Updated Majority Watch scoreboard: Dems lead outside the margin of error in 222 House races. They only need 218 for a majority. ... The bad news for Dems: Dick Morris says they'll win! I'd only start worrying if Lawrence O'Donnell says it too. ... 6:18 P.M.
Bush Picks Secret Signing Over Winning Midterm Election: According to the Washington Times, Bush wants to sign the Secure Fence Act--but in private, without the public ceremony Republican Congressmen say they need to help with their reelection campaigns. The Times spoke with a White House official:
The official rejected a signing ceremony, and said the White House doesn't want voters to expect too much out of the wall.
Bush would seem to be sacrificing his party's chances of holding the House to ... to what? To avoid alienating the Latino vote in the long-term, presumably. Or to avoid undermining his larger semi-amnesty plan (by giving the impression of accomplishment). But even those standard political explanations don't quite wash: Clinton signed the welfare reform bill in public, and was able to do so without alienating liberal lobbies by putting it in the context of larger efforts to help the working poor. Bush could sign the bill and say "this is just the first step," etc., no? Why not milk it for whatever electoral value it might have? A secret signing plan might make sense if the Republicans were confident of midterm success. But they're not. ... Other, simpler explanations suggest themselves, as indicated by that anonymous White House official--i.e., Bush hates the fence; he's ashamed of it and doesn't want to build it. And more paranoid explanations--he knows he has a better chance of passing his semi-amnesty plan in a Democratic Congress, and he's doing his best to get one! ...P.S.: He also may be trying to avoid offending the Mexican government. ... P.P.S.: I feel a bit better about not having pinned down the bill's precise status--i.e. when it is due to be sent to the White House--because the WashTimes can't either:
The bill's actual status is somewhat murky. Calls to the House clerk's office were referred to the House Administration Committee, and a spokeswoman was not able to say where the bill was. [Congressman Steve] King said he has assigned his staff to track down the bill because he, too, wants to know where it stands.
Maybe Captain Ed's Hill source--the one who assured him that the White House wanted to "get as much coverage as possible"--can straighten everybody out. ... 9:26 A.M.
He'll Have a Fit: Seth Stevenson, like the car mag pros, loves the Honda Fit. He must be right--but I've now seen a lot of them and still have trouble getting over its gruesome '80s styling. Of course, when you're in it ... what was it Frank Lloyd Wright said about the Harkness Tower? 12:38 A.M.
Against the Liberal Media: Amid the ecstatic media frenzy of stories about looming Republican disaster, one contrarian dares speak up. The most persuasive Republicans-aren't-doomed analysis I've seen--more or less the only Republicans-aren't-doomed analysis I've seen--comes from ... Eric Alterman. ... Alterman even lashes out at the Congressional Black Caucus. ("Seventy-percent victories are not enough for them ...") He has more in common with Marty Peretz than he realizes! ... P.S.: But has he looked here. Or here? [ via HuffPo] 12:30 A.M.
Tuesd ay, October 17, 2006
The Fence and the Kitchen Sink: John Pomfret's Oct. 10 WaPo article, "Fence Meets Wall of Skepticism," has gotten a good deal of Web attention. Pomfret makes no attempt at balance--it's a straight "let's let fence critics piss all over the idea" piece. That's fine--advocacy journalism is finding a home in the MSM as newspapers try to woo a generation of younger readers! I must have missed the equally provocative story in which WaPo let one of its conservative reporters make the case for the fence--but never mind. Pomfret cites several arguments:
1. The fence "does not take into account the extraordinarily varied geography of the 2,000-mile-long border." Have you ever driven through the Southwest near the Mexican border? "Varied" is not the word that comes to mind regarding the geography.
TODAY IN SLATE
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You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney
Or at least trade it for something.
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An All-Female Mission to Mars
As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.