The Clinton camp on the verge of taking control of the tabs.

A mostly political Weblog.
Nov. 12 2007 12:51 AM

Burkle's Coup

The Clinton camp is about to get control of the tabs.

The Atlantic Discovers the American Idea: Kudos to gravy-trainish Atlantic chairman David Bradley for giving an anniversary party so elementally, gracelessly snooty that it transcended its disastrousness to become a powerful parable of social equality! From Gawker (which has video):

In a striking display of awful judgment, the VIPs (Arianna Huffington, Moby, the Mayor) were allowed (forced) to mingle on stage. The poors sat in chairs in the auditorium and watched.

You can imagine the party planners' thought process: We want to have this exclusive witty cocktail party--but we also want to do something for everyone else. Hey, we'll let them come and watch! That's better than nothing, right? Wrong! Stark, in-your-face snobbish social inegalitarianism makes everyone unhappy--the favored few no less than the masses. At least in this country. At least Atlantic types. ...

P.S.: Celebrity-based inegalitarianism is arguably much worse than money-based inegalitarianism. If the VIPs had paid to be on stage, skybox or Vegas-club  style, that would have been less offensive. ...

Most obvious public policy application of the Atlantic Party Parable: Guest-workers! Many U.S. employers, generally allied with Republicans, want to import unskilled workers and then ship them away after a few years. Atlantic moral: Everyone at the party gets to party. For legal guest workers, there should be a path to citizenship. ...

P.P.S.: Getting the wittiest, most talented people, feeding them and then letting everyone else watch them talk--isn't that also Bradley's business plan for the Atlantic, including it's blog presence?  I'm not sure it works. For one thing, people want to interact, not just sit in their seats. They also have blogs of their own, and don't seem attracted to the idea that the blogs invited onto Bradley's stage are all that much more entitled to attention than the blogs not invited onstage. ... 9:07 P.M. link

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Anti 'Anti-Incumbent Wave' Wave Building: "Anti-incumbent wave" is a classic Neutral Story Line-- a bit of bold political analysis the "objective" mainstream press can deploy without seeming to pick sides between Democrats and Republicans. (It's just incumbents of both parties the voters hate!) The "anti-incumbent" idea fits the NSL bill so neatly that it's bound to be overehyped in the press. Stuart Rothenberg notes that the last predicted "anti-incumbent" wave was really an anti-Republican wave. The next one could be as well, if any wave materializes at all. ... 8:23 P.M.

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Nora Ephron: "[T]he Democrats tend to break your heart and the Republicans are just the boys you'd never go out with anyway." When people ask me why I spend so much time attacking fellow Democrats, I think this is what I'm going to start telling them. It's even true--at least as far as the Republicans are concerned. My expectations of modern Democrats are so low that 'break your heart' doesn't really apply. ... 2:49 P.M.

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Are Hollywood's Iraq dramas bombing because a) people don't want to hear about Iraq or b) people don't want to hear about Iraq from Hollywood liberals? ... Several hundred commenters at Breitbart.com (most, presumably, sent by Drudge) seems to think they know the answer. It's not Steven Bochco's  answer. ... If there were an Iraq film not made by Hollywood liberals, we might be able to settle the argument. ... 1:22 A.M.

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Prof. Volokh claims  that $10.9 million verdict against an eccentric fundamentalist group that pickets military funerals ("with placards bearing shock-value messages such as "Thank God for dead soldiers'") is an unconstitutional speech restriction. It's hard to believe he's not right. ... 1:10 A.M.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

What if the Clintons (through Bill's buddy Ron Burkle) were about to gain effective control over the nation's major tabloids? Seems like a big story. Well, it's happening--or sure looks like it.

Ron Burkle and American Media Inc.'s David Pecker are said to be meeting with banks to finalize the financing for Source Interlink Co., controlled by Burkle-owned Yucaipa Cos., to acquire AMI [of which the tabs are part]

After all, why would "the allegedly press-shy" Burkle, who has denounced tabloids, "tabloidism," and "tabloid-style journalism," suddenly want to own them?

His interest appears mainly to be in AMI's magazine distribution company DSI, the purchase of which would make Source Interlink one of the largest magazine distributors in the country.

Hey,that could be the explanation! I don't buy it. Look at it from Burkle's point of view: Soon he'll presumably have the power to kill any scandalous story in the Enquirer or Star that might hurt his friends (the Clintons). And he'll have the power to run the stories that will hurt his enemies. And for those who might help the Clintons now (by, say, splitting the anti-Hillary vote) but hurt them later--well, he'll be able to choose the timing of any further exposes. ... Look at it from the point of view of the aptly-named David Pecker, head of AMI: If you assume Burkle wants AMI's publications in order to gain political influence, when is the time at which Burkle would pay the maximum price? Right before the campaign starts in earnest. In fact, you might pinpoint Pecker's maximum leverage as coming a couple of months before the Iowa caucuses. Just a thought. ... Oh, by the way. When the two companies are merged:

Sources close to the deal expect Pecker to become head of the new company, despite a very rough patch over the last few years that included falling rate bases and restated financials at AMI.

[via HuffPo]10:02 P.M. link

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Eli Lake on John Edwards: "I remember him at Christoper Hitchens' house giving me the best arguments I'd heard from any Democrat on why we should invade Iraq. ... very neoconservative arguments ... humanitarian arguments." ... [ First segment in podcast3:19 A.M. link

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Friday, November 9, 2007

Did Bill Clinton really compare the opponents of "comprehensive" immigration reform to Al Qaeda? You make the call:

In Onawa, for instance, he mused on the world view that "says all that matters in life is our differences" — seeing it at work in everything from the dark philosophy of Al Qaeda to the U.S. immigration debate.

"The Al Qaeda people think that all that matter are our differences, and 'You do it my way or you deserve to die,'" he said.

"You see it in more benign but also troubling ways in America when something happens like that recent incident in Jena, La.," he said, referring to the prosecution of six young black men that has been criticized as racially motivated.

"You see it in very complicated ways in the context of what do to about immigration, what's the best way to get a handle on illegal immigration," he said.

I think he did! It's a banal thought, too. ... 2:53 P.M. link

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From her Amazon author bio:

Susan Estrich has been called one of the most influential public intellectuals of the century

Short century. ... [But she helped elect a President--ed True!]   2:23 A.M.

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Did the 2005 bankruptcy reform exacerbate the subprime mortgage crisis? Blogger (and bankruptcy lawyer) Steve Smith predicted it would  a year ago.

Those people who are now threatened with the foreclosure of their homes will be visiting my office soon, as well as the offices of other bankruptcy attorneys (oops, my bad: other "debt relief agencies"), but without the protections Chapter 7 and 13 debtors had under the old law.

And as a consequence, more people will lose their homes in the end to foreclosure, which will further depreciate the value of real estate, which will suck even more money out of the economy.

Bloomberg reports that this is just what is happening. ... 2:14 A.M.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Voters 'Grow Wary' of Politicians: The poli-sci cliche has been that voters hate politicians but love their own Congressman. Comes now the NBC/WSJ poll  finding that "just 39% of respondents believe their OWN member of Congress deserves re-election; 51% say it's time to give someone new a chance." First Read calls the number "staggering"--which is what I thought until I looked at the poll's own historical data, which show that it was worse (51-37) in November of 2005, even worse two months before the 1994 anti-incumbent election (53-20) and still worse months before the 1992 election (62-27). It's only been in positive territory about a fifth of the time. ... 12:24 P.M.

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Breaking It To Them Slowly:

"French Crowd Grows Wary of Bastille,," "Romans Wary of Carthage," "Montagues, Capulets, Locked in Cycle of Wariness," etc. ... The news will unfold at the New York Times' orderly pace! ...   Thomas Maguire mocks. ... 12:06 P.M.

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A Latino Intifada? TheMiami Herald's Andres Oppenheimer says that if the country's anti-"comprehensive" attitude on illegal immigration persists, "a Hispanic intifada that may rock this nation in the not-so-distant future."

Remember the Palestinian intifada of the early 1990s, when thousands of frustrated young Palestinians took to the streets and threw stones at Israeli troops? Remember the French intifada of the summer of 2005, in which disenfranchised Muslim youths burned cars and stores in the suburbs of Paris?

If we are not careful, we may see something similar coming from the estimated 13 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, most of them Hispanic, who are increasingly vilified in the media, forced further into the underground by spineless politicians and not given any chance to legalize their status by a pusillanimous U.S. Congress.

We are creating an underclass of people who won't leave this country and, realistically, can't be deported. They and their children are living with no prospect of earning a legal status, no matter how hard they work for it. Many of them will become increasingly frustrated, angry, and some of them eventually may turn violent.

Krikorian doubts that "Oppenheimer's feared outcome is all that likely, in part because automatic citizenship at birth makes the illegal population a one-generation problem."  ... I tend to think violence is a possibility, but not because Congress fails to pass a legalization bill. It's more likely to be sporadic violence of a tiny minority in support some sort of restoration of Aztlan, either as a part of Mexico or a separate entity, on the order of the Basque ETA in Spain. The chance of that sort of violence is probably increased by a comprehensive reform that ratifies an immigrant flow heavily weighted with citizens of Mexico (with its historic claims to much of the U.S. Southwest). ...

Neologism Bake-Off: Latintifada [suggested by reader D.M.], Hispanifada, Latinofada, Mexifada [used by Rod Dreher] ....3:45  A.M. link

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

"New York Democrats Say License Issue Had Little Effect," says the headline over the NYT account of yesterday's state elections. But why?

In most of those areas where Mr. Spitzer's licensing proposal moved to the forefront of the campaign, Democrats were able to cauterize the issue by publicly breaking with the governor, harshly criticizing the plan and in some cases threatening to join lawsuits challenging it. [E.A.]

So it's another victory for the Spitzer Plan then! (Is it too late for Hillary to join those lawsuits?) .... Similarly, immigration semi-amnesty didn't stop Dems from taking control of the U.S. House in 2006 partly because many Democrats distanced themselves from the proposal. ... P.S.: In Virginia, as well, a tough-on-immigration stand didn't save the Republicans. Mark Krikorian argues the issue did work (for the pro-enforcement side) where it was "highly salient," even in liberal areas. But Virginia Dems "steered clear of any clarifying stance on immigration, like, oh, supporting driver's licenses for illegals." ... P.P.S.--The Sleeping Giant Dozes Off Again: Meanwhile, a rising "tide of apathy" engulfed Boston's non-white wards! ...  [via  First Read and Taranto]  1:36. P.M.

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Hillary Clinton's lead in New Hampshire is now only 10 points  in Rasmussen's robo-poll--down from 23 points  in mid-September. Ten points isn't nothing two months before a New Hampshire primary, but it's pretty close to nothing. Especially if it's ten-points-and-falling. ... P.S.: Hillary has now used two of what she must have considered the most powerful weapons in her arsenal--1) the gender victim/Rick Lazio card, and 2) her husband--and they both backfired. Doesn't that make them hard to use again? ... Hillary shouldn't panic. But judging from her performance so far, she will. ...  11:44 A.M.

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hitting A Vain: A full week after the Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton is still flailing on the licenses-for-illegals issue-- justifying her position on unconvincing federalist grounds, letting her husband mount an equally specious it's-all-too-complicated defense.  Maybe she can keep it going until Iowa Caucus Day! ... Yuval Levin is astounded by this performance.  Wouldn't it be better for her just to take the hit for supporting Spitzer's plan and move on? The most troubling aspect of this incident, for Democrats, isn't that Hillary can't finesse an issue as well as her husband--we knew that. It's the possibility that a) she panics in adversity--a point Levin emphasizes or b) she's too vain to let herself be perceived as having given a wrong answer, so she goes back to correct it even when that only compounds the damage. ... 7:20 P.M. link

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Bill Clinton wants a more extended discussion of licenses for illegals. From the A.P.:

But Bill Clinton said the issue is too complicated for sound bites.

"It's fine for Hillary and all the other Democrats to discuss Governor Spitzer's plan. But not in 30 seconds — yes, no, raise your hand," he said.

Would 30 minutes do? Have Hillary explain her extremely complicated position for 30 minutes. A conversation with the American people! That would just about do it for her. ... 

Update: HuffPo's Sam Stein on John Edwards' shift to the right on immigration, which still seems pretty tentative. The genius of the driver's license issue for Edwards is that it gives him a way to be tougher on illegals than Hillary is without requiring him to do anything as heretical as opposing "comprehensive" legalization. Hillary was very foolish to give him this opening. [She should have dissed Spitzer?--ed Yes.] ... The Edwards campaign is actually highlighting his near-mumbled rejection (on This Week) of the Spitzer plan ...  

More: Jim Pinkerton says the issue won't stop her in the primary, but he senses a Willie Hortonesque vulnerability in November. He should know (he was George H.W. Bush's opposition research director during the 1988 campaign).

... Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton reminds me a lot of Dukakis. As he was two decades ago, she's from a big state, has a lot of money, is ahead in the polls - and she's been grievously injured.

Alert reader L.S. notes one significant Dukakis/Clinton difference: Dukakis, Pinkerton notes, had "a tin ear" on Willie Horton and the prison furlough issue that "should have been a warning sign to Democrats." In contrast, Hillary clearly knew that Spitzer's licenses-for-illegals plan was unpopular--that's why she hemmed and hawed rather than endorsing it. Her problem wasn't a tin ear so much as an unwillingness to stiff an important liberal constituency--and a failure to anticipate that it might be necessary. It's not clear that this is a huge improvement. 11:28 A.M.

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... on the other hand, Hillary Clinton's never tried a defense as specious and weaselly as LAT columnist Tim Rutten's (in an attempt to avoid an embarrassing correction). ... If she did, even Huma  would laugh at her! [Cheapest Huma reference I've seen yet--ed Huma=comedy gold] ... 2:47 A.M.

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The yahoos' border fence is working: An update from the Houston Chronicle, which notes the impact on a once-booming smuggling haven in Palomas, Mexico:

"The fence has destroyed the economy here," said Fabiola Cuellar, a hardware-store clerk on the main street of Palomas who used to sell supplies to the throngs heading north from here. "Things are going back to the way they were before."

Where the fence has been completed, "it tends to elicit satisfied nods from Americans and resigned shrugs from Mexicans," saysreporter Dudley Althaus. Then there's this anecdote, from the principal of a Mexican elementary school that abuts the fence:

Then [the principal, Armando] Villasana told of a daydreaming young student who gazed out the window at the new wall during class last month.

Villasana asked the boy, What are you thinking about?

"They have built us a wall of shame, professor," the student answered.

'How is that?" Villasana asked.

"It's shame because people have to leave our country to find work," the boy responded.

No wonder Mexican politicians hate the fence. If it ever gets finished, they might be called on to deliver a reformed economy. ... [via The Corner] 2:08 A.M link

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John Edwards does not want you to think about his courageous wife ("If you're looking for heroes, don't look to me. Don't look to Elizabeth."):Reason's Dave Weigel on the increasingly smarmy John Edwards' latest exploitation of his wife's illness:

"And Elizabeth and I decided in the quiet of a hospital room." Subtle. "After 12 hours of tests and after getting very bad news." Even subtler. His wife has cancer. "We're not going to quietly go away. Instead we're going to go out there and fight for what it is we believe."

You know, Mitt Romney's wife has multiple sclerosis. Obviously that's not going to shorten her life the way Elizabeth Edwards' cancer will shorten hers. But it's the kind of thing that could stir up sympathy and handkerchief-clutching out there in Iowa and New Hampshire, and the Romneys only ever talk about it when asked. There's no TV ad pimping her illness. If Romney has no emotions, than Edwards has only the basest ones. There's not enough Lysol on the eastern seaboard to scrub his slime away.

[via Influence Peddler] 1:46 A.M. link

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Monday, November 5, 2007

New York Times editorial page editor Andrew Rosenthal says  that being top editor of the Times has made Bill Keller "crazier." ... He also describes publisher Pinch Sulzberger as more involved in editorials than I'd thought:

He might call and say, "What about this?" He makes suggestions: "I'd like this, I'd like that." I'm free to say I think that's a bad idea. But he is my boss so I have to defend it.

That explains a lot. ... 12:35 P.M.

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Zell Hill Dis:L.A. Times/Tribune owner-to-be Sam Zell  uses "a four-letter obscenity to describe" Mrs. Clinton, reports Connie Bruck. ... Is there another four letter obscenity, or is it that one? ... "Coot!" She's an old coot. That must be it. ... 11:43 A.M.

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The Dem's Big Mystery: It seems like only  months   ago we were told the immigration issue was splitting Republicans. Now it's E.J. Dionne  wringing his hands about the

worry among Democrats that Republicans are ready to use impatience with illegal immigration to win back voters dissatisfied with the status quo.

What's changed? Well,  President Bush--the main politician doing the GOP-splitting--is leaving the scene. The Republican electorate seems to have decisively turned against his illegal-immigrant semi-amnesty. Result: No more split! But the powerful GOP anti-legalization sentiment was obviously latent even in 2006. The MSM just chose not to notice.

Anti-legalization sentiment has also been manifestly latent among Democratic voters--including, but not limited to, unskilled workers whose wages have been suppressed by immigrant competition. What's odd, then, is that the Dems now aren't split. They're only terrified! The Dem presidential candidates who might appeal to anti-legalization opinion--and thereby split the party--all seem paralyzed by their desire not to offend Latinos. 

Hmm. The last successful Democratic presidential candidate defied his party's dogma on a central issue (welfare) at the risk, it was thought, of offending key interest groups (blacks, liberals). Is there no current candidate willing to do the same on immigration? You'd think someone in the 2008 field would make the move, just for strategic reasons. ... John Edwards may be edging there: On ABC's This Week he came out against N.Y. Gov. Spitzer's illegal-immigrant driver's-license plan. But he only did it sotto voce, after prompting, and after emphasizing his support for "comprehensive" reform (i.e. legalization). ...

Update:RCP's buried Politics Nation blog says Edwards "admitted that his position on the issue is the same as Clinton's." No he didn't. Like Clinton, he's all for "comprehensive reform." But he did eventually say that absent "comprehensive reform" (i.e. semi-amnesty) he was against the Spitzer plan. He also added that even after semi-amnesty there would be immigrants "not making any effort to become an American citizen," and said he "would not give them a drivers license." This latter position is nonsensical--after "comprehensive" reform won't there still be legal immigrants who choose not to become citizens, and shouldn't they be allowed to drive?--but it's not Hillary's position. And it at least acknowledged that immigrant driver's licenses would still be an issue after "comprehensive" reform. ... Jackie Calmes of the WSJ also echoes what looks like bogus Clinton-camp spin  on Edwards' answer.. ...

P.S.: Dionne eventually dismisses anti-illegal-immigration sentiment with a classic paleolib device:

Yet at a moment when the electorate is very angry, it's not surprising that some voters are channeling their discontent through the immigration issue. It's happened before in our history. [E.A.]

Of course, pre-Clinton Democrats also dismissed voter anger on the welfare issue as displaced discontent about economic stagnation (when they weren't dismissing it as plain old racism). Welfare recipients were "scapegoats," we were told. Then it turned out that the voters who were angry at welfare were angry at welfare. It's just possible, as Michael Barone suggests, that the voters who are angry at illegal immigration are angry at illegal immigration. ... 1:49 A.M. link

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Today's Google Alert Special: Mike at Geek Buffet updates the farcical caucus procedures  that will enable Iowa Democrats to exercise their proven bad judgment undemocratically. Hint: Grinnell College groundskeepers loom as a pivotal demographic group. ... 9:08 P.M.

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kf Helps You Through Your Day: Daylight Savings Time is over. The clock people and the sun people will converge counterproductively on the highways during tomorrow's evening rush hour. Stay away. ... 8:44 P.M.

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Friday, November 2, 2007

What box? A ridiculous Howie Kurtz attempt to  describe Hillary as some kind of gender victim  because she's being criticized for playing the gender victim:

But it can be harder for a woman -- especially a potential commander in chief -- to project toughness without being seen as harsh and shrill. And at the moment the press seems to have put the New York senator in something of a box: If she complains about rough treatment, she's acting like a whiny daughter who's had her Barbie taken away.

The way out of this "box" is to stop acting like a whiny daughter who's hade her Barbie taken away! It's never attractive for a frontrunner, male or female, to complain about "rough treatment," especially if it comes in the form of mere questioning--and Russert's illegal-license question was standard fare. Adding an implicit gender charge to the Hillary response didn't make it any better. (By attempting to get away with something--complaining--that male pols can't get away with, she arguably made it worse: a claim of special privilege.) ... In other words, Hillary's damned if she does complain. But she's not damned if she doesn't complain. Indeed, not complaining seems like an easy way to project toughness without being seen as "harsh and shrill." ... Hillary could resort to the standard damage-control techniques available to all public figures: Restating her position, changing the subject, waiting for what was a minor bad episode to blow over, etc. Instead her well-paid team of pros turned it into a semi-major bad episode (in much the same way they turned an Elizabeth McCaughey article in a small magazine into a disastrous turning point in the 1994 health care debate). That wasn't the press' doing or the consequence of any special female dilemma. ... 1:43 P.M. link

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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Depth Charge: Jonah Goldberg reports that his email box is filling up with theories about stories that would fit the bill of a "potentially devastating sexual scandal involving a leading Presidential candidate" that Ron Rosenbaum hears the LAT is sitting on.  Rosenbaum's post seems to be functioning as a sort of depth charge that threatens to bring all the various rumored scandals about all the candidates to the surface. It would be funny if they all turned out to be true! And then the initial rumor Rosenbaum wrote about--that the LAT is sitting on something--turned out to be not true! ... I'm not saying that's the case. I'm just saying that would be funny. ... In any case, the campaign certainly needed a depth charge. ... Let all the scandals that lurk in the mud hatch out. ... [What's to stop some blogger from doing this in every campaign?--ed Nothin'. I assume depth-charging will become a permanent feature of electoral politics. They tell me the Internet has changed things! Is there a problem? The true rumors will be confirmed and the phony rumors won't be confirmed. But it will be harder to suppress the former. Isn't the purpose of primary campaigns to find out everything about the candidates before they are nominated?] 1:42 P.M. link

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Glad She Cleared That Up!

"A Day Later, Clinton Embraces Spitzer's License Effort" **

THat's the headline on Adam Nagourney's NYT account  of Hillary's post-debate press release. But it turns out it all depends on what the meaning of "effort" is! Here's what Nagourney actually says about Clinton's second-day clarification of her "muddled and hesitant" (his words) illegal-immigrantdriver's-license position in Tuesday's debate:

"Senator Clinton supports governors like Governor Spitzer who believe they need such a measure to deal with the crisis caused by this administration's failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform,'" her campaign said.

Mrs. Clinton's aides said her statement was intended to signal that she broadly supported Mr. Spitzer's goal of awarding driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. Mr. Spitzer initially proposed a blanket program of awarding full-fledged driver's licenses to illegal immigrants; in the face of sharp opposition from the Legislature, he backed off and presented a two-tier program system of awarding licenses to illegal immigrants.

Mrs. Clinton's advisers said that she had not studied either plan, and was not specifically endorsing either of them. [E.A.]

She supports the "governors" and the "goal" but isn't endorsing the actual "plan." Nothing "muddled and hesitant" there! It's not even clear if--while she supports the governors who "believe" they need the plan--she agrees with those beliefs. ...

P.S.--Poor Hillary! Isn't Hillary playing the victim card  awfully early? ... Update: See Influence Peddler's roundup of pro-Hillary Tim-Russert-is-a-sexist spin, which makes her look even worse. "You want to be leader of the free world, but can't handle criticism from Dennis Kucinich and Chris Dodd?" ... K-Lo has sound advice  against going "diva," noting that National Review's conservative livebloggers thought Hillary's overall debate performance was good. ... You get the impression that Hillary has funded a massive crisis-counterattack bureaucracy that's itching to swing into action even when a calm non-response would be more effective. There's a word for that: Lehaneism! ... See also: Wise words from The Cardinal  ...

Although it is their spastic instinct whenever attacked, I think Das Hillary Apparat is making a big mistake with this ridiculous battered-candidate defense. To win, HRC needs to be more than a gender candidate. Yet this whining is a quick retreat into that limiting corner.

P.P.S.: Remember, even were "comprehensive immigration reform" and its mass-legalization provision to pass, there would still be illegal immigrants who come later or don't meet its requirements. States would still have to decide whether to give these illegals driver's licenses. When Clinton says, in her release, that "comprehensive immigration reform ... would make this unnecessary," she's dissembling a bit. ... The bigger issue, of course, is whether an embrace of "comprehensive immigration reform" is the general election posture Clinton wants. As one of The Corner's readers succently puts it:

Illegal immigration could be the issue that manages to separate the GOP both from the Dems and from President Bush.

Dems Carville and Greenberg try to sound the warning. Note that in their survey "40 percent of Democrats and a majority of African-Americans" support, not "comprehensive reform," but a "tougher Republican alternative that provided no path to legalization." And, as Jim Geraghty notes, independent voters are more upset about illegals than Iraq! ... [E.A.]

**--Headline corrected; I had erroneously put "endorses" instead of "embraces."  1:21 A.M. link

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Missing Mexcians, Part XVIII:Instapundit observes the changing American workforce  firsthand. ... 12:44 P.M.

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The conservatives at The Corner sense general election vulnerability  in Hillary's it-makes-sense-but-I-don't-support-it answer on Gov. Spitzer's plan to issue drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. (Video here.) She loses her calm and gets mildly imperious. ... Hillary does quite consistently and unflipfloppily say she supports "comprehensive immigration reform."  But a) even if no Democrat will call her on that (as Dodd called her on the drivers' license issue) a Republican might. Unfortunately for Republicans, only one of their top five contenders (Thompson) is well-positioned as a clear opponent of "comprehensive" reform's mass legalization plan. And b) even after that mass legalization, there would still be illegal immigrants--those who come in after the law's cutoff date or who don't comply with its other requirements. Do they get driver's licenses or not? The license issue wouldn't be made to disappear by "comprehensive reform,"  despite Hillary's implicit assertion that it would. ... 3:31 A.M. link

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Who said bloggingheads.tv isn't classy. ... Sorry. wrong link. I meant classy. ... 2:31 A.M.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rosenbaum's Political Physics: Do you ever sense there is some large mass of dark matter, an unseen Scandal Star, the gravitational pull of which is warping the coverage of what seems, on the surface, a pretty dull presidential race? I do. So does Ron Rosenbaum. I thought the Dark Star was the Edwards affair allegation.  But Rosenbaum says  "everyone in the elite Mainstream media" knows about another juicy scandal  that the LAT is supposedly sitting on. I guess this is proof that I'm not in the elite, because I don't know what he's talking about. ... My vestigial Limbaugh gland tells me it must involve a Democrat, or else the Times would have found a reason to print it. ... P.S.: If it's just Richardson, that will be very disappointing. ...  3:16 P.M. link

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"Gosh, I'm Bitchy Today" [used in Tuesday morning's headline] is a quote from a memorable Cathy Seipp post. ... 3:33 A.M.

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In explaining Mike Huckabee's appeal, Fred Siegel argues:

[T]he deeply religious former Southern Democrats who have migrated into the GOP camp make for an uneasy fit with traditional Republican business interests. It's not surprising then that a new Bryan—of sorts—has arisen to represent an important if relatively recent GOP constituency.

Good theory! Except that on illegal immigration, one of the two main issues on which Huckabee is under fire from the right (which correctly views him as "soft"), Huckabee lines up with traditional Republican business interests and against the non-rich populist Southern Democrats.  Objectively, as a Marxist might say. But also subjectively--I doubt "former Southern Democrats" were a center of passionate support for the Bush immigration semi-amnesty. More like the opposite. ...

P.S.: John Brummett of the Arkansas News Bureau on his state's former governor:

Now they're starting to come around asking about Mike Huckabee, also of our little town called Hope, our former Republican governor of 10 years. He's a glib Baptist preacher who, because of dissatisfaction with others in the field, is catching a bit of fire as a candidate for president himself. ...

So I tell them that this same Huckabee has a history of ethical shortcomings, taking outside money for speeches from anonymous benefactors and accepting numerous and expensive gifts while in office. I tell them that this same Huckabee was given as governor to lofty rhetoric but not the essential hard work of policy detail. I relate that this same Huckabee can be petulant, huffy and irresponsibly hyperbolic against critics. [E.A]

12:20 A.M.

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"I wrote a piece about race and indie rock that ran in the magazine a couple weeks ago. Perhaps you read it." How full of himself is Sasha Frere-Jones? ... 12:08 A.M.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Mounting a possibly preemptive bid to become the First Twit Fired by ZellL.A. Times columnist Tim Rutten decries the "mob rule" of the blogosphere in an article (about the Beauchamp affair) that turns out to be a hideous festival of error, including an important fact Rutten gets wrong at the beginning of his piece and right at the end. ... Patterico prosecutes. ... 11:45 P.M.

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Sorry, E.J.: Rasmussen says the "Dream Act" is a 59%-22% loser with the public. His robo-poll question's wording seems neutral enough:

Should children of illegal immigrants be given legal status if they complete two years of college or military service?

3:17 P.M.

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Red Sox Sweep: Another blow to my favorite defunct unknown lo-fi indie group, In-Flight Movie, whose pre-2004 signature song "Joseph Cotten"  was premised on a continuing curse. ... P.S.: It's still good! Builds to a rhetorical climax. ... 2:18 P.M.

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A political reporter for leading news web site emails to suggest that Slate's John Dickerson was righter than I'd thought about Fred Thompson:

Based on the speech Saturday night, his campaign is already dead and someone forget to inform him and Jeri. It was as vacuous and lifeless as it could have been. Astoundingly bad. "Sound common sense conservative principles" but no call to action, no memorable lines whatsoever.

While the speech was more forcefully delivered than other recent Thompson appearances, it was also a vintage example of his Hound Dog Macho. The slow-talking, 6-foot-5, late-starting candidate hulked over the lectern and began with this self-deprecating riff, "All of you men out there enjoying a full head of hair -- enjoy it while you can."

There was little memorable in the address that followed ... The Des Moines Register only quoted Thompson's attempt to ballyhoo his right-from-the-start credentials: "I was a conservative yesterday, my friends. I am a conservative today. And I will be a conservative tomorrow."

Watching Thompson Saturday night, I realized how old-fashioned his podium style and his mannerisms are as a candidate. He sounded like a long-ago Southern senator from Central Casting ...

Thompson is a work in progress, a candidate who has yet to test his theoretical appeal through sustained personal campaigning.

I'm sticking with 'the door is still open.' ... 1: 47 P.M. link

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In 1996, its pregnancy rate for [females age 15-19] was 164.5 per 1,000. Appalled by the triple digits, a coalition of nonprofit groups and city agencies began reaching out to various communities, holding public discussions and trying to teach parents how to talk to their children about love, sex and relationships. ... Advocates vowed to reduce the rate to the mid-70s by 2005. Instead, as statistics released this month show, it plunged to 64.4. [E.A]

Did something happen in 1996? Might be worth mentioning! Not to take anything away from "coalitions of non-profit groups ... reaching out," but one of the post-1996 things they could "teach parents" to tell their children was "welfare won't necessarily be there for you if you have a baby." (Though I suspect parents didn't need "advocates" to learn that.) ... 7:11 A.M.

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Sunday, October 28, 2007

I just ran into a reader who couldn't figure out how to bookmark this blog. The best permanent bookmark is still www.kausfiles.com  ... 3:09 A.M.

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HuffPo's Thomas Edsall reports that Hillary is going to try to knock Obama out in Iowa, where she currently holds a narrow plurality lead in the RCP average of polls  with about 28% of the vote. This means she really needs Edwards in the race to split the anti-Hillary vote. If you make the extreme assumption that the Obama (24%) and Edwards (21%) votes are all anti-Hillary votes, then she'd currently lose to a Unified Anti-Hillary Candidate 10-15 points. ... [Couldn't you just as well say she needs Obama in the race?--ed I guess I could. I don't know why I put it that way!] ...  1:40 A.M.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Op-ed piece waiting to happen--The Three Surges: Will three surges late in his term salavage Bush's presidency? 1) Petraeus' 'surge' in Iraq; 2) Bernanke's rate-cutting liquidity surge to prevent the economy from sliding into recession; 3) The new border enforcement surge, which might tighten the unskilled labor market so the economy looks good from the bottom as well as the top (and save Bush from whiffing completely on a signature issue)? .. It's a hack construct, but somebody's got to do it! ... Assigned to: George Will, David Gergen, David Brooks, David Ignatius, all the Davids. ... [link via Drudge] 2:27 P.M. link

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McCain's Governor Gambit: According to Powerline, John McCain told a blogger conference call

that he would have voted against cloture [for the DREAM immigrant legalization bill] because he "got the message" this summer that Americans want the border secured before we "go on to the rest." McCain would deem parts of the border secure when the governor of the relevant state so certifies. [E.A.]

But if--as border fence opponents constantly remind us-- nearly half of illegal immigrants are here because they overstay visas, not because they sneak cross the border, why should the governors of border states be the ones who decide if the borders are secure? ... Who would propose such an illogical arrangement? a) A candidate who wants the borders declared "secure" as quickly as possible, whether illegal immigration has actually been curtailed or not?  b) A candidate who wants the borders declared "secure" as quickly as possible and knows border state governors who have large Hispanic constituencies (e.g. Bill Richardson) are likely to do that? c) A candidate who not-so-secretly thinks the Americans who gave him the "message" this summer are yahoo idiots who identify illegal immigration only with the Mexican border? ... Multiple answers are accepted. ... P.S.: I'm continually amazed by the Cheap Date Conservatives I run into who think McCain has somehow convincingly changed on immigration. ... 2:27 A.M. link

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Saw the movie Michael Clayton last week. It did not present a realistically scary picture of modern American corporate culture. (Do you really think lawyers would kill for, say, Monsanto? I don't.) On the other hand, this is a truly terrifying picture of modern American corporate culture. ... 1:07 A.M.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

In case you missed Joe Wilson's assh .... I mean, Joe Wilson's Joe Wilson moment on 60 Minutes:

Mr. JOE WILSON: It was a Mafia-like tactic. And the idea of going after your family, even in Washington, was an outrage. Nobody went after Karl Rove's family, nobody went after "Scooter" Libby's family. They went after my family.

COURIC: In all fairness, Karl Rove's wife doesn't work for the CIA.

Mr. WILSON: How do you know?

COURIC: "Scooter" Libby's wife doesn't...

Mr. WILSON: How do you know?

COURIC: ...work for the CIA.

Mr. WILSON: How do you know? How do you know?

COURIC: I don't know for sure.

Mr. WILSON: Yeah, you don't know.

COURIC: But I think it's a safe assumption.

P.S.: It's a safe assumption because it would naturally have come out by now, even in the ordinary natural course of Internet-driven gossip about Rove. That's why Wilson should have known that when he wrote his op-ed piece that it would probably result in the outing of his wife. He's angry because, at some level, he knows he's guilty. ... Bonus: Joe Biden's James Watson moment? ...  10:46 P.M.

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Let's see Al Gore III get this over 100: Here's  what the Scion xB should have looked like. ... Weird and threatening in a way that could become endearing. ...P.S.: It's a plug-in hybrid. ... 7:47 P.M.

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Can Iowa County Chairmen be wrong? I'm all for anecdotal evidence, but my colleague John Dickerson's case for why Fred Thompson has "about a week to save" ** his campaign seems awfully thin, consisting mainly of one disgruntled Iowa County chair (and another who says ambiguously that Thompson "may be a disappointment"). This in a week in which Thompson unveiled a tough, detailed  anti-legalization immigration plan that was anything but "muddled." Given the shaky Giuliani and Romney positions on this salient issue (and McCain's prior diametrically opposed stance), I smell traction potential! ... P.S.:Slate's own poll chart shows Thompson continuing to gain in Iowa  and zooming ahead in South Carolina.. But, hey, he has one week! ...

**--This is a quote from the absurd Slate headline to Dickerson's piece. Dickerson himself says "a door feels like it's closing for Thompson." ...

Update: Jay Cost suggests that Thompson's doing badly in the "perpetual campaign"--the daily news cycle the professionals and pundits and the MSM pay attention to--but doing OK in the "real campaign" for voters. That gets close to my complaint about Dickerson's door-is-closing conclusion (as well as Slate's hyped-up heds). True, Dickerson's not reporting the CW buzz in Mark Halperin's "Gang of 500"--he's reporting real buzz among real people in primary states outside the Beltway. But he's applying a political cadre's accelerated and narrowed set of expectations (e.g., who's winning over the people who show up at events now). I just don't believe that Iowa county chairpersons know today which way the actual mass of voters is going to jump two months from now--or that the actual mass of voters knows. Even if they're madly buzzing about Huckabee this week.  If anything, the Feiler Faster Thesis  suggests that it's possible to pack more drama into a two month period than it was in previous campaigns--meaning a candidate like Thompson has, in effect, more time to make up for missed opportunities. At some point, for example, conservative voters may actually compare Huckabee's immigration views with Thompson's! Crazy, I know. But certainly the door is open. ...

More-- Nostradamus speaks! As if to provide parodic grist for Cost, Weekly Standard'sFred Barnes doesn't even give Thompson a week, writing him off  because a) he hasn't raised enough money yet and b) Frank Luntz's focus groups 'liked him 'but they don't see the passion.'" ... In other words, because Thompson hasn't already sealed the deal with conservatives, Reagan-style, he hasn't produced a "credible scenario leading to the nomination." This would be more persuasive if one of the other candidates had sealed the deal, Reagan-style. Actually, had Reagan himself even sealed the deal at this point in 1979? I don't think so. 2:55 P.M. link

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Does Hillary--and by extension, Bill --Clinton really want Radar magazine to  get in a gossip war with Page Six  involving Bill's bachlor buddy Ron Burkle?  Even if Burkle wins, Page Six might get in some shots  that wouldn't make for a happy news cycle in Hillaryland. This isn't an area she wants lots of reporters nosing around in! If Burkle is one of Radar's owners, as often-rumored, his magazine isn't doing Hillary any favors. ... P.S.: But Burkle has Gawker to defend him! Hillary no doubt takes comfort in that. ... 12:07 P.M.

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In a desperate bid for respectability, the struggling New York Times has begun an association with the prestigious bloggingheads.tv start-up.  David Corn puts on a jacket and tie for the occasion. ... 11:29 A.M.

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