Wednesday, August 29, 2007

GOP straw poll

Here's a GOP straw poll. FWIW, Fred is winning.
But Ron Paul is not in the poll.

Will the 2008 primaries be a long horse race?

The conventional wisdom is that with the front loaded primaries each party's race will be over by the end of February.

But it's the first Presidential race since 1952 when neither the sitting President or Vice President is running. That explains the large candidate field. It's also one of the rare years in which each party has serious choices between its head and its soul.

The Democrats' soul is wth Al Gore. He really won in 2000. (Truth be told, for many Democrats their soul is with Ned Lamont, a true believer who beat a reviled incumbent Senator in the primary. That primary victory is all that matters.) If Gore won't run, Edwards or Obama or Dodd make a good stand in.

The Democrats' head is with Hilary Clinton, the heir to Bill Clinton and the Democratic Leadership Council, a group the liberal Democrats hate even more than they hate George Bush. This is the group who managed the only two Democratic presidential victories since 1976.

The Republicans face similar head/ soul choices. Karl Rove's genius was in welding evangelical social conservatives, small -l libertarian fiscal conservatives and big business Republicans into a winning coalition in a post Cold War world. 9-11 returned us to an era when national security matters, and Americans are unsure they can trust Democrats on the issue. This year the Republican soul may belong to Mike Huckabee, a solid social conservative with a populist bent; or to Sam Brownback or Tom Tancredo. The head? Rudy and Fred, and maybe Mitt. The Republican Big Tent that Rove built may not be able to stay together.

There is no reason that the winner of the Iowa caucus or the New Hampshire primary will go on to win the next three or six or ten primaries. It's possible that the campaigns in both parties produce two or three front runners without a clear leader; and two or three strong second tier candidates. If no clear front runner emerges, the second tier candidates may suspend their campaigns as they run out of money, yet stay in the race to make a deal- or with the hope of becoming everyone's second choice. The race, in either party, could go right up to the Convention.

If the race does last beyond the first month of primaries, the danger to Senator Clinton is that she will still need to cast votes in the Senate. Her day job will take time away from the campaign, or allow her opponents to argue that she is neglecting her duties. Far worse, voting yes or no on specific issues presents too many opportunities to anger convention delegates, or November voters.

Predictions? Not Clinton nor Obama. The Democrats go with their soul; the Republicans with their head- and the potential for a serious schism.

Castro's parting gift?

I recall a magazine article twenty years ago that speculated Fidel had gotten hold of a few Chinese suitcase nukes. (I'm not sure I believe in the existence of such things as real threats but let's not spoil the story.) As his last deathbed act, with the knowledge if not approval of the Chicomms, he detonated them in several US cities, and one in Red Square as lagniappe.
This was back in the day whe we we were certain the Chinese were crazy, and we did not worry about radical Christian fundamentalists or rogue states getting nukes. Still, it brings to mind tyrants who, like Jim Jones, can't go out alone; they must take as many of their own people with them as they can.
Hitler and Saddam fit the profile. You could argue Stalin and Mao did. Kim Jong Il and Fidel might, but let's hope not.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Smoke, fires, plague DC metro two days running

WMATA is baffled by two days of unprecedented and unexplained incidents. which closed multiple stations in the system Sunday and Monday evenings. Metro staff discounts terrorism, but wonders if the cause is not just random or accidental. From WaPo:
"This is not normal," Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. said. "This is highly, highly irregular."

Gee, you think so?

I suspect aliens. The bug eyed monster, we- come- to- serve- humanity- and- we- like- them- well- done kind.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Will Bill torpedo Hilary's campaign?

A couple thoughts on the Michelle Obama "If you can't run your own house" kerfluffle:
1. It's awfully naive to ask if personal attacks are "fair" in a political campaign. But if Obama doesn't know it yet, he's going to learn that payback is a bitch.
2. The shoe that everyone is waiting to drop is the next Bill scandal. If I were working for Edwards or Gore (or Giuliani or Fred Thompson), I'd be trolling a squad of young ladies for Bill Clinton, like chum in the water, with photographers (or lawyers) ready if he takes the bait.

Any good campaign knows even more about the the candidate's weaknesses than her strengths. I expect that a couple of Hilary's staffers are assigned full time to watch Bill. I envision them as ugly lesbians (so there is no chance at temptation) with really bad attitudes.
Hmm, definite possibilities for a novel here. Joe Klein may already be on it.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Stephanapoulos and the Republicans

Illegal aliens and amnesty, the surge in Iraq, riots in Pakistan, Hamas in Gaza, unrest in Lebanon, Iranian nukes, a dysfunctional Congress, infrastructure that is literally falling apart.
What is George Stephanapoulos's first question to the Republican candidates?
He asks about Brownback's robocall attack on Romney and abortion.
That's all it took for me to turn off the TV.

If the Democrats are lucky then American's honeymoon from history- our six year respite from terror attacks on US soil- will last until November 2008. Still, I don't imagine abortion rights will be the top issue for many voters in 2008 in either party.

Inquiring minds want to know

This is a late pile on but it's hard to resist.

Barack Obama's comment on sending troops to Pakistan may have been a mistake
but it is one he is standing by. His website (no, I won't link to it) notes:

We must stop fighting the wrong war and start fighting the war we need to win.
.... We must reinforce our mission in Afghanistan with additional troops. We
must press Pakistan and President Musharraf to close down terrorist training
camps .... If Musharraf acts, we will stand with him. But if Pakistan will not
act against Osama bin Ladin and the terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans, we

It will be interesting to see how big the Democratic party constituency is for a candidate who promises to send more troops to Afghanistan and to invade Pakistan, to boot. What I want to know:

Does Obama intend to act unilaterally?

If not, how many members of the UN Security Council must approve before we send troops to Pakistan?

If Musharraf is overthrown and a Taliban style government takes control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons (as big a nightmare to New Delhi as to Tel Aviv), would Obama support a strike against the Pakistani nuclear facilities? He says he would never use American nuclear weapons; would he support India if they used their own?

It’s whats for dinner…..

One of the more annoying aspects of today’s environmental movement is the unwillingness to admit any progress. Yet it is hard to find any measure of environmental quality where the United States and Europe have not made tremendous leaps in the last thirty years- in air and water quality, recycling, hazardous waste cleanup, and protection of wetlands and other wild and scenic resources. The killer London fogs of a half century ago are gone. The Hudson and the Potomac, if not pristine, are much cleaner than forty years ago. The level of environmental regulation of personal, business, and municipal activities in 2007 is stunning when compared to 1967.
Perhaps the most striking example of environmental progress is the comeback of species recently consider endangered, if not on the verge of extinction. Forty years ago, both the American alligator and the bald eagle seemed to be on their last legs. But by the early 1990’s it was not uncommon for homeowners in Florida and New Orleans to find alligators in their back yard swimming pools.
Eagles, too, are thriving, and have adapted well enough to human presence that a pair (dubbed George and Martha by construction crews) nested in the shadow of the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge construction here in Alexandria.

Other wildlife are thriving too. Deer have become common in the DC suburbs and occasionally snarl traffic in downtown Washington. Bears and coyotes have been sighted in the ‘burbs too.
We have an uneasy relationship with wildlife. Bambi is cute until he nibbles all your azaleas. The alligator in your pool in Tampa may decide your cat looks tasty.
We have friends who raise papillions on a small acreage ten mile south of the Wilson Bridge. They frequently see eagles, who seem to have a healthy interest in the

Papillion: It’s whats for dinner.