishing the principle of a "path to citizenship" for anyone who sneaks into the country to work, wouldn't run the risk of irrevocably changing the nature of the Republic, including the composition of future electorates that would decide whether to repeal it. But it would. ... 

P.S.:  I also look forward to the vicious fratricidal Democratic civil war that would break out in the wake of a humiliating Pelosi failure. Ponnuru may believe that a few years out of power "would make the Republicans hungrier and sharpen their wits." But it hasn't worked  for the Dems! The only viable solution for Democrats at this point might be partition--an actual splintering-off of an independent, centrist wing  that would join up with the Republicans' equally marginalized moderate wing. That's what we'd have a chance of getting if Democrats, as constituted, can't win even under the current favorable circumstances. ...

P.P.S.: Plus once it was clear that redistricting trickery had preserved the GOP margin, the press would immediately launch a campaign against gerrymandering, a long-overdue crusade. ...

P.P.P.S.: And it's not like the Dems are going to enact universal health insurance with a slim margin in the House and Bush in the Presidency. ... 3:21 P.M. link

There's no way Bill Clinton, war-supporter spouse, was going to bowl over experienced Hollywood player and netroots blogger Jane Hamsher in one meeting, right? ... Don't be so sure! 1:29 P.M.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Here's the biggest story of the day  (if true). It expands on a buried lede in the NYT's Sunday Cheney story. ... 5:58 P.M. [via Drudge ]

Dessert Mirage: In his weekly "Off to the Races" email, everybody's midterm elections expert Charlie "The Confectioner"  Cook insists on putting the 2006 vote into a traditional local vs. national framework:

In short, all the major diagnostic indicators that analysts look at to determine what kind of year it will be point to something that looks nothing like the "all politics is local" dynamic that was pretty much the case in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004. This dynamic holds sway in roughly 80 percent of all midterm election years and 90 percent of presidential years. This year looks much more like 1958, 1966, 1974, 1982, 1986 and 1994. In those cases, politics was anything but local. [Emph. added]

Were 1998 and 2002 really "local" years? I remember 1998 being colored by reaction against the zealous Republican prosecution of Bill Clinton in Monicagate. I remember 2002 as being all about national security. Those who refuse to ignore the past are condemned to think it will be repeated! Are there really "local" elections anymore? ... P.S.: "Local" in this year's election has an especially skewed meaning, since the only way the GOP seems to feel it can raise one of its most powerful nationally-appealing issues, immigration enforcement, is by individual House candidates bringing it up in individual races--i.e. locally! If Bush hadn't decided that he loves his semi-amnesty proposal more than he loves Speaker Hastert, that might be different. But as things stand, "local" in 2006 is a term of art often meaning "national"--or rather, meaning "an issue that would have been a national issue if we didn't disagree with our party's leader." ... Which means you can't necessarily use the low national favorability ratings of that leader--or even, maybe, of the Republican party generally--to predict the outcome of the election.... 5:34 P.M. link

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Republicans-- On the March to Stop Bush! It looks as if immigration hard-liner Randy Graf has defeated National Republican Committee favorite Steve Huffman in the Republican primary for Arizona's Eighth District. ... Here's what the Wall Street Journal news account said about the race beforehand:

A victory by Mr. Huffman would signal that even voters concerned about illegal immigration can be persuaded to support a more moderate policy. It would also be a triumph for business groups that are pushing for expanded legal immigration and are accustomed to the business-friendly Mr. Kolbe, who supports a guest-worker program, along with increased border security and a worker-verification system

Sorry! I guess voters concerned about illegal immigration can't be persuaded to support a more moderate policy! (And Huffman even denied he supports the Bush/McCain semi-amnesty "path to citizenship".) ... . ... P.S.: MyDD's Chris Bowersis happy, figuring the conservative Graf will lose in the general, and the seat (currently occupied by Republican Jim Kolbe) will be a Dem "pickup." But if you look at the broad national picture, it's not clear how happy Bowers should be. Isn't this more evidence that opposition to Bush's immigration plan is a powerful base-mobilizer for the GOP?  (And not just the base  ...) ... Update: Tom Bevan notes the appeal of non-comprehensive immigration reform  to rural Democrats in AZ-08. ...11:35 P.M. link

Tellingly Defensive Paragraph of the Day: "I don't have a major reputation for sucking up."--Andrew Sullivan. ... 3:13 P.M.

Jeez, those 9/11 page view counts are off the charts. I should have plugged the magisterial  Bloggingheads 9/11 Retrospective.  But no, that would be too obvious ...2:22 P.M.

The Couric Conspiracy: As Katie Couric's newscast  sinks back into third place, here's a thought: Maybe CBS isn't disappointed. Maybe the hiring of Couric had nothing to do with boosting the ratings for the CBS Evening News, attracting new demographics, blah, blah, blah.Maybe Couric was hired by CBS solely to screw NBC's highly-profitable Today Show! After all, CBS's Les Moonves could somehow get his network back into the lucrative morning-show game--by depriving the dominant competitor of its star--wouldn't that mean a lot more to CBS' bottom line than whether it gets an extra point or two in the shrinking evening news market? ... Wait and see how the Couric-less Today does before you decide whether she was worth $15 million to CBS. ... 1:17 P.M. link

H-P chairwoman Patricia Dunn: She must be guilty-- she's hired Sitrick! ... Update: She's stepping down. ...12:56 P.M.

Stop Bush--Vote Republican! Part II: How are Republicans threatening to unseat two Democratic Congressman in this, a pro-Democratic year? The LAT reports:

... their Republican rivals have emphasized the bigger picture in their campaigns — namely, what would happen if the Democrats took control of the house. In a recent Collins TV ad, his opponent isn't mentioned at all. Instead, the ad targets House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), who would presumably become House Speaker with a Democratic majority.

The ad says Pelosi would give "amnesty" to illegal aliens, doling out "welfare, food stamps and free education." [Emphasis added]


In other words, Pelosi might pass Bush's immigration plan! ... P.S.: Is anyone still suggesting that nasty Sensenbrenner immigration bill is going to cost Republicans the House? I haven't heard that one lately. ... 4:24 A.M. link

They've screwed up the redesigned 2007 Mini Cooper, according to Automobile

So, is it possible to make the Mini bigger, stronger, and faster without losing the current car's tossable nature and front-wheel-drive-apes-rear-wheel drive feel? Unfortunately, it doesn't seem so.

But note that the old, front-drive-apes-rear-drive model is on sale until February, and its reliability has improved (according to Consumer Reports).  Conclusion: If you want one, buy it now. ... 4:15A.M. link

Huffo's Donnie Fowler makes a big deal over a ZogbyInteractive/WSJ poll  showing Arnold Schwarzenegger only 3.5% ahead of his Democratic opponent, Phil Angelides. '"Momentum matters. Phil's got it," writes Fowler. I don't believe it. I don't believe Fowler believes it! If he does, he's possibly the sole member of a miniscule minority that doesn't include the Schwarzenegger-bashing LAT's new blogger, Robert Salladay, who  writes today  that union "enthusiasm for Angelides is damped by his low poll numbers and confusion over his message."  ... New West Notes' Bill Bradley cites a "private" poll  (for another Democratic candidate) showing a 12-point gap. ... And here's what Mystery Pollster Mark Blumenthal and Prof. Charles Franklin think of the Zogby Interactive poll, which they decline to use in the Slate "Election Scorecard":

Since our scorecard includes only surveys based on random probability sampling, it does not include any of the Zogby Interactive/Wall Street Journal polls that were released today. These surveys are conducted on the Internet using samples drawn from a panel of online volunteers. The latest Zogby results for Virginia—showing Webb ahead 50 percent to 43 percent—help explain our caution. Zogby's Virginia samples have been consistently more favorable to Webb than other pollsters, suggesting a bias in Zogby's online methodology. [Emphasis added]

Zogby's bad   enough under normal circumstances. ... 2:48 A.M. link

Who You Calling 'Brain Dead'?BhTV's Bob Wright  pooh-poohs the latest surprising "brain death" finding, but admits it makes the pull-the-feeding-tube case in the Schiavo controversy (perversely embraced by the Democrats) weaker. ... I don't quite understand Bob's argument--it seems to me his requirements for "consciousness" in humans, namely the ability to talk about your experience, are strangely high. No non-human animal would meet them. But you have to watch the snippet to get his drift. ... 1:29 A.M. link

Monday, September 11, 2006

What Scooter Told Tim: Tom Maguire graciously gives kf credit for its big Plamegate Scoop (now confirmed by Hubris)  ... 2:46 A.M.

Is it really possible Connecticut Democrats haven't nailed Joe Lieberman down  to a non-weaselable public promise to cast his vote for their party in choosing who controls the Senate? The Dems may need Lieberman's support, and shouldn't want to make it easy for him to defect. ... P.S.: I know, I know, Lieberman's appealing to Connecticut Republicans--it might help him with that group to leave the door to defection open. But he also needs to hold down Ned Lamont's margin among Democrats. And it's a character question--wouldn't it look silly and unprincipled for Lieberman to prevaricate on the party issue, especially after he campaigned in the primary on the basis of what a good Dem he is? How could he not have figured out which way he'll vote? If he has, don't Connecticut's voters deserve to know the answer before the election? ... Update: Here's a TPM post  in which Lieberman aide Dan Gerstein says, "Senator Lieberman is a Democrat, will continue to be a Democrat and is committed to caucusing with the Democrats should he be reelected." But that's from August 16th. I'd make Lieberman himself say it, often. ... See also: New York Sun piece saying Lieberman has "vowed to continue to vote with the Democratic caucus" but speculating that he might not. ... 2:42 P.M.

Re: Cake-baking: Alert reader T.F. asks:

Have you already mentioned that if Schwarzenegger's redistricting had passed, the cake would be baked because the Dems would pick up at least five seats in California instead of zero? [Emphasis added]

No, I don't think I have mentioned that. ... P.S.: At least Nancy "I'm-going-to-become-Speaker" Pelosi wasn't such a shortsighted party hack that she raised money to defeat the measure that would have gotten her party a third of the seats it needs. ... Oh, wait. ... 2:15 A.M. link

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Max Blumenthal's piece on the right-wing network behind The Path to 9/11  will go right into the press kits of David Horowitz and the conservative Liberty Film Foundation. (Who knew their blog was "heavily trafficked"! Donors will be pleased.)  ... P.S.: I assume Blumenthal's right and Path, even with edits, isn't at all a neutral look at pre-9/11 anti-terrorist efforts. Still, are you worried about an "emerging network of right-wing people burrowing into the film industry with ulterior sectarian politican and religious agendas"? Maybe I'm complacent about the threat, but isn't that a little like worrying about the growing anti-Zionist foothold at The New Republic? If you put Hollywoods's entire network of right wing people in David Horowitz's living room, you wouldn't have much trouble getting to the hors d'oeuvre tray. If you tried to put Hollywood's network of left wing people in the Los Angeles Convention Center, the fire marshal would close it down. ... 11:23 P.M. link

Friday, September 8, 2006

Early Punditry Is Not Like Yeast! RT Strategies is robocalling voters in 30 contested House races. Highly useful chart here  and double-clickable map here. ... Bizarrely, the pollsters don't add up the results anywhere on the site yet, but RT partner "R" emails to give the upshot [boldface added]:

We conducted 27 polls so far with 3 more underway. 

Completed so far (27): 22 with Republicans, 5 with Democrats.  Only 1 of 5 Democrats look to be in any trouble at all, so the magic number for the D's remains 15 or 16 at the worst.

In the 22 Republican-held districts, R's are trailing in 10 districts (significantly behind in 5, marginally behind in 5), are in a dead-heat tie in 5, marginally ahead in 2, significantly ahead in 5.

In sum:

Democrats have a pretty solid +5D, and maybe at best a total of +13D (including districts leaning toward D take-over and the 3 districts not yet polled that are probably disasters for the R's).

Not enough! ...

Therefore, the whole question of House majority may come down to whether Dems can win 2 or 3 of the following 5 races that are currently (in the Majority Watch poll) a dead-heat statistical tie:  ...  CO-07, KY-04, NM-01, IL-06, WA-08.

Doesn't sound like a baked cake, does it?  ... Update: Yes, there are other races, not robopolled by RT, in which the Dems could pick up some seats. "When we selected the races for the project last July, it was a stretch to find 30 truly competitive races.  Now there are more," says RT partner R. ** That in itself is bad news for the GOP. Still! ... RT claims it has the "top 20 targets" in its initial list of 30. And if the Dems aren't convincingly ahead in enough of those races now to pick up 15 seats, doesn't it seem like the GOPs have a chance? ... P.S.: Does this cake look baked? ...

**--A list of the 20 next-most-vulnerable seats might include:

GA-08*  Redistricted Jim Marshall  (D)
GA-12*  Redistricted John Barrow  (D)
TX-22* Redistricted Tom DeLay (R)
AZ-05 J.D. Hayworth (R)
CA-11 Richard Pembo (R)
CT-05 Nancy Johnson (R)
FL-09 OPEN (Michael Bilirakis(R))
KY-02 Ron Lewis (R)
KY-03 Anne Northrup (R)
NH-01 Jeb Bradley (R)
NH-02 Charlie Bass (R)
NJ-07 Mike Ferguson (R)
NV-02 OPEN (Jim Gibbons(R))
NY-20 John Sweeney (R)
NY-25 James Walsh (R)
NY-29 Randy Kuhl (R)
OH-01 Steve Chabot (R)
OH-13 OPEN (Sherrod Brown(R))
OH-15 Deborah Pryce (R)
PA-07 Curt Weldon (R)

According to the NYT's not-cocoonish but not-quite-convincing front-pager--which relies on an "emerging consensus of political analysts"--you can start to scratch the three New York states off that second-tier list. More precisely, the Dems would probably only take them in a wave so big it would also show up as a decisive tilt in RT's initial list of 30 contested races.. ... 2:03 A.M.

Michael Crowley says there are too gated communities  in Northern Virginia. Yet the fanciest houses seem to be just huge houses, with their own grounds and gates. That's different! (They haven't privatized public space.)  Still, I concede that the whole area--like so many other places--has become richer and more pretentiously mansionized than what I thought it was when I criticized David Sirota. ...  1:58 A.M.

Note to self: Sure-fire catch phrases to work into text wherever possible: "Sprezzatura" ... "This cake is baked"  ..."below genre norms." ... "stuff it with wow!"... "alternative set of procedures." ... 1:55 A.M.

Do Sock Puppets have a Reptilian Core? Bloggingheads' Salute to Lee Siegel, at 1.5X speed. ... Update: But this is much funnier. ...  1:54 A.M.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

"Only the Republicans Can Stop Bush!" Bruce Reed seems to feel that my proposed campaign message for the House GOPs--that they're the only thing standing in the way of the Congress passing Bush's misguided immigration plan--is perverse. I would remind him of the 1996 election, when a certain Democrat campaigned (in part) with the argument that he would repeal the nastier provisions of the welfare reform bill that he himself (after Reed's lobbying) had just signed into law--a message parodied on one L.A. bumper sticker as

ONLY CLINTON CAN UNDO WHAT HE HAS DONE!

Perverse, but accurate! (Clinton won, and he did get the nastiest provisions removed.) If Clinton can successfully campaign against himself, Hastert can campaign against Bush. ..9:53 P.M.

Not So Fast: Captain Ed notes that the NYT's lead front-page story of Tuesday, reporting

G.O.P. Sets Aside Work on Immigration

turns out to have been a bit off. Work may have stopped on the "comprehensive" Senate-style bill, but only in the NYT's world is the Senate bill synonymous with immigration reform. The Washington Times says

Top Republicans are planning a series of tough new border-security measures that they hope can get through the Senate, which in the past has opposed border-security legislation unless it has included a guest-worker program and grants citizenship rights to the estimated 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens already here.

WashTimes also reports that some "comprehensive" supporters in the Senate are already waffling. ... All as described with eerie prescience here  and here. ... See also The Weekly Standard, for whatever the opposite of eerie prescience is. ... 6:23 P.M.

Baghdad Death Toll Revision? Yikes. [via Insta] ... ABC's reporter doesn't hide his own opinion:

Operation Together Forward, the main thrust of the new [US-Iraqi] strategy, involves establishing pockets of security in select neighborhoods and then slowly adding more. These latest numbers add substance to fears Together Forward creates a whack-a-mole effect: that is, secure one area and the violence will pop up somewhere else.

If you keep whacking the moles, though, do they eventually run out of places to surface?  ... 3:14 P.M.

Day-Old Item, Half-Priced: Bruce Reed seemed to have the key to explaining Bush's irritating reemphasis  of the Global War on Terror---the President has to say something, and  by talking about national security he fills that vacuum  while letting GOP candidates run their own races on their own issues (i.e. opposition to his immigration plan).**:

It's the Perfect Way to Hide: But the real reason for the White House strategy may be more basic: An all-politics-is-local campaign would leave the president with nothing to do. Bush rightly considers himself one of the best campaigners on the Republican side and doesn't want to spend his last campaign as little more than fundraiser-in-chief.

But I should have posted this item yesterday!  From today's perspective it certainly looks as if the legalistic particulars of Bush's anti-terror demarche--i.e. making an issue of Democratic resistance on semi-torture, trial rights, surveillance, etc.--might actually help the GOPs, doesn't it? (See Brownstein.) ... P.S.: And I'm not sure that the Dems have a "get out of jail free card" just because Republicans like John McCain oppose the White House too. Voters could still be reminded that Democrats generally are too ACLU-friendly for their taste. ... P.S.: Sorry, I forgot. The cake is already baked! ...

**--All this assumes, of course, that Bush actually wants  the GOPs to retain the House. ... 2:43 P.M.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

KfSAT: Which of these is out of place. a) "Bush is Toast" ... b) It's Kerry's Contest to Lose! ... c) "This Cake is Baked."  ... d) None of the above. .... 6:28 P.M.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will veto the Democratic legislature's vague-on-details single-payer state-wide universal health plan--a bill Schwarzenegger's Dem opponent for governor, Phil Angelides, has (embarrassingly) refused to endorse. Bill Bradley has intrigue and backbiting; the LAT has details and makes Angelides' excuses for him. ... P.S.: Bradley also says the L.A. Times' new political blog is stacked with Schwarzenegger opponents. ... But will they be blatant or latent? ... 5:49 P.M.

Iraq the Model has a clarifying, first hand account of what we're up against in Baghdad. ... It reminded me of a famous Marxist Western. ... 11:08 A.M.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Bush v. Hastert?

a) Why isn't the obvious base-mobilizing national GOP midterm message something like this:

If you give the Democrats a majority in the House, then Congress will pass an expensive, wage-destroying semi-amnesty for illegal immigrants. Such a bill already passed in the Senate. The only thing stopping it was the Republican House. Take away that resistance, and it's Katie-bar-the-door.

This pitch would have the virtue of being highly plausible. It wouldn't mobilize just the base, but also a good chunk of the middle.** (That's more than you can probably say for the administration's Global War on Terror hyperbolizing). ... ... P.S.: Obviously President Bush couldn't articulate such a message, since he supports the Senate's expensive, wage-destroying semi-amnesty. But Speaker Hastert could. Or the NRCC. ...

b) But if a Democratic House really would pass a McCain-Kennedy style immigration bill, maybe President Bush isn't as horrified at the prospect of Speaker Pelosi as he seems. He'd achieve at least one major part of his second-term domestic agenda. Legacy time! That might be worth a few Conyers-led hearings. ... [That's insane-ed It will be the official WH spin the day after the GOP loses the House, no?]

c) It would obviously help House Republicans get across the anti-semi-amnesty message if before November they passed a sort of lowest-common-denominator enforcement-only immigration bill--including a few hundred miles of fence. Make the Democrats vote against it. If Dems did vote against it, they'd probably pay a price. In any case, it would have a clarifying effect--isn't one point of pre-election legislation to heighten contrasts? ... If enough Dems supported it for the bill to actually pass, the GOPs would have a mini-accomplishment to boast about. ... Update: It's Newt's Step #2. ... P.S.: Why doesn't Hastert make this obvious, majority-preserving move? Perhaps President Bush is restraining him--see point (b).*** ... [link via  Sullivan ] 

**Update: As if by more than mere coincidence, from a swing district in Colorado, the NYT's Carl Hulse reports:

In fact, many Republicans, on the defensive here and around the country over the war in Iraq, say they are finding that a hard-line immigration stance resonates not just with conservatives, who have been disheartened on other fronts this year, but also with a wide swath of voters in districts where control of the House could be decided. [Emph. added]

Te lo dije! ... 9/7 Update: Pinkerton  sees the same Bush/Hastert divide--

In a tough election year, in which Bush's unpopularity is one of the big drags on Republican prospects, the president has nevertheless managed to persuade fellow Republicans not to make use of their best remaining issue - immigration.

***--Sleeper? But note that, despite the widely-reported shelving of the immigration bills, House Republicans will push "funding for border security fences and barriers" as a "homeland security" measure, according to Majority Leader Boehner. So immigration-oriented GOPs may still get a fence to brag about (or Democratic fence opponents to attack).. .. [ Via  The Note 6:08 P.M. link

Gran Hype: The great post-march Hispanic voter registration surge has failed to materialize, according to the AP. ... 11:44 A.M.

Quantity, Kos, and Coulter!  Kf's 3-step recipe for stats-page success: Welcome, summer people. We've been here all along. Lucky we're not bitter about it. Here's what you missed: ... A big debate about the essential nature of Plano, Texas ... Kos  .... the Long Tail vs. our precious common culture  ... Kos ... Universal  Health Care vs universal Social Security .... "Kausism" ...  More universal health insurance vs. universal Social Security. ... Cocooning. ... Coulter ... Bloggingheads.tv vs. Waiting for Godot ... Maybe I should have gone on vacation ... 2:00 A.M.

If Hillary takes herself out of the 2008 race, that will focus a lot of attention on the alleged shortage of other appealing Dem candidates. (You know the litany: Edwards is too light and too left, Biden's too impressed with his own motormouth, Warner and Bayh are too dull, Kerry is Kerry.)  I've asked this before, but what's wrong with Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell? So far nobody's come up with a convincingly fatal flaw. ... Of course, it's not like Pennsylvania's a crucial swing state. ... Oh, wait. ... 12:35 A.M.

Monday, September 4, 2006

A piece I couldn't write: An appreciation of Warren Mitofsky, the pioneering pollster, who died of an aneurysm last Friday. Posted by Mystery Pollster on his new site. ... 8:52 P.M.

The Bangledammerung approaches? In a "surprise," Bangled-up BMW car sales  fall in August. The company blames "managed inventory in advance of the launch of several new models ..." You know whom kf blames. ... Update: Bangle-bashing is everywhere, even computer tech sites. ("[L]ooks like the sort of roadkill you see on the back of a recovery truck.") These people simply do not have the professionalism and skills to appreciate beauty on the highest level! ... P.S.: At least the August drop didn't come on the heels of a July drop! ... Oh, ....  More: Another philistine, kf emailer J.S., damns Bangle's designs as "metrosexualism in cars." ...That would be as opposed to the new Saturn Sky, which is close to being flat-out gay. ...  3:14 A.M.

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Long-time e-mailer "G" comments on the too-British-to-be-trustedLondon Times story  claiming that "some of [Hillary Clinton's] closest advisers say she might opt out of the White House race and seek to lead her party in the Senate."

Hillary has shown herself particularly vulnerable to using present CW as her political compass. She could have run in '04, but took herself out of contention by mid-2003 because Bush looked like such a political behemoth at that point and the CW was she had a better chance waiting for '08. That decision left the field open to the political light-weights like Kerry, Dean and Edwards who were in the final running during the '04 primary season. Had Hillary run last go around, she would have probably won the nomination and would have had a better chance at beating Bush than Kerry did (which as we should remember was pretty good, as the 51-49 result shows).

Good point. But if the problem is that she's overly cautious, calculating and chameleon-like--but can raise lots of money--then Senate Minority/Majority Leader might be a good job for her, no? ... P.S.: Didn't this whole Hillary-for-Senate Majority Leader story start with a report on Steve Clemons' Washington Note a month ago? ... See also Ezra Klein. ... 11:36 A.M.

Oliver Stone, not bankable! World Trade Center--Box office after 24 days: $58.9 million. ... Production budget: $65 million ... If it's true that the studio only gets half the box office receipts, and the $65 million doesn't include tens of millions in marketing costs, there is no way this movie is making money. ... 1:46 A.M.

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Bloggingheads--Bob Wright's videoblog project. Gearbox--Searching for the Semi-Orgasmic Lock-in. Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--He reports! And decides!  Wonkette--Makes Jack Shafer feel guilty.  Salon--Survives! kf gloating on hold. Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! David Corn--Trustworthy reporting from the left.  Washington Monthly--Includes Charlie Peters' proto-blog. Lucianne.com--Stirs the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. Keller's Calmer Times--Registration required.  NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare!  Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog.  Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. Overlawyered.com--Daily horror stories. Eugene Volokh--Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman--Born to blog. Joe Conason--Bush-bashing, free most days. Lloyd Grove--Don't let him write about you. Arianna's Huffosphere--Now a whole fleet of hybrid vehicles. TomPaine.com--Web-lib populists. Take on the News--TomPaine's blog.  B-Log--Blog of spirituality!  Hit & Run--Reason gone wild! Daniel Weintraub--Beeblogger and Davis Recall Central. Eduwonk--You'll never have to read another mind-numbing education story again. Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. John Leo--If you've got political correctness, he's got a column ... [More tk]

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