Sometimes an NPR show can upend your expectations and convince you that ordinary Americans can be brilliant observers and even entertainers. StoryCorpsis not that show, I think. Every story I've heard on it has been lame. When do the grants run out? ... 2:51 A.M.
Giuliani, the New Ideas Candidate? Sara Mosle recently reminded everyone of a key, overlooked moment in Giuliani's career: after his prostate cancer diagnosis, he decided to employ New York City's trademark Comp Stat policing technique to "aggressively recruit greater numbers of uninsured children for coverage under two existing government-run programs: Medicaid and Child Health Plus." Mosle--and later Sara Kershaw of the NYT--used this incident to paint Giuliani as a hypocritical candidate. It seems to me it shows why he's a formidable candidate.
1) It's a great idea, and great politics--combining a liberal desire to insure children with the conservative insight that the reason many kids aren't signed up isn't lack of funding but parental screwup. The benefits are there for the taking, they're just not being taken. So Giuliani will track down the parents using the same computerized maps he uses to hunt down criminals! It's compassionate. It's conservative. And it's innovative.
2) Giuliani's now in the GOP primaries. He doesn't talk about his children's insurance initiative. When it comes to health care, as Mosle notes, he's "tried to change the subject." He attacks "socialized medicine." But does that preclude him returning to the "Health Stat" idea in the general election--and winning over swing voters with it? I don't think so.. Medicaid and Child Health Plus are programs for those who can't afford regular health insurance. That's not "socialized medicine." Giuliani can say he supports signing up those who are poor enough for existing programs but he doesn't want to expand eligibility further up the income ladder.
3) Giuliani's Health Stat initiative, originating in his May 2000 news conference, gives the lie to the widely held notion that he was a politically dead before 9/11 revived him. It humanized him, and it seems likes the sort of fresh initiative that can win you a third term (if you're not term-limited).
2:19 A.M. link
About that AT&T ad (sometimes at the top of this page): If home is in Kansas, and fun takes you to California, but work leads to Kentucky, then don't you live in Kanifucky? AT&T says "Kanifky." Weak! ... 12:48 P.M.
FR: For the next 45 days, until the caucuses take place there, the Democratic presidential race will be all about Iowa. ...[snip] ... One of two things will happen in Iowa on January 3: Either Clinton wins, and she steamrolls through the primaries on the way to the nomination. Or she doesn't, and the candidate with a majority of the advantages -- in polls, in endorsements, and with the most famous last name in the Democratic Party -- looks vulnerable and it becomes a two-person fight to the finish with the candidate who wins
kf: There is an obvious third thing that could easily happen before the 45 days are up. In, say, 25 days, with Hillary behind by 10 points and not gaining ground, she starts deemphasizing the state--pulling out staff, campaigning elsewhere, effectively conceding Iowa and choosing to make her stand in other states. Humiliating, but not as humiliating as trying and losing--and Hillary is a cautious type. She also doesn't seem like a late surger. Her aides will convince her she doesn't need Iowa to win--focusing on Iowa in the first place was just an attempt to land a knockout punch. The punch having missed, she'll settle in for the full 15 rounds. ... She could even make some mischief by having some of her Iowa troops vote for the anti-Hillary candidate she wants to keep alive (who looks like Edwards at the moment but may look like Obama by January)..
FR: [A]fter Obama's less-than-stellar debate performance late last week, one can sense another one of those momentum switches. His campaign screamed to the top of its lungs after Bob Novak reported that the Clinton campaign was sitting on allegedly scandalous material on Obama. ... [snip] ... About the only good news for Obama this weekend is that the spat over the Novak story did appear to change the subject from the debate.
kf: Huh? Did the Novak story, and Obama's instant reaction, really make Obama look bad? I thought it made HIllary's campaign look bad. And it means that if any dirt on Obama does come out, it will look like Hillary was the source--hurting her as well as him in goody-goody Iowa. (Remember when Dukakis had to fire his campaign manager after the latter was outed as the source of a perfectly legitimate hit on Joe Biden?) The promise of blowback makes it much less likely that the dirt, if any, will be dropped.** Obama was daring and shrewd to draw attention to Novak, no?
**--Though if Edwards has dirt on Obama, he might be able to drop it and have Hillary take the blame--a twofer. My guess, though, is that Edwards is in no position to start a scandal war.