Bloggers wonder whether anyone can beat Mark Warner in Virginia. They also speculate as to why Japan's prime minister resigned and try to be optimistic about Jon Stewart hosting the Oscars again.
Another day, another Warner: Former Virgina Gov. Mark Warner announced Thursday that he'll try for outgoing Sen. John Warner's seat, setting off a flurry of speculation about who the GOP will run against him.
Matthew Yglesias says he doesn't get the Warner mystique: "I'm not really a Mark Warner fan. I am, however, strongly inclined to take what I can get in terms of Democratic pickups in southern states." Commenting at Ygelesias' blog, Glen Tomkins explains the appeal: "[H]is popularity in my state is undoubtedly given a huge boost by the contrast with his predecessors. If you ever wonder why Warner is so liked by Virginians, just think of Jim Gilmore and George Allen, and stop wondering."
Blogger Seanmight want to Save The GOP, but he's being pragmatic for now: "Liberal Republican Rep. Tom Davis and former Gov. Jim Gilmore are expected to battle for the right to lose to Warner. Some are pushing Rep. Eric Cantor for the seat. With all due respect to Cantor, I don't think we can beat Warner next year and I'd like him to stick around in the House. We might lose in '08, but we don't have to give the Democrats any more open seat targets than they already have."
Maybe the GOP needn't get so glum quite yet. "Warner's a centrist, not a partisan, and my guess is that this will turn a lot of people off who had previously 'loved' Mark Warner," writes liberal Matt Stoller at Open Left. "If the Republicans can find a candidate, I think he's going to have a bumpier ride than expected. He'll still win, in all likelihood, but he's going to be a bad Senator."
And Markos Moulitsas at liberal Daily Kos, looking at the state's other races, supposed that not everyone in the GOP was whimpering: "About the only Republican happy today is George 'Macaca' Allen, who is eyeing the 2009 gubernatorial contest. With Warner probably out of the picture, his chances for a comeback are much greater." Also looking at other races is the Politico's Ben Smith: "So if he's running for Senate, that opens the veepstakes a bit wider, right? Anybody want to offer some truly irresponsible speculation?"
"Abe never found his footing as leader of his party or the nation," Clay Chandler explains Abe's downfall at Fortune's Asia blog, Chasing the Dragon. "His cabinet appointees were plagued by scandal. His nationalistic political agenda and phlegmatic personal style left Japanese voters cold. Abe is the scion of one of Japan's most august political dynasties. But he proved his tin ear for politics by refusing to resign following his Liberal Democratic Party's crushing defeat in this summer's upper house election."
Bill Sakovich, an English translator living Japan, writes at Ampontan that he was confused by Abe's resignation: "[M]y impression can be summed up in the Japanese phrase, fu ni ochinai. Literally, that means '(It) doesn't fall into the bowels' … something doesn't make sense, not least in this case because he has to know he's going to get raked hellaciously over the coals by friend and foe alike."
The Liberal Democratic Party has said it will name Abe's successor Sept. 23, but the party is beleaguered, and the job probably won't be much fun. Chicagoan Tobias Harris charts the future at Observing Japan: "The LDP is in trouble, but Mr. Abe's unexpectedly hasty exit gives the party a chance to select someone who can communicate with the public, earn the trust of the Japanese people, and move an agenda forward in cooperation with the DPJ. Indeed, the DPJ might be the biggest loser from Mr. Abe's early departure, provided that the LDP's next president is an improvement on the hapless Mr. Abe."
Read more about Abe's resignation.
The Oscars Show With Jon Stewart: Jon Stewart will host the Oscars in 2008. (He first hosted in 2006.) Bloggers say they love the guy, but many could think of someone better for the job.
Celebrity snarkist Defamer will give him a shot: "[H]e was profoundly unlucky in drawing the coveted assignment in a year irretrievably tainted by a Crash Best Picture win."
At TV Squad, Joel Keller wonders why Stewart even took the job, and also wonder "why critics think that any Oscar host, whether he or she is edgy or not, should be held up to the same standards that they're held up to when they perform in their respective acts or shows. … It's a no-win for most comedians. ..."
John Campea at The Movie Blog is elated that Ellen Degeneres isn't hosting again. Nonetheless, he thinks the academy could do better than Stewart: "[H]e's still just a TV personality. … [T]he biggest night on the movie industry's calendar, where they celebrate movies and the movie world... SHOULD BE HOSTED BY A MOVIE PERSONALITY. Call me crazy. Bring in George Clooney to host it... or bring Steve Martin back … Heck... get Kevin Smith to host the damn thing if you want to shake things up. I was just hoping for something a little different."
Read more about Jon Stewart hosting the Oscars.