Political Bet of the Year

A mostly political Weblog.
Oct. 1 2007 9:09 PM

Bet of the Year

A grim possibility looms in Iowa.

(Continued from Page 15)

The Case for Gatekeepers: Why didn't Republican politico Jeff Bell get an interview with the Fred Thompson campaign? He only wanted to help! Was it maybe because Thompson has distinguished himself from the field by strongly opposing Bush's misguided illegal-immigrant semi-amnesty proposal, while Bell a) supported itb) worked for La Raza, which helped draft it and c) erroneously (and self-servingly)  declared to pro-legalization pundit Fred Barnes that the political tide had turned Bush's way? ... Or was it maybe because Jeff Bell's the kind of guy who, when he doesn't get a job interview, will whine to Robert Novak and get you bad press? ... P.S.: I am vaguely troubled to learn from Novak that Mary Matalin is playing a significant role in Thompson's campaign. Too Beltway! ... Matalin's charming, but as a friend said of her and her husband, "She's famous because she's the woman who ran the worst campaign in presidential history,** and he's famous because he's the guy who beat the worst campaign in presidential history." ...

Update: Matalin was also in the "political inner circle" of Sen. George Allen's 2006 reelection campaign, which will be studied for decades. You remember Sen. Allen, don't you?  ....

**--Bush, 1992. 4:50 P.M. link

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Not Bully: Is it really a good idea, from President Bush's point of view, for him to give a prime time address today about Iraq? Seems like Bush speeches haven't convinced anybody of anything for several years now--especially about Iraq, but also about Social Security reform and immigration reform. The president's rhetorical campaigns not only didn't win those fights--it seemed as if they didn't even move the needle in his direction. Another big-deal Bush Iraq address, given the President's unpopularity on the issue, might actually hurt. Why not just read a statement on the White House lawn endorsing Gen. Petraeus' plan and be done with it? .... Backfill: Turns out Charles Krauthammer and the rest of Brit Hume's panelists made basically the same point at length today. Why give the Dems an opportunity to argue against Bush as opposed to Petraeus? This is a pretty basic mistake by the White House, no? I thought new communications czar Ed Gillespie was "winning rave reviews for handling critical PR issues."  If he's so smart ...  P.S.: Or is Bush too legacy obsessed--or just plain vain--to cede the lead role to Petraeus? .... 2:19 A.M. link

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

One way to think about the surge: Juan Cole writes  that

the best hope for the Dems may be that Gen. Petraeus actually succeeds, over the next year, in significantly reducing ethnic tensions.

Otherwise, Cole argues, "when the Democratic president pulls US troops out in summer of 2009, all hell is going to break loose." To which James Taranto understandably replies, in effect, 'why pull out, then?" .... I assume Cole's answer is that a pull-out might be desirable as the best (least bad) policy solution, but would still be a political disaster for a Democratic president. Fair enough. But strictly on policy terms, doesn't the desirability of a pullout depend on whether the hell that is going to break loose when we leave is becoming a bigger hell or a smaller hell because of our continued military presence? Right now, despite the disputes over pre- and post-surge death counts, etc., it looks like it's becoming a smaller hell, no? ... P.S.: Cole also has some interesting things to say about the bombing of those Yazidi villages. ... [via Insta11:22 P.M. link

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TODAY IN SLATE

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