The Dems' Great Hispanic Savior fails to appear.

The Dems' Great Hispanic Savior fails to appear.

The Dems' Great Hispanic Savior fails to appear.

A mostly political Weblog.
Nov. 10 2002 1:40 PM

Salvation Postponed

Hispanics fail to ride to the Democrats' rescue yet again.

The Fort-Worth Star-Telegram reports "RISE IN MINORITY VOTING IS SLIGHT." ... After all the fuss (including some in this space) about the Democrats' "Dream Team" boosting turnout in Texas,

[F]or all Texas counties that are 75 percent or more Hispanic, including populous El Paso and Cameron counties, turnout nudged upwards by 4 points.

The WSJ twists this failure of the Great Hispanic Savior to appear into a PC piece about how Hispanic candidates are somehow denied their rightful share of seats due to old-boy gerrymandering. But if you scan the chart accompanying the piece, it sure looks as if the percentage of Hispanics in any state's congressional delegation is almost precisely the same as the Hispanic share of the actual vote in that state (as opposed to the Hispanic share of the population, which is higher because Hispanics don't vote in high percentages, as the story notes). ... At this rate, Hispanics will manage to gain political power for only a brief period before we're all taken over by the robots. ...Actually, the robots may get there first. ... P.S.: For excellent background on the Diaz-Balart family, which now holds two seats in Congress, see Ann Louise Bardach's Cuba Confidential. The Diaz-Balarts are the old dynastic rivals of Fidel Castro, Castro having married a Diaz-Balart, Mirta.  As Bardach tells it, when Castro was in a Cuban prison in the early 1950's, Mirta's brother, Rafael, was Deputy Minister of the Interior and could read the censored prison mail. He took a letter Castro wrote to his mistress and put it in the envelope for Mirta. And he took the letter to Mirta and put it in the envelope to Castros' mistress. This did not enhance the Castro-Diaz-Balart marriage, which soon ended in divorce and bitterness. ... 6:09 P.M.


I agree with most of what TNR editor Peter Beinart says in his recrimination rumination. But in a paragraph that struck me as wishful thinking on a near-delusive scale, Beinart calls for a Democratic

agenda that challenges the president's indifference to post-war reconstruction in Afghanistan and Iraq and challenges [Bush's] refusal to fully fund homeland security and act aggressively to secure loose nuclear materials throughout the globe. And that agenda will allow Democratic candidates to compete in the many foreign policy-dominated elections to come.

Not that we shouldn't reconstruct Afghanistan. But "Let's Get Afghanistan Moving Again" is probably not an election-winner. ..

One searches Beinart's essay in vain to discover what, exactly, is his big beef with President Bush. It can't just be that TNR preferred owner Marty Peretz's friend Al Gore in 2000, and that with Gore removed there's ... fully funding homeland security! ... Note to Beinart (and Noonan): Isn't universal health insurance the important issue over which the parties differ? Isn't it also the obvious bridge between the two warring "camps" of the Democrats --an issue that can appeal to the left wing of the party, obviating the need to depart from the center on "crime, welfare, race"? Health insurance isn't just an issue for the poor, but for middle class people threatened with a risk of bankruptcy and a near-certain nightmare of forms and bureaucrats and buried loopholes.


If not that, what? .... 1:20 A.M.

Thursday, November 7, 2002

Good Notetoday, especially #5 and #10. Exhaustion makes for concise blogging! ...I forgot, they're not a blog. ... Actually, here's an interesting exercise: Compare today's Note (written by ABC News) with today's front-page "news analysis" by the NYT's Johnny AppleWhich piece of writing gives you more insight and info? Which wastes less of your time? Which is more entertaining? It's not even close. ...True, Apple does report that

How much Mr. Bush will be able to achieve on Capitol Hill remains to be seen.

which is a valuable insight. Many things remain to be seen, and it's good for the NYT every now and then to remind us of this.  Newspapers too often become mere tools to tell us what has actually happened, as opposed to what has not happened yet. As for the Democrats' predicament, "There were no quick, easy answers." How true!


But Apple's article was not all dead-obvious bloviation. It also contained this extraordinary bit of "news analysis" regarding Terry McAuliffe:

Mr.McAuliffe is also linked to former President Bill Clinton, whose centrist policies, once highly successful, are now seen as a handicap to a party in need of a better defined identity.

Seen by whom? Who, exactly, says Clintonite centrism is a handicap? The people in the next booth at Kinkead's? Isn't there a whole wing of the Democratic party that "sees" Clinton's centrist policies as the key to a Democratic comeback? If Apple were writing a straight opinion piece, as opposed to a slippery fish-nor-fowl "analysis," wouldn't he have to defend (or at least explain) this assertion? ... Apple doesn't even bother with the device, used earlier in his piece, in which "many well-known figures" were said to be "questioning" Tom Daschle's decision to oppose Bush's Homeland Security plan. That means the people who see Clinton's centrist policies as a handicap may not even be "well known" -- or "Top Democratic handicappers" or even plain "disgruntled Democrats," two other anonymous groups Apple cites. (Nor do they appear to be Apple's traditional wise, unseen critics, "old Kennedy hands.") ...

What's more, blaming centrism --  when a) Clinton picked up House seats in three of the four elections in his term; b) Gore ran left and lost; and c) Clinton pursued universal health insurance, which could easily provide a nice, defined identity to contrast with the Republicans -- looks suspiciously like something that we now know from Apple does not exist. It looks like an easy answer. ...11:51 P.M.


The problem wasn't the polls: The LAT points to the ongoing problem with pre-election polls -- the declining "response rate," which means people who hang up the phone. "If the response rates go under 20%, it will be impossible to claim that we have a representative sample," says Zogby. We'll see if he packs up shop when this happens. ... But this anti-polling article gets written every year. The problem with the 2002 election wasn't that the polls were wrong. At least four polls (CBS/NYT, USAT/Gallup/CNN, Ipsos-Reid/Cook, and Zogby) picked up the late pro-GOP surge. For some reason -- and not just liberal wishful thinking -- nobody except RCP believed them. Why? Three theories: 1) They all personally received phone calls from Karl Rove downplaying GOP prospects; 2) They were so locked in to the idea of a "50-50 nation" that they resisted discordant data. 3) They haven't adjusted to a "Faster" universe in which big things happen in the last few hours, as opposed to the last few days  They'd written their lede paragraphs, or TV intros, a day in advance before going out to dinner -- on old, Slower time -- and didn't want to have to redo them. ... P.S.: The Minnesota senate campaign does seem like a perfect illustration of the Feiler Faster Principle. It took five days, but felt like a month. And the voters seem to have been able to make a considered decision. ..11:18 A.M.

More Tax Cuts, Long and Short:: TNR's Jonathan Cohn  argues that the Democrats should unite -- and should have united -- behind a push for short-term stimulus (as advocated below). Cohn feels Democrats can do that and still criticize the big, long-term Bush tax cut -- though he does at least touch on the difficulty of arguing "Bush's deferred tax cut was irresponsible, that's why we need our immediate tax cut!" That's especially difficult, he notes, when the Bush plan included (or quickly came to include) at least some short-term tax relief. (Cohn would have the Democrats try to argue, in effect, "But that part was our idea!" But who cares? Bush embraced it.)  ... Isn't it better just to save the economy now, and repeal the long-term tax cut later, before it takes effect? Even if you concede the Dems should argue both points, the intensity of Democratic rhetoric (especially in the current, recriminatory phase) is 95% directed against the long-term tax cuts and 5% in favor of short-term stimulus -- when the proportions would more appropriately be reversed.... 2:46 A.M.

It's a "53-47 Nation" ... at least for this mid-term election. UPI's Steve Sailer does the math, adding up total votes for each party. The results (he ignored third party candidates):

House races: 53.5 % Republican/46.6% Democratic

Senate races: 52.2% Republican/47.8% Democratic

Governor's races: 52.8% Republican/ 47.2% Democratic


Not a landslide. But a non-trivial 6-7 point difference -- the House measure being the most geographically comprehensive, since there weren't Senate or governor's races in every state. ... Update: But weren't there districts with unopposed Congressmen, whose constituents probably didn't vote in large numbers even though they will vote in presidential years? Sure. But as an alert kf reader notes, "The unopposed Congressmen probably hurt the GOP ... Overwhelmingly GOP districts have more voters than safe Dems because of the lower turnout among Hispanics." Which suggests that the above percentages may actually understate the pro-GOP shift -- the GOP voters who stayed home this year because their local GOP Congressperson was unopposed may go to the polls in 2004. 1:54 A.M.

Wednesday, November 6, 2002

"There is no such thing as cyberterrorism--no instance of anyone ever having been killed by a terrorist (or anyone else) using a computer." Another Why-Didn't-We-Think-Of-That Article, by Joshua Green, on the myth of cyberterrorism.... Backfill: L.A. Weekly thought of it too. ...1:00 P.M.

John Ellis graciously concedes that he was wrong when he  declared that the CNBS/NYT poll (showing a GOP surge) was "a bad poll." But then it's easy for him -- his side won. We're waiting for Adam Nagourney's mea culpa ... P.S.: Ellis has also posted a forceful and sensible post-mortem, warning against GOP overreaching. ..P.P.S.: Let the record show that RealClearPolitics accurately predicted the GOP Senate takeover  because they (correctly, it turned out) believed the surge was at least partly real. ... P.P.P.S.: Robert Musil caught another distortion in Nagourney's NYT poll coverage, and he caught it on Monday, not Wednesday.  Nagourney ignored the evidence -- in his own poll -- of Bush's positive effect on Republican fortunes. CBS News, reporting on the same joint poll, got it right.  ....11:46 A.M.

Recrimination #1: Even as the early election returns were coming in, my Democratic friends were saying, "If only we'd forcefully made an issue of Bush's tax cut like Walter Mondale did."  Adam "Paragraph 6" Nagourney also pointed to theTax Cut Recrimination in a preelection story, quoting an ex-Gore aide:

"The way to nationalize an election and make it a referendum on the Bush economy was to talk about the billion-pound elephant in the room -- the Bush tax boon for the wealthy," said Chris Lehane, a Democratic consultant. "It is the only domestic policy issue. You can't talk about the economy with any credibility without addressing the issue."

But doesn't this argument lose a certain amount of force now that Mondale himself has lost, after the very debate in which he forcefully attacked Bush's tax cut? ...

I think I'd argue the opposite: The economy is in trouble -- if you believe Paul Krugman, it's in danger of entering a deflationary death spiral! It could use some immediate, emergency fiscal pump priming in the form of more, albeit temporary, tax cuts and spending increases. Isn't that what the Democrats should have focused on as their economic plan. It's not easy to get across a connection between the long-term budget effects of a ten-year tax cut and the stagnant economy -- are we supposed to believe that, with interest rates already at record lows, slightly lower interest rates would make all the difference? In contrast, the fiscal stimulator's slogan -- "We're stalling. We'd better step on the damn gas" -- has a certain intuitive appeal.

Yet Democrats were so distracted by their hatred of Bush's regressive long-term tax cut, and so annoyed by the budget dissembling that accompanied it, that half the Democratic politicians and almost all of the media went charging off on a crusade to make it the test of Democratic manhood whether you wanted to eliminate prospective budget deficits by repealing a tax cut that wouldn't even take full effect for several years. ... By the time the Dems finally came around to advocating $200 billion in immediate deficit  increases (by emergency spending and, er, tax cuts) it was too late. Richard Gephardt's plan  got buried. ...Even Krugman himself was distracted from his own  short-term pump-priming program by his Ahab-like pursuit  of Bush's budget lies. ... It's almost as if those lies were part of an insidious plan, not to spend the surplus but to drive the Dems so mad with rage they couldn't think straight. Is Karl Rove that much of a psychological genius? Were the Democrats gaslighted? ... Metaphor therapy: Kf reader P.M. writes, of the metaphor I used in an earlier version of this item: " 'We're going over a cliff.  We'd better step on the damn gas' only works if you are in an airplane.  If a person were at the wheel of a car, as implied, stepping on the gas would be the last thing to do." Hmm. You're rounding a turn on a steep mountain road. Your car is sliding sideways toward the cliff. If you step on the gas, you have a chance to reverse the momentum and escape. Otherwise, you're doomed. That's what I had in mind. Granted, it doesn't work with front-wheel-drive! ... Maybe not with rear-drive either. I changed it. ... 11:00 A.M.

What the Voter News Service produced for tens of millions of dollars of Big Media money: The VNS' exit poll in the Florida governor's race, kf is told, showed the contest too close to call. In the actual vote count, Jeb Bush won by 13 points. ... Florida was not the only state the VNS got wildly wrong. Kf wrote an enthusiastic item about the prospects of Bill Curry and Erskine Bowles based, it turned out, on VNS estimates that were completely out of whack..... Why keep the VNS? Seems like we did fine this year without it. Academics say its data are useful for studies of voters. Then let the academics run it, and pay for it, without letting it gum up election coverage. .. 2:23 A.M.

The I-Had-The-Big-Story-of-Election-2002-And-Buried-It-In-The-Sixth-Paragraph Award goes to ... Adam Nagourney, New York Times, who apparently didn't believe what his paper's own poll was telling him (that the big pro-GOP gain on the "generic" party preference question signified something). Instead, Nagourney produced these Grade A  wishful-thinking spin grafs:

But that question, known as a generic ballot question, is a measure of national sentiment, and does not necessarily reflect how Americans will vote in the governor's races around the country and in the handful of close Senate and House races that will ultimately determine the control of Congress.

The concern among Democrats about the nation's direction and the economy suggests that Democratic voters might be more motivated to cast their ballots on Tuesday and respond to the ambitious get-out-the-vote drives that have been organized by the Democratic Party, aimed in particular at voters who are distressed about the economy. [Emphasis added.]

That one's worth printing out and saving, alongside John Broder's famous April 2, 1998 front-page pronouncement that:

it is now politically inconceivable that Congress will consider impeachment -- for President Clinton's alleged lies and obstruction ...

Is it  even possible to embarrass the NYT anymore?. ... 1:31 A.M. link

From Wednesday's The Note, from ABC News:

"The big election stories over the next few days will be:

1. How did Bush/Frist/Davis do it.  (Okay, fine: How did Karl Rove do it?)

2. What will Congress' lame-duck agenda be?

3. What will Congress' January agenda be?

4. Will Paul Krugman move to Canada or to Europe?"

They forgot

5. Will Jeffords now switch back? ... 12:26 A.M.

Tuesday, November 5, 2002

A "50-50 Nation" -- In Democrats' Dreams: It seems pretty clear that the idea of a "50-50" deadlocked nation, the Neutral Story Line that had gathered near-unstoppable momentum before the election, is now really a fallback spin position for national Democrats trying to downplay the extent of their repudiation at the polls (as in, "Well, the Republicans gained a few seats but really it's split pretty much down the middle like before"). This notion seems insupportable if, as looks possible, the vast majority of contested, non-gerrymandered races went to Republicans, when the Republicans won back the Senate despite having more incumbencies to defend, when just about the only way for a Republican to lose a contested Senate seat, so far tonight, has been to divorce his wife of 29 years and marry a younger ex-aide.Only in the parallel fictional universe of the Voter News Service was this close to a tie. ... I still think any Republican advantage isnt' destined to last long --  that equilibrium is becoming the default state of our politics. (Also Bush still doesn't have a domestic agenda.) But it's clearly time for a new Neutral Story Line, if one is even possible. (For liberals, how about "The Advantages of the Bully Pulpit" -- that makes it seem as if it's the presidency itself, and not Bush's particular virtues, that's responsible for the GOP's win!) ...Exhibit A: Here's an example of how the '50-50' line can be used to downplay the GOP victory, from WaPo's Designated Overwriter, David von Drehle:

The story of Election 2002, ultimately, seemed to be the continuing inability of either party to form a strong governing majority in a country almost perfectly divided between the two.

Von Drehle's headline: "Results Reflect a Nation That's Evenly Split." They do? ... Von Drehle's excuse is that he seems to have gone to bed at 10:P.M. last night, before the GOP trend became obvious. ...He may be the only guy in the country who misses the VNS. ...Update: Von Drehle's apparently woken up and rewritten his embarrassing piece, with a new hed. But he couldn't bear to give up his "50-50" billboard sentence, which is still there. ...More:USAT's Susan Page also keeps her seemingly pre-written 50-50 nut graf:

After an election season marked by billion-dollar spending and a barrage of TV ads, the nation remained almost evenly divided.

Not even the threat of war or fears of a faltering economy could decisively break the deadlock in American politics.

I guess nobody want to write a new nut graf at 2:00 in the morning. But that one doesn't seem to reflect what actually happened yesterday. ...And, the inevitable question: Would "deadlock" have been the theme if Democrats had gained 2-3 seats in the Senate? ... 11:43 P.M.

Non-phantom surge: Republicans seem to be taking most of the closely-contested races. That pro-GOP mini-surgein the late pre-election polls (see below) is sure looking real to me. Are the experts still so sure it was a phantom? Over to you: Cook, Halperin, Ellis ... And wishful-thinking Democrat  MyDD may have some 'splainin to do. ... 8:35 P.M.

VNS, RIP: Am I the only one who won't miss the Voter News Service's "state and national surveys of voter attitudes" this Election Night? (They've been cancelled due to yet another VNS screw-up.) Isn't that the data set used to produce those mindless, tedious filler segments in which the second-string network reporter employs fancy graphics to tell you that "Voters who supported Republican candidates said the war against terrorism was their biggest concern" -- when it could just be that voters who like Republicans for whatever reason naturally give the Republicans' top priority as their priority (as opposed to the impression the network reporters give, which is that voters are first concerned about terrorism, then survey the candidates' stands and decide that the Republicans have the best anti-terror plan). ... 4:37 P.M.

Neoliberalism is ... Rebuilding! I should add, as a postscript to"Why kf is rooting for Republicans," that there are at least three non-paleo Democratic candidates I admire and for whom I'm rooting: Erskine Bowles in the North Carolina U.S. Senate race, and two gubernatorial candidates, Bill Curry in the Connecticut, and Kathleeen Kennedy Townsend in Maryland. I was going to also make some crack about how "they'll all probably lose" -- but let's just say that, from what I'm hearing and seeing on the Web, I'm really, really glad I didn't make crack. ... Update: They all lost. But Curry and Bowles weren't expected to win. Update: It turns out I was an indirect victim of VNS' bogus exit poll results in Connecticut and North Carolina. ..4:18 P.M.

In one of those clarifying, why-didn't-we-think-of-that columns, cutting-edge, tech-savvy Web entrepreneur Glenn Reynolds convincingly touts a technology whose time has come  -- the paper ballot. ...So we'd have to wait for the results. We're waiting anyway!. ..It's the killer app for cellulose. ... 1:42 P.M.

If you don't already know this, Drudge  is defying the "hot news" doctrine and posting exit poll results ... I guess the  historically hapless and arrogant Voter News Service  has other things to worry about this year. ... N.B.: Actually, the VNS' incompetence problem may have solved its early-release dilemma. Sure, information on exit polls is leaking out. Ordinarily, that might influence voters in ways that arguably corrupt our democracy.. But because the exit polls are conducted by the VNS, nobody will believe them! Voters will be left to vote their consciences. ... 1:14 P.M.

Kristof v. Krugman: The NYT's Nicholas Kristof blasts Democrats  who "claim that the only reasons Mr. Bush could be planning an invasion are finishing Daddy's work, helping his oil buddies or diverting voters from corporate scandals." Gee, who could he be thinking of? ... Even more daringly, he criticizes the "tendency of liberals to underestimate Mr. Bush as a nitwit boy king." That one's easy. ... 12:41 P.M.

The Phantom Surge: Here's the great mystery of the final pre-election runup: There are now four (4) polls suggesting at least a small last-minute pro-GOP surge --

1) The CBS/NYT poll showing a 10 point swing in the Republicans favor on the "generic" Congressional preference question;

2) The USAT/CNN/Gallup poll  showing a 9-point swing in the GOPs favor;

3) The Ipsos-Reid/Cook poll  showing a 4-point swing; and

4) The Zogby poll in which, as RealClearPolitics points out, Republicans in the seven competitive Senate races "picked up a total of 27 points or 3.86% per state on average."

Normally when you get a bunch of data all pointing in the same direction, it means something is happening. But in this case, for some reason, nobody whom kf trusts actually seems to think there is a late pro-GOP surge. Not ABC's The Note, which actually says "Democrats start this day with ... a bit more mojo in the tight contests." Not Ipsos-Reid, which attributes the shift to the weekend, or Charlie Cook, who writes in his e-mailed National Journal column that

there may have been a very slight movement toward Republicans, but it was quite small if it existed at all. A stronger case can be made that the playing field is level instead.

Even pro-Republican experts don't believe there was much of a surge. John Ellis, President Bush's cousin (and Democratic bogeyman because he called Florida for Bush when he worked for Fox) says on his blog, "There is  no 7 point GOP margin. ...: It's a bad poll. It happens. Throw it away." And RealClearPolitics says of Zogby

We don't think those seven close Senate races moved 4 points towards the GOP, primarily because we didn't believe many of the original polls Zogby put out on Sunday.

Plus, of course, the NYT -- admittedly not an institution kf trusts -- told us what it thought of its own poll by burying news of the surge on the sixth paragraph of its story. ... What do these people know that kausfiles doesn't? Something, apparently -- something about the unreliability of polls in the final days of a campaign, maybe. Assignment to political editors:: Find out what this something is! Or in the case of the NYT, tell us what was wrong with your own damn poll  ... Caveat:  RealClearPolitics, unlike The Note, does speculate that there's been a small "0.5% - 2.0% move towards Republicans" that could still be significant. And RCP's leftish doppelganger, MyDD, is strangely silent  regarding the surge. But those are Web experts. The big boys all seem to be in the non-surge camp. ...Correction: MyDD addressed the surge  way back on Sunday. ... More: A political pro emails to offer what may be the key -- estimates of "likely voters." Specifically, the private pollsters retained by campaigns buy computer tapes that reveal whether a particular voter has actually voted in previous elections. Public pollsters tend to rely on what voters tell them over the phone about whether they're likely to vote. That may be why private, in-house campaign polls are more reliable -- and why the insiders who get a peek at those polls are insiders. ...  11:48 A.M.

Bipolar Voters, Unite: Suppose, just hypothetically, that you were, not a single-issue voter, but a double- issue voter, in that you cared most about the two big domestic initiatives that were the twin poles of the Clinton presidency: 1) Health care reform -- the great unfinished business of the Old Democrats, and 2) Welfare reform -- the great achievement of the New Democrats, which is already doing its work to help resolve the nation's major social problem, ghetto poverty.

And suppose you realized that, if the Democrats take control of both chambers of Congress, they're not going to achieve #1, but there's a good chance they'll screw up #2, as the Democrat-led Senate Finance Committee has in fact already tried to do (by creating loopholes that allow people to stay on welfare without working for long periods, and by inserting all sorts of union-backed provisions to prevent states from providing/requiring public service work for the remaining harder-to-place recipients on the rolls). Meanwhile, if the Republicans hold the House, there's a nice bipartisan compromise on welfare (more money for day care coupled with work requirements) that's ready to sail through.

Wouldn't you, were you such a person, be rooting for Republicans to retain the House? I think you would.

Then, with #2 safely reauthorized for a few more years, the path will be clear for Democrats to retake the presidency and accomplish #1 ... [What about the Senate?--ed. The Senate's a mushbowl of egos where everything bogs down no matter who runs it. The House is a disciplined body where party control really matters. But I'm not scared of the Bush judges a Lott-led Senate might confirm, if that's what you mean.] 10:18 A.M.

The new face of the

Rudimentary kf predictions: Democrats gain 1 in the Senate (Dems retain control), Democrats gain 2 in the House (Republicans retain control).  Update: OK, why be a wuss, even though I've missed Josh Marshall's deadline. I'll get the courts to overturn it! ...

AR: Pryor D
MN: Mondale D
SC: Graham R
CO: Strickland D
MO: Talent R
SD: Johnson D
GA: Chambliss R
TN: Alexander R
IA: Harkin D
TX: Cornyn R
LA: Landrieu (w/ runoff) D
NC: Dole R
NH: Shaheen D

1:00 A.M.

Monday, November 4, 2002

The All-Zogby Team: The fabled final Zogby Senate tracking numbers are out. I'm having trouble downloading them (and I paid $24.99) but MyDD has them, as does RealClearPoliticsIn general, they do not confirm a huge pro-GOP trend, although Zogby has Republican candidate Thune up in South Dakota, which My DD, a leftish blog, disputes and RCP, a rightish blog, supports. ... As I read it, if we get an All-Zogby result, including South Dakota, the GOPs lose at least two seats (Colorado and Arkansas) and the Democrats lose two seats (S.D. and Missouri) -- so it's a wash and the Democrats still hold the Senate, unless the Republicans can beat incumbent Sen. Landrieu in Louisiana in December. If Shaheen wins in N.H. (a non-Zogby state) even Louisiana won't change things. ...On the other hand Georgia is very close, and a GOP upset win there could balance out a New Hampshire loss. ...That clear enough? ... 9:56 P.M.

Dahlia Lithwick rises to kausfiles' challenge, arguing that the Supreme Court won't go near the forthcoming Florida-style election cases.. ... I'm 98% convinced, and defer to Dahlia's Court-watching expertise -- but if you agree with her (as I do) that the only real rationale for Bush v. Gore was, basically,"Stop this madness, Bush is going to win anyway," can we really be sure the Court won't tell itself it has to forestall a similar practical crisis if, say, the House and Senate are teetering into divisive chaos? ... P.S.: There was too a pretty good equal protection (or maybe due process) argument against the Florida Supreme Court's recount. It's just that Florida should have been allowed to cure the problem and go ahead with the count. ... 8:30 P.M.

Piping Hot Generic Poll Results: The final Ipsos-Reid/Cook Political Report poll of "generic" party preference will show a 46-44 Republican advantage, with 10 percent undecided. That's a mild Republican shift from the previous Ipsos-Reid/Cook poll, which had the Dems up by 2 points. It reinforces two other recent polls that also seem to show a small, late pro-Republican trend. ... Didn't kf tell you Zogby shouldn't have stopped his generic polling so early! ... Not so fast I: But Ipsos-Reid/Cook adds, "Warning:  Weekend samples are often more Republican than weekday samples, which may explain the 'trend.'"  ...Note also that "very likely voters" are slightly pro-GOP, but very-very likely voters (labelled "hardcore voters") are slightly pro-Dem. That suggests that if turnout is low, it helps Republicans. But if turnout is really low, it may help Democrats. ...Not so fast II: On Sunday, John Ellis, no Dem apologist, thought that NYT/CBS poll (showing a 7 point GOP lead) was just "a bad poll."  Does he still feel that way? ...Ellis, as Bush's cousin, may have access to data unavailable to you or me. To me, anyway. ... At least one other genuine expert contacted by kf agreed with Ellis about both the NYT and the equally pro-GOP USA Todaypoll. ...Kf lashes out: But, again, if the NYT thought the numbers were off, rather than burying them in the sixth paragraph shouldn't they have said the numbers might be off and here's why? Do we need to add another session to Andrew Sullivan's Pravda-reading course -- a class on "How to Tell When the Times Itself Thinks What It's Telling You is Wrong." ... 2:25 P.M.

Dick Morris, relying on John Zogby's polling, argues in his N.Y. Post column that "Democrats have gained a decisive advantage in their efforts to expand their lead in the upper chamber." Morris predicts a Democratic gain of anywhere from one to four seats. Sounds plausible -- Morris calls Zogby "the most accurate of published pollsters."  But Zogby himself was on "To the Point" an hour ago -- the show airs at 1 P.M. PST -- and his estimate was only that the Democrats would "possibly, probably hold on to the Senate." That doesn't sound like such a "decisive advantage." What does Zogby know that Morris doesn't (or vice-versa)? Or did Zogby find something out this morning, after Morris' column was written? ... 12:20 P.M.

Help! I have to go on the radio in ten minutes to debate Ruy "Emerging Democratic Majority" Teixeira, and Jacob Levy hasn't posted the final installment of his epic blog-trilogy on whether Teixeira and his co-author John Judis  are right or not. ... Levy actually thinks there is something to the TNR blog's s see-saw thesis, in which party dominance lurches back and forth like the steering wheel on a Chrysler Omni! I must admit, I don't see it (won't the parties learn not to overreach?). But maybe I'll understand after installment #3. ... Update: Teixeira argued that Republicans have a harder time adapting to the nation's centrist politics than Democrats, because they are tied to Southern conservatives and "K Street business lobbyists." But Democrats are tied, in a very inflexible way, to labor unions. Should school vouchers become popular, the Dems would have a hard time adapting to the shift, because the teachers unions won't let them. To a lesser degree, Democrats would find it difficult to accommodate any wave of opposition to racial preferences, because the African-American base remains quite supportive of preferences. ... Meanwhile, why should we think K Street lobbyists are similarly inflexible? My impression of them is that if anything they're too flexible. They'll take what they can get. If Plan A doesn't work they shift to Plan B. If we get single-payer national health insurance they'll make money by influencing the regulations for single-payer national health insurance. Whichever new people come to power, they'll adapt and figure out how to make as much money as possible under the new arrangements. They're whores! Whores are nothing if not adaptable. ...  10:57 A.M.

Official kf Mondale/Coleman Debate Talking Points: Mondale says increasing work requirements for welfare recipients is "going in the wrong direction." So he's for decreasing work requirements? ... In general, Mondale gave no indication (at least none I detected) that he's not the same doctrinaire prisoner-of-interest-groups he was in 1984. There wasn't a word he uttered that might annoy the teachers' unions or trial lawyers or Children's Defense Fund or Ralph Neas. If I lived in Minnesota I might still vote for him, on the grounds that at his age, having served as a Vice-President and ambassador, he can't really still be taking orders from these people. But that would appear to be a triumph of hope over evidence. ....Update: Noonan says Mondale was victim of excessive feist. RCP agrees, and goes after Zogby to boot. ... 8:58 A.M.

Let the record show that Feiler's mid-week prediction regarding the Minnesota Senate race is proving eerily prescient. ... The New Mondale is due around 4:15 this afternoon. ...Update: Feiler emails to suggest that that was the New Mondale in the debate. Scary. ... 1:56 A.M.

Sunday, November 3, 2002

Name the comedian who'd do this routine:

Reporter: "What makes the district attorney so sure Winona Ryder's guilty?"

Defense attorney: "Well, he's got proof."

Answer: Nobody recognizes Don Adams' "Roving Reporter"? ...10:30 P.M.




Drudge Report--80 % true. Close enough! Instapundit--All-powerful hit king. Joshua Marshall--Escapee from American Prospect. Salon--Better click fast! Andrew Sullivan--He asks, he tells. He sells! Washington Monthly--Includes "Tilting at Windmills" the drink. Virginia Postrel--Friend of the future! Peggy Noonan--Gold in every column. Matt Miller--Savvy rad-centrism. WaPo--Waking from post-Bradlee snooze. The Liberal Death Star--Registration required.  NY Observer--Read it before the good writers are all hired away. New Republic--Left on welfare, right on warfare!  Jim Pinkerton--Quality ideas come from quantity ideas. Tom Tomorrow--Everyone's favorite leftish cartoonists' blog.  Ann "Too Far" Coulter--Sometimes it's just far enough. Bull Moose--National Greatness Central. John Ellis--Forget that Florida business! The cuz knows politics, and he has, ah, sources. "The Note"--How the pros start their day. Romenesko's MediaNews--O.K. they actually start it here. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities--Money Liberal Central.. Steve Chapman--Ornery-but-lovable libertarian. Rich Galen--Sophisticated GOP insider. Man Without Qualities--Seems to know a lot about white collar crime. Hmmm. horror stories. Eugene Volokh --Smart, packin' prof, and not Instapundit! Eve Tushnet--Queer, Catholic, conservative and not Andrew Sullivan! WSJ's Best of the Web--James Taranto's excellent obsessions. Walter Shapiro--Politics and (don't laugh) neoliberal humor! Eric Alterman -- Always annoying, occasionally right. Joe Conason -- Bush-bashing, free most days.  Nonzero--Bob Wright explains it all. [More tk.